The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Bureaucratic Battle
The context for this post: Dragon's Lair Team Four has arrived at Dengel's Lair. While Eric investigates the inner sanctum, Tiza searches for loot.
Dusty stone and old cobwebs; locked doors and mystic runes. This was the home of a mage arrogant enough to build himself a castle. To historians, it was a precious window to the past. To mages, it was a holy site. To Ceiha, it was taboo. To Tiza, it was a container for adventure and loot. While Eric was gone, she discovered an additional area of the tower. Now she prowled them with sword in one hand and healer in the other.
“Are you going to tell me why we're doing this?”
Tiza answered without looking back.
“Professor Pathetic isn't the only history buff in the world. Anything here could be worth a fortune to the right person.” She continuously scanned the walls, floor, and ceiling for traps, but mostly for loot. Due to the ambient mana in the stones, everything was blurry in her Third Eye, but she managed, thanks to Spider Daylra’s training. “Just imagine what we could find!”
“I am. That's why we should stay with Basilard.”
“Look!” She pointed to a plaque above a door: a crest with a chest. “That must be the treasury.”
“Then there will be traps.”
“What's more important to a mage as egotistical and fixated on magic research as the Old Fossil: his vault or his lab?”
“Then doesn't it stand to reason that the lab would be better protected?”
“Yes, but –”
Tiza yanked him forwards before he could finish.
The door's lock was ancient but not rusted. Like the rest of the building, it was preserved by its master's power. The mechanism looked like it came out of the forge last week instead of the last millennium. Tiza considered shattering it with her hilt and strength charm but decided on a different approach. She withdrew a pouch of metal picks and examined the lock with Third Eye. Eventually, she was rewarded with a click and she pocketed her first loot.
“An authentic lock from the Ancient Dengel period of Dengel's castle. In perfect collector’s edition and exclusive in number. This could pay for another shield.”
“Or a lot more shoes...” Nolien muttered.
Tiza whacked him, but he dodged, so instead, she entered the vault while muttering angrily. As she crossed the threshold, a rune activated. A cage dropped on her, but Nolien pulled her back before it could trap her.
“You're welcome. Let's leave.”
“Haven't you heard the phrase ‘pirates don't bury nickel’? Placing a trap means there's something worth guarding, which means there's something worth stealing.”
Nolien backpedaled Tiza out of the room and placed himself between her and the door. He used his barrier to keep her out. She did something between a scowl and a pout while he examined the cage.
“This cage has a paralysis rune on the inside of its roof. If this fell on you, you would be helpless. You couldn't even call for help.”
“That's the beauty of the buddy system; you'll save me because you're a coward.”
“No, I'll have to save you because you're reckless.”
“I found a trap –”
“You were caught by a trap –”
Tiza's expression was now one hundred percent scowl. “– and it was a restraint trap. No matter what happens, you can just free me afterwards. What's the worst that could happen?”
“Dengel could escape the Abyss, re-enter this world, float to this mountain, possess me, use my body to drag you somewhere, and then make you his slave.”
Tiza drew a dagger, punctured a hole in Nolien's barrier, and ripped it open. The shock made the rest of it disappear and Tiza marched past him once again. “I am not some lily-handed lady whose chastity you have to protect.” Then she stopped and added in a small voice, “If that really did happen....would you save me?”
Before he could reply, she ran away, dodging two more traps and avoiding a snare, and then turning a corner. Capturing no one, they instantly reset and Nolien carefully edged by them.
_________________________________________________________________________Looming Shadow, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon
To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet.
The next Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Fighting Zombies, Mages and Memories
Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).