Corg held Christy’s hand as helped her onto the carriage, being careful not to let her long, salmon silk dress get caught in the door. Mieu, the forever-young female cyborg, was already sitting inside with little Melissa, now almost two, on her lap. The red-haired Mieu and the petite, blond-haired toddler exchanged funny faces with each other while Corg kissed his wife’s hand and closed the door. He then turned to Sean and Kara, King and Queen of Landen and Satera, who stood behind him. Sean was dressed in the silver-bordered white tunic with a long green cape that matched his dark green hair. Kara, his Dahlian wife, had her long lime-green hair in curls, and wore a baby blue gown, a departure from her usual purple attire.
Sean put forth his hand and placed it on Corg’s shoulder and bowed his head forward slightly. “Thank you and your lovely wife for that wonderful performance. She truly is an exquisite dancer. We haven’t had such a performance in Landen as far as I remember.” He paused and brooded for a moment. “My mother, Queen Thea, used to dance like that on Azura before she passed on. Your wife Christy reminded me of how beautiful such talent can make life.”
Corg took Sean’s hand and bowed his head forward, touching the king’s hand with his forehead and responded, “It was an honor, your majesty, to perform before—“
“Ah, cut the modesty and formality,” said Kara in her usual fiery voice. Even being a queen did little to extinguish the young woman’s natural fire. She then smiled and added, “Your wife’s dancing was mesmerizing. Had I not been trained to be a slicer-wielding warrior, I would’ve liked to learn ballet.”
Sean thought that was pretty hysterical, as did Corg, who bit his lips not laugh in front of the queen. Kara returned Sean’s laughter with a brief glare, followed by a chuckle herself.
“Well,” said Corg. “We have got to go. In two days we’ll have a performance in Yaata, followed by two more in Ilan.”
Sean and Kara nodded and gestured for the second carriage to come forward. Corg opened the door to it and stepped inside. As Corg was closing the door, Sean reached over and held it open and said, “After Christy’s tour, when you get back to the Hollow Valley, tell Laya and Aunt Sari and their spouses that we’d very much like them to come visit us again. We really miss them.” Kara nodded in agreement.
“Will do,” said Corg cheerfully. Sean closed the door and the two carriages left the gate of Landen and headed south.
Corg, alone in his carriage, relaxed and let his mind wander. It had been about five months since his friends’ wedding. After they had returned from their honeymoon, the two new royal couples established their rule firmly in the Hollow Kingdom. They divided their duties equally, Piotr being left with the financial matters of the kingdom; Jack, who had once studied criminal law in his homeworld, with questions of justice; Laya, who, as a Layan, was naturally refined and aristocratic in her demeanor, handled the arts; and Sari dealt with questions of defense and diplomacy.
Corg kind of lived in the court as a “professional mooch”, as he often gested. His official post was court historian, although he often counseled with Piotr and Jack in both financial and moral matters, and his knowledge of geography allowed him to accompany Sari in some of her trips of diplomacy. If “professional mooch” was Corg’s occupation, his title was “scholar of obscure knowledge”. His knowledge of the intricacies of the Hollow World and of things in general made him always a hoot for people to talk to, and the townspeople found some of his ideas, be them for stories or projects, quite intriguing.
He was always accompanied by Mieu, whom acted as his personal bodyguard and close confidant. King Sean had given her the order to remain in the Hollow Valley and follow the orders of the royal families there, and she was more than happy to comply. Corg liked traveling with Mieu, because she was the one who seemed most interested in the things he had to talk about. She also counseled him about Alisian customs and traditions as well, which he found fascinating.
Christy, Corg’s beloved, used this opportunity to become something of a professional dancer and entertainer. She loved to dance, and often would come up with choreography and costumes for her and some of the younger female colonists from the Alisa III to perform. Her first performance was at the castle itself. She then performed at a Neo-Palm settlement a few weeks later, followed by another one at the Oltec city, beyond the plateau of fire. It was after this that Sari suggested that she fly up to the Alisa III to perform in Landen and in some of the other cities there.
The carriages had been travelling for almost three hours when they came to a complete stop. They had not planned to arrive in Yaata for another two hours. Corg looked out the window and now nothing.
“Sir,” called the driver. “It looks like we have company.”
Corg’s heart jumped within him as he thought about his wife and daughter’s safety. He quickly opened the door and jumped to the ground. Moving quickly, he made it to the other carriage and saw that a small party of women stood in front of it. One was a beautiful blonde woman in a purple robe. A dark violet hood obscured part of her face, but there was no denying the woman’s beauty. There was something of a sadistic smile on her face. On both sides of her were two women in blue armor brandishing long swords. Their hair was as blue as the morning sky and was done up in a ponytail that hung down and touched the small of their backs. Their armor was made up of a series of elaborate, overlapping plates in a design that seemed to correspond with the Oriental cultures of Corg’s homeworld and ended in a series of metal flaps that barely covered the women’s buttocks. Next to one of them was another woman, unarmed, but wearing a suit of lime-green mail that cut off a little above the navel. Her hair was as green as the clothing she wore. She had a comely smile, but her wide, bent-knee posture and hands whose fingers curled as if to imitate a tiger’s claws showed that her intentions were less than noble.
“Well, well,” Corg said in feigned arrogance, his hearting racing inside him. “It looks like we have the pleasure of receiving a visit from Zafirah and the kensai.” He looked over at the green woman, looking over body a few times—Corg thought the green armor was rather attractive. “You must be a Tigress.”
Zafirah cackled and said. “You know a great deal about, outsider. Too much, to be honest.” By now, Mieu was stepping out of the carriage, her claws unsheathed. Zafirah ignored her and continued, “Unfortunately, you’re a friend of that foolish King Sean. Any friend of his is an enemy of ours.”
The Tigress’ kind smile twisted into an evil sneer.
“Please,” pleaded Corg. “We are but humble entertainers. If you have any problems with his majesty, do not let us get involved. There are women and children in this party.”
Zafirah let out another hideous cackle and nodded. “We know. That’s why we’re here. King Sean will soon know that we mean business. We’re quite good at showing people we do.”
Corg slowly reached into his robes and found his chain whip, which he had brought with him for just such an emergency. He held it, but didn’t let his enemies see it.
“Mieu! Get back in the carriage. Head back to Landen now!”
“Do it! Protect Christy and Melissa at all costs!”
Mieu quickly got back into the carriage and the horses began to take head back in the opposite direction. Zafirah reacted quickly, raising her hands and producing an orange ball of flame. Seeing this, Corg leapt forward and thrust his foot into Zafirah’s stomach, knocking her back. With a pivot of his hips, he swung the ball of his left foot into Zafirah’s face, nearly knocking her unconscious. The two kensai quickly joined the fray and started swinging their swords at Corg, who did his best to dodge their deadly blows. Corg pulled out his whip and begin to whirl it around his body, deflecting the blows and confusing the two swordswomen.
The Tigress ran into the melee and swung her leg in a circle, sweeping out Corg’s legs from under him. He quickly kicked up to his feet and swung his whip, narrowly missing the Tigress’ throat. He moved his body around to dodge the next barrage of strikes from the kensai and started responding in kind with his whip. After trading several blows, he found an open spot in one of the kensai’s defense and let his whip go. Its pointed tip struck the kensai in the thigh. She screeched in agony. Corg quickly spun around and brought the whip across her face, bringing her to the ground, rolling and screaming in pain.
With a spinning kick, Corg knocked the second kensai to the ground. He saw that Zafirah was now getting up again, but his attention was soon diverted to the Tigress, who began an onslaught of clawed strikes against him. She moved in too close for him to use his whip as a lash, so he grabbed the whip by both ends and started trading blows with her, trying to wrap the whip around her wrists and immobilize her. The Tigress latched onto his arms with her claw-like fingers, preventing him from moving. Corg struggled to move his arms and started to kick at the Tigress’ knees and smash his head into hers, but her grip remained firm. He then looked up and saw another glowing red orb of flame form at the Zafirah’s fingertips.
Hearing the words, “Nafoi!”, Corg saw the orb moving in his direction. He closed his eyes and braced himself.
Zafirah staggered back at the force of the explosion, temporarily blinded by it. She waited for a few moments, and then regained her senses enough to see what had happened. Her companion, the other kensai, got up and walked over to where Corg and the Tigress had stood. Zafirah observed the scene from afar. A cruel smile appeared on her face.
“Anything left of our companion?” Zafirah said with a melodic voice.
The kensai looked around the blast site for a moment, and then shook her head. Zafirah nodded and frowned.
“It’s a pity,” Zafirah lamented. “She was an excellent fighter. But it was for a good cause. That’ll show that fool Sean and that witch Kara that the forces of Lashute are still a force to be reckoned with. That’ll show them to destroy our home. And the outsider, anything left of him?”
The kensai knelt down and soon stood up with several pieces of burned clothing and armor, including Corg’s cloak, in her hands.
At that moment, Zafirah felt a light tap on her shoulder. She spun around to meet the cold, angry eyes of a red-haired woman. It was Mieu, the outsider’s companion and Sean’s compatriot in the battle of Lashute. There was almost no expression on the cyborg’s face. The two women stared at each other for a few moments.
Zafirah made an attempt to lift her arms, wishing to use a technique on her opponent. Mieu’s reflexes, however, were far too fast for Zafirah to be able to do anything. In a small fraction of a second, Mieu plunged her Nei claw so far into Zafirah’s neck that her knuckles rubbed up against Zafirah’s throat. Blood sprayed out of the wounds and stained the cyborg’s face and body, leaving her skin and her white gloves almost the same color as her red leotard. Zafirah weakly grasped Mieu’s forearm, but let go just as quickly. In a few seconds, Mieu was staring into the glazed-over eyes of a dead sorceress. She pulled out her claw and Zafirah immediately fell the ground.
The kensai, seeing this, raised her sword and charged Mieu. Mieu spun and turned and with a quick slashing motion, sliced the kensai’s sword into several pieces. She then rammed her two claws into the kensai’s bosom until her fists struck the woman’s chest and lifted her up off the ground. The kensai gasped and choked and tried to scream, but her lungs had been punctured by Mieu’s unforgiving blades. The blue-haired woman kicked and flailed her arms for a few seconds, after which they fell limp at her sides.
About a kilometer away, Christy waited nervously inside the carriage. Mieu had gotten out and told the driver to go back to Landen, but Christy had convinced the driver to wait until one of them had returned. She was already wiping back tears and Melissa was rubbing her hands on her mother’s cheek, trying to comfort her.
It was about twenty minutes before Mieu returned. The female cyborg returned alone, her body stained with blood. There was no expression in her eyes, but her mouth betrayed a deep sorrow. In her white-gloved hands were the pieces of burnt clothing and armor. Christy, stepping out of the carriage, saw the charred remains of her husband’s clothing. She felt faint and nearly collapsed that same moment, her uncontrollably-shaking hands holding onto the carriage door for support. Mieu slowly walked up to her and solemnly placed the articles on the ground before Christy. Mieu than yelled and shoved one of her claws into the side of the carriage and pounded on it with her other fist.
Christy’s eyes brimmed with tears as she struggled to find some sort of response. She didn’t believe what was happening. Her lips quivered and her knees began to buckle. Finally, she fell to knees and started weeping uncontrollably.
“Corg!” she screamed.
Last edited by H-Man on Tue Sep 7, '10, 11:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.