“Jean, no!” Felix cried. She fell to one knee, coughed and collapsed.
“Hardly even worth the effort.” Chang spat. “You hero types are all the same! Your idealism and dreams won’t survive this world. Only money makes a difference.”
The rest of the party had been incapacitated by Chang cheesing one of his over-powered boss moves. Felix only remained because of his evasive prowess but dodging can only get you so far. The wall of ever-present sycophants formed an impenetrable defence. With the amount of money Chang had (sub-everything) the stream of sycophants would remain steady. Felix was low on options. He looked at the others gravely.
“I guess I’ll have to…” But then there was movement behind him.
Grgl was standing up with a calm expression on his face.
“Grgl!” Felix said. “I’m glad you’re alright. See to the others if you…”
Grgl raised a hand and a torrent of water or perhaps a concentrated version of the ocean itself shot out of it. The sycophants barely had enough time to apply sunblock before they found themselves crashing through the large windows of Strut A. Chang grimaced, his sunglasses askew.
“Boss! Help me!” said one of his underlings, clinging desperately to his foot. Chang looked down contemptuously.
“I hate minor characters!” he said and raised his foot in an about-to-murder-my-own-subordinates-to-cement-the-fact-that-I’m-a-bad-guy-and-therefore-you-should-not-feel-conflicted-in-murdering-me sort of way. But, before he could deliver this crushingly overused trope he found himself floating in a bubble of water.
“You’ve done enough damage, Chang.” The sound came from Grgl but it sounded more like a thousand voices than his own. Grgl looked to the ocean and blinked.
“It is coming for us once again.” they said.
Chang who was not fond of his watery prison shot out one of his dosh daggers, aimed for Grgl’s heart. There was a flash and Felix stood between them, the dosh dagger in his teeth.
“I didn’t want to fight you Chang but now I see that you are a tyrant that needs to be stopped!” On pronouncing the last syllable the blade snapped between Felix’s teeth.
“There will be no need for further violence, Felix. It is the end of Chang’s reign and this city.” the voices said. Grgl raised his hand to his temple.
As heard in the minds of those in the immediate vicinity:
“Greetings, people of Flockboast. We are the Fish-Kin, the last remnants of the people that lived on Brow Island. Our homeland was sunk by a mighty wave. That same wave is coming to finally claim us once and for all. It will take us and this city with it. It will be here with the moon rise. Leave this place behind and you will be spared. Do not delay or you will be swept away.”
Several hours later in a bubble above Flockboast city…
The sea was a perfectly straight line on the horizon. A beam of moonlight shone over it. Then the horizon rippled.
“It comes.” Beardface said.
Chang whimpered and stuck his hand out in a way that conjured up images of a green light.
“My moneyyyyy!” he moaned. Chang was not restrained but he was clearly wary of Grgl, if you could still call him that. He had a strange aura. It was almost as if he was the epitome of an entire culture or something.
“There are still some people down there.” Jean said concernedly.
“Those that remain do so because they try to take their material wealth with them. Otherwise, they remain because remaining is more important to them than living. In either case, it is better that we do not interfere.” The voices said through Grgl. Jean was not convinced.
“It is a good thing that this evil place is being wiped clean.” Beardface said.
“It is not a good thing it is simply a thing.” Grgl said enigmatically.
“Spoken with the neutral mercilessness of a natural disaster.” Felix said.
“I can see my house from here.” said the underling they had saved.
And then the wave was upon them. It was huge, beyond huge. The wave was taller than the city walls. It reached its yawning maw over the city, blocking out the light of the newly risen moon. It roared with deafening power and in one crash landing enveloped the entire city of Flockboast.
They watched in awe as the water churned below them.
“This is where we leave you.” Fish-Kin (Grgl) said. “We will return with the wave. We thank for your assistance.”
“What will you do with him?” Felix asked.
“He played a large role in our history. He will join us in our future.” There was a pop and Grgl transformed into a fish with a mighty fin. There was a second pop and Chang became a jellyfish.
“Brahrahrahra!” Beardface yodelled with laughter. “Brainless, heartless and spineless! A fitting fate!”
“Then it is time for our farewell. This bubble shall return you to the shore. If you are ever in need of help, holler a fish.” and with that Grgl hopped out of the bubble with Chang in tow and glided through the air towards the ocean.
The bubble popped when it reached the beach. The gargantuan wave was still receding and the city was invisible beneath its foaming mass. The only sign that anything had once been there was a rather-quite-tall pole that remained. Ranaweyt gave them an I-must-return-too look followed by an I-enjoyed-working-with-you look. His tail swished as his dark greyness was swallowed by the crowd of recently de-homed individuals.
They sat together on the beach in the moonlight watching a crab with an above average sized pincer click menacingly at them.
Beardface lobbed a stone into the now calming sea.
“I am ashamed to have been bested to easily.” he mumbled.
“I know how you feel. So much for being masters.” Jean agreed glumly.
“Masters we may be but we still have much to learn.” Felix said and then paused.
“Wait, let me try again.” He furrowed his brow and cleared his throat.
“Though you may have mastered your weapons you have yet to master yourselves.” He said sagely.
“No matter how far we’ve come we can always keep going.” Jean said.
“Improvement is an endless task.” Beardface agreed. Just then the crab with the above average sized pincer (horrified at these wannabe deep-and-meaningful lines) threw something shiny at them.
“Hey, weren’t those Chang’s?” Jean said. Felix inspected it.
Jean looked at the shining moon and felt a particular nostalgic melancholy. She remembered the land-whale, the wizards, the singing cat, the Flagnork and all the peculiar things she would have never seen back home in E’ni. She thought back to all the masters and wondered where they might have gone. She thought she saw Dali on the beach but decided it couldn’t be him. Just then Felix said: “You know, it is beautiful.”
And then a thought occurred to Jean. “Weren’t we looking for someone?”
ARC 1 Ending Theme:
Beyond the Sea (La Mer) – Django Reinhardt