The Hero From Meridell: Part Ten
Also by bestpet21
Garrim was not the type to surrender, but right now he was as close as he had ever come to doing so. His army was being badly defeated, and, if he had been any other leader, he would have thrown up his hands and given up by now. Only him and perhaps a dozen other men were still standing against nearly a hundred Grundos. Anyone could predict the results.
With a heavy heart, he continued the fight, ignoring the men that became intimidated and fled. If he was the last one standing, he would keep going to the end. It was a matter of dignity, something that the remnant of the Space Station's troops clearly had no concept of. For a brief moment, he questioned Rylar's leadership and the mistakes he had made. Certainly if Garrim himself had been in charge, none of this would have happened, he thought. He scolded himself for allowing the thought to enter his mind, knowing that he would have made the same or equivalent mistakes as Rylar. There was no such thing as a perfect leader.
Garrim barely had time to react and dodge the hot blaster fire that grazed past his cheek. He felt it burn his flesh though it never touched him. He snapped his head in the direction that it had come from and fired some blasts in return. It hit the Grundo's armor, but the force of the impact made the Grundo fall backward onto the ground. Though it would only be mere seconds before he recovered and got back on his feet, it would be hours as far as battle time was concerned.
The purple Shoyru on Garrim's right was holding his ground commendably. Garrim had long known him as the best evasive soldier they had. He wore only light armor because it was all he needed. Every laser and blast that came his way he dodged with ease, skillfully threading his body through the lattice-work of deadly beams. It was no wonder that he was one of the last soldiers still standing, and Garrim felt confident that it would come down to him, the Shoyru, and maybe just a few choice others.
He was right. Now, only Garrim and five other men were still fighting. The rest had either fled or been badly injured by blaster fire. The fight was beginning to wind to a clear and decisive close.
The Shoyru dodged one final blast, getting in a good shot of his own, before something finally nicked his side and threw him to the ground. He lay there quivering, unable to move. In time, he would recover, but it would be far too late by then. Garrim felt himself shiver, and a cold chill ran over his arms. He looked around himself to find out what his instinct already knew and had warned him of. He was the last one standing.
But then, Garrim heard a tremendously loud shout from behind him. He turned and hardly believed what he saw. Zamrin was charging into the field leading a large army of Space Station soldiers. Garrim immediately recognized them as the portion of their army that had been put in the Grundos' prison. He felt a wide smile spread over his face and a renewed vigor surge through his chest.
The battle was resumed in full swing, their numbers being increased exponentially by the freed prisoners. It was only a short matter of time before the Grundos began retreating, running desperately back towards their base, the base that wouldn't be theirs much longer. Together, Garrim and Zamrin were able to completely corner the enemy in the center room of the building. It was not too long before the stout Grundo that had been guarding Zamrin's prison cell emerged from the room with his hands in the air. He announced the official surrender of the Kreludan army and the reimbursement of the base and the surrounding territory's ownership to the Neopian Space Station.
The documents were signed, and, within the hour, the Space Station had moved their colonists into the base and escorted the Kreludans out. A celebration was held in honor of the troops that fought in the battle, Zamrin and Kade being the most chiefly recognized among them. News quickly spread all over Neopia about the Space Station's capture of the territory and the heroic acts of Zamrin, the Kacheek from Meri Acres.
Of course, the most pressing questions on everyone's mind were how they had escaped from prison in the first place and how they had managed to free all the other prisoners as well. Zamrin told the story as best as he could with interjections from Kade and Zee at intervals. The Buzzer that had first woken Zamrin up inside the cell had later returned to annoy and irritate the three prisoners with its constant noisy buzzing. At last, in frustration, Zamrin had caught the Buzzer between his hands and smashed it between them. The Buzzer had dropped to the floor, revealing a scatter of circuitry and transistors inside its broken body. It had been no ordinary Buzzer.
Zee had kneeled over to examined it, and, with her technical expertise, proclaimed it a tiny camera that was used to keep a close eye on all of the prisoners. In only a short time, she had repaired it and programmed it to fly through the food chute to another room that controlled all the various machinery in the prison area and deactivate the electrical field that bordered every cell. It did so by simply alighting on the correct button, and, seconds later, every prisoner in the building had been freed.
It was, from there, a relatively simple matter for Zamrin to organize all of the prisoners and lead them out to the battlefield. They arrived just in the nick of time, and the rest of the story from there was known by all of the others.
At first, the majority of the people attending the celebration found the story to be difficult to believe. It sounded rather far-fetched, but all the evidence proved that it must be true. After all, here they were, celebrating the Space Station's victory. There were Zamrin, Kade, Zee, and all of the other loyal soldiers that had been imprisoned. In light of all this, it became almost impossible to question the validity of the story. No one wanted to anyway.
When the story was finished, Jurro stood up and announced a toast to Zamrin and his noble friend, Kade. No one disagreed, and soon the room was filled with the clinking of glasses against one another and merry laughter.
“Tylum would be proud,” Kade whispered to Zamrin with a warm smile.
The Kacheek nodded and turned to see a Scorchio standing behind him, clearing his throat for attention. “I'm sorry about what I said earlier,” he said, “Clearly, I was wrong. You are the bravest hero I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I hope you'll forgive the misplaced comments I made about you.”
Zamrin then recognized him as the joking Scorchio that mocked him when he returned from his first mission unsuccessfully. Zamrin felt a heavy weight in his heart roll away when he said, “Of course I forgive you. You had every right to say what you did at the time.”
The Scorchio frowned and shook his head. “No, I didn't. There was no place for it. I'm sorry,” he said once more and then disappeared into the crowd.
Kade tapped her friend on the shoulder. “Clearly you need to fill me in on what happened when I was gone.”
“I will,” Zamrin promised. “But first I have to thank you for sacrificing yourself so I could escape. There was no reason for you to do that.”
Kade acknowledged the remark humbly, insisting that it was what Zamrin would have done under the same circumstances.
Zamrin then told her all that had happened between the time she was taken to prison, and the time he had come to rescue her. He told her about Rylar's disappointment with his performance, the mockery he received, and the faulty plan that Rylar constructed as a substitute to the one that had failed. She listened to every detail with interest.
Zee strode over to them just as the story was ending and congratulated them on their success. They returned the compliment, acknowledging that Zee had played a very key part in the victory of the Space Station.
“By the way,” Zamrin began. “I wanted to ask you something. It's been bugging me ever since we were in the prison together.”
Zee nodded. “Go ahead.”
“You know that nightmare you had just before you woke up? What was it about?”
A wide grin formed on the young Poogle's face. “I told you it was nothing important,” she said, “I just dreamed that I told Rylar a joke, and that frozen face of his broke in two when he laughed.”
Rylar, who happened to be passing by, overheard the conversation and burst into a hearty chuckle.