Chapter 36 - Stabbed by a Crystal

“Does that answer all of your questions, Gurden?” Flack brought his face close to Guile’s.


Guile sighed, but gave no response. What other choice did he have? He couldn’t escape from this. And if he tried to escape, wouldn’t he end up as a pile of flesh like that Charthu? Though they did say he wouldn’t end up in such a state, he couldn’t believe them.


Star and Hyanga returned to the group, Star carrying the Charthu over her shoulder. The sinking realization of how serious everything was hit him again. His mind had been bounced around so much that his consciousness couldn’t figure out how to feel anymore. Stay or go. Every advantage and disadvantage of his options to choose from overwhelmed him.


One step at a time. Don’t think of anything else. You’ll make it out and find a way.


Hyanga, I’ll take that off your back for now.” The Dirnazor plucked the cloudy blue crystal off of the Lazon’s back.


“Yes, sir,” Hyanga replied.


“Star, could you set the Charthu’s body down and go retrieve the fish over there? I don’t want to waste those, and this Skolorok has been eyeing it with a seething obsession.” Flack glanced at Skell.


Guile glared. Bribery? Is he trying to play nice guy while this dead Charthu lays on the ground in pieces?



“Yes, sir.” Star flew over to the tree.


“While she is away with that, let’s show you the real fun of these crystals.” Flack reached toward his back with his claws holding the shining cluster of stones. “Hyanga.”


With the radiance of the sun’s rays, the crystal shimmered in shades of blues. And as the blue reflections danced upon his face, Guile remembered where he had seen such a material before. They were eerily similar to the crystals that hung around Sarby’s home, though it was possible that these came from another place. Guile hadn’t the smallest grasp on the world.


Hyanga slithered up from Flack’s tail, using his sticky paws to climb up to the snail-like shell on his back. Hyanga positioned himself around the jagged stone structure, and he received the crystal back from Flack.


Flack bent over and sifted through the bag the sliced up Charthu was in. He stabbed a slab of the Charthu with one of his claws and brought it up toward his face, blood slipping out of the corpse like thick mud. “I’ve learned my fair share of things about what the Parti System is based on… I’ll give you a little teaser. After this, I think you’ll feel more comfortable tagging along, Gurden. You see, Charthu’s bodies are composed of something quite different to most Zinnals.” He placed the chunk of Charthu in his mouth and chewed.


Guile’s arms trembled as he looked to the skies once again, hoping to find some sort of answer. Something to save him.


“It’s not that we eat them for no reason,” Flack said while chewing, his teeth stained crimson. “If I don’t eat part of a Charthu while doing this, the spirals on my back grow larger, and other parts of my body will contort in unnatural ways. But, if I eat a Charthu, then when the crystal is injected into my skin, my body dissolves it and converts it into an absurd amount of ‘Parti.’ Well, I’m unsure if it is truly Parti, but it works in the same way, and faster.”


Flack swallowed and took hold of the crystal once again. He pierced the crystal into his shoulder. Hyanga rushed up and held the crystal in place by wrapping his tail and body around it. The crystal shook and vibrated as if it were trying to escape the Dirnazor’s flesh. Blood pooled out around Flack’s arm and covered Hyanga, but the Lazon continued to hold the crystal in place. After a few seconds, the crystal sank in, showing no more signs of resistance. 


A glow manifested throughout the Dirnazor’s body and Flack looked to the sky as his body completely dissolved the crystal. “Yeah, that’s the stuff. Damn.” He clenched his claws and shut his eyes. Guile felt the atmosphere change.


As if a storm was approaching, branches ripped off of trees and rattled on the ground. Flack threw his claws to the sky once again, this time summoning more than just lightning.


Star landed beside Flack. “Flack! Stop! You know you shouldn’t do this here!” She moved the bag of fish to her beak and flapped her wings, trying to keep from falling over as the wind grew erratic.


Guile and Skell held onto the ground, staring forward.


Flack stared at Star with an intensity Guile felt as well as if it was directed toward himself. Flack lowered his arms and continued gazing in Star’s direction, the wind falling back to a small breeze.


Star panted, trying to catch her breath. The bag of fish swung back and forth within her beak. She grabbed hold of it with her wings. “I’ve got all the fish, not sure how they managed to get so far from one another, didn’t think you had it in you to strike so hard, Hyanga.” Star watched the slight color changes within Flack migrate throughout his body. “Anyway, Flack… I thought we were supposed to save the Charthu for Lorang.”


“Ah, hmm, yes. Good thing I’ve left enough slabs for him.”


“And I thought you said one of us would get the chance to use the next crystal…”


Flack said nothing.


Star dropped the bag of fish and walked to the bag of Charthu meat and tilted her head. “I hope this is at least enough to please him.”


“It’s not too hard to find another Charthu if we really need to though, right?” Flack asked, laughing to himself.


Star and Hyanga glared at Flack then looked at one another.


“Do you know how long it took to find that single Charthu? Within the grass, they are close to impossible to find, Flack.” Star flapped her wings. “And Hyanga, you’re covered in blood. Again.”


Flack moved claws and examined his body. Meanwhile, Hyanga extended his long tongue and drank the blood dripping from him.


“Skell, do you still think this group is fine to be a part of?” Guile whispered.


Skell didn’t budge.


“Now let’s head back to the headquarters and meet with the other members. I’m sure the other groups found things we can experiment with as well.” A smirk formed on Flack’s face as he turned around and stomped off. Guile and Skell followed close behind, with Star and Hyanga in the rearguard, enclosing the two captors in the center of the group.


A single hope lingered. If Retta could find them, perhaps she could follow and send others to help. Though that seemed unlikely, what could Retta even do in such a situation?