Chapter Eight

DECEIVED

The Shrike shrieked with fear as they plunged into the world of Nocturne.

Instead of welcoming faces they were  greeted by a barren desert and the harsh glare of a sun. While the shrike panted with pain, her wing bruised and torn by her impact into the sand,Melkaz lay beside her, semi-conscious.

As Methiyal attended to the Shrike, a huge slug oozed its way to Melkaz, dazed by the impact. Pinning him to the ground with its ugly heaving body, it pierced his neck with its proboscis.

Melkaz screamed.

Methiyal raced to his aid, desperately trying to drag the slug away, but even the strength of a Kern was no match for the slug. Melkaz, paralysed by the slugs toxin, lay unmoving as it planted a  dark black egg in the back of his neck. As it withdrew its egg-laying tube, he fainted. Its quest completed, the slug hid itself under the desert sand, leaving a viscous trail of purple slime.

Regaining her feet, the Shrike groggily waddled over to Methiyal and Melkaz. Methiyal did his best to lift Melkaz onto her back, but he was much too heavy. Whispering quietly to the Shrike he asked for her help. She responded by grasping Melkazin in her jaws and gently lifted him onto her back.

Methiyal raced over to get Melkaz’s pack. As he bent down to pick it up, a large, black, feline-like creature struck him across the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. While he lay, unmoving, in the sand, a huge slug oozed over and pinned him to the ground.

The very last thing he remembered, before passing out, was an excruciating pain in the back of his neck.

 

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