The Next Generation Part 14

Santin's Challenge

By Krazy Sam

“What are we supposed to do?”

Nika smiled in front of the group. “We defeat Santin, we save people.”

Stal nodded. “He’s strong… or so I’ve heard…”

“Does he have any weaknesses?” Olana asked wisely. Elena nodded in agreement.

“What are his weaknesses?” she repeated. Nika shrugged.

“He have big ego,” she supplied. Sari turned to Lana.

“How can we use this to our advantage?”

Lana narrowed her eyes. “You should know, Sari. You’ve been through this once already!”

Sari shrugged sheepishly. “Well, we DID change history, you know…” she muttered.

Maro nodded. “That’s true.”

“What is he so proud of?” Kash spoke up.

“He very smart…” Nika answered. Kash nodded.

“If someone were to prove smarter than him, would he be so embarrassed as to kill himself?” Kash asked again. Nika furrowed her brow in thought.

“Maybe… that could work…”

Sari smiled. “Then it’s settled!”

Robo, almost completely hidden, stepped forward. “Maybe I could participate in this?”

Nika frowned and shook her head. “Santin only like to compete with human. Sorry, Rawboot.” Robo’s green glass eyes flashed in an unusual pattern.

“How did you know that I was called ‘Rawboot’?” he asked softly. Nika smiled.

“I have ways.”

Lana nodded. “Okay, okay, let’s go. I want to get this thing over with, okay? Let’s defeat Santin and be on our way, okay?” Maro shrugged.

“No problem,” he murmured.


Sari shrugged. After deciding that having only three people going up the mountain- for safety, Lana grinned after singling her out for the quest. Maro sighed.

“Why can’t I come?” he whined pitifully. Lana frowned in his direction.

“Because you’re a baby. Besides, Santin has mental abilities that Sari might be able to counter,” she reasoned. Sari nodded.

“If Nika has to participate, I can make a mental link between her and myself and maybe help her out.”

Stal furrowed his brow in disgust. “You mean cheat.”

Sari whirled to face her old friend. “No, I mean help.”

Stal sighed. “Sari, that’s cheating. That way, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone!”

“Excuse me, would you rather give Santin a chance and be killed, or do you want the reptites to stop terrorizing the nice people living in this time?” Sari argued. Stal opened his mouth to reply, but immediately shut it.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that it was for our lives, but what about the reptites? Won’t they die without a leader?” Stal murmured. Sari stamped her foot impetuously.

“They’re supposed to die! If they don’t, then…” she trailed off. “Wait… I remember now… Santin’s supposed to win… but my memory’s kind of cloudy…” she turned away. “I’ll just do whatever I feel like.”

Lana placed a comforting hand on Sari’s shoulder. “That’s what you should do.”

Nika sighed. “Can we go now?”

Sari turned to face her new companion. “Sure. I’m right behind you.”


The mountain was strangely quiet during the long trek to Santin’s fort. An occasional breeze blew, but no reptites hid in wait for the plotting humans. It was as if they had known something big was going to happen…

“This sucks. I hoped that there would be more action,” Sari complained bitterly. Lana spun around and faced her.

“Stop whining!” she barked. Nika rolled her eyes and grabbed a jagged rock.

“Almost there! Don’t worry… not so far, is it?” she murmured helpfully. Sari shrugged.

“Yeah, but it’s pretty boring,” she argued.

Lana sighed. “What’s to complain about? We’re not dead, we still have a chance of beating the reptites, and…” she trailed off.

Sari lowered her head in doubt. “He’s not coming back. Don’t even try to make me believe that we can revive him.”

Lana shut her eyes slowly and ascended the cliffs without another word.


“Everything quiet…” Nika mumbled at the summit. She gazed around and shook her head. “No one here… you sure this right place?”

Sari nodded in agreement. “Yeah. I don’t sense a thing.”

“I’m positive that he’s here. He has to be!” Lana retorted forcefully, stamping her foot into the loose dust, sending up a translucent orange cloud.

Sari looked into the deep blue sky and squinted against the sun’s rays. “He’s not here. Why don’t we try later?”

Nika stepped forward. Tapping her knuckles on a large boulder, she moved slowly around a large rock pile. “Maybe cave here?”

Sari’s eyes widened. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Lana shrugged. “Who knows?” She drew her gun and pointed at the largest of the boulders. Bracing her legs carefully, she aimed and fired, sending hundreds of rocks and pebbles hurtling down the side of the mountain.

“Aha!” Sari cried, pointing to a tunnel leading inside the peak. She closed her eyes slowly and nodded. “He’s in here… but he’s got company. We’d better be careful.”

Lana sucked in a deep breath. “What if we lure him out?”

Nika nodded. “That could work…”

Sari smiled. “He senses us, but he doesn’t think that we’re a threat.” She shut her eyes. “Now he knows that we will challenge him… and he accepts. We are to show up back here in twenty-four hours.”

Lana stamped her foot impatiently. “Why not now?”

Sari sighed and turned to Nika. “Nika, you’re going to have to study if you’re going to beat him.”


Sari sighed impatiently. “Nika, there’s no way that there can be three rocks if four are taken away from eight.”

Nika frowned. “What if small animal take them?”

“She’s got you on that one,” Lana laughed. Sari shot her a disapproving glare.

“If no animals take away any rocks, and I take four rocks away from eight rocks, how many rocks are left?” she continued. Nika furrowed her brow.

“Four rocks?” she asked tentatively. Sari grinned.

“Correct!” she practically screamed in joy. Nika beamed.

“I told you that I smart!” she replied, bursting with pride. Lana shook her head.

“If you were in our time, you wouldn’t be considered all that smart, and if you were in Sari’s time, you wouldn’t be considered smart at all,” she answered. Nika frowned.

“But I smart in my time, and that what matter, right?”

Sari nodded. “I’ll still help you, but if Santin discovers the mental link, then we’re in trouble.” She paused. “Here, let’s try it.”

Nika nodded. “I ready.”

Lana sighed. “Okay. Nika, where does lava come from?”

Nika blinked. “Lava comes from molten rock deep underneath the planet’s surface. It comes out of volcanoes, and…” she trailed off. “I knew that?”

Sari smiled. “It works.”


Night fell quickly, and at the base of the mountain, Sari sighed.

“Tavi, wherever you are, I want you to know that I miss you…” she whispered, glad that everyone was asleep or turned off, in Robo’s case. The wind began to blow softly.

“Tavi… I’m sorry…” The wind blew again, whistling through the trees. “I didn’t mean to let you die. There was nothing I could do… Please… forgive me…” She took in a shaky breath. “Tavi….?” The wind blew harshly this time, and leaves whipped by Sari’s face. She gasped in surprise and fear, and pulled her arms tightly around her body.



Go To Chapter 15

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