Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Chance to Escape!

Part 3 of the Arena of Xarxes

For weeks, Rugen and Tee were forced to fight, taking wounds and suffering the incessant mocking of the Inquisitor. Once again they were heading to the arena.

As Rugen and Tee entered the gates to the arena, they were met by a familiar face, the Inquisitor. He gave them his mocking smile and spoke. "This may very well be your last chance. Will you give me the plans?"

"Save your breath, Imperial stooge. You will never break us."

The Inquisitor's smile faded at the jibe. "You will regret your decision. Today will be the day." He then strode off.

Their guard then spoke. "He is correct about one thing. Today IS the day."

Rugen looked at him. It was the same guard who encouraged them to have courage many weeks ago.

"You will know when it is time to act," the guard continued, looking around warily as he prompted them to head in to the killing field.

Moments later, Rugen and Tee stood in the middle of the arena, clubs in hand. The doors opposite them opened and out rushed a gargantuan, insectoid creature with large, slavering mandibles - an ankheg!

Rugen's eyes widened, but then he screamed defiance and charged. Tee followed his comrade. They circled the monster, trying to avoid its mandibles while finding an opening to strike. Alas, when they hit, their clubs did no damage to the hard exoskeleton. Fortunately, they were faster than the creature and managed to avoid its jaws. Then, it reared back and spewed a stream of acid from its mouth. The potent liquid struck Rugen in the leg. He went down. The ankheg rushed forward, eager to finish off his prey, but Rugen rolled to the side, scrambled to his feet, and got out of range.

Puffing with exertion, Rugen called over to Tee: "What can we do?" Tee could only shrug. But then a voice called out. "Here!" They looked, and from the crowd two thrown objects spun through the air and landed near the heroes. Rugen smiled - one was his stun sword and the other was Tee's blaster.

Rugen dove for the weapons, tossed the blaster to Tee, then reached for the stun sword. The ankheg rushed forward, its slavering mandibles slashing at Rugen's wounded leg. Rugen rolled and struck upward, his sword set to full power. The laser-like blade thrust deep into the creature's jaw. It screamed in pain and recoiled, green blood spewing over Rugen. Tee opened up with the blaster, scoring more hits on the insectoid.

The crowd roared with delight, believing that the new weapons were merely part of the entertainment. One of the guards looked at the Inquisitor. He scowled, but then shook his head. "Let's see if the ankheg can finish them off. If not, open fire."

Meanwhile, Rugen and Tee circled warily while the thing periodically rushed them. They managed to get hits in while avoiding more wounds. The ankheg seemed to be weakening, but it maneuvered Rugen into a corner. With a blood-chilling screech, it charged. Tee opened fire - his accurate shots severed the beast's front leg. It fell and slipped forward, its mandibles reaching for the cornered Templar. Then, with an agile spring, Rugen leaped over the creature's head, landed on its back, and struck with his blade, severing the ankheg's head from its body.

"Fire!" yelled the Inquisitor, and a hail of laser bolts pierced the air around the duo. Then they heard their friend call out: "Over here!" He was guarding one of the exits. Rugen and Tee rushed toward him, laser shots streaking by. One shot clipped Tee and he fell for a moment. He scrambled back to his feet and they made it to the exit, with their friend providing cover. Cheers from the crowd echoed in their ears as they ran down the corridor, and directly into a menacing figure.

"So you thought you could escape," the Inquisitor mocked, "You will see how wrong you are. You will wish you had died in the arena."

"He's mine," ordered Rugen, and he stepped forward, his stun sword at the ready. The Inquisitor likewise readied himself. They began a series of lightning strikes and parries, their swords sending off sparks in the gloom of the corridor. Rugen's wounds leaked blood and he seemed to weaken. When he slipped, the Inquisitor struck. Rugen was ready. He parried and then counterattacked; his blade slicing into the Inquisitor's arm. The Inquisitor howled and struck back. Rugen felt the force blade stab into his leg. He fell. The Inquisitor rushed forward, but Rugen lunged from his knees. His blade sunk deep into the Inquisitor's stomach. Blood spurted out and the Inquisitor collapsed. Rugen fell on top of him.

"Let's hurry! I have a ship waiting." yelled their friend. Tee and the guard picked up Rugen and they rushed into the streets of Xarxes. Soon, the were lost in the crowd.

Stay tuned for the final episode!

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