The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Rheba and Odell remained sitting in the cell after Hal left. They had stayed standing a moment after he had shut the door but chose to sit down once it became clear it would take a while.
“Do you think it will work?” Odell asked after a moment of silence.
“This plan was your own; you should show a little more confidence in it,” Rheba replied.
“I suppose your right,” Odell said with a nod. They continued to wait for what seemed like a long time while Hal snuck around the base.
“So, if we run into their mortals, how are we going to defeat them?” Odell asked.
“The Zenotote's ability could be trouble; we’ll need to think of a counter. The Bentulousian will be tough, she overpowered me earlier, and I suspect she won’t go down in a one-on-one, and we must try to avoid the Hobusian’s device once we get our Needaimus,” Rheba gave her honest assessment.
“She made something really nasty. I never thought I’d see an anti-Needaimus device realized,” Odell said with a shake of his head.
“Is it so uncommon? I thought there was a story about such a device in the Needaimus Rush,” Rheba asked.
Odell shook his head.
“That was such a long time ago, and it’s hard to say if that was fact or not. There has been a lot of research to create one ever since, but no one has succeeded. At least until now.”
“Hmm, she might be a troubling opponent,” Rheba said.
The two became silent for a moment, but their quiet was quickly interrupted.
An explosion in the distance shook the building. The duo in the cell was immediately alert. Everyone in the building stopped what they were doing. The whole place came alive as everyone became mobilized. Grimes, who was asleep on his throne, woke up and made a lazy yawn.
Inside the prison room, the guard and his backup came running in. He had just gotten someone to come to support him when the explosion rattled the building.
“Prisoners still inside the cell,” he reported to his radio-like device. He began to walk forward and eyed the duo. The second guard chuckled and followed after.
“It seems some of the locals are making a fuss. I’ve been put in charge of watching you… two…” The new guard stopped in his tracks. He reached for his radio but was not aware how close to the bars he was.
“Wait!” the second guard shouted as he tried to pull his ally back.
Rheba lunged her long arms out of the cell and grabbed the unsuspecting guard by his shirt. In his shock, he let go of his radio. As it hit the floor, Rheba jerked the guard, and the second one who held on, in close and smashed him against the bars. He was out of commission.
Before the second guard could escape, Rheba reached out with her second arm and drove him into the cell bars as well.
“Quick, Odell, see if they have anything useful,” Rheba said as she held the unconscious guards close to the bars.
Odell began to rummage in their pockets until he produced a set of keys.
“You don’t think….” Odell asked.
“He was sent to watch us after all,” Rheba answered.
Odell fiddled with the keys in the lock until one slid in and clicked the door open. The guards were tossed aside as the duo became free.
“Huh, what did we make Hal do all that for anyway?” Odell asked as he slid the keys into one of his pockets.
“Now is not the time; we need to find our way out of here,” Rheba said as she pulled open the door to the room. They exited into the hallway and began to run in a direction.
Though they did not know it, the duo had gone the opposite way Hal had. They ran down the hallway and around a couple of turns until they came bursting through a door into an open space. The room resembled an auditorium with rows of seats and a small stage that could be stood up to make announcements. In the space, all up and down the rows of seats and on the stage, troops dressed identically in black clothing were dueling each other.
A side of Aqueenians was shouting while swinging heavy pickaxes around while the bandit troops wielded more conventional swords and other blades against their foes. The two sides clashed with fury and might. However, it was clear that even with the passion the Aqueenians held, they struggled with the skill and technique of their foes.
Every bandit troop member was able to hold their own against even a crowd of the miners, and the Aqueenians were being pushed back. The bandits, however, were careful not to wound the miners too much as to keep the labor force intact. Though some miners fell, they were taken down with gashes and knocked unconscious.
Rheba was the first to get a grasp on the sight she saw. She immediately lunged forward and picked up a bandit soldier from behind. The soldier had been overwhelming a trio that had clearly never fought a day in their life.
The trio spoke to Rheba as she casually threw the opposing bandit over her shoulder.
“Could this be?” the first said.
“It has to be; she is clearly not with them,” the second added.
“We have aid at last,” the last finished.
“It’s Lady Fiona’s allies!” they said in unison.
“You know Fiona?” Rheba asked as she casually punched an enemy troop charging at her from the side. The opponent was sent flying while Rheba never looked at him.
“Do we know Lady Fiona?” the group said in sing-song unison. They might have continued talking, but Rheba ignored them and turned to Odell. The Hobusian prince ducked as an enemy swung a sword at him. The attack narrowly missed as it sailed over his bony crown.
“Odell, these Aqueenians are allies to the others,” Rheba yelled to him while he avoided another blow.
“I was starting to pick that up,” Odell yelled back as he ducked again.
“Where are the others?” Rheba asked the trio.
“Oh, well,” one said.
“We got split up when the fighting started,” the next added.
“And now we aren’t sure….” The third finished.
“Odell, let’s support these guys for now and catch up with the others later,” Rheba yelled.
“Are you sure you can support us?”
“We heard you normally use Needaimus.”
“We can take it from here if you have to go.”
“We can handle the likes of these opponents without some Needaimus,” Rheba said with a smile. Another opponent tried to run up and slash her back, but she kicked him from behind without a glance.
“Speak for yourself!” Odell shouted to her as he avoided another sword swipe from the same opponent as before.
Rheba shook her head.
“Hold on; I’ll help you.”
She leaped across the room and kicked the opponent that chased Odell into a wall.
“Thanks,” Odell said through heavy breaths. He knelt low.
“Don’t rest now; we have a room of opponents to take down!”
Rheba leaped back into the fray. Odell, and the Aqueenian miners, slowly realized how quickly she would turn the tide of the battle.