The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 18 (v.1) - Fortress Maintenance

Submitted: May 15, 2018

Reads: 190

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Submitted: May 15, 2018

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"No, your majesty."

Chiro glowered at the ground upon thinking about his failure in battle, and having to report it to Corelia. However, Corelia seemed as patient as ever. At the moment, she didn't even seem to be paying total attention. Just sat on the edge of the table in her observatory, staring across the way.

"That's quite alright, Chiro," she patiently spoke. "I can't say that I'd expect you to win in a fight against the beta- er, leader, I suppose. Either way, it's the warriors we target; the smaller their army, the more strength they lose. That's why we send in those patrols at all."

"We get slaughtered, though," Chiro growled. "Every time."

Corelia seemed saddened by the thought. "And as horrible as that is, it's warfare, all the same. They die to keep our subjects safe, and give us a chance at victory. It's horrible...but needed. I'm sure you know what happens when we give them any chances."

"They'd kill us all, yes," Chiro dismissively answered. "But with the number of sergeants we've lost, and are still losing, I think the death toll is twice as high as usual."

"It's also experiments," Corelia murmured, getting lost in thought once more. "We use our new magics, weapons, and armor in hopes that we'll find what we're looking for...And then there's our search for Kita, of course."

The thought made Chiro irritated. "That little traitor won't be coming back, I can already tell you that much."

Corelia stood as she spoke with a desperate tone, "If not, then we'll take her back. That's why we need to continue our trades; we need the power to get rid of the enemies surrounding her. We'll have her back, and we can finally end this damn war." She blinked hard. "And speaking of experiments and trades, I believe it's time to follow through with the plans for target-nine. What do you say?"

Chiro chuckled and unsheathed his sword. "Indeed, your majesty, we should. And I know a son of mine that would be just as interested."

"Ah, right," Corelia remarked. "His second battle in the violet armor, yes?"

"Surei may be stubborn, but Ryu been proving himself," said Chiro.

Corelia smirked. "Then let's see how well he does, this time."

 

 

\\\\\

 

 

Alarmed, Kita jerked her eyes open and snapped back to reality. She shot up with haste and scanned her surroundings.

To her slightest relief, around her was the same room as always; a sheet of fibers beneath her, a chair in the corner, and the Dead Beach showing through the window. Even Stud was perched on the chair, looking confused as he saw Kita's very sudden, shocking wake.

Still, Kita was nervous that in seconds, the burning glade would appear before her, and she needed some sort of reassurance that this was all real.

"Stud, what's happened; what's going on?" 

"You returned at six in the morning," Stud explained. "You tried to get some sleep, and now you're awake. Why are you asking, though? Is something wrong?"

Kita contemplated over that for a moment. Unlike her other dreams, she remembered this one crystal clear. The reaper's words, the burning glade, and the slaughtered Zyreans and Aubades.

She finally answered, "No. I just had another nightmare."

"Another one?" Asked Stud. He whimpered at the thought. "When will it end?"

"I don't know," Kita replied. "This one was a bit more descriptive, but I still don't understand why it has to be me. Why not another sylph? What makes me so different from the others, like Yuna and Mao? I think it's the one thing that Corelia and the twins can agree on."

"Why don't you ask these 'twins' about it? If they know so much, then they should have the answer."

Kita negatively shook her head. "One's still unconscious, and I don't want to bother Leiytning with this. Besides, he already said that I just need to be patient with these 'visions.' They'll either go away on their own, or they just won't be of any importance until later."

"Just ignore it?" Stud repeated. "Are you sure that's a good plan?"

"Yeah," Kita dismissively replied. "I'll just wait for a better time."

That being said, Kita stood up, stretching her limbs a bit, then headed for the door. Seeing this made Stud leap to his feet.

"Where are you going?" He asked.

Kita's answer made him uneasy. "I'm going to see if there are any missions. I want to clear my mind."

Stud sighed, but didn't say anything to protest. Trying to ignore the remarks of her tightly-wound dog, Kita cautiously opened the door. 

She still had the fear that she would step into the dark place or the burning glade. However, that was certainly wrong. There was only the beach, with its lifeless black and white scene. Unexpectedly, Jem and Scorch were by the portal, appearing to have just returned from a mission. Kita decided to meet with them first.

As Kita did draw near, Jem spoke first, "Greetings, mortal. If you're looking for Seyber, then she's still in the Raven's Cavern."

"No, not this time," Kita replied. "Although, I was wondering if there are any missions left."

"Zyra be damned," Scorch remarked. "For an Aubade, you're really obsessed with work."

"It's just that it gets a little boring on the beach," Kita explained. "That, and I actually do like work."

"From what I know, the schedule's clear," Jem answered. "You never know when something might pop up, though, which is actually pretty often. So why don't you come with us? Maybe Leiytning has a task for you."

"Alright, then," said Kita. Jem nodded, then started to lead the way into the fortress, Scorch lingering behind some. 

Once Kita ducked into the entrance tunnel, she almost tripped. Of course, having to practically crawl through this tunnel was irritating and hard. It wasn't just the general height that was a problem, but the fact that there were random mounds on the ceiling and ground, obstructing clear footing and headspace. Some of the others found Kita's clumsiness amusing, though, and laughed at her ungraceful form.

Oh, the times when you wish you could also shapeshift into something three feet shorter than yourself.

When they finally reached the Hex Den, Kita was able to assume a more natural position, again. It seemed the only other demon here was Leiytning, who seemed busy trying to find something through a seeing brew. 

Once she and Scorch shifted into demon form, Jem began her report.

"Nothing in the moors, not even a bezzle. All clear, there."

Leiytning spoke without breaking focus, "And the cavern?"

Jem only shrugged her shoulders. "Seyber isn't back yet, so they could've run into some vermin. More Toxic ghouls, probably."

"Wouldn't be surprised," Scorch remarked. "Those bastards always slip into the cavern at the most random times."

Kita dismissed the case and spoke up, "Excuse me, Leiytning, are there any other missions?" 

"Or are we clear?" Asked Jem, seeming fond of the thought.

"There's nothing urgent, so you and Scorch are dismissed until-"

Jem and Scorch had already fled the Hex Den before Leiytning could finish. Kita snickered after seeing such a naive display of laziness.

"Why do I even try?" Leiytning muttered. "Anyways, what was it you wanted, mortal?"

"I was going to see if there were any other missions," Kita answered. "Judging from your answer to those two, I'll assume not."

Leiytning seemed somewhat puzzled by this. "Your willingness to work is confusing, sylph, considering your cowardice."

Kita shrugged. "I'm not the most normal sylph."

That much Leiytning agreed with. "True enough, I suppose. As for your question, if you really want to work, then I was about to hunt something that came from the Fortress Depths. You can assist me with that, if you like. It would actually be wise, seeing as how you require practice with your combat."

"I hear the others talk about it," Kita started, "But I still don't get it. What are the Fortress Depths?"

"I thought it was explained to you," Leiytning remarked, as the fog from the seeing brew started to dissipate. "It's simple, really; the fortress generated some complex catacombs in its sublevels, hence the title 'depths.' Unlike the main part of the fortress, it's dangerous to explore too much from there. And just our luck, vermin will find a way out of the deepest areas, and get into these main rooms."

"There's a disturbance now?" Asked Kita.

"Yes, and a minor one at that," Leiytning answered.

"If that's it, then I'd be happy to help," Kita chimed.

"In that case, just try not to wander. I've noticed that you can be a bit adventurous, but free-roaming in the fortress is not a very wise idea for a mortal."

Kita thought about this for a moment, mainly what it could mean. However, Leiytning had already shifted into wolf form and was leaving her behind, which prompted Kita to scurry and quicken her pace.

As they went on, Kita asked about the message. "Why is it bad to wander in the fortress?" 

"I didn't say that," Leiytning responded. "I said it would be unwise for a mortal to wander. You're not fireproof, you can easily drown in deep waters, and your temperature fortitude is very weak."

"There can't be that much to the fortress," Kita remarked. By now, she had stepped away from the stone path, and into the very lush forest beyond.

"Actually, there is that much," said Leiytning. "Some of these rooms were altered by my idiotic siblings, but the fortress itself can generate a variety of random areas. For example, one of them has a small storm-eye, while another has a spring of magma."

"How strange," Kita murmured. She then laughed a bit at one thought. "Well, I'm sure you and Thundur took a liking to the storm-eye."

"Naturally," Leiytning responded. "It's like putting a squirrel in a tree; no one denies a space the corresponds to what they evolved to live in. Wind and electric elements heal faster and fight better in storm-ridden environments."

Kita nodded, a bit distance after having checked her surroundings. She only saw the forest and the giant stone walls, with the mellow current of the River Of Shadows in the distance. However, now Leiytning was leading the way into one of the several tunnels that led to different sections of the fortress. For once, the entrance tunnel was rid of obstacles, but Kita could not see anything through the darkness. She decided to use Leiytning's voice as a guide, therefore kept talking.

"So what's this thing supposed to-" Suddenly, a point clicked in her mind, and she spoke faster, "Wait, isn't there supposed to be a basilisk in the fortress? Because that's not very reassuring when we're in a small dark tunnel."

"Sidewinder isn't a threat," Leiytning answered. "Neither is Echo or Stinger, or any of our tames. As for what the real threat is, I can tell it's something minor, but not the specifics. Several different portals are in the Fortress Depths, and the most random creatures will find their way through. The most common is a cave-dweller, but we've also had forest beasts and an ice wyvern."

"Why not just close the portals?" Kita suggested. "Then you wouldn't have to keep fighting these things."

"Impossible," said Leiytning. "We've managed to shut down a few of them, but the majority are cursed. That means only their creators can close them. Since they're generated from the fortress, closing ones like that would require us destroying the fortress itself. I don't know about you, but I'd think that's more trouble than it's worth."

"I guess I have to agree with that," Kita remarked. 

Finally, there was light ahead; an inviting sight to Kita. She followed Leiytning into a new room of the fortress. It was a long cave with gray stone walls and a more rigid floor. However, half the ground sank down as murky water replaced the other half.

"What's this room for?" Asked Kita.

"Nothing," said Leiytning. "Just one of the few extras we never found a use for."

At first glance, there seemed to be nothing that indicated anyone else had been here. there were no claw marks in the grounds, shed scales or fur, or a prey creature's carcass. This only made Leiytning more suspicious.

Strange...but why would the signal lead me here, if there was nothing?

"I think it fled," Kita remarked, staring into the eerily deep water as she stood near its edge. 

That's when Leiytning saw it, though. There was a flash of green in the water. Even though it had gone by that fast, he already knew what the creature was.

 


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