“Until we know where all of these noir beasts are coming from,” James replied, “yes it is.”
“How soon do we have to leave?” Bayani asked.
“We should traverse the catacombs before night falls,” Sir Carter said. “Once we are out, we can set sail over the Whispered Sea.”
“The noir beasts do not follow anyone over water,” James pointed out. “Their numbers are much smaller around the villages beyond the sea.”
“We have seen none in the Forest of Shallavaughn itself,” the cloaked man added.
“That is good to hear,” King Leonars told him. Then he looked to Peter and the others. “Are you prepared to continue your adventure?”
“Definitely ready!” Cerys declared.
“We might as well,” the young teen groaned. “I don’t know why you make it sound like I have any kind of choice when I really don’t.”
“I am ready,” Bayani said. Then he added, “And I apologize for his demeanor; he has been through a lot lately.”
Leonars nodded to him and turned to Himeko.
“I would be honored to join all of your,” she said, smiling first to the king, and then to Nashtra. He nodded back to her.
The group wasted no further time in making preparations to leave. The king’s armor was brought for him, and in a matter of minutes he was suited up. He was a large man even without the full-plates, muscular and tall, but his armor made him look like a giant. He seemed no worse for wear despite having nearly choked to death that morning. Cerys expressed her worry that the thing– nobody knew yet just what to call it– had been laced with poison, but the others assured her that he showed no symptoms thereof.
“Why the armor, though?” she wanted to know.
“The catacombs are not as safe as they used to be,” Sir Carter explained.
“Did the noir bests get in?” Himeko asked.
“Not noir beasts,” Center said, “but good deal other beasts.”
“Bats?” she suggested.
“Certainly,” Carter replied. “Bats, snakes, sometimes even goblins.”
“In the spirit of making you fully aware of what is down here, ” Nashtra added, “there are occasionally largest foes.”
“Like what?” Peter wanted to know.
“Bugbears,” Bayani said.
Peter made a face at him. “Don’t tease.”
“Nothing quite like that,” James told them. “The goblins come in to escape danger, and sometimes that danger follows them in.”
“So what is it, then?” Cerys asked.
“Ogres, usually, ” Sir Carter said as he helped James tighten the straps on his breastplate. “I think there was a bear once.”
“Do not forget the dozen kobolds who were running from the troll,” James added.
“This is starting to sound like a da–”
“Life is always dangerous, Cerys,” James told her. “Cars, poison, giant trolls, microscopic parasites… You can’t do much about the danger, from what I’ve seen. The best album that you could get is by living your life just as you want to, without holding back just because of danger.”