Chapter 2

To Battle!

The air inside the castle was dense. Marceline's breath created clouds of mist that hung in the air momentarily before dissipating. She had been standing in the same spot for what seemed like hours, watching and listening.

In the distance she began to hear a scraping noise like something dragging its feet across concrete. Marceline drew in a breath and leaned forward, straining her ears.

It was difficult to tell where the noise was coming from as it echoed across the expanse, but it was getting louder. Squinting, she could see a figure emerge from the darkness at the furthest end of the room.

Then another.

Within minutes, she could see a phalanx of creatures slowly moving towards her.

The first one that emerged had gotten close enough that she could make out the details. The scraping noise was coming from the ravaged boots it was wearing as they were drug across the floor. The nails that used to hold the boots together scraped against the concrete of the floor. Aside from the boots, the creature was wearing tattered clothes. They were simple clothes. A dirty tan tunic and blackened cotton pants hung off a body with no remaining muscle or fat. Through the ripped clothing, she could see skin that looked like leather. It’s face was nothing but a hollow skull. The sockets of the eyes were as dark as the water in the moat. Lifeless yet moving.

Her left hand moved smoothly to the outer edge of the cloak and slid it inside. Her right hand grabbed for her sword. She wrapped her fingers around the hilt but did not remove it.

The first creature was about 20 feet away now, its head swiveling erratically back and forth. The crackling of its neckbone reverberated in the hall.

Soulless eyes met Marceline's and it stopped.

It rotated its head slightly, never breaking eye contact. It opened its mouth. From deep within the haunted body came an unholy scream. It sounded more like a panther than a human.

It immediately began clamoring towards Marceline, each step rattling the bones inside the ravaged clothing. It closed the gap in seconds.

The creature stretched out it’s bony hands towards Marceline, seemingly aimed at gouging out her eyes.

When the outstretched arms were within inches of Marceline’s face, she swiftly shifted her weight to the left and slid to the side. The creature’s hand sliced through the air where her head used to be.

In one sharp movement, she pulled the sword from her jacket, sliced the screaming creature's neck and kicked at it’s torso. The battered head hit the ground with a crack and a thud at her feet. The body flew away, crashing against the wall.

As the screech below her died away, she noticed the rest of the creatures in the hall were now staring at her. Marceline raised her right foot and smashed it into the skull on the ground, turning it into dust underneath her boot. She slowly looked up at the throng of enemies before her, and grinned.

Like a flock of birds, they rushed towards her in unison.

And then she kills them all. Good job.

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