Chapter 9: The Grisly Feast
With that one command, the unworthy descended on the cage, and the two prisoners screamed. It was all John could do to get out of the way before the tide was upon him. The unworthy yanked open the cage, the rusted metal screaming in protest as the old hinges worked.
They fell upon the male prisoner with vicious ferocity. Yellowed claws on pale fingers slashed out at him. The man tried to fight them off, but was largely unsuccessful. Instead, he was forced to cover his head as the blows rained down. Seeing the trouble he was in, the female prisoner shouted, “Leave him alone,” and went to his aid, trying to pull the unworthy off of him.
<Whispering Disembodied Voice>
This is your chance. While the unworthy are preoccupied, you can slip away and leave these two to their fate. The door to the next floor will be open. I will open it for you. All you have to do is choose to let them die.
John ignored the newest voice. That’s not what kind of man I am. The commotion wasn’t the sort of distraction he had wanted, but the noise largely covered his movements. He lashed out with a vicious overhanded swing of one of his [Twin Axes]. The [Twin Axe] embedded in the head of the closest unworthy to him while the prisoners struggled to fight back the horde that was upon them.
He could only hope the prisoners could last. Hold out for a minute. These unworthy seem to want to take you alive. The thought spurred him on.
It wasn’t the distraction that he had intended, but it was the one he would take.
The unworthy that John had killed fell to the floor, but as its body landed, another of the unworthy turned towards the sound and lashed out with a nailed talon that caught John square in the cheek.
That blow should have been next to nothing. It was delivered by a person who had no muscle what so ever, and who had been starving for gods knew how long, but it sent him flying and split his check open..
It didn’t come close to the strength of the minotaur, but it was still like being hit by a man of John’s own shape and size.
The woman had been similarly dealt backhanded by another of the unworthy, and she now lay in an unconscious pile in the corner of the cage. The labored rising of her chest letting John know she was still alive.
A small amount of the unworthy had broken of from from trying to drag the man out of the cage, and were now feasting on their fallen companion. There was barely any meat on the dead unworthy, but what they could devour, they did. They fell on the body just like they had the rat.
The man in the cage, for his part, didn’t give up. He fought tooth and nail against the unworthy with all of his might. He managed to send two of them tumbling away with blows to the face and body. But the damage that he was taking was starting to take its toll. Long scratches marred his face and arms where the wicked nails of the unworthy had raked his skin. He’s only lasted this long because of his training. My guess about him being a Paladin was probably right.
Bleeding as he was, tired as he was, and hurting as he was. The man fought on. Right up until the knife entered his chest and cut him open..
It hit him square in the heart. For a moment, the man still fought. His will was absolute, but he couldn’t overcome death. But it was too much, and he eventually went down under the sea of bodies. The knife was yanked out and plunged back in again and again until he lay unmoving.
You have failed to save the my Paladin. You have lost my favor. I will not take the blessing I have bestowed upon you, not here, not in this place. But you will hear no more from me. I turn my back on you.
Only then did the unworthy take his body to the large chopping block next to the pot so that they could complete their grisly work.
John and the female prisoner lay forgotten in a stunned daze, the task of the unworthy to sate the hunger of their master taking precedent over everything else.
I need to move while I have the chance. John told himself as he forced his aching body to comply. He moved quietly. If they remembered that he was here, they might try to take him as well. He still had someone to save. Just because he had lost one didn’t mean that he would forfeit the other.
Luckily, the unworthy had not thought to close the door to the cage once more. John stepped inside as quickly as he could without giving himself away and began to tug the woman out.
Only after he had taken the woman out of the cage did he realize that they had nowhere to go. The only door open to them was the one that lead to that booming voice, which John assumed was the gluttonous king the voice had told him about.
Still, they could not stay there in the kitchen. It was only a matter of time before the king demanded more, and there was nowhere in the kitchen for the two of them to hide. They would be found eventually, and they would face the same fate as the man that John could not save.
For the moment, though, the unworthy appeared to be distracted by making their gruesome meal. Piles of meat were brought to the simmering pot and dropped inside. The only other sounds was the clattering of bones as the meat was stripped.
John watched as the heart of the man was dumped into the pot, followed by the other organs. It seemed that the king was not picky with his food choices. It all went into the pot to be consumed.
Eventually, large bowls were produced by the unworthy, which were scooped with the stew from the pot. A line of them brought the king his supper, and for the next few moments, they listened as the king slurped his meal.
The two of them dared not move for now. The movements of the unworthy throughout the kitchen were too erratic. There was to much risk of bumping into one and then being discovered. So, for now, they pressed themselves to the wall, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.
A few moments later, it did.
The unworthy had returned to their task of stirring the pot, occasionally adding more meat from the slab.
Then, something sailed through the door to the king and bounced across the floor.
The unworthy descended on it much like they had the rat. Fighting and punching, and scratching each other in order to get to the tiny morsel that their king had bestowed upon them.
It was like watching a pack of feral dogs fight over a scrap that they had just been thrown.
It didn’t matter that they had just eaten one of their own. Their hunger, much like that of their kings, was unsatiable. They ate as if they would never have another chance to, because they actually might not.
Whatever the case, it was the distraction that John had been waiting for. He used the sound of the commotion over the finger to cover his and the woman’s dash to the wooden doors.
There, they beheld the majesty of the gluttonous king.