Shadow Temple of Zeal Chapter 12

The Shadow Kings

By Demi-God

Lucca coughed, and then cringed at the pain it brought her. Marle saw her hurt face, and ran back to help her. "I'm sorry for making you do that, Lucca. We should have just waited for Magus." Lucca shook her head. "I just need some more ether." She reached for her pouch, but stopped halfway, her arm in pain. "I... I can't. Marle, please get me a Mid-Ether."

"No, Lucca. I can't let you just eat mid-ethers all day. Take this." Marle removed from Lucca's hip-pouch thier only Hyper-Ether. "Marle... I can't take that. It's the last one." Marle pressed her finger to Lucca's lips. "You have to. You are in pain, Lucca, you need your energy back." Lucca surrendered. She hadn't the strength to argue. As soon as she had swallowed the small crystal of HyperEther, she could feel the strength flow through her. She straightened her stance, and raised her arms above her head. She smiled as all the pain faded to nothing as the HyperEther renewed her strength.

"Thanks for talking me into this, Marle!" Lucca did a little dance to prove that she was back. "I've never felt so good!" Marle grinned and grabbed her hands. They spun in circles to celebrate the good use of the HyperEther. They then fell to the floor giggling. "Whew! I was starting to think that nothing would get you back to normal, Lucca." Marle was grinning from ear to ear. "I know! I'm happy that it doesn't hurt to laugh now!" Lucca was lying flat on her back, staring upwards. "That was some spell, wasn't it?" Marle nodded. "Bet you couldn't ever do it again!" "I hope never to have to!"

Lucca stood and brushed herself off. "Come on Marle. We have got to find a way to stop that swamp." Marle giggled as she stood up. "Always down to buisness, aren't you Lucca?" Lucca smiled, and took her pack from where Marle had dropped them. She started to walk away. Then stopped and dropped her pack, running back toward Marle. "Something's here"

Lucca drew her Wondershot and Marle notched a bolt into her Valkyre. They stood toghether and waited for a sign of trouble. The air around them dropped a few degrees, and they could see vague outlines of shapes darting around them. Suddenly the darkness was dispelled with a dozen lit torches. The girls saw three large, humanoid forms at the edge of the light. The torches were held by strange, black Nu's with strange eyes that were all white, without any pupils. A dark voice boomed forth from the center figure.

"All this damage, caused by a few little girls. The power of Zeal must be waning." The left figure waved his hand slightly, gesturing toward the girls. "How should we kill them?" The right figure shook it's head. "Why bother? The Nu's could dispatch them with no problem at all." The central figure nodded. The circle of Nu's dropped the torches, still burning, on the floor. there was a flash from the wondershot, and one Nu's eyes got wide. It fell to the ground, and faded. The other nu's showed no sign of even recognizing thier fallen comrade, and continued coming. The temperature fell, and three nu's were crushed by a huge falling block of ice, that then dissolved as Marle stopped chanting. The Nu's stopped. The floor started to shake under them. Shadows began to grow from the floor. Patches of dark surrounded the two girls, and formed hands and heads.

Lucca snarled and shot a large flame at one, but the flame passed through the form without any harm being done. Marle swept her hands, causing hundreds of tiny shards of ice to pierce the shadow near her, but they disappeared as they went into it's darkness. Marle's bow twanged and the bolt was swallowed by the darkness of another shadow. Lucca fired another shot from her gun, having the same lack of success. The shadows drew nearer to the fightened girls. A blade formed in the nearest shadow's hand, and struck at Marle, leaving a gash across her forehead, and the grls backed against the wall, away from the shadows. Another sword formed, and slashed at Lucca, slicing a terrible cut down her arm. Marle started to glow with Aura, trying to heal Lucca's bleeding incision, but at a wave of the central figure's hand, her magic ceased. The shadows towered over them, one raised his sword for the final srike.

Suddenly a flash showed through the dark, and one of the three figures dropped to his knees in agony. "Jared!" The right figure rushed to the fallen one's hand, but the damage was done. The Nu's lowered thier hands in surprise, and the shadows dissipated. Lucca poured a tonic on her wound and stood, prepared for the worst. Marle followed suit. The two remaining figures stood on guard. The right one was frantic. "Who did that?! Who has killed my brother?"

The girls felt a presence nearby, and a form dropped to the floor a few feet away. They turned to face it, but it held a leather-clad hand out. "It is I." A scythe glinted red with blood in the dark. Magus had returned.


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