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Edward opened his eyes.

Unnalt swung his axe a metre beside Edward, tearing chunks of stone out of the opposite wall and scattering shards of rock on the floor. Afterwards, he flailed his axe. His towering and hulking form stumbled around like a drunkard’s. All the goblins further down the hallway did the same. Their arrows spun into the ceiling, tumbled onto the floor, and randomly scattered all around. Wickancis’ blazing ball of flame blurred as it shot across the hallway.

But it didn’t head towards Edward.

It shot at the ceiling, smashed through dozens of floors, wrecked rooms, burned halls, shattered furniture, and zoomed up and into the sky.

Despite the agony that ravaged Edward’s arms, he grinned. Despite the blood that dribbled across Charlotte's body, she smiled. Despite the fear that devoured Richard’s mind since the second Edward laid eyes on him, he chuckled. Their previously wriggling bodies stilled and eased in his grasp as he ran towards the windo-

Tiny rocks sprinkled on Edward from above, pattering his head. Then large clumps of stone banged against Edward’s skull, smothering his head with pain. Then it was a stampede.

In order to avoid getting buried, Edward had to dash backwards and away from the window. The rocks smashed together and stacked on top of eachother. Soon, the pile of rocks grew so tall that it covered the entire hallway. The rocks blocked his path to the window. The rocks blocked their escape.

Richard sobbed. More tears, sweat, and snot dribbled onto Edward’s injured arm. Charlotte scowled at the ground and clenched Edward’s wrist with a bloody hand, shivering with rage.

“It’s over,” Richard croaked in between sobs. “Now we’re gonna die!”

Charlotte opened her mouth and glared at Richard, but not a single obscenity, or growl came out. She closed her mouth, turned away, and frowned down at the ground. “Damn it,” she muttered.

Edward froze and winced as well. His eyes burned and the agony that ravaged his arm blazed. Whilst Unnalt was still stumbling around a metre away from him, Edward needed to do something soon. But despite sprinting and scrambling and searching for answers inside his fright-infested brain, he couldn’t find anything.

The stumbling of Unnalt and the rest of the goblins began to cease. Their palms left their faces. They fluttered their lashes. Edward needed to do something as soon as possible, but there was nothing.

Edward accepted his demis-

An icy breeze brushed the right side of his body. Turning to the wall on his right, a rancid stench of piss and shit wafted through the door’s gap. It was the latrine. Hope shocked Edward like a bolt of thunder. He bristled at the sight.

So he rushed through the door. He made it into the room. Before the goblins could open their eyes, he spun, hooked the door handle with his foot, and slammed the door shut.

Scattering his eyes across the room, it was a latrine like he thought. And as he guessed due to it both being a smelly latrine, and it letting out a chilly breeze...

“Yes!” Richard shouted with a body wriggling laugh. He prodded his finger at the opposite wall of the latrine. “There’s a window!”

“Fuck yes!” Charlotte roared with a raspy voice. “Dive straight through the fucking thing!”

Edward ran at it.

“Where are they!?” Unnalt’s bellowing voice boomed through the latrine door.

But Edward kept running. He slipped across puddles of piss, leapt over smears of shit, and reached the other end of the latrine.

“Check all the doors!” Unnalt roared.

Edward shot his foot at the window. His leg smashed through it. Glass exploded across the latrine and showered his leg with tiny cuts. He winced as he pulled his foot back down to the ground.

The clattering of metal bashing stone reverberated through the latrine door. So Edward leapt out of the window without even checking the drop. He checked the drop through the window in the stairwell, and that was on the same floor, so it should’ve been fine. But this fall looked steeper than what he saw earlier. Was the building built on a slope?

He grit his teeth as he watched the world rush around him and morph into a blur. The ground plunged towards hi-

He landed.

His feet smashed down into thick but hard snow with a somersault. Agony filled his feet and shot up his legs. It hurt so much that he thought he was gonna die, but he watched his HP bar and saw that he only lost 5% of his HP from the fall. It only dropped to 15%.

Icy air scratched his throat, glacial snow enveloped his feet and ankles, and surged a piercing cold up his body, turning his constant shuddering into a violent shake. Scattering his eyes across the area, he saw that a small sewer grating was embedded in the wall that he just jumped down. It was just below the latrines.

A cobbled wall surrounded the building he escaped. Level 5 to 7 goblin Warriors stood on and patrolled across the battlements. Edward’s heart thumped at the thought of one of them turning and noticing him. His heart thumped even faster when the wall’s gates creaked.

They opened.

A couple dozen Level 6 to 8 Warrior goblins in iron armour and chain mail, all holding axes and round shields, stood behind the steadily opening gate. Once the gate fully opened, they’d surely see him. If they saw him, he, Charlotte, and Richard would die. There’d be no avoiding it.

To make matters worse, the bashing of Unnalt’s bronze boots on the floor of the latrines, and his yelling for soldiers to follow him through the window, boomed above him. His knees trembled; he needed to figure something out quickly.

Then he turned to the sewer grating and figured out what to do.

“J-just hide in the snow!” Richard whimpered, punching Edward’s arm. “What’re you doing!? We’re gonna get caught!”

“They’re just gonna fucking find us if we do that!” Charlotte hissed at Richard with a quiet and raspy voice. “We just need to take a risk, run for the gate, and hope Edward’s fast enough to speed past them!”

“Neither of your plans will work,” Edward dropped Charlotte and Richard onto the snow. He crouched and walked up to the small sewer grating. The bars were iron and thick. Any normal person would need a battering ram to break them down. But he wasn’t normal anymore.

He shot a foot at the grating. The bars didn’t budge. Kicking it again, nothing moved.

Glancing back at the gate, it fully opened.

So he smashed his foot against the grating again. A bar bent. He plunged the sole of his foot at it again, two of them bent.

Soldiers began streaming through the gate and across the courtyard pathway. Richard crouched and stared at them with teary eyes snapped wide. “You’re never gonna kick that thing down!” He whimpered, so he looked down at the snow. He dug and shoved his shivering body into it.

“I can’t believe that I actually agree with this dickhead,” Charlotte said as she staggered to her feet and wobbled as she stood. “We’re gonna have to make a run for it.”

Charlotte began running and Richard covered his torso with snow, but the rattling of iron against stone, and the splashing of water, made them both freeze. Because Edward kicked through the grating, let it fall into the sewer, and splash in the sewage.

Edward rushed to his feet and grabbed Charlotte. “You get down there first,” he said.

She smiled at him, “Thank you.”

He nodded back, snatched Richard’s wrist, and yanked him up to his feet and out of the snow. “You get in there afterwards.”

Charlotte crouched in front of the hole and gingerly pushed her legs through. She shuddered as she looked down into the darkness. He crouched behind her and patted her shoulder. She only had 8% HP, so it was only natural that she’d be afraid. “There’s water down there, you’ll be alright.”

A bronze boot appeared and stepped on the ledge of the window. Charlotte looked up at it, and then at the swarm of goblins that streamed through the gate and got closer and closer. Her hesitation vanished. She took a deep breath. Then she fell and vanished into the sewer's darkness.

After Richard froze and stared in utter fear of the sewer's hole, Edward had enough. Especially when glass from the shattered window sprinkled down on top of them whilst the bronze sabaton shifted and pushed on the ledge.

So Edward snatched Richard’s shoulder, shoved his knees down on the snow, and rammed him through the hole, letting him squeal as he fell.

Edward was next, so he crouched and crept through the hole. But he didn’t drop straight through. He hung off the edge with his injured arm. He needed to cover the hole, so he sucked in a sharp breath, grimaced and ground his teeth to stop himself from shrieking, and reached out of the hole with his other arm so he could scoop up some of the thick snow and cover up the hole. Bronze flashed in the dim winter sunlight. Sabatons smashed on the ground and splashed snow.

Unnalt landed.

Edward covered the hole with snow, and let go of the ledge.

He fell into the darkness.

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Jonsoon

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