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Chapter 24

Things were not going very well for the Master. His well articulated plan was falling apart at the seems, and all he could do was watch, and try and patch things up as best he can, but if felt like the damn was coming apart, and every time one patch was fixed, ten more broke free. And another major hole just ruptured.

A severely wounded Dark Esper stumbled into the launch bay where the Master was located. He all but collapses, but with the help of two other Dark Espers which are immediately by his side. They help him over to the Master.

"By the Darkness, what happened to you?"

"It's Tom, Master. He broke free."

The Master's eyes flare red, and he glares over at Forsha. Who cowers back in fear, "You didn't kill him?"

"Ah, sire...please I...", he tried to start to explain, but he knows it is too late for him. The master builds up a severe overload of electricity in both of his arms. "Master, wait, please! I..." just then, the plane that he was ducking behind explodes in a ball of fire and electricity, while a field of some kind contains the explosion, broken piece of plane fall to the ground, along with a severely charred corpse.

"Those wounds don't look like they were made by a spell."

"Tom got to Rika." he spits out.

"Find them. NOW!!!" he growls.

"Sir?"

"WHAT?!"

"The Meteorite scouts have just found the Nei shot. And the Omega Scouts have just found out where the location was for the last piece of Nei armor."

"Perfect." he says with a smile. "When you find the Esper and the Numan, notify me. I'll kill them myself."

"Yes, master." says the obedient Dark Esper, and sets out on a hunting mission.

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Chaz closed his eyes. He eased himself back into a state of subconsiousness. He felt himself drifting off into who knows what level of being. He seemed to be slipping into a dreamlike state. Wait. No. He wasn't slipping, he was being pulled there. But, he decided not to fight it. He had a strange feeling that he would need his strength.

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Tom and Rika run through the hallways of the Ice Castle. Rika had burns marks along her side and back, Tom had similar injuries. They had to conserve their magical strengths, and Rika was already feeling drained with all the healing techniques she was forced to use on both of them over the past hour.

"Look!" whispers Tom, "They're guarding something in their."

"We don't have the strength to fight them." says Rika, clearly out of breath.

"Well...we can't run forever, and it stands to reason that they would be guarding any exits from us."

"Very true. Plus, they haven't seen us yet. If we jump them, we should be able to charge them before they kill us." that last note didn't have the slightest bit of sarcasm, and they both knew it. But, not having much of a choice, they ran out, Tom fired off a few spells, while Rika simply charged, and had struck two of the guards dead before they had a chance to blink. Four of the guards ducked around the corner and dived out of the way of the oncoming duo. But, then from around the corner started attacking them, so they ducked into the room that the Dark Espers were apparently guarding. And they found themselves in the main throne room. Trapped.

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Chaz stood in apparently, the middle of the dessert on Motavia, but he knew that such wasn't the case. HE reached for a sword that wasn't there, and tested himself by using a technique or skill with his hands, but neither had any effect. He was on his own.

"All right!" he shouts up into the sky, "Where are you?" 'Wait a second.' he thinks, 'who the in the name of Algo am I talking too?'

"Me, I do believe." comes a scratchy, spooky voice.

"You can read my thoughts?" he asks.

The voice starts laughing, "I AM your thoughts. You had the best blade in Algo, you had the best technique, and you had the ability to command the legendary Megido."

"That's Megid."

"To you, maybe."

"I don't understand."

"Of course you don't, and that's your whole problem."

Chaz growls at the darkness that seems to be surrounding him, "I don't give a damn about you, or your riddles. I just know that you are messing with my body, and that I am going to rip you to shreds, if you were a coward hiding behind all this crap."

The shadows seem to come to one focal point in Chaz's mind, as if gathering all its presence into one location.

Chaz looks at what shape it is forming into. He takes a step back and gasps, "It...It can't be."

"Ah, but it is."

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Rune came out and joined the others that were gathered around Chaz. Sarah and Kyra looked at the Lutz, who simply shook his head sadly. They knew that his search to find what was happening to Chaz to be at a loss. Then Missy screamed an ear bleeding scream that sent everyone running to her.

"What is it?" asked a concerned Derren.

But, they all saw what had startled her. The glow around Chaz became much brighter. But, then it dimmed, almost to nothing, then shot out again brighter and brighter. It was like a sun going nova, then shrinking to a dwarf star, then going nova, over and over again.

"What's going on?" asks Kyra shielding her eyes from the light.

"I'm not entire sure." says Rune, "But, it appears that whatever is happening to Chaz...I think he is fighting it. What...?" asks Rune as he closes his eyes and seems to concentrate.

"What is it?" asks Derren again.

"It's...Tom! He is contacting me telepathically. WHAT?!"

"Need I ask?" mumbles Derren.

"He's telling me that Rika is with him."

"Oh my gosh!" exclaims Kyra, "She's alive. I thought..."

"I know." says Rune, "And it appears that he is trapped in that Ice Castle, and he has the real Telepathy Ball."

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