Ness was sitting in his bed, bored out of his mind. It was midsummer, so he didn't have school to occupy him.
He was just getting up to go for a walk around town, when a voice sounded in his mind.
Are you content?
The voice was deep and soft.
"What?" asked Ness. He looked around for any signs of who might be talking to him.
Are you h-a-p-p-y
being one with the Earth...
"Wh... why do you want to know? Is it any of your business?" Ness sat down on his bed, having given up on the search for the voice.
What would you say to a... greater power...
"What are you talking about?"
Come to the site of the meteorite crater.
I will show you.
Ness stood up and walked out of his room and down the stairs.
"Where are you going, Ness?" asked his mother as he was about to walk out the door.
"For a walk," Ness said. He walked out and made his way up to the top of the hill near his house, where a meteorite had crash landed what seemed like a long time ago. There Ness saw what looked like a circular, transparent door, floating above the heap of chared rock that was the cooled meteorite.
Ness walked to the door and was about to open it himself when the door swung open and a man slowly stepped out, onto the ground. He looked like a man barely over twenty, with short blond hair. He wore a red and silver robe.
The man stared at Ness with an expression that looked so happy, it would make others happy just to glance at him. However, Ness didn't smile back. He just stared cautiously at the man, like the man would suddely become vicious and attack him.
"Why are you so afraid?" asked the man. "I have come to help you. By the way, my name's Arker. Pleased to meet you." Arker held out his hand. Ness stared at it for a second, then fixed his gaze back to Arker's face.
"Yes, well I guess it'll take some time for me to earn your trust, what with all you've been though. Allow me to explain why I'm here.
"I represent a group of highly advanced people who have spread from galaxy to galaxy. Though our spread had been halted and, even worse, reversed due to Giygan invasions for the past fifty years. But you have taken down their leader! You were able to harness the powers of the Earth to make them your own and brought down the reign of the great Giygas. Our people were free! We did not have to live in fear anymore! Without a leader, the Giygan troops became confused and destroyed itself."
Arker looked at Ness smiling.
"Don't you see? You're our hero!"
Ness looked down and shuffled his feet, his face a little red. This was not exactly what he expected.
"This brings me to the real reason I came here," said Arker. "You are the only person we have ever heard of who could harness a place's power and become one with it. So I figured that if you could become one with the Earth, why not search for more. Becoming one with the solar system, or the galaxy, or maybe even... the Universe..."
Ness looked up and seemed confused. "You mean you think I could become one with the... Universe? You really think it's possible?"
"Definitely!" said Arker. "Think of-"
"The power..." said Ness. Then he shook his head and came back to his senses. "Nah, I think I'm happy with what I have."
"What?" asked Arker. "Oh, come on. At least come with me and check it out. If you don't like it for any reason, I'll send you back here personally."
Arker walked to the circular door and beckoned for Ness to come. Ness thought for a second, and slowly walked toward Arker. They both walked though the door. The door slammed shut.
Paula jumped, suddenly. She was helping her mom watch the kids at the preschool when she suddenly lost her psychic connection with Ness, which either meant that he was dead, which it couldn't have been since she would have felt that he was in danger first, or he had suddenly left the planet.
"Kyle! Get the phone!"
"The I.D. box says 'POLESTAR PRESCHOOL'."
Kyle looked up from Ryouga, his fish. "Paula!" he said. He rushed to the telephone.
"Kyle? I think something happened to Ness! I can't feel him anymore. Can you come over quick? I have to find him."
"Sure, I'll help you find him. I'll meet you in front of your place in a little while, okay?"
Way off in the drugstore in the western part of Dusty Dunes Desert, the clerk of this drugstore and a man bundled up in so many overcoats you couldn't even identify him were having an enlightening conversation about politicians.
Now about the other guy...like I said you couldn't even see who he was. He was wearing one or two heavy overcoats that reached all the way down or even dragged on the floor. He was also wearing a ski mask with a hat over it, sunglasses, and a scarf around his face. Finally, he had a couple pairs of gloves on and high boots. You REALLY couldn't see who this guy was!
Of course, the clerk could hear his voice. The man spoke in a slight British accent. He also seemed quite intelligent, as he had a defense and counterdefense for his arguments. But that's about all the clerk knew.
Now as to WHY someone would wear such heavy clothes in a desert is anyone's guess. And of course when the clerk asked the man about his attire, the man never answered.
After they talked for awhile, the man suddenly had to leave. After some farewells, the man stepped out of the drugstore and walked down the road a little bit. When he was sure he was alone, he took off his glasses and gazed into the sky. His eyes were red.
"It's happened before and it'll happen again," he said to himself. "But this time I can at least do something about it..."
He walked down the road.
"Something's not right..." Brett looked up from his book, with an expression of concern.
"What's wrong?" Zac asked as he walked into the living room, done with training for the day.
"Ness... his energy signature isn't on the planet. Meaning he left the planet or he mysteriously died. I'm going to assume the former since we would've sensed the evil that would have killed him."
"You're right. I was too busy training to really be concern with matters out here. You know how we get when we're into training." Zac rubbed his head with a towel.
"Yeah I know. We should check it out. We should go by Onett to see if we can find any clues. We also might want to see Paula to see if she knows."
The two took off from their Threed complex towards first Paula's house, then to Onett.
Arker and an older man were in a large office-looking room with a big window that gave a view of a huge city. The older man was standing behind a large desk, looking out at the city through the window. Arker was standing before the desk looking very attentive towards the other man.
"Yes, he's in the place they call a 'Power Spot'. He's trying to make it his sanctuary."
"That's good, Arker. Yes, soon we will have our civilization back on its feet. We will again spread our justice throughout the Universe. And with Ness, who will be one with the Universe, leading us, no one will be able to stop us."
"Yes, but sire," said Arker, "Ness has not yet completely agreed to stay with us. His strong sense of justice is quite different from our own. I suggest that you allow me to spend more time with him. I will persuade him to become the leader of The Righteousness."
"Right, then. You will do that. Earn the boy's trust. Act as a friend."
"Yes, sir. I'll be on my way." Arker started toward a door.
"I'm counting on you... We all are."
"I... understand. Good-bye, sir." Arker left the room and walked down the hall, thinking to himself.
Heh. Poor boy. Has no idea what he's gotten himself into.
In the library in the Snow Wood Boarding School, a fifteen-year-old mage named Mike was rapidly scanning books.
"Don't go so quickly, you'll tear them and you'll have to pay," the librarian said.
"Uh huh," Mike said absentmindedly, continuing to look.
Suddenly, Mike felt weird. Power had disappeared from Earth, and though Mike didn't know it, it belonged to Ness.
"I'll be going now," Mike mumbled to the librarian. She nodded, checking out the numerous books Mike had. Most of them were about magic spells, which she thought didn't exist.
"Interesting hobby," she said.
Mike said nothing and left.
"What was that feeling...?" he mumbled. Something told him to go to Twoson, and using his magic he arrived there, looking for answers.
"bOiNG?" said ZoOMer sAtURn, taking the last bit out of his peanut cheese bar. He was just abou to go see what his human friend, Ness was up to. But he could not feel his presence anymore. He knew this could mean two things, and he was sure Ness didn't go into outer space. Quickly he hopped out of seat, discarding his peanut cheese bar wrapper on the floor. He headed off to Twoson to see Paula and get help.
"This isn't right...not right at all."
Matt flew through the shaded Two-Three tunnel. He had hurriedly abandoned his camp moments ago, and began his mad dash towards Onett. He cursed himself for training so intensely as to not leave enough energy for a teleport.
Something is amiss with the planet... thought Matt, sweat running down his forehead, as if a piece of the earth's very essence has been taken.
He too had felt Ness' power leaving the earth, though he was still perplexed by and unknowning of what it was. All he knew is that it had happened in Onett, and that is where he had to go. His fear of what might have occured growing, he kicked up the pace.
Marlus' deep blue eyes opened wide. The Earth's power signature had just plummeted, indicating either a major injury to the Planet, or an extremely powerful entity leaving it. Since he had a superb view of the planet from his ship's main deck, along with several cameras to monitor the planet, he could easily tell that there had been no injury to the planet. He scratched his beardless chin for a moment in contemplation, then ran a hand through his waist-length silver hair. He was tall and slim, but wore a cloak with wide metal shoulderplates to enhance his appearance.
A major power has left the Planet, he thought, wondering who it could have been. The Earth's power signature was still rapidly dropping. It seems as if part of the Planet itself is leaving it. There is only one being to have ever absorbed the power of the Earth...
Ness... Marlus touched two of his fingers to his forehead and appeared right back in his ship. Crud. It seems that so much of the planet's power has left that teleport locations are now inacessible... Seems I'll have to make a manual landing. Marlus touched a few spots in the air, briefly illuminating a few bright blue squares. An ethereal keyboard, one of his greater creations. The ship, shaped like a needle with a large ruffle of smaller needles, plunged towards the planet with astounding speed.
Brett and Zac changed their minds and headed directly to Onett, for fear of what could be wrong.
"I wonder how Ness disappeared like that," Brett said.
"Maybe a space being kidnapped him?"
"Too obvious. This planet already had enough UFOs to satisfy a slew of abduction stories."
They stopped and hovered over Ness's house at around 150 feet. They saw the meteor, Pokey's house, and most of the forest. For some reason, the two kept staring at the meteor.
"I sense something near the meteor," Zac said and started flying towards the cooled rock. The two landed in front of the meteor.
"It seems like a doorway of some sort," Brett said, using his mind to "feel" its edges. "I wonder how it opens..."
Just then Paula, Mike, Kyle, and Marlus arrived.
The cloaked figure continued walking down the empty street toward Threed.
I wonder what I should do first? he thought. Maybe I should start at the point of origin. Kill this predicament at its root...
The hooded figure was now walking through the first tunnel.
I've seen a similar situation happen, although far, far away from here... the man continued thinking. It ended ugly... an entire civilization was destroyed in the end... and unfortunately, I wasn't a "free" creature at the time... I couldn't do anything to stop it...
The cloaked figure was now in that valley between the two tunnels.
But now that I need not rely on summoners to bring me here, I may intervene as I wish...
The man ducked behind a tree. A few minutes later, a large winged creature flew out from behind the tree and sped off through the sky...
Mike appeared in a cloud of mist. He looked at the Polestar Preschool nearby. "Something's here, and I can wait for it," he said to himself. He grasped his oak staff and walked over to a bench nearby. While waiting, he pulled out some of the books of magic, still searching for a certain spell.
Paula noticed him and came out. "... You're not Kyle," she said, confused. She knew Mike, but wasn't expecting him.
"N - No, I'm not," Mike responded. "I just had a feeling I should go to Twoson. I also felt a great power leaving the planet, and I wanted to know what power it was."
"Ness," Paula mumbled.
"Oh..." Mike realized that the power could only belong to Ness. "That explains a lot. Thanks..."
Paula noticed the books in Mike's backpack, but didn't mention them. "Kyle should be coming soon, and we're going to find out what happened to Ness."
"Okay. I think I'll just stick around a little longer, if that's alright with you."
Paula nodded. Then, Kyle arrived.
Marlus' ship landed in a clearing in Twoson, and Marlus himself sent it back into orbit with a complex hand motion. He walked towards the preschool, labeled 'Polestar', and noticed the books in Mike's backpack. "A mage, I see," he commented as Mike, Kyle and Paula looked up from their conversation. "Very rare amongst the mortals that walk this planet."
"You--you're not mortal?" Paula asked, shivering at the thought.
"No, I am mortal. I simply refer to the beings on this planet as mortals because there are immortals that walk this Earth. As well as beings other than humans."
"So--you're a mage, too?" Mike questioned Marlus, still looking a bit cautious.
"No, I am not a mage. I am a sorcerer, and there is a difference. A sorcerer's power is inborn, a part of the being's very soul. We need not study tomes and scrolls to obtain our magic, rather it comes naturally. Our spells are not nearly as limited as those of mages." Marlus demonstrated by repeatedly clenching and unclenching his fist, calling and dissipating an energy blade each time.
"So, there are other magic-casters. For a while I thought it was only me and a few others."
"Uh--" Kyle cut in, "--guys? Don't you think we should be looking for Ness?"
"Oh, yes," Marlus said, getting back to the point. "Let us go." He touched two fingers to his forehead, an arcane technique, and was instantly teleported to his exact same location. "I forgot to mention," Marlus added, remembering this mistake, "so much of the world's power is already gone that PSI and magic are slowly being sealed off. Teleport locations are already disabled."
The group began their trek to Onett with these last words...
Paula, Mike, Kyle, and Marlus arrived at the metoerite landing site to find Brett and Zac standing there, examining the door.
"You gonna open it?" asked Kyle.
Brett looked at him. "What are you doing here?"
"We went to Ness's house," said Paula. "His mom said he came this way. We're trying to find him."
"So are we," said Zac.
"We came to look for him and found this strange door," said Brett.
"We don't know if it's safe or not," said Zac.
Kyle stepped to the door and opened it.
"Woah! What is this?" he said, and he stepped in.
Next thing Kyle knew, he was standing next to a street. All around were large buildings. He could see spaceships flying around in the blue sky. Kyle looked at his closer surroundings. Above him was a sign that said "Earth". A larger sign nearby read "Temporary Teleportals". There were people walking around, entering and coming out of the many circular doors around there. Each had a sign above it, telling where it led to.
"Where the heck am I?" asked Kyle.
"You have just arrived at Proice, the capital of The Righteousness," said a nearby young man. He was appearantly from the information booth nearby. He was wearing a name tag that read "Jeremal: Teleportals, Inc."
"Thank you, um... Jeremal," said Kyle. "Capital of the... Righteousness?"
Jeremal looked at Kyle like he was insane. "Come on now! Don't tell me that you've forgotten the name of your own species!"
"You mean we're not... human?"
"Of course we're human! The Righteousness of the Human family. Wait..." Jeremal looked at Kyle carefully. "You're not one of The Righteousness?"
"I... really can't say. I'm from Earth. I'm Kyle Culex. The Losar."
"A... Losar? ...Culex? Uh, yes. Sorry to bother you. You're welcome. See you again sometime." Jeremal backed away from Kyle a bit, turned, and headed for the information booth.
Kyle scratched his head, shrugged, and turned back to the door.
"What is he doing in there?" asked Paula.
"Think he's in trouble?" asked Mike.
Kyle stepped out of the door. "It's okay, guys. Let's go."
The others followed Kyle into the door to Proice.
"Ness is somewhere in here?" asked Paula.
"Must be," said Zac. "We're definetly not on Earth anymore."
"Well," said Marlus, "We've got to find him and bring him back to Earth. The Earth is suffering without him."
"Well they seem like normal people, besides the advanced technology and all. What would they want Ness for?" said Kyle.
"I hope he's alright..." said Paula.
The group headed down the street, not yet bothering to split up.
"Yes, sir. A Losar! Said his name was Kyle Culex. Kyle Culex, sir!" Jeremal's voice was a bit shaky. "He said he was from Earth! It must be true, since he arrived from the temporary Teleportal to Earth. The one Arker had rented... Yes, sir. He's heading toward the center of the city with a group of strangers, probably Earthlings, sir... Yes, sir. You're welcome. Good luck catching him."
The winged creature was flying over remote parts of the towns so that people would not see him. He knew if any human saw him, they would start panicking.
About a minute or so later, the creature arrived in the outskirts of Onett. He first landed in a tree near the meteor. He was sure that others might be there to inspect it, and he did NOT want somebody to see him. When he saw no one there, he flew over and landed by the meteor. He sniffed the ground. He could tell that some humans had been here... he could catch their scents.
The creature looked half-flying reptile (dragon, if you will) and half human. His body was skeletal thin. He had a long snout full of nasty, jagged teeth.
He looked at the meteor and snarled. He knew that this was the root of all the trouble. He could also tell that this was behind the slow deterioration of psychic and magic power on Earth. He himself would not literally be affected if those powers were sealed away on Earth, since he did not come from this planet. However, he would be warped back to his original dimension...!
He wondered if he should just go ahead and destroy the meteor himself. But something was telling him not to...
The group walked through the new city. "It’s almost like Earth, only better," Paula said.
"So, where can we find Ness?" Marlus asked.
"Let's just look around first. Maybe we can get a few hints," Kyle said.
They continued walking in the visually amazing world. There were some shops and restaurants nearby. "Seems like an airport," Paula commented.
Mike observed the shops and found what he was looking for. "I'll catch up to you guys later, okay?" he said. He ran off.
Mike entered the bookstore quietly. It seemed mostly like Earth, with few modifications. He walked down the aisles of shelves and finally found a section on magic. Mike hoped that since they were in another world, more spells could be found. He took a book that was in English and sat down, searching quickly.
"Finding what you're looking for?" a deep voice asked.
Mike jumped, and then looked up at the speaker. It was a tall man covered in shadows and dark clothing. "Who are you?" Mike asked.
"Names aren't important," the man said. "If you demand one though, you may call me Drake."
"And what do you want?"
"Let's just have a little chat," Drake said. "It's about your power. I can sense that you have quite a lot of it."
"...I'm traveling with a man who has more. He's a sorcerer and I'm just a mage," Mike responded. He was sure that the man was not to be trusted.
"Don't be daft, I'm not talking about your magic," Drake retorted. "From the way you act to how you are nearly tearing out the pages of a book you don't own... It's your emotions that are the most powerful. You're not where you belong."
"I know, I'm from Earth, not here," Mike said.
"That's not it, and you know that. And it's causing you a lot of pain. ...You can use this sorrow of yours, and turn it into power. Enough power to learn the spell you've been searching for... I can teach you," Drake said. Mike stared at him. Drake knew too much about him, and it disturbed him.
Mike knew he had to escape. He used his most powerful light element attack. "White Flame!" he yelled, pointing his staff at Drake. The light attack knocked Drake down. Mike quickly returned the book to its shelf and left, rejoining the group.
Drake got up in pain. "I'll get your power," he said, radiating evil. "I'll get all of the power. Maybe first I'll try for the other boy with him, or perhaps the girl..."
Lorrenna awoke, covered by dirt. A lich had cast its own variation of the 'Time Stop' spell on her, freezing only Lorrenna. At this point, the lich and his comrades took the opportunity to beat on her and bury her alive.
She was an assasin of the highest degree, and had all the knowledge and tools essential to effectively assassinate any mortal--or so she had thought. She was sent on a misson to assassinate Lord Borric, the insane madman from Midkemia who had taken a rift to her time. Her mission would have been successful, if not for Borric's immunity to all poison and the fact that his second-in-command was a lich.
Lorrenna quickly dug herself out of the soil, coming right up next to a strange meteor. Equipped with many poisons, such as the lotus flowers, and many items and disguises, she prepared to enter the strange door...
Marlus watched as Drake tore out of the library, rage burning in his eyes. Mike stayed with the group, an uncomfortable look on his face. Marlus glared at the enraged man, his eyes indicating deep concentration. Instead of an outburst of magical energy, as Mike expected, the air rippled in a wave towards Drake. He was held in place against his will, and seemed to be struggling against something.
Mike's jaw dropped. He hadn't detected any magical energy in the blast. Marlus turned to him and received a simple question: "I thought you said you were a sorcerer?"
"So I did. That is partially true. However, I focus more in the area of using one's mind to dominate others. I prefer to call it 'Psionics'. Now, if you will excuse me, I must proceed to slay this man," he indicated who by gesturing towards Drake.
Mike's mind was racing to make a decision. Drake most likely would have attempted to use him in some way, but he also seemed to know a lot about him. If he was telling the truth about what he said...
Drake was sweating slightly, from trying to break free of Marlus' psionics and from fear of what Marlus could do to him. Marlus prepared his power that would kill him.
Mike saw as Marlus walked menacingly towards Drake. He had to choose now. Drake could truly know the spell he wanted, but Drake could also be deceiving him.
He made a decision. He truly wanted to return home. "Sorry," he muttered to the others, who were confused at what was going on. "Mist," he whispered, waving his staff slightly. Fog surrounded Kyle, Marlus, Zac, Brett and Paula, freezing them. Marlus' mental hold on Drake was lost and Drake was able to move again.
"...What do you know?" Mike said to Drake.
Drake smiled darkly. "More than you," he replied. His eyes narrowed. Mike then lost all consciousness of the world around him. The two of them disappeared.
A few minutes later, Marlus, Paula, Kyle, Brett, and Zac were thawed.
"Where's Mike and that guy?" Paula asked.
Kyle looked around. "Seems like we lost them for a while. Let's just keep looking for Ness and maybe we'll find them on the way."
"Would you guys slow down?" Brett and Zac were somehow left behind. "We lost sight of you for a bit."
"Hey, what happened to Mike?"
"He disappeared with some guy from this place," Paula said.
"We'll find him along the way," Kyle said.
"Let's get going," Marlus motioned for them to continue.
"This place is definately odd..." Brett sighed.
Just then, a siren was heard echoing throughout the area. The local denizens started running in slight hurry and panic, trying to get inside.
"I see something in the distance," Zac said, slightly levitating off the ground to get a better view. "It's a bunch of police officers, from what it looks like. And they're heading this way..."
The group contemplated what their next move should be.
Matt rushed into the suburbs of Onett. He passed Ness's and Pokey's houses and had almost ascended to the top of the hill when he heard a bizarre growling sound. Stopping in his tracks, he cautiously peered up the final ledge.
A monstrous silouette shadowed over the peak. Matt could make out powerful wings and a fearsome maw but his view was obscured. He drew his sword in fear. Still unknowing of the events that had occured, he came to a conclusion.
This creature must be the cause of what I'm sensing, the energy drain. I have to stop it!
With an agile leap Matt cleared the edge of the hill and landed right behind the creature. With a swing of his blade he readied himself for battle.
"I don't know what you are..." yelled Matt at the creature, who had just turned and shifted its attention from the meteor. Having his first real glimpse at the beast, he paled a bit from fear but managed to keep his focus. "...But stop what you're doing now and surrender!"
Oh, crap! A bloody human! the lizardman thought. Just wot I need at a time like this! I'll 'ave to leave for now...
The draconic beast jumped backwards. "Watch were yer pointin' that thing!" he said.
"Y-you talk?!" Matt asked. He looked closer at the creature. Despite the long maw, his face seemed familiar. Almost as if Matt had seen him on TV before...
"Say, have we met before?" Matt asked.
"I don't believe we 'ave, old bean," the familiar looking beast said. "Now if you'll excuse me..."
The creature stood up on its hind legs and disappeared in a flash of black fire. Matt could hear a "Cheerio!" echo from where the lizardman had once stood.
"What the-?!" Matt cried. "Oh great! NOW where is it?!"
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, Matt saw another figure right by the meteor. It wasn't as big as the lizardman, but it was definitly suspicious, anyway...
Ness was wandering around on the new world he had arrived at. He didn't know whether it was in the same galaxy or not - Arker had not told him. All the same, he wanted to find a place that he could tie himself to and share the power of.
He kept walking around. The world had different vegetation from Earth, and the soil was a very sandy color, but it was similar enough for him to keep his bearings. How will I find it? Will I be able to sense it? Ness couldn't tell if he would be able to sense a potential sanctuary on his own.
Just then, Arker appeared. "Ness! How goes your observation of this new world?"
Ness looked over at Arker. "It's alright so far."
"How goes your search?"
Ness looked around him. "I'm afraid I don't know where to look for a place to meditate...."
"How did you find the spots on Earth?" asked Arker.
"I had a tool called the Sound Stone, but it's gone now. It broke and I absorbed its power once I'd tied myself to all the spots."
"Well, you may have to focus. Maybe we should go back to town and let you see everything. That way, you can learn how to sympathize with the planet and feel its power coming from a certain spot."
Arker guided Ness off to the direction of Proice.
Lydia was sitting in the Down Home Burgers restaurant, waiting for her friend to arrive.
"Where is he?" she muttered. "I can't believe he's taking so long." She sat and continued waiting.
After around fifteen minutes, she was fed up. I can't take this any more. I'll let him get here and wait for ME. In the meantime, I'll look around Onett.... maybe see how Ness is doing. She rose, and walked out the door.
Brushing her black hair out of her eyes, she trekked up the hilly ground to Ness's house on the hill. She knocked on the door and paused until someone opened it.... Ness's mother.
"Oh, hello, Lydia!" said Ness's mom cheerfully. "Come to see Ness?"
"I'm afraid he's not here. He went for a walk."
Lydia nodded. "All right. I'll just be going, then."
"I'll tell him you dropped by."
"Thank you. Goodbye."
"Bye, Lydia. Feel free to try again later."
With that overwith, Lydia decided to head up the hill and just enjoy the scenery. She headed upward once more, passing Mr. Agerate's house.
At the top of the hill, two figures were standing. Neither were moving. Wonder what's going on up there... She dashed up the hill to address the pair.
Matt, who had been ready to question Lorrenna, turned to get a look at the newcomer. "Who are you?"
"My name's Lydia. What about you?" she shot off.
Lydia turned to the woman before her. "And you?"
Lorrenna, taking a clear notice of the others for the first time, narrowed her eyes. "That's not really something you need to know."
Lydia frowned. I just love getting flipped off by complete strangers. "Well, sorry to bother you, then."
Matt was more persistent, though. "Really... a large amount of energy just left the planet. I had the feeling it came from around here. Would you know anything about it?"
Lorrenna raised her eyebrows. "No........" She walked towards the doorway. "Do you mind? I have work to do, kids."
Matt scanned the doorway. "Wonder where that came from?"
Lydia cringed. She had a funny feeling about all of this... "Don't know."
"Well, why would they want us?" asked Kyle. Everyone looked at him. "Oh, right. We're from Earth. Forgot. Well why don't we just surrender? I don't want to harm innocent people."
"We won't surrender!" said Brett. "They're not innocent! They kidnapped Ness!"
"Yeah, we'll fight them off if we have to," said Zac.
Everyone prepared for battle. They were surrounded by people and vehicles CPPU (Center Proice Police Unit).
One man stepped forward with a megaphone.
"Drop your weapons. We have you surrounded. We do not wish to harm you. All we want is for you to hand over the Losar. He is to be taken into custody. If you resist, we have a C.Nuke above you. We will drop it if neccesary."
Another officer walked up to the speaker, told him something, and walked back to his place.
"Sorry," said the speaker. "A C.Nuke is a contained nuclear bomb. It wil trigger a nuclear explosion in a set vicinity. Therefore causing no harm to the surrounding troops."
Kyle decided to give himself up. He didn't know what he did, but he was being taken into custody for it. He knew the others could continue their search for Ness without him.
Paula looked like she wanted to stop Kyle from going, but decided not to. The whole lot of them were confused.
When Kyle reached the wall of officers, he stood before them, waiting for them to take him away. The speaker pointed at one man, pointed at Kyle, then nodded. The man ran forward and kicked Kyle in the stomach. Kyle fell to his knees.
"Oh God..." said Paula.
The man took out some handcuffs and restrained Kyle's hands. Kyle didn't fight back for fear of what would happen to the others.
The man lifted Kyle to his feet and guided Kyle toward a vehicle, probably a police car, and started telling him, "You are being taken into custody for being a Class A danger to society. A.K.A. a Losar. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."
Kyle was loaded into the back of the police vehicle and it drove away. The rest of the police force started to leave the area, leaving Brett, Zac, Paula, and Marlus alone on the street until the civilians began to come out of the buildings again.
"The only things that pose a threat now are the Losar, Ness," said Arker.
"Losar?" said Ness. "I think I've heard that word before. What are they?"
"The Losar were a terrible, evil race that made the Giygans seem nice! They were able to use the powers of the darkness. They almost conquered my people. We could do nothing against them... that is, until one of us managed to learn how to use the powers of light! We drove them away, taking back what was rightfully ours! Now the Losar are exstinct. That is, except for one that we have been having in our dungeons since we caught him on your planet, Earth, about fifteen years ago. He was, no doubt, trying to spread Losar blood among the people of Earth. We were able to stop him, though. The woman he was found living with was already married to a good Earth person."
"Wow. That's an interesting story. I'll have to watch out for those people called Losars," said Ness.
"Geez, just because he was a Losar?" Zac said, staring as the vehicle disappeared in the distance. They sat down at a table to plan their next move.
"So now we lost Ness, Kyle, and Mike," Marlus said. "Who will we search for first?"
"Ness," Paula said suddenly. "He's coming here. We can find him quickly. He's entering the town."
"Really?" Brett said. Then, everyone could feel Ness' power.
"Once we find him, we can bust Kyle out of custody," Zac said. "Who knows what they're gonna do just because he's a Losar."
"So Mike is last, since we don't have any clue where he is," Paula finished.
Drake and Mike appeared in a dark apartment. Drake had taken Mike to many different time periods rapidly. Mike was still dazed at the recent events, and couldn't think of a way to escape.
"Looks like one of your friends got in trouble," Drake said, looking out the window and down several stories. He watched as Kyle was taken away.
"Wh - Where were we?" Mike mumbled.
"The question is 'when were we'."
"...When?" Mike became alert. "...So you know the..."
"Yeah. The time travel spell you've been searching for, for five years. If you want me to teach you this spell... First, you have to eliminate everyone involved with the search for Ness."
"What!? You want me to kill at least five people? Never. Let me go."
"That's what I thought. Oh well. Psionics, did your friend call it?" Drake said. He concentrated on his thoughts.
Mike collapsed as Drake entered his mind. To manipulate Mike, he created false memories that would invoke a new emotion: revenge. After a few minutes, Mike awoke again, and got up. His mind struggled to discern what Drake had added, but he couldn't figure it out. Subconsciously, he continued the fight against the false memories.
"Good. Now start with the fool who tried to kill me and you can decide from there. Go."
The lizardman from before, who was now hiding in another tree near the meteor, grumbled to himself. There was now another human that he had not seen before standing by the meteor plus a girl who had just recently arrived there.
Blimey! he thought. With all these humans around HOW am I supposed to stop a catastrophe from happening?!
He watched as the humans examined something on the side of the meteor. The guy, Matt, was asking about it, while the older looking woman, Lorrena, was picking away at it. The younger girl Lydia looked at it warily.
Lorrena must have hit the doorway the right way, for it suddenly opened on her. The other two stood around looking at it in awe.
Even the lizardman was surprised. I'll be! he thought to himself. It must be some kind of teleporter...! Maybe...the ones behind all this are down there... I shall have to see for myself...
The lizardman poised himself ready to make a break for the door...
Marlus was startled. When he had used his own Mind Blast technique on the Drake fellow who was trying to kill them, he had detected little psionics in him. Now he could detect a high-power psionic power being manifested; Thrall. Marlus could recall the power signature of the manifester, deduced that it was Drake. Though he could not discern their location, Marlus was certain that Mike and Drake was near.
Marlus woke from his state of thinking quite rapidly, and said no word. The group continued to search for Ness, his power signature growing ever closer. Finally, they were right on top of his signature, but they couldn't see him. He began moving away, and the group walked with him. They finally came to a subway station, where Ness was walking out...
Mike was breathing heavily, his subconscious evoking a great amount of physical stress to compete with the Thrall power. Drake grinned, and thought to himself. This boy has more power than I had thought at first. I'm sure the psion traveling with the fools has recognized my power signature, so I'll have to be careful... His thoughts were interrupted when Mike started hallucinating, his eyes dilating. "What were you thinking!?" he shouted aloud, which startled Drake.
"Tell me!" Mike shouted again. "Tell me what you were thinking, Marlus!" Drake smiled with relief as he observed Mike, apparently trapped in the memories he had implanted.
The gray room in the cold apartment was filled with junk from the ages; a few gleaming swords to subtract from the gloom, perhaps a photon halberd or two, and several rifles mounted against the wall. A thick layer of dust covered everything; most of the stuff Drake had never found a use for, and just stored it here. He thought of it as his own private warehouse, where he kept all the junk from his journeys through the river of time. He started as Mike began to groan, and fell to his knees. Apparently he had worked too hard on the power and it was taking its toll on Mike. "He should live through it," Drake mumbled to himself.
Fortunately for Mike, his subconscious had a reaction to Drake's voice. It mingled in with the rest of the memories, swirling around in the new emotional whirlpool of revenge. Drake's words floated towards the center of it, making Mike wary of Drake, suspicious of every twist and turn of the man's complex mind...
The dull subway station would have blended in perfectly with the drab apartment Mike and Drake were in; it was gray and littered with garbage nobody would ever use. The place had a strong echo, and the sound of the bustling people struggling to get by was magnified in everyone's ears.
Mike's twisted calls and screams reached across the town, but nobody heard or paid any attention to them; the group had just found Ness, along with Arker. Marlus found it strange that Ness should have any company, for Arker showed no power signature that he could discern, but he ignored it for the moment. The rest of the group approached them, looking at Ness intently...
Mike stepped away from Drake. "Who are you? What did you do to me?" he stammered.
"Fool," Drake muttered. "I told you to go out and kill Marlus!" Drake was getting impatient. His spell had been strong enough to create physical pain for Mike, but not strong enough to manipulate him.
"Marlus...?" Mike whispered. He shook his head, trying to figure out what he was thinking. Memories were rushing to his head again, involving Marlus. He was mocking him somehow, but he couldn't figure out how. What's happening...?
Paula was the first to speak to Ness. "Ness, we finally found you! What are you doing here? Let's get back to Earth!"
"Hello, I'm Arker, who are you?" Arker asked, in a somewhat degrading manner.
"Paula, I can't go now," Ness began. "...They think I can be one with the universe. ...Think how much that power could help Earth, and all of the other worlds."
"Earth is suffering without your presence," Marlus said shortly. "Soon the powers of PSI and magic will have no effect."
"...I can return with more strength..." Ness mumbled.
Paula was through with the conversation. She led Brett, Zac, and Marlus away from Ness and onto a street. Ness closed his eyes and thought about what he had done.
"We have other things to do," Paula said furiously to the others. "We still have to find Kyle and Mike."
Suddenly, a blast of ice hit a building above them.
"What was that?" Zac shouted.
"...It's Mike and Drake," Marlus said, feeling their power signatures.
"Mike and who?" Paula said.
"If it is Mike, it gives me an idea on how to find Kyle," Brett said. "If Mike does enough damage to the city, those policemen most likely will come to arrest him. He can lead us to Kyle."
"So we'll use Mike as bait," Zac finished. "It could work."
"Not in Mike's current state," Marlus said. "Something's wrong with him, and he's still with that man. He had more power than I thought..."
"Let's wait a while for Mike to do more damage and for us to plan this out," Zac said. "This plan has to be well laid out for it to work."
"It appears," Marlus started, watching the havoc being wreaked on the city, "that we have no time to strategize. I could use a psionic ability to tweak the air around us, creating the illusion that we are not here."
"I think he's right," Brett realized as more of the city became covered in the icy magic Mike was spewing forth. The whole group could hear Drake's cries of, "Don't do that! No! I told you to kill Marlus! Hey, watch it!" as Mike's magic went totally out of control. Drake's words did some good, however, as they broke Mike's concentration on the magic. Unfortunately for Drake, Mike turned his attention to him. Drake looked startled as Mike abandoned his arcane concentration and swirled his staff above his head in one smooth motion.
"Ah... a-a-ahhh, m-m-maybe," Drake stuttered, "m-maybe w-w-we could t-talk this o-o-over?" Although his outward expression and actions indicated fear, his mind was quickly calculating the possibilities of what powers to manifest. He decided on his most powerful, Temporal Velocity. For around a minute he would be able to effectively stop time around him. He clasped his hands together and began concentrating, focusing his willpower into the power...
Marlus detected another high-level psionic power being manifested and quickly abandoned the invisibility. He leapt through the gaudily colored town towards Drake, flying a good twenty feet up in the air. He called his energy blade, Evoker, upon his ascent, and drove it through Drake's side. His concentration disrupted, the power failed to manifest. Drake had plans, though, and wouldn't let them stop here. He concentrated on one of his weaker powers, simultaneously healing his wound and vanishing before anyone could react. Mike stood there, his subconscious torn between the new memories and the already-existing ones...
"Crud," Drake muttered to himself, now safe in his master's facility. "How could I not prepare adequate defenses? I thought the fool was weak; having to use a Mind Blast to try to beat me. Oh well," he sighed, sitting down in his large red plush chair. He let his muscles relax while he exercised his mind, racing through the names of the powers he possessed. He thought through the names in his head: Far Punch, Temporal Velocity, Mind Blast, Id Insinuation, Tower of Iron Will, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Thrall, Ultrablast, Whitefire, Temporal Stasis... His thoughts trailed off after this boring drill, and he looked out the window at the brightly-colored cityscape.
Lorrenna walked back to the meteor, curious as to why the other people were so interested in it. She would be careful this time, however. She would make sure not to be seen.
Matt stared at the gate in awe. It was like nothing he had seen before. He began moving in for a closer inspection, but stopped in his tracks. He had heard a rustling of leaves from behind him. When he turned to see what it was, he saw that same winged creature leaping out of the tree.
Extending its wings, it swiftly glided past Matt and company, who were quite shocked from its sudden appearence. It landed in front of the portal, turning its head and glaring at Matt.
"Sorry chap," spoke the beast, "but I have important things to tend to."
Before Matt could utter a word or even draw his weapon, the creature had entered the portal. With a brilliant flash of light, it was gone.
I have to follow that thing! thought Matt frantically. Who knows what it's up to!
He drew his sword and adressed the two others.
"I'm going in after it," he declared, waving his blade in the direction of the doorway. "Either of you can come and help if you want."
Without even waiting for a response, he dived into the portal after the creature...
Lydia watched, still shocked, as first the lizardman, then Matt rushed through the portal. As she stared into it, some of the flesh on her forehead sunk inward, forming the shape of an eye. Then the 'pupil' of this eye glowed with a yellow light.
My Third Eye is reacting..... something is very strange here. Wrong, almost. I get the feeling I'd better check this out.
Lydia rushed through the portal, ending up in a bizarre and colorful city that seemed futuristic. She noticed Matt, still not too far away, running off into the distance, presumably following that lizardman. I'd better catch up with him... he seems to have the best idea what's going on. She chased after Matt, hoping to figure out just what was nagging her.
What a Wonderland-type setup...
Marlus led Mike out of the building and to the other three, then left them to listen to what other people had to say.
Brett looked up at the damage. "Only this street was actually damaged, but some of the area beyond it got frozen," he commented.
"That's just what we need," Paula said.
"...It is?" said Mike.
Zac explained their plan to have Mike lead them to Kyle.
Marlus returned. "The police are most likely going to arrive soon. Have you figured out what to do?"
"Yeah, okay, here's the plan..."
Matt looked around at the magnificent city. "Where am I?" he wondered.
Lydia stepped through the doorway. "Oh..." she said in awe. "This place is beautiful."
Ness and Arker walked nearby while Matt and Lydia were admiring the metropolis.
Kyle had never been in an interrogation room before. The pressure being out on him was unimaginable. The single bright light that was shining in his eyes made him wonder if it would make him go blind. He couldn't see the other people in the room too clearly.
"Is your name Kyle Culex?" asked a man. The voice was unfamiliar.
"Yes," replied Kyle.
"Are you from the planet Earth?"
"Who told you about Losars and how did you find out that you were one?"
This was a much harder question. Kyle really didn't know what exactly a Losar was.
"I was told that I was a Losar by a friend of mine on Earth. Glenn."
Kyle heard a bit of murmuring in the room.
"When did this Glenn Mills tell you that you were a Losar?"
"A few months ago. Glenn, myself, and a few friends were on our way home from the place where we like to hang out. My friends were talking about how I seemed to be different. Then Glenn said that I was different because I was a Losar... Then he couldn't remember that he said it. Everyone else heard it, but Glenn couldn't remember."
"So, you just started calling yourself that. Not even really knowing what it was."
"Well, even though you don't even know what a Losar is, tests show that you are one. My orders are to place you in a maximum security cell. Guards!"
The interrogation light was turned off and two large guards grabbed Kyle and carried him out of the room. They entered an elevator and rode in it for what felt like half an hour. When the elevator stopped, the guards carried Kyle to a door that had a sign over it. Kyle's eyes were too blurry to read it...
"We've got a Losar," said one of the guards.
Another guard, who was guarding the door, took out some keys and unlocked the door.
"Hey Bill, you got a new cellmate," said the guard.
The two guards threw Kyle into the cell and the cell guard closed it and locked Kyle in.
The winged lizardman had now landed on top of a nearby building. He shook his head.
"Humans," he scoffed. "What the bloody apes don't understand, they try to kill!"
He looked around the city. To everybody else, it had looked beautiful. But to him, it looked like nothing special.
"Well, I can't just go and destroy this whole PLACE!" he said to himself. "There's now way all these blokes are involved! I have to find the person or people who're solely responsible for trying to cause this disaster!"
He looked down on the streets. That's when he saw Matt again.
"Crickey!" he said, backing away from the edge. "That kid's after me 'ead for some reason! You would've thought he never sawr a czar dragon before!"
That's when the reptile glanced upon two people who were just walking by Matt and Lydia. It was a guy and some boy. The boy had a red cap.
"I'm getting the notion that one of those two blokes are behind this conspiracy," the lizardman said. "If I go after them though, I need to be careful... one of them might be the 'victim'..."
"Who was the one who did this?" someone shouted. Mike stepped forward, and immediately policemen restrained his arms and placed them in handcuffs.
While they were doing this, Mike suddenly felt dizzy. He blacked out before anyone could say anything to him. The police pulled him into the vehicle and drove off.
Mike woke up in a dark cell. A guard was standing close by.
"Hey, shouldn't I be with the other Losar?" Mike said immediately.
"Are you... a Losar?" the guard asked cautiously. Mike nodded. Without asking anyone else, the guard pulled Mike into a separate section on a lower level, and locked him in an empty cell. He left afterwards.
"Not very bright to believe me," Mike commented. "Okay, what was the spell?" Mike thought to himself. He walked up to the door and started to cast the spell. He hesitated.
What am I doing? he thought suddenly. He followed the orders of people he had strange mixed memories of. He didn't even know if Kyle wanted to be rescued, considering the room was so quiet, perfect for time to look for spells, or sort out memories...
Mike's decision was made. He backed away from the door and sat down. He wanted time to figure out his past before he could get on with his future.
Kyle regained consciousness a few minutes after he was thrown into the cell. (The fall had knocked him out.)
"Ohh, God. What the heck happened?" asked Kyle, sitting up. The cell was dark. A single lightbulb was on in the center of the ceiling, which was very low. Not even six feet from the floor. The light was dim and flickered every once in a while. There was another person in the room.
"You must be Bill," said Kyle, walking toward him.
The man looked up. His face was colorless. His eyes had dark circles around them. His black hair was very messy. Kyle figured that the man had been in there a long time.
"Yes, I'm Bill. Kyle, why did you come to this place?" said Bill.
"What? How do you know my name?" asked Kyle.
"I asked you a question first. Why are you here?"
"I... came to this planet to find a guy named Ness. He was kidnapped and now the Earth's power is fading."
"Ahh, so they're trying to come back in force," said Bill.
"What?" asked Kyle.
"I guess I'd better explain. These people, they call themselves the Righteousness, are cosmic destroyers. They travel the galaxies conquering worlds. Those who pledge alliegance to them are usually enslaved, unless they are too primitive to be used. The more primitive species are left to become advanced so that they can later be of better use to The Righteousness. The planets that resisted them were destroyed. Even Earth was visited by The Righteousness. The people surrendered and although they were advanced enough to be enslaved, they weren't because they were human. It is against the law of The Righteousness to enslave humans. There are two known groups to ever attempt to stop The Righteousness. They were the Losars and the Giygans."
"The Losars? Us?" asked Kyle.
"Yes, our ancestors. The Losar race were able to utilize their minds in many different ways. We could use telekinesis, telepathy, and even attack with PSI. One trait that all Losars shared was the use of dark-type PSI abilities. Different families had other side-elements like fire or lightning, but their main element was always darkness and the side element was never holy.
"The Losars were peaceful and prosperous and became very advanced. When The Righteousness came to conquer us, we fought back. They could not fight well against our PSI. That was, until they found a race, the Othos, that practiced the use of holy magic. The Righteousness learned from them and began to fight us much more effectively than before. It was an all-out war between The Righteousness and the Losars. The Losars once tried to liberate Earth, but the people, who had forgotten about the visit from The Righteousness so many decades ago, thought we were invaders from space. They hid in great pyramids until The Righteousness came and fought us off. Eventually, they overpowered us. The Losars became all but extinct. We were hunted down. Slaughtered. I was, as far as I know, the very last Losar for a while.
"After the Losar threat was gone, The Righteousness continued to spread. That was, until they met the Giygans. They, with their superior strength and incredible technology, were able to eliminate The Righteousness's rule in most of the Universe. It was slow at first, but then the Giygans began mass producing their ultimate soldier, the Starman. Also, the Giygans found out about The Righteousness's weakness, Darkness. So, the Giygans begn to learn how to use the most powerful form of dark magic, evil. Experiments proved that it was risky, but the noble Giygans were willing to take any risks to bring down the truly evil Righteousness. This was working greatly. The Giygans began to try to liberate Earth, but then an Earth boy called Pokey became the Giygan leader, Giygas's second in command. He started to take his power for granted and attempted to conquer Earth with the Starmen. He pushed Giygas into attaining more evil power. This caused Giygas's mind to explode. However, he was still alive. As long as he was still alive, the Starmen were still active. The Righteousness were still on the run. But, due to Pokey's idiotic attempt to take over the world, a group of incredibly powerful kids attacked the Giygan troops thinking that they were completely evil. They destroyed Giygas. The Starmen stopped moving and The Righteousness destroyed the remaining Giygans."
"So, it was this Pokey who attempted to destroy Earth and brought about the destruction of the only people that were able to stand up to The Righteousness. He has a lot to answer for!" said Kyle, who suddenly had a strong urge to strangle this Pokey guy.
"Not anymore, he doesn't. He was on the run for a while, but ended up getting caught by The Righteousness and was executed as a Giygan officer."
"Well, now The Righteousness have found a new, powerful human. They will make him their leader. When he becomes their leader, all will be lost. I can feel that he is incredibly powerful, even from here."
Mike listened to the distant conversation between Kyle and Bill, while sifting through memories in his mind. Time was running out for him to be there, as soon the Righteousness would discover he was not a Losar. Mike took no notice of this fact, and slipped into an unpleasant sleep.
The Righteousness attacked Winters. The neighborhood was burning. Mike walked down the street, confused at what was happening. He entered one house that seemed to be intact.
Inside, a woman called to a boy, who looked to be about ten years old. "Michael, come here! There's nothing else you can do!"
"But Daddy is..." The boy stopped talking and ran to his mother. They hurried to take shelter in their basement. Mike followed, observing a dead man along the way. He shuddered.
Upon entering the basement, he noticed a man hidden in shadows, standing menacingly before the mother and son.
Who's that? Mike thought.
"Don't move or I'll kill your son," the darkened man whispered. He then turned to search for something, wrecking the area in the process.
"Please, don't!" the mother cried out in despair. "Stop!" She rushed forward.
The man knocked her out of the way. "You moved," he taunted, then pointed at the boy. A shadow appeared in front of the boy. He cried out. His mother screamed.
The basement faded from Mike’s view and left only the man and himself in an area of nothingness.
Mike stepped forward. "Who are you?"
"You've wasted five years, Mike. Are you going to continue wasting it for the last five years of your life?"
"Who are you!?" Mike screamed. The man shook his head and started stepping forward into a light. Then the space disappeared.
"Hey, are you okay?" a guard was saying in front of Mike.
Mike was still in the prison cell. His face was covered in sweat and tears, and his breathing was harsh. "You... Why didn't you let me see?" The guard stepped back, nervous. Mike's hallucinations returned. "...Marlus? You did it! You did it..."
"What are you talking about?" The guard had come to question Mike about his claims of being a Losar.
Mike lost control of himself and someone else inside him took over. "Soul Shadow!" he roared, pointing his staff at the guard.
The shadow that had confronted the boy in Mike's dreams returned and faced the guard. A few seconds later, the guard collapsed to the floor.
Mike stopped hallucinating. "Did you do that?" a voice in his head asked.
"I – I couldn't have," Mike stammered, shaking from fear. "I don't know any Death spells – I swore I'd never learn any." Mike fell to his knees, in shock at what he had just done.
The lizardman frowned. Sure, he could go after the two right now, but too many things complicated the action. One was that he didn't know which was the true enemy. He couldn't tell a human from a Righteousness. Heck, he didn't know SQUAT about the Righteousness himself, not even their name! Thus it was impossible for him to distinguish between the "puppeteer" and the "puppet", so to speak.
Second, there were too many people around. If he attacked, they'd all see him.
Third, that kid that was after his head was still down there. If he were to attack one of the two suspects, that kid might attack HIM!
Lastly... the two were now too far away.
The lizardman shook his head. Took too long AGAIN, Mr. Ryong! he scolded himself.
He walked to the other side of the building. There he sniffed the air. He could tell that somewhere within the city, there were other people who knew about the conspiracy (or at least, sort of knew) and opposed it. He didn't figure this out by smelling, mind you!
Normally he didn't ask for help from others; he preferred to work alone. However, in this place, he was at a loss for ideas. Maybe those other people, whoever they were, could help stop a disaster from occuring...
Where should I start? he thought, looking up at the sky.
Suddenly, he heard Matt's voice shouting something from down below.
Ugh! Anywhere away from that bloody dragon-slayer is a start! he decided.
He began his search by leaping onto the next roof. Flying would give him away too easily. He paused a bit trying to sense where these others were...
Brett, Zac, Marlus, and Paula watched as Mike was taken away by the local police.
"Now, how are we going to track him?" Paula sighed.
"Before he left, I stuck a tracking device on his shirt," Brett said as he revealed a radar scanner. "Now we can find out where Mike and Kyle are."
"Wait... I feel that some others from Earth are here. There's three humans and something else. Hey! One of them is Matt," Zac said, the last sentence being directed to Brett.
"They can catch up with us if they're here to help get Ness back," Marlus said. "Our first priority is to rescue Kyle and Mike. Who knows what might happen to them in this planet's jail? Let's get moving."
"Okay, the scanner says that Mike is heading to the north... there, he's stopped. They must be at the jail."
The four of them started heading to the north, towards the prison.
Seeing that she was left behind, Lorrenna calmly walked into what she identified as a teleportation door.
As reality flowed back in as the utter nothingness faded out, and as the chill left her spine, she appeared in an unfarmiliar place. It had large, unusual (to her) metal structures. She started walking towared what looked like a high security prison...
After a while, she decided that it was too far away. She turned and started walking up a tall flight of stairs in a nearby building. She readied a green lotus flower just in case any mages were up there.
Mike stared at the lifeless body of the guard. "...I don't know dark magic. This couldn't have happened!"
He rushed to his backpack and grabbed a book and searched through it.
"What are you looking for?" the voice said.
"There has to be some spell to overcome Death spells. Something to do with... reviving, or phoenixes, or anything!"
Drake watched as Brett, Zac, Paula, and Marlus continued the walk to the prison. He followed them, hoping to find Mike.
"So, what about you?" asked Kyle. "How did you end up here and how do you know my name?"
"It... happened a long time ago. Over fifteen years ago, to be exact. I was on the run. The Righteousness had killed my parents and were chasing me from planet to planet. Finally I got the bright idea to hide on the planet Earth. It was a protected planet due to the human inhabitants. One woman, Miss Jona, allowed me to stay with her. Her husband had gone missing after they had thier son, Eddy."
"What?" gasped Kyle.
"We were about to get married, since her husband had been gone for so many years and it seemed that he wasn't coming back. She was pregnant with my child just before The Righteousness finally found me. Last I had heard about her, she had my child and named him Kyle... and kept my last name instead of her missing husband."
"So I'm your..?"
"What?" asked Bill. "Don't be so surprised! I told you that I was the last of the Losars for a while."
"Anyways, I've been locked in here ever since. But I've been keeping an eye on you. Spending so much time here has allowed me to increase my telepathic abilities so I could see what you see, hear what you hear, and feel what you feel at any time I wanted, even from this distance! Which reminds... me... Oh, God!" Bill started tapping his foot on the floor loudly and leaned down close to Kyle's ear and whispered, "Do you have the Excalabur with you?"
"Yes? Then we will be able to escape! I have to be quiet. The guard can hear most of what we say. Tapping my foot is drowning out our whispers." Bill stopped tapping his foot.
"What is the Excalabur, exactly?" asked Kyle.
"The most powerful weapon ever made by the Losars. Besides the increase of your speed and the ability to learn powerful new attacks only learned with the Excalabur, it gives the owner a Holy elemental attribute. Or in other words, destroys our weakness to the Holy element! I had it for a while, but when The Righteousness found me hiding on the Earth, I ran away to prevent them from getting the Excalabur. I hid it where I never expected anyone to find it. In the illusionary world of Moonside! Losars, with our dark powers, can go back and forth to the illusionary world as we please!"
"D'oh!" Kyle slapped himself on the head. "If only I knew that sooner!"
"Well, when you were sent into Moonside by the Mani Mani, you were drawn to the Excalabur. And now we can escape!"
"What was that?" asked the guard outside. "An escape?" He opened the door.
"Kyle! Use the Excalabur, now!"
Before he knew what had happened, Kyle had slashed through the guard and was standing outside the door of the cell. It wasn't two seconds before a voice spoke on the loudspeaker. "Two guards down in Section C-Maximum Security. All available guards please investigate. Take caution: the prisoners are Losars!"
"Two guards?" asked Kyle. He looked down to the next door, which was open with a guard lying in the doorway. Kyle ran over to see and Bill followed.
"Mike!" said Kyle when he reached the next cell. Mike was searching for something in a book.
"One of your Earth friends?" asked Bill.
"Sorta," said Kyle. "Mike, what are you doing here?"
"I was arrested and the others were supposed to follow me here so we could find you and break you out!" said Mike.
"Well, we gotta get out of here! Loads of guards are going to be here any minute!"
"But what, Mike?" asked Kyle.
"I... killed this guard with a Death spell," said Mike.
"I don't know any death spells! I don't want to know any death spells!"
"Well, we'll have to worry about that later! If we don't move, we're going to be facing Death ourselves!"
"Yeah, you're right. But Marlus..."
"No time! Come on!"
Mike put away his book and the three made a break for the elevator.
The group made it to the prison and were able to bypass all the guard stations--they were all pre-occupied with Mike, Kyle, and Bill. Marlus was uneasy: he had just felt a death spell. He recognized it, but he had only seen it once before... he lifted his head, waking up from the reverie. The groups' padded footsteps echoing down the strangely quiet halls of the prison in the center of a colorful, unusually loud city. Marlus, Brett, and Zac detected combat close to their location. Brett took the lead, and shouted, "Follow me!" The group proceeded, unhindered by guards.
Mike had created a few frozen walls in the hallway to prevent the guards from entering, but they were beginning to fail. He hollered over to Kyle, "Do what you're gonna do and let's get outta here!" On one side of the hall, a blast could be heard and the wall broke down. Several guards were frozen in place, and Marlus knocked each one down with a heavy punch while the rest of the group proceeded. They were happy that they were reunited with Mike and Kyle, but everyone began to wonder about Ness...
"Ness, you must obtain the power to become one with the universe. We need a new leader, and I have forseen that it should be you. Without you, we will collapse..." Arker sounded sympathetic, understanding. In reality, however, his mind was a cold, calculating machine.
"Why do you keep saying 'we'?" Ness asked, growing suspicious. "Who exactly is 'we'?"
"Why," Arker looked surprised, changed his tone. "We are humans. I couldn't refer to us in any other way but 'we'. For we are the same as you, humans with psychokinetic capabilities. That is how we came to build this city. And it is magnificent, don't you agree? Don't you want to be one of us? Our leader?"
Mike was glad to be with the rest of the group, but he saw Marlus as being unusually shady. He kept his distance from him as he conversed with the rest of the team. Marlus was, in fact, a bit shady, conjuring memories of days gone by. One was disturbing him, had been of late. It concerned Mike, and he was about to tell him so. He walked forth, began his long tale.
"Mike, I've seen how you've been avoiding me. I know you're upset, seeing things. I can understand--"
"I'm only upset because I used a death spell--I don't know how or where I learned it," Mike countered. "I only remember seeing you use it to try to kill me!" Mike shouted, tearing forward and trying to hit Marlus.
Marlus dodged aside and caught Mike's hand, thinking he had him. Mike slipped free quickly, though, and started punching him. Marlus, caught off guard, reeled back from the force of the blows and was barely able to activate a psychic shield. A few hits, though, and it was torn down. It bought him enough time to get Mike in a firm hold, though.
"This Drake fellow has been playing with your mind. What you remember is part of my own memories, as well. You have been deceived. Yes, I remember well. Your parents were friends of mine, and at that point I was still in possession of my powers as a sorcerer.
"Winters was burning. A huge burst of magical energy had ignited it. I ran from my laboratory; ran from my magic, my tests, my life. I ran to the nearest bomb shelter, hoping to get away. I ran in with you and your mother, thinking we were safe. I activated a few magic barriers around the place, and considered us safe. We stayed there for hours...
"Then he came. A man blasted open the doors, began casting magic furiously. Our shields were shattered quickly. He continued his rampage, murdering so many of the civilians. We were the only ones left, Mike. You, your mother, and me. I remember the exact gestures he used to cast the spell. The words still haunt me today. The magic itself tortures me while I sleep. He cast the greatest offensive spell ever to exist."
"He cast Soul Shadow!?" Mike asked, absorbed in the story, feeling his own memory of the incident returning.
"Yes," Marlus returned to the story. "I sacrificed all of my magic to save us. Not only my spells, I sacrificed the magic in my soul. Never again can I cast a spell. That is why I was forced to take up Psionics...but never mind that. The magic saved us, you and me. He took us for dead. But your mother... And I still remember his face. Cold, and unyielding. I saw him not long ago, and you did too."
The lizardman (who's last name is presumably "Ryong" as that's what he called himself once) had hopped so many roofs he was far away from Matt now. However, the people he was searching for kept moving around. They were becoming a real pain to meet up with. Fortunately, it seemed like they were pretty close now.
He stopped and sniffed the air. The strange thing about his breed of dragon was that he could SMELL magic! He smelled what seemed to be a high concentration of magic somewhere.
Let's see... he thought. I smell... a sorceror? Seems like it. It's somewhat like a summoner's scent but a little tart. There's somethin' wrong with him though. The scent is a little faint... but it IS one of those chaps alright! Hmm... there's also two VERY strange magic users with the sorceror. I have no idea as to what they are... Blimey! This is interesting!
The lizardman paused for a second. He smelled something burning.
A... death spell? he thought. They always smell like burning meat... but it was a fairly weak one. It only killed one person... I've seen ones, heck I KNOW one, that can kill almost everything the person sees... Crickey! I hope I never use it...! It's pretty hard anyway.
Just then, the group seemed to be moving off again.
Blimey! I best go. These blokes are hard to catch up with! he thought.
The beast leapt from roof to roof again, following his nose. He was obviously moving faster than they were; the scent was coming closer and closer until it felt like "they" were right underneath him.
"Well..." said Ness, not quite knowing how to answer this question.
"I won't push it on you," said Arker. "Take all the time you need."
"Yeah, okay. Thanks." Ness was beginning to really trust Arker. Like a friend.
"I need to know, Ness, who was that girl that confronted us earlier again?"
"Paula. One of the people that helped me defeat Giygas."
"Oh, she didn't seem too nice to me. Not what I normally would think of as a friend. True friends should support you in any decision that you make. You can certainly trust that I'll support you. Whether or not you decide to become our leader."
"Thank you, Arker. You're a true friend."
"If you say so... but for now we must concentrate on more pressing matters. Where do you think that a sanctuary would be? Perhaps the center of the Universe?" suggested Arker.
"No, that's too obvious... I feel a spot is somewhere on this planet..."
"A spot? You mean there's more than one?"
"Of course! You didn't think they'd make becoming one with the Universe easy, did you?"
Arker smiled. "You are exceptionally bright, young Ness. I really wouldn't have guessed! Please, lead the way." They continued through the city, gathering information about legendary, mythical spots of power.
"Darn... we lost him..." muttered Matt. They had been desperately trying to follow the dragon-creature, but had lost it in the high towers of the metropolis. He scowered the tops of the buildings once more for any signs of it to no avail. He turned to his new-found partner.
"Um, before we continue the search for the beast, we should probably find out where we are," suggested Matt, standing in wonderment at the bizarre surroundings.
"Good idea," agreed Lydia. "But first maybe you should stop waving your sword around, you're freaking people out..."
And indeed it was true. Matt was getting more than a couple of odd glances from passerbys. He sheathed his blade quickly and hid it under his cloak.
"Where should we look first?" questioned Lydia. "They may have a city hall or something where we can find out more about the city. The authorities might help us catach the lizard-thingy you're so hung up on, though they probably won't believe us... Or maybe-"
"-we could drop in on some old friends of mine," interrupted Matt. He had just felt traces of two familiar auras in the city. "They must have made it here before us..."
"Who?" asked Lydia, as Matt blankly stared into the distance in an attempt to pinpoint the location of the auras.
"I'll explain on the way," answered Matt with a grin of satisfaction. He had found them. "We have to hurry if we want to catch up to them. They move pretty fast."
Dashing across the nearby street and past the towering buildings, the two headed towards Zac and Brett's position.
The beast looked down. There were a ton of people milling around below him. He couldn't really tell who he was looking for.
He searched the area until he came across a blonde girl in a pink dress. The pink dress stuck out like a sore thumb compared to what everyone else was wearing. She was standing around with a bunch of other guys who were also dressed differently from everyone else.
Maybe... those're the blokes I'm lookin' for! the dragon-man thought.
But there was a big problem ahead of him. How to get down from the roof? He had osteoporosis, so one wrong move meant a bunch of broken bones!
He could fly down, but that might cause a panic.
So, he chose the hard path and jumped down. He landed in an alleyway with a sickening crack.
...he had broken his foot.
"Oh, bother!" he mumbled.
The group was across the street from him. Now there were two big problems ahead of him. How to get across the street, and how to introduce himself without freaking anyone out.
Just then, he noticed that the girl in the pink dress was looking in his direction. Did she see him?
She then turned around. He seemed relieved. That is until he heard her say, "Hey guys! What's THAT?!" and point at him.
"Blim-!" he caught himself in mid yelp.
"The Grezing mountains," sighed Ness, looking at the map. "That Lerr guy said about some legend that energy from the planet's core could be found in a collected form there. Maybe that's the spot I need to go to." He addressed Arker. "Arker, in the Grezing mountains, are there any rowdy wild animals?"
Arker smiled calmly. "No, not at all. The wildlife around here is peaceful, and likely won't attack us."
"Good," said a relieved Ness. "That means I won't have to fight to reach the sanctuary like the others on Earth."
However, Ness still had doubts. I didn't mean to hurt Paula's feelings.... but just imagine what I could do for Earth if I add the universe's power to it! I'm sure I must have enough time before Earth's power is lost. I don't know about becoming a leader for these people, though. Maybe once I claim the mountain core energy, I can find Paula and show her what I managed to do. I can try to reason with her then, and decide what to do next.
"By the way, I still don't understand what's going on, exactly," remarked Lydia as she and Matt ran through the streets of Proice.
"Well, did you hear me talking to that woman?" sighed Matt. Lydia nodded. "A lot of energy left the planet. That could be REALLY bad for Earth. That's why I'm trying to find what took the energy. I can only assume it's that lizard thing. That's why I'm chasing it."
"Okay, I see. But why would it want that energy anyway?"
"That's what I hope to find out. Now, about these two friends of mine. Their names are Brett and Zac. Don't know what they're doing here - maybe they sensed the same problem as myself. The point is that they're here, and they might be able to help us." Matt thought of something. "By the way, if you don't think I'm being too nosy, why did you want to help?"
"I felt something was wrong. And it's not right to leave a problem alone, right?"
Matt grinned and said, "So you're an adventurer too, heh?"
Lydia shook her head. "Not so much so, but I like to be useful, and weird things are always going on around here."
"That's true." Matt could feel the auras growing stronger. "I think we're almost with them. Hold on."
Little did Matt know that along with his friends, he would find the other person he was searching for.
Drake watched from a distant building. The psion had told Mike the story, so he would have to avoid sight for a while. Someone had jumped off a roof, and was about to say something. The girl in the dress started talking to the person who jumped, and they were going to talk to the others when a boy and girl arrived. The boy knew the twins and the person who jumped was nervous but...
"What?" Drake wondered, frustrated. "This is useless." He needed to know what was being said in order to understand. He climbed out the window and jumped to a nearby building and climbed in. There he met Lorrenna.
"...Who are you?"
"Why do you care?" Lorrenna retorted. She looked the man over. He had long dark red hair and an empty face, which was partly obscured by shadows. He was tall, and looked somewhat threatening to her.
Drake spotted the lotus flower in Lorrenna's hand and got nervous.
"...I don't. I was just leaving."
Drake rushed out the window to reach and grab the next window ledge.
Lorrenna watched as Drake moved away in and on empty buildings. "Where's he going?" she muttered.
The dragon watched as the girl talked with the others. Some were staring at him with wide eyes. Nobody could really tell what he was. Finally, someone said that it meant her no harm. A few of the others thought the guy was crazy.
Paula walked into the alley and slowly approached the lizard-man. "Are...are you friendly...?" she asked slowly.
"Well, it depends on the bloke," the lizardman answered. "If you're a dragon-slayer or an eidolon-hunter, I'm won't be!"
Paula jumped. "Oh my God, it talks!" she said quickly.
The others began to talk wildly amongst themselves.
"What?" the lizardman asked. "All you blokes are acting like you've ne'er seen a czar dragon before!"
"Actually, sir," Paula said, "we haven't!"
The lizardman shrugged.
"Why don't we get down to buisness, shall we?" the lizard-man asked. "Are you guys the blokes who want to end this conspiracy?"
"Con...spiracy?" Paula asked. "I'm not exaxly sure what you're talking about."
"Hmm," the lizardman said. "Lemme put it this way...you know about Earth's big power drain right?"
"Yes!" Paula cried. "It's because one of my friends is here instead of on Earth!"
"One of your...friends?" the liazrd asked.
"Yes! Look, I know it sounds weird...," Paula started.
"No need to worry, m'lady," the dragon said. "I can assure you I've heard much weirder!"
"Heh, I guess you're right," Paula said.
"I've got a better idea," the lizardman said, looking behind Paula. "Why don't we share this conversation with your chums over there? They look quite frazzled..."
It was true, as most of the rest of the group looked quite freaked out.
"I guess you're right," Paula said. "Maybe we oughtta introduce ourselves first."
Paula walked across the street, and the lizard limped after her.
"Hey! It looks like Paula's made a new friend!" one of the guys (actually Zac) snickered.
"Well anyways, my name's Paula," Paula said. "What's yours?"
The lizardman chuckled. "If I were to tell you that, a million years would pass before I finished!" he said dramatically.
"Are you serious?" Paula asked.
The dragon laughed. "I'm certainly not!" he answered. "My full name's 'Shii Ryong'."
Just as they had approached the rest of the group, the dragon saw someone familiar in the distance.
"Crikey...," he breathed. "It's that dragon-slayer!"
"Dragon-slayer?" Paula asked. "You mean someone's after you...?"
"You nailed it right on the head m'lady," Shii Ryong replied.
He thought about getting his sickle out... but that also might freak everyone out. Besides, he had a feeling this was all a big misunderstanding...
Matt approached Shii Ryong. "What did you do to Earth?" he asked.
"I didn't do anything. Why are you chasing me?"
"So... the power loss on Earth didn't have anything to do with you?"
"Other than that I'm trying to figure out how to fix it," Shii responded.
"Hmm..." Matt couldn't find anything to say. He wanted to apologize but didn't know how.
Afterwards, there was a short period of introductions and explanations of what had happened so far. No one noticed the person watching him or her from above.
Drake looked down on the group and smiled, but also frowned. He was annoyed that there were so many trying to prevent Ness from collecting the universe's power, but none of them had realized another fact.
He called out, "Still standing around, huh?"
Everyone became confused and looked up.
"You do realize that the Proice police are still looking for you," Drake said, referring to Kyle and Bill. "You're a little lower on their priority list," Drake told Mike. "Losars override any other criminals. But still, all three of you are escaped convicts. You might want to leave this city. There's a path out of the city underground, in a secret door in the subway station. No policemen will be searching there, yet. Any other exit from the city is blocked."
"Let's go quickly, then," Kyle said.
"Wait, should we really trust him?" Mike asked, a little nervous. "He tried to make me kill you, remember?" He turned to Drake. "Are you with The Righteousness?"
"Maybe," Drake replied.
"I don't see any other option," Bill responded.
Drake snickered. "And you'd better move quickly, because..." Drake smiled and pointed to the sky. A flame went up and exploded above them. "Have fun running. The guards are coming very shortly."
Mike started casting a spell, but Marlus stopped him. "There's no time for that."
The group started moving towards the subway.
Brett, Zac, Marlus, and Mike all knew it wasn't a trap. A lose-lose scenario, though. Drake certainly didn't have any subordinates; he was far too independent. But then, if he didn't want them dead, he wanted them for something. He would most likely try to assimilate their power into himself or some other such plan to gain personal power. But then he should have been going after Ness...
The group ran fast. When fast applies to them, it means FAST. They dashed into the subway station, watching as Drake's Meteor Swarm spell filled the station with falling chunks of ceiling. Luckily for them, there was no distraction; apparently, the entire station was closed down, albeit recently. Lights were still on, but all the computers showed no signs of activation, and all the subways were immobile. Unlike the rest of the colorful utopia of Proice, the subway was just like those in Eagleland: vandalized, littered, and colorless. No sign of a secret exit.
"Crud..." Marlus groaned. The whole thing had been a trap after all; there was no way out, with everything disabled. He banged his hand against a wall--or what he thought was a wall. As he turned his head in frustration, he noticed that it was lit up. "A map," he murmured. The rest of the group walked up and observed.
Mike traced the lines with his finger, accustomed to memorizing his spells and other things. "Okay, I think I've got it worked out," he informed the rest of the group. "We have to go on that subway," he pointed towards the nearest one, "and activate it. I'll navigate for us, and we should get out okay." A few more chunks of the ceiling fell down, nearly hitting the group. They approached the subway, pried open the door, and stepped inside.
Zac charged up the panels with his energy and Mike got in the driver's seat. A long series of twists and turns lay before them, but Mike smoothly navigated them. Finally, they reached a dead end. Mike slammed his hand against his forehead. "Ah, jeez. I knew it would end like this. And I thought I had it memorized..."
"You did," Shii offered. "Look at the wall, bloke," and indeed, the wall seemed to fade away. A soft female voice notified them that the access codes were recognized and that they could pass through. The subway was illuminated with daylight as they entered a much brighter station, with more color. People strode by, not caring that strangers were taking a subway into their station. Mike stopped the subway, and the group got off. The wall sealed off behind them. A citizen walked by them.
"Wait," Matt stopped him short. "Where is this?"
"Why, this is the Freelance Haven. It's where anyone under the pressures of the Righteousness can come without fear of their oppressive laws. Welcome, and enjoy your stay." The man's voice was soft, genuinely happy. He seemed to illuminate the attitudes of the group, raising their spirits. They continued their walk without fear of the Righteousness...
Just then, Shii Ryong stopped.
"Wait a minute!" he growled. "Where that guy say we were?!"
"Somewhere called 'Freelance Heaven'," Matt answered.
"Freelance 'eaven?!" Shii cried. "Aren't we supposed to be stopping the conspiracy instead?!"
"Uh...," Matt said.
"And who was that guy that sent the meteors on us back there?!" Shii shouted. "Who does the blighter think he is?! I'll eat 'im alive I will!"
"Whoa, whoa!" Matt said. "Don't give yourself a heart attack!"
"Heart attack?" Shii asked. "Crickey! I had one of those last week! Maybe I should be careful..."
Just then, Paula walked over to them. "That reminds me...," Paula said. "Back there you mentioned a 'conspiracy' like you did now... what do you mean by 'conspiracy'?"
"Well, if you must know, I'll tell you," Shii answered.
"Well, okay," Paula said. "...Just let me grab the others. They might like to hear this too."
Paula ran off and gathered the rest of the group who had walked off. They then regrouped.
"Go on," Paula said.
"Okay before I start, if you have to go to the bathroom, do it now!" Shii said. "I don't want people walking around while I'm tryin' to tell my story!"
There was a snicker from Matt.
Shii Ryong told the tale that he had experienced a long time ago. It was about a situation similar to the one now... only the Righteousness were replaced by some strange anthropomorphic animals. Like the Righteousness, they wanted a young child to become one with the universe. However, they started slowly. Just as the child was one with the galaxy, his power became too much and he went berserk. He began destroying everything. At this time a giant bird by the name of "Garuda" or something had to destroy the child. And just to be safe, it destroyed the continent those animals lived on.
"So you see," Shii Ryong concluded. "A project to become one with the universe ends up in destruction of entire races... and that's what's 'appening now!"
"I hate to tell you this," Zac said, "but that sounds kind of weird."
The story surprised Kyle. Just then Bill stepped forward. "He's right..." Bill said. "That's what the Righteousness plan to do with that child from Earth..."
"...Are... are you talking about Ness?!" Paula cried.
"Yes, if that's his name..." Bill continued. "But what I'm sort of interested in is this "bird" or "Garuda" that could destroy such a force... Do you know anything else about it...?"
Drake had found a nice post on one of the roofs. It was very protected, and he could see everything while he was blasting away at the sub station.
Just then, he felt a tap on his shoulder.
"I'm just like a bad itch, aren't I?"
Drake turened around swiftly, only to see that same assassin holding a katar and staring menacingly.
Drake quickly cast a hallucination spell.
Lorrenna muttered under her breath, "Well, then it's tea for TWO."
She produced a vial of a blue liquid and forced it (the liquid) down Drake's throat. It was both necessary parts of a Blue Lotus flower to cause hallucianation, ground up and made into liquid.
Unfortunately, Drake was immune to poison and Lorrenna had an artifact with resistance to most magics and psionics.
They were fairly equal.
"Alls I know," said Shii, "is that it isn't a common sight anywhere."
"But we can't let it destroy Ness!" said Kyle. "What would happen to the Earth?"
"It would regain all of its power," said Bill. "The Earth wouldn't be having to share its power with anything. It would be whole again."
"But, still," said Brett, "allowing Ness to be killed by this 'Garuda' bird is not an option."
"Yeah," agreed Zac. "Think of all the damage he would cause when he loses is mind."
"He would become an all-powerful idiot, like what Pokey called Giygas before we killed him," said Paula.
Bill shot Paula a mean look. Apparently he hadn't forgiven the "chosen four" for defeating Giygas.
"All this, plus Drake," added Mike.
"Maybe we won't have to wait for this Garuda to appear," said Bill.
"What are you talkin about, Pop?" asked Kyle.
Bill winced at being called 'Pop', but went on to explain. "Shii, would you happen to know if this Garuda is a summoned monster?"
"You mean an Eidolon?" asked Shii.
"I really don't know. Blimey, I told you I hadn't known much about it."
"Yes, well maybe if we could find out if we can summon it, we can use it to destroy The Righteousness before Ness goes insane. That way, we could spare his life. I hear that he is very important on Earth, as well as popular for that despicable deed he did." Bill was, of course, referring to the defeat of Giygas.
"Then I suggest a split," said Kyle. "Three groups. One to research about Garuda, another to try to convince Ness to stop while he's ahead, and one more to try to stop Drake. I volunteer to help with Drake."
"I'll help research," said Bill.
"Me too," said Paula, who was not in the mood to talk to Ness at the time.
"I'm definitely going to go and find Drake," said Mike.
"So will I," said Marlus.
Marlus, Mike, Shii, Lydia, Matt, and Kyle entered the subway car and immediately took off. The subway took off at an astounding speed, and soon it was out of sight. The newly-reopened wall sealed off behind them rather quickly. Paula and Bill turned to the civilian and began inquiring about research facilities. The man was suspicious as to their origin, and grudgingly answered their question. "The library is to the north. First turn right, can't miss it. Careful, though, I've been seeing alot of those so-called Righteousness spies around here lately. Shady folk, they are. Well, see ya."
The man walked off, leaving Bill and Paula there. They walked where the man said, and found themselves in front of one of the largest buildings in the small town. They walked inside, and the floor beneath them spiraled, lifting off the ground. It hovered over to a computer labeled 'Research Terminal.' Paula and Bill, surprised, fell back. Two hovering chairs speedily caught them, letting them sink into the soft fabric. Paula was amazed. Bill had regained his composure, replaced his surprised expression with his usual stoic mask. They began typing...
Marlus, Mike, Matt, Lydia, Kyle, and Shii walked off the subway and split up as soon as they hit the stairs. Matt, Lydia, and Shii walked over to the building where they had seen Ness, and Marlus, Mike, and Matt flew over to the high power signatures of Drake and Lorrenna.
Lorrenna was locked in tight combat with Drake, who had sprung an energy blade of his own into his hand. He had easily sliced the Katar out of her hand, and moved rather quickly for a human. Lorrenna resorted to using her greatest techniques, various flips and dodges taught to her by the best at the Thieves' Guild. Drake was aggravated, not only because he was missing her, but because she was protected against psionics and magic. Only minor psionics and magic, he reminded himself, but it was psionics and magic all the same. Finally, he was tired of the game. Just as Lorrenna began attacking with a dagger she had secreted, he manifested Temporal Velocity. He became so fast that time had ceased to affect him.
He approached Lorrenna and began slashing at her, brutally cutting through her slender body. When time resumed its flow, Lorrenna collapsed under the strain of the many wounds. Drake was starting to laugh, about to deliver the finishing blow. When his blade was an inch away from her, he was stopped. Marlus' energy blade wavered, then flickered out. Kyle's Excalabur was at Drake's neck, and Marlus and Mike were prepared to cast spells. Mike saw Lorrenna in her comatose state and cast a minor healing spell, but even this was enough for Drake to get free.
He sent Excalabur spinning, flying over Lorrenna's head and hitting the floor with a loud clatter. Marlus and Mike reverted their attention to him, but he called his blade into existence once again, but brought another with it. He charged them, twirling his blades of death...
Matt, Lydia, and SR approached the building. There were two guys outside holding up ridiculously large guns... obviously guards.
"Hmmm..." Matt said. "What should we do about those guys...?"
Lydia looked around. Then, she saw a dumpster next to a side door which had long pieces of scrap metal haphazardly sticking out of it.
"This way!" she instructed.
The two humans and the dragon crept over to the dumpster.
"Oh, I get it!" Matt said. "We knock the guards out with one of these, right?" He fingered a pole.
Lydia answered him by opening the door that was next to the dumpster instead.
"Or... maybe not..." Matt said.
The three walked into the building. It certainly looked a lot bigger on the inside than on the outside. A lot bigger.
"This certainly violates some law of physics, right?" Lydia asked.
"I've seen worse," SR said.
They looked around what appeared to be a lobby. It was very quiet... and empty!
"Man, you think Ness is somewhere in here?" Matt asked.
Just then, the two noticed SR smelling the air.
"What're you doing?" Lydia asked him.
"By any chance did this 'Ness' fellow use magic?" SR asked.
"No... he's a psychic," she answered.
"Oh, bother," SR muttered.
Bill and Paula were still in the library, typing away.
"Find anything yet?" Paula asked.
"Just the Garuda that was born as an adult, eats evil people, and was enemies with the Naga," Bill answered. "But I don't believe this was the 'Garuda' he was talking about..."
"Yeah, me neither," Paula said.
Just then, she noticed a link at the bottom of the screen that she hadn't visited before. She pressed the 'enter' button.
A screen immediately came up that demanded "Level 8 Access."
"Hmmm... a secret file!" Paula said. She turned to Bill. "You wouldn't happen to know how to hack, would you?"
"Spotlight!" Mike whispered. Light blinded Drake and stopped him from slashing everyone.
Kyle and Marlus were about to attack again when Drake cast a spell to stop their movements. Lorrenna was also affected by the spell.
"Mike, what are you doing?" Drake asked. "You got three people involved that hardly know me. It's not Marlus's business as much as it's yours."
"...They volunteered to help me," Mike replied. "And you attacked all of us so you got them involved."
"Do you want to know how you cast Soul Shadow?" Drake said.
Mike didn't know how to respond.
"So you don't even know all of your abilities," Drake began. "Mmm... Marlus may have saved all of your lives that day, but you prevented yourself from dying when I cast that spell. You used Soul Shadow yourself, and even though it wasn't strong enough to block mine, it stopped the spell from killing you entirely."
"That's impossible." Mike gripped his staff tightly. "Then where'd... Where did I learn it?"
"When your emotions get too strong you go into a trance and you learn spells you didn't know before. That's all I can tell you. It's a coincidence, huh? You've always called yourself an ice and holy mage, but you know some of the strongest dark magic around."
Mike became suspicious. "Why are you telling me this? What do you want?"
"Well, I know having you kill your little friends is out of the question. But I don't want you to be shocked when you use Soul Shadow again." After saying that, he reversed his spell and everyone started moving again.
"White Flame!" Mike roared. The light hit Drake hard and knocked him down. When the attack cleared, though, he was gone.
"What?" Marlus muttered, moving forward. "Where'd he go?"
"I hate it when that happens," said Kyle.
Brett and Zac appeared in the room. "Why'd you leave us behind?" Zac said.
"You didn't miss anything," Mike said, walking down the stairs. "He'll find us again anyway."
Marlus, Mike, and Kyle conversed, and decided to go help Shii, Matt, and Lydia. They floated to the ground gently and quickly walked towards the building where they had seen Ness. The building was fairly small, but when the three entered, they were as awestruck as Shii, Lydia, and Matt, who were still standing next to the doorway. Exquisite chandeliers hung from the ceiling at the top of every dome, of which there were many. Myriad colors filled the room, dancing from ceiling to floor. The six were mesmerized by the display. Mike was the first one to blink himself out of surprise.
"Marlus, do you have a power to make us invisible?" Mike asked him.
"Not while we're moving," Marlus responded. "Looks like we'll have to be quick and stealthy with our bodies. We can't use any magic--likely they've adapted to detecting it like me, Brett, and Zac. Speaking of which--"
"You forgot us again," Brett said. The rest were startled. They hadn't seen Brett and Zac approach. "Well, we're here now, so we might as well do whatever." Marlus threw off his heavy cloak, revealing a black tunic strapped down with supplies. Without the cloak on, he was quite slender and tall. The cloak phased out, and he could call it at any other time. Without the cloak, two psionic abilities were automatically manifested and couldn't be detected (they're permanently affecting him without the cloak). Marlus leapt from the ground with great speed and clung to the ceiling by a chandelier for no more than a second. He continued these acrobatics, always keeping to the shadows. Eventually, he was at the end of the hall.
The guards could, indeed detect psionics, and when Marlus made the lights go out, they knew the source. They exited the building, waiting for more light to come in, and ordered the civilians to do the same. Poor fools, Mike thought as he closed and locked all the doors with his magic. The lights went back on, and Marlus beckoned to the others...
"Well, a little. I'm a fighter, not a computer nerd, you know," Bill told Paula. A few quick strokes on the keyboard and he pushed the 'Enter' key. The password reappeared, this time with a timer. He pressed the 'Escape' key and they logged in. A new file on the Garuda popped up.
"I thought you said you couldn't hack," Paula complained.
"You have to look for the loopholes. I can't hack worth crap, but I can find the loopholes to let you in."
"Oh..." The two leaned forward, examining the file, when the librarian walked over to them, a menacing look on his studious face. "You were in an Eigth-Level Security File. We could use someone like you later on when we put our plans into action against the Righteousness..." his tone changed as he winked at the two. "You shouldn't have been there! Don't do it again!" he scolded the two with another grin and a wink.
Paula uneasily returned the wink and went back to examining the file...
Lorrenna lay on the ground, stunned. So, she thought, so after all, nobody needs me. And I thought I would join up with them. No matter. I'm a lone assassin. She pulled out one of her lotus flowers to look at. Drake appeared in front of her.
"We can't have any of those, now, can we?" he asked rhetorically as he psionically levitated all the lotus flowers from her and burnt them out with his energy blade. "There, much better. I feel like giving you a chance, but I'm not about to let you resist my magic, either." He did the same with her protective artifact, lifting it up, and then--"No, I think I'll keep it. Yes, then I don't have to worry about the psion." He phased out, leaving Lorrenna blundered and confused.
The group was climbing the stairs in the strangely extravagant building.
"So, where is Ness?" Zac asked quietly.
"Somewhere near the top, I'd assume," Brett said, sensing Ness's power.
"Oh." The group arrived at the top of the staircase and the next floor. The doors had windows in them.
"Let's try and see if anyone's in there before opening the door." Marlus looked through the window and saw no movement and couldn't see any guards. "It looks safe."
He opened the door, but then motioned everyone to not cross through yet. He saw some dust in the corner on the floor. He scooped up as much as he could and blew it towards the doorway. Sure enough, a fine, red beam was between the door frame. The group stepped over it.
"I wouldn't be surprised if this whole floor was rigged with laser sensors."
"We can find out," Mike said. "Mist..." An icy mist started to fill the room. Sure enough, the room almost was illuminated with all of the sensors.
"Crap... they're almost too thick to get through," Brett sighed. "But it looks managable."
"They're emitting the laser beam rather slow, or at least I can see the photons moving."
"I see the control panel on the other side," Matt pointed towards the far wall.
"I'll be back," Brett said. The next second, he faded from view. About a minute later he reappeard on the other side, slightly winded.
"Now, let's see if this panel will let me turn off all the laser sensors..." Brett started typing quickly and started to break through the codes. The lasers then turned off.
"I believe I turned off all the lasers, but there might be a few that weren't linked to that panel over there."
The group started heading up to the next floor.
Paula read the new file on Garuda. A paragraph at the top said it was a "stolen archive" that had been excavated from some underwater ruins on Earth.
Anyway, it showed a large picture of this "Garuda" at the top. What it looked like was totally unexpected. First of all, this "Garuda" wasn't even alive... it was a machine! It was decorated with several bone-like patterns on it. It also had long, pointed ears and long teeth!
"Whoever heard of a bird with ears and teeth?!" Paula mumbled.
Just then, she noticed a link to a video of Garuda. She pressed the Enter key...
After a few seconds a film began to play. It looked pretty old. As it started, hundreds of anthropomorphic animals were fleeing through a forest. The camera was bumping up and down, as it was obviously held by someone.
Paula and Bill were surprised. "I thought it was a little far-fetched at first..." Bill said. "...But it seems that the dragon knows his stuff...!"
The camera panned over to look at what the animals were fleeing from. It looked like a gigantic, dark, formless mass. Standing off in the distance was some animal that looked like a cat with DBZ-style hair. It was just standing there as all the other animals fled around him.
At this point, the camera dropped down a little bit. The camera guy had obviously abandoned it. However, it must've been on a rock or something, because it could still fully catch the scene.
After a few minutes, the mass was approaching the cat. That's when the feline suddenly caught on fire. The mass started to back away.
The fire spread across the ground till it nearly touched the camera. Then, out of these flames, the Garuda arose. The flames dissapated, and the cat was nowhere to be found.
"Don't tell me that cat turned into the bird!" Paula cried.
The Garuda then breathed a black flame all over the mass. The mass was set ablaze, but it wasn't burnt in a natural way. Instead, it turned black as if it was dying. It then melted into a giant puddle.
Bill seemed quite confused at this "black fire" attack. He had never seen it before...
Then, the Garuda flew into the air and out of view. A few minutes later, a black ball came plummeting to the ground way off in the distance. When it touched down, it sparked a huge black dome that ended about where the cat once stood.
After that was a great rumbling. The camera fell off the rock. Then, water came gushing out of nowhere. The camera floated for a short while until it sank and the film stopped.
Paula and Bill were just staring in disbelief.
Suddenly, Paula remembered something. Something had looked suspicious in the beginning. She pushed the Enter key again.
The tape started over, with all the animals running. After about thirty seconds, she pressed Enter again. The tape paused.
Paula squinted into the background. A bunch of short, seemingly hairless creatures were running in the background.
"Ummm, lesse... how do I zoom in?" she asked.
Suddenly, the computer zoomed in, probably from Paula's voice. It zoomed in on the hairless creatures just as she wanted. Now, she saw them much more clearly... she could now see that those creatures possessed one hair that had a red ribbon tied around it...
"Mr. Saturns!!!" Paula cried.
Ness looked out the window, then turned to a portal beside him. "So this will take me to the Grezing Mountains," he mumbled.
"It's controlled by thoughts. If you don't tell it where to go, you'll end up in the wrong place," Arker explained. "Good luck, Ness." He smiled, though it didn't look quite right to Ness. Ness stepped through the red vortex and found himself in a cave.
"Now to find the sanctuary," Ness muttered. "I'll prove to Paula that I only want to help Earth."
In the background, it seemed like something shifted in the universe.
Kyle, Shii Ryong, Brett, Zac, Mike, Matt, Marlus, and Lydia climbed the stairs quickly. They arrived in the room where Ness had been just moments ago.
"No, we missed him," Matt groaned, looking around the empty room.
"But what's that?" Lydia asked, pointing to the portal in the wall.
"Hmm... A vortex, perhaps. Maybe Ness exited through here," Marlus said.
"Let's see where it takes us, then," Kyle said, stepping through. Everyone followed.
The portal took the group to relatively close positions, but they were still spread out in a thick forest.
"Hello?" Mike yelled into the darkness.
"Is that you, Mike?" Kyle yelled back.
"I'm here too," Zac called.
Lydia shouted, "Let's all meet in one place. Everyone come to me!"
"Why you?" Shii Ryong asked, trudging through the grass.
"...Because I think there's someone here with me!"
"That'd be me," Matt said, getting up behind her. Lydia was startled as she whirled around to face him.
Although there were some mix-ups, everyone finally reached Lydia's position. "So, where are we and how do we get out of here?" Brett asked the others, staring around. The forest didn't seem to end anywhere, and it was incredibly dark.
"Ness doesn't seem to be here," Marlus commented. "And we don't seem to be near Proice, either."
"We'll go that way, then," Kyle said, pointing the Excalabur in a direction.
"How do we know that won't take us deeper into the forest?" Zac said.
No one answered for a moment.
"Hey! Wait a sec!" Marlus cried.
Everybody stopped in their tracks.
"What?" Matt asked.
Marlus turned to Shii Ryong. "You have wings," he said to the dragon, "you can fly can't you?"
"Ummm... sure," SR answered.
"Just fly above the trees and tell us if you see anything up there," Marlus instructed.
SR shrugged. He flew up until he was above the trees. The group watched as he hovered above them.
SR saw forest all around. Not just forest, but a bizarre looking one at that. There were several kinds of trees that SR had never seen before. The ones that looked familiar were a bunch of weird colors.
Finally, off in the distance, SR saw what looked like a dark tower coming up from the trees.
"Do you see anything?!" Kyle called up.
SR came back down to the ground. "I saw something that looked like a building that way," SR reported, pointing.
Matt slapped his forehead. "That's where we were originally going!" he cried.
SR looked freaked out. "Hey, it was 'is idea!" he said, pointing to Marlus.
"You're the one that went through with it," Marlus shot back.
"Hey, guys," Lydia spoke up. "Why don't we save the blame game for later and find Ness now."
And thus, the group ran off through the forest. Well, everyone ran except for SR... he had to fly after them, or else he'd run out of breath too quick... ([Conan O' Brien]Because he's old!![/Conan O' Brien])...
"I don't think we used that portal right," said Kyle, clearing away through the forest.
"You're probably right," said Brett. "Ness disappeared right before we entered the room, so if he came the same way, we would feel him nearby. But he isn't anywhere near us."
"You called, sir?" said Arker, who was back in the big office with the other man.
"Yes. I think that Ness may be starting to suspect you," said the man.
"I am trying my best to act like a good friend," said Arker.
"That's just it!" yelled the other man. "Don't act! Be his friend! We are not his enemy, just as he is not ours!"
"Sir! I understand!"
"Good," said the man.
"Sir, I have something else to discuss with you," said Arker.
"What is it?"
"It's about the escaped convicts. The two confirmed Losars and the unconfirmed one. They are working with the group of Earthlings trying to persuade Ness to return to Earth."
"Yes, I'll order the guards and police to kill the Losars on sight, as well as anyone who attempts to get in the way. In the meantime, Arker, make preparations for a large celebration upon the return of Ness from the Grezing Mountains."
"I'll be happy to, sir. By your leave..."
The man waved his hand for Arker to go, and Arker left to prepare for the celebration.
Ness walked through the Grezing Mountains, puzzled at the nature of the life that resided within the caves.
"Are they... afraid of me?" Ness mumbled as bats, rats, and other animals scurried or flew away at the sight of him. Ness decided to ignore the peculiar behavior and admire the rock formations instead.
Ness finally reached an exit from the cave he was in. There was a light that blinded him.
"This... is beautiful," Ness said. He could see the vast landscape before him. Proice was somewhat in the distance, making it hard to see the eight people walking towards it.
Ness walked up to a large spring. The water seemed to be tiny crystals, giving it an even more elegant look.
"Mom would like to have this in the living room," Ness mused. He closed his eyes and wondered what memory would come to him. However, instead of a memory of his childhood, he got a different, more unusual image.
The boy, who looked somewhat similar to Ness, stepped into a strange rock formation. The rocks were shaped like pillars and formed a semi-circle around the boy. The boy closed his eyes and absorbed the power of the spot into his hands. Then, something appeared behind him and the boy ran away.
Ness shook his head, trying to make sense of what he had just seen. The rock formation looked nothing like the area he was in now, but he decided to imitate what the boy did. He placed his hands in the crystal spring, and was blinded by a light. When the light was gone, he held in his hand a blue rock.
"Hmm. Looks like part of a puzzle," Ness concluded. "Now how do I get back?" Ness took a look at the scenery in front of him. Proice seemed too far away to walk to, but there seemed to be a lakeside town just a few miles away. "Hopefully I can find some transportation there," Ness thought. Just then, a floating car appeared below him.
"Ness!" Arker called from inside it. "Come down! We have a surprise for you back in Proice. I can take you there!"
"Okay, thanks!" Ness shouted back. He ran through the caves and appeared at Arker's side. "Let's go. What's the surprise?"
"It's something special to celebrate your success in getting the power from here."
"Yes!" Ness cheered, and they drove off.
Meanwhile, Kyle, Shii Ryong, Brett, Zac, Mike, Matt, Marlus, and Lydia managed to slip by the guards and into the town.
"We can't be seen," Kyle said. "They'd most likely kill all of you for being with Mike and me. Let's go to the tower now."
Paula and Bill were still somewhat startled by the video they had gotten.
"Mr. Saturns?" said Bill in confusion. "I can't figure it out."
Paula suddenly felt dizzy. "Something's wrong... Ness... It's out of balance... What is he doing...?"
"Paula?" was the last Paula heard from Bill before she fainted.
"Do ya'll hear cheering?" asked Kyle.
"A party?" asked Mike.
"Let's go check it out," said Brett and they all headed in the direction of the noise.
One of the wider streets was crowded with people on both sides, who were cheering and talking loudly. Police vehicles were passing down the street.
"A parade!" said Lydia.
"Yeah, but what for?" asked Matt.
"Guys, I feel Ness nearby... at least I think it's Ness," said Zac.
"I feel him too!" said Brett.
"Should be near," said Marlus.
Then Kyle, who had broken off to watch the parade, came back yelling, "It's Ness! He's in the parade, come see!"
Everyone either pushed their way to the front of the crowd or stood on something to see over the crowd. Sure enogh, there was Ness. Sitting in a very expensive-looking red Corvette-floating car. Ness was in there with Arker. They were chatting happily about something and waving every once in a while to the crowd.
Lydia started calling to Ness, trying to get his attention, but it didn't work. The crowd was too loud.
It's not working... I can tell he's not buying my Soul Shadow story...
"Drake!" the old man said sharply.
Drake jumped, startled. "Yes - er - what?" He was sitting at a table surrounded by all of the people of high authority within The Righteousness. They were discussing their plan.
The Righteousness leader looked at Drake in a piercing manner. "I assure you your obsession with this magus boy you've been attacking is not healthy, nor is it helping our plan. We need to protect Ness at all costs. After the celebration, he will be leaving for the second power spot."
"...So?" said Drake mildly.
"The point is the two, most likely three Losars are still a danger. They have other Earthlings on the same quest. They must be stopped. Can you arrange the police force to do that?"
"Of course, I'd be delighted," Drake said sarcastically. "But why do you say three Losars?"
"The unconfirmed one used dark magic to kill a guard."
"But Losars use dark PSI," Drake replied.
"That doesn't matter. Just kill everyone involved with them and we'll be fine."
Drake nodded as he thought to himself. He had his own way of doing things, and wasn't strongly connected to the Righteousness. He was already planning what to do before he attacked the group, and it was going to take longer than the leader would have liked. But Drake didn't care. The way he looked at things, he was way above the Righteousness, the psions, the Czar dragons, the saiyans, the Earthlings, the Losars, and the magi.
Drake stood up and exited.
"C'mon, guys!" Zac called to the others. "We gotta catch up to Ness before he gets away again!"
The group pushed their way through the crowd, trying to keep up with the car. They would also try to call to him, but it seemed like he never heard them.
As they pushed their way through, something dawned on Brett.
"Say Zac," he said to his twin.
"What Brett?" Zac asked.
"That same guy we saw earlier is with Ness in the car," Brett pointed out. "Do you think that maybe he's the reason that Ness won't pay attention to us?"
"Whaddya mean Brett?" Zac asked.
"Well, remember how Ness was all short answered with us last time?"
"Well that guy was with him that time too."
"So you think this guy is some kinda bad influence on Ness?"
"Maybe," Brett said. "But I gotta feeling it's more than that. Call me paranoid, but I think that guy's trying to keep Ness away from us as much as possible!"
"You know what?" Zac said. "I think you might be right. The problem is, Ness always seems to be with that guy! How are we ever gonna meet with Ness by himself?"
The twins looked up to see Ness's car and the rest of the group way down the street.
"Yikes!" they both said, while trying to catch up.
Meanwhile, down the street, Shii Ryong was following after the car. All along the way, he eyed Ness while growling. There was something about that kid that was making him feel threatened.
That kid's got something that's giving off an unstable power... the dragon thought. Maybe... he's the "victim"?
Mike, who was near SR at the time, heard him growling...
The group pushed through the screaming crowds in an attempt to catch up to Ness. After much struggling through the sea of people, they managed to break through and onto the parade route. Unfortunately, their efforts had been for nothing as they were met by a group of guards as they approached the car Ness was travelling in.
"Intervening with a event of this magnitude is a criminal offense," ordered one of the guards. Kyle and Mike covered their faces and bowed down behind the others, since they knew that the police were looking out for them. "Return back to your designated areas, now!"
Brett pushed to the front of the group and objected.
"Wait! We need to tal-"
"I will have you all imprisoned if you do not return to the designated area now!" interrupted the guard, placing his hand on the hilt of his gun. Not wanting to turn the parade into a brawl, the group ventured back into the crowd.
"Blimey, 'ow are we supposed to get to Ness if these blokes won't 'let us through?" questioned Shii, growling as he looked one of the officers over.
"Since we don't want to turn this into a fight, we should try to figure out a way to distract the guards so we can sneak by," reasoned Brett. "Any ideas?"
"I have one," Matt stood more alert. "Maybe we should pretend that Mike and Kyle are somewhere else in the city, doing bad things. Do you think that'll work?"
"It should, but how would we make this distraction without one of us getting caught?" Mike asked.
"Maybe if either Zac or myself throws an invisible ball of energy fairly far away, it would work."
"Go for it," Lydia agreed. Everyone else seemed for it.
"All right, now surround me as I make the energy ball," Zac said as he crouched down. The others stood around him to shield him from view. "All right, it's ready." Just then, a slight breeze was felt as the orb flew out of the middle of the circle. A few seconds later, a huge explosion was heard from a good distance.
"Oh no! The Losars on the loose are starting to destroy the city!" someone in the crowd yelled. As soon as the explosion was heard, an alarm sounded and everyone quickly, but orderly, went home. The police piled into their cars and sped off into the distance. Only a few people remained, plus Arker and Ness in their car.
"Since the parade is over, I guess we should get going," Arker said as he motioned for the driver to start back.
"Not so fast," Paula said as she stepped in front of the car. The rest of the group started to surround the car, with Brett and Zac floating above the car. "Ness, we need to talk... ALONE."
Drake watched from a distance as Brett and Zac pulled Arker out of the car and Mike froze him in place.
"Well, I better leave. Those fools will never get through to Ness anyway. Arker's got him believing every word he says, and he'll never understand what will happen when he succeeds." Drake then concentrated and disappeared.
Drake reappeared on a small island, next to some ruins. In the ruins was the previous home of the summoners of eidolons. Now, they had all seemed to disappear.
"Mmm, the fresh feel of power," Drake said. He looked around the empty area. "No use sticking around here."
Drake closed his eyes. When he reopened them, people were staring at him.
"Hello, are you summoners?" Drake asked, pretending to be sincere.
"Yes, who are you?" someone called out.
Drake never answered. Instead, he cast a spell, draining the powers of the summoners and taking the eidolons as his own.
Drake immediately returned to his own time. "Hehe, I can use these new powers to kill those losers," he snickered. Little did he know that even he did not possess enough power to control all of his new power.
"Unfreeze him!" yelled Ness.
"I need to talk to you, Ness!" said Paula, very sternly.
"Unfreeze Arker first!" said Ness.
Arker thawed himself out using magic before Mike could explain that he couldn't 'unfreeze'.
"Now, what do you want?" asked Ness.
"Go talk to your friend there, Ness," said Arker. "We have plenty of time. Just tell your friends to not attack me."
Ness gave Brett and Zac a look as if to say, "Don't you dare..." He waved for Paula to follow him into a nearby empty alley. She did.
Just then, Bill came running to them. He stopped when he got to them. "She got away from me!" he said.
"What?" asked Matt.
"Miss Paula. While we were in the library researching, she suddenly collapsed." Bill was looking around at everyone. He glanced at Arker more than a few times. "A few minutes later she came to and suddenly ran off babbling something about stopping Ness."
"Stopping Sir Ness? But why?"
Bill stared at Arker some more. "Who the heck are you?"
"I am Arker Swire, member of The Righteousness Senate, currently aiding Sir Ness to attain the Supreme Power. And you are Bill Culex, Losar, Prisoner #5546225 cell #8667 of prison #533. I could easily have you and your son, Kyle Culex, Losar, Prisoner #9934551 cell #8667 of prison #533, arrested right now for destruction of property, jail break, and being Losars, as well as Mr. Mike Keith, Magi, Prisoner #9934552 cell #8668 of prison #533 for jail break and imitation of a dangerous species. But I won't, because we all seem to be friends of Ness, and I think we have no re-"
"Friend? You call yourself a friend?" said Mike. "If you are his friend, then why are you allowing him to go through with this dangerous mission. If he becomes one with the Universe, his power will cause him to pull a Giygas!"
"What?" asked Arker. "Giygas? The leader of the Giygans?"
"He means," said Zac, "that Ness's power will rise so much that his power will destroy his mind."
"It will not be the first time it happens, either," added Brett.
"Since the beginning of time."
Arker seemed a little confused for a second, but when he got everything straight in his mind he said, "That's nonsense. I would never lead Sir Ness into anything dangerous. The Senate wouldn't allow me to do it."
"But I have proof!" said Shii. "A long time ago-"
"Sorry, nothing will convince me that this mission is dangerous," said Arker.
Suddenly, loud voices came from the alley where Ness and Paula were. They were arguing.
"You don't understand!" yelled Paula.
"No! You don't understand Paula!" said Ness.
"Fine! Fine!! You want to die like Giygas, go right ahead! I don't care anymore!" Paula ran from the alley toward the subway.
"I'd better follow her," said Bill, and he ran after Paula.
Ness came from the alley looking very angry.
"Arker, let's start looking for the next power spot."
"Yes, sir!" said Arker happily. They got into their car and drove off. The group could only watch.
"...Well," said Kyle, "do we have a Plan B?"
"Before that, we need to tell you what we found on the Garuda," Bill said firmly. He turned to Paula, but turned away soon after since she didn't seem to be in a state where she would want to talk.
Bill quickly informed everyone about the video.
"A... cat?" asked Marlus, confused at the description.
"It's weird, but the main point is that everything was destroyed by a black flame," said Bill. "Now, does anyone have a plan to stop Ness?"
There was a silence in which everyone tried to formulate a plan. Before they could answer, they heard a guard yelling nearby.
"Come on, we can't stay here," Mike said, picking up his staff and heading for the subway station. "Let's get back to Freelance Haven. The answer could be there."
Paula nodded and followed him. Kyle, who was nearby, could tell she was upset that she didn't get through to Ness for the second time.
"What's happening to Ness?" Paula muttered.
As they went to the subway station, Matt noticed something about Shii Ryong. He was walking funny. He also had a blank stare in his eyes and kept swinging his head around.
"What's wrong?" Matt asked the old beast.
"Oh, nothing really..." SR answered. "...Nothing to be concerned about."
Actually, something WAS wrong, but SR didn't know how to tell it to Matt.
"Say, I've got an idea how to get yer Ness chum back," he proposed, trying to change the subject.
"How?!" Paula cried, hearing it.
"You know that guy who was with 'im?"
"I'll EAT 'im! That way he won't bother yer chum again!"
Paula gave him a dirty look.
"Wot? It's worth a try!" SR protested.
The joke didn't seem to cheer SR up either. He was still concerned about what was going on. Someone, he couldn't tell who, was draining the powers from the summoners island...and he seemed to be doing a good job of it too! Right by that island was the Greater Summoner island where a select few are taught how to summon Greater Eidolons (such as himself) as a group...
I just gotta remember... SR thought. Even if the guy learns how to summon a greater eidolon... so what? If he tries to summon one all by 'imself, 'e'll DIE!!! That's what 'appens to all them power-'ungry fools!
Back in Freelance Haven, most of the party separated to rest and think. They could do nothing to stop Ness if they didn't have a plan and didn't know where he was.
Paula took a walk to contemplate what she had tried to tell Ness. Her stroll led her back to the library, where she found Mike. But he wasn't searching in a book for a spell. He was sitting in a large armchair, staring into the space.
"What's wrong?" Paula asked. She took a seat next to him.
"Nothing," Mike answered. "Actually, things make more sense to me now. I looked it up in the computer, and I found out that the only way to block a death spell is with a combination of every other magic.
"It's finally coming together. I can remember the day very well now. Drake used Soul Shadow to kill my father, so my mother, Marlus, and I hid in the basement. Drake was looking for something... I think it was the power to summon an eidolon. When my mother interrupted, he became angry and tried to kill me too. Marlus sacrificed his magic to block the spell, but he was late, and I still became mortally injured. Marlus' spell drove Drake away, however. Mom wanted to go to the hospital in the past, because the present hospital was destroyed. But time travel is very risky, and Marlus got separated to another space. I was healed after a while, but then when we tried to return, the spell went wrong again. And that's how I ended up here, but I've been here five years, and I haven't been able to return...
"I'm not going to go chasing this time travel spell anymore," Mike said firmly. "That's gotten me into too much trouble."
"You don’t need to, either," said Paula. "Fate will lead you to it, like how Ness came to me."
"And if it doesn't... I vanish and my past self will replace me..."
Paula hesitated, trying to find the right words. "...You'll learn it. Don't worry about it now."
Mike nodded, then sat down. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spill all of this on you. Especially with everything that's happened."
"It's okay. It took my mind off of Ness for a while." Paula suddenly thought about what she had said. "Telepathy?" she mumbled. "Maybe I could talk to Ness that way. Come on, let's go find the others," Paula said to Mike.
Something else was going on far away from the main scene. Back on Earth, life was went on as usual. In Saturn Valley, the Mr. Saturns were going on about their business, unaware of what was going on. So was the same for Saturn Valley's only non-Mr. Saturn resident. She was going to the item store for some groceries.
The non-Saturn resident was a woman in her 60's that lived behind the item store...that place where the Mad Duck is running around. Of course, she wasn't a normal old woman.
...She was an anthropomorphic cat! Let's just say she's a "Furry", if you know what I mean.
She walked into the item store.
"Hi-Ho, MiSs ReI!" said one of the merchant Saturns. "YoUr uSuAl? DiNg!"
"Yes, thank you," the cat, presumably Rei said. "Although I'd like a Stag Beetle, too. I caught some Violent Roaches in my kitchen yesterday... I know that Stag Beetles keep them away."
"YeS, bOiNg!" the Mr. Saturn said. "StAg BeEtLeS sCaRe RoAcHeS aWaY!"
The Mr. Saturn quickly filled a bag full of a few items, then got out a small cage with a brightly colored Stag Beetle inside.
Rei took the groceries and the beetle cage and went back to her house. A Mr. Saturn offered to help her with the groceries, but she just said she was fine. Even though she was 60, she wasn't exactly weak.
She went back to her house, and put the groceries away. She also put the Stag Beetle's cage in the kitchen where the roaches could easily see it.
As she was putting stuff away, she suddenly caught a glimpse of today's date on the calendar on her refrigerator. It brought back bad memories.
On today's exact date fifty years ago, The Garuda had sunk her homeland to the bottom of the sea.
She could remember it well, though she had only been ten years old at the time. There had been an order to evacuate her hometown... but when everyone saw why, namely the giant berserk monster, there was a huge panic. Everyone fled the city and out into a nearby forest. She remembered one of her next-door neighbors (who was also a cat) hadn't been terrified at all. In fact, he was staying behind, for some reason...
As everyone fled into the forest, Rei had lost sight of her family in the panicked crowd. She then found one of her best friends, a Mr. Saturn, fleeing with the rest of his tribe. He had told her to come with them, for the entire island wasn't safe anymore. She had wanted to find her family, but the Mr. Saturn assured her there was no time.
She had followed the Mr. Saturns to a funky-looking airship they had built. She boarded the ship with the rest of the Saturns, and took off.
As the ship slowly flew away from the small continent, Rei watched the last few moments of her homeland. A giant mechanical bird fought a formless mass monster. Several Mr. Saturns informed her the bird was a strange war machine called The Garuda. It was strange because no one knew how it worked or anything.
The Garuda easily killed the monster by spraying a dark fire all over it. Then, it flew straight into the sky.
The next thing Rei and the Mr. Saturns knew, a black ball flew down into the city. A giant black dome suddenly arose and engulfed half of the continent. When it disappeared, nothing but a giant crater was in its place.
That's when there was a loud rumbling. Rei and the Mr. Saturns then watched as the continent sank into the ocean. There was great weeping that day.
Rei stared blankly at the calendar. She started getting a strange feeling about this day...
Drake looked around him at the vivid colors of Proice. He could feel the power of the eidolons within him. But something prevented him from summoning the greater eidolons.
Drake growled, frustrated after failing to use summoning powers. "I know who'll help me, though..."
Paula and Mike walked through the small village. Its tranquil, pastel colors calmed everyone's spirits for a while, but they had to start moving again.
"Hehe, guess who," someone said. Mike turned around, startled. No one was around him except for Paula, who stared at him in utter confusion.
"Ugh, why can't you ever leave me alone?" Mike thought, finally realizing it was Drake.
"Help me to summon these stupid greater eidolons, and that'll be the last you hear of me."
"Greater eidolons need more than one summoner. I can't help you."
Suddenly, Mike lost his balance and fell to the ground, unable to get back up. Suddenly, his brain was suffering from great pain. "Fool, I know that. You've got summoning powers, and you'd better use them for me!"
"Let me go! I'm not a summoner! Believe me, I've tried!"
"What's happening?" Paula shouted in the background.
"What kind of magus with holy powers can't summon?" Drake roared furiously. "Fine! I'll just find someone else's power to sap up!"
Mike stood up, shaken. "It's nothing," he told Paula.
When they finally rounded up everyone else, Paula explained her plan to try to locate and communicate with Ness using telepathy.
"Here goes," she mumbled.
"Ness, can you hear me?" Paula's voice echoed through Ness' mind.
"...Paula? What do you want?" Ness muttered, still irritated with her.
"Where are you going? I need to make you understa –"
"Paula, I can't listen to you now. You don't even realize that I'm trying to help Earth."
"Ness, what's the matter?" Arker looked confused at Ness's facial expressions.
"Nothing. It was just voices in my head," Ness responded. "Let's get to the next sanctuary so I can absorb the power there."
"No," Paula moaned in frustration. "He won't hear me out still. How can I get through to him? But... I think I know where he's going..."
"Where?" Bill asked.
"Um..." Paula looked past everyone else. "He was in a dark forest..."
"Could that have been the one that we got lost in?" Matt wondered.
"That boy, he's an upstart," said the small girl.
"I can't tell if his heart is hardened or not. But, if it is... I did it," replied X-17 Lethaltype. His opaque shades did not reflect any light at all, making them bottomless pits in which there was nothing.
"That's mean." She was only 5'2", which paled in comparison to X-17's 6'2". In addition, she was very slim and obviously had little body mass.
"I have been watching him. Being a kid, his decisions have not yet determined the rest of his life. But, he is getting there."
The type of coat he was wearing today was the kind he wore when he sunk floating continents and took on entire armies by himself. In addition, he was carrying a large suitcase, which he had only done three times before in his life.
"You're packed to blow up the world, for chrissakes!" she exclaimed. Her hair was cut short, and her voice sounded young, but she moved and spoke in the manner of someone older.
"So is he." He dropped a chewed toothpick from his mouth and ground it under his boot.
"Now if I had stolen the actual power to summon eidolons and not just the eidolons themselves, then I wouldn't be in this mess. However, I didn't, and it's very hard to go back there, so I did this to myself. However, if I do go back again, I may end up losing the power of psionics that I stole from that other guy. So how much do I treasure that power? I think it's obvious that I'll try for the eidolons over psionics, but I just hope that I am able to successfully steal that power. Now I also have to steal greater eidolons so that I can summon them alone, and --"
"Hello mister, are you crazy?" A little boy looked up at Drake, who was leaning against a brick wall, talking rapidly to himself.
"Go away!" Drake roared, sending the boy scurrying back to his mother. Then he attempted to carry out his little plan and teleported away.
Ness and Arker were navigating through a forest, where he trees were too thick for the car to pass. The trees were so thick that the forest was nearly pitch black. Thankfully there was a path to follow, and Arker had brought a flashlight. No advanced technology there, just a flashlight...
This place was much different from the last route to a sanctuary. The animals actually attacked them every so often. Ness and Arker were able to fend them off together well enough, but then they got to a place where the trees were close together, forming a circle around an area. The entrance looked sort of like a cave, but the roofing was wood instead of earth. Right at the entrance, Ness spotted something very familiar. Blocking the way to the cave was
"A shining spot!" said Ness. "The next sanctuary must be right through this cave!"
"Hmm..." Arker inspected the shining spot. It completely blocked the cave entrance. "So, how do we get past it?"
Ness walked closer to the spot and the thing spoke up, half-scaring Arker to death. "This is one of the Universal Sanctuary locations, but it's mine now! Take it from me, if you dare..." The spot flashed a blinding light, and the next moment, Ness and Arker were face to face with what looked like a very fat knight, the Mid-Knight Snacker!
"Let this meeting come to order!" said an important-looking man, pounding a gavel loudly. Bill, who was in the area, had been ushered into Freelance Heaven's town meeting by the crowd who started for the town hall at the ringing of a bell.
"We have recieved information that The Righteousness's future leader is currently off to gain his power. Our intelligence have decided that now would be the best time to attack Proice head on!"
There was scattered cheering.
"So, the council has decided to take their advice. When this meeting is adjourned, we'll give you all an hour to prepare and we'll all meet at the subway. This is the moment we've all been waiting for. This meeting is adjourned!" The man pounded the gavel and everyone stood up, heading home to prepare for the coming battle. Bill decided that he should hurry and inform the others. Ness might just give up this hunt if there's no people to help him! ...Right?
X-17 Lethaltype looked at the feedback from the Mid-Knight Snacker. He was glad that he had managed to jam the surveillance systems inside the armor itself, without the guy even noticing.
SMAAASH! The video screen flickered, and was slightly cracked.
"So, this is what I'm taking care of," he said, watching Ness and Arker intently. "This ought to be interesting." He smiled. He packed up and started heading down the wall of the cave. He set up again, and waited for the right moment.
Marlus got up from his seat at the library, where the screen was filled with diagrams of energy and its many forms, and headed for the refreshments center. The white-tiled and clean facility was warm and almost welcoming compared to the cold, sterile air of the library. The smells of various foods wafted over to him, almost stifling his breathing. He coughed as he neared a Mexican-style place and a few unfriendly glares tossed themselves his way. Subconsciously, he edged away, towards a Japanese-style restaurant. He ordered a bowl of fried rice and a side of vegetable soup and seated himself at a table towards the corner of the place.
He soon found out that it was the most popular restaurant in the facility; it was crowded already, and his food was delivered hot and fresh within minutes. Mere seconds passed before a few citizens seated themselves at his table and began an excited conversation in a different tongue. Though Marlus couldn't catch the words, he guessed that some of the recent happenings were on top of the subject. Midway through a sentence, one of the men caught him listening in and said in English, "You can't understand, do you?"
"No, I don't," Marlus replied, "but if you'd care to tell me I'd be happy to listen."
"Well, from the looks of you, you study energy. We share your interest, and have found a way to create that which is sought most by the governing houses of Proice."
"Houses?" Marlus cut in.
"Yes," another of the men, apparently Japanese, commented. "It's much like the feudal system of Japan on Earth, really." He launched into a detailed explanation of the houses, and Marlus didn't notice the quick flow of time about them. "And Arker, one of the highest-ranking officials in Proice, is of one of the highest houses there. He's currently trying to unseat the other houses through embarrassment, but it isn't working. He needs more power."
Another man leaped into the conversation. "That's exactly why we need to keep this technology away from him. We've discovered the power to create ei--"
"SSSSHHH!" one of the other men, Russian, hissed. "Listen, comrade," he practically spat the words. "We don't need anyone else knowing about this, but unless you've been deprived of your mind, you already know what we're talking about. If you need us, we're usually here or in the library, though it strikes me as mad why you'd need us."
"Very well," Marlus closed the conversation, getting up from the table. "I'll see you later, then." He hurriedly walked towards the subway station to share his research and conversation.
Mike walked through the small recluse, admiring the appearance and tranquility of the place. It was somewhat hazy in the area, giving a dreamy feeling to the place. When Mike reached the end of Freelance Haven, he came across a garden of crystal structures, somewhat resembling flowers.
The light being spread out through the crystals produced a serene atmosphere, and Mike's spirits were lifted.
"This place... has power," he mumbled. "Could this be one of the power spots Ness is searching for?" Mike pondered the effect if that were true. "Then he would eventually have to come here... And with Arker..."
A group of people exited a building nearby, talking loudly and rapidly. "So we're gonna just go and attack them? Good, I wanna get a little action," someone said.
"Proice will fall today!" another bellowed.
Mike paused, allowing the information to collect. He stepped forward. "Everyone's going to just go in and attack Proice?"
"Yeah, what's wrong with that? That boy is gone, so we can destroy them and the boy will have to give up becoming one with the world!"
"...That's suicide. That's just insane," Mike replied angrily, running off.
"That's the reasoning," a man said. He was somewhat high in power over Freelance Haven.
"But they'd overpower us easily!" Mike yelled.
The man replied, "We're much more powerful than you may think."
"But... they have hundreds of guards! Just at the prison there were --"
"I understand that you and the two Losars escaped easily, with the help of the Excalabur, magic, and your companions," the man responded. "And they're not really powerful. I bet half of them were enslaved by The Righteousness' power!"
Mike paused for a moment, his mind drifting to the dead guard in the prison. He could have been brainwashed. He was just a pawn in this whole scheme. Why did he get in the way?
"Look, if you're so against it, you really don't have to join us. You can stay here if you want."
Mike shook his head stubbornly. "Even if we do beat them, it's not for sure Ness will give up due to lack of support. There are still people out there who can push him further." Abruptly, he turned around and exited the building.
The man shrugged. Mike's opinion didn't really matter to him.
Ness was concentrating on psychic powers, while Arker attacked with holy powers. Together, they were beating the Mid-Knight Snacker, whose weight seemed to be hindering his attacks. The battle was ending soon, and the sanctuary would soon be Ness's...
X-17 Lethaltype snickered. "To think that I was made from this very power, to think that my flesh and bones were once that pure energy."
"Fill the body molds!" ordered the old doctor.
Immediately, many men around the complex flipped switches, and molds in the shapes of humans began filling up with a pure shimmering light that was blinding to look at.
A man in a black labcoat rather than a white one hurried up to the doctor. "This is very important."
So, the two walked into a private area together.
"Yes?" asked the doctor.
"The Giygas project is almost finished. We have not even completed our prototypes! It is almost certain that the Worm of Oppression will destroy our budget, rip off our most brilliant minds, and re-assign it all to the Giygas project. They are showing far more progress than we are."
"Do not worry. One prototype is all that is needed to survive on our side. We just need one example, and he will be capable of being more evil than not just their pathetic pile of ooze named Giygas, but even the Worm of Oppression himself!"
"You have forgotten that the Giygas organism was designed to be capable of infinitely expanding itself, both mentally and physically."
"So can our X Lethaltypes, and they don't even have to bulge out grotesquely or go insane to do that!"
"The fact remains that the Worm of Oppression cares only about what he sees, and the evidence that he can get his hands on. You know how he doubts things that do not yet have evidence."
The doctor sat and pondered for a moment, then had a brilliant idea. "I have a brilliant idea. Once the Giygas project is completed, we will send it 1,000,000 years into the future in order that the Worm of Oppression might not find it."
"Our remote time-travelling ray is also experimental! We have not even tried to transport living organisms with it yet, let alone gigantic biomasses!"
Another man came into the room, also wearing a black labcoat. "Their bodies are finished. They are fully awake."
And the doctor smiled. "See? Our prototypes will be infinitely better than even their finished product!"
X-17 knew the energy that was contained in the Sanctuary quite well. He knew it as intimately as his own body. And he knew that if Ness absorbed all the power in it, it would eventually overload his primitive frame and cause him to perish.
Unless, of course, Ness was also built from the energy, rather than having been born naturally. In that case, he would have to be stopped the very moment he made the decision to unleash the powers at his grasp.
The war had started. A few of the group attemting to stop Ness stayed behind in Freelance Heaven, such as Paula. But Kyle and Bill had been ushered onto the train headed for Proice and were now fighting for their lives against the race that had destroyed their ancestors.
Most of the army from Freelance Heaven were having trouble fending off The Righteousness's army. More because they were outnumbered than for weakness. The Righteousness had more people arriving constantly out of the Teleportals.
Bill and Kyle worked side by side for a long time, helping each other take out any enemy who got in their way, but then Kyle had an idea. One of the most popular war strategies: cutting off others from joining the fight.
"Dad," said Kyle. "I'm going ahead. Got to stop this quickly."
"Right, I'll stay behind and help the rest."
Kyle broke away from Bill and dashed through the crowd of Righteousness soldiers, slashing through as many as possible.
As he ran, Kyle had to think, "Why aren't they using their magic? It would be alot easier, wouldn't it?" But then an enemy captain suddenly shouted to his men.
"Take out as many of the rebels as you can. Don't use magic in this close-range battle. At least not until the Righteous Bot prototype arrives. It should be able to fininsh the rest. Then we'll move in and..."
Kyle couldn't hear him anymore. He had made it nearly to the Teleportal's street.
What was the Righteous Bot? Some king of fighter? A powerful 'mech or something? Kyle had no time to worry, since he had arrived at the Teleportal Information Booth.
It was appearantly the main control system for the Teleportals. There were forty switches, each with the name of a planet under it, except for the last five, which were the 'Temporary Teleportal' switches. Kyle started flipping them off one by one, which wasn't easy. Each switch seemed to be rusted in place. Kyle barely had flipped five of them when he noticed a large master switch on the floor. It said "Do Not Touch". Naturally, Kyle switched it and the whole street's teleportals faded. Kyle left the booth and, to make sure that the Teleportals stay down, he used his PSI End of the World a to destroy the booth. Proud of himself, and seeing that The Righteousness' numbers were finally reducing, he started back to the battlegrounds, ready to help out again.
Kyle had his Excalabur out and was ready to start slashing, when he was pulled back and lifted from the ground.
"AHH! What the heck!?" Kyle tried to turn and see who had grabbed him, but he couldn't. They were flying over buildings away from the battle.
Bill was wearing down. His reliance on PSI, due to absence of weapons, was causing a migraine. Through blurred vision, he could see that the enemy numbers were thinning. Only a couple hundred left. He looked to his right and saw Brett and Zac still at it, but with severe burns. Matt, who was just near Bill, to his left, also had burns. The Righteousness officers were now permitting the use of magic, and white flames were erupting every few seconds from the enemies. Bill backed away, finally, finding shelter behind another wave of Freelance soldiers. He collapsed amid the other bodies of injured or dead fighters.
Kyle was dropped on the roof of a very tall building. He looked up the see a man standing, looking at Kyle. He had a grin on his face. His eyes were cold and seemed almost lifeless. Other than that he looked like some twenty year old movie star. Straight from Beverly Hills.
"I was ordered to take out the Losar," he said in an amused voice. "I am the Righteous Bot, also known as Project Ben. I was created as the ultimate fighter droid. Surpassing even the Starman Series incredibly in all areas. I daresay I'm also more powerful than a Losar."
Seeing immediately that Ben wanted to fight, Kyle reached for his Excalabur... but where was it?
"Looking for this?" asked Ben, holding out the Excalabur. "Ah, well. I want to see your skills without this pathetic weapon." He apparently couldn't use it properly. Maybe only a Losar could wield it?
Ben swung the Excalabur around a bit then tossed it over the side of the building.
"NOO!" yelled Kyle, as he ran to the side of the building to see the Excalabur hit the ground. Amazingly, the sword landed upright in the ground, sticking out of the sidewalk like a sword in a stone. Kyle turned to Ben.
"Well, let's get started then," said Ben. He ran at Kyle, punching him before he had time to react.
Kyle was thrown to the center of the roof by the blow. He stumbled up and attempted to run and hit Ben the same way Ben did him, but he wasn't fast enough. Ben slammed Kyle to the ground with an overhead blow.
Seeing an opening as Ben laughed triumphantly above him, Kyle jumped up and punched Ben's face.
"OWowowowowowow!" Kyle stumbled backward holding his hand, which was in pain.
Ben nearly doubled up with laughter.
Then Kyle figured, since his power didn't work, he should use his PSI.
"PSI Shadow Beam Beta!" yelled Kyle, pointing a finger at Ben. A huge beam shot from the finger to Ben. Ben was blown off the edge of the building.
Kyle smiled. "I... I did it!"
But then he saw Ben rising back up, and remembered that Ben could fly.
"Hahaha! Nice try, but you..." He noticed all too late that Kyle was now looking down the side of the building, his hand outstretched to his Excalabur.
Kyle became aware of a new technique as the Excalabur telekinetically flew up toward his hands.
"Oh no you don't!" said Ben, lunging for Kyle, but too late. Kyle grabbed the Excalabur from the air and, with the extra speed given by the weapon, Kyle attacked Ben, muttering "Antipode Strike".
There was a sudden incredible explosion of black and white as Kyle's natural darkness collided with the Holiness of the Excalabur.
Paula, Mike, Marlus, Shii Ryong, Lorrenna, and Lydia, however, were all safe at Freelance Haven, having stayed behind to wait for Ness. They were presently waiting around in the park at the center of the Haven.
Mike and Marlus were talking. "Really, we could've used their help here for that Arker guy. And what made them think they'd all get out alive?" said Mike.
"There were other soldiers with them, perhaps they thought that increased their chances. With any luck, this will solve part of our problem."
One of the many benches held Paula and Lydia, while Lorrenna stood off to the side.
Paula was glowering at the air. Lydia took notice, and turned to speak to her. "C'mon, he put up with attention like this all the time. You don't think it's that that's got a hold of him, do you?"
"No," Paula sighed. "But why would he do it? He still doesn't understand the situation, as far as I can tell."
"Did you ever tell him how much time we have?" Lydia asked. Then she paused, and bent over in thought. "...... come to think of it, how much time DO we have left?"
"Before the Earth..... well, withers or whatever will happen. We don't exactly know, so we should just prevent it."
"Right.... maybe I should trust Ness. He can sense when something's wrong. If the power begins to overtake him, I'm sure he'd notice."
"Let's hope so," replied Lydia.
Lorrenna spoke to no one. I can't believe I got sidetracked like this on a job. But I obviously can't go anywhere until I get my relic back. I doubt lotuses grow anywhere on this world. While I'm at it, I suppose I should get that creep back for wasting all of my tools. She stared at the others. Don't know what they're going on about, but.... no need to worry about it. I'll just help them, and I'm sure they'll take me to the problem eventually.
SR, sitting on the ground, felt uneasy about the events, but said nothing.
I should let him get the last hit, decided Arker. He withdrew as Ness delivered a heavy blow to the Snacker's armor. It began to crack apart, and once a large fissure appeared, burst apart in a flash of light. The shards of metal seemed to vaporize a few moments later.
"Great! That's overwith," shouted Ness. "Well, Arker, we can go in now!"
"Very well, Sir Ness," replied Arker, following his charge.
They entered the wooden structure. Inside, Ness found leaves arranged in an unusual pattern on the walls and hanging from the ceiling, giving off large amounts of some kind of gas. He held his cupped hands to the ceiling, concentrated, and....
The same boy from the previous vision was now on the coast of an ocean, near a reef. He absorbed the energy there...
His skin darkened considerably for a half-second. His face contorted, and he stumbled back the way he came.
Arker became worried as he saw Ness stare blankly ahead. "Sir Ness, are you all right?"
........ what does it all mean.....
Ness shook himself out of the trance. He now held in his hand another piece of blue rock.
"Sir Ness, are you all right?" Arker repeated. He looked at him, concerned.
"...N-nothing. It was just something I saw," Ness responded shakily. Is that what's going to happen? But I've never felt like that before... It couldn't be.
"Well, shall we return to Proice to celebrate once more?"
Luckily for the fighters at Proice, Ness shook his head. "No, I think it's a little too much to parade after every sanctuary. Do you know where the next one is?"
Arker shrugged. "Isn't there any way you could try to sense where it is?"
"Hmm..." Ness paused.
Paula shuddered, but prevented herself from fainting once more. "Ness got it. He got to the second sanctuary," Paula announced weakly.
"What?" Lydia said worriedly. "So fast?"
"Whatever we do, we have to hurry before Ness gets too far," Shii Ryong said.
Mike mumbled, "Bad timing to choose to go attack Proice..."
"Well... what are we going to do?" Marlus asked.
Someone rushed into the building. "Something just happened at Proice... An explosion of some sort. Do any of you want to go check it out?"
Paula hesitated. "Do we go help the others or go look for Ness? Both are really important..."
"My arm hurts..." Zac said as he shot another one of the soldiers away. "Brett, do you still... have any of our injections?"
"I've got enough to heal our wounds... as well as... our injured friends." Brett pulled out a syringe and shoved it into his arm. Slowly, the burns on his body began to fade away. He tossed one to Zac.
"There, much better. Okay, I'm tired of this. Absolute Zero!"
Brett concentrated and focused the energy onto all of the attacking soldiers, rapidly cooling the air around them to zero degrees Kelvin, the point where all molecular motion stops.
"Let's help-" Zac was cut off by an explosion coming from atop a building. The light from the explosion was both black and white.
"Wait... where's Kyle?" He looked around.
"Maybe he and the 'Righteous Bot' are fighting. Remember, they released that thing."
"You stay here and help the others," Brett said. "I'm going to give some backup to Kyle." Brett handed over the syringes to Zac. Brett then powered up and flew towards the source of the explosion.
When Brett arrived, floating over the building, he saw Kyle battling what looked like another Proice officer.
"Hey, Kyle! Do you need help?"
The other one gazing up and said, "Do not interfere!" Eye lasers flew at Brett, who managed to dodge. He landed on top the building but slightly away from the fight.
"Kyle, do you want me to help or not?"
"I'd appreciate it!" yelled Kyle.
Brett flew down next to Kyle. "Is that the Righteous Bot I heard the officers yell about?"
Ben's face was melting. He had sparks flying out everywhere. He looked angry.
"Ready?" asked Brett.
"Yeah." Kyle readied his Excalabur.
"Now!" Kyle and Brett attacked Ben at the same time, but Ben jumped up and started flying away. Brett flew after him, but Ben flew behind a few buildings and manage to escape and hide. Brett came back shaking his head.
"Great. First Ness and Arker, then Drake, and now The Righteous Bot."
"He's called Ben," said Kyle. "Well, he'll be back. No doubt about it. He's after me and my dad like the rest of these people."
"Well Ben's going to have a tough time. He's probably going to have a hard time catching you alone again." Brett looked over the side of the building, where the battle still raged on. Only the strongest of each side was still standing. "Want me to take you down?" asked Brett.
"Nah," said Kyle. "I'm going to check out this building." He gestured to a door that undoubtedly led down to the lower floors of the building. "I think there might be a reason Ben brought me here."
"Couldn't you come back later? You know, after the battle's over?"
"No, I'm going now. We're winning down there now anyway. I'm hardly needed." Kyle put the Excalabur in his pocket and started for the roof door.
"Just in case, I'll go with you." Brett quickly caught up with Kyle. "Ben might decide to follow you in."
The two walked down the stairs.
"He brought me here for a specific reason," Kyle muttered to himself. "I wonder why?"
"It's most likely a trap he set up as a backup. In case he couldn't beat you outright."
The two reached the landing. A door stood in front of him. They both looked through the glass.
"This could be a fake picture, a projection to make us fall into a false sense of security," Brett pointed out. "Because I can see disruptions in the fluidity of the room. If you look close enough at the couch, you can see a faint flash of electricity every so often."
"Are you saying we should go in cautiously?"
"I'm saying we should go in with the attitude that we will be attacked almost immediately upon entering the room. You should hold onto your Excalabur handle and be prepared."
Kyle's hand slid into his pocket, his hand around the hilt. "I'm ready."
"Let's walk in normally."
The two opened the door and walked into the room.
"I... don't know..." Paula mumbled, floating in a pool of misery. "...There's too much right now for me to think about..."
"In that case, you should definitely stay here," Lydia said firmly. "And rest."
"I'm going," Mike said abruptly.
"What? Weren't you the one who was against all this?" said the messenger.
"...Well, yeah. But I don't really like to sit around idle..." Mike suddenly became confused. It was true, he was still against the whole attack, even though the Freelance soldiers were starting to have the advantage. He definitely didn't like the idea of killing any more people, but something had urged him to go. Alone.
"You can go, then," Marlus said.
"I'm not going to go off or anything," Mike added, mostly assuring himself than anyone else. "I just want to change tasks. Either way, we're all fighting the same war."
Arker grumbled inaudibly, as he and Ness trekked north. Ness had simply said, "I think there's something in this direction," and started leading Arker to a place, where as far as Arker could see, there was nothing.
"Don't pretend," Arker repeated to himself, remembering his talk with his superior. "And maybe there is something in this direction anyway. It's his power, I guess."
"...Are you saying something to me?" Ness asked, hearing nothing but a low whisper behind him.
"No, not at all," Arker responded. "But are you sure there's something in this direction?"
"Well, not really, but I do have sort of a hunch," Ness replied uneasily. Then he changed his mind. He could not sense any sanctuary at all. Not yet.
Mike walked silently through the subway tunnel, and after a while he reached Proice. Things were going well for their side, and the Proice soldiers were trying hard to come up with reinforcements.
"...Maybe I was wrong..."
Bill groaned a few feet away. "Hello..." he mumbled.
"Hi -- are you okay?"
"Yeah, just a headache. Did you see Kyle any where?"
"No, I just got here. I'll look around." Mike wandered off, with only a slight intention to find Kyle, Brett, Zac, or Matt, and a bit of uncertainty to what his true intentions were.
By unconcealing his power, X-17 hoped to lead Ness into his trap. Although it was capable of killing, he knew that for ones such as Ness and his follower, the traps would merely disable them long enough for him to come down and kidnap them.
Now that he thought about it, the fact that all the power contained within the massive sanctuaries was less than his was quite frightening. He was just glad that, just as surely as the ability to become infinitely powerful was built into his body, the ability to infinitely control it and harness it was also built-in.
Perhaps killing off most of his brothers and sisters was not such a bad choice after all. After seeing what X-97 had decided to do with his own power, X-17 was thankful that he had decided to kill him.
But, who is worthy to wield such power, then? Was he the only one around that not only had the desire to keep such beings under control, but also to actually stop them?
Brett and Kyle stepped into the hall, secretly prepared to attack anything that appeared, when... nothing happened.
"Um... Brett?" said Kyle.
"Are you sure you saw those visual disturbances or whatever in here?"
"Yeah! I'm very sure. Look at that couch!"
Sure enough, the couch did seem a bit unstable. Almost like watching a computer screen with a video camera. There was also a strange cylindrical tree directly opposite the couch that looked unsable.
"Perhaps it's a booby trap?" said Kyle.
"I'll see," said Brett. He zoomed past the area between the disturbances. Nothing happened...
"Maybe you went too fast?" said Kyle.
"No, I don't think it's a trap at all."
"Hmm..." Kyle examined the couch closely. He touched it, but there was nothing there!
"A hologram!" said Brett, who had gone to examine the tree. "There's a door here. A secret office room?"
"A door's here too," said Kyle. "Which one should we check first?"
"The one behind the couch," said Brett. Kyle quietly opened the door and stepped though. Brett came in right behind him.
They were in a huge office-looking room with large window that gave a view of Proice. The whole room had a blue tint to it. A large desk was near the window. The comfortable-looking chair behind it was empty.
"Man, the person who has this office must be really important," said Brett. "Hologram hiding the door and all!"
"Mind, it wasn't a very good hologram," said Kyle. He walked to the window and looked out at the battle. Was it just him or were there more Righteousness troops than when he last looked?
"Check this out!" said Brett, who had taken to searching the desk. "They've got plans for construction of a huge Ness-shaped building going on. Sort of like an oversized Statue of Liberty... and look! Plans for Universal Domination!"
Sure enough, in the filing cabinet drawer labeled Plans for Universal Domination, and behind the book Tyripori Ilam's Guide to Universal Domination, were intricate plans that flawlessly lead up to Universal Domination.
"Woah, they really thought this all through, didn't they?" said Kyle.
Suddenly, footsteps could be heard outside of the door.
"Quick! Pick it all up!" Kyle and Brett shoved the plans back into the drawer. Brett flew up and hid behind a chandelier hanging from the high ceiling. Kyle ducked beneath the desk. It was incredibly roomy down there, since it was a big desk.
Two people stepped in through the door. An older man and... Ben.
"Sources tell me that Sir Ness has only one Universal Sanctuary left," said the old man. "There's only the Losar's Fountain left. Arker should be happy. He's always been fascinated with them."
"Maybe too fascinated, sir," said Ben, who was completely repaired now. "I hear he recently let two confirmed ones and a supposed one go. Didn't try to stop them."
"Oh really?" chuckled the old man. "And you would have tried to subdue them? Kill them, I daresay? You were nearly killed by one just now. ONE!"
"I... I underestimated him, sir, " said Ben. "Besides, another showed up. I believe he was a Saiyan."
"That's no excuse. You will, however, get another chance. As soon as this pointless battle is over we will reinstate the LosarWatch program. At least until we find the one whom you fought. You'll also have to exterminate those people from Earth. They may persuade Sir Ness to go back."
"How about a C-Nuke, sir?" said Ben.
"Very good idea, Ben," said the old man. "I'll go give the orders, you go and tell the troops to retreat a bit."
"Yes, sir!" Ben walked out of the room, the old man close behind.
Kyle climbed out from under the desk. "We've got to go warn the others!" he said.
"Out the window?" suggested Brett.
"Right," said Kyle. They opened the window and, Brett carrying Kyle, flew toward the battlefield.
Still on the battlefild, Matt struggled to keep fighting. For a while they seemed to be winning against the army, but suddenly more troops were coming from nowhere.
"Where are you all coming from!?" he yelled.
"Ha ha," laughed a nearby Righteousness soldier. "For a while we were stunted because of a kid who took out our main teleportals. Did he really think those were our only ones? Hahahahaha!"
This was enough. Matt, out of magic power by now, decided to use his Wolf Form. He quickly transformed and, with his boost of power, started rapidly taking out soldiers, trying to find the other teleportals that were spewing the soldiers.
Paula looked around at the room. So many people were helping in the quest to find and stop Ness before something horrible happened... And yet, she felt that somehow, even though she felt she needed help, that this was something that really only directly affected her. The others were slowly talking about what to do next, and as she tried to ponder the same question, she realized she was slipping away from reality into her dreams.
"Ness..." she moaned. She awoke in a forest full of fog. "Oh, why do I have to have dreams like this?" she complained, somewhat stomping at the barren forest ground.
"Paula... This isn't quite the same as a dream..."
Paula stopped pounding the ground. "...Who's that voice?" she wondered aloud.
"...Dad." Paula said it in a certain voice, but the voice only seemed like her father. She couldn't really tell who it was.
"As you probably know, psychic powers are usually hereditary. But the strength varies from generations. This is the only power that I believe I have... To contact you in this desperate time you're going through."
"Dad... I don't need an explanation of how you're talking to me right now," Paula said flatly.
"Well... Isn't there something you should be doing instead of just sitting around thinking about it?"
"Paula, Ness can't gain that much power on his own."
"I know!" Paula shouted, irritated. "I know... But that's all I do know... If Ness gets the power, the Righteousness wins, but the Garuda comes and destroys everything, so no one wins..."
"Paula... Ness can't gain that power by himself. But... Don't you think that someone could share it with him to level things out some?"
Paula paused. "...What?"
"You heard me."
"I... Will that work? And how can I do it?"
"Paula, wake up!" Lydia gently shook Paula awake. "We have to get moving soon. This is the only chance we have, while The Righteousness is distracted with other things."
"I know..." Paula mumbled. "But will it work?"
"Will what work?"
"Oh... We have to find Ness before he and Arker reach the sanctuary. I have a plan now, and it has to work."