Blu's sight slipped for a moment as he pressed his back against the wall behind him.
What in the name of the Holy North had just happened? He asked himself this over and over as he attempted to collect what sanity he had left.
His fuzzy gaze shifted from his bloodied shaking hands to a group of people huddled around a small girl lying on the ground.
In the distance screaming and the metal clangs of sword combat echoed through closed doors and in to the hall where the many terrified individuals resided.
"For the love of Solis put some pressure on that wound the lass is going to bleed out! You three with me we need to keep that fucking door shut before that thing gets in here!
" One of the men barked as himself and a few others sprinted like no tomorrow towards the massive chamber door directly across from Blu whom was still trying to catch wind of this all,
"And will someone wake that damned bounty hunter up and tell him to do something before we end up being sent to the inferno like the rest of the unit!". These men.
Where had they come from? They were soldiers. No. Guards perhaps? The expressions on their dirty and blood-stained faces screamed inexperience. But to Blu's relief they were on his side.
At least that's what he could gather thus far.
"We're losing her, sir!" The girl's body shook as she began to cough up blood, "If we don't get her out of here, well she's as good as dead!
" Another man chimed in during the chaos as he pressed his hands down on her chest helplessly trying to shield a massive gash that started at her left breast and ended at her hip.
The damage was clearly too much for the little one to handle and she only had a matter of minutes before her light would slip to the heavens above.
Still the man did what he could as he gritted his teeth trying to hold back his tears as another beside him continued to tell the dying girl everything would be okay over and over.
It was all they could do at this point. She was going to die and nothing could save her now.
Blu picked himself up, pressing his hand against his forehead he grunted almost tripping over his own feet. He needed to deduct what happened. They entered the mines.
Then what? There were two girls with him from the Grey Company. As he stood there his eyes widened. Like a bolder striking a war-torn castle It all came crumbling down.
Everyone was dead before they even knew what was actually going on. What they had stumbled upon, that unholy ritual, whatever the cultists were trying to do they succeeded and with that success..
"My oh my. You actually caught her, did you?" An unnaturally tall woman in clad white robes stood before a beaten and bloodied Black.
Her fingers, wrapped in silver rings, graced the prisoner's bruised skin with the gentlest of touches.
Although her face was hidden under fresh white bandages it was very clear she was smiling eagerly with dreadful delight.
Black looked up and smiled back all though it was a mock rather than a return. She knew their type. Cultists, after all, were not as mad as one would think. Simply stupid.
Fiddling with things they do not understand. Chances are everyone around her was either idiotic or anything beyond that line. Murdering in the name of a dead loved one is one thing.
But how these people operated? Black could only think of all the terrible things she was going to do to these morons once she managed to slip out of her chains.
Though the sinking realization soon set in that this was probably not going to happen. Smart? No, far from it.
But they were a crafty group and judging by the stinging pain in her wrists she was shackled good and secure.
"I beat the ever-living fuck out of her with some stick I found out back but ya know she is pretty tough!
After my arm got tired, I switched to the other and then I got bored so I let the guard outside take a swing.
Then we both just started doing it and then she passed out! It has been a very eventful evening for this little cat!"
Morris, along with several others, were bowing before the tall woman. Unlike his fellow cultists Morris had no problem telling it as it was.
He was clearly comfortable enough with this seemed to be leader of theirs's. Her safety was not a priority after all.
Only that she was kept alive and although abuse was involved the man did what was asked of him like the good follower he was.
The woman's hand guided itself downward and rested on Black's shoulder, "Poor girl. Have my children mistreated you? Truly I am taken back by this.
" The sarcasm wisped off her charming tone as she tightened her grip making Black wince in pain. "I'm sure you have many questions."
"Nope." She said through her teeth trying to shake the woman's grasp off of her but with no avail.
The room fell silent. Morris slowly got up and laughed, "Yeah she does that. Just carry on it may not seem like it but she's most likely shitting herself right now.
That or it happened earlier when I introduced her to Sir Woodly the 3rd."
Black shook her head and giggled, closing her eyes to just take the moment in.
The woman in white released her grasp on Black and made her way over to Morris, "And everything is ready, yes? No complications I hope.".
Morris nodded and gave her a thumbs up with a stupid grin on his face.
"Oh yes! It is showtime!" As Morris announced this with glee in his tone two men got up from behind him with daggers in hand.
Black simply looked up at them as the two surrounded her and she began to laugh with a wild look in her fiery red eyes.
Grabbing her by her hair one of the cultists hissed and drove his blade in to her chest and the other soon joined.
The two stabbed her over and over until the laughing ceased and there was nothing more than a mangled pile of flesh that still held a wide sickening grin on it's lips. Black was dead.
"C'mon guys wait up!" The witch complained as she followed behind the two almost out of breath. Being as short as she was her long-legged party members could clearly cover more ground than her.
But she persevered and kept on as the two exchanged words about Blu's adventure in the east.
Although an easterner herself Haru was born in Solis and was raised by a southern family of mixed decent.
She was amazed to hear that Blu so easily made it through the boarders and did what he did. People of the east were devoted to protecting the dead as their religion followed.
So, the fact that they let an outsider just walk in to a mass grave just told her that things were just as bad as she had heard. She could not blame them however.
At the end of the day that village was a crime scene and the east wanted nothing to do with it. As far as they knew that demon was on foreign soil by now tormenting an entirely new flock.
But to keep good relations for future trade it was clear they didn't mind letting one or two foreigners in to desecrate a grave if it kept their appearance positive putting aside
their isolationist ways.
"I still don't believe you." Haru rolled her eyes.
"About what?" Blu stared ahead with a straight face; Po finally catching up to them she tiredly asked them to try and slow their pace so she didn't end up getting left behind.
Though she knew Haru would never let that happen there was always the slim chance of them getting separated via cave in.
Most of these old mines had been buried long before peace times due to natural causes so the thought of being trapped beneath ore and rock was something that was in the back of all of
their heads as they ventured deeper in to the abyss.
"The little ghost girl of course. No way that happened."
"We live in a world where magic exists and there are literal beast men walking the streets buying apples and you're calling me out because I saw a ghost."
"Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm doing."
"I am both enraged and confused." He sighed, "I mean why do-" Haru's hand shot up and stopped Blu mid-sentence.
Narrowing her eyes, she focused on a small trail of blood that seemed to appear out of thin air. Blu titled his head and caught it as well.
He was nearly embarrassed that he hadn't seen this first being somewhat of a hunter. But he dusted this thought off. The two looked at one another then began to speed up their pace.
"Hey wait! That is the opposite of what I asked what are you guys doing!" Po protested as she mustered every bit of energy she had in to her tiny legs and ran behind them as she hugged her staff.
After a moment the two were in a full-blown sprint as distant screams could be heard further down the mine.
As Blu ran beside Haru he reached for his rifle but stopped himself remembering that one slip up could send them to the heavens. Literally.
Replacing that motion, he unsheathed his knife from his belt and continued alongside Haru. The screams grew louder and louder until finally the three found themselves in a chamber of sorts.
The ceiling above them was so high the darkness engulfed it as if it were never ending. A dark night sky without a moon or stars to guide tired travelers home.
Before them laid a motionless figure. As Haru was about to rush to the person's aid Blu quickly put his hand in front of her and shouted, "No, stop! This isn't right."
Blu scanned the room then brought his attention back to the person lying on the ground. They weren't breathing and he could smell the blood from where he stood.
Po gasped as she finally caught up to her party, "Um Morgan? Haru? Is that a... ya know?"