-Collab Between Pezz570, 13org and HokumPocus-
”Did you know that little, big sister Akai here is really good at distractions?”
A strange winged ferret, named Sil, asked an overly dull kitten, going by the name Lynx.”I’ve seen her do a distraction so well, that I almost forgot that I even existed!”
It was hard for Lynx’s brain to take Syl seriously. When you were in a cramped tunnel underground surrounded by nothing but rats and near total darkness however, his ears perked in tune with her squeaking. It was a preference of succumbing to one type of insanity over another. He even found himself sharing some of the relief about their new companion.“She must be wonderful, then. You make it hard to forget that you exist.”
All around them the incessant cacophony of rats raged on, forcing him to speak louder.
Memories of his past life came and went, of Lynx scampering in disgust whenever such a creature was found near the kitchens or in some backroom of the castle. To think he was now indifferent, or at least, tolerant towards the presence of a swarm of them felt bizarre to him. Occasionally some would even scuttle on his back. This would’ve been a moment in which he would’ve desperately protected his pride, but Syl was an exception. The girl who put spiders in people’s pants made perfect
company if you had rats all over you, he realized. ”You hear that Akai?”
Sil asked, looking to the human-shaped familiar. ”Lynx gave us a complement! Isn’t he nice?”
She absently began flapping her wings, lifting her off the ground and away from the playful rats.
Silly rats, playfully nibbling at her tail. They must have been smitten by her lesser used, yet still adorable, furried form. After all, who wouldn’t be? Unfortunately for them Sil and the rest couldn’t play right now, for they were on a secret mission!
Sil and Lynx, had been given the special duty -heh duty- to create a distraction so great that it would set the world on puddles! They couldn’t do that just yet though. Not with the impossible door sealing off the tunnel exit. An exit which leading into that long stone structure which Sil could only assume was what human people called a mountain.
And that was why Akai was here. They wouldn’t be able to beat the impossible door without her super power! The super power of thumbs that is!"Oh, are you getting soft, Lynx? It is so unlike you to compliment others!"
Akai said, teasing Lynx and laughing, completely ignoring the sarcasm on his voice as they walked through the dark tunnels and she tried the best she could to not touch the filthy walls or the rats that were basically everywhere."On another note... I don't know how you guys seem to be so fine with these filthy rats everywhere... Ugh!"
she said, looking below as she floated away from the rats scuttling in the ground."I know that it's an important task but ... really? Couldn't the tunnels be in another place? Maybe somewhere else... cleaner and without so many rats?"
she continued, grumbling and complaining.”Oh, Akai. Can’t you see the little guys just want to play?”
Sil replied merrily. ”Isn’t that right, Lynx?”
Lynx had been in the middle of swatting the rats closest to him when Akai spoke. “The filthier an area is, the more secretive. Experience has taught me that.”
Swatting a particularly large rat, he continued. “Play? I believe we should be grateful that we are not made of flesh. A swarm of animals this desperate could eat a horse. That was not an expression.”"Next time remind me of bringing a damn firethrower to burn all these annoying- Shoo! Get out of here!"
she continued, interrupting herself the moment a rat jumped from a pipe to the ground, almost landing on her in the process.
The moment they got near the door, both Lynx and Sil stopped in front of it, so as did Akai. After a moment of silence and some awkward stares Akai finally realized that they wanted her
to open the door."What? Wait... you guys want me to open the door? With my hands?"
she asked, incredulous as she looked at the old and filthy door, covered in grime and gods know what it was the murky goo covering it.”Of course, Silly. How else are we going to open the impossible door? With these tiny little things?”
Sil asked as she waved around her ferret paws for show.
Lynx raised a front paw in an overly delicate manner that clashed with their surroundings. “You are the only one with opposable thumbs.””But what do her thumbs oppose? Will the world ever know?”
Sil wondered aloud in an oddly philosophical manner."Someone please kill me... Either that or cut my thumbs off..."
she muttered, with a really disgusted and unhappy face as she slowly touched the door, trying to open while touching it as little as possible.“Were I the dramatic sort I would say this was your destiny. But I am not. You should go about this with a more effortful approach regardless.””Do you want to change roles? I bet all that gooey, nasty stuff would look lovely on your fur!”
Akai said, provoking Lynx with an annoyed expression as she looked at him.
Unlike Lynx, Sil was the dramatic sort. ”But Akai! It’s your destiny!!”
Ferret Sil said, plopping herself atop Akai’s shoulder. ”Go forth, Akai, and fulfill your destiny! Open the Impossible Door!”
Whatever Lynx had been intending to retort with had been disrupted by a shudder of uncomfortable familiarity at Syl’s enunciation. “The spirit of theater is everywhere, I suppose,”
he commented vaguely, referencing a one-liner Octavio had no doubt spouted at some point in their journeys. "I swear... I'll need a hot bath after this..."
Akai said, with a disgusted expression as she opened the door, dirtying her hand in the process, much to her dismay."Oh god... It's so slimy and gross!"
she complained as she released the bar, before they all shoved the door together to open it. Though it wasn’t really much of a door really. More of a stone panel held in place by a slime covered metal bar. A that slid between four stone loops protruding from the wall and stone panel.
As the door slid open, four large rats scampered into the tunnels from the crack between the door and the wall. They squeaked angrily while nipping at the party as they passed between their feet.
With no wings to help him, the lynx instead shuffled his paws with fervor. It was one of the benefits of having a naturally heightened dexterity.
The tunnel opened up into a lesser visited room within the structure of the town walls. A room used for food storage, by the looks of things. Perhaps explaining all the rats.
The other side of the stone panel, which they opened, had convincingly been carved to look like it was part of the large stone blocks making up the wall. There was no way to open the panel on this side, meaning this would be a one way trip. Carefully the panel was put back in place. Best not make the Cult aware of the large underground network after all.
Crystal Jade candles, tied to Lynx and Sil, lit up the storage room revealing a cluttered mess. To be honest, they were fortunate that nothing had been blocking the stone panel. Though perhaps such luck was not by chance. After all, it was the Kharu-Natjer who had made the pact makers aware of this exit."You did well, thanks for your help, Lynx!"
Akai said, patting Lynx on the back, feigning ignorance while cleaning her hands from the sticky, gross grime in his fur.
He jolted in disgust. “Wipe your filthy hands on Syl instead, at least she could be convinced to enjoy it.”
Before she was done doing so though, the door to the storage room opened to show an infestation of rats running on the ground, so many that it was almost hard to see the ground itself. They crowded around the barrels of food as if at a grand feast.”Hurray!”
Sil exclaimed. ”More rats! Are they part of the plan too?”"Oh no! No, no, no! I'm not getting close to these things."
Akai said, protesting vehemently as she saw the sheer quantity of rats inside the room as she floated higher, doing everything she could to stay away from the rats, despite the quantity.
Clinging to the top of a rotting and empty crate, Lynx observed the swarm with disapproval. “Legends tell of the fearsome hydra whose heads multiply when severed. Rats seem to do the same, but humans do not seem to respect them much.”
With little room to maneuver and threats from all sides, he hung on like a man in the heart of a raging storm. “Funny, is it not?”
he asked, in a wry tone that suggested he already knew they thought it wasn’t. ”Silly silly, Lynx.”
Sil said happy. ”Maybe you should leave the funny to us.”
Sil dove into the pile of rats, causing them to scatter. She giggled in amusement at their surprise.”So,”
Sil asked. ”what now?”" Ugh… I hope we don’t meet any more of those things… And Sil! Don’t touch the rats! They’re filthy!”
Akai said, scolding Sil who, much to her surprise, had simply jumped into the pile of rats."We need to continue. The jade candles we’re carrying will hopefully distract the Sightless while Karina and the others do their part…”
Akai said with a slightly annoyed expression. Truth be told, she would rather be anywhere else than in those filthy, dark tunnels but she didn’t have much of a choice…”Continue?”
Sil asked, head tilting to the side.
The door to the storage room creaked open before Sil could get any further clarification.
Akai raised an eyebrow, looking a bit confusedly to Sil the moment she repeated her words. Knowing her well, Akai knew that something
was on Sil's head and probably wasn't a good thing."Yeah, we can't just-"
she started, immediately going silent the second she was interrupted by a voice coming from outside the room, her eyes wide open in surprise as the man poked his head into the storage room.
“Hello?” Came a voice from outside the room. “Is somebody in here?” A man poked his head into the darken storage room.
Sil gasped excitedly. A new friend had come to play!”CONTINUE!!!”
Sil exclaimed as if chanting a battle cry. And without any further warning, she took off at top speed.
“The hell-” The unprepared man yelped. Surprise getting the better of him, the poor man stumbled backwards and fell.
Giggling with glee, Sil flapped her wings just enough to lift off the ground little more than a foot. Charging straight at the man, Sil reared back, paws outstretched, bounced off the man’s belly and propelled herself to the right. Landing safely back on the ground, Sil ran off, around the corner and away from the storage room.
Already, the man was getting back on his feet. “Intruders!” He yelled, not even noticing Lynx and Akai. “Familiar in the walls!”
Too surprised by Sil's battle cry, Akai simply stood still, dumbfounded as Sil charged towards the stranger, making him stumble backwards and fall in surprise before Sil even got near him. As she did so, she lifted off the ground a bit, bouncing on the man's belly with her paws to land on the ground already running off again on full speed.
Despite being caught by surprise, the stranger regained his bearings quickly as he yelled to alarm anyone who could hear about their presence. Even though it didn't seem like he had noticed Lynx and Akai, there wasn't many alternatives for both of them. Sure, they could try fighting back but even if they did take down that man, due to him having yelled, they would probably soon be overwhelmed, by people who probably knew those tunnels way better than they did. Neither the location nor the situation favored them."I don't think we should stay to fight and wait for his friends Lynx... Let's go!"
Akai said, to Lynx, going after Sil soon after that in full speed.