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Raithe frowned and crossed his arms, he looked into the kid's eyes and did not waver as the kid looked into his. What was Mika trying to prove? Why was he so adamant about coming? Raithe didn't care. Mika was still only a child and he didn't want to put him in the kind of danger they would probably find, beyond that door. Raithe refused to put him in any danger.

“I told you,” Raithe said. “You are not coming with me.”

“How do you plan to stop me?” Mika asked.

That was actually a very good question. It wasn't like he could leave Felix here, to prevent him from entering. Raithe needed her, otherwise he would have left the panther behind. “What are you trying to prove?” he asked.

“I'm not trying to prove anything,” Mika answered. “I just... like I said before, I got you into this mess, so I'd like to go with you and help get you out of it.”

“The best thing you can do is to stay here.”

“No it isn't!”

He remained quiet, staring at the kid. Mika's expression was so determined, he really didn't want to refuse him, but the danger was too great. Raithe didn't think he'd be able to forgive himself, if the boy somehow got injured.

“I can take care of myself!” Mika said.

Finally, Raithe relented. He sighed and dropped his arms. “There really is no way I can convince you to not follow me, is there?”

“No,” Mika said without a beat.

“Alright fine. But you must do everything I ask you to, alright?”

“Yup, I got it.”

Without another word, they entered the crypt. First thing Raithe noticed though, after passing through the door, was that everything immediately became much, much darker. He could still see, but it was almost required for him to squint. Looking back over his shoulder, Raithe could see light from hidden sources, touching the open door. The light touched the door and then it stopped, as if there was some invisible barrier.

“What do you think that means?” Mika asked.

“Something not good,” came Raithe's reply and then he led the way, through a dark and narrow tunnel.

Down in the undercity, Raithe knew it was easy to lose track of time. The sun was not visible underground and as far as he could tell, there were no reliable things under the surface for time management. The cavern remained bright, even during the night. Raithe didn't think it would be possible for it to get any worse than that. It was possible though and he was sure that by the time they reached the first room, several hours had gone by. He didn't actually know though, he felt as if his entire sense of time had been lost. It was a feeling he would never forget and one he really didn't like.

Spread out before them, was a large, dark room. With his limited vision, Raithe could see sarcophagi on stone platforms. In the walls, were hundreds of rectangular holes. Many still had their skeletons in tact, but many others were completely bare. Raithe glanced down when he felt a tugging on his arm.

“R-Raithe,” Mika said. “I... don't think I like this place.”

“Then you shouldn't have come,” Raithe said. He tried to sound tough. Like none of this bothered him, but it was hard. He was probably just as nervous as the kid.

“N-no. I can fight to.”

“If you say so,” this time, his words came out in a whisper.

Raithe stopped walking when he heard the low, warning growl of Felix. It was meant to be so quiet that only he would be able to hear it, but in an area void of any other noises other than ones own breathing and footfalls, it was impossible. He was sure that if a pin dropped from twenty feet away in the room, he would be able to hear it. Felix stopped growling and no one made any other sounds or moved. They stood there, watching and waiting.

Scraping, stone against stone.

Felix pressed even closer to his leg and pointed herself in the direction that sound had come from. She growled again.

“Raithe?” Mika said in a whisper.

“Shhh,” Raithe said. He kept his eyes focused on the sarcophagus in front of them.

Silence.

Stone scraped again and the lid moved. One inch at a time, but it was moving. A thin, spindly hand pushed it and Raithe knew instantly that shouldn't have been possible. Those lids... they had to weigh fifty pounds at least and a hand with no skin and no muscle, pushing them aside? There had to be something behind what was happening here.

His eyes went wide and felt as if they were about to pop out of his sockets. The sarcophagus opened fully and that thing sat up. From the angle Raithe was looking at it, the creature appeared like a mummified human. There was no hair of course and it wore really thin, ragged clothing. Those hands were made up of five, really long fingers with even longer claws. Then it looked toward them. There were its two eyes, but it had no nose. A strip of skin ran diagonal from one side of its forehead and over the creature's mouth.

It screamed.

Felix let out a loud, yowl of pain and lay down, trying to cover her ears with both paws.

Raithe stumbled back in surprise and Mika tripped over Felix, landing beside her on the other side. By the time their confusion was done and Raithe glanced up to look at the creature, it was gone.

“W-where did it go?” Mika asked, panic in his voice. The boy pushed himself back to his feet and glanced around, nervously.

Choosing not to reply, Raithe scanned the darkness for anywhere the creature might have gone. In the crypts, behind the sarcophagi... the ceiling! He almost didn't see it in time, as it crept along the surface. The creature looked down as he looked up, then it dropped. Raithe pivoted on his heel, twisting out of the way, narrowly avoiding those dagger nails.

Once again, it screamed. Then the creature lashed out.

Raithe staggered back. He recovered in time to dodge one swipe from those nails and then another. He slipped his dagger out of his belt and just barely, was able to use it to block an attack and the creature pushed down hard on the dagger's blade. Something green oozed from the creature's wound, dripping to the ground.

Felix ran around behind it and sunk her teeth into what little flesh made up this thing, but she recoiled with a screech. Shaking her head, she lept forward again and sank her claws into what would be its shoulders.

“Raithe!” Mika shouted. “Close your eyes!”

He didn't even want to question the boy right now, no good would come of it and starting an argument would only lead to chaos. So Raithe did was Mika asked him to and allowed darkness to take over.

There was a FWISH sound and then a scream. His eye lids lit up. When they went dark again, Raithe opened them.

“This thing lives in the dark, so I figured...” Mika said.

“Flash grenades?”

Mika nodded.

Raithe smiled at that and then lunged forward with his dagger, while the creature was still trying to regain its vision. He stabbed it through the neck and after a moment, it fell to the ground dead. He wiped that green stuff off of the dagger and onto the creature's thin clothes, before returning it to his belt. “That... wasn't so bad? Was it?” Raithe asked, breathing hard.

“Just wait,” Mika said. “I bet the monsters further down will be a lot harder.”

“We'll see about that,” Raithe replied. “This way.” then he approached the door at the far end and stepped through it. Mika and Felix followed.

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About the author

Maiz

Bio: An amateur writer who hopes to entertain you all, with my wondrous works of fantasy!

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