Camp NaNoWriMo part 17
Genre: fantasy, action
Was it only yesterday that Darius thought he could actually make a difference? He needed a time machine to go back and lock himself somewhere so he didn’t join the rescue team because he was only slowing people down.
The problem wasn’t that he was weak. Physically, he was in great shape, better than a lot of the people around him, but a fit body could only do so much when his competitors were conjured Gods and marble giants. In the face of such destructive power, his homemade staff was just a glorified toothpick, good only as a weak deterrent. His best and only move was to not get hit.
He dodged a bat as big as a human and jumped out of the way of a swing from an arm stuck to the wall.
Before entering the building, they had familiarised themselves with the layout of the estate. Unfortunately, old floor plans couldn’t tell them how the space was being used, or if any changes had been made since then.
To increase their chances of finding Luciano (and everyone else), they split up into small groups to cover different areas using different routes. It sounded like a good idea at the time. In practice… he personally thought it worked even better because it was easier to stay together when it was just three of them in a team instead of ten.
He ducked under the swipe of the largest praying mantis he had ever seen. Its claws sparked as it scraped the wall instead. A guardian lion tackled it to the ground before the giant bug could launch a second attack.
“Next?” Darius asked.
“Go,” Wilfredo said.
From the moment Darius’s team faced their first encounter with the guards, Darius knew he was so outclassed he was like a bug trying to join a battle between war tanks. He abandoned all intentions to fight and looked for other ways to make himself useful. After some clumsy attempts, they settled on Wilfredo and Augustine acting as guards while Darius focused on finding people.
Dodging a stray blast, Darius threw another door open. It was empty.
“Empty,” he announced and ran to the next door, “Next?”
The moment the door opened a minotaur attacked. Darius shot out of the way just in time. As the beast turned to deliver another blow, a guardian lion pounced and smashed it back against the door frame.
He felt like a character in a game, dungeon crawling with his party. Except no one wanted to kill anyone, their loot could actually fight back, and they didn’t have the super handy communication system that would let them talk to each other even when they weren’t in the same room.
Between Wilfredo and Augustine, they distracted the two guards enough that the prisoners within could fight back. They then moved on to the next door and continued their search.
The estate was not designed to hold prisoners, but it was designed to house a large multi-generational family, so there were plenty of large rooms and some isolated wings. Without proper cells, the Sharoon family turned these rooms into little prisons, each with their own guards. In reality, the rooms ranged from real prisons to massive sleepovers, depending on the guards and prisoners.
Door by door, they searched the whole estate, occasionally crossing paths with the other groups. Towards the end, they were basically running a rescue mission in the middle of a fantasy war zone. They abandoned all stealth and tore the doors down as they ran from everyone and everything. Darius had dropped his staff ages ago. It only slowed him down.
Finally, they covered the whole estate. Twice.
They didn’t find the Beauris heir.
“We need to go,” Augustine said when the mansion floor turned wild and the crumpled bodies of creatures that didn’t exist threatened to completely clog the corridors.
“We haven’t found Luciano yet,” Darius said.
“You won’t help him if you get caught. Let’s go.”
Wilfredo grabbed Darius by the arm and hauled him onto the back of his guardian lion.
~Go to the next part here~