romance versus relics chapter 9

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Post on 28-Nov-2014




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    Welcome to chapter nine! In this chapter, Nellie moves closer to discovering the secret of the Dragon Cave. Will she prevail and move on to other adventures, or will she meet a nasty end at the hands of the evil warlord, Dong Huo?
    Again, I offer huge thanks to all who are following this story. I'm having a blast writing it and I wish the same for you in reading it!

    As Nellie read the words etched into the plaque on the wall, her heart felt as if it had become lodged in her throat. She struggled to catch her breath as tiny beads of perspiration popped out on her forehead. The icy hand of fear had wrapped its bony fingers tightly around her heart, and her feet seemed to itch and tingle with an undeniable urge to turn and flee.
    The young woman closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, forcing much-needed air into her lungs and then released it slowly. She did this several times until her pulse rate had returned to nearly normal, as she concentrated on the discipline she had learned while training through following the ways of the Order of the Absolute Fist. Finally, her fear and the urge to run left her and she moved on into the next room.

    She was actually happy to find a boulder blocking her way because it gave her an excuse to break out the mighty Axe of Pangu. Using the axe and feeling its power sometimes had a way of making her feel stronger and more courageous as some of its energy seemed to flow into her body as it reverberated through the ancient tool.

    Nellie stood, looking at yet another stairwell leading down, wondering exactly how deep Dong Huo had hidden himself in the tomb. She had gone down so many flights of stairs she felt she should be at the center of the earth by now.

    Once down, she stood outside a new door and studied it carefully for a few moments before cautiously pushing it open. The words written on the plaque upstairs were never far from the surface of her mind. She knew she had to keep a watchful eye in this place.

    Nellie maneuvered around a series of fire traps to reach a keystone she was sure would come in handy soon.

    Nellie wandered around through a few rooms, picking up keystones and relics and finding more secret doors to rooms which contained more of the same. Finally, she opened a door that led to the room that she was sure contained the evil warlord himself!

    The first thing she did was open a treasure box near the entrance and removed the relics from it.

    The room was large and contained three sarcophagi, several moveable statues, and two diving pools. Nellie moved to stand on the only floor panel she could see, which in turn, revealed another floor panel. When she stood upon it, another floor panel was revealed. Nellie soon figured out that she had to make her way around the room standing on some floor panels and dragging statues onto others.
    As she made her way around the room, several fire traps made their presence known as well.

    While Nellie was busy with the moving of statues onto certain floor traps and diving into the pools, a mummy slipped quietly from a sarcophagus along the far wall. It was a slow-moving creature, but its focus was on reaching Nellie. It groaned softly and dragged its feet as it shuffled closer to where Nellie was busy at work to finish the business deep in the tomb of the Dragon Cave.
    The young woman did not notice the rag-clad creature until it was right next her.

    " Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"Nellie muttered as the musty-smelling, creature approached. By this time, Nellie was very tired and in a rather foul mood. It did not occur to her to be afraid, so her annoyance at the interruption was quite high. For several long moments, the woman and the mummy just stood gazing at one another. Each seemed to be sizing up the other, deciding what step to take next.
    Suddenly, the mummy took the initiative and made the first move by punching Nellie in the shoulder, almost hard enough to spin her around.

    " Excuse me?"Nellie retorted angrily. " I don't think you want to go there!"She was nearly exhausted and very agitated at this point, and the last thing she had needed or wanted was to have confrontation with a pile of smelly rags. The idea that she should have been frightened never entered Nellie's mind. " I'll take you home and use you for cleaning rags!"she growled just as the mummy moved in to attack.
    Nellie fought with everything she had, but her body was as exhausted as her mind. She found herself regaining consciousness a little while later. As she rose from the floor, she saw no sign of the mummy that had knocked her unconscious, but there was a different one patrolling the room. She rose and began looking for a place to hide. Suddenly an idea came to her and she moved quickly across room. Outrunning mummies seemed to be the easy part, if you had enough energy, which Nellie did not.

    Nellie ran right past the mummy and slipped inside the empty sarcophagus. This seemed to confuse the dim-witted creature, so it merely stood and watched as she closed the lid behind herself. Her exhaustion ran so deep that it was not long before Nellie was sound asleep as the mummy paced back and forth in front of the sarcophagus all night long, unbeknownst to Nellie.
    When she woke, Nellie was disoriented and confused at first, but she soon remembered where she was and what had happened the night before. Her heart skipped several beats as she realized the fatal mistake she had nearly made in her exhausted state of the night before. Now that she had rested, she proceeded more cautiously and slowly opened the door to look around. Seeing nothing, she exited and began inspecting the other plain sarcophagus, which stood against the other wall. As she opened the door, she was pulled in and tossed about for a few seconds.

    Suddenly, Nellie was shoved out of the sarcophagus roughly. If she had not recovered her balance quickly, she would have been thrown face down upon the floor. She regained her composure quickly and then returned to finishing the task at hand. After activating the remaining floor panels that went around the room, Nellie moved over to the final one.
    There was a moment of hesitation as she gazed at it, wondering what would happen once it was activated. Would she be strong enough to handle whatever may come her way? Knowing only one way to find out, Nellie took a deep breath and stepped onto the panel.

    A great, low rumbling began that vibrated the walls and shook the floor beneath Nellie's feet. A sharp gasp escaped her as she looked up and saw what instinct told her was the mummy of Dong Huo stepping from the sarcophagus directly in front of her. Once fully emerged, he stood to face her. " So, you think you can defeat me, traveler?"the creature sneered in the same raspy voice Nellie had imagined belonged to the Dragon Cave. " Prepare, now, to meet your death!"it growled as it began to move closer to where Nellie stood, gaping in horror.
    The mummy reached her and wasted no time issuing an attack. Instantly, Nellie's training and instinct kicked in and she fought back with everything she had. The fight was long and epic, but the woman prevailed and Hong Duo backed away, forever destined to be locked away in this chamber of the Dragon Cave. But, the mummy was not finished. He turned back to launch yet another attack against the woman.

    This time, however, the fight was shorter and Nellie defeated him quickly. " You couldn't leave well enough alone, could you?"she cried angrily. " Now, I will have a new set of cleaning rags!"
    Dong Huo, the once great evil warlord, groaned pitifully as he rose to his feet. Now he knew his fatal mistake. If he had left well-enough alone, the adventurer would have gone on her way, leaving him to possibly fight another day. It was his own fault he had to push and cause her total destruction of him.

    Nellie watched in fascinated disbelief as the mummy of Dong Huo was lifted, as if by a great wind, off his feet and spun round and round like a floating top. Finally, when the spinning stopped, the mass of rotting rags was reduced to a pile of dust on the floor.

    " Bummer"Nellie whispered to the empty room. " There isn't enough of you left from which to make any rags!"

    Now that she did not have to worry about being under mummy attack, Nellie looted the remaining room in the tomb, and then hurried to report in to Jiang Lu, anxious to be as far away from the Dragon Cave as possible.

    " You are truly a master if Dong Huo himself could not stop your fists of righteousness! I shall proclaim your victory everywhere in China! You have done so much for us in fulfilling the prophecy. I fear this reward is too modest for a master such as you. I am humbled by you, truly!"Jiang Lu bowed low to Nellie after his speech.
    Nellie was proud of her accomplishments, yet she was humbled by them as well. She graciously accepted her reward of two thousand Simoleons and six hundred five Ancient Coins. She bowed to Jiang Lu, said her goodbyes and headed toward base camp. It was time to go home.

    Her things all packed and ready, Nellie's cell phone rang as she was about to head out the door. Her plan was to stop by the Market to say goodbye to her friends before heading for the airport to catch a plane back to the states. " Hello?"she answered, puzzled about who would be calling at this early hour of the morning.
    Nellie listened intently as an unfamiliar male voice spoke in an urgent tone to her from the other end of the line. His excitement must have been contagious, because soon Nellie's pulse quickened and the prospect of a new adventure made her eyes sparkle with delight.

    " Zhan"Nellie cried as she hugged her friend and then pulled back to study his smiling face. "