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Crystal relaxed back in the cot,[#c4519e “Mm, alright.”]
He wasn’t wrong, she needed rest. She watched him though, both curious and concerned. How bad was his back anyway? It looked pretty deep, but he was still moving around alright. He had a lot of scars, which she should have expected but it still surprised her to actually see them. Crystal expected him to need help bandaging himself, but he managed somehow.
Her eyes were closed, but she could hear most of what Daggeron and Felix were talking about. Crystal mumbled, her eyes still closed,[#c4519e “Time. I need a nap.”]
She’d only heard of geas in stories, they were old and not something young unicorns were really taught about. It was a magic that caused a compulsion to obey whatever the geas was, and breaking it was dangerous, but that was about the extent of her knowledge. She’d need to ask Daggeron for help. She wasn’t up for anything intensive now, but in a while she might be. Crystal could recover quickly, provided some time to rest. Sure enough not long after the van started moving she fell asleep. For the moment she was spared any dreams.
Crystal woke up when the engine stopped. The roughly hour of sleep had done her some good, though she wasn’t sure how long she had been asleep. Her wound was still there but looking a little less fresh and raw, and she wasn’t bleeding anymore at all. She had a little more energy too, though she was still sleepy and sat up groggily,[#c4519e “Where are we?”]
She hadn’t asked where they were going, and it didn’t much matter until now. They had just needed to get away from the collapsed manor. Wherever they were, Crystal didn’t intend to let Felix wander off on his own. She wasn’t up for testing the limits of how far they could go from each other yet.
[b “I'm not coming anywhere near-”] And before he could flinch away, she placed her bloody hands on his arms and he couldn't help but cringe a little bit. However, he quickly got over the fact that he had someone else's blood in his open wounds when they began tingling and began to stitch themselves up... It wasn't a wonder people wanted Unicorn's so badly. If a basic human bodily function like this could heal him, then there no was no telling what else a Unicorn could do. Not to mention strong as hell magic.
Felix looks at his arms and then back at Crystal and shakes his head. [b “We can try my back a little later when you're better. We pushed you to the brink today. Get some rest.”] He tells Crystal and smiles a little at her. And with that, he quickly begins moving to the front of his van, stripping off his ruined and bloody T-shirt before wrapping his chest and back with gauze bandages. Despite the deep wounds being on his back and effectively wrapping himself appeared difficult because of the angles, Felix seemed to be quite familiar with wrapping himself up. And with his shirt and coat off, it showed many more scars all over his body that he received on his other adventures.
Once he was done, he was going to peel them out of the bog and onto the highway, but- [+blue “Felix. I need you to take a look at this.”] And quickly Felix moves in to the back of the van again to Daggeron hovering over the unconscious Hilda. She was face down on the floor, her hands behind her back in the magic disrupting cuffs. Now that he wasn't trying to fight her, he could get a better look at her.
[b “What is it?”] Felix asks curiously and Daggeron whispers something in a strange language. Hilda wore her hair up in a messy ponytail, but it left the back of her neck exposed, and when Daggeron spoke, something appeared on the nape. It was a fancy looking M that glowed slightly and appeared to be a kind of silver in coloration. [b “She has a tattoo, so what?”]
[+blue “This isn't a tattoo you dolt! This is a powerful geas.”]
[b “You're telling me Hilda is being mind controlled? She's way too [i aware] to be mind controlled.”]
[+blue “Its the sign on her neck. It acts almost like a power of suggestion, so she retains her wits but is literally under the spell of Mercurial. This is very old and powerful magic.”]
[b “Son of a bitch.”] Felix whispers to himself. He was glad he didn't just kill her then. [b “Can you break the spell?”]
[+blue “[i I] can't.”] Daggeron says pointedly. Since he was trapped in this sword, he always belly-ached about how he is exceptionally limited in this form and can barely use magic. [+blue “But perhaps [i she] can.”] He figuratively pointed at Crystal. [+blue “But I can help. This isn't something outside of my knowledge, I am known for my secrets after all, its just a delicate procedure. The geas acts as its own nervous system, and you know how complicated the human one is. If we screw up we'll either wipe her mind blank completely or drive her insane.”]
Felix groans a little bit but turns to Crystal. [b “Do you think you can handle that or do you need some time?”] If they managed to get Hilda's own mind back, there was no telling the kind of information she would be able to give them. Either way, Felix thought they had been sitting in the bog for too long, and without much notice, goes back to the front of the van and starts it. Quickly, he pulls out the same way they got in and soon they're on their way to the small town near here.
Crystal wasn’t going to complain about being picked up. She wouldn’t be able to walk anyway. The world was spinning too fast. She managed to slow down her breathing at least, which was helping her feel a little better. Less on the verge of passing out, though she still desperately wanted to rest. She didn’t have the energy to say anything to Emmerich, but she was glad he’d survived too.
He had a bed back here? How on earth did he even fit this much junk back here? Crystal shifted in the cot, trying not to let blood get everywhere. Fabric was fine, it didn’t usually react to her blood, at least not strongly. She cleaned off her hands on her pants then wiped her face again. Her nose was still bleeding, damn it, but at least it was slowing down. She wasn’t bleeding quite so much anymore from her shoulder too, though she still mumbled out a warning,[#c4519e “Daggeron, don’t get too close. I don’t know what my blood would do to you.”]
He was a sword, so it might turn him to silver, but he wasn’t a normal sword so she really didn’t know. He might have some protection against that. Felix was human, it wouldn’t hurt him, in fact touching it would heal him so she wasn’t worried. Crystal took the water and drank some. She wasn’t a type of creature hurt by holy water, and of course Felix wouldn’t have anything normal. It helped, and she was starting to feel a little less fuzzy in the head. He was still hurt too, and he wouldn’t heal as quickly as she did. They had to leave, she understood that, but she didn’t want to just let him tough it all out without at least trying to help.
[#c4519e “Come here.”] She still had blood on her hands, and without asking put her hands on his arms where she saw cuts. The blood was pretty effective at healing, and the shallow cuts faded under her hands. There might not be enough to entirely patch him up and she wasn’t really interested in bleeding more, but she could handle the rest later with magic. Might as well put the blood that had already spilled to use. [#c4519e “I can try your back too, if you want. It must hurt.”]
Who's bright idea was it to have the coliseum to be the only goddamn load-bearing wall for this god forsaken place?! Well, really Felix didn't know anything about architecture, but he pretended for the moment as a literal shit-ton of boulders came crashing down with the sky above. There was nothing in his arsenal for this, and this has to be one of the worse situations he's been in. Not to mention he had to worry about two other people at the moment. What was he thinking?! This was so fu-
And they were floating, on the way up to the increasingly larger hold in the ceiling as they were being pelted by rocks and boulders. He thanked his lucky stars that Crystal was a power-house with magical talent, because they would've been turned in to smoothies without her. He resisted the urge to egg Crystal on every time thy stopped; he knew she needed the concentration and the last thing she needed was Felix shouting in her ear with half-compliments and not very motivational motivation speeches. He just grit his teeth and hoped for the best.
So when they crested the hole and finally touched the ground, Felix let out a very loud breath, turning around to look at the manor. From where they were standing now, they were at the edge of the treeline, and well... The estate they were just on was now a giant hole. The cavern caving in apparently did a number on the integrity of the entire property sucking it in to a giant would-be sinkhole. He couldn't help but marvel at the destruction and found a sickening pleasure in the fact that this would be a thorn in Mercurial's side. They collapsed the entire estate on to a cyclops, and they hadn't even dug through the rest of the manor, so who knew what else that was important was destroyed in the collapse. Felix couldn't contain his excitement any longer.
[b “High five!”] He holds his hand up to the crowd. Emmerich stood there staring at him in bewilderment, Crystal was on the ground, barely holding herself up, and Hilda was unconscious at his feet.
[+blue “Felix!”] Daggeron shouts when the Hunter doesn't react fast enough to the Unicorn's request. Immediately he's at her side, and rather than helping her up, he just scoops her up. One arm was under her legs and the other around her shoulders... And there was suddenly a tingling sensation in his hands. He looks down to see that some of Cystal's blood had gotten on his hands. And where there were scuffs and bruises, they eroded away.
[b “What the hell...”] He whispers to himself as he looks down at the ground where Crystal had been previous. Small sprouts and vegetation had formed, and some crystals on the rocks. He didn't have time to process it as a hiss came from Daggeron and Hilda's unconscious form began to levitate a little off the ground.
[+blue “We should get out of here. We don't want to be around when the authorities show up or if any of Mercurial's hired help decides to make an appearance.”] And Felix nods at that, quickly looking to Emmerich.
[b “You're free to go, old man. Glad to see you didn't die.”]
“I'll be seeing you, Felix. As well as the Unicorn and the Dragon. Our destinies are entwined.”
[b “Sure, whatever.”] And with that Felix marches though the forest and marsh back to his van. With a little trouble since Crystal was in his arms, he manages to open the back and folds down what appears to be a cot or small stretcher that barely fits in the back of the van with all of his crap. He places Crystal down on it and Hilda gets slung on the floor of the van, Felix quickly putting tight copper and platinum cuffs on the witch's wrists. Now that the adrenaline was finally wearing off, Felix could feel the angry wound on his back and the shallow cuts on his arms. He was bruised basically everywhere at this point too.
[+blue “I'll take care of Hilda. You take care of Crystal.”]
[b “That was the plan.”] Felix says impatiently, pulling a flask out from his mess and hands it to Crystal. [b “I don't have any regular water, so I hope holy water is okay.”] Once he made sure Crystal was at least stabilized they'd be getting the hell out of here real fast. There was a small town an hour or so away from here where they could rest in a motel or something. Not to mention Felix could really use a drink after this whole ordeal.
Crystal was pretty aware of Felix’s movements without even looking. It was still the scream that let her know the crazy plan had worked. It was a terrible scream that made her shiver, but at the same time relief flooded her. She let the rope dissolve and watched Felix take down Hilda while the cave crumbled around them. The surface wasn’t too far above the ceiling, because she could see the light.
This wasn’t a great situation. Crystal felt under her nose with her hand and looked at it to check. Definitely bleeding, and this wasn’t a tiny nosebleed. Crap, she hadn’t had a nosebleed from overexerting herself in [i years]. She couldn’t afford to let the shield down though, the whole cave was starting to come down on them.
Felix sounded pretty panicked. He didn’t have an escape plan, or at least not one that worked with the place coming down on their heads. If he did, she was sure they would be on their way out. If she gave up now, they were all going to die. Crystal was struggling with the dizziness, and her skin cold and clammy. When she spoke it came out just a bit funny because of her nose. [#c4519e “Stay close.”]
If they were going to get out of here and not get buried in the rubble Crystal knew she’d have to do something. Flying them out seemed tough, but her other options were worse. She glanced at the door they came in. Blocked by rubble. Teleportation on this scale was beyond her practice and would take way more energy than she had right now.
She took a moment to wipe the blood from her face and check that everyone was here. Her head felt like it was moving so slow. Felix, with the witch and Daggeron, and she saw Emmerich not wanting to get left behind. He looked pretty terrified.
[#c4519e “Up.”] She still had some magic. They started to float up, the bubble coming with them. It was clearly hard on Crystal, whenever a rock bounced off the shield they would slow down or stop for a moment, and the blood started flowing more freely from her nose. She just held her head down and let it bleed.
Once they were finally above the ground she let the shield disappear. That alleviated a little of the pressure in her head. Once she had them over more solid ground she dropped them without any warning about a foot off the ground still. Her legs were like jelly and didn’t like suddenly supporting her, so she immediately collapsed down to a sitting position without much grace. The hand that braced her against the ground immediately had a couple of plants sprouting between her fingers, and more bright green leaves and stems were popping out wherever her blood had fallen. That was her good arm bracing her thankfully, because the bad arm still hurt and hadn’t entirely stopped bleeding, and where it rested in the dirt it had even more plants sprouting up around it.
Whatever had been keeping her going was fading now that the danger seemed past and she was starting to feel pretty awful. Her breathing was quick and shallow, not a good thing and really not helping with the dizziness. Still, that hadn’t been all bad, there was something pretty thrilling about the fight. She’d never done anything like that before. [#c4519e “Felix? Help me… up? I can’t… I can’t...”]
She really didn’t think she’d be able to get up on her own. If she did muster the strength, the world was spinning too much now to let her stay upright. Crystal wasn’t even sure she’d stay conscious much longer, but she really, really didn’t want to pass out. She didn’t even know where the van was, or where they were.
A golden rope snared around the cyclops' leg, binding them together which got the beasts attention. Then Crystal started taunting Hilda and Felix hoped to god she didn't call the Unicorn's bluff. Probably not. Magic users tended to underestimate vanilla humans like Felix, which made tricking them a little easier. Someone like Crystal who had a ton of magical might would be much more interesting to Hilda, especially if she was insulting her or if she wanted to capture her. Either way, it seemed to be working.
As the rope contracted, the cyclops reached out one of its long and large arms and tried to gain a measure of balance on one of the walls. It didn't really help with the rope tugging it the way it did, but making it fall over wasn't exactly the intended effect. Distracting it was, and it seemed pretty distracted to Felix.
Crystal tugged some more and the beat reached its other hand down as if to touch the floor. And there it was: his opening.
Felix breaks in to a faster sprint, leaping and using the power of his boots to propel him in the air. He lands on the cyclops' hand and begins to run up the length of its arm. It takes notice when he's already on his bicep, but at that points it was too late. He leaps again and with precision, lands on the cyclops' face, slamming the Dragon Blade in to its single eye. Its lets out a horrible scream that shakes the cavern again and begins thrashing about, its fist colliding the coliseum wall and crumbling it to dust... As well as the support of the cavern ceiling. Once the one wall crumbles, a large chunk of the ceiling caves in, creating a slow domino effect for the rest of the walls. Light poured in from the holes above.
[+red “You fool! You're going to kill-”] Felix had flown through the air again and struck Hilda in the face with a flying knee. He wraps his legs around her, and with his free hand grabs her staff which descends to the floor with increasing speed until they hit the ground.
Quickly Felix looks back at the thrashing monster as more of the cavern ceiling begins to cave in. He grabs Hilda and jumps in to the bubble shield Crystal had and holds up the Witch's staff. [b “Can you fly us out of here? Please?”] She could tell by how panicked he was that this wasn't part of the plan.
He had an idea, which was something. He needed an opening, which was about all she thought she could manage. [#c4519e “Opening, right.”]
It sounded almost simple. It was just that her head wasn’t feeling so great. The bright side was between her head feeling off and the adrenaline she was having a hard time finding the energy to be too afraid anymore. Crystal was sure she could do it. She just had to. There was no way she’d let someone like Hilda just take her.
Speaking of Hilda, that was a really smart move on Felix’s part. Turn them against each other. [#c4519e “Huh. Here I go.”]
She needed to create that opening. Then there was one other thing she thought of too. If Hilda wanted Crystal [i alive], just how far would she go to keep her alive? Crystal walked forward. She’d distract the cyclopes, and maybe Hilda too. Was it dumb? Probably. But if Hilda was distracted too, she couldn’t mess up whatever Felix was doing, and he’d really only have the one chance.
The golden rope formed over her arm again. This wasn’t going to be easy. She took a breath then lashed out with the rope. Her good arm did fine, and so far she was avoiding using the one with the injured shoulder. It was still bleeding and she was leaving a trail of sprouts and tiny crystals wherever she bled.
The rope hit its mark, snaring the Cyclopes’ legs. It wrapped around both, and started to spread like a web. Crystal gave it a tug and it contracted. The cyclopes was looking at her. Perfect. Time to start the next part of her insane plan,[#c4519e “So, out of curiosity, if I die here how pissed will Mercurial be that you let a unicorn slip between your fingers?”]
Crystal was taunting Hilda. If Hilda wanted to kill her, it would be a bad idea. But with the way Hilda’s eyes lit up on finding out Crystal was a unicorn? Crystal was betting on Hilda wanting unicorn power very badly. She pulled harder on the cyclopes, using magic to do most of the work. Even so, her arm hurt with the effort. Her head was feeling the strain. It was oddly light and hurt like hell, and what was worse was the blood starting to run from her nose. She could feel it, but didn’t stop and gave a sharp pull to get the cyclopes off balance and shouted at Hilda,[#c4519e “I think he’ll be furious if you let some stupid cyclopes kill me! All because you couldn’t handle us yourself, he’ll know you’re weak and stupid.”]
Oh yeah, this was a stupid plan. Ridiculously reckless. Running wasn’t an option anymore though, they had passed that point a while ago. She was just hoping knocking the cyclopes off balance and getting Hilda’s attention was going to be enough for Felix to finish this.
Well, colour Felix surprised when Crystal mentioned she healed faster than he did. It was quite apparent he had to brush up on his Unicorn anatomy, but it made him feel a little easier that her wounds wouldn't be as severe as his. He gives her a firm nod and grin, glad she was still in the fight. This was a lot for someone who's probably never seen any action before, and he had to admit that he was kind of impressed by her. Daggeron was right on the money; taking on Hilda alone was no small feat or else she would've been taken down years ago.
However, it seemed whatever luck they had was running out. Felix's eyes grew wide with terror when the chains on the cyclops descended to the floor, and he couldn't help but cover his ears at the things roar. Holy moley, this was the things of nightmares! He didn't have anything planned for this, and he didn't have anything on him that could deal with this! He didn't even know if he had something in the van!
His mind ran amok, but once Crystal asked him about a plan, he was back in to reality, slightly dazed by the situation, but present again. He did his best not to seem scared. This was a first for him too, but Crystal's questions got him thinking. [b “Knees and elbows, structural weak points in anything with joints.”] He told Crystal. If they could at least slow it down, then maybe-
[+blue “Crystal!”] And before he knew it, a fist was crashing down towards them. His first instinct was to jump off to the side, but Crystal's arm stopped him. And immediately he felt Crystal's power surge through him and... And Daggeron's! The shield doubled up with more energy and when the fist crashed in to it, it bounced right off! It looked like the cyclops wasn't used to not crushing things immediately, so that bought them some time as it inspected its fist, but he could feel Crystal's magic dwindling through their tether. They didn't have all that much time to strategize.
[b “I have an idea, I just need you to create an opening. Nothing fancy! I'll distract it for now.”] And with that, he rushes out of the shield bubble, drawing the attention of the monster on to him. Quickly, he slots a different rune in to his gauntlet and holds his hand out, a hard gust of wind comes out of it and the forces is directed at their witch adversary. It rocks Hilda on her staff, blowing her hat off, but she catches it and puts it back on her head.
[+red “I know that's not all you've got, Felix!”] And she shoots one of dark magic spheres at him. Just as the cyclops hand was coming down. It strikes it hand, searing flesh and melting bone, but compared to the size of the cyclops, it was a mere cigarette burn. Either way, it had the intended effect, the cyclops reeled back, holding its hurt hand. It looked between Hilda and Felix, before roaring at the witch. She winced at it, catching her hat again.
[+red “Not me, you idiot! Them!”] She yells at the cyclops while Felix continues running. He just needed that opening.
Crystal felt the jolt of magic and heat through the rope and released it from her arm just before it burst. It still had gotten hot enough to leave an angry red mark along her hand and wrapped around her forearm. Hilda was frustratingly competent.
Crystal moved a little defensively in front of the human she was supposed to protect. The shield bubble around him still looked pretty good, but it wouldn’t protect against everything Hilda could throw at them.
Hilda recognizing her as a unicorn made Crystal clench her hands into fists. Of course, even with the horn hidden the blood was a dead giveaway. The clear excitement and possessive intent infuriated her, but she couldn’t think of any way to respond. Her shield was holding, so Crystal tried to think of what to do next. She couldn’t kill Hilda, or even risk anything possibly fatal. Before she could really think though, it was like something exploded under her.
Dirt flew up, and Crystal stumbled back, unsteady on her feet. Another blast almost knocked her over and she started coughing. She couldn’t just leave Emmerich though and choked out a warning,[#c4519e “Get back.”]
Then Felix showed up. Crystal didn’t really see what he did so much as the aftermath, Hilda blasted back. The pain of him touching her arm was more distracting and she hissed with a sharp inhale,[#c4519e “I’m fine. I heal faster than you.”]
Technically true, not that it was doing her much good in the immediate future. It wasn’t that fast without some magical help. She wasn’t sure how to feel about him fussing over her, and touching her so much. It was a bit irritating, but sort of nice that he cared. This really wasn’t the time though.
Daggeron’s compliment soothed her wounded pride a little. She had expected to do better against a human, even one with magic ability. It would be much easier with Felix, she was sure. He didn’t need to hold back. She had a glare for Hilda, not liking a bit how she was already acting like Crystal belonged to her,[#c4519e “I am [i not] some toy you can steal.”]
Things seemed like they were finally going to go well, except Hilda had a nasty surprise for them. The chains Crystal was hoping would last just a bit longer came off. Crystal flinched at the roar. The cyclopes definitely couldn’t wait any longer.
[#c4519e “Great. Got a plan? Weak spots? I could try and trap it again…”] Trapping it might not do that much good, it hadn’t worked well against Hilda. Besides that, she was starting to really feel the exhaustion creeping up on her. Crystal frowned thoughtfully at the cyclopes’s legs,[#c4519e “I think I could knock it off balance though, try and make it fall. Take advantage of that somehow, okay?”]
Before she could actually rush forward with her plan, the cyclopes was already making a move. It swung down a fist toward them as if to crush them. Crystal focused harder on her shield and grabbed Felix’s shoulder, both to keep him from moving and keep herself steady. She couldn’t risk the shield failing. Thankfully the shield held and the cavern shook again with the force. The cyclops's fist just bouncing off, leaving it looking confused. Crystal felt a severe wave of dizziness, but Felix was keeping her standing. She didn’t want to have to do that too many more times. She looked pale, and the masking of her horn faded. It was too hard to keep that magic up and fight at the same time now. The shields were more important than hiding her horn right now.
Hilda was pulling back on the magical rope even after she slammed in to the wall. She didn't let it show that she was hurt, but she let it show she was pissed off. Her entire left arm was enveloped in the rope, but her right was free. And when the stone began to shift around her, she looked back at the other girl and smirked a little bit. [+red “You're quite something.”] She says, and hisses a few words in a different language.
Suddenly, there's a loud [i boom!] and Hilda's body erupts with electricity, the stone that began to wrap itself around her hardened again, slowing and then stopping completely. With her hand still coiled in the rope, she grabs it, running the magical electrical current through it, the rope growing red hot before bursting with fantastical magics. Instead of standing around and gloating this time, Hilda takes advantage of the fact that Crystal had a charge to take care of, Emmerich cowering behind her. She moves off to the side to avoid being a stationary target while noting her opponents injuries, particularly the blood. Which...
[+red “A Unicorn!”] She almost jumps with glee. [+red “Is Felix your handler, little girl?”] She asks, her taunting tone was back. [+red “I'll just have to keep you alive until he's been dealt with.”] Another beam strikes the Unicorn's shield. It was no wonder this girl was so strong. Inexperienced, but strong. And once she ringed herself with this Unicorn, Hilda would become stronger as well!
[+red “Are you ready for another round, little girl?”] And she taps her foot, a rumbling begins and the ground near Crystal bursts as if it had been hit with a mortar shell. She taps her foot again.
[b “You are really annoying!”] Felix shouts, blocking the Naga's claws with his sword. The thing was fast, and it could cast magic as well, but he should've guessed since this thing was one of Mercurial's lackeys! It swings at him again and he ducks, slipping in a springing side kick to the creature's stomach which sends it flying back thanks to his magical boots. He didn't have time for this, he needed to get back to Crystal.
[+blue “Which style was that?”] Daggeron asks as Felix hops on the balls of his feet.
[b “Monkey style Kung Fu.”] Felix answers as the creature begins getting to its feet. [b “Its why I'm such a badass.”] Before he was brought in to the Brotherhood of Cain Felix was trained extensively in survival and a lot of Wushu. Like he said, it was why he was a badass. It was too bad his mentor didn't teach him to be better at using his words.
[+green “Don't underestimate me!”] And green electricity comes out of Resh's finger tips... [i This guy.] Felix puts Daggeron in front of him and turns the blade down, the flat taking the electricity, and when it makes contact, Daggeron glows even brighter before the magic is reflected right back at the Naga. It hits with an impact and dust flies up, but Felix doesn't take the time to confirm if he took down Resh, he had a Unicorn to worry about!
As soon as he turns, he sees the ground near Crystal burst, and immediately he begins running to bridge the gap between them. [b “Hey, Blondie!”] He shouts as she begins to put her foot down again. Felix tosses Daggeron at her like a spear which she dodges with ease, the blade lodging in to the ground near her feet.
[+red “You're going to have to do better than that!”] And Felix grins a little bit, sliding in next to Crystal, avoiding one of those red finger bullets.
[+blue “Surprise!”] Daggeron says, his eyes glowing before a large concussive force blows Hilda back, sending her skidding and rolling a couple of feet. It didn't put her down, and she was even more pissed off than before, but it created some much needed distance as Felix began being really handsy with Crystal.
[b “Holy guacamole! You're wounded! How could you do that?!”] Poking and prodding the wound and her face probably wasn't going to help, but he didn't know what to do at the moment. And he totally forgot he was wounded too. It as going to be a pain when the adrenaline wore off.
[+blue “Holding your own against Hilda is quite impressive, Crystal.”] Daggeron says, floating in to Felix's outstretched hand. [+blue “Perhaps we should work together now.”] Dividing and conquering seemed to become a little time consuming.
[+red 'You're going to have to!”] Hilda calls, already on her feet. It didn't seem like the concussive blast did anything but annoy her. Her staff floats next to her and goes horizontal behind her, and she sits on it, the things bringing her up a few feet again. [+red “I'm growing tried of playing with you, and I want my Unicorn.”]
[b “You sound like a six year old when you say it like that.”]
Hilda seemed to ignore Felix's comment. [+red “I was going to save this til the end, but this will be much more fun now.”] Oh boy. She snaps her fingers, and the shackles on the giant cyclops doing the same, falling to the ground and creating a deafening [i boom!]
It takes it a second, perhaps bewildered that it was free, but once it looks at its hands, it looks at the group, throwing its head towards them and letting out an angry and hungry roar that shook the entire cavern they were in.
Oh shit. Hilda was no weakling, and that was dark magic, her basic shield wasn’t enough to stand up to that. Crystal hated dark magic, and she hated that Hilda was using magic for evil. Crystal focused more on her shield as the beams bombarded it. It was blocking it, but Crystal was irritated by the woman’s laughing. For whatever reason Hilda irritated Crystal on a more personal level.
[#c4519e “You’re the one that needs luck.”] It sounded fairly confident, but Crystal knew Hilda had experience. Still, Crystal was betting on the raw power she had being enough. At least enough to keep her busy until Felix could come back without goblins distracting them.
She wound her arm back as if getting ready to throw something. When she swung her arm to the side instead of any sort of plain projectile, a long gold rope of glowing light stretched out from her arm. Like a whip it swung out and wrapped around Hilda. More than a normal rope, because as soon as it made contact it started growing and spreading almost like a net, trying to trap her entirely.
Crystal was suddenly acutely aware of Felix, like something had tugged on the connection. She looked over to see what was happening. She couldn’t hear him, but she saw the gargoyle had returned, or was it even a gargoyle? It didn’t look quite the same. More importantly, she saw the blood.
She panicked for a second. She couldn’t let Felix die. Not here, not now. It would be the easiest thing in the world for Hilda to just take the ring after, and Crystal wouldn’t be able to flee. She would have to serve that witch.
That distraction proved to be pretty bad for her. While Hilda was struggling with the binding it wasn’t enough to disable her. The fact that she couldn’t immediately break free of it was obviously irritating the haughty witch,[+red “Don’t ignore me, girl.”]
The binding had mainly served to piss Hilda off, Crystal realized a little too late. Another dark sphere tore another chunk out of Crystal’s shield, and she just had time to move out of the way, and right where one of the red beams was expecting her dodge. Pain shot through her shoulder, and for a moment she saw red.
With a cry of rage and pain she lashed out with as much force as she could to shove Hilda sideways and against the wall, using both the whip to pull and magic force to push. It was more than she’d been able to pull before, now fueled by the pain and desperation. It wasn’t the end though,[#c4519e “Earth, bind.”]
A command to make the stone of the wall shape itself, as if only clay, to try and pin Hilda to it. Crystal didn’t look back at Felix, but she could feel where he was. Crystal reached for her injured shoulder, knowing already it wouldn’t be easy to move the hurt arm. Did she have time to heal it? She wasn’t sure, then there were Felix’s wounds.
Her wound burned, but her fingers felt blood. It was running down her arm, red as any humans. The difference was when it hit the ground. Anywhere a drop landed a plant immediately sprang up in the cracks of the stonework floor, nothing more than a little sprout, a little bit of green with maybe a leaf or two, but the blood was not only sprouting them, but making them grow faster. Like a time lapse video of a plant growing, her blood would fuel the plants to grow that fast. Besides that, the actual stones the blood hit started to crystalize, growing spikes of clear and colored crystal in various colors. The effect was small so far with only a few drops of blood.
Unicorn blood was incredibly valuable for the effects it could have on objects as well as potions or anything else one could think up. It purified air and water, made plants grow, turned rocks into precious or semi-precious stones, and turned metals into silver, and that was just what it did without any direction. Unicorns were wanted sometimes by darker mages for those properties rather than simply their magic.
Felix let out a shout that was supposed to be a curse, throwing his hands up in front of him. However, when he wasn't hit by anything, he opens his eyes to see that Crystal had materialized a magical shield for them. Right, he kept forgetting she could do stuff like that!
He was taken out his thoughts of marvelling at the shied when Crystal told him what to do. Told [i him] what to do! Who the hell did she think she was? His mother? He jerks a finger up and opens his mouth, thinks for a second, and then grumbles out. [b “I'll see what I can do. Keep Emmerich safe.”] And with that, he leaves the safety of the shield and begins sprinting towards the Goblins.
From out of his coat, he pulls a leather vambrace and quickly put it in, sliding a stone sigil in to a slot on the back of his hand. In mid-flight, his heels click together too, and small silver wings appear on either side of his boots. He was equip to deal with the Goblins with Daggeron alone, but what he was most worried about was the giant Cyclops and how close to Goblins were standing to it. The thing was chained to the wall, but how violently it began to move, Felix didn't think it would be staying that way very long and then they'd have a much bigger problem on their hands.
[+blue “We should deal with these creatures quickly, Felix.”] Daggeron says just before the Hunter whips him out of his sheath.
[b “I know.”] He says and jumps super humanly high, the wings on his ankles glowing slightly. Felix then thrusts his vambraced hand out, a ball of fire shooting from his palm and detonating upon impact, creating an opening for Felix to safely land in the crowd, and then soon enough he begins a super mad dance of carnage against the Goblins, dodging their attacks as well as falling rocks that only seemed to increase in frequency.
Hilda looks on curiously at the female in front of her. It seemed she was Talented, at least Talented enough to pull up a shield, but Hilda wasn't worried. She packed more of a punch than any falling debris could. She was about to open her mouth to make a comment at the woman when suddenly, she felt a magical pressure surround her and pull her out of the sky.
She manoeuvres in the air, using her own magic to land softly on the ground, letting out a growl at the girl. It seemed she had underestimated her, but that wouldn't happen again. Hilda was an extremely powerful individual having been taught by Mercurial himself.
Standing up straight, her shoulders relaxed, Hilda looks at the girl. [+red “You won't get lucky again.”] She tells her, and she does, wordlessly, a ball of darkness that glowed with ambient light fired out of the end of Hilda gnarled staff without her moving it. It crashes against the shield and rips through a chunk of it before slamming through the wall behind her and Emmerich. A warning shot. And it seemed she would only get one warning, as the same ball of energy appears again, this time as multiples and around Hilda.
She points, and a red beam comes out of her finger tip, hitting the shield, this time it didn't penetrate it, but she doesn't let up, shooting multiple beams at Crystal while laughing.
Nearly done with the Goblins, Felix swivels round to look at Crystal and Hilda. [b “Shit!”] He curses under his breath, side-stepping a lazy lunge from one of the Goblins. Hilda was an expert with combat magic, and he was afraid that Crystal might've bit off more than she could chew, especially with all the magic they've been using today.
He parries a Goblin and slices it in half. [+blue “We need to go help her!”] And Felix agreed, about to leap over the remainder of the Goblins. However, out of the corner of his eye, he sees a blur, and without and time to react, a large set of claws rake him across the back, tearing through his jacket, and in to his flesh. He lets out a cry of pain, both the momentum of his attacker and his forward momentum causing him to land on his hands and knees. Mother fu-
[+green “Thought I had forgotten about you?”] And once Felix looks up, standing in front of him was a lizard-like creature made of stone, its mouth agape, its features still unmoving.
[b “The gargoyle.”] Felix utters, getting to his feet. And the thing shakes its head, letting out a hissing laugh, as its skin begins to turn green and what looks like clothes begin to form. It was... It was... [b “What the hell am I looking at?”]
[+blue “A... A Deep One?””] It seemed Daggeron had no idea either. That was weird.
The creatures lets out a harsh hiss, his mouth full of dagger like teeth. Now its features were moving. [+green “I am Resh, a Naga you fools!”]
[b “Don't you guys have serpent lower bodies?”]
[+blue “I had thought that too.”]
And the only warning they had was Resh letting out a guttural roar and jumping at Felix, his hand erupting in to flames.
Crystal had felt a little uneasy with the way the man was staring at her and Daggeron. It was almost like he could see through her illusions, but of course he couldn’t. Could he? He couldn’t possibly see her horn. Even if he could, she reminded herself that it didn’t matter. She was bound to Felix already, so there wasn’t any real reason to be afraid of that.
Destiny, and a Church of Destiny, this guy really was odd, but they really couldn’t leave him here for Mercurial to get. She could feel something vaguely magical about him, and if he knew the location of something Mercurial wanted, all the more reason to keep him away from Mercurial. Crystal followed Felix, trying to stay closer to him than the cleric. She sighed,[#c4519e “Just the same stuff we’ve got. I’ll do what I can to keep us all alive.”]
Crystal applied the invisibility again, but held off on the silence. She really didn’t like it to begin with. She noticed something interesting that she hadn’t really been thinking about before. It was a lot easier to have the magic flow through and cover Felix than it was to cover Emmerich.
Back at the arch, Crystal glared at the fog momentarily. There was something about it she didn’t like, but she wasn’t sure what. Felix’s speech was sort of inspiring, if only because of his clear enthusiasm. It was just enough to get her through the door, then her stomach dropped. She [i knew] that fog was bad news. No point keeping up any concealments, it would just be a fight.
She took in the room, the ugly goblins just ahead of them, the witch floating above, and the huge cyclops. If it stood up straight its head would hit the rough cavern ceiling above. How far above that was the surface? And how did they even get it down here in the first place? Crystal eyed the chains it was tugging. They wouldn’t hold long, but they were holding for now. Rocks were falling, and she nearly fell over with the ground shaking. They should have come better prepared. She was sort of wishing she had insisted on leaving now, but it was too late for that.
One of the rocks came down toward Felix too close for her comfort, and with a wave of her arm Crystal diverted it a few feet to the right. [#c4519e “Shield!”]
A translucent golden bubble encased each of them, more solid colored toward the top and fading to nothing as it got closer to the ground. It glittered and shimmered like liquid gold, moving in a swirling pattern. Crystal’s breathing was slightly heavier, but she continued with the adrenaline pushing her pretty effectively,[#c4519e “Take out the goblins. I’ll see about [i her], and we’ll deal with that thing if we have to. Think you can grab her and run?”]
More like when they had to deal with the cyclops, but if their target was Hilda, maybe they could grab her and get out before the cyclops got free. She could hope. Her head was throbbing, but the pain was mostly being pushed back for the moment.
She glared at the witch and shouted with as much magical force as she could,[#c4519e “Get [i down] here!”]
She was determined to keep Hilda from being able to float around and gloat even if they couldn’t just snatch her. All the better to try and get her in range for Felix, regardless.
[i “You can stop playing dumb any time, old man.”] Felix tells him, starting to get frustrated. Then he has a realization! Not the one you would assume he'd have, but one none the less. [i “Are you stalling?! Are you in on this?! You son of a b-”]
It was like his ears popped suddenly and all of the sounds that normally accompanied him came flooding back. Crystal was right; you didn't know how used to your own breathing you were until you can't hear it. The sudden absence of sound and then its reemergence was deafening. He makes an uncomfortable sound and then gives Crystal an impatient look.
[b “I'm not cute. I'm fierce and manly.”] He tells her, his voice exceptionally loud in his ears.
[+blue “Arguable.”] Daggeron's voice slices through his ear drums like a knife. It didn't take long for the two to start bickering at each other again, their words coming out hot and fast, and barely intelligible. It seems like Felix immediately forgot about the old man in the cell, who immediately flew back from the bars upon the groups sudden appearance. However, he seems to calm when Crystal begins speaking and unlocks the cell door.
“Who are you people?” He asks, clearly he needed a little to give a little. And that's when Felix decides to join the conversation. He opens the cell door as a grand gesture.
[b “The guys who're going to stop Mercurial.”] He pats Crystal's hand on his shoulder and gives her a brief smile. The old man didn't flinch which, unsurprisingly, made Felix noticeably more impatient. [b “You wanna answer the lady's question there, Alfred?”] And again, the old man doesn't so much as flinch, his eyes slowly sweeping between Crystal and Daggeron as if trying to read the both of them. It flew right over Felix's head, and his impatience hit its peak. [b “Well, I guess if you're not gonna talk...”] He swings the door shut and makes a very obvious move for the padlock.
[b “Oh, for a second I thought Crystal might've put you on mute.”] He comments smugly with an equally smug smile. He stands up straight, looking at the man down his nose. [b “Start talking; I don't appreciate the mysterious airy crap people like you tend to subsist on. Not to mention you're being rude to my lady friend.”]
[+blue “A perfect gentleman as always, Felix.”] The sword says sarcastically. However, Daggeron seems to shift in the scabbard as the old man and him make eye contact. He could sense something vaguely magical coming from the man; nothing on par with Crystal or Mercurial, not even close, but something that told Daggeron this man was no stranger to strange things.
“Tell me, you three, do you believe in Destiny?”
[b “It must be fate that we both believe in destiny.”] Felix tells him but then shakes his head at the man. [b “No. I don't believe anything is written in stone.”]
“I believe it is Destiny that has brought the the four of us together. My name is Emmerich, and I am the Cleric of the Church of Destiny.” Of course he was.
[+blue “That still doesn't answer our other question, Cleric. Why would someone like Mercurial be interested in your Church?”] Now it seemed Daggeron was the one growing impatient.
He seemed to be a little bit apprehensive about answering that question and when Felix made a similar impatient noise from before, he seemed to sweat it out for a second and then answered. “Our Church helps those who no one would believe. People who have not figured out their place in the word because of gifts given by Destiny. Its-”
[+blue “A safe haven for the Talented.”] If Mercurial got a hold of that, he'd have a pretty important source of disciples and potential new bodies. No wonder this guy was locked up.
“Precisely. I was brought here for torture and interrogation on the location of the Haven. For obvious reasons the two of them are not in the same location.” Smart, smart.
Felix hums at that and then motions for Emmerich to join them. [b “We can't leave you down here... I mean, I wouldn't have anyways. Just stay behind me at all times and don't be a hero.”] He couldn't leave him in the cell either in case something happened. At least this way they could keep an eye on him... But there was no telling what the kind of dangers they would be facing once they moved in to the coliseum. [b “Crystal, can you use your Unicorn magic on him so he's less likely to die?”] He asks absently as he leads the group out of the dungeon and back to the main foyer of the temple.
Again, in front of them was the large archways that were covered with mystical fog. He was eager to charge in there and do some damage, but he felt like he had to say something first. This was going to be a fairly dangerous situation after all. [b “Alright gang, this is the moment we came here for. This is the beginning of the end of Mercurial, and nothing is going to stop us! We'll beat the odds no matter what.”] And clearly Felix was more adept at pumping himself up than anyone else.
So, with that as sort of the final word, he leads them through the fog and in to the coliseum. The mystical fog disappears when they pass through but it lingers on them... [i Oh, shit.]
[+red “It looks like the game is over before its even begun.”] Hilda says, floating on her staff in the centre of the coliseum, legs crossed. However, suddenly the blonde Witch wasn't the greatest concern, neither was the two dozen Goblins she had on the ground below her.
It was the [i giant cyclops] behind her! The thing was chained to the wall, but it was as big as the ceiling, it being hunched over slightly so its head didn't keep touching the roof. And at the sight of the group, it began pulling at its chain, shaking loose rubble from the cave ceiling above and the ground tremble under foot.
Hilda clicks her tongue at the Goblins and nods her head in the groups direction. [+red “Feed them to the Cyclops.”]
Crystal followed pretty closely behind Felix. Not being able to hear herself or him was too uncomfortable. The temple gave off an unpleasant vibe, and it was all so huge that she felt tiny. All that plus the fear made her quite desperate for the small comfort of knowing she wasn’t alone.
She still couldn’t bring herself to actually run. She had too strong of a sense of duty to just abandon him or this cause. She remembered how relieved Felix had looked when she agreed to stay. He was really counting on her help. She frowned at the fog obscuring the doorway. Even the unicorn was starting to think these dark mages were a little paranoid.
Crystal had just started toward the door with the magical fog when Felix moved to the corridor to the left. She didn’t complain and just followed, taking in the decor and sheer number of rooms. It really must be something grand properly decorated, because even now she was impressed. The scale was huge. Plus she sort of liked the whole stone architecture thing with big arches.
It took her a little bit to realize what Felix had found that made him seem so happy. In fact, she didn’t notice exactly what it was until they were inside and the goblins were handily dispatched. He was pretty good with goblins, at least.
The cages and atmosphere of the holding area were not doing anything to make her feel better. It made her feel worse, and she hurried to Felix.
He was talking to, or [i trying] to talk to a man who clearly knew they were here. Crystal gave a muted sigh, relieved there was nothing worse here. She’d imagined dark mages might keep something really awful in cages, beasts worse than the gargoyle maybe.
Crystal tapped Felix’s forehead with her finger while giving him a little smile, then both spells lifted and at the same time Crystal hid her horn again. Crystal swayed on her feet a little, but steadied herself with a hand on Felix’s shoulder. It was a bit of a rush magically and auditorily. She could quite suddenly hear herself and him again. Hearing him wasn’t a problem or nearly as disorienting as having the mute turned off on her own body. Her heartbeat was loud as a drum and her whisper sounded loud to her ears,[#c4519e “It’s cute how you keep forgetting.”]
She looked at the man. She had considered just leaving then coming back for him, but he might get louder if they left without a word. Besides that though, she didn’t like the idea of leaving him in that cage any longer than necessary. She was too much of a softy to just leave him, and spoke as calmingly as she could,[#c4519e “Stay quiet, please. We’re here to help. Who are you and how did you get here?”]
She had a bit of a tight grip on Felix’s shoulder still, though not as strong as her death-grip. Now it wasn’t so much to steady her physically as emotionally, though she welcomed the help to stay balanced. She was trying so hard to seem confident with the man there, clearly in worse shape than them. She looked and saw the locking mechanism was a heavy looking padlock. Without waiting for an answer she moved her hand closer to the lock and mumbled,[#c4519e “Unlock.”]
Her head throbbed at the same time as the lock clicked. This place was really getting to her, and magically today was like suddenly trying to run a marathon without any preparation.
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