|Temple of Demonic Soul, second part of Kraal'Thragon|
22.214.171.124. Throne of the Lost Soul
Meanwhile, the eight Paladins move on. Advancing to the second floor of Kraal’Thragon, Cristophe and the infiltrators fight their way through another maze-like area, going upstairs and downstairs through traps, secret rooms and ambushes, all specially designed to thwart marauders.
With his glowing white sword Excalibur, Chris hacks through an abomy, spilling the large, stitched undead monster’s gut out, CHRAAK!! And Hernan fills in to handle the next foe.
Only then Chris has enough time to observe the surroundings. To his surprise, the walls are as though made from organic substances like membrane and leather, and they are actually pulsating, alive! The colors are meaty red and blackened purple, and with pungent odor to add, he feels like being inside a dragon’s stomach.
BLUUURSH!! Suddenly, bolts of Soul Bullet come. Chris blocks a few with his sword and shield, and one bolt hits him on the back!
‘UNNH!!’ The pain. Chris turns and sees the one who shot him, and it’s a lich! Four of them immediately move in.
The undead mages don’t stop. They shot another barrage at the Paladins, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!! Chris immediately rushes forward and blocks most of them with his shield. BASH, BASH! More bolts hit Adler, Hernan and Dejan, adding to their injuries.
‘Step aside! It’s my turn!’ Iris outstretches her hand and casts, ‘Eshmyriad!’
Violent, sharp Hurricane sweeps through the hooded skeleton squad, penetrating their protective aura and slices through the bones-in-the-robes.
As the spell ceases, two liches in the front row fall apart, pieces of bone scattered on the floor. The other two are still standing and shoot some Soul Bullets again at Iris. The next thing that happens is they collapse, also in pieces.
The victor, Iris stands tall, readying to take the next shot.
‘The course is clear! Let’s move on!’ Adler shouts and darts away, ahead of the group.
The rest of the group follows, and with a snort, Dejan talks to Chris, ‘Are you going to let him do that? You’re the leader here, not him.’
To this, Chris shakes, his head, ‘Adler will never regard me as a leader, though I outranked him in nobility. He is only happy as long as he’s the one calling the shots. Besides, anybody to free to suggest anything, as long as it helps the whole group, like Kyflynn did.
If I think Adler is wrong, I’ll sure try to correct him. And he must convince me again, like Kyflynn did.’ Without saying another word, he rushes forward.
Suddenly, Chris is overcome with fatigue and he leans against the grotesque-demonic rotten meat-like wall. He takes a deep breath in that quick break, and then he gasps! Looking down, he sees several tentacles on his body, holding him up, pressing him into the wall and choking him to death!
‘GGGNNNHHH!!!’ Chris grits his teeth and struggles to free himself from those tentacles that apparently came from the wall bearing the same color, pattern and fleshy, oozing shape.
However, the wall saps Chris’ energy! The more he struggles, the more of his mana gets drained out of his body. The pain is excruciating like being tortured to death, pushing Chris to the limit as he screams, ‘GGGYAAAHHH!!!’
The next moment, Chris becomes so powerless even to scream. His head hangs down, and before he runs out of energy to keep his soul inside his body, CRASSH!! CRASH! CRASSH! Suddenly the pressure on Chris is loosened and gone!
As his strength gradually returns, Chris opens his eyes and sees Adler in front of him and the sapping tentacles are all cut off, most likely with the great sword Kraal’shazar.
Upon establishing eye contact, the Borgian Knight turns away, shouting, ‘Eidos, patch the Heir up. The rest, get a move on!’
Eidos the Chronomage comes to Chris and puts a vial of spirit potion into his mouth without saying a word. With his mana and stamina refreshed, Chris staggers to stand up. He limps a bit, and a hand comes and supports him.
‘Come on, Chris,’ the white-haired Knight says, we need to find a way out of this area. The wall is alive and dangerous, thanks for making us aware of it and understand about its nature.’
As he walks with Chris side-by-side, Rob comments, ‘If only the demon walls trapped Adler, he wouldn’t be acting high and mighty just now.’
Chris chuckles a bit with his heart relieved a bit, and he strides quicker with his newfound spirit.
Robert’s words are none truer than the fact that none of the Paladins gets drained off by the demon walls. Even if one got caught and entangled, the others are ready, chopping those deadly tentacles off instantly.
|The Halls of Blood - Further inside the 2nd part towards the Throne Room|
The challenges, however are only just begun. The Demon Labyrinth, with its walls enchanted into a living monster is really vast and complicated.
The tentacles also come from the ceiling and the floor, adding surprise to danger. The abomies and banshees come in waves, giving the heroes hell.
As they arrive in a three-way junction, Adler shouts instruction, ‘We’ll split up four-by-four! I, Eidos, Robert and Carolyn take the left way. Chris, Hernan, Iris and Dejan take the right. If any group finds an exit, you know what to do.’
The Paladins immediately split up without a word and a sign of protest. Chris and his group stride off quickly, taking turns around corners while Iris tries to detect peculiarities with her magic.
Three more turns, and the group stumbles into a group of dark minions: the specter knights. The leader of this group of six is a very large and tall knight in all-black armor and a big, horned helmet, riding a very big, headless horse.
Iris immediately warns her comrades, ‘Beware! I sensed a high-level dark energy within them, especially the big one. His aura is nearly as strong as Nöac’s!’
The big knight, larger than three Desmonds merged together with his visage but a dark patch hidden beneath the visor of his helmet points his great broadsword that looks like been made from a dragon’s back bone and shouts with a thunderous voice, ‘So, the rats have come this far. But, that’s as far as you can go, because I, Dullahan will have your heads to add into my collection!’
Top: Temple of Demonic Soul by Michael Chen Lin (http://chenlinsart.blogspot.com)
Bottom: Elizabeth's Blood Palace in Ninja Gaiden 2 Game (source: http://www.frequency.com/video/demonic-choir/19039042 )
FireHeart - Legend of the Paladins Book Three: The Lion, the Eagle and the Serpent
Author: Andry Chang
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Next: Part Two -(Script 333/487)