Do you know what dying feels like?
The dark frozen waters reminded me of that feeling
The feeling of certain acceptance that there was nothing that you could do
Yet the bottom of the lake wasn’t the worst time I have had that feeling
There were several times at the Star estate when I felt like that
My father standing over my broken body saying he was disappointed
Lost and alone in the darkness with no method of escape
Opening the sealed room in the basement of the estate
Those experiences made me begin to taste death
Yet that touch of dead was still minor compared to what would come
The depths of the lake would not be where I died
There were much more dangerous things that would try and kill me
Chapter 9 - Frozen Flower
The creature that dwelled at the bottom of the lake was completely different from the porcelain doll that was the pervious Elder Darkness. This was a large reptilian being lay there in water. There were chunks of ice surrounding it like a bed. It had long claws that could easily cut things into shreds. Coming out of its back were multiple long tendrils, one of which was wrapped around Luna’s leg.
The creature drew Luna closer to it and then Luna struck. She used as much force as she could to drive the bat into the creatures head. The water slowed the bat making it feel like it was passing through molasses but white runes glowed across the bat and then the water passed swiftly through it like it was little more then air. Still she had reduced leverage because she was being held by the monster.
The bat came down on the monster’s head. There was a spray of black droplets which must have been blood. The beast flayed and bashed Luna into the lake floor. She gritted her teeth in pain before clobbering the monster again with her bat. This time it released her and she pushed off the lake floor and began swimming to the surface.
She had been underwater too long. She could feel the pain in her lungs and she knew that she hadn’t much air left. If she stayed underwater much longer then she would drown. There were a couple glittering points of light above her which must be the surface. Then she felt the tendril grab her by the leg again. This time however she turned and raised a hand toward the reptilian monster and shot of blast of black-light beam. She saw it twist in pain and it released her again. Then she swam with all her strength upward. She broke the surface and felt someone’s hand grab hers. Luna took a deep breath and began coughing.
She was pulled to the shore and she heard Joy’s voice say, “Luna, Luna, are you alright? We saw you waving at us through the snow and they you were gone. We could feel you in the lake but what happened down there?”
Luna coughed a few more times. She must have gotten some water in her lungs sometime while she was underwater fighting it. After a few coughs she managed to say, “The Elder Darkness is in the lake. It grabbed me and pulled me under. I managed to escape after hitting it a few times. And wow is it cold down there.”
“I’m glad that you are alright Luna.” Stammered Joy.
Luna looked up at Joy and furrowed her brow. Joy was beginning it shiver and badly. Her teeth were chattering together and she was holding herself with her hands to keep warm. Luna looked over at Blackberry and asked, “What is wrong with her? She seems to be freezing up.”
Blackberry said, “A better question is why are you alright? You were dunked completely in a frozen lake but you aren’t even shivering. Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine. It is cold but I’m fairly certain that my transformation is keeping me insulated. Without it I’m sure that I would be freezing to death.”
“Then the same principle should apply to Joy but she is suffering the full effects of the cold. It seems to be just you that is resistant to the cold. However I’m not exactly certain why.”
“I guess I’m just tougher.” Luna looked down at Joy, “But we need to help her before the Elder Darkness recovers from my attack and comes back up to attack us.” Luna knelt next to Joy and grabbed her arm, “Joy you need to get it together. Please, I have an idea but I need your help.”
“What…” There was the chattering of teeth, “What is it?”
“You need to awaken Ouroboros.” Instructed Luna.
Joy nodded not really certain how it would help but she whispered through numb teeth, “Awaken Ouroboros.” The eyes of the snake which still hung around her wrist glowed red. Then there was a burst of flame which engulfed Joy’s hand. Luna was forced to take a few steps backward to avoid getting burnt. The flames blazed for a few moments longer before the faded leaving only a thin red glowing band around Joy’s wrist.
Joy looked at her hand wonderingly and felt at her arms and legs, “I’m not cold anymore.”
Luna nodded, “Good, glad Ouroboros could handle something like that. Since it seems to change itself into whatever form is the most convenient for you I thought that it might be able to handle a problem like this.”
Luna turned and regarded the lake once more. The surface of the lake was silent and only moved by the snowflakes that continued to pour from the sky. “Now we need to deal with the Elder Darkness. Since it hasn’t attacked yet it seems to be content to stay at the bottom of the lake instead of attacking us.”
“Or it could be waiting for us to freeze to death.” Said Blackberry, “I don’t suppose you have a good idea for keeping me warm Luna. It may not look like it but I’m freezing here too.”
“You have fur doesn’t you? Isn’t that supposed to keep you warm?”
“Not against temperatures this low. Plus it is just continuing to get colder. If we wait much longer then the lake is going to freeze over and we won’t be able to get to the Elder Darkness.” Said Blackberry.
Luna nodded and turned back to the lake, “At the battle of the lake is where it is the strongest and there is only so long I can hold my breath. Going down there to fight it will only end in failure. I think we need to flush it out and force it to come out onto land. Then we will have a chance against it.”
“If it is at the bottom of the lake then how do we bring it out?” Asked Joy.
Luna thought for a minute before say, “We already have the tool we need to flush the monster out of the lake. Joy I need you to do something for me. Ouroboros is already producing a lot of heat. Since the monster is creating this level of cold then it probably doesn’t like it when things are warm.”
“No, no, no, no, no. There is no way that that will work.” Said Joy who managed to figure out what Luna’s plan was. “There is no way I am getting into that lake to warm it up so that the monster comes out of it. What happens if the monster decides to attack me because I am messing up its lake.”
“Then I will come into the lake to free you. I would do it myself but I don’t seem to have a useful versatile special ability like you do. Instead we need to rely on you to warm up the lake.” Said Luna.
“You know that this is an insane idea. If I die I’m going to come back as a ghost and haunt you.” Joy began wading into the lake. Around Ouroboros the lake began to steam and bubble. Joy stood there for a few moments and the bubbling spread but eventually it reached its limit and stopped spreading about three feet awake from Joy.
“Luna, it doesn’t seem to be working right. The water is heating but this is an entire lake. I don’t think I can heat up this much water.”
“Yes, it seems that Ouroboros doesn’t have the power. But maybe…” Luna stepped into the water. The water she stepped into was icy cold but as she stepped next to Joy the water became warm. Luna stepped up next to Joy and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Now be warned I’m just trying stuff here. Don’t blame me if I manage to blow both of us up.”
“Blow us up? What are you trying to do?” Stammered Joy. However Luna ignored her and concentrated. She remembered the feelings that she used to call upon her dark-light beam but instead of using it to shoot something she pushed that energy into Joy. The water around the boiled and frothed and the heat spread out and across the lake. The heat grew and she was beginning to feel a little bit hot.
There was an eruption of boiling water as the Elder Darkness burst from the water and pulled itself onto the shore. Luna passed some more energy onto Joy and then pulled herself away and stepped back onto the shore. She picked up her baseball bat and began walking toward the monster. “Alright, time for a rematch. I hope your ready for what is coming to you.”
The beast turned toward Luna and lashed out at her. Its claws ripped toward her and she blocked with the baseball bat. The runes on the bat glowed bright but she managed to hold off the attack despite sliding back a few inches in the snow. Then the things tail wiped toward her in a blaze of speed. She jumped nimbly over it and came down on the monster’s back. She brought down her bat on one of those tendrils that were on its back.
There was a shriek of pain from the monster and the remaining tendrils grabbed her and pulled her off its back. They held her in front of it while it reared up on its hind legs and raised its claws to hit her. She readied her bat to fend it off when something came slicing through the air. One of the tendrils was severed and on the ground in front of the monster was a single silver dagger laying blood stained in the snow.
Both the monster and Luna turned toward the origin of the dagger. There standing across the path near the trees was a man. He was wearing robes of deep purple. On his head was a circlet which was encrusted with several valuable jewels and on his belt was a silver sword and several more of those silver daggers.
“Unhand her you horrible monster. You shall not harm her while I am here.” He drew the sword and pointed it at the Elder Darkness, “I am your enemy now. Leave her and fight me.” The reptilian creature bellowed loudly and charged the man, towing Luna along with it. The man’s blade moved in a hypnotic fashion and the monster fell back and Luna was free of the things grasp.
The man caught her preventing her from hitting the ground. “Are you alright. I hope you weren’t harmed by this thing. Please stay behind me as I dispatch this foul creature.” He turned to face the Elder Darkness one more and it pressed toward the man in purple.
However Luna had enough of this. She didn’t know who this man was and why he had interfered but she found him incredibly annoying. She raised her hand and pointed it at the two engaged in combat. Then her black-light beam shot out from her hand and struck both of them. Good riddance.