Silence. The four of them remained holding the massive doors shut long after the goblins stopped trying to get through. Nobody dared to move, everyone was frozen in place. It was several long minutes of silence before the four players stepped away from and door and turned around to face what they had gotten themselves into now. It looked to be a cave, but was oddly shaped. It would have been pitch black if it weren't for the blue crystals that lined the walls and emitted a light glow giving the area a blue-ish tint and making it just barely bright enough to see. There was stalagmites and stalactites on the floor and ceiling of the cave. The ground was uneven and rocky as if it were a natural cave, but the way the room was carved out in a squarish shape as if it was meant to be a room brought question to if it was natural or not. None of them could really tell.
There was one doorway-like opening on the far end of the room that lead deeper into this cave, and beyond that the room had nothing else in it. The four of them took a moment to look around and take all of this in before they turned to each other to try and figure out what their next step should be.
"Out of the frying pan and into the fire." Kadin replied simply. "Whatever is deeper in this cave... Is probably far more dangerous than a goblin. But, on the other hand. Maybe there won't be such an overwhelmingly high amount of whatever it is."
"Keep in mind..." Zanath spoke up. "That could be a bad thing. There wasn't very many werewolves attacking us, but we still stood a better chance against the goblin hordes then the werewolves." He stated.
"Of course." Kadin replied. "Just commenting on the situation, so we can try to brainstorm some sort of plan."
"So..." Estellese started. "Do we take our chances on the cave, or go back out and pray the goblins are gone?" She asked. "My vote is to try our luck in the cave, the bad luck has to end sometime right?"
"My vote is for the cave as well" Kadin replied. "Don't think our luck will be any better, but we need to give the goblins time to move on to someplace else."
"Yeah, cave." Mendores replied.
"Agreed" Zanath added.
"Alright, cave it is then." Mendores stated as he began walking across the room, towards the doorway like exit to the room. It seemed to lead to a long hallway, further making them question if this cave was natural or not. They all silently walked down the hall, trying to make as little noise as possible. Keeping their weapons held tightly in their hands and staying on alert. They knew something had to be down here... What was with the big door? And the oddly shaped room-like caves? The strange glowing crystals in the walls? Is this where the humans of the city are hiding? Are they friend or foe? Is there some monster down here? Treasure? Death? They didn't have a clue what it was but they were sure something was here.
At the end of the hall they came to a choice. There was three different paths they could take, four if you count the one they came from. To the west, on their left, the hallway seemed to continue too far down for them to see the end of it. To the north, straight ahead, there was what appeared to be a big and empty room, all the crystals were too high up to shed light on the ground but it seemed like there was a lot of small things scattered all over the ground. And then to the east, their right, was a room with water in it. The half closest to them seemed like a normal room, but the other half of it was covered in what appeared to be deep water. And then, of course, there was the path to the south where they had come from, the long hallway leading to that first empty room with the door.
The four players paused for a moment at this crossroads and looked around, thinking of where to go. "Don't split up." Kadin spoke up, as if predicting what everyone was thinking. "We don't know what is in here, if it turns out to be something like the werewolves from before, we will not survive if we are alone. It is slower and more time consuming, but we need to stay as a group of four. It is the only way we can bring down the tougher monsters of this world."
"I agree." Mendores said. "Take it slow, stick together, watch eachother's backs. It is what has let us survive this far, and it will continue keeping us alive." He said. "Any votes on which way we should go? I vote north." He asked, then looked around at the others.
"North." Kadin, the only one to speak up said. "There is something in the room, we should check it out. Be cautious though we don't know what else is in there, not bright enough to see much."
With that the group cautiously walked into the north room, trying to get a closer look at the little objects on the ground. The closer they got the more the little objects took shape until eventually, when the group was near the center of the room, they could see that the things scattered on the floor were bones. Human bones, from many different people.
A bit shocked by this finding the group was stunned for a moment, and suddenly there was a loud crash from behind them. They turned to see the stone walls on either side of the doorway they had entered through slam together. The entrance, and the only exit, to the room was lost between them. There was no way out of the room now but that was the least of their worries.
Suddenly all the bones in the room sprang up into the air and came together to form five living skeletons. Two of the skeletons wielded sharp iron swords, while the other three carried some extra leg bones as weapons. One swordsman was in front of the group, one was behind them. Two of the bone wielders were to the right and one was to the left
"Everyone stay close!" Mendores shouted "Take out the ones with swords first," he paused for a moment as he took in his surroundings. They were surrounded and he saw all five skeletons dash in towards them, intending to strike as a group from all sides. They had to get out of this circle of skeletons, they couldn't handle an attack from all sides. Not when outnumbered and against foes who were both immortal and better equipped.
Mendores had to make a call, quick. "Follow my lead! Blitz the left skeleton!" He called out, hoping that they understood his slightly tactical orders. Mendores turned and sprinted as fast as he could at the lone skeleton on the left, raising his club in preparation to block the skeleton's bone weapon.
Kadin was right behind Mendores, having heard the order and followed Mendores closely. Zanath and Estellese were a few steps behind Kadin. The skeletons turned to chase the four humans, but with the humans moving out of the center of the room, now all of the skeletons except the one they ran after were behind the humans, not surrounding them anymore.
The lone skeleton that the group charged stood its ground. As Mendores charged at it the skeleton swung its bone club for his ribs. But Mendores was quick to use his makeshift club to block the bone.
Kadin moved in to take out the skeleton while it clashed weapons with Mendores, he gripped his knife tightly in his hand and stepped forwards to stab the skeleton. But then he stopped as the realization hit him. What good would a kitchen knife do against a skeleton? It can't pierce bone and there is no skin or inner organs to target. So, what could he possibly hope to achieve by stabbing or slashing the skeleton with the knife?
In Kadin's moment of hesitation the skeleton pushed Mendores back, and he had to act quick. So Mendores kicked the skeleton in the ribs as fast and hard as he could. He was hoping the bones would fall apart and scatter, instead the skeleton remained in one piece, but it was knocked backwards and onto his back. Unharmed but knocked over.
Seeing the skeleton fall to the ground Estellese jumped on it. Landing on her knees with one knee on each side of the skeleton's ribs. She immediately began smashing her makeshift club into the skeleton's skull, trying to crush the skull.
Zanath turned around, trusting Estellese to finish off that skeleton. Mendores and Kadin also turned to face the other four skeletons.
With four hard slams of her makeshift club, the skeleton's skull caved in, the front of the skull was shattered and gone. Thinking it was dead Estellese went to stand, but the now headless skeleton reached up and grabbed her by her long hair with one hand while the other hand moved to try and claw at her throat. She let out a yelp of surprise and a grunt of pain before grabbing the skeleton's attacking arm as fast as she could to stop it from reaching her throat. Then, using the leverage of her position over the skeleton, twisted its arm and brought her knees out from under herself. Slamming her foot down on the skeleton's elbow and snapping its arm. And yet, with no head and one broken arm, the skeleton continued struggling, pulling at her hair, and would not die. It truly was immortal, but not unbreakable.
Meanwhile the other three were facing the remaining four skeletons. Mendores closely watched the positioning of the two swordsmen, waiting for them to leave themselves open to attack like the first one had done. But they stayed behind the two bone wielders, using the lesser equipped skeletons as cover. Mendores knew their plan, they were going to wait for the humans to attack the bone wielders and move in while the humans were distracted. If the swordsmen attacked while the humans were in the middle of fighting the bone wielders, the humans would have no time to react and dodge the swords. Mendores also knew that they were still outnumbered and under equipped, which meant the skeleton's could force a fight by making bone wielders attack them. If they happened they would have no choice but to fight back, leaving them open to the swordsmen. It was a bad situation to be in.
Zanath waited for instructions, he had his own ideas but Mendores seemed to be leading the group, and it was always best if only one person was calling the shots and everyone followed along. Less chance for mistakes that way. And Mendores had proven that he knew how to tactically lead the group.
"Stand your ground, stay close. When they attack us, dodge and let the person next to you counter attack. Those who are counter attacking, knock the bone wielders back. But push the sword wielders closer to the rest of us. Play it defensive." Mendores called out. He hoped this plan would work, but knew it wouldn't if the skeletons all attacked at the same time.
Kadin, on the other hand, was being Kadin. He saw the same bad situation Mendores did, he had also figured out the skeleton's strategy and knowing that, he ignored Mendores's order. He did not stay close, he grabbed his knife and ran straight at them. Four on one, against their swords, when he had little to no combat experience.
"Kadin! Defensive! What are you thinking, get back!" Mendores called out. But Kadin was not listening.
The bone wielding skeletons raised their bone-clubs and prepared to strike Kadin as he got close. But at the last second he dove to the side, narrowly dodging their attacks. But that was exactly what the skeletons wanted, as soon as he dove, as soon as his feet left the ground, the skeletons knew he could not dodge again until his feet were back on the ground at the end of his dive. The swordsmen stepped forward and both slashed their swords at Kadin, they both stood in front of him one slashing from left to right, the other swinging from right to left at the same time.
Kadin could not dodge this one, like his previous one on one fight with the goblin in his first day here, the range of the skeletons' swords outreached his own, making his aggressive rush leave him wide open. But, as if he had weeks of training since his goblin fight, he swung the duffel bag he had on his shoulder at the skeletons, using the extended reach of the bag to strike and knock both of them onto their backs before their swords could reach him. Two of the skeletons were down, this was a huge advantage. However Kadin would not be able to take it. As soon as Kadin's feet touched the ground, one of the two bone-wielding skeletons slammed its bone-club into Kadin's side, making Kadin shout out in pain and stumble back. The other skeleton saw Kadin stumble and tackled him while he was off balance, pinning him to the ground.
Mendores saw Kadin injured and pinned down with the other bone-wielding skeleton advancing on him, then he looked at the two swordsmen that were knocked to the ground. They were the biggest threat, and if they weren't taken out quick they could kill everyone here. But Kadin was in danger... He had to make a decision. He turned and ran for the two knocked-over skeletons "Zanath, cover Kadin!" he called out. As he ran towards the knocked-over skeletons the first one he approached was almost standing up, it quickly tried to slash its sword at Mendores. Mendores was swift, he blocked the sword with his makeshift club and grabbed the skeleton's wrist with his other hand. In one swift movement, he lifted his leg and slammed it down on the skeleton's elbow, snapping its arm bone right out of the elbow socket.
Mendores pulled the skeleton's detached arm and the sword it was still gripping away from the creature. Moving skillfully, he flowed his next movement, slamming his makeshift club into the skeleton's other shoulder to break that shoulder, then spinning around just in time to block the other skeleton's sword with the first skeleton's arm.
The skeleton on top of Kadin raised its bone-club and swung it down at Kadin, whom threw his arms up in front of his face. With a shout of pain Kadin blocked the attack, at the cost of fracturing his left arm. The skeleton raised its bone to strike again but was tackled and knocked off Kadin by Zanath. Zanath pinned the skeleton down to the ground, but then the other bone wielding skeleton rushed up behind Zanath to try and push him off its ally. But right before it reached Zanath it was struck by a pile of bones and knocked to the ground. Zanath glanced up to see where the bones came from and saw Estellese standing a few feet away.
Estellese had shattered both arms and legs of the skeleton she had pinned into pieces, and once she was finished with it she threw it's remains at the skeleton attacking Zanath. Her broken club, having snapped from the sheer brutality of her attacks, laid on the ground behind her and the bone the skeleton had been using before was now in her hands as she rushed in to rejoin the fight.
Zanath had no blunt weapons to hit the skeleton he was pinning with. The skeleton swung its bone for his head but he leaned back to evade getting hit, then grabbed the skeleton's wrists to restrain the monster. He was struggling with it, fighting to stop it from thrashing out of his grasp.
Kadin was quickly back on his feet, sore but otherwise okay. He rushed to Zanath's aid and slammed his foot down on the skeleton's arm, forcing it to bend in such a way that the bone snapped, giving Zanath the edge he needed to pin the skeleton's other arm. With the skeleton's other arm pinned and bent backwards, Kadin stomped his foot down on that arm too and snapped it like the other.
Meanwhile, with the swordsmen, right after Mendores blocked his second skeleton's sword with the first skeleton's sword-wielding arm, he threw a kick for the second skeleton's ribs, making it stumble backwards and preventing it from attacking again right away. Right as he put his foot back down, after his kick, the skeleton he had pulled the arm off of grabbed his ankle with its other hand and yanked it, pulling Mendores off his feet and onto his butt.
The stumbling skeleton regained its bearings and rushed at Mendores while he was down, sword at the ready to stab the man. But before it could reach him a blur of pink rushed out in front of Mendores. It was Estellese, of course, the only pink thing in the cave was her hair. Estellese rushed out at the skeleton, charging it head-on despite seeing that it had a sword and she just had a bone. Mendores noted that she was best suited for bringing these things down. Out of everyone here, her fighting style was the most blunt and brutal, excelling in grappling, exactly what was needed for smashing bony skeletons.
As Estellese neared the skeleton the creature slashed its sword for her waist. But as quick as she was she used the bone to parry the sword, blocking the blade and pushing it away with the sturdy bone. Rusty blades had little effect on the special skeleton bones, other than the big crack it left in the side of it. With her free hand she grabbed the skeleton's neck and tackled it to the ground, slamming it back into the floor as they fell and landing ontop of it as she had done to the other. She didn't bother going for the head this time, her grip shifted straight to its sword wielding arm. They hadn't been on the ground for more than a second before she was grabbing the arm, bending it backwards at the elbow, and then kicking the back of the elbow hard to snap the bones.
Mendores knew that that skeleton was as good as dead now that Estellese got her hands on it. He turned his attention to the others, one skeleton that was pinned and being taken out by Kadin and Zanath, and the other one that Estellese had knocked over, whom was back on its feet now and moving in on Zanath and Kadin.
It was just a bone wielder, nothing too threatening. There was something off about these skeletons though, and it bothered Mendores. The goblins, dragon, Minotaur, and even the werewolves seemed almost like animals, real animals. They seemed alive, and seemed to be fighting for their land and survival. These skeletons... They were different. They were fighting just to fight, they were charging straight in with little to no regard for their own safety, they were moving in very predictable patterns, they didn't seem alive like the other creatures. Maybe it was because they were skeletons, but something about it just seemed off.
It didn't matter now though, all that mattered right now was getting out of here alive. He pulled the detached skeleton arm off the sword it was still tightly gripping and trying to swing at him, then tossed the arm aside and took the sword into his free hand. With that, he rushed at the last skeleton standing. He liked the dual-wielding style, even if his weapons were mismatched being able to block and attack at the same time was useful. Especially against unskilled skeletons.
As the last standing skeleton moved in on Zanath and Kadin, who were both too busy breaking their pinned skeleton to notice this one, Mendores rushed in to take it out. The skeleton spotted Mendores and stepped back, swinging its bone at Mendores's head. But Mendores blocked the swing with his newly obtained sword, using the sword to block since it wouldn't do much damage to bone, then with his other hand he slammed his makeshift club into its shoulder so hard that both the skeleton's shoulder and the club broke. Then, Mendores followed up that attack with a spinning kick, flowing from the way he pivoted his body to swing his club, to swinging his lower body along with his upper body for the kick. Knocking the creature a few feet away. He watched as it fell onto its back and began rushing and stumbling to get up again.
Kadin rushed past Mendores in an attempt to tackle the skeleton, but as he got close it swung its bone-club at him, forcing Kadin to jump back and avoid getting hit. Mendores saw the opening Kadin had gotten him though, while the skeleton was busy swinging at Kadin Mendores came up beside it and slammed the blunt hilt of his sword into its shoulder. The bone of the skeleton's shoulder cracked, then Mendores grabbed it by the back of the neck and slammed it face-first into the ground.
Kadin was on top of the skeleton in a flash once it fell, pinning it to the ground, then Mendores grabbed it's good arm and twisted it back, then kicked it hard to snap its arm. As he did that Kadin did the same to the other arm, and Zanath joined them to snap the skeleton's legs.
With the last of the skeletons down, the three guys stood up and glanced over at Estellese who had already finished off her skeleton and was brushing the dirt off her clothes.
"You guys done?" Estellese asked as she picked up the sword that the skeleton she had taken out had been using.
"Yeah." Mendores answered. He glanced down at the sword in his hand, then back up at Estellese and her newly obtained sword. Then he looked at Kadin and Zanath, weaponless aside from a few kitchen knives. Zanath and Kadin were the weak links in the group right now, they weren't bad, but they were not on the same skill level as Mendores and Estellese. Mendores knew that he and Estellese could handle themselves with or without weapons. But him and Estellese were probably the only ones who would know how to use a sword correctly. So... Mendores pondered, give the swords to the people who can use them the best to strengthen their best fighters and get the most use out of the swords? Or give the swords to the weakest links, to keep them safer at the cost of not getting the full benefit out of having a sword.
"Estellese, I think we should give the swords to Kadin and Zanath. We can fight with the bones, better to keep the less experienced fighters safe" Mendores stated, choosing the more defensive option. In his mind keeping the weakest links safe was more important than giving their team a stronger attacking force, the best offense is a good defense in his mind.
"Sounds like a plan to me." Estellese replied.
"Are you kidding?" Kadin countered. "As much as I'd love the sword, you guys will put it to better use. We need a strong offense, if you guys have them we can chop down any enemies we face before they attack us."
"No, you can't guarantee that we will be able to kill everything before it reaches you guys. Defense is better, keeping everyone safe is more important" Mendores stated.
"You can't guarantee that having a defense will keep you safe either. Every defense can be pierced. But if your opponent is dead they ain't piercing anything. Kill your opponent before they get a chance to attack you, that's the best defense." Kadin countered.
"The skeletons are dead, and I am pretty sure they could pierce things" Zanath spoke up in a joking tone. "Either way, Mendores is pretty much our leader, let's just do as he says. He hasn't lead us wrong yet."
Kadin hesitated a little, "Fine." He relented. And with that Mendores and Estellese passed their new swords to Kadin and Zanath. "Thank you." Kadin said.
"Yes, thanks everyone." Zanath added. He took his sword and walked over to where the door used to be and started quietly looking around.
"So how do we get out of here?" Kadin asked. "The wall shut behind us."
"That one, I do not know. We'll have to look around for a solution." Mendores replied.
"Found it." Zanath said simply as he crouched down a few feet away from where the door had been. He started messing with something on the floor and after a moment there was a quiet click and the wall slid open to reveal the door again.
"Pressure plate." Zanath stated. "We must have stepped on it and triggered the trap on the way in. Good thing we were all close together or that could have split us up. Which would not have ended well for the ones trapped in the room."
"Good thinking Zanath." Mendores replied. "Alright, everyone out of the room, we are going to hit the room with the water next to find out what is in it."
"We are staying in the rigged and trap filled cave?" Estellese asked
Mendores nodded "Traps aren't here for no reason. And we got two swords out of it so who knows what else we can find here."
"If I had to guess..." Kadin started. "And if this was a normal game I would say this is a dungeon. The entrance was a really odd door, the cave is carved out to be like rooms, the rooms are set up in a dungeon-like design not a practical one, monsters and traps in the rooms for seemingly no reason. It all screams out dungeon, or it would if this was a normal game but I do not know for sure, this game doesn't seem to be normal."
"If it is a dungeon then all the better for us, dungeons mean loot." Mendores replied. "Now, follow me and stay in formation. Me and Estellese in the front, Kadin and Zanath in the back. Just like the skeletons did, me and Estell will parry or block the first attack and will lock down the enemy, then you two sweep in for the kill while the enemy is facing us. Stay close, and let's go." And with that him and Estell lead the way out of the room, with Kadin and Zanath right behind them.
Next chapter: Dungeon Diving.ns 126.96.36.199da2