Into the Dragon's Den ch11
The Closest of Calls
After awhile, Nel found a spot to sit down, put Albel down, and rest. It wasn't anywhere special. Nel just walked until she got tiered and stopped where she was, deciding that it would be good enough.
Albel was still out cold, not that she could blame him. It had taken a real thrashing to knock him out, and she doubted he was going to wake up soon. Nel looked over at Albel, who she had laid down not too far away from her, within reach if there was an attack. Nel had to admit, his heroics had surprised her, and impressed her too. He had sounded so concerned for her when he saw the boulder coming at her...This definitely wasn't the same Albel Nox she had entered this cave with.
As Nel looked over at his sleeping face, she noticed that there were some small differences there as well. He looked more peaceful, almost calm as he slept...But then again, maybe that was just because he was unconscious from being wacked in the head numerous times. Even when he was awake though, Nel had noticed that he was more quiet then usual, and he didn't seem to call her foul names such as %u2018worm' or %u2018maggot' nearly as much as before.
%u2018No that I mind. I could use without the name calling.'
Nel leaned back against the cave wall. She was hurting all over. Her legs, her arms, her back, and most of her muscles were all throbbing. Even the muscles she didn't know she had hurt!
%u2018This is just great! I'm so sore I can barley stand up! I'm not moving from this spot unless absolutely necessary for as long as possible.' she thought sourly and closed one eye, keeping the other one alert for danger.
Well, it turns out that %u2018absolutely necessary' was 10 minutes later.
Nel opened her other eye as she heard a thumping sound. With each sound, the ground shook, and the tremors were getting more and more noticeable
-"Something's coming." she muttered and hastily stood up. %u2018It's probably another dragon...This is just what I need! It's worse enough I have to carry Albel around everywhere, but now I've got a fire breathing lizard after me!'
Nel, with some difficulty, managed to lift Albel back up so she could get his arm around her neck and her arm around his waist before starting a swift walk the opposite way the large footsteps were coming from.
After the first minute of her struggled walk, Nel became all too aware that the dragon was gaining on her and Albel, who was still out cold. Nel was under stress, lots of it. %u2018C'mon Albel! You're a big boy, wake up and use your legs so I can stop having to drag you everywhere!' Nel thought, desperately hoping that Albel-the-dead-weight would wake up soon.
The sound and trembling that implied the monster was closing in drowned Nel's every thought and sense. They were going to die if that thing caught up with them, and if it did catch up with them, Nel would probably have to leave Albel and try to fight it off, even though she knew it was almost completely useless to even try. She'd lose, and Albel would suffer because of her weakness. That didn't sit well with Nel, giving her more reason to continue her quick walk, thinking there might be somewhere suitable for them to hide until the dragon went by.
Nel sped up a little bit, tightening her grip on Albel. She was going to get them to safety, if it was the last thing she did.
Suddenly, the ground seemed to disappear from beneath Nel's feet, and I'm not talking about the term of speech. Oh no, we're talking literally.
Nel's eyes widened as she felt herself falling. She hadn't been paying attention to where she was going, and now she found herself falling into a narrow, yet deep, pit. Nel hastily fumbled for her dagger at her side, hoping to stop them from falling down too deep...or hitting the bottom. She got it free and forcefully jammed it into the rock wall that was quickly passing by in front of her. The blade screeched in discomfort as it tore through the rock until it stuck, jerking Nel to an abrupt stop.
The sudden stop caught Nel off guard, making her lose the firm grip she had on Albel's middle, allowing him to slip from her grasp. Nel panicked as she fumbled for any part of Albel that would stop him from falling to his doom.
-"Albel!" she exclaimed in a frantic voice as her hand found his just before he dropped out of reach. Albel's body dangled limply now, the only thing keeping him from falling was Nel's hand, which was griping his as hard as possible.
Nel bit her lip. That had been way too close for comfort...She thought she had been under stress before, if only she had known this was going to happen. A rumbling sound made Nel's head shoot up so she could see the troublesome dragon easily step over the hole they were in and continue it's leisurely stroll. Well, that was one less problem for Nel to juggle, no more dragon.
But now she had lots more problems then before. Nel looked down at Albel and dearly wished he'd wake up soon, as in now. Her grip on his hand wasn't all that secure, and she really didn't want to drop him....Don't ask why, she just knew she didn't. It would be the most profitable choice though, he was weighing her down, and if this kept up, she would fall along with him.
Nel shook her head vigorously and tightened her already firm grip on her companion, no, her friend. %u2018I'm not dropping him. There has been so many opportunities for Albel to just let me go rather then help me, and now that it's my turn to return the favor, I'm thinking about just letting go of him? No way! If he dies, I die too.'
With that though, Albel's hand suddenly became very slippery, or maybe it was Nel's hand...Either way, she was losing him, he was slipping out of her grip.
Nel tried to get a hold of him again, but with no luck. He was falling now. Albel was drifting farther and farther away from Nel's outstretched hand, almost slowly. Nel felt her heart lurch as it dawned on her that she would never see him again. His grin, his shaggy and unkept hair, the look on his face when he insulted her, or the cringe with every touch she gave him.
He was almost out of sight now. Nel opened her mouth and let out a terrified scream. "Albel!!"
Her voice echoed off the sharp walls of the pit before reaching Albel's ears, and waking him from his slumber.
His eyes shot open.
It only took a split second for him to figure out what was happening before he took action. With deadly fast reflexes, Albel grabbed for his katana and unsheathed it, jamming it securely into the rock wall, much the same as what Nel had done with her dagger. He lurched to an abrupt stop and grabbed the katana's handle with his other hand to steady himself.
Nel felt relief flood her body and soul. "Albel! Are you okay?!" she called down at him, adjusting herself so that she could hold onto her dagger with both hands. Albel quickly looked up and saw Nel dangling there.
-"What do you think?! I go unconscious for once in a blue moon and I wake up to find myself falling down a pit!" he grumbled. "My trust in you is so shot now...."
Nel smirked. He was going to be just fine.
Nel looked back down at him to see him jam his clawed hand into the rock wall and pull out his katana. He swung up and stuck the blade back in a little higher up before hoisting himself up and driving his claw in again higher up, making a climbing game out of it. Albel looked back up at her once he was closer. "Are you going to be alright?"
Nel was only slightly caught off guard. Albel had been acting a lot nicer to her recently, for reasons she couldn't even begin to imagine. "Yeah, I'll be fine. As long as I don't slip that is..." she said and adjusted her hands on her dagger's handle.
Albel was still climbing closer. "You better not fall. If you do, I'm not going down after you." Albel said with a hint of sarcasm as he got up beside her. Nel looked at him as he passed her right by and climbed over the edge of the pit and out of view. Nel panicked for a second when he didn't immediately return.
-"Albel?" she called uncertainly.
Surely enough, Albel came back into view and laid down on his stomach, stretching his normal arm down towards her. Nel reached up and took his hand. Pulling her dagger out of the wall, she let him pull her up and out of the pit with ease.
Nel plopped down on the ground and replaced her weapon in it's pouch. Albel sat down beside her. "Though I'd left without you?" he asked in a slightly irritated tone. Nel breathed in deep a few times before answering.
-"Yes, I actually did for a second there. But I knew you'd come back. Like I told you before, I trust you."
Albel smirked. "So, might I ask why you decided to hurtle us both down that pit?"
Nel rolled her eyes. "I didn't do it on purpose, stupid. We were being chased by a dragon, and I guess I wasn't looking where I was going, so I walked right into it."
Albel sheathed his katana. "And then you decide to drop me?"
Nel huffed. "I didn't drop you on purpose either, your hand slipped. We're just lucky you woke up."
Albel nodded. "I'm just lucky you screamed, I wouldn't of woken up if you hadn't."
Nel turned slightly pink in the face. "I didn't scream that loud..."
Albel smirked. "Oh yes you did. All of Ellicor could've easily heard that."
Nel lightly punched Albel in the arm. "Oh, be quiet." Albel stood up and Nel followed suit. "What should we do now?" Nel asked as she lightly dusted off her shirt. Albel shrugged.
-"Just keep walking I guess. We haven't seen Michael for awhile so all there really is to do is walk around and see if we can find him."
Nel nodded. "Let's go this way. I came from over there when the dragon was chasing me."
Albel nodded and started walking away when he noticed Nel wasn't following him. "Are you coming or what?" he asked and turned to se Nel staring down at her feet.
-"Hey Albel," she spoke softly, "I wanted to thank you for saving me again back there with the rocks. I don't know what happened, when I saw them coming at me, I just froze up. I couldn't move...."
Albel waved his hand vaguely. "Stop thanking me already, you're making me feel like I'm on the spot! Besides, you saved me too back there, just call it even. Okay?"
Nel looked up at him for a few long seconds before nodding. "Sure. Okay."
She slowly walked (more like stumbled) up beside him and they both continued to venture deeper into the hell hole cave.
-"Are you going to be okay? You don't look so hot, and you can't even walk in a straight line." Albel asked as Nel bumped into him by accident.
-"I'll be fine Albel. Just tell me ahead of time if there's any pits coming up, okay?"