I should have known that the last room for Wizarding trials wouldn’t be easy. Especially with me not being a wizard. Every portion of my buried diary says there are no short-cuts for this sort of thing.
Of course, Oz keeps saying there are. And, to be honest, he’s proof of it. How else can anyone explain his throwing about fire and thunder when just weeks ago he had none of that?
And thunder was what we were facing when the blinding light of the teleport circle faded. A branching corridor that ran beneath a pair of bulbous lightning spheres. Seeing the crackling purple strokes made me remember Miller’s field back home and how the big oak there was split and shattered by a bolt during a bad storm a few years back. It didn’t die; but it didn’t drop many acorns afterward either.
To make matters worse, there were these… things off to the right, past some wavy little hills and beside this weird obelisk. Some of them were swirls of air and dust while others of them were burning suits of armor. And then they started coming right for us, fast. Thankfully Corrin shook off the sight, stepped up and put himself in a bottleneck with lightning on one side and that roiling earth on the other.
He had it all under control too, right up until Dast ran over. I mean, ghosts don’t run, do they? But here Dast came, shouting and singing or something and the earth all but sat up and slapped him down. Kind of funny, but then the shard spirit things swept in and it wasn’t so funny anymore. Well, just a little maybe.
I skirted round the side while Corrin dispersed the flying dust swirls, boy was that hill pissed at me just being there, and got in a few good licks on what Oz was calling minor elementals. Whatever, they fell apart when I stabbed them. There was a bigger one though, a whole pile of shards that didn’t shatter when Corrin thrust his spear into it and slammed the thing to the ground.
Doesn’t matter. Everything has a heart of some kind. Rose-Lions, Goblin lions. Goblins. They all take their last nap once you find what’s pumping. Easiest way to do that, is make it bleed or whatever. Then you can tell if its near or not by how fast the blood drips out.
I was rushing round thing when it began to sing. Not like Dast does neither, it was shrieking and wailing. Roriel Ganhamp once screamed almost as loud because of this frog I…. I couldn’t see anything cause the world went tumbling and my feet went with it when something slammed into the back of my head. I heard the shard thing start to get up. Corrin wasn’t around and so I thrust and stabbed at it as best I could, hit it dead in the chest.
Luckily, that turns out to be where it kept its heart. The thing blew apart but that didn’t stop it shrieking in my ears. It was all I could do to fall against a wall and slide down, put my head between my knees and pray that the agony would end. It did, eventually. If, as Nessy says, that there are gods watching out for us mortals, they must’ve all been having breakfast just then.
By the time I could stand without wobbling, the others had already found some good stuff. That made me proud. Especially because Oz had gotten several steel ingots and these two little fiery elementals that he took for himself. Fine by me. He knows what he’s doing with that, or at least he’s damn good at faking it.
With the last part cleared, we stumbled back into the wizard’s college proper. This time though, we had a plan: Being low of food, and as most of the college was long looted out, we’d have Oz use the servant’s ring we’d found to see if we couldn’t grab some preserved eats that hadn’t been grabbed yet. We had gone only a little ways back down the corridor when this hidden door all of a sudden popped open.
A little commons room waited for us on the other side. This one though, had all its furniture. A few corpses too, but none of them had really been picked over and there was a fine broach on one that I didn’t regret finding. Magic too, or so Oz says. Anyway, we moved on, after I pocketed some of the playing cards, and took the first right.
Laundry. My worst Nightmare. No, seriously. I had four other siblings and two parents besides. Mom would do what she could, until she got distracted or tired. Dad would just be drunk. That left the work to me. Finding soap, doing the scrubbing and totting all that water. Give me a Goblin-Lion any day. At least the fight is over quick.
Here though the Servants had it easy. There were six big tubs filled with perpetually hot water and…moldy, churning clothing. Year and year this must have been going on, just bubbling away. Disgusting.
Then one of the piles of wet rags slopped over the edge, gathered itself up. Everything in the Wizard’s college seemed to do something like that. Makes me afraid to take a piss too close to a wall.
Then another one rose up, and another. Four piles of brown, one of pale yellow and another of jet black. All old clothing come to life and smelling to high heaven too.
“Oz. Use your servants ring.” I suggested. “Command them.”
My pale friend just stared at me for a moment, then turned to the approaching critters and said loudly and flatly. “Stop! I command you!”
Of course they didn’t listen. You’ve got to mean it when you threaten someone and Oz ain’t got an inch of threatening in him unless he’s throwing lightning. He backed off as the first one approached, made straight for him with wet rags snapping. I sliced the Raggle apart before it could so much as flick a towel at Oz, but there were others about and they pounced hard as laundry can.
The stench was awful, like an egg left out in the sun and then forced up your nose. My eyes watered so bad, I could barely see Corrin or Dast lay into the creatures. Oz was throwing swarms of daggers around and the things all came apart pretty quick, except for the particularly nauseating pair of yellow and black. Thankfully, Corrin dealt with the yellowed pile of once elegant cloth by shoving it back into a tub. That kept the stench underwater. Which just left the big dark mound of cloth.
I don’t want to talk about what happened next, except to say it was the worse than my worst laundry day. Hot reeking water in the eyes. Burn marks. Steam in the lungs. It all sucked but we got through it together. We even managed to salvage a few bits of animated cloth, which Dast insisted would be useful. Personally, it just gave me the jitters.
That was that. I felt tired, filthy, hungry and wet, all at once. For a moment, I even wanted to go back home. But that moment passed, and we moved on.