Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 25

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

The cavern entrance became a long tunnel that went down for a while, lit by a weird blue luminescence which seemed to come from the walls. Then there was an abrupt angle up and the rock had been carved into steps. Climbing these, Milla suddenly found herself emerging from water into a huge underground chamber, with the same spooky illumination coming from pillars of rock.
“Awesome!” Pew breathed. “We made it in.”
“Well, now we’re here. What are we doing?”
Milla wondered how Pew would explain the situation to Glory. It wasn’t going to be easy she was sure of that.
“We’re here to rescue someone,” Pew began. “It’s a kind of friend of mine and…”
“Well frack me! Pew, what you doing here?”
Milla spun around and saw a rather fat dwarf, with a long beard which was plaited into a complex design. But it wasn’t the beard that held her attention. It was more that he was wearing something that looked part way between a bikini and a sarong. On his head was a golden tiara set with a huge glowing diadem.
“String?” Pew sounded faint and Milla felt him grip her hand tightly as the dwarf waddled over towards them.
“Oh hello Milla. You here too? And who’s this?”
“Uh.. I’m Glory. Nice to meet you…um.. String?”
String smiled happily.
“I’m glad you came by. I’ve missed you buddy!”
“String,” Pew released Milla’s hand and put both his on the dwarf’s shoulders. “You’ve got to leave here. Come with us now before the Queen repops.”
String laughed.
“You fracking kidding? Leave? I got it all here, bro. You seen these Lamia? Let me tell you the Queen is the hottes…”
“String! You are being controlled by her. You’re stuck here. Like really here. Your roomies are going wild. You’ve got to come with us.”
The dwarf pulled away.
“I don’t think so.” Slowly he began to grow until he was almost twice the size he had been. A giant dwarf, now looking Pew in the eye, his inappropriate attire stretched almost to breaking over his bulging body. He produced a double-headed axe from somewhere, each blade engraved with dwarven runes of power and the haft bound with strips of black dragon leather. String grinned and gave it a test swing. “Nice action. Now, what were you saying, Pew?”
Pew stepped back shaking his head.
“You’re not yourself. Look at you. Dressed like that. Wake up!”
The giant dwarf threw back his head and laughed.
“You thought you had it good with a girlfriend in game. You don’t know nothing, Pew. Nothing.”
Then without warning his face transformed to a snarl and he leapt forward, axe swinging, aimed right at Pews neck. The axe blade clanged into Glory’s sword which was suddenly in the way, and then Glory was too, standing between Pew and String, sword ready.
“No, don’t attack him Glory. It’s too dangerous. If he dies here… I don’t know. He might really die. In the real world.”
The dwarf was swinging again and Glory parried and reposted, pushing him onto the defensive.
“Not sure I know what you are on about,” she said, her own face stone featured. “I didn’t start this with, fats here, but I’m going to finish it if he doesn’t put that axe down.”
String laughed maniacally and swung into full on attack mode, Glory moved and dodged the swing, bringing her sword up to cut into his unarmoured flesh, but the blade seemed to do little damage.

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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