Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Bitter Suites to Succubi!! Chapter 3!!

Arcana symbol (3)

Just outside of Tulpex, Ecks and Willow come to the area Elanohr described where she saw her daughter and her friend’s cart. It is an overgrown clearing surrounded by the trees of Dodgson Woods. There is plenty of debris but it’s mostly discarded merchandise such as pots, pans, linens and other items. There is nothing that suggests a cart is amongst the refuse. Ecks and Willow have been searching the area for a few minutes. The overgrowth makes it difficult for them to see if there are any tracks on the ground and there is no grass pressed down from where a cart could possibly have been resting. Ecks promised Elanohr that he would look into this with assurance that he will not leave until something is found. He and Willow see where the animals come to eat but no tracks belonging to a merchant’s cart. Ecks searches toward the woods, thinking that the cart maybe hidden in a dense brush where whoever took it hoped that no one would find it. Willow hunts in the opposite direction. She’s finding more plants stripped of their flowers by animals than any evidence of a missing cart or the girls. She looks up to see a bird flying just overhead. It circles for a bit before diving down the brush just ahead of her. Normally, a bird would pull up just enough to land safely but this one did not. Willow finds this odd and investigates. Cautiously, she approaches the brush, wary of the possibility for an animal—or Elanohr’s daughter’s kidnapper—to strike. Once there, Willow looks over the brush.
Suddenly, a flock of birds burst from below. Willow screams and throws her arms up in defense. The winds from their wings are like tiny gusts. And just like that it is over. Willow watches the flock take to the sky which is beginning to turn orange as dusk begins to settle in. Once they are out of sight, she makes one more attempt to see where they came from. Willow gasps at what she sees and calls to Ecks. Ecks turns around to see Willow waving him over. When he gets to her, he is taken aback by what he sees.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” says Ecks.
The ravine below is littered with merchant carts.
“Look at them all,” said Willow.
“Come on, somewhere down there is the cart belonging Elanohr’s daughter,” Ecks says.
They find the path that leads to the bottom of the ravine. It is narrow, just wide enough for Serenity to fit. Her tires clip the side of the hill as they descended. When they enter the ravine, Ecks and Willow looked on in awe. Close up, the scene is far grimmer. The carts littered the area haphazardly yet they seemed to be organized. It is like a make shift village. Ecks and Willow step off Serenity and investigate closer. Carts of various designs from various land rested here, rotting like open sores. Ecks noticed the amount of decay several carts. They have been here for weeks, maybe longer. When they enter the merchant cart village, Ecks spots a very familiar cart. The weather has beaten it but he can still see what remains of the dark blue paint and red trim. He moves some of the vegetation that has taken it over aside and looks at the sign. It is an egret perched on the edge of a flower pot full of blue tulips. Though half the letters are worn away, he can still make out the fancy writing of the “Snowy Egret” floral shop from the town of Cypress Gallows in Arcana Kingdom. Cypress Gallows is located north of Syrus which is a two day ride. The town is well known for its flower shops and herbal taverns. The people there have extensive knowledge of plants and flowers both poisonous and non-poisonous. Ecks remembers the two girls who ran the cart. One was a tall blonde whose hair was cropped just above her shoulders. The other girl was shorter and had shoulder length wavy almond hair. The girls fancied him and Ecks spoke to them whenever they visited Arcana Castle. Then one day he noticed they weren’t outside the castle. At first he thought they were taking a day off until two weeks had passed since the last time he saw them. Ecks wondered why they stopped coming to the castle. Now he knows.
“This is the flower girls’ cart, isn’t it?” said Willow. Ecks had not noticed when she walked up next to him.
“Yeah,” Ecks answered. He examines the cart some more and then asks, “How long ago did Elyzah say the disappearances began?”
“She said it was two months.”
“This cart’s been here for about three.” Ecks looks out over several other carts. The decay of these is more severe than the Snowy Egret cart. The wood is rotted and crumbling and the plants have completely taken over a few of them. “A lot of these have been here longer.”
Willow is about to speak when she notices a cart in the distance that isn’t dilapidated like the others. “Ecks, look,” she says to him. Ecks looks at the cart Willow points to. They walk to the cart. Immediately, they see that the cart is damaged but there are no signs of rot and the paint is still pristine. They look the cart over, noticing the gashes in the wood as if an animal had clawed at it. Willow opens the door to look inside. Linens of various styles and colors still rested neatly on the shelves except for the few that littered the floor. A cluster of spiders have moved in but other than that the rest of the cart is fine. Willow steps inside. Her foot hits something that jingles. She lifts up a woven shawl to find a small satchel. Picking it up, she hears the coins shift inside. Who steals a cart but leaves the money behind, she wondered. Willow leaves the cart with the satchel and finds Ecks standing at the rear of the cart. “Look what I found,” she says.
Ecks looks at the satchel briefly and then points to the cart. “Same deal here,” he says.
Willow looks at the back of the cart as well and notices the hammer and cauldron insignia of Tulpaar Village.
“We found Aerith’s cart,” said Ecks. His tone is grim. Judging from the condition of the cart and how it was hidden amongst the others, he suspects the worse for Aerith. Still, he gave Elanohr his word that he would find her regardless of her condition. “Let’s head back and tell Elanohr what we found. We’ll show her the satchel.” Willow responds with a nod. They make their way back through the merchant cart graveyard when they notice something odd. The birds that were once chirping loudly have gone silent. They stop. An eerie silence has fallen over the area. Even the rustling of the trees swaying in the light wind is soundless. Caution takes hold of Ecks and Willow. Something is going to happen and it will not be good. Just then they hear a door slowly creek open. Ecks whips Grace and Glory from their holsters and snaps into attack position. He faces the cart just off to his right. The door, rotted and barely hanging on its hinges, drifts open. Soon, several more doors on several more carts mysteriously open almost in unison. Ecks quickly scans either side of him before he returns his attention to the cart before him when he hears footsteps. They are slow and shuffling. Ecks and Willow look on in shock at whom or what emerges.
She stood before them wearing a dark red dress with a white blouse. She had blonde hair and her bangs were held back by flower shaped hair clips. She steps forward, gazing at them with eyeless sockets. The woman’s dress is tattered and worn. Her hair is scraggly and her skin darkened like dried leather. The woman—or the thing that used to be a human—groaned as it lunged forward. Ecks bashes it in the face with Glory in his right hand. The creature looks back up. Its jaw is broken and hanging loosely from its prune like face. No further confirmation is needed to tell them that the woman is a living corpse.
“Well, that’s not good,” Ecks commented.
“And this is worse,” Willow said worriedly while tugging on Ecks’ sleeve.
Ecks looks up at the merchant cart graveyard. “Oh crap,” he says.
One by one, the living corpses emerge from the carts. All of them are female. They slowly approach Ecks and Willow reaching for them with crooked fingers. A crooked hand bursts from the ground and grabs Willow by her ankle. She screams and kicks the hand, sending half its fingers tumbling across the ground. She steps back as the corpse hauls itself from the ground. It stares back at Willow with its empty eye sockets. The brown haired corpse lunges for Willow who is held in place by fear. Ecks rushes in between them and knocks the corpse down Grace. He ends the corpse’s life with a head shot from Glory.
“Looks like we overstayed our welcome,” he says.
“I think so too,” replied Willow.
Ecks whacks one attacking corpse on one side and blasts off the head of another corpse on his opposite side. “We have to get to Serenity,” he says after felling two more living corpses. He then takes out a few more, giving him and Willow a chance to make a break for Serenity. Just as Willow turns to run, she stops abruptly. After firing another shot, Ecks bumps into Willow. “I said get to Serenity,” he shot at her.
“That might be a problem,” Willow said.
Ecks sends another corpse back to the grave before taking a quick peek over toward Serenity. A large group of living corpses bar them from reaching the motorbike. The corpses from the merchant cart graveyard box them in. Their situation is not looking good. The only solace they can take is that they are getting a clearer picture on why they were called to Tulpaar Village. However, they will not get the opportunity to solve the problem if they cannot find a way to escape the horde of undead surrounding them. Ecks assesses the circumstances. It’s going to be a lengthy fight. “Balls,” he cursed grimly.

Want to know how their second assignment started?! Click the links below!!
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.1
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.3
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 2

And check out my latest fan fiction Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade!!
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.1
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.4
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.5

(Check out my first novel Defenders!! CLICK HERE!! Get your copy of Defenders Volumes 1 and 2 through the links in the J1 Studios Bookstore for your Kindle and eBook device!! And check out my new fantasy novel Arcana X and the adventure continues in Arcana X: 2nd Assignment!! And see the witch dance with the devil in my fan fiction Dante vs. Bayonetta and it’s the angriest vs. the furious in “Kratos vs. Asura!!”)

Dante vs. Bayonetta Linx
The Witch dances with the Devil 1
The Witch dances with the Devil 2
The Witch dances with the Devil 3
The Witch dances with the Devil 4
The Witch dances with the Devil 5
The Witch dances with the Devil 6
The Witch dances with the Devil 7
The Witch dances with the Devil 8
The Witch dances with the Devil 9
The Witch dances with the Devil 10
The Witch dances with the Devil 11
The Witch dances with the Devil 12
The Witch dances with the Devil 13
The Witch dances with the Devil 14
The Witch dances with the Devil 15
The Witch dances with the Devil 16
The Witch dances with the Devil 17
The Witch dances with the Devil 18
The Witch dances with the Devil 19
The Witch dances with the Devil 20
The Witch dances with the Devil 21
The Witch dances with the Devil 22
The Witch dances with the Devil 23
The Witch dances with the Devil 24
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The Witch dances with the Devil 27
The Witch dances with the Devil 28
The Witch dances with the Devil 29
The Witch dances with the Devil 30
The Witch dances with the Devil 31
The Witch dances with the Devil 32
The Witch dances with the Devil 33
The Witch dances with the Devil Epilogue

Fury Rages On-Kratos vs. Asura

Arcana X: Gunslinger Swordsman
Chapter1- Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Chapter2- Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Chapter5- Part 1

Part 2
Part 3

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