Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trouble on Triton Avenue—Chapter 4 (On the Heels of Akilles)

Got a great message from John yesterday:
"i read the Lexicons for Lionblood articles you had posted to my 7 year old and he was asking when you would release the next chapter. they are very good and well written and both of us enjoyed them greatly. we both love your blog and check it everyday to see what you wrote about next.

thanks in advance
John DreamWalker"

With that note, I now present to you Chapter 4 from the Trouble on Triton Avenue series!

If you'd like to do some back reading on this story:

Chapter 1 - Ripped from the light
Chapter 2 - Leaves of Healing
Chapter 3 - Lexicons for Lionblood


“STOP!” yelled Thomas as Merle, Calab, and himself teleported into Cyclops Lane. Thomas crumbled to the ground and leaned his back against the wall.

“Thomas?” queried Merle. Merle’s brow was crinkled and tanning in the bright summer daylight from above. Wizard City seemed to be in a perpetual summer’s solstice, and today, it just seemed too bright to Thomas. There were other thoughts lingering on like a long summer day in his mind as well. It all seemed too bright in his mind, like a mirror shining sunlight right into his eyes. Sometimes a death wizard simply prefers the dark.

“I just need a second to think about what’s going on here. Gah, maybe it’s the sun,” gasped Thomas.

Calab leaned against the wall and blurted out, “and maybe he’s just nervous about talking to General Akilles again . . .”

Thomas hung his head low to his chest, and clasped his hands behind his neck to create a pocket of shadow, “No, Calab, I just need to think a second and get out of this sun!” It was true that Thomas needed to think for a minute since he had been through so much in the span of what seemed to be ten to twenty minutes and with Merle teleporting here and there with blindingly hot urgency. Well, he just felt overwhelmed. At least that’s what he was telling himself, of course, what Calab was saying had truth to it as well; Thomas was concerned about General Akilles since there had been a confrontation with him a few weeks ago.

Thomas had learned Akilles was capturing the wallflower students of the school and putting them in cells until they made him a trove of treasure cards for his army. Treasure cards are illusionary, one-use cards crafted from a deck of real cards and usually contain a slightly stronger and temporary magic. They are called treasure cards since they feel real enough to the touch, but once used, they vanish . . . like all wealth does eventually. Only experience is permanent. Treasure is fleeting.

To make matters worse, Thomas had fears that the treasure cards were not merely for Akilles’s Cyclops army; detaining students had Malistaire’s work written all over it. Akilles wouldn’t dare detain students in the heart of Wizard City unless he had been offered a large prize. And so, with a commission from Merle, Thomas had been sent to “stop this silliness” and free the students. Since Akilles wouldn’t free the students without a duel, Thomas had to comply and, in fact, won and, thereby, won the freedom of the trapped students! Unfortunately, the “trove of treasure cards” had never been found, and the students seemed to have no recollection of making those supposed treasure cards either.

Though it was suspicious, Merle had pardoned General Akilles and only punished him with a demotion to “Private” Akilles for a day. It was a soft punishment that seemed empty, but Merle knew Akilles’s strength might be needed in the end as the children of the titans could be helpful someday in protecting Wizard City. The shame of Private Akilles having to shine the boots of his officers for a day was punishment though, especially for a proud Cyclops like General Akilles. It was a far better choice than banishment. It was best to let them make this world of the spiral their home. And that was that.

“We’re going to talk to General Akilles, Thomas, and that is that!” said Merle as he hovered his wand over Thomas’s head. A magical hand appeared from the gemmed tip, grasped on to Thomas’s head, and lifted him up like a basketball while spinning him in a full 360 degree angle. “Thomas, you will have your head on straight when we talk to Akilles, won’t you? I’m counting on you to help us all. This card that’s leaking magic is more dangerous than you know.” Merle grew a very concerned look on his face.

Thomas really didn’t have a choice here. This needed to be done, and he knew it. “Yes, Headmaster Merle,” he said using Merle’s formal and respectful title.

“Good.” said Merle. The hand from Merle’s wand rubbed Thomas’s back and popped it back into shape with a chop of perfect precision. “And Calab,” Merle continued while his wand’s hand pointed toward the street, “I need you to entertain General Akilles’s troops out front while we talk with him.”

“You got it!” laughed Calab as he shuffled his dueling deck and ran toward the nearest brawl-worthy Cyclops.

The hand on Merle’s staff retracted. Merle put his arm around Thomas, and they walked together up the marble steps toward Akilles’s hall. He wasn’t going to be happy to see Thomas . . . the sting from public humiliation was still fresh in his eye.


Unknown said...

Great addition to the story line. i just love how you keep us hanging for the next chapter. my son loved the chapter as well and cant wait for the next one.

Amber StormTamer said...

Awesome chapter, Friendly. I can't wait for the next.