"Lucky is not a bad thing to be, stranger." Cassandra chimed in as Diana turned around and faced the opening that her serendipitous discovery had revealed. Diana could not argue with that. Cassandra had just stepped into the newly uncovered passageway when Cassandra turned around and spoke to her.
"If I may ask, what is your name?" Cassandra asked. Since the partnership had to be built on trust, the huntress decided to tell the vampire her name.
"Diana." Diana replied laconically. Cassandra gave a slight smile.
"So you too have a name based in mythology. So you are a huntress." Cassandra said to the blonde mage. Since it was technically true, Diana decided to just run with that.
"I suppose that you could call me a huntress... among other things." Diana replied calmly. The vampire smiled again.
"Come now, Diana. We must not delay any longer. Let us explore this passage you have uncovered." Cassandra said before continuing deeper into the hidden passage. Diana was about to protest that they would need a way out if someone tried to trap them in it, but then she saw a hitherto hidden lever to the right. With a way out all but assured, Diana took a deep breath and calmly followed her job partner into the passage now that they had a means of escape.
-Inside the hidden passage-
Diana followed Cassandra through a passage that was just tall enough to accommodate them standing up straight but was so narrow that they had to travel single file. There was no light, but neither the vampire nor the huntress needed any because they had special vision modes to help them see in the darkness. Other than being dark and narrow, the passage had a few cobwebs in the corners, suggesting that it had not been used in quite some time. It had not been cleaned in quite some time either.
The pair continued in darkness and reached a left turn, then followed it down another straight and narrow hallway that had a glowing red light at the end of the tunnel approximately 50 meters away. Diana did not like the look of that. The pair could be walking into a trap set by The Dark Mistress, but they had no choice but to proceed through the hallway and find out what was at the end of the tunnel.
Diana quietly readied Saint Sinner Valentine and kept her finger off the trigger to avoid shooting her ally by mistake. The end of the hall was coming up fast and she needed to be ready for a fight. Cassandra suddenly sprinted ahead of the huntress and she hurried after her partner so that she would not be fighting alone. It was a good thing that she had.
-At the end of the tunnel-
The huntress emerged to find Cassandra fighting some cultists that looked like they had been conducting a ritual of some sort. The room's floor had occult patterns scrawled on the floor in blood and what looked like human remains lay in the center of the patterns, but now was not the time to try and decipher their meaning. Black lightning was flying around along with crossbow bolts and Diana needed to help Cassandra fight the cultists off. As it turned out, the vampire had the situation well in hand.
Cassandra lunged at a cultist frantically reloading his crossbow after a missed shot and seized his shoulders, then bit into his neck with her gleaming fangs. The man screamed as he struggled to push the vampire off of him and two cultists wielding gleaming greatswords hurried to his rescue. Diana ducked under a discharge of black lightning and shot one of the men in the back with a five-round burst of Silver Bullets, giving Cassandra enough time to drop her first kill and swipe at the second man's throat with the claws of her left hand. They connected and ripped the man's throat out, causing him to drop to the floor almost instantly. Diana rolled to the right to avoid a storm of crossbow bolts directed at her head and watched Cassandra disappear for a moment in a blink of red light.
Diana shot back in the direction of the cultists but missed and nearly received a bolt of lightning to her chest for her trouble. She dropped to the ground and Cassandra reappeared next to the offender with a hand that glowed red. She formed the hand into an edge and brought it down on the man's neck, decapitating him in a single stroke. The other cultists saw this and began to retreat in fairly good order; the crosssbowmen whose weapons were already loaded fired one last volley at their tormentors before joining their fellows in retreat. Diana killed one of them with a five-round burst to the chest while firing from a prone position, but the rest were too fast to track from her position.
Diana got off the floor and tried to aim at the back of a fleeing cultist running down a hallway that was in front of them, but he had vanished by the time she could get a good shot on him. She faced Cassandra, who was busy wiping the blood from her first kill off of her mouth. Diana had spells and weapons that would let her take on vampires, but the huntress was glad that Cassandra was on her side.
"It seems that we have interrupted a ritual of some kind. Perhaps it was a ritual meant to strengthen their mistress. Perhaps it was a ritual to summon demons to aid them. I do not know nor do I care. I only care about killing The Dark Mistress." Cassandra added. The huntress remained silent and saw Cassandra point a finger towards the hall in front of them. Diana noticed that there were two hallways, one in front of her and one to her right. Cassandra pointed down the hall in front of them.
"We must follow them quickly!" She said, barely giving Diana time to brush off her clothing before hustling down the hallway with inhuman speed. Diana tapped the reload button on her weapon and hurried after her partner. They had won the first battle with the cultists, but there was no telling what unpleasant surprises they had in store for the vampire and the huntress. The Dark Mistress herself was bound to take umbrage to intruders killing her men and appear in person to put a stop to them, so the pair had better keep moving and hope that they would fight her in a more favorable location than a hallway.
-Down the hallway-
Cassandra and Diana pursued the cultists through the hallway they had used to flee and found themselves standing in a medium-sized square room that looked like a chapel. It had an altar on a raised platform near the back of the room, a single wooden pew about five meters front of it, and a dozen cultists ready for a fight. The violet torches lighting the room lent the chapel an air of darkness... and desperation. The cultists knew that they were not leaving this room alive and were determined to sell their lives at as high a cost as they could exact from the intruders.
"We must stop them here, brothers!" A cultist armed with a greatsword bellowed to a small group of other men, some armed with swords and others wielding magic. His words were met with enthusiasm.
"We will not leave this room alive, but by sacrificing our lives we will buy time for The Dark Mistress to prepare for battle and avenge us!" A second reminded the others what they were fighting for. His words were met with the same enthusiasm as the first man's.
"FOR THE DARK MISTRESS!" One of them called out. His call was soon taken up by the others and it rang throughout the chapel. They then threw themselves into battle against the vampire and the huntress. The pair readied themselves for an intense close-quarters battle to the finish against the cultists.
[Post Word Count: 1,350]
[Total Word Count: 5,787/11,000]