Things Left Undone Book 3, Chapter 1
The Belly of the Beast
" Man, it's dark!!" Marle tried to stand up, but a low springy ceiling sent her right back to the floor. "Ow. Where am I?" She took a sniff of the air, and it burned all the way down to her lungs. She clutched her chest and doubled over coughing. Finally, she got a scrap of fabric from her bag and held it over her face.
She sat on her knees on the soft floor and felt of the walls. She was in something round, smooshy, and unpleasantly moist. The monster's stomach. "Oh, great. Now what!" She threw up her hands in exasperation. "Good thing his mom never told him about chewing his food." She settled on the fleshy floor and thought. "Now. How did all those people in the storybooks get out of stomachs? Didn't they... Yes!! That's what I'll do!!" She reached out and grabbed a hunk of the stomach wall, and dug in with her fingernails. The stomach made a weird splorching noise and shook a little.
"A ha ha, there, beast!! I'll teach you to eat defenseless girls!!" She grabbed a small jackknife from her belt and started to stab ferociously at the walls. "I'll give you a stomachache like nothin' you've ever felt!! Instant ulcer!!"
The stomach wrenched in agony, and Marle was tossed to the floor. The stomach made rippling waves, and suddenly, Marle was shot out of an opening.
The next thing she knew, she was hurtling through the air, leaving an unpleasant trail of stomach juices in her path. She slammed onto the floor and rolled a few times before coming to a halt at the far wall.
She shook her head to help get rid of the dizziness that overcame her. Finally, she looked up. Her companions, Ayla, Crono, and Glenn, were just staring at her, and so were the hundreds of black-skinned aliens, the Karandians, that worshipped the beast that swallowed her. The beast itself had retreated to its cave.
Taking advantage of the Karandians' momentary shock, she ran over to the stone slabs where her friends were tied down. She got to Glenn's slab first. She opened the jackknife she used to extricate herself from the monster's innards and began to saw at the rope holding him down.
Glenn overcame his surprise and grinned. "Thou'rt alive!! We thought thy flesh had fed the monster!"
Marle laughed and finished cutting Glenn's bonds. "I guess he didn't bet on getting indigestion."
Freed, Glenn stood up and ran to Crono's slab. The Karandians had gotten over their shock and were running for the doors to get to the ground floor, where Marle and the others were. Fortunately, though, the place was very poorly planned out. Only one staircase led down, and they could only go single-file.
Marle got to Ayla's stone and started to cut her loose. "Hey, Ayla!"
"Marle! Ayla thought you dead and kaput!" She leaped up to give Marle a big hug, but she paused, face wrinkled in disgust. "Marle smell like rotted meat!! We give her bath when we get home!" Ayla clapped Marle on the back and they ran over to join Glenn and Crono.
Crono grabbed Marle and pulled her close. "I thought I'd lost you..." He whispered. They looked up, though, when Glenn pointed to the far door. The Karandians were flooding out, and were rapidly covering the distance between them and their freed captives.
"No time for huggy-kissy! We run now!!" Ayla shot off in the opposite direction from the rapidly approaching aliens. The others followed, hot on her heels. They came to a large door, but that didn't stop Ayla. She balled herself up and rolled through it. The ineffective door splintered and shot out into the approaching aliens. The ones in front stopped, shielding themselves from the shrapnel. The Karandians behind them, though, did not stop. The only thing left of the trampled aliens were piles of bluish mush.
Ayla and the others were now in a narrow hallway. "Whoever built this place did a really bad job of designing it." Crono panted. "I mean, we can barely run side-by-side, let alone those things behind us!! They probably have a hard time fitting through one at a time!!"
The corridor branched off into three directions. The companions skidded to a halt. They could hear the shouts of the Karandians chasing them. "What door do we pick, fellows?" Glenn said.
"We need to find our weapons or we're as good as dead already. I say we go left." At Marle's advice, they ran down the left corridor. The shouts grew dimmer behind them. After a minute or so, the corridor opened up into a fairly small room. In the back corner, leaning against an opened barrel were their weapons. Glenn tossed Crono his Rainbow sword, Marle her Valkyrie crossbow, and then he lovingly strapped the Masamune to his belt. Ayla, being a cavewoman, relied on her brute strength and speed to attack her enemies.
"That was way too easy, guys. They didn't even have a guard posted!!" Marle said.
"Maybe it's just our lucky day." Crono began to head for the door to leave the room, but was cut short when their pursuers finally caught up with them.
The Karandian in the front, one of the yellow-robed priests, stopped at the door and laughed. "Looks like we got you again. After you so unkindly appeared on our dinner table and crushed my dinner, and escaped your sacrifice, no less! May the mighty Trrankil have mercy on your alien souls!!"
"What are you talking about?" Marle asked. They were all backed against the wall, as Karandian guards filled the room.
"You know full well what I'm talking about, you demons!!" The priest rasped. "You were sent by the evil god Xartrax to disrupt our simple lifestyle!! You demons are to be sacrificed to the mighty master Trrankil to appease his thirst for flesh!! Seize them!!"
"No, wait!! We're not demons!! We don't remember anything of what you're talking about..." Crono was cut off in the middle of his sentence by a Karandian guard that clapped his oversized hand-like appendage over Crono's mouth. He and the others were dragged off, presumably somewhere unpleasant.
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