The Story Of Magus Chapter 9

Alliances Of Treachery

By ZealPropht

"We've been looking for you a long time, little rabbit," the man said, leaning on the door frame.

"Oh, really?," Janus replied, raising an eyebrow and crossing his arms. "Why?"

"Oh, no reason in particular..."

"Then why don't you take your ugly face and your ugly wife or mother or whoever she is and leave? I really am in a hurry," Janus stated. The woman went red.

"Why you-"

She was interrupted by the man's laughing. "Good shot, kid. I could get to like you."

"Oh, joy. Just what I wanted in life." Janus rolled his eyes and snorted. "Look, is there a point that you guys are here? I mean, besides to annoy me?"

"Certainly. We're here...for you!" The man lunged at Janus so suddenly the the boy nearly stumbled into his clutches. Blind luck saved him and he side-stepped enough so that the man went hurtling past and into the table. It went over with a heavy thud. The woman sneered.

"Oh, c'mon, Slash! You can do better then that! Do I have to do everything myself?" Waving her hand, the woman stepped into the room, brusing her finger-tips across the doorframe. Janus felt a faint vibration in his jaws and knew a spell of some sort had been cast. "Just to make sure you don't get away before we've had a chance to play together," the woman laughed.

Her hand shot out and grabbed the collar of his shirt. "I hope you don't bruise easily, kid. I play kinda rough!"

"So do I," Janus said, squirming away and biting her hand, deep enough to draw blood. The woman shrieked and slapped him hard across the face. The boy reeled back and fell up against the wall.

"You little leech!," she cried, and before his color-splotched eyes, she changed. Her homely appearance transformed into haughty features, sculpted with such alien beauty that she was almost other worldly. "No one bites me and gets away with it!"

"What is going on down there?!," came Cedrick's voice from above.

"Oh, great, Flea! You've woken up the entire house-hold!," Slash mumbled, raising himself off the fallen table, wincing and holding his ribs. He'd have a bruise there tomarrow. "Just kill the brat and be done with it!" He dropped his disguise as well. The milk was spilt, no sense in keeping up the facade if it would be for nothing.

"My pleasure!," Flea grinned. She raised her hands, yellow energy surrounding them. "It's been fun, kid, but playtime is over." Janus stared at the magic forming around the Mystic's hands. There was no where to run!

Sir Cedrick abruptly rushed into the room. "Mystics?!," he exclaimed. "Halt, fiends or taste cold steel!" The knight was dressed in a striped night shirt and cap, his mustash bristling like a the whiskers on an angry cat. In his hand gleamed a sword. Slash laughed and drew his own weapon from it's sheathe.

"Looks like I'll have some fun on this trip after all!," he chuckled. The two men launged at each other and locked their swords, each one trying to force their opponant back. "Not bad, old man!"

"Old man?! Villain! Prepare to be vanquished!," Cedrick howled. He pushed Slash back a step and cut at his throat. Slash dodged and parried the blow with the flat of his blade. The swordsman cut at Cedrick's legs but the old knight was agile and danced gracefully out of harm's way.

"Is that the best thou canst do, cur?," Cedrick laughed. Twirling his blade, he feigned a low cut but turned it upward. Slash was stepping back and tripped over the fallen table, saving himself from being impaled by blind luck. He rolled to his feet just in time to meet another series of onslaughts.

Meanwhile, Janus and Flea had been watching all of this. Janus didn't move lest he draw the female Mystic's attention back to himself, but a plan was forming in his head. If he could just find the right opportunity...

Flea pantomimed fighting someone with her fists. "Yeah! Give him the good old one two, Slash! No, you idiot, duck! Whew! That was close. Look out, look out! Ha! Lucky shot! Ooops. Missed that opening." Flea was so enthusiastic, she looked like a little girl. "C'mon Slash! Finish the job!"

Cedrick was breathing heavily and he suffered minor wounds from the Mystic's flashing blade, unlike the younger man who was reletively untouched. It was then that the knight made a grave mistake. He over extended a lunge and Slash caught him on the arm, cutting deep. Cedrick's arm fell useless to his side, his blade clattering on the floor.

"Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark! Go for the kill, Slash! Go for the kill!," Flea chanted. Slash bowed to his audiance while Cedrick put his hand over the wound, trying to stanch the blood-flow.

"And now, for your viewing pleasure, I will mangle this knight beyond recognition!," Slash chuckled. From out of nowhere, Cyrus jumped out and hit the Mystic over the head with a heavy iron shield. Slash went down like a poled ox.

"Kid, you just messed with the wrong people," Flea snarled. "This time I won't hold back!" A wave of energy lashed Cyrus who cried out in pain. "Let's play, level of endurance. How long do you think you can survive before my magic finaly kills you?"

Now!, thought Janus. Just as Flea was lifting her hands for another energy blast, the boy bowled into her, knocking her into the kitchen counter. Her head-long decent knocked over the oil lamp, spilling the contents all over her. The flaming liquid fell on her clothes, igniting her well as the wooden floor. Flames raced along the room and up the walls. Being of shoddy construction, the whole house was soon ablaze.

"Cyrus! Where is your mother?," Cedrick asked the boy.

"I don't know," he replied. "She was right behind me when I came down to help you. Maybe she ran outside." Cedrick grunted and quickly went up the stairs, calling Llana's name. She wasn't in the upper stories. Cyrus must be right, she was probably outside. Cyrus ran over to Janus who sported a bruise on his cheek where Flea had struck him. "Come on! We need to get out of here!"

Janus tried to reply but he choked on the smoke. He waved that he would follow after them. Cyrus looked dubious but a huge beam of wood tumbled down from above, barely missing them. Another one fell, partialy blocking the front door.

"Cyrus! Hurry, boy!," Cedrick shouted, grabbing his son's hand and dragging him towards the door. Cyrus struggled.

"But what about Janus? And mother? Was she in the house?"

"No, your mother is not in the house. Hurry, Cyrus. This place is sure to collapse any moment!"

Cyrus looked franticaly back at Janus who was dodging falling wood and flames trying to reach them. "But what about Janus? Father, you can't leave Janus!"

"I shall return and help him out as well." The knight lifted the squirming boy and pushed him bewteen the burning wood and the doorframe. Cyrus tumbled outside, the breath knocked out of him when he landed. Llana ran up and grabbed her son by the shoulders.

"You stupid boy! I told you not to go running into that blaze! You could have been killed!," she yelled, hugging Cyrus and crying at the same time. "Don't ever scare me like that again! Why didn't you follow me like I told you to? Don't you know that you're too young to try and fight Mystics?" The woman pulled him back from the burning building. "Are you alright? Are you burned? Did those Mystic's hurt you?"

"I'm fine, mother. Really. But Janus is still trapped in there!"

Inside the house, Janus was running acrossed the firey room to reach Cedrick when a large support beam fell on him, pinning him to the floor under it's weight. One end was smoldering and it wouldn't be soon before the whole thing caught fire. "Help! Sir Cedrick! Help! I'm stuck!," he shouted. The knight turned and gave him a blank look. "I'm caught! Sir Cedrick, help me! Please!"

To Janus's horror, the knight's face went cold and grave. "Good riddance to evil. Die here with these villians!" He gestured to the uncontious Slash and Flea, who had finaly doused herself and had fallen to her knees moaning. "It is no more then you deserve. You have poisoned my son and wife against me, but that ends here! Farewell, devil. Return to whatever void spawned you." With those dreadful words, Sir Cedrick, knight of Guardia, scrambled through the doorway, just as more wood fell over it, blocking all possible escape.

He couldn't believe it! Cedrick had left him to die, and die a painfull, agonizing, hideaous death at that. To his right, Slash stirred. He lifted his head, shook it, and groaned.

"Oh, man! I feel like I was knocked over the head with a shield! Oh, wait. I was. Nevermind," he grumbled. Opening his eyes, he coughed on the smoke and had to squint, the fire's heat burning his eyes. The Mystic crawled over to his sword and replaced it in it's scabbard. Standing up unsteadily, he limped over to where Flea sat curled into a ball. "C'mon, baby. Let's get out of here."

Flea looked up, her lovely face made an ugly black and red from soot and burns. "I don't think I can make it, Slash. The pain...!" She choked and covered her face with her hands. "Don't look at me! That little monster ruined my face. I'm hideous." Suddenly, she raised her head and looked directly at Janus. "You'll pay for this! I swear, you'll pay!" She jumped to her feet and rushed at him. But Slash restrained her. Another beam of wood hurtled to the floor.

"Whoa! No way! Unless we get out of here now we'll roast alive." He roughly grabbed Flea's arm and thrust her towards the door. "Undo the spell." She barely heard him for she was screeching threats of tourture and obcenities at Janus. Slash shook her, hard. "You idiot! Undo the spell! I'm to young to fry!"

"But that blue-haired son-of-a-"

"Will surely die in this blaze as will we if you don't get us out of here, Flea!," Slash shouted impatiently. "Leave the boy to the flames and get us outta here! I refuse to die with you!" Flea looked back uncertainly at Janus. "DO IT!"

"Alright," she concieded reluctantly. Waving a hand, the spell vanished. Slash shoved Flea out of his way and ran out. The other Mystics paused, much the same way Cedrick had, and spat at him. "Be lucky, rodent! This death is infinitely preferable then the one you'd meet at my hands." Then she was gone.

Janus coughed and covered his mouth and nose with his sleeve. He could barely breathe. The fire was sucking out all the air. So this was it then. He was doomed to die in flames, pinned under a beam. The thought stung more then the heat on his skin. It was so...pathetic! What a way to die!

"It's not fair!," he moaned. "It's not FAIR! I never asked for any of this. All I wanted was to be part of a family, to have my mother and my sister and Alfador. I never asked to have magic! I never wanted to come to this rotten place!" A creaking sound from over-head told him that the house would soon cave in. "I swear that if I survive, I will find a way to make these miserable cretins be sorry for what they've done to me!" Another crack from over-head said that the possibility of him surviving was not very probable.

Raw emotions surged through him. It's not fair!, he kept repeating to himself. I never asked for any of this! One hand groped for the medalion Schala had given him. It's chisled edges bit into his skin as he grasped it tightly. The metal was hot, the pain burned, but it only fueled his anger. Sudden resolution formed in his mind. "I will survive!," he whispered. Another crack from above. "I will survive!" The celing was beginning to give way. "I WILL!" Grabbing a handfull of that raw energy, Janus pushed with all his mental strength on the beam pinning him. The wood moved slowly at first, lifting centimeter by centimeter until it suddenly flew off of him. Not wasting a minute, he hurled himself out the door, seconds before the house collapsed on it's self.

Sparks were falling everywhere around him. The grass was damp with dew so luckily it didn't catch fire as well. It's coolness felt so good against his hot skin. "I need to get back to the others," he mumbled, getting to his feet. Janus backed away from the burning house and circled around the building, the fire-light throwing dancing shadows everywhere. As he came around the corner, he saw Cyrus and his family and was about to rush forward when he noticed something. Cyrus was calling his name and being restrained by his mother for he was trying to rush back into the inferno.

"Janus! Let me go! Janus!," Cyrus was crying, his face a mask of pure grief. Llana kept firm hold on her son.

"Cyrus, there is nothing we can do. Janus is gone...," she said. Janus nearly laughed and stepped out of the shadows to say he was alright and put their fears to rest. But Cedrick walked up and knelt beside his son. He took Cyrus's shoulders in his hands.

"Listen to me Cyrus. By the time I couldst returneth there, the boy had been struck down by a piece of wood. He was trapped, and though I tried to save him, it was for naught. The celing was collapsing and he begged me to save myself lest we both perish in the flames," the knight lied. Janus felt anger as hot as the fire boil up inside. But he held his peace...for the moment.

"You shouldn't have left him there! You should have saved him! You left him to die, didn't you?!," Cyrus shouted at the man whom he called father. "Janus was my friend and you despised him for being different then us. Well, I'll despise you for as long as I live! Even if you are a knight, and my father, you will have no love from me. You are without honor! You-" Cedricks hands tightened on Cyrus's shoulders and hurled him away.

"I will not listen to such insolence from my own son!," he roared. "You are never to speak to me of that boy again, do you understand?! He is dead, an end to his evil. Now we may return to our lives in peace." Cyrus opened his mouth to protest. "I will hear NO MORE!"

Janus melted back into the shadows, more easily then he would have guessed. He could never return here, he knew. The new emnity Cyrus felt for his father could never be fully erased, nor could the resentment and anger Janus felt for Cedrick after leaving him there under the beam. No, this part of his life was over now. It would be best if no one remembered the blue-haired boy who had wandered down from Truce Canyon that day, not so long ago. Or if they did, it would be to think sadly upon his "death". He had a feeling that it would be for the best.

The light from the fire grew dimmer and dimmer the further he walked into the woods. A thick ground fog swirled around his legs and a near-full moon shone brightly in the sky, illuminating the night as if it were day. Things rustled in the bushes around him. An owl hooted from somewhere close by and swooped away on silent wings, throwing it's shadow over him briefly. But these sounds were not menacing, as one might expect. They were the normal sounds of the night, a very soothing and relaxing sound. As Janus walked, he became increasingly aware of a funny sound. It sounded like a wood dove he had once heard. Yet it was louder and more distressed.

Curious, he followed the sound. The noise led him to a clearing where the moon shone in huge splashes of light through the trees. Janus stared around him at the beauty. Night-blooming flowers seemed to twinkle with star-light on their petals. Colorfull mushrooms glowed with rainbow colors that brightened the night. Stepping into the glade, his foot snapped a twig.

A figure he hadn't seen leapt to it's feet. Janus froze. "Slash! Don't scare me like that! You know I'm in no mood for your jokes. If you ever-" Th figure turned. It was Flea. She was scorched from head to toe, her clothes little more then blackened rags. Though her face was grimy with soot, the magician had probably cast some sort of healing spell because she looked almost healed. Except for a few angry blotches, she looked back to normal. "YOU!," she howled. "How could you have survived?!"

Janus considered running but something held him back. No, he wouldn't run. Not this time. Not anymore. "I'm stronger then you think, lady," he stated. Flea raised her hands.

"Well, we'll see about that!," she yelled. Electric waves shot at him, but surprisingly, he wasn't afraid of bing hit. The lghtning swirled around him, making his hair stand on end, but that was all. He laughed and the energy dissipated as if it had never been. "How did you do that? You're just a kid!," Flea whispered.

Janus shrugged. He really didn't know himself, but he would have more then stupid if he let her know that. "Don't underestimate me. I may be a kid, but I throw a nasty tantraum."

"You're right. I did underestimate you. But no matter. No one survives my Waltz of Wind." The Mystic literaly flew at him and grabbed his hands. Wind blew around them, lifting them high into the air. They spun faster and faster. A look down showed that they were high above the ground. In the distance, he could see the smoldering remains of Cyrus's house. "So long, brat!," Flea shouted gleefully above the wind. She released her hold on Janus, expecting him to fall from the sky like a rock to splatter on the ground below. But the little spore had hold of her wrists in a death-grip. "What're you doing? Let me go!" Flea struggled, the faint taste of fear touching her heart. Perhaps this kid was stronger then she thought.

Janus sensed the Mystic losing controll. He reveled in the fear he caused her. Laughing cruely, he looked into her eyes with a mesmerizing gaze. "Didn't your dance instructer tell you that men do the leading in the waltz?" Abruptly, he let go of her wrists and she slammed into a tree with brutal force, carried by the momentum of their spinning. The wind carrying Janus set him gently on the ground and dissipated. Flea slid weakly down from the tree, leaving an imprint of her body on the bark.

"This isn't my day!," she moaned, putting her hands to her head. Janus was about to make a cutting retort when blinding pain exploded on the back of his skull. Moments before the world went black, he caught sight of Slash's grinning face and then everything was gone. He felt himself falling to the ground, but instead of hitting the earth, it seemed like he fell through it, spiraling downward into oblivion.


"It's lucky I came back when I did. This kid is stronger then we imagined. I can't believe he beat us twice," Slash commented, sheathing his sword. "I hope I didn't hit him too hard."

"Why not? This brat deserves to die after what he did to me!," Flea muttered with a curse. Slash rolled his eyes.

"Would you stop being stupid for a second and listen to me? Now, I've been thinking about this situation-"

"Will wonders never cease?," Flea remarked sarcasticaly.

"Can you possibly shut up for once in your life?!," Slash snapped in exasperation. Flea did as she was told, sitting on a rock and pulling her knees up to her chest. "Now, as I was saying, I've been thinking about the situation and I belive I have a salution."

"And what, pray tell, do you have in mind?"

"I say we take the kid to Ozzie."

"WHAT?! Are you out of your mind, Slash?! We should kill the boy now! As long as he stays alive, he will be a threat to us!"

"You're not thinking, Flea, though that's not a first for you," Slash commented dryly. "We both can't take him on alone and perhaps he could be usefull to us. Remember how we always wanted to find a reason to convince Ozzie why we should attack the humans?"

"Well, ya, but I don't see-"

"Of course you don't. That's why you need a big picture person like me to point out the obvious to dumbies like you." Slash crossed his arms and leaned against a tree. "This kid is obviously not from around here, or at least if he is, he has powers we've never seen in a human before. And he's young, that means he's impressionable. If we could just get him to understand our cause, he could make a powerfull weapon. Then, when his use is through, we could kill him."

"Well, you might have a point, Slash. But let's let Ozzie decide the final outcome of the boy's fate," Flea replied. For once Slash did have a really good idea. She had always thought that Ozzie was a weak leader and an even weaker spell-caster. The Mystics needed someone like her to lead them. If this little spore could be turned, perhaps she could use him to gain her the position she craved. She'd let Ozzie wear down the kid's resistance and then, if he still did not turn, she would break him till he did.

Slash was thinking along similar tracks. Ozzie was no fighter, that was for certain. He prefered to run, rather then face his opponants. That's why Slash thought he should be in charge. The Mystics would benifit from having a strong tactician ruling them. He needed Ozzie to take the kid in order, set him straight about who he should be following. Not the wimpy humans, that was for sure! And if the kid did decide to join, it could well prove the battle Slash had saught for so long, a battle against the humans to decide who was truely fit to run Guardia Kingdom.


Ozzie, great leader of the Mystic hoards, floated down he wide halls of his fort with a tin plate in his hand. On it was a slice of stale bread and a hunk of moldy cheese. "I don't see why I have to be reduced to menial labor!," he whined. "I'm a leader, darn it! I shouldn't have to do my own chores!" He lifted the cheese off the plate and smelt it. He made a face. "If Flea were here, I wouldn't be forced to eat this garbage!"

The interior of the fort was dark and gloomy, with gargoyals holding torches in their hands, faces leering gruesomely at passer-byers. A thread-bare red carpet muffled the scitter of rat's clawed feet as they hurried after Ozzie in hopes of the cheese he might give them. "Shoo! Go away!," he snapped, casting a weak lightning spell that shocked the rodents. They ran off squealing with singed tails. "Stupid animals!"

Suddenly, a great big spider with huge blue eyes came down on it's silken thread and blinked at Ozzie. He screamed and threw the plate full of food into the air. "A sp-sp-spider!," he shrieked. Practicaly falling over with fear, he beat at the eight-legged menace with the metal saucer. "Eww! Kill it! Kill it!" The spider swung franticaly this way and that to keep from being thwacked, then it dissapeared. Ozzie looked around, but he couldn't see it. An itchy feeling went down his spine. "Ahhh!," he bellowed, dancing around shaking his robes, trying to shake the spider out. Finally, it tumbled out and ran off into a crack in the wall. Ozzie dropped his plate and vanished to his throne room. "Yuck! Disgusting!"

If Slash were here, he would have chopped that spider in two, Ozzie thought sourly, twitching. He could still feel the cold little spider feet moving over him. It made his slimy green flesh crawl. Hovering over to his "throne", the Mystic leader seated his bulk into the tiny space. The throne was actually a creaky rocking chair with moth-eaten gold cloth draped over it. Rocking back and forth, he nearly toppled from his seat when the huge double-doors flew open and Slash and Flea walked in, carrying a large burlap sack between them.

"Where have you two been?!," Ozzie growled. "I've been having to do my own work around here for weeks now, and it's getting old really fast." He looked to Flea and smirked. "What happend? Get a little too close to the fire while toasting some smores?"

Slash laughed really hard and slapped his knee in mirth. Flea was less the jovial, however. "Yeah, yuck it up, you two. As a matter of fact, I sacrificed my clothes for the sake of the Mystics. I should be given a shiny new medal for my least, what's left of it...."

"What's in the bag?," Ozzie asked eagerly. "It wouldn't happen to be treats like jerky or cidar, would it?"

"Always thinking with your stomach, Ozzie," Slash grinned, upending the bag. Janus toppled out and looked around. Ozzie jumped back in alarm.

"A human?! You brought a human here? To my fortress? And a child, no less!" Ozzie poked Janus who tried to bite his finger. "Ack! I hope the little beast has had all it's shots!," he cried, snatching his hand back.

"This is the source of that power surge we felt so many weeks ago," Slash said, ficking Janus on the ear. The boy yelped and rubbed the tender spot. "Anyway, he has incredible magic powers. He fought Flea to a stand-still, twice!"

"Just keep rubbing it in," she snapped under her breath. "It was Slash's brilliant idea to bring him back here. I say, we should have killed the virus on the spot!" She ended this with a savage kick to the boy's side. He fell over, gasping for breath, clutching his stomach.

"Who are you, boy? Where did you come from?," Ozzie demanded. Janus struggled to sit up. His head hurt like a volcano erupting and his side was going to be bruised. He took a deep breath and spit at Ozzie's feet.

"That's all you're getting from me, lard-butt! I'm not telling you anything!," he hissed. For a moment, it looked as if Ozzie was going to hit him but suddenly, the Mystic leader laughed.

"You've got style, my boy," he chuckled. "What's your name?"

Janus sat in stubborn silence...untill a wrenching force seemed to be tearing open his jaws, forcing him to speak. Ozzie must have seen this because he pointed at Flea who suddenly gagged. The pressure on his jaws relaxed and Flea fell to her knees chocking for air.

"Don't ever do that again, you miserable cretin!," the fat green imp growled. "If I need help questioning a prisioner, I'll ask for it!"

"Yes...O-Ozzie....," she coughed. Janus gently massaged his jaw. Slash put a hand on his shoulder in an almost, almost, friendly way.

"Why don't you just tell us your story, kid. Believe me, it will save you allot of pain in the end," the blue swordsman suggested. Janus considered these words carefully. He was tired, and aching, and all he wanted to do was die on the spot. He was afraid, though he would be damned if he'd show it to these miscreants.

"My name is Janus. I'm just a kid. I don't know how I got here, only one morning here I was. I came from a kingdom far away, but I think it's been destroyed in my absence," he complied. Ozzie paced, hovering above the floor, robes softly swishing.

"An what of your power? How did you get to be so strong?," he asked. Janus breathed deeply. At least now he wouldn't have to lie.

"I was born with it. It usually isn't so strong. But lately, it's been acting funny. Kind of turning on and off at will."

"Hmm." Ozzie rubbed a flabby hand over his triple chins. He turned to the swordsman. "Slash, what makes you think that Flea isn't right and that we should kill the kid?" The swordsman shrugged.

"Just a feeling," he said matter-of-factly. Flea snickered dryly.

"Oh, yes! That is something we definitely want to put our lives on. Your feeling...Maybe you aren't having a feeling but some indegestion!"

Slash put his hand on the hilt of his sword. "I've killed men, and women, for less!," he snareld. "My gut says that we shouldn't kill this boy and I'll stand by it to the death!" He pulled Slasher from it's scabbard. Flea raised her hands defensively.

"The brat may have beaten me, Slash, but I know you never could!," she laughed. She placed herself on the other side of the boy so that he was in the middle. "Wanna try it and risk losing your prescious little pet, Slash?"

"Enough!," Ozzie bellowed. "Slash! Put that butter knife away before you hurt yourself," he snapped. Slash jammed Slasher back into the casing with a violent clang. "Flea, go change into something decent. I need to talk to Slash, privately."

Flea got to her feet and swirled the tattered remains of her cape. She vanished into thin air. Ozzie and Slash moved to the far corner of the room, leaving Janus to sit where he was left. He wasn't going anywhere. This was fine by the boy, however, because he really didn't care what was going to happen to him. He just really didn't care.

"So what's on your mind, Ozzie?," Slash asked as soon as they were out of Janus's hearing. The Mystic leader leaned forward.

"I don't believe his story, do you? I mean, no one can aquire that much magic by themselves. It's not natural. Not even us Mystics are born with such power," he said. Slash leaned against the cold stone wall.

"What're you trying to say?"

"What I'm saying is that I think he's keeping more to himself then what he told us."

"Want I should pry it out of him?," Slash grinned, flexing his hands and cracking his knuckles. It sounded like bones snapping.

"I wish you wouldn't do that, Slash! You know it grosses me out!," Ozzie complained with a whine. "Anyway, I have a therory about this Janus." He paused and looked Slash straight in the eye. "I believe that you guys were right when you said you thought he might have been some sort of human magical weapon to use against us."

"I don't know, Ozzie. Now that I think about it, I think we might have been wrong," Slash replied, running a hand over his bald blue head.

"Oh, c'mon Slash! You can't be serious. I mean, it's rather obvious that we're on the right track. Maybe he's not a weapon, but what if the humans are breeding new strains of magic-users like this Janus kid? Imagine what Guardia would be like with a bunch of people like him running loose."

"Oh, cripes! You're right!," Slash gasped when the concept sank in. "That would be awfull. They'd blow us to smitherines!"

"Exactly!," Ozzie crowed. "What better way to stop this from happening then to turn one of their own against them?"

"Use Janus?"

Ozzie apllauded sarcasticaly. "Bravo, Slash! Now you're catching on! If this little menace can be turned to our side, think of the advantages we could have? Why, in a couple of years with the proper training, we could have a veratable war machine on our hands! Think how THAT would tip the odds in our favor!"

"But this kid is stubborn, Ozzie. How're we gonna win him to our side of the fence?"

"You leave that to me," Ozzie replied, a devious look coming into his pig-like eyes. "You and Flea worry about the training. You guys will have a full work load ahead of you." The Mystic leader made a shooing motion. "Now beat it. I need to talk to your new pupil alone for a moment or two."

Slash bowed and did as he was told, fading out of sight as the lights dimmed and returned to normal. Ozzie hovered over to Janus who was barely awake. "Are you going to kill me yet?," he mumbled. "If you are, do it now so I can go to bed." He finished with a yawn.

"We're not going to kill you, not if you do what we want you to do," Ozzie replied bluntly. "We want you to work for us, my boy."

"Why?," Janus blinked. "What's in it for me?"

"A means to make your revenge!"

Janus woke up instantly. He smiled. "Tell me more."


Chapter 10

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