Finster finally gave himself up after hours of pacing, ranting and raving
to himself of what he would do to Rita if he ever had the chance. He gazed
at the clay that was bundled in the bag. With a sigh, he made his way over
to it and withdrew a large earthy smelling clump of the clay. In an instant,
a thought came into his head of what he wanted it to become and he sat
down to create it. After a few moments of molding and kneading, a small
creature stood before him that had the head of a frog and the body of griffin.
He wasn't exactly sure how he had come up with it but never the less he pushed it aside and began another. He continued this until he had run out of the clay and dozens of creatures sat before him like tiny soldiers. As he worked, he heard the door open behind him and then scampering noises which made it sound like not one but many people had entered his workstation. He turned abruptly and saw five putties heaving the large machine that had been in Rita's throne room through the door. Even if he had wanted to escape, there was no room to do so as the putties pushed the machine up against the wall and then left quickly, closing the door behind them and leaving Finster alone again.
Eyeing the machine with a glint of mischief in his eye, Finster made a slight adjustment on one of the creatures that he had meant to be a lion with a scorpion's sting. He took the fine needle at the end of the tail and transformed it into a blunt mallet shape. It wouldn't be very effective for what he had Rita had in mind but it was quite useful for his purposes.
Finster gathered the creature up in his hands and carried it over to the machine. He tried to remember how it worked as he carefully set the creature down and pulled a random lever. The machine sputtered and would do nothing else. He grew angry as he pushed a series of other buttons and then pulled another lever. The machine rumbled and then sprang to life in a whirring of gears and a cloud of steam while Finster gingerly set the monster down on the treadmill-like structure on the front.
He pulled another lever, this time avoiding the one that had turned the machine off earlier and a shrill whistle pierced the depths of his ears. The monster was swallowed up by the machine and in seconds, there was a small explosion and the creature stood before him waving its heavy tail in the air. He gave it a firm stroke across the head to assure it that he was not an enemy and then knelt down to speak with it.
"Listen closely," he instructed it. "The door you see before us is made of solid metal. I cannot break through but I have equipped you so that you can. Go now and get us out of here and I promise you as much meat as you can stomach." The creature licked its chops and then approached the door. It swung its tail and they both listened as it crashed into the door with a resounding crash. Finster winced but hoped that Rita had heard it because as soon as they broke through the door, she would be the first meal for his monster if she was on the other side.
A little more work with the monster's tail and the door began to give under the stress. Soon it fell away from its hinges and crashed into the hallway. The creature leapt out of the confines of the room and looked over its shoulder expectantly as Finster cautiously stepped over the door and into the hallway as well.
They had gone no more than a few steps when an ambush of putties schooled out of an open door. Finster felt a cry escape his throat and shielded his face with a protecting arm. He didn't see the magnificant leap that his creature made as it landed on the closest putty and tore into it's chest. Putties had little or no innards to speak of, as the creature soon found out, but their skin was not half bad.
Finster lowered his guard a little to see why the attack had not yet come. When he saw the monster feasting on the unfortunate putty, he struggled to keep a tight hold on his gorge. Try as he might though, he was not able to shut out the crunching and slurping sounds as the creature enjoyed its meal and his knees began to give out. He looked up again in time to see a wave of putties surround the creature. With a roar and a swish of its tail, the monster had knocked over a good three forths of them and had caught another in its jaws.
After a moment of watching, Finster decided that he would leave the monster to its feasting and go on alone. He manuevered around the stunned and twitching putties in his midst and even past the monster who spared him a look with its dirty yellow eyes as he passed. Soon he had gone far enough that he could hardly hear the carnage that was happening behind him. He soon found himself in a dark hallway and heard new sounds. There was a clinking of metal followed by a sharp cry and then silence for a moment until the clinking began again.
Using his ears as his guide, Finster tracked the sound down to another door and he slowly heaved his weight against it so that it cracked open a little. Inside he saw two creatures that were violently slashing at each other on a large, crimson stained mat. One that looked exactly like Goldar but was clad in dull silver armor was equipped with a trident and a shield while the other that looked like a large gila monster was fending him off with a broadsword and small metal disk that he was using like a shield. In the background, many onlookers cheered and jumped with excitment as the Goldar creature slashed the gila monster's chest bringing forth a gout of blood.
As Finster watched, the gila monster tripped up the Goldar creature and wasted no time in burying his sword to the hilt in his chest. The space monkey let out a final screech before he lay still with a small river of blood coursing out of his mouth. A figure that was so clad in armor that Finster couldn't see his face stepped onto the mat and dragged away the dead challenger as the gila monster strode off of the battleground triumphantly. An unpleasant smell hung in the air like freshly sheared copper and spoiled meat as the next two contenders were called onto the mat to fight.
To his horror, Finster recognized one of them as Garren, still dressed in a purple tunic and his face a mask of fear and anger. He was equipped with a polearm which Finster knew that he was not good with and he was armed with a very small thick shield that was strapped to his wrist. The other looked like a large armadillo and was equipped with a dagger and a shield that was equally as small. The armadillo was without question larger than Garren so there was no hope of him overpowering the creature and taking it down in that way.
The armor clad monster stood in the corner with his hand up in the air and both gladiators watching him. Suddenly he dropped his hand and the two began fighting simultaneously. Once or twice, Finster thought that Garren would easily win because he so skillfully ducked and dodged all of the attacks that were thrown at him but the armadillo was not so easily denyed a victory as it dedoubled its efforts to destroy him. Garren clipped the creature's side with the flat of the polearm's tip, making him bleed a little but his forward motion brought him too close to the blade that the armadillo held and he recieved a large gash across his neck that gushed blood and stained his white fur but still he fought.
The armadillo saw that Garren would be an easy kill from there on out and so it began to fight halfheartedly as Garren lurched forward to try and deliver a blow. The armadillo cackled and slashed at him with its claws, knocking him to the ground. He lay there unmoving except for his heavy breathing as the armadillo brought the blade up over its head and prepared to deliver the killing blow. Finster could take no more. His eyes wildly scanned the surrounding area for anything that he could use to save Garren. The gladiator closest to the door was clutching a sword to his breast as Finster wildly threw open the door and snatched it from him.
Before the warrior could protest, Finster had sent the sword hurtling through the air so that it tumbled blade over hilt and hilt over blade until it hit its mark. Right between the area of the armadillo's ribcage and belly.The excited crowd suddenly fell silent as the creature gave a cry and dropped its dagger. It clutched its wound, watching its own blood pour between its fingers. Finster bolted out onto the mat and collapsed by Garren's side. His friend's eyes fluttered open as he looked at Finster for one last time.
"Farewell Finster," he gasped through the waves of pain in his chest and neck. "I would take back many things that I have said to you over the years so that we may part in friendship." Finster's eyes began to glisten and dance with tears as he clutched one of Garren's hands in his own.
"There are many things that I would take back too," he said in a wavery voice that was scarcely audible. "Rest well, Garren," he said as the tears began to pour over the rims of his eyes and pelt softly against Garren's blood stained tunic and forehead.
"Now I am certain that you will never be a warrior," Garren said, smiling gently through his pain. "A true fighter never weeps," he said, but he was betrayed by a glistening in his own eyes. "After all that I have said to you, still here you are with me at the end of everything. I will not forget you even when I pass from this life and into another."
"Shh. Don't speak Garren. It only hurts you." Finster told him as he smoothed the blood matted hair out of his friend's face.
"But I must speak. I won't have another chance," Garren lightly informed him. He squinted as another pain gripped him in its icy hold and then slowly released him again.
"Remember what has happened here today Finster. I will always guide you in spirit, though your heart is big enough that you need little of my help to choose a right path." Garren began to choke and a small stream of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. Finster watched him intently until the fit had passed and Garren relaxed again. "Take care of Selina and your child. They are all that is left for either of us to be proud of... about our people." His breathing grew shallow and he his eyes slipped closed again.
"Garren, don't go!" Finster cried, suddenly feeling dark and alone. Garren's eyes opened halfway and slipped shut again.
"The sky is brighter...." he gasped and then his breathing ceased. Finster fell onto Garren's chest and lost all desire to be strong as a full blooded sob racked his body and tears wildly poured from his eyes.
"I will live for you, my friend and you will continue to see our world through my eyes," he whispered through his hysterics. Nearby, the armadillo gave a last croak of pain before it died in a pool of its own blood, secretly wishing that it had a friend as devoted as the one that had brought it down and was mourning for Garren.