What’s Kraken, Part 3
The train slowly pulled into Wrightstown Station. Steam rose out from the sides and enveloped the people standing by waiting for their loved ones to get off. The people both on and off the train were concerned by the loud ripping noises coming from the sky. The sky itself was turning green and purple and orange, fading from one color to the next. Some of the people were entranced by the colors, while others were worried that they were a sign of worse yet to come. They didn’t know how right they were.
The Heroes exited the train and stared up at the sky. Everett groaned and took a swig from his flask. Reese petted him on the head.
“It’s starting,” Reese said darkly. “The Master spell has been broken. It is coming.”
“You always have the best news,” Jaco teased. Reese did not respond. He shrugged his shoulders.
“We had better hurry. Maybe we can still stop the Gogo-Kraken from coming through.” Quil ran into the station, pushed his way through the crowd and made it to the street on the other side. His team followed closely behind him. Quil stood on the curb and shouted, “Taxi!” A moment later, a man with an elaborately painted green horse drawn buggy pulled up to him.
The man was pleasantly plump with greying, straggly hair, which was combed over his otherwise bald head. He had a piece of straw sticking out of his mouth. He wore blue overalls with no shirt underneath. The Heroes gazed upon him queerly, but decided that there was no time to nitpick about the appearance of the man who was offering to take them to where they needed to go. The man asked them where they were headed. Quil told him that they were heading to the monastery to see Father Masonley. The man knew where that was and immediately got on the way. He was worried about what was happening to the sky, but his fare was more important.
The ride to the monastery was uneventful. Everyone had their eyes to the sky. They watched as the colors faded into each other, one replacing the last until they went away all together. A dark cloud covered the entire sky and a low groan filled the air. Its bass vibrated everything in sight. The Heroes felt the vibrations in their chests, competing with their heartbeats. It was unsettling at best.
Quil stared up at the dark cloud and upon closer inspection, he realized that it wasn’t a cloud, it was a shadow, a shadow caused by something big blocking the sunlight. Was this the Gogo-Kraken? It had to be. It had finally broken through the dimensional shield and was entering the planet to begin its feast. He didn’t know whether he should mention his revelation to the team for fear of panicking poor, little Everett further. He decided against alerting the team. He simply stuck his head out the window and commanded the driver to go faster.
They arrived at the monastery within the hour. Quil tossed the driver five gold coins and thanked him for his expedient service. The Heroes got out of the buggy and made a beeline to the mauve painted buildings, the tallest being the chapel. The door to the chapel was wide open and the sounds of the monks chanting was heard from inside.
Quil was hesitant about just barging in during a ceremony, but he felt that this was very important, and any chanting could wait for a more appropriate time.
Fortunately, a monk who was not chanting walked by the entrance and saw Quil and his teammates. A smile grew upon his young, clean shaven face. “The Heroes of Lunde are here!” he shouted, interrupting the chanting. The other monks stood up from their kneeled position and greeted them at the door, each shoving one another to get a good glimpse of them.
“Alert Father Masonley,” one of the senior monks said. A monk quickly ran off. “Please, come in out of the chaos.”
“Chaos? It’s pretty nice out here considering the dark thing in the sky,” Andrada said.
In that instant, as if summoned, a big gust of wind swept in and almost knocked them over. The wind didn’t let up, either. It continued to whip sand and dust up into the air. The Gogo-Kraken was entering the atmosphere and unsettling the air.
The Heroes quickly accepted the senior monk’s invitation inside. A monk shut the door behind them. The Heroes waded in the pool of adoring monks who stared at them in awe as they passed. They were herded into the main hall where there were candles lit and cinnamon incense was burning. They didn’t know what to do but stand there and look at the hopeful faces staring at them. It made them feel uncomfortable, like they were expected to say something but had forgotten the notes to the speech at home.
Thankfully, Father Masonley arrived shortly thereafter. He was a short man, probably five-foot five, bald spot on the top of his head, leaving a ring of hair around it. He wore a maroon robe, the same as the others. He approached Quil and grabbed hold of his hands. “Thank God you’re here! We were beginning to lose hope!”
Quil puffed up his chest and grinned. “Never fear, we are here.” He ignored the annoyed looks from his teammates. He could have sworn someone rolled their eyes.
“Have you retrieved the statue?” Masonley asked, sounding panicked.
“We just got here. We haven’t had time to investigate,” Quil admitted.
“We came straight here hoping that you could fill in some of the blanks,” Andrada said. “We didn’t get much information from your letter.”
Masonley rubbed his grey beard in a fidgety manner. “Oh my. That’s the source of the power shield. Oh my.”
“Look, the Gogo-Kraken is emerging into our dimension. How do we stop it?” Quil asked, hoping to get to the point.
Masonley looked at Quil with his sea blue eyes and his lower lip quivered slightly. “Once it enters our dimension, nothing can stop it.”
“That’s bullshit,” Everett sputtered. “How did you stop it before?”
“You must understand, the Gogo-Kraken hasn’t been an issue for centuries.” He avoided Everett’s harsh eye contact. “The situation must have been wildly different. They were able to construct a powerful Master spell to repel it, but not destroy it.”
Quil’s brown eyes lit up. “Great! So, we’ll just make a new Master spell. I’m a wizard, so I know that you need several Master level wizards to create such a spell. Where are your Masters?”
Masonley lowered his gaze to the floor. “We haven’t any Masters. We haven’t needed Masters in a long time.”
Quil gasped dramatically. “Then we should send for some.”
“The closest Masters are three days away in Maine,” Masonley admitted. “They’ll never get here in time.”
“So what do we do?” Andrada asked.
Jaco flexed his fingers and licked his lips. “We kick some kraken ass!”
Masonley chuckled at Jaco’s enthusiasm. “The Gogo-Kraken is massive. The likes of you will not be able to accomplish its demise so easily.”
“We can do anything!” Jaco cheered. The fellow monks also cheered.
Quil thought about the predicament. He knew what was needed was a new Master spell. With the nearest Masters being three days away, there wasn’t a way to get them here in time. Then it hit him. He took out his talkie and waved it in Masonley’s face. “What’s their number?”
Masonley was confused for a moment, his eyes blinkly wildly. It took a second for him to realize what Quil was asking for. “Erm, they don’t have a talkie number. Talkies are distractions from the outside world that convolute our devotion to the Gods.”
Quil was unable to stop himself from rolling his eyes. After he realized what he had done, he apologized. “Then what will we do?”
Suddenly, the ground quaked as a loud boom sounded. The building shook so that tiny pieces of the ceiling and sand sprinkled down upon them. A loud roar followed the boom, and everyone knew what that meant. The kraken was among them, and it was close. The monks murmured loudly as they clung to each other.
Quil had to think fast. There wasn’t any time left. He grabbed Masonley by the shoulders and shook hard. “Where are your archives?”
“You know, books? Where you record things! Where are they?” Quil didn’t care if he had a crazed look in his eyes. He needed to do something quickly or everyone would die.
“The books are in the back storage unit.” Masonley wrung his hands nervously. “They’re not in any organized fashion. They’re just sorta thrown in there. We’ve been meaning to go through it, but we just haven’t had the time… nor the desire to do so.” He couldn’t look Quil in the eye after admitting that.
“What are you thinking?” Andrada asked.
“There has to be a record of the Master spell used in one of those books,” Quil explained. “If I can find it, maybe I can perform it.”
“But you’re not a Master,” Andrada reminded.
“No, Andy, but I’m the closest thing we’ve got. I have to try.” Quil gave her his determined face, a face she knew all too well. There was no convincing him of anything other than what he’s already decided to do.
Andrada nodded her head and smiled. “You better not fuck this up, Quil.”
“Oh, no pressure!” Quil said. “Take me to your books!”
Masonley snapped his fingers and three young monks stood up and approached them. He motioned for them to lead Quil to the back of the campus.
“I’m coming, too.” Jaco said, holding onto Quil’s hand. “You’ll need another set of eyes.” Quil smiled and nodded.
Jaco and Quil followed the three young monks out of the chapel. That left Andrada, Reese, and Everett with the other monks staring at them expectantly.
“I guess we’ll take on the Gogo-Kraken while they’re off reading,” Andrada said sheepishly. The monks cheered. She exchanged glances with Reese and Everett. Everett looked nervous as hell while Reese showed no emotion. “Let’s go, gang!”
A loud roar shook the chapel to its very foundation. More debris from the ceiling rained down upon them. It looked like the building wasn’t going to be safe for much longer. This was greater incentive to get out there and fight the creature.
Andrada led the team outside, back into the wind. The Heroes looked to the north and saw the massive glory of the Gogo-Kraken of in the distance. It seemed to tower high into the sky. It would not have been surprising if the top of it entered space. Its skin glistened a bright pink with purple spots dotted along its tentacles. It walked on four feet that were akin to elephants’ feet. It whipped its tentacles around wildly, occasionally picking things up off the ground. The Heroes assumed that they were people.
“It’s at the next village, Lagrimos,” Masonley shouted from the door. “Hurry before there’s nothing left.”
Andrada scanned the area for any mode of transportation. There were no horses or buggies anywhere in sight. She felt a tap on her right arm. She turned to see Masonley drop a set of keys in her hand.
“Take the car,” he said. “It’s in the shed behind the chapel.”
Andrada wanted to ask how having a steam powered car convoluted his devotion to the Gods, but there wasn’t time. She instead thanked him and led the team to the shed. Inside was a small, sleek looking red vehicle that looked like it hadn’t been driven in a while.
Everett whistled as he walked into the shed. “Wow. I didn’t think a monk could afford something this cool.” He wiped his finger along the hood and collected some dust. “Could use a bit of a cleaning, but otherwise nice.”
“Stop drooling over it and just get in!” Andrada went to the left side of the car and opened the door. She sat down and realized that she couldn’t drive from there. She got out and walked to the other side. She sat down and immediately stuck the key in the ignition. It revved up loudly as steam rose from the hood. This brought a smile to her face. She felt immensely powerful.
She looked outside and saw that Reese and Everett hadn’t gotten in. “Get your asses in here NOW!” she commanded. The two wasted no time getting in. “Strap in! Let’s see how fast this thing goes!” She revved the engine as she stepped on the accelerator. The car sped out of the shed. She nearly missed Father Masonley who shouted out to them, but they weren’t able to hear what he said. They just assumed he wished them good luck and they went on their way to Lagrimos.
The village of Lagrimos was devastated. The Gogo-Kraken had wasted no time in beginning its reign of terror. The village people attempted to escape the area, but they were quickly hunted down and eaten. The tentacles laid waste to the cute little oddly colored buildings. Some people hid out in the local church, but with a swift swipe of a tentacle, the church was no more, and so were the people hiding within it.
Maltrice had managed to escape the village way before the kraken showed up. She was resting safely atop the nearby mountain. She watched with great glee as her mistress’ plan was unfolding before her. She wasn’t sure why Mistress L hated this village so much, but she had a sneaking suspicion that they had somehow crossed her and therefore deserved to be wiped off the map. Or maybe there was something about the nearby monastery that upset her, and the village was just a coincidental casualty. Either way, she was enjoying herself.
Some movement out of the periphery of her right eye caught her attention. She turned to the south and saw a line of dust trailing in the breeze. It seemed to be approaching the kraken’s location. She knew immediately who was coming for them. The Heroes of Lunde hadn’t met their end on the train and now they were going to interfere with her plans. She didn’t know how they had gotten past her colleague, but they weren’t going to get past her and the kraken. She commanded the kraken to stop attacking the village to deal with the incoming intruders. There was a thirty second delay between her command and the kraken’s acknowledgement of it. She supposed it had something to do with the translation of languages. While she was irritated that it took so long to obey, she was thankful when it moved to intercept them.
In the car, Andrada sped almost as fast as it could go toward the Gogo-Kraken. She enjoyed the speed and the thrum of the steam engine. She felt like a god. She had never driven a car in this life, but she felt it was second nature.
She looked into the rear-view mirror and saw the look of terror on Everett’s face. His already pale face was paler than she had ever seen it. This brought a smile to her lips and she increased the speed. This elicited a squeal from the dwarf. She checked in on Reese and saw that she was handling the situation very well. There was not a trace of any raised blood pressure or redness in her face to indicate that she was worried. She was stone cold calm. Andrada had always admired Reese for that.
“Princess, look!” Everett shrieked. He unbuckled his seatbelt and scrambled up to meet Andrada. He pointed forward and said, “It’s coming this way! It knows we’re coming!” Indeed, it was heading right for them.
“That can’t be good,” Andrada replied. “So much for the element of surprise. Oh well. It doesn’t alter my plan.”
“Be prepared to jump on my mark.”
Everett gulped and squeaked, “Jump?” Andrada nodded and grinned. “Oh my god. We’re going to die!” He sat back in his seat and took another gulp from his flask. When it was depleted, he reached into his satchel and took out another and drank from it.
The Gogo-Kraken steadily approached them, one lumbering step at a time. Its tentacles swayed wildly in every direction as it walked. It was curious about the little red thing coming toward it. It couldn’t decide if it wanted to step on it or eat it. It was so tiny and far compared to where its eight eyes were located, which was way up near the clouds. It looked great for stepping on! It had decided.
Andrada put the car in a collision course. The car was near enough now to feel the vibrations of each footstep the kraken took. It would shake the car off course, but Andrada always put back in line. She unbuckled her seat belt. “Reese, Everett, get ready to bail!”
Everett said a prayer. Reese merely unbuckled her seatbelt and prepared to jump.
When the car was within a few hundred feet, Andrada gave the accelerator one more pump before she gave the signal to jump. A second later, all three of the Heroes opened their respective doors and leapt out of the car. They tucked and rolled a few feet before they stopped. They looked up in time to see the little red car fly right into the kraken’s left front foot. It exploded in a fiery ball of death. This caused the kraken to roar loudly.
“Really?” Andrada said aloud. In her opinion, the explosion wasn’t that big, so it shouldn’t have caused it that much pain. Maybe this thing was a big crybaby. If it was, then this thing should be a cinch to beat. She remembered that the point wasn’t to really beat it, but to give Quil and Jaco enough time to find the Master spell and seal it away. But being a warrior, she didn’t want to leave the battlefield without a definitive kill.
The kraken gave another loud roar. It was angry that it was deprived of the option to crush the car. It had inflicted pain upon it and now it was upset. It observed the three little morsels jumping out of the car and knew that they were the ones to blame. It decided they must pay the ultimate price of being its lunch.
The kraken moved as fast as it could, which wasn’t all that fast, really, to reach Andrada. She responded with drawing her sword and waving it at the kraken. It was a challenge. This delighted the kraken and it gladly accepted. It reached Andrada and attempted to step on her with its tree trunk sized foot. Andrada stayed put until the last second before she rolled out of the way. As she did so, she let her sword do some damage as she sliced its front right foot.
The kraken muffled a cry. It had cried out when the car hit it and it was unexpected how much that hurt. It was afraid that its tough facade may have slightly weakened. It had to save face now.
It stomped its feet in the hopes of catching Andrada, but she appeared to have escaped. Its eyes were so high up that it was very difficult to see the ground directly in front of it, a weakness it hoped that its prey wouldn’t pick up on.
Just as it was about to take a few steps back to see if it had indeed crushed Andrada, it received a poke in its butt. Before it could reach the spot to investigate, a hot flash pierced its slimy skin and burned it. It reached back and pulled out a burnt arrow. It looked down and saw the dwarf placing another arrow in his bow. Oh, it was on now!
The kraken’s tentacles on its right swooped down to grab Everett. The dwarf ran just beyond its reach. As he ran, he fired another arrow at its face. It landed squarely between two of its dark round eyes. It knew that it had to be fast. It reached up with a tentacle and pulled the arrow out just before an icy blast exploded from the tip. It still caught the left eye, freezing it over. It couldn’t help but cry out now, but not out of pain, but out of sheer frustration.
It swiped blindly at the ground until it found something squishy. A yelp and a cry for help confirmed that it had grabbed the little dwarf bastard.
Andrada and Reese watched as Everett was lifted into the air by a tentacle. Andrada ran at the kraken’s feet in the hopes of cutting them enough times to make it drop Everett. Reese had a better idea.
She summoned the winds and they swirled around her, lifting her into the air. She rose up to the kraken’s eye level and wagged her finger at it. “You’ve been very naughty.”
Everett watched this and shook his head. “Don’t reprimand it, KILL IT!”
Reese spoke a word and a giant green earthen hammer materialized in her left hand. She clutched it tightly as she swung down and hit the kraken right between the eyes, the same place Everett’s arrow had hit. She brought the hammer up and flew away just as a tentacle rose up to hit her. It was then that Reese’s superior elf sight noticed someone in a brown hooded robe standing on a mountain ledge. She was holding something. It had to be the stolen statuette. She had a suspicion that was the true power behind the kraken.
Reese’s attention had been drawn away too long. She wasn’t able to avoid the tentacle that smacked her. She fell to the ground hard, knocking the air out of her lungs. Her hammer landed a few feet from her on her right. She wanted to catch her breath, but a foot was coming to squish her face. She wasn’t going to get away in time. She closed her eyes to make peace with the Great Maker of All Things. She heard Andrada shout, “Move your ass!” Reese opened her eyes and saw that Andrada had stabbed the kraken’s foot and was hanging from her sword as it prepared to set the foot down. Reese promptly did as she was told and rolled to the right, avoiding being crushed and reuniting with her hammer.
The combination of being stabbed in the foot and being smacked in the face at the same time, it had lost concentration on holding Everett. It dropped him like a hot potato.
Everett screamed on the way down. Reese hastily summoned the winds again and they answered her call. She rose up and caught Everett before he hit the ground. Everett was still screaming before he realized that he had been saved. He had his eyes closed and upon opening them, he saw his savior. “God bless you, Amareese!” She gave him a warm smile.
Reese set Everett on the ground and patted him gently on the head. “Stay out of trouble. Help the princess.” She rose up into the air again. She knew what she had to do next. She flew off in the direction of the nearby mountain.
The three young monks escorted Jaco and Quil to the back room which was locked. One of them took out a keyring with five copper keys hanging from it. The monk cycled through them to see if they were the correct one. Of course, it was the last key he tried. He successfully unlocked the door and opened it. The smell of old, dusty paper wafted out of the room. Jaco waved his hand in front of his nose to divert the dust away from his superior olfactory sense.
The room was wall to wall mountains of books. Masonley had been correct about them not being in any particular order. The old, brown books littered the floors in every available space. It was not a pretty sight.
“Well, here you go,” the young monk with the keys said. “Good luck.”
Quil furrowed his brow and said, “You’re not going to help us?”
“I’m afraid we wouldn’t be much help.” The shortest of the monks shrugged his shoulders. “We’re new and haven’t been taught the writings of the old ones. But, you’re a wizard. You should be able to recognize them. We wish you luck. We’re all counting on you!” He bowed and blessed them as the three of them left.
Quil and Jaco glanced at each other and took a deep, dusty breath. “I guess we had better get started.”
Jaco scoffed. “You’re joking, right? You don’t really expect to find what you’re looking for in this heap, do you?”
“We might find it quicker if you quit bitching and get to work,” Quil said, giving him a wink.
Jaco growled under his breath and started digging amongst the books that might be important. Quil followed suit.
Quil knew that Jaco had no idea what he was looking at, but it warmed his heart that Jaco wanted to help. He wondered how Andy and the others were handling the kraken. It was possible that they could die fighting something that eats planets. He hoped that he could find the Master spell in time to save them from that fate.
He frantically flipped through dirty books and found nothing of importance in them. They were mostly old recipes for various soups, spell ingredients, laundry lists, and letters of interest from prospective monks.
The two of them jumped whenever they heard the kraken giving its trademarked cry for blood. The reality that they needed to find the spell with the quickness was ever more present. They scrambled to reach for books to read. Some of the books crumbled in their hands. They just kept going, hoping that it wasn’t the book they needed.
After digging through the books after what seemed like hours, but had only been twenty minutes, they decided to call it quits. Quil thought that Jaco was right; there was no way they were going to find the Master spell before their teammates wound up dead.
Quil had to think of something fast. He stood there staring at the heaps of books wondering what other options he had at his disposal. He needed the other Masters help. He didn’t have the skill or knowledge to create a Master spell on his own. There had to be a way to contact them. And then it came to him!
While he studied at Wizarding school, he had learned about what was commonly known as the Wizard Superhighway. It was a way to reach out to wizards at a distance to assist each other. He thought it sounded ridiculous back then, but he came to realize that this might be his only chance to save the world.
Quil found a spot amongst the books to sit down and closed his eyes. Jaco was curious as to what he was doing, but he knew that he needed complete silence. Jaco took a few steps back and watched as Quil began to meditate.
“Oh, hey! When you’re done with the books…” a young monk said as he turned the corner. The next thing he knew, there was a hand covering his mouth. Jaco shushed him and pushed him back down the hallway he came from.
Quil’s body began to glow an eerie green-yellow as his consciousness slipped into the Superhighway. He was free of his body and floated in bright green space with a yellow stream of water stretching out into infinity. It was the Stream of Tranquility. It held the collective powers of every wizard in existence. It would be through that Quil could communicate with his brethren.
Quil concentrated on a distress signal sent from his mind and not his mouth. “Hello, brothers and sisters. This is Prince Jonquil Balthazar Theophilous the Third. I am in desperate need of your help. A giant kraken has entered our dimension. I need a Master Spell to expel it and create a seal to keep it out, or better yet, destroy it. Will the Masters please lend me your power to fight this evil?” He waited for a reply. He was left waiting for several minutes. He felt his frustration grow with each passing second. He wanted to tell them off for not responding sooner. Did their silence mean that he was on his own? Who the hell did they think they were to deny him a simple request that could save the world?
He was ready to tell them off when he suddenly felt a tingling sensation throughout his body. His spiritual body glowed red as the power of his brethren flowed into him. They had heard his call for help and they were lending him their power. He no longer thought the Wizard Superhighway was ridiculous. Well, maybe the name was a bit ridiculous. When this was over, he wanted to come back to suggest a better name for it.
With the power came the knowledge of a Master spell that could potentially seal the kraken from their dimension. His mind swirled with things he didn’t understand consciously, but his subconscious was soaking in all of the information. This download took about ten minutes. When it was complete, Quil felt himself drift back into his body. He opened his eyes and let out the air that he had been holding in during his meditative state. He noticed that he was still glowing, only red now. He examined his body to make sure that nothing had changed too much, like one arm becoming larger than the other or something.
Jaco hesitated to approach Quil, but a reassuring smile from his lover let him know that it was safe to come to him. He hugged Quil tightly. “You need to learn how to breathe whenever you do that. I thought you were going to pass out!”
Quil stood up and flexed his fingers. They buzzed as if they were connected to an electrical current. It was unnerving what some extra juice could do. “I have the power to end this,” he said, looking dead serious.
“Then what are we standing around here for? Let’s end this bitch!” Jaco grabbed Quil’s left hand. When doing so, he received a sharp shock that traveled up his arm to his head. He let go and shook his hand. “What the hell?”
“Sorry, babe.” Quil shrugged his shoulders and grinned weakly.
Jaco led Quil back into the main hall where the monks were still huddled together. They stared in awe as their glowing savior strode into the room. Father Masonley stood up from his pew and his mouth dropped open.
“What is happening?” the old monk asked.
“It’s the power of the Masters,” Quil replied. “I can recite the sealing spell.”
Father Masonley clapped his hands excitedly. “I knew you wouldn’t let us down!”
“Alright. Let’s start this thing.” Quil rubbed his temples as if to help the Master spell roll to the front of his mind.
“We’ll need the statue to bind the spell,” Masonley said, calming down from his excitement. “We haven’t got it.”
Quil gulped. He looked at Jaco and then at Father Masonley. “I suppose I should go out there and get it?” Masonley nodded his head. “Okay, I’ll get right on that.”
“You’ll need this.” Masonley pulled a set of keys out of his pocket. “It’s to my other car. Please…” He didn’t get a chance to finish pleading for the car’s safe return because Quil snatched the keys from his hand and ran. “It’s in the back of the campus!” he said to Jaco, who was following Quil. Jaco gave him a thumbs up. When both heroes were gone, he sat back down in his pew and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He didn’t know what worried him more: the welfare of the Heroes or the welfare of his cars. He hoped that the Gods would forgive him for this.
Maltrice watched the battle from the mountain ledge with extreme satisfaction. She felt that she didn’t need to control the kraken as much as she thought. It looked like it was handling the fight just fine. She relaxed her power over it and gave it free rein. She had been watching the kraken so intently that she almost didn’t see the elf flying directly at her, but it was too late.
Reese dove and tackled Maltrice to the ground. In the tumble, Reese managed to be the one on top. She didn’t waste any time in handing out punches to Maltrice’s face. The witch attempted to shield herself from the blows, but she was too frail to stop Reese from pummeling her. She used her powers to create a blast force which jettisoned Reese across the small ledge. Reese rolled off the ledge, but held onto it with one hand. Maltrice sat up to witness this and grinned. She stood up and carefully walked over to stare at her.
“Oh dear, what a predicament.” Maltrice tsked her with a toothy grin. “You look like you need help. Oh my, there doesn’t appear to be anyone else around. I guess it’s up to me! Here, let me help you.” She proceeded to step on Reese’s hand. She laughed when she heard Reese exclaim in pain.
Reese wanted to pull her hand out from underneath the witch’s foot, but she knew that she’d fall. Her heart raced for a moment before a thought hit her: “I can fly.” She gazed up at Maltrice and gave a slight smile, which disarmed her. She summoned the wind and a gust of wind came up beneath her, raising her up. Reese used the upward momentum to land a kick square in Maltrice’s face. The witch tumbled backward.
The stone statuette flew from her hand and sailed to the other side of the ledge. Maltrice cried out. Reese saw the statuette arc downward beyond the edge. She gathered the wind and flew to the other side and caught it just as it was about hit the ground below. She soared upward into the dark sky holding the statuette up high so that Maltrice could see it.
“You bitch!” Maltrice shouted. She raised her arms and shot pink lightning bolts at Reese. She missed several times before she got a hit. The lightning grazed Reese’s right shoulder. She cackled with delight as Reese lowered in the air. She would watch the elf crash and then she’d be there to collect the statuette.
Reese grimaced as she drooped. She didn’t plan on going out like that. She pretended to faint and dropped several feet until she hit the ground. She made her landing a convincing as possible. She waited.
Maltrice teleported nearby and saw Reese lying prone with the statuette conveniently placed on her chest. She reached down to grab it, but was suddenly interrupted when something grabbed her right hand. She looked down at it and saw a green vine had popped out of the rocky terrain and restrained her. She tugged against it, but it held. Her left arm received the same treatment. “What is this magic?” she cried.
“A little something from the elves.” Reese sat up and grinned. She had her hands rooted in the ground, controlling the vines. If she were a funny person, she would have figured out a pun for the moment involving vines and rocks and having a rocky time, or being between a rock and a hard place, or something, but she decided to leave the puns to the professionals. She simply concentrated on defeating the witch.
With all her might, Reese manipulated the earth beneath Maltrice to become quicksand. She watched as the witch slowly sank into the ground. For all of her screaming and flailing, Maltrice was not able to get free. When she was finally submerged in the sand, Reese had the wind blow rocks down from the top of the mountain. They rolled and landed on top of the sand pit. There was no getting out of that.
Reese pulled her hands free from the dirt and wiped them on her pants. She picked up the statuette and cleaned some of the dirt off. She blew on it just to make sure it was spotless. She turned around to see how Everett and Andrada were handling the kraken. They seemed to be keeping it busy. She supposed that she should quit dilly dallying and get back to the fight. She summoned the winds and they picked her up. She made her trip back to the fight.
Quil and Jaco were racing in Father Masonley’s larger black utility truck. The cab was so high that they needed a step stool to get in it. Quil had always dreamed of riding in a steam powered car, but never convinced his parents to get him one. They were new and were quite expensive. While the royal family was rich, his parents were very conscientious about how their wealth was spent. Death traps like steam buggies were not a wise investment if one were to die in them. Quil was having the time of his life. He sped down the dirt landscape with his foot pressing the accelerator all the way to the floor. “WHEE!” he shouted. He looked over at Jaco and saw that he was having an equally good time, though he kept doing the invisible brake thing with his right foot.
The battle ground was getting nearer. Quil showed no signs of slowing down. This made Jaco nervous. The closer they got to the action, it seemed the faster Quil drove. Jaco continued to press the invisible brake.
“You might want to slow down,” Jaco suggested.
“We’re going to ram this baby into the kraken!” Quil announced proudly.
“We’re gonna WHAT?” Jaco buckled his seatbelt and audibly said a prayer.
They finally arrived at the scene. Andrada and Everett were standing side by side attacking the kraken when Quil drove up. They heard the loud revving of the truck’s engine and instinctively dove out of the way. The truck collided hard with the kraken’s front left foot. This succeeded in causing the kraken to stand on its hind legs and utter a world shattering scream. It fell over backward and rolled to its side. The truck bounced off the spongy flesh and rolled backward several times before landing on its roof. Andrada and Everett ran to the steaming upside-down truck. Quil and Jaco climbed out of the windows and collapsed to the floor.
“Whoa! That was fucking awesome!” Andrada said, helping Quil up.
“That was fucking insane!” Everett added. He slapped Quil in the face as he stood. “What the hell were you thinking? You could have killed yourself!”
“But I didn’t!” Quil cheered.
“Dude, why are you glowing?” Everett stepped away and looked at his hand to see if any of the glow came off on it.
Jaco walked over to the group from the other side of the truck and folded his arms across his bare chest and said, “I’m okay too, you guys.” The others paid him no attention.
“Where’s Reese?” Quil asked.
The group looked up to see Reese lowering herself down from the sky. She landed next to Quil. A wave of dust flew up and obscured everyone’s view for a moment. When the dust settled, they saw that the kraken was attempting to stand up, but it was so massive it was having a hard time.
Reese noticed that Quil was glowing and figured it had to have something to do with the statuette. She promptly handed it to him. “I think you might need this.”
Quil felt the powers in his hands instantly increase. The statuette vibrated in his hands so much that he almost dropped it. Once he had a firm grip on it, he turned to the kraken and sat down. The others looked at him like he was crazy, but said nothing. Weirder things have happened. This just needed to follow its course.
Quil closed his eyes and allowed the power stored in him to flow into the statuette. It immediately started glowing green-yellow. His spirit left his body and drifted into the Wizard Superhighway. Quil opened his spirit eyes and saw that he was not alone. He was joined by seventeen Master wizards of various ages and genders. They were all joined by the hands. They called to him to join them. There was a spot open for him. He floated over and completed the chain of hands.
The rush of power flowed through him and into the other wizards. They all started muttering words in unison. At first Quil didn’t know what they were doing, but then something clicked, and he found that he knew the words. It was the binding Master spell, with a little something extra tucked in. He joined in with muttering. Their voices were dissonant at first, but then they slowly began to blend with each other until they all were speaking with the same voice. Their voices raised in volume until it was almost deafening. All of them began to glow red as their power levels rose to maximum completion.
An image of the kraken appeared in front of them. It wasn’t as massive as the flesh and blood version. It was the size of a baby elephant. It was in the same prone position it was in the real world. It struggled against its weight to stand up again. It was surrounded by the chanting wizards. The wizards bestowed their gaze to the creature and white light flowed from their eyes and hit the kraken. The spirit version squirmed as the intense light hit it. It struggled against the power for a few minutes before it started to fade away. Pieces of its spiritual body flew up and away in chunks until there was nothing left of it. When the wizards were sure that the kraken had completely dissolved away, they closed their eyes, trapping the light within themselves.
A minute later, Quil felt the power begin to fade and withdraw. The Master spell had been cast. The spirit of the kraken had been banished. The mission was over, or at least in the spirit world it was. He still needed to see how the spell worked in the real world.
“Well done, wizards,” said a wizard with a booming voice. He was wearing a conical hat. Quil assumed that he was the lead Master, or the Master Master as he called it. He turned his gaze to Quil and nodded. Quil responded in kind.
One by one, the wizards disappeared, breaking the link. They faded into the bright green background. Quil knew that he needed to retreat to his body. He cut the connection to the Superhighway.
Soon Quil was back in his body. He opened his eyes to see that his teammates were all staring at him. He blinked quickly a few times to allow his eyes to adjust to the dim light outside. He stood up, still holding the statuette. It was vibrating slightly, but not as excitedly as it had been.
Quil looked past his teammates and saw the kraken lying on its back. It was no longer struggling to get up. It wasn’t doing much of anything. It just laid there like a wet sack of meat… because that’s exactly what it was. He turned to Andrada and asked, “What happened?”
Andrada’s eyes grew wide with excitement. “You were glowing all these funny colors and you were shouting some strange words in a language that’s been dead for centuries. When you started shouting, the kraken rolled over on its back, shrieked bloody murder, and then went limp.” She made the sound of a deflating balloon. “It’s been like that for five minutes. It was like its soul was just sucked out of its body! Isn’t that wild?”
Quil cracked a smile and nodded. “Yeah, wild.”
Jaco hugged Quil and kissed him on the cheek. “You did it! You saved the world!”
Everett snorted. “I think he had a little help.”
“Emphasis on little,” Jaco retorted. He patted Everett on the head and pinched his cheeks.
“I wish people would quit petting me! I’m not a goat, goddammit!” Everett mumbled.
Jaco immediately started making goat noises. Everett threatened to shoot him with an arrow. Jaco persisted until Everett took steps to load his bow.
“I suppose we should get back to the monastery,” Andrada said.
“It’s going to be a long walk,” Reese said.
“Why walk?” Andrada was confused. Reese grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her toward the smoldering red car that she had driven into the kraken. “Oh.”
“We could always go back in the truck,” Quil chimed in. Reese turned him in the direction of the overturned truck that was steaming out of the front hood. “Oh, yeah. I could do a spell to reverse the damage!”
Quil walked over to the truck and placed a hand on it and uttered a spell. He waited for a few seconds. Nothing happened. He chuckled nervously and uttered the spell again. Nothing happened. He gave his mates a nervous smile and said, “I guess I used up all of my magic juice with that Master spell. Oops. Looks like we’re walking.” Everyone groaned.
“At least it’s cool out,” Everett said, trying to sound optimistic.
At that instant, the grey sky cleared to blue and the clouds covering the sun dissipated, releasing heat and light. Everyone turned to Everett and glared at him. He only shrugged and took a sip from his flask.
The Heroes began their trek to the monastery, proud of the job they had accomplished. They had defeated a Gogo-Kraken. This was sure to get them a few rounds of drinks at the pub. Tonight they party.
And party they did. The morning after, Quil took a stroll through the neighboring village to soak up more of the people’s admiration. Everyone smiled at him and bowed, thanking him for a job well done. He returned the gestures and continued on his way.
He found himself at the Retired Horse Tavern where he and his fellow heroes liked to party. The barmaid, Rosalind, waved at him, but she did not look happy to see him, she looked worried for him. In fact, it looked like she was waving him away. Before he figured this out, it was too late. As he stepped through the door, he saw why she was trying to warn him. Chrys sat at the bar and he looked pissed. He wanted to leave, but Chrys had already spotted him.
“Ahh, good morning, brother,” Chrys said through gritted teeth. “Come sit with me.”
Quil winced. “I’d rather take my chances in a tiger’s den.”
“That can be arranged.” Chrys patted the empty stool next to him.
Quil knew that there was no getting out of this, so he sat down. He could feel his brother’s angry heat emanating from his body. He pulled at his collar and released the air he had been holding. “So, what’s on your mind, bro?”
“I’m so glad you asked, ‘bro’!” Chrys pulled out a sheet of paper out of his back pocket and slammed it on the counter. He slid it in front of Quil and tapped it for emphasis. “Read it.”
Quil picked it up and read the scathing letter that Father Masonley wrote concerning the extreme damages done to his cars. He was requesting that the crown repay him for the cost of the vehicles and more for emotional damages. Quil felt a lump form in his throat. “He’s suing us?”
“You bet your sweet Aunt Fanny he is!” Chrys snatched the paper from Quil’s fingers.
“What does my sweet Aunt Fanny have to do with anything?” Quil asked, trying to get Chrys to smile, he failed.
“Thanks to your team’s recklessness, we now have to pay him an exorbitant amount of money!” Chrys jabbed his index finger into Quil’s chest hard. “You’re supposed to be saving us, not costing us money.” Chrys’s nostrils flared out, which reminded Quil of an angry cow. This image caused Quil to chuckle, which further infuriated his brother.
“Oh, you think this is funny, do you?” Chrys got off his stool and glared at Quil. “We’ll see how long you’re laughing when I have Father arrest all of you fuckers and throw your asses in jail as enemies of the crown. Will you be laughing then? Let’s find out. Keep fucking up. Not even Father will be able to save you.” He brushed against Quil’s shoulder as he left the pub.
Quil felt a cold chill run down his back. He hadn’t realized just how much Chrys hated the Heroes, but now it’d been made perfectly clear.
“You fancy a drink, love? It’s on the house,” Rosalind asked.
Quil answered in the affirmative. Rosalind poured him a glass of his favorite cider and set it down in front of him. He drank it down in several big gulps. He wiped the foam from his lips and sighed. He was no longer in a drinking mood. He was now poisoned by his brother’s shitty attitude.
Could Chrys really get them all arrested? Quil and the others would have to tread lightly from this point on. Lunde couldn’t afford to have their savoirs in jail. He sat at the bar and pondered the next steps the team needed to take to ensure their furthered employment.
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