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This time out, several mythic warriors of cinema (And even earlier) go face to face. And you get to see that I am no expert at writing fight scenes!
I stopped dead in my tracks. Not that my feet wanted to move any closer to the shimmering distortion in the air in front of me anyways. Staring at it began to make my eyes hurt, as it alternated between seeing something that wasn't there, and not seeing anything when something was there.
The hand that wasn't holding the chair leg stretched out to the side, signaling the few people following me to stop as well. I inwardly made prayers that everyone would do so.
"If anyone has any weapons, put them down, or don't make any threatening movements." From behind me came some shuffling as the people moved and tried to do there best to look as non-threatening as possible. "Ash, especially you." The transformed man made a grunt, but he seemed willing to comply for now. More thanks to be heaped upwards at whoever was listening for the minor miracle. I didn't know if it was the full Ash persona that was somehow managing to follow someone else's lead for a change, or if it was the buried persona of whomever he had once been taking what little control he could, and I didn't much care either. Whatever was keeping him from being his usual pompous self from the films and challenging the hidden Predator was welcomed by me.
As the blur moved across my field of vision, it seemed to be uninterested in us, for the most part. I felt like it was watching us, however, like a lion with its prey. The alien creature was likely as confused by everything that was happening, if not moreso by finding itself on a strange world, and surrounded by odd creatures. I hoped it had only slain Aquaman because it reacted instinctively, thinking it was being attacked as he ran towards it, not seeing it was even there.
We continued to stand there, and present no threat to it, I hoped. If it did not see us as a challenge, it should move on to better targets, more challenging ones. Maybe it would take care of the Alien xenomorph or two that were hanging around. I really didn't want to run into any of those things. The Predators could at least be reasoned with, or avoided. The Aliens just wanted to kill and breed. The thought of those things getting around and starting an infestation here was the last thing I needed on my mind.
The Predator stopped where it was, and I could hear it speaking, for lack of a better word. A series of rattling clicks came from where I thought it was standing. I knew it was watching us directly, even speaking to us, but I didn't know what to do. Even if I understood its language, speaking to it could only provoke the creature, or make it even more aware that we knew what it was. I decided it was better to play dumb.
I began to turn away from the creature, making like I was mistaken in thinking I'd even seen anything. A hard task to pull off while trying to keep an eye on the thing you don't want to make aware you know is there. I shook my head, and laughed nervously as I moved, shaking it off like it was nothing. As I did so, the creature uncloaked, revealing a nearly seven foot tall thing with leathery skin that looked somewhat reptilian in appearance, and holding a long lance at its side. One metallic, pointed tip was resting against the floor, and the other that pointed up to the ceiling was still covered in Aquaman's blood, becoming a dark brown as it dried.
Unable to further make attempts to deny its existence, I looked back at the creature, hearing gasps of surprise behind me. I'd already seen enough to stop being surprised by what was happening, but having a friend's head explode in front of you will do that to a person. The Predator again made an attempt to speak, and included a mimicking of my own laughter.
Since surprise was off the menu, it was reassuring to see that being disturbed was still possible. I had yet to become totally jaded by this experience.
But the creatures clicking message was not the only thing I heard. Off to the side, and a little behind us, down the hallway towards some of the Hyatt's other ballrooms, I could hear a steady drumbeat. It grew louder, and the ground beneath our feet began shaking as it drew closer as well.
The sound became clearer as it neared us, and I knew it was not a pounding on drums which I heard, but marching feet of what could only be a small army, from the sheer level of noise, and power their tromping feet made upon the floor. The advancing force may have well been stomping upon solid stone for all the good the carpeting did to muffle the noise.
Even the Predator became more intrigued in this sound than in our small band of survivors. It looked away from us and past us, and I followed its gaze, looking behind us to see rounding the corner and blocking our pathway to the glass doors outisde exactly what I thought I was hearing, a small army.
The band of men, all men and not a single woman amongst them, wore very little in the way of clothing, only covering that which needed to be covered. The only exceptions were the thick hide boots upon their feet, which trod upon the carpet in unison, down the line. Dark red capes flowed behind each one as they moved around the corner, almost like a sea of crimson behind them, the unit moved so tightly as a single force. Some of them wore bronze helmets upon their heads, the dark shadows inside masking their features, save for their eyes. The warriors' bodies were toned and tan, glistening in the warm light of the hotel as much as any piece of metal upon the Predator's weapons and own bits of armour.
I recognised the group as being the Spartans from 300, although they were sorely lacking in numbers, and probably amounted to something closer to 30.
These new arrivals were far more interesting to the Predator, as it looked them over, much like it did us, I assume. The ends up the spear shafts each one carried struck the ground as one along with each of their feet, when they came to a halt not far from where we were standing. The two forces, about evenly matched I would say, regarded each other from across the room, with us somewhat in the middle. Not a position I really wanted to be in.
I moved towards the group of soldiers and did my best to stand as tall as possible, and speak with as much volume and confidence as I could muster, given the circumstances.
"Does anyone hear speak for King Leonidas?" I didn't even know if these transformed costumers would speak English, and hoped that because their look alikes from the movie did, that these would as well.
One of them stepped forward and removed his helmet, tucking it beneath his arm which also carried his round shield made of matching metal. His dark hair was trimmed short, but he wore a long beard, not unlike my own, although mine was far shorter. I had doubts our similarities in grooming would curry any favour with him.
"I do not speak for him, I am King Leonidas, frail one. Speak quickly, it appears we are about to go into battle." His speech was gruff, clipped. I could tell he was annoyed merely by my presence, let alone that I was daring to come and speak to him.
I looked up at the much taller man, feeliing so small that he seemed to as tall as the Predator behind me. Thinking of the alien back there, holding a very large spear to rival, if not surpass, the Spartans' own kept me in mind to be brief.
My thoughts focused and I tried to remain calm. I needed to phrase things right, and pray he didn't kick me down the escalators somewhere behind me.
I gestured to those gathered with me, "These humble travellers and myself seek only to be granted safe passage through your ranks and to be allowed to leave this fortress, to continue our own quest elsewhere, before the mighty Spartans seek glory in battle."
That may have been laying it on a little thick, but the sense of the Predator's eyes boring into the back of my skull, and his occasional clicks he made were distracting, to say the least.
The reborn Leonidas considered my request for the briefest of moments before nodding and turning sharply on his heel back to his men. "Spartans! Clear a path!"
Like a well trained force, as if they had been doing it their entire lives instead of for the past hour or so, the group of warriors parted like the Red Sea for Moses, with half stepping to the left, and the other to the right several steps, leaving a perfect path right down the center of the depleted phalanx.
I made my thanks to the man who would be king, and he spoke as we moved through the ranks of his men. "May you find that which you seek. There is something wrong in all of this, but I sense you are trying to help."
"Thank you, your highness." I bowed my head before moving through to meet the rest of my group that was waiting beside the doors. "May you return carrying your shield, or laid out upon it."
The king smiled at the familiar farewell, and once I was through the parted group of Spartan men, they snapped back together, without even glancing back at us.
I stopped to watch them, as Leonidas called out to his men, and the spears of 30 spartans moved to point forwards, and shields swung around in front of all the men, standing so close together that one shield hit the one beside it with a rich clang of metal against metal, like a gong being hit.
As they pulled together to form a wall of shields, they hunched forward and I could see the Predator beyond them, raise its own spear into the air, and cry out, mixing the sound of its native battle cry with my laughter.
The Spartans crept forward at first, but as the alien lowered its weapon at them, they rushed at it, the wall remaining unbroken as the first few soldiers crashed against him, only managing to knock him back an inch or two.
It howled in annoyance more than any pain, as it easily snapped the few spears that came near it. Several long, claw-like blades made of metal that shone like nothing that existed on Earth extended from its free hand, and it slashed at the front-most group of shields, and with a sound like nails on a chalkboard, it sliced through them with ease, and the upper halfs of the shields clattered down upon the ground, leaving the upper halves of the Spartans behind them exposed.
The Spartans with the broken shields stabbed at the Predator with their daggers , several drawing first blood. The creature cried out louder than before, as those who had stabbed it fell back into the group, and they were easily replaced by others with fresh, unbroken shields.
The fight continued, with Spartans replacing those in need, and the Predator being slowly pecked away at from their strikes. It was amazing to watch two such forces of varying types of legend fight it out.
As it seemed as if the Spartans were gaining the upper hand on the Predator, I could hear a commotion coming from the stairways heading up to the main lobby. I saw the blue, furry form of the zombie Beast who Ash had shot down earlier looking down at the fight. He called back to the floor above, "Zombies! Tonight we dine on Spartans!"
He nimbly leapt over the railing of the escalator he was standing on and landed upon the back of a Spartan before it even knew what was coming. Even if he had seen his attacker before it bet into his arm, what would the man from several centuries ago make of a rotting man covered in fur and leaping from the sky above?
"Ok folks, I think that's our cue to get the hell out of here," I said, as I backed away myself, and motioned the rest out the doors.