“Bruno!” He heard a whisper. “Bruno!”
“Eveline?” Bruno hurried to the bars of his cell. And from across in the corner of another cell, there sat Eveline with her arms shackled to the wall. “Eveline!”
“Shh! They might chain you up, too!” Eveline explained. “I can’t use magic without my arms so I can’t break free.”
“What’s going on? Why are there Kudzu here?”
“We must be close to the Poisoned Swamp. I think the Necromancers have been bringing Kudzu back to life. I can feel a dark presence, but its hard to pinpoint where it’s coming from.”
“We’ve got to get out of here!” Bruno’s first idea was to squeeze through the metal bars. This would be tricky since he wasn’t particularly thin. He removed his jacket, then tried to wriggle through. He was able to get his head and chest through, but couldn’t go any further. And now he had trouble going back.
“Someone’s been having too many sweets,“ Eveline couldn’t help but giggle at Bruno’s predicament.
“What…hey!” But then, another idea hit him. He reached for his sword sheathed on his back the wedged the hilt between the bars and himself. It pressed against him nearly knocking his breath out, but it wedged him forward, his chin landing on the floor first. A slight headache from the impact, but he was fine. He’s fallen down many times..
“Do you see any keys?” Eveline asked.
“I’m getting to that,” he replied. He got himself off the ground, ignoring whatever scrapes he got and drew his sword remaining wary of any Kudzu spawn. Bruno followed the corridor further to a cube-shaped room with a rectangular table at the center. And lying on the table, a key ring.
Bruno took a few moments to overlook it. There were a whole bunch of keys. Which one was it? He took the whole ring and hurried back to Eveline’s cell. He tried one key. It didn’t work. Then he tried another and another. Soon, he fumbled about. Was the key even here?
“C’mon which one is it?”
“Behind you, Bruno!” The girl called out. Bruno quickly turned around, drawing his sword and pointing it whatever it was that approached him. A slithery green creature with beady, stalk eyes, different from the other Kudzu.
“Back off, you slimy monster!”
“Oh, no, please! Don’t hurt good Verdy! He’s not like the others,” the creature pleaded.
Bruno pressed the sword against the creature’s chin maintaining control. “Why should I believe you?”
“Verdy came to give you this,” the creature said holding up a pair of keys. “He’s here to free your friend!”
Bruno slightly lowered his sword and swiped the keys. “Why are you helping us?”
“Verdy doesn’t like the Necromancers. They poison the minds of Verdy’s brothers and sisters! I resisted!”
Poisoning minds? What was this creature on about? He knew something. But now wasn’t the time and place to ask. For now, Bruno took Verdy’s word, unlocking the cell door and freeing Eveline from the shackles. She took a moment to brush herself off of dirt and hay.
“Are you sure we can trust him?” Bruno asked.
“Verdy knows the Eastern Forest very well! He can lead you to the Poisoned Swamp. And to the pure maidens!”
“As ugly as he looks, I don’t think he means harm,” Eveline said. “Maybe not all monsters are bad.”
“Then, let’s hope that’s the case,” Bruno replied. “Verdy, lead us out of this dungeon and take us to the Poisoned Swamp.”
“Yes, please. This way. Hurry!” Verdy scampered down a hall and the two of them followed. Bruno kept his sword drawn still wary of enemies.