Cogflake Cogflake

Jun 18, 2024




Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 11

Previous - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 10

Raziel is currently engaged in stacking the boulder pieces he picked up, using their irregular shapes to create the most interestingly balanced structure he can. The tiger is understandably startled when he glances over happens to see a ‘jackal’ approaching, but eventually recognizes Zorro. He knocked over the stones, though.

Zorro blinks, “Uh… Sorry for leaving you bored. Looks like the whole village is unarmed. And there’s some other fellow who is trapped, and I found Viktor, and I’m tired, and just… screw it. Let’s walk in, find this guy, pull him out, and then, if we still feel like it, grab the statue. But &*^% this place.”

Raziel tilts his head a little. “You don’t mind inciting panic? And potentially disrupting the whole of the village?” The tiger shrugs, and stands up. “Very well. But I make a point not to hurt people that don’t need it, and these villagers haven’t done anything.” He would have played with the kid, personally. “And yes, we’re /NOT/ leaving without the statue. That was the entire point of this trainwreck of a retrieval mission.”

It seems as though the most of the villiage, however, has moved off towards the center for some gathering of some sort. Maybe just stick to the edges and someone might not notice the armed tiger being escorted by a jackal.

Zorro shrugs, “You don’t have to hurt anyone. I’d prefer you didn’t, in fact. But this whole ‘hiding away your entire village’ thing is a terrible idea. So if they get a little panic in realizing that they’re not safe just hiding away from everyone, it could be a net good for them.” He looks out over the village, “Though, we may have a path to get through without disturbing anyone, by the looks of it.”

Raziel looks down at Zorro, and nods. “The less attention we draw, the better.” The tiger crouches low, and prepares to follow the fennec somewhat inconspicuously around the outskirts of village - but not before a characteristically curious remark. “Where do you think they’re all going, anyway?”

Zorro looks up at Raziel, “I don’t know. Not sure I want to know. I do know there were a lot of them gathered down where that trapped fellow is, so maybe they’re headed down there through some staircase at the center of the village.” He shrugs.

Raziel chuffs sarcastically, “What is it with these people and stairs?” The tiger checks his watch, then looks over his rifle one more time. “Very well. Let’s get moving.”

Zorro nods, and leads the tiger over to where Viktor is, giving the villagers a wide berth. He gruffs, “You know what happened to the statue?” He points on top of the pyramid, where the gleaming thing is.

Raziel follows the fox, and looks up at where Zorro points. The tiger blinks a few times. “But…how? There shouldn’t be any more guards up there!” He continues to study the structure for a moment, thinking. “Unless those other attendants up there put it back; the ones that ran when we walked in. Regardless, we can worry about that later. Where is Viktor?”

Zorro walks along, pointing to the shack, “Should be around there…” He ambles down toward that building, looking around for the arky fox.

Raziel nods slowly. “Alright…so who is this we’re rescuing? Besides Viktor, that is? You didn’t give many details…”

Zorro looks over his shoulder, “I don’t have many. Apparently he’s some researcher who wanted to study these people and ended up on their bad side. Which, from what we’ve seen, doesn’t take much.” Zorro pauses. Zorro says, “Then again, we did kinda shoot at them.”

The hill comes in sight, and on top of the hill is Viktor, doing…. whatever. It seems he’s just sitting down, like he’s meditating or concentrating. Or something. Probably wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Raziel chuckles humorlessly, “That was only after they knocked Zorro unconscious and tried to kidnap us. Granted, we tried to steal their idol first, and still plan to do so…but we did /try/ to reason with them before that.” The tiger gives a noncommittal shrug. “This researcher, though…who knows?” He looks over at the arctic fox as he comes into view, and grins a bit. “Viktor. Nice to see you again. I hope you knew we’d come back for you.”

Zorro tilts his head, looking over Viktor. “Hey, foxie. You alright?” The fennec waves his paw.

Viktor sits in a spot at the top of the hill, cleared away of grass and dirt to uncover a slab of stone, lines of grey mortar-like mud encircling it. The mortar lines are followed all around the hill, like a web pattern, isolating off portions of grass and dirt still rooted atop more stone slabs. He opens his eyes and smiles after a moment, seeing the two again. “Aah, hello aahgaahin. I vaahz juzt meditaahtink. Helpz me build up energy. Iv yoo look aaht the hill, itz a big dome. I vaahz plaahnink on veaahkenink it, aahnd brinkink it down vhen ve vere done.”

Raziel looks around at the patterns on the hill, trying to take them all in. “Do we really need to collapse it? Are we even sure what’s under there? I’d prefer not to disrupt these peoples lives more than strictly necessary; we’re already stealing their idol… Though, I suppose I won’t object to that plan if they try to /kill/ us again.”

Zorro nods a little, “Yeah, let’s focus on the task at paw.” The fox looks over at the shack, “Shall we go after that guy, then?”

Viktor nods and stands up. “Aah, good point. Vill brink it down only iv ve need to. Ztill need to veaahken it though, maahkez it eaahzier.” He opens up his vest and takes all his little forks out. “Iv yoo kould ztick theze into the linez by their haahndlez, I vould be mozt thaahnkvul.”

Raziel shrugs and takes one of the forks, walking a short distance ayay and placing it handle first where the lines intersect. “Like this?”

Zorro takes the other one, a bit confused on why we’re doing this, but not really in the mood to argue about it. He pushes the handle of the fork into the reciprocating spot from Raziel’s.

Viktor takes the rest and moves around the hill placing his in spots. “Yez, yez pervekt.” He stands back in the center and holds his last fork up to his lips, and whistles, a long low singing note, echoing through the fork and catching the first layer of forks, then the second, all the way down the hill, all the forks vibrating with the note, vibrating the grass as well. His note gets louder and the forks shake more, eventually falling over and ceasing their activity as the mortar is shaken and cracked. Not soon after, Viktor stops his whistle and collects his forks, placing them neatly into his vest. “Aahl zet. Let’z go.”

Raziel shakes his head, laughing softly. “I’ll never get used to magic. Least of all yours.”

Zorro vibrates adorably as the ground moves beneath him, the tips of his ears wiggling. The fennec nods, still not entirely sure what that was about, but he leads the other two in toward the shack. As they approach closer, he tries to ind of slow down a little to let Raziel lead because he has a gun.

Viktor follows the two down to the shack, should he take middle or rear?

Raziel (obligatorily) takes point, and keeps his rifle at the ready - just in case. The tiger gestures for Viktor to take the middle; Zorro should be able to hear anyone sneaking up behind them, and the fennec isn’t much of a fighter. Though he still has that bomb…

Zorro does! He keeps his flint and steel ready, and listens for approaching threats as the three of them enter the shack.

Viktor moves into the middle, entering the tunnel behind the shack, barely big enough to stand straight in, not much arm movement. Better keep that gun forward.

Raziel grunts as he makes his way into the tunnel. Being taller than the other two, it’s an even tighter fit for him, so there’s not much the tiger can do /besides/ hold his gun in front of him, hunched over.

Zorro whispers to Raziel, “Do you see anything?” He looks behind him, to make sure there’s nothing, and if there is indeed nothing, he says, “All clear back here.”

Viktor keeps moving, could hear ahead, but wants to conserve his energy. There is a faint sound like chanting up ahead though.

Raziel shakes his head - or tries to, and inadvertently hits the ceiling. He whispers back, “Son of a— No, I don’t see anything yet. But I hear…something.”

Zorro nods a little, “I can hear it too.” He tries to make out the words as they head further down the tunnel.

Viktor can hear them too. Soon enough the chanting gets loud and the place opens up into a large arena type thing, with a pit in the center, and seats all around it. In those seats are the tribal guards like those seen earlier, about thirty of them, not nearly enough to fill the place but enough to be a problem. In the pit is the fox, holding onto a wooden spear, dead feral wolves laying on the ground. At the far end, a cage opens up and a bear lumbers out, working it’s way towards the fox.

Raziel blinks. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.” The tiger moves out of the way so the other two can exit the tunnel, but stays close close to the entrance to avoid being seen. “What are we supposed to do now?” Raziel whispers urgently.

Zorro’s ears lay back and flatten as he sees the fox in the middle surrounded by guards and being attacked by a bear. “Oh, for &*^$s sake.” The fennec looks at the guards, and around the room for something to work with. Where’s the light source?

Viktor looks around the room. It’s just, well, basic. There’s a few torches lighting the room, about ten going around the stands and six more in the pit, and the pit looks a good eight feet deep. “Look, they don’t haahve their speaahrz. Thaaht’z good, yez?”

Zorro frowns, “Well, it’s something, at least.” He looks to Raziel, “Should I bomb the bear?” Zorro actuallys, “Maybe you should. I’ll bet you could actually hit him from here.”

Raziel shrugs. “Go for it. Maybe it will intimidate the guards more than my rifle alone did. I haven’t a better plan, and if we don’t do something soon, I’m not sure how much longer that fox will last…” The tiger readies his rifle, and prepares for the impending chaos…

Zorro strikes his flint and steel, lighting the bomb and quickly handing it to the tiger. He covers his ears. Zorro tightens the vines, for further efficiency!

Raziel is EXTREMELY surprised to be handed already lit explosives, but he doesn’t stand there like an idiot as the fuse burns. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to the tiger, sadly enough. He quickly pulls his arm back, and lobs the charge at the bear in the pit…

The bomb arcs high into the air, and lands just in front of the roaring bear. It’s safe to assume that everyone (save for the three newly arrived pasu) is confused by the appearance of the bundle and burning fuse, but within a few seconds, the length burns down to nothing, and the pouch explodes violently. As the smoke clears, it becomes apparent that the bear was fairly well shredded by the blast - it’s not quite dead yet, but it will be soon, and it’s not getting back up. Luckily, the fox with spear was far enough out of range to be unharmed; but he’s probably a little dazed.

The crowd is stunned and they stop their chanting, looking all around and confused, then up to the entrance where three pasu stand that do not belong. Again, they’re stunned, allowing for some time to do something.

Zorro looks to Viktor, “Maybe get us a clean ramp down to the fox?”

Raziel lifts his rifle to his shoulder - but doesn’t fire. Instead, he just sweeps the room from side to side, making sure none of the guards make any sudden moves towards them. Away…? Eh, away is fine. He addresses them collectively, knowing full well they have no idea what he’s saying; but it makes the tiger feel better, at least. “Don’t do anything stupid! We’re just here for the fox. Then we’ll be leaving. Do NOT attempt to stab us, and I won’t have to shoot any of you. Even if your whole culture is really starting to irritate me…”

Viktor nods, taking his smaller forks and kneeling down, tapping the steps and flattening them out, making a ramp of sorts going down into the pit, one step at a time, till he reaches the walls, where he taps the wall once, kneeling down on the edge. “Aai vouldn’t ztaahnd here.”

Zorro scurries away from that place, not wanting to get caught up in that mess. He hides behind Raziel.

Raziel continues watching the guards, his rifle still trained on them as Viktor gets to work on…remodeling the floor. If the tiger has to do so with a fennec behind his back, so be it. All he knows is he really doesn’t want stabbed with a spear…

Viktor tries to maneuver himself so he doesn’t collapse with the wall, standing up, crouching in different positions, finally, he places one paw on the wall, falling forward and pushing off it in a front flip while he taps the wall with the other paw, his launch sending him forward out of the way of the debris as the wall crumbles into the pit.

Zorro’s eyes go wide at all these acrobatics. He jots a few notes down on his notepad for the novelization of this adventure!

Raziel is…really quite impressed. He didn’t expect that from the fox, honestly. The tiger shakes his head a little - back to business. He slowly begins backing towards the collapsed section of wall. “The sooner we get this other fox and leave, the better.”

Viktor looks around the pit, the dead bear over in the corner, dead, while the fox is… passed out. Probably fainted. And the guards just stare on, dumbfounded. They’ve got strength in numbers, but one killed a bear with a magic explosion, and the other remodeled their area. Probably not ones to mess with.

Zorro whispers. “Oh, shit. It’s actually working.” He feels kinda useless at the moment, though, the fennec watching the two badasses do what they do best. Even if one of them is most just standing around and looking intimidating. Zorro checks his progress on that. Yep! Definitely intimidating.

Raziel is nearly at the edge of the pit. Curses! He can’t threaten the guards /and/ help Viktor haul the fox out. “Zorro…I’m going to need you to do me a favor. Either go down there and help Viktor remove the researcher, or take my gun so I can do it.” Unsurprisingly, the tiger’s gun looks HEAVY. It’ll probably be a challenge for the little fox either way.

Zorro swallows hard, and looks up at Raziel, “Ummm… give me the gun.” He kinda wants to keep distance between him and those guards, and having a giant boomstick should make him look a little more intimidating.

Viktor moves over to the fox and starts to drag him across the pit to the collapse. “Thiz guy, iz zurprizinkly heaavhy.”

Raziel nods, and reluctantly hands over his gun. He hopes the fennec knows how to shoot… The tiger slides down the broken wall into the pit, and wastes not time in grabbing the unconscious fox’s shoulders to carry him. He is pretty heavy - but two people should be enough to carry him. He had better wake up soon, though.

Zorro just points and squeezes the thing, right? He staggers a bit, holding the gun up as best he can. Nggghhh….

Viktor takes the mans shoulders and moves him closer to the wall with Raziel, till the break in the wall. “Zo then. Zhould one ov uz get onto the breaahk aahnd pull him up? Or zhould ve both try climbink it vith him?”

Raziel shrugs. “I have absolutely no idea. Whatever’s fastest.” The tiger starts climbing the incline, pulling the unconscious fox by the legs.

Viktor struggles to push the mans shoulders and body up the incline, hanging back while Raziel climbs first, only climbing after to keep up.

Zorro watches the three, keeping the gun aimed in the general direction of the guards.

Raziel pulls the fox the rest of the way up, and then out of the collapsed section and onto the solid floor. The tiger stands there panting for a moment. “I thought…you’d be stronger than that…Viktor.” Eventually, he catches his breath, and motions for Zorro to hand him his gun back.

Viktor pushes and tosses the man onto the ground, panting himself as he walks up the incline. “My body…. iz traahind vor movement…… not strenth…. whew.”

Zorro happily hands Raziel back his BFG, and pads over to check on the fox. No, the other one. The one that’s knocked out. He snaps his fingers in front of him, “We need to get those guards to clear out, or we need to clear out, before they get bold.”

Raziel nods curtly, as he takes his gun back, and immediately begins striding /towards/ the guards. He levels his rifle, and fires repeatedly - not to kill, just to SCARE THE LIVING &^$% out of them. “MOVE!” The tiger roars, “That’s right! FLEE! Nothing to see here! YOU TOO, WITH THE YELLOW DYE! GET MOVING!!!”

The guards all jump and tumble over each other, trying to get away, moving in a clockwise circle, filing out the tunnel behind the group, yelping and yelling and pushing and leaving, till the room is clear.

Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 12

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