Lonely Divide

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Chapter 20

Chapter 8.2

Escort Mission

You are Rose, more nervous then you were the first time you and Jaden- never mind.

The next three days pass quickly, even you don't have time to get too bored, this Dhul guy keeps a tight schedule. You do get in trouble a couple of times because of your curiosity, you're always getting into things like recording equipment, to see how it works. Jake checks up on him every morning, and you remember to cast your new spell of Augment Skill on him before he does, which helps. You learn his opponent is doing similar things, making appearances to try and win this election. Soon three days have passed, and Jake announces that yes, the future hasn't changed, and today will be the day. Sadly he only gets a 12, even with the help of your spell, so he still doesn't know how it will happen. You cast Regeneration and Armor of Magic on him, making sure he understands the risks. A lucky shot to the head will still kill him, if it does enough damage all at once. He understands, and you all head out into the neighborhood to watch over him.

It's about two in the afternoon when you're on, a black van pulls up and three men open the side doors and spray bullets at Dhul. You seize the chance and fly through the open door, settling on the floor, which is much more comfortable then riding around on the bottom of the thing. They close the doors and take off, and you hear shots ringing out, probably from Clayton putting on a show for them, as you discussed. Several minutes later you feel the spells end, the conditions for the magic now having been fulfilled, he must now be out of danger. You sigh in relief, not only because you're no longer at a penalty, but that also means he survived. If he hadn't, the spells would have ended right away. You listen to the men in this van, they seem to think they have succeeded, and seem to be just normal NPCs, with no magic or ESPer powers to speak of. You're getting bored just riding on the floor when the vehicle stops and they all pile out. You zip out and see you're just by the side of a road, and another car stops and picks them all up. Apparently they're abandoning the van. You again zip in through the door when it opens, and settle yourself in the very back. They report success in killing Dhul and the driver says he'll head back to the hideout.

"Are you sure they can't trace us with magic or something?" asks one of them nervously.

"How could they? None of us touched the bullets, the van was stolen and will just lead them where we dumped it. There's all kinds of crimes that don't get solved, right? We were in and out, so stop worrying."

They should start worrying, you think, they guys don't know much about magic. Most people don't, of course, just like they don't know much about what fairies can do. Only someone that can cast spells learns about what types of magic there are, and what it can do, so these ignorant louts are in for a big surprise when a Jupiter spell fingers them all for the murder. Of course there's no need for anyone to do that, because you're on the case. Now if only they would get there, but you realize they're probably trying to throw off any pursuit, taking a winding path back to their base. Finally a long time later, too long, they stop and get out, getting on a large boat with a bunch of other guys and heading out into the water. That might complicate things, you think, hanging onto a railing and watching the shore disappear behind you.

"Why are we on this boat again?" asks the nervous guy.

"Because some tracking spells stop when they hit water," says a guy you don't recognize. "Come on." They go below, and you follow.

They stick together, and there are now eight men here, total, and they start telling each other what happened. Both seem to think they've killed a presidential candidate, and none of them seems to need to report to anyone the job is done. They just congratulate each other on a job well done, and argue how long to stay out here in the Mediterranean. A bunch of them start playing cards and smoking, because that's the stereotypical thing for guys like this to do, and even they have to keep up appearances. You didn't expect them to turn on cartoons, did you? You realize it's time to call in the others and make some plans.

You find a quiet spot that looks big enough for three people, probably an unused bunk, and quietly open a portal leading back to the neighborhood you left, and then have to slam it shut again. You feel you've made opposed LUCk checks with someone here, and you got an eleven but that person got a fifteen, so a siren noise was heard for a second because some idiot has obviously called the cops, and they've left the siren running on the car! Or maybe it was just an ambulance passing or something. Two men scramble into the room, looking for the source of the noise, and you make sure you're still invisible, and flatten yourself against the wall. They look past you and go to check the rest of the ship, grumbling. Well, that was a close one. What now?

You decide to just wait a few minutes and hope that siren is gone, so you try to calm yourself, because your tiny little heart is going pitter patter at a most alarming speed right now. You open the portal again, and this time your LUCk check is much better, and there's no noise at all. You flutter through and look around for the others, then see them and motion them to come over. You belatedly realize you're still invisible, but they've seen the portal and run over to it, looking through.

"Looks like a boat," says Clayton, drawing his guns out of his inventory.

You become visible again. "It is a boat, now come through and keep your voice down, they heard that siren before so they're all riled up!"

The others nod and step through, and you collapse the portal again..

"What are we up against?" whispers Jaden.

"There's eight people on this ship," you whisper back. "The four we saw dumped the van and got in a car. That car took them to this boat, and they went out into the water. They didn't report to anyone, and the other four people seem to believe they've killed the other candidate."

"They did," Jake says sadly. "We heard about it on the radio while waiting for you. I guess his protection wasn't as good as what we did."

"Oh no!" you softly cry. "This is terrible!"

Jake nods. "Let's see if we can take these guys out and get to the bottom of this."

"No killing," you say fiercely.

"No killing," sighs Clayton. "If it'll make you happy."

"I have an idea anyway," you say. "Does anyone here have card 30?"

Everyone shakes their head. "I'll be happy to give you my card 29 if you want to play it as a 30," says Jaden. "What do you have in mind?"

"Spending a ton of energy, taking a huge penalty, and using Immobilize on the ones playing cards. There's more then half of them right there, if they're still there playing."

"Good notion!" says Clayton. "They'll no doubt raise an alarm, but if we spread out and take them all somewhat simultaneously, there won't be a thing they can do about it! Sweet!"

You nod, then close your eyes, calling upon your Detect Enemies spell. "There is a large group of them clumped together," you begin. "There are three others apart from that group. One very close over there," you point. "Two more that way."

"Interesting how that worked out, one for each of us?" asks Jake.

"Probably coincidence," Jaden says.

"Okay, give us a little while," Clayton says to you. "If there's a clock or something, three minutes, this boat isn't that big, right?"

You shake your head.

"Okay. We'll wait on you, the signal will be a lot of shouting and cursing."

The others nod, and each decide on a direction to go. You become invisible again, after taking Jaden's card 29, and make your way back up to the card game. Your luck holds, all 5 are still lounging around, totally oblivious to the magical prison each will soon individually enjoy. You try to gauge three minutes, you don't want your friends to be discovered but wait too long and they might, so you figure you've waited long enough and get out your wand. You're hiding behind some stack up beer cans, and decide to put your plan into action.

"I declare," you whisper softly, "Card 29 as card 30." A card appears, with what looks like a giant asterisk on it, and then morphs into the girl with black hair, an aura of power surrounding her. It disappears and you know you can now spend any amount of energy you wish until these guys are taken care of. So you put twenty five energy into your casting check, more then half you have left, and taking the additional five penalty for instantly casting the spell. You are rewarded with a thirty one result. There's no possible way anyone in this room can succeed at resisting the spell but you are shocked to see that you have mysteriously failed the casting check! Curses! The Narrator has played a card on you! You hastily use another card and hope he somehow doesn't counter this as well: "I declare, card 25!" Another card appears, this time with the guy in the trench coat, with XXs for eyes, and a rewind symbol next to him. Your casting check goes off again.

The joke's on the Narrator, you rolled maximum that time, a thirty seven, and bands of force successfully wrap around all six of the men, holding them rigid and causing them to shout in alarm. You hear assorted thumps and a couple of shots ring out, but you decide to stay here in case they start trying to wiggle somewhere, and hope your friends come through okay. You are now visible behind the cans, and one of the men spots you, and calls you out to the others.

"What are you doing you little piece of %$*)( % fairy?" growls one guy.

You aren't sure what he called you, the Narrator must be censoring things around here.

"Go play your tricks on someone else, if you leave right now maybe we won't kill you," says another. All of them are struggling against their bonds.

"Give it up boys, none of you are my type, and I think your three friends will be joining us soon, but not in the way you might think."

"I'll !^$% kill you!" says another, and again his words are slightly unclear. You suppose it's too much to ask that these stereotypical bad man refrain from using stereotypically bad language.

You hear a thumping noise, and Jaden comes into view, dragging another man behind her.

"I couldn't lift him," she says cheerfully. "I hope he's not too badly bruised from being dragged here." She was of course lying about that part. She drops his legs. "Everything under control here?"

"Sure thing!" you answer, while another guy says "Another #$!( *! I'll &$#%& ! kill you both when I get out of these bonds!"

"What did he say?" asks Jaden, cocking her head to the side.

"Just ignore them."

A body floats into view, with Jake following close behind, and gets dumped on top of the one Jaden brought. "Everything seems good here. Clayton isn't back?"

"And who the #$! are you?" shouts someone. "What are you doing on this %$*)( % boat?"

Jake looks slightly offended. "Don't you know a silence spell or something?"

You shake your head. "You better go check on-"

"No need," says Clayton, emerging with his guy at gunpoint. The man is bleeding from several shallow wounds, and glowers at all of you.

"Isn't this a nice little scene?" Clayton asks, directing the guy to kneel down by bashing his legs out from under him.

"Go $*(& yourself!" says one of the men.

Clayton walks over and puts the gun to the man's forehead. "What did you say to me?"

The man's eyes go wide. "I'm sorry!"

"You better be, he has Bad Tempered," you say.

"And the only reason you're all still alive is the fairy doesn't like me killing stuff. Me, I figure we only need one of you to tell the story, so that's all I would have taken back with me. The rest would have been killed resisting arrest."

"Arrest?" says one. "You're cops? I thought this was some kind of holdup!"

"You wished it was that," clarifies Jake, "Allow me to introduce myself. Jake Beachamp, NPC-PS. All of you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Dhul Fiqar and the murder of the other candidate, what's his face."

"You don't have any proof of that!" yells one guy, totally not realizing only guilty people say stuff like that. Innocent people say things like "That's not true" or "There must be some mistake", things like that.

"Actually we do," says Jaden. "Rose here tailed you guys from the scene of the crime, and I'm sure some truth magic or an ESPer meld will tell us everything we need to know."

"*#$ ," one says.

"Yes indeed," says Jaden. "Now shut up, because you have the right to remain blessedly silent. Everything you say will be used against you in court. You can have an attorney, though it won't help. Maybe if you confess it'll go a little easier on you. But I doubt it." She turns to you. "Do you still have enough energy to get these bozos out of here?"

You nod, and start opening another portal. You open the portal into the holding cells back at the base, may as well let them deal with these guys for awhile.

"You can't take us out of the country!" says one guy in desperation.

"What country?" says Clayton. "You're in the water now my friend. And I'm not sure who owns this particular patch of sea, do you?"

The man just glowers.

"I thought so. Jake, if you don't mind doing the honors?"

"Not at all," he answers, and start tossing the men through with Telekinesis. The one conscious man steps through on his own accord, whining about medical attention or something, like he deserved it.

You close the portal after they're all through and start casting another one to get yourselves out of there.

"Wait," says Jake. "We need to take the boat back, it could be stolen too for all we know."

You stop casting. "Oh, okay. I don't mind resting a little, I don't have much energy left. I'm going to go look at the sea for awhile then," you say.

"I'll come with you!" says Jaden brightly. "We deserve a break, after all."

"Shouldn't at least some of us head back to keep protecting Dhul?"

"Why? We took care of the threat, right? Jake didn't say 'there will be two attempts on your life in three days hence' he said there would be one. And they thought he was dead anyway, so until it's announced he's not, no one's going to try again."

"I guess you're right," he says. "Go on."

She goes up the stairs with you, starting to tell you about how she knocked the guy out.

"So do you know how to drive this boat?" you hear Clayton say to Jake.

"Me? I thought you did!"

Jaden stops. "Wait, neither of you knows how to pilot this boat?"

"Maybe it's computerized, and I can just plug into it someplace?" Clayton says, unsure.

"Just a second, seems like I have to do everything around here." You get your wand out again, then cast Augment Skill on Jake, for the skill "boating".

"Ooooh," says Jake. "I think between the two of us we can figure something out. What an amazing spell..."

You just shake your head.

After awhile the boat seems to lurch forward and slowly turn back towards land, while you and Jaden stand at the bow and look out over the water.

"It's really pretty here," she breathes.

"Yeah, I wish we could come here at sunset. It must be something."

"Well, you've seen the place, right? Maybe some evening you can open a portal here, just the two of us, with an inflatable chair? Then after we've watched the sunset, the Breathe Water spell of yours goes on us both, Tirelessness goes on you so you can be human size indefinitely, and our bathing suits come off?"

"Jaden!" you hiss, looking around. "They might hear you!"

She laughs. "Sorry, I'm just feeling good about pulling my weight this mission, actually getting to use my Martial Arts, I guess I got a little carried away."

"A little?" But you can't help but laugh yourself. Then suddenly you hear a voice in your head.

"Excuse me. Help us? You."

You look around. "Are you playing some kind of trick, Jake?" you ask. "Shouldn't you be concentrating on moving this boat?"

"I heard it too," says Jaden, concerned. "Did someone just ask for your help?"

"Yeah. Do you think they've got an ESPer prisoner on board someplace?"

"I'll go ask Jake to poke around with his ESP."

"Wait. Water. Here. Help. Please?"

"I just heard it again!"

"Me too, something about the water?"

You both look down, and there's a dolphin in the water next to the boat, and it's looking right at you.

"Uh..." you say. "I think that dolphin is Sending to us... like an ESPer."

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