Fang and Tail
March 14, 2016
Jack tried to think quickly as he and Tynilia watched the colossal robotic machine chase Huth across the tundra toward them. There had to be something he could do to destroy it, but nothing came to mind. He had already discovered that his Earth powers of Yig proved limited when trying to work on the frozen ground. He could still use his abilities on snow, but the wind had blown most of the snow away from the western slope.
Two explosions ripped through the mountain silence. One landed behind Huth, but the other hit only a dozen feet from where Huth sprinted up the slope. Jack watched in horror as his only remaining ally of Yig spun in three circles before his body slammed into the frozen ground.
Thankfully Huth still had the strength to return to his feet and continue his mad run toward them.
“What the hell was that?” Tynilia cried.
“It’s called a missile and they’re closer to the types of weapons one might see on my world.”
“Glad I’m not from your world, but how can we save Huth?”
Before he had a chance to answer, he saw two dark forms flying at the massive construct. Stalker and Shadowknife started off their attacks with offensive spells, but neither of their mystic assaults appeared to have hurt the thing. They switched to flinging spears at the giant robot, but might as well have been tossing beans against a tin can for all the harm they appeared to be doing.
Two more missiles crashed into the mountainside near Huth. He was knocked off his feet again and took longer regaining his footing this time.
“He isn’t going to make it,” Jack said through clenched teeth.
“Hell, I don’t think any of us are going to make it,” she called back.
Jack slammed his axe into the earth. “I have an idea, but you aren’t going to like it.”
“I wouldn’t have expected it any other way.” As spoke, he saw that the robotic thing had stopped firing missiles as he closed the gap between it and Huth. Soon its one hundred foot strides would eat up any head start Huth had gained.
“I’m going to become a snake and I want you to fly over that thing and drop me on its head.”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“Probably,” he replied, but then started to transform himself into a serpent before she could have time to argue.
He lost track of the battle as his body shrank and his sense of hearing disappeared, but he had no trouble feeling the vibrations of the machines huge footsteps and the felt damn close.
Just as he figured he was about to be smashed into a ribbon of guts, his body was swooped up seconds before the ground fell away. Tynilia’s flying proved to be a wilder ride than he would have liked. They arced through first missile and then a stream of scarlet flame. He wanted to cry out, but could find the breath to hiss as they passed through a cloud of inky smoke and almost ran into the forty foot arm of the massive robot.
Eight seconds later, Jack felt himself falling. Looking down, he saw the head of the construct rushing toward him. The robot’s body proved to be so unexpectedly hot that he almost lost control and slid off, but with a combination of tail and fang, he held onto the head of the thing. Once he had a grip, he returned his form to that of a human.
The wind rushed by him and he struggle to maintain his hold on the back of the metallic monster’s head.
And that’s when the machine exploded.
The only thing that kept him from being incinerated instantly was the explosion had occurred in the lower part of its body. The shockwave sent him spinning through air in insane circles.
The whole thing had been a trap and as he started to plummet toward the frozen ground two hundred feet below, he wondered if that would be the last thought of his life. As he fell, the extent of his wounds became evident. Most of his body was covered in second degree burns and much of his armor and supplies had been destroyed.
Something slammed into his back like a brick wall and he gasped out as he was pulled up by his armpits while only a dozen feet above the earth. “Got you,” Shadowknife said with a grunt.
Figures, saved by a Xemmoni, he thought to himself.
Shadowknife flew him to where Tynilia wept as she kneeled before the still form of Stalker. He felt the heat of the fire wash over him as he drew near and it caused his burns to blaze with more pain. Once they set down, Jack could see that Stalker looked like he still breathed. So what was…
Then he guessed it. Huth had been caught in the explosion, nothing of him was left. As Jack watched the fire burning away the permafrost, he said quietly, “Half of us gone.”
From behind Shadowknife added, “And then there were four.”
His statement only made Tynilia cry louder.
To be continued next Monday