After killing the final Arachne, the flaming wolf that was once Kylie tore into the bodies of the dead, the corpses catching fire as she sunk her teeth into their flesh, The flames continued to spread around them.
Charity knelt down next to Alaria to check her for life; she was dead. Her spine had snapped and her entire throat had been crushed under the force of the Arachne’s strength. Knowing nothing could be done to save her, the group fled out into the open path as Kylie pounced on another body.
A flare went off in the distance, the night sky glowing crimson over the farm.
“Vlad, I need you to dispose of Alaria’s body so we don’t have to worry about Kylie eating her and being stuck. Hurry! We need to get back to the farm and find out what’s going on.”
After a minute, Vlad had destroyed the body and they all ran back towards the farm. Running out of the woods, they saw patches of flame spread out across the field and the barn Jeremy was chained up in was on fire; a section of the roof had already caved in.
Running with all their might, they reach the barn. Kylie’s dad had been attempting to get inside the barn. When he sees them, he runs over, the barrel of his gun immediately pointed at Vlad’s head. “You fire witch! This is your fault my son is in there dying because of you!”
With the reflexes of an experienced hunter, Dazyn swiped the gun up just as the trigger pulled, knocking Vlad back as Dazyn grabbed Kylie’s dad by the throat, slamming him against the wall of the barn.
“He was not to blame for this! In fact, he’s probably the only one who can save your son and you almost blew his brains out the back of his head!” Dazyn shouted before glancing over his shoulder to the fire mage.“Vlad; are you ok?”
“Yeah, yeah, just grazed me. How many times have I told you you’re getting slower with age?” Vlad snarked with a smirk. Dazyn frowned and Vlad let out an exasperated sigh. “I guess I should go save this jerk’s son.” Charity and Nick helped him up and he rushed over to the barn door to work his magic.
“What happened her?” Dazyn demanded more than asked.
“Some lady showed up; long silvery white hair, said something about looking for you and mentioned an egg. I told her you guys had left after dinner she then charged me. It was inhuman how fast she was; bitch was on me in an instant, had me by the throat; that’s when I shot her right in the face. And it didn’t even phase her other than she looked like a swarm of bees were attacking her head. She dropped me, swore, and then started throwing fireballs all over the damn place, shouting for you to come out and fight her. After a time, she stopped looking around and she looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘Farewell human. Here is a taste of the coming fire storm,’ and then she lifted her hands and a smile spread across her face and fire leapt from her hands, straight into the barn — there was an explosion of heat — I could fucking feel it as the windows exploded! A section of the roof caved in! And that one there,” he pointed furiously at Vlad. “I saw him do the same fireball thing back at the house!”
All of the sudden the flaming beams lifted out of the caved in roof and fell to the ground. Outside, Kylie’s dad looked around in disbelief as he began to struggle to get free.
“Charity! Nick! I need a hand!” called Vlad from inside the barn.
“The sun is starting to come up! You can unchain him!” shouted Kylie’s Dad.
“Way ahead of you!” replied a voice.
A minute later, Vlad and Nick pulled a board with Jeremy on it out of the barn, Charity following close behind. The flesh looked to have been melted from his body except for the two parts of his wrist which had been covered by the shackles, but some of the skin had been ripped off when they removed them because.
The fire department and ambulance were speeding down the road now, sirens blaring.
“If I let you go, you have to promise to behave. That man you just tried to kill got your son out of the barn and might have saved his life. If we can get him stabilized, he can come back from this.”
Letting his grip loosen, Dazyn grabbed Kylie’s Dad’s shotgun and ripped it out of his grip before he let him go. Running over Dazyn grabbed a piece of wood just burning on the end and started to wave it to attract the emergency crews on their way. The sun started to peek over the horizon. Kylie should be back to normal soon, he thought. That means she’s alone in the forest with no protection.
“You four! Make sure he gets the help he needs. I’m going back for Kylie; she should be back to normal by now, but will have no idea what’s going on or where she is."
Dazyn then ran off into the forest back to where they had left Kylie. Upon finding the clearing, he realized the forest was not burning anymore; the damp ground prevented it from spreading and the webs must have burned so fast they didn’t have time to catch anything. In the center of the clearing was Kylie, naked and unconscious, the corpses of Arachne charred, ripped to pieces, and spread around her like a nest made of blood and sinew, charred and black. Walking over, he slipped out of his coat and josseled Kylie awake, covering her with his coat in the damp, cold winter air; she felt like a furnace.
Arthur, the baby dragon, made a small chirping noise as he climbed up onto Dazyn’s shoulder.
Waking up Kylie looked around. “What happened and why is it so freaking hot?”
“Well, you turned last night and that stupid bitch of a dragon attacked the barn right after we left. I think the magic of the pendant absorbed the flames that was burning your brother — hey hey, no, calm down. When I left, the ambulance was almost there and he was still alive. No idea how; he was buried under burning rubble for at least fifteen minutes. He should be dead, but wasn’t, so let’s get you home, and then we will go check on him. He’s probably on his way to the hospital as we speak.”
When they made it back to the barn, Charity had gone along with the ambulance to help. Everyone else had stayed behind. Kylie’s parents were already on the way to the hospital.
The fire crew had gotten all the blazes taken care of, but the barn was ruined. After Kylie got dressed, they all headed to the hospital. They spent hours in the waiting room until Jeremy finally woke. His life signs seemed stable for now. Everyone crowded in the doorway.
Jeremy told them about his night; he remembered feeling the change, but didn’t have any physical transformations. It was like it had began and then continued elsewhere. After hours of that, he heard the ruckus and the shotgun blast and then the fireball exploded in his face. It had thrown him as far as his chains would let him go, but it didn’t burn him. That’s when the roof caved in and the flames raged to life around him. He said that every time the flame touched him it seemed to vanish, but the heat it produced was still there. Eventually, he passed out from the heat and pain of his body melting like a candle in the oven. The next thing he remembered was waking up here and his urge to feed was gone.
They talked for hours, everyone told Kylie and Jeremy about the other night adventures. Jeremy grinned towards the ends and asked Kylie how she liked being a flare wolf. She groaned.
The doctors announced that Jeremy needed his sleep and the party of adventures said their goodbyes and headed back to the farm to collect their things. They had to leave before they brought the dragon back down on Kylie’s family; they had suffered enough this night and did not need the wrath of a rogue dragon brought down on their heads twice.
When packing, Charity and Vlad decided to collect Alaria’s things. Charity bumped the laptop, waking it from sleep mode. The screen lit up, displaying a page talking about the curse breaker shell. This one had much more detail, but most of it wasn’t translated because it was in what seemed to be an ancient, dead language. However, there was a passage:
’To break the curse, the ritual must complete, the shell must locate, and collect what’s lost. The shell’s horn must sound, the water must drink, to cleanse the curse.”
The website explains this is the closest translation that English can get.
After reading, Charity packs up the laptop and they head out.