For the past few months, Denise, between the occasional monster fight, had been looking for Mark to see what exactly what he was up to, with little luck. Once she had caught him dealing with some witches, but it was merely for some spider legs. All spells use those.
Finally, on an overcast night, Denise found Mark at a cave, one close to that which Spartypuss had used for a time. The cave of Yannat. Yannat was a powerful witch; not as powerful as Aosoth, but a boon to fellow evil-doers. Despite her wish for publicity, Denise knew she should not deal with magic like that head on. She pressed herself against as the cave wall and edged herself in, until she heard the scratchy voice of the hag. Quickly flying up to a stalactite, Denise looked for Mark. There he stood, speaking to Yannat as if talking with a mate down at the pub. The hag sat near the edge of a chasm, candles surrounding her.
‘Ah yes,’ said the hag as Denise tried to get in closer, ‘The Moon of Margstrom is coming tonight.’
The Moon of Margstrom? The night when the moon becomes red for some reason nobody could really be bothered to explain, when the worst rituals were practiced? The Moon originally titled “The Nasty Moon” until the wizard Margstrom practiced a series of spells which were so great, everyone finally had an excuse to change that embarrassing name? Denise stretched out her neck.
‘’Course. But I’m gonna need some information. Think you can manage that?’
‘Oh you,’ replied the hag, clutching her skeletal hands. ‘I know just about everything.’ She peered up at the ceiling. ‘Even when someone is watching us.’
As she dove onto the floor, tumbling as she did so, the hag rose above the ground, her arms stretching. Lightning bolts emitted from her fingers, with Denise taking to the air herself to dodge them. Denise soared towards the entrance, but a bolt hit her wing, sending her face first to the cave floor. The floating hag approached, readying another bolt. Leaping to her feet, Denise threw her fire in the hag’s direction, to no avail.
On her feet this time, Denise headed for the entrance again. Mark suddenly appeared, intercepting her as he struck her in the face with his fist. With her on the ground, the hag blasted Denise in the chest, causing her to black out.
Blinking open her eyes, Denise briefly pondered that she might be dead, but then she saw Mark right before her. Though his face was hidden beneath the darkness of his hood, she could just imagine the smug smirk that lay behind the shadows. She moved her arms to strike, but found herself bound by chains. A quick look around revealed that she was no longer in the cave of the hag, but rather in a dungeon of some kind.
‘Oh, you’re awake, are ya? I was hoping to get Aosoth’s old helper but you’ll do just fine.’
‘What is this about?’ snarled Denise, pulling her arms forward as if trying to pry the chains from the wall.
‘Don’t tell me you’ve never been here!’ said Mark, turning around. ‘This is the dungeon of the famous Aosoth…’
Denise snarled, punching herself in her mind. ‘You’re planning to resurrect her, aren’t you?’
‘Sure am! And you’re gonna help me!’
‘Like hel…’ Denise noticed a gash across her arm. ‘The spell requires dragon blood, doesn’t it?’
‘Yeah, but the thing was, you lot were off hiding. That’s why I went to see that hag. She’s a right old grump, so I was reluctant to pay her a visit, but now I’m glad I did.’ To emphasise his point, he held up a vial of Denise’s blood, playing with it for a while. ‘The Moon of Margstrom is coming into alignment. The ritual should begin soon.’
Mark approached a cauldron, peering over his shoulder to laugh at Denise’s struggling. Denise let loose another torrent of fire from her mouth, only for Mark to disappear and reappear when the fire vanished. ‘Neat trick that. Maybe I’ll teach it to you sometime.’ With another flash, more chains appeared, tying Denise’s mouth shut.
After more struggling, Denise watched Mark accumulate more ingredients. He admired them for a while before tossing them into the cauldron, singing an unintelligible song as he did so. All Denise could do was stay chained, hanging her head in shame. In her mind’s eye she could see Daniel, eyes narrowed and teeth bared, looking down upon her.
With another slap, she was brought back to reality, with Mark tightening his fists in excitement. ‘Oh, boy! The moon is ri-sing!’
He rushed to his cauldron, stirring it a few more times before beginning a chant: ‘Spirits of darkness, raise your queen!’
A green glow illuminated the once-dingy dungeon.
‘Let her twisted face be seen!’
The glow grew ever brighter, causing Denise to close her eyes.
‘Cauldron bubble, fire roar!’
Denise felt tears trickle down her eyes, and mucus drip down her snout. She would have roared were it not for the chains.
‘Let her walk the world once more!’
The brio of that last lyric forced Denise’s eyes open to witness the green glow of the cauldron to transform into an eerie white. Mark began hopping about like a rabbit on some drug or other, and was knocked over from the power of the cauldron. It bubbled ever faster, and the liquid within began overflowing. Ooze crept across the stone floor, multiplying and thickening. It neared Denise, a worm-like glob rising and wrapping around her leg. Quickly she kicked away the goopy worm, reducing it to an explosion of globules.
The slime continued to surround her, and strangely enough, it was eating away at her chains, reducing them to dust. As it did, she managed to fly upwards. Just as she attempted to pry off the chains from her snout, a tentacle made out of slime wrapped around her body. With her arms still free, Denise dug a claw into the slime, which made it loosen its grip.
Looking down, Denise saw Mark dancing joyfully in the slime. Thus, she dove down and grabbed Mark by the neck, knocking him face first into the slime flooding the dungeon. Just then, the slime retreated back into the cauldron. While still pummelling Mark, Denise turned to see the slime reforming into a humanoid shape.
‘Well, that felt refreshing.’