“You're mad,” she laughed in disbelief.
“I know you want out,” he smiled mischievously as he tossed a thick black cloak at her. She did not bother to question him as she quickly tightened the clasp around her neck and slid a small, rusted blade into her belt. She wanted to waste no time as if they were to get out, they needed to move quickly and quietly.
"If we don't start movin' soon, we're both bloody dead,” Montano replied. As he put his own cloak on, the hood covering his wine-red hair; Lilith stared at him with wonder, curiosity. She had not known this strange man until now and yet she was in no position to refuse help regardless of its price.
“Wonder who we have to blame for that,” Lilith snapped back before she hastily pulling the hood over her face, her crimson red eyes disappearing into the darkness like two rubies falling within an abyss.
Montano grabbed her hand and pushed the heavy dark oak door back open. He began to run through the hollow halls, their silver archways sneering as they passed, the monotone carpet beneath them trying to cause their fall. The walls caught the sound of their frantic footsteps and threw them about the manor hoping they'd reach its owner's ears.
“Oh? It would seem two little mice are scampering around my halls,” he growled as he pulled himself up out of the blood red satin armchair, reminiscent of a throne with its intricately carved rusting golden frame, the satin torn and worn as if it had been forgotten by everything around it; yet it's red remained vibrant.
Alastor grabbed the rusted handle of the old silver longsword that lay next to his ‘throne’, its blade caked in blood both old and new. The dark oak floor felt the seeping pool of rage within him as he strode out of the room, the sword cutting deep into its black rugs like a knife fighting to get through one’s flesh.
Montano was still gripping Lilith’s arm; his hand was cold against her porcelain skin. The wind outside howled with laughter as it watched them desperately move throughout the manor craving the freedom that the wind had.
“This makes no bloody sense!” Montano scowled, “I know it was this way!” His grip on her arm didn’t get any looser as she tried to wriggle her arm free; his frustration radiated off him, his eyes slowly filling with desperation as he continued to drag her through the slithering maze, following it’s twists and turns ending up in the same dreary hall they had first come from.
The walls lightly carried it’s master’s footsteps along its mazes, trying to avoid the ears of the mice within as the floor screeched as the sword was dragged further along it, carving into it like it were meat, forever leaving the marks of it’s master’s scorn.
Montano came to a startling stop as he finally released Lilith’s arm, his grip temporarily marking her rough skin; he stood bent over catching his breath, his unruly hair once again making itself known. He was exhausted as breaking into a manor then getting lost within it was no easy feat.
“Uhm, not to alarm you but it would seem we have company,” Lilith laughed nervously as Montano swung his head up only to see the tall figure swaying down the hall before them carrying a great sword, Alastor’s bloodlust ramified off him.
Lilith spun round hoping to go back the way they had come only to be met by a deep red wall.
“Poor little mice back into a corner, perhaps you should think twice before trying to steal from the cat.” He chuckled as he placed the tip of the blade against Montano’s neck, the metal cold against his warm skin.
“I don’t see a cat here, I do see a poor little boy that begged for mercy,” Montano smirked as he stood up raising his head, the point pressing into his neck craving more blood than it already had taken, sharing it’s master’s desire for blood to spill.
“Lilith dear don’t wait up for me head towards The Xerian,” Montano called as he pulled the dagger Lilith had previously hid on herself from his pocket, he let his cloak fall to the floor as he knew its weight would only slow him down. Montano certainly was a strange man; she didn’t recall giving him her name or handing the small easily concealed weapon she had found to protect herself with to him. Despite the shroud of mystery surrounding him she had no time to stand around considering all the possibilities, she gave him a small nod before quickly racing past Alastor, quickly sliding across the floor as Alastor swung for her, his hand in a fist, he had paid quite the sum to get hold of her, so he found swinging the sword in her direction far too reckless.
They stared into the plate before them, losing themself in the pool of gravy that rolled down the fluffy potatoes. I do hope sending him to fetch her was not a mistake, though his reckless behaviour does concern me quite a bit. Their trail of thought was soon interrupted by a small tap on their head.
“Pfft, lost in a world of your own again I see,” he laughed lightly; his voice modulated. As he went to pull the seat beside them out, a short and broad woman rushed to his side.
“Allow me to Sire,” she said, her words clear and demanding as they floated around the large dining hall brightly illuminated by a grand chandelier above, even the deepest corners of the room could not hide from its light. He sighed before stepping away from the chair and allowing her to pull it out for him to be seated. He slowly lowered himself into the solid birch chair that was cushioned with a deep blue velvet, each chair around the table an exact replica of the one next to it.
“Now then, what were we thinking Apollo?” He smiled as he poured himself a drink.
Now that it’s master was occupied the manor did not fear him as it straightened its halls revealing the grand staircase, its banister lined with a thick coat of dust, many of its wooden planks battered and broken like a large animal had torn its way up the stairs and thrashed about upon them. Lilith wasted no time as she swiftly made her way down them avoiding the broken areas as she did not plan on losing her one shot at freedom. She knew a single second of hesitation would end in her demise; she didn’t glance back at the very man that had come to help as she assumed he would be able to handle himself.
Montano laughed quietly as Alastor’s blade sliced through the skin on his left arm, cutting deep yet not deep enough to leave permanent damage. He was covered in many cuts and scratches that oozed blood as his shirt began to lick it up. Alastor’s eyes widened at the sight a sort of glint in them similar to that of a child that had been given sweets. He began to let out a rather hollow laughter as he began to pick up the pace swinging the sword frantically yet somehow controlled; despite the insufferable pain Montano was in, he wasn’t willing to show it as he took each blow. The frustration began to bubble within Alastor as the reactions he so desperately desired were not given to him. Upon noticing this a rather cruel smile began to spread across Montano's face.
“What’s wrong?” He asked as he tilted his head before he finally managed to break through Alastor’s rapid swings and land a sharp right hook; Alastor dropped the sword letting clatter to the ground, the sword resentful of it's owner as it was so easily tossed aside. Without warning, Alastor moved his leg towards Montano as if to kick him before suddenly changing his legs movement and sweeping Montano off his feet. As he landed on the floor Alastor didn’t waste any time before he started hurling more attacked towards Montano.
As Lilith neared the bottom of the staircase a heavy feeling began to gather in her chest as the air became thick; the putrid smell of rotting flesh wafted through the air as it slowly began to smother her. Quickly, she spun around trying to locate the source of the scent that began to burn her throat ripping its way through her lungs. A sense of dread began to rise throughout her body, the once hopeful feeling she had slowly eaten away as she noticed the void black liquid that began to drip from the cracked walls and seep through the floorboards. Great, she huffed, as if this could get any worse.
Slowly, the scorching liquid started to condense as it created a large creature with piercing azure eyes that oozed blood, it’s fingers were slender and twisted into needle-like points.
Lilith knew her only way out was past this creature, she watched as its ‘skin’ bubbled and popped like water left to boil spilling onto the stove. I can’t touch it and that damn carrot top took my only weapon.
The strange creature trudged towards her, each step searing the wood beneath it, any carpet that had been there soon danced with black smoke and golden embers. Lilith frantically looked around desperately trying to find another way out. The air around her slowly became hotter as the rotting smell began to further force its way into her lungs leaving her coughing and spluttering, the heat making it too hard to think. Despite this she had managed to narrow it down to three options: She could return to the strange red headed man, try to pass the strange creature on the narrowing stairs or she could take a leap of faith. As the creature neared, now almost upon her, she let out a rather loud sigh before turning to face the stairs rusted banister. Without a single moment of hesitation Lilith began to run along the stairs preparing to throw herself over the banister unsure of what was below. As if it were in sync with her the creature’s speed increased drastically in an attempt to prevent her from making her way out and escaping the maze of a manor. The heat closed in, beads of sweat dropping down her forehead as her breathing became laboured, but that didn’t stop her as she too picked up speed.
As its large scalding hands reached out to seize her, she perilously flung herself over the banister, the wooden supports breaking as the wood was no match for the towering creature. Lilith was sent crashing into the hard ground below. A wave of pain writhed through her body; her limbs ached to move; her right arm slightly charred from the creature’s attempt to snatch her.
Lilith shakily got up; she couldn’t give up now, not when the freedom she so desired was merely steps away. She limped towards the hefty doors, the wood decayed and faded. The creature seemed to have slowed down as it lumbered down the staircase almost falling through as the steps soon became nothing but piles of ash.
When Lilith neared the doors, she noticed they were slightly ajar their age, preventing them from ever fully being sealed shut. She let out a small triumphant laugh before wincing as the pain she had tried hard to forget about wiggled its way back into her mind. As Lilith reached the doors, she carefully leant against one the creature nowhere to be seen though her head was spinning, and her lungs ached the foul stench that had taken control of the air had slowly begun to fade. She made her way into the wood surrounding the manor, stumbling as her vision began to blur, her freedom ever so close yet unobtainable.
Montano clawed at Alastor’s ankle before he finally gave his leg a sudden tug ensuring he almost lost balance before letting go of his ankle, causing him to stumble backwards towards the arched window behind him that was decorated with cobwebs. He quickly jumped back up onto his feet.
“A fly could do more damage in a second than you’ve done in the past like what 10 minutes?” A cruel smile spread across Montano’s face as Alastor’s face twisted with pain, a burning sensation ripping its way through him. He began to tear at his own skin as if he needed to get rid of it. Montano jubilantly wiped the blood off his face, bruises slowly forming all over his warm skin.
“What the hell did you do to me!?” Alastor screeched.
“Ah, it would seem the mouse has forgotten. Let me help jog your memory,” Montano frowned mockingly, “My blood has certain properties and if I so will it, it can become a hallucinogen. You really thought I’d let you land all those hits for fun?” He scoffed.
“You... You snake! You foul slithering loathsome creature!” His eyes darted around as the hallways seemingly began to close in on him, the floor beneath slowly melting away as his head spun. The shadowy figures of his past crept up on him as he thrashed about trying to escape them. His elbows dribbled blood he shattered the glass in the window behind him, the wind’s laughter now replaced by a spine shivering howl.
Montano strode towards him, though it wasn’t Montano this man saw, instead he saw an old woman with faded kind eyes and grey hair that had streaks of chestnut brown.
“I didn’t mean to I swear! Please... Please leave me I put your soul to rest!” Alastor’s voice trembled as he leaned further and further out of the broken window. Montano let out a rather cynical laugh, his piercing yellow eyes seemingly glowing as he got closer and close before coming to a halt. As Alastor took one last step backwards, he was no longer stood in the hallway, instead he was now laid on the ground outside the window, his blood filling the holes in between the patio tiles. Montano looked down at him rather satisfied with his work.
Once he reached the remains of the stairs he sighed loudly, how the bloody hell am I meant to get down. He swiftly manoeuvred his way down the charred remains of the once grand staircase. Wonder what happened here, he thought as he pulled the doors open, yawning as he stepped outside the rain pelting down onto him, his body throbbed only slightly with pain despite the beating he had taken.
“Lilith dear, are you still alive?” He yelled only to receive no response. “That bloody ghost should’ve told me it wasn’t some easy rescue mission,” he muttered as he began to trudge through the mud, weaving his way through the trees that surrounded the manor. Surely she couldn’t have gone that far on foot, especially in this weather. Unless the ghost was wrong and she’s part of that ash pile.
“Lilith? I didn’t get you killed right?” He called out as he continued to search for her, his words bouncing off the trees and echoing throughout the woods. “Bloody hell, if you’re dead I’ll receive one hell of a lecture so please still be alive for my sake.”
They stared down at the girl who was passed out in the mud.
“This is the one they allegedly need... She certainly doesn’t look like much,” Ayra spoke, their voice monotone their armour clanking as they bent down to examine the girl. “She does have a rather decent face.” Ayra stood up straight, before walking away. They had no use for the girl, and it wasn’t like she would live much longer lying there by herself. The king thinks of himself as untouchable, perhaps this is something I should keep to myself as of now. Though it would be wise to keep an eye on them, their mind wondered as they walked off into the darkness.
Montano sluggishly made his way towards the gates, both already open as that was how he left them after entering, his search for Lilith had failed rather terribly.
“Bloody idiot. Ya had one job,” he huffed before coming to a stop, the glint of a metal suit catching his eye before it disappeared into the dense forestation. That’s a new one. He rolled his eyes before he walked over to where he had seen it only to find a rather unconscious Lilith.
“Oi! Wake the hell up”, he nudged her with his foot though he received no response. “I’ll leave ya here.” He waited and to no avail no other voice filled the air except his own. He crouched down and repeatedly began to poke her face in an attempt to wake up before he began to poke the burns on her arm. She did not stir, not even a toss or turn.
“It’ll be a simple rescue mission they said, an in and out operation they said,” he kicked the dirt frustratedly, his tone bursting with sarcasm as he spoke to himself. He turned and began to walk back towards the gates. As he reached the dirt path, he stopped a slight guilt rising inside of him. The hell is this feeling, I bloody hate whatever it is... She’ll be fine by herself. Unless she dies. That isn’t my problem though I did get her into this mess.
He groaned before he turned back around and walked back towards Lilith, his clothes now covered in blood and mud. He grunted as he picked Lilith up and put her over his shoulder.
“Bloody pain in the ass is what ya are.” He muttered as he hurriedly made his way towards the gates, this time walking out of them as he began the journey back to Helrix along the rocky road.