Robin fired a shot as May snapped a web between two of the remaining trees, one end on the bottom of the tree trunk and the other on a branch above the bottom of the branch layer.


His shot hit, and to his immense surprise, had a noticeable effect, the small blue MANA detonation breaking off a chunk of the white coral-like material that comprised the electric tumbleweed.


The van-sized mass of jutting stone began releasing electricity in crackling gouts, most of it discharging into the ground, leaving behind tiny crystallized shards where it struck dirt, and smoldering embers where it hit plants. One bolt hit a cedar tree and it exploded, the core of the tree reduced to coals instantly. The bark of the tree sprayed outward and ignited as it was struck by the constant shocks filling the air from the tumbleweed. The air around the white mass of living stone became a whirling dance of lights and energy.


Robin slammed the hammer of the revolver down and fired again, immediately pushing the hammer down again and firing. He managed to get three shots in it, each magical bullet breaking off chunks and small arms of the tumbleweed before it hit the web.


Just before it hit, May shouted something, but Robin could not distinguish her words over the grinding roar of the tumbleweed, let alone his own gunfire. Hopefully she will tell me if it was important.


The tumbleweed impacted the thin web line, and Robin expected it to continue moving with no more difficulty than Robin would have had from a normal spider-silk line. He was surprised when it slammed into the web, the impact cutting into the stone several feet deep.


Cascades of porous stone rained down in front of Robin, still crackling with energy. Robin backed up, eying them cautiously. He began pumping his MANA into the revolver, quickly refilling it, grateful that his Resist Pain skill applied to pain caused by sheer volume.


Investing in MANA was a good choice.


The web abruptly went slack, whatever tension it mysteriously held vanishing, and the tumbleweed sagged somewhat, the line having apparently been supplying support to the wounded creature.


Robin frowned slightly, feeling pedantic again. Wounded or damaged?


He shook the curiosity from his thoughts and fired until his cylinder was empty, each shot tearing mass from the tumbleweed, sending it down to crackle on the ground. A quick glance to his side revealed that May was … just standing there, watching. She noticed his glance and nodded at him, then at the creature, with a somewhat pointed look.


Robin refilled the Δ-Revenant, noticing grimly that his MANA was beginning to run dry, even enhanced as it was. When it was full he lifted and fired again, going to reload the hammer. He paused when a notification appeared.


Level up! You have become a Blue Entomage Level 5!
+1 BODY, +1 WILL, +10 MANA, +1 LOOKS, +2 SP, x1 Blue Mote, x1 Free Mote


What does a Blue Mote do? I am sure it is special, or least significant to my class. I need to make sure and use that one with as many Motes of as high a rarity as I can manage. The Free Mote is probably special, too, if not more special than the Blue Mote.


Robin closed the notification, both pleased and slightly disturbed by the off-putting ...not silence, but lack of sound, rather, that had set in with the impact of the tumbleweed.


“I think we defea… killed it.”


‘Defeated’ is a weenie word, and it reduces the significance of what we are doing…. Being forced into doing here.


Robin twisted the corner of his mouth into a tiny-frown. Even that is a bit of a cop-out. No point in dwelling on it, though.


A thought suddenly occurred to Robin, and he opened his Motes menu, initially hopeful at the amount of Motes he saw. May began speaking to him, and he made typing motions with one hand while waving for her to continue with the other. He was not sure that she understood exactly what he meant, but she kept talking, so Robin listened while he examined his Motes. I am sure my increased INT and perception will ensure that it is just fine.













Misery? Is that from the Tweaker ...Clan? Tribe? Pack? That makes me feel better about having to kill them, I guess. Misery is an aspect of their existence. Robin considered that for a moment, and realised he had not heard anything that May had said.


Enhanced perception, you let me down!


“...were, then we would have a lot more trouble, I think. I think the explosion might have been caused by this thing, or maybe it made this thing, I dunno, but it definitely distracted the Tweakers.”


“...if who were what?”, Robin asked sheepishly, wishing his Shell of the Blue Entomage had a nice, face-concealing helmet. “Sorry. I was looking at my level-up bonuses. I leveled up, by the way.”


May rolled her eyes, but obliged him by restarting.


“As I said, we didn’t encounter any actual Tweaker Mages, or at least, I didn’t. Did you?”


Robin stared at her in dismay. Were the bigger ones not Tweaker Mages? That almost feels… unfair.


“My skin was crawling, but… I guess it did not do any damage or anything, and that is the big tell, right?”


May nodded.


“I was hoping that it was just my armor dampening the effect. Crap. I guess I did not encounter any.”


“No, no, again, as I said, that is a good thing”, May said patiently, elucidating every word. Robin was not sure if she was doing that because she was annoyed, having trouble controlling her new SPEED, or both. “My traps were already not working super well. They didn’t have the numbers they do now when I encountered them before, or maybe they just didn’t send them out against me. Either way, one of the little ones goes ahead and triggers the traps. If the Goblin isn’t killed by the trap, the others work together to free it, and they advance.”


The “at blinding speed” part of her statement was left hanging in the air, and Robin looked at her, nodding to show that he had heard and understood.


“So we run. Opal is…” He focused briefly, then pointed above his head and behind them several meters, then shrugged and dropped his arms. “Well, she was right there, but now she is somewhere else. Still nearby, though.”


He cracked a smile, and even though he immediately regretted it, feeling something that had dried on his face crack and peel off, he did not immediately close his mouth, savoring the brief, fleeting joy.


“We hit, so… now we run?”


May grinned at him, slowly shaking her head in mock exasperation.


“Yeah, kid. Now we run.”

A note from spacespeck

Animorphs reference wooooo

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About the author


Bio: Just read my stories and make wild assumptions, it's more fun that way.

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