I told you that the planet was to be spared until we had enough Quilax for the main event”. The Emperor of the Hylexans screamed at his second in command.
The Emperor of the Hylexans was bright gold. He was also somewhat larger and certainly more powerful than any of his subordinates. One of touch of his tentacles could vaporise almost any life form into nothing but dust.
The Emperor reached his tentacles out to surround his second in command.
“Emperor please. We only destroyed the planet as we know that a city of those monsters had managed to flee into space using magic .”
“And where is this city now?”
“We eh, we don’t know sir, but their magics are primitive. We shall find them.”
“You have 30 minutes or else.” The Emperor said as it moved its tentacles to within a fraction of an inch towards its lieutenants trembling body before leaving.
“We need to find them fast” The second in command said in panic to its subordinates.
“Our scanners can’t pick up any traces of magic. For all intents and purposes they have vanished from this solar system sir.”
“They can’t have!” The lieutenant shouted as he tried to desperately think of an idea.
“It seems we have no choice”. He said with regret. “We shall have to unleash the lirax.”
There was a silence for a few moments.” I understand you are scared of failing the emperor but.”
“I will not miss out on seeing the end of the wretched Quilax do you understand. The lirax are our most powerful magics. They corrupt and devour any other magic in the nearby area. If we unleash it in the solar system near where the traces of magic they Quilax have left behind are, then we’ll destroy their city.
“You could destroy all of them. You could destroy our entire fleet.”
“Either I do nothing and miss out on what I’ve waited for my whole life, or I take the chance and go down in history as the Hylexan who destroyed the last of the Quilax. This is not open for discussion. You will obey.” He shouted at his minions.
The city had almost reached the end of the solar system. Denika had been forced to slow it down as the faster it went the more unstable the city’s structure became.
The Quilax had been singing the praises of the Circus Folk throughout most of the journey. They had even started to carry Carlene and Ashlei around the city. Carlene felt a bit awkward about the whole thing, but didn’t want to be rude to the people by shooing them away.
The Circus Master and Ashlei both reveled in their praise meanwhile. For Ashlei who had spent her entire life on the streets feeling worthless, it was an almost unbelievable feeling for people to view her as a hero. She felt like crying. The Circus Master always loved attention and here was no different. He even started to boast about his previous victories and adventures which made Denika roll her eyes. “Honestly, we’re far from safe now, what’s he playing at!” Denika thought to herself. “He really can be the most insufferable braggard.”
Carlene managed to break away from the crowd who were all gathered around the Circus Master and lit up a cigarette. She hadn’t had one since before they landed on the Quilax’s former home planet and she really needed it after the day she’d had.
“What’s that?” One of the Quilax asked. It was the young female Quilax that she, Ashlei, the Circus Master and Denika had encountered when the city’s floor had engulfed them. Her real name was Askiro.
“Oh just a little thing from my world love. It’s not good for you, but since I’m dead anyway it doesn’t matter.”
Askiro wasn’t sure what she meant by that, but felt it was probably best not to ask.
“Thank you for all you’ve done for us” Askiro said. “Though I think your friend over there is being a little bit premature.”
“Well I don’t know him that well darling”. Carlene said. “From what I can see he can be a little bit over enthusiastic about things to say the least.” She continued. “He really does mean well though.”
“Well I’m not sure he, and the rest of you aren’t wasting your time.”
“Don’t say that love, we managed to get away from those monsters and we’ll do it again if they come after us.”
“It’s not that its just.”
“Our people, the Quilax. I’m not sure we deserve a second chance. If you’d arrived just a couple of decades earlier we would have been the monsters you’d have to fight. The only reason we’re not is because we ended up creating bigger monsters.”
“You know what your people did was wrong. I’m sure others feel the same way.”
“It shouldn’t have taken a genocide to show us though. I can’t help but feel if we do get somewhere safe, build ourselves up and mastered magics, then we’d go back to being the monsters. Maybe it would be better if you just let the Hylexans take their revenge and end the cycle here.”
“It won’t end with that. You can end it by surviving and not having to follow in your predecessors footsteps. I come from a race of monsters too. You’re lucky enough not to know them, but most of my people are worse than the Hylexans. I’ve found a way not to let what I am define who I am. Your people need to do the same.”
Ashlei called on Carlene. She wasn’t able to entertain the crowd with her adventures, as she had so few of them. (She also wasn’t eager to discuss her previous adventure with the Vampires either.) Ashlei hoped Carlene could entertain the crowd with some of her exploits. “Alright love I’m coming.” Carlene said. “Maybe I can sing, though I don’t know how you lot feel about singing? Is that a thing in your race?”
“What’s singing?” One of the crowd asked to Carlene’s frustration.
The Strange Boy meanwhile as always just stood at the side not saying or doing anything while all this was going on. Keptis sat at the very edge of the city, staring out into the endless black void of space where the Quilax’s home planet had once been. None of the Quilax themselves could bare to look back that way, which was another reason they were all so focused on the Circus Folk.
Florence felt she had to speak to the Martian. She knew that she (along with Carlene) were probably the last people Keptis wanted to speak with now, but she couldn’t leave him like this.
“Keptis, I’m, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stop them from hurting you.”
“You can’t begin to imagine how they hurt me” He said to the Siren.
“Please you can talk to me, you can tell what did they did to you in the pit.”
The Martian looked down.
“Their magics made me see Mars as it once was. I saw my friends, my family….. My children, all alive again. I had no memory of what happened to my people, of the Circus, of the other worlds. I was actually happy.” The Martian began to tear up.
“Then right in the middle of playing with my children in the beautiful Martian fields, it all began to fade. Memories of the monsters that ravaged my world began to creep back in, the world around me began to waste. The fields dried up and were replaced with a red, barren desert. My family, right in front of me they, they began to rot away. Losing them again was even more painful than the first time. As soon as it was over and I remembered, they thrust me back into the dream world, only to rip it from me again. Each time it was over I remembered all of the previous times they had torn it from me. If you hadn’t saved me, I would have had to go through the pain of losing my family over and over again forever.”
“I’m so sorry Keptis.”
“I know you are. I’m sorry I snapped at you it’s just well you know what you are and how hard it is for me, but you’ve saved me from the worst hell twice over now, and I won’t forget that.”
The Martian looked back at the Quilax celebrating the heroes who had “rescued” them.
“Now these poor people have been through the same thing I have. They’re in denial. They can’t believe the horror they’ve witnessed so they’re putting all their faith into us. Sadly I don’t think I’m going to be much use to them.”
“You can’t let those monsters win Keptis. They’re cowards. They had to resort to the lowest, dirtiest tactics to try and beat you. That shows that they’re terrified of you, and of us.”
The two’s conversation was interrupted by the sound of Denika screaming. All of a sudden Denika felt an intense pain surge right throughout her entire body. The Circus Master instantly rushed to her aid as did the others, but there was nothing any of them could do.
“Denika, Denika please.” The Circus Master said frantically. Denika couldn’t even speak she was in so much pain. All she could do was scream.
“We have to get her back to the tent.” The Circus Master said as he lifted her up. The entire city however soon began to shake.
“The Hylexans have found us.” One of the Quilax shouted in fear, but there were no ships around.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but don’t worry we’ll stop it, whatever it is.” The Circus Master said as he ran back to the Tent.
The inside of the tent was glowing bright red. The engine was still functioning but it was fluctuating to the point where it was threatening to explode.
“Dear god” The Circus Master said as he ran towards the fountain, dropping Denika in the process.
“What are you doing? She needs help.” Ashlei shouted as she and Carlene entered the tent.
“We’ll all be dead if I don’t act fast.” The Circus Master said as he examined the fountain.
The Circus Master tried to use a magical chant but as soon as he did, he fell to the floor in agony. As Ashlei tried to help him up several beams of fire began to shoot from the fountain of the tent that’s water was boiling hot and running over.
“We have to get out of here” Ashlei said as she pulled the weakened Circus Master out. Carlene meanwhile lifted Denika over her shoulders to safety. Outside Keptis’ flaming saw began to vanish as the whole city shook violently.
The section around the city the Tent, Carlene, Keptis, Florence, Denika and Ashlei were on began to break away from the rest of the city. Worse as the magic began to fade, the Quilax, Ashlei and Denika began to choke as only the magic was keeping the air in. Carlene grabbed Ashlei and jumped to the other side of the city, though as she did her beehive started to swell. She threw it off just as it burst, causing several weapons to fly out. The Circus Master meanwhile jumped to his feet and did the same for Denika, whilst Florence carried Keptis to the other side.
Several of the Quilax tried to jump across too, but they all failed to reach the other side. Carlene, The Circus Master and Florence jumped back across to try and get more of the Quilax, but they only managed to grab a handful of them. Soon the other side broke into tiny bits and hundreds of Quilax drifted into space. The Circus Folk and the remaining Quilax, Askiro and the general among them, could only watch in horror. The Tent drifted off with the pieces of the city too and as it floated off the rest of the city began to break up and crumble.
The Quilax fled in all directions and more were crushed by the falling buildings, or drifted off as the gravity began to fade. Ashlei nearly floated away but Carlene managed to grab hold of her and then grabbed onto the road, digging her claws in. Unfortunately however this meant that she couldn’t help anyone else, and the Vampire was forced to watch as several more innocent men, women and children around her floated away to their deaths. One of them was the general who pleaded with Carlene to help him in his final moments.
“Please we can’t come this far and end like this!” He screamed as he floated off to his death.
Ashlei started to choke as all the air in the city began to fade. She even passed out. Florence and Keptis meanwhile both almost drifted into space as the area they were in’s gravity completely faded, but at the last minute Florence managed to grab onto a nearby building and then grabbed onto Keptis. The Circus Master similarly held onto Denika and tried another enchantment. Once again pain ran through his body, but the Circus Master managed to fight through the pain and complete the enchantment that shielded Denika.
“What’s, what’s happening” Denika said.
“Those dirty Hylexans. They’ve performed some kind of spell that’s turning our magics against us. With the magic in your body, it would have killed you, but I managed to put a shield around you. I couldn’t apply it around the Tent. It was too big. Now it’s gone and this whole city’s breaking apart.”
“There’s nothing we can do.” Denika said as she looked around at the grim sight.
“If we work together we can maybe put a forcefield around part of the city.”
“It won’t hold.” She said.
“It’s our only choice!”
As more of the city began to break to bits, the building Florence held onto started to crumble. Just as all seemed lost a blue field appeared around the city. Barely two hundred Quilax were left however. Most of the city had crumbled and around the city were the floating corpses and wreckage.
“We did it” The Circus Master said.
“It won’t last for long. And we were only able to save a couple of hundred feet if that.” Denika said as she looked around at the corpses and the crying, whimpering survivors.
“Only a couple of hundred of them survived.”
“You pathetic excuses for heroes” one of the Quilax shouted at the Circus Master.
“All that time you spent boasting and we were in danger.”
“I had no idea they had magics that powerful.”
“Maybe if you’d”
Askiro interrupted. “Enough! Without them we would have never gotten this far.” She screamed at the angry crowd who started to back down.
“Thank you” The Circus Master said meekly.
“I meant it. Even if it doesn’t matter now anyway.”
“We have to get to the Circus” Denika said. “If we could do that, then together we could put a forcefield around it and use it to power this rock out of here.”
“If we work together Denika we can make what’s left of this city move.” The Circus Master replied
“Doing so could break what’s left of this city apart.”
“I hate to say it, but it’s our only chance. This forcefield has a few minutes at best.” The Circus Master said grimly.
Together the Circus Master and Denika started chanting. The city started to move forward towards the Circus, which caused more rubble to fall from the remaining building, and the blue forcefield to fade. The surviving Quilax all huddled together in fear, but what was left of the city managed to reach the Circus; pushing its way past the floating corpses of Quilax along the way.
As soon as it reached the Circus however, a large yellow beam appeared around the Circus and then around the city.
To his horror the Circus Master could see dozens of Hylexan crafts come into view above.
“Of course the invisibility spell wore off. They have us now. We’re done for.”
Hearing the Circus Master of all people say that sent a shiver done the rest of the Circus Folk’s spines, but they knew he was right.
The Quilax all screamed in terror and begged the Circus Folk to help them, but there was nothing they could do.
“Yes we have them” The Hylexan commander said.
“There’s probably only a handful left on that tiny rock. The Emperor will not be pleased there’s so few. Those magics could have easily backfired on us too. I told you we should have waited to try and breach their magics in a more practical way.” One of the underlings said.
“You dare to question my orders. We have enough to make their deaths an event this galaxy will never forget. Our revenge will soon be complete!
To Be Continued