Hello again everyone! I forgot to mention I have not played the Wakfu game, so if there's something I get/got wrong in any of my chapters don't hesitate to tell me. Reviews, favs and follows are always appreciated, asterisks are at the bottom (if you need them) and now, without further ado, I give you my next chapter! :D
Up the Mountain
„Adamai!", Ruel called. „Are you okay?"
Rubbing his head Adamai pulled himself out of the crater he landed in. „Besides the headache, just peachy."
Amalia and Grovey attempted another attack. The Sadida summoned thick roots from the earth, wrapping them around their opponent and immobilising him. Sadlygrove kicked off from a large boulder flying straight for the head, Rubilax raised to strike. But before he could even touch the enemy the giant beast broke free of its binds and swatted the Iop away like an insect. Amalia just barely caught him with one of her brambles before he went flying off the mountain.
„Isn't Yugo back yet?", she called to Adamai.
Adamai's silence was answer enough. Ruel ran back to help the Sadida and the Iop. They had to at least keep this thing occupied.
Adamai got ready to rejoin the fight. „How did we get into this mess?", he muttered to himself before he took off again.
A very good question, Adamai. Let's backtrack...
It was still dark when the Autumn's Fire got back to Nageville. The villagers had been waiting at the docks, all of them too anxious to sleep while the Brotherhood went out to rescue the children. And when they saw their kids safe and sound, cries of joy rang through the night.
What happened next was rather anticlimatic: They all went to sleep. Understandable, really. It had been a tiring day for all of them. The whole village plus the Brotherhood slept well into the morning. It was close to noon when they finally woke up – thanks to Grovey's stomach. Which reminded them of the next item on their to-do list: Food. Thankfully the villagers had already thought of that.
„It's the least we can do as thanks", Shina had told them while shoving more food their way.
And after thoroughly eating their fill it was time to leave Nageville. The whole village was gathered at the docks to say their goodbyes to our heroes with Nat and Jigo taking the front.
„So yer really leavin' fo' Zinit?", the old fisher asked the group standing by the Autumn's Fire's boarding plank.
„Yeah", Yugo said, „we have something to pick up from there."
Jigo shrugged. „Don' know whatcha wanna get thea, but good luck anyways."
„Thanks. And again sorry for leading the pirates here", Yugo sheepishly rubbed the back of his head.
„Don't worry 'bout it kid!", Nat said slapping Yugo's back.
Jigo agreed. „Thanks to tha lil miss we'll get the Sadida Navy to take care of the pirates!"
Amalia smiled at the fisherman waving the scroll carrying her royal seal. She had included an explanation of the village's situation along with the directions to find the pirate hideout.
„An' as soon as the pirates're gone", Nat continued, „the volerfish'll leave us alone, too."
„But what'll you do in the meantime?", Ruel frowned. „I mean the fish'll still attack you until the eelgrass has grown back at the island, right?"
Jigo dissmissively waved a hand. „Don' worry 'bout it! We'll jus' feed tha suckers some eelgrass before they reach tha village."
Yugo and Ruel didn't look convinced at the rather half-baked plan.
„I'm tellin' ya, it'll be fine!", Jigo said.
Another look passed between Yugo and Ruel.
„Absolutely!", Nat agreed.
Shrugging – but still not completely convinced - the Brotherhood boarded their ship. The village would be fine, they told themselves. All the others they had helped on their journeys had been fine, too, after all. So they waved goodbye and set off, again heading for Zinit.
After a few hours of quiet sailing the visibility dropped drastically. Not because of the quickly approaching night – that too – but mostly because of the storm they were in. Dark grey clouds covered the sky, while heavy rain and strong winds whipped the sea into wild waves. Thunder and lightning clashed over them and briefly illuminated the outlines of tall mountains in the distance.
They were close.
Yugo knew of the storm from that time Nox had transported his giant clock there during their fight. He had later realised it was Zinit he had been fighting at. But as he clung to the railing of the Autumn's Fire, soaking wet from the rain and seawater, he couldn't help but think the storm was stronger than he remembered.
„Are we there yet?", Amalia shouted for the probably tenth time since they entered the storm, trying to be heard over the deafening roar of the winds.
Maro gave a sharp spin to the helm and called out a warning before the ship was lifted high up by another tall wave. Amalia shrieked from the sudden movement and Grovey gave another strong gag and leaned over the side of the ship.
„I hope he didn't retch against the wind this time", Ruel mumbled to himself as he stood next to the Iop, eyeing a suspicious, fresh stain on his pants.
The ship gave a sudden lurch forward and Ruel had to scramble to keep Grovey from going over board. Amalia had long since called upon her brambles to keep her feet firmly on deck. Adamai though wasn't so lucky this time. He suddenly lost his grip, tumbling over board. Desperatly he fought against the winds, as a particularly strong gust caught his side.
Yugo reacted quickly and opened a portal just in Adamai's path. The dragon was blown right through the portal and Yugo grunted as he caught his brother, sliding back slightly from the impact.
„You alright Ad?"
Adamai grit his teeth and took hold of the railing next to Yugo. „Yeah, thanks. Those winds are brutal!"
„It'd be suicide to sail through here on an ordinary ship", Yugo said, scrunching his eyes to see through the rain.
„It almost seems unsailable", Adamai growled.
Maro laughed as he stood firmly at the helm looking every inch the sailor people didn't belive him to be. „There ain't no unsailable sea Adamai! And my Autumn's Fire ain't your ordinary ship! This' nothing. We'll get through this in no time and then we'll be at Zinit", he proclaimed and gave the helm another spin, bracing the ship against the waves.
Eva woke up with a groan. Her shoulders hurt and something cold cut into her wrists. And she was pretty sure her legs had fallen asleep, too, if the prickling sensation was any indication. She tried shifting into a more comfortable position, but somehow she was kept from stretching her legs. It felt similar to that cold something firmly holding her arms over her head. Eva tried to figure out what those things were, but her thoughts seemed too heavy, her mind too sluggish. A rattling sound bounced through her cell when she again tugged at the-
Right. The chains. Her cell. Her memory of the last few days slowly came back to her tired mind. Eva struggled to pry her eyes open in hopes of finding any change to the small wooden cell. But no such luck. The iron bars locking her in there were still locked in place, the narrow corridor beyond was just barely lit by the creaking oil lamp that hung from the ceiling and the shadows cast by it were as impenetrable as ever. Eva watched the shadows lengthen and retreat with the gentle sway of the lamp. They seemed to have passed through the storm at some point of her unconsciousness, but she could still hear the pitter-patter of raindrops against the ship's bullwark. Distantly she could still make out the thunder. Again she tried shifting her legs, but the chains only left so much room for movement.
The creaking of hinges called her attention to the shadow approaching her cell. Apparently it was that time again. Eva was eager yet also dreaded what was to come, because of that sliver of doubt and fear in her gutt. That paralyzing fear that this time she wouldn't be-
No. With a shake of her head she squashed the feeling and watched as her captor stepped silently into the dim light. It was the first thing she had noticed about him – his silence. He didn't talk much – she had yet to even find out his name – and the fact that none of his movements made any noise. The second thing was... let's call it his relation to shadows. He didn't just seem to disappear in them, but he seemed like one himself. He wore something that reminded Eva of a Pandawan martial artist's gi(*1). Wide, black pants were stuffed into calf high tabi socks(*2) that left his toes and heel free. The wide, dark grey, sleeveless upper part was held in place by an evenly grey sash wrapped around his waist and underneath he wore a skintight black shirt, which covered the lower half of his face but left his left arm exposed. Fingerless gloves in the same dark grey as most of his outfit covered his arms up to his elbows. The only things with any color on him were the dark red snake tattoo on his left arm and the red cloth wrapped around his forehead. A messy ponytail of grey hair stuck up at the back of his head while the bandana held any stray strands out of his eyes. Cold, steel grey eyes that were locked on Eva.
She held his gaze for a second, before he moved to open the cell. He swiftly ducked inside and closed the door behind him. A small bundle of blankets rustled in his arm and Eva's eyes were instantly locked on it. He stopped two steps before Eva.
She narrowed her eyes at him and with another glance at the bundle held firmly in his arms she nodded. He scrutinized her for a second, then he bent down next to her and unlocked the cuffs around her right arm. With swift fingers she unbuttoned her shirt, eager to feed her daughter. He helped her position the little child so she could safely hold her with one arm. Once positioned, it didn't take Alicia long to start sucking. Eva unvoluntarily smiled down at her daughter. She didn't like the situation one bit and would rather not do this infront of her kidnapper, but motherly instincs quickly won her inner argument. She started whispering a lullaby to her child and for a moment she could forget about the situation she was in.
Her captor had stepped back into the hallway and returned with a small bowel of porridge and a cup of water. He set both down on the floor next to Eva and then leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the cell. He crossed his arms and waited for the Cra to finish.
This had been their routine for the last couple days. Every few hours he'd come to have the mother feed her daughter. Of course he never unlocked more than one of the cuffs around her wrists. It took quite some arguing - most from the Cra - to find some safe way to feed the child one-armed and with a shudder he remembered the last four times which had been made especially difficult due to the storm. But better safe than sorry - after all he had seen her fighting skills.
Eva was soon finished with her lullaby and cast a weary glance at her captor. The young man took that as his cue and gently took the baby. Holding it up against his shoulder with practised ease he gave a few pats to the child's back until he heard the burp he was waiting for. And while the mother started on her own meal he rocked the already drowsy girl to sleep.
Eva never let her eyes off her captor as he gently held her daughter. It had taken a while for her to wrap her head around the fact that he obviously knew what he was doing. He, a spy, kidnapper and probably worse, knew how to take care of a baby. She didn't have to tell him anything. From the first time she had woken up in this cell he had held Alicia right, he had known her feeding rhythm – which was rather creepy if you thought about it – and he treated her gently! Him! One of the bad guys was being gentle towards her child! She still had problems grasping that concept. On the first day she had asked him about how he knew how to handle a baby. She had yet to recieve an answer.
The voice pulled her from her thoughts. She glanced down at her empty bowl and nodded. Maybe, she thought as she handed the bowl and cup to him, he wasn't that evil. Her daughter was physically fine and he seemed to at least treat her right. It gave her hope that maybe they'd get out of this fine, that he was a good guy deep down. He replaced the cuff around her wrist and locked the cell door behind him. Then she watched him turn his back and, without even glancing back, leave through the hallway. It was a small hope.
Ruel had immediately jumped after the falling Iop, but instead of following the wobbling ginger the old Enutrof fell to his knees and kissed the rocky ground.
„Oh beautiful earth! I swear by Enutrof I'm never leaving you again!"
„You do realize we'll have to leave this island again, right?", deadpanned Amalia from the Autumn's Fire before she too left the ship finally anchored at the coast of Zinit.
Yugo smiled at his friends' antics as he joined them on the shore. Yawning, he stretched his aching limbs.
„Where's Grovey?", Adamai asked him after landing beside his brother. Yugo only guestured to the retching coming from behind a nearby rock. It took the dragon a second to shrug off the disgust before he turned towards the mountain looming over them.
„So you wanna use the remaining day and head on up there?", he asked.
Yugo glanced at the grey sky above. It was probably somewhere in the early afternoon and the rain had let up to a drizzle. It would be a taxing climb up the mountain and he didn't know how long they'd have to hike until they found the entrance Balthazar had once mentioned. Additionally they'd have to be careful not to attract the attention of Zinit's only known resident. If the rumors and legends were true then that was a fight Yugo wanted to avoid.
He glanced back at the battered Autumn's Fire. The ship would be safe here, the cliffs around the bay acting as wave breakers. Zinit was apparently like that, Maro had told them when they had gotten close enough to the island to see its coast alternating between cliffs and rocky beaches.
„Hey Maro!", he called up to their captain. There was a grunt from next to the helm and a mop of unruly turquoise hair popped up over the railing. „Are you coming up with us?"
Maro threw a glance at the tall mountain and scratched his cheek in thought. Ignoring the oil stain he'd just gotten on his face he turned to Yugo. „Nah, I'll stay here an' check 'er over", he said indicating the ship with his thumb.
Adamai raised an eyebrow. „You sure you're gonna be alright alone?"
Maro dismissivly waved a hand. „Oh, don'cha worry 'bout me. I'll be fine." He smirked and gave an appreciative pat to a holster hanging from his hip. „'sides, if anything comes up, I still got my trusty friend here!"
The brothers glanced at each other and shrugged. „Alright", Yugo called up to Maro while Adamai gathered the others, „we'll be back as soon as possible!"
And with another wave to their companion the group of heroes set off up the mountain.
As he reached his cabin on the Fog Runner, Sho let his expression fall into a frown. He glanced at the sleeping child in his arms and carefully placed her in a crate he had converted into a makeshift cradle. It was fastened to the floor and padded with several blankets so the little girl could have a comfortable slumber. He watched her for a moment and his frown deepened. He didn't like using a child – a baby at that – to keep the mother under control.
He supposed it was because he'd taken care of the children the guild master picked up ever since he himself was taken in by him. He remebered little of the years he spent on the streets, though he knew he had lived by the motto „learn fast or die". This came in handy later on when the guild master decided to take him in and train him. Sho had proved himself capable early on and he was very thankful to the guild master, so he had resolved to pay him back, often in the form of taking care of the younger newcomers. Of course being a member of Basilisk meant also taking on jobs. And if these jobs involved illegal activities, then so be it. The guild was his home and if that meant he'd have to abduct a mother and child then Sho would ignore his personal feelings and get the job done. He wasn't one of the guild's best for nothing.
His gaze lingered a second longer on the sleeping child, before he stepped to his desk and pulled out a small piece of paper. Sho quickly scribbled a few short words on it and then left his cabin. Stepping out onto the deck he gave a quick whistle and shortly afterwards a falcoose(*3) landed on the railing infront of him. With practised ease he tied the note to the bird's foot.
„To master", he told it and the falcoose flew off, quickly disappearing in the clouds.
„You sent a report?", a voice from behind him remarked. Sho turned around and stared into the grinning face of Venoma, his colleague and – unfortunately – teammate on this particular mission. He didn't like the lanky man. His dirty green eyes always held a sort of spark that set off warning bells in Sho's head. He'd rather stay as far away from Venoma and his poisons as possible. They both weren't known as teamplayers in the guild, but Sho's teammates tended to come back from a mission.
„Well, nevermind", the poison user said, waving off Sho's silence. „Did the Cra behave herself this time?" Venoma failed to keep the excitement out off his voice.
Sho stared at his eager face for a second before he nodded.
„Oh, pooey. She's no fun", Venoma grumbled crossing his arms. Sho kept a carefully blank expression. He looked around trying to find his other teammate.
„If you're looking for Steve he's gone to keep an eye on our heroes."
Right, it was Steve's turn to watch them. Since they had arrived at Zinit a day ago, they had kept watch in shifts, waiting for the Brotherhood of Tofu to finally show up. The Brotherhood was faster than they had expected, but it didn't matter much. Everything still went as planned. They had decided to keep an eye on their movements, changing shifts every so often, but taking care not to be spotted.
Sho glanced up at the towering mountains, narrowing his eyes as he heard a distant rumble. He turned around heading back under deck.
„Come", he threw over his shoulders at Venoma. „Get her ready."
A feral grin stretched across the man's face at the words and he quickly followed Sho below the deck.
They made good headway on their treck up the mountain. At first it was just clambering up gentle slopes with lots of loose rocks and rubble, which at some point had rolled down the mountain and collected at its base. It wasn't especially tiring, considering the trecking the Brotherhood usually did, and they made it up partway rather quickly. After that though it got trickier. They often had to use roundabout ways to avoid places that were too steep or dangerous to climb. And the gentle rain dripping down on them didn't help matters much. More than once one of the party had slipped and only managed to regain their footing either thanks to reflexes, luck, their companions or all three in time to stop plummetting down the mountain.
Slowing down in their pace our heroes steadily proceeded up and around the mountain until they could barely see the Autumn's Fire anymore. They were about halfway up when the terrain leveled out a bit more, making traveling easier again.
„So what exactly are we looking for?", Amalia huffed, trecking on behind Adamai and Yugo.
„There should be an entrance around here somewhere", replied the dragon, casting a watchful eye to the distant mountaintop when he thought he heard a rumble.
Ruel scoffed. „What's it gonna look like? I doubt there'll be a sign saying 'This way to ancient Eliatrop space ship!'"
Yugo threw a glance at his brother. „Could be anything really. Phaeris and Balthazar weren't very specific."
„They were cryptic as ever", huffed Adamai.
„I think it's probably concealed with dragon magic or hidden at the top", Yugo said. „Or it could be something inconspicous like a-"
„Cave!", Grovey exclaimed grinning brightly.
„Yeah, a cave maybe."
„No!" The Iop almost bounced on his feet, pointing to something some ways up ahead. „Look, there's a cave!"
And true to his word, about twohundred yards infront of them and a little above where they walked Grovey had spotted a cave, half hidden behind large boulders opening up in the mountainside.
„Huh", Yugo said, the corners of his mouth turning upward.
Ruel put a hand on the Iop's shoulder. „Grovey, you sure have your moments."
Said Iop proudly puffed out his chest, resting his hands at his hips. „That was easy!", he exclaimed.
Another rumble, this one louder than the first, sounded from above. „Too easy", Adamai murmured as he squinted up against the grey sky, trying to spot Zinit's top.
A roar, primal and angry suddenly echoed around him and Yugo's blood ran cold. Adamai's eyes widened considerably when he made out a figure quickly dropping towards them.
„Move!", he yelled and the group scattered. Just on time too, as a giant creature landed just where they had been a second ago.
The ground cracked under the pressure of the beast's landing, a cloud of dust rising around it. Mudded green fur covered the behemoth, giant muscles tensing underneath. A tattered loincloth and simple metal collar were the only clothing it wore. Strange white markings ran up its arms and scars, dozens of them, criss-crossed over its body. A growl escaped the beast's mouth showing off long canines – the lower jaw protruding showed one especially big fang. Its eyes narrowed and a deafening roar tore from its maw. Paralyzed by fear the Brotherhood could only stare at the monstrosity before them.
Ogrest had found them.
„By Sadida", Amalia breathed into the tense silence, a hand reaching up to her pale face. Ogrest eyed each of them warily before his sight rested on the girl. He took a step forward with his fists clenched at his side. But before either of them could react the giant was tackled by Sadlygrove and Adamai, who sent him flying straight into a boulder.
And with that the silence rooting them to their spotts was shattered as the rest of the group jumped into action. Amalia immediately summoned her doll and had it attack Ogrest with a barrage of seeds while Ruel and Grovey readied their weapons to charge at Ogrest.
„Yugo!", Adamai shouted over another roar. „Go! We'll keep Ogrest busy!"
„No!" Adamai interrupted. And for a split second Yugo saw something in his brother's eyes which he definitly didn't like seeing. Fear. „You're the only one who can get the map. Go! While you still have an opening!"
Yugo briefly glanced to his friends, Grovey and Ruel were repeatedly hacking and slashing at Ogrest while Amalia held him in place with her roots. It didn't seem to do much damage. He looked back to his dragon brother and gave a curt nod before he jumped into a portal and reappeared infront of the cave.
„And please be quick", Adamai mumbled as he watched his brother sprint into the cave and out of sight.
He turned back to face Ogrest just in time to witness him breaking out of the green bindings and attacking the Iop and Enutrof at his feet. Ruel was thankfully fast enough to dodge. Grovey just barely managed to guard with his sword, but the power of the blow sent him flying, both him and Rubilax crying out at the impact. Adamai, fast as a bullet and covered in a purple aura of wakfu, charged at the monster, making him skid back a few steps. He quickly flipped into the air and out of the way of the large paw grabbing for him. Inhaling deeply Adamai blew a large stream of fire into Ogrest's face.
A growl ripped from Ogrest as he tried to lunge for the nimble little dragon and Adamai had to stop his fire to get out of Ogrest's reach. He landed several paces away from his opponent, Ruel, Sadlygrove and Amalia taking their stances next to him.
„You know how this works guys", Admai said, his eyes not leaving the behemoth, „keep him busy for as long as possible. As soon as Yugo's back we get out of here."
„Oh come on Adamai", Grovey smirked brushing off some dust, „we'll have him beaten even before Yugo shows up!"
Ruel grimaced. „Your optimism surprises me every time, Grovey."
„That makes two", grumbled Rubilax.
„I think 'stupidity' is the word you're looking for, Ruel", Amalia noted tensely.
„Focus everyone! As long as we buy enough time we win." Adamai's eyes narrowed just as Ogrest's shoulders tensed. The two forces stared at each other for another second. Then they rushed forward.
Yugo sprinted through the darkness of the cave now relying completely on his wakfu vision to navigate. His huffs echoed around him as he followed the streams of energy in the walls, invisible to the naked eye. They seemed to be getting stronger the farther in he went. At first they were thin lines, pulsing and flowing wildly like little streams. Now though, after he couldn't even see the entrance anymore the streams had become rivers, invisible currents pulling the energy deeper into the mountain. The paths the wakfu took became straighter and Yugo slowed down to a walk when it seemed they flowed through manmade canals.
He stopped when he seemingly met a dead end. Yugo frowned. He lightly traced the flow of the wakfu with his hand, the different lines all meeting in the center of the wall before him. He felt the energies swirl and mix in the center, but it felt like something was missing.
He gathered some wakfu in his palm and pushed it into the center. And suddenly the wakfu lines lit up starting from the center and spreading outward, branching out and connecting to each other to trace the form of a door. Yugo took a surprised step back as the wall infront of him lit up with a bright blue glow and some of it vanished, melting into the sides.
With wide eyes he stared into the opening, the only source of light being a slight glow from the wakfu lines that continued on in the corridor beyond. Hesitantly Yugo stepped through the opening. With another look back out into the cave and his friends he knew were fighting Ogrest outside, he broke into a run down the hallway. He had a map to find, and fast.
*1: A gi is what you call the traditional training gear of many eastern martial arts, like Karate, Judo and the like. I'm sure you've at least seen a picture of one before. There are slight differences between each style in sleeve length, color or the type of pants, but a gi is generally composed of two parts. Simple wide pants and the top part, which is like a shirt but wrapped over the chest and tied at the sides. If my explanation doesn't help, just google it.
*2: You know those ninja-sock-shoe-thingys that split your big toe from the rest? Those are called tabi socks (although I changed them somewhat to keep the toes and the heel free).
*3: Yeah, don't bother looking that up. I have yet to find a list with creatures from the World of Twelve and decided, let's make one up! Think of a mix between a falcon and a goose – I call it Falcoose – which is a large bird of prey, though smaller than an eagle and with a slightly elongated neck and a brownish grey color. It's fast and fares well flying long distances. Additionally it's what Basilisk trains as their messenger birds.