Chapter 43 - Encased in Wax

Magma rolled through the rocky, earthen walls. The Lavalugs, heads bowed toward the ground, grinded their stubby legs across the warm ground as liquid fire draped down from their wax horns. Without them guarding Mount Dai, the beast that rested in the depths would awaken.



“Larana, you’re sure those Zinnals won’t try to sneak in here again today?” Hanabi asked, glancing toward the sealed door.


“Your guess is as good as mine, but I can’t imagine that they’ll attempt anything. They looked absolutely frightened when I approached them. And I can imagine our fire chanting didn’t help.” Larana smirked. “We should just be thankful it was two young ones that found us, and not an entire party like last time.”


“True… We almost didn’t find this place in time. Ganrai almost broke through our wax while we couldn’t reinforce it.” Hanabi changed her gaze toward the hole before her. The hole was about halfway full with Lavalug wax. “Are you almost done with your first hole of the day?”


“A little over halfway done,” Larana said. “We seem to be on a decent pace.” She tilted her head back down toward the hole and chanted in a low grumble. Lava flared up from her horns as the built up wax around it rolled down off her head into the hole. Drip by drip the hole filled and hardened.


In the wide room, lit by deep red magma, each Lavalug committed the same actions. They had no other choice if they wanted to continue living here. Not only for the sake of their home, but to fulfill what their ancestors had started a couple hundred years ago. How old was Ganrai now? How was it possible he was still alive? No other Zinnal could live this long that they had encountered, but even as children they had all been told to never let the wax grow weak. He needed to be encased forever.


After a couple hours of fire chanting, Larana and Hanabi had finished their first hole of the day. Looking over to the corner of the room, they checked if the Lavalugs that were off wax filling duty had prepared meals for the rest of them yet. And yes, the group seemed to have made a hot stew of cave bugs and bats—as usual. It was only a few more days until Larana would have to take over cooking duties. Her wax would be depleted by then, and she would have no option but to help make food. Though that wouldn’t last long as wax grew back after a day of resting their horns.


Larana and Hanabi trudged their way to the back of the line, watching their steps so as to not fall into any of the holes that had yet to be filled or refilled. Each day a few of the holes emptied from the force of Ganrai below them, attempting to free himself.


Besides the fire chanters and the cooks, there was another team. A team that consisted of older and stronger Lavalugs. Ones that had dug the holes to be filled with the indestructible wax. This team, daily, attempted to dig new pathways around Mount Dai that didn’t interfere with the humans as it had been nearly a year since the humans kicked them out of their first base and the Lavalugs still needed full access to the mountain’s caves.


Ganrai had come close to resurrecting to the surface of the planet during the time of the human invasion, though it was because of Lavalug explorers’ sacrifice that he stayed underneath. Many Lavalugs lost their lives creating an underground tunnel back to their old hideout—much further below the humans’ gaze—to continue reinforcing Ganrai’s barrier. And even now, the holes in the new base—and all around—led down to the same barrier, protecting Mount Dai from total destruction.


Larana and Hanabi each took a stone bowl and held it out before them. A hot splash of stew slumped into their bowl and they walked to an area where they didn’t risk falling into the abyss. Slabs of shaved rocks formed tables on the outer edges of the room, and the two went to claim their usual spot. And as always the same Lavalugs took their places around them.


“Ahh, this stew is better than usual today,” one of them said.


Larana casually looked over to them, then took a bite. To her, it tasted the same as it ever did. Just as each day felt the same. Though, she had no right to complain. She was saving the mountain and all that was around it by doing her duties here. WIthout them, many Zinnals would die. And not only Zinnals, even those disgusting humans that had been trying to take over more and more of their land. Perhaps it would be fine to let them suffer, but in the end it wouldn’t be worth it.


“Say, Larana, I saw you over by the door yesterday,” the same voice said.


She froze. She thought no one besides Hanabi saw what happened. At least, Hanabi said she distracted everyone when they noticed the door had opened. “Oh, yeah, was just stretching my legs. My neck was sore from leaning over all day and wanted to get a little walk in.”


“No, I don’t think that’s why. I saw the door closing when I glanced over.”


“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


“I saw them. You know, the—”


“What do you want, Treon?” Larana glared.


“Give me your stew.”


Larana sighed, but passed it over to him.  She should have known that someone would have seen them. It was a crime to not report any intruders that found their base. But, they were only small Zinnals, perhaps in similar age to herself. Surely they meant no harm. And they already had it rough enough as it was. The Lavalugs knew everything that happened within Mount Dai.


“Well, so much for a nice relaxing break.” Larana said. “Hanabi, I’m going for a small walk.”


Hanabi looked down at her food, and offered some of it to Larana, but she refused and walked away.


As Larana crept along the outskirts of the holes, head down, she heard something. The door.