The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
A floorboard began to push up in a house far in the town. Soon after being set to the side, Mamie's green face emerged from below. Behind her followed the free trio of Gwyn, Harlan, and Fiona.
They began to spread out in the room and look around while Mamie silently placed the floorboard back over the opening. It was a simple home, with a wooden floor and lightly painted walls. The walls were curved in a wavy pattern, keeping with Aqueenian architecture styles, and curvy light fixtures hung from the ceiling. Some furniture was set out in the room that resembled a couch, recliner, and table, and two doors led to other rooms.
From one of the doorways, some tiny footsteps could be heard. It made the trio jump, but Mamie had no such reaction. Instead, her face lit up with a wide smile.
"Mommy!" a green Aqueenian girl ran in. She had intended to embrace her mother as soon as she entered, but the sudden sight of the trio made the child freeze and hesitate. She stopped after just coming through the doorway and looked at each of the three. "Mommy?" she repeated.
The girl backed up slightly. Her white eyes were alert to every tiny movement the three made.
"It's okay, Bonfilia, these three are guests," Mamie explained.
Her mothers' words were enough for the girl, and she immediately took off into a sprint across the room to hug her mother.
"You can take a seat anywhere; I will get some refreshments," Mamie gestured to the furniture as she began to walk out of the room. Bonfilia followed her.
Gwyn looked around and slowly found his way onto the couch. Fiona joined Gwyn on the sofa, and Harlan found herself in the chair.
"What's going on?" Gwyn whispered to Fiona.
"I don't know," Fiona whispered back.
They had followed Mamie, hardly saying a word after leaving the cavern. Though Gwyn tried to strike up a conversation, the Aqueenian woman had simply said: 'We should get to safety first' as a reply.
"I suspect she plans for Fiona to lead some revolt," Harlan quietly added to the conversation.
"Revolt?" Fiona stammered.
"That is correct," Mamie said from the doorway. The other three had not noticed her enter and jumped at her words. She stood with a tray that had three cups sitting on it. Bonfilia hid behind and only slightly looked around at the trio.
Mamie silently walked across the room and set the tray down on the table. She took each cup, one at a time, and handed it to the group. Steam was rising from the cups, and Fiona gently blew on it. Gwyn took a drink and quickly made a face that indicated he had burned himself. Harlan simply stared at the hot drink.
"I don't know how long ago it was, but it was a cold morning when those bandits came into our village. My late husband, the mayor at the time, resisted them at first and requested troops from the capitol. However, that man you defeated in the cavern interfered and claimed it was a miscommunication. The bandits swiftly took over after that and killed... my husband," Mamie explained to the trio.
Gwyn nodded to show his attention as he sipped on the drink. Fiona held her cup tightly as she looked down. Harlan continued to keep a blank expression on her scaled face as she attentively listened.
"We have been silently planning a revolt since then, and what should happen several days before the planned hour? A princess of our nation comes to our town!" Mamie gestured to Fiona, who opted to look in any direction except for the green Aqueenian woman. "Crenussal has listened to our prayers!" Mamie added with joy in her eyes.
Fiona fiddled with her hair as she tried to come up with a reply to the excited mother.
"Is she really going to help us?" Bonfilia asked from behind her mother.
"Wait–" Fiona blurted out. It caught everyone's attention. They all turned to the blue Aqueenian princess as they waited for her to add additional words. "I... uh... I plan to save my companions... but lead... Gwyn's the nonpareil, you know!" she ended her jumbled words by yelling out and pointing to Gwyn. He jumped.
"A Netzian has been named to be the nonpareil?" Mamie asked in shock.
"He's from another world!" Fiona added as she eased from the lack of attention. Bonfilia looked from behind her mother at the surprised human.
"Are you really from another world?" she asked with curiosity in her eyes.
"I... I guess I am...." Gwyn tried to reply.
"Fascinating! A princess and the nonpareil. The moral for our ragtag troops will be astonishing!" Mamie said while clapping her hands together.
Harlan looked down at her drink which had cooled down to a lukewarm temperature. She began to sip it while watching everything play out.
"Wait, wait. I understand you have a plan, but we were going to get some reinforcements!" Gwyn said. Harlan nodded in agreement but said nothing.
"So, you won't help us?" Bonfilia asked.
Mamie shook her head.
"Bonfilia dear, why don't you go play in the other room?" she said softly.
Her daughter looked at the ground with a frown but did as her mother said. It wasn't until Bonfilia left that Mamie spoke back up.
"I'm afraid that plan won't work as well as you think. We had three try to get out of the town for support before... none survived."
"What happened?" Fiona asked in shock.
Mamie just shook her head.
"Their leader's Needaimus ability is the cause. It has a grip on the whole town, but we don't know more than that."
"An ability that covers the whole town?" Harlan spoke out loud between her sips of tea. She had meant for it to be too quiet for the others to hear, but everyone still turned her way. She shyly looked down at the recliner arm.
"The bandit leaders have overclocked their Needaimus," Mamie explained.
Fiona and Harlan nodded to indicate they understood, but Gwyn was left confused.
"Wha–" he began to say, but Mem interrupted him in his thoughts.
It is called overclocked when Needaimus compatibility is forced to go over 100%. The abilities are expanded to new limits, but the Needaimus becomes fixed to the arm. If I had to guess, the growth you saw on our previous opponents was the beginning stages, probably about 125 to 150%. Honestly, it's creepy to look at and rather unpleasant.
Gwyn shut his mouth and looked at the Needaimus on his arm.
"That is why you can't hope to escape; we are all trapped here until their leader is defeated," Mamie added.
It was clear to her that the information was a lot to take in for the trio. She sighed and nodded.
"Take some time to think about it. I had hoped to strike in a couple of days, but I suspect the others will be too eager to hold back now that you are here. I will work on stilling their excitement, but I suspect they will want to attack this very night," she said. Then, she turned and exited the room—leaving the trio to think.