Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Monster on the Other Side

The rooms were opening up a little, at first the children thought that the rooms were blossoming into great structures of triangles or something fair to the eye like so many tyajhimátsu honeycombs, for the rooms were a little like jewels set within the layers of a great carcanet, so that was light began to flow through a few of the outer jewels of the necklace slowly it permeated through the ribbons and veins of the inner sections of the bijoux and all of the siġle would sparkle in waves of light, so it was that the rooms were beginning change and open up one by one, but they were not embrightening, rather mist was flowing out from the inner rooms of the bridge and drifting outwards unto the outer rooms, and all of these chambers were slowly turning upon their axes and revealing themselves to be part of a structure, but the children could see that they consisted not of pleasant patterns of hexacombs and cones but rather of squares and rectangles stacked about each other, and bits of right triangles and long and winding walls that appeared to be formed completely of horns jutting up from the ground like stalagmites and veering downwards from the ceiling like so many fangs. Ixhúja was the first to walk into the room, even though she bristled a little to see that the walls and ceiling were once again in the shape of rectangles, the strangest of all quadrilaterals, at least squares could easily be made into circles and equilateral triangles, but rectangles were polygons become completely inane.
– Very little is known about the Xeriîqe or any of the Archaic Xakhpàlqe – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted as she and Puîyus entered into the room, and they looked around and saw for the first time items that looked a little like tables spreading outwards, but rather regular tables yformed of triangles and squares but normal triangular and circular ones, and the tables were all reaching outwards taller than the children could stand, so that they felt as if they were entering the domain of some gigantic folk. Ixhúja was bouncing upon the tables and watching as the ceiling was wrinkling about her, for long snaking tendrils of metal and vine were flowing downwards and sniffing the air, some of the vines were opening up their tips and revealing within them glassen orbs and twisting machinery slinking from side to side and grasping all the while, they almost looked like mechanical feelers, and yet they were not completely solidic, for growing down from the feelers were came black clouds and mist, and some of the feelers were slinking into each other and twisting about in braids and freezing into place, so that they looked a little like roots caught up in a moment of time. Ixhúja could taste in the air the slight scent of metal and water and blood and experimentation in the air, she came running forwards and hopped up upon some of the jars and dishes and boxes of the tables and running her fingers upon them and then upon the walls and upon the long and twining glassen vines, could feel that nothing living lay upon them at all, this was an environment devoid of life upon its metallic surface, and she knew indeed that this place had been a lyoirsenaôlyu a laboratory such as wherewithin she had dwelt for the first six winters of her life. She could almost imagine the great glassen domes set upon the tables, and the pipes flowing up unto the ceiling and out unto the walls, somewhere in the middle of the rooms she expected to find vast towers all of twisting springs, the wheels grinding against each other, the clockwork powering up all of the pulleys of the room, and she could almost imagine the sound of the robes of slaves as they rustled about the tables to peer into dishes and take measurements of that which in the vats grew, she wondered whether these Xeriîqe had any automata thralls to do their bidding, perhaps among the most archaic Xeriîqe it was the bidding of the masters that their mechanical slaves take care of the children and keep them within the isolation or dome and shaft of light and room within the laboratory such as happened with her, for Ixhúja did not meet another living creature until she was finally released from her Father’s workshop and stumbling out into the crumblent gardens beheld the Suns for the first time.
Princess Ixhúja found where many of the domes and pipes were connected unto the shafts of dead wheels in the midst of the laboratory, and reminded thus of her childhood, she ran upwards and punched against some of the silent wheels and the broken cogs and the springs which had long ago unwound, for she decided that in truth she detested these Xeriîqe, the lost people who had builded all this area. She looked to her cousin Éfhelìnye, for Puîyus was picking her up and setting her upon the table to explore, and then he hopped up next to Éfhelìnye, and they walked about some of the frozen vines and the bits of branchwork that was part of the machinery connected all things unto the ceiling, and Ixhúja gave her cousin a look that meant, Did you learn anything else about the Xeriîqe, my learned Cousin, aside from the fact that they were old and powerful and once served the Emperors our Ancestors and Uncle Kàrijoi? Surely you must have learned something from all that time you spent reading in your Father’s garth harīm? Didn’t you borrow all those books from the Abby of Saint Kàtriqan while you were staying with Puîyos and his Clan?
– Most of the story books just make the Xeriîqe great powers, wizards and mentors of old – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted. – Sometimes in the story the hero will travel outwards and find himself in some old and scary ruins, and the narrator always assures us that these were left by the Xeriîqe, and that only makes the ruins all the more ominous, or perhaps the hero will be hurt and a mysterious stranger will come to his add, a being all wrapped up in loose fitting robes, his face hidden in a masque and headdress, and only at the end of the story does the stranger remove his cloak and become a being all of shadow and mist, a Xeriîqe from the dawn of time. Sometimes the Xeriîqe may be the teacher of a Prince, especially one who is being hidden away from the eyen of a jealous Lord afraid that the Prince will grow up and fulfill a prophecy to destroy him, and the Xeriîqe may appear silly and absent minded, but when danger comes his body unfolds out from its shell, and its triple limbs and triple faces come spinning outwards, vast and terrible to behold. – Éfhelìnye picked up a few twisting rods that lay upon the table, and pressing against the wheels the device sprung unto life, coils and antennæ flowing about the surface of it, and curious she poked into the wheels and wondered what purpose this device might have had. She handed it unto Puîyus who swung it around and found it a very bad choice of weapon. He thought that it was either used to curl one’s hair or perhaps to shine one’s wooden shoon, and to test the hypothesis he removed one of his shoon and pressed the apparatus against it, and saw that the coils were licking the shoe although with no discernable cleaning thereof. – There is very little that I can say about the Xakhpàlqe for certain, why even Xakhpàlqe just means Archaic Ones, a description that other Mortal Races gave unto them. In the Holy Writ the four kindreds of the Xakhpàlqe were called the earliest and most ancient of races in the Dreamtime, and they were the first ones to bow down before Emperor Khriîno our first Ancestor and sware allegience unto the Crystalline Throne and Starburst Crown. The writ says that the Xakhpàlqe were born in the dust between the Suns, and that it was their doom to be largely forgotten by the divine Æons as they prepared the billion, billion worlds for the rest of the races of Real People. –
Ixhúja picked up a few glassen phials and rattled them about in her hands and saw that something green and fluidic was growing inside of them. She hurled the glass aside and watched as puffs of smoke arose and hissed burning against the walls. So the Xakhpàlqe were old and made out of dust, Ixhúja told her cousin Éfhelìnye in a language of blinks and glances. I like them already. I suppose that the Xakhpàlqe were all great and cruel and terrible and after millions of ages carved out their own terrible and cruel and great viceroy kingdoms somewhere at the edge of the Empire. So the Xakhpàlqe were probably eager to destroy the Great Races when the Qhíng and Kháfha and Aûm ascended. Ixhúja picked up a few glassen bubbles from the table and attempted to juggle them and looking to her cousin told her, I think I know the end of the story. Something really bad happened, and the Xakhpàlqe were dishonored or fled or became shadows and became the tqèwe bugbears to frighten children.
– They disappeared, that we know for sure – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted – All four of the kindreds vanished. Some say it was before the Qhíng and Qlùfhem first started to fight each other, some say that the Emperor banished them, some say that the Xakhpàlqe were building great living ships and were attempting to transcend the Mortal Realms and invade time itself, but they failed. And to this day, whether in story or in waking life, the ruins of Xakhpàlqe sparkle in the whispering mountains of Eilasaîyanor and in the North and in khyókhar la norlesta, the remnants of the kindreds of the Emlalàqta and Pèrithe and Xeriîqe and Xhàkhmat. –
Puîyus’ attempts at shining his shoe with the alien device was proving quite unsuccessful. He was desirous to know whether the apparatus could in fact curl hair, for its feelers were moving about like so many insects flying and at play, but he did not permit alien objects to touch his own luxurious and silvery blue tresses, a warrior’s coiffure was quite an important part of his livery and his presentation in battle. He looked around and tried to think of a different way to test his theory, and ended up mashing some of the wheels and yanking at the skeleton key, and all the feelers of the device were spinning around and chewing against the air. He walked up unto his feral twin Ixhúja and tapping her on the shoulder took a slight strand of her golden hair and fed it into the feelers of the apparatus. At once the device sprung into life, the wheels were grinding and giggling against each other and caressing her hair and setting it into orbits and curves rondurent, and that tress bounced about a little like the way his Sister Akhlísa’s hair curved of its own accord. He was about to play with another strand of Ixhúja’s hair with this alien piece of toolment, but Ixhúja yanked the apparatus from his hands, smashed the clockwork against the pillar in the center of the table, and then broke the entire device across her knees and flung a couple of pieces right at Puîyus. He ducked and the wheels scrambled about him. Ixhúja gathered up some of the larger bits of the apparatus and bit through them and spat the pieces unto Puîyus and then wragging her finger unto Puîyus told him in a language of blinks and glances as if to say, Do not let anything of this alien folk touch me! I hate being touched!
Puîyus crossed his arm and turning his back to Ixhúja harrumphed a few times. Ixhúja picked up several more bits of wheel and threw them at Puîyus and skriked in a feline language to tell him, And if you dare to touch my hair again, I’m doing something to your hair!
– I wonder what this is – Éfhelìnye chanted as she scrambled about several turning cones in the center of the table.
One was just being friendly and curious, Puîyus sighed in a feral language of his own devising.
I really detest this wrong angled Xeriîqe people! Ixhúja was growling at him. Everything about them just seems bent all wrong! She brushed her hand against the tress that Puîyus had curled and squeaked a little. Did you really do this, she wondered? My hair is bouncy!
It is quite pleasant, Puîyus sighed at her in a few gruff coughs.
I think I like it, Ixhúja answered in the same language. Perhaps we can reassemble the apparatus. At the very least we can curl some of these rather recalcitrant tresses that fall about mine ears.
It is always best to look presentable in battle, so that one my offer one’s honored and perfumed corpse as a trophy of war, Puîyus reminded her. It is always glorious to die in battle, especially with a fancy and shiny coif.
– I wonder whether these cones are part of some strange statue – Princess Éfhelìnye was saying as she began to scramble about the top of them, and found that all of the cones were engrooved with lines and circles and dream spirals that were reminding her of the labrynth pattern that ofttides were the floor of temples. As she came unto the summit she saw that several cones were floating in orbit, and she thought that they almost looked a little like heads and arms in respose, as abstract representations of a people whose exact shape had long ago been forgotten by the children of this age.
Perhaps those are statues of the Ancestors of the Xeriîqe, Puîyus spoke in a language of mews and rustling braids and tresses. Kachina statues are often very geometric and do not look to the eye as one’s forebares must have appeared in life.
Yes, perhaps the cones represent the fathers and mothers of the Xeriîqe, Ixhúja answered in a tounge of purrs and hair flapping coiling in the winds. Although for the life of me, I could not guess which were supposed to be the mother or father or elders or children among those flowing cones.
– Actually we know that the Archaic Xakhpàlqe were all androgynous, it is mentioned thusly in the Holy Writ – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted as she scrambled about upon the floating cones and traced the maze patterns upon them. – In the earliest of days the Immortals were still not sure how to go about dreaming and dancing the Land into shape, and they were not entirely sure how marriage worked before Khriîno and Pfhentókha were breathed into being, so the first of the Real People were agamites. The Holy Writ does not mention details, but it is believed that the Xakhpàlqe could take upon themselves the form of husband or wife during the marital season. Of course after the Immortals finished with the Xakhpàlqe than they started spinning the Qhíng and Kháfha and Aûm into being, with their three sexes and three sides of the family. I’m quite glad that by the time the Immortals set their minds unto the creation of the fey Xhámi that they had decided to create us in dualities, that way we can have stories of fair princesses and brave warriors. I wonder whether the Xakhpàlqe had any similar stories, for all people with language are able to fashion story unto themselves. –
Puîyus and Ixhúja were scrambling about the tables and the bits of wheel and pipe left about the cones, and they were trying to reassemble the apparatus which they thought would be ideal for curling hair. Puîyus took up several different wheels into his arms, he found them wriggly and vermiculating and althought thought that he was holding serpents unto himself, while Ixhúja was gathering up magnets and springs and trying to remember how everything was set about. Ixhúja took a few of the springs and tried to set them into place and managed to find a few chewed edges of the device, but it all broke apart in her grasp, and frustrated she began to throw the pieces aside. They both looked upwards at the same time when they saw that Éfhelìnye was balancing herself upon the highest of the cones and pretended that they had been paying more attention to her than they had been. For Éfhelìnye was noticing how the cones were all dolven with grooves and edges of curve, they were like large bits of branch separated from the same tree, and Éfhelìnye was turning the puzzle pieces around one by one and saw that they were all forming the image of a great trice-dimensional maze. Puîyus looked around and noticed that as Éfhelìnye did so, mist was billowing up all the thicker from the ground, and some of the frozen branches of the ceiling were shaking dust off from themselves and snaking down towards the children. Ixhúja jumped upwards, she could hear movement somewhere within the great bejeweled rooms all set at the edge of the bridgework, but what the sound could be she could not yet guess.
– This does remind me of one story about the Xakhpàlqe and the Xeriîqe in particular – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted as she placed the images of the maze together. – It is chanted that the Xakhpàlqe were labyrinthbuilders, and that long ago my Father, dread and magnificient Kàrijoi commissioned the Xakhpàlqe to build for him a labyrinth that would bind all of the worlds together, and the four kindreds came together and labored for many an age and yet were unable to finish the sacred Qreûralirkh. – She set the lace pieces into place, and at once the image of the maze was complete, and all of the pathways were lighting upwards in geometries of circles and triangles and hexagons tessellating outwards, the image was growing greater and swimming about her, and spreading outwards throughout all of the mistshrouded laboratory. – Maybe I wasn’t supposed to do that – Éfhelìnye whispered.
Stone doors were slamming somewhere within the mist laboratories. Metallic ceiling were flowing downwards. The frozen roots that suspended about the walls were breaking apart, and pipes were snaking downwards and reaching into the great cylindrical cores where the springs were beginning to coil themselves back up again, and the wheels were beginning to sing unto life. The cones were arising and floating high into theair, they reminded the children a little like the cairns that lie left upon the edge of beach and strand. Éfhelìnye came scrambling down the side of the last of the floating cones and noticed that in the dreams of the labyrinth spilling outwards that sparkles of light were appearing, and streams of runes flowing down throughout the layers, living hieroglyphs dancing before her gaze, and she wondered whether the labyrinth could sense her presence and that of Puîyus and Ixhúja, for she felt like a small jhùrme, an ice germ caught up within the intestines of a far larger creature. And the center of the labyrinth was pulsating, and fluttering as if of butterfly wings. Éfhelìnye hopped down from the cones and jumped down into Puîyus’ arms, and she told him – I think whatever has been summoning us into these skerries lies right in the middle of these bridges, the very heart of this maze. –
Boom boom boom came the sound of the doors crashing downwards. The children spun around. Puîyus motioned for Éfhelìnye to stand behind him while he drew the Emperor’s Dragon Sword, and slowly it burst into mounting fountains of light prismatic. Boom boom boom came the sound of machinery springing into life, wheels clattering against each other, great stone slabs sliding into place and becoming the weights and pendula to power the great hearts of this place. Puîyus spun around, he saw that the biomechanical vines were drifting downwards, and all of the lianas were opening up their tips and from them were growing claws that were raking against the air and in the direction of the children. Puîyus nodded to Princess Ixhúja, and she drew the violet sword that she had stolen from her Father, the great Khan of Khnìntha. Doom doom doom came the sound of the approach of hooves somewhere within the metallic and bejeweled mistrooms.
– I’m beginning to regret awakening the labyrinth after all – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted. – But, I think I have a plan. – Princess Ixhúja glared at her cousin. Éfhelìnye looked at her and chanted – This is a good plan, I just know that this particular one will actually work. –
Harrumph! Ixhúja sighed.
– Now, all we have to do is make our way through the heart of the maze, find what’s been summoning us, and fight our way back out. Puey, I expect you to be especially brave and athletic, especially around me. Ixhúja, you can protect me. –
Puîyus nodded in affirmation, for he found it a good plan. Ixhúja narrowed her eyen and hissed a few times to tell them, First of all, that’s a terrible plan, and second of all, that’s not even a plan at all, that’s just a series of happenstances punctuated by fighting, and third of all, and most importantly, one may note that yet again I am stuck having to look after you!
– That’s the great honor to it – Éfhelìnye chanted. Suddenly all of the tables were shaking, and all of the waters were rattling, for something vast was pounding its body against the walls and trying to break inside. Metal was breaking apart in tortuous cries. Several tables were breaking apart from the shockwaves of something trying to come within, and the clockwork that powered all these laboratories were making the sounds of storms caterwauling against each other, doom doom doom doom.
Puîyus tapped Éfhelìnye on the shoulder and spelt out unto her glyphs that meant, Do you know which direction we must take to reach the center of the maze?
– I have no idea, Puey – Éfhelìnye chanted. – I was trying to calculate a tyùqri, an algorithm for to discern that, but have been as of yet unsuccessful. I’m thinking that if we just run into a widening spiral we should be fine. –
I have an idea, Puîyus signed unto her with a graceful hand. I shall give a signal, and you and Ixhúja run in the opposite direction to the monster on the other side of the door behind us. I shall slow the monster down while you find the egress.
That’s another terrible plan, Ixhúja hissed. I want to stay and fight the Monster! You always get the glorious part! You can flee with my inefficacious Cousin who awakened the labyrinth in the first place, and I shall fight the creature!
– I think it’s a good plan – Éfhelìnye chanted. – Ixhúja, let’s go! –
But when men sing the songs of this day, they shall say, And then Puîyos fought with brave hand against the Guardian of the Maze, and Ixhúja did something quite forgettable! And the Puîyos will get another chorus.
– It’s a great plan! – Éfhelìnye shouted.
You always take his side! And who put you in charge anyway, just because you weren’t created in a laboratory and had an actual Mother, and not just any Mother but the empyrean Khnesqekaîxhren, the Virgin Empress herself!
Doom doom doom came the cry of the storm as the walls were breaking down about the children, and something was reaching within. Puîyus lifted up his hands in peace, just as when his Sisters would start bickering and refuse to listen to anyone else, and the sound of their cries would reverbate up through the walls of the crannog, and there was nothing for Puîyus to do but to hide in his room or perhaps to go and stay in the barn with the ducklings and lambkins for a time until the sororal storm cried down, and his hands formed a few ritualized khyatsáke mudras of dance and prayer, but Ixhúja did not grow silent, but rather pointe dher sword in the general direction of the monstrious noises arising untowards them and growling told them, And another complaint I have, whenever some great and terrible enemy comes and Puîyos and I are fighting he’s hacking and hewing from side to side and in general fighting in a præternatural but still reasonable style, but when you come along, Éfha, all of a sudden Puîyos has to start showing off, he’s running up the side of buildings and launching himself upon burning torpedoes and wrestling down exploding living living ships, his head can be on fire, but he just shrugs it aside just as long as you’re impressed, are you paying attention to me, now is as good a time as e'er to have an argument, I’m telling you, ­someone is going to write a song about the glorious exploits of Princess Ixhúja Tsàlkhat Pípa Fhífha Fhúfha Khmàkha Epóna of Þe belligerant House Pfhaqhaîtsir! Puîyos! Set me down! What do you think you’re doing! Come on, let’s fight this Monster together, it’ll be fun!
Doom doom doom came the cry of the monsters as the walls of this bejeweled room crashed downwards. A few things happened at once. Puîyus picked up both Princesses Éfhelìnye and Ixhúja and began running away from the Monster and sought for the egress or a safe place to put them, the former was quite willing to be carried away and brought unto safety while the latter was clawing and biting against him and resisting beind held. At the same time mist perhaps a cubit in height and dark in color came flooding upon all of the floor and made the tables and phials and wires of the laboratory like the trees in a thick and noxious swamp. And also at the same time several large forms came rushing within, and although the children could not quite see them, they saw the outline of tall giraffelike legs, and something like swords thirling the darkness, and the grinding sound of metal and tushes. Puîyus dashed unto the opposite side of the walls, and doing so he held and constrained Ixhúja with one arm, but Éfhelìnye just hung about his neck and let him hold the ancient Eilwiyusàrtyai sword, fires arising up from it, and behind them came the thunderous sound of great qáfhoyoi hooves stomping downwards. Puîyus dashed unto the other side of the room and coming to a door kicked it into pieces as he arose flying through the air and soon came running down upon the winding bridge that linked together the bejeweled layer of the laboratory in a tremendous labyrinth deep beneath the seas of Sqasqáli.
Puîyus came rushing down the length of the bridge even as behind them came the sound of the legs of the creatures that were persuing them. He pointed off into the growing waves of mist that were indunating them, and Éfhelìnye pointed unto some of the central regions of the bridge and the halls that were leading unto where she thought the center of the maze had to be, and Puîyus began running with silvertoed fleetness, and the mist itself became like thousands of particles of dust drifting frozen in the air, and Puîyus was the shadow able to pierce through them all. Ixhúja was fighting against Puîyus all the time that he was holding her, and Puîyus was well aware that she would try her best to leap into danger to receive all of the glory for herself, but he could sense here within the bone made that it would be best if they all staid together. At first Ixhúja tried to reach for a knife, but Puîyus kept shifting his grasp upon her and held her hands too tight, and she tried to bewriggle herself to grab the violet sword of her Father, but Puîyus was not about to let her go to do so, and Ixhúja blinked a few times and tried to signal unto the various clockwork insects that dwelt within her golden tresses, and the various locusts and moths and dragonflies poked their heads outwards and blinked their glassen and compound eyen in Puîyus’ direction, but he just growled to them in low harmonics in warning to them that he was not overly friendly to machines in general, and the insects bowing all the while to their disappointed mistress and came slinking back into her hair, and Ixhúja was stuck in the terrible predicament of being kept safe and without glory, and all she could do was sigh and brood.
– These bridges reach unto the center, I believe – Éfhelìnye chanted. – I’m not sure what we shall find, perhaps it’s a friend who needs help, or some books that we need, or some pretty flowers. –
Puîyus mewed and wondered whether he could plunder some treasure like his peiratical mentors Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho, perhaps some jars of sugar or boxes of cookies or any chests ifilled with candies, or baring harrying hopes, perhaps he could find a new pet, a kitten perhaps. Yes, yes, he nodded, he hoped that the center of the labyrinth had a nice kittenling for him. He looked to Ixhúja and wondered what she hoped to find in the center of the labyrinth, and she just stuck out her tounge and tried to take a swing and bite him a few times, but to no avail.
– Ixhúja, I think there will be plenty of opportunities to fight once we get to the center. There may be a lock or some mechanism I need to decypher, and you and Puey can defend me … – Éfhelìnye began, but Ixhúja just growled at her and tried to poke her cousin a few times. Éfhelìnye squirmed away from her. Ixhúja wondered whether there were a way she could get Puîyus to squirm, if she could just get him to drop her than she could roll out and draw her swords and fight the persuing Monsters to her spleen’s contentment. Behind them came the shadows of the tall legs and the outlines of swords, and she just knew it would be glorious to fight such creatures. Ixhúja lay her head against Puîyus torq and whimpering in a sad and echoing language mewed, Alas, my darling, I fear I shall faint! Won’t you e'er put me down?
– … – Puîyus told her.
I feel very ill! My knees are all wobblified! I may just swoon at any moment!
– … – Puîyus chanted.
Ixhúja thought for a few moments and then concocted a plan of her own. She lifted up her face close towards Puîyus and whispered unto him in a feline language purring and saying, I love you so much, my beloved. Do you love me?
– !! – Puîyus gasped.
Don’t you want to get married! Ixhúja purred unto him. We can live in a nest and have lots of warrior children who will chirm birdsong and wrestle down dinosaurlings and win glory for their parents.
– Pardon! – gasped Éfhelìnye.
Quiet, you! I’m charming my sweetheart here! Ixhúja drew her lips close to Puîyus’ and purring told him, Don’t you want to kiss me?
Puîyus panicked and dropped both Princesses. Behind them came the beat of the great hooves and the shadows of the Monsters coming out of the mist. Ixhúja, laughing all the while, rolled about in the mist and twin swords sprang out from her arms, and just as she was leaping upwards and preparing to face whatever were the guardians of this place, Éfhelìnye ran upwards and caught her cousin by her ankles to hold her down, and then Puîyus jumped upwards and tackled Ixhúja down. For a few moments Puîyus and Éfhelìnye found themselves defending themselves against bites and claws, for Puîyus had been wise enough to grab her swords from her, but Ixhúja was still making herself quite an inconvenience. At last all three of them managed to get tangled up in the dreammantle that Puîyus was wearing, the splanchnic cape violet and drifting and now reflecting thousands of labyrinthine patterns, and Ixhúja finding herself behind pinned and embraced looked to Puîyus and hissing told him, By Queen Ifhrúri of old, I shall never understand your ridiculous need to protect maidens and princesses! I’d ask you to let me go, but you’re not going to! And you, cousin Éfha, I have no idea why you keep trying to prevent me from fighting the most terrible and deadly monsters that should chance to cross our path, you have just no conception of khnujótlhu, of aretḗ, of khnìxho, of montialöf!
Doom doom doom doom came the sound of hooves approaching them, and scraping swords and the approach of figures monstrous and arising and formed partially of the mist itself. The three children were doing their best to get untangled from the cape, and lying on the floor they all looked up at the same time, their three heads poking out of the mantle and they could clearly see the vast legs walking about them and parting the mist all the while were golden swords swinging from side to side, and the sound of something grinding against bone and metal and brick. As of yet the children could not discern any eyen or faces, but great serpentile shadows were spilling through the mist, and the edge of the shadows were opening upwards in trifold patterns. Puîyus and Ixhúja both looked to Éfhelìnye and both asked her – ?? – to which she responded – Yes, yes I still have a plan. –
Both Puîyus and Ixhúja looked to the other, and their faces betrayed a glint of light, for they both knew how glorious it would be to fight against such a fearsome foe. Puîyus sprang up to his feet and helped Éfhelìnye up, but when he tried to help up Ixhúja he was rewarded only with a few swings she tried to take at him. He took a step back and bowed unto her and mewling told her in qtheûnte the language of plantimals saying, Our task must be to get Princess Éfhelìnye to the center of the maze, otherwise this is all for naught. Once she is there we can decide how to defend her from the Monsters of the Maze.
Ixhúja stuck out her tounge to tell her feral twin that she was not in the habit of jáxe xhexhenthùyejikh of compromising in general, and yet she knew that bickering in the gathering mist was availing them not. The Monsters were rushing towards the children three, the hooves were like great slabs of tarnished obsidian, the legs looked a little like cracked and veined jade, and wherever the Monsters were tredding thousands of small polygons were appearing for a moment and swarming up the legs and then disappearing. Golden swords swung from side to side, they were like searching pendula. Puîyus knew that it was his greatest honor to protect Éfhelìnye no matter where she ventured, although it would be fun to fight the Monster, and yet it would also be shameful to let Ixhúja have to face them alone. Closer and closer the creatures were coming. Éfhelìnye was running away down the length of the bridge, for she was already guessing where the heart of the maze should be, and walls were springing up before her and revealing twining galactic ridges in the center. Puîyus spun around and ran after her so that he could protect her come what may. For a few moments Ixhúja considered staying where she was, for the Monsters would be upon her at any moment, and she was finally able to see better the outline of their knees and swords, and yet, seeing her cousin and feral twin running towards the central rooms, Ixhúja wondered to herself, thinking that without her sound guidance, both Puîyus and Éfhelìnye were liable to get into all sorts of trouble. With reluctant hand she thrust her swords back into their schaniz and ran after them, in the gathering maze of mist arisen.
Princess Éfhelìnye made her way unto the central rooms and the walls were all become like paper and revealing nothing but endless galaxy streams spiraling around a center. In the midst arose a conical column in the same general shape and configeration as to the floating cones that she had turned and pressed together to form the imagine of the labyrinth before, although this cone was far larger, and as she approached it she could see that it was covered in images in a soft cobweb light, and they look did a little like diamonds ground up and set upon the stones, they were as if claws of light had scratched against the sides and left their imprint. She slid up through the galactic pools and clammered up the side of the cone and pressing her hands upon it could see that the cobweb light was tracing the outline of wheels which were slowly turning against each other, and hooking and grinding all the while, and the mechanism was indeed shimmering and sighing a little like a lock. At once she pressed her ear against the cold stone and listened to the song of the disques, and imagined how they were all connected one to another, and reaching unto her pocket drew out some quills and paintbrushes that she was wont to use whenever she picked locks, such as the illustrious pirates Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho had taught her to do. Shimmering out through the galactic currents Puîyus and Ixhúja came sliding up right before Éfhelìnye and both of them were drawing their swords and preparing to defend her against the Monsters arising into the very center of the maze.
And the Monsters came. And this is what Puîyus and Ixhúja saw, as they looked upwards, and Ixhúja was holding the white and violet sword, and Puîyus was holding the firesword that the Emperor had given him, and it blazed outwards with layers of flairs and light sparkling outwards, and they could feel the mist arising about their knees and legs, so that the children had to bound up unto the columns and cones in the center to arise out of the darkness, the mist arising and engulfing all things. Puîyus turned back and saw that Éfhelìnye was still busy with her mechanism, intent and concentrating she, her brows furrowed, the wheels twining, and the column legs of the Monsters were come blue through the mist waves.

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