Chapter 17. The Wall Of Thorns.
To our big surprise, the cave wasn’t dark at all. It was full of blue glowing crystals. The faint blue light around the walls created a star like path. If not for doggons, this could be a rather romantic place to visit.
- Wow, so pretty. - Eve was sparkling from amazement.
I wonder if they are worth anything? Maybe I’ll pick some up on our way back.
Needless to say, our excitement was interrupted by the growls and barks echoing from the deeper part of the cave.
- Ohh... such a mood killers. - Eve was upset.
Haha. She’s cute when she’s angry.
Hearing the doggons from inside the cave was a bit worrying, but they didn’t attack us yet. And soon it was apparent why. The path split into two and created another problem.
Grrr... It won’t be that easy, will it?
- What do we do now Master? Do we split up? - Eve asked.
- No! - I stated firmly. - We stick together. Let’s take the right side.
Whether it’s a dead end or not, I knew splitting up is a bad idea. With more people in a party I wouldn’t sweat it, but it was only the two of us. And I was not about to let Eve wonder alone in the cave full of doggons.
Worst case scenario – both entrances were connected, which they probably are. That means doggons can attack from behind to cut of our escape. That thought was super annoying. They were not dumb mindless beasts after all.
I was worried about walking into a cave with only the two of us. Especially about Eve. Even if I can defend myself, doggons are really fast. And in this cramped space, it will be difficult to fight them.
In the midst of me thinking, we heard noises closing in behind us. My speculations were right on the spot – both paths were connected.
- Come on, Eve! Run! - I shouted. - If we can reach the end of the cave, it will be easier to fight them.
Unfortunately, our attempt to reach the end, was quickly cut short by growls and barks in front of us.
Tsk... damn dogs.
- Eve, get ready to cast your magic like never before. - I took my stance with swords ready.
- Yes Master! - Eve turned her back to me and faced the side we came from.
The noises were getting louder and both sides of the cave were painted with lots of red eyes closing in fast. For the very first time, since arriving in this world, a cold chill ran down my spine.
- Thorn Spikes! - I didn’t turn around, but it was clear Eve got one.
I was about to strike one down myself, when it changed directions and run up the wall.
Running on all fours, doggon climbed the side of the wall in semi circle. It passed me and quickly jumped straight at Eve from the side. She didn’t see it, since she was focused casting spells in front of her.
- No, you don’t! - I jumped in to protect Eve.
My reflexes were faster and with a swift strike, I stabbed it with my sword.
- Ah! - Eve was startled.
Damn. Situation changed from bad to worse. So much for being able to read them. - I covered Eve’s back with mine.
- Thorn Spikes! Thorn Spikes! - Eve was casting spells non stop.
- ‘Swoosh!’ ‘Slash!’ - I was busy fending off doggons on my side as well.
Even so, there were far too many of them. It was a matter of time till they outnumber us. To make matters worse, they used the walls to run around us to either distract us, or attack from the sides.
- Haa! - I jumped in to protect Eve again.
- Thank you Master. - she was relieved.
- Don’t sweat it. There are more coming. - I turned to my side.
If this keeps up, they simply outnumber us. What to do?
- Thorn Spi... Oh no! - Eve missed one and there was no time for me to intervene.
- Shield! - I extended my hand and Eve was covered in a bubble shield.
- Huh? - she didn’t expect that.
Doggon almost looked like hanging in the air, biting and scratching at the shield.
- Quickly! Cast Thorns again! - I shouted.
- Thorn Spikes! - thorns caught doggons legs and single spike pierced it’s body.
- Waaaa! - I felt pain in my right arm.
While I cast the shield to protect Eve, another doggon jumped on me and cut his teeth into my arm.
- Master! - Eve’s face went pale.
- Get off me! - I smacked it’s skull with the back of my sword.
Before it’s body fell on the ground, I kicked it into another doggon. Both bodies smashed into the wall, leaving red stain of blood on it. I turned to Eve and threw my left sword at another doggon right next to her. It’s body was stabbed and pinned into the wall like a hunter’s trophy.
- Don’t worry about me! More are coming! - I quickly reached for a Healing Potion into my bag.
With one gulp, I drank it and the wound was healed in an instant.
- Damn it. There’s no end to them. - the situation looked dire.
What do I do? If we blocked one side somehow, then it would be easy to defend. They wouldn’t be able to run around us. However, I can’t really use ‘that’ in here. It might cause a cave in, then we’ll be buried together with doggons. Not good...
- Thorn Spikes! - another doggon fell down.
It’s all my fault. - Eve thought to herself. - If I was stronger, my Master wouldn’t have been hurt. And he used the ‘Shiny Shield’ to protect me instead of himself. If only I was stronger...
- Thorn Spikes! - with that the Shield vanished. - Oh no...
- Haaa! Take that! - I was doubling and tripling to stop doggons getting past me.
I have to make sure my Master survives this. I must save him, even if it’s the last thing I do. - Eve stood her ground.
- Thorn Spikes! Oh no... I’m almost at my limit. - Eve gasped.
- Thorn... no... - Eve wasn’t able to cast another spell.
Doggons were approaching fast. Eve took a deep breath. The look on her face showed she wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
No! I won’t let it end like this. I’ll put everything I have to protect my Master. - she extended her hands.
- Mother Nature please lend me your strength. - Eve started chanting a spell. - Let my body be the vessel of your endless power...
- Huh? - I sensed strong magical energy gathering behind me.
What’s going on? - I turned around.
Eve’s body was glowing from head to toe. Even doggons got startled for a moment.
- From the Nature I receive, back to the Nature I return... - Eve continued.
- Woah! - I gasped.
In a mere moments, a star appeared above Eve’s head started to spin, gathering all the magical energy in it. It released a wave of light, which surged through Eve’s body in a circle. The light ran down, then went back up again. It looked like it was drawing magic energy from the ground itself.
Eve extended her hands in front, ready to cast a spell. The star spun even faster and...
- Thorns... - it split into two. - Wall!
The ground shook, and in an instant, roots and vines grew thick and tall, covering the cave in front of Eve. Doggons, that weren’t fast enough to escape, were tangled and trapped in between the vines. Eve’s side of the entrance was fully blocked. After the shock passed, doggons behind the Thorns Wall, tried to cut and bite through the vines, wanting to get past.
- Thorn – she wasn’t done yet. - Spikes!
Spikes, fast and deadly, grew from all sides of the Thorns Wall, instantly piercing all the doggons, not letting a single one escape. The one’s behind me quickly turned tails and ran away. I stood there amazed with my mouth wide open.
That was... totally awesome!
Eve was about to collapse from exhaustion. I quickly caught her and held her in my arms.
- Master TC... - she smiled.
- You’re amazing, you know that? - I could barely hold my excitement.
- Huh? Wait! Doggons! - Eve tried to stand on her own.
- Don’t worry. You’ve dealt with them. - I helped her to stand.
She looked at a huge Thorns Wall blocking one side of the cave. It was painted red with doggons blood.
- Oh my... Did I do that? Those poor doggons... - she covered her mouth with one hand.
Poor doggons? This is how you feel after massacring so many of them? Haha! You’re unbelievable.
- Not only that. - I couldn’t wait for her to find out.
- Why are you so happy Master? - Eve was confused.
- What? You don’t realize it yet? - my grin couldn’t be wider.
- Huh? I feel different. I mean... Huh? - she touched her head.
The two stars on Eve’s head reacted and started to glow. Then, with a glowing motion, they vanished and another star appeared on her neck . She wasn’t able to touch them per se, but she could feel there were two now.
- Oh my... - Eve’s eyes filled with tears.
- Yep. You evolved. Hihihi. - I was so happy for her.
- Master! - she couldn’t believe it.
- Congratulations beautiful. - I hugged her warmly.
Ahhh... what a precious moment. And I think she became even more beautiful than before. If such thing is even possible. - I was totally taken aback.
- Master, your cheeks are all red. - Eve and her childish worrying.
- Does that make you feel uncomfortable? - my question sounded way too cheesy.
- No. I mean, I like when you look at me like that. But... I thought in order for me to evolve, we need to... - Eve face went all red as well.
- So did all the others. - I commented.
- You knew about this Master? - Eve asked me.
- Nope. - I proudly answered.
- Then how? - Eve couldn’t make sense of it.
- Something must’ve triggered your evolution during the fight. One thing is clear – there’s more than one way for you to evolve. - I replied.
- So does that mean you’ll never make love to me Master? - Eve’s face and voice couldn’t be sadder.
What? Really? Only you can come up with such a question. And around a pile of dead doggons on top of it. Oh my... She’s the best when it comes to asking provocative questions.
- I didn’t say that... - Just please don’t ask me when...
- I’m so happy to hear that. - Eve’s face brightened right away.
I took out a Mana Potion and handed it to Eve. She drank it and was full of energy again. Then went to pick up my other sword. It was stuck in the wall with a doggon hanging on it.
I hate to mess up the cave’s décor, but I need this back.
Doggon rolled down on the ground after I pulled my sword out.
- Now... This side of the entrance is blocked off. Which means, they won’t be able to come from behind us any more. But that also means we can’t go back as well. Let’s go see if we can reach the end of the cave. - I put away my swords.
With Eve, evolved to two stars, I wasn’t worried too much any more. Her new spell – Thorns Wall – was a real life saver. Now I can go wild without worrying about an ambush. Things changed from good to better. And it showed on my grin.