Chapter 6 – Of Mice and Mole Men

Chapter 6 – Of Mice and Mole Men

 

“This place will be a good place for your grave,” Monda said, as he digs and disappears at an alarming speed.

“The magic he stole grants him great speed and sturdy claws!” Soup warned.

Iris shuffles the cards and takes out the one with a plesiosaurus drawing. “Precious Tear! Bless us with your presence!”

“It is a dragon,” the elf said.

Monda emerges from the ground and tries to slash the dragon tamer with his sharp claws.

“Use your breath!” Iris commanded. Monda slashes the dragon instead, and manages to wound it with his sharp claws. The dragon groans and sends a powerful stream of freezing water, but Monda manages to avoid it by hiding underground.

“Precious Tear!” Iris cried.

Monda keeps emerging and slashing the dragon, only to hide again within seconds. The dragon keeps groaning.

“Don’t hurt Precious Tear!” Iris cried, furious.

“And what are you going to do about it?” Monda’s voice resounds from the ground.

“I won’t forgive you, bastard!”

The mole man warrior laughs while hiding. Iris was really angry, but she looks carefully at the holes in the ground, thinking how the tunnels he used were likely to be connected.

“Precious Tear! Use your dragon breath on that hole!” Iris commanded. The dragon obeys, and directs its powerful stream of water towards one hole. The water pressure forces Monda out.

“What are you doing? It is cold!” the mole warrior claimed.

“Nice… Now I know how to get you out of those holes, and I’ll make you pay for hurting my poor dragon,” Iris said.

“Whatever. Freezing me will not change anything. I will be fine in a bit because of our fur,” Monda said.

“I don’t plan to simply freeze you. I said I’ll make you pay,” Iris said while she shuffles her deck once more.

“What are you doing? You keep dragons on those cards, don’t you? If you summon another one, I’ll attack it as well,” Monda said.

“I’m a dragon tamer, but I’m also a pirate. And I just wanted to let you know that my dear ship, the Saint Marina, has always emerged victorious after all naval battles because of my good aim,” Iris said, showing the mole warrior a card with a cannon picture.

“So what? I will kill you after I finish tearing your pet. Your angry face entertains me,” the mole man said, and he continues his hit-and-run pattern, his speed didn’t allow the dragon to defend itself.

Iris puts the card on the ground.

“Battle Cannon!” she pronounced. The card glows in a silver light, and an iron cannon appears in front of her. Iris aims for Monda’s position as he keeps attacking the dragon. Precious Tear is really hurt because of all the wounds, but the pirate woman fires.

“You failed,” Monda mocked.

“I only wanted you to stop attacking my dragon, you oversized rat!” Iris yelled, as her angry voice echoes inside the cavern.

The mole man ignored her, and hid inside a hole again.

“Now, use your dragon breath on that hole again!” Iris commanded. The damaged creature sends the powerful water stream through a hole to force the warrior to fly out of the tunnels. While the warrior is still midair, Iris fires once again, so the cannonball hits him in the head and makes him crash against a rocky wall.

“That’s for my dragon,” Iris said with a creepy grin, presuming he is dead. Soup slowly approached the corpse, and he manages to obtain the red helmet. Iris runs and hugs Precious Tear, she cries and sobs because of all the wounds the warrior had caused to its dragon. “This is all my faul! Sorry, Precious Tear!”

“That was somewhat violent… I do not like seeing you cry, and the poor dragon is in pain,” the elf said. He walked towards the dragon, and he spreads a sparkling powder on its wounds. The magic powder makes the wounds close and heal at a miraculous rate.

“What did you do?” Iris asked. She managed to stop crying.

“I applied Fairy Powder on the wounds. They are the shed scales of fairies, and they have healing properties,” the elf answered.

“Thanks!” Iris cheered and hugged the dragon again. The dragon seemed to be thankful as well.

The mole with the yellow helmet leads the pirate captain to a narrow rocky tunnel, basically a dead end.

“This is somewhat narrow. If you think the reduced space will give you the upper hand, hit me with your best shot,” Subaru said.

“Someone is being arrogant. I will let you attack me first, try to hit me if you can,” Topaz said.

“And you say I’m arrogant, but I don’t mind it… I planned to attack first anyways and finish this as soon as possible,” Subaru unsheathed his blaze sword, and tries to stab the mole man.

Topaz avoids the attack effortlessly. The captain pirate just keeps attacking and swinging the sword, but the mole avoids every thrust with ease.

“Too slow… Besides stimulating my already outstanding brain, the helmet improves my reflexes. Now it is my turn, and I will finish this soon, just as you wanted,” the tactician said, as he gets closer to the wall in the back of the tunnel.

“Oh, really? I think I’ve got you cornered,” Subaru observes. The captain thought the battle was already decided since the mole was against the wall and his sword, so he swings his sword horizontally. The mole man smiles and quickly digs his way underground to hide, really quickly despite not having Monda’s skills. Subaru’s blazing sword hits the wall instead.

A loud explosion was heard. The blaze sword flies.

The captain was lying on the ground. Subaru couldn’t feel his right arm. His body was half buried, debris over his legs, blood all over his body, his clothes were all torn and burned. He didn’t even know what happened, but the pain was the worse he had ever experienced physically.

“What a sturdy sword,” Topaz emerged from the ground, and he picked up the sword. “And what a sturdy human you are.”

“Wh… What was…? That?” Subaru barely managed to ask.

“I do not think such an inferior creature would be able to understand, but you are pretty much dead anyways… There are many flammable minerals in this tunnel, so I decided to bury some powder in carefully selected spots when the queen told us we had to steal a gemstone. I had many traps installed already in different places, just in case any human came down here and tried to take the gemstone back. That is my duty as a tactician, right? When you showed this flaming sword back at the queen’s chamber, I knew you were the easiest target for me,” the mole explained.

The captain tried to move without success, and his right eye was blinded by the blood flowing from his forearm.

“You are… Smart… Indeed… But your plan… It has… A big… Miscalculation…” Subaru wheezed, and coughed.

“Miscalculation? I am afraid the only miscalculation here is that you should have died because of the explosion,” Topaz mocked.

Subaru smiled.

“I don’t… Play… Only… With swords,” Subaru said. The captain takes out his gun with his left arm, and quickly shoots right at the tactician’s forehead. The corpse falls right next to the wounded pirate, and the yellow helmet rolls on the tunnel.

Subaru tries once more to move, but the only thing he was barely able to move was his left arm, but the pain was unbearable.

“I guess… I’ll die… Here…” Subaru closed his eyes.

Soup focused. He could sense the yellow helmet nearby. Iris just follows him, hoping to reunite with Subaru as soon as possible.

Eric de Castella was facing the strongest mole man, Mauro. He was humongous in comparison to the rest of his species.

“Do you really want to fight against me? It is not too late to run,” the proud mole man said.

“I will defeat you, and I will claim the green helmet you wear as a trophy,” Eric said.

“I just hope this is a lengthy match. It would be a shame if I kill you within seconds. That armor must really slow you down.”

“Not at all. Nevertheless, it would be unfair if I fight with this armor protecting my body…” Eric said. The knight decides to remove his armor. He kept the gauntlets and the greaves on, though.

Eric wore a green shirt and black shorts under Armadura Tierra. His clothes couldn’t hide the fact he had a lean muscular, athletic build, and all the bandages that were needed to patch the wounds Alfonso and the king had left on his body.

“I want you to fight with all your might,” Eric said.

“Stupid human. This helmet will keep making me stronger.”

Eric runs towards the warrior and delivers an impressive punch right at Mauro’s gut. The mole man withstands it and swings his enormous hand at the knight, which sends him flying. The armorless knight crashes against the wall.

“I barely felt that…” Eric said, wiping the blood that leaked from his smile.

“Your armor could have protected you from that.”

The knight charges at the guardian and delivers a series of punches to the beast’s gut, only for it to resist them.

The guardian joins his hands and swings them down as if they were an oversized hammer. Eric dodged the attack, and he manages to grab one of the warrior’s hands. Using his enormous strength, Eric manages to hurl him. While the knight was lying on the ground, the knight punched him in the face, actually inflicting pain on the warrior.

“Bastard! My tooth!” the mole man exclaimed. The pearly white, covered by a small drop of blood, rolled on the ground. The mole man stands up in a single movement, a great feat of strength.

The mole man charges at Eric with fury, making a loud battle cry. Eric keeps an arm flexed, and the other one extended, trying to keep an offensive position.

As the humongous beast approaches him, Eric decides to just kick him in the crotch area. The mole man succumbs right there because of the undescriptable pain he was under, and he kept screaming and cursing.

“Liar! Trying to keep a fair fight… Only to resort to that cheap tactic… You are no knight! Oh, it hurts!” Mauro cried.

“No knight would do that, but a pirate might have done the same,” Eric replied.

The mole stands up, shaking, only to be sent flying by a powerful uppercut to the chin. The green helmet falls to the ground after Mauro’s body hit the ceiling of the cavern. The mole man falls as well, but his body was now surrounded by a green light, and it started to lose size and muscle mass.

“No… I will not give up yet!” Mauro cried. He was actually smaller than the average mole man.

Eric just picked him and threw him as far as he could. A loud thud is heard shortly after. The knight simply claims the green helmet.

“Thank goodness!” Iris cried, as she hugged Subaru. Soup kept spreading fairy powder on the captain.

“I thought I’d kick the bucket this time,” Subaru laughed, but then he coughed.

“Careful. You also inhaled smoke. Iris managed to put out the flames with her dragon,” Soup explained.

“Thanks. Now you have two pieces of headgear. Only missing one helmet and the crown,” Subaru said.

“What the hell is going on here? I thought I froze most mole men already…” Sara was in a pinch. The frozen mole men were not under her spell anymore, and she was exhausted.

“Did you know our fur is resistant to the cold, you dimwit? I bet you could freeze a human for many minutes, but you cannot do that to my loyal followers. You will die now, girl,” Molly said.

The night had arrived, and things were not going well.

“Do you even expect me to believe that, Sephtis?!” Ronin claimed. He seemed to be really upset.

“Yeah! That’s bullshit! We have been on this ship longer than you, and we are loyal to the captain. Even if he is an idiot at times, he is a man worthy of respect. Say that again to my face, you rat!” Akio yelled, just as mad as Ronin.

“I’m telling you the truth. I know it’s hard to accept it,” Sephtis said. Kantaro was lying on the deck, unconscious.

“Subaru and Akio are my friends! I’d never believe that!” Ronin yelled.

“Are you sure about that? We just need the compass. Think about it,” Sephtis said.

“I always knew you were bad news! Consider yourself a dead man, Sephtis!” Akio yelled, aiming at the head of the shipwright.

Two shots resound at the beach, and birds flee from the place.

“Someone hit me… What happened?” Sara’s grandpa recovers.

Kantaro’s expression reflected shock and fear.

“This is blood! But why? How?” the old man inquired.

“We really need to hurry up, Iris. I know something is definitely wrong. This hunch is just too strong to ignore,” Subaru said.

“I know. This is too odd and ominous to be just a coincidence. Something is really wrong,” Iris added.

Sara raises her magic wand, and she aims at the queen’s head.

“Stop using that thing! You are surrounded!” the queen said.

Ice Spell: Mist!” Sara pronounced. The visibility is nullified.

“Where are you?!” the queen asked. Her sight was pretty poor.

Ice Spell: Hail Storm!” the wizard said. The mole men and the queen are hit by a great amount of large hail that fall from above.

“That hurts! Stop it!” the queen yelled, as she joins her hands and shoots what seemed to be a tornado from them. Her attack caused a lot of cuts and wounds to five mole men, but it also lifted the mist that hid the wizard.

“What kind of magic was that? Is that the power of her crown?” Sara wondered. It was definitely some kind of sharp wind.

“Die!” the queen exclaimed.

Ice Spell: Swan Shield!” Sara said. A great ice sculpture shaped like a majestic swan appears right in front of hair. Molly shoots another tornado, which shatters the swan.

Sara carefully watches Molly since her magic made her a threat, but two mole men manage to capture the wizard.

“Let me go, you damn rats!”

“Ha! You are dead!” Molly exclaimed.

Another attack approached dangerously. Sara closed her eyes and gets ready for the worst. The attack generates a dust cloud, so Sara’s scream make the queen smile.

“That happens when you mess with a queen!” Molly mocked.

Sir Dragonfly lands near Molly, and it carries Eric and Sara on its back.

“Impossible!” the queen yelled.

“Guess I’m in debt… Forget it, we are just even now,” Sara said. She pretended to be upset with Eric.

Sara gets down from the dragon’s back.

“My princess, allow me to defeat the queen.”

“Ugh, that armor has an awful stench,” a mole man noticed.

“It must be Metalio. I had not noticed the smell because the magic made us resistant to it,” the queen said.

“If you want to help me, make sure no mole man gets in my way,” Sara said.

“Yes, milady.”

“I’m sick of this. I have a good spell for this occasion… Ice Spell: Megacryometeor!” Sara pronounced.

An ice sphere, the size of a bowling ball, is shot from Sara’s wand and hits the queen’s stomach at an impressive speed.

The queen is knocked out. The mole men are furious, but Eric keeps them away with his dragon. Sara takes the crown and the chest, which she opened. The chest contained a beautiful emerald with a rose carved on it. It had a green, mystical aura.

“This must be it! Rosa Esmeralda!” Sara cheered.

“Sara! Eric!” Iris exclaimed. Soup had lead the pirate couple to their position.

“We did it! We have the gemstone!” Sara exclaimed, showing them the emerald.

“We also have the green helmet and the crown. I hope you manage to revive your brother, Soup,” Eric said.

“I am thankful, but I belive it is wise to leave now, before these mole men wake up.

The group returns to the underground village of the elves. Soup takes the helmet and the crowns to a stone statue of an elf, which really looked like Soup. At its sides, there were two identical smaller statues of gnomes.

“Woah! A dragon! It is so pretty!” a fairy said. Many of the creatures gathered around Sir Dragonfly.

“By the way, are there any dragons here?” Iris asked.

“I am afraid I do not know. There could be, but it is hard to meet those creatures,” the fairy answered.

“I see. I thought so, Iris replied with disappointment.

“Our magic should suffice to return the energy back to them. Are you ready, Soup?” Tea asked.

“Of course.”

The two elves raise their hands which are filled by a mystical aura. The three helmets and the crown lie at their feet, in front of the statues. A green colored aura emerges from the metal objects and enters the petrified creatures, and they regain their colors and life.

“Soup?” Stew opened his yellow eyes. He was a bit thinner than Soup, and his hair was yellow.

“Welcome back!” Soup exclaimed in joy.

“The gnomes look full of life as well,” Tea commented.

“Eric, I am really grateful. The gnomes we revived are the best at forging Metalio, so I know they will gladly help us with your request,” Soup said.

“What does this gentleman require?” the gnomes said.

“A sharp sword and a sturdy shield,” Eric said.

“We will have them ready tomorrow,” the gnomes replied.

“There’s a problem, Iric. I need to go back to the ship immediately. I know something is wrong,” Subaru said.

“Yes, this might sound weird, but we would like to quickly check the status of our crew and our ship,” Iris added.

“This is odd. I’ve had a bad feeling too. Could my grandpa be in danger?” Sara worried as well.

“This is not a coincidence. You should go,” Tea said.

“If that is the case, I will look for you and deliver the goods if you want. I can identify your presence, so I can locate you,” Soup said.

The group says goodbye to the inhabitants of the wonderful underground village, and Tea shows them the way back to the temple where the chariot was waiting for them. The night covered the deep forest in darkness, and Eric drives the chariot to the northern beach.

Aldea Petálea was on their way.

“How did it go, Eric?” a familiar voice said.

Eric stopped the chariot, with an astonished look.

“Was that?” Sara asked.

“Alfonso! You are alive!” Eric exclaimed.

The dark haired knight who they thought was dead was standing near a tree, waiting for the group to arrive. He wasn’t wearing his armor, just a pair of black shorts and bandages covering his wound torso.

“Olga managed to help me. And there is another bit of good news, it seems Carlos lost his memory,” Alfonso said.

“Keep going north, Subaru. Your ship must be there. I will reach you later with Sir Dragonfly,” Eric leapt from the chariot.

“Sure! Make sure to bring supplies with you.” Subaru said, with a smile.

“I almost forgot!” Sara exclaimed. She takes out the ocarina and plays four random notes. “I hope this is enough.”

“Aric is a good guy. I hope he doesn’t run into us again,” Subaru said, as he grabs the reins and resumes the trip back to the ship.

“Wait, I thought you really wanted Eric to be part of your crew,” Sara wondered.

“Subaru says many weird things, but I agree. Eric lives for this kingdom and his people. The only reason that makes him want to abandon it all is you, Sara,” Iris said.

“Me?”

“Isn’t it obvious? He’s dumber than usual when he’s around you. He’s madly in love,” Subaru said.

“But I don’t like him! He may be handsome, and brave, but there is something I really hate about him. It’s like I just despise him for no reason!” Sara said.

“You are a weird girl,” Subaru said.

There was a smoke column in the horizon.

“Maybe the guys made a bonfire,” Sara said.

“No, no… That smoke column is too big! The Saint Marina is in flames!” Subaru said, speeding up the chariot. An ominous orange light grew brighter as they got closer, and there was a smell of burnt wood. As they reach the beach, the group confirms in horror that the ship was engulfed by fire.

“The Saint Marina!” Iris cried.

“Where are the guys?” Subaru asked, and he looked desperate.

Water Spell: Rain Dance!” Sara said, but nothing happened. She noticed that something was blocking her magic.

“Where is the rain?” Iris asked.

“What happened?!” Subaru asked.

“Someone blocked my spell,” Sara replied.

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