002: Part 17

by CM Towns

   Tired, cold, shivering, tears down her face. Back against a stone wall in a dark, dusty room. Sally remembered that moment suddenly. The heartache, the dry voice, the fear. A deep cutting fear of everything crumbling around you without a hope in the world. Sally thought on that day she was to die or be enslaved.
   Three years ago an archeological crew from an alien world landed on Earth in search of a mysterious temple. That crew consisted of twenty-five individuals which included Sally and her parents Jun and Honoko Majokko. When they arrived on Earth and found what they sought, it was a celebration. They had found Barritis temple. A temple matching that of other temples across the galaxies-one on her home planet of Nibleiheim and two others on planets outside their own solar system. Each temple a source of great power, housing the secrets of ancient wizards and sorcerers. Some would say these temples were crafted by God, or Gods, and the beings who toiled inside where their minions set to populate and craft life across the cosmos. This was an important discovery.
   Ten days after their own arrival another ship appeared. A ship carrying an exiled princess turned terrorist known as Izam Mizer and an assorted bunch of her minions. Their plans were to take all the secrets and weapons that temple could afford them. Not everyone died in their confrontation-just a few. Those who were caught in the initial ambush and those who sought to fight back were murdered-gutted and blasted. The others press-ganged into service.
   In Barritis, Sally found the spirit of a Wise Master. That is what they called them on her home world. This Wise Master saved her, sent her on her future path but not before she got to see into the eyes of Mizer. Sally remembered the first thing Mizer said to her, “Where are your parents? How can they bring such a lovely girl so far from home and let her run off in such a dangerous place?”
   Mizer stared into her eyes and said, “Your eyes are familiar… I apologize little girl. I believe I had your father killed.”

   It all flashed quickly for Red Sprite at that moment. The first days on Earth. The first battles. All the battles after that. The last time she saw Izam Mizer. Most importantly the threat she made to the Mistress, “Next time I see you I will kill you.”
   Red Sprite moved toward Mizer with a scream, heart thumping faster and faster, drowning out everything around her as her hands spat fire. She reached for Mizer, flames spilling out but the Mistress was quick to divert the attack and put Red Sprite in a sleeper hold. She tightened, cutting of the circulation of air to her brain. Sprites heart dropped, her legs turned to stone-Red Sprite for all her training and growth was stopped cold and was now at the mercy of the Mistress.
   “I do not wish to break the little red witches neck but I will. I have no problem sacrificing one of my daughters,” Mizer said.
   “Everybody…” Reina Titán said telling them to stand down.
   Red Sprite snapped back to her usual self and summoned her hottest fire into her hands to burn Mizer grip away. Izam Mizer pushed Red Sprite away and used an invisible force to strike her in the gut.
   Reina caught Sprite, checked her partner out. Sprite looked up into Reina’s eyes and once again flashed back at a moment of helplessness where it was Jessie who had to help her overcome.
   Sprite pushed away, grabbed at her neck, and turned toward Mizer to say, “I’m not your daughter.”
   “Not in a literal sense but I am the grandmother of this worlds new age. The return of magic, the rise of advanced technologies. You-Sally and Jessica are my daughters. I’m so very proud of you two,” she said with a devious smile.
   “Why did you let that mummy out?” Kid Victory demanded taking steps forward.
   “Ahhhhh-the leader right? Well Kid Victory-or should I call you Antoine?” she asked. Kid Victory did not flinch. “Kid Victory it is. I set the mummy loose to get a glimpse at this new circle of friends that my favorite two girls were now associating with. Those Teiwaz types did not really deliver a challenge physically. Not to our Queen Titan or our Ms. Spitfire. Or even to you little Reed-the Huntsman,” she answered.
   Huntsman moved forward but Mr. Monster put his arm out to stop him.
   “You’re lying Izam. What’s the real reason you’re here? C’mon before me and Sprite beat it out of you,” Reina threatened.
   “I’m not so sure the Guard is ready to tangle with me.”
   “I’m game,” SubHuman said charging up.
   “Huntsman is itching for a fight and I personally do not take kindly to your presence here,” Mr. Monster said.
   “The teams ready? Are you? Some of us got the blood running and adrenaline pumping plus Huntsman and Araminta are both fresh. Besides, you’re outside the territory you built for your buddy. Cuts your power down right,” Reina said.
   Izam Mizer smirked and Red Sprite felt a wave of of her aura brush by. It was hot. Red Sprite saw Reina grab her right wrist, then Sprite turned around to see Araminta take a few step backs. The others, not being magically aware, still had to have felt something. They seemed to stand more at attention.
   “I know your little boy is ready for a big fight-as is the punk and the beast but Bethany there-oh, I mean Araminta-not really ready for the big time. Besides, there is a number of other reasons I can make short work of your team,” Mizer replied showing the handle of the khopesh Reina Titán broke.
   “You gave him the weapon. You infused an incantation into it, seeping power from Vizier,” Red Sprite said.
   “You are quick, Sally. The weapon was his already. I just gave it a nice new feature to benefit myself,” Mizer said.
   “You’re here because of his magic,” Red Sprite stated.
   “Indeed. I have become a student of Earths magic. Very much interested in the similarities and differences between our worlds and the others. The Wise Masters of the mystic arts found homes on growing planets and gifted them each with power. They planted the seeds of magic to sprout in how many worlds? JEROLE-one of the masters of this system seemingly deserted his duties for a time. He pops up here and there like he did in Egypt when this threat surfaced. Seemed Jerole fancied himself a hero which he passed on through Sally and Jessica,” Mizer explained.
   “So Jerole is a walking deus ex machina?” Mr. Monster asked.
   “If you except the legends of Barritis and all the temples of the Wise Masters then you know everything in magic is connected somehow,” Mizer said.
   “So this game you started was to see Vizier in motion, gauge his abilities, and take down notes while absorbing power?” further inquired Mr. Monster.
   Izam just smiled at him.
   “You’re a crazy bitch that deserves to die. You know that right?” Reina Titán asked her.
   Before Mizer could respond with a witty retort Red Sprite interrupted by saying, “You have been growing your power since last we stood across from you.”
   “You have also grown your powers, little red witch. The incantation shows you’ve been studying the ancient language of the Wise Masters. The blood sigils you have crafted for both your home and your base shows understanding in territorial magic,” Mizer said.
   Red Sprite almost flinched. It should not have surprised her that Mizer knew of her protections but it did. Maybe it was the compliment that seemed more genuine than back handed.
   “What now Izam? You made your monologue now make your move,” Reina challenged.
   “That either involves going home and having a cute slave boy rub my feet while I watch television or removing your friends before taking you two back with me. The mother of the future and her two daughters-the first of the so-called superhuman race. Doesn’t that sound-” Mizer was cut off by Huntsmans blast.
   Red Sprite was shocked. She almost moved to follow through but stopped herself. Red Sprite turned to see Reina Titán keeping Huntsman back. Reina Titán might have been challenging for a fight but Red Sprite knew she was hoping to avoid it. Reina wanted Mizer ripped apart but knew enough that a battle here would be bad for the Guard.
   Mizer got up, dusted herself off and started walking toward them. “Your friends seem to not like that suggestion.”
   “We don’t. So if you want to fight we can fight,” SubHuman said.
   Mr. Monster bared his teeth and Hunstman aimed his cannon in Mizers direction before saying, “Agreed.”
   “How about you Araminta? You want to join in on the fun? Or do you want to avoid being gutted like your adopted parents?” Mizer asked.
   Araminta did not respond. She kept still, hiding her nervousness behind the cloak.
   “Are you done with your taunting and teasing yet? Because I am,” Kid Victory said.
   Mizer smiled. “Such bravery. I think I like you Kid Victory. You do not flinch even in the presence of someone far greater in power. Much like you did with Vizier.”
   “Go back to the hole you crawled out of,” Kid Victory told her.
   “I know when I’m not wanted. I will see you all at some other time.” Mizer tipped her head and pulled out a compact mirror. She shook it, enlarging the mirror to a little more than half her size. Mizer stepped in and the mirror shrunk back down to its original size and landed on the ground. Red Sprite walked over and stomped the compact into pieces.
   Victory called for the Tuskagee-1 to hover low. “Let’s go home,” Kid Victory said.
   Red Sprite looked at the shards of glass and turned to see her partner watching her. Huntsman took to the sky with Kid Victory while Araminta took the others by her gate. Reina Titán reached for her partner and Red Sprite walked toward her. Reina gripped her and flew her upward toward their ship.