This is where the other champions are and is the start of another fight. You’ll notice that there is something funny going on. If this is confusing then I assure you that it’s supposed to be. Part of the Charms of the Feykin story line is that a few heroes are acting strangely and the others need to find out why. Though, I mention that in a few of the blurbs. Hopefully, this one works out.
“So you lied when you said you still wanted to be his friend,” Nyx says, her body relaxing slightly. Wanting to get back to work, she kneels next to a vine that has yellow berries, which she discovers taste like vanilla. “I simply don’t understand the change. You’ve done so much to make Luke happy, so it’s strange to find you openly despising him. Not like he was enjoying the mess since he was always miserable. I assume you hate Kira too.”
“Not really,” the gypsy admits, blowing a kiss to Phelan when he waves. A wicked grin is on her face, but she hides it behind a fake cough. “Kira may have set things in motion, but that’s her culture. Luke’s the one who could have stopped it at any point. Instead, he let it get out of hand and hurt me. I get the feeling that you’re on his side in this, Nyx. Can’t you be happy for me and admit that your little brother is a jerk.”
“I’m not taking any sides. I’ll defend either of you against the other.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because I don’t want to lose a friend.”
“Are we really friends, Nyx?”
Confused by the question, the half-elf looks away from Sari and remains crouched by the vines. Wanting to put some distance between herself and the gypsy, Nyx tries to stand only to feel something yank on her arm. Glancing at her wrist, she sees the green plant has fused to her skin and the connected berries are throbbing in time with her heartbeat. A wave of vertigo hits when she tries to use her magic and the fireball in her palm turns into a puff of smoke. Out of the corner of her eye, the channeler sees Sari staring open-mouthed at the display, but the gypsy is not making a move to help. Bracing herself for the pain, Nyx gets to her feet and attempts to tear the vine out of her flesh. After the first violent tug, the plant sinks beneath her skin and retracts to steadily drag her through the bushes toward the lake.
With a gurgling screech, the rest of the creature rises from the water, which is dotted with the yellow berries. Resembling a mass of vines and algae, the monster opens a circular mouth where hundreds of pulsating tendrils squirm. The remains of animals can be seen within the beast’s maw, their bodies desiccated from being drained of their fluids. More of the thick vines creep through the underbrush to snare Nyx and pull her toward the lake at a faster rate. When she sinks herself into the earth, the creature burrows its protrusions into the soil and extracts her like a stubborn root. To stop the half-elf from fighting, the beast pops the yellow berries that are connected to her skin, their poison making it difficult for her to focus. Another gurgle sends ripples through the water before the mummified body of a hippo is ejected to make space for the fresher meal.
Several of the vines are waving through the air in an attempt to catch Fizzle, who repeatedly dives toward his captured friend. The drite is kept on the defensive, but he manages to launch a few simple energy spells. All of them are absorbed by the berries and returned as kaleidoscopic beams that follow their target through the canopy. When the serpentine blasts strike several branches, they implode to leave a gaping hole that causes chunks of the trees to tumble into the lake. Fizzle repeatedly becomes invisible and reappears in different locations to confuse the creature until many of the pursuing vines are tangled. Diving for the main body, the drite prepares a powerful spell that blooms from the tip of his nose. Right before he can cast the disintegration wave, a geyser erupts to cover him and his opponent. The plant-like beast is shoved to the other side of the lake while Fizzle is sent tumbling into the sky where his attack is unleashed on a hapless cloud. As he regains his bearings, the dragon notices Phelan controlling the water to keep the predator off balance and slow down Nyx’s approach.
“I got you, Nyxie,” Sari says when she pounces on the half-elf. The vines stretch as they pull on the immovable gypsy, who struggles to think of a way to fend off the beast. “Don’t know why it took me so long to react. I think you caught me by surprise with what you said or . . . I don’t know. Can you roast this thing?”
“I get violently dizzy every time I try to cast a spell. Fizzle, you, and Phelan would be in danger if I attacked in this state,” the channeler replies as the pressure on her body increases. Darkness is creeping into her vision, but she shakes her head to remain conscious. “The poison is making it hard to think straight. It’s a plant, so it probably doesn’t like the cold. Phelan churning the water is the equivalent of giving that thing a sensual massage, so we need ice.”
“Bad time to mention that I’ve been having trouble with that since I got to the jungle,” the gypsy admits with a low grunt. Flicking a finger, she sends a dart of water at what she thinks is the predator’s eye, but nothing happens. “Zohara says the region’s heat is getting in my way. I don’t remember having much luck in Bor’daruk and Helgard either. If I’d practiced more then this would be less of challenge.”
“That implies that you’re able to do something.”
“If I get into the water then I should be able to freeze the lake.”
“In that case, let me go and dive in.”
“But I might freeze you.”
“Then move quickly.”