Episode 21: Cult of the Obsidian Mask, Part VI: Pit of Unbelievers
Astralyn led Sundance through the halls of the temple in the hopes of not running into any trouble. She had placed the hood over her face so that no one would identify her as a stranger. Sundance walked drunkenly behind her.
A few cult members walked past them and they just nodded at them. Astralyn was beginning to feel better about this escape. Hopefully, Timmy would have finished the repairs and they could get the hell out of there. This caused her to walk a little bit quicker.
They were just about to reach the main hall when they heard, “Chosen One, there you are.” Iphigenia’s voice caused both of them to stop. “Leaving us so soon?”
Sundance turned around and waved at her and chuckled awkwardly. Astralyn froze with her back to Iphigenia, trying to decide if they should make a run for it.
“There’s no use running.” As Iphigenia spoke, cult members arrived and blocked their exit. Astralyn reached for the laser pistol, not afraid to shoot them down. “I wouldn’t do that either.” Iphigenia swiftly walked over to Astralyn and held her arm. She angrily ripped the hood off, revealing Astralyn’s face. Iphigenia smirked as she took the laser pistol from her.
“You thought that you just could waltz in here and take him from me, didn’t you?” Iphigenia made a mock pouty face before she laughed in Astralyn’s face. “Seize her and take her to the Pit of the Unbelievers!”
Two buff men stepped forward and grabbed Astralyn’s arms.
“Sundance, do something!” Astralyn shouted as she struggled.
“I’m afraid he won’t be doing much of anything.” Iphigenia walked over to Sundance and looked into his eyes. Green and white light flashed from her eyes and hypnotized the captain into submission. He fell to his knees in a daze. “He’s mine now.” She looked at Astralyn and gloated. “Sound the drums. The Ceremony is taking place early this year.” She and the cult members left for the main hall and the two men took Astralyn away.
“Please don’t do this,” Astralyn pleaded to the guard. She stood before a huge black hole in the ground. She couldn’t tell how far it was to the bottom, but she knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant trip. The guard shoved her hard into the hole and she screamed on her way down.
The ground came much sooner than Astralyn anticipated. She landed on her back and immediately pain paralyzed her. All the air left her body. They could have at least had a pillow down here. It’s like they don’t even care, she thought.
Feeling slowly returned to her and she was able to sit up. She looked up at the surface and saw that the guard didn’t stick around to see if she had broken her neck. That’s not a good sign. The growl that she heard come from somewhere in the hole confirmed this fact.
“Hello?” she asked. She knew better than to expect a human response. She reached for the laser pistol and remembered that Iphigenia had taken it. “Man, when I get out of here, I’m going to kick her ass.”
Astralyn blinked her eyes and found that she could see that there was a tunnel attached to the pit. Something from within growled at her. She heard something moving inside, heavy footsteps, something with four feet.
Above ground, the drums started up again. The Ceremony was getting ready to take place.
Inside the pit, the creature let out another growl. Astralyn backed up against the wall and wondered how many others had been thrown in here. She looked for the remains of the other victims and was disturbed by the sheer lack of remnants. Either they cleaned the pit regularly or the creature left nothing behind.
A large bear like creature stomped out of the tunnel and roared. It sniffed in Astralyn’s direction. Its interest was piqued. Saliva and goo dripped from its mouth.
“Nice kitty,” Astralyn said. With her back against the wall, she crept to the left. The bear creature followed her with its pitch black eyes. It took another step towards her. “Bad kitty!”
The bear creature took a swipe at her with its massive claws. Astralyn ducked and rolled out of the way. On her back, she crawled away from the creature, but it walked faster than she could move. The creature batted at her and threw her against the wall to her right.
The force with which she hit the wall caused everything to turn white. She blinked her eyes frantically in the hopes her vision would return. She didn’t like the idea of not being able to see the bear creature.
She got down on her knees and tried to become as small as possible. She heard the creature give a short grunt. It pounded its front paws into the dirt, as if preparing to attack. She wanted to panic, not knowing which way she should run. Fortunately, her eyes were beginning to recover.
“Catch!” cried a voice on the surface.
Astralyn looked up and saw a shiny silver object fall into the pit. It landed by the creature. She looked at it and then up at the surface. She saw someone point to the object, but couldn’t discern who it was.
“Here goes nothing,” Astralyn said to herself. As the bear creature ran toward her with its claws ready to shred, Astralyn ran to the right and quickly crawled to the object. It was a laser pistol. Perfect!
Just as the bear creature prepared for another attack, Astralyn set the gun to KILL and fired the shot. The creature roared and fell to the ground dead. Astralyn breathed a sigh of relief. She looked up at the surface to see who rescued her. There she saw Timmy waving down at her.
“Timmy, you son of a gun! Where did you come from?” Astralyn asked. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see you, but what about the ship?”
“Fixed.” Timmy looked around the chamber and found a ladder resting against a wall. “Hang on tight.” He lifted the ladder and lowered it into the pit. Astralyn quickly climbed up. She looked down to make sure that the creature was really dead. She, then, hugged Timmy.
“Now to get Sundance. By the way, the robe looks nice on you.” Astralyn led Timmy through the halls until they reached the main hall.
People were once again gathered there and their attention was fixed on the stage where Iphigenia and Sundance stood dressed in red ceremonial robes. She held the black mask in her hands.
“And now, this mask will bring forth our god, Obsidia! COME FORTH!” Iphigenia raised the mask above her head and prepared to place it on Sundance.
“NO!” Astralyn took out the pistol and aimed. The guards were quickly upon her and threw her to the floor. Timmy dove for the pistol, but he, too, was apprehended just long enough for Iphigenia place the Obsidian Mask onto Sundance’s face.
To be continued…
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