Florence, Keptis and The Strange Boy had been walking for hours through the hot, dark wasteland and had found nothing but charred corpses.
“I need to rest” Keptis said. “My feet are burning.” Florence stopped to give the Martian a minute whilst the Strange Boy just hopped on both feet up ahead over a nearby hill.
“That blasted boy.” Florence said. “He never does what you want him too.”
“Well far be it for me to stick up for that little annoyance, but children were the same back on Mars.” Keptis said. “It seems to be a universal trait for kids to be unruly.”
“Not where I came from.” Florence protested. “Children were always taught to have proper manners.”
“Yes but you also sent them off to work in dangerous factories at the age of six.” Keptis replied.
“Well at least we had a good work ethic. Besides I never had to work.”
“I’m not too surprised to hear that.” The Martian teased
“Well whatever the reason I suppose we better check on him. Not for his sake. He’s stronger than us, for ours.” Florence replied.
Florence and Keptis headed over the hill ahead only to be greeted by the sight of the ruins of a gigantic city.
In the distance the Strange Boy was hopping towards the ruins and the Martian and the Siren were quick to follow, but deep in the rubble the Strange Boy appeared to be following the scent of something.
Around the corner of the a nearby building lay a wounded octopus like creature. Similar to the monsters they had seen in the vision.
The creature was bleeding a thick blue blood from one side of its body, whilst its tentacles were limp and twitching.
The Strange Boy stood simply staring at the creature whilst Florence tried to establish some kind of communication with the strange alien. Keptis meanwhile fired up his flaming chainsaw just in case.
Florence knew the creature was an invader, but in its weakened state it clearly wasn’t a threat to anyone.
“Please let us help you.” Florence said gently to the alien.
“Help it?” Keptis said in shock.
“We have to find out what they are here for. Florence whispered back.”
The alien however didn’t appear to believe Florence. It didn’t respond to her and simply tried in vain to lift one of its tentacles.
Suddenly the Special Boy darted around the corner.
“What now” Keptis moaned.
As Florence and Keptis prepared to follow the Strange Boy, they suddenly heard a strange voice in their heads. It was the alien. It was communicating through telepathy. Its voice was a strange, high pitched, hissing voice.
“The monster that attacked me is nearby. You will share my fate.”
The two time travelers quickly ran after the Strange Boy only to see a gigantic creature standing over the small Vampire, who still showed no emotion whatsoever.
The monster had four legs, but an upright upper torso. Its four legs were sprawled like a Lizards, whilst each of its feet ended in three clawed toes like a bird. The creatures lower body was long and thin and covered in long sharp spikes. Its upper body meanwhile was in the shape of a man, though its skin looked slimy and rotting. Each of its hands had three short, squat fingers, whilst a scaly mane covered its head, that had a truly hideous face with massive fangs protuding from its mouth.
The monster’s body had been twisted by all of the magics the aliens had bombarded the planet with. It was in the most unimaginable pain for every second of its wretched existence. Florence tried to sing to it, but due to the dark magics in the monsters body, her voice had no effect.
The Strange Boy dodged the monsters attempt to step on him and jumped towards one of its back legs, pulling the monster off its feet. He then jumped on top of its head and pushed it’s face into the burning hot earth. The monster screamed and tried to pull itself up, but the boy managed to hold its face down for a few seconds before the beast sent the Vampire flying through the air with one smack. Keptis then used his flaming saw to try and ward the beast back, whilst Florence went to try and check on the boy.
The monster however was faster than it looked and managed to grab Keptis in its short, clawed hands. Florence in response jumped at the monsters throat and bit into it, but the beast managed to shake both of them off and stamped on Florence, trampling her into the hot earth. The Strange Boy in response then jumped on the monsters back. Completely undeterred by the spikes, the Strange Boy started to tear the spikes off and then stabbed one of them into the monsters throat. With its last ounce of strength the monster threw the small Vampire away before stumbling into the ruins of small nearby building.
Florence ran towards the creature, whilst Keptis checked on The Strange Boy. As dangerous as it looked, Florence pitied the creature. It wasn’t violent naturally. In fact it was actually a gentle herbivore, but the magics and the pain had made it insane and violent.
After the creature’s life ebbed away Florence, Keptis and the Strange Boy returned to the wounded Octopoid alien, but it was gone.
“It can’t have gone far” Florence said as she tried to pick up its scent. Suddenly the Strange Boy pointed to something in the sky. Florence and Keptis looked up to see a massive flaming vessel heading towards them in the distance. It hadn’t made a single sound.
The three time travelers all ran as fast as they could with Florence grabbing Keptis (as she could run a lot faster.)
A green light suddenly engulfed all three of them however and in a flash the Martian and the two Vampires suddenly found themselves pulled into a white room.
“What happened? Where are we?” Keptis said as he raised his burning saw defiantly.
A large red octopoid creature descended from above. Its body was much larger than the wounded alien. The Strange Boy tried to attack the creature, but one of the many tentacles that writhed around its amorphous form instantly batted the small Vampire back across the room.
“You are not of their race.” The red creature said, or rather thought as it communicated through telepathy like its minions.
“We’re just travelers you know passing through.” Florence said nervously. She could sense that the magics in these creatures were too strong for her hypnotic singing to work on them.
“No travelers would come here. To the world of the most hated race in the cosmos. You were created by them? Weren’t you? The Quilax? They created you from their crude magics.”
Florence again tried to pacify the monsters with her singing voice, but again it had no affect due to the creatures magical nature.
The octopoid in response struck its tentacle through Florence’s chest. The pain brought the Siren to her knees. “Tough audience on this planet.” She said through the pain.
“Just as I thought. You’re not real.” The Octopoid said, or rather thought.
The monster attempted to do the same to Keptis but as soon as the tentacle pierced his skin the Martian fell to the floor in agony and the Octopoid could sense he was real.
“Interesting.” It said. “You are real, but you are not of this galaxy?” The monster started to dig its tentacle deeper into the Martian’s chest. “You are not like anything I have ever seen before. I wonder how your organs are arranged.”
Florence pulled on the tentacle in her chest and dragged the Ocotopoid towards her. She tried to strike it with her other arm, but the monster wrapped its tentacle around her arm and squeezed, almost breaking it.
The Strange Boy however jumped the Octopoid whilst it was distracted with the Martian and the Siren. He sunk his fangs and claws into the monsters flesh, causing its tentacles to flail around. Several of them wrapped around the Strange Boy and tried to pull him off, but the Vampire bit and gripped hard. Keptis then swung his saw at the tentacled beast and managed to saw several of its tentacles off, whilst Florence was able to jump the creature. The two Vampires held the red beast down and Keptis raised his flaming saw. Several more blue Octopoid creatures soon descended from above however and wrapped tentacles around the three time travelers, though it took two of them to pry the Strange Boy off of their red commander.
A black Octopoid soon emerged in the center of its minions.
“Interesting. These creatures are quite unlike anything in this solar system. To think you said you could handle them.” The black creature said to his wounded red commander. In the distance, Florence could see the wounded alien that had drawn them into the city in the first place. It was being healed by a flash of blue light by one of the others.
“Tell us how and why did you come here.” The leader barked at the three captives only to be met with silence.
The tentacles wrapped more tightly around the time travelers.
“Look below” the black Octopoid said.
Beneath them Florence, Keptis and the Strange Boy saw a hole emerging in the endless white. It led to a massive pit filled with golden skinned humanoids, similar to those they had seen in their vision; screaming and suffering.
“This vessel is constructed by magic which means that it can change its inside to my will. If I choose the pit of torment will consume you. Tell me what I want to know however?” I will grant you a quick death.
“You wouldn’t believe us.” Florence said.
“You’d better hope we do.” The alien responded.
“Okay” Florence said. “We’re time travelers. We were sent here to this world to ensure an important event happens.
There was a silence for 30 seconds.
“I told you you wouldn’t.” She said in response.
The alien responded by dropping Keptis into the pit.
“Please I swear I’m telling the truth. Search the area over mountain and past the valley you’ll find a strange coloured craft. I swear!”
The black Ocotopoid ordered one of his men to scan the area. A strange control panel suddenly appeared out of nothing in front of one of the blue creatures who searched it for a while. Keptis meanwhile fell to the bottom of the pit where the creatures started to swarm him before it sealed up.
“Please let him go.” Florence begged.
“Only once we have retrieved your craft. If it exists.” The black Octopoid snapped back.
Commander, we have detected the presence of advanced magics. They appear to be concentrated into the one area.”
An image of the Circus popped up in the white room just above the black Octopoid.
“What is this.” It asked Florence. “It looks like it would blow away in the wind.”
“It can go anywhere in time and space. If you’ll only let me show you.” Florence said whilst the Strange Boy simply stood there as always with a completely blank expression.
The aliens pulled the Circus on board with a tractor beam and it appeared right in front of Florence and the others. The control panel meanwhile vanished. The magic allowed the aliens to keep as many supplies as they wanted in one craft at a time, as when they were not needed. They would simply vanish.
“It still looks like it can barely stand without toppling over.” The black Octopoid sneered.
“Well lets take a look inside shall we.” Florence said as she pulled the curtain back.
The black Octopoid alongside two of its minions went inside the vessel, taking the Strange Boy and Florence with them.
The aliens were not particularly impressed with anything they saw until the black Octopoid stared into the fountain. There it saw the same image that the Circus Folk had seen before of the golden humanoids being exterminated.
“What is this.” The Octopoid asked.
“It’s linked to the time vortex. It shows us possible futures, let’s us now what we are here to do.” Florence replied.
“Excellent” the black Octopoid thought. “I believe the strange blue humanoid now. This is an image of the future. We will be victorious! Not that there was any doubt of course.”
“You’re monsters.” Florence spat with disgust at the Octopoids.
“What do you know of us? To the rest of the galaxy, we the Hylexans are heroes. We destroyed the evil empire of the Quilax.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You really aren’t from these parts are you? For centuries we were the victims. Along with almost every other civilisation in this galaxy. We were all conquered by those golden fools you seem to pity. They were the most technologically advanced race in this galaxy and they used it for evil. Of all the races they conquered however, their greatest cruelty was reserved for us.”
“We were more different to them than the others. We were the only non humanoid life forms they came across. It took them hundreds of years to even acknowledge that us, slimy, repulsive squid were sentient. They slaughtered millions of us, wiped out whole communities, used us as test subjects, as slave labour. Our planet was turned into an irradiated wasteland as it became a dumping ground for all of the toxic chemicals left over from their weapons. Our people would have eventually died out had we not been able to conquer an area the so called masters of the galaxy had dismissed as a silly superstition. Magic!”
The leader continued. “We had learned magics many thousands of years before they came to our world, but we eventually abandoned them out of fear. A chance encounter caused one of our people to stumble on the old caves where the secrets of the old ways were. We used them to turn on and destroy our invaders. Even I can’t imagine the glory of being able to tear down machines that had persecuted us for so long with just a single enchantment. The Quilax had never believed in magic. They foolishly thought everything in this universe had a rational and logical explanation. It was to be their downfall.
We not only pushed them back from our world, but we destroyed their forces everywhere. Planets cheered as we pushed the hated invaders back further to their world which we blitzed using the darkest magics. Tomorrow the planet will finally be destroyed by our magics.”
“Why are you even here then?” Florence asked.
“Lately the Quilax have begun to develop some magics. It’s not anywhere near enough to threaten us, but we have to make sure that none of the golden fools are able to escape the planet in time. Also the Emperor wants to make an event of the destruction of the last of our hated enemies. One that the entire galaxy will never forget. We hope to catch at least a few survivors to broadcast their executions to the rest of the galaxy.”
Florence winced in disgust. “I’m sorry for what your people went through. I am, but you’ve now become the very thing you once fought against. What you’re doing here. This is just as evil.” Florence responded. “That’s why we have been sent here. To stop you.”
“How are you possibly going to stop us?” The black Hylexan responded as it reached its tentacles out to grab Florence who stood her ground.
“You will help us. You will show us how this craft of yours works our else your friend will suffer in the pit!”
Florence still didn’t even twitch and the Hylexan found that it couldn’t move its tentacles. The Circus’ magical security system had managed to paralyse the tentacled monsters in their tracks, preventing them from even moving a muscle if Florence didn’t want them to.
“Well look at that. It seems your magic isn’t as powerful as you think. Then again this security system is made from magics from all across time and space. Don’t feel too bad.” Florence laughed.
“You would dare.”
“Quite so. Now you have two choices. Either you release Keptis and let this ship go or my little friend here will slice you all down the middle.”
The Strange Boy jumped into view holding a giant flaming axe which he looked all too eager to use.
“I will not give into a humanoid.”
“A humanoid? Not just a Que, whatever you call it? Interesting.” Florence said.
Suddenly there was a massive crash.
“Captain, Captain” one of the underlings contacted the commander.
“We are under attack. It is one of the giant serpent beasts the Quilax have controlled with their primitive magics. It’s fused with magic, it can hurt us. We need your help.”
“You have to release me blue thing.” The black Hylexan said. “It is my will that controls the ship. Only I can summon up the weapons we need.”
“Fine stay here and wait for that monster to eat us.”
The Hylexan’s taunt was followed by another crashing sound and then a roar.
Florence had to do something, but she didn’t know what. She could still hold the two underlings as hostages, but she wasn’t sure if the Hylexans would care.
There was seemingly no way out.
To Be Continued