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The Hoard of the Beast

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Way too late

Leon and Luke's dorm room or perhaps somewhere else. 


It was not unusual recently, for Luke to spend his nights shifting in his bed, to the charging of his roommate that had found himself having to contend with the restlessness of the young dragon boy. What little sleep he could get was plagued by nightmares, of the kind you wake up from covered in cold sweat and with only vague dreadful memories the morning after. 


That night, though, it felt different. It wasn't the aftermath of a bad dream to wake him up. It was... Well it was freaking cold. An icy breeze was dancing on his bare flesh, clad as he was only in the pair of black gym shorts that the seventeen years old used to sleep in. Still under the haze of dreams, the young man turned, his hands stumbling around in search for his blankets. They weren't there. Gone. 




Truth was, that, well, it were not only his blankets that were missing. In fact, as he began to properly wake up, Luke soon realized that he was no longer even in his bed. Instead, he was laying with his back on a mix of cold, rough stone and dirt. It felt like the floor of a cave. 


What the hell!


The seventeen years old jumped on his feet. Adrenaline pumped in his veins and dispelled what was left of his drowsiness. It was dark. He rubbed his eyes and a shiver ran down his spine when he realized that they could not pierce the shadows as he was used to, since the day his dragon soul awakened. 


The world was eerily quiet, all he could hear, at first, was just the sound of his breath, his quickly accelerating heartbeat and dripping water in the distance. It was when his senses had began to adapt to the situation that he noticed that perhaps, there was actually another noise. Rhythmic, slowly paced, it was another set of breaths. Someone was asleep nearby. 


He stumbled in the dark, toward the source of the noise, until he found the sleeping form of his friend. "Leon." He whispered. "Wake up man!"


They were not in Kansas anymore.

Edited by Nerdzul
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Leon had finally gotten use to his roommate’s restless sleep. His own sleep wasn’t as fickle, but his dreams haven’t been he kindest lately. Things he hadn’t wanted to deal with were prominent and red heads haunted him.

As he wrestled with his latest dreamscape a distant voice whispers to him. It was the voice of his roommate and teammate. Great, as if the cold of the night and his rock hard bed weren’t enough, Luke was about to tell him they were late for class… again.



Leon didn’t open his eyes as he muttered.

“Did you leave the window open? And please don’t tell me we slept through the alarm again.”

He rolled over and reached for his blanket to pull back over himself, only to grope around blindly.

“What the…?”

His blanket was missing, he opened one sleepy eye. So was his pillow. Hell, his entire bed was gone.

“What the…!”

Leon sat up, awake now, looking around in confusion. As he sat there in his skull and crossbones pajama pants and MCR tee his confusion quickly turn to anger and suspicion.

“Oh, I am so gonna get that little son of a…”

He trailed off as his surrounding actually started to sink in. This didn’t look like a prank. As he looked around, phantom green eyes flickered then vanished in a haze of red for a moment before he shook his head as if to clear it an wake up from this.

“Dude, WTF? Where are we?”

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“Did you leave the window open? And please don’t tell me we slept through the alarm again.”


Luke shook his head, mentally facepalming when he realized the futility of the action while shrouded in completed darkness. “Much worse man…


As another gust of icy breeze hit his bare flesh, the young man found himself feeling a pang of jealousy toward his PJ and t-shirt wearing roommate. He wrapped his arms around his chest and exhaled a small cloud of vapor. "F-!"


“Oh, I am so gonna get that little son of a…”


Don’t think it’s a prank.” Now, he could not be sure of course, but then again, it would have been a tad too elaborate, wouldn’t it? He was about to add something, when the silence of the cave was interrupted by a crashing sound. He couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but it felt like if a pile of crash metal had just collapsed in the distance or something. It was more than enough to startle the seventeen years old, though. “What the-“ The young man felt the hair on the back of his neck raising, together with the sensation that someone, or something, was watching them from the shadows of the cave.


He felt... well... incredibly vulnerable, blinded by a darkness even his dragon eyes couldn't peer through, in a place totally unknown, barely dressed and cold. Luke quickly realized that his heart was racing. Uneasily, he shifted the balance on his feet.


“Dude, WTF? Where are we?”


"I dunno man, but we can't stay here."  Where to go though? It was not like he could see a clear destination, unable to rely on his eyes, he needed to find a way to get at least a basic sense of direction. 


The boys other senses could provide them with some clues though, the sound of dripping water on one side, the crashing pile of metal on another, truth was, even the icy breeze that from time to time kept tormenting Luke, they all could lead them toward possible paths. Toward what fate though? They could not tell. 


He offered a hand to help his roomate to get up from the floor.  "There- We-" Then the realization struck, Leon's hand was warm, his left hand, he did not feel the paper-y texture of his friend's replacement arm, in fact, it was back to flesh and blood... "Wha-"

Edited by Nerdzul
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Luke help Leon up as the boy looked around blindly. There room was gone, replaced with a vast cavernous space. Strange sounds echoed and a cold wind but into what little flesh he had exposed.


On 11/9/2021 at 7:07 AM, Nerdzul said:

He offered a hand to help his roomate to get up from the floor.  "There- We-" Then the realization struck, Leon's hand was warm, his left hand, he did not feel the paper-y texture of his friend's replacement arm, in fact, it was back to flesh and blood... "Wha-"


He looked at Luke in confusion.

“What’s wrong?”

He looked at Luke again as his roommate stared down at his left hand. Self-consciously he pulled his hand back and held it in his right. Had Luke noticed? Had he let the guise slip in his sleep?

Suddenly Leon noticed something was wrong with hand, and what was wrong was that nothing was wrong with it. He stared down in further confusion as he flexed his fingers he pressed his right fingers into it and get them. Not through paper but real flesh.

He looked up at Luke, unsure what to say. An icy wind swept past them again and Leon shivered, rubbing the bare parts of his arms. Questions would have to wait. They needed answers, and an exit. 

“You’re right.”

He said changing the subject.

“We need to move before you turn into a dragon-cicle, mister I can sleep in just shorts.”

Leon looked around, trying to catch the direction of the metal sounds.

“If there’s a wind, there’s gotta be an exit. But what ever is making that crashing noise might tell give us an idea what’s going on. We’re alone and significantly unarmed.”

He paused at the irony of what he just said.

“Smart thing to do would probably look for the exit.”

He grinned.

“So I guess we should check out the noise.”

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Luke winced as he felt his roomie's hand pulling away. Whatever, it was not the time to investigate and besides, it was his friend's choice if he wanted to talk about it, or otherwise. First they needed to get out of here. 


"We need to move before you turn into a dragon-cicle, mister I can sleep in just shorts.”


"Hey. I'm not that cold." He protested, of course, the temperature of the room and the way he kept shifting the balance on his feet in order to try and gather at least a shred of warmth, suggested otherwise. "It's just practical, you know?" He added, the shiver running down his spine, though put a bit of a dent in his theory. Now it was not like he could have expected to be whisked away from his room in the middle of the night, right? (Although it had happened once already when he met his double so well...).


“If there’s a wind, there’s gotta be an exit. But what ever is making that crashing noise might tell give us an idea what’s going on. We’re alone and significantly unarmed.”


"Yeah." Luke nodded.


“So I guess we should check out the noise.”


"Agree. Let's stick together ok, though? Don't wanna risk splittin' up in this freakin' darkness."  He placed a hand in Leon's shoulder, a precaution, just in case one of them got in troubles while shuffling around blindly in an unknown cave. 


The navigation was agonizingly slow, the cold rocky floor was rough and unpleasant to traverse especially given that their lack of shoes, its surface uneven, unpolished and filled with treacherous holes and small crevasses that threatened to trip or at time even swallow the two boys, forcing them to test the ground before every steps. A lesson Luke had learned pretty quickly by kicking a particularly sharp and hard rock formation after the two had taken the first few blind steps.


From time to time, they could hear again the sound of crashing metal in the distance, they were getting closer, but it didn't look like it always came exactly from the same place, much rather from a vast area ahead.


Finally though it looked like they managed to hit something. More precisely, Luke pretty much stepped face first against a wall of the cave. "Fuuuuu-


He was about to break into a tirade of expletives when he realized that there was another, unfamiliar sound in the cave now. It was no longer just the feeling of being observed, he could swear that he had just heard steps, the newcomer had managed to thread lightly so far, but both Luke and Leon were accustomed to notice small details, given their mutual experiences on the streets.


Luke cursed the fact that his friend won't be able to see him if he gestured. "Did you hear that?" He whispered, silently praying that he hadn't been heard by anyone, but Leon.


Whatever that thing was, it kept to the shadows, Luke couldn't tell if it was stalking them, or just walking the cave as they did. It must have been a big creature though, walking on all four, it was quiet, but now that the boys attention had been drawn to it, they could feel that it must have been pretty heavy.


The fight or flight instinct began to creep in and Luke clenched his fists. Although, to be completely honest, he wasn't feeling that confident about their odds, whatever that was, the creature was probably more familiar than they were about this strange cave and the complete darkness would much likely put them at a disadvantage.

Edited by Nerdzul
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With Luke’s hand on his shoulder Leon tried his best to navigate the treacherous ground. A couple of steps had him hopping back as he found a sharp edge or a dip that threatened to twist an ankle. The worst part of it all was the cold seeping up through his feet.

The sound of the crashing metal was getting closer, but still sounded as if it was moving or shifting around. That could be concerning but he wasn’t about to turn back. Not that there was anything really to turn back to. They were still lost somewhere unknown.

When Luke ‘found’ the wall Leon did his best not to laugh,managing a stifled chuckle.

“You oka-“

Leon’s mouth snapped closed as his ears caught something. He froze and listened.


On 11/11/2021 at 8:15 AM, Nerdzul said:

Luke cursed the fact that his friend won't be able to see him if he gestured. "Did you hear that?" He whispered, silently praying that he hadn't been heard by anyone, but Leon.



He whispered back as he tensed. He wished he had some paper. He felt more naked without any than if he was standing there in the cave in his ‘birthday suit’.

He lost track of it as it seemed to fade back into the deep shadows.

“We should keep moving.”

He suggested.

“We’re on defense right now. I don’t have any paper, what about you?”

He asked his friend, hoping Luke had his powers at least.

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“We should keep moving.”


Luke was about to object, but then again, yeah, his roomie was right, they were in no condition to fight against an unknown enemy, for now at least. He nodded, albeit pointlessly, given that Leon couldn't see him.


“We’re on defense right now. I don’t have any paper, what about you?”


The young man was about to shake his head, but still instinctively searched the pockets of his shorts to see if he had anything that could help, luck was on his side, at least a sliver of it, when he did manage to find a scrap within. It wasn't much, a tiny and flimsy slip of low quality paper that had probably once been a burger joint receipt, before a ride in the washing machine had left it blank and forgotten for god knows how long. 


"Here." He whispered, keeping his voice as low as he humanly could and handled the scrap to Leon. Perhaps it would not suffice to take down a formidable foe, but then again with his friend's gift and creativity, Luke somehow felt at least a tiny bit safer now. Especially given that, when it came to himself, the boy wasn't exactly confident about his powers, as the walk in the dark (and the violent encounter between his nose and the cavern wall) had demonstrated not long before. 


If the walk before had been slow, now the boys founds themselves reduced to little more than a crawl, as the danger of a misstep was now magnified, with even the tiniest of noise potentially alerting the stalker in the darkness of their presence. Luke's heart skipped a beat when his foot hit a small rock on the ground, sending it tumbling down a slight slope. Fortunately, for once, a metallic crash happened at the same time, covering their tracks. 


On the way, Luke kept his right hand against the wall of the cave and the left still on Leon's shoulder, subconsciously keeping his grip tighter than before, as if to make sure that his friend was still there with him. In truth, the seventeen years old, although he would never admit it openly even under torture, was quite grateful of having his roomie around during the ordeal.


Quietly, he blessed the ability picked up in what seemed like a life ago, to thread lightly on his feet, as for now it seemed that whatever was hiding in the dark hadn't managed to find them. In fact, it almost felt like it was no longer on their tracks, its own steps fading at first and then going silent.


The source of the crashes was getting closer now, albeit, given that they knew little of the proportions of the cave, they couldn't still tell how much more they had to walk, the wind had began anew dancing on their skin and if adrenaline hadn't sent blood pumping in his muscles, Luke was certain that he would have found himself shivering with every gust. Still, unpleasant as it was, the current was almost a blessing now, as it meant that an opening must have been ahead and the noise at times was enough to drown the one of their steps.


It was when the wind quieted a little, that the boys realized that again they were not alone, between them and the source of the crashes, they could clearly hear a few sets of breaths and some quiet scuffling. More creatures like the ones that had almost spotted them before, were lying ahead. Again it was the time for Luke's grip to tightened on Leon's shoulder.


They needed to think of a way past those things and fast.

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Leon took the offered paper and Luke could feel him relax a little as he did so. In the dark, the dragon boy couldn’t see Leon’s lips whisper silently to the tattered slip. The receipt quivered, then smoothed, stiffened tough as steel and razor sharp. It wasn’t much, more of a talisman than a weapon at this point but it let him center himself.


He said quietly and Luke could here some confidence return to his roommate’s voice even though he couldn’t see the nod that accompanied it.

The duo continued their trek through the darkness. Slowly picking their way along the treacherous cavern, Leon’s nerves were on edge. He silently hoped for a little luck. He didn’t want to call his roomie out for walking into the wall earlier and let him continue leading the way.

The hair on the back of his neck was standing on end as unseen things moved in the shadows. The crashing sounds were getting closer as they walked. Leon had wished he’d slept in socks but they’d probably be a hazard on this footing, so he just tried to ignore the cold seeping into his feet.

Suddenly the wind died off and the two young men tensed. Leon felt Luke’s grip tighten on his shoulder. Their shadowy stalker wasn’t alone anymore. Leon hissed angrily and wished they weren’t alone themselves. That and he’d crack someone over the head for a flashlight right about now.

It wasn’t his new teammates that came to mind, instinctively it was other faces that comforted him. For a brief moment Leon thought he felt another hand on his other shoulder. Something was familiar about it, but when he reached for it there’s was nothing there. Still something comforting lingered and invigorated him.

Leon tried to think, whispering to Luke.

”Maybe we should try to light it up. Can you make light with your illusions?”

He asked hopefully. He didn’t know the extent of Luke’s illusionary powers.

”If they can see in the dark. We’re at a disadvantage anyways. Maybe some light will keep them at bay.”

He thought for a moment before playing devil’s advocate and added.

”Of course they could not see at all and it won’t bother them. But at least we’d be able to see.”

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”Maybe we should try to light it up. Can you make light with your illusions?”


Luke shook his head. "Can't... light ... 'd be just... in our heads..." Luke leaned closer to his friend and whispered back, as quietly as he could muster it. Now there was a way he could make some light of course, his dragonfire would lit up the place well, but it would also signal their position to everything in the entire damn cave, although perhaps it could blind or startle the creatures at least for a short while. Unfortunately, he wasn't sure that he could call on his full power. He had tried during their walk, but instead of naturally reaching for his magic as he was used to, it felt like he was diving blindly into molasses, he could grasp something, what exactly though, he could not tell.


He hesitated for a moment, trying to control his breath, so as not to give away their position. He did remember, during their walk, sensing a sideway passage in the cave wall, snaking into the dark, maybe they could do back there and use it to bypass the creatures, it looked pretty tight though, maybe Leon could navigate it somewhat comfortably, but Luke himself, built like a football player as he was, he would have to struggle to squeeze inside. Sneaking past the monsters was always a possibility, although, even if they were both well versed in moving quietly, it would definitely put their abilities to the test. Or perhaps they could try and draw the monsters' attention somewhere else, but how? Or they could run for their lives and pray... Or maybe... 


A loud sound, almost a clack, not unlike the one made by snapping bones, interrupted Luke's train of thought. It came from one of the creatures. A similarly twisted call responded to it from the darkness, then another and another... The boys could feel the activity of the monsters intensify. Perhaps they hadn't pinpointed their position yet, but Luke was certain that the creatures were now at least partially aware of their presence. A drop of cold sweat ran down his spine.

Edited by Nerdzul
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Leon made a quite noise of acknowledgment when Luke explained he couldn’t create a usable light. Not being able to see each other properly was a real disadvantage.

The sudden sound of something akin to snapping bones echoed around them. Responded to in kind by other sources. It sent a shiver down Leon’s spine he sure Luke could feel it through the hand on his shoulder. Strangely, he also felt vibrations though his paper. 

He leaned closer and dropped his voice as low as he could and still be heard.

”I swear, if we find out who dropped us into a Pitch Black ripoff I will fight you for the first shot at them.”

Leon paused as he listened. Locating the sources of the noises was impossible in the cavernous setting. They’d just have to slip past the things, hopefully un-accosted.

There was a passage a little ways back but Leon wasn’t sure Luke would fit, but it might be worth the chance.

”Think you can suck that guy in long enough to try the passage we passed? I think I might be able to distract the things a little.”

In his hand the paper twisted into a slender spike with two prongs on one end. If the creatures hunted by sound, maybe a decoy could help.

”Worked in Dune. Can’t hurt to try.”


When Luke was ready to move again Leon flung the spiked tuning fork into the darkness. It struck the ground a few dozen yards away. The force of the impact causing a sudden chime. He felt powerless again without the paper, if it survived this he hoped he could call it back.

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”I swear, if we find out who dropped us into a Pitch Black ripoff I will fight you for the first shot at them.”


A quiet chuckle escaped Luke lips. It was barely audible, but still, a mistake. A few more of those dreadful clacks interrupted the silence. More steps shuffling in the dark. They were getting closer. Much closer. Luke's eyes widened. We could really use Riddick right now.


”Think you can suck that guy in long enough to try the passage we passed? I think I might be able to distract the things a little.”

"O-ok." He nodded as Leon quickly formulated a plan. They would need to dash there and fast. With those things closing in on them. The young man didn't exactly know what Leon meant as a distraction and was about to pull him away when the strange vibration from the paper tuning fork pervaded the cave.


More clacks followed. The boys could clearly feel the creatures going to investigate. "Now." Luke whispered, while quietly crediting Leon's wits to their survival. I owe you one man. 


This time, he let his roomie lead the way, as they dashed back toward the small opening in the wall, wanting to make sure that Leon would get there in time before doing the same. As they ran, with Luke's heart racing like hell, they could sense the clacking sounds getting more hectic as the creatures inspected Leon's work. Now the boys couldn't be certain, of course, but it almost felt like the creatures were trying to figure out what exactly was going on.


It bought them precious time. For once, Luke felt a mote of relief. They were still in troubles, of course. Deeply so. But they had a chance.


When finally Leon could feel an opening in the stone walls under his fingers, the monsters have began to fan out , the boys could hear the clacks coming from many directions as the creatures had grown bored by the tuning fork and had abandoned it to search for them.  And at least of those things was definitely headed toward the direction of the two teens. 


The passage was indeed tight, irregularly cut into the rocks, Leon would need to be careful in navigating it, again, having to check his steps and use his hands to test the walls before moving deeper inside, the rough stone brushing against his skin. He was just a few steps past the entrance, when he felt something cold scuttling against his left foot, it was an insect of some sort, another among the inhabitants of the cave.


Luke, that was just a step or two behind, found himself forced to uncomfortably squeeze, through, progressing at a glacial pace. Now Luke luckily wasn't claustrophobic, but he still would have to admit that constrained as he was, he definitely felt on edge. 


Luke was still less than a foot past the entrance of the passage when the boys heard one last clack. The monster's head leaned inside. Luke couldn't see it of course, but he could feel its warm breath on his skin. It was but a few inches from his back. He froze instantly. Closed his eyes and tied his best not to breath. He wished he could quiet the sound of his heart that was now echoing in his ears. 


Meanwhile, the small creature on Leon's unshod foot had began to try and scuttle upward on the back of his leg, searching for an opening in the fabric of his PJ.

Edited by Nerdzul
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He didn’t need to be told twice, Leon hurried back the way the duo had come. The things in the darkness weren’t distracted for long, but it was long enough. 

The clacking sounds began to spread out, Leon was sure they were looking for them. The tuning fork’s tone was dying as the vibrations subsided. The paper was a little torn but he was able to call it back to him as if on a silent breeze.

As soon as his hand found the edge of the side passage he slipped in. The passage was manageable, he had slipped through plenty of ducts and a few hollow walls in his past life. This wouldn’t be a problem.

The passage was irregular and Leon had to be careful as he made slow progress. He breath came in cold, shallow gasps but he chalked it up to fear and adrenaline. The walls of the passage felt like they were pressing in on him as he slid along its narrow path. Something crawled over his foot and he tried to shake it off in vein.

His breaths were coming faster and he could swear the walls were responding, closing in on him. The critter crawling began to move up his ankle and the legs on it felt like they were multiplying.

Luke could hear Leon’s breath rising in speed and volume as panic began to grip his roommate.

Leon mumble something incoherent about the walls moving. Distress obvious in his voice as he whispered between breaths.

“I can’t… I can’t do it…”

Luke could almost hear the panicked tears as Leon stop still, his hands pressing back against the walls as if trying to push it away. His pupils were wide with fear in the darkness. He could feel phantom pressure on his arm, a crushing weight pinning it in place. It was so much slower then last time he could swear he could feel it grinding down on his very bones.

He body was shivering under the stress and his leg twitched as something began to crawl up his pants leg.

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Luke was still quietly praying that the creature won't be able to sense him, the pungent rotten stench its breath was now invading his nostril and he could clearly feel the warmth of it exhaling on his skin now.  He was trapped like an animal. His instinct screamed for him to run away, but there was nowhere to go. Now on any other day, he would have dashed out and faced the creature, but with his powers in their current sorry state, he had little confidence that it was a fight that he could win.


Please. Please. Please.


The boy could feel Leon's tension mounting up ahead of him. The rhythm of his breath growing faster and more hectic with every passing moment. His roomie was having a sort of panic attack. 


No! No! No! No! 


He couldn't blame him of course, given the situation, he himself he was well aware that he was barely holding up and that perhaps, if it wasn't for the presence of his friend, he would have been in the same condition now, or worse. A gasp escaped his lips.



A snapping, twisted clack echoed in his ears. Startling him. He could feel drop of the creature saliva landing on his back and deep guttural sound filling the cave. It must have sensed something. Perhaps it was his own breath, or maybe Leon's mumbling. But it knew. 


The creature leaned closer and Luke could almost feel its jaws that were now an inch or at most from his skin. He had to do something. Now.


Desperately, he braced himself against the wall, gathered all his courage, desperately needed for what he was about to do. With all momentum that he could muster, he kicked the creature squarely in the jaw. He recoiled at the brief contact between his foot and the monster smooth, slimy flesh and bared fang and thanked whatever superior power was watching over them, that the beast had been caught off-guard by the attack and lacked the presence of mind to latch on his leg with its teeth, instead, backing away, angrily, if only for a moment. 


Luke didn't have time to appreciate the brief of respite. He pushed himself deeper into the cave.


The twisted clacking noises signaled that the monster was trying to burst in. Luckily, while its long neck could fit inside, the cave, that was barely enough for Luke himself, was too small for the creature to fully navigate.


Just a little deeper...


Wincing as he scraped his shoulder against the rocks, Luke pushed forward with all of his strength until, finally, albeit with a new collection of bruises as the price of his escape, he almost crashed into Leon. All he wanted now, was to collapse on the floor and recover his strength, but there was no time for that, his friend needed him.


“I can’t… I can’t do it…”


“Yes you can.” He took one deep breath. "I know you do." He continued, doing everything in his power to remain calm despite the monster's twisted calls coming from just a little behind them.


He gently placed his left hand again on his friend shoulder. Quietly praying that he wasn't making things worse. "We are getting out of this. Trust me."  He repeated slowly. "It will be alright." In truth, he had no idea about what to do himself, in fact, he was second guessing every word, still, feigning confidence was a skill he was well versed in, hopefully, it would be enough to transmit at least a little bit of a sense of security to his friend. "We are both freakin' badasses, you know?"

Edited by Nerdzul
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Leon struggled with himself. He’d never felt like this before, so helpless. So powerless.

The ruckus between Luke and the creature registered somewhere in the back of his mind, but he was too distracted to acknowledge it.

His friend’s calm my have been force, but under his hand Luke could feel Leon relax just a little. With Luke’s encouragement Leon tried to force himself to slow his breath. It took several long moments and a tremendous effort on his part, but eventually he managed to steady himself again. The panic was still there, clawing at his mental walls, but he wasn’t going to hinder his friend. He wasn’t going to let himself be dead weight that dragged someone else down.


On 11/19/2021 at 1:30 PM, Nerdzul said:

…hopefully, it would be enough to transmit at least a little bit of a sense of security to his friend. "We are both freakin' badasses, you know?"


Luke couldn’t see it, but he could feel Leon nodding. He pressed his forehead against the cold stone wall for a moment.


He huffed and swallowed. Luke could almost hear his roommate’s familiar grin.

“Damn right we’re badasses.”

Taking a deep breath he gave the panic one last shove back. Carefully her reached down as far as he could and swatted at whatever was crawling up his leg in an effort to keep it away from important bits. Slowly he finally started to make his way further down the passage.


The rocky surface dug into his hands and feet. He hadn’t worried about it before in all the rush, but he noticed the chill wasn’t there anymore. Like a switch though, as soon as he thought about it the cold seem to return with a vengeance sending chill through him. 

Now that he was thinking about it, all the rough stone edge should have been scratching them up too. As if on cue, a sharp stone bit into his palm. Leon could feel the pain but something was just weird about it. It gave him something to focus on other then the panic which he was thankful for.


It could have been seconds, it could have been minutes, but for Leon it felt like an eternity. Suddenly his hand found open air and he pushed himself harder.

Leon stumbled out of the passage, falling to his knees. His hands hit the hard rocky ground, one hand slipping on loose pebbles as his weight settled from the fall. His hand found open air again and Leon fell flat, one arm dangling into a black abyss he couldn’t see.


Leon yelped and pulled his arm back and scrambled to his feet. He fought to control his breathing again as he flattened back against the wall beside the passage. As he heard Luke coming out he grabbed for his friend and gave a quieter warning.

“Careful, there’s a ledge. Don’t know how deep.”

Somewhere in the distance the clashing metal sounded continued to echo menacingly, like a dangerous, erratic metal heartbeat.

Edited by Spacefurry
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As Luke felt his friend's breath normalize, his own racing heart began to calm as well. He gently squeezed Leon shoulder. "I'm here man... we are in this together..." He whispered.


“Damn right we’re badasses.”


"Damn yes we are!" He chuckled when he realized that Leon has managed to recover some of his spirit, besides, if he had to be totally honest, some encouragement was sorely needed on his side as well. 


They kept scuttling into the dark, squeezing and pulling themselves deeper in the passage. Quietly Luke prayed that it would not suddenly stop and force them to go back to the room where the monsters still awaited.  He could still hear the twisted clacking noise from behind them. They felt angrier than before.  


"This freakin' darkness..." He protested, while on the way. "I mean, you should have seen that thing when I kicked it square in the face..." He commented, playfully, trying to ease the tension a little. In truth, he was far from eager to do that again, but well, a bit of bravado couldn't  hurt right? "That definitely taught it a lesson." He chuckled. 


"Hey... your paper trick before was also kinda cool..." He conceded sometime later.


His heart skipped a beat when suddenly Leon fell down ahead of him, while his hand was still firmly on his roomie's shoulder, he still could not react in time. Luke's mind was already racing to the possibility that his friend would have been swallowed by the treacherous ground when Leon grabbed him.


"'nks..." He muttered, before giving his friend a nudge on a shoulder. "Don't give me any more heart attacks though... Ok?" He teased. 


“Careful, there’s a ledge. Don’t know how deep.”


"Awesome." He remarked drily. With monsters behind their back and a drop ahead. They were trapped weren't they? "We can't-" He ruffled the hair on the back of his nekc and uneasily shifted the balance on his feet. "We need to keep movin'..." How though? 


"We can try to go... down?" He suggested, there was little confidence in his voice though. 


"I can go first." He offered, although he didn't like the idea of climbing the wall in complete darkness, Luke was a good climber, perhaps, with a bit of luck he would have a chance. 


Trading place with Leon was a bit awkward perhaps, given their cramped conditions, but eventually, the boys managed to do so. Luke knelt on their side of the ledge, testing the ground with his hands and then shifting so that he could keep his chest and more importantly his hands against the rocky wall as he descended. Then, gathering all that was left of his courage, he scampered down into the dark...



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On 11/25/2021 at 6:31 AM, Nerdzul said:

"This freakin' darkness..." He protested, while on the way. "I mean, you should have seen that thing when I kicked it square in the face..." He commented, playfully, trying to ease the tension a little. In truth, he was far from eager to do that again, but well, a bit of bravado couldn't  hurt right? "That definitely taught it a lesson." He chuckled. 


"Hey... your paper trick before was also kinda cool..." He conceded sometime later.

Leon had forced himself to chuckle at his roommate’s comments.

”Ya, ya. Keep bragging.”

When Luke mentioned the paper trick he smiled to himself.

”To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was actually gonna work.”


On 11/25/2021 at 6:31 AM, Nerdzul said:

"We can try to go... down?" He suggested, there was little confidence in his voice though. 


"I can go first." He offered…



Leon felt around the ledge with his foot. It seemed to continue off to one side, but it was almost as narrow at the passage they just exited and who knew for how long it continued.


He said with some resignation, but at least he was sounding calmer and more collected already.


Switching places with Luke had been a challenge unto itself, but they managed it. As his roomie swung himself over the edge Leon was nervous and got on his hands and knees to help him if needed. 
As it turned out, it wasn’t necessary. After only a foot or two Luke’s feet found solid ground again. Exploring it a little gave Luke the impression of another ledge small, but roomier then the last one.

“We good?”

Leon called down after hearing Luke moving around.


With confirmation from his friend Leon eased himself over the edge and joined him on the new ledge.

”Another one.”

He groaned as he knelt but the edge.

”Guess it’s my turn.”

He sighed and began to carefully work his way over the ledge. Only to find footing before he was fully over. The ledge only up to his waist.

”Got lucky on this one.”

Feeling around with his foot he found another edge. The ex-thief thought for a moment.

”Try to find some small rocks.”

Leon crouched, searching for loose stones, using his paper to make some of need be.


With Luke’s help he had two decent handfuls. Ina. Seeping motion he tossed the lot out over the ledge and listened.

The boys could hear the stones as the bounced. It sounded like there were a lot of ledges. Like massive, mis-leveled steps leading down into the darkness.


But towards what?

Edited by Spacefurry
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Luke swore loudly as he unwittingly kicked the rocky surface below. "F-----"


Then again, hitting something was almost a relief by then. He took one deep breath and after exploring a little to make sure that there was enough space on the ledge he lowered himself. 


“We good?”


"Yeah this one is like... two feet deep at most." Luke chuckled. Maybe they got worried for nothing. He waited for Leon to get down with him before testing the ground and finding out how little space they had before another drop. "Ok... yeah.. I guess this ain't over."  He slumped his shoulders a little.


He nodded approvingly as his friend suggested they use some small rocks to test the ground ahead, although, of course, being too dark Leon could not see him. 


"It's like a massive stair or somethin'..." He scratched the hair on the back of his neck. "This is gonna suck-" The seventeen years old prediction proved to  be correct. At least now with the help from the rocks they could test each individual drop before leaning down, which made the navigation easier, but it wasn't an exact science, plus the stair formed somewhat a canal for the treacherous wind to flow into and batter their flesh during the descent.


Plus those damn bugs they had met before seemed to had grown more common and didn't look like they had any qualm about harassing the two teens as they descended. At least until Luke squashed a couple fo them with his leg against the rocky ledge producing a crunching noise that the boy found both disgusting and satisfying at the same time.


They have been alternating for a while in stepping down from each ledge at it was Luke's turn again, by then they could hear the song of running water below, a torrent or something, must have been running between the cracks in the rocks. The boy lowered himself again, but this time his feet could not quickly find any ground to land on.


He pulled himself down hanging with just his hands on the ledge and the chest against the rocky wall


Still just air under his feet...


"Damn..." He muttered between breath. "This one is deeper than the last..." Now of course he could still take a leap of faith.


The humidity in the air suggested that they weren't as far from the water flow, perhaps his landing could be a soft one, but then again, if only they had a way to make sure...


Edited by Nerdzul
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The duo carefully worked their way down the giant stone ‘steps’ with Leon shivering nearly every time the wind cut over them. As they descended he noticed the sound of running water somewhere in darkness. He couldn’t place it with the echo of the carven they were traversing. The hrising humidity was helping, neither were the oversized bugs they kept having to knock off or squish with their bare feet.


“I am so gonna a shower when we get outta here.”

Leon muttered as Luke lowered himself down another ledge.


On 12/7/2021 at 2:13 PM, Nerdzul said:

"Damn..." He muttered between breath. "This one is deeper than the last..."


Leon carefully approached the edge and pointlessly looked over. It was all just more darkness. He rolled his eyes and mentally chided himself for doing it.

“Hang on for a second.”

He smirked at the double meaning and dug the receipt out again. It was all he had so he’d have to make the best of it. The little scrap of paper rolled itself into a small, marble sized bead in his hand. If he kept track as it fell he should be able to call it back before it fell too far. With his attention on the marble he tilted his hand and let it roll off into the darkness.


Luck was on their side as Leo ‘felt’ his paper marble hit something solid about fifteen feet down or so. He had it roll around enough to give Leon the idea they had room to stand comfortably.

“It’s about another ten feet below you. Should be enough room for us both.”

He told his roomie then thought for a moment.

“Think you can make some hand holds or something? Not sure I wanna drop down blindly.”

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"Yeah... don't tell me." Luke grinned. "I could kill for a freakin' warm shower right now." He smiled at the thought. 


“Hang on for a second.”


"I'm on it." He chuckled and shook his head, despite his currently precarious position. He waited for a few interminable seconds for Leon to get back to him.


“It’s about another ten feet below you. Should be enough room for us both.”


Ten feet... Damn. He hoped it would have been less than that. Now with his powers properly working, he could have easily dropped down without a sweat, that night though? He wasn't looking forward to a plunge into the darkness. Plus, as far as he knew at least, there was no chance that Leon would go through that unscathed with just a scrap of paper to protect himself.


"We need to work together for this." If the descent had sucked so far, this was gonna be even worse.


Fortunately, there was enough space on the rocky wall to accommodate the both of them and the surface was irregular enough to provide them with ample spots to hang their hands or feet, on any other day, Luke would have found the experience an easy, if not somewhat entertaining challenge, but on any other days he would not have to do so blindly.


He waited for Leon to start climbing, keeping his friend above him, in order to be able to help in case anything happen and perhaps shield him from the worst impact of a fall, and slowly (and awkwardly) guiding his roommate out to the footholds that he managed to find by sliding his legs and hands on the stony surface.

Not that it felt like Leon needed any help though.


"Hey you didn't tell me you were a parkour expert man." He teased after their feet had landed on the ground, finding out that it was now made by polished gravel, much likely the product of the small torrent that flew between the stone, creating a canyon of sort in between and cutting a path that was, by then, large enough to allow the boys to navigate it without needing to squeeze.


"Finally."  Luke took a deep breath and stretched his arms.


Progress down the path of the river proved to be almost pleasant compared to what had transpired before. Sure the water was cold, but in truth it was still better than the icy breeze that flew through the cavern and it made their path softer and easier to follow.


The two couldn't be sure for how long they had been walking, but finally they began to see some light filtering down from above, between some cracks in the stone, providing them with at least a bare modicum of visibility, one that, at least for Luke, had sorely been missed.


"F- Yeah!" Luke gave his friend a wide smile now that they could finally see each other. Sure, they were not safe by any stretch of the imagination, but the light was more than enough to fill the young man with optimism.




The crashing metallic heartbeat of the cavern was getting closer and closer by then, when the boys could hear another noise breaking the silence just a few feet ahead of them, its souce concealed by one of the many turns of the torrent's path. It was the twisted clacking of one of the beasts, one that however, was more frantic than the ones they have heard before, almost desperate perhaps. 


Threading as lightly as he could on the rocky surface, the boy sneaked up ahead, trying to see what was going on, quietly praying that he would not attract the monster's attention. Once he got there, however, he quickly found out that his worries were unfunded. 


A small creature, no bigger than a dog and far less imposing than the monsters that had chased them before, was ahead, it was sort of a reptilian beast, with four legs, a large head if one compared it to its size and that sported a massive set of fangs, it was eyeless, with a rubbery black skin and bat-like ears. Much likely a cub of their species. The monster was clearly afraid, fighting for its life against a small swarm of the beetle-like bugs that had disturbed Leon's and Luke's descent.


Luke turned to face his friend, in truth despite almost becoming a meal for one of them, he almost felt some sympathy for the poor creature...

Edited by Nerdzul
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On 12/14/2021 at 11:33 AM, Nerdzul said:

"Hey you didn't tell me you were a parkour expert man." He teased


“Man has to have a few secrets. Gotta stay mysterious for the ladies.”

Leon joked in return as he found solid footing.


On 12/14/2021 at 11:33 AM, Nerdzul said:

"Finally."  Luke took a deep breath and stretched his arms.


He rolled his shoulders and stretched his arms.

“You said it.”

He agreed as the two started down the river. Leon wasn’t sure how long they had been wading through the shallow waters before he realized light was filtering into their path. He reflected Luke’s smile as the two were finally able to see each other.

“Not the first thing I’d like to see, but I’ll take it.”

He teased his roommate.


As the duo continued, the metal crashing grew closer. The tension was thick in the air as one of the creatures cried out somewhere ahead of them.

They crept forward, expecting the worst as the stopped and peered around the rocks. A small, eyeless creature was being waylaid be a swarm of the beetle-like bugs that had been harassing them most of their way. It was obviously just a baby monster and Leon could see the look on Luke’s face. He looked back out at the scene and sighed.

“Alright, let’s go save the ugly little thing.”


Leon stepped out from the rocks and the paper ball he had used earlier unraveled in his hand. It twisted into a tiny spike and with a snap of his wrist it laughed out at one or the beetles. The squishy crunch on its shell being pierce wasn’t pleasant to hear but it didn’t stop him from recalling the paper spike and taking aim at another one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

“Man has to have a few secrets. Gotta stay mysterious for the ladies.”


"Any luck with that?" Luke teased back, raising his eyebrows, now Leon couldn't see him, but there was a grin on his lips and his tone betrayed a certain entertainment despite the direness of their situation.


“Not the first thing I’d like to see, but I’ll take it.”


Luke shook his head and chuckled.


"I love you too man." He gave his roommate a playful nudge on a shoulder.  Now they were not safe by far, given the situation, but Luke found that trading playful jabs with each other did help ease the tension at least, besides after the dreadful moments spent climbing down in the darkness and being chasing by monsters, it was sorely needed.


The young man nodded approvingly, now perhaps that creature's parents had just tried to eat him, but there was no way he was gonna leave it to that fate anyway. 

The paper darts proved to be quite effective and after a moment of confusion the small swarm seemed to relent, some of the bugs tried in vain to catch the implement, but it was simply too fast. They could heart he young monster's strange clacking growing more excited as the beetles left them.


Luke himself, with his powers in disarray, could not do much more than grab a rock from the bottom of the torrent they have been navigating and use it against the bugs, covering Leon as the paper surgically struck them down and finding himself unpleasantly forced to squash more than a few of the bugs with his unshod feet as they tried climb up on their legs or swarm the two boys as well.


Eventually, the insects that survived the two teenager's offensive begun to scatter, scuttling and scurrying into small cracks among the rocks. "Whohoo." Luke grinned, now beating a swarm of bugs wasn't exactly the kind of challenge that he was accustomed to since the beginning of his super-hero days, but he could definitely use a win. 


The creature, now, safe from the swarm, scuttled a few steps back against the rocks. "He must be f-ing scared."


Luke knelt close to it and extended his open hand, trying to show the monster that it meant no harm. The creature tentatively took a step toward him, making a few puzzled clacks and looking like it was sniffing the air. it opened its fangs, an impressive collection, given the limited size of the monster and Luke gathered all of his courage not to retract his hand, cold sweat running down his back as he felt the creature's breath against his skin. 


He burst into laughter however, shortly thereafter, as the creature begun to lick his fingers.  Luke caressed the creature head with his free hand, feeling its leathery texture for a short while. When the monster was done getting to know him, it took excitedly  a few steps toward Leon as well and tried to playfully brush against his leg, not unlike how a cat would do.


Moments later, as Leon shifted the balance on his feet, he felt something underneath, it was slightly more polished then the rocks they have been stepping on beneath the thin layer of water of the torrent, a metallic disc perhaps...


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On 12/31/2021 at 7:07 AM, Nerdzul said:

"Any luck with that?" Luke teased back, raising his eyebrows, now Leon couldn't see him, but there was a grin on his lips and his tone betrayed a certain entertainment despite the direness of their situation.


Leon smirked at his friend.


He chuckled.


The swarm was little match for the combined efforts of the boys. Luke covering Leon as his paper dart well… darted around, striking the bugs with each pass.

As the swarm seemed to subside and retreat, he glanced around one last time for stragglers. He wasn’t normally vindictive, but damn it he was cold, tired, and still clueless of where they were. He was understandably miffed.


He turned to watch Luke try to approach the baby… thing. It wasn’t exactly like one, but it reminded him of the creatures from that Vin Diesel movie. As his roomie reached out to it Leon tensed. The paper spike in hand, ready if needed.

“If he bites you, I’m gonna laugh. I’ll help, but ya I’m gonna tease you afterward.”

When it decided Leon was the next target of its affections he did his best not to let it knock him over. Eventually the things attentions caused him to step back to catch his balance. As he regained his footing he felt something cold and metallic under his foot. Stepping off it he looked down is surprise for a moment before a big grin spread across his face.

“We’ll now, what’s this?”

Bending down he pried the half buried coin from its stony prison. Standing up straight he dusted it off and held it up to the little light that streamed it from somewhere above. It’s surface catch the light in a golden gleam.

“Looks like this little trip just turned a profit.”

He grinned over at Luke.

“Where there’s one, there could be more. I think this just turned into a treasure hunt.”

Leon sounded positively excited at the prospect.

“I’m calling Nathen Drake.”

He looked thoughtful for a moment.

“Your not cute enough to be Lara, so I guess you can be Indiana Jones.”

He smirked.

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“We’ll now, what’s this?”


Luke turned to face his friend.


"Wha- Woah... Jackpot." He gave Leon a wide smile as he too examined the coin. It looked, well, ancient, like it had been buried in the torrent for god knows how long, it's surface was almost completely flat, the markings on the sides, impossible to recognize, although, one could tell that the 'head' didn't seem to be fully human. It was actual real gold though, of that, both boys could be certain, and for a coin, it was a pretty heavy one as well, sized almost like one of the doubloons you see in old pirate movies. 


"Nathan Drake. You? I mean... actual drake here." Luke pointed at himself and chuckled.


"Not cute? People would kill for this rugged good looks, you know?He grinned, teasing back flexing his muscles playfully. 


"Ok. Indiana Jones is cool." He chuckled, giving Leon another playful nudge, not before whistling the famous movie song. "Lead the way Mr. Drake."


Meanwhile, the little monster tilted its head and gave the two boys what felt like a puzzled look (regardless of the fact that it had no eyes to actually look at anything). It wagged its tiny tail and then started again to rub itself playfully against their legs. Prompting Luke to rub its head a little, before resuming their walk.


The light grew fainter again as they progressed through the course of the small underground torrent, it was enough to see each other at least, but barely more than that. The young monster kept enthusiastically following the boys. A few minutes had passed when the baby monster suddenly stopped, leaning down in the water and snatching a small fish from the stream, producing a 'slightly' disconcerting snapping sound as its powerful jaws closed on their prey.  


Luke visibly gulped at the thought that his hand could have suffered the same fate.  The monster blissfully ignored him though and kept following the two. 


"Hey... we should find a name for the little one." Luke grinned, sometimes later.




The boys have been walking for a while, when they noticed that the water was getting deeper, by then raising well up to their knees, they could feel the slope underneath getting steeper and for what they could see ahead of them, things were not going to improve anytime soon. Their companion though, didn't seem particularly bothered, in fact, even if by then the water should have submerged it, the young monster simply swam in the cold currents with ease.


By the side, though, the boys could see a passage through the rocks. When Luke raised himself out of the torrent to examine it though, the baby monster made what felt like a worried clacking sound and began nudging the boys to keep going downstream instead.

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Grinning like the cat that ate the canary, Leon happily led the way.

“Carful there, don’t think either of our power sets can fend off a cease and desist.”

He joked at Luke’s whistling.


As the light began to lessen again, Leon swore under his breath, but luckily it stayed enough to let them pick their way along. Leon paused to look back at the sound of the little critter going fishing. As it chowed down on its catch Leon gave a look of mild disturbance. He glanced at Luke and saw his reaction and chuckled.


On 1/7/2022 at 1:17 PM, Nerdzul said:

"Hey... we should find a name for the little one."


“Okay, but if to plan on taking it home you’re one taking it for walkies.”


The water began to rise as the trudged on. As it reached their knees Leon grunted.

“Cold and wet sucks!”

He caught Luke pulling himself out of the water to check a side passage. He pause to watch his friend.

“Found something?”

He asked as the little guy nudged him, making little clacking noises as it did so. Leon glanced down at it.

“Don’t think the little guy is keen on a detour.”

He commented off-handily.

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“Okay, but if to plan on taking it home you’re one taking it for walkies.”


"Ok mom!" Luke teased not before giving his friend another nudge. In truth, he hadn't exactly thought about what to do with the little one, he wasn't sure that the school would allow a carnivorous baby monster pet... Especially given that it would eventually grow up... Then again, that wasn't exactly something they would have to worry in the nearest future. "So got any idea?" He tossed. 


"What about..." He looked thoughtful for a moment, in truth, even a small distraction such as this was a welcome one.  "What about chewy?" He suggested. Although, maybe it was too similar to the nickname of the companion of a certain famous movie smuggler...  




“Cold and wet sucks!”


"Yep..." Luke nodded, he certainly wasn't enthusiastic about the idea of a long navigation through the darkened underground river, sure the water was somewhat clear and even with the reduced illumination they could watch their steps, for now... Plus, Leon had already managed to spot a couple more of those strange gold coins on the riverbed while on the way. 


"Besides, we definitely have proof those things can swim..." He scratched the hair on the back of his neck a glance toward their 'friend' monster, who made one of its clacking noises like if it was responding affirmatively to the boy.  


"I guess that he knows the place better than we do..." He continued. Yeah, much likely the baby monster knew that there was something dangerous on that side, which didn't exactly make look eager to go exploring that way, even if the path was certainly going to be drier. 


"Let's go." The boy slumped his shoulder as he went back into the water with a splash.


The more they went on, the steeper the descent and deeper the water, that at first began to reach their chests. At least that luminescence from above never left them, but by then, their ability to peer into the depths had greatly decreased, forcing them to walk more carefully, to avoid any traps that might be hiding beneath.


From time to time, the boys could feel some small aquatic thing slithering close to their legs, although, after their companion managed to snatch one of them from beneath again, their number greatly decreased. A thing that earned the creature a grateful rub from the teenage boy. 


They have been walking from a while, when Luke seemed to have hit something underwater. He barely had time to swear in surprise, before finding himself beneath the surface... The tiny monster turned to Leon and gave him a worried clack.


Edited by Nerdzul
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