Trials of the Valiant Chapter 18
By The RPGenius
After an hour of marching, Ramza's friends had been lead to the quicksand pit. As they stood dismally, Duegran could not resist rubbing it in with a small victory speech.
"You all had the chance to give up, and some of you have even had the opportunity to join the winning side, but you passed each chance up. Now you stand before me, and now you shall receive your punishment for opposing us! And the first to receive such punishment shall be you, Alma Beoulve!" he said, grinning uglily at her.
Alma raised her head defiantly and replied, "At least I'll get to escape your self-important posturing first!"
Duegran's grin faltered with anger for a moment, but then resumed with increased joyful malevolence. "Just for that little remark, Miss Beoulve, you shall have a worse time. You shall be stabbed before being thrown in--one death is too good for you! Bring her to face the pit!"
Two Knights grabbed her and brought her forward to face the quicksand pit. She stood stoically, with neither begging nor tears. Ramza's friends looked on in despair.
Alma glanced in back of her to see who would be stabbing her. Her face twisted into an expression of contempt as she saw that it was none other than Vantan. She turned away in disgust, not wanting to see the loathsome traitor's face.
She heard the whistle of his sword, and was amazed as it ignored her and severed her bonds, then turned and swung down to cast Lightning Stab on the two nearby Knights, killing one and mortally wounding the other.
Alma turned to him, amazed. She stammered, "But, but I thought you were with them?"
"STOP THEM!!!" Duegran screamed. As all his lackeys ran to kill them, Vantan turned to Alma.
"Can you possibly hold them off for just a few seconds while I go free the others?" Vantan said urgently.
Alma gripped her staff tightly and nodded. Vantan ran over to the companions as Alma turned to face the thirteen enemies running for her. She didn't feel extremely hopeful about beating them herself, but maybe she could hold them off until Vantan freed all the others.
* * *
"Ramza," Agrias asked, "is it just me, or is it getting lighter?"
Ramza had to physically jerk himself awake. He, Agrias, and Worker 8 were walking down a long tunnel of the cave. Ramza, however, had been more sleepwalking than actually walking. Agrias's voice had shaken him from his subconscious.
Cursing himself for giving in to exhaustion, Ramza looked about and noticed that the cave was, indeed, better lit here than it had been before.
Ramza looked about, but could still see no source for the light that seemed to be present everywhere in the cave. "You're right, it is brighter. I still can't understand what causes it, though."
Agrias shrugged. "Well, it seems to be getting longer as we travel down this particular corridor, so maybe we're getting closer to the source of it," she suggested.
Ramza nodded wearily and they continued on. Ramza struggled to remain alert, but the many hours of being awake and ready for attack were taking their toll. He needed rest badly.
But he resolutely said nothing as they continued marching down the long corridor. No need to alert Agrias to it, and anyway, what was to be done, one way or another? They could not very well just stop and take a nap right here; it would be too easy for enemies to find them and kill them. No, he would simply have to stay awake until they found their way out...
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