Chapter 83:

Harlan Vs. Icarus

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The pleaf began to grow in size on the wall. Its fly-like body quickly became about the size of a teacup poodle. Its wings split and grew into a set of four and then six. Sharp pincers grew from its head. Its eyes turned a crimson red, and the many wings became dyed a similar color.

The wings began to move rapidly in a loud buzz, and the pleaf flew off the wall. It retained its impressive speed from before the change and was buzzing by Harlan’s head in a matter of moments. She shuddered as the creature flew next to her. In the green Zenotote’s field of vision Mirror, Harlan’s Needaimus placed a countdown in the bottom right corner. It showed five minutes but quickly was dropping.

Icarus took a step back and the sight of the modified pleaf. His slitted crimson red eyes were wide, and his golden scaled shoulders shuddered. However, it only lasted a moment, then he sighed and spread the two large wings on his back.

“Why did I get such a waste of a Needaimus,” he grumbled as he glared at Harlan. It was too quiet for Harlan to hear, and all she saw was her opponent glare and then lunged at her.

Icarus thrust his fist forward at Harlan with his wings outstretched. She gracefully turned to avoid the blow, but his hand still scraped over the yellow-green scales on her cheek. The modified pleaf lunged at Icarus before he could pull his fist back. The pincers of the creature were opened and ready to snap at him.

Two tiny feathered wings appeared on the pleaf, and it was forced to do a barrel roll. The creature was knocked off course and flew just past Icarus’ golden face. He intended to exercise caution when faced with this unknown force. He didn’t know, but Harlan had deliberately added the pincers to be something that was strong enough to puncture Zenotote scales.

Harlan grabbed Icarus by his Needaimus covered arm and one of the large wings on his back and held him in place. At the same time, her modified pleaf tore off the feathered wings and changed course to aim back at Icarus.

The golden-scaled Zenotote took off in the air. His wings did not move, but he and Harlan, who held onto him, took off all the same. She had not anticipated his wings not needing to flap and held on more tightly as Icarus began to spin midair. The Zenotote scientist made every effort not to look down as she held onto her foe.

They began to fly up the stairwell past the third floor and to the ceiling. As they passed the third floor, Gwyn entered the large quarter-circle doors, though neither opponent was paying enough attention to notice.

At the top of the building, there was a giant glass dome above the staircase. The dome was divided into sections with metal beams and colored with differently shaded glass. Icarus crashed through one of the glass sections, using Harlan’s body as a shield. She grunted as they entered the night sky above them. The pleaf chased after as fast as it could.

Icarus stopped in the sky above the building and began to pull on the frills on Harlan’s head with his free hand.

She refused to let go as she looked down to the building below. Her grip tightened.

At the center of the glass dome, where all the metal beams met, there was a place for a flag to be planted. It was at that spot where the bandit’s flag was flying proudly in the night wind. Lights were placed around it so that it would be visible even in the dark. Another dome was set near the edge of the building, and the rest of the roof was a flat and open space.

Down below from the ground level, smoke could be seen floating up from where the explosives had gone off, and a crowd of brightly colored Aqueenian townsfolk was seen congregating around to stare at the entrance.

“Let go,” Icarus grunted to Harlan as he continued trying to pull her off.

She didn’t answer with words, but a moment after he finished speaking, the pleaf closed its pincers on Icarus’ free arm. He let out a cry and freed his grip from Harlan. The Zenotote scientist let go of her opponent and fell to the building below.

The pleaf quickly let go of Icarus and found its way to Harlan’s back. It grabbed her with multiple legs, and she began to fly across the rooftop. Icarus’ red eyes glowed with fury as he swooped back down at his opponent.

“Biaskylo! Don’t think I’ll let you get away that easily!” he cried with fury as he cursed at Harlan.

Harlan paid her opponent no mind as she looked at the remaining time. There was only under a minute left until her ability wore off on the pleaf. She had to act quickly before she was out of time.

As they reached the edge of the building, Harlan began to fly upward with the pleaf on her back. Icarus blindly followed straight up after Harlan. She shuddered as she thought of how high they were, but she pushed the feeling down.

The countdown quickly reached zero as they flew up to the sky. The pleaf suddenly began to shrink in size and lose the added features from Harlan’s modifications. It promptly let go of Harlan and flew off to continue minding its own business while it finished shrinking. Harlan continued to move upward for a moment as she lost momentum. All the while, Icarus gained on her as she slowed in speed.

He was not ready for Harlan to suddenly drop down and deliver a kick into his face with her clawed foot. He grunted as they began to plummet together, but the blow was not enough to take him out. Harlan moved down and grabbed onto her opponent. She positioned his body so that he would take the brunt of hitting the ground.

Icarus had no intention of colliding with the ground and began to fly forward along the side of the building; he tried to shake Harlan off but could see that she was not going to let go.

With a hiss, Icarus changed course to a window on the side of the building. It was on the bottom floor and led to some random hallway. Before colliding, he spun so that Harlan would hit the glass first. They shattered through and kept going until Icarus drove Harlan into a wall opposite the window. She let go, and Icarus took the opportunity to land on the floor below. Harlan, meanwhile, slid down the wall. Her sharp teeth were clenched tightly as she looked up to her opponent.

Icarus, on the other hand, was distracted. He had flown through a random window but was greeted by a sight of Hal, Odell, and Savvy’s odd machines all staring at the duo that had just crashed in.

The golden-scaled Zenotote sighed and pressed a sharp finger between his eyes.

“I can’t catch a break,” he groaned as he looked back up at the new opponents. Behind him, Harlan was beginning to stand up as she prepared to continue the fight.