Level 23 ~ Naomi cont’d

Predictably, they went straight out of the church and down the well. Andrew had all the information he could get from outside, didn’t like Naomi getting to do anything, and for some reason Vixie wasn’t allowed to scout anything Oracle had trouble reading anymore. The ‘anymore’ part interested Naomi. At least he let her cast a spell to float them down to the bottom of the well instead of insisting on getting out his rope and grappling hook.

The water in the old well was barely ankle deep, so even in the rainy season it was unlikely the village was able to use this well anymore. But it connected into several sad tunnels and pathways beneath the ground. Hidden places where no one would see you, where you could be alone. The walls were practically crying. Andrew led the way as Naomi surrounded them with dancing lights—she and Vixie would’ve been fine in total darkness but as long as Andrew needed to see he might as well see well. There was one presence down here that was different from the others. It wasn’t sad. It was hiding because that’s how it got away with hurting people. She could feel it as they sloshed slowly through the tunnels. It liked hurting people; it fed on their fear and pain…

As they came to its lair though, Naomi could tell why Oracle hadn’t been able to get a good read. The fiend had come down here and then ceased to exist. Even before she could say anything though, it came back into existence. Its bulbous amorphous body writhed with eyes, tentacles and mouths. Naomi had never seen anything more terrible! She squeezed her eyes shut and bit back the scream she wanted to give. Naomi wouldn’t give Andrew any excuses to think poorly of her! But then she heard both Andrew and Vixie cover their terrified screams by turning them into battle cries.

Keeping her eyes shut, Naomi cast a few spells to extend her and the others’ abilities to sense their surroundings without their eyes. “Don’t look at the Feyr.” Naomi smiled quietly, this thing wasn’t scary; it just had the power to seem so.

Andrew gave a dry chuckle, “A feyr, huh? Must be an ancient one.” As Andrew charged Banisher with holy energy, Naomi could almost hear the ‘good job identifying it’. It felt good.

The creature’s continued assault on their emotions first and bodies second confirmed to both Naomi and Andrew that she had correctly identified it. Of course Naomi only knew about feyrs from studying her father’s books, and even Andrew had never fought one this powerful. Still Naomi had no difficulty blocking its powers and healing any physical wounds it inflicted. Soon enough Andrew and Vixie had reduced it to a bleeding heap in the muck.

Andrew thrust Banisher into the heap and twisted the blade. He and Naomi figured out at the same moment that the fight wasn’t really over, but too late to save Vixie. The feyr’s tentacles lashed around Vixie and pulled her into its body before it stopped existing again!

“What the hell?!” Andrew swore and began scanning the room with his cursed eye, “It can plane-shift?”

Naomi shook her head wide-eyed, “Not to any plane I know of! It’s more like it ceased existing! It didn’t exist when we got here either!”

Andrew screamed his frustration and slammed a fist deep into the stone of the cave next to him, “Vixie!!!”

“Shut up!” Naomi squeezed her eyes shut again, “I need to concentrate!” She wasn’t going to lose anyone else, not ever again! “There! Attack there!”

Andrew was ready to trust Naomi on this one it seemed, and as soon as she had grabbed the feyr with her magic and pulled it back into reality, Andrew was there to cleave through it with holy thunder. A shuddering, coughing, leopard-hybrid Vixie was freed from the fiend’s stinking corpse as its essence was absorbed into Oracle.

“Oh! Andrew!” Vixie threw her arms around Andrew in a desperate hug, and the Demon Hunter dropped his sword to hold her to him.

As the sadness of the tunnels filled back into the void left by the departure of the feyr’s more turbulent emotions, Naomi wished she could melt back into that sadness. A human once felt the way toward her mother that Andrew and Vixie felt toward each other now. Her mother had shared the human’s feelings, but Naomi got in the way. Her mother couldn’t endanger the man she loved by asking him to help her raise a demon. So she fled with Naomi into the night, where in time her father caught them again.


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