Jade had seen chaos before.
Literally, she had seen Chaos, the sprawling infinite abyss of nothingness that predated even the Big Bang (a story for another time, maybe). But she had also seen chaos as in crazed fighting, battles waged, hectic situations where it looked like there was no possible way out, where the only option was to bite down, push forward and cross your fingers that luck just happened to swing your way for one day more. Chaos was what Jade lived for.
And this…this was chaos.
“You never once thought about the danger of building a jungle over what is basically a boiling ocean of magma?” yelled Jade as she barely dodged an oversized wooden club that an imp had swung towards her knees. Within seconds, the imp’s head was gone, its blood splattered upon the mass of deranged companions behind it. The death of their fellow comrade didn’t seem to do much to stop their march forward, and their heads soon followed suit as Jade let loose a barrage of bullets. She barely paused to reload, taking the time to kick at the stragglers, their necks snapping back with a satisfying crunch.
“I didn’t have much choice!” shouted Eden, he hands swiping frantically in the air, sending a variety of plants towards the oncoming surge of Black Rim troops. Spiny vines pieced through multiple foes, like a demon shish kabob. “Thanks to the Black Rim Clan, this entire world is ruined. Try finding even a sliver of land that isn’t a charred and flaming mess- AGH!.” A larger troll-like creature grabbed her by the neck and began to twist, but soon found that method of attack a bit difficult as a razor sharp branch cleaved his arms clean off. A few seconds later, the top half of the troll was on the ground, still unaware of what had happened. Then someone stomped on its head.
“Ah shit!” said Fat Solomon. “These are new shoes. Do you know how hard it is to get troll gore out of leather?” Unlike Jade and Eden, Fat Solomon wasn’t so easily able to dodge the attacks being thrown his way. To be fair, he wasn’t particularly trying. Instead, he barreled directly through the enemy waves, steamrolling over anything small or unlucky enough to get in his way.
“Priorities, bud,” said Jade. “Besides, there’s almost nothing in a troll head anyways.” She ran forward towards an intersection in the hallway, ducking as a burning tree crashed down nearby.
Eden managed to conjure an impromptu wooden shield in time to block a sword thrust, but had to retreat when the shield caught flame. “Jade, can we go that way?”
“It depends,” said Jade. “How’s your lava backstroke?”
“I’ll take that as a no.”
“We could always use Fat Solomon as a raft.” She had to step aside as a tossed goblin came flying past her and into the fires below. “You missed!”
“My bad,” said Fat Solomon. “These things squirm so much, it ruins my aim.”
Eden rolled her eyes. “I’m impressed you two can be so calm when we’re about to be either savagely killed or burned alive.”
“Story of my life,” said Jade. “Are we any closer to an exit?”
“You’re underestimating the size of the Oasis,” said Eden, biting her lip. “If the magma is coming up this quickly, there’s no way we can reach an outer side before it overtakes us.”
“So we go up. Burst through the roof.”
“If I wasn’t so busy with life and death hand-to-hand combat, I’d explain to you all the reasons that wouldn’t work.” A monster with two giant claws had begun savagely striking down towards Eden, who was doing her best to tangle the claws up a thick vines. Suddenly, the creature jerked backwards and fell to the ground in a torrent of blood, a gaping hole in its chest.
“There,” said Fat Solomon, blowing imaginary smoke from his pistol. “Now you’re not so busy.”
“Besides the thousands of others just around the corner,” mumbled Eden. “Fine. Problem one: The outer edge of the Oasis is invulnerable to any form of damage. The inner walls are strong, but as we’ve learned, not entirely reliable. The shell is another story.”
“We’ll deal with that when we get there,” said Jade.
“Problem two,” continued Eden. “How exactly do you plan to get up there?”
Jade pointed to a fallen tree that had managed not to catch on fire for the most part. “How much weight can you lift?”
Eden looked over the thick trunk. “Enough for that. But if you’re thinking that I can smash through the ceiling with a log, you’re delusional.
“Who said I wanted to use it to smash through the ceiling? The first step is just getting there,” said Jade, straddling a non-burning section of the tree. “You up for a ride?”