Body and Soul (Part 2)

Shinji opened the door of the catacombs and they entered the darkness. He was wearing full-plate but he walked slowly to avoid it making too much noise. He had retrieved his great axe which was now strapped to his back. “Why do you need to the armor and axe?” asked Tsukiko, “I’ve never taken anything like that when I’ve been down here.” Shinji raised his eyebrows. So she had been here before. “Aren’t you afraid of meeting undead?” he asked.
“Actually I’d love to meet some undead.” answered Tsukiko, “I don’t understand people’s problems with them. They are sacred to Rat. It is a wonderful thing when the dead can continue on in the world.”
“We do have a lot in common.” said Shinji, “Unfortunately, we adventurers tend to attract trouble, so we always have to be prepared.”
“You’re an adventurer?” asked Tsukiko gleefully.
“Not much of one.” admitted Shinji, “I’ve only done some exploring, mainly within Azure City territory. The city isn’t good for level grinding though, and one gets to meet fascinating people and have interesting experiences when adventuring. For instance, whilst I’m not the type to turn my back on my heritage and worship a foreign god, I’ve discovered that I have much in common with the worshippers of Druaga, Tiamat and Nergal.” Tsukiko listened enthralled by this man’s words. The idea of going out and bringing down divine retribution on the enemies of Rat appealed to her. She was eager to know what life as an adventurer was like. They had finished walking down the stairs and Shinji lit a torch so they could see what they were doing. “You said that you had been here before.” said Shinji, “What do you usually do here?”
“Oh, I haven’t been often.” answered Tsukiko, “I do enjoy it here though. It’s peaceful. I come to visit my parents and other people who don’t get visitors. Sometimes I look at their bodies. They are beautiful.”
“Those who see beauty in decaying flesh know the wisdom of Rat.” said Shinji, “I’m glad that you haven’t turned away from him since he took your parents. You will make an excellent cleric. Why aren’t you one yet? Do you have younger siblings to support?”
“No, I’m an only child,” answered Tsukiko, “but I’ve been afraid. Do you have siblings?”
“Never let fear stand in your way.” answered Shinji, “Never let anything stand in your way. You are going to apply at the temple for training and you will be a great cleric of Rat. I never let anything stand in my way. I had three older brothers who did not approve of what I did, but I never let that stop me. They’re dead now.”
“All right!” squealed Tsukiko, “I’ll do it!”
“Let me show you something special.” said Shinji and he pulled out a coffin before opening it. “He’s beautiful,” said Tsukiko, “but I’ve seen him before.”
“I’m not done yet.” answered Shinji, “You’ll be seeing a lot of him from now on. Necrocarnum circlet, crown bind!” His crown appeared to press more deeply into his skull and a second crown appeared on the rotting scalp of the corpse before disappearing. The corpse got up. “A zombie!” cried Tsukiko with glee, “You’ve created a zombie!”
“He’s faster, smarter and tougher than your run of the mill zombie.” said Shinji, “Of course, this is the only type of undead that I can make. You, however, will be able to make hordes of many kinds of undead who will serve you and the will of Rat when you’re a cleric.”
“Oh Shinji,” sighed Tsukiko, “it sounds wonderful.” She didn’t turn away when he kissed her.

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