Chapter 16- Not Again!
600ad, Prison Block C of Magus's Castle
A large Mystic walked into the prison cell carrying two bodies, one of each shoulder. He dumped them against the wall next two three other limp figures. All five of the silent bodies were clearly unconscious. It had been hard enough not getting killed by them, let alone managing to knock all of them out, but some how, Falgroth had done it. At least Keltar would be happy with his new victims.
Falgroth was a skilled assassin, but taking captives alive was a new idea to him. He had been surprised by the magical prowess of the one with blue hair. No wonder Keltar wanted him. Either way, he would hate to be those poor humans after they woke up. The headache would be one thing, but even a trained killer such as himself shivered at the thoughts of what Keltar might do. Keltar was known to be a harsh master, and especially so when Magus was upset. Falgroth wasn't sure about the mood of their dreaded master, but he knew these humans probably weren't going to be given the best treatment.
The blonde one had woken up on the way to the prison. She struggled only for a short time before he had knocked her out again. She either didn't know what was happening and was confused, or she just didn't have the power left to handle him. She was the only one with someone a lot of else's blood on her. The others seemed to have either avoided close combat or had made swift, clean kills. It was clear that the girl had made a messy deathblow.
After eyeing his victims for a few seconds, making sure they were all still unconscious, he turned and left the cell. The door closed behind him and the sound of a key locking the door shut was faintly heard. His footsteps faded as he left the hall, and went to report to Keltar.
Jack felt consciousness slowly seeping back into him. He couldn't open his eyes yet, but knew that he was lying down somewhere. He heard voices. Two voices. They sounded familiar. He wearily opened one eye to examine his area. It was a prison, again. At least he wasn't chained up to a wall this time though. He did find, however, that his hands were bound together by some type of rope behind his back. Soon after, the voices came into focus. It was Sarah and Tristan. They were talking about him.
"It was amazing," Sarah said softly. "The power he unleashed. He wiped out those remaining Mystics like it was easy."
"What kind of spell was it?" Tristan asked.
"Some kind of shadow spell," Sarah said, apparently in thought. "He said that it was almost like he was learning spells because of the castle."
"That's weird," Tristan commented.
"Yeah, well, he never ceases to amaze me," Sarah said. "He just pulls one trick after another out of some unlimited source." She sounded almost like she was impressed with something. "He's just…"
"Awake!" Tristan said, finishing her sentence as he pointed to Jack, now with eyes open in surprise. Tristan and Sarah had propped themselves up against the wall. Jack slowly rose and did likewise. He gazed over to the opposite corner to see the still lifeless bodies of Aragorn and Rayith.
"Yeah, I guess I am," Jack said, angry that he didn't get to hear Sarah say what sounded like it was going to be something good about him. "I guess I just can't get away from being locked up." Jack saw that the other two were bound with their hands behind their backs like him.
"I know," Sarah agreed. "Twice in less then two weeks is pretty bad. I don't think we're going to get to see Magus like this."
"So how do we get out?" Tristan asked.
"Well, it shouldn't be to hard with our magic and higher Force Tech abilities," Jack said. "I can sense at least some life energy here so Force Tech shouldn't be a problem, right?" Tristan shook his head.
"Already tried it. The Winds have been magically sealed from this area," Tristan explained. "That means there's no magic usage."
"Also," Sarah cut in, "Magus must know about or Force Tech because he put some sort of spell on the prison that sends electricity through you if you try to use it."
"How do you know…" Jack started to say, but Tristan indicated the numerous burn marks on his skin with his chin in response. It was only as Jack noticed that Tristan wasn't wearing his trench coat that he saw that all of them had been striped of their equipment. Jack was down to just his skin-tight black sneaking suit. All of the pockets on his legs had been emptied.
They had taken Tristan chest armor too, leaving him topless. Sarah was down to pants and a tee-shirt which had been torn across the bottom, exposing a slash mark on her stomach. Aragorn was missing all of his armor and Rayith was down to her red and black body suit.
"Sorry you had to figure it out like that…" Jack said to Tristan.
"Well, either way, we'll come up with something, right?" Tristan said. "I mean, we're SSAF. We're trained to get out of this kind of thing."
"Mostly using Force Tech, though…" Sarah lamented. "And I thought that with all the time we spent learning everything we did, we would know how to get out of anything." She laughed absently.
"We WILL come up with something," Jack assured. "I just don't know what." He backed up against the wall next to Tristan. "But, first thing is first." He contorted his body in a way so he could reach his boots and tapped on the metal plate that wrapped around the heel of his right one. Doing this caused a small blade to shoot out of the boot from right below the heel. After a little while, Jack managed to saw off the ropes that held his hands together. Holding up the sawed rope, he grinned.
"Do you think of just about everything?" Tristan said as he held his hands toward Jack so he could have them freed.
"Just about," Jack said, removing the right boot and sawing off Tristan's binds. He the proceeded to free Sarah before replacing his the boot on his foot.
"What about those two?" Sarah asked.
"Let them sleep," Jack said. "They'll need the rest for when we get out of here."
"I might go back to sleep anyway," Tristan said. "For some reason, that last bit of rest wasn't so helpful."
"Fine," Jack said. "When everyone is up again, we'll plan the escape."
Elsewhere in the Castle….
"You say you actually found him?" Magus asked, slightly intrigued but more just surprised that his bumbling idiot of an underling actually did something right.
"Yes, Lord," Keltar said. "I had Falgroth take care of them. We lost about forty Henches and almost 200 Descendents in the process though."
"Did you say 'them?'" Magus asked. He figured the more the merrier (for him anyway) but wasn't really expecting more then just the blue haired one.
"Yes sir," Keltar said. "He was traveling with a girl, and there were three others that we caught which I'm assuming were with him."
"You know what they say about the word 'assume' don't you?"
"It's makes an ass of you and me?" Keltar said, taking a guess.
"No," Magus said bitterly. "It means 'your ass will belong to me' if you're wrong." Keltar gulped. "Either way, prepare them for interrogation tomorrow. I only want the one with the blue hair, but the others might come in handy for, well…emotion prodding."
"Sir," Keltar said, pausing shortly for Magus to turn to him. "May I ask what you want with this human?" Magus put his hand on his chin in thought.
"I have a theory…" he said cryptically before turning back and leaving the room.
Back in the Cell
Tristan reached for a cigarette but quickly realized that they had taken both his smokes and his lighter, let alone the coat that he kept them in. He figured a quick shot of nicotine would calm him down, because he just couldn't sleep. He was tense. He felt naked without his guns or use of Force Tech. Internally, he feared what the Mystics would do to them if they couldn't escape.
Come on Tristan, think! He thought to himself. You're a genius, right? Where the hell is that 170 IQ when you need it? Tristan came up with a number of possibilities from faking sick, to pretending that one of them had escaped, anything to get the guard to open the door. Those kind of things at least worked in the movies and the video games. If only he had a noise maker and a katana…
He'd probably wait for Jack to start making a plan. Normally, his past rivalry with Jack would have prevented them from working well together, but for some reason, he seemed different from before. Still that sense of arrogance and the need to be in control, but something wasn't the same. He was happy about it though. Jack seemed to be doing a good job as the groups leader. No one had elected him, save maybe Sarah, but he fit the job nicely. If only he didn't talk so damn much though.
Still, that guy had problems. Tristan looked at his own personal problems easier after examining Jack's past. He couldn't really feel sorry for him, but…
"What kind of problems do I have?" came a voice from besides Tristan that made his heart skip a beat. Tristan looked to see Jack sitting the wall, fully awake.
"How…how did you do that?" Tristan asked.
"What? You mean, hear what you were thinking?" Tristan nodded. "I think it has something to do with the lack of magic winds due to the seal around the cell. It creates some sort of vacuum that your thoughts seemed to jump across."
"You can hear all thoughts here?" Tristan asked, feeling somewhat defiled.
"No," Jack said simply, "you were just putting yours out there really loudly." He grinned slightly. "Anyway, I don't know why I can do that either. I don't think it's permanent though."
"Good!" Tristan said. "I can't have you always hear what I'm thinking!"
"With your mind, I don't think I would want to know anyway," he said jokingly. Tristan crossed his arms and gave a 'what the hell does that mean' look.
"But what do you mean when you say I have problems," Jack said, ignoring Tristan's look.
"I don't know," he said, thinking about how to word the response. "I just think you've had a lot of problems and you don't want to admit it."
"Well…take Sarah for instance."
"What about her?"
"You've had a thing for her for awhile right?" Jack nodded slightly. "I don't understand why you never followed up on it."
"I don't know," he answered with a shrug. "It just seemed like…"
"You ARE aware that she's got a thing for you, right?"
"What are you talking about?"
"You don't see it?!" he exclaimed. Jack shook his head, his hair shaking gently from side to side. "Can't you hear the way she talks to you? The way she looks at you?"
"You're imagining things. Something that good would never work out for me."
"Well that's you're problem right there! You should listen to how she talks about you. You're the only one she really trusts. On top of that, you've saved her life at least twice now and you've almost killed yourself trying to do it."
"No. Don't talk. Listen," Tristan was really getting into this now. "Are you aware that you're trying to save the world for her? She told me about that, you know. I know that you think that no one should get away with what the Lavoid is doing, but deep down, you're doing it for her."
"What's your point?" Jack asked, getting fed up with the conversation.
"My point is, your inability to tell her how you feel is one of your problems, even when it's COMPLETELY obvious that she likes you!" He was almost yelling now.
There was an awkward pause before Jack spoke. "Are you done yet?"
Tristan exhaled loudly. "Yeah. I'm done."
"Then can I try to sleep again?" Jack asked. Tristan nodded. "Good. Man, what I wouldn't give for a sleep spell right now…" Jack mumbled before closing his eyes again.
"Completely and utterly…" Tristan paused in thinking for the right word. "…Blind." He smiled at his own wit before letting his eyes droop shut and tried to let sleep set in.
Beginning of Time
"Well this is going well," Fenreir mumbled sarcastically. "Topik, you've let them get captured again!"
"And to make matters worse, Chrono and the others are coming to the castle soon too," Jal said. "If they meet before the right time, it could be disastrous What is something happens and Chrono and Jack are both killed by Magus?"
"That won't happen," Topik reassured.
"Well if it does, at least we know you were wrong about Jack," Hal said.
"I'm right, trust me," Topik said.
"You've been wrong before," Gatille pointed out. "Don't make me even mention some of your previous bad guesses."
"This is more than a guess," Topik said in defense.
"There's still going to be a mess when he meets Magus," Gatille shot back.
"Magus doesn't know, does he?" Jal questioned.
"Magus is smart," Fenreir said. "He'll figure it out. Jack will need some help however…"
"Just sit back and relax," Topik said casually. "This is about to get interesting…"
600ad, Location Unknown.
Sarah was standing of a place that seemed both pitch black and brilliantly bright at the same time. "Where am I?" she asked. No response. She repeated herself. "Where am I?" Still nothing. Faint voices could be heard in the distance. He vision was cloudy. Everything was blurred so she couldn't make out shapes.
The voices that called out were garbled she could only pick up certain words. She didn't recognize any of the voices.
"…dying to try it out…" came the voice. It was distorted beyond recognition. "…prepared for the void…"
"Who are you?" she asked. The voice echoed back, bent and refracted at a deafening volume.
"…I am called…" The resonation of the sounds blasted her ears. She covered her ears and screamed back, searching for answers.
"What is this?!" she yelled.
"…ask…Jack…" more garbled voices.
"What does that mean?!" she yelled back, ignoring the pain in her ears.
"Don't tell me you don't know," came a suddenly clear voice. It was unlike one she had ever heard before. It spoke sharply, scaring her. "You should ask the one you love, Sarah."
"I…I don't understand!" she screamed in search of answers. The cruel voice only echoed back in laughter. The cloudy mist that blocked her vision then erupted into a blaze of blue fire. She could feel her skin being singed as the fire engulfed her. The out layers were being burned off. The fire was scorching her lungs as she inhaled. She took one final breath for air…
Sarah woke up in a cold sweat, screaming. She was breathing very heavily as Jack rushed over to see what was wrong.
"Sarah! What's wrong?!" he said, taking her hand and trying to calm her down from her almost hysterical state.
"I-I…" she stuttered as she tried to get words out. "I don't know," she said, almost crying. "There were these voices and I couldn't understand them. Then this one voice spoke to me, and the world turned to fire."
"Sarah, calm down," Jack said softly. "It was just a dream."
"It…but it seemed so real," She said. She held back tears, but collapsed into Jacks chest. "It seemed so real…" she said again, this time much softer.
"It's alright," Jack said, putting a reluctant arm around her and rubbed her back to help calm her down. "We all have dreams that seem real. Just forget about it." She waited a few seconds before she lifted her head up and nodded. "That's better," Jack said. "Let's just forget about it and wait for everyone to wake up so we can get out of here."
"Yeah," Sarah said with a small sniffle. "Now I owe YOU one," she added.
"Huh?" Jack asked.
"I'll tell you latter," she said, brushing away the faint traces of tears. "Let's just sit here for now." They leaned up against the far wall and sat in an awkward silence. No one said a word until the others woke up.
It could be said that no one had a good sleep. Even Aragorn and Rayith, who never woke up to begin with, were having serious headaches now. The rubbed their heads wearily while Tristan explained what had happened. Now, they had to get out, and as quickly as possible.
"So, how do we do it?" Aragorn asked, still rubbing his temples.
"We have to get someone to open the door first," Jack pondered.
"Actually," Sarah said, "I've got that covered, sort of." She reached down the remains of her shirt and produced a bulky metal key.
"Where'd you get that from?" Tristan inquired.
"I regained consciousness at some point while our capture was taking us up here. He probably thought I was too weak to do anything, but a managed to snag this key before he knocked me out again."
"Can I ask a question?" Jack said, raising his hand.
"Sure," Sarah said.
"When did you learn how to pickpocket? I don't remember any training for that ever."
Sarah thought about it for a second before remembering. "I think it was one week when you were out with the flu about two years ago. I remember Sean saying to me: 'women have more hiding places then men so it's about time you learned to use them.' I never thought it would actually come in handy though…"
"What else do you have hiding in there?" Rayith asked suspiciously. Sarah laughed.
"Believe me, I wish I could fit more in there, but that's all I've got." Jack mumbled something about Sarah's breasts being absolutely perfect the way they were but no one heard.
"Okay," Tristan said, "so now we just have to figure out how to open the door, which is locked from the outside, from in here." The door to the cell was a wooden door with a barred window at about eye level.
"Well, magic is probable out of the picture, and Force Tech manipulation is no good either…" Rayith said, thinking out loud.
"Then we've got to come up with some other way," Aragorn lamented, stating the obvious.
"We need someone with really skinny arms to reach through those bars…" Tristan said. Very quickly, all eyes in the room turned to the short-statured red head in the corner.
"What?!" Rayith said, in her own defense. "You want me to do that?!" Before she could argue anymore Aragorn and Jack had already grabbed her and lifted her up. They carried her over to the door, holding her at the best angle for reaching the key hole. Tristan looked out the window and made sure no one was there.
"Cost is clear," he said.
"Give her the key," Jack told Sarah. She handed Rayith the key
"Now what?" Rayith asked reluctantly, looking extremely pissed off.
"Now you open the door," Aragorn said. Angrily, Rayith reached through the bars, twisting her arm oddly to fit her elbow through. Jack and Aragorn tilted her lower portion up to give her a better angle.
"I swear to God I'm going to fry all of you when I can use magic again!" she yelled grumpily as she squeezed her shoulder through the window, reaching as low as possible.
"Just open the damn door," Jack said. "And stop squirming!" he added as an after thought. Rayith was almost at the hole.
"I've almost got it…" Rayith said. "Just a little more…" Suddenly, there was a click sound as the key was inserted, the lock came undone, and Rayith removed the key.
"Got it!" she shouted. "No let me go!"
"Not yet…" Jack said slowly as he and Aragorn opened the door, Rayith still hanging stuck in the bars.
"What the hell are you doing!" she screamed at them.
"Getting you out," Jack said tentatively as he swung Rayith's form through the door.
"Well your not doing a good job of it!" she screamed again. Jack ignored it. He signaled Aragorn to hold her up as he stepped off to the side. He lifted up and hand and closed his eyes. With a small gesture, the bars around Rayith's arm bent outward and she came free without struggle as Aragorn pulled her out.
"That was much less painful then it might have been," Jack said bitterly. Rayith rubbed her arm.
"Well…thanks," she said, silently admitting she was wrong.
"Can we get out of here now?" Sarah asked.
"Let's find our stuff first," Jack said. "It's probably on this floor. Anyway, I'm getting tired of wearing nothing but this damn body suit."
"Oh, I think the skin tight look is you, Jack," Tristan joked. Jack promptly slapped him over the head.
"Okay, so let's just find our weapons and armor and look for Magus," Rayith said, running off to the left. She was soon followed by the others.
"Maybe I'm just not good with girls, period. You know, like I'm missing that portion of the brain or something." -American Pie
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