Chapter Six, Part Two:
Barba laughed heavily behind his thick brown beard as he chased the Wanderer. The small human scrambled over walls and pillars as he fled Barba, who crushed the walls with ease, toying with the Wanderer. The invader ran as fast as he could, looking up at Barba on occasion to try and read his movements. The colossus peered down at the Wanderer, and their eyes met. Barba could see the immense fear pulsating in the creature.
"Ahahaha! So dis be yer assassin, Dormin? Yeh'll need to try harder den dat if yeh want tah take me down!" Barba said to the darkness in the back of his head as he slung his fist down at the Wanderer, narrowly missing. The shockwave sent the boy flying through the air, causing him to roll along the hard, cracked stone floor. Barba grinned widely at his enemy, waiting for his next move…
But there was nothing. Barba stared in excitement at the Wanderer's body, expecting him to make a move. The human lay motionless on the cracked stone floor. Barba frowned in disappointment at the anticlimactic end to the fierce battle he anticipated. He rolled his dissatisfaction around in his mouth, and spat it into his beard. Barba turned around, dejectedly walking back to his enclosed room.
Sensing a small fracture of darkness, Barba turned around and looked at the Wanderer; who was now limping away towards a short staircase leading to a small chamber supported by several thick pillars. Barba grinned widely and dashed toward his hurt prey; stomping his hoof down into the ground, purposefully missing to watch the Wanderer stumble and fall onto the stairs. The human painfully crawled his way up the staircase using only his arms. Barba slammed his fist into the wall of his domain, watching the Wanderer stumble and scream as debris from his fist fell on his back. Barba threw his head back and laughed heartily, wiping tears of joy from his eyes.
"I shood thank yeh, Dormin, 'tis been years since I had so much fun!" Barba looked down at his victim, but he was nowhere to be found. Barba spun around a few times, looking for the boy. "'E can't 'ave gone too far, 'e be in no cundition tah run." Barba knelt down on one knee, sliding his hoof back behind him, throwing his weight on his other hoof. He bowed down, resting his hands on the ground as he observed inside the cavity the Wanderer fled to. Scanning side to side, his beard slid along the ground, disturbing the centuries of dust. Barba saw no sight of the small boy, and began to stand back up.
Suddenly the boy dashed from behind a pillar, gripping tightly onto the great beast's beard as the colossus stood up to his full height. Scowling in fury, Barba shook his great beard and clawed at the Wanderer as the small human climbed up his thick hair. The Wanderer skillfully worked his way up to Barba's head, quickly digging his weapon deep into Barba's skull. The colossus screamed out in pain, shaking his head back and forth. The beast's beard whipped around, knocking the Wanderer from his pearch atop Barba's head. The tiny creature fell onto the ground, cushioning his fall using his arms and legs. After a moment Barba realized his foe was no longer atop his skull, and soon found the boy running back toward the pillared room. In a rage, Barba slammed his fist down in an attempt to crush the Wanderer. The human leapt out of the way, narrowly dodging the blow. He then quickly turned around, latching onto the hair along the back of his hand. Flapping his hand around wildly in an attempt to rid himself of the Wanderer, Barba threw all of his weight into a single twist, flinging the Wanderer onto the balcony near the roof of his Domain. Barba walked the length of his Domain toward the Wanderer, who clumsily stood up. Their eyes met again, and the Wanderer ran from the beast, fleeing out of the entrance to Barba's domain.
Then there was silence. The Wanderer's footsteps faded away into nothing, leaving Barba panting to himself.
"And that is what happened." Kuromori said, finishing his tale of Barba's survival.
"That's it? What happened to the Wanderer? Where is he?" Cenobia said, his voice trembling.
"I am not sure. All I know is that I have sensed the deaths of many lizards here in the valley. Why he may be hunting them, I am not sure."
"And how do you know all of this? How do we know you're not lying?" Cenobia bared his fangs accusingly.
"Because, I was there watching the scene the entire time. In case you have forgotten, I can climb the walls and hide in the shadows. Neither knew I was there throughout the fight."
"You were there? Why did you not help Barba? What happened to the Wanderer? Why did you not pursue him?" Cenobia's rage was building as his patience with the lizard colossus was wearing thin.
"Barba needed no help, and the Wanderer fled. I tried following, but his steed is far too fast for me. It could probably outrun even you, Cenobia." Kuromori was pleased with Cenobia's anger. He noticed Cenobia's claws pawing the ground in anticipation. "You know, Cenobia, instead of wasting your anger on me…why not spend it on something worthwhile…say, helping Barba fend himself once the Wanderer returns?" The idea quickly flooded Cenobia's mind, and he thought of nothing else. With all his strength, the colossus dashed out of the south end of the cave.
"Cenobia, wait!" Dirge shouted, but his words were unheard by the beast's ears. As the loud thumps of Cenobia's footsteps faded away, Kuromori turned and grinned his square grin at Dirge. "What are you playing at, Kuromori? Why did you really refrain from helping Barba?"
Kuromori cackled behind his mask. "Isn't it obvious? Dormin have immense expectations for the Wanderer. I was very curious why they would put all their faith in freedom into such a small package. I was simply watching what this Wanderer is made of, why Dormin expect us to fear him."
"And? Could you find anything?"
"But of course. After simply watching the one fight, I have realized why Dormin have hired this being… It is the sharpened stone he holds. Dormin haven't been showing him our sigils, the stone has. One blow nearly brought Barba to his knees."
Dirge chuckled softly. "You made it sound as though the stone barely scratched Barba. Why would you give Cenobia such false hope?"
"Oh, so now hope is a bad thing is it? I overheard your conversation earlier, Dirge. Hope really is the key, and I believe I have just given Cenobia his hope." Kuromori coughed to himself, then crawled out of the cave in Cenobia's wake.
Cenobia stalked quietly through the sand, eyeing the strange black creature nibbling on plants outside of Barba's Domain. So, that must be the Wanderer's steed. Wait! If that's his steed, then that must mean… Cenobia gasped in horror at his realization, dashing off at full speed into Barba's Domain. The black steed let out a loud neigh and ran off, its long hair flowing behind it. Cenobia's claws clacked loudly on the stone as the colossus ran full speed through the thin corridor. He skidded to a halt at the edge of the drop-off, looking down in terror as the Wanderer dug his stone deep into Barba's back. Barba screamed in pain, collapsing on the ground. Darkness began engulfing Barba, as Dormins' essence shot itself into the Wanderer, who then lay motionless on the floor. Cenobia was speechless; his breath had escaped him entirely. He tried screaming, but no sound escaped his throat. All he could was watch in agony as Barba was engulfed entirely in darkness, to be replaced with nothing but filth.
Ten colossi remain.