Chapter XXVI: The Power Within (13/18)Mature

She quickly sat Laguna down on the bed, then turned to head back out into the fray. She gasped, a hooded guard stood in the doorway, a growl rising from the darkness of his face. Carmen quickly looked in her peripheral for a weapon, but there was nothing except a beaker half-full of water. She grabbed it and threw it at him pitifully, but he walked slowly forward, his bony, claw-like hands flexing dangerously, reaching towards her.

'Stay back,' she said, trying to sound menacing, but failing. Suddenly, a pitcher flew towards him and hit him on the head, the hood fell back and he ducked to the ground seething. Carmen saw that Laguna had crawled over the bed to a coffee table and thrown the contents, the journey tiring her. The guard stood back up, showing his face, and Carmen screamed.

The guard's face was sallow, barely any flesh left, almost translucent. They were eyeless, a membrane of flesh over the sockets, stringy flesh over a toothless, always-open mouth. The pitcher had broken its neck, and its head sagged to the side, but it was relentless and tried to start towards them, shrieking loudly. Suddenly, its life ended unexpectedly, and the body turned to a plume of black mist before their eyes.

'Those were...' gasped Laguna, 'they're Shades. Legions of the dead?'

'How did the Mastery get a hold of them?' Carmen asked,

'I'd rather not ask.'

'I have to get back to Karn'el -,' she began to say, but heard a thump behind her. She saw that Laguna had tried to stand, using the armchair to support herself, but she'd fallen back to the ground. Carmen ran to help her, crouching beside her.

'I'll be fine,' Laguna said quietly, 'you should go. Help your brothers.' For the second time, Carmen made to stand, but heard the drapes open behind her. She turned, hoping that it would be one of her brothers, instead, she had to deal with Sapphire, standing with most of the jewels of her bodice missing, the skirts ripped and stained with dirt.

'You,' she spat, she looked furious and maddened, her eyes lit by the fire. 'You little bitches! You've ruined everything!' 

The End

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