The dead leaves of the fall forest crunched under his midnight black and hot pink sneakers. The cool air fluttered the pink fur around the black hood covering his skull. Every so often, ruby red ankhs in his sockets darted from side to side, looking for any quick flutter of movement that resembled paper gliding on the wind.
In fact that was exactly what he was looking for: pieces of parchments gliding on the wind--- stuck in trees and brush or covered by red and orange leaves on the ground. Part of his job was finding these pieces of paper. The other (not so simple) part was destroying these sheets of parchments before they mutated into beasts so horrid, the populace referred to them as Night Terrors.
He wouldn't say he was an expert at his job, but he did have several years of experience after having gone through some intense training at Our New Kingdom. ONK didn't have too big of a Night Terror problem, unlike here in Falling Leaves which seemed to be having some sort of infestation for some unknown reason.
He wondered if the infestation was because Falling Leaves sat so close to the Lasting Remains, the ruins of Our Kingdom, the first monster settlement after the war. Myth said that a Night Terror had destroyed the original kingdom, but for that to be true, the Night Terror would have to be enormous.
He wasn't sure if a Night Terror had destroyed Our Kingdom, though he had his own reasons for believing something was down there. As such, he had given himself the task of making sure the large, stone double doors stayed locked (though a Seven Circle Seal was one hell of a lock to pick), so his hunting ground of sorts took him from the town and forest of Falling Leaves, a charming little place covered in autumn colors, to the double doors leading to the Lasting Remains.
This time around, he hadn't found anything out of the ordinary. That being the case, he figured he could just enjoy the walk back. His favorite part of his job had always been the solitary walks, especially early in the morning. He guessed the time right now was probably six thirty in the morning.. The town of Falling Leaves had still been asleep when he left for patrol an hour ago.
Thank goodness for that...
Now, all he needed to do was get home and try to lie down and sleep---try being the key word. His spine had been killing him more than he was used to and, being a Skeleton Monster, that was quite the problem in regards to sleeping as he literally only had one sleeping position--- on his spine.
Maybe I should finally get it looked at, he pondered. But that would mean---
Something fluttered past him.
He blinked. "Shit, was that a Sleeper?" Had a piece of parchment with the potential to mutate wisped past him?
Actually he couldn't tell if the spell was going to mutate, at least not from this far away. The parchment was already floating away from him and straight for the town, caught in a rather strong gust of wind.
"Shit, seriously?" Well, yeah, of course one would show up on tha way home, after I got done checkin' tha area. Of fuckin' course it would! He held out his hand.
"I Call Upon the Second Circle
Show Me the Way Forward!"
Small, purple circles laced with wings and curly lines appeared along the path. He stepped on one and shot forward, picking up speed with each successful step on a circle. With each step, the autumn leaves of the forest became blurs and streaks of red, orange and yellow.
Long tense minutes passed before he heard screaming as he arrived to the outskirts of town. Moments later, he stumbled into a crowd of fleeing, frantic monsters, forcing him to skip a few circles so he could slow down. He looked after the retreating monster only for an explosion to sound in the distance. He whipped around and his sockets widen.
He watched a towering creature resembling a snake rear up over a row of buildings. Made of ruby red hearts strung together, the beast whipped its spiked tail around. The weapon slammed into buildings, bursting out windows and raining down bricks and concrete.
He took off again, the circles leading him through back alleys and corners. Far up a main street, he could see his older siblings coming into view. His brother Rust was conjuring barriers to corner the beast and steer monsters to safety. His sister Azure had already summoned her skeletal pack of dogs which were trying to rip at the beast's body.
They... didn't seem as if they needed him for this one.
He was about to jump over the next few purple circles to slow down to a stop when he caught a flash of blue.
Not the blue of his sister's magic....
He squinted. "Wait... is that...?"
Was... was that another monster on the other side of the beast? Debris trapped him, preventing him from getting up and running down the street, while the snake was being forced back towards him by a pair of oblivious siblings. Any closer and its tail might---
"Fuck!" the bulky skeleton cursed. "Perseverance, show me the way up!"
The circles shifted, stacking upward into the air.
Jump. Up and over the debris, jump down in between the trapped monster and the snake baring down.
He landed with a resounding BOOOOM.
Shake off the pain.
"I Beseech the Fifth Circle
Close the Gate Behind Me!"
He tossed back his hand and a row of arrows shot up between him and the other monster. The little monster, another Skeleton, let out a surprised gasp.
"Stay behind tha gate," he ordered as he focused on the creature now hissing at him. He glared back. "I'm gettin' rid of this one!" he called to his sister and brother.
"Red...are, are you sure?" Rust asked.
The ankhs in Red's sockets flashed. "...It cut my walk short."
His siblings shivered, sockets wide. They (and the dogs) backed up.
Red held up his hand.
"I Command the Seventh Circle
A rose red light flashed underneath the snake, catching its attention before a crimson circle expanded from under the beast. A large crimson X glared from the center. Howling wind whipped up, trapping the beast in the circle.
A wisp of scarlet circled around Red as he began to speak.
"Like the Dark Shadows of the Unknowable that rest in the Farthest Corner, reach for your prey."
A shadow, smoke, fog, something with no true shape, rose from the circle, surrounding the flailing snake.
"With Claws of the Unruly Last One, grab hold of that which defies you!"
The shape sharpened, sunk sharp edges into the flesh of the beast, drawing fountains of black blood and a window shattering screech.
Red didn't flinch.
"Hold tight, like the Vines of the Thorns and bring this beast to its knees!"
With one swift pull, the snake was pinned to the ground by claws. All the beast could do was thrash around.
"With the Fangs of the Guilty, gnash your teeth and thus the fear they deliver unto us, return that trespass multifold!"
A set of fangs, humongous, dripping, belonging to something far too big, rose from the circle with a shattering roar. It shoved the snake into its fangs, then chomped down, ripping another scream from the snake's fangs.
"This place deemed Worthy, cleanse its Sphere of the Atrocity before me. Erase its Ways that bring us Offense. Remove this unwanted presence! That which Opposes My Will, may the weight of your Transgressions crush you like the Rains fo the Fallen! You are Expulsed!"
A roar thundered as the fangs pulled the serpent down into the red circle. The snake shrieked and squealed as it vanished in a flash of crimson. The X in the circle lit up with a soft THOOM before the circle shrunk into nothingness. No sign of the snake remained and an eerie calm fell over the street.
Long seconds later, a cheer rang up.
Monsters poured from their homes and nearby alley ways. They crowded around Rust and Azure, congratulating and thanking them.
Red was left alone.
Well... that wasn't anything new.