Chapter 29
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The roar of surging water overpowers the sounds of everything else in the room. The voices of the adventurers which are talking in a worried tone at the sudden development, their cries of doubt and presumed orders to group together, all buried under the tsunami heading our way. As the last torch dies out I see the thief take the priestess by the hand as they run to their friends. I see their friends run back towards them in an effort to regroup. As the last fire dies out there is nothing else left to see, except for the single white light shining out behind the silhouette of the first grandly cresting wave nearly reaching the ceiling of the chamber. It is an ominous glow, and the little illumination it brings to this side of the floor is anything but comforting. Like the shine of a full moon on a lonesome, foggy night; it is the herald of something wicked this way to come. Something old. Ancient.

  I only have a moment, I slip down as fast as I can beneath the surface and hug my body tight against the underside of the platform. But even here the power of the currents are strong, probably even stronger than above on the surface. But I will not survive the first impact there, this is my only chance. I press my body against the bottom surface of the thing, slipping into a tiny crevice barely big enough for me to hold my form against and feel the world shake and tumble. The crash of steps rings out just above my head as I presume the hero passes by. He’s so close, yet so far from me. I hear their voices for that second and then I hear nothing.

  As if sitting in the eye of the storm for that moment alone, that fraction of a split-second, everything is serene, tranquil. The world explodes with the thundering crash of a godly hammer striking down above me, like a bolt of lightning sent to pierce the world itself it rings out with echoing thunder. A deep, rolling thunder that never seems to end. The water around me rushes, surging past in a current I could never hope to fight against if I didn’t have a place to hide. A current so strong it would kill me instantly if it dashes me into a wall or a rock. I can’t see, even with my closed eyes the intensity of the rushing water stings my face. My slit ears are overpowered by the great wave roaring with such verbosity that it hurts to hear. Then. Just like that. Everything is silent.

  Opening my eyes I carefully slide out of my crevice, there is little time to lose on my part now that the sub-boss fight has been initiated. The water glows with an intensity as a hundred streaks of shining light pierce through it in bright rays stemming from the far side of the room. Then a hundred more, followed by a hundred more. Three hundred eyes peer out beneath the surface of the water, scanning, searching, hunting. I rise out of the wet and breach to surface once more. The water level has risen, the platforms that were several feet above water were now almost level with it. This is my chance. Without thinking I raise my body up and press myself up onto the dry ground, sliding my sleek body up and over. Only after I am up do I realize I should have checked beforehand if it was safe, I am becoming careless. Thankfully the adventurers, the hero party, is one platform over. They are all together, safe, having survived the massive wave that initiates the sub-boss fight.

   As I turn around to look at the source of the chaos I see her. Her massive body is a tower of murky scales and lashing meat and glowing eyes. For the three hundred shining eyes beneath the waves, another three hundred stick out above the surface as their grim equals. Spanning the entire far side of the room, from one end to the other are her eyes; stuck to the ends of just as many writhing tentacles that flail around in anger at her disturbance. The six hundred eyes never leaving their focus off of the adventurers, off of me, off of everything living in this place as they swing around in furor. She opens her great maw, a gaping black hole filled with long jagged teeth in a spiral and screams a wordless, animal shout in rage at everything. The smell is unbearable, like the rot of something dead and foul and old. Like an old fungus creeping through the black heart of a wraith it smells otherworldly in its putrescence. I wish I was beneath the water again.

  I hear the adventurers shouting and screaming, why are you always so noisy? Hmm, well. Okay. I guess if you’re seeing the great old one for the ‘first time’ it might be a pretty gnarly situation. The hero is shouting out commands by the sounds of things and the others are quick to follow his words as always. The thief-girl isn’t listening though, she is holding her mouth closed and gagging bent over, a rainbow colored liquid spews out of her mouth and drips between her fingerless gloves. Ugh. She just threw up. From the smell, I suppose? Gross. Droplets of it spew into the water which I am glad I’m not in anymore all of the sudden. A sm- hmm? Oh. Right. You might be wondering about the rainbow coloring? Yeah. Yeah, don’t ask me why but vomit has a really bright rainbow color in the dungeon. It almost looks like white magic actually, haha. Just one of those dungeon rules I guess. Only for adventurers though, monster vomit is A-okay according to the dungeon rulebook. Gore, viscera, death? No problem! Elf girl puke? Not happening in this dungeon, sicko! The dungeon-master is really inconsistent about these things, I don’t know either guy.

  Getting back on track I slither away to focus on other things, the stairs I need to find the stairs. I don’t have long now. As I slide across the stones a great roar resounds through the hall as the fight begins for real. The waves crash around the platforms threatening to throw anyone off into the water. The many tentacles lash and flail, most on the other side of the room still. But one by one they sink beneath the waves only to resurface here by the platforms to strike at the adventurers. With each one rising to the surface, the great thrashing mass on the far side of the room inches closer bit by bit. It’s a timed fight you see, they have to destroy the tentacles before she gets here because if she does, then… uh… well I don’t know, she never has as far as I can recall. But it’s probably bad for them, so, yeah.

  Already I hear the sounds of battle shine out through the audible chaos echoing around the chamber. Water pelts down on me and I slip around from side to side almost falling back into the surf myself several times as the crashing wet washes over the stone platforms. The sounds of magic and slashing coming together with the surging water making it impossible to hear my own thoughts. As fast as my small serpentine body can propel itself forward I move, my eyes scanning every corner, every nook and scratch for signs of something that does not belong.

  Sparing a glance back I look at the sight of the adventurers fighting the sub-boss, they are in beautiful unison as before. Bolts of white- and fire magic light up the room shining bright against the haunting pale glow of the old one’s many eyes that stare out of the darkness; pale orbs floating like the faces of so many haunting dead. Always circling, watching, waiting for an opportunity to lash out in anger, waiting for a-
Water surges loudly before me, louder than from any wave or cresting of a splash as a great tentacle shoots out of the murk not three feet from where I slither- Wait! Stop, I’m on your s-!

  The great thing swipes across the floor of the platform, its broad sleek side hitting my quickly upright set body. My noodly snake form bends over the tentacle in the middle as it swings out in a brutal lashing, sending me off flying propelled through the air. I spin wildly out of control as I toss and turn from the motions. In that second I fly I feel that my body is still whole but I have no control over my predicament. The force of the attack was too great for me to stand against.

  Wildly, like a bloodied rope cut loose from a flying dragon I soar through the air with all the grace you imagine that image to contain. I see nothing but the shine of six hundred eyes watching me in that second, feel nothing but the intensity of the great fireball I just barely fly past, hear nothing but the whistle of multiple arrows sing just narrowly around my form mixing together with the hopeful shouts of the adventurers. I fly alone, away from the fray. In this second my thoughts are unusually fast. Adrenaline. I don’t want to d-

  Tumble. Pain. AH! Red. Skidding to a halt, my body rolling against something hard, my sense of time returns to normal. Pain. Red. I move my body. It is red. I can’t see it in the dark, but it hurts. I think I skidded most of my skin off when I scraped over the stones. It hurts. It hurts. I raise my head slowly, I would do it faster but my body won’t allow it. I am on the far side of the room where the real entrance stairs are. They’re probably just behind me. I suppose this is the opposite wall from where I respawned. But it does me no good. Ah. It hurts. I taste red.

  In the distance the fray continues, the platform with the adventurers is now surrounded on all sides by lashing tentacles. In-between the mix I see the glint of the hero’s blade slicing away from eye to eye. I hear the dull thwack of the monk’s stone-like fists striking them blind. The image of an eyeball exploding from the force disgusts me. I hope she washes her hands after this. Ah. I’m going to die before I find it. I don’t want to die. I wish I could have bit the hero. I wish I could have seen if he could swim. Swim? Wait. Why do I care about that? Oh. Right. I remember. With my strength waning I open the note window of my menu. I suppose a little noise now won’t matter anyways. Swiping my bloodied face across the screen I make a note as best as I can so that I remember this idea.

  The glow of the menu illuminates the real stairs behind me. Sure enough. Pushing the menu away I look around, not quite dead yet but just about. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it? As I look into the darkness by the entrance, I see a single illuminating orb much to my horror. A glow. An eye, looking back to me. It has come to finish the job I suppose. Shit. I prepare myself for another end. I hope it just smashes me so it’s over qui-

  Ah! Ow! Stop! The tentacle wraps itself around my slender body, squishing the red out of me. It hurts. In an instant it drags me beneath the black water where nobody can see my final anguish. I feel the rush of water against my skinless flesh as it propels me through the murk, not far, just a few meters at most. What a fitting place to die for me alone in the goo. The universe has a real way of finding tho- Ah! Stop! I’m not that kind of snake, tentacle! Ah! A-! Huh? The tentacle breaches the water once more, me still firmly in its vice-like grip. But we aren’t on the surface, we’re somewhere else.

  A small cavernous opening beneath the water, just below the entrance stairs. A hole, barely big enough for a goblin to stand in upright. Just wide and long enough for one to lay down. No human, adult at least, could go through here. Nested inside is a small, very crude staircase that I can only discern because of the haunting glow of the fetid eye attached to the tentacle binding me. The secret stairs, they’re here. Right below the entrance to this floor there must have been a gap or a crack of some kind underneath the water. They’re righ-

The tentacle flings me with brutal force once again, I see nothing, it is too quick. All I feel is my body smashing against the stairs and hear a disgustingly loud splat before everything goes black.

I die.