Against the Tide, Chapter 15: Battle

Last time on Against the Tide, Mulop gave our Protagonists an Epic Infodump and a McGuffin, but the Conquerors arrived at his hidden lair. How did they find the place? Find out after the cut.

Abeke looked down from a ledge high up the cavern wall and saw that Mulop and Conor had both vanished from the grotto. Dark ink was spreading through the clear blue water, hiding anything below it. She hoped Conor would be all right. She wondered if she should have volunteered instead.

While Conor is out completing his tutorial sidequest, the rest of the party is making their way out of Mulop’s lair. And they’re doing it rather slowly, since they have to use the Granite Ram’s abilities to leap out of there. It’s kind of inconvenient having only one item that grants Improved Agility When Climbing.

Anyway, Abeke makes it to the top first, meaning that she’s the first to discover that the Conquerors have arrived. This, of course, comes with a “Wait … WTF?” from each party member, because there’s no way any of them could have contacted the Conquerors before reaching Mulop’s island.

And things keep getting worse! The Kingray ran off, leaving our Protagonists with no choice but to face the Conquerors. Today the landing party includes Shane and everyone’s favorite asshole, Zerif.

Of course, it’s time for the requisite End-of-the-Book Boss Fight. Abeke shoots at a horde of simian spirit animals, while Meilin uses Haste to beat the crap out of the Conquerors. Unfortunately, our heroes are outnumbered, and Abeke is running out of ammo — but don’t worry! She has a plan: kill Zerif, because he’s 100% A Dick. Abeke agonizes over killing a human she actually knows, but she decides to follow through with it so she can finally prove to Meilin that she’s loyal to the Greencloaks.

So she shoots … and it just bounces off Zerif.

No, being 100% A Dick doesn’t make you Nigh Immortal. Zerif’s just wearing the Iron Boar, which grants its user Stoneskin. Which is a much more useful power than Advanced Agility when Climbing, Enlarge Spirit Animal, or Underwater Breathing + Squishiness.

While Abeke has a minor Oh Crap moment, Rollan figures out how to escape from the island. They could enlarge Essix and fly away on her like Frodo and Sam out of Mordor! Meilin, of course, is annoyed that Rollan didn’t come up with this plan sooner. After fighting off more enemies, Rollan calls Essix to him, and the party prepares to leave.

Just one problem: Meilin tells the party that they’re not going to be escaping! Instead, they’re going to have a little chat with the Conquerors. Oh, and Meilin’s totally being possessed.

Wait … what?

——————–

Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
One of the Conquerors is bonded to a sun bear.

Abeke briefly considers surrendering to the Conquerors, since Shane might be nice and let them leave safely. But then she remembers that the Conquerors will take their talismans and use them to free Kovo, which is obviously a Bad Thing.

Remember the Komodo dragon spirit animal that Abeke killed back on Sunlight Island? Well, its partner is in Zerif’s landing party, and she’s got the Crystal Polar Bear equipped. And, boy, is she pissed.

Believe it or not, Meilin’s sudden face-heel turn has been foreshadowed since the first book. And it’s because of a detail I didn’t think was important, and thus didn’t mention at all in my recap. More on this next time.

——————–

Next time: That Epic Spoiler we accidentally revealed in the comments.

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