Upon my return, I contemplated to myself in my room. The curse was unbearable now. It's teeth gnawed at my mind and I grasped at straws trying to piece together the life I lived now. I was only here with them because of it. Regardless, I didn't remember, that black fog of memory locked away in the curse's jaws. How I came to be with a group of adventurers… Vile could be one word of my quiet pondering. And what leader was I to become? As it stood, I hadn't appeared any closer than my current circumstance foretold. I only remember—
"There it is!"
My heart jumped as I heard the cries outside. It was time. We'd found it.
Hydrus Maximus lumbered slowly down the canyon as the weapon was brought out. The loud machinery whined, hissed, and ticked. But, it's harsh noise is what first attracted the beast. It stopped, and all fifteen of it's heads turned to face us.
We were at the top of a sheer cliff, but I had never seen anything so enormous before. Even the dragons, at a distance, felt minute at it's presence. It's smokey scales glinted briefly before it roared out and began to saunter toward us. Trees and other foliage, although sparse, were crushed beneath it's body.
Garrett muttered, "This'd better work," as he hefted a well crafted crossbow, courtesy of the Professor no doubt.
The Professor aimed the cannon, and an explosion of steam and hot air blurred the area for but a moment. The creature was lifted up off it's feet and sent end over end with it's heads rolling.
"Aha!" shouted the Professor.
I was surprised. The weapon was actually effective!
However, just as we were about to celebrate… Hydrus Maximus rose up in the distance and roared, it's heads chattering as it charged.
My blood froze, and I backed away. The wound.. The blood seeping from it's body. The cannon was supposed to kill it. How was it still alive? Magic wasn't going to hurt it… I had to buy us some time. I reached out and conjured from behind a grove, some illusory giants. A local tribe, "hiding" until now, enraged themselves and harried the beast. They distracted it for perhaps half a minute.
The Professor was madly dashing about the cannon, preparing it for another shot. "Give me more time!"
Dratharz reached out and caused a large trench to suddenly appear in front of it. The hydra tripped and smashed into the ground. It roared again painfully, but it's legs didn't break.
It neared us, but I couldn't stay nearby anymore… It was getting closer! I created my phantom and willed it to attack the beast where the gaping wound was. Then I started giving myself some distance.
Garrett was shooting the heads. A few, pierced in the eyes, fell to his crossbow. Arrows came from nowhere, that must've been Airelinna. Murph was, well, shooting near it.
Pits under the hydra's legs formed and it sank into the ground, remaining fairly contained for the moment. And where the old heads were, they were shriveling away and forming new heads, just as the book had described for these beasts. I felt my phantom dissipate. I tried to form another, but the magic backfired and shocked me.
"I'm ready now!" bellowed the Professor as he got into the firing seat.
But, the challenge needed no second cannon round. The hydra's heads gasped and it screeched as the last of it's life from it's body was sundered. The arrows and bolts had finished it off. The heads fell to the ground around it, their tongues lolled about in, if not true death, the definitive appearance of it.
I slowly came back to the edge of the cliff where everyone was. The silence filled the entire canyon for a moment, until the Professor urged me to go and "check it out." I first had a summoned warrior try to touch it, whereupon it vanished when it did. So, I flew down and investigated. I entered the wound and the dark interior purged the light I tried to make for myself. I felt around, the slimy texture of it's innards seeping trickles of blood. But, there was no movement, no heartbeat, no breathing. I felt the large feathers of arrows and bolts all centered and buried deep around one particular organ. In my mind, I thanked Melora for our safety and success in bringing down the beast. I hoped that it would serve to rescue us from the curse.
"Is it dead?" from inside the creature, it masked the one who asked them.
I exited the wound and yelled to my companions, "It's dead."
The next few days were spent dissecting the creature and getting anything that could be utilized in an elixir for our predicament. I just tore the tip of one tooth and made a simple band around my wrist with it.
The Professor made payment to Garrett for his assistance and we departed again for the Dragon's Peak Pass. The awful smell of chemicals seeped into what quarters were left. Stacked barrels of anti-magic organs, guts, and scales covered every inch of the house. I made an illusion constant around myself to avoid the smell, but it didn't help my stomach much so I took to the roof and attached myself to the house. It was going significantly slower than before, perhaps from the extra weight.
As I relaxed, I took out the eyeglass from the "toys" the Professor kept around. I peeked up at the Dragon's Peak again as we were about to pass. This time, a white head emerged and looked down at us. The majestic glittering of scales betrayed the infortuitous danger that it could provide. However, it merely revealed a paw and waved at us. It's mouth ginning. I couldn't help myself, I grinned back. I don't know why I did, but I did. As I continued to peer through the eyeglass, I saw something else near the dragon itself. Or, wait… Where did it go? I thought I saw something. The dragon continued to watch over us as we passed until the peak was out of sight.
And now, we have returned to Illandia. . .