The Hero's Apprentice

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Ch. 20 In Jail

Walter had his eyes wide open when he found he was in a shrine to Tim Burton or Ozzy Osbourne. The new roommate was either a former inhabitant of the place, or even more likely the new occupier since Walter had been gone at least ten days missing in this place. Walter just hoped the man didn’t call the police cause then there’d be a lot of paperwork, and maybe a court summons to discuss rightful ownership and a bunch of things that no longer concerned Walter in his home world. Walter also figured that this guy whoever he was just playing with fire. Walter saw the rune circle that had obviously grabbed him before his spell could take him back to Drey and saw it was Cros’ handwriting traced over. It was much nicer than Rye’s and the runes were always written small cause Cro was skilled in shedding time off spells and enchantments. Walter wanted to ask the goth if he had already seen Cro and Drey, but the rune circle made it clear that Cro was gone, and rightly so if this guy had shown up and Cro didn’t want to make the news as Walter might have when he disappeared. Walter wasn’t sure if his magic had brought him here, or if this pessimistic black makeup freak had done it by some fluke. But as long as he was home he’d replenish enough so that at least he’d have a little more magic wherever he ended up next.

The imo was about to speak but Walter beat him literally to it by hitting him very hard on the head with his staff. Not really a spell, but hopefully it would give Walter enough time to leave and get out of here. Walter felt slightly bad for taking a wad of twenties out of the Goths pocket, but he had inconvenienced Walter, and it only seemed fair that if he was gonna be stuck here until he felt more charged, he might as well go eat out at a real restaurant, wash his clothes, and then maybe come back only to find Cros’ scent and follow it back to Ando.

Walter got ready to exit the creepy looking apartment and put a temporary binding on the rune circle so that it would be there ready to use when he got back. Anyone who tried to even look at it would not be able to move for at least twenty four hours. Not so short that it could become public, and not so long that the victim would die of thirst, hunger, or a bathroom attack. Walter just hoped it didn’t come to that if it happened. Walter would’ve used his own cash but the apartment was no longer his. The only thing that remained that assured him it was his was the AC and fridge, and those had been there when he bought the place. Walter checked the state of his temporary acquaintance and was certain he’d recover by the time he got back. If he remembered what had happened, he’d just erase his memory of the whole incident, and be sure to do something about the rune circle so it didn’t drag him back here in the future.

Walter realized his tunic and staff were not the thing to be wearing at this time so he removed them as soon as he exited the apartment. He then had to scurry back into the now satanic monument and borrow a change of clothes and shoes from his unconscious roomy so he could wash his own clothes. He carried his clothes with him in a bag with him as he located the local laundry facility. He had only twenties so he stopped at a convenience store, and bought a coke and got some dollar bills and quarters in his change. Walter had a lot to think about as he washed, and then dried his clothes. How long before he tried to get back to Drey? If he should check on his folks? Walter decided a high calorie meal at a nice restaurant or even McDonalds would make the minor setback worth it. He changed back into his shirt and pants and was tempted not to put on the Goths Airwalks. Just for a while thought Walter, I’ll be back in Ando real soon. Walter found a place to eat and thoroughly enjoyed himself thanks to the Goths’ sixty dollar donation. When Walter had finished he prepared to head back to the apartment, but got a nasty sensation all of the sudden. Somebody had activated his newly made trap. And it wasn’t the goth. Rye.

Rye expected to be in Ando as much as Walter had. But unlike Walter, Rye was curious about the place that now held him prisoner. It wasn’t Ando for sure, but it couldn’t be Walters cause it was just too scary to be Walter. Rye eyed the oaf on the floor who was coming to. Rye would get to the bottom of this by asking this fool. Rye waited impatiently for the oaf to quite touching his head and asked him where this was. The guy started jabbering in Walters’ language. Rye was upset at realizing the complication at hand, but also amused that he was in Walters’ world. The one with the power to destroy cities at will. Then Rye realized that any plan to use Walters’ world was wrought with obstacles and problems, all stemming from the sad truth that he couldn’t speak inglish as Cro called it. Then there was the binding on the circle. Probably Cros’ cause the handwriting seemed like his. Or rather it was a traced version of Cros’ handwriting. The binding was strong and Rye sensed the magic weakening. He’d be free in a while so there was no hurry to rush into any other traps that awaited him here. All the while the guy wearing make up was talking and exclaiming things Rye had to guess. Rye got sick of it and decided he’d heard enough. Rye put him to sleep with his wand and Rye was much relieved that he didn’t have to deal with the buffoon.

Walter was at a crossroads. If he attacked Rye while he was trapped he could end all this business and get back to Cro and Drey. Or he could high tail it out of there and let someone else deal with Rye for a change. Walter would’ve liked to run cause he knew if he did use the rune circle Rye was trapped in, he’d just be behind him a moment later. If he tried to get back to Ando through alternate means, at least he had a chance of not bumping into Rye for a while. But that was the problem. Running away would make the duel drag on, and Walter had seriously had enough with the relocation, the vines, and now being in a situation where attacking Rye would get things heated up. Rye was pursuing, Walter had been trying to play defensively like Cro taught him. Problem was the duel forbade killing. So Rye had to surrender or be subdued long enough for the duel time limit to run out. Problem was that was Cros’ call, and neither Walter or Rye was near Cro to ask how much time was left. Walter needed to find Cro and either end it through him, or he had to deal a heavy blow now to Rye and then go find Cro. Walter knew what to do. Rye was vulnerable at least for another hour, even if he shed off some time trying to speed up the temporary binding. Walter spent a few good minutes coming up with a plan to keep Rye here just a little longer, and had to insure that he would follow him. Otherwise he’d raise hell here and Walter or the National Guard would have to do something about him.

Walter finally had an idea. He found a pay phone and called the police telling them his address and that somebody had broken in and had a hostage. If Rye used magic, he’d just be weaker when he got back to Ando. It was true he might hurt some innocent people, but he was going to do that wherever he went. Plus the police had sworn to serve and protect just like Walter. No harm in getting a little help from home one last time. Walter stayed close by to be sure Rye didn’t leave the apartment and to make sure the police got to the right address. When interviewed Walter said he had been on his way to a comic book convention and had noticed a disturbance in the building. Some guy in green had struck a man in black who lived in the apartment, and was now inside with the door closed. The statement was technically true. A man in green had hit the man, it just wasn’t Rye. And it was true that Walter was on his way to a comic book convention of sorts. One that if all the other geeks found out about, they’d hit the ceiling about as high as Walter when he finally realized it was the real deal. The police told Walter to hang around for the conclusion of the situation but Walter insisted he was running late. He gave the officer his parents’ address and phone number, and said they could call once they had the matter resolved. It had the desired effect. Walter put on his outfit to make his alibi convincing, thanked the officers and started in a jog to the nearest ally. This time Walter was gonna concentrate hard so that nothing would cancel or modify his travel spell back to Drey. Walter realized he would be very exhausted in the next place he ended up in. So wherever he went this time, there would be a long stay. And not like a few hours waiting for a plane transfer. He would be there a good month, or he would be throwing his staff like a javelin at whatever the danger was. But Walter stayed calm and did as before, he wrote the runes on a cardboard box he found in a dumpster. This time he’d take the runes with him and leave no trace of a circle in the alley. Walter poured his feelings into the spell, thinking about Drey and the fastest way to get to her. A gust of wind picked up and Walter vanished in a whirlwind of garbage.

Rye sensed Walters’ disappearance and that only made him free himself immediately after Walter had left. When he exited the apartment he saw a lot of weird dressed people pointing little black clubs at him they were holding upside down. Rye wasn’t worried until they did something so he prepared to walk and wait and see how they responded. In an instant a booming voice started jabbering in Walters’ language and Rye was curious to how he was making his voice louder and echo like. Big deal. Loud talking was a weapon weak people used, and Rye never had to use force and yelling to get his way. He could toy with his prey, and it would be fun. Rye almost fed them the suggestion to try and make a move and see what happened. Rye was on the opposite side of the building he had exited when he saw more guys with clubs. Long ones. Rye sensed power in them, but couldn’t decide if it was earth or fire element based. Whatever, they weren’t using it so Rye kept walking. They shouted a few phrases at him, but he couldn’t understand it with so much screaming.

Rye knew he had to get some distance if he was going to track Walter so he prepared to go invisible when he was hit in the back with a canister. The container spouted a white smoke that was literally making Ryes’ eyes burn in pain. Rye was grabbing his eyes, trying to dilute them with his gourd. Rye would’ve fought back but he couldn’t see and they were tossing two or three more canisters at him. Rye was having trouble focusing, and then realized too late that his arms were being bound behind his back. Rye was glad to be out of the smoke. He also wanted to know what wizard had used that potion that would certainly cause problems even for a giant or a dragon if it hit its mark.

Rye found himself being hauled away in a carriage that moved very fast and was made of metal. He’d seen these when he probed Walter a few months ago so he wasn’t surprised as much by it as the white smoke that made a person hurt and cry at the same time. Rye got flustered when they took his tunic, staff, wand, gourd, his two potions, and above all else his spell book. Rye was not gonna have any of this. He tried fleeing and binding people as he tried to get his things back in the storage room they were being placed in, but was wrestled to the floor by three guys, and then felt a sharp pain in his arm as they gave him a sedative. Rye knew about poisons, but whatever they gave him was working incredibly fast, Rye finally succumbed to the drug and was out for a good two hours.

When Rye awoke he was in a room with a mirror. He also found that he had been strapped into a white sweater that made it so he couldn’t use his arms. Rye gathered his thoughts for a moment and then it finally dawned on him. These are soldiers and knights from Walters’ world, they captured me and they’ve imprisoned me. But why? Well the first reason would be he had defied authority, even in Ando disrespecting the knights was not a light thing. The knights risked their lives in defense of the villagers so nobody questioned them when they asked the villagers to comply with their simple requests. It was unreasonable requests that got knights into trouble. Rye really didn’t have a choice though. Even if he did speak inglish. There was no way he would comply to an order from these soldiers if it didn’t agree with Rye.

The whole incident was yet another humiliating moment for Rye. Walter was gone, and now he was in prison, and worse, a prison where he didn’t know the rules and didn’t speak the language. Rye soon found out though. In the slammer they made him take an English class. Rye didn’t learn it well but enough to learn the rules and a few basic phrases to survive while he replenished his magic. Rye was done being weak. He had exhausted himself trying to escape and get his belongings back over the weeks in jail. But the more he tried to leave, the longer his sentence got he soon found out from the inmates. So Rye played the waiting game. He waited till he’d have a good sized amount, and then it would be a breeze to get his belongings back and chase after Walter. Each time Rye learned a new trap the prison had, and soon he knew all of them. The guards, the dogs, the eyes on the ceiling that told them if a prisoner wasn’t in his cell. The fences, the clubs, but for some reason they never used them on Rye. Rye almost wondered if they contained the power that Rye had sought. He wanted to at least learn to use one. It turned out in Walters’ world these clubs were called guns and fired pieces of metal that could penetrate armor. Rye was intrigued and asked how he could get one. The other criminals stayed away from him after that, but once in a while they tried to ask when Rye was escaping. Rye liked this idea, especially if he could get them to do all the work for him so he didn’t have to waste a single spell if not needed.

Rye hated prison except for the sessions with a psychologist who was always asking Rye questions about his upbringing and why he had tried to escape before serving his full five month sentence. Rye enjoyed these sessions because he asked questions of his own about this world. It helped him practice English. The inmates sometimes ignored him and made fun of him for being illiterate and unable to read Walters’ language. That got Rye worked up a few times and he pretty soon had a good amount of people who hated him and feared him in prison. Being inept at something was a new thing for Rye. He had always excelled. And now here he was in a place where his talents were meeting obstacles, all of which originated with Walter who had learned quickly, and had the woman Rye had never been brave enough to pursue beyond eye glances.

The psychologist remarked that Rye had jealousy issues and had no need to compare himself to this Walter. Everyone had his talents, and if there was only one girl in the world then Rye was right and it all was hopeless. Rye calmed down a bit after those chats because he tried to listen. Walter was Walter, Rye was Rye. Except Rye wanted what Walter had, and Walter had it and wasn’t in jail. Ryes’ parole didn’t come up because he was still in a vengeful state and was always ranting about what he would do when he finally got out of here. But Rye didn’t care, he already had begun the phases of his escape. The hardest part was locating his possessions. They were smart guards. They moved his stuff where it would be hard to get. But Rye figured if time was what he had he might as well use it. Rye in fact learned the prison system very well and could get people to help him out, otherwise he’d make them suffer from ailments only he seemed to know the cure for. First Rye wanted lessons on how to use and get a gun. This one took patience, but the boils and itches didn’t seem to go away when criminals went to the medical wing so Rye fed them his promises of instant relief if they helped him get what he wanted. Any refusal or betrayal and the ailment would return the next day.

Every prisoner soon was in on the fact that Rye was a dark sorcerer. In fact, many prisoners soon found that he was precisely the kind of man that these facilities had been made for. Many prisoners behaved after that, trying to reach their parole dates to get away from Rye. Others ate out of Ryes’ hand because they knew how uncomfortable he could make things with his voodoo or whatever mumbo jumbo he was using to torture and cause problems. Rye wasn’t stupid though, he made sure to draw less attention when needed, otherwise the guards would move him to solitary confinement where the ability to cause trouble took more concentration and patience. Rye wanted out, and he wanted to do it with a full amount of magic so once he got to Ando, Walter would have less of an advantage. Rye also gave up on the idea of getting one of those large metal towers that could blow up a city. If people in Walters’ world were gonna land you in this place because you defied authority. They probably had awful forms of execution for the murderers and creative trouble makers. No, Rye decided he’d like a gun at the very least as his souvenir from Walters’ world. With it he’d have an edge, kill Walter without using magic. So even if it was cheating, technically it was a tool that lied outside the dueling arena. Yes the match would be Walters’ win, but winning and dying kind of defeated the point of victory altogether.

When the night came that Rye had decided to get his stuff back he tried to be stealthy about it. First he needed a diversion. He had collected dirt from the yard for this and had it hidden in various locations when the need came to use it. And best of all it was enchanted dirt. So even if someone found it, it would always find its way back to Rye. When night came Rye summoned the dirt and it assumed the shape of a human. Ryes’ golem was instructed to take out the cameras and the guy in charge of them at all costs. The tricky part was getting some of the dirt into the camera room. Rye had a special batch of dirt that would lull the victim who breathed it in to sleep. It took practice, but Rye eventually got the wind in the ventilation to finally get his dirt to the desired room and subject. If Ryes’ cell didn’t open it would mean the plan had failed and the sirens were going to blare. The golem found the camera room and the sleeping guard. Opened Ryes’ cell, and procured the guards gun and keys as he had been instructed to do if an opportunity came to get one. Rye made sure his cellmate was out of it that night. Last thing he wanted was some idiot to blow the whole thing. Rye didn’t need help, just time to figure out his enemy and plan accordingly.

With gun in hand Rye told his golem to release the other prisoners and make sure they all stayed out of the storage area where Rye was headed. The golem hulked on its mission and Rye sprinted to the storage room. There were three in total. And Rye could sniff out his possessions easily. They were on the top level. It would make it harder to escape on foot, but Rye had done enough of that in his spare time here in this dark box. The problem with prison was everybody was watching everybody. So all of Ryes’ activities were reported to the warden, and soon Rye couldn’t catch a break to write runes or even try to escape with magic. People probed and asked questions in jail. And Rye didn’t want to tell another soul anything that he knew cause he wanted to know it alone. He had told Walter just a little, and Walter had used it to full strength. The main reason was Rye wanted to be a full strength and he needed his possessions to do that. If he left them behind, someone would find them and Rye didn’t want that.

Rye was overjoyed to find his possessions. When they had confiscated his stuff one of his potions was taken for analysis and Rye sprang into action and tried to stop it. He failed because he received a nasty shock of electricity and he hadn’t been prepared for it. Every soldier and guard had some way of stopping him that was new to him. And when he used magic they grew suspicious and wouldn’t let him use his arms and sometimes they gagged him. Rye behaved to get those privileges back, but he also didn’t utilize magic because then he would lose the freedom. One of his potions remained and Rye gulped it down because he knew he needed it anyway. Plus he had a gun now, and it would make a fine replacement for the potions. Rye dubbed his tunic, eyed his wand, and triumphantly held his staff that had been severely drained in his absence. Rye eyed his pistol as if it made up for any other setbacks the day had thought up for him. He’d blow a hole through its’ head, Rye was so tempted to try it but not yet.

The prisoners were all sleeping soundly until Ryes’ golem had unlocked virtually every door in the prison except the front gate. The hallways that led to Ryes’ location were still locked, so nobody except Rye would be leaving out the staff exit. Rye had been nervous that a guard would check in with the camera room or would see his golem and report it with the strange black bricks they used to talk to each other. But the golem wasn’t loud and didn’t breath, so the guards were dealt with before they could do or say anything. It all happened in fifteen minutes so eventually when several guards didn’t report all clear the sirens went off. But at the same time Ryes’ golem had pressed the switch that opened up all the cells at the exact same time the prisoners had been woken up by the shrieking.

The first thing they noticed was that Rye was gone. Instinctively every prisoner except the few who wanted parole to rid themselves of Rye sprinted through every open door and gate in the prison. Complete lock down was instigated, but it was going to take a while to round up every last prisoner. Most of the prisoners did as Rye had thought and went to the outer gate and found it locked. They surrendered when the searchlights and sniper rifles got pointed at them. The few dumb enough to do as Rye hoped and play in the labyrinth of hallways made it easier for him to find his way outside. Rye was just one prisoner, so he wouldn’t get special treatment. At least not until they found out he had organized the jail break. Having fulfilled his duty, Rye cancelled his connection to the golem and it fell into a pile of dirt in the yard. It was dark and no one noticed the incident.

Rye wrote his runes in the dark. But he didn’t care. The searchlights were preoccupied with the main yard. Besides, Rye was planning to take the dirt with him anyway. Rye finished his preparations and disappeared completely full of power excluding the portion he had used to take him back to Ando. Only problem was he found he wasn’t in Ando.

In the morning all the prisoners were accounted for except Rye. The guards who had been attacked said somebody had hit them without making a sound. A trail of dirt was found that made its way to the camera room, down to Rye’s cell, through a network of hallways, and ended up in the yard in a large pile. The so called tunnel that Rye had supposedly dug was never found. And that made all the prisoners look for it. Ryes’ escape was a mystery, even after they stripped his cell and analyzed the content of the dirt. Ryes’ missing possessions also aroused the rumors that he was a sorcerer. Rye became a favorite story in the jail for many weeks. For a while the prisoners tried to mimic Rye in hopes of succeeding as he had in escaping. But in the end, only the prisoners who made parole left that prison. And they vowed they’d get as far away from any state or town that ever had the displeasure of being Ryes’ new home or hideout.

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