Chapter 3: Rude Awakening
He woke up to the cage being banged, startled, he flew to the back of the wall. His eyes darted from side to side. Where was he? This place, it smelled so revolting! Ew! Smelly bad place! Smelly bad place! He held his nose trying to block out the smell.
"Look! The little red-thing is finally awake," a voice said, as the cage was banged around again.
He cringed, pressing his body flat against the wall, his glowing chest panting hard. "Let me out!" he called out to them. "Let me out!"
"It speaks!" The voices retorted, as laughter filled the air. Again, the cage was banged around before whoever was banging the cage left. The laughter going with them. He cautiously made his way up to the front of the cage, peeking out. "Hello?" his voice called out.
"Pyrros wake! Pyrros wake!" Another voice, sounding similar to his own, called out.
All around him, he saw other cages with creatures the same as him. They all had red skin with glowing yellow stomachs. All had curled horns like a rams', however, the more curled the horn were, the older the creatures were in years and in experience. His own horns were the most curled of all the creatures.
"Where are we?" he called out to his kin.
"Stinky rat hole!" one called out a ways away from him.
"Yeah! Yeah! Stinky rat hole!" another agreed.
"Halfling took us!" another creature with smaller horns than him called out. "Took us here. Me remember!"
"Name?" He asked this other creature.
"Me Cham," the creature said pointing at himself. He was small. His horns no more then stubs. He was missing some spikes on his tail and around his body. Unlike himself, who had more triangular spikes, going down his tail and around his shoulders and face.
"Cham?" he asked.
"Me Cham, Pyrros. Halflings take hive, me wake up here and wait to see if other Reds here too. All Reds here!"
"All Reds?" Pyrros asked looking around.
"Well," Cham said pondering. "Only few Reds still here."
Only few? Red Minions die off? Where Masters? Where Dark Ones? Pyrros' glowing red-yellow eyes looked around at the other cages. He was one of the few Learned Minions, as his dark masters called them. He counted slowly. He wasn't as fast as . . . .
"Wait, where Gnarl? Where Browns? Where Greens? Where Blues?" Pyrros said tying to look out from the cage.
"No Browns. No Blues. No Greens," Another Minion called out.
"Vulcan?" Pyrros recognized the voice. Vulcan was another Elite minion like himself.
"Yes." Vulcan replied. "Me here."
Pyrros nodded and looked around, trying to find him. "Vulcan, where at?"
"Down here!" Vulcan threw a fireball to get his attention. Pyrros caught sight of it as he threw his own fireball through the bars to show where he was.
"Fire no hurtie cages," Vulcan said in warning.
"Damn," Pyrros said with a growl. "How to get Minions out?" He looked around, studying the cage that held him in. If he could only get a minion out to find the Masters, then perhaps they could get free, but how?
"Shush!" Vulcan called out, "Halfling-Pigs come!"
All the surviving reds retreated as the Halflings came and picked up the cages, carrying them off as Pyrros watched through the bars. He narrowed his glowing red-yellow eyes as the cages were lowered into a strange pit. Each red minion was dumped out of the cage as they all huddled together.
He himself was the last to be dumped into the pit. He growled as he got up, shaking a clawed fist at the Halflings, baring his fangs at them. "Let us go or we burn you!" he yelled at them.
The other minions joined in with him as they all called out, "Burn! Burn!"
The Halflings just laughed as a massive grate was closed over them. Pyrros narrowed his eyes until they were nothing but glowing slits in the dark. He growled angrily, kicking a rock before regretting it as he held his foot in pain. "Ow! Ow! Ow!" He called out before sitting down to tend to his foot.
"What we do, Pyrros?" The minions huddled around him. Pyrros sighed, "Me don't know. Me think." He looked around as he noticed there were various tunnel systems in this large chamber but massive grates blocked the entries. He slowly got back on his feet and walked over but before he could investigate, a Red called out happily.
"Me found hive! Me found hive!"
"Where?" Pyrros asked, losing all interest in the grates. He'd figure them out later. He followed the one red minion as the other reds followed after him. The red was a new spawn. Pyrros noticed by how small his horns were and how simple he looked.
The red minions moved through the tunnel systems quickly. They didn't need any light source to see, seeing how their glowing stomachs and hands provided enough light for them. Sure enough, there was their hive in the midst of a massive flaming furnace.
Pyrros looked around as the other minions all shouted happily about finding the hive. "We found hive! We found hive!" Pyrros didn't join in with them. To him, something didn't seem right.
"Why is hive here?" He walked through the fire as if it was nothing. He looked around and noticed there were several vents leading up from the chamber. He looked up at the ceiling. Here and there were more different strange vents. "What with vents?" He stopped trying to figure it out when suddenly, a Halfling walked out towards them.
The minions scattered slightly as Pyrros, with a growl, threw a fireball at the Halfling. To his shock, the fireball had no effect. The Halfling was in some sort of clothing that was resistant to fire. He looked at his claws. He wasn't skilled in hand to hand, but if he had to . . .
Before he could even charge, the Halfling spoke, "Alright you, here's how it's going to be. You tend to our cooking, fires and our furnace and you all get to live."
Pyrros growled crossing his arms. "And if we refuse?"
"I'm so glad you asked," the Halfling smirked as he picked up a minion with a pair of tongs as Pyrros looked over, unsure what to do at the moment as the Halfling walked out and over to where a pool of water was.
Pyrros felt the fire in him go suddenly cold as he hurried over and looked out from the gates of the door. "No--!" However, before he could do anything, the Halfling dumped the minion into the water. Pyrros watched the minion struggle in the pool as he tried to get out of the water, drowning slowly but . . . sadly at the same time, in a most humorous manner, that not even Pyrros, could not stop snickering slightly.
He came to his senses growling as the rest of the Reds continued to slightly snicker, "Let us go!" He growled.
"So, you too want to learn how to swim?" The Halfling began to walk towards him with his tongs out. Pyrros backed away swallowing hard.
"N-No . . . .we-we good," he said walking back to the safety of the fires. The Halfling just laughed.
"Good, now. When you see a grate open, it means you're being called and you better come when we call or," the Halfling laughed again, "you will all make the most amusing thing of entertainment."
Pyrros growled but sighed, then, he noticed an opportunity. The stupid Halfling was so caught up in the moment, he left the door open. He looked around quickly at the Reds around him. His ears moved forward as he caught sight of Cham. Cham seemed worthy enough. Without consult from him, he snagged the young minion and threw him out of the room just as the door slammed closed.
Cham fell forward, picked himself up before running, and pounded on the door. "Lemme in! Lemme in!"
"Cham! Go find Masters!" Pyrros called out through the thick door.
"The Masters?" Cham asked, backing away slightly and playing with his tail between his hands. He was nervous and that was a habit he had formed.
"Yes! Find Masters! Masters can free us, quickly! Before pig-face comes back." Pyrros called out.
Cham nodded, his ears flat against his head, "Okay, Cham be back with Masters. You see. Cham bring the Masters." With that said, Cham ran off.
"So," Vulcan asked aloud, "Who play 'Whose-Scaly-body-part' game?"