Fang & Bone - Part Six

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Fang and Corea stepped out of the decrepit catacombs and into a larger chamber, deep underground. What was once a natural cavern had, perhaps over centuries, been worn and hewn into some sort of waypoint between several wings of this strange, underground facility.

The walls, mostly moisture-slick rock, had deep brown markings and necromantic runes scrawled upon the surface. One particular rune, one Fang could not translate, seemed to be fresher than most, and it was to the side of an opening.

Fang could smell the blood that was used to draw the rune. It was old blood. No whiff of fresh blood yet. Perhaps the girl's brother was still alive.

Fang turned to the girl, who had stepped from his side towards an alcove.

"Little one, stay close."

"I think he crawled under here..."

Fang took three large steps towards the alcove and saw freshly disturbed dirt. Sure enough, there seemed to be a small hole at the bottom of the alcove. Wide enough for a boy to crawl through.

"Child, no!"

But it was too late, Corea had already begun to wiggle beneath the wall. Her flaming blade was the last thing to follow her out, and within moments she was gone.

Fang began to frantically claw at the dirt. He kicked up huge clods of soil and jammed his snout into the gap. He couldn't slip in but his instincts kicked in.

"Corea!"

He felt her hand touch his snout.

"I found his bracelet! He must have hid here."

"Corea, come back here, now. We can't separate. We need to find a way to get me back there. Maybe I can dig-"

The fur on the back of Fang's neck stiffened as he heard the sound of limp shuffling echoing in the chamber behind him. He ripped himself from the alcove and spun, flaming sword drawn.

Three ghouls approached from the passage with the freshest runic marking.

"Corea, stay there."

There was no answer.

Enrage, Fang lept toward the ghouls with a massive overhead swing.

Corea saw Fang's snout peeking from the crack at the bottom of the chamber wall

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Corea saw Fang's snout peeking from the crack at the bottom of the chamber wall.

The deep voice of the werewolf sounded frantic. "Corea, come back here, now. We can't separate-"

But she missed the rest, as the sound of a clattering of metal down the passageway grabbed her attention. When she turned back to the alcove the snout was gone.

Fang was probably on his way to her now. She would scout ahead. Maybe if she could meet up with Garen the three of them could escape right away.

 Maybe if she could meet up with Garen the three of them could escape right away

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Three smoking ghoul corpses lay hacked into pieces throughout the chamber.

Fang snapped up one of the rotting femurs and held it to his sword, lighting it on fire and making a torch. His sense of smell would be little use to him now, given the stench of burning old flesh.

He perked his ears up. He had a hunch and made his way toward the entrance of the passage with the recent runes.

Fang listened quietly and intently. He tuned out the crackle of his flames and turned his left ear toward the center of the passage

He heard what sounded to be the shuffling of feet. Light shuffling. It was most likely the girl. He stepped into the passage with great haste.

Corea moved cautiously through the winding tunnels

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Corea moved cautiously through the winding tunnels. She was alone and she began to regret separating from Fang, but she also needed to find Garen. The two of them would be more than enough for any of these monsters; they were slow and she knew how to take them out at the knees.

She was just about to round a corner when she noticed something that was different. The wall ahead of her was illuminated and not from her flaming dagger.

She leaned against the wall, held her torch away from the corner, and peeked around.

She spied Garen standing in a chamber. It wasn't a large chamber, but it was certainly wider than the catacomb passages she had navigated so far.

"Garen!"

She stepped out from around the corner.

"Garen?"

At first, Garen did not respond. It was as though he hadn't heard her.

"Garen, we need to go!"

At that, Garen began to turn. It was a handful of small, jerking motions. Garen was dead and a monster had taken his shape.

"No!' Corea screamed.

What was once Garen unleashed a hellish moan and stumbled toward her, arms outstretched.

What was once Garen unleashed a hellish moan and stumbled toward her, arms outstretched

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The scream rattled Fang and he began to sprint towards the source. He rounded a corner and nearly collapsed at the sight of the girl and a young boy collapsed in the muddy soil. He approached cautiously.

Corea began to stir and Fang readied his sword. He felt sick to his stomach that he would need to destroy the child.

But she wasn't a child anymore, was she?

He began to growl to steel himself when she looked up at him. Her eyes were red and her face was caked in dirt. She saw him and stumbled back, over the corpse of the boy. She began to cry and fang immediately threw his sword to the ground and stepped back, his head bowed and arms outstretched.

She was alive.

She must have realized that she was on Garen's corpse because she suddenly yelped and stumbled away from it, towards Fang. She scrambled close to the werewolf, her eyes locked on Garen's lifeless body.

Fang noticed the boy's skull had a smoking hole in it. The dagger that had caused it was tossed aside.

Corea continued to sob, her tiny body shuddering violently with each deep and mournful yelp.

The poor girl.

Fang took a cautious step towards her and then sat beside her. His massive frame, even sitting on his rear, dwarfed her completely. He sighed and placed his massive, furry hand across her back and began to rub it. It was all he could think to do.

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