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Chapter 9

Chaz brought the rental Ice Digger to a stop, just outside of the mansion.

"Hey look!" said Rika, "There's a Digger here from the Dezorian Guild"

Chaz and Missy turned and looked at the Digger and saw the clear symbol of the DHG.

"Hmmm. I wonder why? Well, that's nothing to worry about. Don't worry Missy, you'll be safe here."

Missy had been looking around nervously ever since the assassination attempt. "Huh? Oh, sure. Anything you say."

Both Chaz and Rika felt sorry for Missy. They understood how she felt, they had faced a great darkness, and could have been defeated on more then one occasion. Missy didn't have the luxury of swordsmanship, or the use of techniques. But, she had a much more powerful weapon, the love and protection of her brother.

They walked up to the doors of the Esper Mansion. The guards would not move.

"Excuse me." said Chaz

Silence.

Chaz tapped his boot in the snow impatiently, "I don't mean to be rude, but MOVE IT!" Chaz then punched one of the guards in the stomach, and gave the other one a nice swift kick. After a few hits, they both went down. Chaz opened the door, and made a large sweeping gesture with his arm. "After you."

Rika walked in a mumbled, "A can't wait to explain this to Kyra."

Missy walked in and said, "Gee, I feel safer already."

-------------------------

Li'kara led the Gumbious Choir. Ever since she started singing at the church services there wasn't an empty seat at the temple. She sang to a hushed audience. Well, not completely hushed. There were two occupants that were speaking without words.

{John, why are we even here. Being in this...this...place, it's blasphemy to the Master!}

John shuddered at the thought of betraying the Master. He looked at his partner {Listen, Mike. I hate this as much as you do, but we have a job to do.}

{I know. I know. I almost feel sorry that we have to kill her. I mean she has a great voice. Just imagine her screaming my name.}

Mike chuckled at that. {John, that's a nasty thing to say in church, ya know.}

John chuckled {What was that you were saying about blasphemy?}

Mike laughed out loud and was bombarded by a dozen "Shhh!"

{Permission to Another Gate them straight to the Edge.}

John smiled {A nice thought, but we're here on business.}

Mike nodded, {I know.}

John looked at his watch, {Sheesh, how much longer is this Darkness forsaken crap going to be?}

Mike merely shrugged. Then, the beautiful song came to a conclusion, and everyone applauded. Everyone expect two dark figures.

{So, when are we going to kidnap her?} asked Mike

{When she and Raja are alone.}

Mike nodded again. So, he just sat, endured, and waited.

-------------------------

"So where is this Tom person?" asked Missy

"I'm not really sure. His letters were addressed from the Esper Mansion. Let's find Kyra, she'll know where he is." said Chaz

"Besides, it will be nice to see her again." reflected Rika

Chaz nodded grimly, "If only under better circumstances."

"Indeed." said a familiar voice.

The three of them turned around.

"Rune! It's good to see you again!" beamed Rika

Rune shook hands with Chaz and embraced Rika, "It's good to see you two as well." Rune then looks over Chaz's shoulder and gives her his infamous "Million Meseta Smile" and said, "And just who is your lovely friend here?"

Missy's face instantly turns a bright red.

"That, my dear friend, is my sister, Missy."

Rune's jaw nearly hit the floor at that announcement. "S...S..sister?" he asked dumbfoundedly.

Both Rika and Chaz burst out laughing at Rune's response.

"Why is everybody so surprised to hear what my relation to Chaz?"

"Well he thought that his entire family had died." said Rune, whom had regained his composure and was once again the cocky little upstart that everyone knew and loved.

At that, everyone went quiet. "Well perhaps you could tell me where Tom is at?"

"Ah, yes. Tom is currently on a date with Kyra's assistant, Sarah."

Chaz raised an eyebrow, "Really?"

Rune chuckled at that, "Yes. Hey Marcus!"

An Esper turned around, approached them, and bowed to Rune, "Yes, oh Reverent One."

Rune forced him to stand up, and he held an accusing finger at Marcus, "I told you to stop that, I'm just Rune, or simply Lutz, or even man with the cutest face, but please stop with this Reverent One nonsense."

Marcus nodded, "As you wish."

"Good, now these three people are going to be my guests for a little while. I would like you to escort Rika and Missy to the Guest Suite. I want them to recieve the five star treatment."

Marcus bowed, "It shall be done, oh rev....er, um Lutz."

"Good. Chaz and I have a little catching up to do."

Marcus escorted Rika and Missy down the hall, when they were out of earshot Rune started talking, "OK, Chaz, I know that your not here for a simple visit. And I know it has something to do with, what did you say her name was?"

"Missy. She's my sister, well half-sister actually. I thought that she had died when...." Chaz had to fight back tears, but he continued on non the less, "Anyways, Rika was resting at Hahn's house. She gave birth to baby girl by the way."

"Really? That's good to hear. I'm guessing that you named her Alys."

"You know me quite well, Rune."

"Yes, I do. I detected something in your sister. I wasn't quite sure what, though. But, she was definitely scared about something."

"Terrified would be a more accurate description. Missy and I were talking one night, then I noticed that someone was watching the house. He moved in and tried to kill Missy, but I stopped him."

"By the Light!" exclaimed Rune

Chaz continued, "I knocked him out of Hahn's window, then I ran over to look out of the window, but when I got there he was gone. I heard him leave though."

"Which direction did he go?"

"He teleported out. He used Ryuka."

"But, your the only non-Esper I know of that knows how to Ryuka."

"Exactly."

"I don't believe it. I thought that we knew about the people that had Esper qualities."

"Are you saying that you know the magical abilities of every single Palman, Dezorian, Motavian, and Musk Cat in Algo?"

Rune hesitated, "No....I suppose not. It's....It's just hard to accept the fact that I may have to deal with some renegade Espers."

"Just because someone can use magic, doesn't make them good. You Espers have an extraordinary power that few can truly understand. I right person, at the right time, could make himself rich, by putting themselves up as a hitman."

Rune nodded. "Yes, that does make sense. I suppose I have been kind of naive in this respect. If an Esper has been hired to take out your sister, then you've brought her to the right place. I'll have guarded at all times....wait a second, that's why you came here to see Tom, isn't it?"

Chaz simply nodded.

"He is a powerful Esper. He is still learning to control the massive amount of power within him. I think that it might be better if some of the Espers who are better trained..."

Chaz thought for a moment, "Rune....I, ah, I'm not quite sure how to say this, but I'm not sure just whom I can trust. Besides, Tom wasn't just a partner and a friend. He was a great tracker, and a very intelligent hunter. If anyone could sniff out an assassin, he could."

Rune thought for a moment. "Hmmm. Chaz, I have a confession to make."

"Let me guess, your a woman trapped in a man's body."

Rune glared at Chaz, "NO! The confession is that," and then Rune communicated telepathically, {We may have a spy in the Mansion.}

"You sure?"

{I went to meditate with the Telepathy Ball, and I found mental traces of someone else.}

"Isn't the telepathy ball in an extremely secure area?"

{Yes, and one other thing. Whomever it was left a calling card. The card was the symbol of the Zio Cult.}

"I don't believe it. Are you positive?"

"You think I wouldn't recognize it?"

"I suppose you would."

"Chaz, I have to ask you this? Do you trust Tom?"

"With my life. With my sister's life. Besides, the Elysdeon choose him to wield it. It helped him with that Light spell. It lead him to mountain side so that the Sword could be reforged."

Rune nodded. "You make a very valid point."

"Rune, I thought that my family was dead. And now, it may turn out that she is indeed alive. I won't lose her. I can't lose her. Do you understand me?"

"More than you may know."

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Meanwhile, Kal was having a similar discussion with Kyra.

"Espers as thieves. It's hard to believe." said Kyra shaking her head.

"It's more then that Ms. Tierney. These robberies are precise, executed efficiently, and very quickly. These aren't some rebel magicians out make some money. These are professionals. And they're hitting just weapons and armor shops. Whatever, or whomever they are doing this for, they are getting ready for something big. VERY big."

"Like what?"

"That my dear, is the question that noone seems to know. All of my contacts have gotten quiet. ALL of them. I've never seen it like this before. Something incredibly major is going to happen soon."

"A rebellion?"

"Possible."

Kyra sighed. "What am I going to do?"

"The government hired me to find out who was behind these robberies. With their resources, I was rather surprised by this. They do, after all, have the DBI to help them out. I didn't think to much about it to be honest. I was only concerned with getting a paycheck. However, after this little discussion. Some things are starting to make a lot of sense."

Kyra raised an eyebrow, "Some things?"

"Well, when asked him about what they knew about the robberies, they didn't seem to want to discuss the issue. I was under the impression that they knew something, but were unwilling to tell me."

"Bureaucrats, always with their little secrets."

"That was my first impression. But, now I think they knew that Espers were involved but didn't want to get involved personally, because of what has happened in the past."

Kyra nodded, "Yes, that does make sense."

"Something else is bothering you."

"It's that clear?"

"You don't need to be Lutz to figure that out."

"Internal matters." said Kyra

"Bureaucrats, always with their little secrets." repeated Kal

Kyra chuckled at that. "So, what do think we should do to make ready for this oncoming storm?"

{Trying to change the subject?} thought Kal, "That I don't know."

Kyra sighed, "Sometimes I hate being leader."

"High position always carries responsibly with it."

Kyra nodded, "Indeed, it does."

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"Palman Survey to Ice Castle. Palman Survey to Ice Castle."

"Palman Survey you were ordered to maintain radio silence!"

"I know that, but the Landale is headed straight for us."

Pause.

"Are their weapons systems or shields activated?"

"Their weapons systems are off line, but their shield are on low."

"That's common procedure. Monitor any communication from that ship, chances are they have a scrambler, but it you set the descramble to frequency 115.678, then their transmittion should come in crystal clear. That's the frequency that the Landale's communicator's use."

"Roger. Wait their communicating now."

"Patch it through."

"Landale to Zelan. I'm approaching the designated coordinates."

"Roger that, Landale."

"Hey, Wren. Is this really necessary?"

"Look Derren, with Kuran down we don't have a direct line of sight behind the sun, so we need to get this set up until Kuran is up and running again."

"But, that's going to take years!"

"I'm not saying until the whole thing is completely repaired, I'm just saying, until power is restored to Kuran."

Derren leaned over and activated a secondary communication that was being piggybacked along the original carrier wave. This was of Derren's personnel design. It was such a secure line, that Derren was willing to transmit the command codes to Zelan.

"Wren, I'm detecting a transmittion from the cloacked ship."

"It's probably as secure as this line, we can't take the chance that they'll spot us monitoring their transmittion."

"I'm not talking about monitoring their transmittion. I'm talking about tracing the signal to it's source."

"An interesting idea. Stand by......There. I've located the signal that you're talking about."

"Derren, let's try running a practice sweep of the area. To see if we can truly see behind the line of sight."

"OK. How about on Dezolis. It's going to be behind the sun in about two minutes."

"Good idea. Slave your console to mine."

"Stand by....done."

"OK. Let's see if this works."

Wren then used the Landale to do a sweep of Dezolis, but recording the sweep in detail, and watching the signal as the sweep went by.

"Good. I think that this will provide us with the information that we need."

"I hope so. Derren out."

"Palman Survey to Ice Castle. Did you get all of that."

"Confirmed. It looks legit, but there's still something that I don't like about it. Keep an eye on them. Ice Castle out."

"Roger."

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