Rin’s Adventures Chapter 32
“How did you get in here?” Falcon demanded, and to everyone’s surprise was echoed by Eshka.
“I have my ways traitor,” the new dridder smirked.
“It has not been long enough Nashta,” Eshka snarled. “Our god is returning, and you and your false queen will soon be the past.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Nashta leapt into the air towards her fellow dridder. Eshka pulled a sword from her back, and blade and polearm met with a clang. The two began trading blows almost faster than the eyes of the shocked Miratans and naga could follow. Both spun strands of webbing and launched themselves up into the stalactites dotting the ceiling.
“I did NOT see this coming,” Rin said before shooting an ice blast at Kiki, catching the surprised fairy in the side. “But I’ll take what I can get.”
“She doesn’t remember you going for cheap shots little snake,” Kiki shot forward, fireballs erupting from her palms. Rin conjured an ice shield and the two powers collided in a flash of steam.
“You don’t know anything about her!” Rin shouted as her tail carried her forward. She encased her arms in ice and threw a barrage of punches at her corrupted friend. “I’m going to get you out of her!”
Kiki grinned before throwing out a burst of searing heat that melted Rin’s ice gauntlets and sent her crashing into the wall. “You talk like you don’t know what you’re up against. I am a fragment of a god, one whom even your Guardians fear. You are NOTHING compared to me!”
Rin rolled with the impact, using her tail to propel herself back to standing. Using both hands she sent a barrage of icicles at Kiki's wings, but again her ice was melted by a blast of heat. This time however she fired a second volley before the last of the heat had faded. Kiki dodged these, except for one which tore a hole in her left wing. “Looks like you’re not untouchable,” she said.
“And that is the last shot you’ll get!” Kiki snarled. Blood leaking from her hip, she leapt at Rin with her blade already swinging. Rin hastily formed an ice shell on her forearm and blocked, pulling the frozen blade with her and tossing Kiki over her shoulder. The blade erupted in flames and burned Rin’s skin as it came away. “Did the little naga get burned?” A tremendous cracking came from the crystal lake as the solid pane shook under an assault from below. “You’re out of time!”
“Not yet!” Nashta smirked as she drove the blade of her polearm against her counterpart’s sword hard enough to knock her arm away and drive her fist into Eshka’s face, nearly sending her crashing down from their ceiling battle. “Listen all of you, there are several crystals around the perimeter of the crystal lake. Remove them from their pedestals; that will slow the seal’s collapse!”
“You heard the spider, let’s do this,” Falcon ordered, struggling to process the fact that they seemingly had a dridder on THEIR side.
The Miratan armor suits spread out while Rin and Nashta kept up the assault on Kiki and Eshka. Two suit pairs took up firing positions on the lake’s defenders, taking shots whenever Rin and Nashta gave them an opening, but the creatures’ armor took most of the damage easily.
“You’re outnumbered,” Rin said as she slammed her tail into Kiki’s chest, taking the pain of a burn in exchange for knocking her to the ground. Placing a hand on the ground she sent a pulse of ice magic that froze the fairy’s wings and back to the stone. In the three seconds it took for her to heat her way free Rin closed the range and knocker her sword from her hand. She made to throw it to the far side of the crystal lake when the metal suddenly turned white hot and she was forced to drop it.
“Idiot, no one can touch my blade but me,” Kiki said as she threw a stream of fire at Rin, who blocked with a wall of ice. Once the flames stopped she slammed her tail against the melting wall, sending hundreds of shards at the fairy. Kiki blocked, but then was forced to fly over and crash into an armor suit about to remove one of the crystals. One swipe of her blade severed the machine’s left arm, and her next removed its head, sending it crashing to the ground.
“NO!” Rin shouted, racing around the lake toward Kiki, keeping up a constant barrage of icicles against her. “You have to fight it Kiki!”
“Like I keep telling you, your friend is gone,” Kiki smiled, baring her teeth. “All you’re doing is wasting your time.” Another crack split the air as the lake’s seal weakened further. For an instant Rin could see two massive eyes looking straight into her soul. The shock froze her long enough for Kiki to ram her fist into Rin’s stomach. Rin doubled over, only for an uppercut to throw her against the wall. Her ice magic evaporated as she felt a rib break, and Rin’s vision swam for several seconds.
Kiki slowly walked over to Rin, her hand reaching for a holster on her belt. “Oh that’s right, I left my dagger in the belly of your friend. Looks like I’ll have to do this another way.” Raising her hands above her head, she slowly formed a massive ball of black fire. “This should be enough to make a meal of roast naga.” Her smile turned to a scowl as she suddenly dodged to the right, barely avoiding a pair of missiles from Decker’s heavy suit.
“Always watch your back,” Rin smirked as she caught Kiki off guard with a tail slam. “You can’t use your best moves without stopping, so we’ve got the upper hand.”
“Oh please; I’m just toying with you so you can see the birth of your new overlord,” Kiki laughed as the lake cracked again, and puddles of black liquid began seeping from the edges of the lake where it met the rock.
“Got one!” Dren shouted, his armor suit holding up an amber crystal.
“Second one over here,” Hawk reported as he hefted an emerald gemstone.
“NO!” Kiki cried as she launched herself into the air, only to be met by three streams of bullets from the Miratans as well as icicles from Rin. Dodging and weaving, she avoided most of the fire and ashed the rest but was forced back. Several of the smaller cracks in the lake re-sealed themselves, and the ground shook as a scream echoed up through the crystal. “You cannot stop my rise!”
“Dream on!” Rin said as she shot an icicle at a ruby gemstone and sent it rolling along the ground. “You can’t fight all of us at once.”
“Oh yes I can, because now I’m angry,” Kiki said, before moving forward in a near blur. A roundhouse kick send Rin crashing to the ground, while she hurled her sword into the chest of Hawk’s armor suit before he could dodge. Reaching out her hand the blade few back to her, but Rin sent an ice pulse which froze her hand and caused it to bounce off.
As Kiki dove for her blade, Rin spied a puddle of blood leaking from Hawk’s armor suit.
Shock froze her as she processed that one of her friends, one of Falcon’s friends had just died. “You monster!” She shrieked as she threw herself forward. Kiki was just bringing her blade up, but Rin dodged left and only received a deep gash on her side. Her ice clad fist slammed into Kiki’s face, breaking her nose and sending a spray of blood into the air. More blows rained down as Rin pummeled her former friend. “I won’t let you kill any more of my friends!”
As Rin leaned back for another blow Kiki darted forward. Her open palm caught Rin in the throat as her knee slammed into her stomach, driving all breath from her. A haymaker from her fist sent Rin slamming back into the stone wall and breaking another Rib. Sharp pain stabbed into her left side, while coughs wracked her body as it struggled to draw a breath.
“I, have had, enough, of you!” Kiki snarled, blood running down her face from her shattered nose. She stomped her foot down on Rin’ left hand, drawing another scream along with the cracks of breaking finger bones. She raked her nails across Rin’s face before wrapping both hands around her throat. “Now I will put an end to your miserable-” her words stopped as a sharp bang echoed across the lake. Kiki looked down at the smoking pistol in Rin’s hand, while her hand pressed against the hole in her chest. A single wet cough left her throat as she collapsed.
“Kiki!” Rin shouted as she caught Kiki’s falling body with one arm. Her left hand refused to move and felt as if it was burning. Kiki, hold on,” she begged. “I’ll think of something.”
“Still you persist,” Kiki smirked, blood leaking from the corners of her mouth. “You may have beaten me, but the seal is nearly broken. I will rise, and you will all suffer for your defiance.” The crimson glow in Kiki’s eyes faded, revealing the clear ruby orbs Rin remembered. A black mist poured from her mouth and vanished through one of the cracks in the seal. Working quickly, Rin encased Kiki’s body in ice, preserving her until she could think of a plan.
From above the battling forms of Eshka and Nashta fell from the ceiling, still locked in their duel. Eshka had lost her shield and was bleeding from her left shoulder, while Nashta had a wicked gash along her left cheek and two of her left side legs were nearly severed. “It’s over,” Nashta said. “Your ally has fallen; you stand alone.”
“I don’t need anyone to defeat you! Eshka shouted as her eyes widened in rage, leaping at her foe. Barely had she left the ground when ten streams of bullets slammed into her from all side, tearing into her armor and breaking off one of her eight legs. Nashta struck her in the chest with her polearm, sending her rolling onto the cracking lake.
“If you’re so loyal to your mistress, then you can be sealed with her forever!” Slamming down on the breaking crystal, Eshka’s body sank into the dark ichor with an echoing scream. “Naga, I require your aid.”
Rin barely heard Nashta’s words as she looked down at Kiki’s ice encased body. A sharp slap to the face snapped her back and she snarled at the dridder above her. “Do that again and I’ll kill you,” she hissed.
“Maybe later, for now I need your help in resetting the seal.” The crystal lake was filled with cracks as the black ichor spread across the floor. “The support crystals have been removed, but we still need to use the crystal key to repair the cracks in the seal. After that I’ll be more than happy to fight you. If you want to save the rest of your friends you’ll do what I say!”
“Do it Rin,” Falcon said. “She’s proven that at the very least she’s on the side of preventing the Primordial from getting free. That’s an order!” He snapped.
“Yes Sir!” Rin saluted on instinct. Turning to Nashta she frowned. “What do I have to do?”
“Follow me.” The dridder led Rin to the key near the far wall of the chamber. The black crystal pulsed with black energy as it sent energy surging through the expanding cracks below. “Place your hand on the pedestal and focus your energy. Just as the key needed two to free it, it requires two magics to reverse its effects.” Rin did as she was told, and blue and emerald began surrounding the alter. “Repeat after me,” she said. “Magic of the five, heard my call.”
“Magic of the five, hear my call,” Rin repeated, feeling the pull on her ice magic growing each second.
“Bind the evil of Beyond into the Eternal Seas once more.”
“Bind the evil of Beyond into the Eternal Seas once more.” Rin fought to keep standing as her magic was ripped from her, but she could see the cracks in the crystal lake healing with every spoken word.
“By light and dark combined, restore balance to this world.”
“By light and dark combined, restore balance to this world.” The key lit up like a star, and the last thing Rin saw before she passed out was the crystal lake once again a solid unbroken pane.
Rin slowly came back to reality as her aching body realized it was still alive. The first thing she saw was Falcon and the other Miratan armor suits standing over her. Nashta stood off to the side, weapon resting in one hand as she regarded Rin with black eyes. “What happened? How long was I out?”
“Only a few minutes,” Falcon said. “Whatever the two of you did, it worked. The crystal sealed itself and the both of you collapsed. She woke up just before you did.”
“So, what happens now? Are you going to fight us for the key too?” Rin asked.
“No,” Nashta replied. “In my current state I doubt I would win, and you’ve proven you wish the Primordial to remain sealed. That aligns with the wishes of my Queen. For now, I have no quarrel with you. But if our paths happen to cross again, I will do what I must. Until then, I will be watching. Farewell,” the dridder limped back down the tunnel, her steps soon fading away.
“So, I guess we go home now. The ones still alive,” Rin said, glancing over at Hawk’s fallen suit.
“Sometimes not everyone makes it back from a mission Rin,” Dren said. “Let’s collect these keys and get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Rin shivered. “I’ll do what I can, but I only have one arm right now.” Even standing up drove daggers into Rin’s midsection as her broken ribs ground together.
“We can take care of it,” Falcon said. “Kiki, is she still alive?”
“I don’t know,” Rin admitted. “My ice should keep her as she was when she was frozen, but her wound…”
“The doctors will do what they can, and with all the magic artifacts we’ve come into possession of lately, I’m sure we’ll find something that can help her.”
Two armor suits hoisted Hawk’s on their shoulders, while four more took hold of Kiki’s ice block. Slowly they retraced their steps towards the exit. The runes from before were faded now, as if their power had been sealed along with the Primordial. The journey to the outside passed in what seemed only a few hours this time, and the mist was just thin enough for the group to walk in a single direction without getting turned around. When they reached the edge, Rin saw the incorporeal spirits from before, and this time one looked at her and smiled before vanishing. “Let’s go home.”