Thick, fresh blood ran rivers, carving trenches in the loose soil. Constant stampeding mushed the blood and dirt together, creating a horrific mulch that squished and lurched underfoot. What had been a simple attempt to find somewhere to shelter had turned into an ominous bloodbath that was only just coming to an end, if only for a moment.
Arkay spat something from his mouth, the remains of a small creature that had decided to suicidally fly in his face. He wanted to pause for a moment, to shiver from the chilling winds blowing against his blood-soaked body, but there was no time to. He had fallen behind and needed to catch up with his companions. Litvir and Retvik weren’t too far ahead, perhaps only a few steps, but, being the smallest of the group, one of their steps was two or even three of Arkay’s steps.
Growing tired of, well, just about everything, Arkay summoned just enough strength to propel himself forward. In a couple of leaps, he was now within talking distance of the other Decaylings. Both of them were nearly as bloodsoaked as he was, but their height gave them a slight advantage.
“We are getting nowhere…” Retvik growled, trying not to touch his face with dirty hands. Viscera dripped from his claws, splattering against his golden armour. Litvir had already clearly made that mistake, as red and black streaks were very obviously present across Litvir’s snout and right eye. “e have not found shelter and we must have killed a good several dozen monsters each.”
“Several dozen?” Litvir nearly screeched. “I lost count at fifty! These little monsters have been attacking us non-stop!”
“They have slowed down though…” Retvik tutted, stamping on something that had attempted to crawl up his leg. “Which may be a good sign, but is most like-”
A loud blast filled the air, somehow echoing across the forest despite how dense and muddy everything was. Retvik and Litvir immediately turned around to see Arkay, holding his bound rifle, a weapon that was nearly as much a part of the little Decayling as his own wings and tail were. Lying by Arkay’s feet, drowning in the trenches of blood and mud underneath their feet, was a body. One belonging to a creature much larger than the small, squiggly monsters that had been attacking them so far.
Not wanting to take any changes, Arkay fired another shot into what he assumed was the skull of the creature. Blood, brains and bone splattered across the ground, confirming that the creature as deceased. But that wasn’t what worried Arkay.
“It looks a bit like us.”
“Did it… always look a bit like us?” Litvir asked. “Or did it change itself to be like us? Are these monsters… adapting?”
“Possibly…” Retvik muttered. “Do we need to be extra careful now?”
“We need to keep close and keep an eye on each other!” Arkay snarled, tempted to fire another shot into the corpse. “But we also need high ground. Like right now.”
“There is no high ground though. Only trees…”
Arkay paused, then sighed. “Well… we can’t stay here. And we can’t just keep on moving…”
“Can you not just nuke the whole area in one go?” Litvir grumbled. “You were a death god, why do you not just…”
“If I wanted to kill you both in the process, then sure. But I don’t. Death is much less accurate than you think.”
Litvir grunted, not really appreciating Arkay’s response. “So we just go back to murdering everything by hand?”
“Oh, no, that’s…” Arkay sighed, backing away from the corpse. “We should be using our powers to murder faster. I just… don’t want to hurt you two.”
Retvik shrugged, gently patting Arkay on the shoulder, wiping away some excess blood in the process. “That is fine. We just need to stagger our killing, take it in turns to keep ourselves safe. The job we have to do here is manageable, it is important though to use our energy wisely, rather than what we are doing right now. And since this place is clearly the same in all directions, we should just build a base here.”
“I agree…” Litvir frowned. “At least then we can be more loose with our abilities and take shifts, allowing ourselves to rest. Which of you two wishes to start building a shelter first?”
Retvik’s shrugs turned into an annoyed sigh. “I guess I shall start building. Do me a favour and keep those monsters off my back while I start gathering supplies…”