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[Let's build] 100 unfortunate adventurer journal entries

Hey folk,
I have lurked here awhile but this is my first time posting. I was playing Darkest Dungeon and I think the journal entries from unfortunate adventurers you find are pretty cool and I'd love to pepper some into my games. So I'd be keen to build up a list of journal entries a party might find on the corpses of those that came before them..
I am not sure if it's forbidden or a faux pas to use what is presumably copyrighted stuff in the lists here but I figure seeing as these are publicly available on a Darkest Dungeon game wiki it'd be fair game so here goes:

  1. Rare are travellers on the roads this autumn, and rather than starve I pressed my last coin into the hand of one who dealt in rumours and shadows. Ravens carried cryptic notes that there was a person, or persons who was pledging coin for services best left unmentioned in a hamlet I had never heard of. I am packing to leave immediately.
  2. The road to this damned hamlet was a tricky one, both to find and to travel. When it revealed its ruined face, I swore had never seen such neglect, some buildings collapsed, and uncaring residents fidgeting uselessly. I went swiftly to the tavern - others with similar interests had gathered there and I was assembled into an expedition. We leave at first light on the morrow.
  3. As we travelled from the hamlet, an eerie dread grew. We all felt it but did our best to shrug it off. Sleep was difficult until Raeven, one of my companions, passed me a bitter concoction. The most devout of us, Therion, prayed softly for our safety, superstitious but well intentioned I suppose. I am already falling asleep..
  4. We tangled with some unruly louts. Raeven called them cultists. They were ferocious but clumsy.
  5. Moira has been afflicted with sickness, it must have been some rotting air from a coffin she insisted on piercing with her spade. As terrible as this place is, I know I will not fall for any trap nor crazed idiot. I wager my lucky coin on it.
  6. My End - I scrawl this, victim of cruel Fortune, who took me up on my wager for I have lost my lucky coin and I now lie helpless as my blood flows swiftly from my ruined body. My fingers are cold… It was no trap, nor raving cultist that sealed my fate. We were ambushed by strange undulating shapes, 2 small entities that I cannot hope to describe and a third, much larger beast. Poor Moira was crushed into a pulp as Therion defended her - he soon lost his arm and his wits left him, “Shambler! Shambler!” he kept shrieking as Raeven yanked him to flee. I tried to play hero, to buy them a few moments...blew away one of the smaller monsters...last shot...then smashed into the wall...the big one...maybe they made it out.
  7. Our purpose was to desecrate their animalistic shrines and thus disperse the swine-folk. But soon we came across an artifact. This was far beyond the crude fetishes crafted by the pig men. It looked as if obsidian had been grown and twisted into a dark symbol of worship. It cradled a pulsing red orb, glowing with malevolent light. Cuthbert, Boleyn and I hesitated, but thrice-damned Mizir, driven by crazed impulse, thrust his torch in a hidden receptacle and thus sealed our fate!
  8. In that same instant we found ourselves in a place of suffocating dark, facing a creature that defies description and whose recollection causes my quill to jump and shudder! It is merciful only fragments of our battle remain in my psyche... I see Cuthbert hacking at the quivering appendages of the monster. I recall how a piece of its flesh sloughed off and of it’s own twisted accord sprang onto Boleyn, piercing her stout plate! The occultist, as if to offer himself as tribute was torn apart by its writhing limbs!
  9. The assault was overwhelming. With Cuthbert slain and as Boleyn fell, I was driven by rage. I leapt and drove my axe into the creature’s many eyes. Purple ichor splashed my face and my very soul shook as it bellowed. The only thing I can recall after was falling swiftly into blackness.
  10. I now find myself back in the warrens, among the remains of my companions. My wounds are too severe to allow the completion of our - my task. Thus the desecration must resume another time. Curious, there is a ring in my pocket. Where it came from, I cannot begin to guess, though it bears the sigil of the estate’s ancestral owner. Very curious.
  11. I will return with Cuthbert’s banner and Boleyn’s crossbow so as to honor them with a proper burial. I will leave what is left of thrice-damned Mizir and his trinkets to the swine-folk. Perhaps they will build him the memorial he rightly deserves.
  12. Sebastian’s watch was his last. We were jolted during our evening’s repast, the best we could make in these murky halls of our once great house, from the roar and flash of black powder. We dropped our bowls and hurried to him. All we could find was his spent pistol and a trail of blood leading into a maze of shadows. We press on.
  13. We fought in the East Gallery, filled with portraits of our ancient lineage, uncaring witnesses to the slaughter. Alhazred, the fiery heartbeat of our retinue, wrought keen havoc in our enemy’s ranks. I keenly feel his absence even as I remember voiding myself upon seeing his lifeless body fall, blood pouring from his screaming mouth, some cruel knife having rent his lungs to gore. Yet we were victorious, and thus we press on.
  14. Hewell, dear friend, exemplary warrior, a survivor of the King’s wars, and many sorties in these halls, met an ignoble end. We were weary, Hewell and I, as we searched for sanctuary. Weariness, it appears, has a murderous streak: it blinded him to the mechanism that tripped the spikes which eviscerated him. I held him as his essence slipped away, another giant fallen in our mad pursuit. I am alone now, weary, but unbowed. I press on.
  15. I AM BECOME VENGEANCE! All cultists will feel my mace, brigands fear my roar! I am outnumbered, ‘tis true - I am starved and half-mad, but as long as there is breath in my body, I will press on. I will wreak unbearable agony on those who would seek to despoil my great manse! And now they come! I dowse my torch. I DO NOT FEAR THE DARKNESS! THIS IS MY HOUSE, AND WOE TO THE UNINVITED!
  16. These dark caves drip with an overabundance of humidity, beyond my threshold of comfort. I nearly broke my ankle on the rocks, made slick with some ubiquitous slime. The pools stir and slosh with no visible cause and the shadows beyond torchlight seem to grow and shrink of their own accord.
  17. My fears are confirmed! With our torch doused by an errant spray of seawater - we were ambushed! Strange fish-like homonids ambushed us in the sudden darkness! The pitch of the torch caught quickly and I glimpsed scaly appendages swinging crude weapons, glistening and barbed. They didn't last long with our torch rekindled. Alas, one bit me on the neck before I gutted it. The wound stings and tingles strangely. Our physic told me to keep it clean and covered...
  18. The wound is starting to fester. The flesh around it is grey, flaking and ridged, almost scale-like. As I write this, my breathing has taken on a hollow timbre and is more laboured. My compatriots are laughing, and tell me not to worry, it’s just the salt mist in the air that pervades these caverns.
  19. They are sleeping. I am kept from slumber by a distinct stream of whispers, as if carried by the currents and waves of the sea. I have not told them that most of my flesh has sloughed off, revealing a strange silvery membrane, I keep myself covered. They questioned me when I ate the meat raw at campfall and found my response difficult to understand. I suppose it would be best to explain my condition when they awaken, then they would be convinced of my urgency to leave and find aid in the hamlet.
  20. The others are gone. They were victims of a malevolent transformation! Their scales had rotted to soft, vulnerable flesh. Slowly suffocating without gills! The worst was their eyes! Close-set, and forced to squint through fleshy slits! I shudder recalling the horrific and unclean warmth of their blood as I rinsed my talons. I nearly retched. May Death grant them soft mercy!
  21. I cannot recall why we ventured onto land. Why did we leave when Mother Ocean provided all we needed beneath her tender waves? I will now return home, back to Her embrace… [indecipherable scratchings fill the remainder of the page.]
  22. I am a beautiful thing, they say. Flawless as the sea of dunes. Graceful as the desert wind. Captivating as a shimmering mirage. They stare, they linger, they watch me without blinking.
  23. Such exquisiteness must be admired, they say. And so I am made to dance for their desperate, dust-pitted faces; for their watery, bloodshot eyes; their cracked, grinning lips. I am not a person to this debauched audience, I am an exotic wonder. I am a beautiful thing.
  24. Such loveliness belongs in the palace, they say. And so my hands are tied, and I am put in a caravan next to golden idols and jeweled icons. Together, we are a priceless cargo of dazzling rarities, bound for the Vizier's treasury. I know this tyrant's reputation, and I am afraid.
  25. As the wagon careens along the mountain road, I make my choice. I will not go to the Vizier. I will not be this man’s prize; his plaything. With practiced grace, I slip my bonds, and lunge for the open air. The wagon teeters and the guard shouts. Wheels lift, horses panic...
  26. I am lodged in a jumble of corpses and wreckage. My arm is pinned. The serpent appears silently from behind a rock, tongue tasting the air. The bite is quick; the venom slow. It runs cold in my veins, inching up my arm - forcing me to make a terrible choice.
  27. The knife is dull, and I must work quickly. In my panic, I saw, hack, and gouge. My cries are met with the silent indifference of the dunes, the chill of the desert wind, the cold light of the moon. I am sacrificing my beauty for a chance to live; paying for my future with the only currency I’ve ever had.
  28. I stare at my severed hand, my bloodied arm. There will be no more leering crowds, no more coins thrown at my feet. I breathe a wordless thanks to my liberator, as it slithers away into the shadows. At last, I am free of my gilded cage. At last, I finally understand: a thing cannot be truly beautiful until it is broken.
  29. Entry One: As usual, I am surrounded by fuckwits. Superstitious fools, barking at shadows. Fools and their money are soon parted, and I've made a good career doing the parting. Whatever beast in the night has the peasants all riled up will die impaled on a spear, and everything will go back to normal.
  30. Entry Two: Our local guide, Fitz, ran screaming within 30 seconds of our arrival at the old cave. Coward. If we had paid for his services I would abandon this hunt and chase him down. If we shat our pants every time something growled at us, there's be a steady trail of brown connecting every idiot town in this kingdom. We are to make immediate entry to the cave; the sooner we kill the beast, the sooner we get the second half of the money.
  31. Entry Three: The idiot locals lied to us. Their "cave" turned out to be the entrance to a massive underground structure. Most likely trying to get away with paying us a pittance; we'll discuss the matter with the town lord, and stab him in the heart of he isn't compelled by our argument. The structure is too big to deal with in one go, we will hunker down and rest for a while.
  32. Entry Four: William vanished sometime in the night. Probably hoping to get first pick of whatever this structure holds. He's a deft hand with a knife or a lockpick, but always had more balls than brains. We'll have to proceed slowly without our trap expert, but proceed we shall.
  33. Entry Five: It turns out William didn't make it very far. We found the body about 100 yards away from our campsite. I'd be less disturbed if most of that 100 wasn't vertical. Something nailed him to the ceiling with what looks like iron spikes. Whatever is down here isn't an animal. It something smart enough to be malicious.
  34. Entry Six: We've made our way to a more defensible position, but the price was steeper than any of us wanted. They came right out of the walls, and by the time we knew an attack had started I was looking through a hole in Margaret's forehead. When we get out of this damned pit, I'm burning that fucking village to the ground. Those bastards set us up. As far as I care, they killed her.
  35. Entry Seven: We underestimated them. It's become painfully obvious that they weren't chasing us, they were herding us. Our sturdy redoubt is no better than a cattle pen, somewhere to keep us until they're ready to take us. We've lost one a night since we got in here. At this rate, we won't last another week.
  36. Final Entry: Roland was taken last night. I am the only one that remains. Whether there is some design behind my being left for last or mere cruel coincidence is unknown. Either is plausible. And an answer wouldn't change anything at this point. I'll not give them the satisfaction of taking me alive; they can feel free to do whatever they want with my body after I've gotten done drinking the last wine in my pack and shoving my dagger into my heart. If there is justice in the universe, the gods will hear my last prayer and hit that fucking village with lightning. It would be nicer than what these... things are going to do once they finish gnawing my bones.
  37. Kick in the door wavin' the Claymore! All I heard was Myrkul don't hit me no more!
  38. Go kill the ghost they said, bring a magic weapon they said. I wish I would have listened to Dalton, he smelled something fishy when the people didn't fight our price negotiation... Now here I am, buried under this old old church I collapsed to prevent the mob from killing me and my friends, of course I screwed that up and now I'm the only one left. I can hear them moving the rubble so it's only a matter of time before they find me. If you get this please take this to the village of Tylant and give it to Helda the white witch. I love you mom, perhaps I can make some traps before my time comes and take a few of these bandits with me.
  39. My wife was the one to set me up? To think she'd do it... I mean, we promised each other that one of us would kill the other but I always thought I'd get her. Perhaps if gotten soft, in fact I know I got soft...I even told her I loved her. What a mistake. I saw her face change but to think she'd pull the rope like this? Left with a note to "fight like a man and you won't die like a dog". Fight 20 guardsmen? Heh... I'll see the hangman tomorrow for my crimes, and she'll be off with my bounty payment and some new man. We'll see, maybe I'll surprise her just over the horizon...
  40. Ozan you fool, we said bring mercenaries on the third Eve , you said we will be there and to listen for the crow's cry. The crow? God's I should have know you would just run with the money then. We were found but the giants and I'm in what I can only imagine to be their food storage. I have a plan to get out... But if I fail don't worry, I will find a way to repay you Ozan, if I spend the rest of eternity to do so.
  41. I hope you are happy. We are here because of you. I will ensure this letter gets to you, mother. Why would you tell your only son to "go on an adventure" to "see the world" and "make some money" and "maybe save a beautiful BLAH BLAH BLAH" HORSECRAP! You just wanted me out of the house! You tricked me and now I am the slave to these goblins... And I haven't eaten real food in a week... And I think they are going to try to make me work in a mine... Mommy, I'm scared HELP MEEEEEEE!
  42. We think we have lost the flying lizards. My God it was terrible! They swooped on us without warning. I saw poor Boyle ripped apart before my eyes by one of the foul creature's talons. A few of us hacked our way out and fled. It was no use, we were hopelessly outnumbered. We have abandoned this foolish quest to discover the fabled temple but we are lost. To make matters worse, Gustav won't shut up about the buzzing sound that forms a constant background noise in this part of the jungle.
  43. Within moments Flynn and Hyde were drained dry and the winged beasts grew swollen with their blood. I crushed one of the insects with my fist and scrambled desperately for sanctuary. I ran and ran.. The screams grew distant and faded. I am lost. This expedition is folly! I curse the day I heard of the riches of the temple.
  44. Three days I have waited sitting under this tree, and three days more until the caravan arrives. I've food enough, and a clear stream runs nearby, but my damn wine skin is dry and I've barely had a drink! Either it spilled out along the road, or I'm not alone.
  45. Two more days until the caravan is due to pick me up; now I know I am not alone. The creatures of the forest came to me last night; little fairies no bigger than my quill danced about my resting tree. They invited me to feast with them, but I declined; mother always warned me not to eat or drink anything the fair folk offer. I did see that at least two of them checked my skin and cast some kind of magic upon it; it now sloshes as though full, and smells most sweetly. I cannot drink it, yet at the same time I do build a powerful thirst.
  46. What kind of sick monster disguises sovereign glue as a healing potion? Not much to do now. I can't ask for help. I can't eat or drink. I'm three days away from the nearest town. Maybe whoever finds me will read this warning before taste testing the damn potion.
  47. Gone! Everything! My love... My life's work... I've spent nearly a decade studying these ruins. Once my apprentice, then my trusted associate, then my wife... She disappeared into the night with all of our research. I can't start over. All I have left is to pen my final entry. Tonight, I will join the ruins forever.
  48. It’s been 2 days since we’ve seen Reginald. He went into the woods to relieve himself but never came back. We thought if he were alive he’d come back for his backpack and gear. He didn’t. I guess it’s too late. P.s. Reginald’s mother sent some delicious cookies with him. I’ll have to get the recipe.








submitted by dmforadoption to d100

4

[Cryoverse] The Last Precursor 030: Soren the Savior

The Last Precursor is an HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and now only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Admiral José Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read the earlier chapters first if you missed them!
Do you like the story? Subscribe to HFY bot and get notified when I post new parts!

Join the Cryoverse Discord!

Previous Part
Part 001
.......................................
Salt and Pepper zip through the underground catacombs toward the source of the 'bomb' detonation they detected moments before. Due to the pitch-blackness surrounding them, these two Shades move at unbelievable speeds, crossing five miles of total darkness in the blink of an eye. They stop a few hundred feet away from a tremendous pile of collapsed rubble and pause to examine the scene.
The cave roof appears sunken in, as if something had crashed through the entire mountain down to these lower levels, more than half a mile below sea level. Where there should be a hole leading to the surface, the mountain has instead collapsed in on itself, blockading the roof with tens of thousands of tons of solidly packed dirt and stone. A cloud of dust hangs in the air, recently stirred up by whatever strange object forced its way into the underground caverns. The two Shades creep a little closer, their expressions turning to bewilderment. Before them, a giant metal cylinder sits embedded several feet in the ground, with only a couple of feet of its upper portion sticking out of the cave floor. A vibrating noise hums in the air, as if a beast were slumbering within the planet's bowels.
"What the devil is that?" Pepper asks. "Did it fall from the sky?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Salt retorts. "How could anything dig through the mountain so quickly? We would have noticed within seconds! The explosion was nearly instantaneous! I bet that tricky human somehow planted this weird... this weird thing here earlier."
"But... but we watched him the whole time," Pepper says skeptically, her confusion only increasing further. "How could we have missed something that big?"
"Dunno. Master says the fleshbags are tricky. We have to watch out for them. They nearly wiped out our entire species, after all."
"Mmm. True that. Hey, do you hear something?"
Suddenly and without warning, the circular metal object's 'lid' erupts outward, blasting off the cylinder's top. It flies backward, strikes the ceiling, and embeds half a foot into the stone roof, vibrating for a moment afterward.
Then, a gigantic, unthinkably huge metal 'hand' emerges from the canister. Both Shades go on the alert, gazing with wide-eyed fascination, and a tinge of horror, as a metal 'monster' begins to climb out of its metallic embryo.
Salt shrinks back, her eyes wide with shock, as the bipedal machine escapes its containment unit, revealing a shiny, silver body hidden within the darkness. Thanks to her incredible vision and perception, she can easily see every inch of its thick, powerful frame. Two gigantic railgun cannons rest upon the metal monster's shoulders. Its gauntlets appear powerful enough to effortlessly crush stone into dust, while its single glowing-red eye focuses on them, a tiny laser observing their movements. Having never seen such a terrifying giant, Salt can only begin to imagine what sort of terrifying beast must have spawned this behemoth.
"That thing must be six meters tall!" Pepper gasps. "What is it?!"
"M-Master... I think he mentioned these once..." Salt whispers. "It's... it's a human weapon. A killing machine!"
At that moment, one hundred and fifty front-facing lights activate on the robot's body, blasting out tens of thousands of lumens worth of solar energy. The entire cavern system for a mile behind the Shades becomes as bright as if a star had ignited within the underground depths.
"AHHHHHHHH!!!"
"IT BURNS! NOOOOO!!!"
Salt and Pepper scream in horror, their voices echoing into the distance with the volume of a thousand melting witches. Both Shades mindlessly leap backward, their bodies decomposing at terrifying rates. Unable to withstand the horrific bombardment of light upon their shadowy forms, they retreat as fast as possible, but only make it five steps before their bodies explode into smoke. A second later, they reform and fall to the ground, their limbs continuously melting due to the corrosive solar energy ripping them apart at the atomic level.
Thrice, the Shades explode, reform, and fall to the floor.
After the third time, they release high-pitched shrieks, their dying screams mirroring the agony within their souls. Then, they disappear for the rest of eternity, consumed by the all-encompassing light engulfing them.
...
Soren Mudrose, Chief Tactical Officer aboard the Bloodbearer, merely stands and watches for a moment as the Shades perish. Their deaths happen within the span of several seconds, giving her just enough time to witness their fall.
"Do not become complacent, Officer Mudrose," The synthmind, Umi, says. "Due to the imminent threat to the Admiral's life, you have not been able to properly learn to control the Titan-class Battlesuit. For now, I will initiate Automated Assault Mode. Your task is to guide the Battlesuit to the Admiral's location. Leave the combat to me."
"I understand," Soren says, taking a deep breath. "I'm not much for fighting... so I'll go with that. Let's move!"
Like an Olympic swimmer diving into a pool, Soren charges forward, her movement inside the giant, clunky, and seemingly unwieldy Titan-class Battlesuit quickly becoming smoother every second.
Boom-boom-boom!
The ten-ton Battlesuit smashes its feet against the floor as she stomps forward, rapidly increasing her running speed from five miles per hour to more than thirty.
"Officer Soren," Umi says, her computerized voice speaking within the Battlesuit's cockpit. "You must move with haste. The Admiral's vital signs have ceased, but his body has begun to move. I suspect the demonic entities intend to capture him and drag him further into their underground lair. You must bring him back in as little time as possible."
"I understand!" Soren answers. "Don't worry. I will not let the Admiral down!"
Despite running at insane speeds far beyond what her body could ever pull off, compared to the Shades within the world of darkness, Soren's movement is as slow as a turtle's. She travels toward the Admiral's blinking vital signs, which appear as a red dot superimposed over the Titan's holographic imaging interface.
"Seven hundred meters to the Admiral's current location," Umi says. "I am detecting multiple Giant-class demonic entities, as well as several hundred Hunter-class enemies. Threat rating: 0.01."
"Giant-class entities?" Soren repeats. "Like Trolls? The ones I fought in the simulation?"
"Affirmative. However, you have nothing to worry about. Inside a Titan-class Battlesuit, it is all but impossible for biological entities to injure you. Only Duke and Emperor-class demons will pose a threat, and only if they catch you off-guard. Should a Battlesuit utilize Automated Assault Mode, it will only perform with a 5% combat efficiency when compared to the control of a seasoned and veteran pilot. This loss of efficiency is unavoidable, but it will still prove more than adequate for dealing with low-level demonic entities."
...
Not far away, at Admiral Rodriguez's body.
A dozen Shades linger near the fallen Terran, having been told to stay behind with the human, just in case anything happens. All of them grumble and moan, complaining as loudly as possible about their bad luck.
"This stinks!"
"I wanted to watch Master break and train that little hussy. Now I'm stuck here, babysitting a dead man."
"Maybe we should mess with the orcs. That's always good for a laugh!"
"Oh, shut up, Prankster. Only babies like that stuff."
"Nuh-uh!"
"Uh-huh!"
Several of the Shades argue among each other as they trail behind a pair of orcs. The two monsters hold the human by his arms and legs to roughly carry him through the underground catacombs. José hangs limp in their grasp, his entire body unmoving and unable to sense the world around him. Countless nanites swim throughout his bloodstream, their movements slowing more and more every minute due to his unmoving hearts.
Without a doubt, the Terran has perished.
Unfortunately, none of the monsters or Shades recognize this simple fact. They continue traveling deeper into the underground levels, dragging the Terran's corpse along to some awful, distant torture chamber.
As they do, a few of the goblins at the front perk their pointy ears up. They swivel their heads toward a main passage up ahead, where a faint trickle of light begins to slowly expand and brighten that particular exit. In the distance, a sound greets their ears.
Boom, boom, boom, boom.
The sound of something heavy smashing the ground at regular intervals makes them hesitate.
The lead goblin frowns. "What that noise?"
"Dunno," his nearest companion replies. "It sound really angry though!"
One of the Shades flickers toward the front. Her expression darkens. "I can't sense Salt and Pepper! Where did they go? Ah! Don't tell me... don't tell me they died?!"
A second Shade jumps in alarm. "No way! How can that be? Those two are always so cautious!"
Within seconds, the distant light becomes brighter than ever. The unmistakable sounds of titanic footsteps makes all of the Shades turn to one another in a panic. Not knowing what the hell is coming, the duly appointed leader barks an order. "Y-you, orcs! Gobbys! Take the trolls and find out what's making all that noise. Hurry!"
The four remaining thirty-foot-tall trolls stare dully as their miniature companions zip between their legs and follow the head Shade's orders. By the time the Trolls start moving, the light up ahead has become astoundingly bright, while the heavy footsteps grow ever more frightening and oppressive.
All at once, a metal giant rounds the corner, its 150 unthinkably bright headlamps blasting down the corridors. The Shades scream in pain and retreat as quickly as possible, while the charging goblins and orcs screech to a halt and shield their eyes. Despite how the light doesn't injure their bodies like it does the Shades, it's still bright enough to blind them and destroy their retinas.
"Aaargh! Big sun underground! Where come from?!"
The oncoming robotic warrior doesn't slow down. Soren Mudrose charges at full speed like a stampeding bull. She smashes through the frontlines, stomping anyone in her path into patches of bloody mulch, while swinging the Battlesuit's arms from side to side. Each swing shatters spines, crushes skulls, and sends the helpless orcs and goblins flying, their comparatively tiny bodies about as threatening to the Titan-class Battlesuit as a toothpick to a T-Rex.
The Trolls, still lagging behind the orcs and goblins, don't suffer nearly as badly. Perhaps thanks to their tiny pea-brains, they somehow ignore the pain in their eyes to charge at Soren's oncoming form. They raise their fists high and swing down, intending to crush the Battlesuit into spare parts. Given how its size is only 2/3rd's the height of the Trolls, their victory seems inevitable.
However, before the Trolls can land their crushing blows, the two automated railguns mounted atop the Titan's shoulders swivel toward the fleshy giants.
Thoomph! Thoomph!
With two simultaneous shots, a power unlike anything seen in the galactic community for one hundred millions years blasts out of the turrets' barrels. The two nearest Trolls detonate like bombs as two miniature shells rip through their bodies at 5% the speed of light. Their ribs explode backward in horrific showers of gore, splattering their companions behind them. The railgun shell tears into the mountainside and causes a localized earthquake, sending shockwaves in all directions. The deafening concussive blasts blow out the eardrums of the remaining two Trolls, making them stumble in pain while howling soundlessly.
By the time the two remaining Trolls manage to open their eyes, all they see is a stupendously blinding light flying at their faces. Soren raises two fists and smashes the Trolls' skulls, killing them before they have a chance to react.
Within ten seconds of her arrival, Soren murders every monster in the area, leaving lakes of blood and gore in her wake.
"Haah... haaah...." Soren gasps, her adrenaline pumping like crazy. "Did... did I do that?! This suit is incredible!"
"Now is not the time for self-congratulations!" Umi says, her tone authoritative. "The Admiral's body rests only seventy meters from your position. Fetch him as quickly as possible and return to the shuttle."
Soren nods. She starts to walk toward the Admiral's 'blip,' only to pause. "Wait, what about Megla? I have to rescue my sister and the Kessu too!"
"Negative," Umi replies. "Admiral Rodriguez is your top priority. You must bring the last Terran to the Bloodbearer at once. He is the last of his species. If he perishes, there will be no others. However, there are still countless Kraktol and Kessu elsewhere in the galaxy."
Soren continues walking toward the Admiral, but her ecstasy from killing all of the monsters disappears, replaced instead with a mixture of horror and outrage. "How could you say that?! Megla is my sister! I will not leave her behind, synthmind!"
"You will follow my orders," Umi replies. The synthmind's tone becomes noticeably colder than before. "The Admiral's survival is my top priority. The sooner you bring him back-"
"I'll bring the Admiral back as soon as possible!" Soren shouts, fury building in her chest. "But I will also rescue my sister and the Kessu first! Don't you dare try to stop me!"
"Officer Mudrose. Your conduct is unbecoming-"
"Shut up!" Soren shouts, her voice becoming increasingly venomous. She slows to a stop beside the Admiral's unmoving body and grits her teeth. "Not another damned word! If you think I don't know how critical the Admiral's condition is, you've got another thing coming! Now, how can I bring him along with me safely? I'm liable to crush him to death if I'm not careful."
Umi falls silent for several seconds, as if calculating a response. When she does reply, her tone is noticeably more curt than before.
"Before you entered the Titan-class Battlesuit, you also obtained numerous auxiliary attachments. One of those is the Temporary Medical Stasis Device. The TMSD will envelop the Admiral in a protective force-field. Place him inside and it will temporarily preserve his vitals as they are now. However, this effect will only last for thirty minutes."
One of the magnetically attached devices on Soren's Battlesuit glows with a golden hue thanks to her HUD. She grabs the circular object, activates it with a command, and places it on the Admiral's chest. A faint blue film rapidly envelops the Terran's body, sealing him in its protective embrace. Moments later, he levitates into the air, and an invisible 'chain' of energy connects him to the Battlesuit's torso.
"Once again," Umi says, "I must demand that you return to the Bloodbearer at once. The Admiral's life is incomparably valuable. If he perishes, it will mean the extinction of his entire species."
Soren hesitates.
"...You think I don't know that? If I could, I would! No matter what, I'm not going to leave my sister down here! End of discussion."
Soren starts stomping in the direction of Megla and the Kessu, following the general direction of their vital signs. As she does, Umi beeps with disappointment.
"Originally, I calculated that you would be an officer who prioritized logic over petty emotions."
"I never expected myself to act this way either," Soren retorts. "But now that I've made the choice, I'll never regret it. Logic is irrelevant once my family's safety is at stake!"
"...In that regard, I suppose Admiral Rodriguez would commend you. By all accounts, were your roles switched, I am 100% certain he would make the same choice."
Soren snorts. "Good. That's the nicest thing you've said all day."
.......................................
A few miles away, inside the tucked-away Kessu cave.
Megla hovers over little Lele's shoulder, wringing her claws together. "Come on, hurry up! What's taking you so long?"
Lele, still disassembling Megla's rifle into a new device, releases a long meow of annoyance. "Mraaaaw! Every time you ask, you slow me down, scale-face! Just be quiet and let me focus, jeez!"
The yellow-scaled Kraktol flicks her eyes around the room. Already, her eyes seem to be playing tricks on her, as the flickering shadows appear to slowly move around, bit by bit. Like pitch-black lava lamps, dozens of 'shadow globs' slowly float across the ceiling, making Megla feel extremely uneasy.
I swear to the galaxies, it feels like a bunch of creepy monsters are looking at me! Are those the Shades that little furball mentioned? Augh! If this brat is trying to prank me, I'll shave her fur and dunk her in a bath!
Megla listens intently, but no matter how she strains, she doesn't hear the sounds of combat outside. Her nerves tighten more and more every second.
Is the Admiral okay? Maybe he escaped! Yeah. He'll leave and come back with a... with a rescue thingy! Yeah! He wouldn't just leave us here, would he? Oh, gosh, I hope he didn't lose the battle! He has to be okay, he just has to!
"Kyargh! Hurry up, fuzz-brain!" Megla hisses. "I have a terrible feeling something bad is about to happen!"
Hardly have the words left Megla's mouth, before a shudder goes down her spine. She whirls around and screams in a shrill, terror-stricken voice. "Eeeeyaaah!!!"
Behind her, on the wall, a gigantic face comprised entirely of shadow smiles at her, its creepy and sinister expression revealing nothing but delight in her squeamishness.
"Ehehehe!" The face cackles. "Listen to that delightful scream! You seem to be afraid of little old 'us,' you pretty little reptile. What's the matter? Do we scare you?"
The face increases in size, swallowing up the entire sidewall. Megla loses her footing and falls to the ground, panic pulsing through her veins. The Kessu behind her appear to be even worse condition, with all of the children having fainted from terror, and Baaru simply unable to move. The Matriarch's legs tremble and shake, while her knees knock together.
"Sh-shadow monster! Mreeooww!! Hiss!"
All of Baaru's fur stands on end. She hunches down low and raises her claws as if to attack, but it only takes one look at her expression to see she wants nothing more than to flee.
Even Lele's father, Ruuki, barely manages to hold it together. His teeth click together as he trembles and chatters nervously. "Maaoww! I do not like this! No, no, not one bit!"
As the Shade, Yama, indulges in his twisted fear fetish, his expression sours slightly. In between all of the frightened and screaming Kessu and Megla, one creature remains completely impassive to his presence. Little Lele continues to tinker away with her Hypo-spanner, slowly building what looks like a radio antenna with a tripod base. The barrel of Megla's old rifle points straight up in the air, and the whole thing only stands about one and a half feet tall.
Yama frowns. "Hmm. Why is this child not cowering in fear? What a brave little girl! Perhaps she has not yet noticed our majesty and splendor!"
Lele raises her head for a moment. She glances behind herself at the horrifying face on the wall. After staring at it for a moment, she returns to what she was doing, her expression not changing in the slightest. Her reaction appears about as startled or impressed as if a leaf had blown past her face.
The Emperor of Shadows begins to feel annoyed. He doesn't draw any nearer, due to Megla's glowing force-field, but he skirts around the battlefield, his gigantic head continuing to swallow up the walls. "You there! Little girl! Did your parents not teach you to look at your elders when they talked to you?!"
Bzzt, brrt.
Lele continues to quietly work on her little science project. "Sorry, can't. I'm busy right now."
"B-busy?!" Yama sputters. Countless other Shades materialize on the walls around him, their expressions unsightly. "How dare you ignore us?! We have ruled this underground world for countless years! We have tortured and defiled countless females, making them scream in terror before succumbing to our power!"
Rather than intimidating and scaring Lele, the Shade Emperor's words have the opposite effect. She glances at his shadow for a moment and snorts. "Oh, geez. What a dumb, poopy-looking shadow! Look at the big, scary guy, picking on little girls and women. You're just a stupid, weak little bully. You're not scary at all!"
Lele's words make the other Kessu jump in alarm. Ruuki quickly drops down and presses his paw against her mouth. "What are you saying?! This shadow is about to kill us all! Didn't you hear what he did to the other Kessu?! We're in dire straits, sweet child of mine!"
"Hahaha, well spoken!" Yama cackles. "You should be afraid, large male! We are going to tie your females down, violate them endlessly, make them beg for death, and then convert them to our harem! As for the males, we will flay the skin off their bones and feed their blood to our wargs! Your pain has only just begun!!"
Lele rolls her eyes. She pulls her father's paw off her mouth. "You don't scare me. If you were a real man, you'd wait one minute and fifteen seconds for me to finish my Discombobulating Tickle Poker. Too bad you're even more of a scaredy-cat than my daddy."
"What?! You insolent little brat! How dare you insult this Emperor's majesty! Do you think we are afraid of a tiny little baby like you?!"
"I dunno. Are you?"
Even as Lele talks, she continues to screw and weld pieces into place, slowly finishing her assembly of whatever device she happens to be working on. Megla's fear subsides somewhat, and a thought forms in the back of her mind as she notices how the conversation has shifted.
The furball is oddly confident. Could it be? Does she really have some means to hurt or kill these Shades?
A flash of light appears in the Kraktol's eyes. She stands up a little taller and presses her fists against her waist.
"Kyargh! Well said, little furball! Hahaha! How could I be so blind? It's no wonder this shadow-blob taunts us from a distance! He's too scared of us to let you finish your infamous Tickle Poker! Even the weakest males of the Kraktol wouldn't be afraid of a few tiny little cats and women! This so-called 'Emperor' is truly nothing in my eyes!"
Yama hesitates.
The Shadow Emperor glowers at Megla with the rage of a thousand charging bulls.
"Shut your mouth, woman! Soon, we'll have you screaming and begging for mercy!"
"Sure, sure," Megla says, slowly building back her confidence. "I'm not denying you can and you will. But does it matter? If all you can do is bully the weak, then you aren't worth a drop of my spit. My Admiral is a thousand times the man you will ever be!"
At these words, the Shadow Emperor's unsightly expression shifts dramatically. Once again, his confidence comes roaring back, along with a sinister grin. "Hehehe. Your Admiral, hm? Haven't you noticed yet, worthless woman? We have defeated him! He's all but dead now, a meat puppet in our claws! We defeated that fleshbag, and now we have come for you! Tremble and despair, for no matter how you taunt this Emperor, you cannot leave here as anything but our helpless pet!"
Megla's expression sinks. Indeed, Yama's words have the intended effect, making her heartbeat slow to a stop.
"W-what? You... you beat the Admiral?! No! That's not possible! The Admiral... he's invincible! You can't possibly...!"
"Hehehe, we can, and we have! This Emperor crushed the fleshbag with relative ease. He killed a few minor members of our harem, but it matters not! Now that he has fallen, nobody can save you! Nobody!!"
As Yama brags, Lele's paws move with ruthless efficiency. She slides the last bolt into place on her 'Discombobulating Tickle Device' and nods with satisfaction.
"Okay, done! You can die now!"
Without hesitation, Lele jumps to her feet while ignoring the Emperor's cackling. She lifts the odd antenna-shaped device over her head and presses a button on its underside, causing it to vibrate and build up power.
Click, whirrrrrrrr...
Yama stops laughing. The Shade Emperor immediately looks at the device in Lele's hands with confusion. "Hm? Die? Wahaha! Does this silly baby think she can tickle us to death?! This Emperor has heard many jokes in our life, but none have been as funny as this!"
"It's not a tickling device, you dummy," Lele says, her voice cold. "It's a weapon. And you let me build it."
At that moment, a faint ball of light appears atop the antenna.
Fwip!
The light-orb instantly fires upward and slams against the ceiling.
FWEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
A high-pitched noise erupts underground, like a thousand banshees uttering their dying screams. At the same time, the luminous orb detonates, bathing the cave with an astonishingly bright light, one which mirrors the beginning of creation.
"EEEEYAAAAARGHHHH!!"
Yama, the haughty Emperor of Shadows, screams in agony as the scorching brightness bathes him for 1.34 seconds, irradiating not only him, but all of the Shades present with the lethal cosmic rays. They instantly lose their formlessness, explode into smoke, and reform a moment later as biped-shaped creatures of varying species, landing on the floor to crawl around and scream in pain.
"Aaaargh! You little BITCH!! This Emperor will kill you!!"
Yama screams incoherently, only managing to put his body together after a few more seconds.
Meanwhile, other than the sudden brightness forcing Megla and the Kessu to quickly cover their eyes, they don't suffer any harm at all. The Kraktol quickly swivels to face the enemies around her, looking at them with astonishment.
"What?! Furball, you did this?!"
"Mhm," Lele answers, shrugging nonchalantly. "No biggie. Oh hey, shadow-bully! Here's another."
Click, whirrrrrrrr...
The antenna rapidly builds up energy for another ball of light, making the Shadow Emperor become livid. He recoils in horror and flees to the furthest point in the room, but in his heart of hearts, he knows he cannot hide from that all-encompassing light.
"No, please! Aahhh! Have mercy! The light burns us! We do not like it, not one bit!"
"Too bad!" Lele laughs. "Like my Aunt Lorrie always says... if someone's gonna hurt me or my daddy, I have to hurt them first! Now die, please!"
The orb atop the antenna fires once again. It instantly strikes the roof and detonates into another light-blast of god-like intensity.
"AAAAAHHHHHH!!"
Yama screams once again, along with all the other members of his harem. This time, when the light recedes, two of his Shades explode into smoke and don't reappear. The rest flee the room as quickly as they can, skirting around the edges to avoid Megla's glowing Survival Suit.
Yama joins them in his flight, his last panicked words being, "Y-you'll regret this, little girl! You'll regret this!!"
...
A moment later, the cave falls silent.
Lele glances at Megla.
"Okay! We can leave now. Let's go find Big Baldy!"
Megla sighs.
"Alright. You got me. You're not bad, kid."
"Thanks!"
Next Part
.......................................
Author Note:
If you enjoy what you've just read, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon.
Also consider reading The Cryopod to Hell, the primary story in the Cryoverse! I'll be returning to TCTH for the next week or two after this TLP part. Both stories are part of the Cryoverse, so they're deeply interlinked. You don't wanna miss them!
Thank you!
submitted by Klokinator to HFY