Sandwiched in between a plant in the shape of a girl and an Illienze huntress and surrounded by a horde of bright sparkling fairies, Jide Omoyemi wondered to himself why he had the sinking feeling that confrontations like this would quickly become pretty mundane.
That and being caught in his boxers by hostile forces.
“What is going on?”
Jide anxiously whispers to the sour faced Illienze who had her daggers drawn in front of her, muscles tensing.
“I’m not sure… Maybe they smelt something that didn’t belong here.”
“Oh be serious! These…erm…”
“Wild nature Fairies, or just faries Jiji…”
“Thank you Hibee, stop joking around Sunny these nature fairies seem to want us dead.”
“I am serious. You exude this aura, this smell that just screams foreigner, intruder, invader…these fairies are especially sensitive to that. And…”
Sunny taps Jide with the tip of one of her daggers still watching the hostile crowd buzzing around them.
” You being a Gaean are about as foreign as they come. Keep still and quiet and maybe… we won’t have to fight our way out.”
Jide nodded nervously as Hibee’s fingers wrap themselves around his.
“It’ll be OK.”
Hibee whispers as she gives his hand a brief squeeze, watching the horde of fairies surrounding them.
Giving them a closer look, Jide could see that on a general level, they were kinda cute little things. Apart from the enraged expressions on their faces and the crackling of energy around their outstretched fingers they were the cutest action figures Jide had ever seen.
Why action figures? They were the exact same size as a standard one and their limbs and torso were segmented, kinda like an insect. Their skin tones varied from light blue to deep purple with bright translucent golden wings. Their antennae twitched as the various individual fairies fluttered about, dressed in nothing but one piece dresses.
” Why… You… Here?”
One with white hair and bright blue skin finally speaks out, as sparks of flame spurt out of its outstretched hands.
“We’re travelers just passing through. I am Sunny, an Illienze guide to the two behind me.”
Sunny replies while keeping a wary distance from the leader? of the group whose eyes widen in suprise.
“That I am.”
Using her magic, Sunny creates a solid block of earth in front of her, which seems to wow the fairies.
After a few moments of the faries buzzing about excitedly chattering the leader? Comes out with an expectant look on its face as the others drop their guard seemily relieved.
“Hhmmm? What is the problem that you need me for?”
Sunny asked, sheathing her blades as Jide sighed in relief and Hibee withdrew her vines.
“We…Lose…Family… Hunted…Killed… Hidden.”
The leader made a difficult face as it’s antenae drooped. Pointing at Sunny it continued.
Folding her arms and nodding her head, Sunny stares at the fairy as it pleads.
“Ok if I get what you’re saying, you want me to find the creature that’s been killing your people so that you can kill it right?”
Rubbing her forehead while sighing, Sunny slowly nodded her head as her comrades gasped out loud.
She’s interrupted by a strong grasp on her arm. Turning to see an annoyed Jide who stares at her questionably.
“What are you doing?”
He asks her making a point to whisper.
“I’ve decided to help them out.”
” Something’s hunting their people down Jide, And I can help them.”
“Not to sound like I don’t care, but we have our own thing we’re dealing with.”
Pulling her hand free from his grasp, Sunny glares at him before walking towards the fairies.
“This is an immediate issue. Yours can wait for a few hours.”
Directing her attention to the leader of the fairies, the Illienze gave a gentle smile as she asked.
“Do you have anything of the missing ones that I could use?”
For a moment the crowd was still before a particularly small pink fairy came forward with a piece of cloth in its hands.
Taking the cloth in her hands and stirring it between her fingers, Sunny closes her eyes as she seems to be meditating. For a brief moment her hair glows bright and a crack in the earth appears, starting from her feet and continuing into the thick jungle.
“I’ve found it. Follow me.”
She says as she withdrew her blades and started leading the fairy horde.
“WAIT!!! What are we supposed to do?”
“Ehn? You can wait here. I trust this won’t take too long.”
Sunny shrugged as she disappeared into the depths of the jungle, leaving the human and the florin puzzled.
“Didn’t think she’d have this kind of nature.”
Jide remarked as he sat on the grass head in hands.
Hibee asked as she began spreading her vines in the area around them, wrapping them around the trees and rocks, creating a cage of vines which surrounded the duo.
“Her ‘save the victims’ persona. I thought she didn’t just like me. Seeing this I finally realize that…girl thinks she’s making some major sacrifice making sure I don’t cause any problems… erm…what’s with the vines?”
The florin states as she takes a seat next to Jide sighing and wiping non-existent sweat from her brow.
“So…tell me more about your world. I want to know everything!”
Meanwhile deep in the jungle, Sunny’s olive green hair glowed softly as she tracked the path her powers had made while the horde of fairies who were following her closely began chattering about amongst themselves.
It was irritating.
“Would you keep quiet!”
She snapped and understanding the situation the fairies complied leaving a low buzz that echoed in the forest.
As much as she was annoyed with the creatures that her chief had commanded her to guide on their journey, she was having the time of her life.
She was out of that suffocating town at last! Sorry Pettie, but spending her life stuck in that never changing home of theirs was becoming a nightmare. She needed to see what was out there in the big bad world not just relying on the words of wandering merchants.
Recasting her tracking spell, Sunny smiles as she pushes some branches out of her view.
She never expected that she’d be chosen by the elder himself. Though it was possible that she was only chosen because she was in the right place at the time.
“Ugh…. what’s that smell?”
Sunny noted as she and the fairies entered a zone that had a festered fermented odor, so thick it caused her to wince.
Taking a closer look, Sunny observed that like a border line the grass on her side was green and healthy while in front of her the grass lay brown and withered.
And in that pungent withered zone was where the tracking crack led to.
“Its here. Get ready. Terra mura: Second skin.”
Sunny muttered dust gathering around her body adhering itself to her skin and pores, her blades glistening as they’re drawn out of their sheathes and taking a fighting stance.
Flares and sparks erupt as the fairies prepare their own magics.
Heart beating hard and fast, Sunny inches closer to the area were the healthy and dead grass intersect.
As her feet touch the dead grass…
Several sharp vines tear through the bush aiming at the intruders. Dodging left and right, Sunny slices off the vines that come her way, unfortunately, some of the fairies were not so lucky.
Three were ripped in half, spewing purple blood and guts and the leader losing a hand as it was sheared off.
Enraged, the rest of the fairies blasted several spurts of fire and electricity burning away the bushes and revealing the identity of their attacker.
It was a tick brown mass of leaves,moss and vines. At its roots, lay the rotting bodies of several fairies and the bones of other small animals. A foul creature called the Kashiri. It kills and uses corpses as compost to accelerate it’s growth. With its powerful and sharp vines, it’s a deadly foe that would be impossible to deal with if fully grown.
“I’m killing you quick.”
Dashing forward, Sunny attempts to slash at the Kashiri only to be forced back by the rapid strikes of the foul smelling plant. Creating a small shield from the earth she blocks a particularly vicious vine slam that knocks her into a nearby shrub.
As she’s breaking free of the shrub’s branches, the Kashiri is being peppered by the sparks and flames of the fairies as they dodge and dart around its vines.
Finally getting back to her feet, Sunny grabs her blades and runs into the conflict shearing apart the vines that tied to pierce through her.
Suddenly the Kashiri expels a thick purple smog that encases the whole zone.
“What the? I can’t see! Fairies?”
A wave of dread washes over the illienze as she dropped to the ground and the screams of the fairies shook her to her core.
As the smog began to clear, Sunny slowly rose to her feet to see their battered bodies laying around her most of whom were unconcious.
The kashiri’s vines had doubled both in number and thickness, as the plant drained the life around it to power up.
“Ish! That almost got me. ”
Sunny barely dodges a sudden strike of its vines which left a large gash on the earth where she previously stood.
At the moment, everything in her body told her to run. This fight was already lost.
But the sight of the wounded fairykin around her rooted her to this battlefield. If she fled all of these creatures will perish and become fertilizer for the Kashiri.
Slashing off a vine that attempted to grab a pink haired fairy, Sunny grunted as the effort produced a large crack on her fingers.
” Ish… Maybe I should have convinced the Gaean child to come with me. He would make a good shield.”
She muttered dashing toward the Kashiri not knowing that the number of fairies present had dropped by 1.
“Hehe that’s pretty interesting.”
Hibee remarked sitting on a large rock, her flower fluttering it’s petals as she nodded.
She and Jide had been discussing for the past hour and the sun had started to set, turning the sky a shade of fiery orange.
Surrounded by her ready made cage, the florin had little worry about being caught unguarded by a wild beast. But still, she couldn’t dispel the sense of unease that she was feeling.
That’s when she felt a small bump on her cage, too small to normally bother about, but with the discomfort swelling within, Hibee stood up with a frown on her face as she began to concentrate her senses outside.
“What’s wrong? Anything happen?”
Jide now dressed in a loose shirt and trousers remarked as he notice the florin’s dramatic change.
Hibee responds as she makes her cage open up, her vines carrying a badly beaten wild fairy whose wings were twitching weakly.
” I think Sunny’s in trouble..”
With a single hit, Sunny’s umpteenth earth shield had shattered, the impact of the blow sending the illienze bouncing along the grass till her momentum is stopped by a tree.
As the leaves drop down, Sunny tries to sit up, groaning as flakes fall off her cracked skin.
She had been struggling against the Kashiri for the past few minutes and the only thing she had gained other than delaying the death of the fairies she guided here were the various injuries she had gained.
Unlike other living creatures that gave birth, laid eggs or even split off, the Illienze were molded. Two adults who cared for each other went to the riverside and using their magic created an offspring.
That individual is born with barely any features almost like a faceless mask that developed more features the older he/she got.
As a result, the illienze didn’t bleed or burn like other species. They cracked,baked, broke and crumbled. As a result they were referred to as the living statues, mudlings or even the false ones.
Her left arm had been chipped in several places with her fingers broken off. There was a large fracture along her leg which seemed about ready to snap right off. Sunny was in a bad way.
Pushing against the tree, trying to get to her feet, Sunny desperately considered her options.
Her blades were nowhere to be found, most likely embedded in some tree somewhere. The Gaean and the florin were back by the stream and she had no way of calling them over. And her earth magic was pathetic.
As she saw the vines of the foul plant waving above her, she formed several blades out of the earth and threw them with her working arm.
As the Kashiri smacks the earth blades aside, Sunny groaned as she barely dodges a vine that pierces the tree behind her.
She muttered as pain wracks her body. This is it. Her body has reached its limit.
As she sees the Kashiri prepping it’s vines for a death strike, Sunny closes her eyes, tensing as she braces herself for death.
“I’ve been really stupid…”
“That’s something I can wholeheartedly agree with.”
Opening her eyes, Sunny sees the Gaean in his bronze and chrome form leaning over her protectively as the kashiri’s vines ineffectually strikes his back.
“How…did you find me?”
“Oh that? One of those bugs… sorry fairies came over severely wounded. Didn’t take much for hibee to figure out that you had gotten into some trouble and find you.”
Jide nonchalantly points with his thumb to a bush where a familiar set of vines were carefully drawing the injured fairies away from the battlefield. After pulling the last one into the bush, a green hand pops out giving the thumbs up.
” Just relax Sunny, I’m tagging in.”
Standing up, Jide walks over to the Kashiri.
Smack!! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!
Smack! Smack! Smack!
The Kashiri strikes Jide over and over again all over his body to no effect as he calmly step by step approaches it.
Struggling to stay conscious, Sunny was amazed at the durability of the Gaean’s metal form.
Now In front of the attacking plant, Jide catches some of the vines in his hands and in swift, sharp motions starts tearing them off.
As spurts of whitish green fluid spurts out, splashing on the chrome and bronze frame as Jide rips out vine after vine, reducing the once terrifying plant to a ragged stump.
As the “trimming” takes place, a few of the unconscious fairies begin to wake up. Chattering amongst themselves and pushing out of the bush where they were hidden, the fairies let out gasps of surprise and shock.
“Jiji’s amazing isn’t he?”
The fairies pushing aside stray leaves all collectively stare at the brown haired florin who’s standing while giving a gentle stare at her metal friend.
“Damn…. it’s still moving how do I kill this weed?”
Jide snaps as he keeps ripping out vines only for new sprouts to desperately pop up to replace them.
“You have to dig out it’s core!”
“It’s a little crystal orb… rip it out and it’ll wilt.”
Smashing his fist into the stump, Jide grimaces as he briefly searches the Kashiri’s insides. With one tug and a large spurt of sap, jide rips out a small brownish crystal and the plant creature finally stops twitching.
“He’s strong… really strong…”
A fairy remarks tending to numerous wounds as it sits on the florin’s shoulder.
Struggling to keep herself awake, Sunny tries to sit up but groans in pain, quickly giving up the attempt.
“Guess I should have made more of an effort to bring you guys along.”
“And we should not let you go off on your own anymore.”
Sunny admitted to Hibee as the two looked at the metallic man who was desperately trying to wipe away the goop from his body as the surrounding wild fairies sprayed him with water.