1. Elinor Irkalla (Ereshkigal, The Sumerian Goddess Of The Dead!)
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Azalea and Camellia walked beside Elinor as she descended into the infernal pit of lava and noxious vapor; she had the girls stand back, allowing her to confront the swarm.
Despite the glowing pools of slow-moving magma, the area was reasonably dark, and Elinor used the spiders’ surprisingly resilient silk bridges to cross the impassible areas.
Most of the cavern had been hollowed out by the giant scorpions, and those she passed were swiftly added to her growing army with the horde of butterflies flapping ahead of them; Elinor paid close attention to how they fought their own, fascinated by their evolving form of combat.
At first, they fired precision fire crystals from their tail to dig into vulnerable places on her undead soldiers, yet, obviously, that wouldn’t destroy their reanimated brethren.
A small smile moved her gleaming eyes, easily penetrating the vaporous tunnel darkness while walking halfway up the wall on the platform Azalea crafted; it was essential to understand a new species’ adapted fighting style, and when they were creatures accustomed to in-fighting, they often revealed their own weaknesses.
Her undead scouts quickly broke past the surprised warriors’ barrages of superheated, dagger-like projectiles that peppered their soft, muscular tissues between their exoskeleton; their internal organs leaked a liquid that instantly ignited once exposed, bathing the creatures in flames as another form of defense.
Unfortunately for them, their turned brethren no longer felt pain or feared for their lives, and it didn’t take long for the smaller workers to follow Elinor’s silent commands, mirroring their attack style to dig into the far smaller gaps of the warrior scorpions, adding them to her force.
Interesting… Elinor mused, hands behind her back while observing the last two warriors in this batch change tactics.
Azalea giggled, pointing at the blinking red crystals running along the walls, floor, and ceiling. “They’re transmitting what they learn to the nest.”
“Can I face their queen, Empress?” Camellia eagerly asked, not paying too much attention to the battle overall. “I’ve been practicing with Lea!”
Her sister sighed, twirling her constantly growing, silky blue locks around her fingers. “Cami… I don’t know if you can fight her. Especially since you’re still not fully recovered.”
Rather than being dissuaded, the redhead’s shining eyes lit up. “She is strong?”
Elinor could sense the internal debate the second-oldest Thélméthra sister was pondering after observing the hive.
Let’s not be hasty, Camellia. I know you want to show me how much you’ve learned from the humans and your previous battles, but a part of that is understanding your enemies. Take this opportunity to observe their tactics, and if you can convince me you aren’t just rushing in—hehe, like the juggernaut you are—then I will consider it.
They strode forward on the blue bridge Azalea made, continuing into the depths of this magma chamber as Elinor added more scorpions to her ranks; she’d use the same methods of attack to test how they would adapt, exploring their ingenuity.
What are your thoughts on the royal guards and queen, Azalea? Take your time to respond if you need it.
“Hmm…” she skeptically creased an eye, lips tightening as she looked at the fire crystals and magma. “I’ll conserve my judgment for now, Empress; these ‘old warriors’ are their weakest, sent for testing our strength.”
Elinor already concluded it was a bad match-up, excluding Violet, with her resistance to the element, yet they had battled far worse in the Quen’Talrat.
Still, it was fascinating that they were using pawns to probe their combat potential, but it also made perfect sense since they fought other creatures that would constantly evolve with this artifact’s help.
“Quin and Garu could kill a group of these creatures—well, hmm-hmm, if they weren’t stupid about it.”
At the level of Uncommon, Elinor nodded, examining the ones she’d brought under her command.
They would be weaker than their normal counterparts in strength, speed, and general ability, but when gaining the unfeeling and unrelenting will of mindless undead, the trade-off was more than acceptable.
Elinor didn’t want to rob Azalea or Camellia of the opportunity to study their opponents by raising an Intelligent one—cheating by learning all their dirty secrets—since she wouldn’t always be here to give them that option and didn’t want them relying on all the gifts she offered.
Plus, it had been some time since she’d spent personal time with the three sisters, and she wouldn’t get another opportunity for some time after today. A war was coming they had to prepare for, so Iris and her daughters—including her newly discovered daughter—would become invaluable.
Vision settling on the blinking fire crystals, she paid close attention to their patterns, committing them to memory with their movements; if she was reading them correctly, a new squadron was moving into position.
Camellia, take command of the fifty soldiers I’ve gathered and show me how you lead rather than just destroy.
“Eh? Can I lead them into battle, Empress?”
“Hehe. That defeats the point, Cami,” Azalea snickered, skipping over to hug her older sister. “I know you never liked commanding the drones, but what do we do?”
“Haaa… Adapt,” Camellia groaned, rubbing her left arm before turning into her Thélméthra form with her sister, likely running out of time. “I’ll just imagine I’m them, smashing these things’ heads in!”
“Haha! Always the brute, Cami.”
Elinor had a different concern for giving the oldest spider sister the task; she’d been given command over her last big mission—other than catching the Seraph and returning her to the city—and the failure she felt in losing her party was harsh on her pride.
Camellia wasn’t the type of creature to get attached to the Nalvean or Quen’Talrat, but the pain she’d caused Elinor when losing two of her Intelligent soldiers had left a mark of shame on the Thélméthra; she hated to fail at anything, considering she’d been the failure of her family.
Elinor watched the fifty partially damaged scorpions rush ahead, likely following the redhead’s surveillance knowledge as to where their opponents were gathering.
Now, she knew such an experience had been good for her—loss was a part of life—yet she hadn’t thought that at the time. Camellia had to know she was still trusted to lead and make mistakes since she’d already experienced the consequences of her actions, and controlling unintelligent soldiers was an excellent start for her return to the field.
Proceeding further, Elinor giggled when Azalea’s sharp eyes fixated on her slicken skin with the rising heat. Ask what’s on your mind.
“The atmosphere will only grow worse as we continue, Empress, and I have noticed humans tend to release sweat when experiencing overheated bodies.”
I have remaining skill points that I can add to my physical constitution and Artificial Body; the trick is using only the bare minimum of what one needs for any given situation. I will be fine; focus on your analysis.
“Yes, Empress,” she bowed her head.
Camellia was grinning as she entered their next combat, and they paused in the wide corridor, sending a pack of ten warriors behind them to meet the ambush while having the remainder form a stampeding wave to overwhelm the gathered scorpions.
“Look at them break rank, Empress! Haha! They’re so frightened—so unlike true loyal drones!”
Azalea hummed, arms crossed under her modest bust; she took everything extremely seriously under her typically playful attitude, but something seemed to irritate her about the pocket resistances they’d met.
“Cami, try to lose less of your drones and instruct them to be more precise in their attacks; when the Empress leaves on her journey, we won’t have the luxury of rebuilding our own.”
Clever girl, Elinor praised. There’s always room for improvement, but you’re also doing wonderful, Camellia.
She felt the oldest sister’s heart swell with the praise she so seldomly received throughout her life; all the girl needed was proper guidance and a supportive environment, which wasn’t always available when Thélméthra culture pitted siblings against one another, but they weren’t bound to that anymore.
“Yes, Empress! Umm, Lea…”
“Hmm?” the younger sister asked, surprised to hear the uncertainty that couched the redhead’s voice.
“Am I reading this wrong, or is the energy in the crystals around us steadily growing along our path?”
A half-smile lifted Elinor’s mouth as she studied the radiant mineral above them, filling the space with heat; she had sensed it with her new, unlocked faculties but expected it to be a natural development due to her small sample size, yet the Thélméthra had a far wider sensory grasp of the tunnels and phenomena.
Azalea appeared to be slightly surprised by the question. “You’re… right, Cami. I thought it was a product of the continual transferal of signals, yet… it isn’t happening to the other areas where the warriors are being pulled from… The queen is manipulating them.”
“A trap?” Camellia asked, jumping up the wall as the last few scorpions were dealt with, leaving only thirty-two undead, and many were heavily damaged. “The force within them is building… An explosion of some kind?”
“Possible,” Azalea hissed—ever the perfectionist—she was clearly agitated she hadn’t been the one to notice the change; Elinor figured she was too focused on the queen and her guards, expecting these weak scorpion soldiers couldn’t touch them. “Should we divert our path, Empress?”
Elinor shook her head, walking off her platform to step on the black stone as she circled a few of the fallen, enflamed arachnids.
Camellia… what do you think about this battle compared to the last—what was different?
The girl hopped several meters away from the wall, landing with a shocking amount of stealth, considering her massive body.
“Umm, they’re changing their battle strategy—crushing the head or dismembering our drones instead of shooting their spikes, and their tails are being used less offensively and more defensively… Uh, right?”
Azalea joined them, continuing to produce silk from the gland at the back of her shiny blue-patterned Thélméthra body. “Our drones’ weaknesses have been discovered… A large wave is coming to handle the rest of our soldiers and, more than likely, to test us in return.”
Elinor nodded, looking up at the many shimmering crystals as their glow continued to brighten. Don’t worry about the detonation. We head straight for the chamber.
She chuckled, climbing onto Azalea’s cool exoskeleton.
Camellia’s eyes lit up. “I can crush those that come after us?”
Yes, I suspect we won’t have much time left before Thor comes smashing his way to us. Your opinion of the royal guards, Azalea?
The sisters rushed forward, causing hot, toxic vapors to press against Elinor’s skin as she scanned the halls filled with the scorpions in hot pursuit.
“Roughly as strong as the average Quen’Talrat Elite Hunter… as a soldier of yours? Likely falls within the Heroic Grade; Camellia will have a rough time facing all of them as an undead, but perhaps as a human, she will have the flexibility to dodge their projectiles, though she would be more vulnerable without her thicker armor.”
Camellia huffed, jumping forward with shocking speed as her spear-like legs easily cleaved through the weak joints of the scorpions and caught their whip-like tails in the face without damage.
“Would they really be able to penetrate my exoskeleton with their weak crystals, Lea?”
“These weaker versions of the species are like our drones to us, Cami,” her sister warned. “It’s why I chose to save the last few minutes of my human transformation in case it is needed for the fight.”
“Ugh… how can you sustain it longer than me? I’ve used it every chance I can get!”
Elinor answered, not concerned as the crystals around them ignited, sending beams of lasers in straight lines that the sisters smoothly evaded, having some of the most comprehensive instinct of geometry she’d seen in a mortal species.
Your sister has advanced to Legendary Rank 2, Camellia, through all her efforts in fighting the runic battle drones. I suspect you will achieve Rank 1 if you manage to beat these royal guards.
“Really?! I can’t wait!” Camellia squealed, vigor and inertia increasing with every creature she collided with, building her Juggernaut passives.
“I know! I know!”
“Haaa. They’re going to aim for your breathing joints, and those areas are still weak from your previous battle.”
“Obviously! Seriously, I know, Lea.”
“Ha-haaa… I just don’t want to see you broken like before,” Azalea whispered, probably also thinking about her nearly incinerated little sister when fighting the runic A.I.
“…Thanks for caring about me, Lea. Hehe. It’s so weird for you.”
“Not true!” Azalea huffed, manipulating her silk to keep Elinor stable on her back as she jumped between hidden lasers to land on the ceiling and trap the infuriated scorpion warriors below with her invisible silk. “Who was the one always mediating between you and Vi?”
Camellia hummed, tossing arachnids into the path of the lasers to be cleaved in half and bathing others in the liquid flames they left. “I always thought you did that to try and manipulate us against each other, getting on Mom’s good side?”
“Eh-hehe… I guess you weren’t as clueless as I thought. Nice job, Cami!”
“See! I just suck at leading drones, matching your speed, and I may not be as precise as—okay, fine, you’re better than me! I said it! Still, I always admired how hard you worked, Lea… unlike stupid, gifted Vi…”
“Thanks! You never gave up, either, which always helped me when I’d grow depressed with how easily Vi would master something that took me weeks.”
“Gah! Right? She’s so infuriatingly gifted! Uh… do you think our littlest sister will be like that?”
Elinor could feel the mood dampen as Azalea thought about their brainwashed and kidnapped little sister; they could probably sense the change in their mother’s attitude once learning about her daughter.
Of course, to Elinor, her fourth daughter wouldn’t even be alive without the experiments that had been done to hatch and hijack the genetic hierarchy the race had; then again, how her daughter had been raised was another topic entirely, and she suspected that was what had so incensed the Thélméthra queen.
“I don’t know, Cami… Focus.”
“Hehe. Why? You’ve already taken care of it!”
Elinor chuckled inside, knowing Azalea was saying it more to herself than her sister, as they entered the primary nesting grounds, just before the queen’s chamber, where over a hundred of the higher-tier newborn warriors sat in utter stillness.
Magma flowed into pools, creating gentle streams, and an updraft carried a surprisingly cool breeze from other fissures to enter further holes that likely connected to the mountain’s snowy slopes above them.
They stopped in the middle of the petrified army, Azalea’s tiny threads having already found their way into their bloodstream to inject a newly developed poison she’d crafted on their journey; the throng would die soon.
She would have been a cooked chicken had not she invested more points into her artificial body, but so long as Elinor didn’t exert herself too much, it wasn’t deadly; the issue came with where the queen and royal guards waited—inside a live magma pit in the next chamber, but she would exit her nest for one simple reason: resources.
A queen with an utterly devastated workload and warrior network, unable to maintain her territory, was a sad queen, indeed.
These creatures appeared to have a form of agitation or fluster, as well, which was something the Thélméthra had to learn—not exactly a good trait, but one that brought understanding—Azalea had actively sought to grasp it in toying with her prey, for instance.
Elinor hopped off Azalea’s back to land on the ground, butterflies floating through the cave, causing several lasers to go off from the queen’s manipulations, passing harmlessly through the ethereal, fluttering Death Energy.
It wouldn’t be long before the fearful queen surfaced, and what creature wouldn’t be unnerved by such an unnatural enemy as the dead?
Although, as Elinor’s butterflies entered the chamber, she noticed a strange oddity in the queen; lava erupted to consume the untouchable force, and the royal guards attacked it with their powerful claws, yet it was the unusual tail of the queen that caught her attention.
A skull-like face snarled at the end, lava-like spittle spraying out as it lurched forward with the heavily armored queen to swallow her butterflies; this was a twist she hadn’t expected.
“A what?” Azalea asked, staring back at the remaining scorpions that hovered around the various entrances.
Only the maidens shifted comfortably in a few of the branching safety shelters, pincers snapping with fear as the male workers and warriors froze in place after the queen began to move; it didn’t seem they could act while she was distracted.
Camellia was jumping up and down with anticipation. “When are you going to come out? Fight us!”
Elinor was totally fixated on the unusual pairing as the three royal guards rushed out to meet them now that they’d completely neutralized their defenses, and a high-pitched screech echoed around them with their charge.
Camellia cheered, rushing forward to spray web at them that instantly caught fire through the magma pools, yet remained intact just long enough for her to yank one through as the infernal language rumbled from within the chamber.
“You shall burn in the pits for your transgressions against the Lord of Ze’drasha! Shut up, Margotha; you’ve been nothing but a useless pile of meat!”
Elinor didn’t recognize the name, but she couldn’t help but laugh at the accusation, and the queen’s powerful pincers clicked with agitation at his disrespect, rising to smack her own tail in indignation.
I understand your hesitation now, Azalea, she snickered, observing the argument between Ze’drasha and Margotha.
Azalea’s body tilted to the left as she watched her sister dodge the lasers, deflect crystal projectiles, and keep her distance from the lava the royal guard spat, yet a crack of thunder down the halls put a chill through her spine.
“A second entity?” Azalea questioned, understanding Infernal from Elinor’s Nexus translation. “They haven’t spoken until now; I thought it was a silly intimidation mutation.”
Hmm… We don’t have much time, she grumbled, glancing back the way they’d come as Thor’s powerful vibrations left sparks dancing in the air around them. He handled the other colonies a lot faster than I anticipated, but I suppose he is trying to enjoy himself… which means letting loose.
Returning her focus to Camellia’s joyful yet actually life-threatening battle, Elinor sighed and contacted Violet when she came back into range. Let Thor know that I will handle this battle… I’ve discovered a hiding demon.
Elinor grinned as she sensed exactly what she’d expect from a disenfranchised demon; he was preparing to use the corrupted divine artifact to constitute a mortal body. It wouldn’t be as strong as he would have wanted, but if there was one thing they hated, it was a useless pawn they’d manipulated or worked with.
Demons prized their personal strength and prowess, and when they were forced to share a form or rely on another, it pissed them off to no end, yet it was better to be a king on a mortal planet than being shoved into the ashes in Hell to many lesser demons.
Azalea, you’ll have the chance to face the queen yourself; I’ll deal with the demon.
Disappointment came from the blue-shaded spider. “Yes, Empress. I will pay close attention to your battle.”
Oh, heh, it won’t be a battle, dear, Elinor snickered as Margotha batted her tail with anger as Ze’drasha snarled and tried to make it around her swipes to touch the black obelisk floating above the lava pit, drawing the magma inside.
Camellia was being drawn into a corner with her fight against the three royal guards, unable to even get close enough to land a single blow with their combination attacks.
Hmm. Camellia, I’m going to pull them into the chamber with the maiden scorpions and force out our bickering king and queen for Azalea. Focus on distracting one with your webs, crush another’s legs with the opportunity, and draw the remaining to the opposite side of the room to face one-on-one.
Space fractured all around the panicking guard as Elinor drew their attention to the closer colorful chains of Irkalla for the distant ones to connect and yank them across the chamber; they screeched, ripping up the ground and flinging lava, yet Camellia beautifully redirected their appendages with her webs.
Azalea waved the guards goodbye, making her sister giggle. “Have fun, Cami! Pay close attention to the beams of heated light—they appear to be able to enhance themselves with it.”
“Ooh! Thanks for the tip, Lea; I hope you have fun, too!”
Elinor walked around the pools of superheated rock to the entrance to the queen’s chamber, using her butterflies as a sensory tool to direct her chains.
The queen locked up as Ze’drasha managed to touch the artifact; unholy light filled the space, and Elinor studied the process closely; a boom made her wince as Thor appeared next to her in a flash of lightning, sending a flurry of cold and hot wind to sweep the area, and Violet wasn’t far behind him.
“Hmm-hmm-hmm! What an excellent way to relieve my stress; thou hath discovered a demon, Lady Irkalla?”
“I have,” she mused, stretching out her hand to link her chains to the artifact and transforming queen; it tried to draw from her divine powers and the connection to her realm, yet a simple no was all it took for the device to stop—someone had left it permanently on, which had damaged it by quite a bit.
Hauling it out, the large, over 8-meter-tall lava scorpion quivered as the device forcefully separated their spirits, creating a molten ball of laughing flames that separated itself from the queen—it was probably better that way.
Still, the demon’s infernal energies infused the queen as a price for the separation—she was able to have her own demands to terminate their bond—gifting her with the unholy flames she so desired to taste and couldn’t live without.
Azalea would have a tough fight, but Elinor knew the girl was skilled enough to overcome the power-drunk queen in the pride that came with the cursed fire.
Elinor moved off to the side with Thor and Violet as the floating bomb of hellfire puffed up and erupted; on prompt, Azalea took shelter behind the gate that appeared behind her, blocking the fires as they consumed the queen’s eggs and dead soldiers—the terrible part was the fact she had to keep the 1st Gate of Irkalla up to defend against the melted floor and cursed lava.
Don’t touch the floor if you come in here, Camellia—and Azalea, I don’t think your original toxin will work on her.
“I will develop a new one—can I absorb this molten stone?”
Pondering it for a moment, Thor bit his lower lip, holding himself back from attacking the self-absorbed demon.
Since you’re connected to my Nexus and are undead… you should have decent resistance, and she isn’t a demon but was granted a fragment of the Infernal, so… I think you can survive it, but it will not be pleasant.
“I look forward to growing stronger!”
“That’s the spirit, Lea! Me, too!”
Leaving the two to their battle, Elinor smiled at the confused demon, who was only now noticing his big explosion of hellfire hadn’t reduced their spirits to ash.
“Come here for a moment,” she chimed, snapping her fingers for dozens of chains to lock him in space as Azalea used what little surface area hadn’t been affected by the blast to begin her battle with the manic queen. “Let’s have a nice chat!”
A spiked chain cut through space to strike between his wide eyes, penetrating the demon’s essence before the distinct, slow sound of clinking metal drew him in, inch by inch.
“What was your name? Ze’drasha, was it?” she brightly asked, locking him out of his infernal abilities as his panic began to set in.
“What—what manner of creature are you—you are no mortal!”
“Only now noticing?” Thor drawled, rolling his eyes and resting his hammer against his shoulder. “Thou truly hath the brains of a demon.”
“Thor!” Elinor playfully chided, glancing in Azalea’s direction as she skillfully outmaneuvered the maddened scorpion queen, unable to control herself and making her vastly increased fighting prowess useless due to the mindless rampage. “We should be nice to the little demon; he’s never even heard of nor conceived of divines as powerful as us.”
“Divines…” the stunned demon choked, barfing up its putrid physical remnants of the poison within the queen’s tail as sickness took his entire being. “You do not feel of the Divine?!”
“Ooh, right,” Elinor hummed, drawing in her lips. “We aren’t exactly on the positive side of the spectrum.”
“Nay?” Thor questioned, lifting an eyebrow. “Certainly, thou aren’t of such modesty, Lady, but thou would place me in such company?”
A strained laugh rumbled in Elinor’s throat through clenched teeth. “Why… use modesty as your frame of reference, Thor?”
“Hmm? Is not modesty a spectrum of Divine, and thy daughter mentioned thou art the Goddess of Nakedness?”
“Mmh-hmm-hmm… mmh. What did Nungal say—Goddess of Nakedness?” The demon swallowed and shrank at Elinor’s tone. “Is Freyja your ideal image of modesty and chastity, Thor?”
Thor rubbed his forehead as an eruption of fire was blocked by her gates, and Azalea darted nearby with the rabid scorpion queen in pursuit. “Hmm. Thou hath a point, Lady, yet her domain is that of love and war; is not thy sister—”
Elinor slapped her forehead, suddenly quite annoyed. “Thor—I am not known as the Goddess of Nakedness because I am… am some harlot! I am known as the Naked Goddess because all who die come before naked judgment. What did my daughter tell you about me—have you thought this the entire time?!”
“Woooh!!! Empress! Empress! I did it! I did it!”
Completely thrown off by the sudden revelation, she now understood why he’d been so utterly conflicted, and, at the worst time, Camellia sent a girly squeal through the Nexus at defeating her opponents and advancing to Epic Rank 1.
Thor looked like the links were finally connected. “Blind justice… Is that what she meant when she mentioned you standing before the masses, naked and willing to offer a contest of heated exchanges to give them relief in their infernal desires?”
Elinor wanted to strangle her daughter, her fingers curling in as she imagined them around her throat; she always did have a playful side, and there wasn’t a chance she hadn’t done this as some little joke after realizing how literal Thor thought.
“She… was talking about me battling anyone without weapon or armor that wanted to challenge my authority…”
“Ah… It all makes sense!” he laughed, showing a brilliant grin. “I had my doubts concerning thee, yet this hath cleared many such statements thy daughter made during my visit; I apologize for impugning thy character, Lady—thou may strike me if it pleas—”
Elinor drew back her fist and—without holding back an ounce—connected with the man’s jaw, causing him to take a step back to stabilize himself. “Then, heh, I will—are there any more questions you have regarding my character?”
She sighed as Thor rubbed the spot with a sheepish smile. “Thou hath set my mind straight, Lady Irkalla. Hehe. Are my suspicions regarding thy sister and those of our company unfounded?”
“Haaa! Not… entirely,” Elinor grumbled, shaking out her stiff fist; she was a bit miffed he actually thought she behaved so indecently in her own realm or thought so little of her husband.
“What would Sif say if I suddenly told her all about how much of a wild beast you were; you could have at least been more forward in why you had such suspicions of me instead of letting me guess it was only from our first meeting.”
“Eh-hehe. It isn’t a topic I enjoy discussing with the women I travel with.”
“Uh-huh… Anyway… really?” she lifted an eyebrow as the demon tried to break his seal, keeping him out of Hell. “You’re not getting away that easily—I could have a use for you!”
Azalea landed nearby with the exhausted and passed-out queen, having collapsed due to her own overuse of her newly discovered powers, giving the girl’s curse-empowered poison a chance to slowly kill the scorpion.
“I did so well!” Camellia shouted, hanging from the ceiling while presenting the torn-off tails of her prey. “I only got burned a little, and my leg will heal.”
Azalea was sporting her own minor injuries, and Elinor was impressed by how much the girl had improved since being reborn; in fact, all the sisters had. They’d taken everything Elinor said to heart and adapted to every new challenge.
“Alright… Pack her up with that thing,” she said, pointing at the obelisk, and as she expected, the hesitant maiden scorpions hesitantly followed them out of their tunnels, bringing the workers. Their queen wasn’t dead yet but would be soon as they used Violet’s webs to reach the upper wall of Nethermore.
“Sister?” Ishtar questioned as she came into range. “Why… are you so agitated? It takes a lot to piss you off this much.”
I’m going to kill Nungal!
“Oh? Consider me enthralled! Go on. What did your golden child do?”
Her little prank not only embarrassed me, but she could have ruined everything I had planned!
“Hmm-hmm. You’re saying she actually almost outmaneuvered her mountain of a mother, and with a prank?!”
Why do you sound so happy… Elinor fumed as she looked down at the cautious scorpions outside the wall.
“Shouldn’t you be, as well?”
Not when she throws me under the wagon as… as a harlot!
Do you have nothing to say, Sister?
“Hmm. Justice is sweet.”
“Yes! Hehe. Should I turn on the red light at night, Sister; I know you can get lonely without your husband.”
Ishtar! I am going to throw you off the tower.
“Hehehe. Let Nungal have her fun. Did it work out in the end?”
Elinor couldn’t believe her sister was giving her parenting advice, but she did feel somewhat silly for reading too into it; it was the fact she’d been so blindsided by it that the embarrassment truly put a spur in her chest.
Haaa. Fine. I’m going to break her neck at least once for this, though.
“And I’m sure she’ll love the attention. Yet another victory for my niece; I’m so proud!”
Elinor’s focus drifted between the floating obelisk, dying queen, apologetic God of Thunder, and the chained and quivering demon; if she was being honest, she was a bit proud of her daughter for having the brass to play that kind of prank on her.
Nungal… You actually got under my skin for once. Well done. Well done. Now, time to reanimate this queen, have her make Ishtar an army, and head over to the Covenant’s island to collect myself an Arcanist for my Royal Court.
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