Chapter 24- Drunken Confessions
12,000 BC, Kajar
Jack and Sarah were sitting on the floor in the room they had been given in Kajar. It was good sized room, probably reserved for important people. In addition to the two beds against the far wall, there was a small 'living room' section of the room which included two large, decorative chairs and a table that reminded Jack of a coffee table. There was a fireplace near the 'living room' similar to the one that had been in Magus's room. Jack had lit up the fireplace about an hour ago.
Neither of them had much of a clue as to where to go next. Jack wanted to try and meet the rest of his family, namely the Queen and Schala. He wasn't sure what good it would come to, but something inside of him was telling him to meet them.
"I don't think the Queen would be so happy to see you," Sarah said. "Taking from what's been said about her. It's not her anymore, anyway, right?"
"True," Jack said. "She might be afraid that I might fill this bizarre prophesy and offer me up as a sacrifice or something."
"You think she could beat you that easily?" Sarah asked.
"Well, judging that Magus was able to defeat me…" Jack trailed off.
"So what?" Sarah said. "Maybe you're stronger now. You seem to be getting more powerful each day."
"No," Jack said. "It's not that simple. From what I can tell, Magus is trying to kill the Lavoid."
"How do you know?"
"Well, think about: We know he knows that the Lavoid has possessed Zeal. Also, by the way he spoke of the Lavoid, I can tell that he has some deep, embedded hatred for it."
"Also," Sarah said, starting to see where Jack was going, "that would explain why he procured a high position in the government. He's using Zeal to get to the Lavoid."
"But he hasn't attacked yet," Jack said. "That would imply that he's trying to gain more power. Now, if Magus can't beat the Lavoid, but he can beat me…"
"Then you wouldn't be able to fight the Lavoid's power also…"
"I also suffer from a lack of spell knowledge," Jack said. "I simply don't know enough spells to be an effective combatant in a higher level magical battle."
"That's why you want to find Schala?" Sarah asked.
"I think she can help me," Jack said. "From what I've been told, Schala is extremely gifted with magic, more so then the Queen. If she was also crusading against the Lavoid, then she would probably do what she could to help me."
"Why not try to join with Magus?"
"I don't think he'd like that idea very much," Jack said. "He wants this to be his victory. From what I can tell, he hates the Lavoid too much to share it's defeat with others if he can avoid it."
"So the three children of Zeal will all try to kill Lavos separately…" Sarah mused. "Interesting…"
There was a period of silence, suppressed only by the cackle of the fire. Sarah thought back to what Doreen had said earlier about asking Jack about how she 'knew' about who he was. She decided to brake the silence. "Jack, can you help me figure out what Doreen was talking about when she mentioned my 'abilities?'"
"What about them?" Jack asked.
"I don't know," Sarah said. "You just seem to be on a role with deduction lately. I was hoping you might be able to provide some insight on that."
"Sorry, Sarah," Jack said. "I don't think I know anything about prescience"
"Yeah," Jack said. "Telling the future?" Sarah cocked her head back in surprise. "Relax," he said. "I was only joking."
"Why joke about that?"
"I dunno. It just sounded like you were having visions. That's silly though."
"Yeah, I guess you're right…" Sarah murmured.
"Anyway, as for our next move, I think we should just stay here and find out what happens."
"Oh," Sarah said. "I get it. Figure that whatever sent you and Magus through time will be happening soon, judging by the ages of your respective personas in this age."
"Now you're getting it," Jack said with a smile. "I think we should actually try and relax for a little while until then."
"Relax…" Sarah said, almost in awe. "Wow, that word seems so difficult to think about now. It just seems like so long since we've been able to relax." Sarah had been marking the length of the journey by how long Jack's hair had grown. His ponytail now extended down to nearly his waist.
"I think we deserve it though," Jack said.
"Wait a minute," Sarah said, suddenly realizing something. "What about Tristan and the others. Shouldn't we be trying to help them?"
"I don't know if we can," Jack said. "I think they'll be okay though, wherever in time they are."
"I guess you're right," Sarah agreed. "This would be a good time to catch up on Zealian History," she pointed out. "You should read that book while we have some down time."
"Good call," Jack said, climbing from the floor and picking the book off of the table. He sat down in one of the chairs and started to read.
"I'm gonna go have a look around this place," Sarah said, also getting up. She grabbed her equipment belt off of what had been designated as her bed, and started to move for the door. Looking back at Jack, she laughed. "And I'll try to get you some new clothes too."
Jack smiled, realizing that he was still wearing nothing but basically a pair of torn-at-the-knees skin tight pants, and the combat vest that Sarah had lent him. He wasn't really cold, or uncomfortable, but new clothes did seem nice.
"Good to know your looking out for me, Sarah," Jack said with a wave. Sarah winked at him and exited the room, closing the door behind her.
Jack embedded himself in the book, magically enhancing his reading speed to get to know what he should know as quickly as possible. The story of Zeal was incredible though. He was amazed as the tale of Vigo and Schala and WEAPONS spun outward in a web of entanglement and betrayal.
He studied the magic that were used by the characters, hoping to devise the way to use what Schala called Star Magic. It seemed powerful, and anything like that would help him in his personal crusade.
He noted that his birth was not covered in the story. The writings did not cover up until recent enough to know of his birth. The prophesy of the Blue Haired man was mentioned a few times though. It seems that some thought that this man would be Janus, but others denied it because he wasn't of full Zealian blood, not having been Vigo's son. Nothing of a 'One of Lavos Born' ever came up, though, whatever that meant.
It seemed that the author had a particular interest in Schala. The story itself was practically told completely from Schala's point of view. Jack managed to learn a lot about his sister from this, and he wanted to meet her more then ever.
"Schala…" Jack mumbled to himself out loud as he read of Vigo's death at the hands of the WEAPONS. The story had become to engross him. He felt a part of if. He felt as if he were there as all these things happened. The tale of the Kingdom of Zeal was a tragic one, and Zeal herself was a tragic character. How had such a strong woman succumbed to the power of Lavos? It seemed that by the end, Zeal WAS completely under the control of the Lavoid. She had become merely a puppet of evil.
"Mother…" Jack mused again. "Why?…"
It took Jack another hour or two to finish the story to it's end, but he was surprised to find that there was much more of the book left after the story. Immediately following the Origin of Mount Woe was am ancient spell book.
"Wow…" Jack mumbled, excited by the opportunity to learn some new spells. Or, a lot of new spells as it was with this book. Hundreds on end, in fact. He found all of the spells listed by type and then listed alphabetically.
He recognized a few of the spells, the lightning and fire and ice spells, along with a few more powerful ones like the Dark Matter that Magus had used on him and the Mega Brando that he had used in Magus's castle. Other then that though, most of the spells were completely foreign to him.
"Look's like study time," Jack said, propping up in the chair and digging in. "And this may take awhile…"
About an hour latter, Jack's eyes were beginning to hurt. He had made it through Earth, Fire and Lightning spells, and was partially through Time, but he realized that he was not remembering very much. As much information as there was here, he could only store some of the vast number of spells in his mind.
Just as he was closing the book, Sarah came back from her exploration. She carried garments in her arms, enough for both her and Jack.
"I managed to pick these up," she said, tossing Jack some of the clothes. "They still take gold here, which is nice, but we're running kind of low on funds."
"I wouldn't worry about it that much," Jack said, examining the garments. They consisted of a pair of loose fitting blue pants, a gray tank-top and blue vest with sleeves to the elbows. There was also an orange sash to be worn as a belt. "These look much better then what I've been wearing," he said with smile.
"Thanks," Sarah said, dropping the clothes that remained in her arms on the bed. "It's actually quite an amazing city. Most of the architecture surpasses our own time. I'll take you out latter tonight." She took out a blue and orange robe from the pile and slipped it on over her head.
"That sounds fun," Jack said. "What time is it anyway?"
"It's just starting to get dark out," Sarah said. "They city at night should be quite beautiful at night."
"So, what went on between you and Tristan?" Sarah asked Jack. They were walking down the streets of Kajar as the night was just starting to get dark and the lights of the city were beginning to show. They made a funny couple amongst the crowd, the one man with blue hair and the one woman without it.
"I don't really know," Jack said. "I guess nothing never really 'went on' between us. We just had sort of a competition thing going on."
"Well, before I was paired with you under Sean, I trained with Tristan under a different instructor named Frank. I trained with Frank from when I was 13 'til 16, I think. Then I got moved under Sean's tutelage. Frank was much more serious then Sean, and come to think of it, I never really liked him much. I don't think he liked me either. Maybe it was because I always beat him in our TAG battles…"
"Oh, sorry," he mumbled, scratching his head. "Right. Me and Tristan. Got it." He paused briefly. "Well you know how back in High School, everyone in SSAF schooled together in a special institution?" Sarah nodded. "Well I had a lot of classes with Tristan, even though he's in the grade below me. The classes I didn't have with him were the ones that he was taking college courses in."
"He's a genius, though," Sarah said. "Isn't he?"
"Yeah," Jack said. "And that's what pissed me off. I was always considered pretty smart, but Tristan…"
"He always showed you up?"
"Yeah…" Jack said. "It used to piss me off so much!" he said with a smile. "He was just so damn good in everything. Even the stuff we did outside of class, too."
"Like everything," Jack said, somewhat jokingly. "The only thing I could do better then him was TAG fight, mostly because I was faster then him."
"So he didn't do EVERYTHING better then you," Sarah corrected him.
"He was close enough," Jack said. "And he would always shy away from the exercises that I could best him in. I guess it pissed me off that I couldn't beat him aside from the few things that I specialized in. He was better at all of the general stuff and that was the kind of stuff we had to do most often."
"Any reason why?"
"I guess he was kind of a natural athlete," Jack said. "He also his growth spurt before me too, even though I was older."
"You were always kind of small," Sarah said with a laugh. "I was taller then you for a while!"
"Oh, just stick it in my face why don't you," Jack said, shoving her playfully.
"Well, you're bigger then him now, right?" Sarah asked.
"Yeah," Jack said. "But it doesn't matter anymore."
"What about the whole cigarette thing?" Sarah asked. "Why does that bother you so much?"
"Because he's smart and he knows they're bad for him. It angers me that he can be so smart but so stupid also. I think he got into them when back when he smoked a lot of weed. One of those idiots he used to hang with probably got him hooked."
"He smoked that too?"
"I never understood that either," Jack said, laughing momentarily. "He got caught for possession on school grounds and was punished, well…kind of severely. I don't think he's smoked since."
"Any other problems I should know about Tristan?"
"Actually," Jack said, laughing as he realized all the things that were actually wrong with his friend. "He had a drinking problem for a bit too. Almost died of alcohol poisoning a few times."
"Oh my God…" Sarah said.
"Don't think he's done much drinking since then, either."
"The kid's a senior who wants to be a freshman," Sarah said, also laughing.
"Yeah…" Jack mused. "I guess he's really kind of messed up in his own little way, after all."
"I haven't seen him do anything reprehensible yet," Sarah said.
"I made it clear when we started that he wasn't allowed to do any of that!" Jack said. "And on top of that, he's probably trying to impress you," Jack said with a laugh. "He was always good with the ladies."
"I'll bet that got you angry too," Sarah said, laughing. "That he was good with girls and all."
"I know!" Jack said. "He was always pimpin' it up at school! It just wasn't fair!"
"Jack…" Sarah said, almost sighing.
"Come on," Jack said to her with a smile. "Let's get some food."
A little while latter, Jack and Sarah found themselves in a restaurant in Down Town Kajar. It wasn't quite what they were used to, but they were both quite surprised at the elegance of the place. The one thing they hadn't counted on was that they would be out of money after paying for the meal, but they didn't really care, especially after a few glasses of wine.
Cutting off another piece of some sort of seafood, Jack was finishing another story he was telling. "But get this!" he said. "Then Keith says: 'just walk up to a random chick and say: 'look at you with all those curves and me with no breaks,' and then just grab her!'"
Sarah laughed loudly. "He didn't actually expect you to say that to anyone did he?!"
"That's the scary part," Jack said. "I think he was serious."
"He never had any trouble with women, did he?" Sarah asked, cutting another piece of meat from the delicacy on her plate.
"No," Jack said confidently. "Ever since he was little, he was always macking it with every hot girl he knew, leaving me far behind."
"Ohhh," Sarah said, making the sound one makes when a small child does something cute. "That's so sad."
"Well it's the truth," Jack said. "I've always been bad when it comes to that. Seriously, though. How many girls have you ever seen me with?"
"Come to think of it-" Sarah started to say.
"Don't answer that!" Jack cut in. "The last thing I need is to feel bad about my inadequacy with women!"
"I guess so," Sarah said with a giggle.
Jack could tell that Sarah had was starting to get a little buzzed from the combination of the wine at dinner and the drinks they had at the bar before they sat down. He was having to much fun to worry about it, though. The only thing that was going through his mind was that all it took was stumbling into a planetary, inter-temporal crisis to get Sarah to go on a date with him.
"So," Jack said. "You've go to have some interesting stories, no?"
"I don't know," she said sheepishly. "Some of them are really embarrassing…"
"Oh come on!" Jack demanded. "I've told you every story I have from the time was so drunk that I pissed on the dean's office window to the time I-" he was cut off by their waiter's voice.
"Excuse me," he said. "Would you like anything for desert?" The waiter asked.
"Um, just coffee please," Sarah said.
"Same here," Jack said, waving the waiter off. "Anyway, you've got to have an interesting story."
"Okay," Sarah said. "Well, you know how that big tree overhangs the Statue of the old King Guardia…" Sarah went ahead and told her story, finally beginning to loosen up a bit. Jack figured it was probably the alcohol, as they had been through at least three bottles of wine by the time dinner was over. Jack, however, found himself not the slightest bit affected by it.
After dinner, Jack wanted to leave and check out more of the city, but they ended up going towards home and soon found themselves in a bar that was not to far from the place where they were staying. It was a quiet bar. There was a jazz band set up in one corner, playing a slow song. The counter was mostly empty, aside from Jack and Sarah. The tables were also mostly vacant.
"So the bastard sends me a picture of himself wearing nothing but a pair of panties and a bra!" Sarah said, finishing what was left in the bottle in front of her and singling the bartender to giver her another.
"Stupid Pledges…" Jack mumbled. "What'd you do?" Jack asked calmly, still feeling odd that he wasn't slightly dizzy a this point.
"Heh," Sarah said, swigging from the new bottle. "I took the picture and wrote a little memo on it. I wrote 'Proto City at it's best!' and then I took some tape and posted the stupid picture up in the dorm elevator!"
"Very sly," Jack commented as they exchanged a high-five. "I wouldn't expect anything less from you." Jack was now almost hoping to get drunk. Maybe if he could just forget everything that was going on, if just for a little bit…
"Hey, Bartender!" Jack shouted. The bartender came over to him. "What's the strongest thing that you can serve me?"
The bartender didn't need to think long before answering. "A Kajar Krusher," the Bartender said. "But I haven't seen anyone actually finish one."
"Really?" Jack asked. The bartender nodded. Jack pulled out a few gold coins and tossed them on the bar. "Give me three of them, then," he said confidently. If that didn't get him plastered, he didn't know what would.
The bartender looked at him like he was crazy before taking the money off of the bar and going to make the drink. After minute or so, the bartender slammed three large mugs of bluish liquid on the bar. "Good luck, buddy," the bartender said. Almost immediately, Jack attracted attention from the rest of the bar.
"Kajar Krusher?" came the noise from the small crowd. "And three of them? Is this guy nuts?"
Jack ignored the others as he eyed Sarah and smirked. Taking the first mug and going with the chants of the crowd, he took the rim of the glass to his mouth and poured the liquid down his throat. It burned viscously as it passed through his throat. Chug, chug, chug. Down went the drink as Jack finished the mug, slammed it on the table and wiped his mouth off. Mumbling of disbelief filled the room.
"How was it?" Sarah asked.
"Well," Jack said, smiling and lifting up the second mug. "I'm pretty sure that was the strongest drink I've ever had. That includes my dorm's specialty, the Gurney Grind." Not speaking anymore, he brought the second mug to his mouth and started to chug down that one also. At this point, the entire bar surrounded him as the liquid went down his throat and the mug was emptied. Even the band had laid down their instruments to see the man who could withstand not one, but two of the powerful liquor.
Jack placed the second glass on the bar and looked behind him to see exchange of money as he lifted the final glass. The crowd called for him to drink it, but he paused.
"I would like to make a toast!" he announced, holding the glass up. "I'd like to toast this incredible potent drink to the dearest person in my life! One to, who without her, I would have died many times over, and lost my sanity a long time ago! A toast to Sarah!" he announced, looking at her with wide eyes.
The bar echoed his words. "A toast to Sarah!" Sarah smiled as Jack lifted the mug to his mouth and gulped down the entire glass full of the blue liquor. Chug…chug…chug. When it was gone, Jack slammed the third and final glass on to the bar in victory.
The crowd cheered, but amongst then, Jack could hear voices speaking things such as. "The blue-haired man is super human!…Is he Vigo come again?…will he lead us to salvation?…"
"You feel anything?" Sarah asked, looking up at him and drinking again from her bottle.
"No…" Jack mumbled. "Not even a buzz…" Then to himself, he thought. This isn't right. I've never had tolerance like this before. It's must be the magic in me…yeah, that has to be it. It's affected my metabolism so that I detoxify poisons at an inhuman rate. I can't even get drunk anymore…
"Hmm…" Sarah mused. "Well, don't worry about it. I've got another Pledge story to share…"
Twenty Minutes Latter…
Sarah was finishing her story. "…So then I slam the frying pan into the guy's face!" Sarah said. She was slurring most of her words at this point, but Jack sill didn't even feel a buzz. Jack was sure she was wasted. He felt bad. He probably shouldn't have let her come into a bar after all they had drank at the restaurant.
Jack laughed. "You must have been scarred shit-less!" Jack exclaimed.
"Well wouldn't you be?" Sarah asked.
"Yeah, well," Jack said, laughing again. "I'm not afraid of anything!" he exclaimed.
There was a long pause as Sarah took another swig from the bottle in front of her. Eventually, she came out with a challenge. "Oh really?" Sarah asked, leaning closer to him and looking up at into eyes. "Is that so?"
Jack laughed. "Sure," he said. "What could possibly scare me at this point?"
"You want to find out?" Sarah asked.
"What do you have in mind?" Jack asked. Sarah smiled dumbly before climbing off the bar stool and leading Jack out of the bar by the hand.
She led him quickly back to their building, up the stairs, and to their room. Opening the door, she pulled him and she closed the door behind them. Pulling him into the room, she pushed him down onto the bed and sat down next to him.
"You say you're not scared of anything?" she asked, a drunken smile filling her face. She looked deep into his eyes, taking in his face and everything about him. Jack shook his head. Sarah smiled and closed her eye."…Then kiss me…" she said softly, not giving him a chance to respond before gently pushing him down on the bed and pressing her lips against his.
Jack's eyes went wide. His first impulse was sheer excitement as he felt her press against him, her tongue venturing into his mouth. Finally! God, I've been waiting for this moment for so long! But after a few minutes, he started to realize what was going on. He didn't want it like this. Not when she was smashed. Not when she wouldn't remember it in the morning.
As she paused for a second to take her robe off by lifting it over her head, Jack managed to push her away.
"Sarah…" he said. "No."
"Wha?" she asked, climbing off of him and sitting down on the bed, looking at him with an extremely confused look. "What's wrong?"
"Oh I knew it," she sobbed. "What's wrong with me?" she asked him. "Is it my looks? Is there something wrong with my face or body?" Jack had to concentrate to decipher the slurred words.
"No," Jack said. "Believe me, it's not that." He paused and looked at her with a loving smile. "Sarah, you're smashed."
"I am not!" she retorted.
"Yes, you are." he said. "It's not right. I…I can't take advantage of you like that. Not when you're like this."
"But why?" she questioned.
"Sarah…I…" He paused. "I've wanted this for longer then you can ever know," he admitted. "But, I never wanted it like this." He looked away from her. "I didn't want if you wouldn't remember it in the morning. I wanted…I wanted it to be the most amazing moment in my life, and I wanted YOU to feel that too. I can't do this. Not like this."
Slipping her robe back on, she pouted before lying down on the bed next to him.
"You said you weren't afraid," she said. "But I think you are, Jack McKlane…"
"Yeah," Jack said out loud to himself, climbing off her bed and lying down on his own. "Maybe I am…" Then he thought, Don't worry Sarah. You won't remember any of this in a few hours, and maybe that's for the better…
"And she'll be standing over there. With green eyes and long blonde hair. She won't be wearing underwear..." -Blink 182
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