Pumpkin King

Chapter 68

"Curse: Blood."

The knife cast off an eerie, blood red glow. But that was all Reese could note before his world devolved into pain. He doubled over and almost threw up from the sheer intensity of it. It was almost like his blood was boiling inside of him, burning him from the inside out.

He screamed. And as he did he coughed up blood. Some small, logical part of his brain noted that his blood was bright red, a lot brighter than it should have been. It was practically glowing. He fell to the ground and fought off spasms as more and more pain boiled in his veins.

He almost laughed when the pain suddenly stopped. And he would have if his throat wasn't so sore from the screaming. Remembering the position he was in, he managed to get himself to his knees and looked around frantically. The fog was disorienting but he managed to find Taboo standing in the same spot he had been before the pain took over.

"How did it taste?" Taboo asked with a smile. "The pain of your very blood coming to a boil?"

It took him a moment, but Reese managed to find his voice again. "Like copper, actually." He said before spitting some blood out of his mouth. "You should try it some time." Pushing himself to his feet, he glared at Taboo. He understood now why he had so many scars covering his body. He hadn't gotten them from his opponents. The crazy bastard had given them to himself.

"Oh, but I have tasted it." Taboo said. "My magic is the ultimate magic but there are rules. I cannot curse you with something I haven't felt myself." He lightly brushed his thumb against the edge of the blade and a small drop of blood blossomed from the cut. "Now how about a second helping?"


Corwin and Bertrand were engaged in combat far more heated. Corwin was on the defensive as Bertrand and a collection of fog clones rushed him in a barrage. On all sides the younger man had to parry and dodge streams of fog as the Bertrands shot them at him from their canes. He wasn't sure if the clones' attacks could hurt him, but he wasn't eager to test out any theories. His only option was to wait for an opening. And whenever one appeared to him, he would shoot out a lance of light, only to have it impact a clone that would dissipate on impact.

Bertrand wasn't giving him a chance to do anything else. Every time a clone was killed, he would use the surrounding fog to forge a new one. All he needed to do was land one blow and he could suffocate the boy until he was unconscious. Deep down, he wanted to kill him. But he couldn't. He, Jack, and Rosemary had made a pact, no more killing. And even if Jack had broken that vow, he would not. He would never again take the life of another, no matter how much they deserved it.

Raising his cane, he aimed it at Corwin as his clones distracted him. "Foggy Canon!" A blast of fog larger than what his clones could produce shot out the end of his cane and rocketed towards Corwin. But the dark wizard saw the big attack coming. Whirling his arm towards the blast, he shot out a piercing lance of light that split the fog in half.

That's when he heard Jekyll shouting, "Corwin! They're buying time! Don't toy around with them! They're planning to trap us in-." He couldn't hear any more before he was assaulted by another wave of clones and fog. But really that was all he needed to hear.

It was his turn to be aggressive. He continued to dodge the attacks of the clones. While some attacked from afar with fog, others came in close and tried to strike him with their canes. But he let none of them touch him. He jumped, ducked, twirled, and ran to avoid every blow, his black cloak fluttering in his wake. And thanks to that large blast, he now knew where the real body was. He charged the old man before he had time to escape and held him up by his throat, lifting him off the ground.

"No squirming your way out of this one, geezer." He said maliciously. "I understand why you weren't attacking me yourself as often as your clones were. You were just buying time for whatever trap you have planned. But unfortunately for you, I found out about it."

Bertrand glared down at him while pulling at the hand that was clutching his neck. "You don't know what you're talking about." He coughed out. The strangling made it semi-difficult to speak. He still had his cane, but if he tried to use it, Corwin would only strangle him.

"Don't play dumb." Corwin scoffed. "You're planning on trapping us in here somehow. That's what all this fog is for." He said, gesturing around them. "'Whatever you have up your sleeves, all this fog would prevent us from seeing what was going on." Then he raised Bertrand higher as light shined around from his arm. "But good luck trapping me if I'm not inside." And with that, his light shined even brighter until Bertrand had to shield his eyes. "Heaven's Thorn!"

A shaft of light rocketed from Corwin's arm and into Bertrand's chest. The older wizard groaned in pain as the attack carried him into the air and through the ceiling of the guild. It carried him into the sky until it dissipated, leaving Bertrand to fall. He landed on the roof and, luckily, it didn't cave it under him. But as he groaned, blood started to seep from the corners of his mouth. He wasn't hurt on the outside aside from some bruising, but something wasn't right inside. Once upon a time, he would have walked away from such an attack with ease. But he was an old man now. His body wasn't as sturdy as it used to be.

He didn't have much time to ease himself up when Corwin came flying onto the roof through the hole he had made with Bertrand's body. "Whatever you had planned is worthless now." He gloated. "And without all that fog, you're much more vulnerable."

Bertrand gripped his side with his free hand and pushed himself up with his cane. He had to wrap this fight up fast. It was true that he had lost his advantage now that they were outside the fog. And he didn't have the energy to waste making more. It would take a lot more magic to make enough fog in an unclosed area like this.

He was about to raise his cane and start attacking again. But then all around him, light began blooming. Although, it wasn't around him specifically. Casting his eyes out to the area around the guild, a grin grew on his face.

"Haha!" He cheered. "A whippersnapper like you is a hundred years too early to think you've won just yet." He gestured all around him to emphasize. "Ye might have escaped the building but you haven't escaped her!"

The feeling of victory died inside Corwin. The light was glowing everywhere he looked. And it was spreading. He ran to the edge of the roof and was bewildered at what he saw. Starting at the base of the guild and climbing up the walls were runes. And not just any kind, the kind you found in magic circles. As he watched, the runes appeared all over, even on the roof, but it didn't end there. Lines and symbols appeared on the ground as well. They were everywhere, like they were being drawn with a large, invisible pen.

His eyes widened. "What the hell is this?" He soon recognized a pattern. There were nodes of light spaced throughout the entire field. Perfectly round spheres that shined with a light brighter even than the runes around them. "The pumpkins!?" Corwin shouted. He couldn't believe it but he saw it with his own eyes. Every pumpkin in the patches surrounding the guild were placed in just the right way as to create runes and lines of their own. "It isn't possible. There is no magic this complex. There's no way you could keep so many lined up like this!"

Bertrand could only laugh at his opponent's reaction. "Oh but you see, we take our gardening very seriously here at Pumpkin King. Each pumpkin is cared for daily and positioned in just the right way in case a situation like this ever arrived." He watched as a large, solid line raced around the border of Pumpkin King's land, encasing it in a circle miles long. And from where they were standing on the roof, they could see what Pumpkin King truly was; a magic circle the size of a small town. And every vine, stem, leaf, and pumpkin contributed to creating it.

And inside the guild, Rosemary opened her eyes. Her spell was finally ready. The circle around her ushered forth a brilliant light and a gust of wind that ripped away all the fog around her. The runes on the walls as well shone with bright light as the magic from outside leaked in through the cracks and holes and windows in the building.

"Eternity Prison: Tartarus!"


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