The morning fog was cool on my skin, and as we neared the monastery, I could see that Marx was getting more and more restless. We'd all been pretty spooked when Marx told us about Olaf. I don't like the fact that we still have no idea what was waiting for us, and the tension in the air was unbearable.
"Heeey Marx," I sidled up to him, giving him my creepiest grin, "You scared that old man would jump out and start talking about tomatoes?" I wiggled my eyebrows at his unsmiling face, "How the skin sliiides of the muscle so well." I preferred joking about things rather than let them worry me. Marx let out a small laugh, but I could tell that he's absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this.
"Loosen up," I told him, elbowing him in the ribs, "It's probably just some spirits that got lost on their way to the afterlife. We'll be back to the Guild no time. You'll keep blowing things up, Carissa's gonna keep getting mad at people, and I'll go back to my precious computers."
Dammit, I thought as I paused slightly in my tracks, I should've shut them down. Marx smiled, "Yeah, we should all calm down a bit. This mission has been a bit stressful for all of us, I think, and it's almost over."
I scoffed at his remark. This was probably the worst mission I've been on since my training days.
"We're here," Carissa announced as we finally climbed the last stone steps, and stood at the top of the cliff. I could see the whole town from this height, and the mountains all around me, covered in snow and clouds. In front of us there was a huge entrance, carved intricately out of vivid, yellow orange wood. Huge metal doors were set into them.
Carissa had barely stepped aside when a shaft of energy blasted past her and into the door.
"Watch it, Lancer!" she snapped, "And blast through the wood, not the metal."
Marx sent another blast at the gates, and it finally creaked open. "I don't want to ruin the carvings." he said simply.
We stepped through into a small courtyard. Weeds grew through the cracks in the pavement, and piles of dead leaves were littered everywhere.
Carissa frowned, "This is weird. I don't sense any magical energy. There should be something if the monastery is acting this way."
"It's probably shielded," I said as I moved past her onto the next doorway, "We'll find it, break it, and neutralize the threat behind it." I wanted to get this over with as quickly as I could, just like Marx. I don't like dealing with enemies I can't see.
Inside the monastery, it was just as abandoned. A thick layer of dust lay over the floor, and paint was peeling from the walls. Dirty windows let in a few tiny rays of light, but the lack of life was what unnerved me the most.
"There's no animals," I told the rest of my team as they entered, "It should be infested with rats or raccoons, but there's nothing at all."
Marx suddenly let out a yelp, "Guys, I think I saw some red eyes. Let's get out of here and look somewhere else." His frightened expression was something I'd never expected to see on his face. Something was wrong here.
I took a few fairy lights out of my pocket, and set them adrift. "It's probably some animal, it won't bother us."
"No, they were human eyes," Marx insisted, "I need to get out." He stumbled towards the door blindly, but it slammed shut in front of his face.
"Marx," I called, trying to keep my voice steady. If Marx was scared, I didn't know how I would feel, "We can take care of this, just-"
A pair of red eyes appeared at the corner of my vision, right next to me. A burst of panic exploded inside me, and I almost screamed. When I turned to see who they belonged to, there were only the shadows that the light orbs cast.
Carissa was getting uncomfortable too. "Okay, spirit, demon, ghost, whatever you are, come out! There's no use playing with us, and we'll blow this house down if we need to. Either we help you move on, or we completely destroy you." Her voice shook a little, and I knew that she saw the eyes too.
The light from the orbs wasn't enough, and I was suddenly frozen with fear. Tendrils of shadow twisted towards the lights, and the room temperature had suddenly dropped. I could feel a chilly presence behind me.
Then, in a single motion, the shadows darted forward and snuffed out the light. I heard a scream, and I didn't know if it was Carissa's or Marx's, or mine.
Panic was starting to take over my mind, and I wanted to run. My chest felt like there was a heavy weight pressed on it, and the darkness seemed to press down on me, pierced only by the red eyes that appeared and disappeared around me.
Calm down, calm down, I thought. I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with air, but I could still feel
Don't think about the eyes, I said to myself, Focus on something complicated.
That poison I was developing, what was it's name again? Void. That was it. It's supposed to make the victim lose all of their 5 senses. I've gotten sight, smell, taste, and hearing down, but touch was really hard. In my mind, I conjured up the computer simulation, the transparent little human that rotated round and round. I counted the rotations, and slowly, the beating of my heart slowed, and I found that I could move again.
Stay calm, I told myself over and over as I reached into my pocket for a night vision potion. My fingers drank the whole bottle and waited for it to take effect. Then I finally opened my eyes, ready to assess the situation.
Carissa was on the ground, in a corner to my left. Her mouth was moving, but no words coming out. Her scythe was in front of her, shaking slightly as she held it unsteadily. Marx was across the room, flinging his arms around, no doubt trying to use his magic. He seemed to be shouting too, but all I heard was silence.
Human-like figures drifted and darted around us, seemingly made of smoke. There were so many of them, crowded together in the tiny room. I searched in my memory for any knowledge of them. It's about time all those classes came in handy.
Shadow people. They create and feed on fear, draining the vitality of the living in the process. Now that I knew what they were, my fear ebbed a little.
I wanted to take a few calming potions, but I didn't trust them to keep the them at bay. Already I could feel fear and panic creeping back into my mind. I didn't want to be unprepared if the potion loses its effect, or become scared that it doesn't work. Right now I just need to stay calm and create a plan.
Step one, disable the shield that's preventing Marx and Carissa's magic. Step two, get rid of the shadow people. Or should it be the other way around? Blinded, scared, and armed, Marx and Carissa could hurt each other. But they needed to fight the shadow people with magic. For a moment I felt overwhelmingly confused and scared, but I dug my fingernails into my palm and focused on the pain instead.
A lightbulb flickered on in my thoughts, and I felt a rush of happiness that washed away the fear. I knew just what I needed, and of course, when I reached into my pockets, there they were. A Flash bomb and a remote control detonator.The bomb would release out a wave of bright light that's meant to blind enemies. In this case, it can hopefully disable the shadow people for a while. It didn't take long for me to sync them together.
"Okay, okay," I said out loud, and the sound of my own voice reassured me, "First I'll find the shield, and detonate the bomb. Carissa and Marx would get a hold of themselves, and when I disable the shield, they'll get their magic back. They'll fight back, and we'll be fine."
I breathed in again, filling my lungs with oxygen. "We'll be fine. It's going to work." I forced myself to smile as I opened the next door.