I got a laptop! I asked for it for writing purposes, but we all know that's.. totally true. :) ahahahaaha... Just enjoy the chappie, and review if you want moreeee. :) Actually, I'm desperate.

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Demons With Arches

Chapter 5 – Dwarf Flu I

by Rieszeye

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"Are you sure it was okay to leave him there?" Riesz asked in curiosity, seeing the confident face her ally quickly put on the day of the departure; namely the 7th one yet.

"The innkeepers will take care of him, don't worry. Our first priority is finding the girls as soon as possible. He doesn't need to be included in all this." he answered, exposing his daggers, ready for attack. As much as he wasn't quite fond of the idea of getting them back, he had recently realized how if it weren't for him, these girls wouldn't be at this situation. It burned inside. It even burned him.

And it wasn't like it's easy to get them back. They didn't even know where they were.

"Stay back," the thief called, slashing and slicing away like there was no tomorrow. Explosions of goo and dust covered their views as Myconids and bees came to greet them again. Oh, he'll never get the end of them.

The Golden Road was a magnificent sight until they had once again returned to the area of the explosion. Up until now, there was still no explanation as to why that sudden event had taken place.

They left Kevin back at the inn to recuperate and hopefully come out strong again. The explosion left him tired and barely able to stand, so bringing him along wouldn't have been the best solution.

After a few more minutes of tired hiking and killing, the two had finally reached what seemed like a cave- an ominous one to say the least. The entrance wasn't exactly grand and was barely the size of a normal door. Dried mud and sand clung onto the roof and there were at least a hundred cracks in the walls as if it were ready to disintegrate in any minute. There was no chance they were going in there.

"So.." Riesz started the conversation.

"So," Hawk echoed.

"It can't be that bad, right? I mean, assuming that there aren't any monsters insi-"

"Oh, please, Riesz." Hawk dusted off some of the sand that occupied near the entrance. "Do you even believe what you just said?"

"Ah, heck with it." Hawk and Riesz hesitantly tiptoed inside with fingers crossed and eyes half closed. The thief's demeanor was now very different from wha t he wore before as darkness overpowered the light in the blink of an eye, and not even the Fairy was there to provide them with the least bit of light.

It was pitch-black, and no one could see the path nor the entrance since they were too far in. There was certainly no time for retreating.

"So... do you think they came in here? Angela couldn't have possibly agreed to set her foot in here! Of all places, not here." Riesz tried her best to avoid walking any further, not that they had any other choice.

"Yes, but, Carlie's whining is ten times more powerful than that," stated the thief, already ten meters away from his ally, carefully touching around to try and reveal different landmarks, and possibly find enemies to hunt. This sure was boring.

The cave was unassuming. With nothing to even see, you would guess that it's at least fifty times the size of a football field, but it really wasn't.

"I think.. Oh! I can use this!" Hawk rummaged through his pockets in the dark, with what seemed like jewels and metals and who knows what clanking and jangling in the meantime. Without wait, he pulled out a foreign object that seemed to only flash with oh-so-glorious-cave-hatred light, with its radiance even brighter than the light outside the cave. As much as the two were consoled to at once witness the surroundings of the area, they were disappointed to find that the size of the cave was only half of the size of their inn room. Feeling awfully stupid, Hawk searched for the nearest exit and headed northwest.

"Come on, I see a way ou-"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHH! EEEEKK!"

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Alarming screams and repeated cries were detected from the nearby exit. It sure wasn't an explosion, but it was just as clamorous and ear-piercing.

Without haste, the two dashed to the exit, hammering through the rocks and mud that came in their way, and finally met up with the three girls- with a few other customers.

"Wh-what do you want from us?" Angela's shriek blasted through the cave walls.

"W-we mean no harm!" the Fairy begged. Carlie, still crunched up in Angela's shadow, made no sound.

"Angela! Carlie! The- fairy.." Hawk rushed in to accompany his allies, with Riesz not far behind.

"Hawk! Riesz!" Angela was relieved, but there was no time for reunions at that moment. There were far greater tasks at hand, one they weren't so sure about.

"Who are you?" Riesz challenged the enemies head-on, who were quietly standing like statues with their dark violet robes and hats. They were of the unusual type, they weren't like the others the team had faced before. Come to think about it, they had felt the same way about the Beastmen, so..

"I know them," Angela admitted with a hint of regret. "They're magicians from Altena.. and I'm not surprised. They were here to attack Forcena for sure."

"Sorry," one of the magicians finally spoke up. "but we're here for you, Princess Angela."

"F-for me?" the magician exile walked back as the magician in front of her slowly walked forward. Hawk, with his hands hid in his vest, ready for attack, went in front. "Seriously, Angela, what kind of trouble did you get yourself into?"

"I told you, I ran away." Angela tried her best to tell a story while cautiously evading magicians' slowly running after you. "My mother must still be out to kill me."

"Everyone must hate you," Hawk moved alongside her. "I mean, we're surrounded by them!"

"Speak for yourself!"

There were at least twenty of the demonic magicians lined up on both sides of the pathway. It was a bridge, a fragile bridge that looked to have been worn out for hundreds of years. What could possibly go wrong?

"Listen, ladies," Hawk once again put his skills to work. "I'm not so sure that dealing with us is exactly child's play. We won't be responsible with what happens to you. I mean, don't you have more important things to be doing rather than having to deal with us?" The rest stood in awe and anticipation, hoping that the enemies would be generous enough to permit them to pass safely, or even authorizing a ten-second head start would do them wonders. If only life were that easy.

The magicians looked at exchanged glances for a moment. So did the team.

"He's right," one announced. "We can't possibly account for a loss."

So it was that easy..

"Yeah, we can't waste our time here," pointed out another.

"But we can't have them in our way!"

"That's right. We have no choice."

"Shit," Hawk bit his lip.

"Well, alright! Send in the Machine Golems!"

It was only a matter of time that they were, again, surrounded by not one, but two intimidating robots with polished gear and flashing heads, gleaming with anger. Hawk, Angela, Riesz, Carlie and the Fairy hesitantly stepped up, hoping to face them with their all, and come back with their all. Although there was that slight chance everything would end up in ashes (possibly them included), they knew to put on brave faces and ignore the consequence bullshit.

Their trains of thoughts were suddenly interrupted when the golems let out a stupefying cry, their bodies beaming in scarlet light. Terrified, the team occupied the sides and taunted with their weapons, trails of sweat dripping to their necks.

The burning robots were quivering even faster, the light growing and growing larger by the second. Before anyone could even move a limb, unrestrained flames shot out of both golems and rocketed through the cave- igniting large rocks and providing a hazardous maze that was surely impossible to cross.

Too occupied by walking through the fire, the team hadn't noticed the second round of flares were released and, in a flash, striked Hawk and Angela who were trapped by the already-lit rocks that stood in their way. Grunts and cries were heard from the two as the vast flames had covered everything in their sight, leaving no trail of their bodies.

Riesz and Carlie were appalled and immediately sprung through the painful heat, hoping for their very lives that the two had somehow managed to stay alive.

"HAWWKK! ANGELA!" Riesz couldn't break her allies free even after the repeated burns of her hands and arms, ignoring the pain coursing through her veins. Carlie, still unable to speak from the traumatic image and pain, hugged Riesz, sobbing loudly.

By the time the two had calmed down, the golems had eventually tracked them down, once again firing up to prepare for another attack. Riesz's alarm response wasn't fast enough when she had noticed a hint of skin from the nearby cracks near the rocks. The only problem was, the persistent robots were only two inches away from putting her whole body on fire, and there was no time again to retreat. The amazoness took her lance and charged, the exerted force letting her spin swiftly and land, her lance still in-tact with the inaudible golem. She heard cracks and crashes as the first golem collapsed and became nothing but dark ashes.

She hurriedly ran to the one spot she thankfully remembered and witnessed Carlie, crying, trying to lift the burning rocks. Seeing the little girl's hands trembling in fear, Riesz felt sympathy and lifted the rocks one by one with her lance, sitting beside her.

"Sorry, Carls, to have to get you into this," she had started to show tears herself.

"No.. but.. it okay!" Carlie gleamed, something Riesz had never expected.

"Shhh!" she shushed, looking around for the other golem. "Listen, it's all my fault.. I left you guys, and this wouldn't have happened if-"

"It okay!" the little elf repeated.

"How could you say that? We just lost two of our allies!"

"No!" Carlie insisted. "They not dead!"

"What?"

There was a flash of smoke, and emerging from the dark, appeared the second golem, racing through the remains of the fires, trying to be as invisible as possible. It hurdled on the nearest fires which seemed to have made it stronger. There wasn't any time to waste.

"Angela!" a soft voice made itself known, being heard from almost every wall.

Angela? Riesz turned her head, but had to take care of the more important enemy coming straight at her from meters away.

"Damn it, hurry up!" came another familiar voice, once again distracting Riesz. Luckily, she was intelligent enough to evade the swings and attacks swift enough to injure her.

In a sudden moment, blinding white light breached through the holes of the rocks, merging them together and compelled it to demolish into pebbles. After a while, balls of light and energy spread to the area and burst into minuscule drops of magic, putting out the rest of the fires and finally revealed the two injured, but grateful, allies.

The thief and the magician, with a thousand scrapes, cuts and burns crawled to where the rest were and focused- on the actual task at hand. The golem was once again firing up and taking advantage of the time lost when trying to rescue the two.

Riesz and Carlie were still dumbfounded as to how they could have avoided such death but decided not to bother since there were other things to worry about.

The last golem had flown through the polluted air like a crashing airplane; no haste and full of power. It had given the hint that it was fully recharged which meant that the conclusion of this very agitating battle wouldn't be coming very near. The whole area was done for. Ashes and burnt scraps and wood blanketed the once-soothing bridge, and the water became an ugly dark brown. And, of course, being injured in the process makes it a little bit difficult.

Carlie squeaked from behind and lifted up her ball-and-chain.

A ray of lights sprinkled and spiraled around the enclosed and suddenly-shrinking cave and threaded around everybody- replenishing them with the strength they had no idea they even lost and filled them up with a rejuvenating sensation like they were ready to face the world. The magic glowed a magnificent rainbow and lit up Angela's magenta hair and she masked the issue with a brave face.

Hawk smiled his thanks to Carlie and pushed his violet hair to the back.

"Hey, you damn pest!" the arrogant magician pointed her staff at the golem, charging at them from a long distance. "Five and a half against one? You're dreaming!"

Hawk snickered and stepped forward, daggers shielding his face and chest and Riesz's lance danced around her gracefully. Angela concentrated on pushing out magic while Carlie remained behind, taking advantage of her own healing abilities.

The flames that roared from the intimidating golem clashed with Hawk's reflective daggers and immediately ceased, not after burning the ends of three strands of his hair, thankfully no more. Riesz's lance barely missed but managed to thrust through the metal monster's bronze helm and it went flying, suffering a hard, painful fall.

"Holy ball!" Angela took a huge step forward, closing her eyes and letting her wand control her hand like a puppet. The ends of her dress danced up and her gloves gleamed white and her luscious hair curled around her face as vibrating pellets of white light rose up to the ceiling and expanded.

There was a gentle, but powerful explosion of silent magic which left the team rather dazzled before the agonized crying of the golem soon followed.

Silence took over. The five looked around to examine if everyone was present, and they were pleased to find each other smiling back. Riesz improved her stance and picked up her lance and walked behind Hawk, who was walking over to where the golem had fallen.

His face lit up. "Our business is done," he announced. "Angela, bust up this place, will you? I'm sure you're as eager as the rest of us to leave, right?"

The magician laughed. "Leave it to me!"

The team waited a while before the same sensation occurred and carved a precise opening through the rocks and bricks. Satisfied with her stealth and precision, Angela stood up straight and walked in front of the rest with loud, arrogant steps and lead them back to the inn.

But, of course, there were the monsters back at the Golden Road that just wouldn't quit.

Back at the inn, the five had quietly settled in and calmed themselves down. The table had been set with more food than they've ever gotten. Of course, it wasn't typical for the two princesses to eat only one main and one side dish, but they couldn't complain. After what they've been through today, it was a blessing to get a slice of fresh lamb chops and cuts of sweet potato with a few spices Hawk accumulated through his travelling. It was good enough.

"Hawk," Angela wiped her greased fingers on her dress. "Where exactly did you get this? Don't tell me you were out hunting while Carlie and I were dying!"

"Ahem, I was there too!" the Fairy shouted.

The thief snickered. "A man has his secrets. Just be thankful you have that to eat."

Kevin had already began to recover and his appetite was enough proof. He had finished his meal long before the rest did and decided to kill time by brushing up his claws near the corner of the inn room. The other four circled around the table, sharing stories and complaining about earlier.

"So we not go to Forcena?" Carlie put on a hysterical face.

"Doesn't seem like it." Riesz answered. "Our only way to Forcena was destroyed, remember?"

"Did someone say they need to travel to Forcena?" chimed a voice. It would've been a bit easier to know where the voice came from, but just like the inn all the way at Jad, it was packed. Maybe not of old, raspy men but of regular civilians. Maybe Maia was a more peaceful place.

"Uh, yeah. I think that's us here." Angela called out while rotating her head. Where was that voice coming from?

Then they noticed their mistake. As they looked around they noticed that all they had to do was bring their heads down. And look! The voice revealed itself! And it was from a small boy, probably around eight, with a weird trench coat of some sort.

"May we ask who you are?" Riesz smiled. She must've found him cute.

"Not for you," the little boy replied, and Riesz took back her smile. "But hey, I have a solution if you want to get to Forcena. For no charge! Probably just a few broken backs, but it'll take less time than you ever imagined! "

He was lot happier and more active than his clothes protrayed him to be. He ought to be a detective or something with the trench coat, and all that was missing was a giant magnifying glass to make the outfit complete. He didn't even have the accent.

"That's too good to be true, and I would know an offer like that." Hawk declined. "If it's free, it's most likely a scam."

"Then would you rather pay, then? Because we'd love that even more." the boy answered back.

"How do we know it's legitimate? And how exactly will you get us there?"

"Oh, all your questions!" The typical kid boredom. "First of all, it isn't ME who's going to get you there. What, did you think I was going to carry your butts on my back to Forcena for no charge? I don't think so. My uncle lives here in Maia as well, and we're not exactly the richest people here. But, even if we are poor, my uncle always creates these thingamajiggers like there's no tomorrow! With all the parts he collects, I bet we could've been rich, but he hated to let them go."

"Ah," The typical Angela boredom. "So what can your uncle do for us?"

The boy looked around, almost discretely, and gestured the rest to move their heads in closer. "Shh! There are people looking at me sinisterly. Maybe we should continue this at the pub." he said as the rest agreed. He slowly guided the rest to the pub and sat them up front.

Hawk already ordered himself a beer, and Angela later on forced him to buy her one. "So, continue."

"His recent creation; probably the one he's the most proud of. I'm telling you, he won't stop talking about it! He made a cannon- a HUGE one, and won't mind giving you a lift."

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey." The Fairy stopped the conversation. "That's not safe! Why, we'd even get to keep our lives if we'd just travel there by other means."

"Shut your trap, fly!" Angela swatted her with her weapon. "We've not been 'safe' in a long time. It's your retarded mission, alright? If this giant cannon can get us to Forcena, who cares if it's unsafe?"

The Fairy flew away, grunting.

"How good is the aim, though?" Riesz questioned, ignoring the other princess.

"The best," the kid continued. "Gives you about a 97% success rate."

"And if we don't land in Forcena, where will we end up?"

The little boy sighed and pulled out a giant, rolled-up map. He opened it up and laid it on the table as if he had come prepared for a bargain or something. He pointed to a large clump of land which they had already assumed was Forcena, and moved his finger onto a picture of a forest surrounding it.

"If you land away from Forcena, you'll likely end up here. It's the Molebear Highlands, but I'm guessing it's not much of a threat. And besides, that rarely ever happens."

"Just to be prepared, though, there aren't any scary robots there, right?" Angela's paranoia of what happened today kicked in.

"Robots? What're you talking about? There'll be Molebears, and maybe a few other monsters, but the Forcenan soldiers keep a tight check on that place every now and then. It's a safe place nonetheless."

"Oh you don't know the meaning of 'safe' these days." Hawk lowered his daggers on the table and took a sip of his drink. "but it's worth a shot. Now, will you tell us why it's free of charge?"

"It's a cannon." the boy turned to him. "There's a higher chance of broken bones than money. Just think of it as payment for what could happen during the trip."

Well, that assured them. Everything was going to be great.

They hadn't a choice, right?

"Alright then, where's your uncle? We'd love for his.. masterpiece.. to get us to our destination, thank you very much." Angela stepped out of the bar ahead of the rest.

"I'll take you to him. His name is Bon Voyage, by the way." the boy ran up ahead of her and the rest gradually followed.

"Off to Forcena, everyone!"

"YAAYYY!" Carlie skipped.

Or at least, that's what they hoped for.

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I know that you're all probably going to kill me for the long wait. Oh wait, no you won't! :D...

Anyway, it's March Break, which is an excuse to sleep all day and do no work (which isn't possible since I've got SOOO much homework.. pfftt, boo.) so I'll try to get chapter 6 on its way. Damn you, homeworkkkkk!
I was sick and I couldn't attend school for almost a whole week, so all the projects and assignments just stacked each other in the duration. So now this week sucks. But hey, at least I have a break, right? :) Anyway, please review! And don't kill me. :3