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Rune magic

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Hoseok was done. Officially done with this whole fighting and searching business. Where his only thoughts as he jumped behind a large stone structure that may have been a statue at one point in time. He looked over at Jimin, who was breathing heavily, just like him, and covered in ash and dust.

„This is fucked up, Jimin. Really fucked up. Why did our information leave out a fucking golem?“, he asked while checking the gun in his hand. The rune energy on it was almost gone, so he probably only had a few shots left before he would have to use his own combat runes. „How many shots do you have left?“

Jimin gasped for air and looked around the corner, watching out for the ancient golem that was protecting the old temple from looters like them. „One shot, two at most.“, he hid behind the boulder again and looked at Hoseok. „I don’t know what happened. V never messes up like this. One of his informants must have given him false information.“ Hoseok just shook his head an sighed: „I don’t know if this is worth it. We have almost no ammo left and I don’t fancy close combat with a fucking fire golem.“

Just as he said that a hot blast whizzed past their hiding place. „We need the money, Hoseok. We‘re already behind on rent and this is big! Let’s just get closer to the temple entrance. The map was pretty accurate so far and the golem isn’t in our way.“ The red heads only answer was a groan. „Why are you trying to get us killed? The only reason that this thing doesn’t sense us are the no detection rune necklaces that V lend us. What if they stop working inside the temple? It has happened before.“

He was tired and really wished he had listened to his mum and grandma and not moved to the city. He should have stayed in the woods and traveled with his family. Fuck being a young man trying to find his way, being alive was way more fun than fighting six meter tall, fiery killing machines.

Jimin meanwhile had gotten into a crouching position and was holding up his free hand. „On the count of three.“, he started with a manic smile. „One.“, Hoseok scrambled from sitting into a crouch of his own. „Two. THREE.“ And the two ran from their hiding place in an almost straight line to the temple entrance. „I hate you Park JIMIN!“, Hoseok screeched at full volume, while evading a new fire ball that was thrown at them. He was just happy that the golem didn‘t have ears. After what felt like an eternity they finally reached the entrance that was too small for the golem to pass through.

The red heads lungs were burning and he leaned against the wall. Jimin was laughing outright, high on adrenaline and a fearlessness that Hoseok envied in situations like this. „See, everything turned out alright. Now we only have to find that stupid scroll and get our money.“, the black haired man said with enthusiasm and pulled the map from his back pocket. Hoseok watched as he drew a swirling rune onto the blank paper which slowly started to form lines. Runepapers were so neat. If you didn’t know the right rune it would just remain a blank piece of paper forever. Great for keeping secrets, not so great if you were the one trying to get to those secrets.

„Okay so if the information on this is correct we have to take the path on our right and then turn left.“, Jimin said while pointing at the map. Hoseok nodded and the two made their way through the corridors, guns still in hand, on high alert. They didn’t know how many and where the traps would be. Because there would definitely be traps. The old Runemasters never left their secrets unprotected and the golem outside was normally only the tip of the iceberg.

„This is getting suspicious.“, the taller of the two whispered after they turned around yet another corner and still hadn‘t encountered anything. No wild animals, no spikes, no warnings on the wall, not even a spider web. It was just quiet, very very quiet. „I have a bad feeling Jimin.“, the older whispered. His companion nodded and glanced down on the map again. „We should be in the old chamber soon..maybe we are too late and somebody has already been here.“, Jimin thought aloud. Hoseok shrugged but couldn’t offer anything else, the thought had already crossed his mind, too.

They slowly made their way forward, checking their surroundings. When the two finally arrived at the chamber doors they found them slightly ajar. Their eyes found each other and Hoseok raised his gun, they had worked together long enough that they didn’t need words in situations like this anymore. While they had joked around outside, they knew that the golem couldn’t hear or see them, this was a different situation. They didn’t know what was waiting for them inside of the room and they didn‘t want to alert the people or thing that was probably waiting inside.

Jimin had packed away the map and was holding his own gun, the bright red rune in his other palm started to glow faintly, he was loading up. The taller man held three fingers up this time and dropped them one by one. At the end of the silent countdown Jimin pushed the door further open and Hoseok got ready to shoot whoever or whatever was inside the room.

The sight that greeted them wasn’t what they expected to find. They had suspected an ambush, another team waiting for them, maybe even a small Golem, but not this. Not a room full of a red liquid that smelled like blood, covered in it, dripping from the ceiling, running down the walls, pooling on the floor in a thick layer. It was everywhere. The scroll in contrast was spotless, not a speck of blood anywhere, just gently floating in the middle of the room on a podest.

„What the fuck.“, Jimin whispered and Hoseok could only agree. That much blood meant that hundreds must have died in this room, but whoever or whatever did it was not there, or at least not visible to them from the door. „There was nothing on this in the file or briefing“, Hoseok mumbled. „I don’t know any spell or trap that could’ve done this.“ He was in shock, frozen at the door with his gun still raised, no idea what to do, how to react.

„There...there are no bodies, Hoseok. Just blood. Maybe it is an illusion?“, Jimin questioned but he didn’t sound like he believed himself. The older man shook his head and countered: „I don‘t think so. An illusion would have been documented. Easy to trace if you know what you’re looking for and that noble paid good money for that report. This has to be something else.“

„Well, we both don’t know what it is and I have no desire to find out if I‘m being honest. The only thing I can think of is shoot in the direction of the scroll and see if we can trigger anything. I‘m sure we can close the door in time if its something bad.“, the shorter man mumbled, still wary and hands raised in a defensive position. „I’m still worried about there not being any bodies though.“, he added just to get the point across a second time.

Jimin and Hoseok were quiet again, both being indecisive and worried about what could happen, what could go wrong. „Okay, Jimin. I think your idea is the best thing we have so far. Since you’re the better shot between us two I should probably hold the door. I’m faster in close combat and should be able to cover you in case something jumps at us.“

Jimin gave his okay, so the red head started to direct the power that he pulled from his surroundings through his body into the rune that was tattooed into his palm. The intricate swirls inside his palm began to glow a faint green that got more intense the more power he channeled into it. It got so bright that the light shone from between his fingers when he made a fist.

Hoseok nodded at Jimin, who held his breath after taking a deep inhale, and shot at the scroll. The gun in his hand went from a deep, blood red back to black as the bullet got fired. The projectile shot into the room and hasn’t even gotten close to the scroll as the blood that had been so perfectly still before, gathered and enclosed the bullet in a bubble. The blood bubble just floated in the air, still again. The rest on the other hand had started to move. Flowing quicker, running down the walls instead of slowly dripping and made its way to the door.

The taller man had eyed the bubble critically but as soon as he noticed this new development he tried to close the door. It didn’t move even a centimeter. Hoseok frantically pushed against the unmoving stone while Jimin did the same to the other side, but nothing happened. Without speaking they turned around and ran back the way they came, Jimin taking the lead. The blood could be heard smashing into the walls and flooding the hallway and sizzling as it hit stone.

Hoseok was too scared to look over his should and check if the blood was really burning the stone, because it sure sounded like it did. Their breathing became labored as they sprinted through the paths, and the red head was hoping that Jimins memory wouldn’t fail them and make them drown and, or burn in the river of blood that was getting closer and closer.

Sweat started to drip down his face and his lungs burned, every breath starting to hurt. They turned another corner and finally saw the sunlight. With a last burst of energy they ran through the entrance and jumped to the side, not a second too late. The torrent of blood crashed into the entrance, but didn’t leave the temple, as if trapped by an invisible wall. Hoseok stared at the thick liquid that blocked the sight into the hallway, the whole doorway was covered from top to bottom.

Their breathing was still heavy and Hoseok finally wiped the sweat from his brow as they watched the blood recede back into the temple until the entrance was clear again, not leaving even a trace of blood behind. The two turned to look at each other and the red head finally burst out laughing. They were so close to dying, again. All the tension and fear just fell from them, they were save right now.

„Hoseok, what the fuck was that?“, Jimin asked after he calmed down a bit. The red head shrugged and answered: „I guess we know why nobody has picked up that scroll yet. No one has figured out how to get past the trap yet.“

They were silent again, having sat down outside of the temple to enjoy the sun a bit and remind themselves how good it is to be alive and not drowned in blood, being added to the growing pool. „So how do we get around that? I don’t think wading through that pool would be possible because it sounded like it burned the stone just now.“, Hoseok contemplated and Jimin nodded along.

„We will have to figure out a way to disable the spell or to get the scroll out of the room..but with the way the liquid shot up and encased the bullet I don’t think we can get anything into that room to pull the scroll out.“, Jimin answered and they both went back to being silent.

„What if we just leave this mission alone and get an easier one?“, the red head questioned carefully to which Jimin turned around with a frown: „We have to pay off our debt to Suga for the new upgraded weapons and V did us a favor in giving us this mission when we don‘t even have a guild to back us up. We NEED that money..we’re also behind on rent as I have already pointed out today.“

Hoseok groaned at the reminder of their problems and the reason for why they were even here. „So we have to visit RM?“

Jimin nodded and added: „And tell V about the missing information.“ They both got up when they suddenly heard the sound of stone hitting stone. Slowly they turned to their right and saw the golem coming at them at full speed. „Fuck I forgot about that thing!“, Hoseok screamed while Jimin laughed like a maniac and began to load his rune up again.

Hoseok was really so done.