Chapter : Colossal Boss Battle
The boy disappeared beneath the waves with a gurgle as salt water filled his gaping mouth and entered his lungs.
From his vantage point, Tucker felt like he was witnessing a show at a coliseum, where man was brutally taken down by a ravenous lion or tiger or some other such beast. This was quite a bit more terrifying with the ocean roaring around them and the threat of sinking to the bottom of the ocean looming heavily on everyone’s consciousness.
Tucker felt a great pang in his heart as his mind reeled at witnessing the older boy being dragged to his death. Only moments before he had been helping Tucker rally the crew to defend their very lives. Little did he know that when he sent the boy off to create order, he was sentencing the boy to an inky death.
He closed his eyes and turned away for a moment to grieve. He hadn’t even learned the boy’s name - nor had the boy learned Tucker’s. But, the boy had been willing to be brave and fight for the lives of his shipmates. Tucker could only hope to have an ounce of the courage that the boy had possessed.
He was just taking in a deep breath, preparing to figure out what to do next, when the men below started to yell.
Tucker opened his eyes to see the men pointing over the railing and he followed their gestures until, to his surprise, he spotted the boy out in the storm with his head and arms poking out of the water.
He was alive!
In an instant Tucker had a million questions swirling around in his mind. How had the boy escaped the clutches of the great tentacle? Was he injured?
One of those questions was answered only milliseconds later when the boy began to rise out of the water and the thin end of the tentacle was revealed to still be wrapped around the boy’s midsection. The boy gripped the tentacle with everything he had, but no amount of struggling would free him from the monster’s grip.
Up higher and higher the boy was raised until the tentacle was back at its full height, dangling the boy like a cat toy over the water. Tucker’s eyes widened when he saw that the tentacle had not stopped like before, but rather the water around its base was rolling outward. Within seconds a giant base had formed and the body of whatever sea monster the tentacle belonged to was slowly revealed to the cold night air. The thing was massive, at least half the length of the ship, which was already long enough that running from one end to the other would leave someone winded.
There were stubs were the other five tentacles had been chopped free. Only the one remained, and as it waved the boy around through the air, Tucker realized what was going on.
He was being challenged by his first boss.
“Help!” the boy yelled. His voice was muffled by the sound of the wind, rain, and waves. A third sound joined the cacophony, and that was the roar of the beast over the railing. A great guttural moan like a mixture of a fleet of whales overlayed with the most powerful dog growl imaginable. The cry made the hair on Tucker’s ruddy arms stand on end.
He couldn’t just stand there up in the rigging, however, when the boy was still alive. He needed to get to it and tackle that boss.
The most obvious thing to do was to try and shoot the tentacle, seeing as it was the final one, and free the boy before moving on to take down the sea beast completely. Tucker aimed his free hand towards the tentacle and shot a huge blast of Frostbite at the creature.
This time, however, the tentacle moved with intense speed, the likes of which Tucker hadn’t seen since the battle began. It curved out of the way with a flick and the ball of freezing air zoomed past it, landing in the water with a splash that quickly turned into a crunch as the water froze solid.
Tucker tried two more times to strike the tentacle from afar, and both times he found the same result. He couldn’t hit the thing from far away. That meant he needed to get up close with the creature and take it down completely before he could truly free the boy.
“Great…” Tucker muttered. “It figures that I’m going to be forced to leave my vantage point.”
He loosened the knotted rope around himself and shook it free. Then, holding on tightly to the end of the rope, he swung down onto the deck and landed amidst the crew in the knee-high water with a splash.
Garrick waded over to him, his face full of fear for the first time since Tucker had encountered the man.
“Are you going to save him?” he asked. Water dripped from his eyebrows, collecting in his beard and disappearing completely.
“I’m going to save us,” Tucker replied, then he stepped up onto the railing and vaulted over.
The creature was partly beneath the ship already, so when Tucker landed, his feet planted on the solid mass of the monster’s body. It wasn’t hard, but felt like a lobster’s meat after it had been boiled and cracked apart. Almost like a very stiff memory foam.
A great groan sounded beneath Tucker as he hurried across the monster’s body. It knew that he was here at last, though Tucker wondered what this massive creature could possibly do to him since its only tentacle was busy holding up the boy. Surely it couldn’t attack Tucker and hold the boy hostage at the same time.
The body leveled out and Tucker found himself on the battlefield. As he looked around, two separate yellow location markers homed in on what he was searching for: Two great eyes the size of beach balls looked out from beneath heavy lids, narrowing on Tucker as he came to a stop in the middle of the beast’s body.
Those eyes were the way that the creature was avoiding each of Tucker’s attacks. For as long as those eyes were intact, none of Tucker’s blows would make contact with the tentacle. He needed to put them out.
“This shouldn’t be much of a problem,” said Tucker.
After all, there was nothing guarding the eyes. All he had to do was crouch down and shoot a few blasts at each of them to freeze them and then shatter them.
He started to do just that when a new, creepy sound caught his attention.
It was a clicking noise that grew rapidly in volume and intensity until Tucker turned to see that there were three giant crab-like monstrosities climbing out of the water and making their way speedily across the giant sea monster’s body toward him.
“So, you’ve got friends?”
Their bodies were pure white with domed shells and legs that stretched about a meter on either side. They moved so quickly that by the time Tucker had turned, they were upon him.
One lashed out with its pointed claws and slashed Tucker across the arm. The pointy end cut into his flesh and a great searing pain erupted.
“Aaaarghhh!!!” Tucker cried as his vision flashed with a red vignette. His health bar appeared and the glowing red line reduced from what he originally had - ten total points - down to nine. How could he have allowed a minion to get to him like that? If these things nicked him enough, he would be out of health.
He swiveled around and gave the crustacean a kick to the face and, with a squeal, the creature was down for the count.
The other two doubled down their attacks, coming at Tucker from either side.
Using both hands this time, Tucker aimed each palm at either monster and blasted them with streams of freezing air. They recoiled, screeching, and fled.
Tucker snapped his attention back to the nearest great eye and shot three quick blasts of Frostbite at it. The first one was overshot, but the other two landed perfectly. The eye froze and Tucker hurried forward and pummeled it with his boot. The thing cracked and ultimately shattered in the same way that the other tentacles had.
That was one down.
A great crack of lightning lit up the sky and thunder sounded.
Tucker turned and hurried towards the second eye, sending a blast at it. But, he was too late. They eye closed itself and the icy air did nothing to the outer eyelid.
What was more, the two crustaceans from before were back from their hiding spots beneath the behemoth. They raced across its body towards Tucker and attacked once more.
They had learned from Tucker’s attacks and did not fall for the same trick again. One of the creatures stayed off to the side while the other slashed its claws back and forth, charging in and out like a boxer.
Tucker tried his best to stay clear of the attacks, but again he was knicked - this time in the leg. Another flash of red and his health was down to eight.
Bringing his hands together, Tucker generated a massive ball of freezing air that glowed bright blue until it was so cold that even his own hands were starting to feel it. In a few seconds he thrust his hands at the attacking crustacean and blasted the ball of air at its claws.
Both claws were frozen in an instant. The creature let out a confused squeal as its means of attack were immobilized and Tucker rounded a sideways kick at them, shattering the claws with a single strike.
The pain must have been too much for the creature because it backed off and tilted into its back, succumbing to its fate.
The other crustacean, seeing the destruction, retreated beneath the waves once more.
Tucker turned his attention to the last great eye and saw that it was open, watching the fight with interest. While the eye was following the crustacean as it fled, Tucker pummeled the eye with a stream of Frostbite which hit it square in the oversized pupil.
The eye turned a glassy white under all the cold until it was frozen solid like its predecessor.
Tucker wasted no time in hurrying over and bashing it with his feet as quickly as he could. This eye took a bit more effort to eliminate, but it ultimately broke apart and was discarded.
To his right, Tucker saw that the tentacle was flailing now, shaking the boy back and forth through the air as if it were in intense pain...or intense terror. The monstrosity had to know that its time was up.
As Tucker walked across the trembling body towards the base of the tentacle, the final crustacean emerged and made a beeline for him with its claws snapping open and shut.
Tucker wasn’t messing around this time. He spun on his heel and shot three balls of Frostbite at the creature and froze it solid. The cold was so great that the crustacean needed no other force for it to crack apart and fall to pieces in front of Tucker.
He was getting pretty good at this.
An alert appeared in front of him.
That was good because he needed every ounce of his magic to take down this final tentacle.
He was just closing the gap between himself and the tentacle when Garrick called to him from the ship.
Tucker turned just in time to see his cutlass flying through the air. He caught it handily and continued towards his destination.
Finally, Tucker thought. Something easy.
He stood so close to the tentacle that when he reached out, his hand rested flat against its side.
“Help!” yelled the boy up above.
Tucker closed his eyes and used everything within him to send a freezing wave of air right to the core of the tentacle. He held it steady until four feet of the tentacle’s length was turned to a solid block of ice. Up above, the pointy end flailed with the boy still in its grasp.
A great crack was heard and Tucker pulled his hand away, turning to the frozen piece with his cutlass.
With a great swing, his blade moved completely through the icy patch and shattered the tentacle, detaching it from the body.
A great squealing wail sounded from within the sea monster and the tentacle came tumbling down to crash against the tough body. The boy let out a yell as he held out his hands and bounced off the flat surface. He wasn’t harmed, however, because of the texture.
The tentacle became lifeless and the boy untangled himself from it, getting to his feet.
“You did it!” he said as Tucker came over to him.
A great rumble started beneath their feet as the sea monster trembled and quaked. The boy let out a “Woah!” and Tucker held out his arms to balance himself. He looked to the end of the monster’s body and saw that the waves were now crashing over the edge.
“It’s going down!” he told the boy, grabbing him by the arm. “Come on! It’ll take us down with it!”
That was the last thing he wanted, especially after he had just defeated his first boss.
Running towards the ship, Tucker pulled the boy along with him and within moments they were at the edge of the monster’s body.
“Jump!” he cried, and the two of them leaped as far as they could and landed in the water with a splash. The cold of the water hit them like an arctic blast, but it was nothing compared to what had been done to the sea monster. They wouldn’t be in the water long.
They swam towards the ship, which had become freed from the grip of the sea monster and was floating away from it. That meant the gap of ocean between them was growing. Tucker looked over at the boy and saw that his energy had to be depleted because he was barely making an effort. His skin was pale and his eye sockets were becoming gray from the cold.
“Here!” said Tucker. “Hold onto my shirt. I’ll pull you along! We’re almost there.”
He looked back at the sea monster, which was rapidly sinking beneath the waves. Great spurts of white foam shot up around its edges as the waves crashed over it. The thing was dying.
“Orc!” came Garrick’s voice over the pounding waves. “Grab hold!”
A rope was thrown from the deck of the ship, which had now thankfully righted itself. Tucker pulled the boy over to the edge of the rope and wrapped his free hand around it.
“Pull us up!” he called once his grip was secure.
“You heard him!” said Garrick to his men. “Put your backs into it! Heave!”
The crew did exactly that and within moments the rope’s slack had been returned to the deck and Tucker, along with the boy, were lifted from the water.
Tucker let out a sigh of relief. He had survived this one, and so had the boy. The worst was over.
As the two of them were helped over the railing, Tucker gave one last look at the sea monster. It turned over, causing a great swell, and disappeared in a giant circle of bubbling foam, never to attack another ship again.
Even though he had been out of the water only moments, Tucker felt his body temperature returning to normal. Perhaps that had to do with his orc blood, but as much as he appreciated his speedy recovery, he turned to see the crew surrounding the boy who was laid out on the decking.
“Somebody needs to do something!” said one of the men. “He looks like he’s freezing to death!”
Tucker’s eyes widened and he hurried over to the boy.
“No!” he said as he pushed his way through the men.
The boy couldn’t die now! Not when the sea monster had finally let him free!
Even with this wishful thinking, Tucker saw that the men were right. The boy’s eyes were closed and his skin was as pale as porcelain.
“He’s not long for this world,” said Garrick. “I’m not sure what any of us can do.”
Bio: I have been a writer pretty much from the time I could hold a pencil and scribble letters. I am looking to develop my craft and better my storytelling. I am a huge fan of fantasy and horror in all their incarnations. When I'm not reading, I'm usually hunting for Legos. You can find me trying to decipher the mini-figure blind bags at the local big-box store.