But then the rock stopped spreading. My face was still uncovered, my eyes, my mouth, my nose. I could still see! I could still breath! I was still alive!
“I’m not going to kill you,” Na Fru said. “What would be the point of that? If I wanted you dead, I could have just done nothing and let the giant organic do it for me. I am certainly able to demonstrate patience when it suits me.”
“You don’t want to kill me?” I was completely confused. “Then why’d you cover me in rock?”
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s the only way we can defeat our enemy. We must do it together. The thin layer of rock I have spread across your body will allow me to feel your movements and instantly translate them into the larger stone puppet. I am not a fighter. I am a scientist. But you clearly have experience with fighting. In this single area, your expertise outweighs mine. Mine arena is that of science. I am no ruffian like you.”
I was surprised. I’d never been called a ruffian before. And I never expected him to admit any kind of flaw. It must have been very hard for him to ask for help. Even thought I wasn’t completely convinced his plan was the best one, I couldn’t risk debating it with him. As much time as we’d already spent talking, the General must have been getting up by now. “All right, so how are we supposed to do this?” I asked. “I can’t even see him.”
“Let us fix that,” Na Fru replied.
I was lifted up into the air and thrown close to the front of the dome. For a second, I feared he’d smash me into it, but he stopped me at the last second. A hole opened up before me and I could see the giant Zlodeyskiy pushing himself up from the ground. I could tell he was more than ready to fight.
That meant I had no choice but to go along with Na Fru’s plan. Looking through the hole, I glanced at the arms of the rock puppet. The arms were hanging loosely at its side. I raised my arms up and half a second later the rock creature did likewise. I curled my hands into fists and the rock creature made fists. I took a fighting stance and so did the creature. I smiled. This might actually work.
The General was on his feet now. He took a step toward the rock creature, toward us, and swung his arms out to push it. I moved to block him, but the creature was too slow! I tried to maintain our balance, but the creature was tipping over. We were falling! I started flailing as the giant started to fall backwards. We hit with a suddenness and the whole place shook. Ok, maybe this wasn’t going to work.
A major problem suddenly became very clear to me after my inability to break our fall. “You need to give me some kind of physical stimuli. When the giant falls, I need to be falling too. Not falling because the room is upending, but because the giant is falling. I need to be able to reach out and feel the ground to stop us.”
“Ah,” Na Fru replied. “Yes, that does make sense. I may be able to fix that.”
Suddenly, even though I was still suspended inside the rock suit, I could feel the ground beneath me. “And you need to make this creature faster, react quicker.”
“You need to react quicker,” Na Fru shot back. “It is quite large. It takes time to change the inertia of each limb. Take that into consideration with your actions. I shall improve the puppet. You must also improve your fighting.”
“I’ll take that under advisement,” I said, picking myself. And as I stood, so too did the rock giant. “All right, let’s see what we can do.”
But, unfortunately, I had taken too long. The General was already upon us. As we rose from the ground, he kicked the stone statue knocking us back down. I could feel the kick hard in my chest. The fall slammed me in the back. The General stepped on the rock giant and I could feel him pushing down on us. I could feel the General grinding his heel into the giant’s chest, into my chest. It hurt quite a bit. I was having trouble breathing. I considered telling Na Fru to ease off, to dampen the feedback. But I held off. Instead, I decided to use the discomfort, to use the pain. I wanted the General off of me, then I would get him off of me!
I reached out with my hands and the giant reached out with its hands. Together, we grabbed the General’s foot and we pushed him off. The General stumbled backwards, but he managed to not fall over this time. I started to get up, but he was already coming toward me. I braced as the general jumped at me. I had to time this right, take into consideration the delay between me and the giant, add into my calculations the weights of the giants involved. Na Fru wasn’t the only scientist here. I caught the flying General and turned, throwing him to the ground.
Ha Ha! It worked! Ok, now, it was my turn to do some hitting!
to be continued…