Dreamweaver Chapter 189
It’s been only a few minutes since we left Deep City.
Already the men are on edge.
But my being here is mostly for morale.
“Tighten up that formation. Jeez, who taught you guys squad tactics?” I hissed.
“It’s not my fault sir, I got a bum knee but the wife won’t let me retire. She’s threatening to throw me out all the time now,” one guy on the front said. It was a mixed dwarf this time. It’s not all half rabbit kin that are the screw ups unfortunately. Some of them are actually better than us at being dependable. The full rabbitkin actually put us to shame sometimes.
“Jeez man, your whole team’s lives are hanging on you screwing up,” I said.
“S-sorry! I’ll do better!” he cried out.
“He was hurt last week but it’s mostly healed up. We’ve had him resting for three days with Slyytch gel on it,” one guy, another half-rabbit said.
“That’s not good enough man! This is military not the nursery!” I cried out trying to push them. They need to be pushed or they won’t live through this. They are taking this way too casual. Shit, we’re probably already being followed by cave critters. These idiots don’t realize it only takes one person like that to get the whole team killed. I’ve even seen it, but they’ll think I’m just being mean to them.
Bunch of pussies…
We keep moving. There are other problems too.
When I tested the snaring nets, one of them tore on just me tugging a bit on it. This is what happens when you don’t upkeep the nets and tie up the filaments and strengthen them often. They shouldn’t tear at all if they are maintained well. These things are supposed to be built so they can withstand even cave spiders thrashing around in them and that’s where we got the idea from. And a lot of cave spiders are bigger than humans even. The stuff will even catch ogres if used right, which have huge strength.
I glared at the two netters. I wonder which or both of them is more guilty than the other right now. They cringe under my baleful stare.
“S-sorry,” the one said.
The other is silent and looking down.
“What’s your excuse?” I asked the one that was silent.
“It’s not his fault sir, he’s getting married next week,” his companion said.
“Yeah good one. The lucky lady will be widowed if you keep this up but probably not until you get her pregnant. Good lord, you guys are not up to par. This is fail on so many safety checks. Do you realize you guys have at least six failed safety checks right now?” I asked them.
“It can’t be that many…”
“How? I only see two…”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Yes it’s that bad,” I said.
“You’re w-wrong,” one said back.
I pulled them aside.
“First off, two of you aren’t wearing military grade boots. Those look like cheap knockoffs and aren’t blade resistant like true grades are,” I said.
One of the culprits interrupted me. “It’s the missus, she wanted the money to instead paint the nursery!” a half rabbitkin said.
Fuck…pussies all of them.
“Shut up. Not your turn to talk, then there’s the nets, and then there’s the taking wounded and unfit for duty people on patrol…”
Another guy tried to interrupt me but I cut him off.
“And then before we left I noticed most of you didn’t have the mandatory three days worth of rations or water. None of you have first aid kits, and finally I have a sneaking suspicion you haven’t charged up your radar clams,” I said.
“Damn. I was afraid he’d check those too,” one of them sighed.
“Well I told you to get your radar clam maintained. That’s the one thing you can’t skimp on you useless trash…” finally another guy is helping them see reason besides me.
“Shut up you guys. You are making us look disorganized now too.”
“Are you sure about that? Mine is blinking just fine,” another said.
They all fall into a discussion while we’re stopped out in the middle of freaking nowhere land.
They are a mage tool that our city patrols use to stay alive. It uses a magic charge to bounce mana of living things that approach the group as its design. And all of it stacked onto these special seashell clams that we have, that are difficult to get if not impossible. But the recent upgraded versions are tweaked to primarily ping undead, demons, or others instead. The squad captain has one for both living beings and a separate one that pings only for undead, demons, and…stuff that you aren’t even sure is alive. The vice captain has one that pings for living only. The problem is that our national…city budget that is…only can afford that much. And each only has three charges each. They are also made just by doing a mapping and detection rune carved into a seashell harvested from a nearby underground lake. This particular shell has an amazing ability to amplify small bits of mana and is unlike any other sea shell we’ve found. Because of it, these things are worth a lot even though they can only carry three charges at a time.
And we can only get them to build up the shells from trading to get them from non-hostile troglodytes. And there aren’t very many troglodytes that aren’t hostile to humanoid looking peoples.
“Wait, I’m sure mine is working,” the vice captain said.
“Are you sure?” I asked him.
“Er….well I think I’m sure,” he said. He scratched his head while working over it.
The men are now glaring at me.
It would be racist to blame the half rabbit kin and rabbit kin influence on dwarves for this I think. I don’t think this is them though but just people not caring enough about their tools and training.
“Look I feel for you guys. You are tramping around in the dark and under a lot of stress and pressure. But if you take shortcuts in your gear or duty real people will die,” I said.
They softened up a bit. Some of them are trying to give me some puppy dog eyes bullshit probably to try to get me to donate money to them. That’s bullshit too they are paid enough, but they are stealing from their own repair funds.
“So-sorry, we’ll do better,” one of them looks a bit teary eyed.
“So how do you know it’s not working?” the normal team captain said while looking at his radar clam.
“Because there’s a demon behind us, and he’s been watching us this whole time and none of you noticed,” I said.
The men cried out in terror as they saw what I just shot my modified crossbow at behind us. There’s the sharp connection of my bolt hitting what sounded like flesh and a splash. Then the roaring of something that charged at us.
“What the fuck is that?!” one man cried out.
It’s fast…and bigger than other demons of this size that I’d seen.
It bowled over two netters before they could get their nets up.
Somehow they only didn’t die because the Shielder teams covered them, but one of the men received an injury because that thing…almost crushed him.
It went by before I could get another shot off. I wish I could afford poison darts but I’m not even sure if those would work on this demon. I’m not even sure of what kind of demon this is to be honest. This is some weird shit that I didn’t even comprehend existed.
For starters, it has the lower half of like a long thick snake that’s probably over twenty five feet long like a naga. But this is no naga. This would make a naga look like a cute playful kitten on even bad hair days for nagas. Instead of the upper body being either male or female like a naga, there’s like this bulging sack of flesh on top of it that drips ooze and pus. Then from the top of the flesh sack there are three tripod like projectiles pointing up much like tentacle flesh trident spines but instead of being like a trident tentacle spine they are a few feet apart with what look like naked sickly fleshed human women impaled over the ‘trident’ spines in some demonic fixation right into their…yeah disgusting. I can’t even say it properly…but the spines connect into their hips in ‘that’ spot. And the women…if that’s what they are have been stuck on there so long that they’ve become grossly smelly, slimy, deformed with sagging thin and emaciated bodies that are now partly scaled as if reptilian undead almost as it were, with their hair falling out in chunks, and glowing yellow eyes from all three of them, with each of them being armed with long spears. And amazingly enough the ‘lure women’ seem to be the eyes of this huge creature, since it seems to have no real eyes of its own.
I dodged right, and then right and back barely avoiding its crazy fast myriad stabbing routine of all six of the women’s arms at once. It seems also that their brains are somehow connected to because the stabbing attacks all flow in a pattern, but not disturbing their strange unmovable conglomeration of living parts somehow with them all stuck together. It’d taken all my skill and years of experience to avoid that attack, and still one of the stabbing spears…made out of some creatures bones I think slashed parts of my bicep.
“AHHHHHHH!” the men cried out.
They all scatter.
They have no idea how to defeat a creature like this. Neither do I. But the basic concept is stay alive, and keep the men from dying.
What is this?! We’ve never seen anything like this down here before!
The sound of bones being crushed against hard rock of the ground, and some of them even snapping from the force; just like that we’ve got our first team deaths. And they hit the ground so hard the rock ground itself cracked open in several places; we lost two netter guys and their net. Both of them were instantly dead so I don’t think they felt any pain but there is a pasty intestinal tomato pulp everywhere from the way they crushed so hard and some of it sprayed the rest of us like a sprinkler. Nor was there time for us to react. But now we’re reacting.
I’m still not even sure how they were crushed because it happened so fast.
“No!” I hear the team lead crying out. They are struggling to move and comprehend what this thing is still.
The others are trying to shoot at it now, realizing if they don’t do something they are dead anyway while I’m still trying to dodge some of its attacks.
There it is! I finally spy it, using it’s long tail its above us making it harder for us to fight it while it had blended in with the darkness.
Interesting…somehow I fended off two of the arms while it’s still trying to block attacks in front of it while I’m sort of at a point of to the side and partly behind it. This means it has superior vision and coordination despite being made up of 1 predatory creature brain that’s probably the flesh sack and the tail and 3 unwilling or willing mutated hosts that have been with it for years to the point of having lost all traces of their identity and having become part of the ‘worm’.
It fends off our range attacks while we keep trying to get out of its way so it can’t stab us. We also have an unfair advantage of its homemade serpent bone spear like weapons being longer than our own weapons.
“Die you bitch!” the team lead called out while trying to rush it. He’s brave but foolish.
One of its massive spear like appendages completely obliterates and destroys a huge boulder that the team leader had ducked behind at the last minute. He’s still coughing on the rock dust from it shattering when the next attack comes down on his head.
Or he would have if his vice team lead hadn’t pulled him away at the last second. He doesn’t realize how lucky he is to be alive. That was quite a miracle.
“Fighting withdraw! We can’t face this on our own!” I called out.
There’s more twanging of crossbow bolts as we keep shooting it with every man that we have.
This thing is freaking fearless and hugely strong.
It’s deflecting our attacks and countering our movements easily with almost no damage received. It even seems to not be at full power yet!
Another stabber role team member gets smashed so hard with one of the thing’s spear arms that he’s not punctured, he’s…mauled would better describe it. When the half rabbitkin’s body hit the ground he splashed his guts out like a tomato it was smashed and crushed so hard and we’re sprayed again.
The men keep screaming while I’m trying to keep my cool.
Circle behind it, I thought. It’s the only thing that might work.
To be fair, it knows I’m there as I unleash throwing knives into the flesh sack. I stay moving, not daring to stay in the same spot.
My blows connected but the thing is just staying there fighting us like we’re nothing. And its scaly hide is now full of crossbow bolts but they don’t seem to slow it down. In fact I can see older, rusty crossbow bolts also sticking out of various places in its hide that have since healed into its flesh with some of them still eeping out some pussy yellow liquid in gouts. It resembles a walking weapon cemetery in some ways with even a few rusty swords and daggers embedded and petrified into bits of the snake tail at odd places from ancient forgotten battles.
This thing has to be a demon. There’s no other way to explain its existence.
The men keep retreating while somehow I keep trying to stay alive.
I’ve ducked under like eleven or so stabbing attacks in the last five seconds. This is the limit of my ability as I struggle to keep up, and any other less than veteran ability adventurer would have died already. I’m struggling as I know I’m falling behind and more are to come. I let loose more throwing daggers but they only go about an inch or two into the snake like body and the flesh sack.
I try to put some distance between me and that thing, whatever it is.
I’ve studied and seen the demon descriptions of things lurking in the dark down here. But there’s no demons described like this. But this has to be a demon of some type. I just know it.
But which kind is it? Knowing the type and classification affects strategies used against it.
It looks amused, as if we don’t matter, and it’s just playing with us. It playfully even just stands there, slapping down bolts and range weapons we threw at it, while we’re unable to even get close enough for melee range.
Finally someone connected a blow that made one of the…weird looking snake like women cry out in pain, hitting her near the heart. The whole thing managed to scream in terrible pain, but the other two are still fending off our attacks again while the third ‘sister’ attached to the flesh sack is still as if she’s dead, hanging there where she’s …impaled onto that thing. I had thought they were dessicated corpses and unalive but there’s still some life in them, with all their willpower bent on killing us so I don’t feel sorry for them.
“HowWwww?! Woundeddddddddddddddd meeeeeeeee?!” it’s in shock over being wounded. Apparently it thought it was invincible.
Holy shit, that’s a voice!
It can talk?!
I thought it was invincible too actually.
This thing reminded me of an ancient legend of a thing called a siren that tempted mariners with three women sticking out of the water that were naked and beautiful. But it was like they were lures attached to a huge angler fish that was right below the surface…
No way! This must be either the same creature or something similar.
Even as I realized that this huge gaping mouth full of teeth like swords opened up and swallowed the bodies of one of our men; a small half rabbitkin that was one of the ones that had died early on.
The size of that thing’s wickedly sharp teeth made a shark’s teeth look like dull spoons both in terms of sharpness and in full length. These were part stabby, part slashy, huge curved needle like teeth almost two feet long in a mouth that had to stretch out widely to avoid cutting itself on its own teeth with some kind of jaw mechanism similar to a snake’s. The teeth even extended from within to reach their current length from some strange biological function that hid and compacted them when the flash sack was closed.
The men are fleeing after seeing that. There is a total collapse of order and morale from something so terrifying we still don’t comprehend what this is.
“Run!” I hear them screaming. One guy is screaming so hard it looks like his neck tendons will pop.
They weren’t equipped to deal with this. Crap. I’m trapped and cut off. The others can’t get away either.
It has me cornered against a rock crevasse that I can’t get out from. I’m doomed. I can see the pines of its bone spear things raised as it’s about to strike the killing blow against me.
Then something hit one of the two ‘lure women’ impaled atop its trident crown spines from behind.
The crack of a big boulder breaking as it hit one of them in the head, leaves only one of the lure women still awake atop this beast.
“EYEAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRKKKKKKKKKK!” it cried out. The remaining tentacle mutant girl appendage then thrashed around in pain.
Then suddenly it was gone. The thing had taken off after it was wounded I think.
It was frightened off?
And by what?
Um…what just happened?
I don’t comprehend what just hit it. It wasn’t a dwarf or half rabbitkin. And we didn’t see anything else. What threw that boulder? For starters, how did they throw a boulder that big anyway?
Immediately I’m worried about goblins or dark elves as I look around. Could this be a dark elf trick? They are known to be able to sometimes use or work with demons to destroy people.
Wait, dark elves wouldn’t recognize us to be worthy of saving anyway.
“Um…can you help us escape? We have to move before it comes back,” the team leader, a rabbitkin asked me, after tapping me on the shoulder. I nearly jumped out of my skin, because of how he did it and how much fear was racing through my blood.
A new enemy has been revealed!