8 Battle of wits
Mael is on his way to the inside of the so-called queen's lair and calmly walking in his illuminated path.
The noise of ghouls is very faint and he is hearing his footsteps.
Tak! tak! tak!
The noise of ghouls is getting louder as he threads his path. With the light he is carrying, he can see clearly. The ghouls are getting nearer and nearer. His dagger was gripped tightly and preparing for the upcoming battle.
His own sound of breathing was getting louder as well as the noise of monsters.
Mael heard their shouts and they are approaching in the front.
The screams are coming also coming from the back.
"I'm surrounded!", he exclaimed.
The sound from the steps of the approaching ghouls echoed all throughout the hollow cave. Mael made his fighting stance, then the monsters darted to him. With only a lamp, he can't see the enemies from afar but can only see the fifty-meter radius of the extended range of the floating lantern.
One of the ghouls jumped at him. He made a horizontal slash at the neck while moving sideways. By the time he evaded, another one jumped at him. It was about to bite him. Fortunately, Mael then blocked with his chains wrapped hands and pierced it's the forehead.
Resounded the piercing curve dagger bury on its head after he pulled the dagger.
Mael slashed the ghouls jumping over him, but they were evading rapidly. His cuts were shallow due to the quick attacks of the enemies.
The ghouls kept on regenerating their wounds in seconds. Mael felt quite dismayed about it. All he can do was to cut them with shallow wounds due to the hardy flesh of ghouls.
"Hmmm. Cuts?", he wondered a bit for a second.
"Aha! Eureka!", he said as he kicked a ghoul that made it fly.
He gathered force, while kicking more of them, then unleashed it.
"Ha!", Mael shouted as he released the force.
All incoming ghouls were thrown off and knocked off.
"I only have three seconds for them to stand up", he said while grabbing a bottle in the potion belt.
He uncaps the bottle and poured it to his curve daggers.
"Heh! Poison!", he grinned.
The monsters were getting up as he prepared for another wave.
"Come at me, dimwits!", he shouted.
Roars echoed in the tunnels and their noise was deafening. The monsters, then launched an attack. He was making the offense this time. He aggressively cuts them by his dagger.
Sometime in the past, his father taught him the manner of cutting an enemy in rapid motions.
"Mael, the technique to do this rapid cuts is to synchronize your two hands like whirling water. Be careful not to collide your right with your left, and then lastly, attack with speed and power", Melvin said to him while patting his head.
"Yes, dad. I've instilled it in my mind", Mael replied.
Mael grinned as he remembered his father. He closed his eyes, then focused while the ghoul jumped at him.
Slash! slash! slash!
The three ghouls are slashed instantly, then slashed again the upcoming ones.
"One. Two. And Three!", he counted then the ghouls he slashed were knocked down.
It's called Rabid viper poison. Its effects were: first, it paralyzes the victim after three seconds; two, making the victim pass out in ten seconds; and last, killing it slowly in an hour.
Mael chuckled as he saw that the poison is taking effect and still continuing on slashing them. He evaded and slashed one ghoul after another. The ones that were getting near were kicked away.
His rapid slashes continues. But his floating lantern is barely coping up with his speed. He made sure that he can only cut one and to never cut twice a single ghoul.
After half an hour, the ghouls were all lying on the floor. Whining on the pain the poison has caused, he stands solitarily and his lantern in the piling bodies.
"Let's proceed to the next place, let's go floating lantern", he said to his companion but it didn't reply anything.
For Mael, it is okay to have someone to talk to for some time.
Mael traveled again in the tunnel and he saw that the path is getting wider, he then exited the tunnel and arrived at the right place.
"The queen's chamber!", he exclaimed as he saw a wide dome that is littered with bones and dead bodies.
He can't see the extent of the ceiling because of his lantern's limit. He scanned the surroundings and luckily, nothing is in there but only a pile of dead bodies and bones.
"Damn! Am I too late? Please be alive!", he screamed in his mind.
He starts to find the missing girl and he has no clues to what she is wearing.
"Damn! That old man didn't even tell me what she was wearing. I also forgot to ask about it!", he cursed in his mind.
He began to be desperate while finding when he saw a girl with a red dress. He saw that she has claw marks in her hands but it's only a shallow wound. She still breathes, but it was just faint. The problem is, half of her body was stuck from piled bodies.
"Hang in there, girl. You're going home soon", he said in his mind.
He pulled the bodies that were piling over her. He successfully pulled her out. He lifted her head and assisted her to drink a health potion.
She surprisingly drank it hastily due to her thirst.
"Hello can you hear me?", he asked.
The girl opened up her eyes and then blinked three times.
"Are you okay?", he asked.
The girl is silent and didn't reply to him.
The girl shouted and Mael felt alarmed, he turned around and was shocked by what she was seeing.
There was something big glaring at them from the dark. At the ceiling with a grim face who has large jaws. Big enough to shake the ground as she lands on the ground.
Mael shouted and the girl immediately runs towards the exit. Mael grabs his daggers to throw it to her, but she smashed his floating lantern. Making him blind. Darkness everywhere.
The dagger continued its flight towards the ghoul mother and successfully stabbing her. But the downside, Mael lost his sight in the process. Mael pulled his chains, wrapping it on his hands. He closed his eyes, because it's useless. He used his ears instead.
"Feel the breathing, the distance, the footsteps", he said in his mind while focusing.
"Twenty meters away, three o'clock", he estimated in his mind.
Mael listened to her breathing and then launched attacks in her direction.
"Rapid slash! Chained dagger edition!", he attacked furiously to where she was and he can feel that she is taking the blows.
She screamed at the pain and her bloodlust to him is heightening. She followed the direction of the chains and came thrashing all over.
Bang! bang! bang!
Mael was evading until he stumbled upon a corpse and tripped. His body smashed the floor and landed on a body.
As he crawled upon the floor, the ghoul mother was still trashing all over. He crawls and crawls and then saw faint light to the exit. He crawls slowly then heard a loud scream.
Mael felt alarmed when he realized who it is.
"The girl!", he shouted in his mind.
Without a doubt, it was the girl he was trying to save. He immediately runs to the exit stealthily and saw the floating lantern next to the child. The child was being held by a ghoul on her neck. Mael was struck by a great dread.
"Release her!!!", he shouted but the ghoul wounds her neck and throws her away instead.
Mael nearly broke down. He blamed himself for his incompetence to protect the child from the monster.
Filled with rage, he gripped his dagger then slashed it furiously like never before in his life. He executed a stab in the belly with all his force then ripped it with all his might. He stabbed once more, but right now he buried it on it's neck. He twisted it and pulled. He stabbed it repeatedly and the ghoul kept wailing until it died from the poison.
He immediately scanned the wound in her neck and then pulled his last health potion. He removed the cap and trickled it to the wound. Luckily, the wound was shallow. It was closing slowly until it is healed.
Mael nearly cried, he never felt so relieved in his life before. Droplets of tears are coming from his eyes.
"We're coming home, we're coming home", he said as he caressed her hair.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Banging sounds echoed in the tunnel and his emotional feelings vanished.
"You! You will pay for everything that you've done in my land, my people, and my hometown", he shouted as he launched to the Ghoul mother.
With the poison already working, the ghoul mother was weakened, fighting for her last breath. Her life is on the last part of its flight.
Mael jumped at her, stabbing to her eyes. Sliced his daggers upwards. The ghoul mother screamed, then it showed its throat to him. He got his chance to attack once more, he slashed its throat and its scream has ended.
Mael finished her off and her body is slowly fading. He then saw that it left a golden stone. Mael took the stone and wondered what it is. He lifted it, narrowing his eyes as he surveyed it. But he couldn't figure out what it was.
"I'm gonna let it be identified if I get back to the Golden Valley", he said as stored it to his backpack.
While he was talking, the girl moved and feels her neck.
"Ahhhh!!! Am I dead?", she screamed in surprise.
"No. Silly girl!", Mael said as he pinched her in the cheeks.
"Hey, who are you? Where's my dad?", she asked.
"Your dad is waiting outside. We have to hurry, because he will be leaving soon", Mael said as he remembered that the one-hour agreement is almost up.
"The dungeon was cleared! All the monsters are exterminated! Initiate closing of the dungeon!"
The unknown voice resounded in the dungeon and the ground is trembling.
"Let's hurry! The dungeon is closing!", Mael shouted as she piggy-backed her.
Mael dashed and the floating lantern is following them. They encompassed the forest and saw the gate.
"Are you excited to meet your father? We're gonna meet him soon", Mael said to her
"Yeah!", she said as she began to cry.
Mael jumped to the gate and then saw everyone.
"The young master is back! He's alive", shouted Maledic and then they all cheered together.