The fire slammed the bubble Denika and the others were encased in back into the nearest wall of the mine, nearly smashing it.
Denika upped the power in the sphere as hard as she could, but the more she did, the more her connection with it became greater and she started to feel the fire herself.
The Jiang Shi had managed to clutch on, with it’s claws even penetrating the sphere somewhat. Ironically lesser Vampires would have been able to rip through the sphere no problem, but fortunately the Jiang Shi’s greater weaknesses to magic meant that it was actually struggling to get through.
The creature however didn’t give up even after it had been reduced to nothing but a skeleton, but fortunately the flames soon blasted it’s skeleton to pieces.
Denika screamed as her flesh began to sizzle, but she held on in spite of the agony until the flames had finally died down after which she then using the last of her power, blasted a space below among the rubble for them to land. The bubble instantly vanished after, and Denika and the others fell onto the scorching earth. Denika who had collapsed would have landed face first into the burning dirt had it not been for Keptis, who instantly jumped back up and caught her.
Keptis tended to the witch, whilst Ashlei checked their surroundings. They were completely surrounded by large burning boulders on every side. Not only would they not have the strength to lift or push them, but they were scorching to the touch.
The mine looked largely blocked at both ends, though there appeared to be some space between some of the boulders. The only way up was to climb. Ashlei tried to put her fingers on one of the rocks, but it was so seering she had to pull away instantly.
She suddenly noticed a hand peeking out from underneath one of the boulders. Though badly burned, Ashlei could tell that it belonged to one of the Jiang Shi as it’s fingers were clawed.
The hand started to move. The Vampire had managed to survive the flames by shielding itself behind the boulder. It hadn’t intended to, it had essentially lucked out when the boulder was blown into the undead monster, knocking it across the mine until it was trapped between two boulders and “protected”, though it’s body was still scorched.
The Vampire pushed the boulder off of it’s back, nearly hurling it on top of Ashlei in the process. The bloodsuckers entire body was badly scorched, and it’s left leg appeared to be broken as it limped after Ashlei very slowly.
Up above more rocks started to shake, as more and more of the Vampires that had survived started to crawl out from under them. One of the boulders from above was pushed on top of two of the surviving alien slaves, crushing them to death.
Another, female Vampire then jumped down, it’s body just as scorched as the others, though it was otherwise undettered.
Ashlei lifted a large flaming rock despite it being burning to the touch, and managed to hit the female Vampire over the head from behind, but it did little to deter the Jiang Shi who then grabbed Ashlei and prepared to sink her fangs into the time travellers neck.
Keptis however tripped the Vampire up from behind and then repeatedly hit it in the face with the rock Ashlei had used, the male Vampire meanwhile managed to creep up on Ashlei, but when it grabbed her, she was able to wrestle free by kicking the bloodsucker in it’s broken leg.
Some of the prisoners started to join in the fight, with three more alien slaves dogpiling on the male Vampire. One of them tried bludgeoning the beast over the head, whilst the other two hit the Vampire in it’s broken leg over and over.
Another three tried to hold down the female Vampire that Keptis was still trying to finish, but unfortunately the slaves ended up making things worse. The male Vampire was angered by the pain in it’s leg to such an extent that it reached out and tore it’s claws into one of the slaves stomach and pulled his guts out.
The bloodsucker, after quickly licking it’s victims long intenstines, then used them to strangle Ashlei. The other slave tried to pull the Vampire away and even tried to hit it’s leg again, but the Vampire with one slash of it’s claws cut his throat and sent him head first into the burning earth.
The female Vampire meanwhile managed to push the attacking aliens off, after which she grabbed Keptis and pinned him to the ground.
The Vampire’s face was burnt and broken beyond all recognition, and the monster lifted Keptis’ own rock to crush his face in, but Denika woke up just in time, and blasted the Vampire through several more rocks.
“You need to get us out of here now.” Keptis said to Denika.
“I’m too weak.”
“I know I’m sorry, but there’s no way we can climb through this mess and there are Vampires all around. They’re like roaches.”
Sure enough several more Vampires were beginning to crawl their way out from between and under the rocks
“We’ve dug ourselves into a hole, we’ll just have to dig deeper” Denika said as she blasted a hole in the ground.
Denika, and Keptis were the first to jump down the hole that was about 20 feet deep, with Ashlei and the suviving slaves following.
“What the hell are you doing?” Keptis asked?
“I don’t have the power to knock away all of those boulders, but we might be able to make our way down to somewhere safe, while I recharge.”
Denika placed another bubble around herself and the others before pushing it through the hole in the ground, though even that was taking it out of her after how spent she had been after the blast.
One of the slaves however had not made it down the pit, having decided to stay and hold off the Vampires. Unfortunately by the time one of the slaves warned Denika, she had already dragged the bubble 100 or so feet deeper into the ground.
Some of the Vampires had jumped down and landed on top of the bubble, Denika tried to push it back up to rescue the slave, but the Vampires were pushing against it, and worse this bubble was much weaker than the previous one, so the Vampires were able to rip their claws through the sphere and grab hold of one of the slaves. The Vampires then pulled the slaves arm out through the sphere and bit her.
In the middle of the commotion, the mutilated corpse of the slave who had been left behind fell on top of the sphere. Worse still the slave who been bitten instantly began to turn into a Jiang Shi and tried to attack the others. Ashlei and Keptis, catching the Vampire off guard, (as she was distracted by Denika) pushed her back and through the sphere, which was getting weaker by the second.
In spite of her weakness, Denika managed to push the sphere through over another 200 feet of rock below until eventually she reached a gigantic cavern.
There cavern below was several hundred feet wide, and at the far end of the cavern was a huge machine, connected to a long pipe that ran down a nearby massive tunnel.
As soon as the sphere hit the ground it shattered just as before, sending it’s occupants and the Vampires all over the room. One of the slaves was knocked straight between two Vampires who jumped on top of her, and mauled her to death before any of the others could help.
Up above in the Robot’s base meanwhile Carlene and the alien had become lost in the maze like corridors. They had been spotted by two of the Robots, just as they were about to reach the control room and had only managed to barely escape thanks to Carlene’s fantastic speed.
“We’re lost alien. I’m afraid in our haste we.”
Carlene suddenly pushed him to the side and put her finger to her lips. Someone was coming around the corner. Carlene reached into her beehive for a weapon, not that it would do her any good, but still.
Fortunately she soon saw it was the robot she had abandoned earlier and The Circus Master himself.
After he had made his way into the base, the Circus Master had been swiftly captured by the Robots. Fortunately Carlene’s Robot after hearing that one of the aliens had been recaptured was able to rescue him, by blasting the two Robot guards from a distance.
“Carlene I thought you were.”
“I nearly was, but thanks to our friend here” She said pointing at the Robot. “He fixed me up with some magics. Where are the others.”
“Florence I last saw tryng to escape the mine through the top. Denika, Keptis and Ashlei I, I.”
“I’m sorry Carlene but they were trapped in the lower levels of the mine. It’s possible that Denika could have used her magics to escape but.”
“No it is not” The robot said coldly.
“The metal of the shutters that seal off the lower levels is designed to withstand any kind of magical blast. I’m sorry but there is no way they could have escaped. ”
Carlene started to cry.
“You know that Denika can create a forcefield around herself. Believe me Carlene we’ve been through worse.” The Circus Master said, not sure if he meant it or not.
“Even if they by a miracle survived the power of the blast, they will have been buried under thousands of tons of rock.
Carlene darted back down the hallway, forcing the Circus Master to run after her.
“She always does that.” The Robot said bitterly.
“What are you doing Carlene?” The Circus Master said as he tried to hold her back.
“Those metal bastards are going to pay. ”
“How do you think you are going to do that?”
“We’ve already lost, all that matters is taking as much of them down with me before I die.”
“You’ll be lucky to last against one.” The Robot said.
“Furthermore we haven’t lost. You just feel that way because the people most important to you will sadly not see the end of this fight.”
“He’s right Carlene we need to think of the bigger picture here. There are still millions of people on this planet who need our help.”
“The bigger picture” Carlene said derisively.
“That’s all you ever think about isn’t it?”
“Funny you didn’t seem to disagree with me when it was just the Rysteians and not Ashlei that was being sacrificed for the greater good? Besides I lost my friends too. I’ve travelled with Denika and Keptis for years.”
“You’re right I’m sorry, it’s just. That girl, she put her trust in me. I promised nothing was going to happen to her.”
“Well like I said, don’t write them off yet. I don’t care what that Robot says, but he is right that we need to do what we can for the people of this world, and a pointless sacrifice is not going to help anyone.”
Back in the lower levels of the cave, the aliens, Keptis and Ashlei did their best to try and fight off the Vampires, but the monsters were too strong, and their burnt flesh and broken bones had begun to heal.
Denika meanwhile was too weak to carry on in the fight and she crawled along the cave floor, to try and get somewhere safe to charge up.
As she got away from the Jiang Shi however she found herself drawn towards the pipe that ran through the cave. She didn’t know why, but she could sense something powerful in there.
The closer she got to it, the more she could feel her own power growing. Suddenly just as she was getting stronger, she noticed one of the Jiang Shi had followed her. The beast slashed at her, but the Witch managed to dodge his attack and instead riped a hole in the pipe.
A massive blue energy fired from the pipe, striking the Vampire in the face and vaporising it into dust.
The energy spread throughout the room vaporising more Vampires and slaves that were unlucky enough to be caught in its blast..
To Be Continued