The Sun Door Part 37
by Joe Solmo
We marched right up to the palace like we owned the place. Nine badass warriors marched up to those palace gates with fire burning in our bellies and steam pouring from our noses. That’s how I would have liked to describe this encounter, but that isn’t the way it went down at all.
We snuck into the palace by the most noble of passages, the sewer. Demon shit is just as stinky as human shit. I am one of a few mortals who can attest to that. There was one moment in particular, when a peculiar demon dump floated by, that Dead-Eye finally had enough and threw his crossbow down into the sewer slop. He had been doing so well, it was like he wasn’t there for a while but the old Dead-Eye was coming back.
“Okay, I have had enough of this shit!” he said slamming his fists down and splashing the fecal water onto his armor. You could see the look of disgust in his eyes as he realized what he did. It was one of those moments where you just want to laugh, but you can’t. That didn’t stop Serius though. That bastard cracked up, his guffaw’s echoing of the brick walls. I covered my smile with my hand. You know, to show support for Dead-Eye. At least this time he didn’t get me with it. Small miracles!
Not a one of us responded to his protest. We just stood there, waist deep in demon dung water waiting for him to start moving again. I am no sewer expert that’s for sure, but isn’t there supposed to be some kind of walkway?
A moment later we were on our grumbling miserable way again, getting ever closer to the big battle of wills between Drejnin and his father. I think my nose died from the smell, because it didn’t bother me after a while.
The maze of sewers seemed to go on forever. I was thoroughly lost less than a minute after entering. I wondered how it was that Drejnin knew these passages so well. I made a mental note to ask him when we got a chance later. I was glad Drejnin was leading the way and breaking a path through all the demon filth that will haunt my dreams from now until the day I died. Maybe even after. I got a cold chill either from that thought, or the thought of where my clothes were open to seepage.
We reached a spot where Drejnin called a halt. He examined the ceiling and and nodded to himself. He turned his attention back to our merry little group standing in shit. Drejnin whispered to us as we awaited further instructions. He explained that just ahead we would find our way into the privy of the royal family. Then as soon as we are up there, we could run into Big Papa at any moment. We were on red alert from this point on. We all drew weapons, except Dead-Eye who left his crossbow back in the poo river. I was relieved that he wouldn’t be firing and shit covered crossbow bolts in my direction. I can’t imagine what an infection from this place would do it a mortal body.
You would think that climbing out of the sewer to the dry landing that was just under the ladder to the surface world would have been a like a sigh of relief, but the clumps that stuck to our gear and armor stunk even worse. I turned to see if everyone else was having the same problem I was when I saw Hall get dragged under the slick surface.
“Hall!” I called out and ran two steps towards the slop river. I stopped short of jumping in. I just couldn’t do it again. A large form raised out of the shit, roaring like some kind of terrible monster.
“What the fuck is that?!” I asked…or exclaimed. It might have been an askclaim. Yeah, that was it. I awaited the educated answer from the scholarly Skrat, or Drejnin.
“That’s some kind of shit elemental!” Jarris said, horrified.
Yep, the glorious life of a soldier for hire. See exotic lands, meet interesting people, and fight their shit! I love my charmed life.
The creature swung some kind of appendage and a stream of hot demon dump arced across my chest and up my right cheek. I retched and wiped my face with the back of my hand. Was that corn?
Jarris and Drejnin charged the thing, and I was perfectly fine with them fighting this, the most unholy of enemies. I wish I could still use the book as an excuse to hang back.
The living turd slapped their attacks away with its shitopods, not without a certain amount of…spillage. Even us in the back felt the cold wet fury of demon diarrhea. What the hell kind of hell was this? I was kind of glad Moose wasn’t here to hit the thing with that magic mallet of his.
Skrat finally came up with a plan and shot a fireball at it. The magical fire dried up the sludge and miraculously didn’t explode the sewer gas all around us. Most of the creature’s right side had hardened and hung uselessly. Jarris and Drejnin tried to turn the monster so Skrat could get a clear shot at the wetside.
When the thing finally died we traded the stink of the sewer as its contents grazed us in attacks for the smell of burning shit filling the tunnel. Thankfully, Drejnin said we weren’t far from where we had to climb out. We quickly escaped the demonic sewer and climbed up into the palace itself. I came up into the privy laughing. Everyone gave me a weird, sad look. As if they were ashamed for me, since I didn’t see a reason to be. I tried to fix it by explaining to everyone why I was laughing.
“Imagine if we came up and found Drejnin’s father adding to the sewer. I bet the look on his face would have been great!” I said. Apparently, everyone else had left their sense of human down below…
The royal palace was pretty decent. It was the best-looking place to drop drawers I had ever been in. I wondered how bad this place was going to look after we walked our soggy selves across the immaculate tiled floor. Those tiles were white and red. I would have expected red and black. I was almost disappointed really. Also, there was a lack of skulls adorning the walls. So far, not impressed with the lack of doom.
Drejnin silenced our questions with just one of his looks, as he gripped his sword so tight in his hand, his knuckles were white. If Drejnin was nervous, then the rest of us should really be worried, I thought. He opened the large marble door with his free hand slowly. We lined up behind him, expecting the worst, but there was nothing. We exited the room into a lavish hallway lined with doors on either side. There was a silence of ages that filled that hall. Every creak we made was like an afront to the palace its self. I kept expecting a librarian to shh us as we made our way towards the far end.
None of the doors were marked, I passed the time wondering what all those rooms were full of. Were there even enough things in the world to fill all these rooms? Maybe the doors were fake and just for show. We stopped at the end of the hall where it came to a T. There was no noise coming from either direction.
Drejnin turned left. We followed. With the exception of Serius, he was the only one that knew where to go. The rest of us assholes were just around for the terrible ride. If you asked me right then if I regretted it, I would have probably still said no. The mind-numbing boredom of guard duty was way behind me. I had evolved into an adventurer!
I thought about the people we had lost so far on this journey, and wondered about the people we might still lose before we were done. Our crew had definitely shrunk since we headed out so long ago. Dead-Eye was still there. The guy was like my left arm, always there and kind of awkward to use. I wondered if I would have to see what life would be like without my friend. I mean, I have wished for it before, but now that the premise was possible I wasn’t looking forward to it. If I survived and Dead-Eye didn’t, I would be very upset. He owed me a lot of money.
Drejnin led to a set of double doors on the left side of this hall. It was the last set of doors on that side. From the other side was muffled voices. At least one of those voices sounded familiar.
“Sounds like your wife in there,” I whispered to Drejnin. He nodded.
“I figured she would be returned here. She sounds angry,” the large Dreymorian said.
“When doesn’t she?” Serius asked.
“She wasn’t angry when you were in that Inn with her,” Dead-Eye helped. Serius slapped him. No one objected.
“The sooner we get in there and get some answers the sooner we can go back for Moose,” Zeeg said and reached for the door.
Drejnin put his hand on top of Zeeg’s. With a deep sigh, Drejnin let go of Zeeg and let him pull the door open. We piled into that room with out war faced on, calling out challenges to all the unholy monsters that resided inside. We skidded to a halt on the polished floor a moment later. We had entered the throne room of the palace, and we were not alone. Not by a long shot.
back to Fantasy