With a swipe of its long arms, the monster pushed them all to one side and tried to scoop Vilki up in it's arms. Vilki ran away from it, her eyes wide with fright.
Artorius reacted first, shooting a blast of energy at the creature, forcing it back.
"Get on your feet!" he screamed.
"Vilki!" Roland's voice called. In a moment, she disappeared.
Derrick jumped to his feet, his breath taken away by the large creature. "Was it intelligent last time?" he demanded as Artorius and Uther engaged the beast.
"I don't think so!" Vilki called, still invisible. "I only defeated it because Nox weakened it. I don't have that much combat experience!"
"Where is she?" the creature screamed in a barely audible voice, swinging its arms at Artorius and Uther. "Give her to me!"
"Lord Keane! Help us!" Uther's voice rang out louder than Derrick had thought possible.
"Give me a minute!" Derrick shouted back, scanning the maze for Delta.
The Auric mage was laying unconscious near the wall they had been thrown at it. His face twitched as he began to wake up. Derrick dashed towards him, summoning his healing magic to speed Delta's recovery.
"What happened? Where is the healer? The creature?" Delta looked around in alarm.
"Roland is hiding her. She's safe." Derrick assured him. "We need your help. What can you tell me about that thing?" he pointed at the monster, which was well occupied with trying to smash their two companions.
"We are not safe!" Delta tried to stand up and fell over. "This creature, it is over whelming. It's a manifestation of the slave's deepest emotions. It thinks we mean harm to the healer-"
"She has a name." Derrick cut in.
Delta glared at Derrick, annoyed at the interruption. "Vilki must be very important to him for this creature to react so strongly. It will not stop until it knows she is safe."
The creature gave a loud roar, magic flying from the chinks in its armor that Derrick couldn't recognize. Artorius gave a yell that was almost primal in response.
"What else?" Derrick pushed Delta up against the wall, shielding him from the blast. "They could get seriously hurt, so hurry!"
"It is also the guardian of the maze, which means it's objective is to stop or kill us. I do not think we can bargain with it. There is something it. . .craves which is confusing. I don't understand it- move!" Delta pushed Derrick away from the wall. Uther came crashing into him.
"Get him off me!" Delta squirmed.
"Roland! We need your help!" Derrick called, kneeling down and pushing Uther off of Delta. "What happened?"
Uther's eyes opened a slit. "I was hit by it's magic. . ." he moaned. "Energy. . .gone."
"Of course." Derrick whispered. The creature used magic similar to Nox's.
"What happened to him?" Vilki appeared at Derrick's side.
"Drain magic." Derrick explained. "I think we can beat it."
"How?" Vilki stretched out her hand and began to restore Uther's energy.
Derrick grabbed her wrist. "With this." he aligned his hand with hers and supported the healing magic, much to Vilki's discomfort. "We're compatible enough. Come with me."
"Derrick, we need you!" Roland yelled. Derrick turned to see him shooting blasts of magic at the creature, which was proving futile.
"Delta, take care of Elhawk!" Derrick yanked Vilki up by her wrist and began pulling her towards the battle.
"No, I can't!" Vilki protested loudly. "I can't fight it, Lord Keane!"
"Just use your healing magic!" Derrick ordered. "Watch!"
Derrick's hands produced a soft glow as he built up healing magic, then shot it at the creature. One of the plates on it's back began to shrink.
"I see." Vilki stared at the creature, curious. "If we give it enough, will it perish?"
Derrick shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. But we should be able to get rid of it's armor and give Artorius a decent shot. Come on!" He ran towards the battle.
To his surprise, Vilki caught ran ahead of him screaming, "I'm here! I'm here!"
Derrick stopped running,
The creature stopped fighting Artorius and Roland and turned it's head. "Vilki!" it scooped her up in it's arms, baring it's teeth in what seemed to be a smile.
"Vilki, be careful! Get away from that thing!" Delta was running towards the monster. Derrick reached out and grabbed him, holding him back without trouble. Delta wasn't physically strong.
"Nox." Vilki said, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. "This is for your freedom."
She placed her hand on the it's chest and brought forth her healing magic, as much as she could muster. The monster cried out in surprise as the plate beneath her hand began to shrink, as did the surrounding ones. Soon enough, the monster itself began to grow smaller and smaller until Vilki's feet touched the ground.
During all this, Derrick recovered from the shock long enough to let go of Delta and support Vilki. Artorius rushed towards them and pushed the monster to the ground, holding it down with his foot. Vilki dropped to her knees, drained, and the group gathered around the monster.
It didn't really resemble a person, but, laying there, Derrick was reminded of that day in the city's western quarter, where they had found Nox after the lightning had spread through the streets.
"Look!" Roland pointed at the wall in front of them, which was fading. "We beat it!"
"No, she did." Derrick knelt down and picked up the exhausted Vilki, who was crying softly. "I'll carry her for a while. Tell your sister someone needs to heal us from the outside. We'll feel better before we get to the next battle."
"Alright." Delta closed his eyes, whispering softly in a voice only Jada would be able to hear.
Artorious glared at the creature, which seemed to be asleep. "Let us move forward, then." he agreed. The wall had faded, revealing what seemed to be a narrow alleyway.
So the team walked into the next maze, the wall closing up behind them.
Once they were far enough in, the creature's body exploded.