The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Rheba stood next to the unconscious Adan. One of her long fingers was pressed to his neck. She and the miner force from the auditorium had quickly come across the out cold safety officer after exiting their last battlefield.
“It’s okay; he’s out cold but still alive,” she told the other miners. They all gave a sigh of relief as she looked at the scene. The barricade operators had been taken out, and there were signs of a struggle with cracks on the floor, among other things.
Suddenly a report echoed from one of the troop's radios.
“Hello, is operator Shelly, can you hear me?” the sound came through clearly.
“Loud and clear, this is Rheba, flag carrier for the Benlou army,” Rheba replied as she grabbed the device from the miner's shoulder.
“Oh good, I wasn’t sure if this thing even worked– never mind that, the report. Three of your allies currently engage two of their commanders on the first floor. Princess Fiona is engaging another on the second, and the Nonpareil is currently fighting their leader. The remaining of our forces are engaged with the rest of their forces in the halls of the second floor.”
“He’s fighting the leader alone?” Rheba asked with concern in her voice.
“Yes, we can’t get a hold of him to confirm his status, but our tracking shows he has moved all over the third floor.”
“I will go support him,” Rheba said.
“Wait! We actually would like you to support the group on the ground floor. They have your Needaimus and are facing against two commanders. Once they are dispatched, the four of you will be able to aid the Nonpareil against the leader together. Our remaining troops will support those still fighting on the second floor, then aid Princess Fiona.”
Rheba took a deep breath as she debated her reply. She did not want to hurt any morale by suggesting that Princess Fiona and the Nonpareil were not very combat experienced. As she deliberated, the words of her favorite beauideal invaded her mind. She tried to shake the thoughts from the seemingly random interview, but they would not leave.
It was an interview for the girl after a tough team fight; she had entered the stage-arena first when her teammate was late. When asked about it later, she simply said: ‘sometimes you have to trust your allies.’
Rheba gritted her teeth and nodded, though Shelly could not see her.
“Understood, I will engage with the two commanders and then support the others.”
“Great! I’ll let Mamie, er, the commander know,” Shelly replied.
Rheba waved goodbye to her miner allies as they moved to the second floor.
It was ordinarily difficult for her to turn tight corners with her impressive running speed and giant body. To compensate, she would leap into the walls at bends and push off to quickly change directions in a manner that made her appear like a giant kangaroo. It was a typical maneuver taught in the Bentulousian military as they often had to expect to fight in spaces meant for smaller species.
“Hold out a little longer, everyone; I’ll end all of this,” Rheba quietly said as she quickly headed to her destination.
Savvy snapped her fingers in the hallway with Hal, Odell, and Harlan, and the machines all charged at once. Hal swung his heavy sword, Shatter Will, to cleave one of the robots in half, and Odell punched a second automaton to pieces. Harlan had to jump back to avoid a strike from one of the machines.
The two remaining robots backed up near Savvy, and she sighed.
“Never send a machine to do a Hobusians job,” she muttered as she stepped forward. She punched, and a fist of energy shot out at Harlan from her hand. The green Zenotote scientist was not prepared and took the brunt of the blow. She shook as if she was electrocuted and fell to the floor.
“Harlan!” Odell yelled as he ran to her. “Ah, how to check for a Zenotote pulse?” he yelled as he poked around her neck with his grey six-fingered hand.
Harlan weakly swatted Odell’s hand away.
“I’m fine; the intensity is not high enough to kill. Just get her,” she muttered as she looked away.
“Tch,” Hal muttered. He slid his large sword back into his ability space and pulled out the pipe he had commandeered from Savvy’s workshop. It was about the length of his whole arm with a flat oval profile. The metal was thin and white with a smooth finish.
Savvy turned at the sight of her device, which is what Hal had intended.
“Ah yes, I need you to return that as well,” she said. The Hobusian scientist punched forward in the air. Her long black hair shook as a large energy fist shot across the hall to Hal. Hal ducked to avoid the blow, but Savvy anticipated that and quickly met him before he could react. She pressed her anti-Needaimus glove on Hal, and No.5 was forced off. Before the red Needaimus could react, Savvy shot a burst of energy at it, and No.5 flew across the hall, far from where Hal stood.
“Your gauntlet is a nuisance,” Hal sneered.
“That’s the idea,” Savvy said with a smile.
Hal swung the pipe at Savvy, but she ducked back to avoid the blow.
“Don’t worry, Hal; I’ll get her!” Odell shouted as he ran in to give Savvy a heavy punch. She quickly knocked his Needaimus, Cal, off and launched it to the end of the hall. “As soon as I get my Needaimus, just hold on for now!” the prince shouted as he chased after Cal.
“Is he a supportive ally or a thorn in my side?” Hal muttered.
“You’re a funny guy. I guess I can humor you a little. You’ve been holding that upside down,” she pointed to her weapon that Hal had grabbed. The Netzian soldier quickly flipped the pipe; as far as he could tell, each side was the same.
“Hal! I’m coming back, and I brought back up!” Odell shouted. Both Hal and Savvy turned to see Odell and Rheba charging down to them. They had run into each other further in the hallway.
Savvy took a step back as the Bentulousian warrior charged to her without slowing down. She tried to launch another energy fist, but Rheba sidestepped the attack and quickly ripped off both metal gloves from Savvy.
“I, uh, guess you got me!” Savvy stammered. Rheba rolled her orange-pink eyes and knocked Savvy out with a blow to the back of the neck.
“You had trouble with this one?” she asked.
“We aren’t an intimidating giant warrior with military training tailored to fight all species,” Odell said.
“I was moments from vanquishing her,” Hal said.
“Getting zapped was a part of my plan to draw her in,” Harlan quietly said as she slowly pushed herself up.
Rheba sighed as she looked at the captured gauntlets in her hands. Hal recovered his Needaimus, and Odell helped Harlan to her feet.
“What should we do with these? Rheba asked as she eyed the remaining two of Savvy’s automatons. They were frozen as they tried to process what to do with the existing data.
Icarus slowly was pushing himself up as well. He began to back away from the group.
Rheba turned her attention to the Icarus and the remaining robots. She tossed the gloves to Hal. As soon as he caught the anti-Needaimus glove No.5 was removed from his arm once again. He gritted his teeth at how frustrating the device was.
Carefully he set the glove on the ground and reattached No.5. From the space of his ability, he removed a large cloth which he carefully wrapped around the device. The fabric was weaved with a special alloy made from the pods Needaimus used to be stored in when discovered during the adventuring age. With the layer of the unique material wrapped around, Hal could lift the glove without it affecting his red Needaimus.
Icarus watched Hal wrap the whole glove up and smirked. He wiped some sweat away from his long lizard-like face as two large wings formed on his back.
“Machines, give me only a few moments!” he shouted.
He took off down the hall at an impressive speed. In a flash, he snatched the wrapped glove from Hal’s hands and flew out of the crashed window.
“Sorry, Savvy, but I’ll make sure your magnum opus does not fall into enemy hands!”
The automatons immediately targeted Rheba and Hal, as they were determined to be the most dangerous, and the two quickly smashed the robots to defend themselves. Icarus promptly fled into the night sky while they watched.
“Do you fly?” Rheba asked Hal.
“No, I suspect you don’t either?”
“Not without using a lot of point– no, I don’t.”
Both Rheba’s and Hal’s shoulders slumped. Odell, however, confidently strode forward to the window. He stared at Icarus in the distance.
“Rheba, how far can you throw something as heavy as a stone?” he asked as he rubbed under his nose with his green Needaimus bonded hand.
“Far enough to hit him, why… oh….” Everything clicked in Rheba’s mind, and she quickly picked up the Hobusian.
“Wait, we probably should have a plan first!” Odell shouted. He sensed Rheba would not listen and quickly adjusted his weight.
“No time, fight hard, Odell,” Rheba said right before launching him out the window at the unsuspecting Icarus. Odell soared across the sky as he prepared to meet the golden Zenotote.