StarFox Fan Fiction ❯ A New Enemy ❯ Chapter IV: Warriors Unite ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The six members of team Starfox landed a short distance away from Scales’ stronghold, then quietly climbed out of their cockpits. “ROB, you stay here and guard the Arwings,” Fox said.
“Affirmative,” ROB replied.
Fox, Krystal, Falco, Peppy, and Slippy then crept closer to the structure, using the forest as cover. “Now remember, team, our orders are to investigate the base. That means no reckless blasting, Falco,” Fox stated.
“Aww,” Falco replied, though there was a grin on his beak. As the five heroes peered around the trees, they could see legions of Sharpclaws around and on the unfinished base, performing various construction tasks. There were also several other creatures which Fox didn’t recognize. They looked like humanoids, but were covered in or wearing black and purple material. Standing near the base was General Scales himself, conversing with another humanoid with nearly black skin and hair, glowing green eyes, and pointed ears.
Krystal hissed, her ears flattened and her fangs bared, when she saw the humanoid conversing with Scales. “He’s the commander of the ship in orbit. He’s mine! I will make him pay for what he has done!”
Fox was surprised at Krystal’s vehemence, though he understood it. He also was beginning to understand that this was more than a Lylatian conflict. This encompassed the entire galaxy. “We have to stop Scales and the other one here, now!” Fox hissed. “Otherwise, they’ll just keep moving from planet to planet, trailing devastation in their wake.”
“Agreed,” Falco nodded.
“I’m with you, Fox,” said Slippy.
“Let’s do this, Fox!”
Fox stood, raising his staff, which was a duplicate of Krystal’s weapon, except that it was silver. Pushing the brush aside, team Starfox strode into view of Scales and the other humanoid. “Scales! I’m here to finish what we started on Sauria!” The Sharpclaws and other humanoids started to move toward the team, but Scales waved them off.
“This is personal!” he thundered. He swaggered up to Fox, crossing his arms belligerently. “The great Fox McCloud.” He turned to Krystal, who instantly lowered her ears back against her head. “And the beautiful Krystal. You should have been mine,” he finished, lifting her chin with a finger. Krystal hissed warningly, and Fox snarled, whacking Scales’ hand away and tripping him with a sweeping kick.
“Don’t you touch her!” he growled.
Scales rose, using his sword as a prop. “A grave mistake, pup,” he sneered. “I think, though, that you will not live to regret it!” Scales raised his blade and charged toward Fox. He brought his sword down in a wide arc, crashing down on Fox’s defenses. Fox groaned, but stood his ground, then retaliated with a swift flurry of strikes that Scales was hard-pressed to block. Fox suddenly whirled, tripping Scales with his staff. Quickly taking advantage of the situation, Fox leapt upon Scales, pointing his staff at his foe’s throat, its tip glowing red.
“It’s over, Scales!” Fox said. “You’re finished.”
“Not so fast, McCloud!” Fox whirled, and saw Krystal struggling in the grasp of the humanoid who had been conversing with Scales earlier.
“Release her!” Fox shouted.
The humanoid beckoned Fox to rise. “Get up, boy.” In an instant, his free hand was suddenly hovering next to Krystal’s cheek, and with a flash, the man was suddenly holding a sphere of crackling energy. “Or she will die.”
‘Don’t worry about me, Fox!’ Krystal said telepathically. ‘Just kill Scales, before he can attack anyone else!’ Fox considered acting on Krystal’s words, but couldn’t bear to see her get killed. Fox sighed and stood, lowering his staff.
Scales instantly leapt to his feet, placing his saber at Fox’s neck. “Should I kill him now?” he asked with a strange note of pleasure in his voice.
The humanoid shook his head. “Not now,” he said. “You know, Fox,” he sneered, “you’re smarter than you look.”
Krystal growled softly. ‘This’ll teach you to mess with me,’ she thought. She pressed two fingers to her temple, and the man recoiled as if struck, then he laughed.
“You dare to challenge Adek, Destroyer of Worlds?” He frowned slightly, examining the vixen he held in his grip. “Wait… It’s you!” he gasped. “The princess Krystal Devrec! Finally, I can fulfill my destiny: To destroy the royal Cerinian bloodline!” He tightened his hold on her throat, and Krystal gasped for air. She clawed at Adek’s hand, but he was too strong. Her eyes widened as she began to realize that she was going to die.
‘Now…now I won’t--I won’t be able to tell--’ Her thoughts became incoherent and her vision blurred as she faded in and out of consciousness.
“Now, now, princess,” Adek taunted. “We can’t have you falling asleep already! The fun’s just about to begin! Besides, killing you that fast would be too easy!” He laughed maniacally, then threw Krystal to the ground, blasting her with bolts of energy seemingly generated out of nowhere.
Fox had been too shocked to move at Adek’s brutality, but now his senses kicked in, and he sprang into action.
Adek turned when he saw Fox sprinting towards him. “You child!” he laughed, then held out his hand, encasing Fox in a forcefield. Turning back to Krystal, he was shocked to discover that she had regained her footing, and now assumed a shaky, though familiar, fighting stance. ‘This vixen can’t have powers…can she?’
“All right, vixen,” Adek sneered. “Fight me. It shall…amuse me.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Krystal muttered. She held out her hands, and rays of light lanced out from her fingertips, sending Adek tumbling to the ground.
He quickly leapt to his feet and angrily wiped the blood from his lip. “You’ll pay for that!” he spat. He held out his hand, then slowly raised it, and Krystal rose several feet off of the ground. He pushed his hand forward through the air, and Krystal was sent sailing into one of the I-beams of the unfinished structure. Adek watched, cackling maniacally as Krystal tumbled limply to the ground, but then paused as she shakily climbed to her feet yet again. 'This'll teach you to stay down,' he thought vehemently. He held out his hand, and it began to glow a dull red. Suddenly Krystal let out a terrifying shriek. She fell to her knees, her hands against her temples. He swaggered up to her, drawing a curved blade.
"You've been tough, Princess, but I think this is the end for you," Adek cackled. "If, somehow, someone comes to your rescue, though, I've planned a safeguard."
"--Rrgh...what did you do to me?" Krystal groaned, still pressing her hands against her head.
"Sealed your fate!" Adek crowed. "One way or another, you will die!" Adek raised his blade high.
"N-no, please..." Krystal moaned, feebly holding out a hand, but she was too weak, and her eyes closed, and she slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Fox realized what was going to happen, and he frantically pounded on the forcefield with his staff, but to no avail. “Krystal!”
Adek's eyes acquired a haunting glow. “Say goodbye, ‘Your Highness’!”
Fox screamed as the blade plunged downward.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dark shape raced across the plain and intercepted Adek’s blade.
Dropping out of hyper-time, Taylor Daniels smirked as he foiled his nemesis yet again. “Adek, Adek,” he clucked. “When will you learn?”
“St--stay out of this, Lirren!” Adek spluttered.
“Sorry. When you get involved, I stop you. It’s as simple as that,” Taylor growled.
‘He has that blade in his bare hand!’ Fox thought. Taylor shoved Adek to the ground, then threw out his hand, firing an energy ball at the field encasing Fox. As soon as the sphere of energy connected with the forcefield, it was spiderwebbed with lines of energy, then seemed to shatter, freeing Fox. He instantly dashed over to Krystal, completely disregarding the intense battle going on a mere few yards away. She was unconscious, but he felt a strong pulse when he placed two fingers to her neck. Carefully lifting her in his arms, he carried her back to his teammates. “This is what Scales and Adek have done!” he growled. “For this--they will pay!” He turned to Peppy. “Watch Krystal for me while I deal with two thorns in my side.”
Slippy and Falco raised their blasters. “We’ll cover you, Fox.” As the trio of heroes drew nearer to Scales, he ordered his Sharpclaws to defend him. The other set of minions, not to be outdone, also closed in on Fox, Falco, and Slippy. “We’re screwed…” Falco groaned.
Suddenly three other blurs dashed into the fray, taking out several Sharpclaws and several of the other humanoids before solidifying. Star, Jacen, and Jeresh had all joined the battle, assisting team Starfox in defeating their foes. “I see your Reshetell are just as weak as ever, Adek!” Jeresh called as he smoothly cut down three of the minions with his blade.
‘Reshetell…Where have I heard that before?’ Peppy mused.
Leaving Falco, Slippy, and the three new warriors to clean up the Sharpclaws, Fox cleared a path to Scales. “Nowhere to run,” Fox growled.
Taylor also was in the process of hacking his way through the Reshetell to confront Adek again. ‘That coward always hides behind his minions,’ Taylor thought.
Fox brandished his staff. “You will pay for what you’ve done to Krystal!” he shouted, and leapt for Scales, who barely had time to draw his blade and defend himself. Scales forced Fox back and attacked with a flurry of strikes, but Fox’s staff was there each time to deflect the slashes. Twirling the staff rapidly, Fox unleashed a frenzied series of blows that sent Scales tumbling. He shakily climbed to his feet and raised his blade, only to be blasted by a series of Fire Blasts.
Taylor, meanwhile, had cornered Adek, and the two were battling it out in a furious psychic duel. Taylor blasted Adek with a barrage of energy blasts, then followed it up with a swift sidekick to the jaw that left Adek reeling. “Why did you drag Starfox into your games, Adek?” Taylor asked.
“You’ll never know, Terran!” Adek spat, then unleashed a massive energy beam, sending Taylor flying. He unsteadily regained his footing, shaking his head to clear it.
‘This guy’s stronger than he looks,’ Taylor thought. Taylor arced his blade through the air, sending several arcs of energy racing towards his foe. Adek’s saber was there each time to block the slashes. Taylor was undeterred. He raced for Adek, but instead of attacking him, he vaulted over him, then swept his legs out from under him when he landed. Taylor instantly placed his saber to Adek’s throat. “You’re finished.”
“Not today, Terran!” Adek sneered. He quickly punched several buttons on a device on his wrist, and he and the Reshetell vanished.
“It appears that this fight is over,” Scales said, mimicking Adek, vanishing along with the Sharpclaws.
“It’s not over until I have you, Scales,” Fox muttered. He turned, then, along with Falco and Slippy, walked over to the four warriors that had assisted them in their battle. “Whoever you are, you saved our lives,” Fox spoke. “We are indebted to you.”
Taylor and Jacen bowed formally. “We’re just doin’ what needs to be done,” Taylor said. “Oh!” he exclaimed suddenly, realizing he had not introduced his teammates. “My name is Taylor Daniels. This is Jacen Ryan, Jeresh Bluetail, and Star Niress.”
“I am Fox McCloud, this is Slippy Toad, and Falco Lombardi,” Fox replied, pointing to each of his teammates in turn.
Taylor nodded. He couldn't yet tell Fox that he knew about their existence before they met, for it could cause serious culture shock. He didn't know if the Lylatians had made contact with a non-'morphed species before, and was unsure of how that would affect them. Along that same vein, he decided that it was best he keep his 'morph form, for now. Taylor's thoughts were suddenly cut off by an aging, yet still stentorian voice. "Fox! You'd better get over here," Peppy called. Fox looked at Falco, then dashed off, with Taylor, Star, Jacen, and Jeresh following close behind. When Fox reached Peppy and Krystal, he came to a sliding stop, he was moving so fast. He instantly knelt in front of Krystal and brought her up into his lap. "F-Fox...?" Krystal moaned.
Taylor and his group and Falco and Slippy had just reached Fox when they heard Krystal speak. 'No--Krystal...' Taylor thought. 'Whether Scales or Adek did this to her, they're gonna pay!' He turned to Falco, about to get some answers. "What happened?" Taylor asked.
"That guy you were fighting--Adek..." Falco began, "did this to Krystal. He has some serious powers, and he beat her up pretty bad. But, it looks like she might be comin' around."
Taylor clenched his fists. 'Why did Adek bring Starfox into this? They are no concern of his!'
Fox stroked Krystal's hair. "It's all right, now, Krys," he murmured. "I'm here."
Krystal managed a weak smile. "Fox...I--" her eyes suddenly closed, and she slumped in Fox's arms.
"No! Krys!" Fox cried. "Wake up! Please..."
Peppy instantly bent over his communicator. "ROB! Four to trans--" he sighed. "Oh. Right. No more Great Fox."
Jacen sprang into action. "We have a medicenter on-board our cruiser!"
"If you can do anything for her, do it!" Fox said, his eyes glittering with shards of hope.
"All right!" Jacen pressed several buttons on a watch-like device, and suddenly, the four Arwings, the four Thundersabres, Team Starfox, and the Iri Felessar were all engulfed in a yellowish light. When the glow faded, the group, along with their craft, were standing in the large hangar bay of the Cat's Eye. Fox looked around in awe at the size of the hangar bay. It easily dwarfed that of the Great Fox, and was lined with myriad fighters of various classes. 'This bay could easily hold most of the Cornerian Air Force,' Fox thought.
Fox turned to Falco and Slippy. "Falco, Slippy, secure the Arwings!" The pair snapped salutes, then Fox turned to Taylor. "Take me to your medicenter!"
"I'm coming with you!" Peppy interjected.
Taylor nodded briskly, dropped out of meta-state, then dashed through the corridors, shoving surprised crewmembers out of the way. "Move!" he shouted as he ran. "We have a medical emergency here!"
Fox allowed himself no emotions as he nearly flew through the halls of the craft. If he did, he couldn't go on. His guts would tie up, and his heart would ache. He couldn't even look down at her. If he did, he knew he would start going crazy. Seeing her hurt was the worst feeling in the world. 'Hold on, Krys,' he thought.