The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 22
In the predawn stillness, two figures traversed the still-snowy landscape of the central continent. Their journey had taken weeks, but now the end was in sight. As they cleared an overhang on the mountainside, their target came into view. The newly completed Zeal Palace, as it had been nicknamed, was totally unguarded. The figure in front, who had a backpack mostly full of gunpowder, began to run forward, with the other following a second later.
They were soon in the shadow of the building itself. "Okay, start unloading." The first figure took off his backpack. The second nodded, and rummaged in his own pack for a tinder box. The first man opened his pack and began scattering the powder around the base of the wall.
"I can't believe we finally made it!" The second figure exclaimed. "After all these months, the Enlightened ones are finally going to get what they deserve!" The first man simply nodded from where he was pouring the powder.
"That's about all I've got, it's a pity we couldn't bring more."
"We had to eat something on the way here. But this will be worth it. Without this palace, the Enlightened ones will stay firmly on the ground."
"So, do you have the bomb?"
"Right here!" The second man gleefully drew out a silver ball about eight inches in diameter.
"It looks awfully small..."
"Greven said he pilfered it straight from Melchior's workshop. As much as I detest Melchior's politics right now, you have to admit the guy knows what he's doing. Greven said the notes indicated that this little thing can cause as much damage as a conventional bomb weighing over three tons."
"Let's set it up then." The two began digging under the wall, pausing every once in a while to look for sentries. They completed their work in a short time, and placed the bomb in the hole. The first man made one last trail of gunpowder going in, and then they both backed away. "Got the box ready? Okay, light it."
The second man produced a small flame and dropped it on the trail of gunpowder. The flame raced toward the bomb as they ran away. Eventually, they dived behind some scraggly shrubs, then turned to look. As the flame raced into the bomb's hole, a giant orange explosion started. Pieces of the wall flew away, but the explosion itself did not. As the men stared in dismay, the explosion turned blue, then abruptly reversed, becoming an implosion. It shrank back into the hole, causing no further damage. When they could see clearly, it was apparent that only a small portion of one wall had been destroyed. "No! They must have had some sort of magical shield on it!"
"Either that, or our double agent really isn't." Just then, there was a faint whirring noise. Whirling around, the two men saw Karak standing behind them.
"No, but your man, whoever he is, didn't know that Melchior designed these things to implode instead of explode if they were accidentaly detonated inside any Enhasan city."
"Well if it isn't our ex-leader." The first man sneered, ignoring Karak's comment.
"What do you mean? I still am your leader!" He shouted.
"That's a laugh and a half!" The second man shouted back. "You used to be, but now you're just Zeal's new boy toy!"
"You don't understand at all." Karak shook his head. "I have the chance to become the king of both our worlds! You may have just ruined that chance! Zeal's not going to be happy about this..." He trailed off, surveying the light damage.
"Screw off! We failed anyway." The first man said. They both turned to leave.
"Hold on a minute! Just where do you think you're going?"
"We're out of here! Just go running back to Zeal and tell her that a minor incident occurred. That's all this is going to amount to in the long run."
"Not in her eyes." The two men stared in amazement as Karak drew his sword. "By even attempting this, you two have signed your own death warrant."
"But sir!" The first man said, much more respectful now. "You wouldn't just cut down two of your own men, would you?"
"My men?" It was Karak's turn to sneer now. "Didn't you just say I was your EX-leader?" With that, Karak threw his sword. The blade went clear through the second man. With a slight gesture, the sword pulled out and returned to Karak's hand, blood and slivers of broken bone oozing off of it. The first man looked rapidly back and forth between Karak and his fallen comrade.
"Why are you doing this? You always said you hated Zeal!"
"Its not Zeal." Karak said grimly. "Its this new energy source she's discovered. There will be no Earthbound ones if we rebel. Nothing can stand against the power of Lavos, that is why I have to be on their side!" With that, Karak rushed forward, disembowling his former subject. The hapless man sank to his knees, holding his own intestines in his hands. Karak quickly struck his head off. Next, Karak cleaned off his sword in the snow, then summoned a meteor to incinerate the bodies. Karak sighed, then prepared his mind for a mental message. 'Attention all construction teams, there has been an unprovoked attack by the Earthbound ones-'
"-on the undefended Zeal palace?!!" Zeal roared from her throne room in Enhasa. Her hands shook with rage as she shouted, "Messengers! Deliver this announcement to everyone!" The messengers nearby snapped to attention and saluted. "The Earthbound ones are hereby forbidden to enter Enhasa or any Enhasan city. All Enlightened ones living or visiting in Algetty are ordered back to Enhasa immediately. Spekkio is forbidden to give magic to anyone else. And finally, no people without magic will be allowed to rise with the new islands!"
One of the messengers stepped forward. "Your majesty, pardon me for saying so, but I beseech you to reconsider making such a rash decision."
Zeal tensed. "First of all, I will not pardon your saying so! And second-" A bolt of lightning energy flew from her fingertips, slamming the messenger into the far wall, where he lay, breathing shallowly. The other messengers hurried away to spread the news, and to get away from their suddenly hot-tempered queen. Zeal suddenly didn't feel well. Holding her head in her hands, she wondered what was happening to make her feel this way.
As the three volunteer mages lowered their concentration, the noise coming from the strange machine slowly whirred to a stop. Schala removed her protective goggles. "Another successful test run. This machine has functioned exactly as designed every time."
Melchior nodded. "I had my doubts at first, but now I'm sure that this machine will be able to provide all of our energy needs. Its a pity that we need three people to constantly maintain such rigid control over it."
One of the volunteers wiped his brow. "Yes sir. But if everyone in the kingdom takes a turn, it shouldn't be too draining on any one person."
"Ah, well you would know, having tested it. But how do you feel right now?"
"Very tired sir. This may be draining on everyone in the long run... I don't know. But right now, its looking pretty good."
"Very well then. We will immediately report to Queen Zeal that this machine is ready to operate. We will move it to where the Sun stone and the planet energy gatherer were being kept." Everyone nodded. "Now then, I suggest we all retire for a well deserved rest."
* * *
Violen: Oh no. It can't be...
Lavos: "Grumble" "Snort!"
Violen: What's disturbing him?
Violen: His meditation levels are rising...
Violen: He senses me? No, its something up above, on the surface.
Lavos: "Snorf!" "Kraah!"
Violen: 18, 17, 16... He's waking up fast!
Violen: 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10... No, he's almost concious!
Violen: No! Back to sleep!
Violen: That was too close. Way too close. I wish Serges was here...
"There will come a time when the voices of soil and seedling will sing only laments" - Oracle en-Vec
Go To Chapter 23
Return To CT Fanfic