Chapter 87:

Gwyn and Grimes 2

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Every time Gwyn charged forward in the empty throne room, he was thrust back and crashed into the closed doors behind him. After the seventh or eighth, he leaned back against the door and contemplated his next move. Grimes simply looked amused as he lazily sat on the throne.

We will never get anywhere if you keep charging at him! Mem shouted in Gwyn’s mind.

Gwyn shook his head and charged forward across the long and narrow room. Once again, he was thrown to the back.

Grimes had changed the trajectory the Nonpareil was thrown every time to keep it interesting for himself, and on this occasion, he chose to throw Gwyn into the ceiling. The Nonpareil’s back slammed into the ceiling, and he fell face-first onto the ground.

You're really taxing the limits I can keep you from feeling too much pain! Mem shouted. The draconic Needaimus began to consider breaking off Gwyn’s arm and fleeing before things got too bad.

“Mem,” Gwyn said as he slowly began to push himself from the floor, “Can you do anything to see if there is something in the air?” he finished in a hushed tone.

Gwyn stood tall and looked at Grimes. In all the times he had been thrown back, he felt as if something had pushed him. It did not feel like a gust of air, nor did it feel like his body was moved.

It will take a minute to run through all possibilities. Mem said as it began to scan the room.

“You're pretty tough,” Gwyn said as he casually brushed off his bad arm. He realized he needed to stall a little longer.

“You may attempt to plot something with your Needaimus, but it will not do you any good,” Grimes replied

Gwyn frowned.

“What makes you think….”

“Boy, I can see you are whispering,” Grimes replied as he shook his head. “I don’t know if you are brash or stupid, but I applaud your effort, nonetheless. I will allow you time to formulate your plan, it is doomed to fail, but perhaps it will be entertaining.”

Gwyn frowned.

“Fine,” he conceded. “Then why don’t you tell me what you were thinking with that gaudy throne?”

Grimes chuckled and tapped the metal arm of the throne with his metal Needaimus fingers. Then he reached back and slid his finger across one of the metal blades on the back.

“The town’s mines house many metals, but there is one, in particular, that is very rare. It always retains a beautiful shine and never dulls when fashioned into a blade, or at least that is what the legends say. Naturally, a new leader must show his dominance, so I forced the miners to collect enough of this material to make it into a mighty throne!”

“But,” Gwyn began.

“Please do not bore me with idle words. I care not for whatever platitudes you wish to throw my way.” Grimes interrupted. He waved his hand dramatically, and Gwyn was forced a couple of steps to the side. The Nonpareil moved in a manner that resembled someone being punched in the face. He grunted and looked back to the leader sitting lazily on the throne.

“I thought you were going to allow time?”

“I am; I didn’t say I wouldn’t strike when you annoyed me,” Grimes responded with a sinister smile. The leader quickly changed it to the friendly smile he had worn only moments prior.

“Fine…” Gwyn mumbled as his eyes looked around the empty room for something else. “Mem,” he whispered.

A couple more minutes. If you could get him to strike you again, that would speed things up. The blue Needaimus echoed into Mem’s arm.

Gwyn shook his head and looked back to Grimes.

“So, doesn’t all that mechanical growth hurt?” he asked while pointing to the crimson Needaimus that covered much of Grime’s visible chest.

“It hurts, but don’t worry, I don’t feel a thing,” the leader said with a chuckle.

“Why would you want to do that sort of thing?” Gwyn asked.

Grimes sighed.

“Boy, I’m sure you have felt tired after using a Needaimus ability intensely. That occurs when you push past your current compatibility percentage. You get out of breath and get covered in sweat. Breaking the limits, so to speak. Unfortunately, when you reach 100% and cap, you find the power is not enough. I was still weak, and I was still tired, so I sought more strength. That is just the nature of things.”

I think I found something. Keep him going a bit longer. Mem blurted in Gwyn’s mind.

“There is not enough power at 100%?” Gwyn asked.

Grimes shook his head.

“You misunderstand, but that is okay. At this rate, you will not be in this world much longer.”

Gwyn was struck in the back of his head and thrust to the floor. He grunted as he caught himself on the floor with his good hand.

I’ve got it! He’s been using small spheres made from a specific, transparent material! I’ll add a red tracer over them so you can see!

Gwyn looked up from the floor. All around Grimes, small red orbs had become visible. They swarmed around the leader like an infestation of bugs.

“He’s attacking me with marbles?” Gwyn quietly spat as he stood up and faced the leader.

They are made from a special crystal that is very hard and nearly invisible! All the tablet screens use it to avoid cracking! The crystal was also used in weapons for a while but got phased out over time. Mem added.

“That’s actually very interesting; why did they….” Gwyn shook his head as he realized he got distracted by Mem’s history lesson.

“You don’t seem very focused. Shall I just dispose of you so I can go end this silly raid?” Grimes asked. He didn’t give Gwyn a chance to respond as several of the glowing red marbles suddenly shot from Grimes at Gwyn.

Gwyn barely managed to jump out of the way as the shots whizzed past him. He quickly turned around to see the red dots arcing to strike again. The marbles focused on the Nonpareil and picked up speed. Gwyn tensed as he put his good hand forward. He moved the leftover tail of Mem, which hung off his shoulder when bonded, with a series of rapid flicks. As the marbles came in close, Gwyn quickly liquified them. After which, he used the free tail to push the liquid to the ground, where he hardened it into the floor. The whole matter happened so quickly that Gwyn did not have time to think about anything else as he kept himself from being struck.

Gwyn let out a sigh of relief when he was done and turned back to Grimes, whose annoyed face was hidden beneath the swarm of red dots.

“The jig is up; your ability is to control those invisible marbles!” Gwyn shouted to Grimes with confidence.

Grimes glanced up at the ceiling for a moment as he sought to find ‘the jig.’ The leader assumed it may have been a part of Gwyn’s ability, but only an empty ceiling was above him. He shook his head and smiled at Gwyn in a friendly manner.

“Shall I get serious then? Boy,” Grimes said with a laugh as he sat up straight on his throne. The Nonpareil’s feeble efforts amused the bandit leader. Gwyn tensed and took a step toward his opponent.