Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 26

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

Milla watched the fight, wondering what to do. She couldn’t let Glory kill String or String kill Glory and if she didn’t do something one of the two was going to go down. Pew was still shouting at them both to just stop fighting, but neither was listening. Neither was paying her any attention either.
Without giving it much thought she grabbed at String from behind, hoping to trip him up so he could be subdued before Glory did him any real damage. But he ducked as she grabbed and instead of catching at his clothing she was gripping the tiara. As String sidestepped she pulled it away and the dwarf let out a horrible scream, dropping the axe and falling to his knees sobbing.
“No! No! No! You’ve made it all end. I want to stay here…. Nooooo!”
The kneeling figure shimmered briefly then seemed to suck in to a single point of light and disappear.
There was a sudden and terrible silence. Then Pew spoke, his voice shaky.
“Are there any volcanoes around here? I think we need to find one to throw that… that thing you’re holding in.”
Milla looked down at the tiara and let go instantly. It had changed from being a golden crown into a writhing black band of…? Milla really didn’t care to know and certainly wasn’t going to study it closely enough to see. Glory reached down and scooped it up in her armoured fist.
“I think I know just the crack of doom for this, leave it to me.”
Milla wanted to say she wasn’t sure that was a very good idea, but Pew was there and hugging her.
“Did we save String?” she asked.
“I think we did. You did.”
“Well thanks for the group,” Glory said, still holding the black crown. “It was certainly different. I’m out. Running late for raid. They’re already forming up, so using my home-stone.”
“I don’t think…” Milla began, but before she could finish Glory had vanished.
“Let’s get back to WBS,” Pew said. “I’ll use my ring of recall. Just hold on tight and…”
The world flashed out of existence and back again. From being a weirdly glowing blue the light was bright and sunny. A palm tree waved overhead and there, right in front of them was her house.
She was home.
They were home.
Milla was suddenly very certain she never wanted to go on a venture ever again.

Two days later, sitting on the beach with Pew throwing sticks for Ruffkin, she was already not so sure about that. There was something about ventures. Perhaps they were addictive.
“String is fine. Seems he thinks he just got very drunk and hallucinated. Sent me a load of in game messages describing this dream he had about you and me rescuing him. I didn’t bother to say anything different.”
“And Glory? Did she get rid of that..that thing?”
Pew shrugged.
“Well that’s the odd thing. She’s not been in game since. I’ve asked around but no one seems to know what’s happened to her.”
Despite the warmth of the day Milla shivered and moved closer to Pew who put an arm around her.
“I’m just glad we’ve got each other,” he said and kissed her gently.

And that is the story so far in Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook. Next Sunday there will be a new serial. We are off on the high seas with the never before published fantasy adventure The Pirate and the Don by Jane Jago.

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

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