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    Cia
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Broken Path, Starless Tail - 28. Chapter 28

Getting in really didn’t turn out to be a problem. The gate to the tunnel was wood, and two bashes from Valrinda’s tail decimated it. It was a tight squeeze for him, but he made it in. His bulk hid what waited for them at the end from Beckett, but he was glad he’d listened and let Valrinda go first when the heat from his breath wafted back into the stone tunnel.

“Sorry.” The dragon’s voice was muffled by his own butt. He blocked most of the light, so Beckett couldn’t see much either, just a few stray gleams bouncing off his back scales.

“Want to get out of the way?”

“Um, just a moment.” There was a crunch, stones crumbled, and dust filled the tunnel. Beckett started coughing, doubling over as his body fought to hack up both his lungs. Tears ran from his eyes, and he gasped, trying to catch his breath.

More light was streaming in until Valrinda stuck his head and shoulders back into the tunnel. “You okay?”

“No,” Beckett choked out. “What did… you do that for?”

“There was a guard on top of the wall here facing inside that I couldn’t burn, so I sort of pulled down the top of the wall.”

“That you… couldn’t burn.” Beckett felt faint. “You burned people?”

“Nah. They were constructs. Golems imbued with power to guard the star. Do you really think anyone who would still Parallax’s star would allow other beings around it who might steal it from them?”

“Oh, good point.” Beckett’s cheeks heated. He still didn’t have an accurate picture of the who or what had stolen the star, or who’d tried to force Valrinda. Both beings had too much magic, but he wouldn’t let that stop him.

There was no way they’d expected Beckett and Valrinda to overcome the venom and come after the star for themselves. Dragon and fire mage to the rescue!

Of course, Beckett was also going to have to figure out what a fire mage was. Or did. He’d chalk that up to tomorrow’s job.

“You wanna move so I can get out of the tunnel now?” He was more than a little worried it was going to collapse, especially since he was going to have to climb over some rather large pieces of stone to get out.

“Sure, sure. I’m going to go knock down some more walls.”

“I’ll stand back while you have fun then.”

So much for the serious adventurers saving the day and getting the star. Valrinda was cackling as he tore into the walls, his claws ripping into the mortar and pulverizing the edges of the dark stones as he yanked them out until he created a huge hole.

“You couldn’t have just pulled the doors off their hinges?” There were two big double doors at one end of the courtyard.

“The star is up there.” Valrinda pointed to the right with his tail. “Why go the long way? Besides, more golems are coming. I can hear them.”

“Good point.” Into the hole then. There was a long flight of stairs, which turned twice, growing narrower each time. Valrinda had to stop or risk getting his long body stuck. “I don’t like this,” he hissed. “I need to protect you.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m not some weak human anymore, remember? Besides, you need to go back and protect our retreat.”

“You’ve never been weak.” Valrinda pushed his nose against the hand Beckett laid on him. “Be fast. Get the star and come right back. I’ll be here. If I hear something that makes me think you’re in trouble, anything, I’m tearing this place apart to get up there.”

“How about you don’t tear the building down around me, hmm? I bet I still squish good.” Plus Beckett didn’t want another dust bath.

“Fine.”

 

Alone now, Beckett climbed warily. They hadn’t found any golems inside. Sure, the whole building ruse had been about hiding the star in an out of the way place, but this seemed too easy.

And he spoke too damn soon. Golems? He’d take a golem or two.

Ten even.

Instead, he faced a pool of lightning that crackled and roiled. He jerked out of the open doorway when a bolt? Strand? Freaking lance of bright white crackling energy that made all the hair on his body stand on end lashed out and struck within inches of his feet.

And in the center of all that deadly electricity? The star. He couldn’t really look at it, but he could sense it and knew what it was.

Was the electricity a trap protecting it or part of the star itself? “Fuck!” Why couldn’t Parallax have given him some god damned answers before he sent him in after this thing? Beckett tried to peek into the room without putting his body into the doorway.

A crackle and snap struck again, and he cursed, ducking into a crouch. The building shook under him, and he fell against the wall. “Hey,” Beckett shouted. “I said don’t pull down the walls.”

“It’s not me, it’s the golems!”

Shit. Of course he’d wished for golems and this would happen.

“They’re pulling the building down. They came out of nowhere, and there are too many of them. I can’t fry them all. You need to get the star and get out of there.” Valrinda grunted, then groaned.

Pain lanced through Beckett. “Oh fuck. Hell no.” They were hurting Valrinda. Rage boiled up inside Beckett, and his whole body caught fire. He began to glow the same color as the lightning inside the room, and it went crazy, striking him over and over.

It tickled, but he ignored it. Racing to the center of the room, Beckett grabbed the star and then he was dashing down the shaking stairs.

He had some golems to turn to ash, and then he’d find the bastards who hurt his dragon.

Copyright © 2023 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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25 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

After they are done frying golems, I can think of a certain feline that could use a good singe or two!!

So hot cat instead of hot dog?

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Now to escape with the sought after star in hand.  I would love to see Beckett fry the golems.  It looks as if he is going after the thieves next.   @CincyKris's asks some good questions.  I also would like answers to them.  Beckett may go back and forth between the two worlds, but I do hope that Valrinda remains at his side in both. What form Valrinda will take?  Or, who will Valrinda be in Beckett's home world? 

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8 hours ago, raven1 said:

Now to escape with the sought after star in hand.  I would love to see Beckett fry the golems.  It looks as if he is going after the thieves next.   @CincyKris's asks some good questions.  I also would like answers to them.  Beckett may go back and forth between the two worlds, but I do hope that Valrinda remains at his side in both. What form Valrinda will take?  Or, who will Valrinda be in Beckett's home world? 

Great point, I didn't think of the possibility of Val going with him but appearing as a human!  Makes me wonder if his friend and his family (Parallax's caretakers) are not human in this world.  Is Parallax even a cat in this world? 

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