The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
After a while, Mamie gathered up the separated trio and took them back into the mines. Bonfilia followed close behind the trio, and Mamie closed the floorboard behind them.
They wandered through tunnels for a while until they reached a large cavern that the trio had not yet seen.
It was wide open and very high, with several tunnel openings going in different directions out of it. Along one of the walls was what was best described as a command center. Several desks were laid out in rows with screens at each. A tall command desk sat in the back and overlooked multiple screens.
Many Aqueenians already were seated at the desks with the illuminating screens making their colored faces sparkle like gemstones. Many more stood around the cavern in small groups chatting in various conversations. Each wore dark clothing like that of the bandits and goggles.
When the trio entered the cavern, a large cheer erupted. At first, it was only the few that had seen them enter, but more and more joined in as they saw the source of the cry.
“Shut up, you fools!” Mamie shouted as she tried to silence the troops, “We can cheer when we win!”
She managed to get the group settled down and shook her head.
“I’m sorry about this lot; miners don’t always have the best manners,” she said to the trio. The crowd laughed at her comments.
“It’s alright….” Gwyn said. He wasn’t sure how to reply.
“Now, get these three a change of clothes!” Mamie said. They were thrown some simple, dark clothes and goggles in no time at all.
“What are these for?” Gwyn asked while holding the goggles.
“We have some spies that have infiltrated the enemy; they pretended they were of the same mind as that nasty Vidkun. To be safe, every one of our uniforms has our symbol of rebellion drawn on the chest in invisible ink. The goggles are meant to show it, but your Needaimus should be able to take care of that for you.”
With that, the group was taken to a private area, where they had put up some curtains to change. The trio emerged in matching dark grey uniforms. Their Needaimus quickly found the right way to show the invisible mark, and soon every uniform in the cavern lit up with a red symbol drawn on the chest. It was shaped like a circle, with an arrow bursting out of the side, and was clearly not designed by an artist.
“We have some time before it will be opportune to strike. Take the time to relax.” Mamie told the trio.
She left the trio with her daughter at her side, but they didn’t get any time to relax. Several of the miners swooped in to speak to the group.
The first to break through was a shorter Aqueenian with a sapphire blue hue. He had black hair on his head and a mismatching white goatee on his chin. On his left arm was a green Needaimus.
“Nice to meet you!” the stranger reached out a hand to Fiona. She awkwardly accepted the handshake. “Names Adan, I have a Saient type that can make all sorts of safety equipment… I’m not sure how much help it will do us in the battle, but I’ll be happy to support in whatever way I can!”
Fiona was at a loss for words.
“Happy to have your support!” Gwyn said happily as he lightly smacked Adan’s shoulder. The Aqueenian miner nodded in reply.
“Princess Fiona!” a chorus of shouts rang out as three others ran up. They quickly pushed Adan out of the way and stood before Fiona.
“And I’m Sinatra!”
Each gave their name in order, then joined together to finish:
“And we’re the founders of the Princess Fiona Fan Club!”
“A club that was only founded today,” Adan said with a sigh as he shook his head.
“You stop that,” Simeon shouted.
“We may have only started today,” Siegfried added.
“But our support for the princess will last a lifetime!” Sinatra finished.
Fiona awkwardly looked at the three, then to Gwyn for support. He only shook his head and gave Fiona a look to say: ‘This one’s all you.’ She frowned at Gwyn then forced a smile to the trio.
“Well, I’m happy… to have your support….”
The trio cheered.
“We are most gracious!” they shouted together. “In your time of need, we will gladly support you!”
“Than… Thanks… I’m glad I can count on you,” Fiona said.
“Of course!” The trio continued to talk Fiona’s ear off while she awkwardly listened. Gwyn and Harlan broke away and began to walk around the cavern. Gwyn quickly started up a casual conversation with the other miners. Harlan stood close but did not engage in any talking.
After a short while, some more miners, including Old Gus, entered the cavern while dragging Vidkun behind them.
“You filthy miners! When Grimes hears about this!” Vidkun shouted to them.
“Shaddup, the first that fool will hear about this is when we knock him right in the kisser,” Old Gus shouted to Vidkun.
The bandit adviser's face turned a bright shade of orange.
“I’ll… I’ll have you know that you have no chance of defeating these bandits!” he shouted. He didn’t get much of a chance to keep shouting, as he was soon gagged and sat along the back wall of the cavern.
“Well, Vidkun. I guess you get to watch this all play out with me,” Mamie said to him as she slipped a headset over her ears. “Can everyone hear me?” Mamie asked. Her voice echoed in the heads of the free trio as the Needaimus picked up the signal.
The crowd cheered in response with a loud “Dast!”
Mamie chuckled to herself, then made a frown and shook her head.
“Your all fools, but I guess that means we’re sure we’ll annoy those tyrants! We outnumber them 3 to 1 but don’t get too cocky. They have serious training and combat experience, and we’re just a bunch of miners. The only thing we know for sure we could win at is a drinking game.”
The crowd laughed at her criticism. Their ease helped Mamie calm down, but she kept her serious look.
“You lot better not die tonight. If it looks like they might win, turn around and retreat. My late husband has got to be tired of greeting Aqueenians younger than him at the entrance.”
“Dast!” the crowd shouted again, but this time they took a more serious tone to match Mamie’s. Bonfilia looked around at everything with confusion.
“Alright. Let us get this festival started a couple of nights early!” Mamie finished. The crowd cheered in excitement with her.