Vol. 119: An unexpected ally...

Vol. 119: An unexpected ally...

Some of the adventurers rushed forward near the imposingly cloaked figure. "What can we do?" they asked. 


"The one you call Kryxflixtx. I did battle with him. It was very hard to subdue him without killing him. I'm also sure he is responsible for all of this." Something about this figure's voice seemed very familiar. Very... robotic. "He is yours for the taking. These four seemed to be his generals. I also fought them but as you can see, they decided to end our fight by simultaneously exploding. And as I have put a lot of work into this structure, I'd rather not see it destroyed." 


This strange being had battled Kryxflixtx and 4 super giant Xerxes on his own?! And now he was containing the force of their explosions? Who was this rag covered warrior?! 


The cloaked figure continued. There seemed to be a slight strain in his voice. Was he reaching his limit? "For whatever this Kryxflixtx was he was not as much of a fool as he seemed. He had the forethought to place his own magic circle around this room to protect him and his generals from counter spells. I also fought my way here but I was much... closer than the rest of you. Still my battle with this lot took quite a while." The rag covered figure's voice was definitely shaky. And a few sparks could be seen coming from beneath the rags. This was definitely a robot. And a very powerful one at that. "Is there any among you who can break the magic circle?" His body shuddered and the forcefield he was generating shuttered ever so slightly. For a moment the explosion inside grew. But it was still contained...for now... 


2 Mages stepped forward. "We can!" they said almost simultaneously. The cloaked figure looked back, his face covered in shadow and simply nodded. The mages ran to opposite sides of the room. 


The rest of the adventurers there waited in silence. There was nothing they could so, and they feared making any noise may disrupt this robots concentration. Best to let the mages do their work first. A warrior spied Kryxflixtx and snarled lightly. She went to move to him sword drawn but a friend touched her arm and glanced at the hooded robot. She huffed and stood down but did not sheath her sword. 


It probably took the mages 10 minutes to break the magic circle, but it seemed like an eternity. Twice more the robot shuttered and the forcefield shimmered. But still he held on. But he was slouching more and more. The sparks coming up from the rags he was covered in grew brighter and more frequent. 


And then finally, "Its done!" the mages said again almost at the same time. And as they said so a sort of pressure seemed to be lifted from the room. They all looked to the robot who also seemed to notice as he stood up slightly more erect. For a few moments it seemed like nothing was happening but then they could see the gargantuan Xerxes held in the forcefield beginning to shrink. Like popped balloons the were deflating rapidly. Soon they were normal size. 


"You may wish to avert your eyes and shield yourselves." The cloaked robot said raising his arms in the air. The rags fell back and golden yellow metal ringed with deep black were revealed. Some of the golden metal was cracked and sparking. "I will be able to absorb the force of the blast, but the heat and light will still escape." Most of the adventurers moved back from the center of the room. A few clad in magical armor or vestments remained nearer. "Now." the robot said. 


In that instant the forcefield dropped and the robot slumped over into a pile of rags and sparks. A wave of heat and light gushed out from its center. Some of the force did seep out sending a shudder through the bowels of Elysium 12. Some of the adventurers wondered if those above could feel it. Other wondered what would have happened had the full force been brought to bear. Many of them also came to the realization that they had actually not won this battle. If it had not been for this mysterious robot they would have been too late. It was a sobering thought. 


And then it was over. Many of the adventurers looked at each other. The warrior who went to intercept Kryxflixtx once again moved towards him. "Only one last loose end to tie up!" she snarled as she rose her glowing blade above her head. She went to cleave Kryxflixtx in two but at the last moment the robot reached out and grabbed the glowing blade. It cut deep into his hand sending sparks up but did not pass all the way thru. Several in the room gasped. 


"Why?!" the warrior demanded in a fury directed at the robot.


"No." the robot said removing his hand from the blade and standing up right. He was huge. Maybe 11' tall. His silhouette was imposing. "It took great effort to subdue this one without killing him. I consider it a loss that the other 4 had to die. I do not kill. I subdued this villain. I won’t have him killed in front of me. You will take him to the Animus and Grinders above to pay for his crimes." 


"Like hell I will!" The warrior said raising her sword again but another of the adventurers stepped in front of her.


"Stand down." they said. The warrior caught herself, but her fury was unquenched. She yelled a warrior’s shout. 


"Do you know how many people have died because of him?!" She yelled. "I lost over half my team fighting my way down here! Close friends I have known for years! Decades! He must pay!" Her eyes were on fire with hate. 


But another stepped up and placed their hand on her shoulder. An ally of hers. This seemed to calm her some. "This robot has saved us all. All of Elysium 12 I'd wager. If this is his wish, we must obey it." The warrior hesitated for a moment arm still raised. Then screamed again and threw her sword across the room. It stuck into the wall on the other side of the room. And there was silence. 


One of the mages who had broken the magic circle spoke to the robot. "It’s true then. If you had not been here, we'd all likely be dead now wouldn’t we?" The robot stood motionless. 


"Well...perhaps..." the robot said as if thinking it over. "But you all fought your way here valiantly. I think that you would have found a way to triumph even if I was not here." His voice seemed steadier now. Less sparks could be seen coming from the rags that covered him. It looked like he was healing himself. Impressive. 


"And who are you mighty robot?" The other mage asked. "Who should we tell the people has saved them?" The robot turned his shadow covered head toward the mage.


"You will tell them you did." he said flatly. The others in the room were shocked. What did he mean? As if sensing their confusion, he continued. "No one can know I am here. No one. If the situation had not been so absolutely dire, I would not have intervened at all. You all must take the credit for this win."


Another adventurer who had not spoken before now chimed in. "I’m not one for taking credit that’s not mine robot. You are the one who saved the Elysium. To you should go the credit." The others around murmured in agreement.


The robot sighed. "But without you I still would have lost, and you fought long and hard to get here. Much longer than I did. You are the real heroes here." And with that the robot reached up with its two large hands and pulled back his hood. Another round of gasps peppered the room. 


"No!" one said. 


"It can’t be!" another.


"You mean he's real?!" still another. 


The robot gently recovered his glass and metal dome but now his large black eyes could be seen shining under the hood. "Now you see. No one must know I am here." Snish floated back slightly. 


"But this just raises so many more questions!" One of them said flabbergasted. "Where have you been? What are you doing? With all that is happening out there-!" But Snish raised a hand, and they went silent. 


"Please believe me. I am doing what must be done. For the sake of the multiverse I must ask you all. Please. Keep this secret."


A look traveled around the adventurers gathered. Snish's words rang true. There was something about him. He inspired them to believe with only these few words. Was this really the legendary robot who traveled with the Five? Where all the legends true?!


The warrior from before sheathed her sword and stepped toward Snish. She looked up at his large inky black eyes. "I cannot speak for everyone but as for me I will keep your secret. I have always believed the legends of the Five. And with the recent appearance of Raine the younger, I find them impossible to deny. You are Snish! You traveled with the Five and have righted more wrongs than I could hope to with my blade in a dozen lifetimes. I will put my trust in you Snish. It is an honor to have met you." The warrior bowed slightly and soon those around the room followed suit. And then one by one they rose and pledged themselves to keep Snish's existence secret. Snish smiled with his eyes and reached into his rags and produced a handful of coins. 


"Each of you take one of these. It is my small gift to each of you." One by one each adventurer stepped forward and took a coin out of his large white hand. The coins shined brightly yellow gold and looked highly polished. They had an inverted "S" with an octagon around it on each side. This was known to be Snish's symbol. "These coins are infused with my essence" Snish said once all the coins had been taken. "You can place it on any nonliving machine, and it will obey your verbal commands for 24 hours. They can only be used once so use them wisely. I wish I could give you more, but this is all I have to give."


"It is known what you have given to the multiverse Snish. We are the ones in your debt." one of them said. The others offered agreement. 


"Now I must go." Snish said already floating backwards slowly. "There is still much to do..." Snish adjusted his rags and fully covered himself once more. "I wish you all long life and happiness! Good luck adventurers!" And in a smooth swift movement Snish jumped into the rafters and was lost in shadow. They did not see him again. 


For a few moments the adventurers stood in silence taking it all in. And then they knew they needed to return to the surface. They had no psionics left alive among them. The people needed to know the threat was over. They collected the still unconscious body of Kryxflixtx and began their return journey.


On the long climb back out of the sewers they discussed their story. What they would say happened in the final battle. They couldn’t let Snish down. Also along the way they collected what bodies they could. The ones they couldn’t carry they placed in safe places to be collected later. It was sobering to see how many had been lost. What was going to happen now? 


Eventually they made it back to the surface. They were beyond exhausted. But as they emerged the people cheered and rushed to great them. But it was obvious things had not gone well here either. There was chaos for a while as questions came nonstop. People asked about friends who had entered and not returned. Where were the others? Was the threat really over? Many also began calling for the execution of Kryxflixtx who floated in a magical cage behind them. The adventurers who survived did all they could to answer these questions and to keep Kryxflixtx from being torn apart. There was crying, elation, despair, and hope. A wild mixture of emotions seized everyone who remained inside Elysium 12. 


In the end 85% of the adventurers who entered the sewers had been killed. Of the 15% who survived 5% of those were gravely injured. Some of them would also perish as the days and weeks moved on. About 20% of Elysium 12's entire population had also been killed. another 10% were injured in some way. Many of them would die in the coming days as well. By this time reinforcements had begun to arrive at the Elysium but of course they were too late. Multiverse Warriors, Light Finders, Presence Revelers, and ships from many races began to dock. The battle was over, but they still did what they could to help. 


The Multiverse Warriors took charge of Kryxflixtx who had just barely begun to gain consciousness. They would guard him personally in the brig on Elysium 12 until his fate was decided. The adventurers who made it to the center of Elysium told their tale. How they had found Kryxflixtx inexplicably unconscious when they arrived but did battle with and defeated his generals before they could detonate and destroy them all. Their story was almost to convincing as many began hailing them as heroes and calling for medals and honors. Many of the adventurers who survived looked at each other uneasily. 


For Several days things were in disarray. Pckxly and his companions were sequestered mostly for their own protection. The sight of any Xerxes roaming Elysium 12 was bound to cause panic. But finally, things were mostly restored to order. Now what to do with the Xerxes?


First Kryxflixtx. When he finally regained consciousness he wove a sad tale about how he was a victim in all of this. He had only entered the sewers as a champion of the people in order to subdue the subversive Xerxes elements there that did not want peace with the Multiversal Senate. He valiantly fought his way to where he knew the terrorist leaders were, but they knocked him unconscious and planned to use him as a bargaining tool later. 


No one believed him. But the situation was very complicated. There was no true evidence linking Kyrxflixtx to the attacks. And technically he enjoyed diplomatic immunity as an official representative of his people invited as such by the senate. They wanted to ply him with magical and psionic devices to have proof of his statements, but he refused, and they could not legally force him to do so. The public outcry was immense but, in the end, they were forced to let him go. Kryxflixtx knew he had barely gotten out of this alive and hopped on his spaceship the second he was free and flew away. He had to be escorted a very long way by Animus and Grinder manned ships to make sure he was not perused and shot out of the sky.  


They then turned to Pckxly. It was a hard situation. Many of the senators had genuinely grown to like him but after what had happened...


In the end it was decided that the Xerxes would not be allowed to join the Multiversal Senate. At least not yet. Their people were too divided. Pckxly tried to persuade them by saying that after this incident he would be named the leader of his people, in as much as the Xerxes had a single leader, but that was just it. The social dynamic of the Xerxes was still too mysterious. This talk of them existing is aspects, and having hivemind behavior, the senate could not risk an assault like this again. But the senate would not abandon them fully. 


When the Xerxes were ready the senate would send specialist to their home worlds to study their people. Such a thing had NEVER been done. But the senate explained that it was a necessary step if the Xerxes ever really hoped to join the senate. Pckxly said he would make arrangements for this as quickly as possible.  We would see...


The senate also said that they would also respond to ANY distress call from a Xerxes ship. As long as those distress signals remained real the senate would continue to support the Xerxes when they were in need. Pckxly could not really ask for more. He thanked the senate and prepared to leave. As he was preparing to go many of the senators praised him. They told him that he was becoming a fine and just leader. And it was true. Pckxly had grown enormously from this. He still had a long way to go but he was taking a different journey now. One he hoped to take his people on with him. 


Pckxly also told the senate that he would release all the Xerxes prisoners from their prison planets immediately upon returning to his home world. The senate assured him this would be a great first step into getting his people accepted into the Multiversal Senate. Pckxly smiled at this...well...at least as much as any Xerxes could smile. But just as they were gathering to send Pckxly off the view screens and Psion Orbs around Elysium 12 started flashing like crazy. An urgent news break was coming in from Psi-News! And what they were about to report would change everything! 

About the Illustrations: Here have the Trementian Hero Zot! And a couple of sketches. Please enjoy!


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Next article Vol. 118: Adult Mutant Angry Xerxes! Villains with a bad smell! Xerxes Power! Cowabun-! SHH!!!