The Circus Master: An Eye for An Eye: Part 8: He Who Fights Monsters

 

The Golden Emperor Hylexan and his horde of tentacled monsters cornered the Circus Folk and the terrified Quilax. Denika fired an energy blast at the Emperor which it effortlessly deflected, but in doing so the energy was scattered into its minions knocking many of them back for a few seconds.

Denika then quickly created a magical force field in front of the Circus Folk and the Quilax which the Hylexans quickly tore down, but it bought her enough time to push the others back into the cell which she quickly closed over. When she opened the door the Circus Folk and the Quilax found themselves on the lower levels of the Emperors palace.

The Emperor screamed out in rage and struck several of its minions.

“Find them, the last of the Quilax must not escape! All of our work will have been for nothing!”

“Well done Denika”. The Circus Master said.

“I don’t understand?” Carlene asked.

“Its simple. The prison works through magic. Like everything else on this ship. It has no fixed point, its door can open wherever the Emperor wants it to, so I just briefly took it over and took us to the floor the Circus was on.”

“How do you know where that is?” Ashlei asked?

“I can sense it” Denika replied before being distracted by something at the edge of the corridor.

Denika could sense something else near to them, somethng twisted and broken by magic. The nearer she got to it, the more it was almost painful for her. Denika soon saw what it was when she peered into a room at the end of the corridor. Several Hylexan scientists were gathered around a massive dark energy ball, similar to the pit only much more dangerous.

“Unbelievable” Denika said. “The magics they’re playing with, they among the most destructive I’ve ever seen.”

“Why?” Ashlei asked? “They’ve already destroyed most of the Quilax? No other species in this galaxy even has magic? What could they possibly need that for?”

“I suspect the war isn’t going to end with just the Quilax.” The Circus Master said. “If you run out of enemies, just create more. I suspect a lot of their soldiers wouldn’t know what to do if there was no one for them to fight.”

“We need to move past them. That dark magic they’re playing with is so unpredictable, a fight could set it off.” Denika said.

The Circus Folk and the last of the Quilax slowly crept down the corridor. Along the way they saw other magical experiments to create new kinds of weapons in other rooms. “Amatuers” The Circus Master thought to himself. The Hylexans weapons took the form of magical energy rather than physical weapons. The energy would then be fused onto their bodies to make sure that each Hylexan soldier would never be left helpless. Each form of energy however naturally had to be perfected before it would be fused with the soldiers bodies.

Finally at the very end of the corridor, the Circus Folk could see a room containing the Circus, though by this stage it was a mere shell of its former self. So much of the magic in the vessel had been drained or damaged it looked battered and torn. It was surrounded by several Hylexan scientists who were clearly puzzled at the strange craft that looked so delicate, yet was so powerful.

“That doesn’t look like it will be able to take anyone anywhere.”  Askiro said.

“She’s been through worse.” The Circus Master said proudly. “Trust me once we fix her up a bit with some magic she’ll be back to her old self, you won’t want to leave!”

Denika placed a forcefield around the door behind them. It probably wouldn’t hold back any Hylexans for longer than a few seconds, but that might be all they need. The presence of her magic being used so near however instantly alerted the Hylexans around the Circus who reached their tentacles out to grab several of the Quilax. Such was their hatred for the Quilax that they would always go for them first, regardless.

Carlene was the first to attack the monsters. She jumped over one of the monsters and landed on it from the top. She then proceeded to beat the magical alien to the ground. The nearest Hylexan quickly turned its attention from the Quilax and tried to strike Carlene with its tentacle, but Carlene quickly grabbed it’s tentacle and swung the monster around, making it knock the other two monsters out of the air.

Florence, The Circus Master, The Strange Boy and Denika started to attack the other monsters before they could retaliate. The Circus Master impaled one of the monsters with his clawed hand, whilst Denika repeatedly blasted one of the monsters into a nearby wall. Florence meanwhile was grabbed by the Hylexans tentacles, but she bit into the one that wrapped itself around her throat and tore it off. Whilst the monster was in pain, the Siren jumped at the Hylexan and stuck both of her hands through the monster’s amorphous body. The Strange Boy meanwhile jumped on one of the Hylexans and rammed it into another pushing them against a wall. The Strange Boy then tore both monsters to pieces with his claws, shredding through one and then another in a matter of seconds.

Keptis and Ashlei just watched from the sides along with the Quilax. They both hated feeling so helpless. Normally Keptis could keep up with the others thanks to his magical weapons. He was a skilled fighter of course, but in this instance it would do no good against the Hylexans. Ashlei meanwhile had felt like a load throughout the entire mission despite the bravery she had shown against the Hylexans. If they got out of this she was going to make sure that Carlene and Denika taught her more skills and tricks.

After the last of the monsters were destroyed, the Circus Master and Denika headed towards the Circus.

“Its shielded by their magics.” The Circus Master said. “How long do you think before you can break it down?”

“A few minutes” Denika replied. Suddenly Carlene noticed the Hylexan that Denika had attacked had survived. The monster slowly crawled along the floor towards a large, green, glowing sphere on the nearby wall. Carlene jumped on the monster, but one of its tentalces whipped out and hit the sphere which sent an alarm running through throughout the base. The Hylexans had already been alerted by the emperor, but each room had an alarm that would let all of the Hylexans instantly know if intruders were there.

All of the Hylexan scientists from the nearby rooms who had been too busy with their own experiments to take heed of the Emperor’s warning before soon swamped the Quilax and the Circus Folk. They effortlessly tore down the forcefield and begun to attack the Quilax. Some of the creatures even wielded the crude weapons which they had been developing in their labs (which took the form of magical spheres.) One such weapon was so unstable however it started to explode and Denika was forced to put a magical force field around it. The force field barely contained the explosion and Denika was still thrown across the room.

Carlene, The Strange Boy, Florence and the Circus Master tried to fight off the Hylexans but there were too many of them. Carlene was hit by one of the monsters new weapons, a purple sphere which covered her in a purple forcefield. The Vampire tried to break free but the magic was too strong.

Ashlei and Askira tried to pull the magical shield off off Carlene, and after a few minutes the magic which had seemed almost unbreakable became brittle and crumbled to nothing.

“Damn” The Hylexan who had thrown the weapon at Carlene said. “It needs more work done on it.”

Another Hylexan had managed fire a yellow energy beam at the Strange Boy which briefly placed him under the Hylexans control. The Strange Boy quickly jumped Florence from behind and stuck his hand through her spine and into her stomach.

The Circus Master tried to grab the child Vampire and pull him off, but the Jiang Shi breed of Vampires were far stronger than the Circus Masters breed of Vandal; and with one smack the Strange Boy sent the Circus Master flying across the room, where several Hylexans started to swarm him.

The Strange Boy brought Florence to her knees before the effects of the magic began to wear off. Before he and Florence could do anything however they were hit by a green ray from another Hylexan that began to burn their flesh. Florence’s flesh burned much quicker than the Strange Boy, though neither of them were able to break free from the magics. Fortunately Denika was able to pull them free with her magic, though only after an immense struggle. Florence however was still badly burned and too weak to fight back.

Another one of the Hylexans fired at Denika, knocking her out of the air, whilst Keptis tried to drag Florence to safety, one of the Quilax wrapped its tentacles around his throat from behind. Fortunately however the Strange Boy quickly grabbed the Hylexan from behind and tore it in half. The Circus Master who had managed to fight the Hylexans that had swarmed him off, quickly joined The Strange Boy and the two would continue to defend the Martian and the Siren for the next few minutes against the monsters.

A few of the Quilax including Askira tried to join in the fight and help Carlene who was holding the monsters off from the main crowd, but they were no match for the Hylexans. Several more Quilax were impaled by the Hylexans tentacles. Denika meanwhile managed to finally open the Circus and used her magic to first pull Keptis, Florence and Ashlei into the tent and then all of the Quilax, whilst the Circus Master, Carlene and the Strange Boy either fought off or distracted the octopoid monsters.

As the two Vampires and the Vandal prepared to join the others in the tent, the roof began to cave in and several more Hylexans and the golden Emperor whose flesh had completely healed quickly descended. The Emperor knew it was risky to take the Circus Master on when he had the Firax, but his pride meant that he couldn’t leave it entirely to his minions. The Emperor hoped that his minions would deal with the Vandal, but if he didn’t make an appearance then he feared he would look like a coward to his people.

The Hylexan minions distracted the 3 time travellers long enough for the Emperor to quickly wrap its tentacles around them. This would normally have been enough to burn a normal life form into nothing, but the Vampires and the Vandals stronger bodies allowed them to survive for a while longer.

“Interesting?” The Emperor said. “Most life forms would be burnt to a crisp yet you still struggle. I respect your strength. Hand over the Quilax and I’ll spare you.”

The Circus Master laughed. “Lets stop pretending this is about them. It was once, but now? Relax the camera’s are off. Why not admit that you’re way beyond just simple revenge.”

The Emperor froze for a minute before answering.

“We have eliminated the monsters who once enslaved us, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be others around the universe. These weapons are to make sure that we will never be vulnerable again.”

“How will you get complete reassurance I wonder? Are you really going to let those weapons just go to waste?”

The Emperor squeezed his three prisoners harder. “We don’t have to explain anything to you freaks!” The monster shouted. “We will protect ourselves by any means necessary!” In desperation Carlene bit into the Emperors tentacles. It was unquestionably the most unpleasant thing she had ever tasted, but she bit as hard she could until she severed the tentacle that was holding her.

Carlene then swung on the severed tentacle into the Emperor, hitting it with enough force that she sent the monster flying backwards into its minions which freed the others. Denika soon came flying out of the tent and started to blast the Emperor holding him back while Carlene, The Strange Boy and The Circus Master fought the other Hylexans off. The Emperor however quickly sent Denika flying back across the room and started to attack the others who managed to dodge its tentacles, except for the Circus Master who tried to scratch the beast to infect it with the firax. Instead of fighting him, the Emperor sent several of its minions to dogpile on the Vandal.

Back in the tent meanwhile Keptis desperately searched through the remaining weapons chest. He couldn’t find a replica of his beloved flaming chainsaw but he found several flaming knives made by the same race. “Its better than nothing” he said whilst handing a few of the knives to Ashlei, before leaving the tent.

Outside whilst Carlene and The Strange Boy were preoccupied with the Hylexans, Ashlei threw several knives at the Hylexans swarming the Circus Master. She only managed to hit two of them, but it was enough for the Circus Master to get free.

Keptis meanwhile hurled his knives straight at the Emperor who didn’t even notice the Martian he was so preoccupied with the two Vampires. The flaming knives easily cut through the monsters flesh and as his tentacles flailed around he struck several of his own minions who were vaporised as a result.

The monster reached out and tried to grab Keptis, but Florence who had begun to recover and had followed him out of the Tent managed to push Keptis out of the way. Florence was struck by the tentacle instead which burned the Siren, but not enough to kill her.

Seizing his chance, the Circus Master jumped at the Emperor and stabbed both of his clawed hands into the monster, injecting the firax into its blood. The Emperor reached its tentacles out to pull the Circus Master off, but Carlene quickly grabbed one of the flaming knives Ashlei had dropped and jumped onto the Emperor, slicing the monsters flesh down the middle. Keptis then grabbed another flaming knife and threw it at the Emperor, whilst Denika blasted the monster.

Unable to cope with all of the attacks at once, the Emperor let out a final scream before the Firex ran its way through his body. Within a matter of seconds Emperors flesh turned completely gray and began to shatter. As it did the entire base began to shake and collapse.

The Circus Master weak from the firex collapsed into the ruins of the former Emperor.

The other Circus Folk tried to reach the Circus Master but the hordes of Hylexans  stopped them. Carlene, the Strange Boy, Keptis wielding his firey blade and even a weakened Florence tried to help the Circus Master but there were too many of the Octopus beasts in between. Several of the Hylexans started to beat and impale the Circus Master with their tentacles, whilst the others struggled to try and save him.

Just as all seemed lost the Quilax suddenly came running from the tent. Close to 200 of them, they all swarmed the Hylexans. Askira had been watching the Circus Folk fight the Hylexans from the Tent and felt she couldn’t leave them.

“We have to help them” Askira said. “What can we do?” one of the Quilax asked. “We have to do something. They’ve risked their lives for us. Besides if they don’t make it, neither will we.” Askira didn’t bother to argue it any longer and ran out. Several more Quilax followed her and within a few seconds, virtuall all of the survivors were following her. Many of them saw sense in her words, whilst others couldn’t leave their fellow Quilax at the mercy of the monsters. The Quilax predictably didn’t last long against the Hylexans, but they at least distracted them long enough for Carlene and Denika to get to the Circus Master. Carlene fought the Hylexans that had gathered around him off, whilst Denika used her magic to get the Circus Master back to the safety of the tent. Denika would then start to pull the Quilax back to the tent too, whilst the rest of the Circus Folk held off the Hylexans. More and more pieces of rubble started to fall from the ceiling as the space castle broke apart, crushing the Hylexans. One piece nearly hit Ashlei, but The Strange Boy managed to push her out of the way in time, much to Ashlei’s surprise.

The remaining Circus Folk managed to escape back to the Tent as even the Hylexans began to flee to escape their dying ship.

Back in the tent Denika would activate the ship to take off, mere seconds before the Emperors palace exploded. The blast was seen all over the Hylexans planet below. It was a day that would live in infamy for their race for thousands of years to come. The day that should have been their ultimate victory over the hated Quilax, but instead led to their greatest tragedy where the Hylexans who had won the war for them were slaughtered.

The Emperor would be remembered as the greatest hero of the Hylexan people for centuries to come, with all subsequent Emperors being forced to live in his shadow to some extent.

Just as the Circus Master had predicted however the war was not over for the Hylexans. Their collective paranoia would drive them to create more weapons and launch more attacks against other planets, starting with the neighbouring worlds in their galaxy.

The monsters had always resented the other life forms in their galaxy. As most of the other sentient species in the Hylexans galaxy were humanoid, the Hylexans felt that their neighbours looked down on and were repulsed by them. The Hylexans would develop a particular hatred for all humanoids that would lead them to move on to slaughter other humanoid life forms across the galaxy. Over time however they would come to fear and despise all other life forms in general.

The Hylexans developed a core belief that the only way they would never be at the mercy of another species again was if they came to dominate all other life forms they came across in the universe. In the later years of their history the monsters would go one step further and seek to exterminate all other life forms. Their fear of suffering under another race like they had done under the Quilax ultimately led the once peaceful Hylexan race into becoming one of the most evil and feared races throughout the history of the entire universe.

The Quilax meanwhile would have a very different destiny. The Tent managed to take them to a far away planet, hundreds and thousands of light years beyond the Hylexans reach.

The journey thankfully only took a few hours. The 200 surviving Quilax were rather cramped in the tent to say the least. Many of them including Askira had been badly injured by the Hylexans. Denika would be able to heal most of the injured with her magic, but sadly not all of the Quilax made it.

The Circus Master was knocked out during most of the journey. The strain of the Firex had taken its toll on him, and at one point Denika was worried he might not make it. Fortunately however the Circus Master’s Vandal healing powers allowed him to recover.

The planet the Tent took the suviving Quilax too was a lushious jungle planet. It was the only inhabited world in its solar system and other than the plant life, there were only a few primitive animal life forms.

It was the perfect place for their race to start over. Barely 200 of the Quilax were left, but it would be enough for their race to survive. The Circus Folk would stay with them for a few days. During that time they helped to bury those who had died on the journey and using Denika’s magic, build a few settlemants to house the survivors. Eventually after a few days however the Circus Folk knew they had to move on. They tried to slip away in secret, but Askira noticed them all leaving and followed the Circus Folk to the tent.

“You could have said goodbye?” Askira said to Carlene somewhat jokingly.

“I thought we were friends?” Askira and Carlene had spent a lot time together over the last few days, and whilst she understood that they had to leave, she was still a little upset.

“Sorry darling, but we have other worlds to visit.”

“Yes!” The Circus Master interrupted. “Its not easy being a hero you know. We’re constantly on the move, risking our lives to save others.” He continued to boast, to the embarrassed moans of his team mates.

“I understand but I just want to thank you one last time.” Askira replied, ignoring the Circus Masters boasts.

“Don’t thank us.” Carlene said. “We just did what anyone would have done darling.”

“Well a little thanks is okay” The Circus Master interrupted.

“Still” he continued in a more serious tone. “Its important now that you use this second chance for your race. The Hylexans may be monsters now, but they didn’t spring out of nowhere.”

“I know.” Askira said with regret. “I’m still not sure we deserve this second chance.”

“That’s entirely up to you darling”. Carlene said. “When we were on that city you told me about how ashamed you were of what your people had done? Well now you can prove it. Make sure that you break the cycle here and focus on your own people now.”

“That’s easier said than done. Some of us are already talking about revenge, about using magic as a weapon.”

“Well we never said that rebuilding a civilisation was ever going to be easy.” The Circus Master replied.

“All races are capable of great evil. You’ve seen where it leads not only with your own race, but with the Hylexans. Always make sure to remind your people of that.”

“I will, I promise.

“Maybe we’ll come back in a couple of hundred years, see how your descendants are doing.” The Circus Master said with a smile as he and the others went back into the tent. Carlene was the last to leave. She shook Askira’s hand one last time and wished her luck before joining her comrades. In a matter of seconds the battered old tent vanished back into the vortex before the amazed Askira.

It would now be up to Askira and other members of her kind who had recognised what had led to the downfall of their previous civilisation to stop the Quilax from falling back into their own ways.

As the Tent sped on through the vortex to a new time and place Denika and the Circus Master got to work on repairing the Tent which had been reduced to its bare bones by the firex.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do on the ship Denika. At least the tv wasn’t destroyed.” The Circus Master said cheerfully.

“Just make sure you get the toilet fixed first.” Keptis replied.

“Well Ashlei darling that was your first alien planet.” Carlene said. “I’m sorry for what that thing did to you,” she said more sensitively. “But you didn’t give in and did us all proud love.”

“I didn’t” Ashlei said. “I was pretty much useless throughout the whole time. I want you to train me more. You and Denika. I want to learn how to use magic as well.”

“I’ve been training you darling and you’ve come along great.”

“Its not enough. Please I don’t want to be a useless again Carlene.”

“I’ll do my best love. You weren’t a load on us though. Always remember that. We’re all glad you’re here. None more so than me.”

 

                                                          Next Adventure

                                               Journey To The Centre of Evil

The Circus Master: An Eye For An Eye: Part 7: What Goes Around

 

“We have them sir.” The Hylexan commander said with pride to the Emperor.

“You fool!” The Emperor beamed back.

“Only a few hundred survived.” The Emperor continued I wanted the death of the last of the Quilax to be a special occassion that would live in our race’s history forever. We won’t have enough for a day’s celebration now. The magics you used were far too dangerous for such a simple task as well. You could have contaminated that entire area of space for our vessels.

“I am sorry sir but surely the most important thing is that our enemies have finally been defeated.”

“Our enemies were beaten long ago. They surrndered to us early in the war the cowards. All that was left was to make their final humiliation memorable, and you failed me.” The Emperor began to raise his tentacles in a threatening fashion to his underling.

“Your heiness please we also captured a strange craft said to belong to the aliens that helped the Quilax escape. It could be of use to us.”

“It might and that’s why I’ll kill you in the quickest of ways.”

Before the underling could even protest the Emperor vaporised the lesser Hylexan into nothing but dust with its tentacles.

“Let this be a warning to you all.” It said to its terrified soldiers. “I do not tolerate any failure whatsoever. Now lets prepare our guests.”

The last of the Quilax had all been taken to the Emperors flying palace which existed just above the Hylexans home world and was larger than any of their three moons. The Hylexans planet had been stripped clean by the Quilax’s occupation, but magic had since transformed it into a paradise world. The Emperors palace shone alomst like a second sun and was bright gold just like he was.

The Quilax and the Circus Folk had all been dumped into tiny little cell that could barely contain them. They had been forced to wait for hours whilst the Hylexans prepared the dark magics to punish them.

Most of the Quilax had spent the entire time weeping at all they had lost, others couldn’t take the waiting anymore and screamed at the Hylexans through the tiny window in the cell to get it over with. If only they knew the horrors the Hylexans intended to inflict on them, then they wouldn’t have been so desperate to get it over with. At the end of the cell the Circus Folk sat together. They had stayed mostly quiet throughout the ardous wait. There was nothing that any of them could say given the circumstances.

Ashlei in particular had felt so guilty getting caught up in all the hype for the few hours they had seemed safe in the flying city. Carlene held Ashlei tight throughout the journey and promised her that no matter what she wouldn’t let those slimy monsters hurt her. She had no idea how she was going to keep that promise however.

Keptis meanwhile spoke the most, though it was nothing but ranting at how much he was going to make the Hylexans pay for everything they had done.

The Circus Master on the other hand had been uncharacteristically silent throughout the whole ordeal. Even in the direst of circumstances he had always managed to remain somewhat up beat but here he said nothing. At certain points he even looked like he was in pain.

“I always thought I’d be happy the day he finally shut up” Denika said. “Now however, I’m terrified.”

Suddenly the door opened and a white, almost blinding light flooded the tiny cell. After a few seconds some of the Quilax began to leave the cell, not being able to take the wait any longer. Outside they saw several hunder Hylexans hovering in the sky above them, with the gigantic Golden Emperor in the middle. On each side of the Emperor were 3 black and 3 red Hylexans. Aside from the Hylexans there were hundreds of other aliens, made up from the other intelligent species in the Hylexans galaxy all gathered round to watch the gruesome spectacle. All of these races had at one point been enslaved by the Quilax and they were all revelling in their suffering and downfall.

The cell like everything else in the palace worked through magic. The door to the cell could be deposited anywhere around the palace the Emperor wanted.

The Emperor spoke. “Welcome my kin from across the galaxy. Different as we all are, we have all been brought together for the same reason. To finally see justice dealt to the monsters who persecuted all of us for so long, monsters who slaughtered our people, destroyed our cities and treated us all as less than animals.”

The aliens all cheered at the Emperors speech and shouted for blood.

“You’re the monsters.” Keptis shouted back at the bloodthirsty crowd, but his cheers were drowned out.

“Which of the monsters shall we punish first?” The Emperor said as he hovered over the terrified crowd of Quilax. “How about one of the children? Think of how many of our children suffered in your experiments and camps?” The Emperor said as its tentacles reached out towards a young boy, no older than 5 who clutched his mother in fear.

Carlene, Ashlei, Keptis, Florence, Denika and even the Strange Boy however got in the way of the young boy. The Circus Master stood on his own meanwhile, clutching his sides in pain. The others didn’t have time to worry about what he was doing.

“Pathetic coward. You go after the most vulnerable, and you send others to do your fighting for you.” Ashlei spat back at the Emperor. The Emperor in response wrapped his tentacles around Ashlei who instantly started to scream. The pain that ran through her entire body burned its way into her very soul.

The other Circus Folk tried to fight back, but the Hylexan guards quickly enveloped them in their tentacles from above.

The Emperor held Ashlei up to the crowd of aliens who were more curious at this strange creature than anything else though they still laughed at her pain. The crowd was made up of the very worst from all of the planets in the Hylexans galaxy. Not all of the other life forms in the galaxy supported what the Hylexans were doing, but they we all either silenced or too scared to do anything about to help the Quilax. The end of the Quilax race was being broadcast through magic to every inhabited planet in the galaxy and whilst the majority were watching with sadistic glee, many millions still looked on in disgust.

The Emperor dangled Ashlei over a large pit just in front of the crowd. The pit was similar to the one Keptis had been thrown in on the scout ship. After he was finished with them, the Emperor had intended to throw the last survivors of the Quilax into the pit to suffer forever. As Ashlei was placed over the pit she started to see images of her two brothers, alive again and living in Carlene’s mansion with the Vampire as the mother they never had. It felt so real, though thankfully not quite to the same extent as Keptis’ delusion. Still seeing them alive and knowing they were just illusions broke Ashlei’s heart and she begged the Emperor to stop.

The Emperor pulled Ashlei away from the pit and held her in front of the Quilax.

“If you agree to let the boy take your place, then I’ll spare you and your friends the pit.” The Emperor said. “Our quarrel is not with you aliens, but you must abandon all loyalty to the Quilax.”

Carlene was so overcome with rage she managed to pull the tentacles of the Hylexan holding her straight out of their sockets.

“You disgusting freaks I’ll tear you to pieces” The Vampire shouted before several Hylexans managed to overpower her.

In spite of the pain she was in, Ashlei did not give in to the monsters sadistic taunts.

“Just because you’re a coward don’t assume everyone else is.” Ashlei spat back at the Emperor. The Emperor tightened its grip on Ashlei to the point where it started to draw blood.

The monsters torture of Ashlei was interrupted when the Circus Master, who the crowd and even the Circus Folk had forgotten about suddenly jumped through the air and grabbed onto one of the Emperor’s tentacles.

The Emperor’s entire body suddenly turned grey and the monster let out an agonising scream. It dropped Ashlei who fell only a few feet to the ground. The other Hylexans stood in shock for a few minutes before coming to their Emperors aid. The Circus Master however actually managed to swing the Emperor into the monsters by his tentacle. As soon as the Emperor hit them, the Hylexans all turned grey and shattered. The Circus Master then swung the Emperor round again before throwing him into the crowd of aliens, most of whom were crushed under its weight. The few surviving aliens tried to flee, but they were soon swarmed by the Quilax who beat them to death. Askiro however just watched from the side with disgust. “So much for breaking the cycle of hatred” she thought to herself.

The Emperor lay there helpless and screaming whilst the Circus Master burst into laughter.

“You like to think you’ve conquered the dark arts to become the new masters of the galaxy, but in the end you’re just another dumb race of animals messing with forces you can’t even begin to comprehend.” The Circus Master spat out at the Emperor before suddenly fainting. Ashlei ran over to the Circus Master to try and revive him, whilst Denika, Carlene, Florence and the Strange boy fought off the few surviving Hylexan guards. Carlene was so overcome with rage she tore two of the monsters apart.

After the monsters were killed Denika placed a forcefield around the room, though she wasn’t sure how long it would last.

Carlene and Askiro rushed to Ashlei’s aid. “Thank you.” Askiro said. “You’ve helped our people again.”

“Thanks darling, but lets not get ahead of ourselves like last time” Carlene said as she helped Ashlei to her feet.

The Circus Master soon jumped to his feet somewhat renergised. “Ah good I didn’t dream making a fool of the Emperor on his big day.” The Circus Master smirked.

“Care to tell us what’s going on?” Florence asked.

“Its simple. When the Hylexans unleashed the Firax on us, I was able to absorb some of the magic into my body. My kind the Vandals, we absorb souls from our victims to feed through our claws. I used the same principal to take just a fraction of the dark magics that had tore our flying city apart. My kind have a greater immunity to magic so it didn’t kill me, but it took me a while to try and control it. Once I had I just had to unleash it on his majesty here to turn his own magics against him.”

The Circus Master sank to his knees. “I can’t hold the Firax in me much longer. We need to find the tent and get you lot out of here.”

“Well what are we waiting for? Lets kill this monster” Denika said as she charged up her magics to fire at the Emperor.

The Emperor raised his tentacles as his skin began to turn back to gold.

“You fools if you kill me this entire place will collapse and you will all die. This place is tied to my will and mine alone. You can’t kill me, but I can kill you no problem.”

“If you’re going to kill us anyway then we have nothing to lose. The Circus Master said as he stood defiantly in front of the others, his claws unsheathed.

The Emperor paused for a few moments before suddenly using his tentacles to shatter the forcefield and the wall behind him. Hundreds more Hylexans, both blue and red flew into the room.

“I don’t have to kill you myself.”

To Be Continued

The Circus Master: An Eye For An Eye: Part 5: Death of a Planet

 

“You fool if you don’t let me go now, we’re all dead.” The Hylexan commander shouted at Florence.

“She knew he was right, but at the same time if she released him she and Keptis would most surely die. Maybe it was better to take the monsters down with her than let Keptis suffer in the pit?

The ship started to rock back and forth as the monsters attacked it.

“Release the prisoners from the pit and I’ll release you” Florence said more firmly.

Knowing he was out of options, the Hylexan commander was forced to agree.

“Release the Quilex’s and the strange green alien for now.”

The Hylexan soldiers however refused.

“You heard what I said. Release them now!”

“We cannot obey commander. A Hylexan commander must never give in to enemies demands. You have forefieted your right to command.”

The Hylexans magic was linked to how obdient they were. If any Hylexan disobeyed their superior’s orders, then their own magic would destroy them. The Hylexan commander knew this of course, but was finally willing to sacrifice his life in order to pass on his command to another member of the crew afer some hesitation.

The red Hylexan’s skin started to turn black as the magic of the vessel upgraded the red Hylexan to the rank of commander, whilst another blue Hylexan’s skin turned red as it was upgraded to the rank of second in command.

The black Hylexan in the Circus meanwhile screamed as it began to vanish into a puff of green smoke.

“DESTROY THOSE MONSTERS” The new Hylexan commander shouted as magics fired from the flaming craft into the giant ravenous Lystergia’s outside. One of the beasts exploded completely whilst the others began to scatter. As the Hylexan commander prepared to fire another missile however, he suddenly saw something else come into view. It was a gigantic flying, glowing city!

“Incredible. I can’t believe the Quilax’s have created such a thing!” The Commander said.

“You are not allowed to praise our enemies” The second in command said or rather thought angrily.

“I apologise. The city may look striking, but it will easily crumble before our weapons.”

“It doesn’t even look striking” the second in command said bitterly.

Florence meanwhile searched frantically through the weapons chest to try and find a weapon that could hurt the monsters. Unfortunately almost all of the magic on board the tent had mysteriously vanished? Florence felt that it had to be the work of the Hylexans, but how? “How could those freaks drain our magics? If they can do that, why not just come in and get me now?”

Whilst Florence was searching for a suitable weapon, the Strange Boy grew impatiant and hopped out of the tent. Florence didn’t even notice at first, and neither did the Hylexans. The Strange Boy jumped out of the tent and onto the back of the new Hylexan commander.

Before the octopus like creature could respond, the Strange Boy dug his talons into both sides of the monsters amoprhous body and pulled with all its strength, ripping the Hylexan in half down the middle. Without the commander the ship began to spiral out of control.

The second in command’s skin started to turn black. The ships had to be powered by a being of incredible magical power, the commander. Only the strongest members of the Hylexans could become the commanders however.

There would always be a few back ups on each vessel, but if the Strange Boy could kill them all then the vessel would crash. The Strange Boy quickly grabbed the red Hylexan as it was in the process of changing’s tentacles and pulled it towards him, impaling the octopoid on his hand.

Two more Hylexan soldiers wrapped their tentacles around the Strange Boy and started to dig their tentacles under his skin and shock him. The Strange Boy tried to fight through the pain. He was by far the strongest member of the Circus Folk physically, but as more and more tentacles poked their way under his skin; the Vampire child was unable to even move.

Florence having heared the Hylexan’s cries when they were slaughtered by the Strange Boy struck both of the Hylexan’s attacking the Vampire with an axe. The axe was not magical and so it only produced a minor wound on both monsters which quickly healed, but it was enough to distract them long enough for the Strange Boy to escape the beasts tentacles.

The Strange Boy then jumped onto the new commander who was in the process of changing. This commander however managed to run several of his tentacles through the Strange Boy’s chest. The Vampire and the Alien wrestled with each other, whilst Florence distracted the guards. She spent most of her time simply dodging their attacks and occasionally striking at their tentacles with her axe. Each time she sliced a part of them off however, the tentacle would simply grow back.

Whilst the two Vampires held off the Hylexan’s, over in the city; the Circus Master prepared a weapon to use against the alien invaders. The Lystergias meanwhile had been commanded by the Quilax to hold off the approaching Hylexan army from behind.

The giant monsters didn’t last long. Whilst they were capable of breaching the Hylexan’s defences they were vastly outnumbered. In under a minute the Lystergia’s were whittled down to just one by the Hylexan army. The final Lystergia was only able to distract the Octopoids rather than fight them.

With Denika’s help the Circus Master began to cobble together some of the magics from the city itself. He was forced to make a weapons building disappear in the process. Some of the soldiers complained about losing one of their buildings, but the Circus Master assured them that all of the weapons in the building combined couldn’t take down one Hylexan vessel.

“It took us ages to build that. It was our main defence centre. You better know what you’re doing” the angry general said.

“I’ve only known them a short while, but trust me they do” Carlene replied.

The Circus Master and Denika constructed the gun in a matter of minutes through various enchantments. The Circus Master seemed to do most of the work. Whilst he may not have been as skilled as Denika at magic. In some ways the Circus Master’s knowledge of magic eclipsed hers in certain areas.

“There that finally seems to be it. Denika, you just be ready to catch it when it falls.” The Circus Master said as he aimed the glowing, red cannon.

“Care to fill us in?” Ashlei asked.

“I’ve cobbled this weapon together from spare magics in this city and some spare magics from Denika. It won’t be able to destroy the vessel up ahead, but if I’m correct then we might be able to shut down all of the magics in the ship, reducing it to just a hollowed out metal shell. Denika will have to catch it afterwards if we are to get our ship back.”

“How good a chance do you give us?” Ashlei asked. The Circus Master didnt respond and simply fired the canon. The Hylexan’s ship began to spin out of control. Inside the floor began to vanish, as did all of the equipment.

The Hylexan commander managed to throw the Strange Boy across the room as the Vampire was distracted by the ship rocking. The commander then took control of the ships remaining weapons and fired them at the city.

Denika was barely able to block the blast with her magic and doing so threw her 20 feet from the edge of the city.

Fortunately Carlene managed to catch her in time, but Denika was knocked out cold.

“What are you waiting for?” One of the Quilax commanders shouted as the Circus Master.

“I can’t fire. Denika can’t catch it in our current state. We’ll lose the ship.”

“If you don’t fire it will destroy us”

“Yes but if I knock them out of the sky, my ship will be destroyed and this city which draws energy from it will fall out of the sky.”

The Circus Master ran towards Denika and tried to help Carlene rouse her, but again it was no use.

The last surviving Lystergia attacked the Hylexan vessel Florence, the Strange Boy and Keptis were locked in. Due to their magical nature the monsters could sense when their Quilaxen commanders were in danger. Whilst the Lystergian distracted the Hylexans, Carlene and the Circus Master were finally able to wake Denika.

“Finally. Great time to blank out on us Denika.” The Circus Master said angrily.

“Sorry I only got hit in the face by a giant magical death ray!” Denika replied.

The Hylexan fleet quickly vaporised the Lystergia from behind. The Quilax watching from the city all bowed their heads in respect. The Lystergia had been the last of its kind. Their race had existed for millions of years before even the Quilax themselves. The Lystergia had always been seen as symbols of great power and beauty among their people and were even worshipped as gods by the Quilax’s early ancestors. Now if the last of the Quilax survived, none of their descendants would ever set eyes on one of these beautiful creatures. Nevertheless the creatures sacrifice had bought the Circus Master enough time to blast the Hylexan vessel containing Florence and the others with his cannon, completely destroying the magic of the ship.

Denika managed to catch the empty metal shell the ship became in a magical tractor beam. It was an incredible strain for the Witch just to hold it in place however.

As the Hylexan fleet drew closer, the Circus Master started firing at them. He managed to bring down dozens more ships, but the Hylexans also managed to fire several shots at the city too. They destroyed dozens of buildings, killed hundreds of Quilax civilians, and caused the back section of the city to collapse.

Carlene and Ashlei ran to the areas that had been hit to try and help any survivors, but there was only a handful of survivors.

Inside the Hylexan vessel containing the Circus meanwhile the dark matter dungeon vanished and all of the Quilax, the Hylexans, the Circus as well as Keptis were thrown together inside a small metal room that could barely contain them.

The Quilax instantly started to attack the Hylexans but they were easily overpowered and ripped to pieces. Keptis meanwhile overcome with rage grabbed his flaming saw and stabbed it into the Hylexan commander from behind whilst it was distracted by the Quilax, before slicing it straight down the middle.

Whilst they were fighting, Florence quickly ran back into the Tent to search for more weapons. She managed to find a few of Carlene’s spare gas bombs which she used to scatter the Hylexans. Florence’s Vampire senses allowed her to see through the gas and she quickly snatched Keptis, the Strange Boy and the three remaining Quilax back into the Tent.

“I’m glad I got the commander at least.” Keptis said.

“Actually that was a different commander, but he deserved it anyway.” Florence said as she piloted the ship. Florence thought about the Circus Master as she threw the coins into the main fountain hoping it would take her to him. She didn’t know what situation he was in, but she felt she had to find the rest of the team to warn them about the Hylexans.

In a flash the Circus vanished in a puff of smoke and appeared at the every edge of the city in front of Denika, the Circus Master and the crowd of Quilax.

“Thank god” Denika said as she let the Hylexan vessel fall thousands of feet to the ground. She couldn’t take the strain of holding it up much longer.

Florence, The Strange Boy, Keptis and the Quilax soon emerged from the tent. The two surviving Quilax’s families quickly ran to them.

“Glad to see you made it from those vengeful Octopus'” The Circus Master said cheerfully, though Keptis was in no mood for his humour.

“Can one of you be a dear and hold off the fleet for a bit. I need to check inside.” The Circus Master continued.

Keptis grabbed the Cannon. “After what I went through in that pit I want to take down as many of these monsters as I can.” He said bitterly.

The Circus Master searched through the Circus. So much of it had vanished and been reduced to nothing but bland stone. Fortunately the city would not drain the vessel completely. Its power created by the Vandals and modified by both Professor Fang and The Circus Master himself was constantly able to renew itself. At the same time however as more and more of the ship was drained then its defences and most of its kitchen and its toilet (both kept below the living room.)

“I spent so long decorating this place” the Circus Master mused to himself as he looked at the engine of his beloved vessel, the fountain. The Circus Master began to chant over the fountain. He hoped to infect it with an invisibility spell. He and Denika had collected some invisibility spells on their travels, which were now being drained. Invisibility spells could only work on one person at a time. They also weren’t full proof. Vampires for instance could still trace people by scent, whilst other Demons and even magical creatures could sense the magic used to create the invisibility. In some cases it could ironically make things worse!

Still it was the city’s best chance of escape. There is no way, even with the Circus Masters weapon they could fight the Hylexan fleet off, and they couldn’t outrun them too.

The Circus Master hoped that as the city was drawing from the Circus for power that if he could make the Circus invisible, then the spell would spread out over the entire city. The Vandal just had to find a way to stop the remaining invisibility spells from being converted into the magic for the city.

Outside Keptis fired at the Hylexans with rage taking down dozens more of their vessels. Florence had never seen him overcome with such anger. “My god I think he hates these things more than Vampires.” She thought to herself.

The Hylexans rained down more lasers and magical blasts on the city, killing hundreds. Carlene and Ashlei frantically ran around the city to try and help the fleeing Quilax, but there was really nothing they could do.

The Strange Boy meanwhile simply stood there watching the chaos, completely disinterested. He only seemed to enjoy helping if there was a chance for him to fight. Otherwise he was completely dead to everything around him.

Keptis was so busy attacking the Hylexans that he didn’t care about the civillians either. Florence was forced to push him out of the way of one of the Hylexan’s rays just in time, but in the process he dropped the cannon that was completely destroyed by the Hylexans rays.

“You stupid Vampire”. He screamed. Florence was worried. As miserable and moody as Keptis always was, she’d never seen the Martian quite like this. What had those slimy Octopuses down to him?

Some of the Hylexan vessels began to hover over the city. Clearly they were getting ready for a landing to scoop up whatever Quilaxans they could for their twisted master. Just as they were on the verge of victory however, to the Hylexan’s shock the city suddenly vanished. The Circus Masters spell had worked!

“Denika get us out of here now” The Vandal shouted as he ran from the tent. Denika was able to pilot the ship out into the sky and into the planets atmosphere, evading all of the Hylexan war ships along the way.

Within a few minutes the surviving Quilax were able to look down on their planet from the stars. Unfortunately the Circus Folk could not use the Circus Tent to help the Quilax escape. As it was so linked to the city’s core, if they were to use it to escape the city would break apart. Not all of the Quilax would be able to fit in the tent for one journey either.

Hundreds of the Quilax had escaped, but sadly up to half of the city’s entire population had been slaughtered in the bombardment. Carlene, Ashlei, the Circus Master and Florence tried to help the few survivors whilst Keptis just sat at the edge of the city.

Florence was the most concerned about him. In spite of their differences she knew Keptis better than anyone else and could see the Martian was practically a broken man. Sadly she didn’t have time to help him now as there were dozens of Quillax still lying under the rubble.

Suddenly however the entire city’s attention was drawn back to the Quillax’s homeworld. In the distance the planet began to burn in a blaze of magical fire.

The Hylexans knew that somehow the Quillax city had escaped the planet. Their vessel could pick up faint traces of the city’s magic in space, though they couldn’t place its exact location.

Still they knew that several of the Quilax were in space and so they had no need for their planet anymore. They were more than capable of destroying it before now. They only didn’t because they wanted the last of the Quilax to hand over to their leader. Thus the Hylexans finally ordered the planets destruction.

It only took a few minutes for the Hylexan’s dark magics to burn the planet into nothing. The Quilax knew their world was beyond saving. Still to see it go shocked them all. Even the Circus Folk with everything they had seen had to look away at the planets final few moments.

“An entire world. Gone in a flash. Even at our worst we were never capable of such senseless destruction. We truly are the only survivors now” the Quilax commander said as he bowed his head.

“I’m sorry commander. No one should have to see their world end like that. Still this does not need to be the end of your people. Your world can live on through all of you.” The Circus Master said.

The soldier composed himself. “You are right strange alien. Thank you. Thank all of you” He said to the Circus Folk. “We have to do all we can to help the civillians now. We can’t let this all be for nothiing.”

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

The Circus Master: An Eye For An Eye: Part 3: The Flying City

 

(I didn’t think I’d get this finished over my holiday. Doctor Who and Professor Fang will still be delayed, but for now enjoy the next part of The Circus Master.)

Ashlei, Denika, Carlene and the Circus Master were led through the city. None of the other golden aliens took note of the strange travellers. They were too busy working. The city looked every bit as beautiful as it did in the vision.

The buildings were large and appeared to glow blue. They were clearly built from magic as their design appeared to change every few minutes. Everyone it seemed was working to constantly maintain the city in some way, even just through chants.

“Fascinating” The Circus Master said aloud. “An entire city made of magic, though from the way you’re all scrambling about you don’t seem to be experts? Maybe we can help you. My friend here is quite the.”

One of the aliens hit the Vandal over the head knocking him down. Carlene went to help the Circus Master up, but whilst she was reaching down he quickly reached into her hair and pulled out a gas bomb which he threw at the aliens.

Whilst they were distracted, Carlene grabbed Ashlei whilst the Circus Master grabbed the weakened Denika who he tried to rouse.

“Come on Denika we need you.” The Circus Master said frantically as the smoke began to clear.

One of the aliens fired at Denika, but the Circus Master quickly spun her round and took the blast in his back instead.

“We have to go now.” Carlene shouted as she jumped over 30 feet in the air to the top of a nearby building with Ashlei in tow. The Circus Master soon followed, but when they reached the top of the building its roof began to envelope the time travellers and pull them inside.

The Circus Master tried to claw at it, but each cut he made quickly healed over. “I guess they’re less primitive than I thought. I’d admire them if they weren’t about to kill me” The Circus Master said as he struggled against the living building! Using all of her strength Carlene pulled one arm free and reached for a weapon in her beehive. A flaming knife! She slashed at the substance that had trapped her, causing it to retreat and quickly freed the Circus Master and the others. They tried to flee in the opposite direction, but three large yellow crafts arrived that way; forcing the Vampire and the Vandal to jump ahead over the soldiers and into a busy area of the city.

None of the workers looked up. They still carried on with their business as if nothing had happened. Whatever it was they workers where doing it was far more important to them than their lives!

More and more soldiers came pouring in from all parts of the city firing energy beams at the strange time travellers. Carlene used her flaming knife to bat away the floor of the city as it continued to attempt to engulf the time travellers, whilst the Circus Master attacked the aliens. The Circus Master was able to dodge their rays thanks to his Vandal reflexes. Not that he needed to. The aliens rays were not capable of killing the Vandal. They were only capable of causing minor wounds that quickly healed over.

The Circus Master effortlessly overpowered the hordes of attacking aliens. He tossed them through the air, clawed their weapons in half, and knocked several of the golden aliens out with quick strikes to the face.

However the more and more aliens piled on the Circus Master the harder he found it to fight them off. One of the aliens managed to get a lucky blast in at the Circus Masters knee cap, temporarily shattering it. The wound quickly healed over, but for a few seconds the Circus Master was crippled and another of the aliens struck the Vandal from behind with the butt of his gun. Whilst the Circus Master was on the floor the aliens started to shoot at him. The overwhelming force from so many lasers began to severly weaken the Circus Master to the point where he couldn’t get up.

Carlene quickly ran to help the Circus Master, but the floor itself grabbed her foot. As she reached down with her knife to cut it, the floor grabbed both of her arms causing Carlene to drop the knife. Ashlei however quickly grabbed the knife and used it to cut the floor holding Carlene down as well as the floor around her foot.

Denika started to stand up, though she still stumbled slightly. Carlene ran to help her, but the floor between Denika and Carlene and Ashlei rose up into a mass over 20 feet high. Carlene and Ashlei stood their ground, with Ashlei holding her knife up.

Suddenly the mass sideswerved Carlene and Ashlei and grabbed the Aliens attacking the Circus Master, enveloping them up to their heads. Denika having regained her strength had managed to quickly take control of the city’s defence system.

“Come on lets go out of here” Denika said as she flew into the sky, with a forcefield protecting her from the aliens rays. The Circus Master and Carlene, carrying Ashlei followed the Witch. Denika used the floor to trap more soldiers before they could pursue the time travellers.

“How can those beasts harm our vessels.” The Hylexan commander said or rather thought in anger as they lost contact with another vessel.

“They were created from our magics sir. The Quilax are appropriating our power because they have none of their own, but we shall destroy them.” The red Hylexan second in command said as it prepared to fire the weapons. Suddenly however another two beasts emerged from either side of the Hylexan craft.

This ship belonged to a small platoon of Hylexans who were exploring the underground for any survivors. All 4 vessels however had been attacked by the Quilax’s pet monsters. Giant snake like creatures called the Lystergias. The Lystergias had originally been just simple underground beasts, but the Hylexans magical blasts on the planet had mutated them into growing larger and more powerful. Whilst the dark magics had destroyed most life on the planet, the Lystergias were able to survive because they were deep underground. The magics still affected the Lystergias however. It not only made them larger, but more violent as well.

The Quilax had been able to tame the Lystergia’s with their magics. Powerful though they were, they were just simple beasts and so their minds were easy to control.

The Hylexan crafts had still disposed of most of the monsters, but there had been so many Lystergia’s that the giants had been able to overwhelm and destroy all but one of the invaders crafts. The final three Lystergia’s cornered the last of the Hylexans craft from all sides.

“We are completely surrounded commander.”

The leader of the vessel in desperation ordered that the ships reserve of dark magics be emptied. The dark magics were stationed right at the centre of each Hylexan vessel. They were used to create torture bubbles. Anyone who was placed in the bubble would be forced to live out their worst fears and regrets over and over.

“Sir emptying the dark magics is dangerous. They could flood this entire area and we’d all be trapped.”

“I’m aware of the risk but I’d rather our own magics destroyed us than we end up as the victims of the Quilax’s pet.”

The others agreed. As terrified as they were of the dark magics, defeat at the hands of any Quilax was considered the most undignified death for the Hylexans.

The second in command released the dark magics which caused the ship to spiral out of control and be thrust straight into one of the Lystergians. The beast quickly sunk its magical teeth through the firey hull of the vessel. The dark magic however started to affect the three monsters. They all began to scream and hiss and even cower from the sight of the ship, which took on the form of whatever they had feared most in life.

The Hylexans flew passed the three tormented giants and once they were a safe distance they fired on them one at a time. None of the monsters retaliated when the other was destroyed, as the pain from the dark magics crippled them.

“That seems to be the last of them. To think after all their weapons and inventions, the Quilax main line of defence for their last city was nothing more than a few simple beasts.” The red Hylexan said.

“Their last city is just a few miles below. The Quilax scum thought they would be safe in this pit? Desperation can often breed stupidity.” The leader of the craft sneered as he prepared to lead his men to exterminate the last of their most hated enemies.

The 4 time travellers continued to fight their way through the strange golden aliens. They all made sure that their blows were not lethal, as ironcially they were here to help them. If only they could convince the aliens that they weren’t their enemies.

As more and more aliens started to emerge the Circus folk were again forced to retreat. Denika flew, whilst Carlene and the Circus Master jumpedover 80 feet through the air (with Carlene carrying Ashlei.) Above dozens of soldiers. When Carlene and the Circus Master landed however, the ground instantly opened, creating a massive pit that all 3 fell into. Before the Vampire and the Vandal could even try and leap out. The ground then sealed itself over again.

Denika flew towards the floor to try and open it with her magics, but whilst she was busy the aliens shot her. It was only the stun stting as they wanted to question her along with the others.

Carlene, Ashlei and The Circus Master were brought up to face the soldiers, all encased up to their heads in the floor.

“Good now maybe we can talk properly.” The Circus Master said sarcastically. The aliens raised their guns in response, but within a few seconds an alarm started to ring throughout the city. All of the aliens who had remained completely calm throughout the Circus Masters fight started to run and panic. Most of the soldiers started to scatter too.

“Please” The Circus Master said to the general.

“We are here to help you. In fact we might be your last hope.” The general didn’t listen however and in his anger set his weapon to kill.

“You did this”. He said. “I don’t know how, but you led those disgusting things to us. I’ll kill you all.” Suddenly however the general was hoisted over 40 feet through the air, whilst the floor englufing Carlene, Ashlei and the Circus Master vanished. The stun gun had only worked on Denika for a few seconds due to her magical constitution.

The few remaining soldiers gathered round the time travellers, aiming their guns.

“Look we really don’t have time for this. I swear we are here to help you.” The Circus Master said firmly. As a show of good faith Denika lowered the general back to the ground.

“Why should we trust you?” The general said.

“You don’t, but the way I see it you’re dead if we don’t help you and if we are working for those things then you’re still all dead. So what do you have to lose?” Carlene said.

“I suppose.” the general reluctantly agreed as did his men who began to lower their weapons. “I swear though if we die I’ll make you sure you do too.”

“Fair enough” the Circus Master said.

“What do you mean fair enough? That’s not fair? I don’t agree with that.” Ashlei said.

“You’re wasting time.” The general replied.

“Well I’m afraid that if we are going to help you we need to know what’s going on exactly.” The Circus Master said.

“You really don’t know?”

“No like I said earlier we’re just travellers. We know that there are hideous octopus monsters that want to kill you, but other than that?”

“Our people have been involved in a war for decades with an enemy more evil than you can imagine. We were more advanced than those savages. They were nothing but simple beasts until we found them and elevated their pitiful existence.”

“Why do they want to destroy you then?” The Circus Master replied.

“They want to wipe us our because just a few decades ago we were the monsters.” A young female alien civilian from the behind the time travellers said. “We once conquered this entire galaxy, including the planet of our enemies, The Hylexans. We exploited them. We butchered them.”

The General interupted. “We brought order to this galaxy! We elevated their cultures more in 10 years than they would have in 100.” He shouted.

“Is that why they were all too happy to sit back and let the Hylexans slaughter us.”

“They were just scared. Scared to stand against those monsters and their unnatural powers.”

“I’m not interested in your politics. Please tell me about these Hylexans.” The Circus Master interrupted.

“The Hylexans were able to overcome our armies because they learned magic. Something we had always dismissed as a superstition. They’ve slaughtered all of our colonies and bombarded our planet with dark magics. The last of us fled underground. Just before the surface of our planet was destroyed we had only learned how to master the most basic magics that we used to build this city.” The female alien said.

“I wouldn’t call building a city basic.” Ashlei replied.

“This city is extremely unstable. We have to constantly maintain it with enchantments or it will fade away within an hour. Our plan was to use the city to fly to another world. Our planet is dead and we knew it wouldn’t be long before the Hylexans found us. We wanted to leave this entire galaxy.” The female alien said.

“It doesn’t matter now.” The General interrupted. “They’ve found us. Our race is doomed.”

“Not necessarily” Denika said.

“You might be amateurs but not to toot my horn, I know a fair bit about magic. If you’ll just let me look at core of this city. I assume there is a core to draw all of the magics from your planet into the city?”

“Yes”. The female alien replied. “Sadly there aren’t enough magics left in this world to make it fly. The Hylexans blitzed the surface of our world, turning most of the magics of the planet into dark magic. The little that was left was used to create the city. We’ve tried to find a way to harness it to make the city fly, but well each time it just causes a part of the city to vanish.”

“I can’t promise anything but if I inject my magics into the core it just might be enough to get it to fly.”

“What about the Hylexans? They’ve breached our defences. Even if it does take off now they’ll slaughter us all before we reach the sky.” The General responded.

“Don’t worry we’ll deal with them, you just help Denika get this city off the ground.” The Circus Master said.

“We will? How?” Ashlei asked.

“I don’t know yet, but either we try and maybe win, or we just stand here and get fried.”

“Well when you put it like that.”

The Hylexan craft flew over the city whose buildings all changed in response to gigantic war fortresses with massive ray guns mounted on the roof tops.

All of the soldiers gathered in front of the fleeing civilians firing at the flaming ship. Neither the fortress’ nor the soldiers weapons were able to even dent the Hylexan’s ship. The Hylexans wanted to savour this moment. It wasn’t even just because of their hatred for the Quilax. All the Hylexans had known for the past several decades was hunting the Quilax. Now that they were almost at the end of their war, they wanted to make their final victory last as long as possible.

The Hylexans fired their magical blasts at the civilians first. They wanted to save the soldiers for last so they would see the full extent of their failures to save the people they had pledged to protect.

In the middle of the fleeing crowd, Carlene, The Circus Master and Ashlei stood almost completely helpless to stop the chaos ahead. Carlene reached through her beehive for a weapon, but the vehicle soon spotted the time travellers and began to focus its efforts on them.

To Be Continued

 

 

The Circus Master: An Eye For An Eye: Part 2: The Hylexans

 

(All three series will be taking a break next week as I will be off on holiday. There will be a few more articles that I managed to get finished posted in the meantime.)

Florence, Keptis and The Strange Boy had been walking for hours through the hot, dark wasteland and had found nothing but charred corpses.

“I need to rest” Keptis said. “My feet are burning.” Florence stopped to give the Martian a minute whilst the Strange Boy just hopped on both feet up ahead over a nearby hill.

“That blasted boy.” Florence said. “He never does what you want him too.”

“Well fr be it for me to stick up for a Vampire, but children were the same back on Mars.” Keptis said. “It seems to be a universal trait for kids to be unruly.”

“Not where I came from.” Florence protested. “Children were always taught to have proper manners.”

“Yes but you also sent them off to work in dangerous factories at the age of 6.” Keptis replied.

“Well at least we had a good work ethic. Besides I never had to work.”

“I’m not too surprised to hear that.” The Martian teased

“Well whatever the reason I suppose we better check on him. Not for his sake. He’s stronger than us and we better not lose him.” Florence replied.

Florence and Keptis headed over the hill ahead only to be greeted by the sight of the ruins of a gigantic city.

In the distance the Strange Boy was hopping towards the ruins and the Martian and the Siren were quick to follow, but deep in the rubble the Strange Boy appeared to be following the scent of something.

Around the corner of the a nearby building lay a wounded octopus like creature. Similar to the monsters they had seen in the vision.

The creature was bleeding a thick blue blood from one side of its body, whilst its tentacles were limp and twitching.

The Strange Boy stood simply staring at the creature whilst Florence tried to establish some kind of communication with the strange alien. Keptis meanwhile fired up his flaming chainsaw just in case.

Florence knew the creature was an invader, but in its weakened state it clearly wasn’t a threat to anyone.

“Please let us help you.” Florence said gently to the alien.

“Help it?” Keptis said in shock.

“We have to find out what they are here for. Florence whispered back.”

The alien however didn’t appear to believe Florence. It didn’t respond to her and simply tried in vain to lift one of its tentacles.

Just then the Special Boy darted around the corner.

“What now” Keptis moaned.

As Florence and Keptis prepared to follow the Strange Boy, they suddenly heard a strange voice in their heads. It was the alien. It was communicating through telepathy. Its voice was a strange, high pitched, hissing voice.

“The monster that attacked me is nearby. You will share my fate.”

The two time travellers quickly ran after the Strange Boy only to see a gigantic creature standing over the small Vampire, who still showed no emotion whatsoever.

The monster had four legs, but an upright upper torso. Its four legs were sprawled like a Lizards, whilst each of its feet ended in three clawed toes like a bird. The creatures lower body was long and thin and covered in long sharp spikes. Its upper body meanwhile was in the shape of a man, though its skin looked slimy and rotting. Each of its hands had three short, squat fingers, whilst it had a scaly mane around its head that had a truly hideous face with massive fangs protuding from its mouth.

The monster’s body had been twisted by all of the magics the aliens had bombarded the planet with. It was in the most unimaginable pain for every second of its wretched existence.

The Strange Boy quickly dodged the monsters attempt to step on him and jumped towards one of its back legs, pulling the monster off its feet. He then jumped on top of its head and pushed it’s face into the burning hot earth. The monster screamed and tried to pull itself up but the boy managed to hold its face down for a few seconds before it sent the boy flying through the air. Keptis used his flaming saw to try and ward the beast back, whilst Florence went to try and check on the Boy.

The monster however was faster than it looked and managed to grab Keptis in its short, clawed hands. Florence in response jumped at the monsters throat and bit into it. The beast managed to shake both of them off and stamped on Florence, trampling her into the hot earth. The Strange Boy in response quickly jumped on the monsters back. Completely undeterred by the spikes, the Strange tore one spike off and then stabbed it into the monsters throat. With its last ounce of strength the monster threw the small Vampire away before stumbling into the ruins of small nearby building.

Florence ran towards the creature whilst Keptis checked on the small boy. As dangerous as it looked, Florence pitied the creature. It wasn’t violent naturally. In fact it was actually a gentle herbivore, but the magics and the pain had made it insane and violent.

After the creature’s life ebbed away Florence, Keptis and the Strange Boy returned to the wounded alien, but it was gone!

“It can’t have gone far” Florence said as she tried to pick up its scent. Suddenly the Strange Boy pointed to something in the sky. Florence and Keptis looked up to see a massive flaming vessel heading towards them in the distance. It hadn’t made a single sound as it tore through the sky.

The three time travellers all ran as fast as they could with Florence grabbing Keptis (as she could run a lot fast than he.)

A green light quickly engulfed all three of them and in a flash they all suddenly found themselves pulled into a white room. Unlike Denika they didn’t have the magics

“What happened? Where are we?” Keptis said as he raised his burning saw defiantly.

A large red octopoid creature descended from above. Its body was much larger than the wounded alien. The Strange Boy tried to attack the creature, but one of the many tentacles that writhed around its amorphous form instantly batted the small Vampire across the room.

“You are not of their race.” The red creature said, or rathet thought as it communicated through telepathy like its minions. Evidently the Octopoids could only send their thoughts into others heads rather than read them.

“We’re just travellers you know passing through.” Florence said nervously.

“No travellers would come here. To the world of the most hated race in the cosmos. You were created by them? Weren’t you? The Quilax? They created you from their crude magics.”

The octopoid struck its tentacle through Florence’s chest. The pain brought the Siren to her knees but she did not die from her wound.

“Just as I thought. You’re not real.”

The monster attempted to do the same to Keptis but as soon as the tentacle pierced his skin the Martian fell to the floor in agony and the Octopoid could sense he was real.

“Interesting.” It said. “You are real, but you are not of this galaxy?” The monster started to dig its tentacle deeper into the Martian’s chest. “You are not like anything I have ever seen before. I wonder what how your organs are arranged.”

Florence quickly pulled on the tentacle in her chest and dragged the Ocotopoid towards her. She tried to strike it with her other arm, but the monster wrapped its tentacle around her arm and squeezed, almost breaking it.

The Strange Boy however jumped the Octopoid whilst it was distracted with the Martian and the Siren. He sunk his fangs and claws into the monsters flesh, causing its tentacles to flail around. Several of them wrapped around the Strange Boy and tried to pull him off, but the Vampire bit and gripped hard. Keptis quickly swung his saw at the tentacled beast and managed to saw several of its tentacles off, whilst Florence was able to jump the creature. The two Vampires held the red beast down and Keptis raised his flaming saw. Several more tentacles from above however descended and wrapped themselves around the three time travellers. There were several more blue Octopoid creatures from above, though it took two of them to pry the Strange Boy off of their red commander.

A black Octopoid emerged in the centre of the creatures.

“Interesting. These creatures are quite unlike anything in this solar system. To think you said you could handle them.” The black creature said to his wounded red commander. In the distance, Florence could see the wounded alien that had drawn them into the city in the first place. It was being healed by a flash of blue light by one of the others.

“Tell us how and why did you come here.” The leader barked at the three captives only to be met with silence.

The tentacles wrapped more tightly around the time travellers.

“Look below” the black Octopoid said.

Beneath them Florence, Keptis and the Strange Boy saw a hole emerging in the endless white. It led to a massive pit filled with golden skinned humanoids, similar to those they had seen in their vision; screaming and suffering.

“This vessel is constructed by magic which means that it can change its inside to my will. If I choose the pit of torment will consume you. Tell me what I want to know however?” I will grant you a quick death.”

“You wouldn’t believe us.”  Florence said.

“You’d better hope we do.” The alien responded.

“Okay” Florence said. “We’re time travellers. We were sent here to this world to ensure an important event happens.

There was a silence for 30 seconds.

“I told you you wouldn’t.” She said in response.

One of the aliens dropped Keptis who went hurling towards the pit of never ending torment.

“Please I swear I’m telling the truth. Search the area over mountain and past the valley you’ll find a strange multi coloured craft. I swear!”

The black Ocotopoid ordered one of his men to scan the area. A strange control panel suddenly appeared out of nothin in front of one of the blue creautres who searched it for a while. Keptis meanwhile fell to the bottom of the pit where the creatures started to swarm him before it sealed up.

“Please let him go.” Florence begged.

“Only once we have retrieved your craft. If it exists.” The black Octopoid snapped back.

Commander, we have detected the presence of advanced magics. They appeare to be concentrated into the one area.”

An image of the Circus popped up in the white room just above the black Octopoid.

“What is this.” It asked Florence. “It looks like it would blow away in the wind.”

“It can go anywhere in time and space. If you’ll only let me show you.” Florence said whilst the Strange Boy simply stood there as always with a completely blank expression.

The aliens pulled the Circus on board with a tractor beam and it appeared right in front of Florence and the others. The control panel quickly vanished. The magic allowed the aliens to keep as many supplies as they wanted in one craft at a time, as when they were not needed. They would simply vanish.

“It still looks like it can barely stand without toppling over.” The black Octopoid sneered.

“Well lets take a look inside shall we.” Florence said as she pulled the curtain back.

The black Octopoid alongside two of its minions went inside the vessel, taking the Strange Boy and Florence with them.

The aliens were not particularly impressed with anything they saw until the black Octopoid stared into the fountain. There it saw the same image that the Circus Folk had seen before of the golden humanoids being exterminated.

“Excellent” the black Octopoid thought. “I believe the strange blue humanoid now. This is an image of the future. We will be victorious! Not that there was any doubt of course.”

“You’re monsters.” Florence spat with disgust at the Octopoids.

“What do you know of us? The Hylexans? To the rest of the galaxy we are heroes. We destroyed the evil empire of the Quilax.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You really aren’t from these parts are you? For centuries we were the victims. Along with almost every other civilisation in this galaxy. We were all conquered by those golden fools you seem to pity. They were the most technologically advanced race in this galaxy and they used it for evil. Of all the races they conquered however, their greatest cruelty was reserved for us.”

“Why?”

“We were more different to them than the others. We were the only non humanoid life forms they came across. It took them hundreds of years to even acknowledge that us, slimy, repulsive squid were sentient. They slaughtered millions of us, wiped out whole communities, used us as test subjects, as slave labour. Our planet was turned into an irradiated wasteland as it became a dumping ground for all of the toxic chemicals left over from their weapons. Our people would have eventually died out had we not been able to conquer an area the so called masters of the galaxy had dismissed as a silly superstition. Magic!”

The leader continued. “We had learned magics many thousands of years before thry came to our world, but we eventually abandoned them out of fear. A chance encounter caused one of our people to stumble on the old caves where the spells were. We used them to turn on and destroy our invaders. Even I can’t imagine the glory of being able to tear down machines that had persecuted us for so long with just a single enchantment. The Quilax had never believed in magic. They foolishly thought everything in this universe had a rational and logical explanation. It was to be their downfall.

We not only pushed them back from our world, but we destroyed their forces everywhere. Planets cheered as we pushed the hated invaders back further to their world which we blitzed using the darkest magics. Tomorrow the planet will finally be destroyed by our magics.

“Why are you even here then?” Florence asked.

“Lately the Quilax have begun to develop some magics. Its not anywhere near enough to threaten us, but we have to make sure that none of them are able to escape the planet in time. Also the Emperor wants to make an event of the destruction of the last of our hated enemies. One that the entire galaxy will never forget. We hope to catch at least a few survivors to broadcast their executions to the rest of the galaxy.”

Florence winced in disgust. “I’m sorry for what your people went through. I am, but you’ve now become the very thing you once fought against. What you’re doing here. This is just as evil.” Florence responded. “That’s why we have been sent here. To stop you.”

“How are you possibly going to stop us?” The black Hylexan responded as it reached its tentacles out to grab Florence who stood her ground.

“You will help us. You will show us how this craft of yours works our else your friend will suffer in the pit!”

Florence still didn’t even twitch and the Hylexan found that it couldn’t move its tentacles. The Circus’ magical security system had managed to paralyse the tentacled monsters in their tracks, preventing them from even moving a muscle if Florence didn’t want them to.

“Well look at that. It seems your magic isn’t as powerful as you think. Then again this security system is made from magics from all across time and space. Don’t feel too bad.” Florence laughed.

“You would dare.”

“Quite so. Now you have two choices. Either you release Keptis and let this ship go or my little friend here will slice you all down the middle.”

The Strange Boy jumped into view hold a giant flaming axe which he looked all too eager to use.

“I will not give into a humanoid.”

“A humanoid? Not just a Que, whatever you call it? Interesting.” Florence said.

Suddenly there was a massive crash.

“Captain, Captain” one of the underlings contacted the commander.

“We are under attack. It is one of the giant serpant beasts the Quilax have controlled with their primitive magics. It’s fused with magic, it can hurt us. We need your help.”

“You have to release me blue thing.” The black Hylexan said. “It is my will that controls the ship. Only I can summon up the weapons we need.”

“You’re lying.”

“Fine stay here and wait for that monster to eat us.”

The Hylexan’s taunt was followed by another crashing sound and then a roar.

Florence had to do something, but she didn’t know what. She could still hold the two underlings as hostages, but she wasn’t sure if the Hylexans would care.

There was seemingly no way out.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

The Circus Master: An Eye For An Eye: Part 1: The Lost City

 

Sorry for the delay. It’s been a busy week thanks to starting a new job. (Which is going really well.) Doctor Who will be back tomorrow, whilst Professor Fang will be up on either Sunday or Monday.

It had only been a few days from the Circus Folk’s perspective since they had left Victorian London. Carlene had done all she could to try and get to know her new team mates in the meantime. Carlene found Florence to be the easiest to get along with. She and Carlene naturally had a lot in common, having both been turned into Vampires at such a young age, though Florence found Carlene’s somewhat coarse language and behavior quite off putting. She hated Carlene’s smoking habit in particular. Keptis generally tended to ignore Carlene’s attempts to get to know him and keep to himself. She didn’t expect much more to be fair, given his hatred of Vampires.

Denika meanwhile was absorbed in her work throughout most of the journey. Unlike Keptis she wasn’t rude or short with Carlene when she tried to make conversation, but she generally tended to tell the Vampire she was too busy. It wasn’t personal. Denika was always tinkering away with her magics and trying to create new weapons and gadgets.

The Circus Master had been the most eager to talk to Carlene, but ironically she found his perpetual optimism somewhat annoying, though she wasn’t sure if it was just because he was a Vandal and her natural prejudices were kicking in. She tried not to let it bother her.

There was no point in trying to get to know the Strange Boy meanwhile. He hadn’t moved an inch the entire journey. Much like the rest of the crew, Carlene found him quite unsettling to say the least.

Unlike Carlene Ashlei had been mostly quite. Truth be told she was starting to have second thoughts.

Carlene had helped Ashlei cope with the death of brothers. The strange eccentric Vampire had been the only person who had taken Ashlei’s mind off of her troubles for even a second, but it was more than that. Carlene was the closest thing the young orphan had ever had to a mother. Ashlei was determined not to loose her. Now however the reality of what she was in for was starting to sink in for Ashlei. She had no idea where she was going next, and she really didn’t know much about any of these strange people she was with. Also what would they face next? Monsters like the ones that had killed her brothers? Or something worse. The more she thought about it, the more she thought she had been too rash in leaving what would have been a comfortable life in the mansion with Daniel behind.

Carlene did her best to try and ease the culture shock for the young girl. She even showed Ashlei how to work the computer game system on the Tent. Ashlei at first thought it was magic, and she was even frightened of some of the strange creatures she saw on the screen. Still Carlene assured her that it was quite safe, and it soon became practically all Ashlei did on the long journey. Carlene would also try to teach Ashlei how to fight as well. Ashlei seemed to do quite well with weapons, though she struggled more with hand to hand combat.

“Ah good. We’ve landed. It seemed to take longer this time than usual.” The Circus Master said as he jumped out of his chair excitedly. “We must have landed on the furthest edges of our galaxy. Oh don’t worry about the atmosphere. This tent’s magics alters your body to be able to survive in any atmosphere on any planet. You won’t choke or get crushed or anything like that” he said to Carlene and Ashlei. “However” the Circus Master continued as he reached into a box at the end of the room which contained purple pills.

“You’ll need to take these if you want to have any chance of understanding people. Even on the same planet there are often dozens and dozens of languages. Imagine how many there must across the entire universe. No one, not even an immortal like me would have the time for that. This handy little invention from I believe the planet thracos in the 18th century will translate whatever you say, and whatever anyone says to you for a 48 hour period.”

The Circus Master and the others stared into the fountain. They saw what looked like an absolutely beautiful city from a society clearly well in advance of the planet they had just left.

Its inhabitants were humanoid, though they all had golden skin with flame red hair. The golden humanoids looked scared, frantic and desperate. The Circus Folk soon saw why. Several hundred strange tentacled aliens started to descend on the city from the pitch black sky. The creatures were amorphous in shape and glowed bright blue. Tentacles appeared to be able to emerge from any part of the monsters bodies, and retract back into them just as quickly. Each tentacle was capable of stretching out over 80 feet.

The tentacled beasts took very few prisoners. Most of the humanoids they caught. Man, woman, or child, they butchered. They appeared to electrocute their victims with their tentacles, though they also tore several of the humanoids apart, smashed others off of buildings and impaled others through the chest.

All of the team, except for the Circus Master team looked away in disgust. By the time the strange octopoid alien creatures had finished there was nothing left of the city and only a few of the humanoids left. The next vision showed the few survivors trapped in a magical bubble of some kind, screaming in agony.

“Horrifying. To see an entire people be wiped out like that. Even just in a vision” Florence said.

“Well that’s what we’re hear to stop.” The Circus Master said confidently as he prepared to open the doors, though not without some bravado first much to the annoyance of Keptis. The Circus Master always loved to make it a big grand moment the first time the team set foot on a new world, or time. It was even more special now with the teams two new recruits.

Once he opened the doors however the sight that greeted the time travelers was a desolate wasteland, filled with corpses of strange animals and people. The life forms had clearly been killed by a fire storm of some kind. Their bodies were all burnt to a crisp. The sky was pitch black, though it didn’t look as though it was actually night time.

Instead a black smog smothered the sky and filled the air, giving it a foul stench, and despairing look.

“I was hoping it might be a better place for your first visit. Maybe London in the swinging 60s, or Venus, god I love Venus.” the Circus Master said shaking his head.

The earth of the planet felt burning hot. Ashlei was the most affected as she wasn’t used to these types of conditions. At one point Carlene even offered to carry her as they trekked through the dark forboding desert, but Ashlei refused. If she was going to be part of the team, then she felt she couldn’t afford to be the weak link.

Ashlei looked back at the Circus which even in this miserable, pitch black terrain still stood out as colourful. Like a tiny little gem in a sea of coal.

Carlene meanwhile was too busy looking at the strange corpses around them. “I’ve never seen Demons like these before.” She said.

“That’s because they are not Demons.” Said the Circus Master. “They are aliens. Trust me I can sense a Demon. I basically am one remember. This is not your world Carlene. I don’t know what world it is. I didn’t recognise either species in the vision. I can’t imagine there are any survivors? Yet the vision showed us a city we’re supposed to save?”

The Circus Master looked down at one particular corpse. It had a humanoid shape, though its body was too burned for him to get any idea what the creature looked like.

“Poor soul” The Circus Master said with regret “Though I don’t know maybe he was a monster. Still” he said as he looked up at the smog covered sky. “It seems they were the victims of a greater monster.”

The Circus Master turned to face his team. “Whatever the case I think we can all agree that we want to get off this planet as soon as possible. We’ll find what we were looking for a lot faster if we split up into two groups. Denika, Ashlei and Carlene you come with me. Florence and Keptis. You take the Strange Boy.”

Keptis rolled his eyes “Why do you never take the Strange Boy?” “Well you know how it is between Vampires and Vandals. We generally don’t get on” replied the Circus Master.

“Carlene’s a Vampire?” Keptis responded.

“Well they’re our two new recruits so I want to see how they get on” The Circus Master said as he hurriedly pushed Carlene and Ashlei ahead of him.

Even after the Circus Master was gone Keptis still moaned about having to look after the Strange Boy again.

“I don’t exactly get along with Vampires either” he said frowning.

“Well maybe this experience will help you get over some of your prejudices” Florence said back.

The two groups spent roughly half an hour searching through the wilderness of this strange seemingly dead world. All they found were more bodies though there were also what looked like the remains of strange vehicles too. The Circus Master tried to examine one of them, but it was too badly damaged for him to figure out how it functioned.

Ashlei was tired and her feet were burning and so she sat down on a nearby rock. It was scorching to touch, and she jumped up when she first sat on it, but it was still better than being on her feet.

Carlene and Ashlei were jealous of Denika who was circling above them and not having to walk on the scorched earth.

The Circus Master meanwhile was distracted by what was the only living creature they had seen on the planet. It was a small furry creature, no larger than a wolf with pincer like forearms, six pincer like legs, and a long, spikey tail. It a small face with 8 black eyes and 4 sets of teeth.

It was clearly on the level of an animal and nothing more than a scavenger, feasting on the endless corpses. It looked weak and sickly however, but it was not alone. A further six similar creatures began to hover around the carcass, before a larger one, roughly the size of a bear emerged from just over the hill. It was clearly the mother of the pack. The Circus Master made sure not to make any noise. Though they appeared to be scavengers he didn’t want to risk it in case they wanted live meat.

Whilst they were alone Carlene felt she had to try and talk to Ashlei about her brothers. Ashlei practically hadn’t said a word about either of them since it happened.

“Its not what you expected is it Ashlei”? Carlene said in a dry tone.

“Well you know it is only our first journey. I did hope there wouldn’t be quite so many dead bodies mind you”. Ashlei said with regret.

“Well like you said its our first journey” Carlene replied. A few more moments of awkward silence passed before Ashlei finally talked about what it was that was really bothering Ashlei.

“I know you’re thinking about your brothers Ashlei. You’ve said you don’t want to talk about it, and I understand. You’re not ready to accept that the person you love is gone yet. But you’re here among friends.”

Ashlei spoke, struggling to hold back the tears. “All this time the horror of what happened to them both has distracted me from the fact that I’m never going to see them again. I miss them Carlene. Every day when I wake up I. ” She couldn’t go on any longer.

“I know Ashlei. You’ll never stop missing them. Still the memory of either won’t always be unhappy. In years to come you’ll be able to put it in perspective. The loss will always hurt, but you’ll be able to think back on the happy times you had and feel lucky that you had those people in your life.”

Ashlei felt somewhat comforted by Carlene’s words. “Thank you Carlene. I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to you.” Ashlei said with a slight smile.

“You’d cope. You’re stronger than you think Ashlei. I know you don’t think that about yourself, but here you are. You’re doing what no one else from your time has ever done. You’re on the frontier of discovery. Another world, with its own people. Again its just a shame that it had to be this planet.”

Denika meanwhile had been flying across the nearby area searching for signs of life and just her own amusement. She loved to use her magics as often as possible. In the distance however Denika noticed something. It was a tiny orange light that pierced the darkness. It looked like a flare at first, but as it drew closer, Denika could see that it was much larger. It was in fact some kind of strange magical craft made of fire!

Denika shouted to the others to warn them, but most as soon as she did the craft fired a large bolt of fire at Ashlei and Carlene. Fortunately Carlene’s Vampiric reflexes allowed her to push Ashlei out of the way in time. The ship would fire several more bolts of fire at Carlene and Ashlei, but the Vampire managed to dodge them each time.

Denika fired an energy beam at the ship which caused the flame to turn blue for a few seconds, but otherwise didn’t appear to affect it.

“I’ll draw it away” Denika shouted as she flew towards the ship and fired more blasts at it. The ship however simply absorbed them before firing a massive energy beam that enveloped Denika.

Denika tried to break free, but the forcefield was strong. As she was pulled closer Denika could see a small hatch start to appear in the flaming vehicle. A bright light shone from the hatch that made it almost impossible to see what was inside. However several red tentacles soon began to spread out from the light and poked their way through the forcefield. One of them wrapped itself around Denika’s arm. The pain shot through her entire body. Had it not been for her magical constitution the pain would have most likely killed her!

The pain however pushed Denika to summon up a magical blast strong enough to shatter the forcefield and sever all of the red tentacles grabbing or reaching out for her.

The blast had completely drained Denika’s power for a few moments however to the point where she wasn’t able to even fly. She fell over 80 feet from the ship, with no magic to protect her, towards several jagged rocks!

Fortunately Carlene, jumping through the air was able to catch Denika several feet before she fell on the rocks.

“Thanks” Denika said as her power quickly returned. “I need to draw it away from here” she continued before flying through the air and blasting the ship and drawing it away.

Unfortunately however the flaming ship’s attacks had alerted the scavengers. They all turned around and instantly spotted the Circus Master. The children hissed excitedly whilst the mother suddenly spread two gigantic, reptillian looking wings out of her back.

She flew into the air at a lightening speed. Despite her hulking frame the monster was very quick. The children it seemed had not grown their wings yet, but they were still able to scurry quite quickly towards the Circus Master, Carlene and Ashlei and surround them whilst the mother circled above.

The monsters were salivating with hunger. Carlene pulled an electric sword from her beehive. Carlene had found the weapon on the Circus Tent which had been fashioned in the 22nd century. The Circus Master meanwhile unsheathed his claws. He was confident that he wouldn’t need a weapon.

The monsters were all hesitant to strike at the 3 time travelers. The scavengers had never seen anything like them before, but the lure of fresh meat was just too strong for the beasts.

Ashlei was the first to strike at one of them who got too close. She prodded it with her sword which sent the beast scurrying back. Two more monsters got angry and started to attack. The Circus Master, standing in front of his two colleagues unsheathed his claws and scratched at the aliens coming near him.

Unfortunately however whilst they were too busy focusing on the children, the mother swooped down and was able to snatch Carlene.

Whilst the Circus Master was distracted one of the children was able to jump him. Ashlei started swinging her sword around blindly to ward off the other scavengers, but one of them managed to knock the sword out of her hand with a swing of its tail. Another swing sent Ashlei crashing face first into the hot earth.

The scavenger grabbed Ashlei’s foot and pulled her away from the Circus Master. Ashlei tried to grab onto the ground but it was so hot she let go. However she managed to hold on to a piece of burning hot earth which she threw in the scavengers face causing it to let go of her foot as it staggered back in pain.

Ashlei immediately went back to her sword and started slashing the creatures again warding them off. The Circus Master meanwhile managed to overpower his scavenger and picked it up with both hands, lifting it above his head. The Circus Master threw the beast above Ashlei and into the scavengers behind her, which sent them all tumbling backwards.

The Circus Master then grabbed Ashlei by the hand and sped off in the direction the monster had taken Carlene.

The two soon saw that their fellow time traveler had overpowered the queen of the nest. The Queen was lying on the floor, knocked out cold, whilst Carlene was just dusting the burning ash off of her top.

“What did you do to him? said a puzzled but delighted Ashlei. “I hit her in the face. That normally seems to work.” She joked. “I’m a lot stronger than I look remember.”

Just then however the scavengers began to swarm the time travelers again. As they all prepared to fight the monsters off, the monsters suddenly ran towards their mother and began to tear her flesh off her bones.

She was helpless now, and they could sense it. The Circus Master, Carlene, and Ashlei looked away in disgust. “Well I suppose its all very Darwinian in a way, if a little disgusting” said the Circus Master as he winced.

Denika had continued to evade the flaming ship, dodging its attacks, keeping ahead of the vehicle, but she couldn’t keep it up for much longer.

In the distance Denika saw a gigantic mountain. Maybe if she could phase through it? Denika had only done it once before, and it would take a long of power to not only phase, but to maintain it. Still it seemed like her best bet and she flew through the rock. The flaming vessel stopped in its tracks for a few seconds. Even it had never seen magics like this. Inside the rock Denika struggled to remain transparrant. If she gave up for even a second, she would be incased in solid rock.

The flaming ship started to blow the mountain apart and Denika quickly hid behind a large flaming boulder. The ship searched the rubble for a few minutes before speeding off in the other direction.

The Circus Master, Carlene and Ashlei quickly ran to the rubble of the mountain.

“The ship belonged to the monsters we saw in the vision” Denika said as she flew in front of her fellow time travelers.

” When they almost pulled me in I saw several tentacles try to grab me. Their magics are strong.”

“I thought as much. This planet clearly wasn’t destroyed through natural means. The foul odor of dark magic is still in the air.” The Circus Master said. “Come we need to find any survivors before they do.”

The foursome trekked through the wasteland for another half an hour, finding nothing but more corpses and bits of rubble. Over the next hill however there was nothing. The earth was still as dark and scorched as it was elsewhere however. “Strange” said The Circus Master. “I wonder why there are no bodies here? Either this wasn’t a populated area or”.

“Or what” said a scared Ashlei. “There’s some giant, fat, greedy monster out there that’s eaten everything, dead or alive in this entire area and we’ve just wandered haplessly into its nest?”

The Circus Master rubbed his neck somewhat nervously. “Well that does seem to be the likely option, but its best to keep a low profile no matter what.”

“And how do we do that? We’re in the middle of a desert” said Carlene. Just then the four time travelers suddenly heard a massive shriek.

As they looked up, they could see a gigantic, winger, reptillian beast hovering in the sky, its eyes fixated on the four, strange aliens.

The monster looked somewhat like a Pterodactyl. It was a reddish brown in colour, had a long beak like mouth full of sharp, yet jagged, and in some cases broken teeth. Its massive talons also looked burnt and decaying too. The beast overall was thin, covered in burns and looked weak.

However its massive size still made it a truly intimidating sight. The monsters wingspan was over 80 feet. It dwarfed even the mightiest Pterosaurs on earth, and was bigger than a small plane.

Denika tried to fire a magical energy beam at the monster but it was able to swerve the blast and quickly grabbed the Witch in its talons.

Ashlei however was able to jab the monster with her electric sword. She only got it for a second, but it was on one of its rotten, broken toes. The monster roared in agony, and whilst it was distracted, Denika used her magic to blast it back into the sky.

The monster went tumbling back through the air, but it didn’t take long for the beast to gain its balance in the air again and start circling Ashlei, Carlene and the Circus Master, whilst dodging more blasts from Denika.

The Circus Master shouted at the monster to come to him, assuring Carlene and Ashlei that he knew what he was doing.

The winged beast chased the Circus Master across the black desert and though he was able to keep ahead of the monster for a long time it eventually caught up to him.

It grabbed the Vandal in its talons and started to lift him in the air. However once it had lifted him a good distance above the ground, the Circus Master stabbed his claws into the monsters toe. It released him in pain, but the Circus Master held onto its toe and quickly jumped onto the monsters back, and quickly stabbed his claws into the beasts spine, it managed to flip him off, however the Circus Master managed to dig his claws into its right wing as he fell and it tore a large chunk of flesh off.

The Circus Master went plummeting to the ground, but he survived the fall easily due to his Vandal constitution.

The monster meanwhile unable to keep flying with its torn wing also went crashing to the ground.

“I told you I could deal with it. I know we’re the aliens on his planet, but he tried to eat us so I’d say he was fair game.” The Circus Master said to his team mates as they helped him up.

The monster had clearly broken many of its bones in the fall. It struggled to even move, but it was still able to scream.

The Circus Master went over to put the beast out of its misery, but as he got near the monster, the earth started to shake so much so that The Circus Master and the others were thrown off of their feet.

Just then a gigantic snake like monster, so huge it dwarfed the winged beast came bursting out of the ground, behind the crippled winged terror.

The creature was at least over 500 feet long. Its skin was bright purple, with yellow spots, and a massive green sail running down its back. It had a single green eye, with a red pupil. The monsters mouth was locked in the form of a hideous grin,. Its gigantic teeth were almost too big to fit in its mouth.

The monster opened its jaws and with one scoop it swallowed the winged monster in one bite before disappearing beneath the ground again.

The shaking started again however, and this time a smaller snake like creature, though still over 50 feet long emerged from the ground in front of the Circus Master, Ashlei, Carlene and a hovering Denika.

The monster darted at them and would have eaten Ashlei had the Circus Master not been faster and managed to push her out of the way.

Denika used her magics to create a circular barrier around herself and the others. She tried to fly out of reach, but several more monsters came bursting out of the ground and started to hit the forcefield. The field held off the monsters who struck at them several more times. Each time the field was hit, Denika was hurt however. One strike from one of the larger monsters sent the bubble tumbling below the ground into the dark caverns.

It was so dark below, the Denika could barely see ahead. She as forced to pilot her sphere blindly through the pit, trying to avoid any monsters.

Just then one of the monsters, larger than the first, came bursting through the darkness from below and engulfed the three time travelers with one bite.

The sphere passed down the beasts throat and into its stomach. The monsters digestive acids slowly began to eat away at the force field, weakening Denika further.

However having taken so many batterings the force field was now cracking. As they floated through the monsters digestive acids, they bumped into bits of rotting flesh, and even the severed head of another strange creature. The head whose flesh had almost all melted off, had two massive horns on the back of its head, and two more above its eyes. It also had a long horn on the tip of its snout, with several shorter horns running down to the back of its head. It also had three sets of long, curved, razor sharp teeth set deeply into its skull. The overall shape of the beasts head was similar somewhat to that of a large therapod Dinosaur.

Ashlei screamed as the acid began to peer through the sphere in small drips. One drop hit Ashlei and burned her skin causing her to jump into Carlene’s arms.

Even the Circus Master himself began to panic. “It can’t end like this. Surely?” He said to himself quietly. Denika meanwhile who was almost completely exhausted suddenly rose up and performed a magical blast. Doing so whilst still holding the crumbling bubble together.

It was only a small blast with very little power, and did no lasting damage to the monster, but because the blast was in its stomach, it was enough affect the monsters stomach lining which Denika was hoping for. The monster vomited the sphere up (along with countless bones, skulls and fragments of its other unfortunate victims.)

The sphere went plummeting in a sea of green vomit down the abyss, with the time travelers all holding on to each other and screaming. Denika however using her last ounce of strength pushed the sphere out of the vomit, though it still fell to the bottom of the ground where it smashed to pieces instantly, sending, Ashlei, Denika, Carlene and The Circus Master flying in different directions.

Pieces of rubble were still falling everywhere around them, and the Circus Master was barely able to dodge a massive boulder that nearly crushed him!

Carlene meanwhile ran towards Denika who had been knocked completely unconscious by the strain of the magics. She tried to rouse her, but Denika was completely out of it. Carlene hoisted Denika up over her shoulder and ran.

The Circus Master meanwhile, acting quickly was able to stop a small snake monster  (still about 45 feet long) from devouring both Ashlei and Carlene. He only noticed the monster despite its size until it was looming over Ashlei and Carlene due to the darkness of the cave! Wasting no time, the Circus Master grabbed the large boulder that had almost crushed him and hurled at the Snake monster sending it flying back through the air.

The time travelers ran head in blind panic. They could barely even see where they were going it was so dark, and the sound of the monsters screaming was deafening.

They suddenly reached the edge of a cliff, where several hundred feet below they could see a massive city, similar to the one they had seen in their vision.

“How do we get there?” Ashlei asked.

“We jump” the Circus Master said.

Before Ashlei could even ask what he went, the Circus Master grabbed her and jumped over the edge of the cliff alongside Carlene who was carrying Denika.

Once they reached the bottom of the cliff near the city, The Circus Master, Carlene and Ashlei saw to their horror hundreds of giant snake monsters flying through the air. The light from the city allowed them to see above more clearly now. The biggest were over 700 feet long! They were swirling around snapping and biting at each other.

The three ran towards the city, with the snakes not noticing them as they were too busy fighting with each other.

Once they reached the city however, they found that they couldn’t get within 5 feet of. A mysterious barrier was preventing anyone from going any further.

“In a planet this nasty you’d have to have some kind of force field. Question is how do we get through it?” The Circus Master

Ashlei could see several more snakes, hovering in the air above them. “I don’t know but please figure it out quickly!”

Just then a massive green spotlight shone from the tallest tower in the city and landed squarely on Carlene, the Circus Master and Ashlei.

They all paniced as the light had surely brought them to the attention of all of the snakes, and for a moment the monsters, all of them, regardless of size, looked as though they were about to pounce on the foursome.

Instead however a hover craft came flying out of the city. It was yellow in colour, triangular in shape and had a strange blue glow coming beneath it, not unlike the one from the city.

The craft was completely smooth with no designs or markings on it whatsoever. As the ship zeroed in on the the Circus Master and the others the Snakes stopped in their tracks. They didn’t seem scared of the craft. Instead these unspeakable monstrosities seemed suddenly seemed more like a litter of puppies anxiously awaiting their masters commands.

The top half of the craft opened up, revealing three golden humanoids, just like the ones they saw in their vision, There didn’t appear to be anything else in the craft, including even controls of any kind.

The humanoids circled the three time travelers whilst holding their strange looking weapons for a few minutes before the Circus Master spoke.

“You know you’re never going to get anywhere if you don’t ask us questions? said the Circus Master in a dry tone.

The aliens were a little taken aback. The male spoke in a voice that sounded, in contrast to the creatures appearance, thick and rough.

“How can you speak our language?” said the creature. “You don’t resemble any of the life forms we’ve colonised, or even any of the known life forms from the 7 Galaxies? You’re with them aren’t you?” He began to shout. “You’ve come to spy on us! Tell me how did you find us?”

The Circus Master did his best to try and diffuse the situation. “I don’t know what’s going on on this planet. We’re just travelers. We mean you no harm.”

“Right” sneered the alien. “You’re just a simple traveler who managed to stumble into the middle of an intergalactic war, and then survived an encounter with the Lystegrias? We should feed you to them.”

“No” interrupted one of the females “We’ll take them in for questioning. Find out what they’re doing here. They’ll wish our little pets had eaten them.” She said with a sadistic smile.

Whilst the male alien wasn’t looking, the Circus Master was able to kick the gun out of his hand with his Vandal speed. As he reached down to grab it, the other two alien women instantly fired several times on the Circus Master. The laser beams from their guns cut several holes in the Circus Master but did not otherwise deter him and they quickly healed.

“I knew it” said the male. “You have magic. You are with them!” The Circus Master picked up the gun and aimed it at the three aliens. “You can’t kill me, but I can easily kill all three of you. Even without this” he said as he unsheathed the claws on his other hand.

The two females dropped their guns. “What do you want from us?” said the male.

“I want to know the history of this planet. Who are you? What happened here? With monsters like those as your pets, who could possibly terrify you to the point where you’re living underground and ready to shoot anything that moves? We’re hear to help you.”

The aliens seemed a little perplexed by the Circus Masters questions.  They felt sure he was a spy for their enemies.

“You know our history. We were once the greatest civilisation until you freaks tore it apart. Go on kill us. I’d rather die now than see my people burn.”

As the male spat back at the Circus Master, Denika finally began to rouse from his slumber.

Carlene tended to her. “Thank god. I was getting worried there that you were never going to wake up.”

Whilst the Circus Master was arguing with the aliens, trying to convince them that he wasn’t a spy, Ashlei noticed another 6 yellow crafts descending from the city towards them.

She tried to alert the Circus Master, but he cut her off each time as he was too busy arguing. It was only when the male alien started laughing that the Circus Master turned around and saw what was waiting for him.

Whilst the Circus Master was distracted, the male alien rushed him. Carlene meanwhile pushed the drained Denika and Ashlei behind her and started to fight off several of the aliens. The aliens strength was no match for that of a Vandal, and the Circus Master tossed him away effortlessly. However the alien did manage to knock the gun out of The Circus Masters hand, and whilst he was busy fighting the male alien off, who attempted to rush the Vandal again, the two female aliens quickly grabbed their two guns and then grabbed Ashlei and the weakened Denika.

The two female aliens called out to the Circus Master, with their guns aimed firmly at Ashlei and Denika’s heads.

“We know you are laser proof, but are your friends?”

With no choice the Circus Master got on his knees and put his hands behind his head as the 6 other crafts landed around them..

“Well” said the leader of the group. “Rather strange looking aliens. I don’t care what little magic tricks you have. You’re outnumbered. You will tell us what we want or you will suffer. Trust me. We were once the dominant force in this galaxy. We know how to force people to do what we want.

To Be Continued