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Chapter 11

Michael woke up to a face full of snow and blood. He spat some blood onto the snow, now he really, really hated cats. That furball was going to pay, all of them were. He would find the one that had tricked him...twice, and he would return the favor ten times over. Michael stood up and brushed himself off, well he tried anyway, because as soon as he tried to brush himself off, he discovered that his left arm was broken.

"I HATE CATS!!!" he shouted, the strength of his shout loosened some of the snow at the top of the cliff sending a small avalanche down on him. He dug his way out with his still working arm. {I mean I really, really, REALLY HATE CATS!!!}

He then started to realize that the feeling in his feet and hands were gone, if he didn't find someplace to warm up soon, he would die. Then he heard it, the sound of an Ice Digger, he didn't really care who it was. Whomever it was had the ability to save him. So, using what strength he had left in him, he summoned the power to use a GiFoi Technique, and then passed out.

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The Security Guard looked at his new passenger, not quite sure what to make of him. As far as the guard could tell this poor soul had just slipped and had fallen into the valley below, if he hadn't fallen onto that snow he'd be as flat as a pancake.

"Unit 15 to Dispatch. Unit 15 to Dispatch. come in. Over."

"Unit 15 this is dispatch. What is your condition? Over."

"Dispatch, I found a hiker who had apparently fallen off of Widow's Cliff. I will need a Med Team with a cold trama kit at the ready. Over."

"Confirmed Unit 15. Return to Reshel. Over."

"Dispatch, did you say Reshel and not Meese? Over."

"Confirmed Unit 15, Carnivorous Trees are preventing all access to Meese. Over."

"Aren't there people still trapped in the main government building? Over."

"Your orders are to return to Reshel. Over."

Pause. "Yes sir. Out."

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The Landale approached Lassic's Air Castle slowly.

"This place never loses it's charm," said Rune sarcastically.

"I don't like this," said Chaz uneasily.

"Everything is ready to go," said Wren.

"That's not what I'm worried about," said Chaz.

"Relax, we destroyed Lassic's fighters, well most of them anyway. We have Raja getting the Eclipse Torch as we speak. Lassic IS going to be expecting us, but we have him outnumbered, like before. And we can beat him like before, only this time we'll make sure that he stays dead," said Rune.

"Believe it or not, that is exactly what worries me. Some of his fighters ARE still functioning. Where are they now? Lassic has been using everything in his power to get the Eclipse Torch. Why? It make no sense."

"Perhaps to lure us to his domain again," offered Rika.

"But, he knows that we'd come after him anyway," reasoned Rune.

"Right. Perhaps there is some way of defeating him completely, something that we may have overlooked."

"Could the Eclipse Torch be that something?" offered Tom.

"Maybe. Wait, what happened the last time we defeated Lassic?" asked Rune.

"He...he melted, so to speak," said Chaz, "Are you saying that the Eclipse Torch is his Achilles Heal?"

"It could be," said Rune.

"Should we turn around?" asked Rika.

All of the sudden the Landale shook a little bit and everyone could feel the lack of movement. It was too late for second chances, they had arrived at the Air Castle.

Wren walked back to them from the cockpit, "It appears that the artificial gravity and the artificial atmosphere has been restored. Is everybody ready?"

"Well, Rune, what do you think?" asked Chaz.

"You're actually asking me?"

"Rune," said Chaz sternly, "you have the memories of Lutz in you. Ten years ago you said that you remembered fighting Lassic, know I ask you, based on those memories, do we need the Eclipse Torch?"

"I don't think so. We defeated him before, didn't we? Besides I see no point in retreating over a hunch," said Rune.

"That's true," agreed Chaz, "Well in that case, lets do it. Oh and lets hold off to play our trump card, if Lassic IS setting a trap, then that is when we pull out all of the stops. Agreed?"

Chaz looked around at his friends and they all nodded their heads in agreement. This was it.

They moved through Lassic's castle very slowly, but something was wrong. What was it. The whole castle was...empty. That's it. It was just too easy.

"I don't like it," repeated Chaz.

"So, what else is new?" asked Rune.

"This isn't the place or the time," whispered Tom.

"Tom's right. Look, isn't that the door that leads to Lassic's throne room?" asked Rika.

"Yeah. Except this time it isn't guarded by the three stooges," said Rune with a laugh.

"Three stooges?" asked Tom.

"When we here before," said Chaz, "Lassic had three wizards steal the Eclipse Torch to lure us here. They created a magical barrier, We had to defeat them before we could continue on to Lassic."

"I see."

They all moved on down the stairs until they reached Lassic's lair. The large wooden door open and a voice spoke, a voice that sent a chill down each of their spines, even Wren was unnerved by the sheer evil of the voice.

"Welcome to my home, protectors."

They moved ever so slowly, keeping the watchful eye on Lassic. Not quite sure what to expect.

"We have come to destroy you Lassic," said Chaz boldly.

"Oh really? HaHaHa! You sure do have a good sense of humor protector. Have you met my companions?"

All of the sudden the cloaked barriers surrounding all of Lassic's solders disappeared and they all aimed their weapons at Chaz and his friends.

"It's good to see you again," said an all too familiar voice.

Chaz turned around "Juza? How in the...?"

Juza smiled "Surprise! Hey Wren."

For the first time Wren was speechless, he just stood there and stared at Juza.

"I have something for you," he said evilly. He then reached into his bag and pulled out a small metal box that had some flashing lights on it. If Wren had a heart, then it would have leaped out of his throat. Wren recognized it instantly. It was Derren's CPU or Central Processing Unit, his brain, if you will.

"That isn't what I think it is...Is it?" asked Rika weakly.

"If you think that this is all that is left of that stupid android, then yes it is. He overloaded himself, which in turn overloaded the ship's computer. I managed to rip his heart out, if you will, before I was safely beamed out."

"Beamed?" asked Chaz.

"Yeah, beamed, as in transported. Apparently it was developed by pre-Mother Brain society. I found the information on it and Lassic had some of it in this very castle. We had them installed in all of the ships, just in case. You see all you did was cause some damage to our ships, but we have more. HaHaHaHa!!"

All of the solders joined in with their boss in laughter. And Chaz nodded to his companions. They understood that it was time indeed to play their hidden weapon.

"Wren, are you O.K.?" asked Chaz.

"I'm ready," said Wren.

Lassic narrowed his eyes at his enemies, "You are mine! You will all die slowly, but not you." he said pointing at Tom, "You are not part of my plan, so you will have the pleasure of dying quickly."

Tom turned to Lassic and gave him the universal hand gesture that said "Ask me if I care."

Lassic growled angrily at Tom. "You will pay for that insect."

"Do you accept credit? I don't have much Meseta on me."

Rune chuckled at Tom's remarks. But, he wasn't sure if it was courage or if it was Tom being naive of Lassic's power.

"Now," said Chaz.

Wren held up his hand and used a variation of his Barrier to put not only a protective shield around the protectors, but a cloaked shield as well. They were for all intensive purposes invisible, but an outline of each person could still be seen. What no one was able to notice, though, was that each of them had put on protective gear to cover their ears.

"You idiots!" said Lassic "I can still see you and besides that barrier will only stop AI attacks and everyone here is a living breathing person. There are no AIs here!" All of his troops were laughing at the seemingly stupid actions of the protectors.

"That's what you think!"

A loud burst of soundwaves shook the room. All of the guards covered their ears and fell to the ground in agony. The protectors however merely stood and watched as all of the solders inner ear-drums were turned into mush. Juza and Lassic however, didn't have the same problem, they were protected by their Magical Barriers, Juza still felt pain from the soundwaves however, but Lassic mearly watched.

Wren brought down his shield and everyone removed their protective earwear. Then Demi came to join them.

"How do you feel Demi?" asked Tom.

"Much better," she said happily.

Juza looked at them angrily, "So, you can play dead as well, eh?"

She smiled, "Yep. And it's time to make you pay for what you did to my son."

"Our son," corrected Wren.

Then all hell broke lose.

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