Chapter 62:

Mountain Tunnel 2

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Mem flew over Sun and grabbed the yellow bull-like body with two large blue claws. After a couple of flaps of blue wings, Mem took to the air with the other Needaimus in tow.

"You sure are heavy," Mem commented.

"Excuse me?" Sun said in shock as the blue Needaimus finally made it through the threshold of one of the opened doors. The flight was slow but quiet enough that the captors did not hear anything odd.

Mem reached the team in no time and dropped Sun onto a surprised Fiona's arm. The bonding of the Needaimus caused the wings over Fiona's arm to disappear. She quickly used her free arm to rip the wings off her other arm, then the rest of her body. The action was noticed by Icarus, who promptly spun around to watch the freed princess softly land on the ground. He thrust his hand out to her, and more wings appeared on her body.

At the same time, Mem bonded with Gwyn. Like Fiona, his right arm was freed from the fusion process. He reached for a wing and tried to pull it off, as Fiona had quickly done. At the same time, he activated his ability. The wing melted in a manner that resembled wax or plastic in his hand.

Gwyn took a moment to focus, then applied his ability across his body. Every wing liquified at once, and he was quickly free. He fell to his knees and tried to catch his breath. Icarus noticed right away, but his attention was focused on the Aqueenian princess who had just teleported out. The tiny wings that had just reappeared on Fiona fluttered to the ground where she had stood.

Icarus looked around frantically, but Fiona had appeared right behind him. She gave him a solid kick in the back, and the golden Zenotote stumbled forward. He turned around and glared at Fiona with fury in his red eyes.

Flora sighed and grabbed Fiona suddenly from behind. Her yellow Needaimus arm was twisted into a hold behind her back.

"You are trouble, aren't you?" Flora mused to the Aqueenian princess. Fiona didn't respond and simply disappeared from the calico Bentulousian's arms. She reappeared in a blue flash on top of the Ali and faced her two opponents, who quickly focused on the flash of light.

After catching his breath, Gwyn quickly began to melt the wings on the other team members. The other Needaimus spilled out of the Ali and began to dart across the ground to their respective partners quickly.

The opponents watched Fiona closely as they split up and began to circle the vehakul on opposite sides.

Don't waste time fighting these two; you need to get everyone away. Sun echoed in Fiona's mind. Fiona frowned but kept her mouth shut as she looked back and forth between the two opponents. She had wanted to protest to Sun; fortunately, the Needaimus already had an idea of what she would say.

I've told you before, even if you reach 100% compatibility, it will not matter if you don't use your abilities properly. Look, I've done some echo surveys and identified two of those side tunnels that would make a good escape route.

On the cue of Sun's words, two markers appeared in Fiona's vision. If she looked at the openings, a red line along the floor would appear to lay out the path clearly.

Fiona shook her head and zapped next to Flora. She threw her fist at the Bentulousian warrior's stomach. It made contact, but Flora just stood in place with a smile. Fiona's arm was quickly grabbed, and the Aqueenian princess was thrown over Flora's shoulder.

Fiona landed squarely on her back and let out a grunt. Flora turned away from her downed opponent and looked at the rest of the group. They had all been freed from the wings, and each had a Needaimus on their arm. The calico Bentulousian frowned.

She looked over to the other side of the Ali where Icarus stood. The golden Zenotote wiped some sweat from his brow as he faced the opponents. Two large wings appeared on his back, and he began to hover above the ground. He moved his head so that his neck cracked.

"Some trouble sure rolled into town today," Icarus said with a small laugh.

The team had their backs facing the tunnel exit, save for Fiona, who slowly pushed herself up from the ground behind Flora. Only she, and the opponent duo, saw a new figure approaching from outside the tunnel. The figure remained only a shadow, but Fiona felt it might be trouble.

"Everyone!" she shouted, but her cries did not reach them in time.

The shadowed figure leaped into the air and flew into the tunnel. A Hobusian woman came into clear view as she exited the bright contrast of the sunlight.

Like the majority of Hobusians, she was short, with a thinner than average frame. Her crown was only a small horn shape in the center of her forehead, and it appeared as if it parted her lengthy, black hair as it flowed down around her face. She wore simple black clothing like the duo that engaged the team, but no Needaimus was bonded to any limb.

Instead, she wore what looked like a giant glove on her right hand. It had a bulky, square appearance and four tubes that seemed to come out of the glove and arc back into it. Two of the tubes looked like a blue fluid was running through, while the other tubes appeared to have a yellow liquid.

The Hobusian from the air tapped on Rheba's arm as she got in close. The tap had been only an instant, but Rheba's Needaimus, Mini, suddenly was thrown off her arm. Mini flew up in the air and was caught by the new opponent, who promptly chucked the Needaimus to Flora. The rest of the group all began to react, but the newcomer moved swiftly as she targeted Hal next. At the same time, Flora and Icarus started to move in close to the group.

As Hal tried to block the quick Hobusian, Odell reacted by getting in close to Gwyn and Harlan. Hal's No. 5 was broken free from his arm at the exact moment Odell gave a heavy push to his companions. He angled it slightly upward so that they flew up through the air, right over Flora's head.

Almost immediately after they had been pushed, the new opponent quickly removed Odell's Needaimus from his arm.

"Run, you three!" Rheba shouted as Flora quickly brought her down. Icarus brought down Hal.

Harlan gracefully landed on her feet and helped Gwyn, who had not landed so well, up.

"But..." Fiona managed to yell back to the remaining team as the other two continued to get their bearings from Odell's push.

"Just go, or we'll all be captured!" Rheba shouted back.

Gwyn shook his head and began to step back to the team members who were being restrained, but Harlan caught his hand. With a strong pull, she moved Gwyn in the opposite direction. As she ran by Fiona, she grabbed the princess' arm and began to lead her as well.

"Wait, Harlan!" Gwyn shouted as he looked back to the team, but the Zenotote calmly pulled the other two into one of the side passageways.

"Shall we give chase?" the new Hobusian enemy asked as she pushed Odell flat on the ground.

"No, Savvy, we will take these three in first. The others won't make it long in the mines anyway," Flora answered.

The opposing trio began to cart away the three captured team members and Needaimus.