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Chapter 19

A mysterious figure moved among the shadows of the Kuran. This figure was moving with a purpose. He had to find some way of disrupting Kuran's functions. That human had apparently survived the attack at the Esper Mansion. He would also tell them that the Eclipse Torch would be here. Then they would come. He would have to wait until then. In the meantime, he decided that a little sabotage was in order. When they would come, the external batteries of Kuran would fire on them. If his plans worked, then the back-lash of the weapons would flood the entire weapons depot. They might find him out, but it was better then sitting around, waiting for the three stooges to find him.

Kaman had found a tactical overlay for the entire station. He surmised, considering he was a whiz with electronics, that if he shut the fourth value to all of laser torrents, the technical system wouldn't detect a problem until it was too late. He just hoped that his plan would work.

Two hours had passed. He was successful in sabotaging the entire left flank, he started towards the right flank, and he found himself face-to-face with the three wizards.

"There you are, hairball!" said the first Wizard.

"We were wondering when you'd come around to sabotaging the station," said the second one.

"Not that it would matter, cause we have been running periodic checks on the weapon systems to make sure you wouldn't try anything," said the third.

{What a bunch of idiots.} thought Kaman merrily, {Well, at least now I know that they don't realize that the systems have been tampered with.} "Well, it looks like it's been too little, too late." He did a back flip so that he sneak off, just like he did last time. Only to come in contact with a forcefield.

"HAHAHAHA! You fool! As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

"Amazing," said Kaman, "your IQ may actually be in the double-digits."

"Oh, I feel SO insulted," said the second wizard sarcastically.

Kaman looked down at the ground, "Disrupt!"

All of the sudden all three wizards, felt Kaman's claws against them. He then started to move towards one of the wizards with blinding speed. He brought his claw back and met electricity, and a lot of it. All three wizards were putting their efforts into defeating the Musk Cat. After they were done, Kaman fell down to the ground in a heap. The third wizard went over to him.

"He's still alive."

"Good. That death would've been too quick for him. Take him. We'll lock him up for now. He could make for a useful hostage later on," said the first wizard.

"I'm going to go check on the other systems, just in case," said the third wizard.

"Good idea," said the first, "I'm going to check in with Lassic, and let him know that our intruder is taken care of."

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The shuttle landed outside of Tonoe. Chaz and the others, stepped out and examined the damage visually. The village was a mess. Houses were still on fire. Debris was everywhere. There was an awful smell blowing all around the area. Chaz's blood boiled. He turned around and faced his friends.

"Kyra?"

"I'm sensing only Gryz's people, but I can't find neither Gryz, not Grandfather Gwyn."

"Juza?" asked Chaz through grit teeth.

A chill went up Michael's spine at the mentioning of that name. Tom put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"I can't find him, or any of his soldiers anywhere, if he has any left that is," said Kyra, saying the last part with pride at the heavy loses on Juza's side from the assault on the mansion. "But, many of the people here are expecting trouble. I would guess that they saw the shuttle coming and were expecting another assault."

"All right. Wren, keep your eyes glued to the radar and the weapons port, just in case they come back. They are scared, and don't trust us."

"I can relate to that," said Ricto, "I think we should take in a small unarmed group."

"Agreed," said Chaz, "Rika, Kyra, Ricto and myself will go into the city. The rest of you will stay here."

Everyone nodded. Rika and Ricto took off their claws, and Chaz put down his sword. Kyra kept her staff, because it wasn't threating. They approached slowly.

"Hello! My name is Chaz Ashley!" shouted Chaz into the seemingly empty city, "I am from the Hunter's Guild in Aiedo! We want to help!"

Nothing.

"Everyone!" this time it was Kyra how spoke, "My name is Kyra! I am the leader of the Espers, under the reverent Lutz! Our own mansion was just attacked, but we managed to turn them away with extensive loses to them! I feel that they may have taken it out on you! And I am sorry." The last part was said softly, she knew that Juza was just trying to stop them from obtaining the PsychoWand, but she still couldn't help but feel responsible.

"This wasn't a vengeance attack, and you know it," said a voice from behind them.

They all turned to find the source of the voice. And a native Motavian was staring them right in the eye. He was banged up pretty good. He had a patch covering the left side of his face and was limping on one of his legs.

"They didn't want you to get the PsychoWand."

Chaz looked down the street, "Grandfather Gwyn's house is still standing."

More and more people were coming out, seeing that they were friends, and not enemies and everyone except Wren moved in to join their friends. Wren decided that it would best if someone stayed behind to watch over things, just in case their friend Juza would decide to return. Chaz and Rika instantly knew one of the bruised and beat up faces. It was Pana, Gryz's sister. She had grown up quite a bit since their first encounter ten years ago.

"Pana, it's been a while," said Chaz as best as he could.

Pana started crying and the man whom they had first met consoled her. An elderly man gestured towards one of the still-standing houses, the protectors followed him in.

"Please, sit down."

"I know this is painful," said Chaz, going to Hunter Mode, "but could you please tell us exactly what happened."

"Yes. By the way, my name is Griay. I'm the mayor here. The boy that you spoke to earlier is Tiay, my son."

"He seemed to be close to Pana," noted Kyra.

"Yes, they are mates. But, enough about that. I suppose you are here to meat with Grandfather Gwyn. I'm afraid that you're already too late. You see, he died a couple of weeks ago."

There was a collective gasp among the Protectors.

"Ah, sorry. Tact is not one of my strong points."

"I guess, it was his time," said Chaz weakly.

"Actually, he was murdered. We caught the man while he did it, but we were too late to save...." his voice broke off as tears ran down his face.

Rika put a comforting hand on Griay.

"Juza," said Michael angrily.

"Huh?" asked the mayor.

"That is the name of the man who caused this," said Chaz.

"I see. Perhaps I can help. You see he kept doing fly-bys, bombarding our homes. If he would have landed, we could've fought him, but he just stayed up in his ship. Gryz stepped out and tried doing a few Sweeping skills, it seemed to effect the ship, but not much. Then it stopped. It hovered above Gryz, then Gryz disappeared, this unusual haze surrounded him, and then he was gone."

"Transporter beam," said Michael bluntly.

"Thus, he wouldn't need to land, where he wouldn't last five minutes," reasoned Chaz.

"There's something else," said the mayor, "He got on his loud speaker and he said, Tell those Protectors that I'll meet them at our old stomping ground.. What does that mean?"

"Hmm," thought Chaz, "Stomping ground means a place where people used to grow up."

"But, the only place I can think off, is Zio's fort, which no longer exists," said Rika.

"Of course!" said Demi, "Nurvus!"

"It makes sense," reasoned Chaz, "but why didn't he just say so."

"Because he's slime," said Michael.

"I wish I could help you, but my people need to rebuild our city. And the people are afraid that if..."

"...if the strong warriors leave, then nobody will protect them from another attack," finished Tom.

{You'll make a fine Esper} thought Kyra.

"Well," said Chaz, "we have all the information that we need. Thanks for all of your help Mayor Griay."

"What about the PsychoWand?" asked Tom.

Kyra stepped forward. "He's right. We need to defeat Lassic, and we're going to need the PsychoWand to do it, but Grandfather Gwyn was the only one who knew how to open the door to the Ladea Tower."

"Maybe not," said the mayor, "you see about a year ago, Grandfather Gwyn's health started taking a turn for the worse. So, he and Gryz left on a trip for about two weeks. They never spoke of the trip, but I know that they went to the Ladea Tower. I think that Gwyn knew that he would eventually die, and he didn't want the Tower's Secret to die with him."

"So we have to hurry and save Gryz!" said Rika.

"Again, thanks for all of the information," said Chaz, then he and the rest of the protectors left for Nurvus.

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

Rune stood in a defensive stance as the beasts got closer and closer. They just stood there as if waiting for Rune to make the first move.

Think Rune! There's got to be something you do! I've got to concentrate.

Rune then held the staff in front of him, and drawing on the magical abilities of five generations, not to mention 2000 years of magical training. Rune concentrated. Nothing. The field was too strong. {NO!} thought Rune, {I'm not going to give up that easily!} Rune then put all of heart and soul into a full thought. He felt a small bubble appear, not physically of course, but in the essence of magic. A microscopic bubble of magic inside the enormous anti-magic field. Rune was utilizing his abilities to their limits. No limits! He told himself. I must continue. Then an old saying just popped into his head:

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

It made sense. But, would it work. The snarling creatures told him that he didn't much choice. He then stopped concentrating, he put no effort into the spell, he just created one. It was working! The bubble got larger and larger, until it was around him. The creatures started backing up. The lights were starting to get dim, apparently his actions were causing overloads in Lassic's systems. But, Rune didn't notice. He was becoming the true meaning of the Lutz he was becoming magic. Not science, nor any kind of anti-magic field could stop him. He then open his eyes and pointed his staff.

"NaGra!"

Highly powerful electric forces pushed down on the creatures, crushing them. Rune smiled at his accomplishment and then collapsed in a heap from pure being completely exhausted.

Lassic pounded his fist down hard. "Soldier! The field is down! What's going on down there!" shouted Lassic into the comm unit. His angry growing as each word escaped his lips.

"M..m...m.mmm..my l..l..llord," started the soldier.

"JUST SPIT IT OUT!" shouted Lassic.

"Umm, there was a drain on the system. It overloaded."

{Clever Lutz.} "Get the system back on line, NOW!" shouted Lassic.

"Y..y..yyy..yyes sir!" said soldier nervously.

Lassic then got up and headed for the secret entrance to his labyrinth. "If you want something done, then you gotta do it yourself." And Lassic stormed out of his throne room.

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The shuttle landed at the spaceport just to the west of Nurvus. Everybody got out and Rika, Tom, and Kyra could immediately feel it. Their muscles tensed and Tom, being new to his supernatural abilities practically doubled over from the pain that was coursing through his veins.

Chaz ran over to his partner and friend, "Tom, are you OK?"

Kyra was the first to regain her composure. "It's the Black Energy Wave. It's very strong here."

"That would probably have been from when Zio was here," reasoned Demi.

"Scanning," said Wren, "I am detecting something, but I it's hard to tell, it seems to be a form of radiation."

"It would seem so," said Demi, "There was some hazardous materials hidden very deep in Nurvus. If the Black Energy Wave has somehow been manipulated by it...." Demi didn't need to finish his statement.

"We have to save Gryz!" said Rika.

"You will have to stay here, regardless," said Wren to Rika.

"Pardon."

"I have surmised that the Radiation can be blocked if both Demi and I put up our barriers, however some radiation will still leak through. There are some anti-rad kits and Sol Dews on Kuran. Demi and I will take everyone there immediately upon leaving Nurvus. I just hope that we can get Gryz out in time," said Wren.

"That still doesn't explain why I have to stay behind," said Rika who was clearly upset that her friends would be going into a fight without her.

"The radiation would kill your child," said Wren bluntly.

"Oh."

"I'm sorry Rika," said Demi, "but Wren is right."

Rika put her hand on her stomach, thinking of her child to be and she looked at the father who speechless. Now, was not a time to be selfish. They'll be fine, she told herself. She simply nodded, acknowledging to the fact. Chaz walked over to her and kissed her gently on the check.

"We'll be all right," said Chaz reassuringly, "I..."

Rika put her hand and covered his mouth, "I know," was all she said, it was all that needed to be said, for they knew that even with the combined efforts of Wren and Demi, radiation would still be a problem, making it hard enough, but they also had Juza to contend with. Rika leaned forward and kissed her husband with all the passion of the last ten years pulled all into one sweat touch.

Chaz pulled away and saw that everyone was looking at them, "OK, folks. Shows over," said Chaz who was a very bright red. "Umm, shall we go."

"Not just yet," said Wren, "Demi and I need to do a few tests first to make sure that everything will work."

"Hurry, Gryz doesn't have much time," said Ricto.

"We know," said Demi.

"Wait a second," said Michael, "The shuttle has a transporter on it..."

"I've already thought of that," said Wren. "Normally, it would work, but with all the radiation, I don't think that we could we could rematerialize him."

"All right then. You two had better get started," said Chaz.

An hour later.

The six Protectors walked through Nurvus with growing anticipation. No one knew at just how effective the barrier was, but they had to chance it. Their friend was at stake. They walked into a room, then suddenly the door slammed shut behind them. Black Ooze started seeming in through holes in the wall.

"It's a trap!" shouted Chaz. Everyone saw the black substance and realized instantly what it was. They started to run off but then another bulkhead closed in front of them.

"We're trapped!" shouted Tom.

"That's why it's CALLED a trap," said Kyra irritably.

"Now, this is no time to panic," said Chaz as calmly as he could.

"Wait," said Tom as he pulled out Elsydeon. Kyra nodded as she understood, at least she thought she understood. Kyra turned to face the bulkhead blocking them in, while Tom turned to fade the black ooze that was approaching them.

"What are doing?" asked Kyra, "We need to get rid of this door!"

"NaZan!"

All of the sudden the floor behind them buckled and then finally collapsed. It fell through taking the ooze with it.

"We had to prevent that stuff from continually flowing towards us."

"Very well done Tom!" said Kyra with pride.

"Umm, I don't suppose that either of you could do anything about this door," said Chaz.

Kyra and Tom looked at each other, nodded and pointed at the door.

"FireStorm!"

The door met an onslaught of fire. It buckled, and enough of it had melted, the door fell backwards and landed with a loud clang.

"How are we going to get out of here now?" asked Tom looking back at the ooze.

"That isn't the only way in or out," said Demi, "I was hooked up to this thing for a while, and I know this place inside and out. Come on, I may know a shortcut that will take us directly to the center of the complex."

"Lead on."

Juza was passing nervously.

"Getting a little nervous?" asked Gryz, he had this throbbing pain in his lower side. He wondered if there was something down here that was effecting him.

"Shut up bait!" shouted Juza, {Of course, there's something wrong. They activate my first trap and got through it without a scratch and now they're nowhere to be seen.}

A small siren went off. "Well it's about time. I wonder how that got past my traps, well no matter. They won't survive my Black Energy Wave and that's all that matters."

Gryz pulled at the ropes that held his wrists, he should have ripped through them like a hot knife through butter, but he was having trouble keeping his head up. He heard about what had happened to Alys, he would just have to pray to the Great Light that such a thing wasn't happening to him.

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