“Ashlei, please. You have no idea what you’re doing.” The Circus Master said.
“If you stop us now the Kardons.”
“The Kardons are obviously influencing you. Did you ever think about that?” Ashlei fired back.
“You’re not even trying to help these people. All those young men, women, even the children, the soldiers who helped to save our lives. You’ll happily condemn them to the giants.”
Florence tried to use her singing voice to calm Ashlei, but Ashlei quickly shot the Siren in the chest.
“Next time it’ll be Keptis.” Ashlei said as she thrust the gun back to the side of the Martian’s head. “Do you think he’ll be able to survive it as easily?”
“You treacherous bitch” Florence said in anger as her wound began to slowly heal. The Circus Master, Denika and Keptis were aghast to hear Florence use that kind of language. Even in these circumstances!
“After all we’ve done for you” Keptis said bitterly.
“I’m sorry, I really am, but I can’t let you do this to these people.”
Whilst Ashlei was distracted, Carlene seized her chance and hurled a smoke bomb from her beehive at Ashlei. Ashlei dropped her weapon in the confusion, and Carlene who could see through the gas quickly restrained Ashlei.
The Circus Master then started to slash at the Mashica’s machine, whilst Kile opened fire on the Vandal. It did no good however and Kile was soon restrained by Florence.
“How could you Carlene.”
“I’m sorry darling, the last thing I’d ever want is to hurt you or anyone else here, but I, I saw the vision too. I saw what those things will do if we let em get to the surface.” Carlene said whilst barely being able to look Ashlei in the face.
Within a matter of seconds the Circus Master had completely shredded the core of the machine. Decades worth of work by arguably some of the greatest scientific minds this planet had ever produced, was undone in under a minute. The Circus Master had never felt so ashamed.
As soon as the Circus Master had finished the alarm went off.
The Circus Master looked out a nearby window and saw hordes of monsters emerging from the black, filthy waters.
“I told you they have eyes and ears everywhere. Which reminds me Denika.”
Denika quickly scanned for magic and found several lesser spells around the room. All designed to monitor the progress on the ship from the Demons. Though the Demons had access to stronger magics, stronger magics would have been instantly detectable even for the Kardons. She quickly shorted the spells out.
“Good we can talk properly now. There is a ship below that we can use to take you out of here.” The Circus Master said to Kile who Florence quickly released.
“Not all of them” Ashlei sneered. “How are we going to get the Rysteans to decide which of them lives and dies? Or are you going to make that decision for them?”
“This isn’t the time for that. The Ishica and the other lesser Demons will attack first, but it won’t take long for the Kardons to follow and this time they won’t be holding back.”
Kile however simply reached for her weapon and shot the Circus Master several more times.
“You monster. I should have never trusted you.”
Denika quickly pulled the gun out of Kile’s hands with her magic and knocked her to the ground.
“Sorry Circus Master.” Denika said. “We don’t have time to talk her into it.”
The Circus Master tried to rouse Mashica, but much like Kile as soon as he awoke he instinctively tried to attack the Vandal, who quickly overpowered him.
“All those years of my life were for nothing. I’ll kill you” Mashica screamed as he caught sight of the wreckage of the machine he had hoped would be his people’s salvation.
The Circus Master pulled the Rystean scientist to face a nearby window, where Mishica saw much to his horror the sight of literally thousands of Demonic creatures heading towards the base. The Ishica, the Ocotopus creatures, and hundreds more Demons from the darkest depths of the oceans, many of which even Mashica had never seen before, all swarmed the base, creating a wall.
“They’re trying to keep us here until their masters arrive. They know that the Kardons will want the pleasure of torturing us themselves. Now do you believe me? I told you those Demons were monitoring your every move in here. Now that the machine is destroyed we have to move.”
Mashica wasn’t ready to admit that his entire life had been a lie. Even when he thought he was fighting against the Kardons, those Demons were still manipulating him. Still at the very least the Rystean accepted the reality of the danger his people were in now.
“We have to move now.” Mashica said as he tried to rouse Kile. “Everyone will be heading for the escape pods.”
“They’ll never make it, you have to stop them, now.” The Circus Master said.
“What is this another trick?”
The Circus Master rolled his eyes in frustration.
“It wasn’t a trick the last time as you can see. If your people try to leave now those Demons will stop them. We need a distraction, while your people get away.”
“What do you mean” Ashlei asked.
“Not all of us are going to get out of this. I’ve known that since the start. When you deal with the Kardons you’re lucky if anyone makes it out alive. I’m going to send one of the ships into those Demons. With a little magic tinkering, it should explode. It’ll only take out a few Demons at the most, but it might dupe them long enough into thinking we have weapons that can hurt them. That’s when I’ll pilot a ship straight into the horde. With a little luck they’ll scatter in fear at first. That’s when the Rysteans and the rest of the Circus Folk should flee and head for the tent. Its not a perfect plan, but its the best we have.”
“You can’t face those Demons alone.” Ashlei protested.
“No I’m not.” The Circus Master said as he looked at Denika.
“I won’t ask you to come with me Denika, but I’m not going to lie that with your magics I could hold the Demons off a lot longer and save more people here. I won’t ask you though as when the Kardons find us, the torture they’ll reign down on us, will be beyond anything even we can imagine.”
“When you put it like that how can I refuse.”
“Denika I don’t.”
“Please Circus Master. You’re right I’m terrified. For the first time I wish I hadn’t joined our little team, but if I don’t help you, more people will die. Two lives for thousands more? It seems like a fair trade to me.”
“I want to help you too.” Florence said, with Keptis soon offering after.
“No, as many of you need to survive to get the Rysteans out of here. I’m the leader, I destroyed their machine so it needs to be me. Denika meanwhile needs to be here to help, the rest of you don’t.”
“Circus Master, I, I, don’t know what to say” Ashlei said sheepishly.
“Save it. If I do survive this, you and I are going to have a chat. I’d never take you along, not only because you’re useless, but because I don’t trust you anymore.” The Vandal spat back.
Ashlei didn’t bother to respond. She had always felt like the weak link in the group and now she had let them down. She still wasn’t entirely convinced that the Circus Master was right however, but she wouldn’t bother to argue with him now. They’d all have to work together if there was any hope of escape.
“Attention, attention” Mashica said through the speakers.
“Please remain calm. We cannot evacuate the base yet. The Demons are all around us. Please remain where you are.”
Sadly his pleas fell on deaf ears as the Rysteans started to tear the place apart in their desperation. They fought with each other over the few remaining life boats, with some even shooting at one another, using the guns from the guards that the Circus Folk had knocked out cold.
The first ship that made it out barely got within ten feet away from the base before it was ensnared in the tentacles of one of the Demonic Octopus creatures. The terrified Rystean family who had managed to flee into the pod during the commotion, tried to fire the ships flimsy magical weapons at the Octopus, but this time the Demon didn’t even flinch.
Several Isica soon gathered around the pod and started to tear it open. The family were all pulled out slowly one by one. Thankfully the Circus Master couldn’t see what the monsters were doing to the family through the murky waters, but he nevertheless still saw the green waves turn bright red.
“I guess they think they can have fun with some of us before the Kardons get here.” The Vandal said in disgust.
Florence quickly grabbed the mic from Mishica and started to sing through it. Within a few seconds the entire crowd had become pacified.
“No offence but I have better powers of persuasion than you do.” Florence said to Mishica who had also fallen under her spell until she slapped him out of it.
Come on we need to get to one of the pods. Denika this is your last chance if you’re sure you want.”
“Yes, yes, yes I am, lets hurry up before common sense prevails.”
Denika and the Circus Master quickly headed for the pods, not even bothering to say goodbye to the rest of the Circus Folk they had been travelling for years with, they had so little time to lose. The Circus Folk had been peace with their own, and each others deaths many years ago. They had too, as every mission they undertook could be their last.
Carlene, Ashlei, Keptis, Florence and the Strange Boy who was being held by Carlene gathered at the centre of the crowd who had been placated by Florence’s music, but were now beginning to wake up.
“Listen to me. You’ve all only got one chance to get out of here.” Keptis shouted.
“Our friends out there are giving their lives so that the rest of us can live. Even with that our chances are slim.”
Suddenly Carlene pushed Keptis of the way, and took a blast straight in the chest. It was Kile, who had woken up from Denika’s spell, whilst having slept through Florence’s.
Before Florence could sing again, Kile shot the Siren in the face, destroying it!
Though Florence’s wounds would heal it would take a few minutes to do so. The crowd instantly started to act up again now that Florence’s spell was broken. Carlene quickly grabbed Ashlei and shielded her from more gunfire from Kile.
“Its them!” Kile shouted as she fired her gun into the air. “They’re the monsters who trapped us. They’re working with the Kardons.”
Mashica tried to shout over Kile but it was no good. He was quickly knocked off of his feet by the stampeding crowd who started to attack the Circus Folk.
Keptis tried to fight them off, but he was soon overpowered. Carlene meanwhile after giving the Strange Boy to Ashlei soon effortlessly tossed the crowd members who came near away like children. As more and more began to pile on her however, Carlene soon tried to scare them away by screaming and baring her fangs.
The crowd were taken back for a moment whilst Kile continued to shoot at Carlene.
“See what I mean, she’s not one of us. She’s a monster!”
Carlene managed to effortlessly dodge Kile’s attacks but as she moved closer to the Rystean to attack her, Kile quickly shot at the ceiling above Carlene, burying her under rubble.
The rest of the crowd soon dogpiled on Carlene. Though she fought back and managed to throw several of her attackers away she was soon overwhelmed. Several of the Rysteans even started to beat her with pieces of the fallen rubble.
Keptis meanwhile had been completely overwhelmed whilst Ashlei was forced back into a wall with The Strange Boy.
She could see the Rysteans were beginning to rile the boy. She wasn’t sure if she was more scared for herself or for them.
To Be Continued