- Chapter 2
- Apparently, Magic is a Thing
- “I want it now!” a voice shouted. The owner of the voice seemed a bit impatient, gruff.
- Ross sat up immediately. It was no longer night time, and he wasn’t alone in the alley. His heartbeat erratically sped up and gave an unpleasant wake up for him, being stiff in a hole in a wall.
- “Well, I don’t...-” this was a second voice. The opposite of the previous one, it was frail and trembling. Ross made sure he was fairly out of sight by inching more awkwardly into the hole. He listened intently.
- “You said you had it! If I don’t get it-” said the gruff one (whom Ross had named Gruffy in his mind). Here, Ross could hear what sounded like a paw banging on something to represent pain.“-You may have to get a LOT of stain remover.” Ross smiled at the awful threat, then realized he was right next to a shady alley deal and the smile turned to fear. He tried to look through the crack to see what was going on, but the two creatures were barely out of eyeshot.
- “Alright, alright… it’s just a little difficult to part with something so expensive… hesitant thoughts and such.” Here, Ross heard rustling for whatever this item of worth was.
- “Okay, okay, here it is, like promised.” The second voice said. He had a sense of unsurety in his voice that Ross could have seen from a mile away.
- Gruffy responded “Pleasure doing business. I’ll just be on my way. Almost forgot-” here, Ross heard a ruffle scruffle of papers. “-here’s your money.” Gruffy passed the money to the second voice.
- “I still don’t… know what you nee-” the second voice said, flipping through the money to check.
- “How much of a moron are you!? The point of a no-questions asked deal is to have no questions asked!” Gruffy said.
- Pawsteps were heard leaving the alley. Ross slowly lifted his leg out of the hole, as it didn’t feel too great as it was, before he realized there was only one pair of paws leaving the alley.
- There was a mumbling still coming from the alley, and Ross didn’t dare move. With a trashcan rustle and some more pawsteps leaving the alley, Ross decided to climb out a bit more. He inched his leg that was half out onto the ground, then slid the rest of his body out. He saw Gruffy still at the end of the alley, so he darted behind the trashcan across the way. He eyed the walls of the alley for the first time. He noticed a door a bit behind him that he could attempt to open, as the buildings seemed abandoned, and several bricks loose on the walls to protect himself. This could be a suitable place to hide out at while he was looking for questions. He took a step and accidentally rammed his foot into the trashcan. He cursed himself for being a clutz, and the trashcan for existing before noticing that there was another person in the alley staring at him, at the entry. It was a tall cat, two shades of grey (dark with a semi-light). He bore bruises and ear notches, and Ross recognized a new concept into his life. He was about to be robbed and murdered by an alley thug.
- “So, Jenstins decided that he wasn’t spying on me enough, did he? Well, I have a message for him.”
- Ross recognized the voice as Gruffy. Yeah, Ross was screwed.
- Gruffy slowly approached, apparently fond of theatrical moments, smiling very cruely at Ross. Ross turned to the wall and grabbed at the loosest brick he saw. He stared at Gruffy, feeling proud of his observation skills, then realized that Gruffy probably ate a couple of these cheap stucco coated bricks for tea time. The door beckoned to Ross, (break me down). Ross replied “ok”.
- Here, Ross learned another lesson. You want to have an actually good grip on something you’re using to break a door down, or else your fingers will hate you. With the blood from his knuckles making small drips on the floor, Ross was easily too distracted to see that Gruffy was peering over him, trying hard to not laugh.
- Eventually, Ross noticed the shadow behind him, and slowly turned around to face his death.
- “You don’t seem to be as clever as Jenstins’ usual boys. Usually they have an actual plan to escape once I’ve found them.”
- “Look,” Ross begged, then realized that asking who Jenstins was wouldn’t help anyone, and it would just mean the man laughing while he killed Ross.
- “Where?!?” Gruffy asked, childishly looking around and mocking Ross. “Did I miss the Airship in the sky?!” (An airship was an aircraft used to transport masses of land through the air. They were rumored to be used to create small islands, but no one really knew what they served the purposed of.)
- Ross took a moment to swallow any ridiculously lousy comebacks he had, and continued.
- “I’m not one of ‘Jenstan’s’ boys, or whatever you think I am. I was chased by the AGS from my home, and I ran and ran, and ended up in this alley. So I slept in the hole in the wall over… there… and woke up when you were doing your deal. Please, let me go. I don’t know who I’d tell about your deal to, seeing as the Police are busy setting up a new mini-golf course or whatever.”
- Gruffy had a great laugh from this, and put Ross down, seeing as he was too stupid to be a threat. “So… you’re… telling me, that you outran the AGS? And how did you do that? Did you kill their leader, steal one of their bikes, and lead them on a pursuit over the rooftops?” Gruffy sarcastically asked, calming down a fair bit, slowly but surely. “I know that we cats are pretty light on our feet, but come on… I’m callin your bluff, kid. How in the WORLD did you outrun an AGS fleet?”
- “Well, I wouldn’t say I outran them...” Ross replied. “It was more of an outfly thing.”
- Apparently, Gruffy didn’t find this very funny, because he tightened the satchel carrying his purchase around his waist and paced around a little, rubbing his forehead with his paw.
- “Unless you have an incredibly stupid sense of humor, I need you to come with me.” he replied, out of the blue, staring Ross down.
- “Well, my sense of humor is re-”
- “Look, this is really serious. Life or death for you and your family.”
- “Oh yeah, I’m just going to come with you to your baseme-”
- “This is serious. I know that you really flew. I believe you. It’s either you come with me, and save your own life your family, or I kill you in some dirty alleyway to save the city. Wonderful choices, huh?”
- “Oh, yes, quite.” Ross replied.
- Ross shuffled his feet and looked up at Gruffy, nodding as to answer that he’d go with him, but with a gleam in his eye. All he wanted was answers. They started their walk out of the alley.
- “I’m Barricade. I’ll explain everything in a little bit, but for now, don’t talk about the crazy happenings of last night PERIOD. Got it?”
- Ross nodded at Gruffy (or, Barricade, apparently) and followed him out of the alley. Ross slowly recognized where he was at. He was close to the public library he went to, and even closer to the park, across the street.
- “You’re supposed to be in school, so if anyone asks, smother your face with that jacket and I’ll tell them I brought you home sick, alright?” Barricade mumbled.
- They crossed the street, into the park. The grass was a much nicer terrain than the rough concrete on Ross’ flimsy shoes. Ross was starting to feel the sores from the prior night’s run. The park was mostly void, with a few people playing Frisbee here, and someone’s nondium pet dog exploring the possibilities of using the restroom in the public volleyball court’s sand (nondium animals were just animals that weren’t viewed on the same intellect level as the rest. They couldn’t communicate through civil language, and were much like the pets of the human era.). As they traveled, the sky turned from bright to dulled grey, giving an entirely new mood to the situation. The people playing frisbee were almost eery, their movements almost mechanical with the combination of the sudden lighting change just seemed offputting for some reason.
- They continued their walk through the park without much to see, and crossed the street into some small housing groups. They didn’t look way too shabby, but they weren’t exactly pretty. Barricade pointed Ross towards the only house with a lawn that was partially alive, and Ross walked across the crunchy lawn to the door. Ross waited for Barricade to pull his key out and unlock the door, but Barricade just pushed it open.
- “Not like anyone’s going to rob a house like this. What the crap would they take?” Barricade grunted at him.
- The door automatically slammed shut behind them with a strong spring mechanism, making an unnerving ‘BOOM’. Barricade threw away the newspapers he had swiped from his driveway after quickly skimming the headlines, making comical grunts here and there at ridiculous titles. He started to clean up to make the place look a little more decent, then just kind of stopped caring. Barricade patted a seat down and urged Ross to sit down as he was just kinda standing in the corner of the room.
- “Alright, so let me explain everything I know before you ask a million questions.” Barricade started, pulling up a chair.
- “Do you have any milk? I is the thirsty.” Ross asked. Barricade rolled his eyes and fetched Ross some milk. Ross realized it was probably a good idea to get some food too, but decided to listen to what Barricade had to say first, just in case he threw it all up or something after hearing that the universe was actually a giant piece of bread or something.
- Barricade returned with the cup of milk. “There are actually a fair bit of people like us—with powers. From flight, like yourself, to creating and morphing fire, to everlasting life, there are tons of crazy powers.” He said, handing the milk to Ross.
- “We aren’t sure how any of us obtained the powers, but they’re pretty cool so we aren’t complaining. Thankfully, the vast majority of us with powers are good. The powers tend to warp your perception of thoughts and morality with excessive use, so the more powerful of us tend to go ‘dark’. An example being Saren. He used to be a powerful member of our team, weakly controlling time itself, and powerfully able to communicate through minds, and conjure water and electricity. We have no clue where he is now, but it’s safe to guess he’s out gaining control of smaller countries and planning something devious.” Ross took all this in, being nothing more than a pretty neat narrative thus far, being real making it even cooler.
- “When a trader named Samuel traveled to our planet from Gawn, a small outpost planet right outside the Solar System, he accidentally uncovered information about an ancient order of ‘Mage Guardians of the People’ from some mis-transport thing. Seems too good to be true, but you take what you get… Point is, he found out he had magic powers, gathered others with powers, found the old Mage Guardians headquarters, spruced it up, shortened our name to just the Guardians, and called it a night. We’ve greatly grown in size, but with that came greatly shrinking in secrecy. The AGS is onto us, and seeking youngins with magic somehow. They kidnapped your parents, and are probably planning on trapping you by using them. They’re known to use brainwashing. The plan is to have you train your magic while me and some Guardians find your parents.”
- Ross just kind of nodded, taking all the information in. It surprised him; he was expecting things WAY more insane. “How do you plan on training me? And what was with that alley deal, if you don’t mind me asking?” Ross asked.
- “Well,” Barricade replied, “we’d probably send you off to the magic school with the other two kids for a few months. Three or four probably. Would get you the basics of magic and history, and then the guardians would train you further. The sooner we get you ready to fight the better. As soon as we have a bit more firepower, we can start our war to take back the nation from the mysterious hands of tyranny!”
- Ross laughed at Barricade’s preachy reply, and asked “Are you sure you want to wait for a couple kids to start a war? What use will we be? And the alley deal?”
- “Whether you’re kids or not doesn’t matter, we can train you to act like adults. And though you’re few, I’m hoping you all have powerful magic and can help serve the country, yourselves, your family, and even the world well…
- “Oh, and the alley deal.” Barricade continued, “I was trading some sap a couple hundred currency for a magical gem. He didn’t know what he had in his hands! It was actually a part of the Spontus gem, a powerful relic that controls our very planet! They were guarded by an ancient mystical spirit named Zelec, until Saren went mad and tried to steal it. Zelec banished him into the ocean, but Saren had already laid hands on the gem and scattered it into shards. And finding those shards is not freaking easy. I’ve been tracking the one I have for several years until I found it on an online trade for a ridiculous price. Some people. Anyhow, Zelec is now working with us on finding the shards. She’s spying on the AGS, because she has a strange feeling they have information about Spontus shard locations. She helped us track down the other two kids who were about your age just yesterday. And thus we come full circle. Anything else?” Barricade asked, stretching his legs out and thinking of anything else important.
- Ross thought of any other questions he had, but Barricade had pretty much covered everything. He thought some more and came up with a few about himself. “When exactly do you think I’ll travel to that magic school to train? How many months are you thinking?”
- “Actually, Samuel likes to send off newcomers a day or two after they arrive. We’ll probably get you your stuff from your home and send you off right away.”
- ‘Oh goody, more school, just for me!’ Ross thought. He put down the cup of milk, now empty, wiping his mouth of the milk that was on his fur. He looked around Barricade’s house, kind of wondering what to do next. Ross just convinced himself that Barricade wasn’t completely insane, because even if he was, this crazy nonsense story at least gave Ross some sort of answer as to what was going on.
- “I actually really have to get to the headquarters to deliver this shard. Would you like to come with me, or would you rather go outside and get mugged?” Barricade asked.
- Ross walked to Barricade, waiting for a lead. Barricade left the small living room, and opened the oven. Ross looked around the kitchen quickly, seeing that Barricade was crazy after all, seeking for a knife. Ross wasn’t going to be cooked alive today, no sir. But when Barricade climbed into the oven and disappeared from sight, Ross nearly shouted in alarm. It was totally a secret passage THROUGH AN OVEN. Ross climbed into the oven, pulling the door closed behind him. The oven’s bottom gracefully popped down, sliding Ross through a smooth, large cement tube into a strange sewer-looking passageway.
- Barricade was just a few feet away, fumbling the parcel containing the Spontus shard in his hand. With Ross’ paws plopping on the ground he moved forward several feet to Ross’ left and tapped a series of bricks. The bricks didn’t move inwards or anything, but Ross could tell they sounded a little hallow. A section of the wall slid down, as if from some old monster hunting cartoon. There were ways to travel a far ways down to both the right and the left, but Ross assumed that the wall was the place to travel through, and that the right and left passages were in case someone decided to jump into Barricade’s oven without knowing it was a passage to a secret magical underground governmental resistance headquarters. The brick wall shut behind them, and the corridor they were in now was only one directional; forward. The lighting was better in there, and Ross could see interesting architecture on the walls of olden times. Like, REALLY olden times. Human middle ages, not animal middle ages. Pieces of the wall had been touched up here and there, but in general it was beaten up pretty bad. The floor was made of large, polished slabs of rock, and was an adventure to walk on. Atleast Ross thought it was pretty cool. The walk through the corridor only lasted thirty or so seconds until they reached an iron door.
- “I bring great gifts!” Barricade shouted at the door.
- “The question and answer to get through this door is seriously stupid and you know it, Ruke.” Barricade replied. The door opened with ease, but a slight scraping sound of the stone floor meeting the iron door.
- “Didn’t even get ‘ta ask my question! Welcome home, Barricade.” The voice replied. The owner of it was a verian (a creature with features reminiscent of both wolves and foxes) with a lovely blue and white fur and a very strong Kingdom-Isles accent. Apparently, he was named Ruke. He presented the entrance of the door with both of his hands is a showy way, humorously greeting Barricade, and Barricade walked through, revealing Ross to Ruke. The verian was very startled to see a new face coming through the door, and not extremely receptive.
- “And who the bloody ‘eck are you!?!”
Spontus Ch. 2 Revision (2.0)
Majigama May 27th, 2012 17 Never
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