Minh Thi Phan
“You intend to escape,” Arianna said, glaring at us.
So this was it. We were backed against a corner, face to face with a powerful high wizard who could simply absorb people into herself at will. There was no hope left for us. Then, something amazing happened.
“Yes,” Jenny said. “We just want to leave you peacefully. We learned everything we came here for. And I believe we can help you too.”
Arianna blinked. “It’s about the portal. It goes to your home.”
Maybe there was some hope for us after all. Arianna, having absorbed Agnes, would now suddenly know everything Agnes knew. Which means, she must surely know about our conversation with Jenny about the portals from earlier!
“Exactly!” I chimed in. “We know your intent to wage war on Carcosa. We have no desire to interfere. However, if you send your army through the portal you have identified currently, you will not be attacking Carcosa at all, but an innocent people. In doing so, you will be no different from Hastur.”
Arianna took a deep breath and looked at each of us, one by one. “Bold words. But I know you speak the truth. I have no interest in the destruction of a world that has done nothing to harm us. In fact, I’d say I owe your realm a debt of gratitude as my host body originates from this place. I will speak to our King and see if further preparations will be made.”
“Thank you, High Wizard,” Jenny said.
“But what about getting us home?” Zoey asked.
Arianna nodded. “Prior to the preparations, we could take you all to the portal for extraction back to your whole realm. Once you are all gone, we can find a new dimensional gate to Carcosa.”
It was like a weight was lifted from all of us. We went from the depths of despair to basking in bright rays of hope in what felt like no time at all. Yet, at the same time, this all felt… it felt too easy. After everything that had just happened. None of us though would dare be dumb enough to interfere with what was our best chance of escape yet.
“We will be forever grateful to you, Arianna,” Jenny said.
Arianna turned and with great purpose, exited the Arcane Chamber.
“Wow,” Zoey said, after Arianna was out of earshot. “Do you… do you believe her?”
“I have no reason not to,” Jenny said. “Everything she said lines up with what Otoh’halla told us before. And besides, the beings we have encountered here may be violent and possessive. But they are not liars.”
“I can’t shake the feeling that this is some kind of trap,” Zoey muttered.
“What reason would they have to trap us?” Jenny asked. “Who even are we to them? Nothing. It’d be like setting up an elaborate trap to catch a mosquito.”
“Those kind of exist, do they not?” Wendy chimed in.
Jenny let out a disgruntled sigh. “You know what I mean.”
“Well, you can go ahead and trust her all you want,” Zoey said. “I’m going to forge my own path.”
I was stunned to hear these words come from anybody at this juncture, especially from Zoey who had previously been the voice of reason. “Zoey, what do you imagine happens here? There is one exit out of this room and it goes straight out to the Throne Room and you have to pass through a whole army of byakhee just to get out of the shadows. Otoh’halla can kill you on sight if that is his whim. We have no real choice but to go along with what Arianna is saying. And, we do have some hope. She has absorbed Diana and Agnes into her psyche. She has reason to sympathize with us.”
“Don’t you all get it? You sound like cultists now!” Zoey yelled. “Listen to yourself, Minh. She absorbed TWO PEOPLE. They’re gone from us, because of her. And now we’re going to trust our lives into her hands?” Zoey shook her head erratically and began to pace back and forth. “I’m getting out of here! I’m getting out!”
“There’s no way out of here,” Jenny said. “There’s one door in and out.”
“I’ll find another way! This temple is full of secrets. There’s no way this temple doesn’t have any secrets right in here! It’s the bloody arcane chamber after all!”
Zoey frantically pushed along the walls, tore up posters, and threw books off shelves, perhaps trying perhaps to find a button. Finding nothing, she turned to one of the strange metal globes that Wendy, Jenny and Agnes were examining earlier.
“Perhaps this does something!”
Zoey grabbed the globe with both of her hands.
Then, she let out an agonizing, piercing shriek as her entire body was electrocuted right in front of us. She collapsed to the ground, the smell of her flesh burning wafting through the air.
“Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god,” Jenny mumbled.
“How do we explain this to Arianna?” Wendy said.
I gulped. While the loss of Zoey was dreadful, the three of us left in the room were now left with nothing but a glimmer of hope that Arianna would not be angered by Zoey’s actions here.
June 23rd: ZOEY, electrocuted by the metal globe in the Arcane Chamber
June 22nd: AGNES, merged with High Wizard Arianna in the Arcane Chamber
June 21st: CALVIN, shot dead by reanimated Joe in the Armory
June 20th: URSULA, impaled through the head by The Sullied Crown in the Throne Room
June 19th: ROLAND, shot dead by Finn in the West Room
June 18th: YORICK, transported to Carcosa
June 17th: SEFINA, transported alive via a portal to Arkham
June 16th: MARK, devoured by an abomination in the West Room
June 15th: SILAS, succumbed to earlier poisonous gas exposure while in the Book Room
June 14th: AKACHI, succumbed to poisonous gas in the East Room
June 13th: RITA, woke up alive in Arkham
June 12th: LEO, shot dead by Finn in the South Room
June 11th: REX, torn apart by byakhee in the North Room
June 10th: MARIE, fell into the chasm in the South Room
June 9th: CAROLYN, head smashed by Lola in the Button Room
June 8th: JOE, shot himself in the Lust Room
June 7th: SKIDS, dismembered in the Greed Room
June 6th: JIM, possessed by Ambrose in the Lust Room
June 5th: DIANA, possessed in the Lust Room
June 4th: MATEO, drowned in the Sloth Room
June 3rd: DAISY, shot dead by Roland in the Gluttony Room
June 2nd: NORMAN, disintegrated in the Envy Room
June 1st: LOLA, abandoned in the Button Room
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