We were advancing inside a long tunnel, Alìa stopped many times to study some traces on the ground and along the walls. She said that something was wrong. Ernam got close to her and they talked for a while. Kimbar reached them, I don’t know what they said to each other, but after some minutes our marching started again with the Damas in the first position. At a certain moment he waved us to stop, disappeared behind a horseshoe bend, we heard a terrible warning shout and after a second she came up again running, her face in flames and her eyes dilated: “Nest!!” she shouted coming towards ourselves. The silence after the bent was broken by terrible screams and ripping grunts. I saw Ernam drawing his big vitrified sword and placing his legs on the ground in a defensive position. Behind me I felt a wave of ‘tension’ that did brush against me and my hair stood up on my neck, the psychokinetic ones were getting ready. Alìa overstepped Ernam and placed herself in front of me. She took off her small axe with a serrated blade that she was wearing on her belt and the steam gun that was switched on with a hiss and a scorching puffball of vapour. Then, the doors of the Abyss opened in front of us…
Ernam rushed on the first monster that appeared in the tunnel, cut off one of his upper limbs with a powerful blow and right away another creature came from the same direction. A burst of green light arrived from behind my shoulders and hit the second beast piercing part of its shoulder and chest, inundating the cave with the stink of burning flesh and with terrible screams. Helena the corruptor had come into action. Some more Xintar came up, I haven’t even been able to understand which type they were from, I just know that they were frightening. Kimbar shouted something and soon after an iridescent energy shield appeared where there was the corridor’s bent. Some of the beasts were able to get through before the shield was completed, but the ones that followed them clashed on it and, while shaking and shivering, they moved away a bit, waiting while behind them some other beasts showed up. It seemed they knew that the shield would have given up sooner or later letting them go their way … how could that be possible? At the same moment I heard a choking scream from Kimbar, I turned back and saw the Tamiara flying against a wall that was bristling with uneven rocks and then collapsed to the ground almost fainting. From the shoulders of the Xintar that had hit him, it appeared the long dagger with an obsidian blade of the Vampire that slaughtered his throat flooding me and all the others, including the creatures that were around her, with greenish blood. Alìa shot, knocking down one of the Rixeens that had jumped on us. The sudden thud made by her weapon, made ourselves and the Xintars jolt. Trag slipped behind some specimen’s shoulders, I didn’t know what it was, and hold its shoulders with his bare hands, the beast shouted so high that almost broke our eardrums and rushed on him biting his arm, then collapsed to the ground with the mark of the metabolist Graunt hands engraved on its skin, which consisted of many small blisters dripping blood and a yellowish fluid. I took off my sword, shining and fresh from vitrification and … I stood still. I felt somebody’s hand that hold me from the hood of my cloak and was grabbing me from behind. “Stay behind Salk! – Helena shouted – You are obstructing my view!”
The Vampire had no longer anything beautiful on her face. Her features changed completely, the lower side of her face was pushing forward as a tiger or something of that kind and her teeth … her teeth were all upfront barbed and sharpened. Immediately I moved away from her, as if she was a far more dangerous beast than the ones that were attacking ourselves. I may be wrong but when she realized that, she seemed to be amused by my dismay. She raised her hands up and shouted as if she was making a great effort. From her fingers some basking yellow flashes busted bypassing Kimbar’s shield and hit three monsters dragging them to the ground. A plume of smoke came out from their chests.
From the corridor’s bent other creatures were coming up and the wounded ones around us were about to recuperate, ready to launch another assault.
“Go backwards! – Trag shouted – Go backwards!”
We started pulling back. A small specimen, maybe a cub, crawled swiftly along the rocky wall to hit us from the side, I saw it and without thinking I pierced with my sword the middle of its ribs. He tried to grip my hand with its claws and when I pulled back my blade, it collapsed to the ground, gnashing its teeth and staring at me with a hated look, however still alive. Ernam cut off its head with a cutting blow and pushed me to the bottom of the line. If Kimbar hadn’t grasp me on the fly, I would have fallen. I must admit that the Tamiaras have an excellent recovery when they are knocked down in a fight.
“We got to go away! – he shouted in order to be heard above the confusion – Alìa, get us out of here!”
The Damas reached me and Kimbar at the end of the line, while she kept on shooting to the creatures that were surrounding us: “How long that shield will last?” he asked the psychokinetic.
He looked at me, grinded his teeth and then answered the scout: “Too less.”
The girl shouted to the others to follow her, tightening up and trying to ward off the attacks of those creatures, we came back on our steps. We reached a hall from which various tunnels were branching off and from one of these a group of half a dozen creatures popped up, amid them one Skegar, one of the most dangerous type of Xintars. The purple scales that were on its body were something wonderful and the crest of horns of the same colour on its head and around its shoulders was almost brushing the ceiling. Something inside me broke, but also inside all the other ones, judging from their reactions.
“Oh no …” I heard Kimbar whisper. He stretched his hand and held the blade of my sword. A blue electrical charge traversed the weapon and some tangling went through my hand going up my arm. The sword was sizzling with energy. He moved away and started searching through his pockets in a convulse manner.
“Kimbar, they screwed us! – Ernam reached us almost breathless and turning his back to us pushed away one of the Rixeens with a hit from his big sword – They are coming from the tunnel that leads to the closer exit, Alìa must find another way out, get the kid out!”
“I can’t find my awrmis crystal anymore! – the Tamiara shouted answering him, while he kept on searching through his pockets – It must have fell down when they threw me against the wall!”
“You have a bag full of them, use them!”
“This is not the way it works Ernam, I need the big one to open up a portal and I cannot find it!”
Those two stared each other for some moment, completely dismayed. Trag landed on his back in the middle of us with an open wound on his chest. Instinctively I bent down to help him, but he ordered me to stay behind, while with his hand, freed from his huge spear, covered his wound, closed his eyes and his eyelids started trembling. A wither shade of pale came out from his fingers flooding the gash on his chest stopping immediately his blood loss. Ernam helped him to raise up when he gave him his hand.
“You got to do something more, Trag, – the berserk told him – it is not enough to stop the bleeding, you must close the wound!”
“Do you think this is the right moment, Salk?!” without saying anything else the Graunt got his spear while he deepened its shining awrmis tip in the belly of another Xintar that launched another attack.
From one of the various tunnels converging in the hall we heard the sound of powerful nails scratching the stone and the graceless grunts of other creatures approaching. Alìa’s face whitened reaching almost the diaphanous paleness of the vampire: “They are all coming here to protect the nest! – she shouted with her voice cracked by panic – We shall spread out and find another entrance!!”
At that moment another swarm of breasts burst into the hall. Ernam launched the most frightening scream I ever heard in my whole life.
For a moment all those creatures stopped as if they were frozen and for a second a complete silence fell. Then Ernam screamed again: “Ruuuuuuun!!”
We launched ourselves in every available direction as if gone crazy.
Some hours have gone by and I had no news of the other ones. I don’t know how long those creatures did run after me, I never thought I’d be able to run for so much. I have been compelled to stop in order to take my breath and relax my muscles, but now I have to recuperate and look for an exit, I have rested enough.
[To be continued…]