Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Hunted ❯ Chapter 17 ( Chapter 17 )

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Dozed off...

Five hours later, Atem and the small band of Hunters and the pair of Hikari vampires reached the hidden entrance to the Vampire Lord's Keep. Ryou remembered this entrance from the time he and Yugi escaped. “You might want to be careful,” He informed the group.
Atem looked at him, “Explain.”
“The Vampire Lord had a `pet' Shadow-Wraith that used to patrol this tunnel,” Ryou replied. “Yugi and I caused a mini-rock slide and buried the creature under the rubble. He may have had it replaced since then.”
Joey looked confused, “What's a `Shadow-Wraith?”
“From what we were able to gather,” Malik began. “A Shadow-Wraith is a type of `puppet'. Apparently, they were vampires or other supernatural creature, very rarely are humans used. After their free-will is removed, they are `given' to the Possessors to be `remade'. They like to place Shadow-Wraiths in the tunnels leading into the Keep because they are agile enough to cause massive amounts of damage in a small space.”
Ryou added, “Sometimes the Vampire Lord gives them soulless vessels to use.”
Atem looked at the entrance, “We have to rescue Yugi and, since we're here, wipe out as many of these vamps as we can.”
The group nodded and followed Atem and Malik into the tunnels. Nothing could prepare Atem for the sight that met him.
A small form was lying in the darkness waiting to do its duty and keep outsiders from entering its masters' abode.
As the group rounded the curve, a dark mass rushed at them. “IT'S A SHADOW-WRAITH,” Ryou cried out. Duke swung at it with a metal bat and felt it connect with the creature. It was knocked into a far wall, but shot back at the group before they could see what it looked like.
The Shadow-Wraith swiped a clawed hand at Duke and lightly scratched his shoulder as it dashed past him aiming for Tristan. Atem shot a sedative-laced dart at the creature's back as it flashed past him. It hit, but there was no effect. Shadi had heard of these creatures in passing and knew that there were few ways to disable them. One way to affect such a beast was to put it down using a very strong poison. He notched a dart into his staff and prepared to hit the creature with it as quickly as possible.
Before he could make his move, the creature screamed and into a nearby recess. But it never made it all the way in before it fell and several boulders from the pile next to it fell, landing on it. Atem and Shadi made their way to the Shadow-Wraith cautiously.
Abraxas had informed Raiden on the newest Shadow-Wraith that had been placed in the south tunnels. “Good, hopefully this one will work better than that last one did,” he replied. “Now leave me and resume your work, Abraxas. I'm going to retire for the day and do not wish to be disturbed.”
Abraxas bowed, “Understood my king.” He left the room, closing the doors behind him. He headed back to his chambers and his research.
Abraxas had been furious eight years ago when two little runaways crushed his strongest Shadow-Wraith under half a ton of rubble. It had taken him three months to get it perfected since it was a werewolf and he was limited to working during the full moon with it for the first month and then trying to adapt it to allow it to be able to change halfway and staying there permanently.
He had been quite pleased to discover that his newest `project' had little control over reverting back. This had made it easier to work with since all he had to do was flood the thing with magic to make up for the `space' left after the Vampire Lord had removed most of its soul.
As they neared the Shadow-Wraith, Atem picked up a dropped staff and poked at the fallen creature's bare foot. There was no movement. He looked at Ryou. “They aren't very good at faking. If it were able, it would have attacked by now,” he answered as the creature shot up at Atem. “But this could be a different type!”
Before the creature could get its intended victim, Tristan and Joey attacked it with metal bats and a few spears laced with fast-acting sedatives. Their struggles started a small rock-slide, hitting the creature. Atem flinched at its screams. Before anyone could move to get a closer look at it, the Shadow-Wraith darted into a nearby recess and vanished.
Atem looked at the rubble and spotted a torn jacket that looked a little familiar. “Yugi,” he whispered as he picked it out of the debris. He folded the scrapped article carefully and put it in his pack. “Let's go, before we're attacked again.”
Everyone nodded and followed Ryou and Malik through the tunnels. Ryou had taken on his animal form to be prepared to warn the others of another attack.
Raiden was watching his `pet's' attack on the group and was pleased at how his newest Shadow-Wraith was faring. He smirked as he watched the creature dart into a recess that would take it ahead of the group to prevent them access to his chambers.
Malik did his best to explain the `Ritual' that the Vampire Lord used to remove souls while they walked, “I've seen it done before. The Vampire Lord uses a certain type of crystal and places it against the victim's forehead. He then seals the soul into it. How much of the soul sealed depends on the amount of magic used and how angry he is at the time. He tosses most of the used Soul-crystals into a room, but he is said to keep certain ones with him at all times to prevent their freedom.” Just before they rounded the last corner to the Vampire Lord's chambers, Ryou's ears flattened.
{Guys, I heard something coming from the left.}
Atem nodded as he and the others got ready for another assault, “Thank you, Ryou.”
Just then, a small figure flew at them from above. Joey, Duke, and Tristan swung at it and felt their weapons connect. The figure was sent crashing into a far wall. Shadi noticed that it was moving slower than before. It seemed like an eternity as the Shadow-Wraith dragged itself to a standing position. Before it could attack again, it collapsed.
Atem and the others then realized that the creature attacking them was indeed Yugi, but at the same time it wasn't. Once they were certain that the Shadow-Wraith was out cold, he knelt down next to his brother and lifted an eyelid. Yugi's eyes were a very washed-out version of his regular amethyst coloring.
Shadi checked for any signs of `life'. Atem looked at him hopefully, but Shadi shook his head. “I am sorry my friend, but without knowing what has happened, we cannot be sure,” Shadi stated. “If his soul was indeed stolen and his body reanimated with magic, then there is hope, though very slim. But if it were only his free-will, then I am truly sorry.”
Atem looked at Shadi, “I am going to make whoever did this to my brother pay. Ryou, Malik, I want you to stay with Tea, Ishizu, and Odion. Watch over Yugi's body and see about patching it up. Once you are done, return to the vehicles.”
Atem then led Shadi and the others deeper into the fortress, leaving the others behind.
Abraxas stuttered, “My lord, there were apparently too many intruders and it was overwhelmed.”
“No excuses,” he snapped. “You are to report to the Dungeons for your punishment, and to make sure you go there, you will be escorted there. Now be gone.”
The guards grabbed Abraxas by the arms and dragged him out.
Raiden looked at the amethyst crystal that he wore, “Without your soul, your body is as good as dead.”
Possessor: A vampire with the ability to use magic to manipulate a soulless vessel or one with a broken will. Prefer to work with supernatural beings, turning them into Shadow-Wraiths. (See also Shadow-Wraith) Also known to create Soul-Crystals. (See also Soul-Crystals)
Shadow-Wraith: A creature that was created by a Possessor. These were victims whose free-will was destroyed or soul removed. Reanimated using magic. Though it is possible, returning a stolen soul to their original body is highly difficult. Favored are vampires and/or werewolves as these are strongest. Rarely are humans used.
Strategies for Defeat:
NEVER try to take one on alone. Always face with teams of three or more per creature. Carry plenty of highly concentrated poison designed for supernatural beings. Try to avoid cramped spaces as there are some specially created for combat in tight areas.
Soul-Crystals: Created by Possessors for the sole purpose of removing and storing the stolen soul. May be under the guise of a normal gemstone. Returning a stolen soul to its rightful place is possible, though difficult. The amount of a soul sealed greatly depends on the magic and emotions, namely anger, used during the sealing process.
Atem's Notes
(As submitted to the Council's revised edition of the Hunter's Handbook)
I think I'm definitely stopping for the night after I finish with Chapter 21's posting.