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Monday, April 28, 2008 The Shield of Faith - Part 4

Meanwhile, Chris is following Iris to the depths, some distance away from Adler and Eidos. They’ve encountered some fishmen and piranhas along the way, but as most of them were drawn towards Eidos’ blood, Chris didn’t have much trouble finishing them off.
An underwater cave, Chris realizes as he and Iris find a big hole on the rocky wall. This must be the wall below the island we saw in the middle of the lake. Is this the ‘most protected place’ the Queen said about? Iris has already gone in there, so I better follow her and find out.
It’s dark in here, Chris analyzes the situation. Torches won’t do, they’ll get wet. If only Chiel is here with me, not with Carol, he would be a great help by illuminating the way.
Suddenly, he sees two round, glimmering black eyes from afar.
Ah, it’s Iris at last. But... how come her eyes are far apart? And they’re... not human’s?
Chris stops abruptly, turns and swims out from the cave. A moment after, something is coming towards him like a huge wave. Thank goodness, the wave gives him an extra push, so he gets out from the cave in time.
But he can’t breathe easy just yet. Coming out from the cave are eight huge tentacles, each as thick as an acacia tree trunk. They’re flailing and whipping around, with one end coiling Iris the elf like an anaconda snake.
Iris is pushing hard to keep the tentacle from rolling tighter, crushing her insides like mashed potato. She looks at Chris swimming around to find a position to snatch Iris free. As she makes eye contact with Chris, Iris shakes her head, signaling Chris to go away and not risking his life to save her. Chris understands it, but no, he charges forward instead!
With two hands, Cristophe thrusts his Wyrthal forward, thinking that it’s an opening, but suddenly a tentacle swoops towards him! He immediately changes thrust to slash and hits the tentacle with all his might. The impact pushes Chris’ sword and it hits his armor, pushing him away from there. The slash leaves a big, nasty, bleeding cut on the tentacle.
Chris’ action gives Iris time to draw her Wysteria Bow and an arrow. But she can’t get a clear shot because the tentacles go back to thrashing even harder. Iris uses the pointy edge of her bow to pierce the tentacle that is coiling her. But, instead of loosening, its grip gets tighter, and blood sprays off Iris’ mouth. The pressure is too much, even for an elf. It’s as though she can hear all her bones crackling.
Before Iris can think of resigning to her fate, Chris comes again, rushing to her rescue. Spitting blood from his mouth, he attacks with Ten Point Chain Slash.
No one hurts my ex-girlfriend!
Chris moves swiftly, slashing onto one tentacle after another, adds another set, and so on. That move brings so much distraction and the tentacles attack Chris, giving Iris an opening and time. She puts her arrow on and enchants it with Wind Shear spell without saying the magic words.
And she shoots! The arrow slices through water like razorblade. Water might slow ordinary arrows down, but this enchanted arrow goes faster and faster instead. The force of Wind Shear splits air on the tip of the arrow, creating a vacuum. The arrow fills the vacuum, and then air refills the vacuum on the arrow trail, giving it an extra push.
It hits the target: The glimmering black spot inside the cave!
The tentacles thrashes even more violently now, finally throwing Iris away. Chris comes to catch her, but Iris recovers and does a somersault to stop herself, and both of them swim away to a safer position.
However, the tentacles extend to catch them both. And this time the monster’s cone-like head comes out with an arrow sticking on one of its two eyes. It’s obviously furious and rampaging now.
It’s Kraken! Chris gasps. Oh, no, this can’t be. The Kraken is way bigger than this. It’s a giant squid, more like.
The giant squid comes out completely from the cave. Iris signals Chris to sneak into the cave and search for the shield. Chris is reluctant at first and signals back to Iris:
But how can I leave you alone out there?
I’ll handle it. I’ll keep it occupied and buy you time to get the shield. Now go!
All right, Chris nods. Be careful.
You too.
Chris and Iris swim towards the giant squid! Iris makes sure her elf daggers are firmly attacked on the edges of her bow, just like a glaive and enchants another arrow on it.
Taking a longer turn, Chris manages to sneak behind the squid and goes into the dark cave. Just as Iris is about to attack the squid, suddenly she hears the water rushing. She turns back and sees a big school of piranhas rushing from every direction! Iris gathers her aura to launch her short-range Supersonic Storm attack, but the piranhas just swim past her. The blood from the squid’s wounds must’ve attracted them.
Soon, the giant squid is surrounded by piranhas gnawing every inch of its body. Seeing that the piranhas are doing the work for her, Iris feels relieved. But her face changes. The piranhas will attack her after they’re done with the squid, and Chris is still inside the cave – a doubled threat. So again, without speaking, she summons her guardian spirit, Eshmyria.
The Wind Guardian with fairy-like wings immediately casts her specialty spell, Pandemonium. Not like Typhoon, the wind swirls and spins in form of a big ball, compacted and processed on Eshmyria’s hands. Then she pushes the ball towards the squid and piranhas, and the monsters are engulfed in the swirling mass of destruction.
The piranhas are torn apart at once, and the squid is like being cut into pieces with a giant cleaver. On and on the Pandemonium spins, and none in that area comes out in one piece. Sushi, anyone?
And finally, the ball bursts out, spilling pieces of its victims everywhere. Water fills the vacuum it left, becomes red with blood and greasy with fat. Eshmyria’s job is done, so Iris un-summons her. The water becomes calm again.
The elf meditates to rest and replenish her aura. A few minutes later, Chris comes with a mixture of disappointment and surprise from his face. With his fingers he signals Iris. Wow, you killed those monsters? That’s awesome.
Iris signals him back. Did you get the shield?
Unfortunately, I didn’t. I searched every corner of the cave, and it turned out only as a giant squid nest.
Iris shrugs. That means this is not the most protected place.
Maybe we should try the water elf city, Chris suggests.
Water elves, merfolk and nagas live together in this lake, and they have neither city nor palace. They only live in holes on rocks. So, we just have to search all places. We have to keep on trying until we can claim the shield.
Don’t forget about the competition. We have to find the shield before Adler and Eidos do. Time’s running out, so let’s go!

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