The Toymaker (Chapter VIII) by Nimble Ginelle Quinn
Chapter eight: in which the twins learn a bit of history, Harrison uncovers a sinister plot, and Richard gets arrested kidnapped
Navajo Redd led the group of children out of the forest and up higher ground, ascending above the town of Falling Stars. The forest ended abruptly, leaving behind only glowing ferns and sparse, tall grasses with shimmering tips at the end.
“We’re almost to the top, so don’t stop climbing yet,” Navajo said.
“My ears are popping like crazy!” Desmond complained, yawning as much as he could to relieve the pressure.
“Good thing we sages only have ear holes,” Creole muttered as he stumbled along. “We don’t have to deal with pressure problems.”
“You are so mean,” Desmond complained, glowering at Creole.
“What did I ever do to you?” Creole whined.
“Boys, boys, there is no need to argue,” Navajo warned. “We’re almost to the top of the mountain, so keep calm and continue walking.”
They walked for 10 more minutes before Navajo stopped at a raised meadow with protective wooden fencing surrounding the cliff face. Beautiful bioluminescent flowers, mainly lilacs, roses, daisies, and irises softly swayed in the nighttime breeze, their petals sparkling with colorful creations of red, blue, purple, and white. High in the sky stars of various sizes and patterns (or constellations, as Navajo explained) dotted the sky, accompanied by wispy clouds and the full moon.
“Wow, this place is bloomin’ amazing!!!” Samson exclaimed. When he saw Navajo looking at him out of the corner of his eye, Samson stared down at his feet. “Sorry about the language sir, I just got overexcited.”
“It’s quite alright, my dear boy, but do watch the language, ok?” Navajo said. “Anyway my students, I am going to tell you an old story that dates way back to our ancient ancestors. Listen carefully, especially you two,” he added, pointing at the twins.
Navajo sat down on a nearby rock, with his daughter Sumatra by his side, Creole to his right, Samson sitting in front of him, and the twins sitting next to Samson.
Navajo cleared his throat and began his tale:
“As you all should know, the Sages of Light had a serious civil war in their past against Rebel Sages who discriminated the Aztecosaurs and were greedy with their power. Of course, there was more to that war than what meets the eye; something that to this very day puts every single one of you sitting here now in terrible danger.”
Everyone looked around in surprise, and Navajo continued with the story. “During the highlight of the war, one brave Sage warrior by the name of Omak Creek was badly injured while fighting with the Aztecosaur Gloomtrackers. He was taken to a shaman’s hut and taken care of by the Aztecosaur shaman, and once Omak was healed, the shaman used his witchdoctor powers and created a spirit guardian that to this day is now known as an immortal matrix.”
He held out the palm of his hand, and in the center of his gloved hand a little ball of light barely an inch tall fizzed to life. It was pearl-colored, and tiny sparks shimmered off its edges.
“This is one immortal matrix,” Navajo explained. “My matrix is named Tamik, and he is an eagle matrix. Immortal Matrix live forever, and they got this way by the shaman’s magic. The warrior Omak was gifted with the most powerful of the entire matrix: the golden impala Ramhorn.”
“Ramhorn could fly and summon meteors, not to mention that he could blind enemies with his golden light power. With Ramhorn by his side, Omak ended the war, and the Rebels retreated, disappearing somewhere in the Spiral. Although Immortal Matrix can live forever, the sages they rely on do not, and so the matrix are transferred from sage to sage of the same family, the exact same bloodline. And right now, many of you are carrying your Immortal Matrix within you. However, the twins are one exception. Both Danielle and Desmond carry one matrix in particular; the legendary Ramhorn himself.”
Everyone gasped, including Danielle and Desmond. “We…we are related to Omak?”
“Yes, simply because your father was related to him,” Navajo answered. “I am going to teach you all how to summon your Immortal Matrix, but first…I will give a demonstration.”
Navajo raised his palm at the moon, and his golden eyes flashed. The little ball of light flashed and then exploded, quickly fanning out and growing larger, and also taking shape. The light flashed one last time, and suddenly two huge wings spread wide, revealing a magnificent eagle. The eagle shrieked and spread its wings wider, rising into the air like a ghost.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” Navajo said. “Tamik loves to show off, and he’d love to perform for you all, but alas it is very late, and you all need your sleep.”
The children complained but followed Navajo back down the mountain, with Desmond whining about his ears all the way. Once they reached Falling Stars, Navajo led the group around the side of the Rutger Ballroom to a cobblestone building just a few yards shorter than the ballroom. There were wooden windows, at least 2 in the front and 5 on both sides.
“These are your bedrooms,” Navajo explained. “They aren’t much, but your safety is more important. Sumatra, you’ll come with me back home. I wish the rest of you a good night’s sleep!”
He took Sumatra’s hand and the two walked down the road, leaving behind the group. Samson fingered the house keys in his hand and turned to the door.
“Might as well get to bed,” Creole said with a shrug. He and Samson ran inside while Desmond and Danielle walked in after them.
It turned out that all of the beds were in one long room. There were no other rooms other than one little changing room, so the cobblestone house was basically like a military bunker. Samson hopped onto the bed closest to the door, and Creole took up the next two beds on the right side of the room, leaving only two other beds for Danielle and Desmond. Danielle went into the changing room and changed into her nightgown, then Desmond, then Creole, and finally Samson.
“Goodnight guys,” Desmond said, extinguishing his tableside lantern. Everyone else extinguished their lanterns, and Desmond fell into a deep sleep.
Meanwhile, Harrison crawled up a large tree trunk. It was midnight and his night vision had greatly improved, especially under the light of the stars. He climbed to the very top of the tree and then sprang to the next, pushing off with his powerful legs.
He clutched the branches of the second tree and continued hopping from tree to tree, climbing the mountain as he climbed. He reached a dead yet sturdy tree when he heard voices down below. Carefully gripping the branches with little force, Harrison slowly descended down the tree and silently hopped to the next tree over and peered through the darkness with his large eyes.
Harrison spied two shadowy figures, possibly two of the same ninjas that attacked his friends earlier that day. Harrison climbed a bit lower and focused his eyes on the men’s movements, and his mouse-like ears pricked up when he heard the first man speak.
“We have to tell General Slaughter of the children’s location,” the first ninja hissed. “A scout came back to me and saw them leave Falling Stars. He doesn’t know what building they’re hiding in, and where Navajo’s daughter is, but he did see them come from the small town.”
“Very good then, we will sneak in and hang around until we find their location,” the second ninja growled. “Once we find their hiding place, we send in soldiers to kidnap them, and send two men to capture Navajo’s daughter. Once we have them the society will be powerless; their precious students and children will be ours to command.”
The two ninjas laughed evilly, and Harrison gasped. He couldn’t let the men get away just by leaving them be; he could warn the others, but they might not listen. After all, they think that Falling Stars is safe. But after eavesdropping on the ninjas’ conversation, Harrison knew the truth. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Harrison thought.
With a vicious monster snarl, Harrison leapt from the trees, claws fanned out and teeth barred. He tackled the nearest ninja, biting him ferociously and kicking at the man with his sharp toe claws. The man screamed but barely made an effort to fight back, and with one final scratch the ninja passed out with fear.
The second ninja looked up at Harrison in shock. “Gah! Y-you’re the H-Hangman..!” he stuttered.
Harrison snarled and launched himself at the second ninja. The ninja spun around and delivered a painful roundhouse kick to Harrison’s arm, knocking Harrison to the ground. Before Harrison got to his feet, the ninja took off deep into the woods.
Harrison coughed and felt his arm, luckily not broken from the man’s kick. “I’ve got to warn the others about this!” Harrison exclaimed, and he climbed up the tree, heading back to town.
In Falling Star’s town square, Richard was taking a nice leisurely walk. He was getting tired staying up so late at night, so he decided to take a quick walk before going to his room in the inn to sleep. It was really late, and if Richard didn’t get any sleep he would be too tired to go watch his niece and nephew practice their powers. He overheard Navajo say something about an ‘immortal matrix’.
Richard continued walking through town square until he reached the fountain. Brie happened to be sitting on the edge, watching the night sky above her.
“What are you doing out here?” Richard asked as he walked over to Brie.
“I can’t sleep, since I’m a stuffed animal,” Brie explained. “I have to do something to pass the time!”
“Why not go and comfort the twins?” Richard suggested. “They have a huge mess to deal with; a ton of weight on their shoulders.”
“That doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” Brie commented with a smile. “After all, I’m a stuffed animal; comfort is what I was made to give!”
She hopped off the edge of the fountain and ran down the cobblestone street. Richard smiled and walked the opposite direction, towards the inn.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man in a ninja outfit crashed into Richard, and the two tumbled onto the ground.
Richard coughed and slowly stood up, brushing off his blazer. “What in the Spiral has gotten into you, sir?!” he exclaimed, glowering at the ninja. “And what are you doing in Falling Stars?”
The man stood up and looked at Richard in shock, and then out of the blue he tackled Richard. Richard tried to yell for help, but suddenly another man with many scratches on his body and a deep cut on his arm clapped his gloved hand over Richard’s mouth while the first man put a foot against Richard’s back and pushed him into the ground, pulling his right arm back.
The two ninjas bound Richard’s hands and pulled him to his feet. The first man pulled out a small vial, the same kind that was thrown at Desmond’s head. He also took out a medical needle and put the liquid into the needle, and then inserted it into Richard’s arm. Richard flinched from pain, but he eventually passed out. The two ninjas hoisted him up and dragged him out of town, without anyone noticing.
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