Chapter 4: Stir (Part 3)

Off in the distance, but still visible from the Oasis, an army was coming. It looked like a small herd of ants, moving quickly across the wrecked landscape, but it contained over thousands of creatures, all suited for battle.

“The Black Rim clan,” said Eden. “A collection of bandits and warriors that hails from the other side of the Golden Forest. Loyal servants to the God of Darkness.”

“And let me guess, you’re some form of God of Light that they have entered into an eternal war with?” said Jade.

Eden looked taken aback. “You’ve heard of the Prophesy?”

“I’ve heard of a lot of Prophesies, kid. The fantasy genre isn’t really anything new, but that’s part of its appeal, I guess. If there’s a God of Darkness, there’s always gotta be a God of Light, and considering the circumstances, and the fact there’s an swarm of fantasy baddies on their way to rip your limbs off, it’s not that hard to guess who that God of Light is.”

“Which sucks for us,” said Fat Solomon.

“And why’s that?” said Eden.

“Because it means we’ve bet on the loosing team.”

Eden narrowed her eyes. “Excuse me?”

“We won’t sugar coat it,” said Jade. “Nine times out of ten, darkness wins. Those are the stories you don’t hear. You might think there’s a balance between the two, but that balance is skewed pretty heavily to the side that doesn’t have any qualms about brutally murdering anything that gets in their way.”

Eden raised a hand at them. “And is that where you two stand?”

“Consider us a neutral party,” said Jade. “Not to mention the fact that Fat Solomon standing on any balance is going to cause problems”.

“You’re mercenaries.”

“We’re not for sale.”

The Black Rim forces had just about made it to the outer area of the Oasis. Now they could be seen, a cluster of blood crazed beasts that were a blur of horns and fangs. The front lines were mostly small and rabid; the ones too brainless to care what dangers lie before them. Behind those were the muscle, larger brutes like Ogres who would serve as the main attack force. But it was the far row that was most worrying. Tall demonic fiends that towered above the land, dark energy coursing throughout their ranks. Each had multiple legs, like a spider, but they looked almost human, as if a  multi-limbed giant had been stretched to the point of breaking, then forced to crawl along the ground on it’s hands and knees.

The first line of attack crossed the boundary of the Oasis, and the front panels on the building began to slide open in self-defense. But instead of firing out the fiery magma from earlier, nothing happened. The army flowed into them, clogging the entrance so the panel couldn’t close. Within seconds, they were inside.

“I assume that’s a problem,” said Jade.

“Less than you would think. The turrets are actually long tunnels that were dug deep into the ground, directly over lava geysers, like the ones you see outside,” said Eden. “If they try to enter through that route, they’ll just fall to their deaths.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” said Fat Solomon, staring at one of the walls where tiny cracks were beginning to form.

“No!” shouted Eden. Using both her hands, she sent waves of plants and dirt into the cracks, forming a barrier against the wall. But throughout the entire Oasis, the walls were bulging and warping as the mass of creatures continued to filter in through the tunnels. While the first to enter had fallen into the fiery river beneath the Oasis, the larger ones had effectively blocked the passage, creating a makeshift platform for others to begin tearing through the Oasis walls from the inside. It wasn’t long before sections of the wall were breached.

The Wildwood jumped into action, throwing themselves against the emerging forces. They didn’t necessarily carry weapons, but the sheer number of tiny bodies, all simultaneously acting as one, was surprisingly effective. Some Wildwood joined together into hulking wooden behemoths, smashing their way through the oncoming waves of demons that were flowing from the wall.

“We don’t have time to argue anymore,” said Eden, waving her hands to control multiple unseen sections of the Oasis while simultaneously barricading the entrances into the room. “Whether you want to help me or not, your mission is going to end pretty quickly if we’re all killed. I can’t let the Oasis fall into the Black Rim Clan’s control.”

“I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about that,” said Jade.

Eden glared at her. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“If what you said about the Oasis’ defense system is true, then someone blocked the lava flow to let the Black Rim Clan in. All that pressure, building up with nowhere else to go, it’s gotta break sometime. And when it does-“

As if on cue, the magma beneath the Oasis erupted forward through the tunnels. Any creatures still inside the walls were immediately burned alive, but that was a short-lived victory. With the walls torn open, the lava streamed through the cracks and out into the Oasis itself. The closest Black Rim and Wildwood soldiers were snuffed out by the immense amount of molten flame pouring into the building, and the plant-based interior soon caught fire. It wasn’t long before the entire Oasis was a burning inferno, with the remaining forces continuing to battle.

“Now would be a good time to show us the escape route,” said Jade, as both fire and demons began breaking into the room.

Eden shook her head. “This is the direct center of the Oasis. We’re basically as far from the exit as we can get.”

Jade nodded and readied her pistol. When she looked up, there was a small hint of a grin on her face.

“Then I suggest we get going.”

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