The Golden Emperor Hylexan and his horde of tentacled monsters cornered the Circus Folk and the terrified Quilax. Denika fired an energy blast at the Emperor which it effortlessly deflected, but in doing so the energy was scattered into its minions knocking many of them back for a few seconds.
Denika then pushed the others back into the cell which she closed over. When she opened the door the Circus Folk and the Quilax found themselves on the lower levels of the Emperors palace.
The Emperor screamed out in rage and struck several of its minions.
“Find them, the last of the Quilax must not escape! All of our work will have been for nothing!”
“Well done Denika”. The Circus Master said.
“I don’t understand?” Carlene asked.
“It’s simple. The prison works through magic. Like everything else on this ship. It has no fixed point, its door can open wherever the Emperor wants it to, so I just briefly took it over and took us to the floor the Circus was on. I was only able to do it because the Emperor had been weakened by the Circus Master.”
“How do you know where the Tent is?” Ashlei asked?
“I can sense it” Denika replied before being distracted by something at the edge of the corridor.
Denika could sense something else near to them, something twisted and broken by magic. The nearer she got to it, the more it was almost painful for her. Denika soon saw what it was when she peered into a room at the end of the corridor. Several Hylexan scientists were gathered around a massive dark energy ball, similar to the pit only much more dangerous.
“Unbelievable” Denika said. “The magics they’re playing with, they’re among the most destructive I’ve ever seen.”
“Why are they even bothering with them?” Ashlei asked? “They’ve already destroyed most of the Quilax? No other species in this galaxy even has magic? What could they possibly need that for?”
“I suspect the war isn’t going to end with just the Quilax.” The Circus Master said. “If you run out of enemies, just create more. A lot of their soldiers wouldn’t know what to do if there was no one for them to fight.”
“We need to move past them. That dark magic they’re playing with is so unpredictable, a fight could set it off.” Denika said.
The Circus Folk and the last of the Quilax slowly crept down the corridor. Along the way they saw other magical experiments to create new kinds of weapons in other rooms. “Amateurs” The Circus Master thought to himself. The Hylexans weapons took the form of magical energy rather than physical weapons. The energy would then be fused onto their bodies to make sure that each Hylexan soldier would never be left helpless. Each form of energy however naturally had to be perfected before it would be fused with the soldiers bodies.
Finally at the very end of the corridor, the Circus Folk could see a room containing the Circus, though by this stage it was a mere shell of its former self. So much of the magic in the vessel had been drained or damaged it looked battered and torn. It was surrounded by several Hylexan scientists who were clearly puzzled at the strange craft that looked so delicate, yet was so powerful.
“That doesn’t look like it will be able to take anyone anywhere.” Askiro said.
“She’s been through worse.” The Circus Master said proudly. “Trust me once we fix her up a bit with some magic she’ll be back to her old self, you won’t want to leave!”
Denika placed a forcefield around the door behind them. It probably wouldn’t hold back any Hylexans for longer than a few seconds, but that might be all they need. The presence of her magic being used so near however instantly alerted the Hylexans around the Circus who reached their tentacles out to grab several of the Quilax. Such was their hatred for the Quilax that they would always go for them first, regardless.
Carlene was the first to attack the monsters. She jumped over one of the monsters and landed on it from the top. She then proceeded to beat the magical alien to the ground. The nearest Hylexan turned its attention from the Quilax and tried to strike Carlene with its tentacle, but Carlene grabbed it’s tentacle with her reflexes and swung the monster around, making it knock the other two monsters out of the air.
Florence, The Circus Master, The Strange Boy and Denika started to attack the other monsters before they could retaliate. The Circus Master impaled one of the monsters with his clawed hand, whilst Denika repeatedly blasted another into a nearby wall. Florence meanwhile was grabbed by the Hylexans tentacles, but she bit into the one that wrapped itself around her throat and tore it off. Whilst the monster was in pain, the Siren jumped at the Hylexan and stuck both of her hands through the monster’s amorphous body. The Strange Boy meanwhile jumped on one of the Hylexans and rammed it into another pushing them against a wall. The Strange Boy then tore both monsters to pieces with his claws, shredding through one and then the other in a matter of seconds.
Keptis and Ashlei just watched from the sides along with the Quilax. They both hated feeling so helpless. Normally Keptis could keep up with the others thanks to his magical weapons. He was a skilled fighter of course, but in this instance it would do no good against the Hylexans. Ashlei meanwhile had felt like a load throughout the entire mission despite the bravery she had shown against the Hylexans. If they got out of this she was going to make sure that Carlene and Denika taught her more skills and tricks.
After the last of the monsters were destroyed, the Circus Master and Denika headed towards the Circus.
“Its shielded by their magics.” The Circus Master said. “How long do you think before you can break it down?”
“A few minutes” Denika replied. Suddenly Carlene noticed the Hylexan that Denika had attacked had survived. The monster slowly crawled along the floor towards a large, green, glowing sphere on the nearby wall. Carlene jumped on the monster, but one of its tentalces whipped out and hit the sphere which sent an alarm running through throughout the base. The Hylexans had already been alerted by the emperor, but each room had an alarm that would let all of the Hylexans instantly know if intruders were there.
All of the Hylexan scientists from the nearby rooms who had been too busy with their own experiments to take heed of the Emperor’s warning before soon swamped the Quilax and the Circus Folk. They effortlessly tore down the forcefield and begun to attack the Quilax. Some of the creatures even wielded the crude weapons which they had been developing in their labs (which took the form of magical spheres.) One such weapon was so unstable however it started to explode and Denika was forced to put a magical force field around it. The force field barely contained the explosion and Denika was still thrown across the room.
Carlene, The Strange Boy, Florence and the Circus Master tried to fight off the Hylexans but there were too many of them. Carlene was hit by one of the monsters new weapons, a purple sphere which covered her in a purple forcefield. The Vampire tried to break free but the magic was too strong.
Ashlei and Askira tried to pull the magical shield off off Carlene, and after a few minutes the magic which had seemed almost unbreakable became brittle and crumbled to nothing.
“Damn” The Hylexan who had thrown the weapon at Carlene said. “It needs more work done on it.”
Another Hylexan had managed fire a yellow energy beam at the Strange Boy which briefly placed him under the Hylexans control. The Strange Boy then jumped Florence from behind and stuck his hand through her spine and into her stomach.
The Circus Master tried to grab the child Vampire and pull him off, but the Jiang Shi breed of Vampires were far stronger than the Circus Masters breed of Vandal, and with one smack the Strange Boy sent the Circus Master flying across the room, where several Hylexans started to swarm him.
The Strange Boy brought Florence to her knees before the effects of the magic began to wear off. Before he and Florence could do anything however they were hit by a green ray from another Hylexan that began to burn their flesh. Florence’s flesh burned much quicker than the Strange Boy, though neither of them were able to break free from the magics. Fortunately Denika was able to pull them free with her magic, though only after an immense struggle. Florence however was still badly burned and too weak to fight back afterwards.
Another one of the Hylexans fired at Denika, knocking her out of the air, whilst Keptis tried to drag Florence to safety, whilst the Circus Master who had managed to fight the Hylexans that had swarmed him off, quickly joined The Strange Boy and the two would continue to defend the Martian and the Siren for the next few minutes against the monsters.
A few of the Quilax including Askira tried to join in the fight and help Carlene who was holding the monsters off from the main crowd, but they were no match for the Hylexans. Several more Quilax were impaled by the Hylexans tentacles. Denika meanwhile managed to finally open the Circus and used her magic to first pull Keptis, Florence and Ashlei into the tent and then all of the Quilax, whilst the Circus Master, Carlene and the Strange Boy either fought off or distracted the octopoid monsters.
As the two Vampires and the Vandal prepared to join the others in the tent, the roof began to cave in and several more Hylexans and the golden Emperor whose flesh had completely healed descended. The Emperor knew it was risky to take the Circus Master on when he had the Lirax, but his pride meant that he couldn’t leave it entirely to his minions. The Emperor hoped that his minions would deal with the Vandal, but if he didn’t make an appearance then he feared he would look like a coward to his people.
The Hylexan minions distracted the three time travelers long enough for the Emperor to wrap its tentacles around them.
“Interesting?” The Emperor said. “Most life forms would be burnt to a crisp yet you still struggle. I respect your strength. Hand over the Quilax and I’ll spare you.”
The Circus Master laughed. “Lets stop pretending this is about them. It was once, but now? Relax the camera’s are off. Why not admit that you’re way beyond just simple revenge.”
The Emperor froze for a minute before answering.
“We have eliminated the monsters who once enslaved us, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be others around the universe. These weapons are to make sure that we will never be vulnerable again.”
“How will you get complete reassurance I wonder? Are you really going to let those weapons just go to waste?”
The Emperor squeezed his three prisoners harder. “We don’t have to explain anything to you!” The monster shouted. “We will protect ourselves by any means necessary!” In desperation Carlene bit into the Emperors tentacles. It was unquestionably the most unpleasant thing she had ever tasted, but she bit as hard she could until she severed the tentacle that was holding her.
The Emperor in its distress, loosened its grip on the others who were able to break free.
Denika then came flying out of the tent and started to blast the Emperor holding him back while Carlene, The Strange Boy and The Circus Master fought the other Hylexans off. The Emperor however soon overpowered the Witch and sent Denika flying back across the room, before starting to attack the others who managed to dodge its tentacles, except for the Circus Master who tried to scratch the beast to infect it with the Lirax. Instead of even attempting to fight him, the Emperor sent several of its minions to dogpile on the Vandal.
Outside whilst Carlene and The Strange Boy were preoccupied with the Hylexans, Ashlei emerged from the Tent with Keptis and threw several knives at the Hylexans swarming the Circus Master. She only managed to hit two of them, but it was enough for the Circus Master to get free.
Florence meanwhile having healed soon jumped out of the Tent and straight onto the Emperor who didn’t even notice the Martian he was so preoccupied with the two Vampires. She managed to knock him backwards and as he flailed around, his tentacles flailed around he struck several of his own minions who were vaporised as a result.
The monster then turned his attention to Florence, and seizing his chance, the Circus Master jumped over the Hylexans attacking him and onto the Emperor and stabbed both of his clawed hands into the monster, injecting the Lirax into its blood. .
The Emperor let out a final scream before the Lirex ran its way through his body. Within a matter of seconds, the Emperors flesh turned completely gray and his entire body began to shatter. The entire base afterwards instantly began to shake and collapse.
The Circus Master weak from the Lirex collapsed into the ruins of the former Emperor.
The other Circus Folk tried to reach the Circus Master but the hordes of Hylexans stopped them. Carlene, the Strange Boy, Keptis and Florence tried to help the Circus Master but there were too many of the Octopus beasts in between. Several of the Hylexans started to beat and impale the Circus Master with their tentacles.
Just as all seemed lost the Quilax suddenly came running from the tent. Close to 200 of them, they all swarmed the Hylexans, having watched the fight from within the Tent, they felt they couldn’t leave the Circus Folk at the mercy of those monsters another second.
The Quilax predictably didn’t last long against the Hylexans, but they at least distracted them long enough for Carlene and Denika to get to the Circus Master. Carlene fought the Hylexans that had gathered around him off, whilst Denika used her magic to get the Circus Master back to the safety of the tent. Denika would then start to pull the Quilax back to the tent too, whilst the rest of the Circus Folk held off the Hylexans. More and more pieces of rubble started to fall from the ceiling as the space castle broke apart, crushing the Hylexans. One piece nearly hit Ashlei, but The Strange Boy managed to push her out of the way in time, much to Ashlei’s surprise.
The remaining Circus Folk then escaped back to the Tent as even the Hylexans began to flee to escape their dying ship.
Back in the tent Denika would activate the ship to take off, mere seconds before the Emperors palace exploded. The blast was seen all over the Hylexans planet below. It was a day that would live in infamy for their race for thousands of years to come. The day that should have been their ultimate victory over the hated Quilax, but instead led to their greatest tragedy where the Hylexans who had won the war for them were slaughtered. None of the Hylexan army escaped the exploding ship.
The Emperor would be remembered as the greatest hero of the Hylexan people for centuries to come, with all subsequent Emperors being forced to live in his shadow to some extent.
The Quilax meanwhile would have a very different destiny. The Tent managed to take them to a far away planet, hundreds and thousands of light years beyond the Hylexans reach.
The journey thankfully only took a few hours. The fewer than 200 surviving Quilax were rather cramped in the tent to say the least. Many of them including Askira had been badly injured by the Hylexans. Denika would be able to heal most of the injured with her magic, but sadly not all of the Quilax made it.
The Circus Master was knocked out during most of the journey. The strain of the Lirex had taken its toll on him.
The planet the Tent took the surviving Quilax too was a beautiful jungle world. It was the only inhabited world in its solar system and other than the plant life, there were only a few primitive animal life forms.
It was the perfect place for their race to start over. The Circus Folk would stay with them for a few days. During that time they helped to bury those who had died on the journey and using Denika’s magic, build a few settlements to house the survivors. Eventually after a few days however the Circus Folk knew they had to move on. They tried to slip away in secret, but Askira noticed them all leaving and followed the Circus Folk to the tent.
“You could have said goodbye?” Askira said to Carlene somewhat jokingly.
“Sorry darling, but we have other worlds to visit.”
“Yes!” The Circus Master interrupted. “It’s not easy being a hero you know. We’re constantly on the move, risking our lives to save others.” He continued to boast, to the embarrassed moans of his team mates.
“I understand but I just want to thank you one last time.” Askira replied, ignoring the Circus Masters boasts.
“Don’t thank us.” Carlene said. “We just did what anyone would have done darling.”
“Well a little thanks is okay” The Circus Master interrupted.
“Still” he continued in a more serious tone. “It’s important now that you use this second chance for your race. The Hylexans may be monsters now, but they didn’t spring out of nowhere.”
“I know.” Askira said with regret. “I’m still not sure we deserve this second chance.”
“That’s entirely up to you darling”. Carlene said. “When we were on that city you told me about how ashamed you were of what your people had done? Well now you can prove it. Make sure that you focus on your own people now.”
“That’s easier said than done. Some of us are already talking about revenge, about using magic as a weapon.”
“Well we never said that rebuilding a civilisation was ever going to be easy.” The Circus Master replied.
“All races are capable of great evil. You’ve seen where it leads not only with your own race, but with the Hylexans. Always make sure to remind your people of that.”
“I will, I promise.
“Maybe we’ll come back in a couple of hundred years, see how your descendants are doing.” The Circus Master said with a smile as he and the others went back into the tent. Carlene was the last to leave. She shook Askira’s hand one last time and wished her luck before joining her comrades. In a matter of seconds the battered old tent vanished back into the vortex before the amazed Askira.