The giant beast was not at all happy about now missing a mouthful of its body. It released a growl that threatened to deafen everyone in the room and swung its arms/tentacles wildly about.
“Marius, Kirk, get the artifact!” shouted Serena.
“Kirk?” Sylvia pouted at the ordinary name. “The great villains seeking rule of this land are Serena, Marius, and Kirk?”
“It’s short for Kirkaronus!” the Keeper on the left shot back defensively while rushing off to a back corner of the room.
“Ah, Kirkaronus,” Deigen repeated the name approvingly. “That does sound more appropriately villainous.” He scrunched his face, reconsidering. “Or perhaps a good way to describe a bunion on one’s toe.”
While Kirkaronus hastily slid away a tapestry and retrieved a small wooden chest from its hiding place, the other Keeper stepped toward V with arms raised.
“I know just the spell to put you in your proper place, you wretched fool!” Marius practically growled his words out, cupping both hands and wiggling his fingers.
“Wonderful.” V raised his own arm and walloped Marius on the head with his sword’s handle, causing the would-be menace to slump down to the floor. “Let me know what it is when you wake up.” He turned to Deigen and nodded his head in the direction of Serena. “I’ll handle her, you try to catch Kirka-whatever-his-name-is over there.”
“What am I supposed to be doing?” Sylvia yelled at V as both he and the other vampire began setting off in their appointed directions.
V spun around. “You are a young maiden, mortal, and not familiar with defending yourself.” He pointed at her with the sword before running off again. “You stay there.”
“Not familiar with defending myself!” Sylvia stamped her foot. “I’m the one who rescued myself from being eaten the first time we encountered danger! I may not be an undead or supernatural creature, but I can still do things!” She whispered a spell from memory under her breath, directing all her rage into making a cloud of light that would blind everyone in the room except her.
Or at least that was the spell’s intent. Instead, everyone gazed up at the kaleidoscope of colors dancing in the air over their heads.
“Ooooohhh, pretty!” cooed Kirkaronus, briefly looking like a mesmerized child watching fireworks. He recovered in time to sneak past Deigen, who still stood staring at the unintended distraction.
“Deigen!” yelled V, now trying to cut the Keeper off before he made it to Serena.
Deigen noticed a second later that his target had run off. He flopped his arms up in exasperation. “Sylvia!”
Sylvia simply gave a disgruntled groan in response. As V became detained with a swarm of guards rushing up to him, Kirkaronus reached Serena. Seth was close by but still more intent on trying to eat the monster again than offering much help. Sylvia rolled her eyes while Serena opened the wooden chest; the eyes widened upon seeing what was inside.
“Enough of this!” shouted Serena, holding up a jagged black stone roughly the size of a dinner plate. Sylvia realized this was not one piece, but a partially completed puzzle of the magical stones everyone was so intent on finding. It was also apparently quite powerful. Not only did Sylvia’s light-show disappear but the ceiling now seemed to be drawing both the vampires and Seth up to it.
“What’s happening?” yelled Deigen, looking as though he were running in place while slowly rising through the air.
“Your doom,” said Serena, glaring at the trio glued above. She turned to her wounded sea monster and held the puzzle toward it. “It’s alright my pet, we’ll make them pay.”
Sylvia’s lower jaw attempted a journey to the floor as the gash from Seth immediately healed. “I’ve got to find a way to get that puzzle medallion,” she muttered to herself. “I’ll be able to do anything!”
At the thought of possessing such an item, Sylvia briefly had visions of becoming the famous and esteemed magician she’d always aspired to be. In fact, the visions were quite brief for the next instant involved the sound of stone crumbling and some strange, mechanical drone. She whirled around to find a portion of the wall now missing, a window having been made by some sort of flying carriage made of metal. Both the contraption itself and its driver caused Sylvia’s mouth to open even wider.
“Uncle Albert?” she called out, equally confused as she was amazed to see her zombie uncle and the metal carriage hovering in the air. A terrified guard and still deliriously happy Bastiick sat in the seats behind him.
“Hello there, my dear.” Uncle Albert waved down to her as though it was perfectly natural for him to bust through a wall in the Keeper’s castle and pay everyone a visit. “Looks like my timing was rather impeccable. You have yourselves in a bit of dire straits I see.”