“We haven’t heard any word back from them.”
“We have to open the portal. I’ll go, I.”
“I’m sorry but we can’t risk it. Any more magic and they’ll be able to trace where we are. The chances are after that portal’s presence, they’ll be monitoring the area. You won’t be able to open anywhere without running into one of those mechanical freaks.”
“So that’s it? We just give up on our best chance?”
“I never said that. We’ve just got intel from our inside source that the robots have captured some strange creatures.. They seem to be terrified of these monsters as they called them, who apparently came here in a strange craft.”
“You don’t mean? Aliens? After all this time. I know I probably shouldn’t ask, but is it.”
“No. They’d never help us. Apparently these creatures were similar to us in some ways, but, there’s something about them that scares those robots. I don’t know if they’d want to help us, but at least it seems we share a common enemy.”
The Circus Folk’s cells had been prepared for them. The Robots leader decided that it would be better to interrogate them. As each of the Circus Folk was place into their cell, one of the inquisitive Robots started to inspect the enchantment on The Strange Boy’s forehead.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you” The Circus Master said, only for the Robots to completely ignore him and stupidly pull the enchantment off of the Vampire’s head. As soon as The Strange Boy awoke he attacked the Robot nearest to him and ripped it apart. The other two robots managed to blast the Vampire backwards into his cell which they then sealed shut.
Even away from the Kardons, their effect on The Strange Boy was still evident. He didn’t say it to his team mates, but the Circus Master was worried that the Vampire would never be himself again. Whilst he may have been angry with Ashlei, in truth he blamed himself. Had he not taken the Strange Boy with him then he would never have come into contact with the Kardons. From the start of their previous mission, the Circus Master knew there was a risk in bringing the Strange Boy near the Kardons, but he still did it because the Jiang Shi was the most powerful member of the team after Denika.
“What are they going to do to us.” Ashlei asked nervously.
“I’m sure they’ll just give us a nice box of chocolates and ask us to name our 10 desert island discs. What do you think? They’re Demons.” Florence snapped.
“Demons? They looked like robots to me.” Carlene said.
“They’re both. They’re Demonic souls that have possessed Robots.” The Circus Master interrupted.
“We’ve seen it happen on many worlds. Planets that don’t deal with their Demon problem, but advance in technology. It makes sense that the monsters hiding in the dark would use it to their own advantage. I’m most worried about what these Demons will do if they experiment on the Tent. If there is any magic still in there and they let it out, well it could be dangerous.”
“We are more than equipped to deal with your vessel.” An electronic voice said through the communicator.
“Even we don’t know the full power of that ship you morons.” The Circus Master said back.
“We are not reckless. We never make a move unless we know what we are getting into. We have been scanning you all for the last few minutes, testing your powers against our replusers to see if you would be a threat to us.”
“Your powers are quite harmless. One of the female’s has a wide array of magics from another realm, but we have visited that realm and know how to counteract her power as well.”
“I’m impressed” Denika said, sincerely.
“If you have all of this power why are bothering messing around with these robots.”
“In your world we are vulnerable to certain magics and rituals that can destroy us, or worse. Banish us back to the Hellish Realm. Like your leader said for centuries we lived in the dark, we took over the frail bodies of a few of the pitiful creatures of this world, we made them fight among themselves for our own amusement. The fools had no idea we even existed during all the years we made them slaughter one another. As amusing as it was, we soon realised that we could use their ingenuity, and their intelligence for a far greater purpose. We pushed their race forward, took over the bodies of their greatest scientists, political figures until we had progressed to the point where they could build bodies for us that were indestructable, and spaceships that would take us beyond this miserable world. Each time we enter a world in the natural realm, or any other, we have to start from scratch. This time however we will be able to take multiple planets, even galaxies when the time is right.”
“Well I admire your ambition, but I think you’re going to need more than a few tin robot bodies to take on a galaxy.” The Circus Master said in response.
“We will strike when we are ready, and from the looks of things your vessel could help to accelerate the process.”
“Yes I was wondering when you’d get to that.”
“You will help us repair your vessel and then you will show us how it works. It’s the only reason we didn’t dissect you as originally planned.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. Well I tell a lie, I can but I don’t want too. Trust me if you knew the burden of time travel you wouldn’t want me too either.”
Whilst the Circus Master was keeping the Robots distracted, Carlene reached into her beehive. The Robots hadn’t taken it from her. They must have assumed it was a part of her anatomy. (The aliens on this world didn’t have hair.) Though they could detect magic in her hair, they could detect unnatural forces throughout her entire body.
She reached in for a knife made from Lasterian, the strongest metal in the entire galaxy. (It had been given to her by the Circus Master.)
The doors to their prison were locked using magic, but the magic was still channeled through cables and physical objects in the cell. The only problem however was that they were covered by the metal floors and walls of the cell. The metal used to make the cells was so strong that Carlene, The Circus Master and even the Strange Boy had been unable to make a dent in it with their great strength.
Carlene started to hack at the walls. She could sense where the magic was being channeled through, and kept hacking away at the spot.
“What are you doing. If you strike the cables you’ll be vaporized.” One of the Robot guards from outside warned.
“Thanks for the heads up darling, but I’m a lot tougher than I look.” Carlene said as she hacked through the wall with her knife.
It only took her a few seconds to reach the cable. As soon as she struck it a form of extremely dangerous dark magic flowed through her body. It was sheer agony and the force threw her back across the cell. Nevertheless cutting the cable caused the magic locking the doors in the block of cells to vanish.
The Strange Boy was the first to run out and he tackled both of the Robots guarding the cell instantly. He jumped on one and ripped its head off, and then tackled the other to the ground. After dealing with the creatures fled the entire cell block and ran outside. Keptis and Florence attempted to stop the Vampire child, but he was too fast. (Even if they had caught him, he could have easily thrown them away.)
The Circus Master and Ashlei meanwhile tended to Carlene, whilst Denika started to power up her magics for defense.
“I’m not gonna lie that fucking hurt.” Carlene said as the Circus Master tried to help her up.
The Vampire tried to stand by herself but she was too weak, so the Circus Master tried to carry her, but he soon had to drop her as the dark magic had permanently soaked Carlene’s body and anyone who came into contact with her would soon be infected with the magic too. Carlene’s incredible Vampire constitution had allowed her to survive the blast, which would have vaporised any natural creature to dust, but she was still unable to fight off its lingering effects.
“Come on Carlene we don’t have the time.” The Circus Master said as he tried to help her up again despite the pain and the risk of infection.
“Quite right love, that’s why you gotta leave me.” She replied as she pushed the Vandal away.
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I can barely move. I’ll infect you if you try and carry me. Besides I don’t think I’ve got much longer anyway.”
“No we can’t!” Ashlei said as tears began to well up in her eyes.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to go on without me love. We knew the risks when we signed up, just promise me you lot won’t be too hard on her eh. She’s a good girl underneath it all.”
“Nonsense if you give her time, Denika can come up with something to counteract the dark magic.” The Circus Master protested.
“You don’t have time, now go before you make my death pointless.”
“She’s right” Denika said with regret.
“I can’t whip up anything now that would counteract those magics. Maybe if we were back in the ship, but I can’t.”
“You can’t just leave Carlene. Not after everything we’ve been through.” Ashlei protested.
“I’m sorry” Denika said gently. “I really am, but trust me on this. There is nothing we can do.”
“Just go now Ashlei. No need to draw this out. I’m already gonna die horribly and slowly. You need to find the Strange Boy. There are enough monsters on this planet.”
“I promise we will come back for you.” Ashlei said as she gave Carlene a final hug. Even hugging the Vampire for a few seconds was agony for Ashlei however, due to the dark magic. Ultimately Keptis was forced to pull Ashlei away from Carlene and out of the room before it was too late.
“I hope she doesn’t” Carlene said to herself as she struggled to even lift her arm.
Outside their cell block, the Circus Folk saw what looked like a gigantic mine, beneath a small cliff. It was filled with hundreds of human like aliens of all ages being forced to work constantly.
“HUMANOIDS SIGHTED, RECAPTURE ALIVE IF POSSIBLE!”
The Circus Folk were forced to jump straight off the cliff and into the mine to avoid the Robots lasers. The workers didn’t even notice the commotion around them, as the folk dodged the laser beams and headed off through the mine.
The Robots that were pursuing them were a different model those that had earlier captured the Circus Folk and their time machine. These Robots flew at tremendous speeds. They had a similar upper body to the earlier robots, but they had no legs, only a round base which glowed blue underneath.
“Those slaves they’re not doing anything to help.” Florence said dismissively as she ran past them.
“Well its not so surprising is it? Pick axes against death rays. Wouldn’t be much of a fight.” Keptis replied.
“Maybe I could sing, influence them to fight back, do something.”
“Again what are you going to influence them to do? Get slaughtered. Sorry Florence, but you’re thinking too far ahead. We need to get ourselves out of this mess before we can help anyone.”
“Like Carlene.” Ashlei interrupted.
Back in the cells, three standard Robot drones had cornered Carlene.
“Worthless creature. You were warned.” One of the drones said.
“Yeah well” Carlene said as she started to cough up blood.
“You metal wankers would have killed me anyway, so I’d rather go out on my own terms.”
“If you had been useful to us, we would have spared you. We may still spare you. We can easily reverse the dark magics that are killing you, if you agree to help us.”
“No thanks. I don’t even know how that Circus thing works. Besides I’ve had a good innings haven’t I? A life with you lot isn’t worth it.”
“You insolent.” One of the robots said before another held it back.
“Leave her. She’s not worth it. You’d be doing her a favour if you killed her now. The dark magic she consumed will finish her in a couple of hours, but they will feel like years. The other humanoids will help us. This pathetic creature clearly knows nothing about the vessel. Leave her to rot.”
To Be Continued