“What is that?” Narcius asked as he gazed at a rectangular, one story building shrouded in shadows from the neighboring mountains.
“I have no idea,” Exelda answered him. “Probably not her house though!” She watched as the elderly lady dragged the wagon with the gold to a door on the far left.
Kefalia wondered, “Why would they make a building in the middle of nowhere?”
Akintos replied sarcastically, “So weird, why would a criminal need so much secrecy?”
Stocastin appeared before them and joined in on the conversation, “I actually don’t believe the guilty party would try to take over the polis if this individual had the ability to build a structure of this magnitude. If they could, then they could just find an empty land and start their own polis. Akintos is correct about the strategic value behind the malefactor’s plan, but Kefalia’s premise on the premises is valid. Premise on the premises? How droll!” He gave a very snort-filled laugh at his observation.
No one else found it quite as humorous, so Narcius changed the subject, “What do you think they would have originally put in a building like this?”
“Duck!” Exelda ordered.
‘Why would they store ducks in-?” Narcius started to say.
Exelda pulled Narcius behind some nearby brush, and they saw the old woman scoping out the area. The five heroes had nervous looks on their faces, but luckily for them, she didn’t seem to have spotted anything suspicious. She dug through her pockets and mumbled, “Let’s see… Where did I put my… Oh, here!” She found a key ring with several keys on it. “Oh gods, why in the world do I have so many dang keys? He should have marked them! Whatever! I’ll try… this one!” She tried it, and the key didn’t fit. “No? Okay, I’ll try this one! Hmm, this one? This one? Wait, that was the first key again! Not that or that or that… Wait, what about this one? Oh, here we go!” She opened the door, and the five heroes tried to catch a glimpse of what was inside. They could only see a blank wall as the elderly woman dragged in the wagon with the ransom money, and as she entered inside, they tried to see more with no success as the door got shut promptly.
Akintos queried, “Now what?”
“We’re going to follow her in,” Exelda told them all. “If we’re lucky, it’ll be an empty room with just her and the bad guy sitting in it. We’re not that lucky though, so we’ll see what monsters or traps might be waiting for us inside! Let’s go!”
They crept up to the door that the old lady had gone through, and they all hid behind Exelda as she cautiously reached for the latch. When she couldn’t open it, Exelda quietly lamented, “It’s locked! I’ll have to break down the door!”
Kefalia pointed out, “There’s another door over there.” She indicated to another door a little farther to their right.
“That door is probably locked too,” Exelda assumed.
“It’s not,” Narcius said after he tested the other door.
Exelda stared at the door in front of her and frowned. “That looks like it’s part of a different room.”
Stocastin put in, “Different room! This is hardly a palace, so it’s highly unlikely that it’s got more than one room in it!”
“It’ll be faster if I just tear down this one!” Exelda objected.
“You just want to break something, don’t you?” Akintos probed.
Exelda initially denied that claim, “No I don’t, I…” She mulled it over for a second and then admitted, “Well, I do, but-.”
Kefalia concluded, “Sounds like we should go in the open door then!” Stocastin, Akintos, and Narcius agreed with her and already started going inside.
“No! Guys, wait! Ugh!” When she saw them enter the building, she begrudgingly ran in after them.
They found themselves in a hallway with a wall to the left and wooden crates stacked up almost as high as the ceiling to their right. The room was too dark to see what was on the other side of the building, so Akintos found a torch on the wall and lit it. Narcius observed, “There’s a door right there!”
“Great! Come on, let’s hurry!” Exelda directed. They rushed over to a small door in the middle of the wall, but before they could see whether or not it was locked, they heard some loud growling behind them. With trepidation, Exelda remarked, “Akintos, please tell me that was your stomach!”
They slowly turned around, their eyes grew wide when they saw what perpetrated the noise. The creature standing behind them had six dog-shaped heads with sharp teeth, tentacle legs, and a cat tail! Kefalia flew above the monster while Narcius used his super speed to dash around it, and both actions confused the various heads. Stocastin turned invisible and tried to stab its heart, but his sword wouldn’t penetrate its skin. Exelda tried to chop off one of its heads, but even with her super strength, she couldn’t break through its hide either. Akintos threw fireballs at it, and it twinged the monster a bit, which prompted Stocastin to gasp, “Wait a minute! I know what this is! It’s a Scylla!”
While still darting between the heads, Narcius snapped back, “Are you going to tell us what that is? ‘Cause it’s a little hard to remember our research right now!”
Stocastin started to explain, “The base of its molecular-.”
“Cut to the chase!” Exelda interrupted him as she fended off a couple of the heads. “How do we kill it?”
“Sunlight!” Stocastin replied simply.
Kefalia, who flew close to the ceiling, noted, “There’s a window behind these boxes!”
Exelda stated, “I can knock the boxes down if you can get this thing away from them for a minute.”
“I know something faster!” Akintos stepped into Narcius path, which made him crash into him. Akintos stole Narcius’s mirror and handed it to Exelda, who tossed it up to Kefalia. Kefalia flew behind the boxes and pointed the mirror in various directions until the sun finally reflected onto the Scylla. The Scylla shrieked as the mirror broke, and just like the mirror, the Scylla also burst into a bunch of little pieces!
“My mirror!” Narcius wailed ramatically.
Kefalia winced as she picked a piece of glass out of her arm. “At least you didn’t get any-!” She screamed as she was suddenly dragged down below! Exelda, Akintos, Narcius, and Stocastin ran into a small opening in the boxes to go help.
They found her wrapped in a long, green vine that stemmed from a giant, red tulip sitting under the window! She tried to slip out of it, but its grip was too strong. Exelda ran over to her and held up her sword to free her, but another vine snatched Exelda up! She dangled upside down, so she couldn’t reach the vine to free herself. The vines slowly dragged them closer and closer to the flower until something sliced off Kefalia and Exelda’s vines from its base! “Thanks, Stocastin!” they both chimed in unison, but before he could reply, they saw more vines growing out of the flower!
All of a sudden, a green haze flew across the room, and the flower absorbed it, which made it immediately go limp! The five heroes turned around and saw a small but beautiful deer standing in the entrance that they had just gone through! Kefalia cooed, “Aww! Thanks, little guy!”
She flew towards it, and Exelda warned her, “Don’t pet it! It could be dangerous!”
“But it’s so cute!” Kefalia got near it, but before she could pet it, it snarled at them and then breathed out more green fog. Kefalia dodged it by flying upwards, and the others dived to the ground to avoid it. Kefalia yelled, “Bad deer!” and used her sword to cut off its head! When its body hit the ground, more of the same green smoke flowed out of its body and began filling up the air around them. The five of them ran down another aisle of boxes to get away from it.
They cautiously walked down the long row of wooden creates, expecting to get attacked at any time, After nothing seemed to be happening, Akintos commented, “Maybe we killed all of the monsters already!”
“That would sure be nice!” Exelda responded wistfully. “But I doubt it! Plus even if the rest of this building is empty, we still have to find our way back to the entrance and find that old lady! She’ll lead us to Dason and the person responsible for all of this!”
“I wonder what’s inside all of these boxes.” Kefalia peered closely at them as they passed by.
Stocastin put in, “It appears as though they were mass producing something before their operation got shut down. It mostly likely isn’t anything valuable or else the manufacturer would have absconded with it.”
“Maybe it’s something useful… like more mirrors!” Narcius looked at a lid of one with great interest.
Exelda advised him, “Don’t open it! It could be dangerous!”
Akintos assured her, “Don’t worry, it’s nailed shut.”
Despite what Akintos asserted, Narcius tried to open one anyways, but he couldn’t make it budge. “Fine! But if we pass by an open one, I’m looking in!”
“You know, curiosity killed the cat!” Akintos teased.
“But he’s not a cat!” Kefalia disputed.
Before anyone could correct her, they suddenly came to an intersection with three vast hallways that they could choose from. “It’s a maze!” Exelda said in awe. They heard a man scream in the distance, and Exelda exclaimed, “That’s Dason!”
“I can’t calculate which way would lead us to his location the fastest!” Stocastin fretted.
“What do we do?” Kefalia asked Exelda, and Exelda couldn’t come up with an answer right away. She gazed down each row and appeared to come to a conclusion that made her uncomfortable…