Chapter 34 - The Parti Crashers


Guile froze as his eyes danced between the two Zinnals. While his mind raced on thoughts of the chopped up Charthu in the box, Guile’s stomach churned, allowing not even a single feeling of possible danger from the two beings standing before him. The world moved around him in a dreamlike daze.


“I said, what are you doing here?” The bird Zinnal narrowed their eyes and stepped toward Guile. They glanced around the room and Skell fell backwards out of the cold box, holding onto a bag of fish. “You’re really trying to steal our food?” The Zinnal smirked.


Skell lifted himself up from the ground and walked over. “Tch, fine. Take your fish back.”


“You saw that Charthu, I assume?” The bird clutched the bag from Skell’s grasp. As if deep in thought, they nodded their head back and forth. “If only you hadn’t seen that. Now, what to do with you two.”


“It’s not like cannibalistic Zinnals are unheard of, you could just let us go,” Skell said, trying to sound casual. “Even if we tell others, they’ll just steer clear of you. It isn’t like we found a life-changing secret. Though chopping that Charthu up like that did seem a bit excessive…”


From his chest, Guile’s heartbeat thundered faster and faster. These Zinnals were the ones that chopped up the Charthu? His cognitive abilities failed him more and more. The only thing that his body processed was escape. He looked up and felt something traveling up his throat. Unsure if the substance was vomit or fire, Guile aimed his mouth toward the two Zinnals. A blast of heat pummeled into the bird-like Zinnal with such speed that they didn’t have time to react. They dropped the bag of fish.


“Star, are you okay?!” The lizard said.


Skell rushed up, yellow eyes glowing, and in one swift motion he struck his horns at Star’s legs and retrieved the bag of fish. He yanked at Guile, who appeared in a trance, eyes blankly staring at the door.


“Hyanga, don’t worry about me, this is nothing. The boss will arrive soon anyway, just hold them off until then.” Star bit at their beak, straining themself to get back to their feet.


Guile snapped out of his inability to act and pushed past Star and fumbled his way through the door, jumping atop Hyanga’s back—who stood guarding the door—and trampled over their body. As Guile tried gasping for air, another fireball shot out at the ground, scorching Hyanga. Images of the meat he consumed days prior ravaged his mind as Hyanga caught flame. Guile fell to the ground as he breached open air.


“Guile, come on.” Skell stood beside Guile trying to lift the collapsed Gurden as hollers and obscenities flowed out of the burning Zinnals’ mouths like lava. The heat of the words caused Guile to jolt up, though he wavered on his four legs. The lizard and bird stood tall once again—with burn marks—approaching Skell and Guile.


Without looking back, Guile took to running and Skell screamed for him to slow down. A void of nothingness plagued Guile’s mind as his body acted on impulse. The sound of pattering feet grew louder and Skell’s shouts distanced as Guile made his way out into the fields. Then all noises of a chase stopped. Guile looked behind him and found Skell face to face with the orange lizard. Guile watched Skell’s body struck by the Zinnal’s tail and whip through the air, crashing into a tree. Fish fell one by one from the bag, each slapping against Skell’s skull. He tried to stand back up on his two legs, but only managed to get as far as bending over on all fours.




Guile’s consciousness faded back in. Though his heart was sick, he had a job to do. There was no use in melting down about things that couldn’t be changed or things that had already been done while there was someone in front of him who needed his help. These things could be changed. If he didn’t hurry and return to Skell’s side, the only being that brought him any sense of joy in this new world would die. To create a more comfortable world for all Zinnals, he needed to end all evil. Isn’t that why he got himself captured in the first place? To gain strength and save his village and others in need who had no power of their own?


Flapping wings slapped the air from overhead, and with a thud, Star landed beside Guile. Before he even had decided on how to react, Guile threw a fist at the bird-like Zinnal. “You eat Zinnals for fun…?” Star’s wing caught the punch. Immediately, Guile threw up another fireball.


“Zinnals? Thought types like you prefer the term ‘Higher Being.'” Star dodged just in time, but a small flame sizzled from the tips of their feathers. “And I wouldn’t call it fun. It needs to be done, however.” Star zipped back into the sky. “It’s interesting, though. Never knew Gurdens could shoot fire. The Parti system sure is interesting.”


Guile shot a few more fireballs. Star danced between each one, mocking him. Guile’s body slouched, and soon only small embers sparked from his mouth, traveling no further than a few steps away.


“You wouldn’t understand the reason for what we do. It’s more than killing and eating other Zinnals. But fret not, you and that Skolorok won’t be captured to die. A Gurden that shoots fire… and just seeing a Skolorok is a rarity. The boss will keep you two well fed, and instead of working for humans, you’d be with us. Doesn’t that sound much better?”


Minor quakes shook the ground. From behind a cluster of trees a large bipedal Zinnal stomped forward, standing between the two quarreling incidents.



“Ah, looks like he’s here. The leader of The Parti Crashers, Flack the Dirnazor. He should be able to help us bring this matter to a close. You and that Skolorok look worn out as it is already.”


“What’ve you two got here!?” The Dirnazor shotued. “These two don’t seem like they’d be worth our time. Why hunt them?”


“Don’t go too far, I’ll be right back.” Star flew to Flack.


Leaving Skell half conscious against a tree trunk, Hyanga rushed to the center, bowing before the large creature.


Guile looked around the area, then turned and headed toward Skell. He had never seen such a large Zinnal in his life. If it weren’t for his body acting on autopilot, he would have collapsed in fear. His body pressed onward. He needed to help Skell. As he drew closer, his eyes locked with the Dirnazor’s.


“A fire breathing Gurden, eh?” The rumble in Flock’s voice shook Guile to his core. “Now that’s a first. Don’t try getting away now, we don’t want to break our new toy for misbehaving.”


Guile ignored the message and continued toward Skell.


“You best not ignore me.” Flock pointed to himself with monstrous claws that glinted sunlight. Star and Hyanga continued bending forward toward the giant.


“S-Skell!” Guile sped into a sprint and rushed to Skell’s side, vision blurry.


The Skolorok’s body was covered in dirt as Skell grabbed onto the tufts of Guile’s fur to help pull him to his feet. Guile squatted down and allowed for Skell to climb on. “Those fish are still good…”


“We don’t have the energy to worry about those right now, just look at yourself.” Guile shook as he wobbled, standing with Skell’s weight.


“I need to stop underestimating Lazans. Their tails carry too much power. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to fight one before, but this one seemed smaller, thought maybe I could take ’em.” Skell leaned forward on Guile’s back, as if asleep with his limbs spread on either side of the Gurden.


“What are we supposed to do now?” Guile heaved, still exhausted from the stress. The three Zinnals continued in conversation nearby, occasionally stealing glances in their direction. Retta was nowhere in sight and neither was Chya. “Do we really have to submit to them?” Guile looked up at the Dirnazor who never let off on his piercing gaze.