There wasn’t much else to do but go try to rescue Kantrilla. Of course, it would be dangerous. However, this time I wasn’t going alone as a crazy young man. I was going with friends and allies… who might have also been crazy with me. But we had to rescue our friend, even if we would be fighting dangerous people who would try to kill us. Maybe they would kill us. I’d almost died twice already. That might have boded well for me- but it also meant they didn’t even have to really try that hard to defeat me. The only reason I wasn’t very dead was they wanted to avoid complications.
With me coming back, they would make more sure we were dead if they defeated us this time… and it was possible they would. After all, they were higher level, had better equipment- and more importantly were in their home terrain.
“I didn’t see anything…” Halette reported. “I scouted the area around the entrance and didn’t notice anyone watching, and there was no one nearby. However, Socks smelled that five people had gone in and out recently.” Socks patted her paw on the ground. *Pat* *Pat* *Pat* *Pat* *Pat* *Pat*. Then she poked me with her nose. “Err, okay. Six if you count Llyr, I guess.” Socks nodded. “Did you smell Kantrilla?” Socks tilted her head back and forth. “Sort of? You did smell her?” Socks nodded. “You smelled her but… she hadn’t passed through the door recently?” Socks nodded again. Halette turned to the rest of us. “Well, that’s the report. Unless there’s another exit Kantrilla should still be down there. Along with possibly all five of Enok’s party.” Socks nodded in confirmation.
Alhorn sighed, “Even so, we have to go. Llyr, you said it wasn’t a large place? Perhaps we might fight some of them individually, if we’re Lucky.”
“About that…” I scratched my chin, “Enok was… too Lucky. He came out at just the right time to check, like he wasn’t expecting me. Then my attacks got all thrown off… completely the opposite of when Kantrilla is around with us.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Kasner piped up. “Luck can be beaten!” He stomped his foot- or rather, the ice peg leg he had made to replace his foot. I couldn’t imagine it was comfortable, but apparently he had a way to prevent frostbite from it being constantly attached on and around his leg. It let him walk, at least… and it looked almost natural, except for the fact that it was ice instead of flesh. I knew it took constant mana to keep it from melting and that would hinder him in combat… but if anyone was going to be the weak link, it would be the person at level -10 with barely any sort of equipment.
Alhorn tapped his chest, “That’s right, we can do it. Let’s go before they have a chance to notice something.”
Alhorn led the way into the building- which was basically just a roof over the staircase going down into the basement where Kantrilla was being kept. We avoided using any light as we went down, knowing the staircase was regular. It didn’t make us exactly stealthy, but every little bit helped.
About halfway down the staircase, Socks growled for one short moment, a very quiet growl. At least, as quiet as a wolf that was as tall as me could do. Socks had grown rapidly in the time I hadn’t seen her… now she didn’t even have to tilt her head up to lick me in the face.
“Enemy?” Halette asked quietly. “How many? One?”
Socks repeated one quiet growl.
We made out way down to the bottom of the stairs- thumping as little as we could. The hallway at the bottom wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t tiny either. It opened up much more than the stairs… but before we could get out into it we saw light. There was a figure there fiddling with the torch as it flickered in and out. “Damn cheap torches!”
Before he even finished saying that, Halette had an arrow in the air. Right behind the arrow came Socks. I recognized the man by the description Kazik had given. Clint, an assassin. Well, on paper he was a ‘rogue’ or ‘trapsmith’.
As the arrow flew toward his back, he suddenly dodged to the side… causing the arrow to strike off his ribs instead of impacting his spine. He spun around as he did so, drawing weapons and dropping the torch. “En-!”
He started to shout… but was cut off by several hundred pounds of wolf. Then there was a loud crunch. All I could say was I was glad Socks was on our side, and that she preferred to lick my face rather than put her jaws around it.
Before we even had a moment to celebrate that quick victory, out of the rooms at either end- and in front of us- came another member of Enok’s party. Except the room in front where Kantrilla was actually had Enok himself. To the right was the mage, Niven. Apparently she specialized in fire magic. It would be an interesting coincidence… but it was very common. To the left was Deepak, the warrior. He filled up most of the doorway he was standing in, almost the size of a minotaur… and wielding a giant axe to boot. That left only Mehmud the monk unaccounted for.
“Socks- the big one!” Halette shouted, as she turned to shoot at the mage. Kasner looked ready to attack that way as well. Alhorn stood to the front and left- ready to face off against either Deepak or Enok. I stepped up behind him, prepared to spear anyone who got too close. There was no going back now.