Pumpkin King

Chapter 33

They stood completely silent when the darkness fell on them, waiting for something to move in the shadows surrounding them. Tamashi and Dante readied their magic, but all Erk could do was silently pray, "Please don't be a spider, please don't be a spider."

But instead of monsters lunging at them with fangs bared, something unexpected happened. The lights flicked on.

Erk and Dante immediately turned to make sure no one was creeping up on them, which surprised Erk. He didn't know why he did it. Maybe it was an instinct from before he lost his memory.

They were alone as far as Erk could tell. On his right he saw the food table from the previous night stacked with eggs and meat and fruit. Breakfast. The sight made his mouth water.

But before he could think about food, he heard Tamashi gasp and Dante say, "Well that's a shock. I don't think I've ever seen you surp-." He stopped mid-sentence.

Curious at what they were looking at, Erk turned around only to be stunned speechless. The entire back of the room was covered in layers and layers of spider webs. And there, hung above the platform, was Lorelai.

Her arms were stretched over her head, covered in webbing up to her elbows, and nothing below her stomach was visible under the white threads. Her head hung limply on her chest.

Before anyone could say a word, Dante was rushing towards the stage, screaming, "Lorelai!"

Tamashi tried to grab at him, but he was too quick and she missed. "No, you idiot!" She called after him. "It's a trap!"

He wasn't listening. His only thought was of getting to Lorelai. But just before he reached the stage, a whistling sound went through the air. And sensing something from above, Dante jumped backwards just a large scythe whirled down and cut into the floor where he'd been standing. It was large and black, with many cuts and gouges decorating the blade, giving it a damaged look despite its keen edge.

"What the hell!?" Dante shouted, pressing his hands together and getting ready to cast a spell.

"OOOOOOH YEAAAAH!" A voice yelled excitedly. The three Guild wizards look up to see a black shape spinning down from the ceiling and land on the scythe that blocked Dante's path. The scythe bent only a little at the impact as Milo made a peace sign and had his tongue sticking out of his mouth. "WHO'S READY TO PARTYYYY?" The blue haired boy shouted from his perch.

"Milo, you bastard!" Dante shouted back as Erk and Tamashi ran up behind him. "What did you do to Lorelai?" The look Dante shot at the other boy was one that demanded a straight answer.

The dark guild member just laughed and rolled his scythe upside down and started playing it like an air guitar, his eyes closed and his head banging like he was jamming out to his favorite song. "This chicky was caught planning to betray Master Harlas." He told them, not stopping his air guitar. Then he opened one eye and let his tongue hang out of his mouth. "And that's a lot of concern for some babe you supposedly met yesterday. Don't you think?"

He suddenly jumped and swung his scythe. But instead of it slashing harmlessly at nothing, it seemed to cut through the air, half of the blade sunk into what looked like nothing and hung there like it was lodged inside a wall. It seemed like the scythe was levitating in the air while Milo sat down cockily on the blunt side of the blade and stared down at them with a crazed look in his eye.

"It's enough to make a guy think that maybe you've met somewhere before. Oh wait," he snickered maniacally, "you have!" Grabbing the shaft of the scythe, Milo pulled on it and it dislodged out of the air, making him fall towards the ground. His teeth were bared in an insane smile as he fell towards the group, ready to cut at them. "Isn't that right, Pumpkin King!?"

The three barely had enough time to jump out of the way as Milo landed where they had been standing and slashed, creating a large gouge in the stone floor and flinging bits of it flinging in every direction.

Tamashi and Dante managed to land gracefully, not even missing a beat as Milo had lunged at them. But Erk wasn't as smooth. While the other two kept on their feet, Erk ended up sliding across the floor on his stomach. He slid to a stop with a groan and got to feet slowly. "Well that's a way to impress the ladies. I'm going to be feeling that for a month." He rubbed his stomach with a grimace as he spoke.

"Really not the time for joking around, dumbass." Tamashi remarked, not even turning to look at him.

Erk glared at her, but she was right. So instead, he turned his glare to Milo, who was twirling his scythe like a baton.

"Bligoro scanned her entire memory. And weren't we surprised to find out that she and her three little friends were spies, sent here to take us out from the inside." He sighed forlornly. "Master go so angry that the poor chicky broke before I could have a chance to have some fun with her." He stopped spinning the scythe to point it at Lorelai. "And there she is, hung as an example of what happens when you cross the dark guild Demon Horn!"

The air around Dante practically hummed with energy. His fists were clenched and hate filled his eyes. "You better pray she's alive." He said threateningly. "Or I'm going to make you wish it was you up there."

The smile dropped from Milo's face. "Was she your girlfriend or something? Sheesh, don't get all defensive." He pointed a thumb at her. "You can relax, lover boy. Spindel's webs have healing some properties." He smiled evilly again. "After all, she wouldn't be much of an example if she died. She'll be tortured again and again until she's BEGGING for it to end." He laughed maniacally. "Only then will Master be so forgiving as to actually give her the sweet, sweet relief of-."

He never got a chance to finish as Dante's gauntlet clad fist smashed directly into Milo's head, launching him backwards. But he managed to keep hold of his scythe. And before he was knocked too far away, he swung it, aiming to cut Dante in half.

Dante didn't have time to react. He'd attacked Milo without thinking and he didn't have the footing to get out of the way in time. So he braced himself to take the hit. But just before it cut him, Erk ran and pushed him out of the way. And Erk was a lot scrawnier than Dante. So instead of it biting into his side, it only cut his arm, causing a blood to trickle down it.

Erk screamed in pain. He wasn't sure what he was expecting when it cut him, but the amount of pain that surged through his body was not it. For a moment, it felt like he was going to lose consciousness. But somehow he managed to stay on his feet, his vision swimming and gasping for breath. "What…the hell…was that?" He managed to say. Even the act of speaking was almost too much for him.

Milo rested the scythe on his shoulder. "My Rift Ripper doesn't just cut something." He explained with a confident smirk. "It tears through dimensions. For just a moment your arm existed on two planes of being. The fact that you're even still conscious is awesome." He licked his lips and ran a hand through his blue hair. "It makes me want to figure out how many cuts it'll take to break you."

Dante's eyes widened at the information. He quickly glanced at Erk, who was still managing to stay on his feet. "You okay?"

After a few gulps of air and squeezing the wound on his arm, to stop the bleeding, he managed to say, "Forget about me. I'm no wizard so I can't fight him." He started staggering to the side. "I'll try to get Lorelai down from there while you guys distract the asshat grim reaper wannabe."

At that point, Tamashi stepped forward. She had two glowing magic circles floating above each hand while swarms of spiders gathered around her. "He's a weak idiot who peeps on girls, but he's right. We distract the broom headed freak while he does something useful."

While they were talking, Milo was getting angrier and angrier at every remark. "Asshat? Broom headed?" He bared his teeth and glared at them. "You realize I'm right here, right?" He yelled. With a scream, he lunged at Dante and Tamashi, but the two saw it coming. The separated in opposite direction as he vertically slashed at them, making him hit nothing but the stone floor where they'd been standing.

Before he could retaliate, Dante launched himself at him, "Earth Make: Gauntlets!" Earth wrapped around his fists, creating two large gauntlets, and brought them together to bring all his strength down on the smaller boy. But Milo was quick. He managed to swing his scythe up to catch the blow on the blade, cutting into Dante's gauntlets. The two struggled for a moment, each pushing at the other, when the gauntlets made a cracking sound.

Milo grinned as they shattered into dust, leaving Dante's hands free to be cut. But before he could take advantage the moment, a wall of spiders cascaded around him, both pushing Dante away and covering Milo in eight legged arachnids.

Dante retreated to where Tamashi was standing with her arms upraised, directing her army of undead spiders, while Milo screamed in disgust as he tried to get them off him.

"Don't be a moron!" Tamashi rebuked. "Remember what happened to Erk? It was only like a minute ago. Touch that scythe of his and you're done. We've got to stay back and attack from a distance. Milo slashed and created a gap in the swarm and tried to jump away from the spiders, but with a wave of her hand, they creatures scuttled to block his way while other nipped and bit at any exposed flesh on his body.

Dante glanced at Erk who was making his way towards Lorelai with a knife he'd found on the food table, ready to cut her down from the webs. Then he took a deep breath. "Right. I can always punch his slimy face later." He knelt and put his hands on the floor. "Earth Make: Basilisk!" A brown magic circle spread across the floor in front of him and a large serpent made of earth shot out of it. Large fangs that protruded from its mouth extended until they almost touched the floor and its scales jutted out like spikes across its back. It let out a loud hiss that shook the air around it as its coal black eyes landed on Milo.

The scythe user paused in his beating away of spiders to look at the giant, earthen reptile that was rapidly slithering across the floor towards him and made the appropriate reaction.

He screamed.

"Where the fuck did that come from!?" He yelled as he ran away. Not even the spiders could keep up with him as the giant snake chased him around the room.

"Basilisk. Nice touch." Tamashi complimented. She smirk in amusement at the scene while her spiders gathered around her.

"Thanks." Dante replied rather proudly.

While Milo continued to run and scream obscenities, Erk managed to trudge and climb up the webs that were holding Lorelai. As more time passed, he could feel the strength coming back to his arm and pain was lessening. His arm wasn't bleeding as badly either, which made climbing much easier. He climbed with the knife in his mouth and once he was at face value with her, he clutched at the webs he was holding onto with one arm and took the knife out of his mouth with the other.

"Don't worry." He said, still breathing heavily. "I'll get you out of here in no time." He began sawing at the threads. Luckily, they parted easily when they came in contact with the knife's edge. So he made good time in cutting her free. He was able to cut her arms free and her body sagged in her binds.

He readjusted his grip so his legs were gripping the webs so that he could hold Lorelai with one arm and cut with the other. "Just a little more…" He muttered. But before he could cut any more, he heard a something happening behind him. Straining his neck, he turned his head and his heart almost stopped.

The floor in front behind him opened up and Sissy, Spindel, Bligoro, Picksy, Will, and Ulrich were rising into the room.

With Harlas right behind them.

Their backs were to him, so Erk held his breath, hoping they wouldn't turn and see him. He gulped nervously tried to saw through more webbing as silently as possible.

But he hadn't cut more than handful of threads before Harlas calmly turned his head to look at him with his remaining eye. His voice was calm, but there was an ocean of anger bubbling beneath it. "Cut one more string and there won't be enough left of you to even feed the spiders."

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