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Chapter 18

Kaman crawled through the ventilation system of Kuran. He gathered what information he could. Sometimes when the wizards were together they would converse about future plans. Kaman didn't like, nor did he trust humans, but he knew of Lassic, and he knew that he had to do whatever it takes to bring him down. Perhaps if it wasn't for that evil warlord, then maybe Musk Cats and humans would have a better co-existance. After all, the Motavians and the Dezorian had a less then fruitful start.

"Juza to Kuran. Juza to Kuran. Come in."

Kaman's ears perked up. This sounded interesting. He looked down at the three wizards. One of the wizards waved his hand and the comm system activated. Juza's face appeared on the screen.

"Is there a....problem?" asked the wizard.

"Where are you?" asked the second wizard.

"I'm approaching Motavia. We were defeated," said Juza.

The wizard laughed. "So, the Great Pawn has fallen," mocked the second wizard.

"Your ship was what ultimately turned the tides in their favor."

Silence. "What was that?" said the third wizard.

"Our ship?" said the second.

"That accursed Steiner!" hissed the first.

Kaman was shocked. That human whom he had nearly killed, just saved the Espers? No. That human that was defeated was just looking for a scapegoat and the turncoat made an easy target.

"Have you informed the lord?" asked the second wizard.

The smile returned to the first wizard. "Indeed. When he finds out....well I'd just hate to be you."

"He...knows" said Juza hesitantly.

"Is he going to give you a quick death?" asked the third.

"He's going to let me live."

"WHAT?!?!?!" asked all three wizards at the same time.

Now it was Juza's turn to smile. "He still has some use for me. You see they are going to try and acquire the items needed to defeat him, so I'm to lead them into a trap at Nurvus."

The first wizard snarled at him, "If that...is what the master wishes." He shut off the monitor and broke out into maniacal laughter.

The second wizard looked at the first, "You know something, we don't."

"Of course. Our brilliant master has condemned Juza and those protectors at the same time! You see do too certain unfortunate circumstances at Nurvus, the place is inundated with Black Energy Radiation. Highly toxic, even for those who serve evil. But, it will have a little more of an effect on those protectors. HAHAHAHA!"

"And Juza will get the punishment he deserves," said the third.

"I must do something!" thought Kaman, "But, what?"

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Steiner's stolen shuttle entered the atmosphere of Motavia. Kyra didn't want to leave her post as TemLe, but she felt confident that she had left the position in the very capable hands of Sarah. It was agreed that only Kyra would be capable enough to wield the PsycoWand, since Rune was still MIA. Something of which she also refused to talk about. The President's intervention in the assault also helped not only inter-Esper relations, but inter-Musk Cat relations as well. There help in the protection of the Espers was now well known, and they'd receive the respect that they deserved. She looked over at Tom. He was sitting in a chair staring at the Elysdeon. You didn't have to be a telemental to figure out what was bothering him. First of all, he recently discovered that he was a telemental himself, and a rather strong one at that. But on top of that he discovered what had happened to his parents. Michael Steiner also had his own past to contend with.

{Tom,} said Kyra, sending a telemental message to him.

Nothing. {Hey, Tom! Snap out of it!}

Tom practically jumped out of his skin. [Don't do that!]

{I realize that your going through a lot.}

[Do you?!] snapped Tom. [Sorry, it's been a long day.]

{Trust me, I know. But, you need to focus, if you don't you'll lose control of your abilities and you'll do more harm then good.}

"Now you know why I didn't tell you. You need to focus and concentrate with all of your might for the upcoming battle."

[Now, I understand what she meant. At the mansion, I was so focused with what was going on. Everything came so simply to me, but now I can't even do a Foi.]

{You've taken a very important step with that realization. The trick is to just do, the more you concentrate the harder the task.}

"There is no try, only do, or do not."

[I'd wish that I'd payed more attention to her.]

{She is the wisest of the Ancient Espers. There is a way that you can help yourself.}

Tom looked up at Kyra. [Like what?] Kyra just looked at Tom's uncle.

Tom nodded to Kyra, he walked over to Michael. "Uncle Mike?" he asked hesitantly.

Michael looked up at his nephew. "Yes?" he asked, just as hesitantly.

"Could you tell me about my mom and dad?" he asked.

Michael smiled. "Sure."

In the very back of the Landale, Rika and Chaz were sharing their first quiet moment together in a long time.

"They say that the third times the charm," said Rika.

"Huh?" asked Chaz, feeling a little confused.

"Well," said Rika, "you see, I've tried to talk to you about something twice before, and we kept getting interrupted."

"I remember," said Chaz.

"Well, what I need to tell you is...." said Rika.

"Yes?" asked Chaz, feeling scared, anxious, and worried at the same time.

"Well..."

Ricto and Kyra were both meditating in the front, Demi and Wren drove the shuttle, and Tom and Michael were having a nice quiet conversation when Chaz shouted from the back, "WHAT?!"

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Rune walked along the path, following the wire. It was very quiet down here. Rune hated that. He excepted Lassic to give him more of a challenge. And here this wire....Lassic wanted Rune to find the wire. That had to be it. He came to a fork in the walkway, the wire lead off to the left, so Rune went to the right.

Lassic pounded his fist down on his throne. "First, that moron Juza can't kill a few stupid wizards, and now Lutz has figured out that he was being lead into a trap. Oh, well. That's see how fast he can run. HaHaHa!"

Rune heard something moving, it sounded like a couple of rusty door had just opened up. Then it sounded like a couple of those creatures that he had faced earlier were coming at him, and they sounded hungry. Then he looked back to where the path forked and six of them came running around the corner, snarling, drooling, and they appeared to be in much better shape then the last two.

"Crap."

Rune took off in the opposite direction. He was running as fast as he possibly could, but they were still gaining. He turned a corner, and found himself facing a dead end.

"I am not having a good day."

Rune turned around and faced his predators. He held his staff in a defensive stance. He picked a stone that was lying on the ground.

"Hey there. Want to play fetch!" said Rune as he hurled the stone at the creature. It caught the stone in its mouth and started to chew on it. A couple of seconds later it had eaten the stone.

"My, that's quite an appetite you've got there," said Rune, he held up his staff, "you want the stick? Huh, you want the stick boy?"

The creature responded by showing it's fangs.

"I guess not."

Lassic activated his comm unit. "Soldier!"

"Y..y..yes, my lord?" asked the nervous soldier.

"Bring me some popcorn."

"Popcorn? Ah, as you wish my lord," said the confused soldier.

"Lutz, it's time to die. HAHAHAHA!"

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Kaman settled down in the ventilation shaft. If he waited long enough, he'd be able to send a warning to the humans, so he merely sat and waited. His left foot had fallen asleep, so he massaged it to try and get the feeling back into it. But as did that his claw, which was sitting on his lap, had rolled off and his the metal with a loud CLANG. The wizard looked up suddenly and snarled at the intruder. Kaman grabbed his claw and took off down the shaft. The wizard raised his hand and then squeezed it into a fist. As the wizard closed his hand, the ventilation shaft above him was crushed, as if a large invisible hand was crushing it. In a sense, that is exactly what happened. He then pulled the shaft down with his magic and inspected it. He wasn't there. So he levitated himself up and looked down the shaft, he didn't see Kaman, but he did find some of his hair.

"So, the traitor smuggled a Musk Cat in, did he?" said the wizard, he then shouted down the shaft, "Listen Cat! We now know that you're here. If you give yourself up now, then maybe we'll kill you quickly."

"Double Slash!"

The wizard turned around to find the Musk Cat facing him. He looked down at his robe and saw the blood from the attack.

"You assaulted me," snarled the wizard, "NOONE DRAWS BLOOD BUT ME!!"

"Shut up! GaFoi!" the cat sent a burst of flame at the wizard which he promptly absorbed.

"Ahh, that feels better, thank you."

Kaman remembered hearing about a magical barrier that protected people from normal attacks. It was now clear that he didn't have a chance of beating this guy by himself. He had to find a place to hide and think. Kaman made ready as if he was about to attack, then he did a double back flip into the ventilation shaft. The wizard floated up to the shaft, but Kaman was already gone.

{Wizards, we have an intruder.}

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Chaz was very excited. "I don't believe it! How did this happen, well I know how this happened, but wow."

Rika laughed. "Calm down Chaz. You're going to give yourself a stroke."

"What's going on back here?" asked Kyra as she looked in from the front, behind her were three curious faces.

"Well, should I tell them, or should you," said Chaz excitedly.

"Well, gee. I just don't know," said Rika.

"Tell us what?" asked Tom.

"Well, it is important," said Chaz.

"Well out with it, then!" said Ricto becoming more and more impatient.

"I'm pregnant," said Rika.

Kyra smiled at his two friends, "So, you two are going to become a family."

"We already are," said Chaz, "it's just that now we're going to mother and father, as opposed husband and wife."

"Are you sure that you should be fighting?" asked Michael, "I mean you wouldn't want anything to happen to your unborn child, trust me. I know."

Chaz sat down on one the seats. "I never even thought of that." For the first time since Tom had known Chaz, he saw genuine fear in his eyes.

Tom walked over to Rika. "How long have you known?"

"About two weeks."

"And you still put yourself in danger like that?" asked Chaz.

"Chaz, you know as well as I do that I'd never put our child in danger."

"Actually," said Ricto, "she was very cautious, but I must concur in the their line of thinking. It was hazardous for you to take those risks."

Rika felt like she was being ganged up on, but she also understood their concerns.

"Now hold on," said Kyra, "each of us are putting our lives on the line for the greater good. Rika has a child, or at least will have a child, but if we fail then all of Algo suffers. Raja's own aid sacrificed his life in order to protect mine. Would his death be any less important? Hmm?"

Chaz put a reassuring hand on Kyra, "I'm sorry. You're right."

"You're both right. We are fighting for the greater good, but I'm not sure how good I'm going to be in battle. I may not want to take any kind of a chance in order to protect the child."

Tom concentrated. "I can feel him. Wait! No. I can feel her"

"It's a girl?" asked Chaz.

"Yep."

Suddenly, they heard Wren's voice over the intercom. "I think you guys had better come up here."

They ran to the cockpit and out of the window they saw what was bothering Wren. A large pillar of smoke was coming from somewhere down on the ground.

"Is that..." started Chaz.

"Yes, that's Tonoe. It would appear that Juza has been busy."

Chaz cursed under his breath. "Wren, land this bucket. I'll find him and then I'm going to break every bone in his body. One at a time."

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