Peter walked up to the tree. He winded up, and let out a blow. CRACK! A large hole appeared in the tree and it collapsed soon after. After several woohs! and hehe’s Peter calmed down. “That’s so cool, but where does ark steel come from?” Peter asked, curious.
“Nobody knows, although there are several less scientific theories. Oh. That’s better. Now that my translator’s fixed, I can finally have a normal conversation with you. A little off-topic, but have you thought about naming that shridlet yet?” Zflognbar asked, straying from the point of the conversation.
“I was thinking about calling it Noodle,” Peter said, scratching the shridlet under its chin.“That’s cute, but we really must be going. We mustn't let it get dark.” The alien said, which was odd, as he was the one who had started the conversation. “These jungles can get dangerous at night.” Well, that was ominous… Peter thought, scared now.
After walking for what seemed like hours, they arrived at what looked like a metal vault door. While Zflognbar was cranking the door open, Peter, unfortunately, was tasked to keep watch. The bushes rustled, and twigs cracked, but nothing was seen. Suddenly, Peter heard a growling noise behind him. Without looking, he scanned it not wanting to see what it was. A Lyconesi, the scanner called it. It was six-legged, about 9 feet head to tail, with a bony maw. “Zflognbar, is a lyconesi dangerous?” Peter asked, scared half to death.
Zflognbar gasped. “Can you deal with it? Just punch it in the shell on its face. It’s practically indestructible, so you can’t break or damage it. It will just hurt it. A lot. It may also hurt you, as it will be like punching a metal bar.”
“Umm, are you sure? What if it bites me? What if I get scratched-” He was cut off by the lyconesi charging at him, about 20 feet away. 15 feet. 10 feet. 5,4,3-Peter closed his eyes and swung his fists. “Oww!” Peter pulled back his fist, blew on it, and breathed for the first time in 2 minutes.
“Well done. Look at that coward now.” Zflognbar pointed at the whining beast who was scampering away. “Anyways, I got it open, so let's go.” Zflognbar awkwardly climbed down the ladder, gesturing for Peter to follow. Peter did, climbing into the darkness below.
Part 2: The Underground
When they reached the bottom, Zflognbar turned on a flashlight thing. The entire underground civilization was made of ark steel! “Whoah..” Peter whispered.
“And to think nobody wants anything to do with this place anymore!” Zflognbar said, tentacles dancing around.
After admiring the underground city, Peter and his guide stumbled upon a lever. Peter wondered what it was used for and pulled it. But it snapped right off, and Zflognbar, after scolding Peter, used a welding tool to glue it back together. Then, Zflognbar pulled it gently, and it made a clicking sound. Several hidden gears turned, and the ground beneath Peter’s feet swallowed him up, down a long tube slide, and onto rough, sandy terrain.
“What is this place?” Peter whispered to himself. It looked like the colosseum, but it was made of ark steel. He was in an arena! But what was in there to fight him?
CREAAAK! A large gate opened, allowing Peter to look in at the darkness within. Well, actually, it wasn’t total darkness. 4 glowing eyes stared at him from the black. ROOOOOAR! The sound reverberated through the entire arena, but Peter used this pause to scan whatever was in there.
It was called an Armored Devil, and the name served it right. It looked like a rhino, but with 6 horns, 2 above its eyes, and 4 in a line across its face. It was covered in thick plating all over, except for its tail, face, and underside. Its tail was tipped with a baseball bat-like club, with an ax-like protrusion at the tip. And it was pawing the ground, ready to charge at Peter at any moment.
Peter took a breath and held it. The Armored Devil charged at him, but Peter rolled out of the way. Even when the monstrosity swung its scary tail at him, Peter still rolled. He was very bad at rolling. He had several bruises now. But Peter had been hurt before. When he was 6, he loved climbing trees. He climbed to new heights every day. But one day, everything changed. Peter fell after trying to climb down and had to get stitches across his face. Since then, he hasn’t been very reactive to pain.
Peter kept dodging until he had had enough. He swung his right fist at the beast, and a satisfying crack could be heard through the stadium. The Armored Devil stumbled backward, not used to prey trying to fight back.
But this only made it more vicious and more urged to destroy him. It charged, and Peter did as he had done before, rolled, and got up again. But he was not expecting the tail to come from behind.
“OOOF!” The wind was knocked out of him, and Peter could hear his rib crack, but a wave of adrenaline had come over him, like nothing he had experienced before. He charged at the beast, and let the strongest punch he could muster fly at the Armored Devil. Crunch! That was the sound of the Armored Devil smashing into the ark steel walls surrounding the arena, leaving a large dent. It fell, but it did not get up again.
“Peter, that was very brave of you. Well done.” Zflognbar said from the stands above the arena.
“You just stood and watched! While I did all the work?” Peter yelled up at him. “I could have died, and you sat there?”
“In my defense, it was an artificial monster built for battle by the ancestors, so I wanted to keep my distance. Again, well done.” Zflognbar said, annoying Peter. But Peter had other things to worry about. He clenched his stomach, squinting, feeling nauseous. His rib was definitely broken. Make that 2-no 3 ribs. Peter was in such excruciating pain that he did not feel angry anymore. He felt like he could explode. But, his vision went black, saving him from the torture he was in.
Part 3: Home is where your strength is
He woke up, gasping, in the same room he had started his journey in. “Zflognbar! Where are you!” Peter yelled. “What happened?” But there was no response. Instead, a different alien walked in.
“I’m afraid your travel guide is dead.” She said,
“WHAT! No…how?” Peter was confused. He felt like he did at home. Weak, not capable of anything without help.
“You see, after you fainted, a table came up from under the arena. On it was a ring, like the one you have. Apparently, it teleported you to this planet because it chose you to find it and bring it to its people. Well done, Peter'' She responded.
“You didn’t answer my question! How did he die!” Peter was angry again.
She told him that on the way back, while carrying his limp body and the ring, he sent a message to them. “He told us to come immediately. 3 soldiers obeyed his message and went to the coordinates, only to find a lyconesi, presumably the one you fought off, had ambushed him, and he was attempting to hold his ground. But the lyconesi killed him, and the soldiers carried your body, the ring, and your confused shridlet here. We healed your ribs, and now you are here, in the present.”
“How do I get back home? I want to go back.” Peter started grabbing the ring, but the alien slapped his hand.
“It is best that the ring is left for the tribe it was intended for. The shridlet, however, you may take home. If you really want to get home, you can tap the ring that sent you here in the first place.” She responded calmly.
“Okay. Thanks, I guess.” Then Peter held the shridlet tightly and touched the ancient ring.
“AAAAAH!” It felt like he had been falling for hours. His feet lightly touched the ground, and he saw that he was in his room, on the bed he had arrived on Arkin in.
Needing help isn’t a bad thing. It proves you are brave enough to do greater, even if you needed some assistance along the way.