Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 24

Because life can be interesting when you are a character in a video game…

“How dare you invade my landsss and ssslay my sssissstersss,” she hissed.
“Mutton dressed as lamb,” Glory called “You’ve put on weight since I last saw you too. You looked in the mirror lately? Oh no, you can’t have or you’d be full of glass splinters from when it cracked…”
The Lamia Queen drove forward, closing the distance between them, with her hands clawed and long, extended fingernails.
“I’ll get you for that, you vile tongued harridan!”
“Sure you will,” Glory agreed calmly, as the queen swooped towards them. “Call it at every nine percent please, Pew, so we’re ready for the adds, they’ve got a nasty attack but few XP so burn them first soon as they appear then back on the boss – and Milla… be ready.”
Then the fight was joined for real and Milla had a flashing impression of flaming swords, spell effects and shrieks. Until suddenly Glory stopped fighting and stood there with an odd looking smile on her face. Milla swallowed hard. She had a feeling that meant…
A moment later the Lamia Queen shot over towards her, face distorted in fury, clawing fingers extended, Milla found herself frozen to the spot, mouth open, unable even to scream…
“You’ve got a backside like a pregnant hippo, fat cheeks!” Glory’s voice bellowed. The Queen stopped a finger’s reach away from Milla and screamed her wrath as she turned back to Glory and the fight went on. Sinking weakly to the ground, it was all Milla could do to activate her pendant when Pew called to her.
She became dimly aware that the sounds of fighting had stopped and then Pew was beside her, battered and pale but grinning widely. He pulled her to her feet gently and gave her a hug.
“We did it! You were awesome! You should have seen yourself, standing there rock solid, looking so cool. How did you do it, I’d have been terrified.”
Milla wanted to say that she really had been terrified, but no words seemed to want to come, so she just leaned against Pew until she felt alright again.
“I hate to rush you guys, but I’ve got to go in a few and we’ve only got a short time anyway before the Queen respawns to get into the caves do whatever it is we have to do and out again.”
Milla disentangled herself, but kept a firm grip on Pew’s hand.
“Good point,” he said. “We need water breathing pots to access the caverns, you had those Milla.”
Milla nodded and reached for her backpack.

“I.. I don’t have them anymore,” she said in a tiny voice. “I traded my backpack to the griblin.”
Pew looked at her as if she was speaking in a foreign language. Then he turned away, clearly distraught.
“Without water breathing how can we get into the caverns to find String?”
“I know,” Milla said, her heart sinking into her guts. “I mean, I don’t know.”
Glory made a harumphing sound. “Oh for… Milla, you’re wearing a belt of water breathing. It’s got an AOE effect. What is the fracking problem here?”
Milla touched the belt One Eye had given her and looked down at it. The motes of light sparkled and seemed brighter than they had been before. Perhaps because they were so near water?
Pew had turned back and was staring at the belt, then he grabbed Milla’s hand again and ran with her into the lake. There was no gentle slope from the tongue of the beach, two steps in and they were in deep water. But when Milla took in a shocked breath, it was like breathing the sweetest air. Then Glory was beside them, swimming along in her full-plate golden armour, pointing ahead to a dark cave entrance at the bottom of the lake.

We will return to Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook next Sunday.

Return to Wrathburnt Sands was first published in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover.

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