Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Five)
Chapter Thirty-Five In Which Heroes Face Monsters
Knightly stood among the brave men and women who assembled with him to face the horrors to come. Even without a spy glass he could tell that it was only a matter of minutes before his old friend would appear to finally begin what he had sought to do for decades: the subjugation of the world.
He could not help but feel a sense of guilt as he sadly watched all these heroes arm themselves. If only things had gone differently all those years ago, perhaps these brave souls would be leading different, better lives. If only he had not failed to protect his own home, his friend would not be on this path of darkness now.
"What is it, Zhun?"
"My team managed to escort all the locals to a nearby shelter," the young man said. "We shouldn't have to worry about them getting caught in the crossfire."
"Good," Knightly said. "Good. Oh, Zhun?"
"You had to fight against your old school friends. For that, I am truly sorry."
Zhun looked at Knightly with a stony face. And then he sighed like he knew Knightly was going to say that.
"I've made my choice," the young man said. "And I'm sure those two will understand. At least one of them is surprisingly forgiving. A bit too forgiving for my liking, but forgiving all the same."
The old man chuckled at the sour face his protege was making.
"You are fortunate to have friends like that," he said.
"Well, I wouldn't exactly call them friends, but we got along pretty well with the rest of the team."
"Then let's hope there will be an opportunity for you to mend things with them after this," Knightly said.
"Same to you too, sir," said Zhun. "Same to you."
Then came the dreaded call.
"They're coming!" the onlooker shouted. "Sound the alarm! They're coming!"
Everyone scrambled to their places, with the commanders all standing at the very front of the line with their esteemed leader. Zhun drew out his batons which crackled with his energy. Weapons were charged an aimed toward the vast shadow growing over the valley towards the small village. All of them braced for the onslaught.
And then -
"H-hey! Ma'am, you shouldn't be here! It's dangerous! And you too, miss! Both of you should be at the shelter with everyone else!"
"Out of my way!" shouted Dr. Green. "My daughter is still at that temple. I won't leave her alone again! I won't!"
The young maid said nothing. She stepped toward the protesting soldier, grabbed him by the wrist and flipped him onto his back, startling everyone. Without a word, she took the soldier's blaster and started walking toward the direction of the temple. More soldiers warily surrounded the women and more arguing ensued.
Knightly shook his head in exasperation. He sympathized with them, but now was not the time for this.
Then came a cry that stopped everyone in their tracks.
The monsters came in droves. High above the flood, the monstrous figure of a dragon slithered in the air as if it were swimming instead of flying, darkening below with its immense shadow. They were all close enough that their ugly mugs were clear to see for everyone.
"To arms!" shouted the commanders.
"This is it!" Zhun shouted.
"Everyone!" Knightly shouted. "Until the help we called for arrives, we must hold this line! The fates of hundreds of innocent lives from this village, and many, many more beyond depend on this! These abominations will not pass! FOR HONOR! FOR JUSTICE!"
"FOR HONOR! FOR JUSTICE!"
Large mecha charged forward, lead by Zhun who ran without armor. Electric veins on his suit glowed, bathing him in black light. That was when two streaks of light dropped into their path. Two figures emerged from the explosion of pink and silver and ran toward the monsters at inhuman speeds that Zhun had only seen once before. Seeing those blurred figures brought elation to his heart. And he laughed.
"FORWARD!" he screamed. "WE CAN'T LET THOSE TWO HEROES OUTSHINE US!"
Yards ahead, James Jing Wu of a world where magic existed turned to his wife.
"Was he talking about us?" he asked.
"Probably," May Mei Ling Wu replied. "But who cares? Let's just take care of these hideous puppets before someone gets hurt."
From the newly repaired monitor, Xiao Yang and the others could see small figures charging toward the sea of monsters. From three of the tinier figures, waves of energy poured out, clashing against the current of terrible beasts. Xiao Mei could hear her friends cheering as she focused on healing the wounds of the ape man.
"Quite fast to put themselves in danger, aren't they?" Master Da remarked. "They didn't even give us a chance to explain what was going on."
Xiao Mei nodded in agreement.
It happened as soon as James and May finished wiping out all the monsters around the temple. Mei Ling's other world double spotted the tail of what was once Sir Geoffrey, called out to James, and together, flew off in streaks of pink and silver.
"You know, I wonder if the Jing and Mei Ling of our world are just as powerful," Master Da said. "If so, I worry that the mistakes of Atlantis will be repeated."
"You don't have to worry about that."
Xiao Mei turned around. Emerging from a tunnel was Jing and Mei Ling.
"Jing! Mei Ling! You're okay!"
There were tears in their clothes, and they were covered in dust and dirt, but they were otherwise, unscathed. Jing stopped and stared at the sparking pieces of what was once his computer tablet. He sighed.
"I so wish James would be careful," he said. "Now it'll take me a week to send them back home!"
"Wait, what?" Mei Ling exclaimed. The horror on her face was unmistakable. "We're going to be stuck with that moron for a week!?"
"I suppose," Jing said, shrugging. "Don't look at me like that. He's not that bad. Besides, there weren't really a lot of other options. Our foe this time is a titan with the lost power of ancients worshiped as deities."
"Oh, enough excuses," Mei Ling said. "We have work to do right now, don't we?"
"Work?" said Master Da.
"That's right," said Jing. "Our counterparts from another world are powerful. But so is that dragon. From what I understand, Geoffrey's practically immortal now, a monster with an endless amount of power to burn off. If we are going to end this, we need to do something about that power. We need to turn Geoffrey back into a human."
"But how?" Sparrow asked.
"First, we need a laboratory," said Jing. "After digging myself out of the rubble, I think I found a viable space to work. It seemed relatively unaffected by the collapse of the workshop with just about everything we need to turn Sir Geoffrey back into a human."
"Hmm," went Master Da. "That would be my old workshop back when I was still researching Ai Long's secrets."
"But everything is still really old," Jing said. "I could use some help with using the equipment there. Are you up for it?"
"Of course," said Master Da. "This is all partly my fault, anyway. I need to take responsibility."
"Let me help," said Jane. "I'm a scientist, so an alchemist's workshop is like a second home to me."
"The more the merrier," Jing said with a nod.
"I'll be stepping out," Mei Ling volunteered. "You need all the time you can get for this, right? With me out there, it shouldn't be a problem to slow those monsters down even more."
"I couldn't stop you even if I tried," Jing said. "Just be careful out there."
Mei Ling pulled the gloves she got back from Xiao Mei over her fingers, turned the dial and dashed off as a streak of pink.
James punched the ground, sending out a shock wave that toppled monsters right on top of each other. A tornado of pink roared past him, shredding the monsters into bits. Around them, mecha armor beat back the creatures. Some fired arm-mounted blasters. The man in black cut through the beasts as easily with those energy batons, as if they were actually deadly sharp blades.
Looking up, May could see what looked like a dragon ignore the battle below while making its way towards the village.
"Oh, no you don't!" she shouted. She summoned her power and directed it with her fans to gather above her head before she sent it shooting like a cannonball toward the dark titan. The shot was a bull's eye. And it got his attention.
The dragon reeled in pain and anger. It turned around, saw the woman glaring at him and then turned around to answer her challenge. That was when another volley of pink energy struck his head. That came from above.
Mei Ling hopped off the dragon's head before slamming down a blade of pink energy twice as long as she was tall on his immense cranium. The electric veins of her super suit flashed in overdrive. Startled, the dragon dropped to the ground, kicking up an incredibly large dirt cloud.
"T-two Mei Lings!?" Zhun was dumbfounded. "Wait, then does that mean . . .?"
"What are you spacing out for, Zhun?" Mei Ling, the Mei Ling of this world, shouted. "Get your head in the game!"
Behind her, the dragon emerged from the dirt cloud, with his maw gaping open to swallow her whole. Before he could, however, two bolts of energy collided with his shoulder and sent him toppling to his side.
"Take your own advice," said the other Mei Ling.
It took a while before Zhun finally realized what was going on.
"Jing used that gate, didn't he?"
"Nope," said James. "That thing's busted. But there was a strong enough connection between my phone and his tablet, so I just used that to send myself and May here."
Mei Ling placed her hand on Zhun's shoulder.
"Best not to think too hard on it," she said with a tired look on her face. "It's so not worth the headache."
The dragon let out a mighty bellow and abruptly rose to his feet.
"Insignificant interlopers!" he roared. "Do not interfere!"
He unleashed a stream of purple fire at the four heroes. May leaped to the front spread her arms apart while the fans she held glowed a radiant pink. The fire stream split into two and hit the ground away from the heroes. James jumped up and hopped off of his wife's shoulder while holding up a glowing silver fountain pen. He drew a sign with that pen and dropped through it.
Suddenly, James was about as tall as a mountain, big enough to wrestle with the dragon, which he did.
"Hiyah!" he roared as he grappled with the creature in his arms. He threw the monster to the ground and then performed a drop kick, paying no mind to the destruction he was causing around him.
Almost every fighter stopped in their tracks when the giant suddenly appeared. Zhun gaped with his jaw dropped.
James, the giant, took in a deep breath before blowing out an energy beam from his mouth.
"Seriously?" Zhun shouted. "Spewing energy beams? Just what sort of crazy world did these guys come from?"
The dragon shielded himself with his wings, and the beam deflected from his scales into smaller beams that drew fiery lines on the land.
"Hey!" Mei Ling shouted. "Be careful!"
"You almost hit the shelter, you halfwit!" screamed Zhun. "I know that guy isn't Jing, so where is he?"
"He's working on a way to make Geoffrey human again," Mei Ling said. "We're all just here to buy him the time he needs."
"Well, I hope he'd hurry up!" Zhun said. "With that big guy here, it's only a matter of time before this whole place becomes a wasteland!"
James jabbed two fingers in front of him and silver light flashed as they connected with the great serpent's throat. Geoffrey shot like a cannonball miles back, his barbed tail dragging across the ground. He landed on top of his own minions.
"Wha-what is this power?" he demanded. "How can there still be those who can oppose me? Is the power of the ancient dragons not enough? Then I need more! I need more power! My dreams will be realized! This world . . . I will shape it the way it should be!"
"Not that I can't feel for you, but that's not happening," James said to the dragon as he patted dirt off his sleeves. "There are only seven people in the whole multiverse I know with a chance to top me. You're not one of them."
With a bone-chilling roar, the dragon sprang for James' throat. James kicked off from the ground, leaving a foot-shaped crater on the stone ground as he raised a fist glowing with supernatural energy. The collision sent out a destructive shock wave. Friends and foe alike were blown off their feet. May waved her fan, sending a current of wind to soften the Rowdy Rogues' landing.
"Mei Ling!" she shouted to her double. Mei Ling stopped as she was about to leap to attack Geoffrey. "Let me and James handle the dragon! Go help those soldiers! At this rate, the monsters are going to break through the line!"
Mei Ling glanced behind her and saw her double was telling the truth. She hesitated a bit before rolling her eyes, groaning, and turned to aid the soldiers against the lesser abominations. Arrows of psychic power flew from her sword, piercing all the monsters that managed to slip through the defenses and entered the village grounds. After leaping in high in the air, she ended up landing beside the founder of the Rowdy Rogues who furiously fired his blaster rifle at each and every monster in his line of sight.
"Those are some impressive friends you've got there," he commented as he and Mei Ling continued their counterattack.
"You haven't seen anything yet," Mei Ling replied, swinging her sword into the chin of a beast. "Just you wait. When Jing comes, then the show'll really begin!"
"Speaking of Jing, where is the master alchemist?" Knightly asked.
"He's working on a plan," Mei Ling said. "Don't worry. He'll be here soon. And he'll end this once and for all!"
"I hope so," said Knightly. "For all our sake."
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Four)
In Which Heroes Are Called
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Six)
In Which A Doctor Delivers A Cure