The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Gwyn met Grimes in the middle of the roof. The leader still had a small number of books and glass shards that had been picked up and a blade he had held in his hands since the library. His control range had been cut down severely without the flag, and the objects flew around Grimes with only about a radius, barely longer than he was tall.
The nonpareil charged somewhat recklessly into Grimes range. The leader swung his sword and battered Gwyn with his available projectiles.
Gwyn responded by ducking to avoid the blade, liquifying the glass, and taking the brunt of the books. Grimes could no longer achieve the same speed of objects in his control, and the Nonpareil took advantage to throw a fist at Grimes.
The leader leaned back so that the punch barely scraped his face and took another swipe at Gwyn with his blade.
Gwyn backed off outside the range of Grime’s ability and sword as the leader tried to cut him again.
“I thought he would just give up,” Gwyn muttered.
A battle isn’t that simple. He wouldn’t have been able to lead all these bandits if he was a pushover. Mem chimed in.
“I suppose your right.”
Gwyn began to circle Grimes as each stared at each other’s eyes. The leader's crimson red eyes slightly bothered Gwyn, not due to their odd color but the anger that burned in them.
“Do you still mean to play, boy? Come close and fight me properly!” Grimes roared.
“Don’t give into his provocation, Gwyn!” Odell shouted from the sidelines as he slowly began to push himself up from the pile of books he had been slammed with only moments prior.
Gwyn ignored the advice of his ally and charged into Grimes range once again. Grimes didn’t attack Gwyn with projectiles and instead focused on slashing the nonpareil with his sword. Gwyn barely avoided the swipes but managed to recover and aimed his fist at Grimes’ chest.
In a flash, the leader blocked Gwyn’s blow with a sudden shield of books that collected in front of him. The books quickly moved away, and Grimes aimed his blade at Gwyn’s neck.
The Nonpareil ducked to avoid the blade and fell into a seated position. He had to throw himself to the side and roll away as Grimes smashed his sword down into the roof. Gwyn quickly got himself outside Grimes’ range and began to circle again. He tried to think of some plan but couldn't come up with any quick way to win. Instead, he focused on the sword.
He ran in again while watching the blade closely. As Grimes swung his sword at Gwyn, the Nonpareil held up a hand in the sword's path. Before the sword made contact, he liquified a chunk of its center. Grimes finished his swing without slicing anything while the liquified sword splattered everywhere, and the solid tip flew off away from the duo.
What was left of the sword was the hilt. Grimes threw it aside and began to punch at Gwyn with the ferocity of a heavyweight boxer.
The Nonpareil was not prepared for the sudden change of tactics and proceeded to take a series of blows as he walked backward toward the glass dome where the flag had once stood.
“Once I take you down, I’ll stop this pathetic rebellion and reestablish my rule. Don’t think you have accomplished anything,” Grimes hissed as he beat on Gwyn.
“Don’t worry, Gwyn; I’ll back you up!” Odell shouted as he began to sprint across the rooftop. He balled his hand into a fist and targeted Grimes back. The leader simply put up a shield of the books once again, but he did not know how heavy Odell’s punch would be.
Odell’s fist easily tore through the books and hit squarely in Grime’s back. It was slowed down enough not to damage the leader too much, but the attack threw him off enough for Gwyn to break from the punches.
Gwyn tried to uppercut Grimes on the chin, but the leader moved so that the blow only scraped his black beard. Grimes stepped away from Odell and Gwyn and began to walk around the edge of the glass dome. He looked down three stories to where his flag had fallen and gritted his teeth.
Gwyn slowly began to follow as the leader walked away from him. They ended up going around the dome circle in an odd, slow chase as each thought of what their next move would be. Odell stayed in place and watched Grimes; he would wait for the leader to come around and attack once he got close.
“I suppose I should commend you; I expected my former employer would try to stop me but never thought a band of oddballs would do me in,” Grimes said with a laugh as he weighed his options.
The miners and others from Gwyn’s group were beginning to collect around the stairwell in the building below. They could see the pair of Gwyn and Grimes standing up by the glass dome against a sky that was starting to light up from the first sun rising.
“You should just surrender now,” Gwyn said to the leader.
“Boy, you have a lot to learn. As long as there is a way out, never give in!”
Gwyn sighed. He began to sprint at the leader. Grimes collected half the books around him as a shield from Gwyn and the other half as a platform. He smashed some of the glass in the dome and floated down into the building. If he could replant the flag, he could regain full power.
Books surrounded Gwyn for a moment, but they instantly fell as they left Grimes’ range. The Nonpareil put both of his hands flat on the roof by the edge of the glass dome. In an instant, he turned as much of the roof and metal to a liquid as he jumped to the descending Grimes. The liquid trailed behind him as he maintained some limited control of its movement.
Grimes looked up as Gwyn came flying in from the ceiling.
“You sure are reckless, boy,” he shouted as he put his fists up. As Gwyn came in close, he solidified the liquid into a ‘U’ shape and threw it around Grime’s body while holding onto the end. Gwyn had intended to catch himself pull up to the book platform, but instead, the action swept Grimes off his feet, and both began to plummet. The platform of books collapsed and fell alongside them.
“That did not go as planned!” Gwyn shouted as Grimes angrily tried to maneuver to the Nonpareil. They reached each other in the air as they passed the second floor, and each tried to twist the other under them so they could be a shield from the impact. Grimes managed to get above Gwyn and locked his good arm behind him as he prepared to drive the Nonpareil into the ground.
Just before he would make contact with the floor, Gwyn disappeared in a blue flash. Grimes was unable to react as he smashed directly into the ground floor. He remained conscious for a moment and managed to push himself up to look around. The miners were surrounding the leader. A confused Gwyn had reappeared next to a tired-looking princess Fiona on the second floor. Grimes ended up collapsing; he was out cold.
Cheers echoed throughout the building as soon as everyone processed that the leader was down. Soon, the cheers began to fill the town as the news spread. The bandit leader was defeated, the town was free.
Mamie let out a deep sigh of relief from her cavern base of operation as she relaxed her posture. She ran her hands through her hair before looking at her daughter.
“We won!” she happily declared, and the cavern filled with happy cries.