“So, Peter, who’d you say you got this info from again?” Damien asked, sitting atop Serah.
“I told you, a little redhead told me about a big old tomb filled with loot.” Everyone stared at him.
“And this didn’t seem AT ALL suspicious to you?” Vince asked.
“Well, she did mention there was a lot of undead about, but really, that’s to be expected in places like this.” Peter shrugged, smiling as he thought about how he’d spend the money he made.
They walked in silence as they climbed a ridge and laid eyes on their goal. The place was once a fairly large castle, with an outer wall and what once must have been a grand garden, now overgrown and choked with weeds.
“Think this is the place?” Tyson asked, looking over the ruined castle.
“Now to find the crypt.” Sam knelt down and looked over the ruin, Marie looking around the walls.
“There.” She pointed to a large door with a few zombies standing around it.
“Nice babe.” Tyson replied.
“Now, how to get passed the guards…” Hui was watching the zombies shamble about, occasionally stopping and apparently sniffing.
“Would a paralytic work?” Tyson asked, looking at Vince.
“No, basic undead like them would barely notice. But I think I know something that would.” He pulls a jar of somewhat murky liquid out of his belt.
“Dip an arrow in this, then fire it across their paths.” He pulled the lid off of the jar and all the girls, except for Lynda, got a distinct look on their faces. Sam looked at the jar, then at Vince.
“If you tell me that’s what I think it is, I’m liable to hit you.” Vince grinned and put the lid back on the jar.
“Concentrated unclaimed male essence, sweat, saliva and even some sperm, all harvested this morning with a sticky mushroom. This’ll get those zombies out of the door. Try not to get it on you.” He handed the jar to Tyson, who snuck down closer to the door. He took a deep breath and unscrewed the lid, dipped an arrow and quickly put the lid back on. He got a little closer and the zombies looked towards him, not yet able to see him.
He let the arrow loose, and watched in shock as the zombies started to move as fast as they could towards the arrow. He made a motion to the rest of the group, and they moved in behind him, all of them running towards the door.
“Lyn, do you think this could be a higher rank undead’s work?” Hui whispered as they crept through the upper tombs.
“No, a lich wouldn’t bother making defenders, and the location’s too small for a wright to be in charge, unless she’s a very young one. I’d put it up to demonic energy saturation.” Hui nodded, and looked around checking for anything that would be generating the energy.
“Good thing we’re all married.” Vince laughed.
“Uh, guys, is it just me, or are we being followed?” Peter asked, continuously looking behind him.
“We are.” Willow chimed happily. “There’s been a ghost following us for a while now.” They all looked at her, a combination of frustration and surprise on their faces.
“And you didn’t think to mention this?” Sam asked, getting an innocent shake of the head from the happy wurm.
“Well, we know now, come on out sweetie, we won’t hurt you.” The ghost floated out from a wall, a shy smile on her face.
“Umm… hello, sorry for interrupting you.” Sam stepped forward.
“It’s okay, but why were you following us?” The ghost looked away for a moment, then back to Sam.
“I was told to watch you, so I am.” Sam nodded.
“Who told you to watch us?”
“She said I wasn’t allowed to tell you.” Sam raised an eyebrow, then put on a charming smile.
“Well, she can’t be very nice if she’s giving you all these orders. Why are you listening to her?” Hui gave him a little glare as he tried to charm the simple spectre, but didn’t make a move to stop him.
“Uh… Well, she promised if I did what she wanted I, uh, I would probably, umm… You’re really handsome…” She started to float towards him, one of her arms reaching out.
“Hey!” Hui shoved herself between the ghost and Sam. “No touching my husband, you spooky slut.” The ghost stopped for a moment, then sped away crying at the top of her lungs.
“Wow, that was mean.” Tyson piped up, getting several nods of agreement.
“Hui, we could have learned much about this place from her.” Marie said flatly, causing Hui to turn around and glare at her.
“I don’t care! She wasn’t getting her hands on my husband.” As the two argued Lynda started trying to get their attention. When that failed Vince yelled at the whole group.
“We have more company.” Lynda stated, turning to show a number of skeletons shambling towards them.
“Um… Run!” Was Sam’s response, the group turning around and legging it. As they ran from the large group of skeletons Vince pulled another bottle of male essence out of his cloak and threw it into a cell. Some of the skeletons were fooled, turning into the cell to find the man inside, but many kept chasing them.
In their mad dash they failed to notice a pressure plate, and a part of the floor opened up into a sloped pit. Sam, Lynda, Tyson, Hui and Marie managed to react in time to avoid sliding down, but the rest ran straight into the slippery slope, and slid down into the darkness before the trap closed.
“Damnit, now what?” Tyson asked, stomping on the plate to try and reopen the trap. Sam looked around, the skeletons that had been chasing them apparently having disappeared.
“We continue on, they are still alive, and will most likely find a way out themselves.” Lynda replied in her usual flat tone.
“Damnit Lyn, your husband’s down there!” Tyson shouted, and got a glare that made his blood run cold.
“I am well aware of that.” She replied. “But staying here and panicking will not help any of them.” Sam nodded, as did Marie, who put a comforting hand on Tyson’s shoulder.
“This ain’t the first time we’ve been separated Ty, we move on, and hope we run into each other.” Sam said, stepping further into the tomb. “Besides, we’re dealing with mamono here, not some Order repository. Chances are the traps aren’t gonna kill anyone.” Tyson nodded slowly, standing up.
“Right, well, shall we keep moving then?” They all nodded, and continued deeper into the tomb.
“Everyone alright?” Damien called out, receiving a series of groans in reply. Please let that be everyone else and not more zombies. He thought, before Vince pulled up an alchemic light. Willow was practically crushing Peter to her chest, crying while asking if he was hurt, while Serah simply exchanged glances with Damien.
“Okay, Willow, let go of Peter before you break his ribs, Vince, you going to be okay?” Willow let go of Peter with an ‘eep’ and Vince nodded.
“Yeah, I know our little Lyn, she’ll be fine, honestly I’m more worried about us.” He started looking around the small room. It was completely featureless with the exception of the mechanism for the ramp and a small archway. After looking over the mechanism he discovered that if it triggered while they were in the way, the only one who would survive was Willow.
Going through the door, they could hear a soft sobbing. S they cautiously made their way to it, they discovered the ghost from before, curled up in a corner with her head in her hands.
“Um, miss?” Damien was the first to speak, her head bolting up in an instant.
“Go away!” She shouted. “I don’t want to talk to meanies!” Damien was more than a little surprised at the immaturity of this ghost.
“We’re not meanies, Hui didn’t fall down the hole with us.” Peter walked up, to her, reaching out with a hand. “So will you talk to us?” She looked up, then looked at Willow, who was smiling at her.
“O… Okay.” She reached out with a hand, which passed straight through his. “Oh, right…” She pulled herself up off of the ground, floating in front of them.
“Could you tell us how to get out of here?” Damien asked. She cocked her head.
“No, I’m not allowed.” He sighed, shoulders slumping.
“Why not? There’s no one here to stop you.” Peter asked. She looked around nervously before whispering.
“She’ll know, she always knows, and then… Then she won’t let me have a husband.” Peter was getting more confused by the second. Every time he’d encountered the ghosts about Lynda and Vince’s tower they’d been begging for him to take them and ravish them.
“How could she stop you? If you like a guy who comes through here, how can she stop you from making him your husband?” Her mind slowly worked through what he’d said, then her nervousness disappeared, replaced by possibly the lewdest grin Peter had ever seen. He already knew what he’d done, and also knew it was too late to stop it.
“Willow, please don’t get jealous.” He said quickly, moments before the ghost jumped him. The others turned away and walked down the dark hallway, leaving Peter, Willow and the ghost to do their thing for a while.
Tyson had demanded to check every room, every dark hallway and every small nook, trying to find the others. He’d been so determined he’d missed the pit on the other side of a trapped door. Lynda had him, locked in a magic grip as she pulled him out of the pit.
“Th-thanks.” He said, somewhat embarrassed.
“You’re welcome, will you be more cautious now?” Tyson sighed, nodding.
“Sorry, I’m just worried.” Sam sighed after him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah, we all are, but that doesn’t mean getting yourself trapped will help. You want to help them? We get to the treasury and hope to find them. No one gets left behind.” Tyson nodded again, and they started walking.
“At least you found some decent goodies with your panic.” Hui chipped.
“Yeah, but without Serah most of it’s going to have to stay where it is for now.” Sam noted, forging on.
“Are you sure this is the right way?” Vince asked as they continued down another hallway.
“Of course I am!” The ghost, Sophie apparently, huffed. “I’ve been here longer than you’ve been alive.” She was taking them to the treasury, and hoped desperately that her former mistress would be out.
“Take it easy, you. I don’t think we really have too much to worry about Vinnie.” Peter said with a smile. After a few rounds of being double teamed by Sophie and Willow he’d told them the only way they were getting more was when they got home.
“Here’s the way back up to the main floor.” They had stopped at a large stairwell, and Sophie hesitated to go up.
“Something wrong?” Peter asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“N-no. I-it’s nothing.” She took a deep breath then started to float up the stairs. They emerged into the biggest room filled with treasure they’d ever seen. Sophie was looking around nervously, checking for her mistress. Peter tried to put a hand on her shoulder, and again passed through her.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more nervous ghost.” He said, making her jump and spin around.
“S-Sorry, but we should go, now.” She was frantically looking about.
“We still need to find our friends though.” Damien all but yelled, making the poor ghost cower.
“But the mistress could be back any moment!” She cried. Peter looked at Damien for a moment before comforting his new wife again.
“But we need to find my friends wife, it wouldn’t be good if they were separated for longer than they needed to be, wouldn’t it?” She looked to Vince, and then back to Peter, nodding and taking another deep breath.
“Right!” She said with a nod. “I can try to find them, but it’ll be easier if I’m on my own.” Peter looked at her surprised.
“Are you sure?” She nodded again.
“Yeah, I can go through the walls and search for them a lot quicker. Just… Promise me you’ll try to hide if anyone else shows up?” Peter smiled and nodded, wrapping an arm around Willow.
“Don’t worry about us!” They cheered together. With that she disappeared through a wall.
“So, how are we going to hide a wurm and a soldier beetle…” Vince started wondering aloud.
Tyson was keeping close to the front, Marie right behind him, though he was taking considerably more care not to set off what he considered obvious traps. He nearly fell on his arse when Sophie shot through the wall next to him.
Hui immediately stepped in front of Sam. “You again?” She growled. She got confused when the ghost smiled.
“I found you!” She cheered, hugging the fiery mouse. It took Hui a moment to even try to push her away.
“Get off me you spectral skank!” She yelled, arms waving straight through her. Sophie pulled away from her, a bright smile on her face.
“Now, I just need to get you back, then we can go home, and then I’ll get to spend more time with Peter…” Her mind seemed to drift off as she imagined how grateful Peter was going to be to her.
“Wait, did you say you found Peter?” Tyson asked, running up to her. She shook her head and nodded, motioning for them to follow.
“I took them to the treasury, come on, we’ve got to hurry before the mistress gets back!” She started floating away quickly, the others having to try to follow her while not setting off traps. They made quick work of the ruin with her help, even avoiding several patrols of skeletons.
When they arrived at the chamber though, they were shocked at the scene before them. Willow was wrestling with a large blue skinned lamia’s tail, while Damien and Serah were trying to hold off the enraged woman’s strikes.
“Mistress? Husband?!” Sophie squealed, rushing into the fray and standing in front of Peter.
“Sophie, what do you think you’re doing?” The lamia growled, flicking a crimson lock out of her eyes. “Why are you leading these strangers through our home? Do you want me to punish you?” The ghost cowered for a moment, before feeling Peter’s warmth behind her.
She took a calming breath and looked up at the large lamia. “I’m not yours to punish anymore Selene!” She shouted, though it came out more as a squeal. “I have a husband now, and you can’t threaten me anymore!” The lamia was stunned for a moment, and Willow was jarred by the tails sudden limpness. Selene looked to Peter.
“So… You married her then?” Peter nodded, laying a hand on his new wife’s shoulder. The woman whipped her tail twice, sending the unprepared Willow into a wall, before rushing forward and grabbing Peter by the throat.
“Let me make something perfectly clear.” She growled, all the others taking up offensive stances. “You will take good care of her, or I’ll come for you. Do I make myself clear?” Both Peter and the ghost were frozen in shock, before a tightening grip brought Peter back.
“Of course I will!” He gasped, being dropped shortly after.
“Wh- wha- you- you’re just- letting me have him?” Sophie asked, trying to wrap her head around what was happening. The lamia let out a deep rich laugh.
“Of course I am! My dear, sweet Sophie. How long did you serve me, before your body could do no more? Did you forget how you used to stand for me against every threat?” Her eyes started to mist as she recounted some untold defence made by her servant.
“You always stood before any threat for me. I… I didn’t want to lose you, my dear child.” The serpent had a motherly look on her face, and a sad smile. “I know it was wrong, to threaten you as I did, but I didn’t want to lose you to someone else.” Selene wrapped the comparatively tiny ghost in her arms. When she backed away she had a warm smile on her face, far more stunning than the vicious snarl she’d borne the moment before. “But now I have, and now, so long as he cares for you, I will not harm him.”
“So… are we free to go then?” Damien asked, lowering his shield. None of them had noticed Lynda fly to Vince and embrace him, though now the two looked to the large, oddly coloured lamia along with the rest of the group.
“Of course, but all my treasure remains here, naturally.” She smiled, though the threat was clear.
“What about the stuff we found before getting here?” Sam asked, unconsciously putting a hand in his pocket.
“You may keep it, except for one thing…” She turned to Tyson. “You took an amulet from one of my rooms, I want it back.” Tyson nodded, searching through his pockets then frantically removing his cloak and checking again.
“Um… Well, I, uh, I seem to have… lost… it.” His voice grew slower and quieter as she approached him. She grabbed him by the throat, lifting him up to her level to look him in the eye, her brilliant sapphire eyes holding his steady. When Marie moved in to intervene a glare brought the normally unfazed mantis to a halt.
“Then I suppose you’re staying here until you find it.” She growled, dropping him. He looked over at the rest of the group, most of whom were already waiting at the door.
“Does he really have to…” Sam started to ask, shutting up after Selene gave him a glare. “Good luck Ty!” He quickly called, giving a two finger salute before following the others out the back door to the crypt.
It was a week later before Tyson and Marie stumbled back into town, Sam and Hui waiting for them.
“So, you found it then?” They nodded, both looking exhausted.
“Someone needs to tell that echidna we living need rest.” He muttered.
“I gave you some hours each night, don’t act like I worked you all day and night.” The two returning adventurers jumped and span around at the voice. A woman stood behind them, crimson hair cascading down her back and glittering blue eyes twinkling happily. Sam laughed at the reaction and the creature before him.
“So, I suppose that amulet’s worth more than it looks?” He said quietly, looking around to make sure none of the other people on the road could hear.
“Oh, most certainly. Now, if you would excuse me, I need to go check on someone, where does your friend Peter live?” Sam smiled, giving directions to the house, and giving the simple advice of looking for the house covered in steel reinforcement. Tyson silently begged the gods that Peter had been looking after his little ghost.