Terra Vonnel and the Skulls of Aries – Chapter 10
With the Vanquisher leading the way and her men behind her, Terra Vonnel was officially scared. The long passageway finally opened up into a vast cavern with twin waterfalls that funneled down like white, snowy curtains into a pool of crystal clear water.
The view was spectacular, with long, lush ivy and beautiful green ferns that protruded from small crevasses in the cavern walls. A water rainbow lay visible in the thin mist just above the falls where she finally saw the golden gates of Monticule.
Overwhelmed, they took in the magnificent sight. Nowhere in all their travels had they encountered such a tranquil oasis.
“Heaven…” Coven whispered. “Vixen, we must be in heaven.”
If it were not heaven, Terra thought, it was close enough for her. The men stood gazing up at the extraordinary beauty they had stumbled upon. They were so engulfed for that brief moment they had forgotten about the passageway and the loss of Vallenbore. They had forgotten about the danger that was now slithering up behind them in the form of a dark shadow.
Moving like a snake, inching its way closer to the party, the dark force crept slowly behind the first of its prey.
Rip was a tall, gangly man. He weighed a hundred pounds, if that. Like the rest of the men, Rip stood mesmerized by the breathtaking scene and was in no way aware of the danger looming behind him.
The dark shadow moved closer, rolling over the jagged terrain before stopping behind Rip. Suddenly a body sprung from the shadow, with a long scorpion-like shape and the head of a dragon.
The barbed stinger exploded through Rip’s chest from behind, sending blood and flesh flying in every direction! Rip screamed in agonizing pain as his body flew high into the air and thrashed aimlessly around.
Startled, Terra spun quickly, withdrawing the Diablo 9 Shooter, and in one swift motion, she fired a shot into the demon’s face.
The three silver bullets ripped through the thick exoskeleton of the dragon’s head. The creature let out an ear- piercing shriek before bursting into green flames and charring the body of Rip.
The remains fell from a height of at least twenty feet. Upon impact, the body shattered like glass.
“This is no heaven, Coven, this is the devil’s lair!” Quinn said, his lip quivering and hands shaking.
“Vixen, what have we done, what evil have we unleashed? I… I… think we should leave and never return to this place!” Marcus said, his wide eyes peering from side to side, searching for the devil beast.
“Enough!” Terra said. “We are here for one thing and one thing only. I suggest you remember that! We stay close to one another, and we move as one.” Terra stared into Marcus’ eyes. “And do not let me hear another word about leaving or I will kill you myself! Do I make myself clear?”
The three remaining men looked at one another then back to Terra. Scared and worried, they acknowledged the Sea Vixen with a simple nod of their heads.
They were all expendable except for Coven. She would miss them, of course, but there was nothing more important than reaching the gate and retrieving the Orb of Time.
“We need to make our way up the rock face to the top of the waterfalls,” she said, pointing the Vanquisher in the direction of the rushing water. “From there, we open the gate, take what we came for, and leave!”
She stared into the eyes of each of the men as she spoke. Quinn and Marcus still looked frightened, but Coven smiled back, nodding his head in agreement.
“Lead the way, Vixen!” Coven said.
Terra turned and made her way to the right side of the rock face. Holstering the Diablo 9 shooter and sheathing the Vanquisher, she began to climb.
Coven, Marcus, and Quinn sheathed and holstered their weapons and followed close behind. The rock face was extremely slippery due to the humidity from the waterfalls and the texture of the onyx-type stone.
As they ascended, Quinn was the first to notice an oval- shaped shadow moving from the cavern floor onto the wall in a sweeping motion.
“Vixen, look… look below!” Quinn yelled.
Terra stopped, her hands and feet placed firmly in the crevices of the cavern wall. She looked down to see what Quinn was squawking about and at first saw nothing. Then a dark shadow crept over the glimmering stone surface, inching its way up behind them.
“Quickly!” she yelled. “To the ledge!”
Terra turned and began to climb as fast as she could. The higher they climbed, the more treacherous it became. The mist had grown thicker, and the rock face dripped with condensation.
Terra was less than twenty feet away when she heard Quinn cry out, “HELP me!” followed by the loud roar of the devil beast.
Terra did not look back. She climbed faster and faster with no time to waste. She knew she had to reach the ledge if she were to stand a fighting chance.
Coven and Marcus were close behind, placing one hand in front of the other as fast as they could. The beast roared behind them as it approached, its heavy breathing just inches away from them now.
“Faster, Coven, faster. The devil is almost on me!” Marcus yelled.
The beast roared once more. The sound of its massive jaws snapping together rang out as Marcus reached the edge of the rock face and heaved himself over.
The beast cleared the edge only to see the Sea Vixen standing before it. With another blast to the face from the Diablo 9 shooter, the beast howled in agony! Quickly she withdrew the Vanquisher from its sheath. Its brilliant blue flame ignited in a blaze of fury. With all her might, Terra Vonnel swung the mighty sword, slashed through the neck of the devil beast, and sent the head and its scorpion torso back to the depths of the onyx cavern.
Coven, on his back, and Marcus, face down, lay gasping for air. Terra was not about to take any more chances; she had already lost more than half her men to the protector of the gate. So to be on the safe side, she called in reinforcements.
Once again she reached for the amulet and summoned her Sea Ghouls. Within minutes, the Ghouls were at Terra’s side.
“Guard!” she commanded. The ghouls turned an about-face and withdrew their swords.
Coven and Marcus slowly got to their feet, their faces still white and drenched in sweat.
“Glad you guys could join us,” Coven said panting.
Terra turned, and for the first time, she was able to see the mysterious Gate of Monticule in its entirety.
**I will post one Chapter each week, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can the complete book at Amazon for FREE.
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