This story is a continuation of Hunt for the Red Megalari Pt 3

polari

The cracked cavern floor heaved. Bwiki and Wiboom watched in shaking anticipation as chunks of ice gave way, some the size of a melon, others larger than a whole pod of Polari. Puzzle pieces of cavern floor were separating from one another, opening up sections of abyssal blue below. Ice chunks that shook free ascended to the surface, picking up speed and clouding the Podmate’s line of sight to the horn that stood impaled in the cavern floor.

With a second heave the creature broke through, scattering chunks of ice up and into a cloud around itself. Bwiki froze. He and Wiboom were trained to keep their heads even when facing great foes like a Megalari. But this was something else, something neither of them had seen before.

The creature’s body was an eel-like coil that stretched behind its enormous head like yards and yards of thick rope. Along its length were regular circular patches of green bioluminescence, pulsating with a mesmerizing shimmer that descended from the beast’s head to tail and back again. It’s whole body was covered in the same tough red plating that Bwiki and Wiboom had seen on the ice-breaking horn.

The creature’s head was more jaw than skull. It’s mouth sliced back unnaturally deep into its body, making it look like it’d been cut horizontally by its maker. Teeth jutted out at various angles from a jaw which sat loosely open. From within the mouth came the same green glow that studded the creature’s body, shining forward like a spotlight from the beast’s throat.

Wiboom spoke quickly, her beatbox underscoring her words with staccato blasts. “Bwiki, look at the fist! Below its head!”

Bwiki eyes traced the creature’s head to find a knuckled protrusion right below the place where its jaw seemed to finally stop. As he watched, the beast’s singular fist lashed out at an incredible speed, powered by a skinny coil of leathery tendons and musculature, toward a wayward ice chunk. The fist, twice Bwiki’s size, met the ice chunk and exploded it into thousands of shimmering shards.

Bwiki turned to Wiboom, his eyes wild with her battle beats. “Stay alive.”

And with that he darted away and loosed a raucous yell at the beast below. The creature suddenly snapped its head upward. Pitch black eyes, each bigger than Bwiki’s entire body, locked onto him. The creature opened its mouth wide, blinding him with the green light from within.

Bwiki quickly averted his eyes but sensed the creature hurtling toward him out of his peripheral vision. He dove behind a large chunk of ice rising near him and immediately heard the shattering crunch of ice-on-knuckle. Shards of ice glittered in the ocean around him as he floated, briefly stunned by the utter destruction of his cover. He watched as the creature’s fist pulled back and hitched, as if cocking itself.

Bwiki watched as the fist lunged toward him. Just as it reached his unprotected body a thunderous UHNTZ echoed throughout the chamber. The fist flew wide, missing Bwiki by a fin-length.

Wiboom had taken the advantage Bwiki gave her to charge and release a beat. The directed sound blast slammed into the creature’s side, ripping through a few sections of its plated body and exposing the more leathery skin below it. The creature howled in surprised pain, a howl that ranged from bass to high shrills and back again before ceasing. Its coiled body writhed and spasmed before turning from Bwiki to Wiboom. The creature’s eyes locked onto its new target and it struck out after her.

Bwiki snapped back to reality as Wiboom’s beatbox picked up speed. He needed to keep her alive long enough that she could drop a fully powered bass beat onto the creature.

The cavern had gone to pieces, creating an upward surge of icy debris that seemed to be without end. Wiboom dove headlong into a dense cluster of rapidly ascending ice with the beast close behind. Bwiki chased them both, occasionally losing sight of Wiboom as she dodged from chunk to chunk, never waiting for the explosive force of the creature’s knuckle to remove her cover. After several jumps she seemed to evade the creature’s focus and it switched tactics. What was previously a chase became a theatre of destruction as the creature began punching every ice chunk in its way, clearing the field of hiding spots.

The creature then ceased its rapid punches and opened its mouth wide. Green light blossomed from its open jaws and penetrated the field of floating ice in front of it. The spotlight illuminated each chunk in turn, passing completely through them with its brightness. The light briefly came to rest on an ice chunk not far from the reach of the creature’s knuckle. Bwiki, closing in on the creature, glanced up to see the faint silhouette of Wiboom visible behind the ice chunk. The audible TCHIK of the creature’s knuckle-arm readied as it prepared to strike. Wiboom’s beatbox was now at a furious din, but wasn’t charged enough for her to release it.

Bwiki needed to intercept the creature’s strike for Wiboom to survive. He felt time shift into slow-motion. He placed his weapon in front of him and charged forward, diving as hard as his fins would carry him. Bwiki careened around the creature’s eely body and made his final dash toward the knuckle housed below its head. He pointed his horn-sword forward, aiming to destroy the knuckle before it flew.

But he was too late. Bwiki watched as the knuckle, powered by the muscular coil that anchored it to the creature, let loose with vicious speed and sailed toward Wiboom. He looked out toward Wiboom’s icy barrier and saw her head peek over its crystalline edges. Dread painted itself across her face as they locked eyes for the last time.

Rage erupted inside Bwiki. His eyes traced the knuckle’s path down its coiled arm and before he realized what he was doing he swung his horn-sword with all his might onto the the leathery coil that powered the creature’s fist. His horn sliced the coil as it blew past, leaving nothing but a thin strand of connective flesh and a cloud of purple blood. The momentum of the fist was enough to rip itself free from the shredded remains of the coil. Its trajectory shifted and it flew wildly off into the cloud of ice, trailed by a stream of purplish blood.

Blood gushed from the creature’s wound as Bwiki jetted away. The beast writhed in shock and pain, quickly kicking up a purple cloud of blood that obscured its face. Bwiki dove behind an icy barricade and heard Wiboom’s song, triumphantly padding the silence between the enraged howls of the creature. He looked out from behind his barricade and saw her dashing from behind her barricade to another.

A mobile cavern of tooth and tongue suddenly flew from the blood cloud toward Wiboom. Bwiki watched as the beast’s retractable jaw collapsed around her and shuddered as the creature swallowed with an audible gulp. Wiboom’s song faded.