“Who are you!?” the lead squidman shouted. “What are you doing here!?”
“My name is Frank and I’m…”
“What are you!?” the squidman interrupted. “What kind of strange creature have the Merapolians concocted now?”
“Um…well, I wasn’t concocted by anyone. I’m…”
“You are a spy for the Merapolians!”
“I’m not a…”
“Liar! You will die for your lies!”
“No, I’m not lying,” I pleaded. “I’m not a spy!”
“You came from Merapolis!” the squid man ylled. “We saw you! We saw you with those fishtail fiends and their mutated monsters! You invaded our homes in their transport!”
“We didn’t…” I tried to start.
“Do you think we are blind! We can see! We can see you and your Merapolian creations swimming here on your transport, destroying our defenses! We can see!”
“I’m not…” I tried yet again.
“If you’d just let me finish, I’d…”
“You will nothing!”
“I just want to tell you what’s going on!” I screamed at them, bubbles rising from my rebreather.
“I know what’s ‘going on’,” he repeated. “You are being interrogated and you will tell us everything you know about your Merapolian masters and their evil plans to destroy our city.”
“There are no evil plans. I don’t want to destroy your city! No one does! We’re here to save our friends. I just want to save my friends. All of them. And you took them. All of them. I just want them back.”
“Your friends are dead,” the squid man replied. “All of them.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“And you will be dead soon, as well, if you don’t tell us what we want to know,” the squid man continued, as if I hadn’t said anything. “Tell us what the Merapolians have planned. Tell us what this attack was about. Tell us what that strange creature we found out in the waves was.”
“Strange creature?” Well, that caught my interest. “What strange creature? Maybe you should show me this strange creature and then I can tell you what it is.”
The squidpeople took a second to talk amongst themselves. I thought maybe I had gotten through to them, that maybe they’d show me where Gnomenasher was. “Then it’s decided,” the Squidman said, turning back toward me. This was it. They were going to take me to go see… “We’ll kill him.”
“What?” I exclaimed. “No. What are you talking about? I was trying to help you!”
“You think I am a fool, Merapolian spy?” the squidperson laughed. At least, I think it was a laugh. “I will not fall for your tricks. You came here for your monster and now you wish to unleash him!”
“Unleash him? He’s a gerbil and we’re in the bottom of the sea. What do you think he could do to you? Drown at you?”
“Yes. That’s what we thought at first, as well, but we know the Merapolians would never be so foolish as to try to attack us with a landbreather.”
“Except the Meropolians have nothing to do with Gnomenasher,” I told him .“They’ve never even seem him before. The only thing the Meropolians have to do with us is that they saved us from the tentacle monster, the giant leechvine.”
“Yes, the Leechvine,” the squidman said, casting strange glanced to his comrades. “Tell us how you destroyed it. You may be worth keeping alive, spy, if you tell us how your Merapolian masters caused it to implode.”
“We didn’’t…” I started, but realized an argument might not be my best course of action. “Ok. I’ll tell how we defeated the Giant Leechvine if you take me to Gnomenasher.”
The squidpeople convened again and when they were done, the leader said, “Fine, Spy. We’ll take you to your monster.”
And I prepared to leave, hoping we would just be able to go like this. But clearly I was a fool to think it would ever be that easy. One of the dark gray squid people tossed a metal disc in front of them, which immediately grew multiple legs and then shot toward me like a torpedo. The disc smacked me hard in the chest, pushing me back, and before I could recover, it wrapped itself around me, pinning my arms against my sides. I tried to fight it, but then I felt a tug and realized that I was in a worse position than I thought. Not only was I ensnared, but I was also leashed.
I tried to struggle against my bindings but there was no give, no room to slip out, no way I could break free. The squidpeople grew tired with my attempts to escape and began to pull me toward the door. It puckered open and they pulled me out through it.
At first I thought they had brought me out into the big open ocean as I could see it all around us. Everywhere I looked there was underwater life swimming in every direction. But I soon realized that we weren’t swimming free, but were instead in some kind of tubular structure made of a transparent material. As I looked out into the squid city, Lowarden, I could see various modules floating in the water of varying size. Presumably – though it was quite hard to tell with all the multicolored fish swimming about – the modules were all different rooms connected through the transparent tubular structure.
But just as I began to wonder which one of those rooms held Gnomenasher, the tranquil vista was thrown into chaos. Explosions at the base of the complex sent the sealife swimming for safety. The tube rattled and the squid people looked upset. They glanced at each other before finally turning their gazes, and weapons, on me. “What did you do!?”
to be continued…