Chapter 35 - Gotta Catch All the Nutritious Monsters

Guile stared at Flack. He couldn’t attempt to run. His speed wouldn’t allow an escape. Wouldn’t going along with these others be better than being stuck back with the humans, though? No, he knew that his only chance at getting stronger was through the Parti Tab.


“Come on!” Flack shouted.


Guile traipsed over to the large Zinnal, finally able to take in all of his overwhelming details. The Dirnazor stood about four times as high as Guile. His body consisted of brown scaly skin, though lines of deep red stained in patches over his body. It couldn’t have been blood. From the snail-like shell on their back, bursts of bright red siphoned throughout, leading back into the dark patches.


“Good.” Flack said, his fangs peeking out of his mouth.


A dark blue helmet of sorts rested upon the Dirnazor’s head, though Guile had no idea if that species was born with such protection, or if Flack placed it there himself.


Guile winced with each step he took closer to the behemoth. Beside Star and Hyanga, he too, knelt, rolling Skell off of his back and laying him flat on the ground. “Please, I don’t know what you want with us, but we need to get back. If you don’t, our human will find us with the Parti Tracker.”


Flack itched his chin. “So be it. You think we are afraid of humans and their puny devices?”


A swift squall ripped through the air, and Guile glanced in the upper corner of his vision. Now he hoped for Retta not to show up, what could she possibly do to such a beast in this situation. But there was nothing hidden within the gust of wind, just an empty, blue sky.


Skell’s eyes glowed as he wrestled with himself to get up to his feet. Guile couldn’t tell if he was kneeling on purpose to not oppose Flack, or if he just didn’t have the strength to stand on his two legs.


“So what you are saying is you can free us from the demons?” Skell said.



“Precisely, Skolorok.”


“I’m in.” Skell bowed.


“Skell! What are—”


“Guile! This may be our only chance at freedom from those things, what is your problem?! If we have a Dirnazor protecting us what could possibly go wrong? I don’t want to hear your bullshit excuse of ‘it’s to get stronger, we need the humans,’ the hell we do! You’ve seen that I learned how to use an ability with the sleeping gas that comes from my eyes without the Parti Tab. I believe that there was a way for you to have learned that fireball without it as well.”


Guile looked up at Flack. He was the only Gurden that he knew capable of producing fire. Of course he needed the Parti Tab for that. If not, why hadn’t anyone else in Jalla figured out how to produce such power? “Do you think those kinds of things are possible without Parti?”


“Think?” Flack grumbled. “I know. I’m so tired of explaining this shit to everyone. Humans aren’t the true rulers of our world. They don’t decide everything. Or make everything.”


Skell nodded in agreement, absorbed into Flack’s speech.


The Dirnazor lifted his head and claws up to the sky, and from a claw a burst of lightning shot upwards.


“An electric Dirnazor…” Skell’s eyes shone bright.


That’s it? How did Guile know that not every Dirnazor could do such a thing? He narrowed his eyes. “Skell, what about that Charthu that we saw?” Guile trembled. “Don’t fall for his words and actions so quickly.”


“We’re forced to eat Zinnals as it is right now, anyway. At least this way, we’re with our own kind that will understand us. It’s either eat our own and be treated like garbage, or eat our own and be among one another and understand each other as equals. It isn’t that hard of a decision, Guile.”


Flack burst into an uproar of laughter. “Charthu are not proper Zinnals, regardless. Who cares about them? They are nutrients for all of us. We don’t eat just any Zinnal.”


“Err, somewhat understand us.” Skell backtracked. “Still, they understand enough for me to go along with them if those are my two options.”


At a loss on how to respond, Guile looked at Skell, who as usual wore an indistinguishable expression.


Wherever Guile went, would he be forced to eat other Zinnals?


“Don’t get so upset, Gurden. I won’t force you to eat them. Though, you will be expected to participate in our operations, and find Charthu for us to collect.”


Guile glanced at Skell, and Skell whispered, “we’ll need to go along with them fast, before Chya shows up.”


The Gurden was at a loss on what to do, but Skell was correct. This seemed to be the best option. Not that they even had a chance at escape or fighting back. At least for now.


Star rose. “If I may, Flack, how can we hope to be successful using someone who refuses to do as you command? They’ll just run away while being tasked with something. I see the look in that Gurden’s eyes, at worst he’ll attempt to kill one of us.”


“Place your trust in me. I know what I’m doing.” Flack leaned toward the ground, then inspected Guile and Skell closer. “They’ll come to their senses, whether they disagree with some of our ways or not. The Skolorok already seems to understand. And, well, if they don’t follow along with our orders, we’ll just have to beat it into them that our commands are absolute. Since they are owned by the humans, they should be used to something like that.” The Dirnazor turned from the group, giving Guile a closer view of the shell-like structure that rested on his back.


Red liquid sloshed about in spirals, but unlike earlier, he could now see where the liquid was coming from. At the top of his back and the tip of his tail, crystals shone bright.


“Hyanga, Star, go inside the base and bring out the crystal and the Charthu. This base doesn’t appear to be safe anymore. If these two were able to find it, it won’t be long before others are.” He turned back to face Guile and Skell. “I’ll watch these two.”


Star and Hyanga parted from the group, entering their base for the last time. Neither of them felt sentimental about the place, though they had slept here on quite a few occasions now. This was their first time back since traveling to the Crystal Caverns. And what a stroke of good luck that was, as they were able to find the Awakened Elnoa along the way.


“I guess things were seeming too easy lately, huh, Hyanga?” Star asked while walking to the corner of the room. She brushed the crystal with her wing.


“I’d say so. We even got to do some research on that Elnoa boy. Though, I’m still shocked that the Charthu we fed him didn’t change his body anymore than it would ours. Oh well, we still got the rest of that Charthu’s body to experiment with.”


“Yeah, don’t worry, we’ll maximize our efforts from this soon enough.” Star lifted the crystal and placed it atop Hyanga’s back. He groaned as she tried her best to get it into a comfortable spot without tearing his burned skin. He then wrapped his tail around it to gain a decent handle on it.


Hyanga winced as the edges of the crystal rubbed against his wounds. “You know, we should have tried to kidnap an Elnoa kid on our way out of Jalla.”


“That would have been too risky. The crystals trump all when it comes to our goal.” Star shrugged. “Ah, everything would be so much easier If only we could learn to harness the true power of the Parti Tab without it being a prison.”


“I suppose. Still, if Charthu’s are essential for us learning how Parti works, wouldn’t Elnoas even be better? Sure their skin is tough and their bones are as hard as crystals themselves… but I feel we could find a way to use them the same as Charthus.”


“I’m sure we’ll get to trying them soon enough. But there are too many risks involved with dealing with Elnoas. Imagine if they all Awakened to protect one another?” Star shivered.


“That is a terrifying thought… but from what I gathered in the caves is that it was forbidden and even family want nothing to do with one who has Awakened.”


Star walked to the freezer and dragged the bag that held the Charthu’s chopped up body and dropped it to the ground. She bent over and hoisted it over her shoulder, slapping it against her burned feathers. The weight of the Charthu seemed to take a much bigger toll on her body than the crystal did on Hyanga’s.


“Yes, but I believe there is more to their customs than we know. Or even more than what the average Elnoa understands. Flack thinks so too. Something has been brewing in those chambers, Hyanga, and I am not about to find out what that is anytime soon.”


The two struggled their way out of the house, walking unevenly with each step. The cool breeze brought a comfortable tickle across their charred skin, giving a moment of relief. In the distance, the Gurden and Skolorok still stood before Flack. Across the skies, small mumbles of conversation flew with the wind.