The Strange Boy couldn’t control his violent urges any longer. The Vampire had spent several life times fighting the Demon within him, but now thanks to the Kardons influence and the danger to his friends, he finally gave in.
Ashlei tried to hold the Vampire back, but it was no use. The Strange boy reached out to the nearest Rysteian that had cornered the two time travellers against a wall, and sunk his fangs into its neck.
The Rysteian tried to pull away, but when he did, he lost a massive chunk of flesh from his neck. The Rysteian collapsed dead in front of the terrified crowd who all backed away in fear.
The Strange Boy however leapt from Ashlei’s arms and stood in front of the crowd, snarling, roaring and spitting blood.
Keptis meanwhile after struggling free from the Rysteans who were holding him back, instantly froze when he saw the Strange Boy standing before the crowd.
The Martian much like the rest of the Circus Folk, knew virtually nothing about who the Strange Boy really was. How could he when the Vampire child never even spoke. Still even Keptis could see that it wasn’t the Strange Boy anymore. There was nothing but bloodlust and rage on the Demon child’s face.
The Strange Boy grabbed a nearby female Rysteian’s hand and sunk his fangs into her flesh. He bit so hard his teeth went straight through her bone, before tearing a massive amount of flesh and bone off.
The female collapsed from the bloodloss into her husbands arms. As several more Rysteians prepared to circle the Strange Boy however, the room suddenly began to shake.
Carlene meanwhile pushed the rubble off, and jumped to her feet, with the Rysteians who had surrounded her having been distracted by the commotion with the Strange Boy. Carlene quickly jumped over her former attackers to Keptis and grabbed the Martian, before jumping to the Strange Boy was.
Carlene and Keptis both tried to restrain the child, but it tossed them to either side before renewing its attack on the frightened Rysteians.
Kile meanwhile pushed her way past the other Rysteans and started to shoot at the Strange Boy. She was consumed with hatred for the Circus Folk to the point where she didn’t care about anything but making them pay. Even the Kardons hadn’t inspired such raw hatred in the Rysteian soldier as these strange visitors.
Kile fired relentlessly at the Vampire child, but it simply hopped towards her on both feet and slashed her gun in two. It then grabbed her by the arm, and before she could react hurled Kile to the floor. The Jiang Shi then jumped on Kile, pinning her to the ground and sunk its fangs deep into her throat. Carlene, aided by several more Rysteans was able to pull the young Vampire off of Kile. Again Carlene tried to restrain the Demon child, but he jumped out of her grasp and hopped across the room, with Keptis in pursuit.
Carlene meanwhile tended to Kile. Her wounds were fatal, but Carlene hoped she could make her last few moments comfortable. Even in her death throes however, Kile refused any help from the Circus Folk.
“I’m not falling for your tricks.” Kile said as she coughed up her own blood. “You’re disgusting, evil monsters” she managed to say before spitting her blood in Carlene’s face in a final act of spite.
Carlene froze for a second. The sensation of fresh blood, even of these creatures on her face was almost too much to bare, but she managed to compose herself and wipe the blood from her face.
She looked round at the other Rysteians, all of whom looked at her more in confusion than hatred or fear.
“Please” she said. “Don’t make te same mistake that Kile did, we’re all in this.” A gigantic tentacle suddenly came smashing through the wall and crushed several Rysteians. Carlene instantly ran to their aid, but the tentacle, almost sensing there was something special about Carlene wrapped itself around her. More tentacles came bursting through the floors and walls of the base, impaling and crushing more Rysteans along the way.
Carlene tried to break free, but the tentacle wrapped itself around her arms and started to tighten like a snake. The force it was applying would have been enough to snap a human body in half several times over.
Outside The Circus Master and Denika’s pod had been ensnared by one of the gigantic Demonic, Octopus like creatures mere seconds after leaving the base. Denika tried to blast it away with her magic, but the Demon was too strong and it started to crush the ship slowly.
As the walls and floor began to close in, Denika tried to push them back with her magic. The Circus Master tried to push them back with his strength too, but he soon realised that it would do no good and instead started to tear a hole in the floor.
The Circus Master swam underneath the ship and round onto the Octopus’ back, which he dug his talons into. The monster didn’t even flinch at first, but eventually it couldn’t take it anymore, as the Circus Master continued to slash and slash at the beast, tearing massive chunks out of its back in the process. The monster hurled the sub across the water and turned to face the tiny Vandal behind it. Its tentacles opened wide, completely surrounding the Circus Master. Fortunately however Denika quickly rammed the sub into the back of the Octopus creature, sending it hurling into the base.
The Circus Master then swam back into the ship, but just as Denika prepared to take it away, hordes of Ishica started to appear. Denika still plowed through them, using her magics to blast any of the unholy monsters that tried to grab onto the pod.
Just as she got free of the Ishica, several more Octopus like creatures started to emerge from the depths.
Denika froze in terror for a moment, with not even the Circus Master knowing what to do at first, Without any other options, Denika plowed into the Octopus that was advancing towards the two time travellers.
Denika’s gambit paid off as the Demon was caught completely off guard, and using the pod Denika smashed one of the giants into the one behind.
As the pod pulled clear however it was stopped in its tracks. Denika tried to move it with her magics, but the Circus Master knew it was pointless. All of the Demons outside had stopped, and that could mean only one thing.
Both the Circus Master and Denika looked up to see the hideous face of one of the Kardons that had caught their miniscule pod in its grasp.
On the inside of the base meanwhile several Ishica had broken their way in through the holes created by the giant Octopus creature. The Demons were hoping to snatch any last Rysteians they could before the Kardons arrived.
Keptis did his best to try and hold them off, as did other Rysteian men and women, but the monsters were too numerous, and even Keptis had no real means of holding them off.
The Strange Boy was at least initially more focused on attacking the Rysteians, but he soon got into a tussle with one of the Ishica that tried to restrain the child Vampire.
Ashlei meanwhile came to Carlene’s aid. She stabbed a large sharp piece of rubble through the tentacle that was wrapped around Carlene causing it to release her. Carlene then pulled several silver knives out of her beehive and hurled them at the 6 Ishica’s in the room’s hearts, killing them stone dead. She then pulled another piece of enchanted paper from her beehive to use against the Strange Boy. With Keptis and several more Rysteians help she was able to place it on the boy’s forehead, stopping him in his tracks.
Ashlei and several more Rysteians meanwhile tried to hold off the Demonic tentacles as best they could, but several more Rysteans were impaled and Ashlei herself was nearly struck down until Keptis managed to push her out of the way to safety.
“This changes nothing do you understand.” Keptis said coldly to Ashlei.
By this stage Florence’s face had repaired itself and she was able to use her voice to calm the frantic crowd, whilst Carlene, Keptis and Ashlei continued to try and hold off the tentacles together.
“We can’t get out this way, there are too many Demons. Is there another exit” Florence asked the terrified crowd.
“No”. Mascia said.”These are the only escape pods. We are finished.”
Just then the entire building began to shake and the roof was ripped open, revealing the all too familiar and gruesome sight of the Kardons above. The Kardons started to turn several of the Rysteians below into Ishica.
As Mascia began to turn he grabbed onto Carlene and begged her to help.
“Please, please don’t let me become one of those things.”
“The only thing I can do is kill you.” Carlene said.
“Then do it, do it now.” Mascia pleaded.
Carlene pulled another silver knife from her beehive and prepared to strike, but before she could another one of the tentacles grabbed her and pulled her up to the Kardons. Carlene tried to throw her knife down at the Mascia’s heart, but she was too late.
Mascia had already turned and the first thing he did was attack a young female Rysteian whose throat he tore out.
The rest of the Ishica surrounded the Circus Folk and brought them to their Kardon masters.
“It was always going to end like this.” One of the Kardons taunted. “You strangers thought you could seal us into the hell we created. Now you will suffer.”
The Kardons brought the Circus folk to face their leader, Garishikar who had arrived just outside the base, surrounded by a sea of hundreds of thousands of hideous Demons.
“Interesting.” The gigantic Demon king said.
“I can detect all kinds of magics and enchantments from other worlds, galaxies, even dimensions all over this band of freaks. They are not of this world or time. Some of their magics are unfamiliar even for me. Fascinating. Still I’ll have time to figure out what they are after they have freed us. If they can get in, they can get us out.”
“We might have had our differences recently, but I think I speak for all of the Circus Folk when I say that we will never help you escape.”
“You have no ideas the agonies I can dream up for you.”
“Believe me I do. I know all about what your kind are capable of. Which is why I’ll never let you loose into the world.”
“What about the Rysteians? The race you condemned to suffer with us? What if I torture them in front of you, one by one. Will you really just sit back.”
“You’ll torture them anyway, what difference does it make?”
“What about one of your friends.” The Demon said as Ashlei was pulled closer to the beast.
“What if I slowly burn her, and keep her alive right the way through the fire until the end, then I’ll bring her back and keep doing it again and again. Will you just sit back and watch?.”
“Please” Carlene shouted out.
“Like I said, it doesn’t make a difference.” The Circus Master said over Carlene’s pleas. As soon as Ashlei started to scream however, the Circus Master instantly gave in.
“Okay, okay I’ll take you to our craft.” The Circus Master said.
“What a pathetic waste of time. You’re spineless, all of you.” Garishikar taunted.
Whilst Garishikar left with the Circus Folk, the rest of the Kardons and their Demonic minions descended on the Rysteians palace. They would not kill them all as the Rysteians were their only form of amusement.
Sadly for the Rysteans the Kardons could not use them to escape. The technology that Mascia had built had taken years to aquire, and it would take even longer to replicate it.
For now it seemed the Kardons were trapped, and as a result the Rysteians were in for a much darker hell than ever before. The Kardons would be taking their frustrations out on them rather than simply their boredom.
It didn’t take Garishikar long to sense the presence of the tent. He was a little perplexed by it. It looked so weak and fragile, but he could sense among the most powerful magics he had ever experienced deep within.
“How will this free us.”
“I didn’t say it would free you. It will free us.”
“You would dare.”
“Yes I would. You said you can sense the magics inside of us? What else can you sense. Go on.”
Garishikar had felt the presence of the father of the Kardon’s Khastran among the Circus Folk from the start, but he refused to believe it. He couldn’t. He was as scared of Khastran as the Rysteians were of him!
He was sure that they couldn’t be in any way related to Khastran as the Circus Master and Carlene had both shown concern for Ashlei. Still now that the Circus Master was drawing it to his attention and demanding he acknowledge it, Garishikar’s nerve was beginning to break.
“What do you think Khastran will do when he finds you treating his children that way? Oh he doesn’t really care about us, but he’ll be angry at the idea of anyone daring to hurt his creations. Your hell will be much greater than even the Rysteians.”
Garishikar didn’t say anything.
“Well aren’t you going to torture me? What are you waiting for? I thought you could dream up agonies we couldn’t imagine?”
The Circus Master signalled to Denika and then called out to the other Circus Folk.
“Cover your eyes.”
Denika fired a quick magic blast of light. It obviously didn’t hurt Garishikar, but the light distracted him for just a few seconds. Denika, used her magic to clear a path through the blinding light for the Circus Folk, allowing them to make it to the Tent. Carlene carried both Ashlei who was weak after the torture, and the Strange Boy
Once inside the Circus Master prepared to take off.
“We can’t just leave them.” Ashlei protested.
“If you want to go out there and fight the Kardons be my guest. I’m sure no one here will stop you apart from Carlene. I’m getting us out now before that monster can use this ship to escape.”
Just as the tent prepared to take off however, Garishikar grabbed it with both hands. He actually managed to hold it in place, while the power from the vortex itself pulled and pulled.
The inside of the ship began to break apart and catch fire.
“That fool” The Circus Master screamed.
“He’ll rip a hole in the fabric of time.” The Circus Master started to use the emergency supplies, whilst Denika fired as much magic as she could into the machine’s console.
“You will not escape.” Garishikar screamed. “I have waited too long. No one, not even Khastran will keep me here.”
Within a matter of seconds however the Tent exploded into a ball of fire. Garishikar was completely unfazed by the flames that quickly vanished into smoke.
He wasn’t sure if the time travellers had escape or simply burned up. It seemed far more likely the latter.
Either way the Demon had lost his only chance at escape. It was all because of his cowardice. Had he not let his fear of Khastran cloud his judgement, then they would never have escaped.
He would have to live with his weakness in this dank hell forever now. How long would it be before his followers would realise how weak he was. In many ways his future was just as bleak as the Rysteians.
The Curse of the Robots