80% A Small World / Chapter 8: R.I.P

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Chapter 8: R.I.P

Our large troop trudged along in silence, I now had 96 soldiers and three generals to my name while Ka-el gave himself the title of head scientist and Noire and Belle sharing the title of head scout. Amber continued to serve at my side oblivious of what had occurred at the colony just a few days ago, content to continue wandering under my protection.

A tap to my shoulder brought me out of my daydream.

"My king, the scouting unit has returned with some food," Mordred spoke as he kneeled before me.

"I do appreciate the respect you show, but your one of my generals you don't need to be so formal," I said addressing the dark red ant before me. He had caught my eye in the battle royale, he was one of the larger worker ants, he did not willingly fight, only raising his hands to defend himself though he did show superior combat skills, and he had a prideful look about him which made me wonder why such an ant would have surrendered in the first place. I made him a general not only to keep an eye on him but also to keep order and so far he has proved most loyal.

"I apologize, my king," he said as he retreated to tend to his set of the troops.

I gave the order to halt and soon we were all sitting peacefully on the soft dirt enjoying a meal of worm flesh, compliments of Noire's scouting party.

"Hey Red can I eat with you," said an approaching Amber.

I opened my mouth to reply but then suddenly Amber was falling. I rushed quickly to catch her kneeling by her side as the others, the generals, huddled around us.

"What's wrong Amber?" I asked my voice noticeably shaking," Wake up!"

With a moan, Amber began to stir. She looked at me and for a moment I saw a look of fear and disbelief.

"Are you okay Amber?" I spoke softly.

"I...I saw," she stuttered.

"No never mind I'm fine," she said as she rose slowly to her feet.

"Belle, take care of Amber," I ordered.

"No really I'm fine," she said as she tottered off in the direction she came.

I watched her as she went wondering why she had looked at me so strangely and for the first time since I met her I began to be afraid, afraid that she might know something, afraid that she might leave me, afraid that I would lose my only real friend

We marched across the dry dust. It was colored like yellow sand. The heat beat down with incredible force causing my head to spin. I looked back into the ranks to determine whether I was the only one who was suffering from these symptoms. Everyone looked tired, a few stumbled.

"Halt!" I commanded, "Ka-el!"

Ka-el walked up with an annoyed look on his face, the orb which was previously within the dragonfly's head was strapped to his back and there was a tube made of strange material extending from it wrapped around his front leg.

"What do you want now stupid king?"Ka-el asked.

"Before I decide to maul you in front of the whole troupe would you care to explain why we're smoldering in this wasteland when we could've kept traveling next to the stream where there was food and water?"

"Bah! Is this seriously what this is about, honestly if you can't take a little sun you don't have a right to lead," Ka-el said making my blood boil," I thought going this way would be a good exercise for the new troops, with so much of them its obvious they have some fighting ability but we don't how much if you would recall our overwhelming advantage, the chances that we encounter a termite group out here is higher meaning we can have a little match maybe even pick out a few talents"

I walked closer to him then smacked him across the face

"I would've preferred we took the easier route," I said. He sneered.

"Well," he said leaning in close," these ants seem pretty weak to me we shouldn't have been able to wipe out 4000 ants with such ease and bring the other 1000 into submission it's better we let some termites pick off a few"

"But considering that there might be some good fighters among this set that wouldn't be fair anyone can die." I retorted.

"Including you," He said as he retreated back into the ranks.

As usual I was left in a rather bitter mood after talking with Ka-el. While I allowed the troops to rest I sent Noire ahead to look for these proposed termites. Just as I was beginning to feel restless Noire returned with a look synonymous with fear. He was out of breath.

"There's a ... a big... a big," He struggled as he tried to get the words out," Centipede!"

"A centipede, Is that why you're so out of breath?" I asked half laughing at his ignorance," We can easily kill something like that."

"If you saw it you would understand"

"Fine, troops move out double time!" I shouted.

We moved swiftly with renewed energy and curiosity to see what could freak out Noire so much.

I saw something red in distance and once again doubled my speed. Belle was running circles around our group.

Then I stopped as my eyes rested upon the largest centipede I had ever seen. He was almost double the length of an adult human's foot and was almost as wide. My jaws dropped as I was filled with amazement, awe and sheer terror.

The silence that followed as we all stared was deafening.

As if sensing the eerie silence the centipede twitched and turned around to face us. It was at least a meter away but I could feel its glare-cutting through me. Then without a warning, a large mammal popped out of the ground in between us it began to attack the centipede with its sharp claws although it didn't have much of an advantage as the centipede's size could certainly be compared to its own. Using its extreme speed the centipede twisted itself around the mammal's body biting into its flesh. It squealed and rolled over while scratching at the centipede and succeeded in getting it off its body. It was a heated battle but soon the mammal started to retreat, shivering as if it had never faced such power but then something happened to turn the tables. Another of the mammals popped up from the ground directly behind the centipede, it held on to it while the other mammal charged back in to help finish off the tired and now unable to move centipede.

"Help!" It cried as it thrashed around under the mammal.

My eyes opened wider as I pushed myself back to reality. I charged forward while yelling for an attack.

I leaped upon the animal that was holding the centipede down delivering a powerful bite. The poison from my bite was even more corrosive as it ate through the animal's flesh.

I hadn't noticed my army's hesitance to move till I was shaken off by the animal to fall flat on the ground facing the direction I had just run from to see my entire army standing stock still watching on as I tried to free the centipede.

"MOVE!!" I yelled in anger.

"Hold on I'm coming Red," I saw Amber running to my aid.

I sprang back up on my feet and began to smash my metal leg into the leg of the mammal. I was hoping that it would once gain glow and give me an instant victory but no matter how much I tried it wouldn't. I saw the two animals trying to get the centipedes head in their mouth. A beheading definitely means death for a centipede.

"My efforts will not be in vain!" I cried as I continued to smash my metal leg into the creature causing a slight reaction.

Amber took place next to me ripping out a chunk of the animal's flesh.

"Now what would you do without me," a voice spoke behind me. I turned around to face Ka-el.

"Stand back," He said. Amber and I obliged. He slowly unwrapped the tube from around his arm then he flipped a switch that was on it.

"Burn"

A huge flame burst forth from tube nearly covering the creature in flames. Ka-el smiled as he turned it off.

"Works like a charm"

Then I heard a tremendous yell as the rest of my army charged in to attack the other creature. Mordred was at the head.

With the help of the centipede, the mammal was down in a less than a minute.

After the battle, Amber and I leaned upon the creature which Ka-el had charred. Looking around I could see that I had lost almost half of my force in that quick scuffle.

I sighed; I guess Ka-el was right as usual.

Then something stirred behind me. With a small shriek, the creature rose up. It turned around swiftly and lashed out at us.

"Amber watch out!" I screamed.

While I leaped out of the way Amber was swatted by the creature's large claws. The previously dormant centipede leaped up delivering a blow to creatures face. A soft red glow emitted from my metal leg.

"Say goodbye!" I yelled as I slammed my now brilliantly red metal leg into the creature. It was instantly incinerated.

There was silence for a while as ash floated down from the sky. Then a cheer rang out from the army.

Breathing heavily I rushed to Amber's side she was hurt badly.

"What are you cheering about?!" I yelled," We just lost nearly half our force!"

Silence came for the third time.

"All able-bodied units take care of the wounded!" I commanded "Belle!"

Belle zoomed up next to me.

"Take care of Amber," I whispered.

"Uh hey," said a voice behind me.

I turned to face the large centipede I had rescued.

"Thanks for the assist," He said with a grin," The names Goliath, sorry your men died cause of me"

"Don't worry about it to much the only reason I jumped in to help was that it was an unfair fight," I replied, "My name is Red."

"That was some crazy power you used just now," Goliath spoke," I hope all ants here aren't that strong."

"Nah I'm pretty sure I'm one of a kind," I said proudly," Besides I've never seen such a humongous centipede ever and your crazy good at fighting too."

"Well actually I'm not from around here at all, some humans snatched me up, I escaped a couple days ago, annoying creatures those humans."

"I know," I said.

I sat with him and told him of all my adventures up till now.

"Wow!" he exclaimed," you sure have been through a lot, though can't help but think you're a bit crazy. Either way, I've made my decision I'd like to join you. Hanging with you sounds like loads of fun."

I grinned," finally a one-man army joins me."

"Really? Guess I'm pretty important then," Goliath smiled as well.

*************

Later that day I visited the spot where Belle and a few others watched over Amber. When I approached they dispersed leaving me alone with Amber.

"Hey," I spoke

"Hi"

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"Fine" Amber replied," Just a few broken limbs"

Silence followed.

"There's something I have to tell you Red."

I looked up at her; I could see a kind of uncertainty in her face.

"Ever since I met you I knew something was wrong. You seemed so troubled even more so than me, and I had no memories."

My eyes opened wide.

"Yes you heard me right, I had no memories, I've had dreams ever since I met you and finally earlier today the last piece of the puzzle was added."

I could feel my fear rising.

"The first thing should know is that I was a part of Reed's colony. In fact, I was the next in line for queen. Reed knew me but he had no knowledge of the fact I was the next in line, and as of earlier today I know that it is you who caused the destruction of my colony."

I looked away from her gaze.

"But ... I forgive you."

"What?" I asked looking back at Amber.

"I forgive you because.., I feel something for you, I don't know what it is but I can't help but like you more and more."

"Love you mean?" I asked after finding the word suddenly in my vocabulary.

"Is that what it is?" Amber asked," Just know Red you don't have to hide what you're doing from me I will support you until you free yourself of this. I would love to see the real you, besides it wasn't your fault."

"Well, I'm pretty tired now," she smiled before turning on her side"good night Red."

"Good night Amber," I spoke," Rest in peace"


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