This one is very short...hehe.

Chapter Nine: Oh Goody!

Lara finished her third cat's cradle game, then heard the click-click- clicking of shoes on metal. She quickly climbed up the wall and held on.

Soon, the man appeared through the door, gun held out. He looked around for her, and was thoroughly surprised when she dropped down from aboved and kicked his gun away. He closed his eyes and backed away, tripped over his just-lost gun, and saw her shoot a mutant where his head would have been.


"Glad you came back to save me, stranger," she said, lowering her gun.

"The names Kurtis," he replied, putting out his hand for her to shake. She looked at it, at him, then wiped her hand with a disinfectant cloth and grabbed it.

"Lara. And this is business."

She threw him against the wall and wrapped both arms around his chest, feeling him up and down. Kurtis waited as she pulled off his frisbee, the Chirufly. "I owe you one."

"You owe me a painting."

"Sorry. That went AWOL at the Loove."

"I could tell," she replied, backing away and training her gun on him once again.

"Eckheart plans to use all five-" Kurtis began, but hit his head on a metal bar above. "Ah, f**k!"

"I know, he plans to use them to awaken a sleeper, yaddah yaddah, though I don't see why he hasn't tried a glass of cold water."

Kurtis rubbed his head in pain. "No, he plans to awaken 'THE' Sleeper, the Cubiculum Nephili. And rebreed the Nephilim race. To do that he needs the five paintings and the symbols contained within them. He collects alchemically-transmuted elements from his murder victims bodies to keep himself alive."

"I've seen him at work. With that glove."

"Eckheart is the original Black Alchemist. The only thing that can kill him is our Pampered Chef Shards."

"Here," she said, tossing him the kitchen knife. "How can they be used to kill Eckheart?"

"He must be stabbed with all three shards. Eckheart guards the third shard in his old alchemy lab in the lower regions."

"We should work together."

"Your trusting me?"

"Well, what do you want me to do? Tie you to a wall and make you call me master?"

He stayed silent a little to long, leading Lara to believe that he was pondering the question, and she instead started talking again. "You need the third shard, so you should go after that. I'll find and destroy the last painting. The engraving shows the entrance is under water." She turned her head to his and they hit each other.

"No problem," she gasped, rubbing her head furiously.


"So, there isn't a danger that she'll destroy the last painting, the one of you?"

"We won't allow her the opportunity." Eckheart leaned on the table and popped one of the bite-size cheese pieces into his mouth. "The male will be coming this way soon." He turned to Corral. "Make the preparations. The fifth painting is mine already. And then...hehehe."

Corral grinned, ate a few more cheeses, then left the room with a hop in his step, mumbling, "Goody, goody, I do love executions!"


The tomb down below the Strahov was huge. It housed every wonder of a frat house; foozball tables, bookshelves filled with books no one reads, and the dead guy in the chair...

Lara found the last painting quickly and could do nothing but marvel at the furious game of foozball the skeletons were having. "Doing good, boys, doing good."

"Thanks!" they exclaimed, too focused on their game to noticed anything else. She strolled out of the room, whistling in happiness.

That happiness would be shortlived, however.