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Deep in the bowels of Sunken Valley, there is a dark, stone covered corridor fitted with four meager prison cells. Inside all of these cells are two shackles and a bed of straw. Inside three of these cells, there is a prisoner. All three of them have lost their hopes to see the light of day, but that only bothers two of them…

The seemingly carefree prisoner is a massive bear of a man, who sits against the cold cobblestone wall of his cell wearing a sackcloth tunic and a smile as a familiar voice approaches. The other two prisoners notice the approaching guards several heartbeats after him, when the faintest glimmer of torchlight reflects off the far stone wall and when the creaking wooden door atop the staircase flies open. This is followed by the approaching clank of armored boots.

Two of the city’s watch guards drag Mercurio along by a leash of iron shackles. Wearing only a long sack cloth tunic, Mercurio’s usually neat appearance is remarkably ragged. His face is covered in dirt and bruises, and his long blonde hair is left to flow down around his shoulders (as opposed to being kept up in a ponytail). The guard bearing the torch unlocks the first cell, while his partner leads Mercurio in and shackles his wrists to the wall. Once he is firmly fastened in place, the guard walks out of the cell and tosses a bucket to Mercurio.

“And what is this?” asked Mercurio.

“You’ll figure it out,” the guard replied. Then he slammed the cell door and locked it before the duo vanished, leaving the prisoners to wallow in pitch darkness.

“My, my,” said Mercurio, “what an awfully dreary eternity this is shaping up to be.”

“Well then I hope one of us up an’ dies soon enough,” said a familiar, gruff voice, “ ‘cos a lifetime o’ yer pissin’ an’ moanin’ is enough to drive a man mad.”

Mercurio piqued up at the pleasant surprise. “Sir Owen?” he called. “Do my pitch perfect ears deceive me?”

Sir Owen’s mighty laugh shook the stone hall. “I had a feelin' you’d end up here sooner or later, dandy. What’d ya do this time? Climb inta the wrong bedroom again?”

“You wound me, commander,” Mercurio said with a laugh. “I am not so simple as to repeat a crime…although that particular incident didn’t play well in my favor with Magistrate Fawkes. No, this time my crime was an act of self-preservation. Those delightful young maidens and I managed to scale the walls of Sunken Valley. With a bit of help, that is.”

“So the lasses survived, did they? Then where they hell are Drexler an’ the others?”

“They’re…they didn’t make it. Sir.” Mercurio’s tone soured with the turn of the conversation.

“I see…Bandits did ‘em in?”

“Shades, sir.”

“Ahhh, vile beasts,” Sir Owen spat.

“But what about you, commander?”

“What about me?”

“What happened? Why did the brotherhood turn against you?”

“Because our employers turned against me,” he said, with resentment. “A couple’a shades slipped through the cracks o’ the city, an’…well, next thing I know I’m surrounded by ‘em.”

“What do you mean?” asked Mercurio. Then he saw it. Piercing through the darkness, he saw the beady, purple eyes of a feral beast. A glimmering sinister stare that looked deep into his soul from the cell across the hall. “Shade!” Mercurio cried. “Do you mean that…?” Sir Owen said nothing. Then Mercurio launched himself upwards, ran to the cell door but was pulled back by the tight shackles around his wrist and fell on his back. “HELP!” he screamed. “GUARDS! GUARDS! COME QUICKLY!”

Two slight cackles echoed in the dungeon. The monstrous eyes slammed shut from laughter, and pretty soon the booming laugh of Sir Owen joined in. “Jus’ settle down, would ya dandy? I’s just a bleedin’ joke.”

Mercurio’s breathing came slowly under control. “A…a joke?”

“They’re not shades.”

“B-but their eyes-”

“Ya think I know what a shade looks like? Have ya fergotten I’m blind, laddie?” Sir Owen busted a gut laughing.

“If they’re not shades, than-”

“We’re vulpines,” said a feminine voice from behind the stone wall on his left.

“Vulpines?” he repeated.

“Some sorta cult,” explained Sir Owen. “The cult of Vulpine, right?”

“Correct,” said a brooding masculine voice from the cell across from Mercurio’s. “We worship the mist walker, for she is the savior and patron saint of the downtrodden.”

“Yah, they don’t ‘aunt yer dreams; but they never shut up ‘bout their little vixen princess. Some kinda spirit, right?”

“She is not a spirit,” the woman corrected, “she is a being like you and I. She is a skilled thief who possesses a far greater power. The power of survival.”

“It is said that she can go anywhere she pleases,” said the man. “She is the one true natural inhabitants of Myst.”

“No offense,” said Mercurio, “but that sounds like-”

“A crock ‘a shade shit.” Sir Owen interrupted. “Tha’s what I’ve been tellin’ ‘em. If she can go anywhere, an’ do anything, then why ‘asn't she come for you two yet?”

“Because we have failed her,” said the woman.  

“But we are thankful to have survived,” said the man. “And now we must wait until another finishes what we started.”

Sir Own scoffed. “An’ that’d be..?”

“A great distraction,” she said. “It’ll go off right in the heart of Sunken Valley and bring it’s forces to their knees.”

“So you’re terrorists?” asked Mercurio.

“We’re liberators,” said the man.

“Liberators of whom?”

“Not of whom, of what; a treasure of incredible power being used for selfish means. The Solar Diamond,” said the man. “A powerful gemstone capable of renewing life, and repelling mist. With it, and her archmage’s tome, Alice will be able to restore this land to the time before Myst.”

“Archmage’s tome,” Mercurio repeated to himself. “Now where could this little vixen have gotten her paws on something like that?”



The same night…

The Rusty Mug: A dingy dive bar in the heart of Sunken Valley’s Tavern Town. It is a worn and weary old inn, located in one of the roughest parts of town and filled daily with soldiers, whores, gamblers and ruffians. It also happened to be the same inn that Mindy and Kiki were spending the night.

The place had been suggested as a mutual meeting ground by their friend, Mercurio — a bard and a mercenary in the Lupine Brotherhood. However, it had recently come to their attention that Mercurio had been captured and detained by the guards of Sunken Valley, who were also looking for the two of them as well. Discouraged and exhausted, Mindy and Kiki decided to call it an early night as they slept together in the one and only bed in their room. Sleeping head to toe, the two friends drifted off to very distant spectrums of the Dreamscape.

Mindy dreamed that she was back in the barren wilderness: back in the toxic Mist. But this time Kiki was nowhere to be seen, nor was Cleo, or Akiko or any of her other friends. This time she was alone. She wandered for eons over mud cracked plains, walking endlessly in search for food, shelter or water, but she found nothing. She continued to walk on without direction until her legs gave out. Down on her knees, Mindy breathed what she imagined would be her final breath and gave in to the wild eyed beasts that watched her from behind the virgin smoke screen. The shades. Vile, shapeless beasts born from the power of an evil sorceress. They feed on fear and uncertainty, which was currently plaguing Mindy’s fatigued mind.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shattered the sky and crashed down before her. The impact sent her rolling backwards, slamming into a decayed tree trunk. Mindy’s eyes rolled dizzily in their sockets as the a figure appeared before her upside down. When Mindy’s vision finally settled she looked down at her bare, twitching legs and the mist filled sky beneath them. The rim of her dress fell down around her waist when realized then that she was on her back, and upside down, and her teensy white panties with little pink hearts were on display. She quickly reoriented herself, covered her modesty with her dress and stood back up to face the tall mushroom like figure that waded in the mist before her.

“Cleo,” Mindy muttered. “Is that you?”

Mindy’s friend and mentor, Cleo — the emerald haired witch, stepped into view. “Yes, Mindy. It’s really me.”

“This is so strange,” Mindy whispered. “This dream, feels…” Her mind was beginning to wander, and it was becoming harder and harder for her to focus.

“This is not a dream,” Cleo explained. “Not any longer. Now it is a message.”

“Message?” Mindy repeated weakly.

“That’s right. I have to converse with you through the Dreamscape before several days ago, although I doubt you remember. It takes a great deal of training and focus in order to recall. Much like remembering a dream.”

“Remembering…” Mindy said.

“Like remembering a dream,” Cleo repeated. “We’re going to have to repeat things over and over, so you’ll remember them.”

“Like remembering a dream…”

“Yes, good Mindy. Now please, tell me. Where are you?”

“Where are you…?” Cleo was patient and guiding as Mindy’s statements stumbled around in circles. “In Myst.” She finally said.

“No, Mindy. Not in the Dreamscape. In reality. Think about your hardships, and the surroundings behind your eyelids.”

Mindy focused as hard as she could. Fading in and out of consciousness until she finally said, “Tavern. Town.”

“Tavern Town?”

“Rusty….Mug….” Mindy blinked slowly, and when her eyelids lifted again she found herself in the tavern downstairs. She was dressed as a barmaid and carrying a platter of mugs. She began to serve them to the nearest table, where Akiko, Sanjay, Mercurio, Shea and Cleo were sitting. “Here are your drinks,” Mindy said without thinking.

A high pitched whistle screamed through the air. Mindy and Cleo both looked over to the bar, where the noise had come from, and found Kiki behind the greasy counter serving up mugs. “Order up, wench!” she called.

Mindy turned to go get the next round of beers when Cleo grabbed her by the wrist. “Don’t go, Mindy!” she said. “Don’t leave this place.”

“Don’t leave this place?” Mindy repeated dreamily.

“Yes,” said Cleo, “you’re safe here. Don’t leave this place.”

“Don’t leave this place,” Mindy said again. Comprehension was beginning to sink in.

“Yes, now you understand. Don’t leave this place. Don’t leave. Stay where you are.”

“Stay where I am…”

“Stay here in Tavern Town. And don’t leave. You’re as safe as Kiki is tall.”

“Stay where I am…as Kiki is tall.”

Bartender Kiki slammed her hands down on the counter and cried, “I said, ‘order up, wench!”

“Stay where you are, Mindy. You’re as safe as Kiki is tall.”

Mindy laughed as she repeated the line again. “As Kiki is tall.”

“Good, Mindy. Now keep repeating that. Remember it. You are safe here.”

“As Kiki is tall…” Mindy repeated, walking wearily back to the bar. She began to repeat the phrases over and over again, until the Dreamscape was forcefully pulled away from her mind.



Mindy awoke suddenly, when Kiki’s bare foot firmly planted itself on her face. Mindy pushed the foot away, wiped her face with the blanket and sat up in bed. Kiki groaned on the other end of the bed. Her bare legs straddled a pillow and scratched her pink panty covered seat as she rested on her side.

“Stay put,” Mindy whispered. Then she got up and went to the mirror, trying her best not to wake Kiki as she tossed and turned in bed. Mindy combed her hair with her nails as best as she could, checked her face for acne and primped herself before heading down the hall to the washroom.

Mindy returned to their room nearly a half hour later with a small bucket of water. The room was incredibly dark. Darker than the city outside, which was lit by little more than gas lamps and moonlight. She looked over at Kiki who had stretched her little legs out as far as they would reach, claiming an excessive space on the mattress. Mindy giggled to herself and shook her head.

“It’s amazing,” Mindy said to herself, “how much room she can take up. Especially for someone so little.”

Someone so little…

Then Mindy froze in her tracks. Her pupils shrank in their sockets and a chilling feeling crashed over her. Kiki groaned seconds later and pushed herself up in bed.

“Mindy?” she asked, smacking her lips and wiping her squinted eyes. “What’s going on?” When Kiki’s eyes finally adjusted, she found Mindy in her night gown, staring out their window. Her arms hung loosely at her side, her bare feet on a slick surface of water beside an overturned bucket. Her knees began to shiver.

“Aw, Mindy!” Kiki sighed, turning back over in bed. “Clean that up, would ya…yer…making…a mess…” Kiki’s snoring resumed several seconds later. Mindy shook herself free of her trance.

“As safe as Kiki is tall…” she repeated. “As Kiki is…oh no.”

The message had finally sunk in.

--

Outside the City Walls:

Cleo knelt in a trance beside a raging fire. Her face was serene and her mind as clear as a polished mirror, but all around her stood a horde of bandits with brandished weapons at the ready; two of which held daggers to her throat. At this moment, she was lost in the Dreamscape — a universe of thought and fantasy — where she convened with her friend and pupil, Mindy Calhoun. Once she finished, Cleo opened her eyes and looked up to Olga, the amazonian bandit chief, who stood atop a boulder. Olga looked down upon her with weary eyes.

“Well?” Olga bellowed. “Where are they?”

Cleo said nothing. Her hard eyes demanded that the chief call off her thugs. Olga snapped her fingers, and the knives withdrew from her under her chin.

“Where are they?” she repeated.

“They’re in Tavern Town,” said Cleo. “They’re at an inn called the Rusty Mug. I told her to stay put, and that her safety depended on it.” Olga turned to one of her mages. The older woman nodded to the chief.

“It is as she says,” said the old mage.

Olga nodded. “Contact Sheesa and the others, and inform them of their location.” The old mage said nothing before slipping off into a trance.

“What are you going to do to them?” Cleo demanded.

“Never you mind that, little witch,” Olga sneered. “For now, you should worry about yourself.” Then she snapped again, and two bandits descended upon Cleo and dragged her off to the prisoner’s tent where Akiko and Sanjay were cuffed back to back.

Akiko looked to Cleo over her shoulder. After the two skinny bandits had fastened Cleo one of the tent’s support beams (and left) she asked, “Any word on what they plan to do with us?”

“Nothing.”

Akiko cursed under her breath. “What the hell do they want?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” said Sanjay, speaking for the first time in several hours. “They want to plunder.”

“Plunder?” asked Akiko.

“Look at them. They’re tired. You can see it in their eyes and movements. Why do you think they haven’t been feeding us? Clearly they’ve run out of food and supplies and need to restock.”

“So you’re saying they’re weak?” said Akiko. “Perfect.”

“Don’t get any bright ideas,” said Cleo. “Even assuming that we were able to escape and fight our way through Olga and her horde, where would we go?” Akiko didn’t have an answer. “No. We must wait for Mindy and the others to come and rescue us. Our lives rest in their hands.”

For the first time since she’d arrived, Akiko was starting to wish she was back home. At least on Earth she could die on her feet and with a sword in her hand…



Back at the Rusty Mug:

“Wake up, Kiki!” Mindy whispered, shaking her friend awake. “Kiki, get up!”

“Whuh? Why what’s happening?” Kiki sat up in bed and found Mindy slipping into her pants, one leg at a time.

“We’re leaving, right now! I’ll explain on the way.” After tying a makeshift rope from the bedsheets, Mindy and Kiki descended down the face of the rusty mug from their window and hustled off into the city streets where drunks wandered aimlessly in the night. Their surroundings were silent, as even the livestock were asleep at this time.

“Mindy, what the hell are we doing out here? I’m freezing!”

“I received a message,” Mindy said, tightening the straps of her bonnet. “From Cleo.”

“A message? What kind of message?”

“I saw her in my dreams.”

Kiki’s eyes narrowed. “You saw her in your dreams?”

“That's right.”

“Uhhhhhh, Mindy, don’t take this the wrong way but I think there’s another explanation why you saw her in-”

“Don’t finish that thought,” said Mindy. “It’s not like that. She’s a witch, Kiki. Using the Dreamscape is a very complicated process that I couldn’t explain to you even if I wanted to.”

Kiki stopped in her tracks. “How about explaining what it was she said?”

“She said, we should stay put.” Kiki glared at her with frustration. “No, listen. It was a secret message. She said the Rusty Mug is as safe as you are tall.”

Now Kiki looked even more frustrated. “So where’s miss tall and heighty want us to go?”

“Sh-she didn’t say.”

“She didn’t say? So she thinks it’s safer for us to wander the streets of a city at night with no protection than to stay in an inn?”

“Kiki, somebody could be coming for us.”

“Oh yeah? And who would that be?”

“That would be us.”

Mindy and Kiki searched around for the unfamiliar voice, but couldn’t locate anyone nearby.

“Show yourselves!” Mindy demanded.

“Oh, aren’t you two intimidating!” Suddenly two bandits (one blonde, one brunette) dropped down from walls of the city’s ring, and landed in the gaslight before them.

“You!” blurted Kiki. “You’re the good for nothing bandits who ditched us when we snuck into Sunken Valley!”

“That’s right,” sneered the buxom, blonde bandit, “and now you’re coming with us.”

“And why the hell would we do that?” asked Kiki.

Mindy gasped as knife appeared at her throat. Behind her lurked the yellow eyes of a cat. “Because,” said the cat eyed bandit, “we’re not giving you a choice.”

Both girls recognized the third bandit instantly. “Sheesa,” Mindy said without emotion. “The bandit chief’s right hand woman.”

“Well that goes without saying,” said Kiki. “Given your condition.”

Sheesa (who had lost her left arm only a few weeks prior) did not find that joke to be particularly funny. She stepped forward into the gaslight with a vicious scowl on her dark face. “Shut your mouth,” she sneered. “Or I’ll bleed your little friend dry.”

Kiki shut her mouth and obliged. The blonde bandit waltzed behind Kiki, bound her arms with a rag and chuckled maniacally. “Now let’s get a move on!” Suddenly they heard the sound of steel swishing by.

POINK! POINK

Then the blonde bandit leaped up into the air, latching onto her buttocks and screamed at the top of her lungs. When she landed and looked behind her, she found two throwing knives embedded in both sides of her hide loincloth.

“Ooooh, right in the cheeks!” Kiki teased. “Hey, what hurts more right now: your butt or your pride?”

“Sh-shut up!” demanded the blushing bandit. Mindy found herself giggling as the brunette bandit went to help pry the knives out of her friend’s butt, when suddenly a crash of steel rang out before her face. Mindy leapt back as the knife at her throat went flying into the air and landed at her feet. Several cows stabled nearby heard the noise and became startled. The cries of panicked chickens could also be heard.

“Unhand the girl,” said a hooded silhouette at the other end of the street. The voice was feminine and the figure held a bow in one hand and a sword on her waist.

Sheesa’s face contorted with rage. “Nobody tells us what to do! Who the hell do you think you are!?”

“I already gave you your warning. Now begone, or pay the consequences.”

“Yeow!" said the blonde bandit once her comrade had plucked the last knife from her behind. “I’ll make you pay for that!” And so the two bandits charged in towards the mysterious stranger with their knives in hand.

The shadow was quick with the draw of her arrow and fired with swiftness and unmatched accuracy. The arrow pierced the blonde bandit’s sandal (in the space between her big toe and it’s neighbor) and sent her face first into the cobblestones of the street. Although disheartened, the brunette kept her pace and arrived at the hooded figure before she could draw another arrow.

“You’re dead!” screamed the bandit, slashing once, twice, three times at the air. After her third missed strike, the bandit was turned around and vulnerable to the hooded stranger. Lifting her leather boot, the stranger playfully kicked the bandit on the seat and pressed her away.

Mindy had managed to slip away from Sheesa, grab her knife and cut Kiki free while the four women fought it out, coming closer and closer as they battled.

“Are you alright Kiki,” asked Mindy.

“I’m fine,” she said. “But we have to help Mira!” Mindy didn’t disagree, and looked around to a nearby barn in search of a way to help.

Mira backed up as she fought all three bandits at once with a short sword. Although on the defensive, her skill was unbelievable as she effortlessly handled them. The blonde, using the two knives that had previously been embedded in her butt, swung both arms wildly, missing each and every attack. Sheesa, using a curved back up blade attempted to stab Mira in the ribs while she was focusing on the other two. But she was just too fast. Mira saw an opening present itself, lifted a boot into Sheesa’s stomach and pushed her aside so she could deal with the other two.

However the bandits were quickly discovering her techniques and adapting to them as the fight drug on. If Mira was to win, she would have to finish this immediately. The two bandits were pressing her hard now, and Mira was losing her edge. That’s when Mindy and Kiki jumped into action.

Equipped with a handful of chickens eggs, they began pelting the two bandits mercilessly. Hitting the brunette in the face, she was momentarily blinded by the splatter of yolk when Mira drew her sword up across her chest. The blonde, who was taking great care to keep her backside away from Mira, couldn’t help but turn towards Mindy and Kiki when she took an egg to the ear. Mira took this opportunity and gently pricked the bandit on the left butt cheek with the tip of her sword.

The blonde woman leapt away the same moment that the brunette’s leather bra ra delivered a swift kick to her crotch.

Sheesa regained herself and reentered the fray as her blonde cohort staggered off after Mindy and Kiki. She lost sight of them at a nearby stable, and began to search around. As she turned around the corner, Mindy pegged her with an egg right between the eyes. She backed up towards a low bearing fence, where Kiki waited with a bucket of dirty water which she slammed over the woman’s head. The bandit dropped both of her weapons as she fought to get free of the bucket. Kiki picked up one of the knives and pricked her in the rear. She spun around and presented herself to the old cow who was tied up nearby. Mindy pulled back the seat of her loin cloth, stuffed it with fodder and released. The old cow did the rest.

The defeated blonde scurried back into the streets (bucket still planted on her head and her bare butt now exposed) where Mira and Sheesa’s duel was coming to an end. Mira slashed the curved blade from Sheesa’s hand, sent it spinning up into the air, and slashed wildly at her opponent as she stood there dazed. When the curved blade finally landed, Sheesa’s spotted loincloth bikini shattered and fell at her feet. Sheesa stood in the middle of the road completely naked, her brown cheeks flushing red. With only one arm, she decided to cover her bush and ran off into the night. Mindy walked over to the still grounded brunette, grabbed onto the back of her loincloth and wedgied her up on her feet. She passed her blonde ally who had finally pulled the bucket off her soaking head. She heard a sort of snickering behind her, and when she turned around the first thing she saw was Kiki’s big smile and the throwing knives in her hand.

“Nice butt!”

The blonde bandit turned to chase after her comrades, exposing her pale backside to Kiki’s knives. Both of which made direct contact with their plump targets. Once they were gone, Mira came over to the girls.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Mindy. “Thank you for saving us”

“You kicked their asses!” Kiki exclaimed.

“Good, because we’re leaving here immediately.”

“Where are we going?” asked Mindy.

“You two are coming with me,” said a calm voice from a black alley. Striding out on two purple boots came Alice Winters. “You two thought you could evade me, but now you know that I have eyes all over this city.”

“Who are you?” demanded Mira.

“That’s not something you need to know,” said Alice.

“Like hell it is,” Mira said as she armed her bow and fired off a warning shot at Alice’s feet.

Alice looked up with piercing amethyst eyes and smiled. “You should’ve taken the shot,” she said before vanishing. Appearing behind Mira, Alice’s fingertips sprouted razor sharp claws that sank into the seat of Mira’s pants as she palmed her backside. With her other hand, Alice slashed the quiver from her back and pulled her belt (and scabbard) from her waist. Then she spun Mira around and kicked her in the stomach, doubling her over with a single hit. “But then again, you probably should’ve just let my thugs do what I asked them to do,” said Alice.

She turned her head towards Mindy and Kiki, freezing them in their spots with an icy gaze. “Now then,” she said, “you girls can come along with me, or you can waste my time and energy (as well as yours) and try to escape. So what’s it gonna be?” Mindy and Kiki saw no other option.

“Alright,” said Mindy. “We’ll go along. What do you need us to do?”

“Oh no,” said Alice. “I think you misunderstand. You see, I gave you a chance to cooperate. And what did you do with it? You tricked my soldier and tried to escape, so now our little deal’s off! Besides, I never really trusted that you two would play along so I decided that Olga’s thugs would suffice, being that we seem to have the same goal in mind.”

“But what about your stupid little loyalty test? Why even bother with that if you never trusted us?” asked Kiki.

“That wasn’t a test,” she said. “It was a step in the plan. Shea wasn’t there to find explosives, he was there to plant them.”

“Then what did we come along for?”

“To protect Shea. I knew he couldn’t fight off a shade, but you two…well I just assumed you would make a nice distraction while he finished the job.”

“You bitch!” shouted Kiki. “You used us as shade bait!”

“Guilty,” Alice chimed sweetly.

“And where is he now?” asked Kiki. But as soon as she finished asking, Kiki felt her arms forced behind her back and cuffed together. Then her cap was pulled off of her head, and planted around Shea’s skull.

“So you do care about me?” Shea said mockingly.

“Why you little rat!” Kiki screamed. “I knew I never should’ve trusted you!” Then she was spun around, gagged and blindfolded by a cultist unseen.

“Bring them, Shea,” said Alice. “These two make such excellent decoys.”
Previously: After being locked out of the sanctuary city -- Sunken Valley -- and running low on food and supplies, the Maidens found themselves in dire straights. So they were forced to cooperate with their old enemies: Olga's Bandit Brigade, in order to survive.

Mindy agreed to sneak into the city with the bandits and brought along her best friend Kiki Jenkins plus their companion Mercurio (a womanizing rogue who was stationed in Sunken Valley). When they infiltrated the city, the bandits suddenly abandoned them, using them as a distraction to flee the alerted guards. Soon after, they were chased down into the city's lower rings and separated from Mercurio.

After spending the night in (literally) the lowest slums of Sunken Valley, they set out to look for the Rusty Mug: a bar that Mercurio had promised to rejoin them at. On their way, they met an orphan boy, Shea, who stole Kiki's favorite hat. After being tricked by the orphan and falsely accused of thievery by the guards, Mindy and Kiki fled the scene.

Although they managed to escape the corporal punishment offered by the guards, their luck didn't carry them far, as they caught sight of a mysterious white fox. The duo decided to follow it into a trap! The fox revealed herself to be a young white haired shape-shifter named Alice Winters, the leader of some sort of cult like guild of thieves.

With sharpened daggers at their necks, Alice offered to spare both of their lives if they agreed to help her "Destroy Sunken Valley" and partake in a loyalty test. Kiki and Mindy fearfully complied with their captor and followed the young orphan, Shea (revealed to be a full fledged member of Alice's Cult of Vulpine), into a series of flooded catacombs. Inside, Mindy dispensed a wicked Shade after a fierce battle. After catching a glimpse of a very peculiar tomb carving Mindy followed Shea and Kiki out of the catacombs.

After leaving the catacombs, Shea lead Kiki and Mindy to a bar called the Rusty Mug where they met Mira, a friend of Merucrio's who allows them to stay at the inn until Mercurio reunites with them. But little do our heroes know, Mercurio has been sentenced to indefinite detainment by the sinister Magistrates of Sunken Valley and is now trapped within the depths of it's dungeons with no way to escape!

---

Catch up on the story so far...

Chapter 3:
The Siege: Prologue
The Siege: Part 1
The Siege: Part 2
The Siege: Part 3
The Siege: Part 4

---

Chapter 2:
The Journey: Part 1
The Journey: Part 2
The Journey: Part 3
The Journey: Part 4(A)
The Journey: Part 4(B)
The Journey: Part 4(C)

---

Chapter 1:
Beginnings: Part 1
Beginnings: Part 2
Beginnings: Part 3
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