It is pitch black….

As we approach the cave there are audible growls and rattling sounds from within the cave. But that’s okay, because Lily’s got my back. Right, Lily? Right?

Before taking the plunge I suggest we talk strategy. These creatures are deadly, poisonous and fast… so I have a plan I’ve named, “Hide-behind-the-giant-blue-mutant”.
I’ve put a lot of work into it and I think that I’m on to a real winner. Basically what we’re going to do is have the giant blue mutant take the lead, while I basically just hide behind the giant blue mutant.
What do you think? Because I think its strategic gold.

We head north into the cave. It is pitch black. I am likely to be eaten by a gr… wait… no… wrong game. *Phew*
Sitll, I really regret the lack of a torch or a match in my inventory, because through the darkness I can hear the slavering fangs, razor-sharp claws and horrible gurgling noises.

We follow the narrow path straight down into the heart of the cave complex.
Glowing fungi provide a scant light, and as we head into the first chamber there are the remains of a campsite lay scattered about. A campfire, sleeping area and storage boxes all look very welcoming… if you were to ignore the skeletal remains of the previous owner and the fact that the mattress is deeply stained by the bodily fluids of the same.

Surprisingly, this does not fill me with confidence.

Surprisingly, this does not fill me with confidence.

I briefly paw through the contents of the storage crates, and although most of the contents are destroyed I do find one or two items that I might be able to trade with Calamity. I’m sure it’s what this poor soul would have wanted.

Not sure where to go now. Our goal here is to see if we can figure out how the local nightstalkers are turning invisible, but we really have no idea what specifically we are looking for or where we should go to find it. In the end I have to make a decision and I just pick the tunnel that looks the least scary.

Once we start exploring the new tunnel it doesn’t take long for us to encounter our first nightstalker. Operation “Hide-behind-the-giant-blue-mutant” worked splendidly and Lily is more than happy to engage the creature in melee combat. Hell – If anything Lily seems a little TOO happy, hacking into the Nightstalker with her sword. Gleeful, even.

Looks like we got some imminent violence!

Looks like we got some imminent violence!

I try to help out with my shotgun whenever there is a clear path, but I have to be careful not to accidently shoot Lily. Not only is it just plain bad manners to shoot your allies, but I’d hate for Lily to take it the wrong way and decide I was the one in need of a smashing.

Once the dust settles Joe is completely unharmed, but I’m unpleasantly surprised by the injuries that Lily sustained during the battle. My assumption that I’d just be able to hide behind her for the duration of our adventure might be quite wrong, because she took a lot more damage than I suspected she might.

Further exploration of the cave system does little to improve my grim forecast of potential failure, as we happen upon the bones of yet another poor soul who lost their life in the caves.
The real tragedy is that none of their belongings survived and there is nothing else of value amongst the remains. Because… err… you know… so that Joe would have something to remember them by…

"Well, you were right about this being a bad idea."

"Well, I was right about this being a bad idea."

As we continue, the tunnel floor drops away and leads us into another cavern, this one flooded with stale water. Just more evidence that the universe hates me, because if anything could make the dark caves and invisible monsters worse, it’s wet shoes.

Again we have to pick which tunnel to head down. But, before Joe can make up his mind, there’s a snarl and ripples start to appear in the water.
In a sudden panic Joe backs up away from the water and back into the steep incline of the tunnel we originally came from. My eyes are so focused on the ripples in the water, growing and coming closer, that I never noticed the shimmer in the tunnel behind me…
Joe stumbles backwards as the jaws of a different, unseen nightstalker sink into his leg – ripping the flesh and breaking the bone.
Luckly for Joe he has a guardian angel: Lily charges into battle and sends the creature sprawling.

We're not gonna die. We can't die, Lily. You know why? Because we are so...very...pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.

We're not gonna die. We can't die, Lily. You know why? Because we are so...very...pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.

I could try to help… but at the bottom of the tunnel, where the water meets the stone, the water has stopped rippling. A shotgun blast down the tunnel reveals the snarling face of the original nightstalker as its stealth field fails. Things are looking… bad. Very, very bad.

Lily is fighting hard, but is now badly hurt. I’m in better condition, but limping heavily and my shotgun is not nearly as effective as it needs to be if we are going to escape this situation. Rather than continuing my pointless volly of fire, I try to get close enough to Lily to administer a super-stimpack in the hope that it will be enough to keep her going.

And then I hear Lily give a howl of pain and snarl a blood-curdling snarl. She then proceeds to have a complete metal break – her strength is renewed and she starts to cut into the nightstalkers, strikes powered by pure rage. It seems creepy inviable Leo has come out to play.
I don’t want to risk getting caught up in her berserker rage, so I back up and open fire with the shot gun.

Once both nightstalkers have been defeated there is a brief moment of uncertainty, the effects of her psychotic break flickering across Lily’s face. After a few brief moments her eyes clear and she relaxes the grip on her weapon. This is good, because I’d hate to have to lay a smack-down… although in this case, rather than violence, smack-down refers to the sound my feet would make as I flee from her.

Okay… what now? I want to head back… this was all far too dangerous for Joe. But Lily wants to keep going and there is no way I’m going anywhere in this cave system alone. And so onwards into the black we go.


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