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   Chapter 10 Sumaey

The Slayer By Lady Lilium Characters: 27378

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:02


It was many weeks before Waltz was able to leave his room at the healers, and many more weeks before he was strong enough to take part in quests again. For the longest time he had felt like a burden to the others, and they had spent a great deal of money for the healers to make him better and to give him a proper bed while they slept out in the cold. But they did not complain, not once, for they all knew the true, and although Waltz hated to admit it he knew it too.

He had saved all of their lives, but what he didn't tell them was that they were now owned by the witch.

He kept that secret to himself.

'So' Leroy said to him with a grin, 'are you ready to go on your first quest in ages?'

Waltz glanced up at him, he was still a little sore in places, and couldn't move as easily as he could before the incident. But he felt so much better now.

'Yeah' he said eagerly. 'I want to have an adventure.'

Leroy's eyes glinted at this, and he turned to the rest of the guild around him.

'Alright boys' he called to them. 'Let's go!'

Waltz was at last allowed on another adventure. Only Kenneth the blind member of their guild stayed behind, listening to them go. Beside him was his guardian, the young boy.

'Keep a watchful eye' Kenneth spoke to their backs as the guild rode away, 'and come back safely.'

It was still in the midst of winter, and bitterly cold. The guild had to travel far on this particular quest, but the journey was comfortable enough. The phoenix they had found many weeks ago in the mountains had grown. Now it was a fully fledged bird, and it was beautiful.

They brought it with them wherever they went, never releasing it from its cage for fear of losing it. It kept them warm in the cold nights as they travelled. The guild no longer lit fires anymore, but huddled around the phoenix instead, who always burned brightly. It would regard them with its human-like eyes as they did this, almost as if it were intrigued by them, and wondered what they were and what they were doing. Cold was a concept the phoenix did not understand.

The guild travelled to their destination, a small village on the edge of the map that was terrorized by horrible insect-like creatures. They were as large as horses, spitting green venom at its prey, and looked like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. Grotesque they were, but the guild managed to deal with them easily enough. Even Waltz who was recovering from his injuries had done his part.

The nests around the village were destroyed with small bombs, but the younger creatures that had already hatched and were at this time relatively harmless, Leroy did not kill, but sent away with magic, back to the deep forests where they had come from.

'What if they return?' Rude had asked Leroy.

'Then we will deal with them' Leroy replied. 'We don't just kill monsters because they cause trouble for humans, we try to make space for them and keep them apart from us. There is a line between beasts and humans, but I won't just simply kill all of them, after all, we share this world as they do.'

Waltz glanced at him as he said this, then looked away. But he said nothing.

The guild collected their reward, and returned to their camp.

When summer came, Waltz had recovered fully and was back to his old self again. But when the time came for the guild to sell the phoenix they had guarded all this time, they found they could not do it. It had bonded with each of them, and they realised it was just too beautiful a creature to be caged, and so they all agreed to release it.

They waited until nightfall before opening the cage. All of the guild members gathered around to watch as Leroy released the phoenix.

It spread its wings fully for the first time, its fire licking the bars of the cage.

It took flight, its burning profile bright as it rose swiftly in the dark sky.

The guild members watched silently as the reward they had worked so hard to obtain and risked so much for, flew away, never to be seen again. But not one guild member regretted letting it go, for it was the right thing to do.

Waltz watched the phoenix soar freely through the open sky, feeling warmth and joy in his heart. He smiled widely.

Suddenly a glow came from the centre of his chest, and he looked down at himself.

'Not now…' he groaned.

The rest of the guild around turned towards him just in time to see him fade away, something that by now they had seen many times before.

The next that Waltz opened his eyes, he stood before the witch.

That night, he began the task she set for him.

It was a dull and chilly night, perfect to add to his already sour mood. Waltz's assignment for this evening was to infiltrate a great manor and kill the man who resided there. A greedy money grabbing dept collector that had ruined many people's lives….or something of the sort.

Waltz lingered on the road before the manor for quite some time, simply assessing the situation from a safe distance. As usual the witch had given him very little detail about anything. As usual. He wasn't sure why she did this, it could be to test him and make him more cautious, or because she wanted to keep him in the dark.

Waltz suspected the latter.

'Curse that witch' he muttered under his breath as he clung to the tree in the shadows. 'Alright…' he said to himself at last after growing tired of watching the manor. 'Let's get this over with.'

He slipped across the road quickly, if anyone within the manor happened to be looking out of any of the windows facing the road, all they would have seen would have been a brief shadow, and nothing more.

Waltz crept carefully through the bushes and the trees that grew around the manor. The whole property was encircled by a huge wall, and the gates at the entrance were tall and wrought iron things, menacing looking in the dark.

'Got to find a way in' Waltz mumbled to himself, 'somewhere sneaky where no one will see me.'

It took him over an hour to circle the entire wall several times. The best place he found to enter was near the front gate. There was one tree in particular growing conveniently close to the wall, and if that wasn't enough, ivy grew up this section of the wall; it was really thick and tough looking. Waltz stood there surveying the scene, weighing his options.

He decided to try climbing the tree first.

He quickly found the branches at the top were rotten, and after falling from several different branches and landing ungracefully in a tangled mess on the floor, Waltz decided to scale the wall using the ivy to climb.

He dusted himself off, pulling twigs and leaves from his white-blonde hair and scowling, feeling thoroughly annoyed and a little hungry.

He sighed, stepping towards the ivy. He began to climb.

Tiny insects bit nastily at him as he climbed up, little beetles that had made their nests within the ivy tried to fend him off. One of them bit his finger, a particularly large and nasty one. Waltz drew a sharp intake of breath, pulling his hand back sharply. The insect had latched onto his finger with its pincers, like some sort of crab. Waltz furiously tried to shake it off. It only flew off his finger and away into the forest after several seconds of flailing, it was immediately after that, that an even larger one landed right in the centre of his face.

Waltz resisted the sudden urge to scream like a little girl, instead grabbing it and throwing it over his shoulder and into the dark woods behind him. He began to climb quicker, reaching the top of the wall then simply falling the rest of the way.

He picked himself up clumsily, having landed in a bush; his fall was softened a little. Waltz flailed around in the bush for several seconds, arms and legs flying in all directions before his feet found the floor.

He dusted himself off yet again, stepping out from the foliage and onto the open path.

There was a sudden strong gust of wind behind him and he heard the sound of something metal creaking. He turned, seeing with distain one of the iron gates at the entrance swing open in the breeze. It had been open all along.

Waltz turned away with a grimace. He made his way closer to the manor, glancing about him as he went. It was a beautiful manor, and grand, no doubt about it. But as Waltz observes his surroundings more closely he found them somehow lacking. There were many beautiful flowers in the beds around him, but there were many weeds also. Surely a dept collector would have a garden that was pristine, with not a single blade of grass out of place, but in this garden certain areas looked completely forgotten and unloved. Waltz paused then, seeing a large tree from which a swing hung down from, on the ground near the tree were balls of various colours and sizes, and there were bats and hoops also. Behind the tree there was a rotting shed, the door was left open and inside, Waltz could see more outdoor toys, including what looked like a small climbing frame.

'Children?' Waltz muttered curiously.

He turned away, creeping forwards.

Have to find him. Have to find this dept collector and turn him into mince meat.

But when he reached the first window on the ground floor and peered in, he saw a strange sight indeed, one that seemed so out of place to the story he had been fed by the witch of a greedy dept collector with trophy wives and money spilling out of his ears.

The room inside was large, and even from outside when Waltz leant closer to the window he could feel the warmth from the large burning hearth in the room, within which were many children.

They were all of various ages, from small infants to young teens. They were playing games within the room, several different games within several different groups, while some read, some slept, and some drew pretty pictures.

Waltz knelt frozen just below the window as he peered in, narrowing his eyes.

What on earth is going on here?

He glanced up, seeing from the rooftop a drain pipe running down the side of the house.

Waltz tip-toed away from the window, grasping the pipe firmly with both hands, he began to climb.

It was a tiresome and gruelling task, his fingers quickly going numb with the cold as he slipped many times on the algae that grew on the drain, again, not something consistent with a dept collector swimming in cash. And the children….

Dam witch has been lying to me Waltz thought bitterly to himself. But then again… he thought as he clambered upwards, has she ever told the truth?

He shook his head, trying not to think of such things, but instead keep his mind on his task.

He reached the top floor, shuffling awkwardly to the side, slipping off the drain and holding onto the ledge for dear life. He regretfully dared a glance below him, before hastily looking back up to the sky.

Yup he thought humourlessly to himself. If I fall from here its splat…end of story. He bowed his head, breathing a steady sigh as he closed his eyes. He opened them again, gripped by a surge of fresh determination. He moved along the ledge, until he came across the first window.

It was dark inside and there was no one there. At first glance it appeared to be a child's bedroom. There were two beds, one against each wall on opposite sides, and shelves and shelves filled with an assortment of toys. Everything inside was kept tidy.

Still holding onto the ledge very firmly with one hand, Waltz with the other reached into his pocket, slipping his fingers into one of the many magical pouches he carried and taking a piece of the substance within. It was a colour-less gel that would stick to any surface except for human skin, and would react to any other substance by melting it, except for human skin.

Thank god Waltz thought as he pressed a small piece of it firmly against the window pane.

Second later the substance began to hiss quietly, and a small section of the glass melted quickly away as if it was nothing but a sheet of ice by a fire.

Waltz waited until the gel stopped reacting, before he reached forwards, slipping his arm carefully through the hole in the glass, and opening the latch from the inside.

The window swung gently open and Waltz crept into the room, as silent as a spider. He closed the window after him, drawing the curtains to hide the hole in the glass. He turned back to the room, his footsteps light as he made his way forwards.

It was indeed a child's room he found himself in. Upon the shelves were soft toys and colourful learning cubes, puppets, some basic musical instruments, even a real sword and shield.

'Soldiers have to start somewhere I suppose' Waltz mumbled to himself, tearing his attention away.

He reached for the door, turning the handle slowly and peering out into a large and brightly lit corridor beyond. He frowned at the little fires lit all around him, lamps burning cheerfully on the walls, realising there would be no place to find cover. He glanced one way down the corridor, then the other. It appeared deserted and was as silent as the grave. He didn't know which way he should go, and so he picked a random direction, deciding one path was as good as the other. He didn't exactly have a map of the manor.

Although that would be handy Waltz thought, fingering his sword as he walked boldly down the corridor, gazing all about him as he went. He approached a golden balcony; the blood-red carpet beneath him muffled his footsteps as he went. Before him on the floor below was a large hall, and above a chandelier made of what must have been thousands of little crystals that shone as brightly as the sun over a set

of symmetrical stairs that led up to the floor Waltz was on.

Waltz drew back sharply as he heard a sudden noise. Two children appeared then, chasing each other across the hall. Waltz lingered away from the balcony until the children moved on, running through an archway and to the next room. Silence rang once more.

He stepped forward, feeling a strong uncertainty stirring within him.

What is going on here?

And then he heard another sound. It was muffled and distant.

Waltz turned to it, listening hard.

Voices.

He turned away from the balcony, moving towards the sound.

He crept as silently as a mouse, making his way towards a set of double doors further down the corridor.

Waltz moved closer, tilting his head and pressing his ear against the cool wood.

He couldn't hear what the voices were saying, but he was able to identify a male and a female voice. The male voice sounded older, the female sounded younger.

There were footsteps from inside the room, approaching the door.

Waltz tensed slightly, stepping back, but he didn't move to hide.

The door opened and Waltz's sword flew out. The unfortunate man stared down the length of the blade towards this stranger as Waltz pressed the tip of the sword against the man's throat.

The man froze, the woman beside him screamed, but Waltz did not move. And then a voice came from downstairs.

'Father! Is everything alright?!'

Waltz stared back at the man, hearing the child's voice from the floor below. The man stared at Waltz, and after a few seconds when Waltz didn't move, the man spoke.

'I'm fine Henry!' he called. 'Lucy just saw a big spider, that's all. Go back to your games.'

The three remained in their positions for several more seconds, listening intently. But the boy seemed to have taken the man's word and gone away.

The man before him fixed Waltz with a steady look, he was clearly afraid and though he tried his best not to show it, Waltz could see his fists trembling slightly.

'Who are you?' the man asked Waltz bravely, as the terrified woman by his side clung to the doorframe, unable to move out of fear.

'I was just about to ask you the same thing' Waltz replied.

The man hesitated. 'But…' he began uncertainly. 'Surely you know who I am. That is why you have come, is it not? I must have wronged someone very important and powerful to receive this sort of visitor. Though I can't think of what I might have done.'

Waltz glanced to the woman briefly, before looking back at the man.

'Just tell me who you are' Waltz demanded of him.

'Can I go?' the woman beside him asked hopefully.

'No' Waltz shot. 'You stay right where you are.'

Her shoulders slumped.

'Go on' Waltz said. 'Tell me who you are.'

Waltz what are you doing? Came the witch's voice in his head which he ignored.

'Me?' the man said curiously. 'Well I'm…no one….just no one…'

'You must be someone of importance' Waltz argued, stepping back slightly and lowering his sword. 'Otherwise why would the witch want you dead?'

Waltz shut up!

'Witch?' the man blinked. 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'

Stop talking and kill him!

'What of the children? Why are there so many children here?'

'I care for them' the man replied. 'This is my home…but I run it like an orphanage. The children here are unwanted by their own parents, alone in the world and have no one else. I care for them until I can find a family who will take them from me. They are very happy here.' He glanced to the woman beside him. 'This lady was interested in one of the children, and older boy. We were just talking about-'

'No don't get me involved' the woman said panicking now.

'It's alright' Waltz sighed sheathing his sword and straightening up. 'I won't hurt an innocent man.'

You'll pay for this.

'And I won't hurt a woman either' Waltz said turning to her. 'There is only one woman I wish to harm, and that is the one who sent me on this quest.'

The woman let out a heavy sigh, visibly relieved. She wiped the sweat from her brow with the back of a hand.

'Thank heavens for that.'

'You mentioned something about a witch?' the man prompted.

'Put it from your mind' Waltz told him. 'I'm sorry for intruding and frightening you. I think what you're doing here is a great thing.' He dipped his head apologetically. 'I will leave now.'

Waltz strode swiftly down the corridor, walking out in the open. He marched down the stairs and right through the centre of the hall. He was spotted by several of the children who happened to be nearby. They watched him curiously, seeing the clothes that he wore and the weapon at his side. To many of the younger ones he was like a character out of their storybooks.

'Is that a warrior?' several mumbled.

'I wonder if he has magic.'

'I wonder if he's part of a guild.'

'I want to be just like him when I grow up…'

Waltz exited the manor through the front door, standing on the steps and sighing heavily. He looked up towards the sky, closing his eyes as he felt the first light drops of rain falling on him.

He felt happy, and suddenly free having defied the order of the witch.

'I don't want to be her mercenary any longer' Waltz spoke to himself. 'I am a free man.'

He still lived and breathed. The witch had not cast a spell on him as punishment for his disobedience, though it was well within her powers.

'Maybe she will forget about me' Waltz thought hopefully, walking away from the manor and not looking back. 'Maybe she will never summon me again.'

It took him several days to walk back to the inn (their favourite inn) where the rest of his guild stayed, traversing across moorland and mashes and woodland and town. When he finally reached the quiet crossroads where the inn sat, tired and filthy and ravenously hungry, he found several guild members were outside waiting for him.

Leroy was the first to welcome him back.

'Waltz' he said with a tired smile. 'I knew you would return.'

Immediately after that Waltz was given a bath, lots of food and a warm bed to rest, here he stayed for an entire day, before rising again the next morning feeling refreshed.

'You know one of these days' Tom said beside him as Waltz shovelled more waffles into his mouth, 'you're going to tell us where you keep disappearing off to.'

'Not a chance' Waltz glinted at him, pouring an entire jug of honey onto his plate. 'Not it a millions years. Nope. No way.'

Tom frowned at him playfully. Nearby Leroy was smiling. It seemed that Leroy was genuinely glad to have Waltz back. Despite everything, Leroy honestly cared for Waltz, as he did for every member of his guild, even though he wouldn't always show it.

It was breakfast now, and the guild was sitting at picnic benches outside in the warm sun.

Is everyone here? Came a voice in Waltz's head that caused his heart to stop in his chest. Good.

He dropped his fork suddenly as his chest began to glow.

Waltz stared down at himself in horror, stumbling back from the table.

The other members of the guild all turned to stare, some gasping in shock at the sight of Waltz suddenly glowing.

'No!' Waltz begged, his face screwed up in terror and grief. 'Please don't!'

It's too late came the witch's voice. You disobeyed me.

Waltz threw his head back as he began to transform, growing massive in size. The guild watched in disbelief, some even in fear as Waltz was forced into his beastly self.

He took on a snake-like form, with shabby black skin and a huge mouth with many little sharp teeth. His eyes glowed orange, and there were vile looking spikes running all the way down his body.

'No this can't be happening!' Waltz thought desperately. 'Oh please!'

The guild moved away in panic, forming a circle around him.

Waltz saw all their wide eyes on him. They couldn't believe what they were seeing, what they had just seen.

Waltz hung his mighty head in sorrow. His secret was at last revealed, the one he had tried so hard to hide, and for so long. He was truly a terrifying sight to behold, a monster, like the ones they slew so often on quests.

Leroy was the first to approach him, doing so tentatively. He reached out cautiously to the creature, doing so bravely, not knowing how much of Waltz was still in there.

'Waltz?' he spoke softly. 'Is that you?'

Waltz dipped his head, great tears brimming in his eyes and spilling down his scaly cheeks.

Leroy touched the side of his face, feeling the warm tears upon his hands.

His profile began to glow again, and Leroy drew back.

Waltz transformed back to his normal self. He stared back at the rest of the guild in misery, reaching up to his face to wipe away a tear with the back of his hand.

He went inside after that to be alone, while the rest of the guild outside whispered among themselves.

He stayed in his room for hours, deep in thought and consumed with worry, until he realised something.

Waltz had been lying on his bed. He sat up slowly, listening hard.

It had suddenly occurred to him, that he had not heard a single sound for several hours, which was completely out of the ordinary at this inn. Despite it being fairly quiet at this time, there were usually some noises of some description throughout the day.

But Waltz heard nothing.

Feeling a sliver of trepidation, Waltz swung his feet off the edge of the bed, rising and moving across the room.

It was utterly silent, and as Waltz moved down the corridor and towards the stairs, his trepidation grew to fear.

He descended the stairs, looking for one of the staff, a waiter or barmaid. But there was no one.

Briefly he headed to the kitchen, only to find that it at first appeared to be empty. But when he rounded one of the tables, he saw with horror a body lying on the floor.

It was one of the cooks, clearly dead at first glance though bearing no obvious signs to what had killed him.

Waltz baulked.

He immediately turn-tailed and ran, heading as fast as he could back outside to where he left his guild last, only to find them dead. Every single one of them.

Like the cook in the kitchen, they bore no signs of injury, but it was clear by their pale skin and blue lips, that nothing could be done to save them. They were all already long gone.

'Oh no…' Waltz uttered in shock and disbelief, seeing Leroy dead before him. '…What have I done…?'

Then there came a voice from inside his head.

Disobey me again, and the next time it will be your brother.

Waltz turned and walked away, taking with him only the clothes he carried on his back, and leaving everything else behind.

He walked for days through the wilderness, heading in no particular direction, pausing only to drink from the rivers and eat only the tiniest scraps to stop himself from starving, though he felt no appetite.

He walked until he came to a particular point in one of the forests, where he saw something he had never seen before.

There was what looked at first to be a great comet falling from the sky. Waltz tilted his head up, shielding his eyes as he squinted to see it better, gasping in surprise when he realised it was not a falling pile of rock as he had first assumed, but a woman.

'Hu?' he said brushing his hair back.

He took several steps back as the woman fell from the heavens, landing a short distance away with an almighty crash.

Waltz hung back in the echoing silence that followed, before making his way eagerly a few seconds later, heading to the spot where she had fallen.

'What wonderful find have I discovered?'

He ran to a clearing nearby where the earth before him dipped sharply in a bowl-shape. Within the bowl, surrounded by the trees, were several great boulders, in the centre of which was a smooth patch of earth that was softened by ash. Rising from this bed and grasping her head was the woman, her body hunched over as she wobbled precariously.

Waltz stared in disbelief at this spectacle he saw before him.

A woman fallen from the sky.

And what a woman!

She was gorgeous, dressed all in red with long brown hair (for more details please refer to the cover, she should be easy enough to find – she is the only woman on the cover, and the only one dressed all in red : ) you're welcome)

Waltz began to hastily count on his fingers, trying to figure out the date.

'Is it my birthday today?' he wondered aloud. 'Oh well' he shrugged, making his way down the rocks towards her.

Waltz stumbled then, getting a better look at her large chest and scantily clad frame.

At that moment he suffered a horrific nose bleed.

The woman noticed him suddenly, seeing the blood pouring from between his fingers as he tried to stem the flow.

'Oh' she said immediately adopting a look of disgust as she surveyed Waltz's filthy and muddy profile. 'It's an ant. I've never seen you up close before.'

'What?' Waltz scoffed, cleaning himself up. 'Are you some sort of celestial being?'

'Perhaps' the woman said, straightening up and tilting her head back to the sky, 'the truth is…' she began, 'I don't really remember…'

'What's your name?'

'I…I don't know.'

'You don't know your own name?' Waltz said incredulous.

'I…the woman began uncertainly. 'I don't remember…'

'Well how abouts I call you Sumaey?' Waltz offered, extending a hand. 'Hello Sumaey. I'm Waltz. It's nice to meet you.'

She regarded him with the same sneer and look of disgust as she did before.

Eventually she sighed, dropping her head slightly and turning to face him.

She extended her own hand, and shook his in greeting.

'Charmed' she said.

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