Journey West 22: Bound to Happen

Nov 28th, 2016
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  1. The sun beats down through the window onto Gold Wolf’s face. He squints as he reaches over to the table next to the bed and flips on a lamp by accident. He turns it off and stares at the table.
  3. “Crystal Lights, lamps, magic, electricity, all this shit and no one has a clock anywhere. Planet of ass-holes.”
  5. He drops his head back on the pillow, then shoots up, “Wait a minute!”
  7. He looks out the window, “what time is it? This is way later than first light!”
  9. He gets dressed and heads down the stairs from the inn room to find Betty and Cata, still in her human form sitting at a table eating.
  11. “Where are they?” he asks, more demanding than asking.
  13. “Huh?” says Betty with a piece of toast in her mouth, “They decided to check out the town.”
  15. “Are you shitting me?” asks Gold Wolf, “we were supposed to leave at first light, so instead the two women dressed like sorceresses are wandering around this town of people who I distinctly told all of you don’t…like…magic.”
  17. Cata gets up, “I guess he has a point Captain Betty, we better see if Rhulan is about to blow up the town or something so we know to run.”
  19. Betty chuckles, “Of course Captain Cata, it is our responsibility to make sure the crew isn’t picking fights with the natives.”
  21. The two women chuckle, and seeing Gold Wolf’s blank stare Cata says, “Inside joke, you’d have to have been downstairs ten minutes ago to get it.”
  23. ******
  25. It’s not long after they leave the end that they hear the sound of explosions and race towards it. What they find however is not the battle they were expecting, instead a good number of people are gathered around an open space with a wall on the far end. In the space are wooden targets.
  27. “Chi-Beam!” shouts a large man as he fires a blue/white beam from his hands at the targets, his beam hits more sand than anything else. The crowd laughs as he walks off muttering something about needing a drink.
  29. “There they are!” shouts Betty as she spots Hollia and Rhulan watching the show, she wanders for a moment where Lin Lin is before realizing she’s still hiding as Hollia’s headband.
  31. “Oh Miss Betty, Miss Cata, and Uncle Gold Wolf,” says Hollia, “glad you could join us.”
  33. “What the hell is going on here?” asks Gold Wolf.
  35. “Displays of strength and skill.” says Rhulan, “it would seem this is a method local bounty hunters, soldiers, and so called tough guys use to show off and get jobs…which we will need.”
  37. She points at the far wall, “What’s fascinating however is that they are using a Faux-Magitian wall ancient times as a shield behind the targets. I wander where they found it.”
  39. “Miss Rhulan,” inqueries Hollia, “that means this is kind of like the Prism Towers?”
  41. “In a sense,” says Rhulan, “I’d say more rudimentary, not even at the level of basic training in the Crystal Labyrinth beneath Stratalia. However the purpose is essentially the same yes.”
  43. “Then we should try it so we can get jobs as we pass through here then.” says Hollia.
  45. Gold Wolf shakes his head, “I don’t like it, you two stand out too much.”
  47. “We can’t use our magic anyway,” says Hollia surprising Gold Wolf, “besides it’s a contest, don’t you want to show them how strong you?”
  49. Gold Wolf watches as a soldier steps forward throws out a weak spray of electric sparks from his hands, even after taking over a minute to focus it between he palms.
  51. “Okay then,” continues Hollia looking at Betty, “how about you Miss Betty?”
  53. “Oh,” says Betty, “well, I couldn’t. That sign over there says [No weapons] and all my powers are really just for healing and exorcisms, I don’t really have much I could do that isn’t magic.”
  55. “I’ll do it,” says Gold Wolf after watching another man step forward and barely nick a target with a Chainsaw Beam.
  57. Gold Wolf walks over to the registration table and speaks with the men.
  59. An announcer shouts out, “our next volunteer is a bounty hunter new to these parts, a man calling himself *snicker* Gold Wolf. Now he says everyone should step back *snicker*…”
  61. The crowd *laughs*
  63. “Okay calm down,” says the announcer, “lets just see what the foreigner can do.”
  65. Gold Wolf holds out his hand, “Golden Blast!” his gold beam leaves a trail in the ground below it and vaporizes the target, sending two other dummies near it flying apart before the beam is absorbed by the far wall. The dirt kicked up sends a good chunk of the crowd coughing as they scramble out of the dust cloud.
  67. “I did say they should step back,” says Gold Wolf smugly as he walks past the announcer.
  69. Cata walks up next after some men replace the dummies.
  71. “Next,” says the announcer, “NEXT!” he yells trying to talk over the commotion still going on as people talk about Gold Wolf’s display.
  73. “What ever,” says the announcer, “Next we have a woman that came here with that Gold Wolf fellow.”
  75. This quiets the crowd down.
  77. “Well then,” says the announcer, “as I was saying, up next we have this beautiful young woman, who came here with that Gold Wolf fellow…she calls herself Cata…heh, guess they have a thing for animal names where they come from.”
  79. “Moron,” thinks Cata as she steps up.
  81. “Lightning Shocker!” she shouts, a bolt of electricity instantly firing from her hand to the head of a dummy, lighting it on fire.
  83. “and now for the real deal!” shouts Cata with a grin, “Roar!” she transforms to her true self.
  85. The crowd steps back, some saying that they saw her come into town yesterday, someone even comments about this must be why she doesn’t wear shoes.
  87. “Bestial transformation.” says Cata looking back at them.
  89. She puts her paws together, palm to palm, a ball of electricity focusing between them, as she thrusts her hands out, wrist to wrist she shouts, “Rai-Ko-Ken!”
  91. It is a mighty blast, easily rivaling Gold Wolf’s beam, however this vaporizes all three dummies before being absorbed by the Faux-Magitian wall.
  93. She transforms back into her human disguise, cementing the idea in the mind of the crowd that shape shifting and electricity are her powers. No one suspects the human form to be her true form; although there is a man in a higher ranking military uniform back away from the crowd rubbing his chin and narrowing his eyes as he watches the new comers.
  95. Rhulan whispers into Hollia’s ear that she should show what she has. As she goes up to the register office, the men there are very suspicious of her and whisper amongst themselves.
  97. “Now remember,” the man says to her, “in this town you can’t use magic, I recognize that type of outfit, so unless you have some special techniques you wont be showing off any cheating spells little girl.”
  99. “I have special techniques,” says Hollia proudly.
  101. “What ever,” says the man, “give it a shot then,”
  103. As she walks over, three more dummies in place the registeration men whisper, “don’t think we’ll need to replace the dummies after this one.”
  105. As she walks up all sorts of *snickering* and whispers spread through the crowd. One man near Rhulan looks at her and says, “you witches should know better than to try and show off in this country.”
  107. Rhulan puts her finger up to shush him and points at Hollia with smile while saying, “watch and be amazed.”
  109. Hollia makes a swipe in the air with her hand, some in the back of the crowd start to laugh as they saw nothing fly, but those up front are silent as they see something that they are quick to point out to the people behind them. A ripple in the air where Hollia’s hand went through, it solidifies yet is still clear with a silver outline.
  111. Hollia thrusts at it with her palm shouting, “Silver Wind!” the nearly invisible arc blade of air flies through the arena and slicing the center dummy in half cleanly before it hits the far away and vanishes.
  113. “Missed the other two,” says Hollia calmly as she puts her fingers to her temple, touching the headband that is Lin Lin.
  115. “Woah!” shouts some of the crowd as Hollia’s hands burst into red flames.
  117. “Time to really show what we can do Lin Lin,” thinks Hollia, as she remembers practicing these moves during their stops to the main road the oasis that was once a base. Her first time she freaked out at this stage of the move.
  119. Hollia holds her flaming hands out, twists, and spins into the air creating a fiery cyclone behind her. The twin streams of fire twist and combine, the point at her hands becomes a snake like head. As this serpent of fire spins around her and into the air she shouts, “Fire Salamandra special attack!”
  121. The Fire Salamandra *roars* like a living beast before it comes down and engulfs the other two targets. As Hollia floats down Rhulan makes her way through the crowd helping Hollia stand up as she feels a little dizzy.
  123. “Was that magic?” says a man in the crowd starting a murmuring. A few wealthy bounty office agents who are near the registration table nod and smile as they talk amongst themselves. The man in the back who has been watching through narrowed eyes comes a little closer behind the registration table and whispers something into the ears of the men there.
  125. Rhulan takes Hollia back over to Betty and the others, and with a wicked smile and gleam in her eye that Gold Wolf doesn’t like one bit Rhulan goes over to the registration table.
  127. As Rhulan heads to down to the line before the sandy area, aside from new dummies being set up the announcer says, “If we can have your attention for a moment, it has come to our attention that, that last girl and this one are also part of the group that, that man Gold Wolf is part of. We have certainly seen some impressive displays from their group, energy beams, electro-kinesis, shape shifting, and this last young lady with Aero-kinesis and Pyro-kinesis; truly astounding those two having two different abilities with out being able to use…magic. We wait in anticipation what this other…obviously a sorceress…can do with out using any spells. As you all gathered today should remember the orbs around town. Don’t forget no one can use magic inside our fair city.”
  129. Rhulan smiles up at the announcer who gets a chill up his spine. Rhulan turns and with a swing of each hand throws twin mist like twisters of violet energy. They spin over the sand and flow down into two spots, almost as though they drilled into the ground or slithered into like some ethereal worms. Two pillars of rocks shoot up from these spots. Bits and pieces of the rocks chip away on their own revealing two odd statues. Short muscular men with no necks, a boulder like head with oval eyes, two holes for a nose, a large mouth with round teeth, and craggy boulders for hands. These strange golems are designed to look like they are wearing shots with a large belt, with a large belt buckle with a boulder symbol in them.
  131. “Boldorio!” shouts Rhulan, “destroy one target each then disintegrate!”
  133. Each of the Boldorio smashes a dummy with their boulder fists and then turns to dust.
  135. “Now then,” says Rhulan eying the central dummy with that wicked gleam in her eyes and vicious smile that Gold Wolf remembers her having when she fought the Giant Scorpions, and swears she had when destroying that giant robot.
  137. Rhulan chants as she holds out her hand, a clear sphere of energy appearing in her upturned palm like a bubble, glowing slightly blue.
  139. “Great Salamandra
  140. Essence of Fire
  141. Lord of the Flame
  142. Gather thy strength into my hand
  143. & into the sphere of spirits”
  145. The clear sphere changes, turning red with a symbol of fire inside it. As she throws it she yells out, “Fire Sphere!”.
  147. *FRA-KOOM!*
  149. It explodes upon hitting the target, the massive explosion sending burning bits into the air forcing the crowd to scatter.
  151. “Impossible!” yells the announcer, “that…that…that was a spell!”
  153. Many in the crowd start to chatter amongst themselves, some pointing at the Magic Dampener Orbs saying that maybe those don’t really work, maybe their powers and magic are the same thing. Gold Wolf, Cata, and Betty are getting nervous as they look around, backing up from the crowd. Hollia points, “Look!”
  155. Rhulan floats into the air, her voice rings through the atmosphere like thunder drawing everyone’s attention to her, “Hear me! My power is called Quantum Manipulation, sometimes known as Astral Kinesis or Dimensional Distortion. In short you could call my power True Magic or Raw Magic!”
  157. She points at a nearby orb, “Those devices prevent you from calling on outside forces such as spirits.”
  159. She puts her hand to her chest, “But my power however comes from with-in, true magic starts in your own heart!”
  161. She floats down over the crowd to the group as the crowd is distracted talking amongst themselves, many arguing over the differences between special techniques and magic; or at least what they’ve been told about magic.
  163. “Any who,” says Rhulan clasping her hands together as she faces the party, “now the fun begins.”
  165. “I think we should get out of here while everyone is distracted.” says Gold Wolf glaring at Rhulan.
  167. “Agreed.” says Cata.
  169. As they reach the nearest corner the man who had been watching them approaches them; a man in military uniform decorated with many stripes and badges indicating a high rank as does another a tall man in a suit and sunglasses…a cliché not lost on most of them, too Hollia he looks like a goof in a weird costume though, steps out in front of them. A second man in a suit appears to their side.
  171. The man in the military suit says, “I’m going to have to ask you folks to come with me.”
  173. “You and what army?” growls Gold Wolf as he produces a golden sphere in his hand.
  175. “We should do as they say,” says Rhulan, “we wouldn’t want to endanger innocent civilians now would we?”
  177. She looks at Gold Wolf who relents.
  179. ******
  181. The jail is nothing special, other than not looking to Rhulan like it belongs on this world, a regular police office with a high tech underground facility complete with plastic like sliding doors on the cells and security cameras.
  183. “What kinds of jail is this?” asks Hollia after they are all escorted into the same cell.
  185. “A unisex containment jail apparently,” says Rhulan.
  187. “Was that supposed to be a joke?” says Gold Wolf
  189. “In a sense,” says Rhulan with a smile.
  191. Once they are inside the man in the uniform pushes a button on the wall, his voice can be heard coming from a speaker above them, “This is a high tech containment facility, so don’t get any ideas about busting out of here. The walls have an inside coating of a reflective material, any energy based attacks will be thrown back at you and any physical force will result in the room being filled with knock out gas. You aren’t going anywhere; and just to prove it we let you keep your weapons, go ahead and try to escape.”
  193. He is about to walk away, however he stops with a thoughtful expression, turns back and pushes the button again, “Oh yeah, and one more thing, I know for a fact Astral Kinesis is a myth, you two were using magic, yeah that girl too, with that un-natural fire…snake…thing. I don’t know how, but you can bet we’ll find out.”
  195. After he leaves Gold Wolf growls, “Okay, so why didn’t we just take them down and fly out of here?”
  197. “Uncle,” says Hollia, “I am certain Miss Rhulan has her reasons, like worrying about the civilians’ safety, or…something.”
  199. “Something,” says Rhulan, “to be honest it was bound to happen; there is no way we could walk that insane distance from here to Calif with out being noticed and arrested. I’m not sure why we weren’t arrested yesterday to be honest. That guard house had bio-scanners…”
  201. She looks at Cata and smiles., “I can feel when I am being scanned by something like that.”
  203. Cata remembers that she had scanned them before on her pirate ship.
  205. “So yeah,” says Rhulan, “while Gold Wolf, Betty, and Hollia, and of course….”
  207. Rhulan looks around saying, “they might be listening in,”
  209. “Any who,” she continues, “while the rest of us that is wouldn’t set off their bio-scanners of course, your distinctly alien physiology would; so either luck or what ever.”
  211. Rhulan thinks to herself, “what ever that was disguised as a guard.”
  213. “It doesn’t matter,” continues Rhulan, “a glitch here or luck doesn’t mean the next town or the next or the next as we zigzag across the desert, valleys, and mountains, wouldn’t have thicker security and better scanners; or that we might not run into…”
  215. She looks around again before continuing, “someone else who might recognize us for various reasons.”
  217. She smiles and crosses her arms, “You can just chalk this one up to my impatience, better to get this over with right at the boarder of this so called empire than deeper in it.”
  219. Gold Wolf glares at her, especially as he sees Hollia nodding in agreement as she thinks about it herself. Betty and Cata just exchange looks; just before Cata shrugs and returns to her natural form.
  221. ******
  223. The man goes to his office, sets behind a desk with a keyboard on it. With the press of a button a holographic monitor appears.
  225. “Contact Head Quarters,” says the man.
  227. “Yes sir,” comes a monotone female voice from the computer.
  229. In short time a rather plane looking man with short brown hair, thin mustache, and brown eyes, wearing a green uniform appears.
  231. “General Magnus,” says the man to the screen a bit surprised at who answered his call, “My apologies sir, I didn’t mean to disturb you, I was reporting in that we have apprehended five intruders crossing the boarder, they somehow snuck in last night right past the bio-scanners. We’re bringing the guard on duty in for questioning now…”
  233. Magnus puts up his hand stopping the man, “I know, the camera feed profiles were sent to our office before you called. Their faces triggered our recognition software. You are to transfer them to our facility tonight. There is much we can learn from these prisoners; especially their leader, that sorceress calling herself Rhulan. No doubt she somehow tricked your scanners and figured out a way around the Magic Suppression Systems. Remember who she is, that you have them, and their transport is of top priority and its of top priority it remain secret; no one not involved in their transport needs to know, and only top officers are to know where they are going. Understand?”
  235. The man salutes the screen, “Yes sir.”
  237. Magnus reaches over and presses something that makes the screen go black. In his office, a large room with maps and screens, and a table covered in notes he stands and walks over to another computer. On it are displayed images of Rhulan, one from the spy in Delca, another of her battle in Osopika, the wanted poster from Sae-Kingdom along with those of the others, a freeze frame of her charging fists first into the screen.
  239. “The last image sent out after the security alarm triggered the security transmissions to home base.” He whispers to himself before pushing a button on the screen next to it shaped like a file labeled [Top Secret].
  241. A screen comes up, soldiers taking pictures in the foreground of the oasis where their secret base once stood, and taking up the majority of the picture on the screen is the crystal statues of Rhulan.
  243. “Some calling card,” he says, “So…Rhulan…or who ever you are. We finally have you, shame our other forces haven’t been as successful in apprehending the other set backs to our operations.”
  245. ******
  247. Back in the jail where the party is being held the man comes back to the cell, presses the intercom button and says, “Well it looks like you lot are real celebrities. The high general himself wants to speak to one of you, which ever one of you two sorceresses is Rhulan that is. A transport is coming tonight to take all of you to head quarters, you’ll of course be locked away in the brig there for questioning.
  249. After he releases the button and walks away Gold Wolf says, “So now can we break out of here?”
  251. Rhulan crosses her arms, smiles, and leans against the wall, “No, I’d rather like to meet this high general. Everything is going according to plan.”
  253. Gold Wolf looks around, but it seems the others are in agreement with Rhulan. He crosses his arms, huffs, and sits down on one of the so called beds they have in the cell.
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