Tynan swung his axe, tearing two ghouls into pieces. There were more mercenaries on Sadow’s side, but the vampires on their side had a natural advantage in the darkness. If his companions could beat the hydra, he was confident they could win.
At least until the Magi got involved. If the two of them broke past Lynai, Illyana & Michael, it was all over.
He swung his axe over his head and shouted “Isn’t there anyone in there who’s a real challenge?”
He watched his undead opponents. They weren’t expressive but he knew what they were thinking. The same thing any mercenary would think after a challenge like that. “Can I beat this loud braggart?”
They were hesitating. That was going to hurt their group’s morale. Just like he wanted.
“I can, ye daft sod!”
Tynan watched as a relatively well dressed skeleton with a scimitar and shield came forward.
The enemy voices cited his name like a mantra.
He raised an arm to silence them. “After all, a bull with half a horn is a right castrated bull.”
“Then come at me, little man,” Tynan challenged. “I’ll pound your bones to dust.”
Callie and Gabriel moved to the crystal hydra’s side. They made just enough noise to be noticeable.
Aiko waited for them to draw the attention of the beast’s heads. Truthfully, she wasn’t confident. Beating a dragon was one thing. A Hydra was quite another. Even if they managed to mostly draw its attention, chances were at least one head would be on the lookout for anyone sneaking up.
Plus she’d have to get close thrice and take each head one by one. And she’d only have one attempt before it started really watching out.
Why had she promised to handle this?
Its heads turned towards Gabriel and Callie. Aiko hurriedly melded into the shadows. Travelling through shadows was like running through water.
She came out right beside the hydra, quickly twisted to avoid its quick spurt of acid. She went right for its neck, cutting cleanly through before returning to the shadows and retreating.
That was the first step. She was surprised she’d managed to pull it off so handily. She moved back to Gabriel and Callie. They were staring at the hydra, looking intense.
Aiko looked over. The stump from its first head was pulsating. Then a new head sprouted. The hydra quickly consumed the fallen head and turned its attention to them.
They quickly moved away.
“What do we do now?” Aiko wondered.
“We certainly can’t beat it by taking one head at a time,” Callie said.
“Plus that acid spray very nearly hit you,” Gabriel said. “It’ll learn how you move and be able to hit soon enough. If it can’t already.”
“We may have to take its heads all at the same time,” Callie said. “One for each of us.”
“It may well survive if we don’t all hit at close to the same time,” Gabriel said. “We sure we can not only manage it but survive long enough to coordinate the strike?”
“Not much choice,” Callie said. “I’ll take the middle.”
“Then I’ll get the right,” Gabriel said. “That leaves Aiko with the left.”
Leaving Illyana and Lynai behind was difficult. I had no desire to have them injured. However, I was cognisant of the fact that it was the right strategic move and the one we had all agreed on.
I checked the nearest room upon descending floors. It appeared to be a laboratory with various chemicals, animal skins and dried plants at the ready.
The surprising aspect was the floating head in a jar. It was a human female with blonde hair that was just beginning to grey. She had likely been in her late forties when she had perished, given the very early wrinkling. It was remarkably well preserved.
I was about to exit when the head opened its eyes.
“So, you’ve come at last.”
The voice reverberated around.
“Why are you being magically preserved?” I queried.
“I am Laina Rexx,” she answered. “I was an oracle. Sadow came to me many years ago. He wanted the answer to a single question, how he would die.”
“That does not answer my question,” I pointed out.
“Please, listen. This is important,” Laina insisted. “I don’t have the power to stay awake on my own for long. I told him a young draconian would end him. He seemed to like that answer. So, he sealed it with my blood and kept me preserved as an advisor.”
“Then he attacked my people to insure that he would not perish,” I stated. It was the obvious conclusion.
“And in doing so he has brought the prediction to fruition,” Laina said. “Draconian, oh Blessed Draconian. Sadow awaits in the lower levels. The main chamber on the ground floor has a hidden passage. You must go and fulfil your destiny.”
“That has been my intent,” I stated. I began moving towards the door.
“Wait!” there was desperation in her voice as she called out. I turned back to her. “Please, Blessed Draconian, before you go, set me free. I have longed for many years to be sent to Thanatos’ embrace. I am so weary of this existence, this torment.”
“I will make it quick,” I stated. I drew the Phoebian Blade.
It was the first time I had used its empowered void bolt. The effect was impressive. Laina’s head was incinerated in an instant along with much of the laboratory. I decided it would be prudent to make my exit before anyone came to investigate the hole in the wall that was now exposing the room to the outside.