Unexpected Adventure, Part Fourteen
The walls reflected the light, a dim amber color. Before him, where he’d felt the empty space, was a chasm. Regis got on his stomach and leaned out over it. At the bottom, something glinted. His shield?
Regis examined the sides of the chasm and tried to see the bottom. It looked safe enough. There was nothing crawling or slithering, and the sides weren’t slick or jagged enough to cut rope.
He stood, holding the lightstick high. A low droning sound reached his ears. Regis glanced up. The ceiling—no, something on the ceiling—moved.
So, the elf hadn’t just been trying to scare him. Regis tucked the stick in his coat. To his surprise, the walls immediately around him remained lit. He readied his weapons.
The things on the ceiling fell like leaves. They ignored Regis, seeming to be content to wander on the floor. He picked one up. It was a beetle, with a dull exoskeleton and too many legs to count.
Regis flicked it away and began taking basic equipment from his pack. He kept an eye on the beetles. With a sudden storm of clacking wings, they attached themselves to the walls. Everything went dark for a moment. Then, the glow returned. This time, it was the beetles that provided illumination. Were they…eating the light? Absorbing it?
Regis wondered what would happen if they ever made their way out of the caves. He shook his head and focused on making it down the chasm before the light went out.
When he reached the bottom, where the illumination was too faint to see by, he relit his lightstick. A short distance away was his shield. Next to his shield was a sword, embedded in the ground up to the hilt.
Regis stared at it blankly. “No,” he muttered. He cautiously retrieved his shield, half suspecting that voices would start whispering in his head. When nothing happened, he growled, “Why?”
The droning of the beetles increased suddenly, and the illumination from above scattered into fragments. Regis looked up. The beetles flitted about haphazardly. Many of them blinked out, and Regis soon saw silhouettes against the dim light.
One dove towards him, and let out a screech. Regis threw the lightstick away from himself. The thing changed course and snatched it up. Regis caught a glimpse of mandibles and bulging eyes. Then the light vanished, and a disappointed squeal echoed in the chasm.
Regis pulled out one of his own swords, mentally sneering at the one embedded in rock. “I'm my own master,” he growled. With that, he charged the creature.