• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Frontier Town Frontier Town Outskirts

"No." Mhynt said this more firmly. "I think I need to talk about it. If I keep festering in this... I'm only going to fall deeper into this pit. This idea that I can't... conquer him on my own, or if any of us can. I don't even know why I froze up. I just... did." Her left claws dug into her right arm. "...Why? Why would I freeze, when usually..."
Nova wasn't sure if that last part was meant to be rhetorical. "Hard to say when I don't know much about the guy. Other than what you've mentioned. Is it, like, a memory from back home or something?"
"A memory?" Mhynt said. "Well, I remember him, obviously. But in terms of fighting him, I've... fantasized about a means to do that for a long time. I don't understand how I'd freeze up the moment it mattered. The moment I could. I just... didn't."
"Well, imagining is different from reality." Nova looked skyward. "Do you remember what was going through your mind in the moment? If not, we could try and replicate it..."
Mhynt winced at the proposal. But before Nova could say anything to the effect if 'oh you don't have to,' she quickly held up her claw and said, "I was thinking... It's him, he's here, what do I do. How can I fight him. We aren't ready. How can we run." She let out a gentle, steadying breath, but she was already trembling as she ran over those thoughts vocally. "I was... terrified. Paralyzed at just the sight of him."
It was fear then. That sort of raw, primal fear someone might have when they were staring down death incarnate. Which was a far cry from the composure she usually projected.

Nova scooched over so he was by Mhynt's side. He offered his left shoulder. "It's okay. I get it. I... doubt it'd have been much different for me if I was in your shoes."
"I don't wear shoes," Mhynt said as she took a few more breaths to steady herself. She manipulated the grass, as little as it was, to move more debris aside. "...I just don't know if I can... stand up to him as things are. I know I need to be there when they investigate the Quarry where he'd been spotted, but... what if I freeze again?"
"It's a figure of speech." Nova smiled shakily. "Built and controlled by humans, remember?"

He shook his head. "You're not going this alone, right? Who can come with that you trust to keep you grounded." Nova shifted weight onto his right foreleg. The claws dug into the dirt. "Help you to, y'know, break through that fear?"
"...Perhaps it should be a large group. And many Escape Orbs. Redundant Escape Orbs," Mhynt said in a murmur. "That might help..." But her leaves still seemed wilted. She wasn't vocalizing something.
"It could help," Nova said, cheek bolts turning clockwise, then counterclockwise. "I think there's still something else though. Just talking about going there is having an effect."
"...It's... that I can't escape," Mhynt finally said, half-blurting. She stopped walking to stare at the ground, yet her eyes weren't focused on anything. "He's in Forlas. He's in the Voidlands. No matter where I go, he's... there. I can't... escape him.

"Even if I died, Nova, I... can't escape. I'm... utterly... trapped." She seemed to have forgotten where she was, claws holding her arms. In a tiny voice, she whispered, "I don't know what to do."
The way Mhynt talked... it sounded familiar. Trapped. No escape. That was the life they both lived back home. Their fate. But hers had... followed her here. What was Nova supposed to say to that?

... Hang on. Hadn't he brought up a similar fear to Mhynt before. What had she said at the time? Think, damn it!

He curled up around her protectively. "You told me something before," Nova whispered. "Not long after we met. To focus on what was different." He nudged her head. "You guys got away from him. That's one difference. What about others?"
Last edited:
It was enough to bring Mhynt back to reality. She winced and took a sharp breath. "Different," she said. "What's different. He's..." A few more breaths. A few more considerations. "He's weaker here. He can't lord over everyone and assume invulnerability. He was hurt. By a mundane strike, he was hurt. That... that doesn't happen at home.

"He has to hide. He never hid before. He's... recognizing that, if he took us on, he... can't win. He has to be cautious. That's different for him. And...

"Owen... resisted. Just a little, he resisted and ran away. A claimed soul at home... had no such freedoms."

Her breathing was steadier. Her leaves gained some color.

"And he can't control me anymore. Not... here. I don't have to follow him."
Nova nudged her forehead gently. "And what about numbers? Do you have a team like this back home?"
"...No," Mhynt said. "Owen did. But all of my 'team' was already under his control. So... that, too, is very different. We have numbers. He may also have numbers... but perhaps we aren't outnumbered."
Nova nodded, slowly uncurling to give Mhynt some space. "Yeah. We're a lot different from whatever team you have back home." That whole "human connection" thing was part of it, but Nova didn't really want to dwell on that.

"It may not be perfect, but maybe a little chaos is a good thing now and again." He laughed nervously. "I used radiance to turn a blast seed into a radiant grenade and blew up part of Cipher's shadow machine, even though that made shadow leak out into the lab. Not exactly my finest moment."

He shook his head. "Ghaspius told me something. Even if we can't remember this place, that there's still a chance something could imprint on our spirits." Nova thumped his chest with a foreleg. "So, like, maybe if you keep working with us against Alexander... stuff we do here can, y'know, change your trajectory back home. New tactics or ideas...

"Hell, maybe we beat him beat him here, and that defeat 'shocks' his spirit enough that he slips up in your world."
"You're right," Mhynt said. "My world is very spiritually strong. And the more power one gains, the more influence that spirit can have. Perhaps a defeat would be meaningful..." Mhynt seemed to relax more at that, though she glanced at Nova again.

"Thank you, Nova. I'm... I wasn't myself."
"Happens to the best of us." Nova stood up and offered a foreleg to help her up. "We could go grab a drink after we're done here, if you want."
"I'd like that," Mhynt replied, offering what seemed to be a rare and genuine smile. She looked... a lot more vulnerable than usual. "Thank you, Nova. Koa was right... it was wise to reach out to someone who... understood. Or could have understood."
Nova chuckled back at her. "Guess the kid's got his moments." He gestured along the road. "C'mon. Shouldn't be too much more left to deal with here."

Despite the exhausting day, Nova managed to find a bit more spring in his step to finish out the job and had back into town with Mhynt.

Top Bottom