Battlemage Taika – Part 5 Conclusion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“Captain MacDonell stand down,” the other man yelled, obviously used to having his orders obeyed. He pulled out his sword.

“No. I’ve done terrible things for the Empire but not anymore. General Lanthier, we were friends once. Don’t do this.” The handsome man brandished his sword.

The rest of the guards seemed to symbolically move to one side or the other. All the ones in armour followed the General and all the ones in the comfortable looking uniforms followed the Captain.

“You’re a fool Mac, these animals don’t deserve your pity. You know I’m a better fighter than you are, you’ll die for nothing.”

The handsome man turned and looked directly at her and winked. He shouldn’t be able to see through her illusion but somehow he did. “I won’t die here.” He pulled a strange curved cylinder from a holster in his hip and something shot out of it, knocking the other man down.

Taika took her opportunity and dropped the invisibility. “Go and protect the children,” she ordered four legion. “The rest of you. Let’s help this man out.”

Two of the armoured men dragged the General into the gate. The remaining and some of the unarmoured soldiers attacked Taika and her group. With the help of the turncoats, the ensuing battle was over quickly. When they’d caught their breaths the handsome man called Mac said, “Thank you and I’m sorry for all this.”

“A blessing on you and your family,” Taika said as she bowed at the man.

“Thanks. I guess.” He turned to the surviving soldiers. “Alright. Let’s get the hell out of here before these people close the gate.”

“I’m going with you,” Aleenia said. The man only responded by nodding. They grouped together and at the last moment before walking into the gate they turned and waved.

“Good luck,” whispered Taika before she shouted, “Ok Julien, get those people and yourself to the outskirts.” She pointed at the children and Legion.

The group huddled up and Julien motioned to her. When she was close enough he asked, “You sure you remember how to shut this thing down?”

“Of course I do-” she didn’t get a chance to reply before he teleported her and the others away from the gate.

Still connected with the communication spell she said, “Damnit Julien. I’m teleporting back.”

“No you’re not. You’re twenty three years old and one of the brightest battlemages I’ve ever met. I’m a hundred years older than you. If anyone is going to foolishly martyr themselves, it’s me.”

“But I’m in command…” she said lamely. She and the others were now inside the battlemage headquarters. Stepping outside into the training field where she’d spent so much time with Julien and the others she forced back the tears. The sun was setting on the giant wall in front of her.

“Yes, you are and that’s where you’ll stay. I’ve shut the gate down and I’m activating the volcano. On my mark.” The quiet seemed to stretch forever and Taika wanted to say something but couldn’t think of the words. What felt like years but was only seconds ended with Julien saying, “Now!”

“Thank you!” she said as she activated her side of the shield. The entirety of the inside of the wall started to glow a peaceful blue.

The shield held in the ash and magma but force shook the entire continent; no one was immune to the devastation. When everything was done there was a giant dome of volcanic stone where there was once a wall.

Taika had to spend time in the hospital; even with the excess of ambient magical energy in the capital, she almost killed herself keeping the shield up. When she heard that the remaining battlemages had not only saved the army and Panos warband, but helped evacuate the rest of the Panos and nomads from inside the wall, she was extra proud of her people.

She was lying in a hospital bed, trying to decide the best way to escape when her brother, the King, walked in. “You saved a lot of people.”

“Julien saved them. I just helped. We also lost a lot.” She wasn’t sure if she should add your majesty but decided not to.

“The other nations are agreeing to a new treaty. We’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“But the gate-”

The king cut her off, “Is still under there. Our magical scholars say there’s no way to destroy it.”

“Then I need to get out of here and start re-building the battlemages.” She started to get up and fell back into bed.

“There’s time for that, sister. Right now you need to rest. In a weeks’ time you can go back to re-building the battlemages. General Taika.” He turned to leave. “When you get better I need you to help Addison create wards and a rotating battlemage guard unit for the catacombs.”

“What happened?”

“The invaders sent a small force and managed to steal Father, Mother, and two other Crystals.” His mouth was tight and he was obviously angry. “I spoke to a seer with the Panos and he said that the crystals are no longer here but through the gate.”

“If the gate isn’t destroyed I can go after them.” She knew she couldn’t. They didn’t know how to target the gate. It could go to any other world attached to the great tree.

“We’ll get them back. I’ll make sure if it.” There was a darkness in the king’s words, but she was too tired to ask him anything further.


If you liked this, why not read more stories set in The Tree of Worlds:

Battlemage Taika – Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The enemy just kept coming. Wave after wave of oddly armoured soldiers carrying crossbows that fired some sort of magical energy. Taika had never seen anything like them but she didn’t have time to analyse their armour or weapons.

The soldiers, unlike her own, were disciplined and efficient. They worked in formation and cut down the legion.

“Their armour is absorbing any spells we cast!” Yelled Julien.

“They’re coming through the gate. We need to shut that down!” shouted Pat.

The one advantage they had was the spells that let them give commands directly with voice while the enemy relied on horns and runners. It wasn’t enough of an advantage. They were down to two thousand in the legion, less than half, and only one hundred of the five hundred battlemages when Taika started to consider retreat through teleportation.

“Knight Commander,” one of the knights from the legion yelled, “The Panos are breaking through behind us.” She had never heard that the Panos were capable of fighting on this scale.

“Put the communication spell on their leader and move your men to the front, we need to get to the gate.”

A woman’s voice, speaking perfect common, replied, “I couldn’t agree more. I am Aleenia, temporary War Alpha of the Western packs. I bring you two hundred hunters and twelve Shamans. I need to get through that gate.”

“Welcome! Move your people to the eastern front, they seem to be weakening on that side.”

“No. They are preparing an ambush there. I’m a seer and I say we move forward.”

Seers were unheard of in the Maneean mages but the Panos seemed to have one or two in each pack. Most couldn’t tell what time they were currently in, or who they were talking to. It was shocking to have one not only be coherent but leading a war party.

“You heard the War Alpha!” Taika yelled at her commanders.

The battle did turn and they started pushing the enemy back but they just kept coming out of the gate and Taika’s forces were starting to tire and dwindle.

“We need to shut that gate down,” Pat yelled again.

“He’s right, but I need to get through it first,” Aleenia replied.

“Ok, we’re fighting like battlemages and Hunters. I think we need to start fighting like spies. Julien and I are going to take Aleenia and ten soldiers under an invisibility spell and shut down that gate.”

As they prepared for the stealth offensive, their army tightened their formation and moved as if they were preparing to either retreat or regroup.

Adeleine recognized the War Alpha immediately, she walked with confidence and radiated power. “Aleenia War Alpha, I presume?” There was something else in the way she held herself, an impatience that was more than battle anxiety.

“Please, Aleenia is fine.”

“Who’s on the other side of the gate?” Taika was being blunt to the point of rudeness but she needed to know that the other woman understood this was a one way trip.

“My betrothed tried to stop all this and failed, but he managed to get the alarm out.” She gestured around.

Nodding, Taika went back to preparing the invisibility spell. When she was almost done, Julien walked towards her and said, “What are we going to do with them when we shut down the gate?”

“When the gate shuts down, Pat has orders to teleport everyone out. I’ll activate the volcano.”

“But that’ll destroy everything and everyone inside the wall, millions will die.”

“Not if we can create a big enough shield to contain the army and the blast.”

Julien’s eyes grew wide and he looked like he was going to argue, instead he stood straighter and said, “We need someone on both sides to create a powerful enough shield…”

“No. It’s my plan and I’m going to be the one inside. That’s an order.”

There was no more argument, they formed a tight line, and she cast the invisibility spell. They spent the next hour dancing around the enemy troops trying not to be noticed. The spell hid them but didn’t make them intangible.

As they finally reached the gate, it was guarded. They’d expected the guards but something else was going on here. Half the guards wore comfortable looking uniforms. She assumed they were battlemages but she hadn’t seen any one the field. The others wore the regular armour.

A handsome man who wore no armour and carried a sword was yelling at another man. Taika directed a full stop and quickly cast a translation spell. The yelling man stopped and looked at them before going back to yelling, “Is this what the glorious Empire is about? Torturing children?” He gestured at a small enclosure, there were four Panos youths, no more than five. They were tied to stakes with steal wire.

Read Conclusion (November 23)


If you liked this, why not read more stories set in The Tree of Worlds:

Battlemage Taika – Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

“That’s it?” Taika looked at the six old men and shook her head, “There’s supposed to be hundreds of you.”

“Tales for children and peasants. There hasn’t been a new battlemage in… What is it now, Frank?” Julien asked.

“Twenty-three years,” the oldest said.

“What happens if we hear from the towers?” Taika had grown up with stories of the battlemages protecting their world from the demons that came from the portals inside the wall.

“We tell the nice indigenous children not to play with the towers have a nice lunch with the village elders and come home.” Julien smiled and looked at her like he pitied her. “There hasn’t been an incursion in over a hundred years. Since we’ve declared peace with our neighbours, we’ve been glorified illusionists for parades.”

* * *

“There are only six of them!” she bellowed at Adrix not caring that his wife and small council were in the room. He smirked and she yelled, “You knew?”

Giving her a laugh that was too much like her father’s for it to be natural, he said, “Yes. Over the past three decades, father has cut their budget and prevented recruitment.”

“Why do the official papers say eight hundred?”

Rachel, Queen consort, replied almost bashfully, “That’s my fault. I didn’t want the other kingdoms realizing how under prepared we are to deal with magical attacks.”

It made sense and that made Taika all the more angry. “So I have six battlemages and no money to recruit more? You realize the youngest is seventy?”

“Sister. The wall accords have been broken. We can ignore our oath and let the rest of the world burn or we can ensure it stays safe. I refuse to be the king that forsakes our world. You’ll have your budget.”

Recruitment was harder than she expected. Everyone wanted to be a battlemage but most didn’t have the magical ability or the discipline. Instead of battle plans and training regiments, she and the other battlemages spent their days sifting through the recruits. By the end of the six months they had accepted three hundred, none of which were even close to the old standards of the battlemages. A fact that Julien reminded her of daily.

After a bad day of training, just under a year since she’d been appointed Knight Commander, she sat in a meeting with the six senior, in every sense, battlemages.

“How are they doing?” Each of them had been given a specialty to train. Each battle specialty needed a particular style and the six of them covered the five main specialties; Attack, Defence, Physical Enhancement, Healing, and Counter-Magic.

“They rely too much on the ambient energy of the ancestor crystals. When we’re out in the wilds there won’t be as much and they’ll find themselves unable to cast.” Julien followed his statement with a tisking sound.

“Then teach them.” She lifted her hand to stop his witty retort. They were insubordinate, rude, and questioned everything she said, but they only did it in private. They were exactly what she’d want as commanders. “I want each of you to pick the best ten of your classes and start giving them extra training. I want a fighting force by the end of the month. I want two groups of Defence mages. Until we can train a full battalion, we’ll be working with the fourth knight’s legion.”

“Those ninnies wouldn’t know a demon from a Panos.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you outrank them, then, and that they can follow orders.” Their faces fell as she said it. battlemages were taken from every class while knights were always nobles. To have the battlemages outrank knights was unheard of. “You six are now honorary lords and commanders. You’ll each have five hundred men under your command while in the field. You’ll also have a knight commander to advise you.”

After a month of preparations, the fourth legion and their battlemage commanders were ready for battle, or so they thought.

The Panos towers lit up and the legion prepared. They were slow to teleport and when they transported to the towers they were already surrounded by an enemy in strange armour, who was much better prepared for battle.

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Battlemage Taika – Part 2

Part 1

Taika was knighted and everyone in the Maneean military was relieved to see her go. Despite being a capable knight she was too smart and stubborn for her own good. If she’d been a regular recruit they would have given her a frontier outpost to command.

The battlemages paraded in all the major parades and occasionally did demonstrations of combat for foreign dignitaries. They hadn’t seen combat since her grandfather’s time. There were fewer and fewer mages capable of casting anything beyond basic spells away from the power of the ancestors.

Before meeting the mages, she’d been given all the official papers about the battlemages. The papers said there was a full regiment of eight hundred. That was less than one percent of what they’d had in the last great war. Before they’d built the wall to keep out the demons.

She’d been given command a month before the coronation and her brother had asked that she appoint an honour guard of ten battlemages to protect him. She was thinking about that while she traveled to the official battlemage barracks. It was the only building in the capital that was against the wall.

Unfortunately, like the wall, it was old and crumbling. The wall was still a priority but the barracks were not and it showed. Walking into the crumbling building, she was challenged by a young soldier, maybe sixteen, “Stop. Who goes there?”

“Taika of Maneea, Knight Commander of the battlemages.”

To the boy’s credit, he didn’t flinch, simply replying, “You may pass.”

“What’s your name Private?”

“Alex, Sir.”

“Continue the good work Alex.” The boy’s chest puffed out and he seemed to be paying better attention. Her words and their reaction gave her the reassurance that she could do this.

Walking into the command office she found it empty. They must have been running drills, she thought. She checked the practice yards and found them not only empty but barren.

She found the banquet hall in the same state and most of the first two floors. She was going to give up and use a locater spell when she heard voices coming from the officer’s mess.

“You should have seen her Frank. They don’t make women like that anymore,” an old man was telling his tale to a group of five other old men. Each had a full glass of beer in front of them and several empty ones.

She stood at the door shocked and what she was seeing. None of them were in uniform, they were drunk and it wasn’t even eight in the morning. She let the old man finish his story and then said, “Is this what a battlemage does in the morning?”

The old man who was telling the story, swung around and threw a line of pure force at her. It was weak but well crafted; she deflected it easily, converting he energy to harmless wind.

“Hmm that normally works. Okay boys, let’s teach this pup some respect.” The six of them stood up and she could feel magical energy coalescing around them.

Raising her shields, she said, “Gentlemen, this is not the welcome I expected as your new knight commander.”

The entire group burst into laughter. The man who’d been telling the lewd story, between guffaws, said, “New is right. What are you, twelve? And what moron appointed a knight commander to us. We haven’t needed one of those in sixty years.”

“I’m twenty-two, and the moron who appointed me was the king. May his soul find rest.”

“A dying man’s wish for his what? Niece? Mistress?”

“Daughter.”

They all nodded sagely. The oldest of them squinted at her and said, “You’re the youngest one aren’t you. The troublemaker.”

One of the others said, “That’s why she’s been assigned to us.”

Since they seemed to have released their offensive magic, she dropped her shields and nodded, “Yes. That’s me. Now that we’ve decided not to try and kill each other I’d like to address the entire group.”

“Go ahead. We’re all here,” the storyteller said. “My name is Julien and here are your mighty troops. Impressive shield by the way.”

These six old men were all that was left of the mighty battlemages.

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Battlemage Taika – Part 1

“No Adrix, you’re wrong!” Taika turned her head away to not let her older brother see her cry.

“I’m sorry Tai, he’s dying.” Adrix had the height and rust coloured beard of their father, but had yet to gain the girth of the king.

Running towards the royal chambers, still in her practice armour, she fought back the tears that would have most of the other knights in training laughing at her. Sir Vastra was fond of telling her that knights don’t cry. As if the older woman could ever dredge up tears from her cold crystalized heart.

The castle guard didn’t stop her running through the halls. Her amber hair, bright pink eyes, matched with her improbable height, marked her as one of the thirteen Maneean royal heirs.

The royal surgeon stopped her at the door of her father’s rooms. “He only has a few minutes left. He’s asked to see you.”

A wave of indecision rolled over her. She wanted to remember him as the vibrant happy man he’d always been and part of her thought if she didn’t go in he couldn’t die. After a breath she decided she was being silly and walked into his rooms.

The large bed that he’d always looked so comfortable in now made him look small and frail. He gestured for her to come closer and she kneeled at his bedside. “Father, I… she trailed off, unsure what she wanted to say other than “Don’t Die”.

“Little Dagger.” His voice was raspy and distant. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart for you.” He was once again the lithe frame of his youth, but it was due to illness not training. “You’ve always been my favourite.”

Smiling despite her tears, she laughed, “You tell us all that.”

“Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any less true.”

“Don’t go, Father.” She knew it was an unfair request but she didn’t care.

Taking her hand, he looked at her and said, “You have always been most like me and I’m sorry for that. The traits that served me well as king are not well suited to a life as the fourth daughter and thirteenth heir.”

“It’s okay, Father. I’ll make a good knight.”

“You hate taking orders.”

“If they weren’t so stupid, I’d follow them.” He patted her hand.

“Adrix will be a good King but he will need someone with your sharp tongue and mind to keep him grounded. I want you to finish your knight training and then take over command of the battlemages.”

She assumed he was starting to slip and just smiled and nodded.

Giving her the cutting glare that had him nicknamed Dagger he said, “I have not lost my mind. They might be few but they’re powerful and they’re necessary. You are the most powerful, magically, of the heirs and I fear they’ll be needed now that the other kingdoms have pulled out of the Wall Accords.”

“Are you expecting war?”

Nodding he replied, “I’m expecting far worse my daughter, far worse.” He took a deep breath and released it slowly. He closed his eyes and his entire body started to glow. She called for the surgeon who called in her siblings, all but Adrianna who had been married to the prince of the kingdom on the opposite side of the circular wall.

The twelve of them stood around his bed and chanted the death song as his body converted itself to crystal. When it had finished, most of them were crying.

Taking the crystal, Addison who was the Keeper of the Crystals and first born, said, “And so in his death our father gives his power to his people and will rest in the hall of crystals.” The magical power of all Maneean’s came from their ancestors. It made the capital one of the most powerful places on the planet.

When a king dies, the kingdom goes into mourning for a year. In that year nothing happens but essential events and festivals. On the one year anniversary of the King’s death, the heir is coronated. It’s the most dangerous time for an heir, historically those below them in succession would try to assassinate them. This year was different; Adrix was the only heir that had ever cared about ruling, and both Adeena and Addison had abdicated in favour of service to the Temple of Ancestors.

The year passed with no assassinations, no scandals; nothing but sombre events.

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If you liked this, why not read more stories set in The Tree of Worlds:

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 10

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Part 10: An Emu Knows that Bombs are SO Five Chapters Ago

In the hall behind her, Hagrid, the Emu, was snoring. The sound was enough to cover anything Prince Phil or Fake Dove were saying. He was still blocking the doorway while fighting off the doppelganger of his ex-girlfriend with an electrified sword.

Meanwhile, the only word Sophia had heard was, “bomb.” This was the third bomb she’d been close to in as many days. It lost its novelty but not its terror. She was holding a gun that could stun, kill, or disintegrate and she knew what she needed to do. If only Phil would get out of her way.

She tapped the gun to stun and waited for her chance. He parried and moved back against a brutal assault from his opponent and was almost all the way out of the door. She grabbed his shirt and yanked him out of the way.

A quick look to aim and she fired the gun. It hit Fake Dove, the Crimbils, and she was pushed back. It took four more shots before the woman fell down to one knee and turned into a small grey alien with a big head. “A grey alien? I guess Mulder was right.” Sophia shot her two more times and the Crimbils fell to the ground.

“I was supposed to save you for once,” said Phil dejectedly.

“You’re adorable, but how does this gun work?”

“I’ve told you everything I know.”

A quick glance at the bomb told her it was like the first one that had been on the hull of the ship. A small bomb that had a little antimatter inside it, making it extremely dangerous. She’d studied the design and physics behind that bomb as much as she could in her free time.

The computer told her that the gun worked by disrupting the molecular bonds of its target. Doing so would destroy the bomb but release the antimatter and the ensuing explosion would kill them.

“Damn, if we move it; it explodes. If we shoot it; it explodes. If I try to disarm it; it explodes.” Sophia sighed in frustration.

“What if you shoot it at the same time it releases the antimatter? Couldn’t you contain it in the energy of the gun?” he asked.

Sophia was going to dismiss the idea but thought about it. If she could make sure nothing touched the antimatter except the energy from the gun she might be able to guide it out an airlock. Thankfully there was an airlock on the bridge.

“Once it’s out the airlock I can throw it and the gun right as we jump to hyperspace. Ok, get ready to hit the hyperspace button.”

The plan was crazy, but she had no other choice and didn’t have any more time. She quickly set the gun to disintegrate and waited. The bomb had a convenient countdown timer and she was able to time her shot perfectly.

With the antimatter in tow she headed for the airlock. Stepping inside she held on to the gun with one hand and closed the inside door. With the inside door closed she wrapped her arm around the security bar and kicked the outer door open. The air rushed out and she threw the gun, hoping Phil’s timing was good.

The second she threw the gun she kicked the door close button and felt the now familiar pull of hyperspace. It was followed by the ship rocking back and forth.

Opening the inner door wasn’t easy. All the air had been drained from her lungs, and combined with the stress of the past few hours, made her feel weak. She barely managed to pull herself up into a sitting position and closing the door.

“You’re bleeding,” Phil ran over to her and helped her to the captain’s chair. “I’ll go get the med kit.”

The objection died as the blood dripped over her left eye. All she could think of was the work that she still needed to do. They needed to reach the Database of Ageless Kings before one of these bombs succeeded.

She must have fallen unconscious, because one moment she was on the brightly lit bridge in a lot of pain and the next thing she knew she was in her bed with a bandage on her head. Phil was holding her hand and he sat in an awkward crumpled position next to the bed.

“Phil,” she whispered and pulled on his hand.

“Yes?”

“Why are you on the floor?”

“I didn’t want to leave you and I didn’t want…” She couldn’t see him clearly but she could hear the blush in his voice.

“Am I dying?”

“No. Absolutely not.” He paused before adding softly, “Please.”

Tugging on his arm she shuffled to the far end of the bunk. He took the hint and joined her on the bed. He curled up and she snuggled into him hugging him. He smelled of sweat, deodorant, and emu. He must have moved Hagrid.

She hugged him and they fell asleep cuddling.

The lights flickering woke her up. The flickering lasted a few moments before they died completely along with the hum of the hyperdrive. Sophia was all for ignoring it when the alarms started going crazy.


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 9

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Part 9: An Emu Proves Dangerous

“Did you change the administrative passwords on the ship?” Phil asked. Sophia couldn’t see him since he was sitting behind her in the fighter ship, but his voice sounded worried.

“Sorry. I had to do a fresh restart and that wiped the original codes.”

“Oh, thank the Gods.” She could hear him relaxing. “Dove knew all the codes and she can’t change them without knowing them. Connect to the ship and have it open the airlock.”

“I have a better idea.” Sophia sent a lockdown command to the ship and then had it open the airlock. It was barely big enough for the fighter ship and she squished some cleaning supplies. “I didn’t think I’d ever need this room so I used it as a closet.”

Between the tight quarters and the abundance of cleaning supplies, even with the sensors shut down, there was no way Dove could not have heard them.

Despite the certainty of discovery, they tried to be quiet as they exited the fighter ship, stripped off the suits, and moved towards the bridge.

The lights flickered on and off, in the way Sophia had only ever seen in horror movies.

Whispering, Phil asked, “Did you do something to the lights?”

Sophia shook her head as they entered the hub of the ship, the dining area. It connected to each part of the ship. It was disaster. There was food everywhere, her favourite cereal was scattered around, and there seemed to be thick green goo on the walls.

“Oh no!” Phil was white and he sat down on the nearest chair. Sophia cringed at the smooshing sound the chair made as he sat. He jumped up and looked at the seat, smelled it, and finally sat back down. “I just sat in milk…” He sounded relieved and just stared at the wall with the green goo. “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry? Phil… What’s going on?” Sophia was worried. He’d reacted better to certain death by bomb, twice, than he was now. Whatever he was thinking it must be scary.

“Dove is dead.”

“How do you know?”

“The blood. It’s from a Crimbils.” He gestured at the goo, indicating it was blood.

“Dove is a Crimbils?” Sophia asked, confused.

“No. Yes.” He gave a big sigh. “The Crimbils are a shape shifting race that eat their victim’s brains and change into them. They know everything their victim did and can mimic them almost perfectly. On top of that, they can manipulate others into liking or lusting after them.”

The full meaning of what he said hit her, and all she could think of saying was, “Sorry.”

Taking a deep breath he stood up and said, “This means she’s probably an assassin. I guess this means we can kill her.” He sounded sad, but his brow was crinkled determinedly. He walked over to the wall and pressed a place that looked like everything else. A panel opened showing a gun and what looked like a fencing sword. Seeing her surprise, he said, “This ship and I were together for years before you. We still have a few secrets.” He tossed her the gun, “Point and click. The button on the side prevents accidental discharge; tap it once to set it to stun, twice to kill, and three times to disintegrate.”

They walked down the still creepily flickering corridors in silence. As they walked, they started hearing a loud rhythmic banging sound. It got louder as they got closer.

All kinds of things could have been making that noise and Sophia imagined all the more farfetched and scariest possibilities. The absolute last thing she expected was what they found.

With a dented metal mixing bowl on his head, Hagrid was ramming the door to the bridge. Every time he hit the door he’d jump back and run back at it.

“Hagrid. Please stop,” she pleaded. The sound of her voice made him stop, but instead of reacting like the lovable, if mischievous, Emu that she’d grown to tolerate… and love, he turned and ran towards her.

She tapped the button on the side of the gun once and barely managed to get a shot off before he hit her. A line of energy flew out of the gun and stopped him in his tracks. He didn’t fall, however, and started moving towards her again. It took three more shots before he gingerly curled up and went to sleep. Loud snoring and all.

It wasn’t until she was stepping over him that she saw the green blood on his wings.

They walked to the door and released the lock. Phil opened the door and went in first. It was a good thing; as he walked in an identical blade to his, glowing green, sliced down in front of the door. He blocked it as if it was nothing and turned to face the person on the other side of the door. Since he was still in the doorway, Sophia couldn’t see Dove.

“Who sent you?” he asked.

A soft chuckle answered him and Sophia watched as he defended himself against more attacks. She tried to squeeze around and fire but couldn’t get a good shot.

“Who sent you?” he repeated.

She was tempted to pull him out or push him in but was worried that he’d get hit. She didn’t know what the glowing, humming swords could do but she didn’t want to get him killed.

The chuckling stopped and a voice that sounded like Dove, but without any of the bounciness or false joy, said, “The Queen, your sister, sends her regards!” The statement was followed by a series of beeping sounds.

“Amazing,” Phil said, sounding both tired and annoyed. “Another bomb.”

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Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 8

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Part 8: An Emu is Smitten and Completely Useless

“How did you get here?” Sophia asked Dove while eying Hagrid suspiciously.

“Oh my! Philly, her accent is so cute.” She moved towards Phil and ran her hand through his hair. He, unlike the traitorous Emu, had the decency to look embarrassed. “I was in the ship with Princess Samantha when it crashed.”

“That was SpaceForce One?” Phil blanched as he said it.

“Yeah, but don’t worry sweetie.” She emphasised the last word with a soft slap on his cheek. Every move she made looked sexual and Sophia hated it; it made her feel clumsy and ugly. “Most of the crew got off before we crashed. We were on separate ships to escape. With royals dropping like flies, your sister didn’t want to risk both of us in the same shuttle. I’m now sixth in line you know.”

“Sixth?” Phil asked incredulously and Sophia saw his eyes darting from side to side calculating how many people must have died. “Oh wow.”

Grabbing him and pulling him into a hug, Dove cooed, “Oh. Poor you. It’s ok.” He was still sitting and she was standing next to him, but in this position she was only half a head taller than him. She started petting him and he seemed to get calmer every time she touched him.

Sophia didn’t like Dove. “You’ve been trapped on the planet this whole time?”

“Isn’t terrible? At least I had a lot of food and was able to film the whole thing.” Dove ran her nails gently over Phil’s back and moved away. She pouted and then gave a big smile before throwing her arms around Sophia. The moment the other woman touched her skin, Sophia felt tingles of pleasure. “Thank you so much for taking care of my little Philly.” Her breathy voice in Sophia’s ear made legs weak.

With great effort, Sophia stepped out of the hug and asked, “Great. So where can we drop you off?

“Actually…” Dove scrunched her face adorably and said, “I found the black box from the ship and watched it. It shows who tried to kill us and I need to bring it to Queen Samantha.”

“Who was it?” Sophia expected Phil to ask the same thing, but he seemed to enraptured by Dove.

“I don’t know. I didn’t recognize the ship but it had a serial number and if I can get the black box to Samantha, she’ll know what to do.”

“It’s on your ship. Isn’t it?”

Looking embarrassed Dove said, “Yes.”

“We’ll get it for you,” volunteered Phil.

For the first time during the conversation, Dove looked flustered, “Oh. Does it take two of you?”

Bouncing up, Phil said, “We’ll get it. You just wait here.”

Once again, they were outside in suits heading towards a crashed ship. Sophia was pretty sure this was a bad idea and she said so.

“Dove is a little flirty and likes to act incompetent but she’s an accomplished pilot and soldier.”

“Then why are we out here instead of her?” Sophia was tired of walking and just wanted to this over with and set up the gravity generator.

He opened his mouth to speak a few times, making a popping noise through the coms. Eventually he said, “It seemed like what she wanted.”

He looked confused and Sophia suddenly had a bad feeling. “Did you tell her about the Database?”

“Maybe,” he said sheepily.

She cursed, turned around, and ran back towards the ship. They didn’t go far before they saw the ship taking off.

Out of breath and confused, Phil asked, “She took our ship… Why did she take the ship?”

“Oh. I really don’t like her.”

“But… Why?”

“I don’t know, but we need to hurry if we’re going to get the ship, and my emu, back.”

Remembering the fighter ships that were left in the Imperial Battleship, Sophia started to run. She hoped and trusted that Phil would follow. If he didn’t, she’d have to waste time picking him up.

At the Imperial Battleship, it took her longer to find the fighter bay then she’d hoped. There were shuttles that were designed for longer travel but they weren’t as fast and they needed to get to their ship before Dove went to hyperspace.

The bay was in surprisingly good condition. She picked a ship that looked in good condition and activated it. The entrance flashed a message that said, “Access Denied.”

“Overwrite lockout, Prince Phillip access code Delta Pie Donut.” The ship took a second to think and then opened to let them in.

The ship was designed for a pilot and a gunner and was not spacious. Once inside they took off their suits and Sophia asked, “Can you fly this thing?”

Phil snorted and replied, “Hells no.”

Sighing, Sophia sat in the fighter’s cockpit and hoped it wasn’t a big difference from Phil’s ship. The main ship still had enough power to open the bay doors and they were gone. Sophia had a little trouble driving to start with and almost hit a mountain but she got the hang of it eventually.

Their sensors found Phil’s ship and they flew towards it. “Why hasn’t she gone to hyperspace yet?” Wondered Phil aloud.

“Maybe we’re just lucky?” suggested Sophia and she hailed the ship, “Hey jerkface! Give us back our ship and emu.” It was the only thing she could think of in the moment.

A few seconds passed and they were starting to catch up with the ship when they received a reply to their hail. There was no visual and no words, only a loud scream of pain and terror.

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Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 7

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Part 7: An Emu Falls in Love

The trip to the crashed ship took them ten hours. It was the perfect time to get some sleep, so obviously Sophia spent most of the time reading the fanfiction of the Prince and watching his videos. Most were him talking to the camera and making witty or insightful comments. He was extremely charismatic and she found herself fantasising about him.

“Isn’t it ridiculous Hagrid? I’m sitting here watching him and obsessing about him and he’s sleeping on the other side of this wall.”

Hagrid made a snuffling sound and hid his head under his wing.

“You think love is ridiculous?” she said, but Hagrid didn’t reply. “I can’t be in love… I barely know him… Other than the hours of his show and thousands of stories about him.”

The computer interrupted her muttering to let them know that they were approaching planet Dowsett, where the crashed Imperial Battleship was supposed to be.

The planet was once a hub and destination place for writers of all sorts. Unfortunately, a civil war between a group that believed fiction wasn’t real literature and a group that believed non-fiction was boring caused the planet to become unlivable. Little Sister hadn’t explained why there was a crashed warship on the planet.

Prince Phil was already in a protective suit when she reached the airlock. It was the same airlock she’d hidden from a winter storm, so many years ago. Phil helped her suit up as the ship landed itself not far from the crash site on the back side of the ship.

She had already packed any tools she thought she might need, including a hover pallet that would carry the gravity generator from the crash.

Giving each other the thumbs up they activated the door and walked out onto a planet that could have been pulled from the original Star Trek; a bright, colourful desert. She half expected to see a Gorn hiding behind a large foam boulder.

She’d only seen an Imperial Battleship once, and it had been from a view screen. The full size of the ship impressed her. It was taller than most buildings she’d seen and so long that she couldn’t see one end.

The schematics of the ship told her she needed to get to the aft portion near the engines. It was a good thirty minute walk before she saw the entrance to the ship. At this point it filled her entire view.

The sun must have been hot but their suits were air-conditioned. The sun, however, was extremely bright and she was constantly trying to adjust the polarization of the helmet. It was almost like something was reflecting the sun back into her eyes.

Looking around, she saw that was exactly what was happening. There was a small point of light being reflected at them from not far away.

Activating her com, she said, “Someone else is down here,” and pointed towards the light.

“I’ll go check. You get the thing we need.”

“Gravity Generator.”

“Yeah, that.”

They split up there and she headed into the crashed ship. It was in surprisingly good condition considering it had crashed. The same couldn’t be said for what was left of the crew; mostly bones and pieces of material. She was thankful for the suit. It gave her a comfortable barrier between herself and the dead.

Getting the gravity generator wasn’t easy and took her over three hours to take out of the ship carefully. As she was working, she wondered if Phil had found the person flashing them and who it could be. The coms in the suits were short range and she couldn’t contact him.

The battleship wasn’t salvageable without a lot more equipment and work but she was able to get part of the computer working. The ship’s internal diagnostics told her that some of the shuttles and fighters were still in the ship. She was tempted to go check them out, but decided to head back to their ship.

The walk back took a lot longer than the original thirty minutes. Even with the hover pallet, she had to go slowly and push the minivan sized gravity generator.

At the ship, she stowed the gravity generator in a hold, took off her helmet and pressed the internal com button. “Phil, are you back?”

“Sophia. We’re back and in the kitchen. Come join us.” He sounded relaxed and happy; more so than any other point since she’d met him.

When she walked into the kitchen, Phil was sitting at the table. On the table, with her legs dangling next to Phil, was a petite blonde. The woman was strikingly beautiful in a Hollywood type of way. The woman saw Sophia enter and smiled coyly before brushing one of Phil’s stray hairs behind his ear.

Blushing, Phil stood up, almost falling over the chair and said, “Sophia, this is Dove.” Of course it was. She should have realized right away that this was his ex-girlfriend. She’d read a lot about the woman, but she knew she couldn’t trust anything because the fan community had hated Dove and always made her the villain.

Jumping off the table and managing to make it look like a long fall, Dove walked over to Sophia and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you. Philly hasn’t stopped talking about you.”

“Um. Thanks. Nice to meet you.” Sophia wanted to ask all kinds of questions, but that’s when she noticed that Hagrid was quietly standing right next to Dove. When Sophia gave him a funny look, he bent his head down and nuzzled Dove.

“Ah, what a sweetie. I think he likes me.”

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Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 6

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5

Part 6: An Emu Gets Bored as People Talk

Sophia was tired, she’d been up most of this whole crazy adventure and that just added to the surreal feel of what was going on.

They were all sitting in a child sized purple house, drinking tea from a floral china tea set, discussing something that couldn’t exist. Sitting next to her, his long legs uncomfortably folded on the tiny chair, was the Prince, one of the Galactic Heirs. On her other side was a tiny robot girl who controlled the black market trading moon they were on. The only normal thing was Hagrid the Emu sitting in the corner of the room looking utterly bored. Somehow knowing an Emu’s emotional state was now normal…

“Stop!” both Sophia and Phil said at the same time as Little Sister was describing the power of the Database of Ageless Kings.

Smiling awkwardly at each other, Phil gestured at Sophia to continue. “What you’re describing is impossible. It goes against physics, common sense, and isn’t possible with the level of technology you or he have.”

“Oh you’re silly. Of course it’s possible. “Any sufficiently advanced’—”

“I know Clark’s three laws. But it’s still no possible.”

Little Sister smiled and said, “I’m happy Arthur made it to your earth. I was worried about him. The Galaxy was once much more advanced then it is. I was built near the end of the decline and even my designs are far beyond what we can accomplish now. The Database exists, whether you believe in it or not.”

Sighing Philip asked, “And why would we want to know where it is?”

The small robot that looked like a child turned her pigtailed head sideways and squinted her eyes. After staring at him for a few seconds she spoke slowly as if she were talking to an idiot. “Someone is trying to kill you. They’ve killed your entire family and several solar systems. Whoever is responsible pretends to be your older sister but rules for afar. Don’t you want to find out what happened?”

“If the Database does record everything that has happened, ignoring the magical reality altering aspects you mentioned, it would be incredibly powerful. Why wouldn’t you go to it yourself?”

“This,” Little Sister pointed at her body, “Isn’t me. This is just my avatar. My database, programing, and essence are all built deep inside the moon. I can’t leave because I am built into this place.”

Getting annoyed with the circuity of Little Sister’s conversation, Sophia snapped, “So what’s your price. We find this magical artifact and turn you into a real girl?”

It was rude and she knew it. She doubly knew it when Hagrid jumped up, made a huffing noise and head-butted her in the shoulder.

“Yuck. Why would I want to be a fleshbag that goes bad after less than a hundred years?” Little Sister seemed genuinely disgusted.

Hagrid started walking around them in the small room.

“You want the tech. Don’t you?” Phil asked.

“Yes. My systems are deteriorating and no one was kind enough to program me with my own design specs. I’m dying for no reason other than the fact that we don’t know how I was made. If I could get the information from the Database, I could repair and improve myself.”

Phil looked at Sophia and his full lips were turned down. Her heart thumped a little faster. He was feeling sad for a moon sized computer being called Little Sister. Even with everything that had happened to him in the past few days, he still took time to feel for her. Sophia knew in that moment that no matter what he chose to do, she’d follow him.

“Ok. How do we get to the Database?” he asked.

“It’s really quite simple. You need to go to the galaxy’s core. You’ll find it on the planet in the exact centre of the galaxy protected from the gravity of hundreds of black holes by a powerful shield.”

“But… how?” Phil sputtered her hands flailed up and down. “The gravity would destroy any ship that goes close to the core, not to mention the time distortions, or the radiation from all the suns.”

Thinking about it Sophia said, “I’m pretty sure I can modify an artificial gravity generators to counteract the gravity of the core. But I don’t think the one on your ship would be strong enough.”

Looking at her, impressed, Little Sister said, “Very clever. I’m impressed. There’s only one kind of ship that has a powerful enough gravity generator for your purposes.”

“An imperial battleship.” Phil’s voice was monotone and defeated.

“Do not despair young Prince. I know where you can find one that was partially destroyed.”

Crinkling his face he asked, “This sounds both much too easy to get too and much too troublesome to use effectively. If it was designed as a surveillance device, shouldn’t there be an easier way to interface with it? And if it’s that powerful, shouldn’t it be harder to get to?”

“Yes to all your questions. The Database can only be used by one of the royal line. They must go to the core, prove their worth, and then the Database will connect with them. Once connected, the royal can use it simply by concentrating.”

“Whoa!” both Sophia and Phil exclaimed. Hagrid gave a similar chirp.

From there on, it was all an exchange of coordinates and signing contracts. As they were leaving, Little Sister pulled Sophia aside and said, “He’s been hurt. He’s lost everything. Be patient with him and make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

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