Chapter 75:

The Invasion Begins

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The free trio looked all around the cavern at the cheering miners. Mamie's words had lit a fire within them, and they eagerly began to grab tools and pickaxes while singing a song of their impending victory.

Mamie approached the trio while the miners were busy preparing.

"You wouldn't realize it, but they are more excited with you here than without," she told the group. While she spoke, Bonfilia ran up next to her mother.

Fiona nodded slightly to show that she understood but didn't bother saying anything.

Bonfilia stepped forward and handed something to Gwyn. He awkwardly received the object then began to examine it. It was a string tied together with several beads on it. They were arranged in a repeating pattern of red – blue – green – purple – black around with only a little bit of the string exposed where it had been tied to a knot.

"Oh, thank you," Gwyn said, though he had no idea what he was supposed to do with the object.

"It's a protection necklace; I made them for all three of you!" Bonfilia said as she handed the handmade items to Fiona and Harlan. Fiona awkwardly fumbled with her necklace to get it over her head.

Harlan, on the other hand, stared at the necklace. She was confused about why she had been given such a gift.

"Just a necklace for them, that hurts," Adan said in a playful tone as he walked up to the group.

"You don't need one," Bonfilia said as she stuck her tongue out at Adan. She was convinced that the safety officer was indestructible. Adan laughed and stuck his tongue out at the Aqueenian child.

"Come on, Your Mom probably needs to talk to these three for a little bit," Adan said as he gently pushed Bonfilia away.

"Wait, Adan– Make sure you wear them!" Bonfilia shouted to the group. Harlan shrugged and slipped the necklace over her head. Gwyn tried to do the same, but his head was too large for what Bonfilia made. He settled for wrapping it around his left arm as a makeshift bracelet.

Adan continued to escort Bonfilia away. Mamie made a silent 'thank you' to Adan with her lips as she turned back to the trio.

"Now, I understand you have captured allies at their base. Our troops will be able to support you as you seek out freeing them. After that, it would be best to regroup and coordinate an all-out attack on their leader. His name is Grimes, and he's a Netzian with a severely overclocked crimson Needaimus," Mamie said as she pulled out a piece of paper.

"Our group is dividing into four teams to infiltrate the stronghold. I would recommend each of you joins a different unit to maximize your search area. Adan will take up the last team. Of course, that is up to you."

Mamie looked at each group member individually while she waited for them to respond.

"It might be better if we go in alone," Gwyn suggested. Harlan shook her head but didn't offer a response.

Fiona pressed a finger to her chin. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly as she took a moment to think. After a couple of seconds, her large purple eyes popped open.

"I'm just going to go that way; if they want to follow along, they can!" she said with a confident nod as she pointed to a random tunnel.

"Princess dear, that tunnel goes back to my house. The tunnels you want are over there," Mamie said as she gently pointed to a set of tunnel openings on the other side of the cavern. Fiona blushed and slowly turned her arm to point to a tunnel in the right direction.

"Don't worry, Princess Fiona, we will follow you everywhere!" the trio of the Fiona Fan Club shouted in unison as they seemingly appeared next to the group.

Fiona slid her hands down and clasped them by her waist. She turned slightly to Gwyn and Harlan and whispered:

"What do I do about them."

Harlan shrugged.

"You need to show them your down to earth and relatable so that they don't try to praise you so much," Gwyn said with a nod.

"Down to earth? Never mind... I get the relatable part" Fiona turned away from Gwyn and Harlan and addressed the trio, "I appreciate your support... but feel free to drop the princess title."

"We could never do something so disrespectful!" shouted Simeon.

"It goes against the oath we took when we joined this club!" added Siegfried.

"Wait, she's trying to tell us something instead!" Sinatra realized.

"I see, 'princess' isn't strong enough of a title to address her by!" Simeon shouted with an 'ah-ha' expression.

"Of course!" Siegfried added.

"It should be something more dignified, perhaps Lady Fiona!" Sinatra said.

"That's it!" The other two shouted together.

Fiona looked back to Gwyn and Harlan with an expression that begged for support. Harlan shook her head, and Gwyn could only throw his hands up to show he was out of ideas.

The trio began to sing praises about Fiona as she tried to hide a very embarrassed expression.

Mamie chuckled some at the sight before excusing herself. She returned to her command post and began to address the crowd.

"You lot look like you are ready to go," she shouted, and the crowd replied with a hardy shout of their own. She didn't have to say a second word before the whole group of miners began to charge down different tunnels exiting the cavern.

Gwyn, Harlan, and Fiona took off simultaneously so that they could keep pace with the crowd. Though Gwyn intended to join the others, they got split up as they caught up within the group. In the end, each trio member set off down a different tunnel in their charge to the enemy base.