**Another Thorn story ^_^**
Continuation of "To Be Continued"
She watched as the Knight Mocchis circled around the three, making sure they were unconscious. Then she stepped into the elevator, beginning to charge an attack.
“Should we finish them off, chi?” asked a Knight Mocchi.
“Destroy the Pixie and the Golem, chi,” Captain Knight Mocchi commanded. “Master Moo may still have use for the girl, chi.”
The Knight Mocchis prepared to carry out his orders, but froze as a voice drifted out of nowhere.
“20 little Knight Mocchis, frozen in the snow…”
Captain Knight Mocchi felt a wave of heat pass over him. He turned just in time to see six of his soldiers become Lost Disks.
“6 got Gigaflamed; 14 more to go.”
“Knight Mocchis, circle up, chi!” Captain Knight Mocchi shouted, refusing to panic. The baddies formed a tight ring, one of them facing in every direction. “Show yourself, chi!”
“14 little Knight Mocchis, looking for me…”
Captain Knight Mocchi jumped as he felt flames lick his back. When he turned around, there were six Lost Disks in his ring.
“Now there’s only 8 Mocchis left who can see.”
Panicking seemed like a very good idea, but Master Moo would never forgive them if they let the traitors live. Captain Knight Mocchi looked around for a while, then spotted the only place a Pixie monster could hide. “MOCCHI CANNON, CHI!” he shouted. A huge snow bank was blown to pieces, but there was no sign of whoever was destroying his troops.
“8 little Knight Mocchis, trying to attack…”
Six more Lost Disks littered the snow. Hell, where was she hiding?! It was definitely a she; no male could have a voice like that, and only Pixies used Gigaflame.
“2 little baddies, who won’t be coming back.”
Captain Knight Mocchi edged closer to his last remaining comrade as the panicking seemed like a better and better idea. He glanced nervously from side to side, trying to anticipate the direction of the next attack.
“2 little Knight Mocchis, left all alone…”
Captain Knight Mocchi leapt away from the bolt of Lightning. When he looked behind him, all he saw was a field of Lost Disks.
“Poor little Knight Mocchis; now there’s only one.”
Captain Knight Mocchi fought the fear rising in his throat and charged his Mocchi Cannon. He blasted away every possible hiding place in quick succession, sending snow flying everywhere. Then he collapsed, panting, his energy nearly drained. But at least he was out of danger. There was no way his mysterious assailant could hide from him now.
“One little Knight Mocchi thinks that he’s won…”
How could she still be hiding?! There was nothing, nowhere that could conceal anything bigger than a snowflake! There was only one thing left to do: panic. Captain Knight Mocchi curled himself into a ball and bolted, trying to bounce away. He didn’t get very far before a Lightning attack ended his troubles.
“Silly little Knight Mocchis; now there are none.”
She pressed a single button on a gadget at her waist, shedding her cloak of invisibility. She landed, shook the snow off her wings, and surveyed her handiwork with her ocean blue eyes.
“That was rather stupid,” commented a voice from the shadows. The other showed no surprise as Lilim materialized beside her.
“Were you referring to me, or the Knight Mocchis?” she asked, brushing the snow out of her hair. While she had avoided the desperate Mocchi Cannons, she hadn’t been so careful with the flying snow.
“The Knight Mocchis are dead,” Lilim said matter-of-factly. “Besides, they already know how I feel about them. But you, Irene-” Lilim sighed and shook her head. “After all these years, I can’t believe you’re still into nursery rhymes.”
Irene laughed. “Well, at least I’m not a pyromaniac.”
Lilim lifted an eyebrow. “Aren’t you? I know you must be some kind of maniac. I’m just not sure which one.”
“Are you going to stand there and insult, or are you going to help me get them inside?” Irene gestured to the still forms of Pixie, Big Blue, and Thorn.
“I’ll stand here and insult you,” Lilim replied as Irene started digging through the snow, searching for the pile of frozen ground that hid the secret switch.
“She’s gonna be mad,” Lilim warned after a moment of silence.
“Who?” Irene asked, charging a Flame attack to warm her hands and make the digging go faster. “Nemesis?”
“Who else?” Lilim replied. “She’s calling herself, Thorn, now.”
“Really? I’ll keep that in mind,” Irene said as she finally got through the thick layer of snow. “Why would she be mad at me?”
“Do you think I’m a fool, or just forgetful? I know the switch you’re looking for. You’re sending them to the labyrinth.” Lilim paused. “I’m not sure just how much she remembers about us, but no matter what she does or doesn’t remember, she’s gonna be mad.”
“You’re probably right.” Irene said as she finally triggered the switch. She flicked her pink braid back over her shoulder and watched as the ground seemed to swallow up the three fallen monsters. As an afterthought, Irene sent a Refreshment after them. They’d need to be fully healed to face the labyrinth. “But I did save them. The least they can do in return is test out the labyrinth for me. Care to watch?”
When there was no answer, Irene turned around. Lilim was already gone. “I’ll take that as a no, then.”
In the labyrinth…
I groaned and opened my eyes. I felt a little groggy, but otherwise okay.
“It’s about time you woke up,” Pixie said. “Something isn’t right.”
I got up carefully, but nothing began to hurt, which was surprising.
My name is Thorn, and unless I was completely insane we had just gotten beat up by a bunch of Knight Mocchis. I looked around. This wasn’t Moo’s floating castle. Everything was a dull, red metal, and we were at the end of a dead-end corridor.
“This isn’t Naga’s lair, or the lair of any other baddie I know of,” Pixie continued. “And somebody healed us.”
Big Blue groaned and stood up. “Where are we?” he asked, looking all around.
“That’s what I’d like to know,” Pixie replied, flying back onto his shoulder. “You okay, Blue?”
“If somebody healed us, then why aren’t they here? And what happened to the Knight Mocchis? And why were their galoshes blue? And why does this place seem so familiar?” I asked in one breath.
Pixie and Big Blue stared at me.
“This place looks familiar?” Big Blue asked.
I nodded. “And before ya ask, no, I can’t remember anything beyond that.”
“Which doesn’t help us,” Pixie said. “Besides telling us that this place must’ve belonged to the Ancients.”
“So, now what do we do?” I asked.
“Well, we’re not going to get anywhere by standing here,” Pixie said. “Let’s go.”
We walked off down the corridor until we came to a four-way intersection.
“Hmm…” Pixie said.
Big Blue looked up at her questioningly. “Master Pixie?”
“Thorn.” Pixie turned to me. “You don’t remember anything?”
When I shook my head, she pointed to the right. “This way.”
“Why can’t I think of any stupid questions?” I asked as we came to another intersection.
“Be quiet,” Pixie sighed. “Keep going right, Blue.”
We passed about five different intersections, turning right each time, before we came to a dead-end.
“Labyrinth,” I said suddenly. “Irene’s labyrinth.”
Pixie and Big Blue stared at me again.
“That’s what this place is,” I explained. “Irene’s labyrinth.”
“Irene?” Pixie asked. “Sounds familiar.”
“I mentioned her to that Kilik guy. She was the one who managed to combine herself with a Pixie.”
“So who would be running this place now?” Big Blue asked. “Or is this Irene also immortal?”
“I don’t remember.”
“We’ll find out when we get out of here,” Pixie said. “Turn around, Blue, and turn right once we get back to the intersection.” “Why do ya want to turn right again?” I asked. “Ya did that before, and it got us to a dead end.”
Pixie sighed. “We were heading in a different direction before. If we turn right from the way we’re facing now, it would be the same as if we’d gone straight before.”
“Oh, I get it. If we just keep turning right, eventually we’ll find the way out of here, right?”
Pixie sighed again, then nodded.
“Guess I should have figured that out before, huh?”
“Just be quiet.”
Naga slithered back and forth, back and forth across the floor of his throne room. Suddenly he stopped, and a demonic grin slowly spread across his reptilian face. It was so perfect, so utterly simple, that he was surprised he hadn’t thought of it before. Naga sniggered softly to himself, then hastily began the journey to Lilim’s cave. This news he wanted to deliver to the little witch in person.
In the labyrinth…
“How do you put a giraffe in the refrigerator?”
No, I did not ask that. We had come to an odd-looking door that was covered in panels of multicolored blinking lights. The door had asked the question.
“Thorn?” Pixie asked.
“I don’t remember.” I shook my head. “And even if I did, it wouldn’t do any good. Irene never uses the same labyrinth twice.”
“How do you put a giraffe in the refrigerator?” the door repeated.
I looked up again to find Pixie and Big Blue watching me expectantly.
“I told ya I don’t remember,” I said.
“It sounds like the kind of question you’d ask,” Big Blue said. “You should know the answer.”
“How do you put a giraffe in the refrigerator?” the door asked once more.
“Alright, fine.” I was beginning to see why Pixie found my questions so annoying. But at least I didn’t keep repeating them when I didn’t get an answer. “Okay, how’s this: Ya open the refrigerator door, put in the giraffe, and close the door.” It was the stupidest, simplest answer I could think of. The door liked it.
“Correct.” The lights on the door began blinking more rapidly. “Next question. How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator?”
“Isn’t that a little redundant?” I asked.
“How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator?” the door asked again.
“Why are ya so obsessed with putting large animals in the refrigerator?”
“How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator?”
“Okay, let’s see,” I said, not wanting it to repeat forever. “Open the refrigerator door, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant, and close the door.”
The lights blinked even more rapidly. “Correct. Next question. The Lion King throws a party and invites all the animals. All of them come but one. Which animal did not come to the party?”
“The elephant,” Pixie said suddenly.
Big Blue and I looked at her like she had gone crazy.
“It’s still in the refrigerator,” she explained.
The lights blinked so fast it almost looked like they weren’t blinking at all. “Correct. Next question. Alligators live in the river. How do you get across the river?”
“Why do ya want to get across the river?” I asked.
The door only repeated the question back at me.
“Well, ya can just swim across,” I said, before it could repeat again. “The alligators are still at the Lion King’s party.”
The lights winked out, and the door slid open. “Correct. You may proceed.”
“Oh, Lilim,” Naga hissed, peering into the shadows of her cave.
“Naga.” Lilim stepped forward into the torchlight with her usual attitude of bored indifference. It wouldn’t do to lose control in front of that snake again. But why had Naga come himself? He usually sent Kyoko…Something wasn’t right here. Lilim mentally tied up her temper and locked it in a closet, although she had a feeling that even that wouldn’t be enough to keep it in check once Naga delivered his news. “I’m surprised you came yourself, Naga,” Lilim continued. “Did something happen to Kyoko?”
“That is exactly what I came to talk to you about, Lilim,” Naga said. “Kyoko, as you yourself pointed out, has great potential.” Naga paused, watching Lilim’s face.
Lilim hastily shoved several heavy pieces of furniture against the closet door as she realized what Naga wanted her to do.
“Whatever happened to that old Daina, Siarra?” Lilim asked. “Wasn’t she in charge of training the Pixie types?”
“Siarra recently devised a foolproof plan for eliminating the rebels.” Naga’s forked tongue darted in and out of his mouth. “It wasn’t foolproof.”
“I see.” Lilim suddenly noticed that one of the torches near the mouth of the cave had gone out. “GIGAFLAME!”
Naga leapt back, nearly falling off the mountain in the process. When he regained his balance, he said nothing, only glared at her with hate-filled eyes.
Lilim calmly indicated the now-blazing torch. “The torch was out,” she explained.
“Do you always Gigaflame your torches when they go out?!” Naga demanded.
“You nearly killed me!”
“The flames wouldn’t have come near you. You nearly killed yourself by jumping back to avoid an attack that wouldn’t have hit you in the first place. Now, what were you saying about Siarra?”
“Siarra has become permanently indisposed. You are to take over the training. I expect to see you at the lair tomorrow!” Naga slithered off quickly, his anger fueling his speed.
Lilim smirked and relaxed her stranglehold on her temper. Watching Naga make a fool out of himself had been enough to appease her rage. But now she was going to have to visit the lair everyday and deal with some idiot Pixie types. Countering Naga’s latest move in the game was not going to be easy…It was time to review the playing pieces.
In the labyrinth…
“Pixie!” the Armor Dragon (Dragon/Durahan) roared. Its scales were the same red as the walls, and the pieces of plate armor it wore were rusty and dented. It looked almost as though it belonged in the labyrinth, except for the crest of Moo on its chest. “Traitor!” Armor Dragon roared. “I heard of your betrayal before Master Naga sent me to these accursed mountains!”
I looked up at Pixie, who wasn’t even reacting to the Armor Dragon’s words. Well, she probably was used to it by now. I mean, practically every baddie we came across said the same thing.
“Why does it seem like we can’t go anywhere without running into someone who wants to destroy us?” I asked.
“What?!” the Armor Dragon roared, apparently noticing me for the first time. He looked back at Pixie. “You are the last person I’d expect to find traveling with a human!”
“I’m not exactly human,” I corrected. “But how did ya get here? Ya look too big to fit down the corridors…” The corridors had narrowed as we had approached the large room that held the Armor Dragon. The entrance to the room had been so narrow that Big Blue had needed to edge through sideways.
“I was sent to secure control of these mountains by Master Naga,” the Armor Dragon snarled. “But I was attacked by an invisible foe. When I awakened, some strange breed of Pixie was standing over me, saying, ‘I normally don’t take sides in these things, but I just can’t allow someone to attack my territory and get away with it. You understand, don’t you?’ Then she vanished, and left me stuck here!” The Armor Dragon growled and shifted to a fighting stance. “But now at least I can destroy you! CLAW COMBO!”
Pixie flew off of Big Blue’s shoulder. “LIGHTNING!”
Her attack hit Armor Dragon in the jaw, snapping his head back the slightest bit. It didn’t seem to do much damage, but it was enough to stop his attack.
“Infidels!” roared the Armor Dragon. “FLYING COMBO!”
“LIGHTNING!” Pixie shouted. It didn’t even slow him down. I threw myself to the side as 800 pounds of angry Dragon hurtled towards us. I heard the sickening crunch of claws on stone, and looked back just in time to see Big Blue fall to his knees.
The Armor Dragon roared in pain as his helmet cracked from the force of Pixie’s attack. Enraged, he turned and swatted at her with one huge, clawed hand. She dodged easily enough, but he had anticipated her move and caught her with his next blow head on. She went flying into the wall, then slid down to the floor.
Armor Dragon looked the three of us over, and I could almost see the thoughts going through his mind. He dismissed me as a human and a weakling; Pixie wasn’t moving, probably unconscious; Big Blue…Big Blue slowly opened his eyes and stubbornly tried to get up.
With a roar the Armor Dragon lunged at Big Blue, jaw gaping wide. Big Blue wouldn’t even be able to get on his feet. Armor Dragon was only a few feet away from him…and that’s when time slowed down.
One moment, everything was normal. The next, it was as though someone had decided to play reality in slow motion. Armor Dragon inched closer, and closer…then power exploded through me, seeped into the floor, and sped toward the Armor Dragon. It reached him as he was centimeters away from Big Blue. The power tore through him, ripping him apart from the inside. As time speeded back up to normal, the Dragon screamed once in anguish, then turned into a Lost Disk.
I tried to walk over to Big Blue, but before I could take more than a few steps my legs gave out from under me, and I collapsed on the labyrinth’s floor.
I don’t know how long I lay there. I don’t even remember having lost consciousness. But the next thing I knew I was in Big Blue’s arms, facing a pair of strange double doors in another part of the labyrinth.
“Now what?” Pixie asked. She was perched once again on Big Blue’s shoulder. She glanced down at me. “Thorn. So you finally woke up. Do you have any idea what this is?”
Being Pixie, she wasn’t going to ask me if I was alright. Oh, well, I could live with that. I stared at the doors blankly for a moment, then I noticed the arrow up button on one side. “Oh, it’s an elevator,” I said. Someone had already pressed the button, so it was on its way. “We must be at the end of the labyrinth.”
Just then the doors slid open, and Big Blue stepped inside, carrying me and Pixie with him. The doors slid shut behind us, and the elevator slowly began to ascend.
“Ya can put me down now, Big Blue,” I said. “I can stand.” Or at least I think I can stand…
Big Blue set me down gently, and I braced myself in case I collapsed again. My legs felt a little shaky, but thankfully I didn’t fall.
“Why am I having so much trouble thinking of stupid questions today?” I asked.
“Be quiet,” Pixie said.
Suddenly the elevator stopped, and the doors slid open. We stepped out of the elevator and found ourselves face to face with the “strange breed of Pixie” the Armor Dragon had spoken of.
She had ocean blue eyes and light pink hair that was neatly done in a short braid. Her wings matched the color of her hair, and they were covered in a light fluff. Irene.
“…and that’s why I’m still alive. I won’t age, but if someone sticks a sword through me I’ll be as dead as anyone else.”
I groggily tried to understand what was going on. That was Lilim’s voice, but Lilim had vanished when Wyvlo came to recapture me. For who knows how long, I had just been a puppet. And then…I struggled to remember. For as long as Wyvlo had been controlling me, I had tried to withdraw into myself, to hide in that one part of mind that was still my own. I tried to tune out what was going on around me; there was nothing I could do to change it, anyway. And now…Wyvlo was gone from my mind, and I was free once again.
“Well, that’s my story, Irene,” Lilim continued. “Now tell me yours.”
“Hang on, I think she’s coming around,” said an unfamiliar voice. “Only thing is, I’m not sure if it actually worked or not. I’ve never tried to do anything like this before. You will be able to tell, right?”
I opened my eyes to see Lilim and Irene standing over me. I was in a cot of some kind, and the sheets… “Why the hell are the sheets pink?” I asked.
“Pink is my favorite color,” Irene explained. She turned to Lilim. “Well?”
“It worked,” Lilim said. “No one but Nemesis would wake up in a strange place and, before even wondering where they were, inquire about the color of the sheets.”
“Now that you mention it…” I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the cot. “Where am I? And…” I stood up and faced Irene. “Who are ya?”
“I’m Irene, an old friend of Lilim’s. Centuries old, in fact,” Irene replied. “You’re in my lab. Lilim and I dragged you here, and I somehow got Wyvlo to stop controlling you. But I have no idea what I did, so you’d better not get caught again, or we might not be able to rescue you.”
“Wait…how are ya centuries old?” I asked. “And how could ya know Lilim for all that time?”
“Oh, did I forget to mention that I was immortal?” Lilim asked. I stared at her. She just shrugged. “Oops. Well, you know now.” She turned to Irene. “But how did you survive? Last I saw of you, you were just a normal human.”
“Normal? Lilim, I’m offended! You know very well I’m not normal, and never have been,” Irene said. “As for how I survived, well, immortality seems to have come with these.” She spread her wings. “After you left, things got pretty boring, so I started doing a few experiments. If two different breeds of monster DNA could produce a combination of the two, why couldn’t it work the same way with human and monster DNA? So, since Pixies are the monsters that most closely resemble humans, I acquired some Pixie DNA. Since no one else would test it, I tried the process I developed on myself and ended up with wings, pink hair, and immortality.”
“So now you’re a pink-haired freak,” Lilim commented. “An immortal pink-haired freak.”
“Pink-haired Freak? Hmm…” Irene said. “I like that. I was looking for a species name. Okay, from now on a Human/Pixie will be called a Pink-haired Freak.”
Lilim just sighed and shook her head.
“How did ya guys meet?” I asked.
“We’ve known each other our entire lives,” replied Irene. “We’re like sisters. Right, sis?” She put her arm around Lilim.
“Get off of me!” Lilim shouted. She angrily shrugged Irene’s arm off of her. “Besides, it’s none of her business.”
Irene looked as though she had been expecting that reaction. “Oh, well,” she said. “Time for you two to face the labyrinth.”
“The what?” I asked.
“Well, I had to do something through all these centuries,” Irene replied. “It’s no big deal, just a maze with some obstacles. I’ve designed tons of them. And now, since I’ve done you and Lilim a favor, you have to test one out for me.”
“Irene,” I said. “Ya nearly let that Armor Dragon kill us!”
Irene shrugged. “You look alive to me, so why are you complaining? Besides, if it wasn’t for me those Knight Mocchis would have just killed all of you, anyway.”
“So you’re the one who healed us,” Pixie said. “And the Knight Mocchis?”
“Let’s just say I have twenty Lost Disks as lawn ornaments right now,” Irene replied. “The elevator to the surface is that way.” She pointed down a corridor, then walked off in the opposite direction. Soon, she vanished into the shadows.
“That’s it?” Big Blue asked.
“She’s always like that,” I said. “She’s not used to being around other people much. The only time she really feels comfortable is if Lilim’s there, too.”
“Thorn,” Pixie said. “Are all of your old friends this odd?”
“I’ll tell ya when I remember all of them.”
“Hmph. Well, then, let’s go.”