They got separated from the soldiers. But it was for the best. At least Faela hopes so
Even though they couldn’t hear the sound of the soldiers fighting anymore, Faela still looked over her shoulder.
Camila was right¸ Tetsuko projected her thoughts to her wielder. It’s best if we fight the culprit in smaller numbers. If this one is just as powerful as the Grand Priest, it’d be a massacre.
“I know, I know,” Faela muttered, biting her lips and forcing herself to look forward. “But it feels like I’m abandoning them…”
“You’re not doing that, master,” Anna said in a firm voice. “Everyone’s came here ready to fight. No one wants to die, but if you can defeat the culprit, it’ll save this city. It’ll save their friends and family. For that, they’re willing to fight.”
Faela took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she opened them, her expression changed; she was determined now. “You’re right. We can’t betray their expectations. Let’s go, Anna, Tetsuko.”
She ran at a faster pace, holding a dagger against the wall. The thin mark she made on the stone was the trail for the soldiers to follow once they dealt with the rats.
Though the torch Anna held was getting weaker, there was no need to get another; when they turned into a corner, at the end of the hallway, they saw a faint green light. Along the wall, there were small crystal-like stones that shone.
This has energy inside, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to the swordswomen. This is why the animals down here aren’t blind.
“I thought they were. They head-butted the shields as if they couldn’t see,” Faela muttered as she prodded the stone with a finger. “It’s wet.”
Anna stabbed her dagger at the joint with the wall and forced it. After some struggle, the stone fell from it. It was still emitting the green light, though it was weaker.
“Better take a few of these,” she said, plucking another glowing stone. “The torch won’t last forever and we don’t have a lot.”
After collecting a couple more, they continued through the maze of hallways, going even further and further down the sewers under Tetsuko’s guidance.
“I had no idea there was such place under the city,” Anna said in a low voice as they climbed down another flight of stairs.
“Me neither. These walls look hundreds of years old. Perhaps more…”
We must be kilometers under the city, Tetsuko thought. Do you think the lord knew about this?
“I don’t know. This city has been ruled by the same family almost from the time the kingdom was created…”
But if this was here before that…
Faela grew quiet. Tetsuko had told her what the doctor who turned into a worshiper had said to Alonso before he became completely infected. If that was true, the whole history of the kingdom is a lie. And since Alonso was already turning, there was no meaning in lying to him.
“It doesn’t matter if that worshiper knew or not. It doesn’t even matter if the lord of this city knows. The culprit is down here and we’re gonna kill whoever they are.”
Tetsuko couldn’t help but smile in her head. You might be an awful sword owner that I’d never sell a katana to, but at least we can agree on that.
“You know you could—!”
Tetsuko never found out what her wielder wanted to say. Before Faela could finish the sentence, the soul in the sword felt something massive a few corners ahead of them. Something’s coming!
Faela and Anna only had time to draw their weapons. An instant later, a huge snake showed up around the corner, coming at them with terrifying speed.
It stopped a few paces before the swordswomen, blinking in surprise. Then it raised the head above them, hissing. It opened its mouth, showing all the long fangs, poison dripping from it, burning the ground. Then it lunged.
Faela and Anna moved out of the way in time, jumping to opposite sides. While the disciple had to give her all to dodge, the master managed to raise Tetsuko and attack.
But instead of slicing the huge snake’s body, the animal bit the sword, dragging Faela as its momentum lead it forward.
It’s like the rats, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to her wielder. The energy doesn’t feel like it was forced to them. It’s like it has been living with it for years!
“Yeah, not the time!” Faela shouted, stomping on the floor to get a better footing and pull her sword from the snake’s mouth. “Get sharper!”
The swordswoman didn’t have to say. Even as she projected her thoughts, the soul in the sword was flowing her energy along her edge to make herself sharp enough to kill the animal.
But before she could do that, the snake opened the mouth and let her go. Despite the large body, it managed to turn around in the hallway to face Faela again.
“Why did it let you go?” the swordswoman asked without blinking, looking the snake in the eyes.
It sensed when I was getting sharper. It might not lunge like that again.
“You’re telling me this monster is more cautions now because it can sense Celeste?” Faela muttered. “Just great. My luck just keeps getting better and better.”
Tetsuko was right. Instead of lunging, the snake hissed and spit venom.
Faela avoided it, but some still got on her coat burning it until there was a hole in the leather.
The instant the swordswoman dodged, the snake lunged.
“Crap!” Out of reflex, she raised Tetsuko and blocked the fang that was aiming to tear her head off. But without a proper footing, and the monster’s strength, she was pushed backwards.
“Damn it! Get sharper, you butter knife!”
I already am sharp! It won’t make a difference if you can’t hit it!
Faela screamed and twisted her body. She managed to dodge the attack, but there was no time to celebrate. The monster was already turning around, preparing more venom.
It spat again, and when Faela dodged, it lurched, the fangs ready to tear the swordswoman in two. But it stopped before it could, screaming in pain.
As it trashed, Faela noticed that Anna had used her katana to stab through its tail and pinning it where it was.
“Now, master!” she shouted as she struggled to hold the trashing monster.
Faela didn’t waste the chance and brought Tetsuko down at the snake’s neck to slice the head off with one attack.
The animal trashed for a little while until it stopped. Even without the head, it still twitched a little.
“Thanks,” Faela said, panting. “If there are more monsters like this down the road, we won’t get to the culprit in one piece.”
Thanks for reading.
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