Lynus didn't want to look at the beast that was about the kill him, but he couldn't tear his eyes away. What he was seeing was the same thing Binah saw before she died. No wonder the poor girl was frozen in fear.
There was a sudden war cry unlike anything Lynus had heard before. His view of the Raptor was broken by a blur of armour and steel, appearing from above. Not a split second after there was a loud, sicking crack of metal hitting bone, and a loud gurgle of pain.
It almost didn't seem real. There, standing before him, was a figure in red armour swinging a large axe over his head before bringing it down abruptly with a loud grunt. It was only then when the Raptor made a monstrous roar, that it dawned upon Lynus what had really happened.
It was Axel. He had jumped from a high perch in the tree he had been leaning against and slammed his broad-axe into the Raptor's head. His strike was so fierce that the sound of breaking bones echoed through the night air.
Then Lynus found himself swept up into Axel's strong arms suddenly, being held tightly against his chest. The relief he felt was instantaneous. For a slight fraction of a moment he felt safe. A cure spell tumbled from his lips as he nuzzled his head under Axel's chin, letting his friend practically carry him to safety.
"Are you ok?" Axel asked him as he pulled back, holding Lynus by his upper arms to hold him still as he looked at him. There was an abundant amount of concern in his gaze, as well as fear.
Lynus nodded his head in response. "Yeah, I'm ok."
A moment later Lynus found himself surrounded by the other members of The Guardians. They circled him in a protective manner, their weapons drawn and ready for battle. Everyone was here. Lynus could see that some of them had minor cuts and scrapes, appearing as if they had searched all over the labyrinth for him.
He did a double take, realising that indeed everyone from his guild was there. But weren't they allowed no more than five per party? How did they all make inside?
"We formed two groups," Axel explained, as if he had read Lynus' mind, giving him a crooked smile.
"Is that even allowed?"
"The knights weren't going to argue when we told them the reason why we were entering the labyrinth."
Lynus could say nothing in reply to that. He could only smile.
"Lynus," Hamza called to him as he flexed his weapon before him. "Can you tell me the situation?"
Quickly remembering the serious situation they were now in, Lynus moved away from Axel, standing in the middle of the protect circle of his guild members. He could still feel Axel's hand on his shoulder, though. His touch was comforting.
Noticing his bindings, Tobyn pulled out a knife and quickly cut the ropes, freeing Lynus' hands. Rubbing his wrists, Lynus drew in a sharp breath and decided to answer as plainly as possible. "Two Raptors. One fatality. Two injured. Status unknown currently."
"There were only three explorers?" Shen asked him, a hint of incredulity in his voice. "Foolish."
"This isn't good," Magnus muttered under his breath as he looked around. "One may be incapacitated, but the other is still in perfect health."
"Axel," Hamza was about to give a command, but Axel interrupted him.
"I'll finish off the first bastard," Axel said as he removed his grip on Lynus and lifted his axe into his shoulder. "It's nearly dead, anyway."
"Good," Hamza murmured as he tightened his hold on his weapon. "Lynus, stay at the back and look after the two that are injured. They don't deserve such generosity, but we will never leave anyone behind."
Lynus looked over to Magnus, who was holding something out to him. It was his medical bag. They went to the hospital looking for him. Was that how they knew something was wrong?
It didn't matter now.
"Thanks." Swinging his bag over his shoulder, Lynus felt much better. He was surrounded by his friends, people that he trusted the most. He was ready now.
"Everyone," Hamza said, his voice loud and commanding. "Hold strong! This is a battle we can't run away from!"
"Then let's go!"
As his guild ran into battle, determined and strong, Lynus plunged his hand into his bag. He pulled out a small bottle of Medica and quickly drank it. It would give him the energy he needed. He wouldn't waste his healing skills on himself, nor would he use anything higher than a Medica. One bottle was enough.
Adjusting his bag onto his shoulder, over his head, the strap across his chest, Lynus looked around. His gaze fell on Rahas, the Dark Hunter lying in a crumbled heap on the ground. Seeing that the coast was clear, his guild members battling the roaring Raptor with skill and finesse, he made his way over to him.
Kneeling by Rahas' side, Lynus was relieved to find him still breathing. But he was unconscious, thick blood sticking to the side of his head. He had suffered some head damaged. There was no way of telling how bad his injury was or if he had any internal damaged out in the field. He needed to get to a hospital.
With his hand hovering an inch over the wound, Lynus whispered the cure spell. It was all he could do for now.
Lynus heard a noise, telling him that the Raptor was turning its attention to him again. He glanced up from healing Rahas to see the Raptor getting closer. Then, without any hesitation, Jhon was in front of him, his shield raised in defence. The monster hit Jhon's shield with a loud bang. But Jhon held his ground, even though he was pushed back a few feet, kicking up dirt by doing so.
Without any hesitation on his part, Lynus was up on his feet, a cure spell on his lips as he placed two hands on Jhon's back. Warm healing magic seeped from his hands into Jhon, healing any wounds he may have had and giving him the strength to uphold his guard.
"I'm fine!" Jhon said to him, boldly pushing back against the monster's force. "Find a place of safety."
"Right!" With his adrenaline pumping, Lynus stumbled back over to Rahas, flung his limp arm over his shoulder and then managed to stagger away. He made a break for a small opening. There, he rested Rahas against a tree. His wounds were deep, but Lynus had managed to heal what he could see were the most fatal. He was in pain, no doubt, but he wasn't going to die any time soon.
With Rahas safe for now, Lynus ran back into the action.
Moving to his usual place beside Magnus, who was uttering elemental spells one after the other, Lynus concentrated on using his salve spell to offer a small bit of healing to everyone. He hadn't found Avith yet, but the need to make sure that his party were healthy was more important right now.
Lynus immediately began searching for Axel amongst the carnage. It wasn't difficult to find him, and Lynus uttered a sigh of relief when he saw that he was still up on his feet, fighting. He was facing a monster on his own and seemed to be doing miraculously well. Still, even though the Raptor had been previously injured by Axel's powerful attacks, it was still dangerous.
"Make sure he's safe," Magnus suddenly told Lynus, giving him a slight push.
Lynus didn't say anything in return. He simply nodded his head and pushed himself forward. He was tired, exhausted really. But he wouldn't allow himself to rest now.
"Stay back!" Axel yelled to him. Then, with a loud grunt, he swung his axe, throwing his body to the side to put more force behind his attack. He dodged the Raptor's attack, instead striking the beast's throat. The Raptor emitted a strangled cry, like blood gurgling in its throat. It staggered a couple of steps before it began to lean to the side. It soon fell over, kicking up a cloud of dust as it hit the ground. Blood seeped from numerous wounds as it twitched, kicking its legs feebly.
Then it became still.
Lynus didn't know whether it was dead or not. But it was obvious that it had been defeated.
Axel was panting as he leaned against his axe, a slight look of satisfaction on his face. Lynus wasted no time reaching him and began to fuss over him.
"Is everyone else ok?" Axel asked him.
"They're still alive," Lynus replied, glancing over his shoulder to the other battle.
Axel drew in a sharp breath before heaving his axe onto his shoulder again. "I better help," he said as he made a motion to move.
But Lynus suddenly grabbed onto him, pushing himself into his arms and leant against his chest. Yet again he uttered a healing spell, making doubly sure that Axel was at perfect health. As the healing warmth spread from Lynus to Axel, Axel placed an arm around Lynus' waist, holding him close.
When the spell began to subside, Lynus pulled back and looked up at Axel. Despite what was happening around them, they simply gazed at one another for a silent moment.
But the sound of someone crying pulled the two back to reality. Stepping away from each other, they looked around, slightly startled. They both turned to the direction of the noise and stood still.
It was Avith. He was kneeling on the ground, surrounded by blood, his hands clutching a damaged Tamborine. Numerous wounds covered his form, but they didn't concern him. The tears he was crying wasn't from the physical pain. He was crying for Binah. He had lost yet another guild member.
The sight was heartbreaking.
"Was he the one-?" Axel began to ask him.
"It doesn't matter now," Lynus said to him, turning to look at Axel once again. "Come on, there's still one monster left to deal with."
Axel nodded his head once. They then turned around and headed to where the action was, to where they were both needed. Axel headed straight for the enraged Raptor while Lynus moved to stand near Magnus once more. He immediately fell into his role. Cure. Refresh. Salve. Do whatever was necessary to ensure that everyone would return to town alive.
Tobyn was nimbly hopping from branch to branch, from tree to tree, firing off arrows from a safe distance. And Chi-hung and Jhon were working in teams in luring the monster's attention away from the back row fighters and the injured. With the monster distracted, Axel, Shen and Hamza were landing heavy blows with their weapons. And with Magnus casting powerful magic, and Lynus continually casting his healing spells on the party, the monster's movements were becoming slower and strained.
"Get back!" Tobyn suddenly yelled. Then, like a bolt of lightning, the arrows that he had shot toward the sky earlier rained down upon the Raptor, every single one of them hitting their mark.
It was Apollon. His strongest attack.
That was it. The final blow.
The Raptor gave a strangled cry as it fell sideways and onto the ground. Everyone became still, watching, waiting. But it made no movement. Blood seeped from its numerous wounds before it breathed its last breath. Then it became still.
Cautiously, Hamza edged forward. He approached the monster and when he was close enough, he knelt down. He turned his head slightly to the side, his body still tense as he listened.
Finally, his tense shoulders dropped and he breathed a sigh.
"It's over," he said, standing up.
Almost in unison, everyone sighed with relief. Lynus immediately felt the tension drain from his body and found himself collapsing onto the ground. Axel sat on the ground next to him, he too exhausted from the battle. In fact everyone was.
No surprise, really. Racing out in the night into the Labyrinth in search of him and then taking on two Raptors at once. It was a miracle they were still awake.
"So," Hamza said as he rolled his shoulder, flexing it. "Now we have to get back to town."
Wordlessly Lynus reached into his bag and pulled something out. It was a Warp Wire. Two of them, actually. He always made sure he had at the very least two with him. No question. It was the quickest way to reach town. Not to mention the safest with injured in tow.
When he showed it to everyone, they all smiled in relief. They were all ready to leave. They had enough adventure for one night.