Pumpkin King

Chapter 53

Alec backed away from Crest, almost staggering under the heat and light radiating from him. He felt fear, fear that all his crimes, all his deeds since he left Pumpkin King were about to catch up to him. All the people he'd hurt, the lives he'd ruined.

But it was only for a moment. Then the darkness inside him swelled, sensing the light bursting from his enemy and meeting it in intensity. Pitch black slime dripped from his every pore, pooling around him and climbing up the walls and spreading across the floor. His darkness was trying to devour Crest's light.

"Well wasn't that dramatic?" He snarled. "Judging me guilty, are you?" He flourished his arms at Crest, causing giant strands of slime to launch at the Pumpkin King wizard. But Crest wasn't concerned. He raised his blade and casually brushed the attack aside.

Enraged, Alec sent wave after wave of slime to try and overpower him. "How pretentious can you get!? You have no right to judge me. You aren't better!" He put both of his hands to the ground, reaching passed the slime as it oozed over his fingers. "Slavish Mire!"

The slime began vibrating and churning, gathering itself into a ball around Alec. It rolled around, making a sound almost like growling, before it molded itself into the shape of a giant wolf. There were two glowing orbs where its eyes would be, but other than that there was nothing but black, dripping slime for its body. It opened up its mouth and let out a roar that shook the entire hallway.

Erk and the others had to cover their ears, but Crest wasn't perturbed. He started walking towards Alec with a set face. He eyed the slime creature in distaste. "You say that when you and Charlotte fought, all she beat was a wolf." He shook his head. "Yet the wolf is all I see here."

"Don't you dare lecture me." Alec shouted. He gestured at Crest. "Destroy him!"

The slime wolf opened its maw again and tendrils of slime shot out, aiming right for Crest. Without so much as letting out a shout, Crest took his blade and sliced through the tendrils like butter. The tendrils still attached to the creature's body were sizzling and spitting from where they were cut. The heat of the blade completely evaporating what was cut off. "Face it Alec, you've been completely consumed by that dark magic. You have no idea how to control it."

Alec's eyes widened in disbelief at what he was hearing. "No control? No control! Then what do you think this is?" With a yell he made the slime wolf lunge at Crest. Opening its mouth, the creature's shape changed, becoming more liquid until only its head remained in wolf form.

Crest growled at Alec's stubbornness. He was so absorbed by the darkness that he couldn't even see how he was losing control. He planted his feet into the ground and raised his shield to the oncoming onslaught. "El Cid!" The light radiating from his shield burst even brighter, becoming a wall of solid light that protected him against the slime monster. It slammed against the wall and let out a blood curdling scream as the heat made it start evaporating. While it was screaming, Erk raised his sword and brought it down on the beast. It screamed even louder as the blade cut straight to its core, causing it to glow brightly before evaporating with a hiss of steam.

"No…no…" Alec said, dumbfounded. He fell to his knees. "There's no way you can be this powerful. All you're supposed to do is protect people. You should be weak!"

Crest stood directly in front of him and brandished his sword. "I am protecting people. Because I'm strong." With that, he took his sword and put it near Alec's throat. "Now you're going to tell us where your leader is."

Alec gulped. He hesitated for a moment. But then he grinned and met Crest's eyes shakily. His armor was still glowing so it made it difficult for the dark wizard to look at him. "The better question is, why did you leave your guild so unprotected?"

Crest narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean?"

Alec laughed and looked passed Crest and to the rest of the group. "What I mean is that with all of you here, who's left to protect those other weaklings at your guild?" He sneered. "What's stopping us from attack your guild at full force?"

"You underestimate us." Jack said, walking through Crest's barrier. "The guild is in the capable hands of my seedlings. No matter who you send, they will be prepared for you."

Alec let out another laugh before slime pooled around him and he started sinking into the ground. Just before his head disappeared he grinned at them all. "Perhaps I is you who is underestimating us."

From atop his perch on the guild, Bertrand stared at three shadows slowly approached them from the distance. He grunted and tapped his staff against the roof. "So it begins." He sighed. Then he put on a stern face. "I may be old, but these bones still have some fight in them." Fog started seeping out from the end of his cane. "Pumpkin King stands ready!"

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