NOTE: This story takes place 5 months after "The Tides of Hope and Fear" and 2 months before "The Tides of Ruin and Destruction" (both stories (c) Rain--Dance ) Also it happens after Season 2 (the final season). This ties into Rain--Dance's fanfics so you might miss a few things if you haven't read them though mainly there are just references. No sweat! Spoilers if you haven't read them but if you have it's nothing new though revisions are being made. (Up to chapter 6 was posted on Mediaminer)
~This is a revised version of what was posted on Mediaminer. Edited for grammar, spelling and the sake of storytelling! Closing up plot-holes~
Also you might catch some salutes and references to other fandoms
((If you have not watched the show or any anime, I suggest you don't read this as it is a bit dumbed down and has heavy used of "sweatdropping" and veins pulsing. It's written as if it is the actual anime show so forgive the illogical words and actions/display of emotions. **Also emphasized words are in bold or at times CAPS and not italics like usual writing. Instead foreign words are in italics. Translations to the italicized words (Japanese) will be in the Author's comments or the character will translate themselves. Thoughts and telepathic linking are also in italics.))
~Now back to Kibou Hoshi: Ch 6 The Enemy's Icy Threshold~
"Nani-temë?!" The orange gundamess growled, her brown eyes narrowed as she looked at each of the rescue party. She certainly did not look friendly nor happy to find them there in the room. Besides the obvious dislike and distrust, the way she exclaimed what sounded like a foreign question was rather rude. In her hand she clutched strange pieces of paper with symbols written on them but otherwise no weapons were present.
"Looks like the enemy has finally shown their face." GunEagle spoke, his emerald eyes upon the feminine figure of his species. "Their tragically beautiful face."
"Ugh, get a room and go write a poetry book." Zapper looked grossed out though he tensed at the sight of the enemy. The enemy who had brainwashed him and incased him in a slab of ice like a piece of meat inside a freezer-- like he didn't have enough trouble with being a supposed organic lover...
"Quick, get rid of her before she blows us all up or freezes us all or something!" Grappler instructed, obviously talking to the SDG members as his crew was without weapons save for his clawed hand.
"What's she going to do, paper cut us to death!?" Zapper demanded though he did not let down his guard for an instant; This enemy's powers and abilities were unknown. While she obviously was not the face of the true evil she was most definitely one of the evil minions.
"Captain, can't you understand what she's saying?" Bakunetsumaru asked the Neotopian gundam, the musha gundam ready to draw his blades, unsure if this figure before him was a true enemy. Normally his twin katana blades would be out in an instant but something inside him nagged him not too. What was it?
"No, I can't. Parts to sound familiar to foreign vocabulary in my data banks, but nothing I can decipher into clear understanding or something that I can relay back to her." Captain's blue eyes stared intently at the gundamess, his library of data quickly being processed through while he scanned the female, trying to determine her origin and other bits of information about her. In a low voice he addressed the group, "Don't draw any weapons on her. If this is a misunderstanding, showing hostility will cause an immediate backlash and prove we are enemies. We want to avoid any unnecessary battles."
"Yeah, but what if she is the enemy!?" Shute exclaimed, his green eyes wide, afraid at not knowing what the orange gundamess would do. Still everyone held their ground as they watched the opposing figure cautiously, ready to defend should she attack.
The newcomer appeared to be frowning though she still held her defensive position. "Wakarimasu-ka?" She spoke once more, this time her tone a bit curious. After a moment of blank stares she sighed, mumbling what sounded like, "Gaikokujin... Baka i-jin..." as she shook her head, causing the turquoise ribbon flowing from the back of her helmet to sway.
"Perhaps I can establish some understanding." GunEagle suggested, puffing his chest out. If he had been a human, one would swear he'd toss his hair up, letting it be gracefully ruffled in some random but well timed breeze before flashing a bright white smile that would blind any viewer watching. "I do after all have quite the way with women!"
"Heh, yes, quite." Bakunetsumaru murmured, rolling his brown eyes though he now had slid his blades partially out of their sheaths, still watching the inquiring yet dangerous looking female gundam.
Ignoring the Ark gundam's remark, GunEagle took a step toward the orange gundamess, holding out his hand. "Pardon me, my good lady, but it seems that we have startled you. Perhaps you could show us a way out? Though I wouldn't mind being stuck here with you."
Shute looked shocked as well slightly embarrassed, just about giving into the urge to pull his hood over his face to avoid watching the impending negative reaction. Bakunetsumaru looked like he was going to gag but was still fighting to maintain his warrior's stature. However both Zapper Zaku and Grappler Gouf were rolling their eyes and doing mimics of sticking their tongues out and pointing their finger to the back on their mouth (that is they tried since they lacked open mouths as well as tongues).
Zero watched the gundamess out of the corner of his eye but was focusing most of his attention on Star, trying to get the turquoise gundamess to wake up once more by calling her name. Still he felt slightly weak, as if part of his energy and soul had been taken from him. It was not painful, rather it felt like something was missing, like some heavy burden had been lifted from his body but instead caused fatigue.
The orange gundamess held her ground, her eyes narrowing more, still posed in an attack stance. After a moment she said, "Oshaberi." but did nothing, though her eyes were obviously on Star's still form. Her hand tensed, grasping her mysterious pieces of paper tightly.
"Hey, Captain! I think she understands!" GunEagle 'grinned' back at his superior officer before deciding to take another step forward toward the orange gundamess. However, before anyone could react, the gundamess moved in a blur, suddenly stepping forward to meet the rookie. In a quick spin, her foot knocked GunEagle's legs out from underneath, causing the aerial gundam to go face first into the ground with an "Oof!"
"Sawannai-de!" She spat and with a quick flick of her wrist released the tags from her hands. Instantly they landed on GunEagle, seemingly attaching themselves to him like magnets, binding his hands and feet like coils of rope. The young Neotopian gundam let out a yelp of surprise, his bright green eyes full of confusion and bewilderment.
"Uh oh, Captain!" Shute said, horrified. "It looks like she's interested in Star and is not very happy to see us! I don't think she's on our side!"
"So you are foreigners." The gundamess suddenly spoke before Captain could respond to Shute, speaking perfectly understandable in their own language rather than her native one which she had been solely talking in moments ago. "I should have known when I first laid eyes on you... everyone of you baka."
"Uh, what's a baka?" Destroyer Dom asked in his deep voice, cocking his head at the orange gundamess.
"Idiot, moron, fool, take your pick." The strange gundamess shrugged, though she hardly looked relaxed or in the mood for socializing. "It's what you all are anyways for thinking you could mess with me and get away with it! Especially for trying to harm Hoshiko! I should have known HE would try something like this! Summoning warriors from another world!"
"Whoa, whoa whoa, let's stop for a moment!" GunEagle shouted as he struggled, trying to get out of his bound state. "This is all a big misunderstanding, babe! This here is a rescue party not a what-ever-else-crew you think we are! Sure some of us might look strange-" Various glares were shot at the rookie but he continued, "but we're not enemies!"
"The only thing you have right is that we're from another world." Shute replied though after receiving a seething glace from the orange gundamess the boy added softly, "Miss."
"And warriors!" Bakunetsumaru quickly interjected, feeling his pride of being a fierce and just samurai was at stake. Out of the corner of his eye he caught Shute doing a face palm while Grappler rolled his eye upward. Zapper muttered out of the corner of his mouth,
"Nice going, moron. Now she'll see us as a definite threat."
"Wait!" Zero cried out, directing all attention to him. "We're not enemies but how do we know you aren't?" The Lacroa gundam felt only hostility from the strange gundamess but no true evil malice as he had now grown accustomed to feeling thanks to his previous battles with evil. Still her intensions were unknown and it made him uneasy, especially when she seemed ready to pounce like a tigress. Still one question remained that he had to ask as well, "And who's Hoshiko?"
"She is Hoshiko." The tense gundamess replied, pointing at Star. "Obviously you baka don't know that. She is my sister through oath and having pacts with the summon spirits." Her brown eyes then hardened even more, "And she my leader."
"How come you can understand us? You didn't seem to only a few moments ago." Grappler demanded, his pink eye narrowed in suspicion as well as dislike.
"I can understand you because I was taught multiple languages that exist within the universe, them revealed to us by the power of Kendra's heart and our communications having spanned to multiple worlds in past times. Also certain spells can give me some basic understanding to what you are saying. Mainly as soon as I slapped a certain tag on your cheap buddy here, I was able to detect your dialect." The orange gundamess stiffly replied, "I was not sure if you could understand my native language or not so I naturally spoke it first. I was testing to see if you indeed could speak my language, but obviously you cannot." At this she indicated to GunEagle with a light nod.
"If she's your leader then you were breaking in just now to save her, right?" Shute quickly asked, the human boy feeling a spark of hope and having found a possible diversion to a fight. "We're all on the same time then! We've come here to Kendra to save her!"
"Nani?" The orange gundamess exclaimed, her surprise undeniable as well as the instant look of doubt and suspicion. "Uso!" She growled, her brown eyes narrowing, "Sonna-no uso-yo!" She took a hostile step toward GunEagle, ready to use him as a hostage or means for barter in order to get ahold of Star. "Deceivers." The word was spat with much distaste.
"Star, I mean Hoshiko, has contacted me through what I can only deem as a telepathic magic connection to ask for my assistance." Zero quickly spoke up, trying to straighten himself but struggled as he still gripped the unconscious gundamess, suddenly feeling some energy leave him. "I am ashamed to say I have only just arrive despite her previous pleas. Please take my word and honor as a knight of Lacroa that I am here to protect her as well as try to help you restore your planet back to its original state. I failed my promise before, but let me regain this trust."
The orange gundamess watched the Lacroa gundam closely, her brown eyes locked on him like a hawk on a mouse. After what seemed like long moments, she spoke, her tone surprisingly lighter, "I believe you. I believe you're not the enemy. If you were truly villainous you would have attacked me as soon as I captured your comrade and accused you."
"Phew, well that's good." Shute sighed, the young human's heart taking it as a cue to slow down on its quickened pace. "Now we can all get along and stop intimidating one another."
"But just because I believe you doesn't mean I'll trust you completely. Right now let's simply call this a truce and get out of here." The orange gundamess wagged a finger at the boy, giving all the members of the group a hard look. She then straightened, placing her hand over the purple orb in her chest. "I am JunMai. JunMai the spirit blessed Summoner and second in command to Hoshiko."
"I'm Zero, the Winged Knight of Lacroa." Zero dipped his head in a politeness. "These are my friends and comrades."
"I'm Shute and this is Captain Gundam." The brown haired boy gestured to himself then to his military gundam friend. Now that JunMai had relaxed a bit and could be seen better, Shute noticed that her body armor design reminded him a bit like Cobramaru without his snake armor. "We're from Neotopia."
"I am Bakunetsumaru, Blazing Samurai of Ark." The samurai took a step forward, striking a warrior's pose.
"Save introductions for later." Zapper Zaku suddenly cut in before more names could be given. "My circuits are running cold standing in this refrigerator besides I have a bad feeling."
"Yeah, I agree." GunEagle added, the rookie calling attention to himself, "But first if you don't mind, could you undo these?"
With a snap of her fingers, JunMai's strange pieces of paper seemingly loosened and fell off of the aerial gundam. Once unattached, the long thin cuts of paper flew back into the orange gundamess' open hand. Other than that, the female gundam did not cast her gaze toward GunEagle, turning a blind eye. "We need to leave this place immediately."
"Sure just lead the way but I for one am not going the way you came in." Grappler folded his arms, nodding his head toward the hole in the wall. "Besides with all that racket from the explosion, I would be expecting some sign of the enemy by now."
"Pardon me, but I was expecting to break in, grab Hoshiko and then get out before something could happen." JunMai shot a look at Grappler. "However if I can get in a place I can get out. So if you plan on coming with me, get going." The orange gundamess waved the group toward her. "I know a passage we can quickly get out of, plus it will be hard for anyone to pursue us."
"Why didn't you just take the tunnel up into here?" Zapper asked, skeptical of this so called second in command. He had more experience then this female when it came to making up plans; Though nearly none of them were fool proof.
"You would rather run through a blizzard to get away? It was possible I could set something off getting in here through the tunnel, causing it to collapse. They're constructed so you can get out but not in though getting out is a challenge. At least, that's how that tyrant willed this place to be though even then he changed how it works; our escape route is uncertain." JunMai quickly explained as she headed for the doors they came through. "I'm counting on you to guard Hoshiko while I lead the way, otherwise I would do it."
"Willed?" Shute whispered, just realizing how much power this unnamed villain had. He had made this castle with his magic? If not, he at least had enough power to influence the interior.
"Uh, is it just me or did something move just now?" GunEagle questioned, the rookie not sounding sure though caution was in his voice. "I thought statue used to be over there." He gestured where now there was a large gap between a couple of the statues. The large path of nothingness did have some eerie feeling about it once everyone turned their gaze upon it. It was another strange feeling that in fact GunEagle had noticed that simple detail, very uncharacteristic.
"Watch out!" JunMai yelled, tackling Zapper Zaku as something suddenly lunged at him, its jaws snapping at where the burgundy gundam had just been standing, causing the zako soldiers to scatter as they emitted shrill cries. Together the gundamess and the robot slid away from the attacker, JunMai scrambling to get up while Bakunetsumaru let out a yelp, his pupils small in horror.
"W-what is that!?"
"Kōri no hugo-sha! Ice guardians! This whole room must be filled with them!" JunMai exclaimed as the massive ice statue swung its head, searching for its escaped intended victim, dragging its claws across the icy floor. It was non other than the one GunEagle had nearly run into earlier: The massive monster dragon bird. How unfortunate.
"When we released Star and took her past a certain point it must have set off some kind of booby trap." Captain exclaimed, his green scanner flicking over his eye as he pulled out his beam sword, ready to fend off the enchanted creature. "Refrain from use of missiles and bullets! We may weaken the room structure on accident and cause it to collapse on us."
Naturally the biggest sculpture in the room had to come alive. What was worse was that it was intelligent, not acting as a bind attack dog. As it swung its head away from Captain to avoid a blow, its pupil-less eyes turned toward Zero and the unconscious Star to which a grin formed on its face. It knew what prey it was suppose to recapture.
"Yeah but I hate to tell you, Captain, that that's not the one that's missing!" GunEagle shouted just as a shadow passed over him. The rookie bent and did a barrel roll, barely escaping the snapping jaws of another ice sculpture that had sprung to life. "Uh, never mind I think I found it!" With emerald eyes on the smaller ice guardian, GunEagle pulled out his beam saber. "Let's see just how much an energy beam works against a walking Frosty."
"Ugh! I should have known he had set something up like this!" JunMai fumed as she pulled out more pieces of paper. "He doesn't care if you get in. He wants you to stay in so he can capture you and drain your power then set you up like a nice frozen trophy!" The orange gundamess shouted the last sentence, emotion tinging in her voice. Her brown eyes were hard and full of hate as she looked at the creations of her planet's torturer and Star's captor.
"I've always wanted to do some ice carving." Grappler Gouf smirked as another statue came to life, advancing toward the blue robot. Flexing his clawed hand, the ex-commander leapt forward just as the wolf like ice guardian did. With practiced strike, Grappler's claws sunk into the ice creature's face, sawing through as he pulled to the side. With a quick recoil, Grappler ripped his claws out his opponent, ripping off the creature's bottom jaw. The creature took a step back, seemingly surprised though it didn't utter a cry as it tried to open and close its mouth. Grappler's smile widened, "Hah! Not so tough without a mouth, eh?"
"Hey! Frostbite!" Zapper Zaku called out, getting the wounded ice guardian's attention. With a loud shout, the maroon robot charged and in football style slammed into it with his shoulder, driving his shoulder spikes into its body. The wolfish creature's legs kicked and it let out noise of frustration, only to be silence as Zapper ran it into the wall, the force being enough to cause cracks to form across its body. It then dropped to the ground, unmoving as the cracks continued. The dark red robot took a few steps back, puffing for breath though he stuck his chest out as he pointed at his fallen opponent. "Just because I don't have any guns doesn't mean I'm out for the count!"
"Shute, come over here so I can protect you and Star." The Winged Knight called out, beckoning the boy to his side. He had to watch the human boy while Captain was fighting or else Shute might get hurt if another ice guardian suddenly appeared. Besides he needed help getting Star out of the room. They had come too far to just let her get recaptured. He wanted to fight but he sensed that his magic was weakening and his energy was dropping, making him most likely useless in this battle, if not a hindrance.
"Can you lend me some strength to carry her?" Zero asked as Shute scuttled over to him as quickly as he could, though still shouting encouragement at Captain. The brown haired boy nodded his head and prepared himself to take on some weight as he went on the opposite side of Star. Shute could not help let out a grunt as Star's weight pressed on his shoulder but he was determined to help Zero out.
"We have to get out of this room and seal it off!" The boy exclaimed to the Winged Knight, a horrified look at his face. They were basically standing in the middle of a nest of these false creatures and to escape they would have to barricade the monsters in.
If they could all get out.
"Hn, ya!" Captain shouted as he jumped at his opponent, swinging his beam sword, aiming it at its leg. The animated ice sculpture dragon bird flapped its wings, causing a gust to knock the military gundam back. Moving its head like a snake, it quickly struck out at Captain, aiming to catch him in its jaws. When it missed the swift Neotopian gundam, the large creature lashed its taloned foot out, causing a tremor to shake the whole room. Trying to stabilize himself as the ground quivered, sounds of ice cracking reaching his sensors, Captain exclaimed, "Shute! Zero! You two go for the exit with Star while we keep these things occupied!" JunMai rushed to assist the military gundam while Bakunetsumaru cut into what looked like a ice version of a typical gargoyle only it was spitting out chunks of ice as a form of attack.
"Grr, ugh. Man you're one tough snow dude." GunEagle spoke to his opponent, the creature's blank eyes fixed on him. He had managed to whack off an ear and the tail which it had become accustomed to whipping him with but it was still standing. What was worse was that it did not seem tired and it was much bigger than him by perhaps five feet. "You sure you're not related to Frosty? How about Jack Frost?"
The creature only let out a growl and dropped down to all fours as it had been standing upright. It was like a crocodile and some dinosaur mixed together with some other unknown creature.
"Whoa!" GunEagle exclaimed as he barely dodged the severed creature's tail. It landed with a thud behind him with what looked like a stinger at the end twitching since it had missed puncturing his armor. Psh, as if ice could pierce gundamium... or could it on this wacko planet? His mindless opponent took a chance with the distraction and leapt for the gundam, claws and teeth ready to latch on.
"Dah, make enemy go boom!" Destroyer Dom's voice caught the rookie's attention as the large robot was grappling with what looked like a strange ice hippo with razor sharp teeth. With not so much a grunt, the largest ex-Dark Axis lord grabbed the hippo thing behind its front legs and lifted it while it tried to swing its head around to latch onto him. Then with a throw that was certainly herculean, the black and purple robot tossed the creature toward GunEagle's opponent. Instantly the two of them collided, knocking themselves into a pillar as they began to crack in response to the tremendous force. Sure enough the two began to shatter though they continued to move, only much more sluggish, reflecting their damage and process of dying.
"Ah, much obliged big guy." GunEagle thanked, giving a small 'smile' to Destroyer Dom who looked very pleased with himself. The rookie guessed some help once in a while wasn't a bad thing, though eventually he would have taken that thing down. Still there was more then enough to go around as more of the creatures were appearingsome rather large ones in fact, almost big enough to rival the ice dragon bird.
"You! Baka-maru!" JunMai shouted as she let another spell tag fly through the air, it latching onto the cheek of the ice dragon bird. Guided by a quick hand motion the paper glowed before letting out a 'boom'. The massive ice guardian emitted a shriek as it stumbled, now blinded in one eye with part of its face missing. Captain quickly took advantage of the blind spot and came from the injured side. The orange gundamess masterfully distanced herself from the biggest opponent, receiving an nod of thanks from Captain.
"Come over here! I need you for something."
"It's Bakunetsumaru!" The musha gundam corrected but hastened over to where JunMai stood, but not before blocking and countering an attack from another ice guardian with his twin katana blades. "Um, no offense but I don't think your pieces of paper are enough to stop these guys. Even if they explode I think they'll just get angrier."
"You're right, they can't since those monsters can't feel pain except for when it comes to being blinded, but I do have something that can, with your help. I need to buy time for all of us to escape and get Star out of here." The orange gundamess pulled out a strange looking spell tag, different from the others, her brown eyes confident. "Just protect me as I preform the ceremony, please. With that, you shall witness the power of a spirit blessed Summoner." Without another word to the samurai, JunMai closed her eyes and did a pivot, dragging one foot on the ground to make a visible circle in the ice as she did a 360 turn.
In an enchanting voice, JunMai spoke as she spun, performing light steps within the circle. "Oh great spirit beasts with whom I have a pact of a life time; A promise to fulfill my duty of honor and servitude to uphold the laws of my homeland and protect the people, please heed my call for your bidding." Bakunetsumaru had no idea what was going on. With all these "summons" though he figured it might be something to do with beings like Fenn and Scourge. Still the musha took on the enemy even without being told for that was his duty as a warrior, as a samurai: To protect those in need.
JunMai continued her ceremony as Bakunetsumaru fended off any ice guardians targeting the orange gundamess, cleaving one's head in two. "I bring forth the contract with the spirit of the heavenly currents to beckon your service. Now answer..." Her brown eyes opened, focused as they glowed purple as well as her orb in her chest. With a flick of the wrist, she thrust her hand forward, pinching the spell tag between two fingers. "I summon thee! Come forth, Kaze no Seishin! Kazane!"
A pillar of light exploded from the circle, with JunMai as the center before it expanded out, knocking several of the animated ice sculptures back. From the expanding light something shot out, a shrill but melodious sound echoing in the icy room. When the light dimmed it revealed a large light sea green colored bird like creature with a long neck and tail that had multi colored feathers. As majestic as it looked, something about it was overpowering and frightening, wildness obvious in its eyes and form.
Bakunetsumaru stared in shock and awe as the creature dived down toward the remaining lifeless statues that had not yet sprung into action, opening its beak to unleash a torrent of song and wind, causing the ice creations to shatter from the high frequency. A low moan caught the samurai's attention, causing him to turn his eyes toward JunMai who was teetering. Quickly he rushed to her side, catching the orange gundamess before her knees hit the ground. "Are you alright? T-that... that was amazing! I doubt Zero can even do something like that!"
"Heh, thanks. You make a great yojimbo. Bodyguard." JunMai spoke weakly, the Kendrian gundamess looking shook up, her irises now brown once more. "I just need to catch my breath first though. I used up too much energy before the summon and didn't prepare enough time so I'm light headed. Stupid." She slapped her head with her hand, rolling her eyes upward out of frustration. "But go back to your fight, I can take care of myself and not be a burden to you. Thank you though." The orange gundamess sat up rubbing her head before giving her protector a nod.
The Blazing Samurai figured it would be useless to argue anything different. Besides, JunMai looked very capable of taking care of herself. She certainly was not the damsel in the distress type. When Bakunetsumaru turned he swore GunEagle was looking at him rather hard. It was as if he said "I saw what you did there" but the Blazing Samurai was completely clueless as to what. He was just doing his duty as an honorable samurai.
"Gah, making ice thingies go boom. They keep coming though." Destroyer Dom commented as he gave a feline like ice sculpture a whack with a pole he had managed to find and now brandished as a makeshift weapon. "Me wish I had bomb or gun. Need weapons."
"I hear you bud." GunEagle commented as he was suddenly tackled by what appeared to be a winged snake with arms. The rookie let out a grunt as the ice guardian grabbed at him, managing to wiggled out of its grip and kick it while delivering an upper cut with his fist. Seizing the moment to escape, GunEagle swung his beam sword's blade at the creature, managing to slice one wing and arm off. "Snakes!? Why must there always be some kind of snake I end of fighting lately!?"
"If I had any bullets I'd make sure they all ate lead!" Zapper shouted as he instead punched his opponent in the mouth, causing his fist to erupt through the back of its head. Quickly he rotated his wrist and pulled it back out as he gave his opponent a kick, causing it to fall away from him.
"Guys! Come on!" Shute exclaimed as he and Zero neared the exit with Star still unconscious between them. Fortunately for them the ice guardians were focused on the other members of the rescue party and were not attacking.
"What he said! Head for the exit! Kazane will take care of the rest of the creatures and buy us some time! Now go!" JunMai called out, waving her hand toward the exit as she tried to regain her strength, determination in her brown eyes as she stood up. Still she pulled out a multitude of new spell tags, each between a finger and threw them at the alive statues nearing her. With a quick hand sign from JunMai their moments were instantly restricted and they were struggling on the spot to get free as the orange gundamess made her way toward the exit with her binding spell in obvious effect.
"Alright, you heard the lady! Let's go!" Grappler announced, kicking an ice guardian as it tried to get up from the spot it had fallen yet still trying to attack him.
The giant ice dragon bird seemed to know what JunMai had said for it lashed out and slammed into the entry way, causing it to collapse as the doors crumbled and a pillar fell over. Shute and Zero immediately halted their escape, standing in horror as they held onto the unconscious Star, their escape route now destroyed.
"Ugh! The exit is blocked what do we do?" Zapper shouted as the maroon robot slid to a stop as he too had started to retreat, the mixed membered group now caught between a blocked exit and a giant ice monster.
"Quick, to the other side of the room! Captain shouted as he whirled his beam sword around, cleaving an animated ice statue's head off its body. The Neotopian gundam waved his free hand toward the direction as he had a split second to spare.
As fast as they could, those on the side of the blocked exit raced to the other side of the room. Catching the movement, the giant ice bird tried to snap at them but JunMai's summon creature, Kazane, slammed into it, ramming the enemy into the wall. The wind bird then let out a cry as it banged the false ice bird against the wall but the large ice guardian snapped at Kazane, raking its sharp ice claws into the flesh and blood summon.
"This is beyond nuts!" Grappler shouted as he let out a yell as he dove onto the ground to avoid being slammed by Kazane as the giant bird fell crashed to the floor from its opponent's attack.
"All we're doing is running around like chickens with our heads cut off!" Bakunetsumaru exclaimed as he dodged another normal sized ice guardian, quickly maneuvering both his katana blades to slice off its head.
"Any more intense battling in this room and the whole place is going to collapse on us!" Shute whitened as the human realized their situation was growing grimmer by the second, the pillars quivering as the two giant beasts fought and rammed into the walls. Still he clutched harder onto his burden as Zero tried to lessen the weight of Star by shifting her more onto his shoulder but their pace across the room was still far from swift due to the deadweight gundamium person.
"Jump!" JunMai screamed as she chucked another spell tag, it glowing brightly before attaching itself onto one of the large ice gargoyles who was just coming to life. As soon as the tag made contact its light grew even brighter before exploding, leaving a cloud of smoke. The creature lurched forward through the smoke, only to reveal it now lacked a head but still ready to fight. Its limbs thrashed around as it grasped blindly for its victims.
"I do believe Miss JunMai is correct! We must jump if we want to escape here with less injuries as well as our lives." Captain shouted as he tried to give some cover to the fleeing rescue party.
"Jump!? Jump where!? There's nothing but a wind-oh..." Bakunetsumaru began but stopped, his pupils growing small upon realization of the orange gundamess' order. The red musha gundam slowly edged toward the giant hole in the wall where JunMai had entered through. He froze as he looked outside, the snow storm blowing savagely. What scared him however was what was below. Nothing. Absolutely nothing but the blindness of snow except for brief gaps that revealed a dark below. It was a sheer drop.
"Just juuuuump!" The orange gundamess screamed once more, barreling into the Blazing Samurai. Instantly Bakunetsumaru let out a yell of terror as both gundam beings tumbled out the window and fell into the white abyss below, the sounds dying away as the howling wind muffled them and the noise of battle above roared over.
"Bakunetsumaru!" Shute exclaimed as his friend disappeared from view. The human could not help loosen his grip on Star as he let go to rush to where the samurai had disappeared.
"Shute! Here!" Captain called out as he slice and kicked an out reaching ice guardian with a bear-like appearance. Quickly the military gundam grabbed Shute's arm and pulled the human close, "Stick close to me so I'll protect you from the impact. My flight boosters should ease our landing a bit." Shute gave a nod though his green eyes were full of worry and fear, not sure if Captain would be able to prevent any harm from happening to either one of them.
"Out of my way!" Grappler exclaimed, pushing past the gathering gundams. "If it's die up here due to lack of weapons or chance surviving a giant fall, I'll take the fall." With that the blue robot summoned what courage he could muster and leapt through the giant makeshift hole that served as a window to the outside. Instantly Grappler flipped around and dug his clawed hand into wall he was falling past. With the sharp claws sunk into the layers of ice and snow coated on the ice fortress's wall, the blue robot's decent slowed a bit but he still descended at an accelerated rate.
The small horde of zako soldiers quickly took a look back toward the amassing ice guardians and the large leader who was still battling with JunMai's wind bird, Kazane. They trembled in fear as they looked out the window but as the savage living ice sculptures advanced toward them, the little robots decide to take their chances outside. Quickly all of them huddle together and jumped out the hole in the wall, letting out terrified screams of "Zakoooooo!" Falling they formed a small ring as if they were merely skydiving but coupled with hysteric screams due to lack of assurance of a safe landing.
"Zero, you won't be able to make it carrying Star too!" GunEagle suddenly exclaimed as the rookie backed up to where the others were, eyeing the nearest foes who were still struggling with their spell tag binds. "Even I can't carry another gundam, especially one who is a dead weight, even as pretty of a dead weight she is."
"He's right, Zero. We don't have much time. Perhaps GunEagle could jump with Shute while I take Star since I believe my current form could support her weight. Though I am not entirely sure."
"I..." Zero began but the Winged Knight was not sure what to say nor was he able to continue for he was interrupted.
"Dah... Me will take unconscious lady gundam. Me strong and big enough to carry her." Destroyer Dom surprisingly volunteered, the large robot lumbering over.
"That's mighty charitable of you big guy." GunEagle commented giving the large robot a quick pat on the arm as it was impossible for the gundam to reach his shoulder by simply standing.
"Alright, if Big D says he will do it, let him do it." Zapper exclaimed as the maroon robot tried to work up his courage to jump out the hole. If he looked down he would be frozen with fear. "In the mean time, I'm going!!" He then rushed toward the hole and took a flying leap before letting out a terrified scream as he tumbled downward, not knowing what awaited him below. "I insist that I'm not a lemming!"
"Uh, Captain." Shute spoke pointing at the binding tags on the ice guardians which were starting to glow and tear. "I think we should go now!"
"Zero, I'm taking Shute down. If you don't follow within five minutes I shall return."
The Winged Knight nodded as Captain stepped toward the hole, Shute wrapping his arms around the military gundam's neck to assure himself a sure grip to not be separated from his friend. With determined dark blue eyes Captain launched himself outside, holding Shute tight as they began their rapid decent, Captain's fight boosters kicking on to counter against the massive gravitational pull.
"Alright Dom, you may take Star. Just... be careful with her." Zero turned toward Dom as he supported Star's weight completely now that Shute was gone.
"Dah, I will." Came the simple reply though as Dom reached down and lifted Star off Zero's shoulder, the large usually brutish robot gently grabbed the unconscious gundamess before placing her in the crook of his arms. Star's arm dangled limply to the side, causing her to look even more lifeless in addition to her dimmed optic screens. Securing his hold on the gundamess Dom gave a slow nod to Zero before he too jumped out the window. Zero felt his vocal processors fail him as he watched the two of them disappear, his chest immediately hurting from the mere watch of the plunge. The only thing he could do was hope that everyone was safe and that Destroyer Dom would keep his word.
"You go next, Zero. I'll cover you. Besides, shouldn't a man stick with his girl?" GunEagle spoke, surprising the Winged Knight.
"W-what?" Zero stuttered but was met by a wink from GunEagle who waved the Winged Gundam to go as Kazane and the giant ice guardian slammed into the ground together, causing the whole room to shake. He was about to protest about GunEagle's remark but instead responded with a nod, "Alright, but you'd better be right behind me!"
"Of course! Can't keep a good gundam like me down!"
Zero decided to put his trust in GunEagle and turned toward the escape route once more. Feeling the orb in his chest pounding with an anticipation the Winged Knight said a silent prayer to Mana and guided this thoughts toward his homeland and Princess Rele. Then he jumped, plummeting through the unknown distance toward the ground. The chilling wind around him bit at him, howling in his audio receptors. Instantly Zero kicked on his flight boosters and his decent halted for a moment.
It only took a few more seconds for Zero to reach the ground due to his speed. Still as soon as he landed the Winged Knight was thankful to be on the ground for once. The icy wind alone was enough to chill him and cause his circuits to ache. The rest of the group was nearby save for GunEagle who lurked above. JunMai however was preoccupied with examining Star whom Destroyer Dom was still holding.
"Just how did you get up there!?" Zero gawked as he looked up from where he had jumped.
"I climbed of course. Then I used an explosive spell tag to break in while using part of my power to enhance my jump ability." JunMai quickly explained, not delving into details.
"W-w-where is GunEagle?" Shute asked through chattering teeth as the human boy mentally fought against the winter elements. Now out of the palace there were no structures to serve as a shelter against the snow and winds. Even in his attire meant for somewhat severe weather the cold still managed to nip Shute.
"Look out below!!" An all too familiar voice called though it was instantly drowned out by the ferocious icy winds that raged above. Within moments GunEagle's figure was seen descending from above, his beam sword in his hand.
"Phew! What a ride!!" The rookie exclaimed as he too landed on the ground, instantly turning off his beam sword. "Though I think we'd better book it out of here. Your big bird up there wasn't looking too good right when I leapt out plus those freaky ice statues were starting to swarm toward the opening in the wall."
"Kazane won't last much longer as the time for the summon is almost up." JunMai replied, looking up from checking on Star. "I only summoned him to buy us time and I'll owe him one."
"Yeah, so I suggest we get out of here before those freaks decide to try to join us down here!" Grappler snapped irritably as he lightly shook from the cold as it began to get into his armor and near his circuits.
"What he said and also before we are turned back into giant ice pops again!" Zapper added, trembling as well and looking equally irritable.
"Miss JunMai, is there a shelter some where nearby we could take refuge in to regroup? We won't fair long in this weather though I am particular worried about Shute. Humans are unable to bear this sort of weather." Captain responded, gesturing to the shivering boy. "Also it is urgent that I establish contact with our home world."
"Anything to get us out of this cold!" Bakunetsumaru exclaimed, the musha gundam particularly not enjoying the weather. Being the Blazing Samurai in harsh winter conditions made him uncomfortable. That and he didn't feel right, the fire within him seeming different then usual, not feeling its strongest nor warmest.
"That's my intention; I need to get Hoshiko back to our camp as soon as we can. She's worse off then I thought." JunMai waved her hand to her unconscious leader. "You are all welcomed to come along as I owe you for aiding me with the rescue. But we must be swift as it is far from this place and the enemy will be right on our tails."
"I agree, our time for short respite is over unless we want to get caught or freeze to death on the spot." Zero spoke, knowing that they were in the open for any enemy's attack. Still he could not deny the creeping feeling that not everything was alright, particularly the still not moving figure of Star worried him. Would she be alright? Would they be alright in this foreign ice land?
Just then a roar from above caused everyone to freeze.
"I uh, I think now would be a good time to play follow the leader." GunEagle spoke up, pointing a finger upward to indicate the enemy that was some where above them.
"Alright everyone, let's move!" Captain instructed, giving JunMai the signal to show them way to their only hope of shelter against all the forces that the planet threw at them.
"I just hope all you gundams and other sorts are fast on your feet." JunMai quickly replied before she gave instructions to Dom to hand Star over to her, not fully trusting the carefulness of the large robot to not drop or shake Star too badly. "We're going to be fast and honestly I don't think any of you are use to snowy terrains."
"Oh sure, how hard can running on snow and ice really be?" Grappler smartly replied as Zero joined JunMai's side to carry Star. "And really, let the big bot carry the deadweight, he's actually good at it."
Unfortunately Grappler as well as everyone else quickly found out what a true challenge it was to cross the frozen land on open terrain. Only the roars from the castle were the things that hastened their pace as well as their battle against the biting cold.
Now it was just a race against time before they all froze to death.
Or were eaten.