Chapter 9:

The Devil, The Witch, and The Hydro Pilgrimage (Part 2)

The Devil, The Witch, and The Wicked World of Delirith


Somewhere in the exiled world of Delirith, somewhere in the desert of Kaandur, dawn light shone signalling a new day for the Sand Gang’s pilgrimage to the Great Puddle Lake at Boneyard Badlands. A few weeks passed since the gang started their pilgrimage, and five days since Mako and Fyra tagged along in their journey as ‘prisoners’. Bookmark here

Inside the Sandking’s tent, a little blonde 10 year-old boy woke up from his sleep. Yawning and stretching, the boy’s hair was messier than a wild lion’s mane. His eyes still shut as the boy tried getting up, but it was then he noticed something crucial to him was missing.Bookmark here

“FYRAAAA!!! WHERE THE HELL IS MY LEG!!!”Bookmark here

[ MAKO THE LITTLE WITCH ]
Missing a prostheticBookmark here

Mako got up from the straw mat, hopping to the tent’s entrance with his remaining real leg. The boy was still in his singlet and shorts, and looked rather pissed off for his missing prosthetic.Bookmark here

“Fyra! Fyra! There you are. Where did you hide my leg?” Mako pointed at Fyra sitting outside the tent, currently helmless revealing her waist long silky dark brown hair.Bookmark here

“Ho? I don't know what you’re talking about?”Bookmark here

[ FYRA THE ONE-HORNED DEVIL ]
Definitely knows what Mako’s talking aboutBookmark here

“Pretty bold of you to accuse me immediately. What if you just misplaced it.” Fyra grinned at Mako smugly.Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, that makes sense. EXCEPT IT’S SCREWED ON MY KNEE THIS WHOLE TIME! NOW SHOW ME WHERE IT IS!” Mako leapt at Fyra suddenly in which she casually dodged aside.Bookmark here

In anger, Mako got up and tried pouncing at Fyra once more but was quickly intercepted and taken down by the more melee combat experienced devil. Bookmark here

“Maybe if you hadn't eaten my dessert all of a sudden last night-” Fyra sat on top of Mako’s back.Bookmark here

“Freaking hell! Is this what it's all about? Fine, I’m sorry! Now can I have my leg back?”Bookmark here

“Hmm… Didn’t sound sincere enough,” Fyra responded.Bookmark here

“Oh come on!”Bookmark here

“ALRIGHT, YOU TWO HAD YOUR FUN-” a familiar voice interrupted the two- “NOW STOP SCREWING AROUND AND GET INTO THE WARSTOMPA! WE’RE MOVING IN FIVE MINUTES!”Bookmark here

[ SANDKING ANUBRAX ]
Leader of the Sand Gang, Head of the Hydro PilgrimageBookmark here

“YOU’RE LEG’S ON THE CAR, MAKO. SO GET YOUR BUTTS MOVING!”Bookmark here

“Fine!” the duo replied at the same time.Bookmark here

“But you still owe me a sincere apology,” Fyra told Mako.Bookmark here

Just like Anubrax said, five minutes passed when the war drummers got on to their Drumma and started beating their drums rhythmically to rally everyone up. A football helmet wearing driver entered the Ashura with a mug of coffee in one hand. He took a huge sip from the mug before punching the roof violently, awakening the sleeping guitarist still chained onto the loudspeakers like a stringed puppet. Bookmark here

“Guh-?”Bookmark here

[ SCORCH-FACE ]
*grunts in confusionBookmark here

Instinctively, Scorch-face grabbed his chainsaw guitar and gave it a sweet hard riff. Fire streamed out of his mask and the loudspeakers behind, signalling the entire convoy as they all departed at the same time. Strums of his 16-stringed guitar and beaten drums rallied the thousands of vehicles as they all moved through the desert as one.Bookmark here

Through tall dunes and endless plains, through havened oasis and arid sands, through scorching days and cold-freezing nights, the pilgriming convoy drove onwards and so for the promise of a refreshed soul. Bookmark here

At some point they would stop and rest, refueling their cars and themselves from tiredness. But most times they would drive onwards for days long, shifting between drivers in hourly intervals to prevent exhaustion. Bookmark here

Throughout the journey the convoy encountered all sorts of creatures and amazing natural phenomena. Sometimes they would ride alongside a Razeling or a Chamel-eon herd, stampeding across the desert shaking the earth below. Sometimes they crossed paths with a Scarab nest, yet to be tamed by riders but nevertheless a fierce threat that forced both sides into battle, which favoured the side that wielded guns. There were also times where they encountered hordes of mighty Razesaurus, but the pilgrims were too prepared as the fearsome beasts were reduced to food supply for both pilgrims and scavenging Skullruda.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, it had been quite a ride for Mako and Fyra who experienced all of this for the first time in their lives. Riding along with thousands of people, from a ‘first-class’ ride even, it’s clear that the duo barely explored the true wilderness of the desert.Bookmark here

Five days passed and the convoy drove on as usual, ever closer to their destination which was estimated to arrive in two days time. Inside the Warstompa, Mako and Fyra were seen napping on the backseat, laying their heads on the Sandking’s mother’s shoulder who sat in the middle. Driving the armour-plated war truck was Anubrax himself, eyes all focused on the road. There’s no one sitting on his left as the Sand Gang’s second in command, Von Petrol, was driving a Bertha close by.Bookmark here

In the midst of driving, Anubrax’s walkie-talkie suddenly beeped. The Sandking immediately attended to it.Bookmark here

“Status report, Von.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, we’ve received a message from the Scouting division, sir!” Von replied. “They saw another convoy heading towards us, as big as ours!”Bookmark here

“The hell? Where?”Bookmark here

“I’m trying to communicate with them sir. It seems they are in trouble!-” Von switched his walkie-talkie to another- “Rattle-rat, do you copy! I repeat, Rattle-rat, do you copy!”Bookmark here

They- *static noise* -the Sk- *static noise again* -everywhere- *static noise mixed with gunshots and screaming* -Bookmark here

“Rattle-rat! Rattle-rat!” Von called out, but the only thing replying were incoherent noises from the walkie-talkie.Bookmark here

-left, right, back- *static noise* -RUUUN!!-Bookmark here

The conversation instantly cut off, ending all communications with the scouting group. Alarmed, Von switched back to Anubrax to warn him.Bookmark here

“We’ve lost the scouts sir! Someone’s attacking them, and they’re probably heading for us next!”Bookmark here

“Screw that! I could already see them from here.”Bookmark here

As Anubrax said, silhouettes of another convoy appeared out of nowhere on the far right side of their group. They’re still too far to be identified properly though, so Beatrix pulled out a pair of binoculars to give it a closer look.Bookmark here

“Who are they, mother?” Anubrax asked.Bookmark here

“PAH! Curse my elderly sight! Boy, be a dear and have a look at them for me.” Beatrix handed the binoculars to Mako as he obediently watched through it.Bookmark here

“So, who is it?” Anubrax asked once more. Bookmark here

Mako didn’t reply. He was so shocked from the sight that his tongue simply refused to utter a word.Bookmark here

“Freaking hell- give it to me-” Fyra snatched the binoculars and gave it a look. However, her reaction too was similar to Mako. She refused to answer Anubrax's question as her eyes were glued to the sight.Bookmark here

“F***ing- Gimme that!” Anubrax snatched the binoculars from Fyra and looked through it. The Sandking was not horrified but rather pissed off upon taking sight at the convoy.Bookmark here

“Freaking hell!! It’s the goddamn-”Bookmark here

“-Skull Clan.” Mako finished his sentence.Bookmark here

“Damn skullies! I thought they’ll leave our turf!-” Anubrax pulled out his walkie-talkie and contacted Von.Bookmark here

“Von! I want half of our Berthas to gather at the middle group and protect it at all cost! Separate the fuel tankers and other explosive vehicles from the group and tell all sand-bois to pull out their guns-”Bookmark here

“They want war, we’ll give them frigging war!!”Bookmark here

“Will do, sir!” Von complied and immediately passed down the message to every group commanders. They all shouted their orders to their sand-bois who happily drew out their firearms while hollering manically. Bookmark here

War drums from Drummas began banging more violently while the Ashura blasted its fire from the towering speakers as its guitarist, Scorch-face, riffed his guitar hard. Bookmark here

Soon, every sand-bois took their position with their turrets loaded and guns held up high. Shouting and hollering, the Sand Gang welcomed their skull-motif enemies as more and more emerged from left, right and back. The convoys drove ever closer to each other, and soon enough, the inevitable happened.Bookmark here

“CRUSH THEM!!!!” a skully commander shouted.Bookmark here

Both clans clashed as vehicles after vehicles collided with each other with great force. Both sides’ riders and drivers exchanged fire, shooting their guns and chugging everything towards each other; bombs, spears, bombs tied to spears and whatnot. A sand-boi managed to jump on a Skull Clan pickup and suicide bombed them with the two bazooka spears wielded by him. Another sand-boi shot down several hoverbike skull-riders with the gatling gun turret mounted on top of his truck. Bookmark here

On the other hand, a group of skullies hijacked a bus filled with armed sand-bois and immediately both sides exchanged fire. The skullies emerged victorious and took hold of the bus, driving recklessly as they rammed and crushed some unlucky hoverbike riders. Their victory was cut short however as the bus was immediately rammed and bombarded by a Bertha and its dual bazooka wielding rider. Rockets after rockets fired by the rider exploding dozens of skullies to pieces. Bookmark here

“War’s heating up right now. You kids ought to gun up-” Beatrix kicked open a hatch on the floor, revealing a stash of assault rifles, plasma guns, shotguns, and other deadly firearms. Mako and Fyra grabbed some of the guns and passed the elderly mother her favourite hunting rifle as requested.Bookmark here

“Why- What are the Skull Clan doing here in the first place?” Mako asked.Bookmark here

“Wait, I thought you were there when it happened?” Beatrix interrupted the witch with a question.Bookmark here

“I was there?”Bookmark here

“She’s referring to Zed, boy. The night of the Auction Fest,” Anubrax intervened, “News of Delirnium ore being brought to Kaandur reached outside the desert. But out of every clan in Delirith, none are more hell-bent at getting their hands on that cursed ore than those damned skullies-” Anubrax stopped his dialogue to ram an unsuspecting skull-car.Bookmark here

“They’ve been bothering us for quite some time thanks to that; killing our men, kidnapping our women. That’s why we went after Zed that night and brought him to the general of the group; Oculus-Khan. We offered them the idiot and made him confess his crimes in front of them all, in exchange for our people they took as prisoners and leaving our turf. ”Bookmark here

“And? How’d that work out?”Bookmark here

“Didn’t work shit! They were furious to find out the Delirnium was fake, but that didn’t stop them from murdering my people in front of us! They took Zed and left just like that, and now they’re coming after our asses!!” Anubrax banged the steering wheel in anger. Bookmark here

Right at that moment, Anubrax’s eye caught sight of something from his side mirror. An armoured truck slightly bigger than a Bertha was charging towards the Warstompa. Someone stood on that truck’s roof, and that someone was all too familiar for the Sandking of Kaandur.Bookmark here

“SPEAK OF THE DEVIL! THE BASTARD’S HERE-” An angry grin formed on Anubrax’s face.Bookmark here

Standing on the charging truck was none other than the leader of the intruding Skull Clan; Oculus-Khan.Bookmark here

“Charge onwards driver! I’ll handle their lowly king myself.”Bookmark here

[ OCULUS-KHAN ]
The Eyeless Terror, A General of the Skull ClanBookmark here

Oculus’s ride closed-in to the Warstompa, allowing him to board on the truck’s trailer.Bookmark here

“TAKE THE WHEEL, ONE OF YA!” Anubrax punched open the roof hatch and climbed out of the truck.Bookmark here

Mako pushed Fyra to the front seat much to her annoyance, but the devil instinctively took the wheel and drove onwards. Outside, Anubrax finds himself in the middle of the truck’s trailer, and standing in front was the eyeless half-cyborg, Oculus-Khan.Bookmark here

“I TOLD YA WE DON’T GOT DELIRNIUM IN KAANDUR!!”Bookmark here

“Delirnium is merely a means for our conquest,” Oculus replied rather arrogantly. “Kaandur will be ours, Sandking. Your clan means nothing against our empire!”Bookmark here

Oculus unleashed two half feet long Ogunite chainsaw from the backside of both his arms. The chainsaw arm blades buzzed terrifyingly as the half-cyborg skeleton approached Anubrax.Bookmark here

Unfazed by the threat, Anubrax drew out his chain-a-rang blade and charged onwards as well.Bookmark here

“THAT METAL SKULL GAVE YA HEAD THE STUPID! I’LL RIP IT OFF AND LET YA KNOW NOT TO MESS US SAND GANG!!”Bookmark here

Immediately, the two leader’s clashed blades as the Warstompa drove onwards in the middle of a chaotic war. Sparks after sparks flew as both Ogunite-steeled blades exchanged blows, booming the trailer with deafening clangs. Both Anubrax and Oculus equaled each other in might, speed, and skill. The fight could go both ways, and both men had their whole clan at stake. Bookmark here

Because of that, several skullies caught up to the Warstompa and jumped aboard the trailer from behind and both sides to help their leader. They charged at Anubrax with their laser hatchets and chainsaw blades, only to be cut in half by the mighty king. This didn’t stop them from bothering the fight though, as dozens more climbed aboard the trailer giving Oculus the edge in number.Bookmark here

“Our king’s in trouble! We need to help him!” Von rallied some men towards the Warstompa to support their king. Bookmark here

Pickups with mounted gatling guns and buses filled with armed sand-bois surrounded the Warstompa from both sides. They opened fire at the climbing skullies as well as enemy vehicles that attempted to close in on them. The skullies responded of course with their own skirmish of projectiles, and soon enough, Anubrax and Oculus clashed blades under rains of bullets and flying blades. Bookmark here

Back inside the Warstompa, Mako and Beatrix defended ferociously, firing their weapons at the skullies outside while Fyra drove rather recklessly. She slammed and rammed any smaller enemy vehicles in their way and even shot out a firestream or two to those who got too close to her side from the window. It was then an enemy truck collided with them from the right side. A skully jumped out from the truck and hung on to the Warstompa’s passenger door. Bookmark here

The skully grabbed and locked Mako in a rear chokehold through the window. Beatrix tried to shoot the skully with her hunting rifle but Mako was in the way. Seeing this, Fyra rammed the Warstompa to the enemy truck. The skully was crushed and thrown out of the Warstompa from the collision, but Fyra’s plan backfired as Mako was thrown out along as well. Bookmark here

“Hold on Mako!” Fyra shouted, as this time it was the witch’s turn to hang on to the enemy’s truck. She tried driving closer to Mako when another enemy vehicle suddenly intercepted between the two. The truck carrying Mako drove away from the Warstompa with the witch still hanging dearly on its side.Bookmark here

It wasn’t long till the truck’s driver noticed Mako’s presence hanging on his ride. The truck swerved left and right violently to throw him out but the witch held on. Irritated, the driver pulled out a gun and tried shooting Mako down, who saw him and quickly climbed to the roof. That didn’t make it any safer for him though as bullets began shooting out beneath his feet. Bookmark here

“GET OFF MY RIDE BLONDIE!!”Bookmark here

*Bang!* *Ptew!* *Bang!*Bookmark here

Mako stepped back and forth as the driver blindly shot him through the roof. Distracted with the shooting, the driver didn’t realized that another bigger truck was about to ram him from behind.Bookmark here

*CRASHHHH!!!*Bookmark here

“AAASHURAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!”Bookmark here

Mako was thrown off as the truck was sent flying to the side before exploding in a glorious crash. He ends up landing onto the Ashura’s stage roof, the truck responsible for sending the enemy flying. A mad flaming guitarist greeted the witch’s sight, riffing his chainsaw guitar ever more violently as its saw blade buzzed non-stop.Bookmark here

“DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! (GET DOWN)”Bookmark here

“What-” Mako was confused with Scorch-face’s shouting when the guitarist suddenly swung his guitar horizontally at him. Mako quickly ducked and was surprised to see an enemy behind him, now slashed in half from the chainsaw guitar. Bookmark here

Several more skullies began boarding onto the Ashura’s stage with hatchets and pistols in hand. Scorch-face slashed, chopped, and butchered all of the skull-tattooed intruders that dared lay foot on his holy stage, riffing his guitar and blasting streams of fire during any free intervals before swinging his next strike. Bookmark here

Mako observed all of this in awe when a trapdoor suddenly opened beneath him. The witch instantly finds himself lying on the seat beside a football-helmet wearing driver. Bookmark here

[ FUTBAL]
The Helmet Stays On!Bookmark here

“Hurgh!”Bookmark here

“That was AWESOME!” Mako shouted, adjusting his seating position. “Anyways, we need to get back to the Warstompa! Anubrax’s in trouble!” Bookmark here

Futbal nodded and stepped on the gas harder. Bookmark here

Back to the Warstompa, Anubrax and Oculus were still clashing blades at speeds nearly incomprehensible for the naked eye. They locked their blades against each other when Oculus suddenly grabbed Anubrax by his arm and delivered a judo throw. The Sandking was nearly thrown off the trailer because of this.Bookmark here

“Give it up, Sandking! You have no chance against my army!” Oculus taunted. Bookmark here

Anubrax quickly got up and charged at Oculus, locking their blades once more.Bookmark here

“HAH! THEY SHOULD’VE GIVE YA EYES FOR THAT TIN-HEAD OF YOURS CUZ ALL I SEE ARE DEAD SKULLIES!-” Anubrax headbutted Oculus, pushing him a few steps back- “LOOK AROUND YA! MY MEN ARE STRONGER THAN YOURS!”Bookmark here

True to his words, the sand-bois fought valiantly defending the convoy with everything they’ve got. Many enemy vehicles were shot down and exploded by mounted turrets and armed men, while armoured vehicles were mowed down like paper mache from the Sand Gang’s missile launchers and other anti-tank weaponry. Combustible vehicles such as fuel tankers were heavily protected with force-field shields rendering the Skull Clan’s weapons useless.Bookmark here

Perhaps the only edge the Skull Clan had right now was their superior infantry, armed with superior plasma bolts and laser guns as well as iron-cladded elite. But all that means nothing against the sand-bois manic notoriety and their explosive suicidal tendency to defend their families. Bookmark here

“YOU GREATLY UNDERESTIMATED US, SKULLY! YOU’RE CLAN IS WEAK! NONE CAN TAME THE SANDS OF KAANDUR BUT US!!” Anubrax boasted proudly. He delivered a powerful front kick to Oculus, who blocked the attack but was thrown a few feet back by it. Bookmark here

“Perhaps you’re right. We’ve been underestimating you savages all this time-” Oculus got back to his feet- “but us being weak? We barely sent a mere legion to overthrow you yet look at how much all of you struggled.”Bookmark here

“And even then, the ‘mere’ legion had yet to show our full power-” Oculus turned around and looked up.Bookmark here

Confused by his enemy’s action, Anubrax tried attacking Oculus at this moment when a powerful explosion suddenly boomed right beside them. Anubrax looked up and was aghast to see hundreds of flying machines, all equipped with high-caliber turrets and missile launchers, flying straight towards them at great speed.Bookmark here

“Our ‘Ropters’ (rocket-helicopters) will make quick work of your convoy. So sit back and enjoy the fall of your sovereign.” Oculus taunted.Bookmark here

The blue flames of the Ropters’ rocket thrusters blasted violently as the bladeless choppers flew into the battlefield at near mach speed. They immediately bombarded the convoy with missiles and bullets, exploding countless of Sand Gang’s vehicles and sending their riders flying. Bookmark here

The force-field shield protecting the fuel tankers were made redundant as the Ropters gripped themselves onto a tanker with claw-shaped chained harpoons. The Ropters dragged the tanker all over the place, smashing enemy vehicles treating it like a dangling mace, before ending it all by dropping the tanker from hundreds of feet above the air. Bookmark here

*BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!*Bookmark here

A huge mushroom cloud combusted from the explosive crash. Dozens of sand-bois lives and rides reduced to burning debris.Bookmark here

“You’re call, Sandking,” Oculus taunted, sweeping Anubrax’s leg with a kick before following it up with another kick to the body.Bookmark here

Anubrax was sent three feet back lying on his front.  The Sandking quickly got back to his feet when he noticed a noticeable amount of sand brushing through his shoulder from behind. The Sandking turned around and saw what’s supposed to be a terrifying sight to others, but struck to him as much needed miracle.Bookmark here

“HEY OCULUS! YOU ASKED ME WHAT’S MY CALL RIGHT!?”Bookmark here

Oculus instantly noticed the ‘miracle’ behind his enemy.Bookmark here

“You freaking!-”Bookmark here

Less than a mile in front of the convoy was a massive sandstorm, endlessly wide and as tall as literal mountains. The cloud of sand was arched-shape like a tsunami wave, and lightning and thunder stormed within the sea of blood-red sand.Bookmark here

“CALL IN AS MUCH BACKUP AS YOU WANT, SKULLY! YA AIN’T BESTING OUR GREATEST WEAPON YET!!” Anubrax boasted proudly. Bookmark here

Oculus decided it would be foolish to battle the Sandking right now, so he turned a gear piece on his chest and instantly disappeared from sight. The Skull Clan general teleported back to his ride a few yards back.Bookmark here

“Thought so,” Anubrax scoffed, before retreating back inside the Warstompa, greeting his mother and a rather terrified looking Fyra.Bookmark here

Fyra scooted aside as Anubrax took control of the wheel. He pulled the walkie-talkie on the dashboard and contacted his second in command.Bookmark here

“Von! Do you hear me? Von! Status report now!” Bookmark here

“Ah boss! Good to hear you’re doing fine!” Von replied. “We’re taking heavy casualties from the skullies’ flying machine! I’ve sent more men to protect the middle group- didn’t stop the killing of course but we managed to shoot down two-three of them- *BUMP!* Gatdammit, watch the bikers, Tokai!”Bookmark here

“Anyways, we heading straight into the storm, boss?” Bookmark here

“We don’t have a choice. That's the only way we can get rid of those flying bastards!”Bookmark here

“Understood boss! I’ll alert the rest to get into position.”Bookmark here

Their call ended and Anubrax placed the walkie-talkie back on to the dashboard.Bookmark here

“So, we’re seriously driving straight into that place?” Fyra asked in a worried tone.Bookmark here

“Too late to back down now. So do us a favour and close your side’s window.”Bookmark here

Fyra complied and rolled up the window on her side. The same act was done by Beatrix on the back seat, closing both windows and making sure both doors are well locked. Bookmark here

Meanwhile inside the Ashura, Mako witnessed the terrifying sandstorm engulfing everything in front. They were still a few quarter miles back behind the Warstompa and the driver, Futbal, showed no sign of slowing down his truck. Bookmark here

“Hooo boy- we’re gonna have to go inside that place aren’t we?” Mako turned to Futbal. His football helmet obscured whatever expression the driver had in his face.Bookmark here

“Life comes, life goes…” Futbal spoke softly.Bookmark here

“NOW GO! GO! GO! GO!!!” Futbal flicked open a case on the dashboard, revealing a huge red button that said ‘GO’. Seeing this, Mako fastened his seat belt only to have it snap off much to the witch’s displeasure. Bookmark here

Not wasting a second, Futbal pushed the button and the Ashura instantly sped onwards. Its rocket thrusters exploded streams of blue fire. Scorch-face hollered cheerfully above, riffing his guitar while flames blasted out of his mask and the speakers behind him. Bookmark here

Mako and Futbal were pushed back to their seats from the intense G-force. The Ashura sped onwards at hundreds of miles per hour when it passed by the Warstompa. Mako and Fyra caught a glance of each other for a second before the Ashura disappeared into the sandstorm, entering ahead of everyone else.Bookmark here

“Well, at least Mako’s safe,” Fyra remarked, bracing herself as the Warstompa and the rest of the convoy marched onwards to the terrifying blood-red sandstorm.Bookmark here

~To be continued~Bookmark here

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