Agent of the Sway: Induction - Part Eight
The monstrous Buzz let out a roar, the swipe of its tail flooring several nearby warriors. All around him the chaos and fire of war reigned, but he had bigger fish to fry - his mind was blinded by rage, rage against the person who had used that net to bring him to the ground.
An innocent cough nearby brought his attention. The striped Kyrii was there. He was the one.
"Looking for me?" he asked, brandishing a sword lazily in one hand.
"Ha!" the Buzz boomed. "Foolish little creature - I am Tyragh! I have destroyed entire armies before today! You are nothing!"
"We shall see," Faversham said, sidestepping a Skeith and a Grarrl as they rolled past fighting each other.
Tyragh lunged forward with speed that Faversham couldn't hope to match. Instead, the Kyrii merely took out his Bori amulet and flicked the cover open.
The Buzz halted immediately, mesmerised from the golden light shining from within the trinket. His eyes seemed to come out of focus, completely oblivious to both Faversham and the battle surrounding them.
"You serve me now," Faversham told the Buzz. "Not your former master. The Tyrannian Army must win this battle. You will help them do it."
With that, he flicked the cover on the amulet shut again. Tyragh blinked a few times, as if he was unsure of where he was. Then he caught sight of a giant Skeith cornering a group of Tyrannians and let out a roar, galloping forwards to tackle the Skeith.
Faversham chuckled to himself, carefully stepping over the body of a fallen Korbat as he calculated who his next target would be.
On the other side of the battlefield, Clayton watched Faversham's encounter with interest. His guess about the use of the Bori amulet had been correct - an amulet of hypnosis. The Kougra was glad he had decided not to go against Faversham in the early days, he didn't much fancy being robbed of his free will so easily.
Returning to the battle in hand, Clayton sliced his blade at one of the giant green Grarrl Troopers that had arrived, catching the creature's tail and causing it to roar in pain. Taking their opportunity, a group of Tyrannians rushed the creature, easily overpowering it.
Clayton surveyed the battlefield, it looked as if the Tyrannians were winning - the latest wave had barely reduced their numbers, and it looked as though the invader's ranks were thinning. Perhaps it was the final wave - perhaps victory was within their grasp.
"Puny Tyrannia!" A voice rang out across the plain. "You are not ready for me! I have arrived!"
Clayton smirked. That confirmed it, they had beaten the invading army back to their commander. Faversham had warned that the Monoceraptor, as it called itself, would be the final opponent to reach the battle.
But Clayton's smirk quickly fell when he saw the size of the thing. To call the black Grarrl that now strode across the Tyrannian plain large would be the understatement of the century. It dwarfed all other creatures, easily as big as the tallest skyscrapers in Neopia Central. Each footfall from the massive beast caused the ground to shake, and when it roared, people were brought to the ground from the pain in their ears.
A few of the braver Neopets rushed forward to attack the newcomer. The Monoceraptor merely opened his mouth, breathing a stream of fire down on his challengers that stopped them dead in their tracks.
Clayton made his way over to Faversham.
"What do we do?" he asked.
"Impressive," Faversham observed, almost in awe. "I had read the reports about the creature's size, of course, but in the flesh... such a pity Sloth got to him first, we could make use of something with so much power. Perhaps we have underestimated this Doctor Sloth... time travel, a creature of this power... he may be more than even we can challenge..."
"Faversham!" Clayton repeated. "What do we do?"
"What?" Faversham said, returning from his own thoughts. "Oh, of course. A frontal assault will be entirely fruitless while the Monoceraptor can use that fiery breath so freely. We must render it useless somehow."
"How?" Clayton asked. "Not like we can force him to have a big drink or anything. Is your amulet no good against him?"
"I doubt it," Faversham said, now deep in thought. "Intelligence would suggest that a beast of that size would be immune. It doesn't work on everyone, you know? Let's see, he's a fearsome beast, but based on normal physiology all the same - if we blind him, it will become a great deal easier."
Faversham looked around, "The rock outcrop where we took down the scouts, that should give us a good enough vantage point."
Together, the pair picked their way across the battlefield, challenging what remained of the invading army as they went. Most of the Tyrannians were now trying, and failing, to challenge the Monoceraptor, so Clayton and Faversham were hardly noticed as they made their way away from the battle.
"Do you still have the crossbow I gave you?" Faversham asked.
Clayton took it off his back, it was still loaded.
"I don't like using them unless I need to," Clayton explained.
"Which I presume is code for you not being an incredibly good shot with the thing, yes?" Faversham chuckled as they climbed. "I'll shoot, then. But when we get back to Neopia Central you must train with the thing - to fire from a distance without even entering battle, so much of our work is based around this. It simply will not do for you to be firing wide."
They reached the summit of the outcrop, and Faversham held his hand out for the crossbow. Clayton obliged, and the two made their way to the edge.
Even that high up, they still weren't eye-level with the Monoceraptor, but it was the best they could manage so it would have to do. Faversham lay down, readying the crossbow and waiting. The Monoceraptor was thrashing about, making getting a clear shot nearly impossible. But Faversham waited patiently. At last, the Monoceraptor paused to roar and unleash a fresh blast of fire. It meant that his head was still for long enough, and Faversham took his shot - hitting the Monoceraptor squarely in the eye.
"Another arrow!" Faversham shouted above the roars of pain.
Clayton handed him one, and the Kyrii hastily reloaded. The Monoceraptor was turning, trying to find the attacker with his remaining good eye. On the ground, the Tyrannians were being ignored, and they were gathering together to prepare another attack.
The Monoceraptor found Faversham with the good eye, but in the moment the creature paused for recognition, Faversham fired the remaining bolt. The Monoceraptor screamed in fresh bouts of pain, recoiling ever so slightly, but launching a plume of white-hot fire back at the outcrop. Clayton and Faversham were already moving, narrowly avoiding the onslaught.
On the ground, a single Lupe had broken away from the Tyrannian pack. Taking a weighty sword in hand, he rushed forwards towards the Monoceraptor while it flailed around. It was an easy prey, and within minutes the gigantic creature had fallen. Great cheers rose up from the surviving ranks of Tyrannian soldiers.
The celebrations were cut short by a distorted voice ringing out across the plain.
"That puny creature of mine has failed... but Neopia has not yet seen the last of me... I will return... oh yes... I will return."
Clayton recognised the form of transmission all too well - a final message from Dr. Sloth.
"... and so will we," Faversham whispered.
The celebrations had lasted well into the night. Thankfully, Faversham's crossbow bolts had largely been glossed over - the army had proudly declared that the Monoceraptor had been defeated by the efforts of a single mighty Lupe.
When the party was beginning to die down, Faversham had come to find Clayton, and insisted they leave. They returned to their camp, Faversham's face a picture of seriousness and duty.
"I have had a communique from my... from our leader," he announced. "It appears your efforts are not to go unrewarded. I have been instructed to make you a full member of our organisation."
Clayton was speechless, he had honestly believed that Faversham would keep stringing him along for years.
"Normally there is a ceremony," Faversham said. "But our current circumstances prevent it. I shall just give you this, instead."
He took the ring with the symbol on it off his hand, and gave it to Clayton.
"A badge of membership," Faversham explained. "Don't let this go to your head though, I am still your immediate superior."
"Does this mean I'm allowed to know our name?" Clayton asked.
"Name?" Faversham asked. "Oh! I see what you mean... I often forget how few even know it. Yes, you are now an agent. An agent of the Sway."
"The Sway..." Clayton whispered, staring at the ring.
"We will start the return journey to Neopia Central tomorrow," Faversham announced, returning to business. "I don't doubt we will be tasked with locating Dr. Sloth soon afterwards."
The rustle of feathers heralded the arrival of another Crokabek. Faversham read the scroll it carried, a look of disbelief spreading across his face.
"Well, Sloth must truly be powerful to warrant this sort of action," Faversham observed, handing the message over to Clayton. "Our orders have changed. We are to return to Neopia Central, yes. But Sloth is no longer our target. The Sway is to seek an alliance."