The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
In a long series of hallways that connected the auditorium to Savvy’s lab, among other things, the trio of Hal, Odell, and Harlan faced off against Icarus and a squad of military automatons. A slight breeze fluttered in from the newly shattered window, and shards of glass divided the two sides.
The Aqueenian miners that had gone with Odell shrunk back at the sight of the robots. They had heard rumors that the bandits had a tech genius, but the rumors came from the unreliable betrayer, Vidkun, and they hardly thought them genuine.
“What are these machines?” Harlan softly asked.
“I would like to know myself; I fear our battle has become all the more difficult,” Hal replied.
“What fascinating machinery! I’ll have to pull them apart and thoroughly examine them!” Odell added with no hint of seriousness in his voice.
Icarus sighed as two new large, waxy wings appeared on his back. He didn’t say anything more and simply pointed to the trio. All at once, the machines charged at the group.
Hal had not taken any time to count the number of robots that chased him earlier, but now that he had a chance, he took a moment to tally them up. There were six in total, with Icarus making the seventh foe on top of that.
Hal made a ‘tch’ sound as he reached into the space his Needaimus provided. His hand disappeared in the air for a moment. What was pulled out was a broad and heavy-looking sword that Hal had dubbed ‘Shatter Will, the blade that breaks the hearts and minds of those that oppose.’ It clanged on the floor as Hal tightened both his hands around its hilt.
Though Hal’s arms were not thin, they were not bulky either, and it did not look like he would be able to lift such an impressive-looking blade. Much to Icarus’ surprise, the Shatter Will was lifted off the ground with ease. Five machines broke from their charge, leaving only one to attack. They had determined it would be best to observe the new weapon.
The evaluation by the automatons was correct, as Hal quickly and swiftly swung his blade at the remaining one. The weapon cut into the machine's body with ease. It got halfway through the automaton’s torso before the force of the swinging blade threw the robot into the side wall. The machine was out of the fight. Icarus gritted his teeth as Hal dramatically slammed the tip of his large blade into the floor. The ground cracked as a slight boom echoed. The green-haired Netzian flashed a cocky smile.
“I hate to waste energy, but it seems it's needed,” Icarus muttered before aiming his golden scaled and clawed hand at the trio. In an instant, tiny wings covered the bodies of the group. The sensation was familiar to them as the wings began to lock their limbs in place. They were lifted slightly into the air, just high enough that they would not be able to touch the ground with their toes. As Hal was raised, his hand was forced to twist in a manner that loosened his grip. The sword bounced on the floor with a clang.
“That’s the end of it! And with my abilities, I will defeat three at once!” Icarus said through his chuckles. He had won, as far as he was concerned, and sought to toy with his opponents before the automatons finished them off, “Can you imagine how disappointing it is to get the ability to put wings on things? I couldn’t even fly with them until I reached 80% compatibility. How useless.”
“End us if you must, but please try not to bore us with idle speak,” Hal interrupted the golden Zenotote.
“Hal! Don’t say that!” Odell shot back in surprise at Hal’s sudden dismissal.
“He is easily defeated, I see, but I will not end you that quickly. You see, I need to explain in detail how you lost!” Icarus shot back with smug satisfaction. He smiled a sharp, toothy grin as he kept talking. The golden Zenotoe figured he had enough time to taunt them. “You see, it was due to our leader, the glorious Grimes, that I was able to break free of the limits my ability held!” Icarus became excited and started to shout, “He showed me the way to overclocking my ability so that I may reach new heights, and due to that, I am eternally grateful! I will dedicate my victory over you to him!” Several beads of sweat began to roll down the golden Zenotote’s scales, and he quickly changed his tune.
“You now know how you lost; I shall let my machine allies end you.”
One of the automatons had a blade slide out from its forearm, and it walked to the suspended trio. At that moment, Odell suddenly broke free of the wings and moved back to the ground. He did not land gracefully, even with only a small distance, as he smashed into the ground. A large crash reverberated through the hallway, and the floor shattered under Odell’s feet. The machine could not react in time as Odell smashed his fist into it. Its exterior frame cracked, and it was thrust back past the surprised Icarus’ face.
The golden Zenotote barely managed to dodge the metal frame as it whizzed over his head. He looked back to see the crumpled body of the machine, then looked back to Odell with fear in his crimson eyes.
“What is that ability?” Icarus shouted.
“Weight change,” Odell said with a smile. He took a step forward, and the floor cracked under his immense weight. The Hobusian prince figured that since Icarus’ wings could be torn off as they had done in the tunnel, enough weight should be able to free someone from the suspended position. With Hal’s apparent surrender, Odell had decided to bet on that when the opponent made a move.
“I see, you used the fact I held you in the air and the new weight to pull the wings off… very clever,” Icarus said as he processed Odell’s ability, “However, it will only help you once; I will just restrain you on the ground!”
Icarus held up his hand and aimed the palm at Odell. At that moment, the Hobusian prince made a heavy clap with two cupped hands. The resulting boom shook the hallway and Icarus. It wasn’t enough to do damage, but it was enough to throw off the golden Zenotote. Odell took the chance and charged at his opponent.
More sweat was rolling down Icarus’ face, and his breath grew heavy as he tried to restrain Odell again. The Hobusian prince did not slow down, and the wings were quickly ripped off as Odell maintained his momentum. Icarus was unable to respond as Odell forced his heavy grey fist into the stomach of Icarus.
Hal and Harlan's wings disappeared, and they landed softly back on the ground. Icarus tumbled down the hallway for a moment before stopping and letting out a heavy breath. He pushed himself up and banged his scaly palm on the ground.
“Even with the heights I’ve reached, my ability is still this weak?” he shouted. Odell happily cheered himself on within his head for executing the plan so smoothly. He had even managed to hold back in order not to overdo the punch on his opponent. He was starting to see value in the royal training sessions he had once tried to avoid at all costs.
“The raw power of an ability is nothing; it’s all in how you apply it,” a new voice echoed down the hallway. Savvy was making her way down the hall with her anti-Needaimus glove on one hand and her energy glove on the other. “I was content to leave it to you when you met up with my machines, but now I have already lost two. They aren’t the easiest thing to build, you know.”
“I’m sorry,” Icarus muttered in a tone that did not show any concern.
Savvy sighed. She removed her Anti-Needaimus glove and stuck it under her arm. Then she tousled Icarus’ scaly head with her grey hand as a mother might to a child. The golden Zenotote rolled his eyes as she stepped forward and faced the trio who lined up in front of her. Hal had picked up Shatter Will, and Harlan had her fists up. Savvy shrugged as she stared down her new foes. The remaining four robots collected around her as she returned the Anti-Needaimus glove over her hand.
“Shall we continue?” she said to Hal with a smile.