The Ishika had formed a circle around the Circus Folk. Carlene quickly handed Ashlei a weapon from her beehive, a golden knife, which had been “enchanted” by the darkest magics.
“Time to see if that training has done any good love.” Carlene said somewhat nervously to Ashlei as the Demons hovered over their prey.
The Ishika all had blue bodies, with sagging, rotting, putrid skin. Their fingers ended in large sucker cups, whilst the beasts all only had one, large, red eye each. Each monster had a mane of scraggly hair at the back of their heads.
The largest of the Demons was the first to attack, but a powerful energy blast from Denika sent it flying backwards through the murky green waters. The Circus Master and Carlene meanwhile searched through their beehive and hat (luckily The Circus Master had remembered to bring the right one this time) and started hurling as many weapons as they could at the Demons to try and find their weaknesses. They soon discovered that a weapon made of silver could harm the Ishika, when Carlene landed a silver knife straight into one of the beasts hearts.
Keptis and Ashlei used their weapons to try and hold more of the Demons off, with Ashlei managing to slice the throat of a particularly large Ishika that attempted to drag her away. Ashlei’s wound didn’t kill the beast, but it still incapacitated the monster so much it collapsed to the sea floor in pain, allowing Keptis to slice its head clean off, whilst Ashlei held off another one of the beasts with her weapon. Carlene looked on with pride at how far Ashlei had come in such a small time.
“Carlene” Florence said. “I’m going to need something from your beehive. These guys are immune to my voice.”
“You think they’re more into Jazz?” Carlene said only to be met with a frown by Florence.
Carlene rummaged through her beehive. Most of the time even she wasn’t sure what weapons were in there. “Ah here you go darling” Carlene said as she pulled out an electrical whip (really magical). “Anything you strike the whip at will be vaporised. From what I can remember love, its unstable though. Try not to use it to many times too quickly or else the power will heat up.” It would be difficult for Florence not to use it however. More and more of the monsters kept emerging from the ruins around them. There were hundreds of the Demons now, gathered round the Circus Folk like a swarm of locusts.
Florence managed to take down five of the monsters at once with one swing of her whip, whilst she carried the Strange Boy in her other arm. The Siren was able to take down a further 10 with another swing, which also caused the rest of the Ishika to scatter.
“Well who wants to be the first.” Florence boasted to the cowed monsters.
One of the Ishika however grabbed the silver knife that Carlene had thrown into the chest of one of its comrades, and hurled into Keptis stomach. Florence instantly ran to Keptis, letting her guard down and allowing the Ishika to swarm the Circus Folk again. Though Denika managed to blast several of the monsters back, The Circus Master and Carlene were soon overpowered, whilst four of the monsters also managed to corner both Florence and the dying Keptis. In the struggle one of the Ishika whose strength dwarfed that of the Siren’s, jumped her from behind whilst she distracted dispatching the other three, and kicked the whip from Florence’s hand, knocking it across the sea floor.
Whilst Florence was wrestling with the surviving Ishika Ashlei jumped several feet across the sea bed and grabbed the whip. She then lashed at the beasts several times more, slaughtering dozens more of the monsters (including the monster attacking Florence) and scattering the rest away from her friends.
The whip’s power soon started to fluctuate however just like Carlene had warned. Its handle became so hot that Ashlei was forced to let it go, and several magical blasts then began to fire from the whip, which vaporised a few more Ishika. One of them very nearly hit Ashlei herself, but Florence pushed her out of the way in time.
Denika meanwhile used her magic to heal Keptis’ wound, whilst Ashlei tried to grab the whip again, but Carlene stopped her however. “We can’t use that again. It’ll blow up and take us with it if we don’t get out of ere.” The Circus Folk tried to flee, but the Ishika formed a wall around them and started to attack again.
“You idiots you’ll die with us.” The Circus Master said as he tried to fight off the monsters with his claws. The monsters weren’t listening however.
Florence in desperation ripped the paper off the Strange Boy’s forehead. The Circus Master saw what she was doing and shouted at her to stop, but it was too late. The Vampire child instantly went crazy and threw Florence aside, before jumping head first into the monsters. The Strange Boy tore his way through five Ishika, ripping their arms and legs and even heads off. Eventually however the Ishika began to swarm the Strange Boy and though Ashlei and Florence swam to try and help him, one of the monsters jumped Florence and threw her back into Ashlei. Three more Ishika then swam around Ashlei, and whilst she was able to stab one of the monsters in the chest, the other two easily overpowered her and dragged Ashlei away along with the Strange Boy.
Carlene tried to swim up and help Ashlei, but again several Ishika got in the way. Carlene was able to dispatch the monsters quickly with a silver blade, but by the time she was done, the monsters were gone. In the very distance Carlene could see one of the monsters carrying Ashlei, whilst five carried the Strange Boy. Carlene swam after the monsters not even thinking about the rest of the Circus Folk, with Florence who felt tremendous guilt following her.
The rest of the Circus Folk were too busy dealing with the Ishika. Keptis called out after Florence, but he couldn’t hope to match either Vampires inhuman speed.
“I told her not remove the enchantment.” The Circus Master said as he fought off one of the Demons. “The Strange Boy is unpredictable at the best of times. With that Kardon above and the pent up bloodlust from the spell., Florence and Carlene should probably run away from him more than these brutes.”
“We need to get them back ” Keptis said frantically as he slashed at the attacking monsters with his flaming saw, but that was easier said than done. More and more of the Ishika were emerging from the what was left of the city and they were emerging from the direction Carlene and Florence had followed the Demons.
The Circus Master grabbed the whip by the handle. Even though it burnt his hands, the Vandal fought through pain and hurled the whip into the mass of Ishika above just as it exploded, killing hundreds of the Demons, though many still remained.
“We need to take cover.” Denika shouted as she fired multiple energy blasts to hold the remaining Demons off. The Circus Master and Keptis reluctantly swam after Denika in the opposite direction from where the Demons had taken Ashlei and the Strange Boy.
The three time travelers swam behind a few crumbling buildings, but several more Demons started to emerge from what was left of the buildings around them. Denika and Keptis held them off, whilst The Circus Master desperately searched around for somewhere to flee. He soon found what looked like a small hatch behind one of the buildings that led underground. The Circus Master had no idea where it led to. For all he knew there could be hundreds of thousands of the Ishika underground, but they were too exposed in the open, and so the Vandal jumped down the hatch after shouting on his two comrades to join him.
Denika was the last to go in, and afterwards she placed a magical barrier around the gate. It wouldn’t take the Demons long to tear through it, but it might buy them a few more minutes. The caverns below meanwhile were long and dark and filled with bodies, but there didn’t appear to be any Ishika.
“Lets just hope none of them wake up”. Keptis said as he and the others floated over the corpses.
Florence and Carlene meanwhile had followed the Demons across the dead city. What was left of the swarm after the explosion were more interested in the rest of the Circus folk, though the two Vampires had been forced to dodge several Ishika along the way. Despite starting after Carlene, Florence had quickly overtaken her due to the Siren’s greater experience in the oceans. They were both still a good distance away from the Ishika and their prisoners however.
“I’m so sorry.” Florence said to Carlene. “If only I.”
Carlene interrupted her. “No use in that now. We have to rescue the children. Besides love I’m the one that put that enchantment on the boys head. I’m responsible too.”
In the distance the Strange Boy started to fight with the Ishika. He managed to push one of them away before fleeing down into the ruins of some buildings, where the Ishika followed him.
“I’ll go after him, you get Ashlei” Florence said as she swam towards the ruins.
Down below The Ishika had broken through Denika’s barriers and into the tunnels, but Denika had created several more barriers along the way to slow the Demons down. Each time she created a new barrier however it weakened her greatly.
Finally after fifteen or so minutes of swimming through the dark, dank tunnels, the time travelers came upon what they had ironically originally come here for.
The trio came upon a large reinforced steel door, that the Circus Master tried to shift it with his Vandal strength, but it was no use.
“If only the Strange Boy were here.” He muttered to himself.
“Let me have a try” Keptis said as he pushed the Circus Master aside. Keptis thrust his flaming saw into the door, and in just a few minutes he managed to slice it in half down the middle.
The trio could hear the sound of the ravenous Demons in the distance. “I won’t be able to keep holding them off with forcefields.” Denika said. Keptis was the first to enter the room, brandishing his weapon.
As soon as he entered however the Martian was shot at. Only the Circus Masters lightening fast reflexes saved Keptis from certain death. The Circus Master would be shot at a further two times meanwhile, but it didn’t phase him, and he soon overpowered perpetrator. Ironically the woman who they were here to rescue.
The Circus Master looked around and saw an Ishika’s corpse with a silver knife in its chest. The rest of the room looked like it had been hit by an explosion.
“What the hell kind of Demons are you?.” Kile said.
“You’re the person who sent us that message. We’re here to rescue you, although I’m starting to wonder if that was a mistake now considering you just shot me.”
“I’m sorry.” Kile said, now also recognising the Circus Master. “I thought you were Demons of some kind, You don’t look like us, but you’re clearly not like them either.”
“No in fact we don’t know who either of you are. We just got here.” The Circus Master said in his usual flippant tone.
“You lie. No one has entered or left these dark oceans for thousands of years..”
“You’ve been trapped here by the Kardons all that time? How did you survive this long.” Denika asked.
“They kept us alive just so they could torture us for their own amusement, turn some of us into those things.” Kile said as she looked down at the corpse of her former team mate.
“They didn’t trap us here. We were trapped with them.” Kile said.
Suddenly the sounds of the Ishika came closer. They had broken through Denika’s forcefield and were coming their way.
“You idiots! You led those things here and you broke the door down? There’s no way out, we’re doomed.”
“Not necessarily.” Denika said as she tried to summon up a magical blast against the wall behind. It was difficult as the wall was strong and she was already weak from the forcefields, but Denika managed to fire a blast so strong in not only shattered the back wall completely, but knocked herself, The Circus Master, Keptis and Kile off their feet.
“Come if we can get outside I have a ship that can get us out of here.” Kile said.
Carlene had been following the Ishika for close to half an hour now and she was still nowhere near the monster. It had too big a head start on her. It was agony for Carlene. She could see Ashlei constantly kick and struggle to get free from the monster to no avail.
Carlene thought about throwing a silver knife from her beehive at the monster, but as it was moving so fast she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t hit Ashlei. The Ishika had only taken Ashlei because much like Kile it was curious as to what she was. It felt that its masters may be interested to see seemingly new creatures in the oceans.
Suddenly a massive black shadow cast itself over the ruins, and Carlene looked up to see the massive, horrifying image of one of the Kardon’s descending over the city.
To Be Continued