2 The Necronomicon

The group snapped from their sudden trance, hurrying to thrust their hands on the altar, hence pushing the marble slab with all their might.

Nier watched Walson's face regain its brilliance as the old man labored, perspiration trickling from his neck.

"Push harder lads! We're almost there," Walson raved, as the alter crunchily skidded like a bus crossing on a pebble road.

The alter clunked to an end and after Nier and the men of science withdraw their hands, all of them oddly had the impression that the contemporary position suited the alter way better than its original one.

It was as if the slab makers never gave their consent to use a holy object to lock whatever the hideous monstrosity below might be.

Nier swung his gaze to the shadowy aperture after a stench equal to the smell of a thousand graves opened jointly, raided his nose.

Some of the scientists hurried to pull their handkerchiefs, while the others started to vomit on the spot.

Eventually, everybody gradually got used to the smell enough to be able to stand straight and articulate.

Professor Walson uttered, wincing, "I never smelt a more horrible odor in my life,"

Though, contradictorily to his tone, Walson's eyes held a fiery sparkle.

Professor Suzuki pulled a flashlight from his backpack and pointed it at the angular opening.

The light revealed a crude set of spiral stairs, going all the way down to what the beam of light couldn't possibly reach.

"Nier my boy, you were right all along," Walson praised, rekindling some old archaeological sentiments.

"Jeesoos," Professor Keita said, shaking an entranced Ludwig off his boots.

Nier simply smiled.

"Do not celebrate early, what if this cellar was just some kind of forgotten food storage," Welch rigidly sounded, following the merriments of the professors around him.

Although, this time, no professor conceded nor acknowledged his words.

"Let's clear the doubts then shall we?" Professor Walson impatiently said, clapping his hand.

"Right Now?" Professor Suzuki disputed. "I think we should leave the matter of wandering the vault till we get a bit more prepared— I mean look at us, I was the only person responsible enough to bring a tools backpack."

"Oh come on, we are only going to take a simple look inside, so all of us can sleep with our mind in peace," Walson said, "I doubt that you don't feel the urge to cast yourself in this pit right at this moment,"

Professor Suzuki stared at the hole, as his hand diddered.

"Damnation, but it's thrilling," He found himself muttering, as he nodded in agreement.

The other members shared the same feeling as Suzuki.

Professor Nelson was first to lead, he carefully probed the stability of the stairs with the base of his foot, and confirmed that the ancient architecture had held well enough for them to trust.

Slowly, each one of them plunged downstairs, using their hands for guidance, and the weak glow afforded by Professor Suzuki's flashlight.

The smell intensified with each step, yet with a resilient spirit well suited to an elite bunch such as themselves, all of them made a successful descent.

Nier glanced around, distinguishing an intricately designed circular iron fence in front of him, which the flashed light showed leading to a tunnel.

Professor Keita also discovered a strange latch on the fence and under the insistence of Walson, raised it upwards till it disengaged.

The barrier then without further help clanged open.

"Must be the wind," Welch said, bewildered.

"There is no wind in here," Nier awkwardly retorted.

A strong stench of death clung to the air as Nier began to notice the repelling frescoes paintings on the burrow, depicting scenes of witches trials, and other darker practices Nier wasn't able to recognize.

The tunnel seemed to not be designed for human use, as they needed to almost crawl like a baby to pass through.

"Ahh!" Ludwig cried out, feeling something brush his butt.

"It's just my head," Suzuki chuckled, "How about you crawl faster,"

They kept slithering forward until Nelson notified that he could see a gate ahead.

Knees blistered, Nier and Nelson banged at the iron rail using their feet. Making it drop down in their third attempt.

Nier rushed to have the first glance, only to be met with the strangest room he has ever seen.

Below him, was a dome roofed chamber of heavily frescoed walls, lined by tapestries and lighted by golden torches, large braziers, and a strange blood-fire black marbled chimney, flickering with eternal red flames as it gleamed on scattered heaps of human bones.

A cradling sound tickled Nier's ears.

Alarmed, he searched around for its origins and spotted a rocking chair swinging by itself as it faced the central chimney.

Norman craned his head to look too, and same as Nier, he gulped in horror.

"Look at the bones littering the place!" Norman said after some time. "And how come the chimney is even alight?"

"I don't have the slightest idea," Nier truthfully retorted. "I guess we should climb down to figure things out,"

"C-Climb down?" Norman shivered.

"Norman why did you stop? Hurry and make way," Walson nudged from behind.

"O-of course we're climbing down, we are archeologists after all," Norman dabbed his chest two times, as he came down with Nier to meet the chamber's floor. Shortly followed by Walson, Welch, Ludwig, Suzuki, and then Keita.

Everyone's eyes flitted madly, trying to take in every detail.

The frescoed walls showed scenes of a raven book, floating in mid-air, while people wildly butchered each other to have it, Nier could admit that he had never seen such an entrancing art before, the drawing techniques were almost alien to him.

"How could that chair move?" Keita wondered, only now detecting the rhythmical movement.

Walson, Suzuki, and Norman were the only people reckless enough to remotely get closer toward the chair, curious of the nature of the thing making it rock.

Darting to the side, heart fluttering, the group of three glimpsed the front of the chair, finding what seemed to be a charred corpse donned in a gold and white Bishop robe.

Norman glimpsed a very archaic-looking book tightly clutched on the corpse's lap.

The signs of hunger and possessiveness were still apparent on the gray-shaded facial features of the corpse. Though, the creature appeared, for now, to be in a deep dormant state.

Nier's eyes darted between the scenes in the walls and the bones scattered on the ground.

"Something isn't right in here," He thought, catching another set of patterns which he quickly translated: "Dwellers be warned, only the bearer shall be spared,"

"Hm," Nier rubbed his chin, reminded of some of the Egyptian tombs where the stone carvers make divine punishment threats to scare off thieves.

Ludwig just finished checking the skeletal bones, finding out from their sacred tattered clothes that they belonged to formal clergymen working in the cathedral.

Welson, Suzuki, and Norman forgetting all that they learned about the archeological process of handling discovered artifacts, impulsively jostled each other to seek out the book.

Nier shifted his gaze to the commotion, seeing a strange kind of obsession bloom in the old men's faces.

"Professors Wait!" Nier shouted.

However, his words never went through the men clogged ears.

Walson was the winner of their race, he went and touched the book, then stroked it like it was his child, and was in the process of moving the corpse's arms to pull the book free when a pair of abysmal black eyes snapped open.

Terrified, Walson staggered back, snapping from the hex, as he yelled, "What just happened?"

Nier saw the corpse awaken from its slumber, stiffly staggering to stand up, while the book as promised in the frescoes, rose to hover above the damned expedition member's heads.

In a second, the closest to the corpse, poor Walson was impaled by a long rotten appendage.

The stupefied scientists could only see his blood bathing the ground.

Norman screamed in utter atrociousness, as the corpse nimbly moved on to its other victims, sending appendages in all directions from below its lengthy robe.

Eventually, an appendage found its way to Norman, then comes Suzuki, Keita, and finally Ludwig.

They all died before they could even twitch a muscle.

Only Welch and Nier were left unscathed.

The corpse then stood still, sealing its unnerving eyes as if someone turned its switch off.

The book flapped its pages, sucking and employing the blood of the slain men as ink.

Nier squinted his eyes toward the newly apparent words, still too alarmed to grieve about what had just transpired.

[Two adequate bearers have come to claim the Necronomicon]

['Nier Whitlock' and 'Welch Stronghold' shall battle for the rights of ownership]

[May the victor triumph and the loser perish]

The book words were clear enough to Nier, both of the men, understood that this supposedly battle of ownership rights was a deathmatch.

Welch's eyes maliciously darted to Nier, blackened with hatred and desire to claim the magical book for himself.

At that moment, Nier also felt a sensation he had never felt before, contrary to Welch there wasn't any innate yearning for the book, but rather a vigorous desire to live.

"I'm sorry about what I would have to do to you," Welch barked, grinning. "Nothing personal."

Naturally, Welch was a lot bigger and stronger than the malnourished Nier, and so he saw himself as the big bad wolf while Nier was the unfortunate sheep ready to be slaughtered.

Welch spread his arms, taking a wrestling stance. Nier knew that the last thing he wanted to do was to enter in a contest of strength with him.

And so, he evaded Welch's attempts to grab hold of him as he moved backward.

Yet, the place proved to be too narrow for him to freely move, thus, Welch managed to grab him from the back, sweeping him off his feet.

Nier fell right next to the circular iron fence of which he made tumble to the floor a couple of minutes ago.

"I can use this as a weapon," Nier promptly thought, waiting just in time for welch to pounce on him when he grabbed the fence and swung it as hard as he can, landing it right on Welch's left temple.

Welch staggered back, fresh blood streaming from his head.

"Bastard," Welch howled, empowered by grudge, as he began to take a savage fighting style.

Nier saw Welch ambush him again, this time not leaving any extra motion for Nier to swing the piece of heavy iron. Therefore, he successfully clambered Nier, throwing an avalanche of crazed punches right after.

Nier shielded his face, turning Welch aside.

The two young men found themselves rolling on the ground, each trying to end up on top.

After four rolls, they ended up facing the blazing chimney. Nier using all the dirty fight cues there is on the book quickly seized Welch's hair, jerking his face toward the fire.

Welch taken by surprise clenched his teeth, hardening the muscles on his neck.

The momentum, however, was in Nier's favor.

Nier shoved Welch's face in the chimney's fire along with the hands tugging it in place.

"Ughh," Welch groaned.

With a frigid face, he pressed his enemy's head, making the skin in Welch's cheeks gave way to bones while feeling his own hands sear.

Welch writhed in utter pain, the red flame was so powerful that his brain was cooked inside his skull.

Soon, his movement ceased to exist, and Nier did not need to pull back his arms, as the fire have already eaten them whole.

The book drifted down, while Nier's eyes did not blink nor budge from Welch's corpse, as the professor's deaths finally dawned on him.

['Welch Stronghold' had been eliminated]

[I, the Necronomicon declare 'Nier Whitlock' as the sole owner of me]

Nier did not need to look at the yellow page, the book seemed to have transmitted the words straight to his mind.

[Do not grieve]

[For the bearer of the Necronomicon shall only know prosperity]

Nier magically understood the words.

Numbly, he turned around, finally facing the book.

"And what do you want me to do?" Nier said furiously. For some reason, he couldn't come to hate the book, he felt like a human breaching the safe little town to roam the jungle, where the animals' first instincts were to protect its lands.

[A bigger adventure awaits us]

[Our place is not here]

"Huh?" Nier growled, too hurt to even think this was a dream.

[Our place is above the Gods]

Even with Nier's apt perception, he did not comprehend what the book was rambling about.

[The 7 seven primal universes awaits us]

[Zeus, Odin...All of them will succumb to our rule]

[Or face death]

Nier felt the fire of the chimney blind his eyes, pulverize his skin, and only when his bones completely melted that he belonged to this world no longer.

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