Great [Monster] Journey 5

RSanon Nov 17th, 2013 2,816 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. “Hey. Wake up.”
  3. Galen blinked, focusing on the figure standing over him. Yawning, he sat up, working the kinks out of his neck. “What is it?”
  5. “Where’s that paste you used on my wing?” Her tone was rather direct.
  7. “Why do you want it?”
  9. “Because you’ve got cuts on your back and I want to put the paste on them before you get infected.”
  11. He brought his knees up and hugged them, smirking at Seira. “I wonder how they got there.”
  13. “Do you want my help or not? It can’t be easy for you to fix up your own back.”
  15. “Alright, alright. There should be a small brown container in my pack. It might not still be good. You’ll have to pour some water in it. If it’s still greenish, it’s fine, but if it’s red or brown it’s no good.” Galen yawned again, stretching his arms, and started shifting his weight to his legs to get up, but Seira stopped him with a paw.
  17. “No. You don’t get up until I’m done.” She reached over to his pack, rummaging through it for the paste.
  19. “You’re bossy this morning. Grumpy?” Galen gave her an exaggerated frown, opening and closing his mouth like a fish.
  21. “Not at all.” Her search came to a halt, her brow furrowing. For several seconds, she didn’t move a muscle.
  23. “What is it?”
  25. “Nothing… I think.” Her face lit up. “Ah!” She pulled out the paste, popping the wooden container open and pouring a bit of Galen’s water on it. The paste had begun to brown, but there was still a definite tint of green to it. She brought the paste over. “Shirt off and turn around.”
  27. Galen complied, but helped himself to a quip as he did so. “Are you sure you’re not going to just give me new scratches?”
  29. “I have every intention of giving you new scratches. Just not now.” She was hardly gentle with he application of the paste, but Galen figured her paws weren’t really made for delicacy. Still, the cool, moist substance felt good where the cuts burned into him. He let out a long sigh, looking up to the sky and greeting the sun as it greeted him. Her fur tickled him where it ran across his bare skin, making him breathe in sharply.
  31. “You should use the rest of it on your wing when you’re done. It’ll go bad by the end of today, anyways. Might as well make use of it.”
  33. Seira paused in her task. “Thank you.”
  35. Galen smiled, enjoying the morning breeze as he looked out over the ruins of Silere. He thought not of the work ahead, but rather last night. Seira’s shift in personality almost like a switch had flipped in her head had caught him by surprise, but he had soon found himself enjoying it. Not just what she had done with her tail, but witnessing how she went about it. Last night she had truly been in her element, revealing to Galen a side of her beyond the analytic, almost strict Seira he’d come to know. While he still didn’t understand everything about her actions from that night, he’d learned much and was hopeful to learn more. Seira had agreed to help him, after all.
  37. “Say, Seira, why are you doing this? Not exactly something I expected out of you after last night.”
  39. “Because you’re no good if you drop dead from an infection. Plus, I’m the one that did this in the first place. It makes sense that I would fix it.”
  41. He shrugged, not wanting to dig any further, but something told him there was more to it. “You ready for another day of work? I’m sure we’ll find that secret room today!”
  43. “No need. Look to your right and down a bit.”
  45. Galen’s gaze followed her direction. Next to him stood a fireplace, somehow still intact after so many years. His eyes slowly traced downward until…
  47. “Woah! You found it!” He almost leapt up in excitement, but Seira’s paw darted out and grabbed his shoulder, pulling him back down.
  49. “Not done yet! Sit still.”
  51. Galen’s face quivered, his smile threatening to burst free of the confines of his face. His muscles tensed, ready to spring forward the second Seira was finished. He’d done it! He’d found it! Well, technically it was Seira, but still! He put a hand to his chest to still his beating heart. Calm down. He had to calm down. His enthusiasm was getting the better of him again. He still needed to actually get open up the secret room. All he’d done was find it.
  53. “Done.”
  55. Galen exploded upward throwing his fist into the air and yelling “Ha!” He immediately began jogging in place, pumping his arms as fast as he could. After a short time of that, he moved onto stretching, his face red with effort and anticipation.
  57. “You’re doing your morning routine now? When the thing you’re looking for is right there?” Seira said, wiping the last of the paste on her wing.
  59. “I have to do it to have a good day! No matter what!” He hopped up and down, exhaling on each landing. Someone with no morning routine like Seira probably wouldn’t understand, but that was fine. To finish things up, he pounded his fists together, yelling, “Alllll-right!”
  61. Rushing back over to the fireplace, he shot Seira a grin. She attempted to remain wary of his giddiness, but his spirit was too much for her and she smiled back. Galen’s hands hovered over the lizardman symbol, trying to decide what to do. Could he just press it? Was there a puzzle of some sort? Whatever. He wouldn’t get anywhere without some experimentation! He started by slamming his fist down on it, hoping it was a button. The only thing he got out of that was a sharp pain in his knuckles. Narrowing his eyes, he positioned himself to get a good hold on the rock. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed it and twisted as hard as he could.
  63. It gave way. Galen heard a click after one full rotation and backed away, waiting.
  65. The bottom of the fireplace groaned, shaking off centuries of ache and dust as it opened up. Galen’s eyes widened with the slow removal of the stone slab guarding his prize. Clasping his hands together, he hopped up and down, running over to Seira and hugging her tight. She gawked at the ambush, but didn’t pry him off, instead giving him a pat on the back, a silent congratulations. As soon as the sound of scraping stone ceased, Galen pulled back from the hug, seizing one of Seira’s paws and pulling her along.
  67. “Let’s go!”
  69. “Okay, okay. Be careful, though. We don’t know what’s down there.”
  71. The stone slab had revealed a narrow staircase leading into darkness. Seira’s instincts told here there was more down there than shadow, but it’d been four hundred years. How could anything still be alive down there?
  73. They both had to duck to get past the fireplace façade, but the stairwell didn’t go far, opening up to a long, decent-sized room. From the stairway to the far end of the room was probably thirty feet by Galen’s guess and less than half that between the walls on his sides. The walls, the floor, every surface was caked in dust. Galen’s throat itched as soon as he drew a breath, but he swallowed to keep it down. The light from the stairwell didn’t illuminate the place well, but it did the job. His eyes scanned the room. The walls and ceiling were plain, made of pure, smooth stone, a single slab as far as he could tell. Impossible without magic. The floor was soft, covered in a pad of some sort, completely clear but for a black shape, probably a table, near the back. Galen squinted, giving his eyes a moment to adjust. Definitely a table. Atop it sat a stand of some sort, wooden and not very tall, maybe a couple feet long with four prongs reaching out. The upper two held a black object, gently curved with the apex pointing to the sky. The way it reflected the light, Galen could tell it had once been polished under all that dust. Amazing it kept any sort of sheen after so long. One end of it was plain, but the other looked rippled and didn’t shine like the rest. He took a few cautious steps forward, releasing Seira’s hand. That almost looked like a guard. A sword guard.
  75. The flash of recognition shook his entire body. His knee wobbled and his heart skipped a beat. Sweat poured down his neck, his breathing growing heavier with each step forward. His hand, almost afraid of what it might touch, trembled when he raised it. His fingers moved closer, closer, infinitely close, hovering a whisper above the object. Galen took a deep, slow breath, trying to calm his body. It wouldn’t do to be shaking in excitement around a blade, but he couldn’t deny himself the bulging ecstasy within. His dream, not even inches away. His hands moved to either side of the guard and closed around the object. Gently, like it could shatter into a thousand pieces with a single erroneous movement, he lifted it from its stand. The object was light for a sword and well-balanced as far as he could tell. He took a step backward and turned, allowing the light from the stairwell to wash over the precious object.
  77. It was exactly as he thought. One of his hands was on what was unmistakably a sword hilt, woven with a fine thread, a pattern of red diamonds touching points going from the guard to the end of the hilt. On the other side of the guard, Galen held a dusty yet silk-smooth sheath. He could also tell the sword had a definite curve to it. He found it odd, but assumed it was like that for a purpose. Unable to grin through the awe, he looked to Seira. Her arms were crossed under her breasts, watching that sword as closely as Galen had been. She met his eyes with elation in her own.
  79. Galen brought the sword up to eye level, just like all the heroes drew their swords in dad’s stories when they dueled. He gripped the hilt so hard his hand hurt, then gave the sword the tiniest pull.
  81. The blade came free.
  83. An inch of solid metal stared at Galen, gleaming in the light, reflecting a odd, wavy pattern on one half of the blade and a dull silver on the other. Was the blade only on one side? Keeping his eyes on the sword, he pulled the sheath away, eyes glowing in wonder as the ate up the sight. The sheath soon came free and Galen held it off to the side. Unfortunately, the act revealed something very, very wrong with the blade.
  85. It was broken at the half-way point.
  87. “W-w-what?” muttered Galen. This was Toneruth! The legendary blade, Scarlet Lightning! It was supposed to have carved the Scar of the World with a single strike! He turned to the sheath, flipping it upside down. The other half of the blade fell out, hitting the floor with a clang.
  89. He looked to Seira, hoping for some kind of an answer, an explanation, but she was just as shocked as he. They exchanged glances, then looked back to the lonely sword piece on the ground.
  91. “It’s broken? And why is it only sharp on one side? Is this some kind of trick?” He fell to his knees reaching for the broken-off half of the sword.
  93. He had little time to lament, however. A rush of footsteps came from the stairwell, grabbing Galen’s attention. Coming down the steps was a well-built woman, a foot taller than Galen with an agile and muscular body. She wore near-skin-tight leather clothing, covering only her neck, chest, waist, and most of her legs but for her inner thighs. She also wore what looked like boots and gloves, but they only covered from the wrist or ankle upward. Her bare feet and hands were scaly and tough, much like a reptile. She leveled a stare at him, intense yet calm, yellow eyes with a black slit down the middle. Like Galen did to her, she analyzed his body, making quick mental notes as her eyes moved. Brilliant golden-brown hair covered her head, kept in a bun secured by a green ribbon matching the color of her scales and clothing. Her hands were wrapped around the hilt of a sword which looked exactly like Toneruth, only unbroken. It gleamed in the light, a terrifying presence when whole.
  95. Without a doubt, this was a lizardman. And if she had the unbroken blade…
  97. “This is a fake, isn’t it? I’m taking the real one!” shouted Galen, hopping to his feet.
  99. “Huh?” said Seira, looking back and forth between Galen and the stairs, confusion plain on her face.
  101. The lizardman adopted a stance, holding her sword in front. “This is not the blade you are looking for, but for this fight, it is what you need.” She lunged forward. “Prepare yourself!”
  103. Galen dropped the useless broken blade and drew his trusty longsword. He had plenty of time to see the lizardman’s attack and she made no effort to feint. He held his sword up, ready to parry and counterattack. With a shout, she struck, her sword whistling as it traveled downward.
  105. Right through Galen’s sword.
  107. He froze in shock, seeing death before his eyes as her strike cut clean through his chest down to his waist. His body froze up where the blow struck, turning icy and numb. Breathing became difficult, coming only in wheezes. He felt like puking, stumbling back into the table behind him. Clutching his chest, he glared at the lizardman, frustrated to lose to easily, to die so simply. His grip tightened on his sword.
  109. “That piece of metal will never block my blade. Use the other!”
  111. Galen’s eyes darted down to the broken Toneruth at her feet. That one was a fake, right? Why did she want him to use it? And was this fight already over? He squeezed his chest where she’d cut, realizing he didn’t feel blood. Looking down, he saw his clothes were still intact as well. The blade hadn’t touched him! But why was it so difficult to breathe? Why was his skin freezing cold?
  113. “Galen? What’s wrong?” asked Seira.
  115. “The cut didn’t cut!”
  117. “What?” she asked, cocking her head.
  119. “I will give you no more time!” yelled the lizardman, charging forward again.
  121. Her next attack went for Galen’s head. He barely reacted in time, ducking under the strike, then turned the duck into a roll. While the roll disoriented him, I put him past the lizardman and right next to the fallen Toneruth. He grimaced at it, but picked it up anyways. He took a few steps away from his opponent before spinning around. He felt ridiculous fighting with half a sword, but if it was the only thing that could block hers, he didn’t have a choice.
  123. “What are you doing?” asked Seira.
  125. “What do you mean? I’m fighting the lizardman!”
  127. “What lizardman?”
  129. “Huh? Woah!”
  131. Galen hollered as he jumped back, the lizardman relentless in her assault. He couldn’t afford to give Seira any attention while the battle continued. The next strike came from his side. Tightening his grip on Toneruth, he held it up to parry, hoping the lizardman wasn’t fooling with him. The clang of meeting swords gave him his answer. The force behind her attack was impressive, almost breaking Galen’s stance, but he held on. With a step forward, he shoved her sword aside and leaned in for an attack of his own. The swing was awkward, given the sword didn’t have as much weight as Galen was used to, and completely failed at connecting, the blade whiffing by a few inches. Now recovering from his swing and well within the lizardman’s guard, he expected a knee or punch to his face, but she instead tried to attack with her sword again. She had to shift her grip and build momentum for the swing, giving Galen just enough time to dance back out of the way.
  133. Bringing up his default stance again, Galen walked to the side, trying to figure out what she was aiming to do. Whatever sword she was using could only be blocked by Toneruth--something she personally told him--and it couldn’t actually cut him, only weaken where it struck his body. In addition, she had a perfect chance to hit him with a kick or punch, but instead used her sword. Maybe she can’t for whatever reason, or maybe she’s only interested in swordplay.
  135. She took a sharp step forward, pulling her sword back for a diagonal strike downward and Galen immediately moved Toneruth to block, but the movement was a feint. With a flick of her wrists, her sword tip dipped downward and the attack came from below. Galen tried to jump backward to avoid it, but he didn’t have the proper balance after moving to block. Her sword caught his chin and nose, numbing them instantly. The room seemed to waver as his sense of smell was robbed from him. He was surprised how significant his nose had been. He’d always through it fighting was all about vision and hearing.
  137. This fight was not his to win, Galen realized. The lizardman had more strength and endurance than him, both from the fact she was monster, not human, and that she had trained her body for physical exertion. Her frame and muscles made that much obvious. He’d have to try something risky. He turned his body to face the lizardman, chest forward instead of toward the side. He held Toneruth diagonally across his chest, out in front of his body. His father had told him of a technique one of the adventurers in his stories used to use. By presenting the chest, it gave the enemy a tempting target. Usually enemies would go after the heart, which is what Galen was hoping.
  139. “After a few clashes, your posture is already falling apart? This will not do.” The lizardman pulled her sword back, directing the tip at Galen. Exactly what he wanted. His technique was mostly useless against slashing attacks, but a piercing strike or stab would fall right into his trap.
  141. He clamped his mouth shut, his jaw tight and stance rigid. He could feel the sweat pouring down his face as he stared at that sword. He had to know exactly where it was.
  143. Her body exploded into action, sending her sword tip right where Galen wanted it. Had they not been standing so far away, his reaction would have been too slow, but he caught her strike just in time. He swatted at her blade with Toneruth, catching it as it moved forward. His left hand slipped up his blade and pushed against the flat of hers, nudging the stab to the left while he stepped forward with his right foot. In his right hand, he kept Toneruth, jabbing it forward as he stepped. Her attack went wide, missing his shoulder by less than an inch. Meanwhile, his sword darted forward to her exposed chest. Exhilaration washed over him as he watched his blade move closer and closer. He’d done it!
  145. Everything came to a halt just before he connected. Her left hand had left her blade at the last second, seizing Galen’s wrist and holding it in place. Grunting, he tried to yank his hand away, frustrated with her for stealing his victory, but he couldn’t budge. She was far too strong.
  147. “This is adequate,” she said, withdrawing her blade and tossing Galen’s wrist to the side. Her stance relaxed and she sheathed her sword. “I can work with you.”
  149. “Huh?” His hands dropped to his sides. She’d just been testing him?
  151. “Whether or not you have the intelligence to master the blade remains to be seen, but you have the requirements.”
  153. “What just happened?” he asked.
  155. “That’s my question!” said Seira, grabbing his shoulder and spinning him around to face her. “What the heck were you doing?”
  157. “The lizardman fought me.” He pointed a thumb at the subject of attention.
  159. “There’s no one there! You’ve been fighting an invisible lizardman!”
  161. The lizardman coughed, getting Galen’s attention. “Have her touch the hilt. It will explain things.”
  163. He shrugged, offering the hilt of Toneruth to Seira. “Here, she says touch this.”
  165. Seira looked at Galen like he might be crazy, but gripped the hilt anyways. Her paw snapped back a second after contact and she yelped, shaking her paw and blowing on it. “Sweet mother of monkeys that thing’s hot! How are you holding it?”
  167. He looked at the blade, testing the temperature in different spots. “Doesn’t feel hot to me.”
  169. “It will feel that way to any monster,” said the lizardman, stepping forward.
  171. “Woah,” said Seira, eyes widening for a second as she looked over the lizardman. “So you’re the lizardman Galen was just fighting? How come I didn’t see you?”
  173. The lizardman looked back and forth between Seira and Galen. “There is much I must explain. Let us go outside and sit where it’s comfortable.”
  175. Seira and the lizardman ascended the stairs. Galen collected his old sword, the broken-off tip of Toneruth, and its sheath and followed after his companions. He had a hundred questions running through his head and hoped every one of them had an answer. His mood was wedged between excited and saddened; excited from the discovery of Toneruth and the following battle, but saddened the blade had been broken. Hopefully the lizardman could tell him how to fix it.
  177. The outside air hit him with a strong wind as he emerged. He felt the dust he’d collected in that dingy room blowing off of him. The air out here was heavenly compared to down there. He found he could smell again as well, the scent of grass and sweat filling his nose. Seira was leaning up against the fireplace remains while the lizardman sat cross-legged a short distance away.
  179. “You okay?” asked Seira.
  181. “Yeah, I’m fine. A little overwhelmed, that’s all.”
  183. She nodded in reply. Galen stepped by Seira, taking a seat in front of the lizardman, laying the sheathed Toneruth out in front of him. She didn’t seem too concerned with much of anything at the moment, looking at Galen and the sword with passivity. Her posture presented her as a proper monster, back straight, arms resting on her knees, head held up and chin level.
  185. “You may want to sit. This could take time,” she said to Seira.
  187. “I’m fine where I am, thanks.”
  189. Galen asked the first thing that came to mind.
  191. “Is this the real Toneruth?”
  193. “The sword before you was the very one used by the well-known man Solvet to rend the earth and kill the monster lord Suusuub II during the reign of King Aegin over four hundred years ago. It was forged under the name ‘Tellus’, though as you have called it Toneruth I would assume it has earned a different name.” Her reply was spoken without emotion or bias, plain but not disinterested.
  195. Galen exhaled slowly. So this was the very weapon he had been searching for, and it was indeed broken. He knew he shouldn’t focus on the negatives, but how instead to overcome them.
  197. “Why is it broken?”
  199. “The magic that makes it powerful also has drawbacks. The blade itself is fragile in comparison to others, and without a strong will to carry it in battle, it may break when used. I was not present for the breaking, but had Solvet used it in any fight after destroying Suusuub, the risk of breaking would have been high.”
  201. Seira added her own question. “Saying you weren’t present during the breaking implies you were at some other point back then. Is that true?”
  203. “Yes.”
  205. “How old are you?” asked Galen.
  207. The lizardman’s mouth curled into a frown. “That is not so simply answered. Would you like to know how many years it has been since my day of birth, or how long I have been living?”
  209. “Uhh.” Galen scratched his head. “I guess both?”
  211. “It has been 1382 years since my date of birth. I have been alive for 1005.”
  213. “Geez!” said Galen, snapping his head back. “I didn’t know monsters lived that long!”
  215. “We don’t,” said Seira. “Even the oldest monsters don’t live for more than a thousand years, and lizardmen are not among the longest-living monsters.”
  217. “Correct. We usually live to around 500 years, no longer than 600.”
  219. “Wow! And humans only live for like eighty! That’s amazing you live so long.” He turned to Seira. “So how old do manitcores get?”
  221. “Depends. If we’re active without over-exerting ourselves and we feed regularly, we can get up close to 600. Not much different than lizardmen.”
  223. “Well then you should stop over-exerting yourself with all this running!”
  225. “Aww, how cute that you’re concerned for me. But I wouldn’t want to live a boring life like that.”
  227. “How old are you now?”
  229. She smirked. “I thought it was rude among humans to ask that.”
  231. “W-well, I guess.” Galen felt his cheeks burn red.
  233. “Good thing I’m a monster and I don’t care about that. I’m 115 years old.”
  235. Galen turned back to the lizardman, smiling. “This is cool! I’m surrounded by really old and wise monsters!”
  237. With a swift, smooth strike, Seira backhanded Galen in the head, causing him to yelp and rub his head where it was hit.
  239. “I said you could ask my age, not call me old.”
  241. “You’re no fun,” he grumbled, then turned back to the lizardman. “So how are you so old?”
  243. “That is best answered if I tell you my story.” She put a hand to her chest, closing her eyes and exhaling almost like she was meditating. “My name is Sybyll. For the first 252 years of my life, I was unextraordinary, if a bit rebellious. I had something of a natural talent for learning the art of swordplay, but was too concerned with brawling and other reckless activities to set aside the time to learn it in earnest. My peers would often defeat me in duels, though I was not without my own victories. My style was unorthodox, crude, and often ineffective against a trained swordsman, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
  245. “After those 252 years, however, a blacksmith, a human mage, and a succubus mage visited the village my particular tribe of lizardmen called home. The three had a decree from both the king and the ruling monster lord at the time giving them absolute authority in their mission. They did not outright state their mission, but instead called upon our village to host a tournament. We are all too willing to accommodate, as we reveled in any chance to display our fighting prowess. It was not my wish at the time to join the tournament, as I preferred less-structured fights, but was compelled to by the village leadership. All in all, nearly 200 lizardmen participated. Every single match was observed by the three travelers.
  247. “My matches were nothing of note in the grand scheme of the tournament. I lost my fourth fight to someone who lost in the next round, so there was little to be proud of in my performance. As I walked away from my final match, defeated, I caught the eyes of the visitors. All three were watching me, not the victor, as I left the field. I remember curiosity, resignation, and hope in those stares. The blacksmith in particular bled a certain flavor of pity. It made my stomach churn.
  249. “The tournament went on as expected and the visitors gave the winner a prize of considerable worth. I do not remember what it was, as I had endeavored to forget the ordeal altogether. They then departed, and were not seen from again for another two months. But they did return.”
  251. Sybyll opened her eyes, flashing grave anguish at Galen. “I perhaps should have been more wary of them, for on their return, they asked to see me. They told me the true purpose of their visit had not been to crown a winner, but to find a suitable candidate. They had traveled to all the known dwellings of lizardmen and held a tournament, observing every participant for the necessary qualifications. After their journey, they had decided on me.
  253. “They explained they were forging a blade, one to maintain the balance of power between human and monster. A war between the two had recently ended, nearly resulting in the utter defeat of man. Only with the power of magic borrowed from the succubi did the humans manage to hold their own, and even then just barely. The monster lord had recognized how important it was for humans to be able to live, as without males, monsters would never reproduce. The aggressive nature of many monsters, if left unchecked, could lead to an eventual extinction of humans. The king and monster lord both feared that one day, a monster lord would come to power with the capability and the desire to ravage the land of humans, regardless of the consequences.
  255. “So they commissioned a blade. One with terrifying power that could only be used by humans. They found the greatest blacksmith in the land, took their two most powerful mages--one human and one monster--and tasked them with creating such a weapon. To give the weapon the power they wished, they needed to bind a soul to it. They wanted a lizardman, as their race was know for both their combat prowess and integrity. This soul would also serve as a safeguard, as without the cooperation of the soul, the wielder would never be able to bring out the blade’s full power. In short, they wanted someone they could trust.
  257. “That soul was me.
  259. “I gave them my soul, they gave me ageless life, and they gave the world Tellus.”
RAW Paste Data
We use cookies for various purposes including analytics. By continuing to use Pastebin, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Cookies Policy. OK, I Understand