Chapter 38 - Grave Digging

Guile stared at the pile of flesh that was once Chya. A ring of red had splotched around the once green grass. Sure, he didn’t like her, but no one should have to end up in such a sorry state on their way out of this world. He stepped closer, finding it hard to focus his attention on the horrendous sight.


Skell, with his hooves on the ground, vibrated the dirt in a concentrated area, creating a hole that grew deeper and deeper. “I think we can bury her now.”


Next to the group, Flack’s deflated body still lay atop crimson grass. Star and Hyanga had torn through the beast’s body and collected some pieces of him earlier—for what reason, Guile did not know—though now, they were nowhere to be seen. Only the fangs of the Dirnazor watched as Guile and Skell dragged Chya’s body toward the hole. Guile pulled while Skell pushed, their legs splashing in the warm red pond around them.


“If only I didn’t bring Chya,” Retta said, hovering in the sky while holding onto the leaf sticking out of the decapitated Charthu’s head. Anyone passing by would probably squirm from shock, but these three were past all of that. Guile’s mind was a thick fog. Nothing felt real at this moment. And he was sure the same could be said for Skell and Retta. Burying their partner seemed like the right thing to do instead of having someone else come along and eat or sell her body.


Skell and Guile laid Chya’s body in the haphazardly made grave and looked above them as Retta swooped down, placing Chya’s head on top.


“I wouldn’t worry about it much, Retta.” Skell brushed dirt over Chya’s body.


“Yeah, but what about Stark? He is going to lose it. And we’re going to be treated to—I don’t even want to think about it.”


Guile hadn’t even thought about that. Stark could see the status of every single one of his Zinnals. There was no doubt he was on his way over to their location at this very moment.


Bringing himself low to the ground, Guile helped cover up Chya’s body. After thrusting dirt back into the ground, the grave leveled to their surroundings. All three of them fell, exhausted. The day never seemed to give them any rest. Guile glanced over at Flack once again, thinking.


“What do we do now then?” Guile asked. “Continue the mission or wait for Stark to show up?”



“Guile, you can’t tell me you have the strength to continue. I can barely move.” Skell lay flat on the grass, arms and legs extended out like a star.


The Gurden sighed. “Yeah true, I don’t want to get up.” After laying down, he realized his whole body ached, especially around his throat. He had never breathed so much fire in a single day.


“I can still fly, but if you guys aren’t up for it, I won’t run away. It’s mostly my fault for what happened to Chya, anyway.” Retta sat with her talons and wings beneath her body.


“It’s none of our fault,” Skell groaned. “But, I won’t lie, getting away from Stark sounded great. Not at the risk of losing you though, Retta. Chya on the other hand…”


“Skell, we shouldn’t insult the dead.” Retta shut her eyes.


Guile stared at the sky, the sun appeared to move faster than normal as they awaited Stark and his wrath.


As the sun was on its way out, the sound of footsteps and shouts approached. And like always, they could only understand one voice, Stark’s. “How could you guys fail to protect her?!” He pointed toward the three. “Surround them!”


Large Zinnals with muzzles over their mouths approached the three, and humans followed. Stark even brought the guardian Zinnals, which were a rare sight. But, he was too late, the threat that had murdered one of his star players had already been eliminated.


While the towering Zinnals surrounded Guile, Skell, and Retta, Stark approached Flack’s body. “Can’t say I am too disappointed if you managed to fall this behemoth. But, if there is ever a threat this large, aren’t my orders always to flee?!” Stark kicked the Dirnazor’s head. “Where is our perfect Charthu, anyway? Did she get swallowed by this beast?”


Incomprehensible human voices talked among one another until Stark answered. “Ah, I see. She is in this mound of dirt, I suspect. Well, seems a nice enough grave.” He stepped closer. “Let’s dig her up. Her body will fetch a decent price.”


Guile scowled, and Skell’s eyes flared.


“There’s nothing these savage humans won’t do,” Skell growled, glaring at Stark.


“Oh, you don’t want us to?” Stark laughed. “You guys dig her back up then.”


Guile attempted to bring himself to his feet, but quickly lowered himself back to the ground.


Stark bit his lip. “I said, dig her up.”


Feelings of anger transferred through the Parti Tab, causing the three to feel internal pain. Their bodies exhausted, they shook as they brought themselves to their feet and over to the grave. The ring of bystanders widened to give them more space.


Skell brought his hooves to his face and wiped at his skull. “We’ve got no choice. I really thought that Stark wouldn’t go this far though. He and Chya seemed to get along fine.”


“It’s as you said, anything is better than being stuck with a human. I get it, Skell, being with Flack would have been better. Not by much, but we’d be with our own kind.” Guile scraped away at the dirt mound.


Poison dripped from Retta’s tongue as she eyed Stark, then she too, clawed out at the ground. “Can’t you use your ability, Skell?”


“I don’t dare, I might end up rupturing Chya’s body even more down there. I don’t have precise control.”


Stark stood above the three, looking down on them as they struggled to filter out the dirt. “And when we’re done with all of this, I have the perfect mission for you three next. An assault on Jalla.”


Guile froze.


“Don’t stop digging!”