Draal gasped, struggling to raise his head. The cut across his stomach screamed in pain as he shifted, trying to catch sight of the Trollhunter. He couldn’t let him out of his sight. He had promised to keep him safe. Draal finally saw Jim, curled up a few feet away, shivering and gasping as he tried to recover from his fight with Gunmar.
Something moved in the corner of Draal’s eye. Angor Rot snarled as he climbed on top of the crystal and staggering to his feet. Draal watched in abject horror as Angor raised his dagger over Jim. Jim looked up at Angor, eyes widening with fear.
Fueled by rage, Draal pushed himself to his feet and lunged at Angor with a roar. He tackled him to the ground, restraining him. The dagger fell out of Angor’s hand, falling into the abyss below. Angor snarled, trying in vain to get out of Draal’s vice grip.
“No one. Hurts. My friend!” Draal roared. He climbed to his feet, holding tight to a struggling Angor. Draal made his way to the edge of the crystal and heaved Angor off the side. He breathed heavily as he watched the assassin fall to his death.
“Draal? You okay?”
Draal took a deep, steadying breath, turning to face Jim. “I’m okay. You don’t have to worry about the assassin anymore.” Draal said, nodding towards the edge of the crystal.
A grin slowly spread across Jim’s face. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by a loud crack. The crystal platform listed, throwing Jim off his feet. Draal tucked and rolled, grabbing Jim just before he fell off the side. He roared, leaping from the crystal as it fell and began scaling the walls.
“Master Jim! Draal!” Blinky’s voice echoed through the cavern. Draal turned in the direction of his voice and continued climbing.
Blinky, ARRRGH!!!, Toby, and Claire were waiting for them at the top of the cavern. The other two fleshbags were huddled under ARRRGH!!!’s large body, which shielded them from the crystals raining down on their heads. Draal pushed Jim towards his human friends and turned to Blinky.
“What is the plan?” Draal shouted. “This place is coming down!”
“The exit is blocked!” Blinky shouted back. “We can’t get out! We must seek shelter!”
Draal nodded, glancing around the cavern. Dust and grit fell from the ceiling, obscuring his vision. He finally spotted an opening a few feet away, just large enough for them all to fit through.
“Come on!” Draal shouted, pointing towards the tunnel. He ushered everyone down the tunnel, pulling up the rear as another quake shook the cavern.
The farther they traveled, the less the walls shook. Dust and rubble slowly ceased to fall from the ceiling. The group trudged on, climbing over crystals and sidestepping boulders as they made their way deeper into the tomb.
A ripple of unease traveled through the group as the tunnel began to widen, opening up into a medium sized cave. A small shaft of light illuminated a low stone altar standing in the center of the room. Draal frowned, noting the mess of shining cobwebs that obscured an object laying atop it.
Jim looked between his amulet and the lump on the table. He took a hesitant step forward, holding his amulet out in front of him as if it was drawing him forward. Draal gasped as wispy blue balls of light emerged from the amulet, disappearing into the altar.
He took a step forward, trying to see what Jim was ogling at. The thing on the altar burst to life with a gasp, immediately falling into a coughing fit. Jim yelped, falling back from the figure.
“Merlin?” Blinky whispered. The man on the altar turned to stare at him.
“What’s it to you?” He croaked, letting out another cough.
“You’re Merlin?” Jim asked, his eyes wide. The old man nodded.
“But, how are you alive?” Claire asked. “I mean, you disappeared centuries ago. Every book I’ve ever read says you left to die.”
“Do I look dead to you?” Merlin raised an eyebrow, coming closer to inspect the group. “Now, which one of you is the Trollhunter?”
Jim tentatively raised his hand. “That would be me.
“Ah, splendid. Now, use the amulet’s magic and get us out of here.”
“Uh,” Jim said. “That might be a problem.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out the smashed pieces of the amulet. Draal gasped.
“Oh, that is a problem.” Merlin said, leaning over to inspect the pieces.
“How did this happen?” Draal asked.
“I had to smash it.” Jim confessed. “We needed the blue stone inside to lead us here.”
“You did what needed to be done.” Draal nodded.
“Can’t Merlin fix it?” Toby spoke up. He glanced towards the aged wizard. “He did make it, right?”
“Of course I can fix it.” Merlin scoffed. “It is my creation.”
Draal snarled. “You would do good to tone down you pride, wizard.”
“And who are you?” Merlin sneered.
“I am Draal the Deadly.” Draal stood over the wizard, glaring down at him. “Son of your previous Trollhunter.”
“Oh, him.” Merlin dismissed Draal with a wave of his hand. “He was a good hunter, but a bit rash. If he hadn’t gone out to face Bular twenty minutes before sunrise, he might still be alive today.”
Draal fumed, his fist clenching by his side. Melin turned back to face Jim, holding his hand out for the amulet pieces. Before Jim could hand it them to him, Draal struck, punching Merlin in the face. The old wizard was flung back against the cave wall.
Everyone cried out is surprise, rushing to Merlins side. Draal stood back, laughing as the old wizard struggled to rise to his feet.
“What was that for?” Merlin asked. He seemed rather calm for someone who’d just been punched in the face.
“Do not speak about my father like that.” Draal growled.
“Like what? I was merely speaking the truth.” Merlin said.
Draal took a step towards him, raising his fist again. Jim jumped in front of him, holding him back.
“We need him to fix the amulet.” Jim said, looking pleadingly at Draal. “Can you beat him up later? So we can get out of here?”
Draal huffed, crossing his arms. “Fine.”
Jim patted his shoulder, giving him a small smile before walking back over to Merlin. He held out the broken pieces of the amulet.
“Please, can you fix it?” Jim said as damp breeze blew through the cavern.
“What was that?” Toby asked. ARRRGH!!! raised his head, sniffing at the air.
“Moisture. Water coming.” He said.
“The flood gates must have burst with the tombs collapse!” Blinky exclaimed.
“The water could rush in any minute!” Claire shouted.
“Cover the entrance!” Draal picked up a large boulder, throwing it into the entryway. ARRRGH!!! and Blinky followed suit, piling the largest rocks they could find into the entrance. Toby and Claire filled the smaller gaps with small rocks. Merlin spread the amulets pieces over the altar and began the reassembly.
“Hurry!” Draal shouted, the sound of rushing water growing closer as the seconds passed.
“I’m working as fast as I can.” Merlin said. Draal could practically hear his eye roll in his voice. “It’s been centuries.”
Water began to trickle through the cracks in the rocks. Everyone backed away from the make shift wall, moving to the back corner of the cave. ARRRGH!!! pulled Toby and Claire under him and faced his back towards the door. Blinky held on to ARRRGH!!!’s arm, hoping the bigger troll would keep him from getting washed away. Draal stood in front of all of them, keeping watch on the door. Water was already beginning to pool on the floor, and the worst had yet to hit.
“Got it!” Merlin exclaimed, holding up the newly constructed amulet. Jim snatched it out of his hand.
“What do I do? How does this get us out of this?” Jim fidgeted with the amulet, glancing between Merlin, the rocked in doorway, and Draal.
Merlin shrugged. “You’re the Trollhunter. You alone can unlock its true potential.”
A rumble shook the cave as the sound of water grew impossibly loud. Jim glanced back at Draal.
“Get behind me!” Jim shouted. “Get everyone behind me!”
Draal nodded. He rapped on ARRRGH!!!’s back, pointing to Jim. ARRRGH!!! nodded in understanding. He picked up Toby and Claire, lumbering over to stand behind Jim, who had turned to face the entrance. Blinky followed, cowering slightly behind Draal.
Jim held up the amulet. “For the glory of…” He glanced at Merlin. “Well, you, Daylight is mine to command!” Blue smoke obscured Jim from sight as the armor wrapped itself around his body.
When the smoke cleared, Jim held Daylight out in front of him. The cavern shook as the water blasted from the doorway. Jim raised Daylight above his head, bringing it down just as the water reached them. Draal gasped as the water parted around them, creating a safe pocket just large enough for them all to fit. Draal heard Blinky yelp as the water came together just behind him.
The water ceased several minutes later. Draal looked up, seeing the starry sky through a newly broken section of the cave. His companions whooped, jumping for joy at the sight of the outside world.
Draal turned to Jim, a grin on his face. The grin fell as he noticed Jim was on his knees, slumped over. Draal put a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you okay?”
Jim glanced up, a tired smile on his lips. “I’m fine. It just… took a lot out of me, you know?”
Draal nodded, pulling Jim to his feet. He helping him over to the caves new exit. Draal took a deep breath of fresh air. “You saved us once again, Trollhunter.”
Jim chuckled. “Yeah, I guess, but it was close this time. We could have lost someone.” Jim shuddered a bit at the thought.
“We could have, but we didn’t.” Draal said. He clapped Jim on the back. “Come on, let’s join the others. It’s time to go home.”