Jesse exchanged a dubious glance with Pantheon. “He claims he didn’t have control over his own actions?”
Revelator nodded. Jesse could be a tad slow sometimes. “The demon possessing him was behind everything.”
“Could you ask what they’re planning?”
“I can’t ask anything.” Revelator pointed at his head. “This thing is a receiver only.”
Jesse grunted. And thank goodness for that. Judging by how he misuses the receiving power, I don’t want Laban talking in my head. Good way to lose one’s sanity.
“You’re probably right about that. But it’s so hard not to be able to find out what-”
“Revelator! What else did he say?”
“He wants you to kill him. He showed me which cave he was in, but warned me he thinks he’s only being allowed to transmit so Jalzabel can lure us to our deaths.”
“According to him, though, there’s this guy from Boston who can travel home with spacial portals. If he’s there to set the trap, we can catch him and get our ticket home. I don’t think we have any choice but to spring it.”
Pantheon said, “I agree.”
“Lead us down there.”
Following Revelator’s directions, they ended up at the mouth of a cave.
“I’ll go first.” Jesse squeezed his sword’s hilt. The blade lit up like a torch.
Pantheon and Revelator followed.
“Look ahead.” Jesse cast his light on Dark Mystic sitting on a rock, his purple hooded cape faced the walls.
Revelator focused in on the figure. Instead of the usual block, a myriad of reptilian brain wave patterns hissed.
“Jesse, it’s a trap!”
Pantheon stepped up beside Jesse. “Bow of Apollo!” A bow and arrow appeared in her hands. She fired the arrow at Dark Mystic. The cape and the two sticks that held it up flew off the rock and revealed several snakes.
Jesse fired several beams from his blade at the approaching snakes.
Revelator walked over. “Jesse, fire an extra shot to cut off its head.”
“My sword can kill-”
“I don’t like snakes.”
Jesse fired another beam at the dead snake. “Happy?”
“No, but a little safer.” Revelator picked up the dead snake’s tail. “Jesse, this a North American rattler. Wherever we are, I don’t think it’s Arizona.”
“So that means?”
“They’re importing help.”
“Regardless, I don’t think he’s here. Let’s get out of here.”
The trio turned. An explosion rocked the mouth of the cave and the roof collapsed at that end, trapping them. Dust pelted them.
Jesse coughed. “Nice. So while keeping us busy with his snake friends, Dark Mystic escapes and blows up the entrance.”
“Not Dark Mystic, Jalzabel. DM warned us, but you thought we could take the trap.”
“Okay, so this is somewhat my fault. But I already figured a way around it. You can get us out of here, can’t you, Pantheon?”
She blinked. “What do you mean?”
“I thought you had the power of Hades. You know, the lord of the underworld.”
“Actually, I’ve only engineered myself with the power of the twelve Olympians. Hades wasn’t one of them.”
“But in Issue 18 of Pantheon, you used the power of Hades to escape an underground trap.”
“Oh, the writer took creative license.”
Revelator laughed. “Apparently comic books aren’t all that reliable a source.”
“Cute,” said Jesse. “There is another way out. Dark Mystic didn’t escape the way we came in. We would’ve seen his tracks. We just got to find it. Piece of cake.”
A blinding light burst in the cavern and a ferocious barking split the air.
“Spear and armor of Ares!” Bronze armor surrounded Pantheon and a spear appeared in her hand.
“Knife of Wal-Mart!” Revelator pulled the hunting knife Jesse allowed him to carry. At times like this, he wished Jesse allowed him to carry a gun.
Barking filled the chamber.
Revelator closed his eyes and began to search for the canine patterns. “There are about thirty. They’re filled with rage. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Jesse asked, “Any idea which way out?”
“Unfortunately, none of the dogs have a map, as far as I can tell.”
“Okay, stay behind us. Scan for the dogs, if one is coming, let us know. We’ll try and avoid as many as we can.”
The trio walked forward with Revelator bringing up the rear. The cave branched off in two directions.
“Which way?” Jesse asked.
“To the left are twenty-one dogs. To the right, nine.”
“Whichever side has more dogs is where the exit will be.”
“What if that’s what he’s planning on?” asked Pantheon. “He knows you’d choose the path with more dogs and that Revelator is here to tell you which one.”
“I’m not that predictable. Come on.”
Pantheon dashed ahead of Jesse. His thoughts flashed with annoyance. Excuse me, I’m leading the exhibition.
Pantheon grabbed a rock and threw it. An axe head flew through the air and landed in a rock.
She turned and sent Jesse a teasing smile. He’s so cute when he’s embarrassed. “I believe that’s about your height.”
Jesse cleared his throat. “Let’s head the other way.”
They backtracked, the barking ever closer as they headed down a path along a ridge overlooking an underground river.
“Jesse, I’m betting he booby trapped both sides.”
Jesse switched the blazing sword to his other hand. “Why didn’t you say so when we were over there?”
“Because I think she’s right about which side has the exit.”
“I guess I’ve been outvoted.” Jesse added silently, But when did this become a democracy? Regardless, her stunt with the first booby trap has probably got nine rabid dogs waiting for us.
They walked down the right side of the cave. The barking came louder.
“Jesse, about one hundred feet ahead. Two of ’em.”
The Sword squinted. “I don’t see them.”
The barking was getting closer still.
“We should be right on top of them if you’re right.”
“On top, that’s it. Jesse look out!”
Two monster-sized dogs jumped towards Jesse’s throat.
Jesse pressed on his sword’s hilt. A beam of energy shot out at the animals. He stepped back. The dogs collapsed on the ground and laid still.
Pantheon poked the animals with her spear. No response. “They’re dead.”
Revelator examined the bodies. “They look to be a Rotweiller-Pitbull crossbreed.” He examined the dogs’ thick legs. “Pumped full of steroids.”
“The two most ferocious breeds of dogs, super sized with steroids.” Jesse shook his head. “Let’s keep moving.”
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