The inside of the cave was exactly like John had described: torches that seemed to extend directly from the stone walls, living chambers that looked straight out of the middle ages and odd carvings of offerings, sacrifices and rituals that were cut into the rock. John signaled to Dean to follow him and stay close. Father and son crept silently, eyes darting this way and that, waiting for their presence to be known.
They could hear coughing and wheezing from somewhere further along the hall and knew the tear gas diversion had worked. A woman stepped out into the hall from a chamber a few steps from the opening and stopped suddenly when she came face-to-face with Dean. He hesitated only a fraction of a second before pulling his machete from an inside jacket pocket and cutting her head off. She only had time to register shock at the Winchesters’ appearance before her body slumped to the ground. The men moved on.
John noted the grim determination on Dean’s face and felt a rip of guilt in his chest. The people he loved were suffering – again – because of him. Put it aside, he scolded himself. Guilt isn’t going to save Anna and Ladona and get them all the hell out of here in one piece. John quickly realized he had no idea where he was going. His memories from the last time he was here weren’t clear and there was no time to pull out his journal and check his notes.
Instead, John led Dean further into the mountain, following the sounds of people affected by the tear gas. They only encountered one other person and John was able to slit his throat after a brief exchange of blows while Dean held him.
Neither father nor son spared the man a second glance, but Dean was relieved to know that while these people might be witches and wizards, and had probably lived long past their expiration date, at least they could be killed like regular people. He refused to even contemplate how it would be easy for Ladona and Anna to die like regular people, knowing that to give in and let his mind wander like that would kill them all.
Brighter light told John and Dean they were just a few feet from the room. The hacking and crying were louder, too, so the men separated to opposite sides of the hall. Dean remained on the same side as the opening and at the count of three, John sprinted to the other side of the doorway. They cocked their guns and stole into what could only be described as a kind of family room.
The smoke from the tear gas had mostly dissipated though some fumes hung in the air, making Dean’s and John’s eyes water a bit. Still, they could see maybe five or six other people in the room, too, some of whom were on their hands and knees gulping air. A couple others curled up coughing and sputtering on pieces of furniture that looked like giant cushions. The floor of the room was covered in thick carpets and large furs and rich tapestries were hung on the walls. Light shone from the fire in the middle of the room and from dozens of small lights scattered about.
Dean stalked to the nearest person and grabbed what turned out to be a woman by the hair. He pulled her head back roughly and put his gun to her head. “Where are the women you kidnapped?” he growled. She shook her head violently from side-to-side, but Dean only yanked harder. “I’m not going to ask again.” When she only smiled at him, Dean pulled the trigger and let her lifeless body fall to the ground.
John had a tall wizard pinned to the wall with the barrel of his gun pressed between the man’s eyes and his hand around the younger-looking man’s throat. “You’re next if you don’t tell me where you took the woman with the red hair and the witch who was with her.”
The wizard smirked, but when he saw John’s finger curl around the trigger, his expression changed. “One is in the holding cell and one is with our god,” he blurted.
“Where?” John demanded. He refused to consider this new piece of information until he and Dean were finished.
“The holding cell is further down the passageway,” the wizard told John, his expression not quite so worried now that John seemed to relax a bit. “Our god is at the end of the forked hall to the right.”
John clapped him on the shoulder and then snapped his neck. John turned away from the dead wizard to help Dean dispatch the rest. It was fast, easy and ugly since the tear gas rendered the witches and wizards in the room nearly harmless, but neither
“Did you find out where they are?” Dean asked.
John looked dazed as he answered. “Yeah. The holding cell is further down this way. I don’t know who’s being held in there, but the other one is …” John took a breath. “The other is with the god.”
Dean was dumbstruck. “A god? What the hell?”
“It explains so much,” John was almost talking to himself. “The bloodless bodies, the intervals between the kidnappings and deaths. But maybe not a full god otherwise my attack wouldn’t have made a difference.” He looked at Dean. “Don’t you see? A demi-god that needs fresh, human blood to survive. All those people went missing because they were taken to feed the god. It must be awake now and needs to regain strength.”
Dean stepped quickly to the doorway to go back out to the passageway that would lead him further into the mountain. “Which way, Dad?”John looked at Dean and made a split second decision to lie to his son. He knew Dean – and John did, too – assumed the god would have taken Ladona first to take advantage of her power in her blood. But he also knew this was his fight to finish no matter if it was Ladona or Anna with the god. He would kill the god once and for all and end this particular nightmare for everyone. “Keep going down this passageway. It’ll be before the fork in the hall.”