Chapter 20: Pretty Toy

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The skulls that made the path slowly regained their skin, just like they had the last time Tamesis got closer to Devon. The gruesome sight didn't phase her—she flew over without paying them much mind, determination burning within.

She yelped when something grabbed her ankle and she swung the sylvan blades. Eyes wide in horror, she saw how the faces below her had come alive, their grisly hands reaching for her.

After severing a few limbs from the ground-bound undead, she realised she was merely being stalled. "Fuck you and your minions!"

She rose higher into the air, only to painfully bump into a ceiling made of entangled thorny branches. Scowling, she swung her two swords at them, but they grew back faster than she could cut.

"Fine. Have it your way." A belt with white sheaths on her hips materialised and she put the blades away. She moved her hands as if to part the natural tunnel she was now in, but the brambles merely trembled and refused to abide her will.

With a grunt, she gave up. She eyed the lifeless faces below. Their mouths were agape, groaning and moaning, as they clawed for the hem of her robe which was just out of reach.

Guess I'll just have to—

The walls around her creaked as the earth called back what it had put forth, the ceiling sinking and pushing her closer to the outstretched rotting fingers.

"Shit!"

Multiple hands grabbed hold of her robe. More found her boots, pulling her to the ground.

Tamesis had to act quickly, as the roof was now so low she was bending over while her feet were already on the ground—and held there tightly. She raised her arms, hoping there was some nature left not aligned to Elymas willing to listen to her.

Vines shot up from between the undead and crashed into the brambles. The verdant tentacles seemed to battle it out with the creaking branches, winding around them and pushing back up.

Tamesis put all her focus on controlling her creations and beads of sweat rolled down her back. She pushed the vines further up the path, until the entire tunnel went from a dark brown to a lively green.

With a deep sigh, she relaxed. Cold fingers touched the skin just above her boot and a fresh jolt of adrenaline entered her system. She pulled one of the swords out and cut the eager hand away. The fingers kept clinging to her and she shrieked, feverishly swinging the blade around until there were no more limbs left. She shook her legs, fully freeing herself from the grasp of the undead.

Elymas and his fucking zombies! Sick creep! She glared down the tunnel and the path of faces and swaying arms. A sudden realisation caused her to frown. The vines enclosed the entire path, not a single ray of sunlight penetrating through. Why is there—

As if the dream realised its error, it became pitch black.

"Great, just great," she muttered.

She turned her focus to the plants she controlled and small, azure blossoms erupted. They opened up, exposing a core that glowed a brilliant pale-blue. The path once more illuminated, Tamesis sheathed the sword and continued her way.

Floating horizontally, she remained out of reach of the greedy hands below. She ignored the groans of the undead, until she heard something that sent chills up her spine.

"Murderer."

Her gaze lowered to the faces. They were no longer the faces of corpses, but of actual, seemingly healthy, people.

"You burned them."

"You killed them."

Not wanting to listen to their words, Tamesis sped up.

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