Men of Bronze

Chapter VI

ise of the drills yet they were not in view, the lanterns still lit the chamber and the table across from us had three of the four men seated at it. They appeared to be huddled around a deck of cards and coalatik chips whilst speaking to each other, hushed under the ever present drill.

I reported all of this back to Jarvis who hatched up a plan, we would push through the wall and catch them by surprise. That way we would have the best chance against their muskets and rifles as they would have to fight us in close quarters. The plan was set, Jarvis and I angled ourselves against the pile of wood and on the count of three we then pushed it with all our might. Scraping it against the stone floor just enough for me to run out and for Jarvis to follow behind me.

I turned a dial on my blade and it began to hum and circle itself as I approached the first of the men whos back was turned to me and who was still sitting down. The other two however saw me and soon the men turned to frenzy, stumbling over each other whilst attempting to get up from the table and reach for their guns. By the time I got to the first of them he had just barely gotten his hand-musket out before I sent my blade into the forearm holding it. It ground away the muscle making his wrist go limp and his grip loosen enough to let his weapon fall to the floor. I then sent the blade into his chest which ripped a hole large enough to see through. As I pulled the weapon out the blades had broken off and the mechanism had most likely shattered within.

Whilst this happened Jarvis went for the man armed with the rifle, taking him out with his spinning blade in much the same way and to the same effect. This left a single man across the table from us with his hand-musket drawn and pointed at me, he fired a shot which rang true and I soon felt a popping sensation as the shot blew through my right arm. This was a poor choice of target on his part as within the same second Jarvis pushed the table into him with such a force as to knock him over. Once he was on the ground Jarvis flipped his hidden blade finishing the job where I could not see.

We took a moment to compose ourselves after the fight and gathered their weapons for ourselves, I took a hand musket and Jarvis took the rifle, he then ripped the shirt off one of our victims as to wrap up my wound and put pressure on it.

”It doesn look too deep, ” said Jarvis. ”Im sure this will be enough for now and we can get you fully checked out back at Dunn. ”

The pain I felt in that moment was akin to a thousand stings upon my muscle where the flesh had once been. Since lifting up my right arm was now an impossibility I opted to use my left to carry the hand musket.

The both of us made our approach to the tunnel as quickly as we could manage and turned the corner into the lantern lit passage. We froze, a large stone had been placed in the way of the exit tunnel leaving no gap larger than a half square foot. Before us was not only the two crushed spider-machines I had destroyed but also my bronze-man, fully running and now turned towards us. Upon noticing us it began to march, with footsteps deafened by the drilling but felt through the shake of the rock and earth beneath us.

The lumbering figure now paced with increasing speed until it was moving towards us as fast it could manage. Jarvis fired a shot off at its core only for it to ricochet like a flicker off the armor into the lantern lit wall beside it. I dropped my arm and made a break for it, grabbing him away from the tunnel and to the more open and maneuverable chamber from which we came.

Why the rifle didn pierce I did not know but I came to suspect I had been duped. It did not matter now however for we were now trapped and would most surely die. We retreated back behind the wood pile for a moment until the bronze-man approached yet again, turning the corner with a large stone in hands. It swung, barely missing the two of us before we ran all the way to the chambers back wall. The bronze-man was invincible to us but could only move so fast. We could outrun it for the time being but we had little room left to go. It was not long before our backs were to the very drill which was expanding the chamber with every passing moment. My head went numb with the vibrations and noise while the bronze-man still approached.

Jarvis sprung forth attempting to climb the leg of the giant before being swatted away. Whilst Jarvis hit the ground the mechanical nightmare came for me, flailing at me in a frenzy. I rolled to my side only for the drill to be flipped by the swing of the bronze-man. It now struck into the east wall where it began to crack the very foundation of the mountain itself. The bronze-man looked up before frantically pulling at the drill to stop the damage but it was too late, the stone had begun to crack and the wall was buckling under its own weight.

First went the drill as a large stone fell from the ceiling crushing it. The exit half of the chamber then collapsed leaving us to our fate. I made peace with the gods in my final moments as the mountain collapsed. As dust filled the air I began to choke, not crushed but unconscious from the lack of oxygen.

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