LJ went weird on me last night.
So, quick update tonight. Gotta go grocery shopping.
Up to part 51 can be found here
Continued from here
Willow was glowing so brightly that was hard to make out her features.
Faith looked around the cavern and softly whistled as she took in the glittering multicolored stalactites and stalagmites, the ornate carvings on the walls, and the Grail—at long last with a capital ‘G’ in her mind—set on a raised stone platform. Only two words for it: Wicked. Awesome.
Catherine’s eyes widened, her dark eyes reflecting the glory of the Grail. She hungrily surged forward, but was stopped when Faith’s arm shot out, checking her in her progress.
The Watcher Honoria spun around into a fighting stance.
“Wait,” Faith cautioned, “no way it’s gonna be that easy.”
“Sorry,” Catherine hunched. “I just…we need…”
“I know,” Faith nodded at her. She jerked her head to the walls. “Yo! Dawn! Are we just looking at pretty, or is there something useful over there?”
Dawn cautiously stepped forward, eyes scanning the carvings. “So far, pretty. Nothing so far…wait!” She touched the rock face, fingers tapping over the carvings. “I’m seeing something resembling ogham in this.”
“Ogham?” Faith asked.
“Celtic alphabet.” Dawn swore under her breath. “Not overly familiar with this one but at least I’ve seen it before. I can pick out the repeating pattern and I know a few words but…I need time.”
“Take it,” Faith agreed. “Andrew? Witchy-poo?”
“Witchy-poo?” Willow asked.
“We’re going to check out the area around the Grail.”
Catherine cleared her throat. “Excuse me, but I do believe…”
“Fine. J’Nal can come with,” Faith sighed.
“But…” Catherine began her protest.
“Question. What happens if the snake gets by our backwatchers?” Faith asked as she mentally added, Damn, I rock. Worth us taking a first look at this thing. I don’t fucking care what Xander’s journal says about it not belonging to us.
Catherine studied her through narrowed eyes, a clear sign that the Watcher Honoria knew she was being played and played but good.
Faith maintained as close to an innocent expression as she could get.
“Ruda,” Catherine started, eyes not leaving Faith’s face, “stand guard at the entrance. Charlie, take Tikri off to the side and wait.”
“But…” Charlie began.
“I don’t want to risk you if I can help it,” Catherine interrupted. “There’s still fighting going on and we might need your skills later rather than sooner.”
“Oh goody,” Tikri muttered. “More quality time for the two of us.”
Catherine leaned over. “For the record, I’m not happy about this.”
“For the record, you said you wouldn’t even be here if you were in our shoes.” Faith suspected that her –rah and –sen titles were getting flushed down Catherine’s mental toilet during this battle of wills. Fuck it. She wasn’t in the mood for diplomacy games. Catherine can’t deal? Her fucking problem.
Catherine let out an irritated huff of breath, drew her sword, and went to stand by Ruda.
Faith turned, grabbed Andrew by the scruff of the neck, ignored his squeaky protest, and cautiously approached the Grail. Time seemed to slow down as Faith let every Slayer sense reach out just in case whoever put the Grail here packed in one last punch to the gut. No one was more shocked than she was when the four of them reached the raised platform without one wiff of a trap.
“Too. Fucking. Easy.” Faith glowered at the Grail as if it had ruined her good time.
“With you,” Willow nodded as she slowly circled platform, no doubt looking for hidden surprises.
“I say count our blessings,” Andrew said in a nervous-cheerful voice. “The D-8 came up in our favor.”
“Oh crap!” Dawn’s voice echoed. “Looks like there’s another language tangled up with the ogham. I can’t read it.”
Faith’s eyes didn’t leave the Grail, mostly because she was afraid that a break in her attention might lead to trouble. “Why not?” she called back. “Not of this world?”
“Unh, sort of. It looks more demon-y than future-y, but I’m not sure,” Dawn’s answer echoed back.
“Andrew? Go look,” Faith ordered.
The guy practically saluted and beat feet over to Dawn’s position. Within moments everyone had an answer. “S’nargle. I sort of know this one. Looks like they were swapping letters and words between the two languages.” Andrew’s voice had shifted to certainty as he engaged the one talent he had over everyone else in Cleveland.
“Can you translate?” Willow asked.
“Sort of,” Andrew said, his voice suddenly less sure, “I think between Dawn and me we’ve got a good chance at success.”
“Do it. See if there’s something we should know tucked in there,” Faith said as Willow completed her circuit.
“I got nothin’,” Willow frowned.
“No writing on the platform anywhere,” J’Nal said. “Only writing I see is on the Grail itself.”
Faith looked at Willow. “You wanna do it? Or should I?”
“Do you think that’s wise?” J’Nal asked. “Maybe I should…”
“We’ll do it,” Faith stated. “Not that I’m hyped about the chances of us getting even close.”
“Don’t wanna do it any more than you do, but there’s only one way we’re going to find out if there’s a trap of the booby kind,” Willow pointed out.
“Right. Me Slayer. Me do,” Faith nodded. She reached out, half expecting an axe to swoop down from the ceiling and cut her hand clean off.
What she got instead was a little bit of a shock.
Actually, it was more like a big shock.
Just as her fingertips crossed the edge of the stone platform, Faith felt an electric current drill its way through every nerve ending. She let out an agonized scream as her back hyperextended before she was blown across the room. The grey haze of pain shut down into black when she hit the rock wall.