We return to where the two Octolings are still in the hole.
“You guys still down there?” I ask mischievously.
Argo sounds irritated in his reply. “No way we can get out, Cir.”
“How do you guys feel about teaming up with Inklings?” ask #2 casually.
Callisto shouts at us, saying, “Never! We will never break Oath!”
“We aren’t asking you to break Oath,” I tell her. “We’re asking you to help find Entero.”
#1 speaks next. “Your sibling is missing and so is one of our people. Our guess, we find one we find the other.”
There is silence for a moment… then Argo says to Callisto, “Sorry sis. I’m working with them until we find Entero. You with us?”
“Grrr…. Fine!” she consents. “Truce for now!”
Delight floods my being. “Great!”
#1 is smiling too. “Good. We’re all in agreement. No fighting this mission. Let’s get you out of there.” She lays on her stomach and reaches down into the pit. Argo lifts up Callisto so that the agents can pull her out. It takes a little longer to get Argo out of the pit, but soon we are all standing on the same level.
“So we all agree?” asks #2. “No attacking today?”
“Yeah let’s book it,” Callisto answers, eager to set out. She is tall, but not as tall as Argo and he isn’t as tall as #5. Callisto wears typical Octoling army gear and a red hoodie over it. Argo also wearing army gear. His tentacles are dark purple. Both of them look very different than what I remember.
The group starts at the end of the far hall and works their way to the far end. As we go along, we check every room that we encounter. The process is slow. Room after room. The team searches on.
Being with my siblings like this is… very awkward. Callisto won’t let me hold Amphi and she makes sure Kapal stays away from me. Sometimes the agents try to make conversation with them, but to no avail. All of this causes me to feel a bit crestfallen.
After a while, I say, “How far are we?”
“We gotta be halfway through the building by now,” answers #4.
#6 nods. “That sounds about right.”
A sigh escapes Kapal. “I hope Entero is ok.”
We keep going. It’s not long before we hear a fight in the distance.
“That’s him!” cries #1.
“Let’s go!” Argo urges and we run in the direction of the sound.
Seemingly out of nowhere a voice comes over the Inklings’ headsets. It is Captain Cuttlefish, saying, “Hey kiddos, can you hear me?”
“We hear ya Cap!” answers #2. “What have you found?”
“I’ve looked all over Mud’s apartment and I have some ideas of what he’s after. His mission wall is covered in things about our friend, Ryan. I think he’s looking for him.”
Agent #1 sighs. “I was afraid of that.”
“There’s more,” CC continues, “his armory has been raided. At least half of his weapons are gone.”
“That’s not good. Mud’s going to be furious about that.” #1’s voice is nervous.
I cut in. “If he’s after Ryan, why is he attacking my siblings?”
“Who is Ryan?” asks Amphi.
“A good friend,” Argo tells her.
Callisto smirks. “My boyfriend. I was telling you about him a few days ago, remember?”
We stare at my sister, shocked. #5 cries out. “That scumbag is your boyfriend!?”
“We don’t have time for name calling,” points out #1. “Hurry!”
“Yeah, he’s my boyfriend. Watch your language, jerk,” Callisto scowls.
The group runs towards the sound of fighting, finally coming to a massive hall that stretches up into the domed roof, with multiple floors accessing the area.
“There!” #4 points to the other end of the room. Mud is fighting with three Kelp Octolings, two with Octobrushes and the other with an Octoshot.
I groan as I start to go forward to help him. “Oh my word.”
“Wait!” #2 grabs my shoulders and holds me back. “Look at him. I don’t think he’s in his right mind.” I study the boy closer. She’s right. Mud’s eyes are wide, like that of a madman. “If you get in there, he might think you’re another enemy.”
“What do we do then?” I ask.
#2 thinks. “Maybe we can…”
“Guys! Look over there.” #6 points to a teenage Octoling sitting by the wall. He’s fairly tall and quite thin. His skin is basically pure white.
“Entero!” Amphi cries out.
The boy looks over. His face lights up when he sees his siblings. “Guys!” Entero gets up and runs to us… er them. He hasn’t really noticed me yet. The others wrap Entero in a big hug. I go too, but stay back a little bit. This is about to get awkward.
The Inklings have joined the fight and forced the Kelp Octolings to surrender. Even three Kelps are no match for six Inklings.
“Hands in the air!” orders #2.
“Drop your weapons!” #1 adds.
Mud stands in confusion at the sights. The team of Inklings that came from nowhere. The group of Octolings that he had just captured, now all together, hugging. The Kelps that have surrendered and agents binding their arms. He’s dumbfounded.
Meanwhile, Entero catches sight of the Inklings. “Enemies!” he shouts.
“No! My friends!” I cry.
Entero’s eyes land on me now. His face hardens when he realizes who I am. “You!” he growls and breaks from the others. “YOU!”
“Entero wait! We’ve called a truce!” I exclaim and raise my hands in defense. The boy doesn’t listen. He’s still coming at me, but Amphi grabs his wrist.
“Enty! Hold on!” the little one says desprately.
Callisto walks past both of them and pushes me to the floor. I go down hard, my back searing with pain. “We said we’d help you until Entero was safe. He’s safe now. The truce is off.” While she says that, Mud speaks to the agents.
“How did you find me?” he asks.
#1 growls angrily. “Never mind how. What I want to know is why? Why did we need to come find you? Why did you run off?!”
Whitemud sighs. “I’m looking for Ryan. I can’t get the sight of him holding those syringes to you two out of my head. I need to find him so I can stop him from making anymore poison. I just want you guys safe. I need you guys safe…” Mud starts to cry a little. Callie and Marie hug the troubled boy. It helps.
“Does this have anything to do with that ‘Purple Day’ we pulled off yesterday?” Marie asks gently.
“Maybe,” sniffs Mud. “I guess it just scared me. Then when #3 fell off of the ship… it felt like I was back in… back in the tower.” Mud goes into a full sob and holds the girls. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Callie tells him. “You did nothing wrong.”
Marie hugs him tight. “You know we are always here when you need us.”
The other agents look at the emotional trio in confusion and disbelief to see the top agents so distraught… but mostly confusion because they have no idea what they are talking about.
I’m not really paying attention to what’s going on over there. Argo and Entero have pinned me on the ground and Callisto has a syringe dangerously near my neck. Amphi and Kapal are attempting to pull the others off me, but they are too small and weak.
“Guys, help!” I scream. Then I yell out in pain as Entero claws at my arm with his nails.
The Inklings stare at the Octolings in shock. Then they all aim their weapons at Callisto, except for Mud. He super jumps to a higher level.
“What are you doing?!” exclaims #2. “We have a truce!”
“We found Entero. Truce is off!” answers Callisto. She smirks. “That makes her our enemy again.”
#1 shouts a warning. “If you kill her, we will not hesitate to shoot. Just let her go and everyone walks away.”
“… I don’t care if I die taking her with me,” Callisto says without looking at them. She keeps her wild eyes locked with my scared ones. “She’s a traitor and I’ll be a hero!”
“Please!” gasps Marie. “You don’t want to do this! Look at yourself. Are you going to be known as a family destroyer? Is this-” Before she can finish, a splat bomb lands next to the threatening Octolings.
Callisto jumps back and blocks Amphi from the blast. The others also back off.
The bomb doesn’t hit anybody, but gives me the chance to run. I bolt out of there and to my friends, my hand over the spot where Callisto was about to put the syringe. I’m with them in a second.
“Hey Octos!” Mud stands on the next level up, holding a Heavy Splatling on full charge. “Run.” Mud opens fire on the Octarians with intense fire rate. My siblings split in different directions at top speed. Amphi and Kapal run to me. Entero dodges to the side. Callisto, and Argo head for the exit. “Run run run as fast as you can!”
“This isn’t over!” shouts Callisto. “I’ll kill you Cirrina if it’s the last thing I do!”
“Oh shoot! I almost forgot!” Mud throws splat bomb. It lands in front of Callisto and Argo, blocking them from the door. Argo pulls Callisto back into the room before the bomb can blast. “Come back here, I have some questions that I need answers to.” He charges his weapon again, ready for them to make a run for it.
Callisto and Argo face Mud, the boy putting himself between the maniac and my sister.
“I didn’t just stumble upon you here,” explains Mud. “I came to you guys specifically because you seam to have some kind of connection to what I’m looking for. I’m looking for Ryan.”
“Why?” Callisto scowls.
“He has something I need. If you would not mind telling me where he is, that would be great.”
The octo girl laughs. “Sorry, I’m not betraying my bae.”
“Your what?” asks Mud with a confused expression.
“You heard me. Now, if you don’t mind, I have a date tonight. Ryan hates it when I’m late.” She sticks her tongue out at Mud, then turns to leave.
“Are you saying that scumbag is your boyfriend?!” he says in surprise.
“Well, yeah.” With that, she walks off. Argo follows her cautiously. Mud watches the two Octarians run off. When they escape from sight, he comes back down to our level.
“Are you ok, Cirrina?” he inquires. I nod. He turns to the three Kelp Octos. “Now I can start with you three.” He walks over to where the prisoners’ weapons lay, picks up two of them, and gives them to Agents #1 and #2. The last weapon, an Octobrush, he takes into his hands. The boy looks around. His eyes land on Entero, who is over by one of the walls, trying to edge his way to the exit. “Hey, kid!”
Entero stiffens. “Er, what?”
Mud hold out the weapon. “Here you are. As promised.” My brother slowly walks forward and takes the weapon shyly. Then the boy spins the brush around with one hand and rests it across his shoulders and behind his head.
“What do you mean, ‘as promised’?” I ask.
“We made a deal before you guys showed up,” answers Mud. “He was to call for help, saying that the entire team was out numbered and cornered. In return, I would get him an Octobrush.”
“You made a deal with an Inkling?” I ask with a grin. “Wanna break oath?”
He looks at me with a frown. “No, Cirrina,” he says coolly. The boy walks right in front of me. “I can’t break Oath. I can’t join you because,” he leans forward and whispers in my ear, “I have to avenge my twin.” Entero straightens up again. “I can’t do that if you and I are on the same team, now can I? I will kill you.” He says the last bit in Octarian. That’s when I realize that all of my siblings know the Inkling language and have been speaking it this whole time.
“You won’t kill me Entero,” I reply. “You cared about you’re twin and you know she wouldn’t want you to.”
“Maybe…” he says. Suddenly he moves and uses the Octobrush to sweep my feet out from under me. I go down again. My back aches. The others aim their weapons at my brother, but he isn’t attacking me. “But I want to, Cirrina. See you around.” With that, he turns and leaves the room.