The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
“Now then,” the masked man said while spinning his blade around. “Who to kill first?”
He walked to the sparking device that had once been Evron’s chest and picked it up. Stabbing the point of his blade in the machine made it begin to hum and smoke. “Three minutes really is too long,” He muttered before tossing it in the air at Liv and Rym. It disappeared in a flash of blue light and reappeared by Nero’s side. “Well, I’ll be–“ Nero was cut off as a bright electrical ball formed around him.
None in the large lobby had a chance to rest from the sight. Instead of hearing cries of pain, they heard laughter—as if someone just showed the masked man something mildly humorous. He stepped clear of the electricity as it dissipated. The clothes and skin that showed were burnt, but Nero didn’t display any signs of being weakened.
Fiona zapped in front of Nero and jammed her foot into his chest. He was unfazed, but she expected as much. Over her head, the Gatling gun once again flashed in close. She teleported near it and attempted the same move as done on Evron. Nero laughed as he jumped high in the air. The princess had only just started turning the crank when the masked man sliced into the weapon.
The gun was cut cleanly in two, and Fiona just barely managed to disappear before it was too late. A second slower, her hands would have been sliced along with it.
Appearing above Nero’s head, Fiona did her best to drive her feet into it. The thought horrified her, but she figured it might be best to try to snap his neck. Nero reached back and grabbed Fiona by the leg as he perfectly landed on the ground. She could not react before he threw her to the floor; her blue face smacked into the ground, and she held hands over where the pain radiated. Before the princess could stand back up, Nero sliced down her back with his scythe. The dress’s back was shredded, revealing her scar. A new stream of blood ran out from where the blade tip made a minor incision.
He pressed the end of the handle on her now bare back and used it to hold her down.
“Fiona!” Liv cried. She aimed her gun at Nero, but a glare from his masked face made her hesitate a moment.
“Little princess, your life, however worthless to me, is valued somewhat… only a little. You would do well to take this injury lying down before I am forced to do worst. I mean, just look at your green-haired friend.”
Fiona gritted her teeth as she held in a shudder. She zapped above Nero’s head. He sighed and swung to chop off her legs. Fiona teleported away just as the blade nicked her and reappeared in front of Rym and Liv. The Netzian agent wasted no more time and began to open fire on Nero.
He spun his scythe around and harmlessly bounced the laser shots away until the gun began to overheat.
Fiona! Sun said in the blue princess's mind. I’ve been tracking since he said fifteen minutes earlier. From that moment, you have thirty seconds left.
The blue princess hardly heard her Needaimus. With several faces behind her, she knew her scar was on full display.
Almost as if he knew his time was short, Nero made a charge at the others. Fiona tried to teleport to his side and distract him, but he ignored her, and her blows were weak due to thoughts about her scar showing.
Liv and Rym backed up with wide eyes showing fear as the masked man closed in. He aimed his heavy blade at Liv and sunk it deep into her left arm before vanishing. She gasped and fell to her knees, her hand pressed firmly on the open wound. If he had more seconds, she would have been cut in two, and that reality was sinking in.
Fiona fell to her knees, and tears began to roll down her blue face. A rush of feelings she could not identify overtook her.
The first to speak was the pink and blue Zenotote.
“Hey, you!” she shouted to Liv, “don’t just sit there; surely you carry bandages to nurse that wound!” The Netzian agent jumped and pulled out some gauze. She wrapped her wound and tied it with her teeth while Rym ran to the princess. “Is there first aid in your vehakul?” Fiona shrugged in reply.
The detective’s assistant wasted no time waiting for a response and began to inspect the Ali. She quickly found the first aid kit and treated the princess's scarred back.
“Don’t waste time on me; check Hal and Odell.”
“They’re not bleeding at the moment. Besides, Hal might be….”
When Rym finished treating Fiona, she handed half the supplies to her and pointed at Hal, then ran to Odell and Tancred to check wounds. Liv stumbled her way to Felix. Fiona zapped near Hal and held her pointed ear close to his head. She let out a sigh of relief when she heard his breathing.
Shaky hands moved near the half shoulder that had once held the rest of Hal’s arm. It was burnt and hideous, and she had no idea what to do in order to treat him. She poured some alcohol on a rag and slowly moved a shaky hand close. Hal suddenly grabbed her wrist.
“Don’t,” he said in a low voice. The Netzian soldier slowly began to sit up while Fiona studdered over what words she ought to say. “I’ll do it myself.” He grabbed a bottle of water from the first aid supplies and poured it over the burn. His face twisted slightly as he couldn’t stop from wincing.
“You, you shouldn’t be moving!” Fiona finally gasped. Hal shook his head.
“I’m fine; check Odell.”
“You are most certainly not fine!”
“I’m fine! Check Odell!” he snapped.
Fiona relented to Hal’s stubbornness and zapped over to Odell. Rym, who knelt by his side, jumped at her sudden appearance.
“Is he okay?” the blue princess asked.
“He’s alive and not too injured, well, except for… He should wake up soon enough.”
They sat in silence; it lasted a long while until Hal’s hand rested on Fiona’s shoulder. She jumped and was only relieved after turning to see it was him. The blue princess's face quickly made a frown as she began to scold him.
“You shouldn’t be walking!”
“I’m going to get my weapons and Needaimus,” Hal said before turning away and shuffling out of the lobby.
“Hey, wait! Hal!”
“Let him go,” Odell croaked from the floor. Both Rym and Fiona turned to the prince in shock.
“Odell, your alive!” Fiona shouted. “But Hal.”
“Let him go; I really want to be alone right now as well.” Odell fell silent after and soon was out cold once again. Fiona shook her head but stayed in one spot. She did her best to hold back tears.
Groaning from Tancred made Rym’s face light up. She turned to see the short Bentalousian pushing rising from the floor. He swayed for a moment before making his way across the room to them. Fiona jumped as he walked behind her but relaxed as his purple coat was draped over her exposed back. She fiddled her arms into the sleeves as best she could.
“Rym, stay here and keep an eye on young Odell and maybe Lucchi over there if you have free time. Young Princess Fiona. I would like you to accompany me.”
“The case is still ongoing, my dear; we are going to gather evidence.”
“Is now really the time?” Rym snapped.
“It is. They left in such a hurry something ought to be left behind for us to gather. This whole fight may have been meaningless if we don’t make an effort.”
Fiona stood up and nodded. She wiped her eyes and looked Tancred with as firm an expression as she could manage.
“Just… be careful.”