“It’s catch twenty two,” Thunderbird said.
“Hey, how strong is this thing?” Robbit asked, snatching the box away from Sainta and shaking it. “Maybe we could smash it open.”
“It looks unbreakable,” Paradox said. “So let’s stave in this mofo!”
“Misterbiz, how about a wack with your sword?” Robbit set the box down in the snow.
Pulling out a blade and grinning like a maniac, Misterbiz did a double summersault and brought his weapon down hard on the box.
“Show off,” muttered Chinaren, still sitting in the snow.
“My sword!” screeched Misterbiz, as the finely honed metal snapped clean off and flew through the air, narrowly failing to decapitate Sainta. There was a sucking noise, and everyone looked on as NicTei’s left arm slowly oozed to the floor, cleanly severed by the errant blade.
“Glop glop glop!” shouted NicTei, waving his remaining arm about madly.
“Orangey!” Chinaren crawled towards the limb. “Aww!” NicTei had snatched it up, and was hugging it to his chest.
“Well, that didn’t work did it?” Robbit said, looking at the unscratched box.
“Gave us a bit of a laugh though,” said Sainta.
“How about we drop it from a great height?” asked Thunderbird.
“The Overlord’s tower is highest,” said Silme.
“Too many RLemlings around it,” Perry said.
“The Traditional Tower is nearly as tall,” Sainta pointed out.
“Let’s go then,” said Robbit, scooping the box up again. “Come on, one of my tunnels is nearby.”
“Are these tunnels under all of Tome?” asked Elsza, looking at the finely carved wall.
“I’ve been here a long time,” Robbit replied. “And I tend to dig for Inspiratium when I need it. As you can see, I need quite a lot. Also I enjoy it. Unfortunately I dug one area a bit too much a while back, and the whole area fell in.”
“So that’s what happened to Spam street,” Sainta said.
“Glorp,” added NicTei.
“I thought so too,” Sainta replied.
“Here we go, this is the nearest exit to the TT.” Robbit stopped and pushed a slab out of the way in the ceiling above. She peered out, then ducked back down. “There’s a lot of those gremlin things here too. Luckily they all seem to be looking the other way, so we may be able to sneak in.”
“I’ll lead the way,” Sainta said. “As the ex-mod of this area I can get the door open faster.”
“Okay, let’s move then,” Robbit said. “If we’re quiet they might not notice us.”
With Sainta going first, they climbed out, emerging near a wall close to the looming bulk of one of the oldest buildings in Tome, the Traditional Tower.
A large group of the colorful RLEmingls mulled about halfway down the street, apparently just hanging about. As they crept along, they noticed that the odd fight broke out between individuals.
“They’re a bit energetic aren’t they?” Chinaren asked.
“Shhh!” Elsza said, making shushing noises.
“Who are you shushing?” Chinaren retorted, waving his glass about, which was half full of purple liquid he’d extracted from somewhere. “We shouldn’t have to go creeping about our own city…”
“Shhhh!” repeated Elzsa, pointing at the RLemlings.
“Er, I think they may have heard you shushing.” Chinaren pointed at two green creatures, who had turned and were now pointing at the group.
“Run!” shouted Sainta.
They ran, and the RLemlings charged.
“It’s going… to… be… close,” Sainta said. Despite being half the height of his fellow Tomain, Chinaren somehow manage to pass him.
“Nobles first!” the orange author cried.
Sainta slammed into the door of the tower, nearly bouncing off, and desperately twisted the handle, opening the portal and then being barged aside by Chinaren. Sainta looked back as Thunderbird made it inside.
The mass of RLemglings was nearly upon them, coming hard on the heels of Elsza and Araell. All at once, Elsza slipped, causing Araell to fall on top of her.
“Go on!” Misterbiz cried, stopping and shouting to Sainta. He unsheathed his sword and turned to face the horde. “I’ll hold them off.”
“I’ll help,” said Silme, standing beside Misterbiz and drawing his own weapon.
Robbit dived inside the tower, pulling the one armed NicTei with her. Paradox, Perry and Atnas/Burning Plain were right on their heels.
“Close the door!” screamed Chinaren, as the mass of RLemings closed in. He slammed the thing shut, and then leaned against it as the creatures hit the other side all at once, screaming and snarling with frustration.
“The others!” cried Robbit, as Sainta helped to bar the door.
“Their names will be marked on our Wall of the Fallen,” Chinaren said.
“We don’t have a Wall of the Fallen,” Sainta replied.
“…as soon as it’s built,” Chinaren continued smoothly.
“What about the box now?” Paradox asked. “We can’t throw it off the top, it will land in that lot outside.”
“Hold on a moment,” Perry said. “What’s Nic got there?”
They looked at Nice, who was pulling at a thin chain from around his neck. On the end was some small stubby device.
“It’s a backup key for the box!” cried Sainta, snatching the necklace off Nic. “You had this all along! Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Glorp glorp,” said Nic.
“You forgot didn’t you?” Sainta shook his head. NicTei just wobbled.
“So, open the box then,” Robbit said.
Scowling, Sainta touched the key to the thumbpad, and the box clicked open. Instantly the room was filled with a bright orange light.
When it died down, the group looked about.
Everything looked the same, except for the figure sitting in a chair next to the door.
“Hello chaps,” they said. “We’ve been waiting for you for ages.”
“What the hell?” asked Chinaren.
To Be Continued…
So, sorry for the abrupt cut off there, but had to do it.
This story will now continue… next year! Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end.