Puîyus kept his sword pointing in the direction where the Monsters were come, but he turned back unto the cobweb collumn where Princess Éfhelìnye was trying to discern the puzzle, and he barked unto her in a language that sounded quite a bit like so many coyomeh and duckbilled platypodes xhwáwa xhwáwa wan-wan! Wan-wan! Boj boj! Boj boj! And thusly told he her, One sincerely hopes that you discover the key to this mystery soon, for the Monsters are almost nigh hand. He looked back to keep his eyen unto the great clouds of mist that were flooding all of the layers of the bridges and ways and rooms everfluent upwards all about them. The Eilwiyusàrtyai brand in his hand was bursting out into many colors, the hilt was all of crystal diamonds set together within the runes of the Sacred House of the Pwéru, but from it was arising a steady eruption of color which was seeping outwards and bleeding into the swirls of mist, for closest to Puîyus’ hands was come a fountain of prismatic whites and oranges with slight veins all of green and shooting upwards out of them came several branches of bright blue and white, and sparkling swirls of gold twisting about in dracontine patterns, but then arising through it all as the very center of the sword were shafts all of bleeding red, and flowing through it were reflections of the rising and falling of the Suns, and whenever Puîyus swung the Emperor’s sword about, sparkling behind it in its wake were memories of the Sun and winding canopies of the bright coronæ of the welkin, and as the color erupted vulcanic from the sword, it began to illuminate all of the ground and the hints and curves of the bridges unto all sides and the coiling edges of the laboratory in the distance and the legs of the Monsters that were drifting closer and closer towards them all. Puîyus turned to Ixhúja and saw that she was standing and prepared for battle, she was holding the violet sword of Khnìntha above her head while keeping her white sword a little lower, and as the mist crackled about her, as the great legs were rising and falling and sparkling with the light reflected from the Dragon Sword, Puîyus could see that she was grinning a bit in anticipation of the glory of battle. The legs was they came flowing downwards, tall and spindly, reminded Puîyus a little of the legs of the rainbow èprunant gazelle not just in general shape but also because they were sparkling a little with a coralline light, although the legs appearing before him were not keûpya, were not uneven and wampahoofus like the disproportionate legs of the èprung ghazāl. Somewhere sweeping about the great legs came golden sheens which Puîyus thought had to be swords, for they were jutting and swinging and jabbing through the mist light, and yet flowing out from the Monsters was come the slight music of the nose flute, although the music itself seemed deeper and more terrible than the fluting that one could produce with the nose fifes that mortals use, the music sounded as if coming from pipes that were larger in diameter than Puîyus was tall, it was a deep and rumbling sound, and as the golden swords were swinging closer and closer towards them, Puîyus noticed that the swaying of the sword and the tumbling of the music were occuaring at the same time with the same rhythm, so he wondered whether they were not aurelian kleze in fact but rather some monstrious type of horn. It was not true music, Puîyus knew, that was coming from the Monster, it was noise and rhythm, it was deep and distracting, but he did not feel joyous at hearing it. He turned to Ixhúja and they shared a glance, she was looking from side to side and wondering whether it would be best just to throw herself into the mist, but the monsters were not yet close enough and substantial for them to know where to pounce.
Puîyus gave Ixhúja a look which meant, It would be an honor to die defending you and Princess Éfhelìnye. Several legs were materializing just a few cubits away, but when Puîyus ran up to swing through them, he found that they were breaking apart into dust and mist. Ixhúja was running around and also swinging at the insubstantial phantoms, and she gave him a look that meant, Fret not at tempting to defend me. I just hope we live long enough to find the pieces to that apparatus, the one the curved mine hair.
Puîyus took a few swings at the legs and the strange melody that was flowing all about them, but the legs were fading away. The golden horns continued to sway through the mist and the strange nose flute noise of it all, and Puîyus felt as if he were being caught up not just in some strange alien geometry, but also in some weird parody of song, and that this noise iitself was also a sneaking opportunity for to attack its prey. Puîyus glanced unto his feral Twin to tell her, If we can find the pieces I’m sure that Princess Éfhelìnye, skyborn and regal that she is, can find a way to reassemble it, for she is quite clever with tools and machinery. I cannot imagine, though, why the most ancient and wonderful Xakhpàlqe would have decided of their marvelous and unspeakable magics created hair coiling devices and left them upon the workshop tables to be found ages hence.
Puîyos, my naïve cater-sibling, I do not believe that the purpose of those apparatus were to coil one’s hair, Ixhúja purred as she swung her sword through the flowing mist. The tools that you found upon the tables no doubt were intended for the capturing and brewing and measuring of various chemical alchemies, they reminded me, to a greater scale, some of the devices from my Father’s laboratories beside the dying cannals. The apparatus, however, intended for larger hands or tendrils or wings or whatever appendiges the Xeriîqe had, just happened to have feelers of the right size to caress and coil the tresses of the children of the fey Xhámi.
Suddenly the mist was parting a little, and bursting up from it came the patterns of huge horns flowing upwards, and several legs were now walking upon the very surface of the mist and nearing the children, and they could see that the legs were covered in scales and matted feathers, and that flicks of blood lay dried upon the legs. The golden savikpak were swinging from side to side like the pendula of some great clocks, and the children could see that they resembled a little the horns of the narvals which they had seen gambolling within the waves of the Perischiin seas, but now they were close enough to see that the horns were caked in bits of bone and flakes of skin and metal, and some of the swinging horns had embedded in them partially smashed and melted skulls which had been blent into the matter of the horn, the prey of these monstrious wihts caught and smashed and left to merge into the horns. For a few moments the mists were parting and revealing something which the children thought had to be the heads of these Monsters, but they only appeared like eyeless skulls with far too many teeth growing out from them. The mist came burbling outwards, and the outline of strange and spindly blue creatures the children could see, being that appeared to be completely formed out of blue and legs and coral and swinging golden horns were jutting out from them and stabbing throughout the darkness and attempting to capture and impale someone.
Suddenly all of the mist began to swirl, for the column in the very center where Princess Éfhelìnye was climbing and pressing against the runes was all beginning to shine, and as she pulled out the coils and pressed against the wheels and touched the skeleton keys, the collumn was shooting out more and more shafts of light, it was weaving all about Éfhelìnye an imagine of the trice dimensional labyrinth etched in zoetic light, shadows and colors were spilling out around her grasp, images of corridors and bridges and halls were spreading upwards. She found that all of the column was becoming an orrery of many different pieces, or at least something that contained within it the wheeled cælestial dance but also other strange calculations of color and weight and coralline bone. She pressed her hand upon a wheel and turned it, and alll at once the mist began to spin around her. She turned the wheel to her left, and the mist began to break apart into layers of wheels and also turned unto her left. She grabbed several coils that were bouncing in vaguely crescented patterns and she pulled them upwards, and all at once several layers of the bridge began to arise in the same fashion. Éfhelìnye laughed in glee. – Oh, this is going to be fun! –
Puîyus was finding now that the Monsters were nigh and solidic now, long and crashing legs were falling about him, and horns were swinging about in several directions at once and trying for to impale him. He was swinging the aurelian Dragon Brand about, he was thrusting against a couple of legs and then parrying against the tushes flowing about him, when all at once the floor began to waver and shift. Éfhelìnye was discovering that the mechanism of the column was able to control the bridges and walls and columns here in the centroid complex, and all at once she began to pressed upon several wheels at once and make all the bridges dance unto her whims. She was herself spinning about the growing wheels about her, she decided that she wanted half of the columns to rise and the other half to fall unto their sides, and she was experimenting with turning all of the floor about as it it were a spinning disque, and she began to yank upon the crystals and hieroglyphs of the bridges and rooms and corridors of the maze. And the movement of the various layers of bridge and wall was all beginning to become spectral colors, the descending walls were blue and the rising columns red, the spinning walls were falling upon their sides and breaking out into layers of golds and oranges and white, and flowing upwards throughout the spinning and changing maze came murmurations that were partially the moaning of the horns of the monsters but also the strange music of the maze itself. Puîyus and Ixhúja at once found themselves no longer fighting upon solidic ground but upon a shifting and changing mazescape, they were spinning about several different layers of wheels opening upwards and descending upon lower convections, the monsters themselves, still partially indistinctive within the mistfloods were also appearing and then disappearing as walls descended about them, and the floor shifted way, and then they appeared again upon higher ramps and disappeared in different layers, all of the central bridges twisting and spinning and fading away in the irridescent maze.
– I believe that the Xeriîqe were trying to figure out a pattern – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted as she spun several more of the crescents and wheels about and wondered how she could draw it all together. – It’s very similar to the way that locks work, in that in order to spring it open one must listen to the music of the wheels and find a way to puncture the chorus, and then all the wheels blossom, and everything is reördered before one’s gaze. –
Puîyus and Ixhúja were both fighting against the golden horns that were flowing through the mist, and they kept having to leap aside and clammer about the walls, as the maze continued to shift and grow because of the machinery that Éfhelìnye had awakened. Puîyus was leaping upwards and striking at a couple of golden horns at the same time, he kept thrusting against the unseen heads somewhere in the darkness, although sometimes he could see antlers arising and the outline of some strange and uabhasach skulls set somewhere in the midst. Ixhúja was sliding about the legs that were thirling throughthe darkness, the legs were bending a little like some backwards avian limbs, and as Ixhúja slashed against them again and again she was rewarded with puffs of dust and the sound of paper crackling and burning, but the legs did not break apart, and the Monsters continued to search within the darkness. Puîyus was rolling outwards in the darkness, the Emperor’s Sword was blazing with incandescent solar glows, but the Monsters were not afraid of the light like the Khmìmu ghilan had been, but still they were clattering and thrusting their swords against the Children as they wandered into the maze winding about them bespiralent.
– If I can just join all the colors together, I think the maze will unlock itself – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted. – This mechanism is extremely complicated, but I get the impression that it is the top of some great clockwork geyser, and all of the steam and light has been plugged deep within it. The Xeriîqe have captured something and bottled it up, and if I can unpuzzle it, we shall release what they have found. –
Perhaps the Xeriîqe just created more Monsters, Ixhúja growled at her cousin. It may not be wise to set them free, especially since we already have Monsters attacking us. Ixhúja slashed against the legs, she found that if she cut about the backwards insectoid sides of them, the Monsters would slow down a little. No matter how glorious it was to fight against numerous foes, still it was best to be cautious in protecting one’s rather silly and princessly cousin from the Imperial side of the family.
– I can’t quite understand all the details – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted – But I think this ship was once tuned unto the Music of the Spheres, and that it was attempting to dance throughout the pathways of that fate. The walls and curves of this maze move along similar fashions of the orbit of planets, for instance, and the dance of moons and asteroids also. –
Princess Ixhúja slashed at several legs and rolled aside as several crunching walls came swinging down about to crush her, and leaping up had to fend herself against the horns that were flowing within the darkness. She cried out unto her cousin in quite a labyrinthine language itself for to tell her, You do not need to tell us all the details, just figure it out!
– I think the Xeriîqe were working on some new color theory based on gravitational tones – Éfhelìnye was saying as she pressed against several more wheels and spring up about her appeared a thousand new chambers of the labyrinth and several long and unravelling halls. – It all has to do with whether this is a diatonic scale or an heptatonia prima. –
Puîyus was leaping upwards and swinging his sword against the golden horns was surprised that although the sword struck them aside, it was not actually slicing them. The flames of the Dragon Sword were bursting outwards and becoming part of the chaos of the mist, but nothing was as of yet burning. He had to leap aside several times as antlers were reaching outwards and trying to capture him, and he bounced aside as the hooves of beasts began stomping downwards in fury as they sought to grasp their prey. Ixhúja came running up beside Puîyus and murmuring unto him told him in her own primal and tonic language saying, Would you mind telling your sweetheart to hurry up? I want to fight these Monsters face to face, so whatever she’s going to do, she’d better just finish it now!
Princess Éfhelìnye suddenly found herself trapped in a brilliant shaft of white light. She was floating upwards, and she was caught within it, as if an hook had been set within her back and were drawing her upwards, her legs and arms pressed downwards with unseen weights. As she ascended she found that all of the light was veined with imagines of a growing labyrinth, and wherever she glanced the labyrinth was beginning to change and open, where she turned to blink several new pathways were appearing, and slowly as she lifted up her fingers in the growing gravity of it all, where her finger lay the labryinth was all becoming living clockwork flame. – It’s like adjusting time itself. The Qyál the Great Music of the Spheres is forming itself all of steps and ramps and scales and genera, it is become hews and pitches, it is the very dance of time. –
Puîyus bounced upwards and slashed against a couple of the golden horns, and for a moment massive skulls were turning towards him and revealing rows upon rows of grinding teeth that were all triangular fangs jutting through the darkness. He spun around, the hooves were trying to kick and crush him, the Monsters all the while wheezing with the sound of monstrious nose fifes as they tried to crunch and impale the children about them. Ixhúja came leaping around Puîyus and struck at some of the tall legs and yanking upon Puîyus slow winked to him to tell him, Are you going to tell your sweetheart that she makes absolutely no sense at all, or shall I have to do it?
Puîyus slashed against the horns and kicked aside several of the legs, and a Monster backed up and roared with a deep flute music, and turning unto Ixhúja he blinked unto her a few times to tell her, Princess Éfhelìnye is quite learned and makes perfect sense, I’m sure.
Ixhúja punched against several great hooves that were reaching out towards her, and some long and unwinding antlers that were trying to reach out unto them, and in the same blink wink tounge told she him, Now please be honest oh Puîyos, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, and tell me, do you even understand a third of what Éfha says? Sometimes she can just duckprate on for the longest time, and I have no idea of what she means. Ofttides speaketh she on matter of word and myth, and I just nod mine head and dream about fighting strange foes deep within lost and crumbling ruins, or she’ll be trying to explain her nonpositional form of arithmetic, or, as she is wont to do, she’ll begin speaking about some grand and strange abstraction made into concrete myth. I doubt you understand her when she talks speaking of such, am I right, am I right, am I right?
Puîyus jabbed against the golden horns, and the Monsters were screaming with their fife skrikes, and Puîyus pushed aside at the gathering antlers and told Ixhúja in a language of movements and thew and gestalts for to tell her, I have come to rely and believe Éfhelìnye when she speaks about abstractions that I do not understand.
Ahah! Than you admit you have no idea of what she means either!
It’s important that she understand.
Don’t you find it boring sometimes, when she’s just speaking on and on about some miniascule word or vowel or polygon? Don’t you just want to throttle her, or at least punch her in the nose for good measure?
Hardly, Puîyus harrumped at Ixhúja. He was trying to cut through the giant legs, but the Monsters were still arising about him, and more often than not it was the changing walls and domes of the maze that were keeping them at bay than the little pricks that he and Ixhúja were able to inflict upon them. Puîyus saw at once that several new halls were opening up between him and Ixhúja, and he jumped up and dove out right towards her so that they could stay together, something about these Monsters made him think it would be unwise to leave the Princesses alone with them. He slashed aside at the antlers of the mist and growling unto Ixhúja told her, And I am sure that you do not harber any violent and dishonorable thoughts against your own kithprincess either, but only wish to serve and protect and love her.
And possibly thrash her about a little, I’m not sure. Ixhúja was swinging both of her swords around in an effort to keep the great shadows at bay, and she murmured unto him to tell him, And just think, my most beautiful Puîyos, of the blood of the Selenite Heretics, for all the rest of eternity you shall have to endure Éfhelìnye’s strange philological and balletic comments. Imagine all of the fun deipnosophistic conversations you shall at dinner kunínoro concerning one vöd and the next, think of all the times she won’t let you go to sleep because she needs to tell you about her new theory on the reflecting of rainbow night, and all the times she’ll awaken you before dawn to tell you about a new dance she’s creating. I couldn’t handle it. I’d bash her into bits. Ixhúja jumped aside and tried to jab at several of the hooves, but still the Monsters were arising out of the mist, and this time the children could finally see the outline of the creatures, and saw that indeed they were fashioned completely out of long and jutting hooved legs aside from the serpentile head and back whiere were all of impaling antlers. They could not see a face but a massive and kean skull they could see all of horns, and the golden horn slashing from side to side and trying in the blind mist to impale the children.
– I think I understand the dance! – Éfhelinye cried, and lifting up her arms within the shaft of white light, all at once the central corridor of clockwork was lighting up, and all of the maze was bursting out from her and recreating itself so that she lay in the center. – All one has to do is imagine oneself in the midst of the mandala and imagine … – she began, but the maze was rushing about her with such intense heat and movement that she doubted Puîyus and Ixhúja were paying much attention to her at the moment. As the maze was lighting upwards all of the Monsters were screaming their fierce and flutey cry, and in the outrattling of the maze, all of the corridor was springing open and all of its eyen were blinking and shooting out from them came white smoke and long and skeletal shapes. Éfhelìnye continued to float within the shaft of light and for the first time was noticing that she was trapped, and as she slowly spun around in her orbit she could see the Monsters for the first time, for in the rebirth of the maze they were become tall and angular and sharp, they were almost completely formed of knives and horns, their legs were jutting outwards, their hooves were scraping and peircing against the floor of the maze, and as they were approaching withering shadows and vines were snaking about the legs and drifting apart. The monsters were flexing the antlers of their backs, and the children could see that not only were the bodies partially formed of coral, but that the bones of many creatures lay entwined and impaled about the antlers, bits of rib and skull of Qhíng and Kháfha and Aûm alike, the fingers and limbs of forms that the children knew had once been the youth of the Real People. The monsters were turning, sparkling about their antlers came a slight sideral light, and waves of tendril spikes they could see flowing about the layers of the antlers, and yet what was most horrifying about the Monsters were their long and arising necks leading upwards unto trifold skulls completely lacking of face and eye. It was as if the skulls themselves were the heads, for the skulls were clattering and chewing against the air and grinding in trifold patterns, each of the necks ending in at least three layers of jaws masticating all the while, and in the center of the heads lay the golden horn which was jutting and jabbing and attempting to impale the children. The Monsters were undulating in a slightly nárhvalr dance, and they were glistening in cærulea and shadows of blue.
– Shadhavar, cartázōnoi! – gasped Princess Éfhelìnye as she beheld the nekiυmva clearly. – They are the lords of the ice deserts! – She reached out unto the glistening light and shadow and veins of the shaft that held her, and although it was an heavy weight for her to draw her arms up, she managed to touch some of the dripping light, and the wheels of the opening corridor responded, and the maze at once clasped down many of its jaws and rooms, for in her panick she tried to think of a way to thrust out or capture the Monsters, even though she did not understand all of the ways of the maze. Several walls came spinning aside, and some of the bridges crashed downwards and trapped the Monsters by their hooves and pinned them down, and not a few of the Monsters had their horns crushed by the moving disques of the maze, and shifting and rolling sides. Puîyus was running upwards, he managed to thrust the golden sword right into the antler complex of some of the passing Monster, and for the first time he was rewarded with a scream of pain from the beast, and seeing that Éfhelìnye was trying to shut the Monsters away from them, he rolled outwards and taking Ixhúja by the hand, yanked her aside, and they came runnning upwards into the center, while bridges and walls rolled aside, and the central clockwork was breathing outwards a storm of white light.
As several more walls came crashing downwards and fell upon the skull necks of the Monsters, as some of the bridges were unqueueing and befalling about the coral and golden collann of the beasts, they were letting out a terrible fife dirge, and Puîyus and Ixhúja just ran from them all the faster as they felt the Maze constricting about them and reaching unto the heart where Princess Éfhelìnye lay trapped. Puîyus glanced back a few more times and saw that the Monsters were trying to arise and were screaming all the while, and he could sense that Éfhelìnye had only been able to pinch a few of them, terrible and vast kargadans. He yanked upon Ixhúja’s sleeve and blinking a few times told her, I believe those are demimortal spirits xenásun, a very dangerous class of Monster.
Do you know what they are? Ixhúja blinked unto him.
I believe they are the, Puîyus had to pause and spell out the glyphs, fhàjhati xhròpfhe, the blue unicorns. Ixhúja blinked in incomprehension, and so he added in blinks, They are the ancient childkillers, but what they are doing here within this Xeriîqe vessel I cannot hope to guess.
Do you know how to kill them? Ixhúja asked.
They are vulnerable to fire and their horns are quite sensitive, it is how they fell, they understand the world in the pain and impalement of their victims. In ancient days nations among the Qhíng and Qája have tried to tame the Xhròpfhe Fhàjhati to use against their enemies, but the cartazoons proved too terrible for any of their alchemists to control.
What a fabulous warrior education you have received, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son! Ixhúja blinked at him a few times, and together they came running upwards into the very middle of the room and all about them arose the music which the camahuetos were singing of their single ungainly horns, and the scraping of their hooves, and the breying of their anter against wall and floor. Puîyus jumped upwards and found that Éfhelìnye was suspended in a curtain of light and æther and he cried out to her in a kean saurian language, even as he ducked about the opening eyen of the clockwork mechanism and the bursting white light flowing up from it, and asked he her, Did you find what within the maze was beckoning unto you? He began crawling up the shifting light and was trying to find a weak spot so that he could shatter it.
– I think so, but I cannot be certain – Éfhelìnye cried, as she was floating several cubits above him. – I am rather certain it was the white smoke that was calling me, but how can that be? Opening up the labyrinth releases the smoke, but now we’re all trapped inside. –
Ixhúja came leaping upwards and crawled about the centroid clockwork mechanism, it reminded her of some of the pumping and condensing motors which were used in older portions of the great cannal complexes throughout the realms of Khnìntha, in places where water had to be drawn up into pipes to keep the cannals flowing, or where preasure had to be applied to move great bridges and walls throughout the some of the more complex and older cities stuck within the cannal latice work. She began pushing upon the wheels and pipes in an effort to ease up on the pressure that was building up within the clockweyth, she did not wish for all of the phials to start exploding one by one and spew burnning shards in all directions right untowards them all. She found several sundials and began twisting the hands down untowards glyphs of the sunset, and the white smoke began to billow out from a thousand spiracles appearing within the mechanism. It reminded her a little of the great lava rivers that flowed throughout Khàqra, the Capitol of the Heresy, the City of Wheels and Volcanoes wherewithin she had been born, where the great motors and wheels dig throughout living flame, and all of the towers were set within blossoming caldera crimson wroth. The white smoke was twining about her feet now, long and flowing almost vegetable towers of white drifting outwards and permeating out towards the ambient mist darkness.
Puîyus clomb up about a third of the length of the shaft of light which prisoned Princess Éfhelìnye before he drew his knife and stabbed it against the light a few times, but where the knife touched the light just became crystal and glass and cracks were breaking upon the surface like so many levin flares. I tried a few more times and pressed his ear to the light, and yet could hear a slight reverberous quality within the light. He clammered up another third of so up the way and this time drew the Emperor’s glistening drake sword and smashed it a few times against the light, this time the sword burst outwards into brilliant light, it looked like a geyser and a series of glass waves all frozen in an instant of time, but the fires of the sword were not quite entering the constricting light, nor was the sword breaking it apart. He looked to Éfhelìnye and saw that she continued to float about and slowly orbit within the shaft, he struck the sword a few more times and then paused, concerned that in his attempt to free her that somehow he would start to constrict her, or the reverberations of the sword would somehow break apart and draw the sharp edges up untowards her. The light shook a little, and it was making a slight moaning sound. Puîyus looked around and could see nothing but the white smoke billowing up from the machinery and the maze spread out in three dimensions, and he could hear the thundering hoovebeats of the karmadan unicorns searching and arising and seeking out pain. Puîyus grit his teeth and clammered up unto the top of the shaft. He knew that it was dangerous for any child to be in the vicinity of the fhàjhati xhròpfhe, the tsopo were beings completely devoid of mercy, they may not be as strong or cunning as the Dragons, but they were far more primal, they were coral and knives come to life, and they were especially parlous unto Princesses. Puîyus pressed his ear against the rolling shaft of light and listening unto the moving of the light thought he could hear a slight music unto it. At once, enthused with an idea, he sheathed the Dragon Sword upon the golden and red scabbard upon his back, and still clutching unto the living light all the while, he drew out his harp and strummed upon it a few times. It took him just half a moment to discover the sound, but even as he began playing out the harmonics and melodies of the light, as he harp began to echo and reverberate, he knew that it was the correct tune, and the shaft began to dissolve. Puîyus breathed out a few more notes and he began to sing in a wordless language, he sang of the prowling of the fhàjhati kere as they drift about the outer planes, he sang of the sound of the serou hooves and the twisting of the nekiυmva horns as they breathe out their own nose flute melodies, he sang of the fear that the xhròpfhe re’em engender in the midst of children, and of the fhàjhati qílín walking out in the mist and seeking for pain kargadan karkadann desert lords cartázōnoi, and all at once the shaft shattered into billions of rustles. In the single elegant movement Puîyus caught up Éfhelìnye in his arms and set the harp downwards and landed several cubits down in the center of the maze, where the rouage continued to breathe out white smoke, and Princess Ixhúja was doing her best to keep the entire maze from exploding.
– Oh Puey, you’re so brave and magnificient and wonderful to save me! – Éfhelìnye gasped. – Let’s get trapped in the light again so you can save me once more. –
Puîyus shook his head for he did not find that a very good idea. Ixhúja coughed and adjusted some of the spiralling wheels and muttered to herself in her own language of pulleys and wheels saying, Puîyos, all he did was playing a few notes on his clàrsach! Nothing about that-sa is brave.
– He was quite bold the way he played the music, I think – Éfhelìnye chanted. – Anyway, he stood up against all of the Monsters drifting in the mist, and I think they may be Xhròpfhe Unicorns, and we durst not let them find us. –
I helped too! Ixhúja growled. I was fighting there, side by side, everytime his sword swung, I was there beside him, everytime he jumped up to punch an antler aside, I was doing the same!
– Oh Puey, you’re my hero! – Éfhelìnye squealed, and she leaned o'er to embrace him. Ixhúja’s face was glistening with waves of violet as purple as the tresses she used to sport, and she hopped from side to side and yanked out some of the wheels from the mechanism and began throwing them in all directions as she cried out in a mechanical voice saying, Don’t I get any glory or reward for what I did?
– I’m sure you helped Puey a little – Éfhelìnye sighed as she rested her head upon Puîyus’ shoulder.
– … – Ixhúja blinked.
– You were Puey’s little helper! – Éfhelìnye giggled.
Help! A little! Help! HELP! Ixhúja’s eyen were blazing red. She thundered upwards and punched Puîyus unot the ground, and by extention her princessly cousin Éfhelìnye who was embracing him. Puîyus bounced up to help Éfhelìnye up, and Ixhúja was sputtering and snarling and hissing as if to say, I do not help! I am not Puîyos’ little helper! Ixhúja tried to take a few swings at Éfhelìnye, but Puîyus caught her up and pinned her arms back. Ixhúja tried to bite Puîyus a few times, but contended herself with kicking and snarling in Éfhelìnye’s general direction as if to say, I will not have mine honor impugned by you or anyone else, I do not help anyone, I am the Huntress of the Forest, I fight and struggle and do battle of mine own accord!
– And you did a good job – Éfhelìnye nodded. Ixhúja snarled a few more times. Éfhelìnye smiled to say – I don’t know what we’d do without having you as our helper! –
Ixhúja bit at Puîyus’ fingers a times but then slumped down, all of the energy flowing out of her, as if the tide were gone and setting before the fleeing of the Moons, and she thought What was the point of fighting it, Éfha is always going to think about Puîyos first, why should I even expect otherwise? When Puîyus felt that Ixhúja was calming down a bit he released her, but he stayed very close to her just in case she tried to do something unexpected and not a little crazy.
– Do you want an hug? – Éfhelìnye asked Ixhúja.
Ixhúja crossed her arms and took a step back.
– I think I should reward your help with a big happy hug! – Éfhelìnye chanted.
Ixhúja shook her arms in negation and took a few more steps back until she bumped into Puîyus.
– I know it’s time for a nice warm family hug! – Éfhelìnye laughed. – You’re the only cousin left unto me, I think it’s time to spread your arms and hug hug hug hug hug! –
No no no no no! Ixhúja spun around and tried to flee, but Éfhelìnye signalled Puîyus to grab her, so that as Ixhúja bound away Puîyus arose into the air and grabbed her by her ankles. Puîyus had to hold up Ixhúja, kicking and screaming all the while and drag her back unto Éfhelìnye who was opening up her arms and preparing to embrace her cousin, and here in the very center of the labryinth the walls and bridges and ceiling were once again completely sèpfhen jhùpal khlòsoma uuugly resembling lwàwimus and jànxhe rectangles and lweîthes and xùrfha and tsùkhma and kùrwa squares, and the bits of square and rectangle were fluttering upwards as Puîyus tred among them, Ixhúja’s hair rustling in mothlike twines about him.
Pssst! Puîyos! Ixhúja growled in a feline language so low that only he could hear her. Please do me a favorite. Puîyus gave her a curious look but held her tight and carried her back. Ixhúja bit Puîyus’ hands a few more times but whispered in the subharmonic language as if to say, Please break a few of my ribs right now. I don’t even care which ones, just so that Éfha can’t touch me. Or maybe my collar bone, you can break it so that it won’t hurt me too much, and then we’ll have to tell her she can’t touch me because I’m grievous wounded … you’re not going to break any of my bones, are you? Puîyus shook his head in negation and came to Éfhelìnye and kept his arms about Ixhúja just in case she tried to escape. Ixhúja spat a few times towards Puîyus and then her cousin and told them, I’m not forgetting this, I’ll have my vengeful justice on both of you!
– Time to hug! – Éfhelìnye cried as she wrapped her arms about Ixhúja and chanted – I love my cousin Ixhúja so much! Oh! – Ixhúja growled and whimpered, and no matter how she fought against Puîyus’ limbs, his strength remained adamantine khyèfhoir fhtúyu as he grasped her. Éfhelìnye cooed and sighed and embraced Ixhúja for quite sometime, and although Éfhelìnye’s arms were a little cold, the embrace was warm and loving, and Ixhúja could smell the cinnamon and sugar of her cousin’s breath and the slight incense smell of her hair, and although she did not like to admit it, even to herself, if she had to be embraced by anyone, she would prefer it to be her loving Cousin Princess Éfhelìnye who for some reason was neither scared nor angry nor fearful of the last Princess of Mars, the feral abomination.
– Oh Ixhúja, how poor my life would be without you! – Éfhelìnye sighed, and she kissed Ixhúja upon her brow and cheeks and on her lips and then embraced her for a bit longer.
Puîyus sniffed the air. The white gas was thickenking about the floor of the labyrinth, and Puîyus could hear the sound of the crunching of metal and the shifting of walls and the grinding of wheel against gears, and knew that several massive shadhavar objects were flowing somewhere within the darkness of the labyrinth. He looked around. Princess Éfhelìnye was content in her embrace, and Ixhúja was trying to suffer the hug and yet enjoyed it a little but not too much. Puîyus saw that great fluttering migrating jigs and jags of squares and rectangles were arising within the dark mist and the white smoke, billions upon billions of rectangles and squares, most of them the size of his fingernail and hand spinning upwards, just a few pieces larger and flowing from side to side, and all about them the squares and rectangles were assembling themselves into great columns about the children, and vast skeletal forms which although from a distance were curling he could see were made in actuality of the billions upon billions of ugly quadrilatterals.
Princess Éfhelìnye continued to embrace her cousin all the tighter, and neither she nor Ixhúja noticed the swarming squares and rectangles arising nor the great monstrious shapes peering through the darkness, until several loops of liquid fell upon them and Puîyus, and a slight growling and flutelike sound was come unto them, and slowly Éfhelìnye and Ixhúja and Puîyus looked upwards and felt splashing about them several more sprinkles tofön sprent of liquid crashing, and by the texture of it they knew it had to be drool jhpèsya fhrís falling about them as horns were arising about them and tremendous trifold skulls opening upwards and revealing nothing but blue teeth upon blue teeth becrackling and drooling upon the children below.
– I find Monsters just completely disgusting – Éfhelìnye sighed as the blue unicorns were materializing out of the msit and rectangles and drooling upon them all.
– Purr – grumbled Ixhúja.
– Mew – Puîyus sighed.
– You twain chanted it – Éfhelìnye chanted, as the Fhàjhati Xhròpfhe arose for to capture nekiυmva the children within the labyrinth.
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