I whirl, pulling out the sword belted at my hip.
The reference to my sword reminds me of something—I’ve never really described myself to you, have I? Well, I’m tall, long-legged, lean, muscled but not bulkily so, I’m wearing plain leather leggings, a long white tunic belted at the hips, I have fiery red curly hair, pointed ears, and there are a few scattered scars all around my body.
And back to the story.
Anywho, it wasn’t hard to realize who had thrown the rock: Leslie, her face contorted with anger, stood there with her pudgy little hand still raised. Ah, yes, I’d forgotten her feelings for Max. “Save him!” she commands.
Well, I think to myself, she is the princess. Do I have a choice but to do as she commands me?
But, wait…she’s the HUMAN princess. I’m an elf.
I think on it for another instant, before sighing as I realize I truly couldn’t just leave him. Even though he would only slow us down and probably end up getting us into more trouble later on, I wasn’t heartless, much as I wanted to be. I had no choice but to go after him.
Readying myself as best I can, I go in to see what can be done to save him.
Two seconds later, I realize it’s hopeless.
Max is surrounded in the center of the cave, his eyes filled with fear, crouching low and looking terrified. “Avery!” he yells. “Sa-sa-save me!”
I clench my teeth, and look around him wildly. An instant later, I see them too: Little red eyes, staring out at us from the darkness of the cave. Bats.
A heartbeat after that, I feel it: the deep voice throbbing through me, filling me, and commanding me.
The voice of the cave.
YES, the cave has a voice. YES, it’s sentient. YES, it’s populated by bats with red eyes that it controls with its mind. YES, it uses bats to wreak havoc on the world because the cave itself cannot move.
What, this surprised you?
Weird thoughts aside, I had to find a way. Maybe I could reason with the cave, get it to let Max go?
A TRADE WOULD SUFFICE.
Oh, how I wish I had thought that myself….
But it was the cave, speaking to me through my mind.
Of course it was.
Sighing, I asked it silently, What is it you desire?
Very funny. What is it you desire in return for my friend?
YOUR SOUL. I ALREADY TOLD YOU.
You’re not telling me the truth. You couldn’t possibly have the ability to take my soul.
WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?
The fact that I know it’s impossible.
Okay, there seriously was something quite out of the ordinary going on. The cave couldn’t possibly be able to take my soul….Could it?
I was getting a bit too freaked out….
We talk for a while, the cave and I. I realize that I have almost no chance of being let out of here, that I am doomed and it might just be worthwhile to give up right now. It really was that hopeless. There really was very little I could do.
But of course things weren’t going to work out that way….
“You suck at rescues,” I told Anne frankly, sitting on my now badly bruised behind as the bats surrounded us.
“You wouldn’t have needed to be rescued if you had be successful in your rescue of Max.”
We sat there for a few minutes. We were captured, and it really was hopeless for the others to try and free us. They wouldn’t be able to do anything but be captured by the bats the size of our torsos with their massive swords. All in all, Lady White’s quest for the Three Keys had ended before it had even really began.
And who had caused it? Me.
Well….Technically Max who had gotten trapped in the first place, but yet I should have been able to save him. I was an elf, wasn’t I? And let’s not forget a very well-trained magician.
Why hadn’t I used my magic, you ask? Well, the answer’s simple: Bats are…rather immune to magic. Whatever things you try to hit them with only pass through them if they are propelled by magic. Yes, I do realize how little sense that really makes, but this world is one without reason and to try and understand it will only leave you with a very bad headache. Eventually, you learn to cope with the magic and the world the way it is. It’s that, or go insane.
And I wasn’t quite ready to go bonkers.
And why hadn’t I fought my way out? I was a trained fighter. Well, the answer is easy: There are a massive amount of them, and only one me. I might have been able to escape on my own, but with a rather terrified Max and an enraged (but not very refined) Anne to defend as well, I wasn’t at all surprised at my failure.
I could only hope that Lady White would be able to find new people to do this mission for her, and that they would do better at it than I did.
Forgive me, My Lady.
I actually do not care in the least that the cave heard that. I didn’t care at all. I was doomed to die when the cave decided it was time for me to pay for invading its inner sanctuary, and at this stage it was worth it to say that I deserved it. If I had proved myself to be so worthless and useless at completing tasks, what real reason was there for me to continue to live and breathe? In this world, was there even a place left for elves? We had retreated too far into the trees for us to truly be anything resembling owners it the land we used to live upon. And so much of this world was changing. Man, despite not adjusting to magic, had found themselves a new magic: Technology, one that we elves found as confusing as the humans found magic.
Luckily, they actually hadn’t spent all that much time on figuring out how to turn technology into weaponry. All they had were bows, swords, arrows, carriages, and occasionally crossbows if they were really far advanced. But most of the humans weren’t.
And we elves had magic. Spells, enchantments, illusions, mind control, mind reading, and other useful skills. So it was a understatement to say that we were hard to beat.
We just preferred to be left alone. We weren’t creatures made for war. All we were meant to be were peaceful.
And even though I was a possessor of many different skills extremely useful in combat, it didn’t mean I was actually willing to utilize them.
Perhaps it would be best that I changed. Become more of a fighter, less of a peacekeeper.
But no matter what I did now, I was doomed. I wasn’t getting out of here. None of us were.
So what should we do but wait to die?
About five or six minutes later, the weirdest thing happened.
We were rescued by invisible teleporting kitties.
All we heard of them in warning was loud meows coming from absolutely nowhere, scattered from all around.
And then screams.
I saw, all around me, bats flying around wildly as they tried to escape claws that tore deep into their skin, even though they had no visible source. I screamed and laughed, because even though I was terrified I somehow knew that I wouldn’t be touched. That I would not be harmed.
All around us there are fights and screams, blood spurting all around, and the little POPS of temelportation.
I laughed louder and louder.
The cave screamed and howled in rage, demanding to be left alone. But none of the cats listened, and meows of anger turned into howls of victory.
And, before very long, we were freed.
And so we left, to continue our adventure.
Honestly, you shouldn’t be at all surprised. You’ve followed quite a bit of my adventuring already, so why the shocked look at the utterly random teleporting and invisible kitties? It’s not like it matters.
All you should care about is that the story is not over just yet.