Neoplay: Two Faeries and a Wannabe Evil Overlord - Part Nine
Also by fsufan266
"You run for it," Ara told her, "and I'll see if I can destroy the machine. My survival is not guaranteed, but that's fine. I don't really like myself very well, anyway, so maybe it'd be a good thing."
Cera frowned, a look of disbelief on her face. "So I'm going to run away while you stay here and play the hero?" She shook her head. "I don't think so. If you're going to do this, you have to do it with me, too. Got it?"
Ara opened her mouth to protest, then nodded reluctantly.
"All right, then. I'll go check out the machine, and you go look for Leroy. He's got to be somewhere in this place, right?"
Ara hesitated, then grabbed Cera in an embrace that lasted only a second before she rushed off and flew away on her invisible wind of a body. She wasn't sure what possessed her to hug Cera, even if it was a short one, but she assumed it was probably due to the dreading feeling in her stomach that she might never see her again. She'd only ever hugged her owner, and it was always discreetly or when she couldn't be seen doing so. But she really felt like Cera was her friend, which was different from the enemy vibe she sent to and received from everybody else. She only knew she thought Cera a friend by how she felt a friendship towards her owner. Quickly she flew off as an invisible breeze and tried to focus on the plan.
Cera stood motionless for a moment, trying to fathom why she was just embraced so quickly. She felt the sickly feeling too, though. She might not see Ara again...? It was a terrible concept to comprehend. She wished she would have had time to hug her back, but it was too late now, and she had a job to do. She took to it and ran, thinking this over. If Ara was as mean as she claimed, why hadn't she been mean to Cera? She thought back to when this whole thing started, what, several hours ago? Four months ago, Ara was not too nice to her. But today... After all, when was the last time she snapped at her or acted uncaring toward her?
Half an hour of searching did no good for Ara, so she decided to return to the central room, where Cera was examining the machine, a puzzled look plastered to her face. Ara walked up to her, her face blank.
"You haven't any idea how to operate this, do you?" she asked.
She shook her head, sighing. "No, not a clue. You find Leroy?"
"Unfortunately, no, I didn't." She looked over and frowned. "What's this do?" she asked, referring to the big red DO NOT PRESS button nearby.
Cera shrugged. "Not sure. Of course, I found that, but I didn't find an off or reversal button. It might be the off or reverse button, but with the ambiguity of it all... I mean, don't we all know not to press big red buttons with the words 'do not press' in big letters?"
"Hmm..." Ara reached to push it, but something stopped her.
"I wouldn't push that if I were you," came an accented voice from behind her. She turned around. Leroy the Meepit was... a really big Meepit, actually, standing almost her height of five foot nine. His mustache moved as he spoke.
"And why do I not want to?" she demanded to know.
He didn't answer her, but rather said, "You've come this far, but you won't go any farther. I will zap your friend and make you both my personal slaves. The Meepits will prevail!"
Without warning, Leroy pounced into the air, aiming to land on Ara, who dropped to the ground and rolled out of the way. She grabbed a metal pole that was lying nearby and whacked the oversized Meepit with it in the head. He stood up, dazed from the fall and hit. He grabbed another metal pole and swung it at Ara, who dodged and attacked with her own.
Ara had had the same fighting philosophy all her life: do not strike out physically unless you are struck first. This had its exceptions, such as in the Battledome, where first attacks could sometimes determine the remainder of the fight. So, outside the Battledome, she did not attack someone unless they attacked her first, whether or not they hit her. Ara hadn't planned on fighting Leroy, but his attempt at an attack gave her the okay, and now nothing held her back. She spun away swiftly from another swing of the pole, then brought hers down hard at his shoulder.
He moved away after she'd struck his shoulder hard and acted as if he were defeated. Ara didn't buy into that, and made to attack again. However, just as she did, he lashed out and his weapon jammed her hard in the gut; she fell, landing flat on her back and gasped, the pole escaping her grip as her hand hit the floor and flying off somewhere.
Now, Cera had no such philosophy by which she fought. She preferred not to fight altogether. However, seeing this gripped her insides, and she knew she had to do something. Arathyne was down—and Leroy was advancing. There had to be something she could do...
She sighted the pink barrel not too far off. She rushed over to it, grabbed it, and looked for Leroy. He was coming up close and quick on the fallen Arathyne, whose body was still unable to move from the jolt of the blow she'd taken. Cera flew up in the air, carrying the barrel, and spun in a circle. She released it, and to her luck, it hit Leroy dead-on. He flew backward with the barrel and hit the wall, sliding down, groaning in pain.
Cera retrieved Ara's weapon and hurried over, shaking her shoulder. She sat up weakly, coughing. "You all right?" she asked.
"I'm fine," the Xweetok muttered. Cera helped her stand up. She accepted the metal pole back and wielded it like a sword again.
The barrel was tossed aside and Leroy was by Cera's side in the blink of an eye. He kicked Ara back and held Cera by the collar of her shirt, bashing her in the face with his metal pole. She yelled in pain, saying, "Ow! Ara, Ara, help—ahh!—help me out here—ow!! Hey! Knock it off!!" She was kicking and scratching at him like a madwoman, but he didn't pay attention to her strikes.
Cera's cries for help pierced Ara's heart like an arrow. She froze. A white-hot feeling washed over her body, and tears escaped her eyes in a rush, though her face never changed from the open-mouthed, shocked expression it wore. The sound of Cera being hurt, and seeing it right before her eyes... Cera, the only person she could ever call a friend...
The air shifted and everything rumbled. Sharp gusts of wind blew in through the open doors and cracks to the outside world, wherever they could come from. Ara sent them all toward the rod in the Meepit's hand. As he brought it down, she quickly calculated where it would be in the next half second and sent the wind there, so when the weapon came down, it landed right in the wind's path and was ripped out of Leroy's grasp. It flew around like the wind was a boomerang and landed in her hand, giving her two to wield. However, this meant that the thing brought down on Cera's face was a fist, not a pole.
Ara charged and raised both poles, bringing them down hard on his hand. He dropped Cera and yelled at her.
"You leave Cera alone, you oversized freak!" she yelled, pointing angrily at him with one of the rods. She didn't bother with the tears that had sprung into her eyes. She flew upward on her wings and dove at Leroy, smacking him against the ground. She tossed the poles aside and gripped his mustache. She pulled on it, and it ripped off, causing him to scream in pain. She knew it was odd to be doing such a thing, ripping off his mustache, but she was furious and she knew he loved it. It had come off too easily, though. She looked at it and her mouth twisted, a look of a sarcastic, "Wow, I should've totally expected that" on her face. "Of course," she muttered, tossing it aside. Cera probably would've laughed at any other time about the fact that the mustache, was, well...
It was fake.
"You little runt! How dare you!" Leroy stood up and threw Ara aside. She flew against the floor and rolled for a moment, then stopped and lifted herself up on her arms. He grabbed the single pole she'd put aside and picked it up.
Single pole? she thought, confused. Where's the...?
But then she saw it swing and slam into Leroy's leg so hard he fell over, revealing Cera, who was standing behind him with the rod in hand.
"Don't you ever hurt my friends, do you hear me?!" she yelled at Leroy.
Something seemed to melt inside Ara. So they were friends in Cera's eyes, too? She smiled, happy though she knew she didn't deserve it in the slightest.
"Did you get him?" she asked Cera when she came over to her. They looked at the oversized Meepit, who actually looked a little smaller, on the ground clutching his leg.
"I think so," Cera answered. "But he's down, for at least the moment, anyway."
Ara stood and looked around at everything. She had both of the metal rods in her hands and flew upward a ways to put them on a small alcove high above. She dropped back down. "Ugh, where is the off button on this thing?" she growled.
A noise came from behind her. She turned around, and before she knew it, Leroy was shoving her backwards. She fell against the red "DO NOT PUSH" button, and the machine surged.
Red light flashed and a mechanical female voice said, "Warning, warning. Activating terminal energy cubes. Headquarters will self destruct in twenty seconds."
To be continued...