Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Seven)
Chapter Thirty-Seven In Which A Villain Takes His Medicine
Jing ran with all of his might. His specially made super-speed granting shoes glowed red with power. They were outside in no time, everything bathed in the rays of the setting sun. With those special shoes, each leap he made brought him and Xiao Mei high into the open air. Given how high they were, they could almost touch the clouds. In fact, Xiao Mei tried reaching for one when they reached peak height.
"Please keep a good grip of that bottle, Xiao Mei," Jing said as he sailed through the sky. "Because there's no making more of it."
Xiao Mei quickly apologized and retracted her hand.
Over Jing's shoulder, Xiao Mei could see everything behind the alchemist. The temple grounds were already practically a speck in the distance. But despite how far they've already come, there was something catching up to them fast. It was Tar Geoffrey. The monstrous remnant of the old man's heart, as Master Da called it, had grown twice in size and grew large, oily wings that it beat, boosting forward at incredible speed.
"Jing!" Xiao Mei cried out.
Jing glanced back, saw the monster and then twisted himself downward. He kicked up in the air, unleashing a shock wave to propel himself back down to the ground faster. Once on land, he broke into a run into the woods at the left of the road. The tar monster followed.
Twigs, branches and fallen leaves snapped and crackled as Jing ran through carrying Xiao Mei over his shoulder. He kept his free hand forward, projecting a barrier of red energy to protect them both from the incoming low branches.
Everything was a blur around Xiao Mei. They were going as fast as a speeding train. But even then, it was not enough to lose the tar monster, who, for some reason, continued to grow. Every time Xiao Mei catches a glimpse of it, the piece of Sir Geoffrey's dark heart was twice as big as the last time, and twice as horrifying.
"Hurry up!" Xiao Mei screamed. "He's gaining on us!"
Jing didn't look back. He just took Xiao Mei at her word and pushed even harder to run away.
"That vial!" it horrendously screamed. "GIVE IT TO ME! YOU WILL NOT RUIN THIS! I WON'T LET YOU! A BETTER WORLD! I WILL MAKE IT!"
"Delusional fool!" Xiao Mei heard Jing mutter bitterly. "This is no way to make a world a better place!"
Then he stopped and turned the other way. Xiao Mei wondered what was wrong. But then she saw tar flooding into the path and take the shape of a dozen or so Sir Geoffreys and watched in horror as their jaws literally drop to the floor as they unleashed unearthly roars of rage. They flew up in to the air before dive bombing towards her and Jing.
Jing created a dome of red energy just as one of those spears of tar was about to reach them. The tar splattered across the energy dome's surface and slowly dripped down to the floor. All the other diving tar monsters hit the ground around Jing and Xiao Mei. They spread and connected with one another until they became a single lake of tar surrounding the single island of dirt that Jing's barrier protected.
"Oh boy," went Jing as he set Xiao Mei down. They watched as the tar latched itself onto the dome, growing to wrap itself around the barrier.
Xiao Mei despaired. She and Jing had the only way to cure Sir Geoffrey and stop him once and for all. But how were they going to do that now that they were trapped by this tar monster?
Suddenly, Jing caught Xiao Mei by her wrist and put a pocket watch in her hand. That pocket watch sprouted bands that wrapped around her wrist and enveloped her in a halo of light. The halo became a bubble and lifted Xiao Mei off her feet by a few centimeters.
"What's this for?" Xiao Mei asked.
Jing didn't answer. He just flashed her a reassuring smile before closing his eyes, keeping his hands crossed over his chest.
Tar erupted from the ground and quickly filled the dome Jing had created.
Xiao Mei gaped in horror as Jing was instantly swallowed up by the mucky darkness while she remained untouched. There was one horrible moment of silence where Xiao Mei didn't even have the strength to lift a finger. Beside her was the cure adding its radiance to the bubble's light after slipping through her limp fingers. Outside, the tar made horrendous angry faces pressed against the bubble's surface.
And then -
Tar was blown away, leaving a clearing of grass and dirt. And at the center was Jing wearing a fierce face of determination. His face was the face of a warrior. He charged toward Xiao Mei, slid down on the ground and kicked the bubble with her up. The boosters built into his shoe fired a shock wave that sent her and the bubble high into the air. Gravity pushed Xiao Mei against the floor of her capsule, and she screamed from the super speed of the elevation up.
"The bottle!" cried Geoffrey's heart. "THE BOTTLE! THE FORMULA!"
Some of the tar ignored Jing and rose up towards the girl in the bubble. Jing ran to intercept, but was interrupted by more tar lashing out at him. But just when she thought that there was no one to help her now, the sound of cannon fire pierced her eardrums.
Large bolts of energy struck the tower of tar, reducing it into a stick of Swiss cheese. A speck appeared in the sky and grew as it fell atop of the tar tower, followed by a mighty warrior's roar. Twin iron-ball hammers smashed the tar to the ground. Those hammers were wielded by a large man with the head of a boar. He wore old period era armor, and the cold look of a soldier facing an enemy.
The airship he had jumped from steered towards the bubble as it began its descent. On the deck of the airship, a woman in white robes extended her arms towards the bubble, as if to welcome it with an embrace. Her hands glowed purple. Wind blew her head shawl back, revealing the shocking white hair of the Siblinghood's most famous Sister, Josephine Desorciere.
Brothers and Sisters of the ancient, non-religious charity organization perform missions to better the world from bringing food to the poor to directly fighting against evil villains as warriors of justice. And Josephine Desorciere, this world's Josephine Desorciere, was the most powerful of the Siblinghood's psychics.
"I have her," she said into the microphone attached to her earpiece.
"Nice catch," said the woman on the other side. Her voice sounded just like hers. Well, she is another version of her in another world. "And sorry, again, for interrupting your honeymoon."
"Oh, no!" Josephine said. "I should be the one apologizing to you for the trouble my world is causing you and your friends. Because of that, your own honeymoon was interrupted."
"Oh, no. I should be the one apologizing to you. I know James can be quite a handful."
This back and forth went on as Josephine pulled the bubble towards the airship with her powers. Upon touching the polished wood floor of the deck, the bubble crumbled away. As it dissolved, a figure rushed out of the bridge room. It was the scholar master, Evan Taught.
"Alright over there?" he asked.
"I'm okay!" Xiao Mei shouted back. "But Jing is still down there!"
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about him," said Lady Desorciere, smiling as she looked down over the railing. "I think he's got a handle on things. You should never underestimate nerds."
Down below, Jing and the boar man engaged ferociously against the tar monsters.
"Not that I don't appreciate it, but what are you doing here?" the alchemist asked.
"I was helping the Siblinghood deliver supplies to a village experiencing a drought," the boar man explained. "While passing them out, I happened to overhear Miss Desorciere's phone call with you and offered to help out. This place was my home, after all. I was not going to allow it to fall to a second Calamity Dragon without a fight! Now, I heard that you had a way of putting a stop to this menace's trouble-making?"
"It's with Xiao Mei and Lady Desorciere now," said Jing.
"Ah, then there's nothing to worry about!" laughed the boar man, before swinging his hammer down on a tar monster. "Those ladies are incredibly reliable!"
"Unlike us who have to rely on them, right?"
"Then let us pull our own weight, young man!"
Up above, Master Taught barked orders at the air sailor to steer the airship towards the dragon. The sailor saluted Master Taught before leaving his compatriots scrambling to their battle stations.
Master Taught glanced back at the two women, sniffed, and turned away to return to his duties.
"Don't mind him," said Josephine. "He's understandably not keen on the idea of bringing children along to a dangerous mission."
"Mission?" Xiao Mei said, looking up at one of the world's most powerful psychic.
"Isn't there something you need to give someone?" Josephine asked, nodding towards the glowing bottle. "We best be quick. From what I've heard from Jing, our patient has a bit of a nasty temper."
"But what's he doing here?" Xiao Mei asked as Josephine led her inside the bridge room. The last time Xiao Mei saw Master Taught, he was being taken to the hospital to get a massive spider removed from his behind.
"He's just rather persuasive against military folk," she said.
The massive airship flew across the valley towards the mass of darkness gathered around the village below. Flashes of blaster fire pierced the darkness in brief bursts. Behind the line of blaster fire, large trucks and man-shaped mecha-tanks rolled forward to offer help against the monsters. On those heavy war machines were flags representing the military of the Zhang Empire. Uniformed soldiers marched forward, joining the Rowdy Rogues in the fight against the monsters.
"Sir!" shouted a sailor on look-out. "Enemy forces off the port bow!"
Behind the steering wheel, Master Taught barked: "Hold steady, lads! Into defensive positions! And ready the cannons!"
Monsters flew towards the airship in swarms. They screeched and squealed. All their horrible eyes were trained on the airship carrying Xiao Mei. Xiao Mei watched in the bridge room, sitting beside Josephine as the monsters appeared above deck.
"FIRE!" screamed Taught.
Red blaster bolts showered over the monsters. Dozens upon dozens of monsters were destroyed.
"Good heavens!" one sailor uttered as he and other dumbfounded sailors looked down to watch a giant man wrestling with a giant lizard.
"Say," said the first mate, "couldn't we just leave that giant to take care of the dragon?"
"What? You're not afraid, are you?" said Taught, giving the sailor a stink-eye.
"What? Me? No." The first mate would not meet Taught's gaze.
"Hmm," Taught said, not believing the sailor. "Well, you do have a point. What say you, young miss? Couldn't we just let that giant over there take care of the dragon?"
Everyone turned to Josephine in anticipation. The Sister smiled and said to the scholar-slash-airship captain: "Master Taught, James Jing Wu is called the Infinite Well where he comes from because he seems to have an endless supply of energy to fight indefinitely with. And from what I can see, so does the dragon. According to a trustworthy source, the last time James fought against such an equal, they somehow ended up in the middle of town, destroying everything in sight. If you can sleep at night knowing you let something like that happen, then yes, we can just let the giant man take care of the big, bad dragon. By the way, First Mate Stevens. Isn't your wife currently in the next village over, shopping? I know that McCumhill's son is currently with my siblings there as well."
The sailors all exchanged looks before they scrambled back to their stations, working more fervently than ever.
"So, what's the plan, little miss?" Master Taught asked Xiao Mei while his eyes were on the bottle in her hands. "Just chuck the bottle down that thing's throat? I don't see how such a tiny bottle of medicine will work on something that big."
"Uh . . . " went Xiao Mei. Now that she thought about it, would something so small work on something so big? It certainly didn't look like it would. And Jing never told her how the medicine should be given to Geoffrey, so she wondered what they should do. Fortunately, he told someone at least.
"According to the message Jing gave me, just a drop of the stuff on the dragon's tongue will cause an explosive chain reaction," Josephine explained. "This bottle is more than enough. I hope."
"It has to work," said Xiao Mei. "We can't make any more."
Master Taught sighed.
"So chucking the bottle down that monster's throat it is, then," he said. "Everyone! You all better hold on to something! Because it's going to be a bumpy ride!"
Master Taught sharply spun the wheel, and the airship dipped down toward the giant and dragon. Xiao Mei nearly lost her footing and slid down the slope to her left. She managed to grab onto a guardrail and wrapped her arms around it. Josephine was the only one not grabbing onto something because she didn't need to. Apparently, she could fly. She was actually sitting down on air, bobbing up and down a little above the floor.
Josephine gracefully swam over to Xiao Mei and held her hand out to her.
"I'll take over from here," she said. "The bottle, please."
Xiao Mei gingerly reached out to the psychic and carefully placed the vial into Josephine's hand. Josephine wrapped her fingers around the bottle and then flew back out onto the deck.
With her thumb, Josephine flicked the stopper off the bottle and let its contents spill out. Her psychic powers took hold of the formula and made it ball up into a perfect glowing orb. Josephine glared at the dragon below as he struggled against James, the giant. The turbulent gusts and the dragon's thrashing made it hard for her to get a clear shot.
"Excuse me, James!" Josephine called out over the noise. "Can you please hold that beast still?"
James glanced up to the floating woman.
"Sure thing!" his voice thundered. If you thought that he understood what Josephine had planned, then think again. He had no clue whatsoever what she had in mind. But she was up to something, and that was all James needed to know.
James broke away from the dragon and took out his fountain pen. He drew the word for "paralyze" in the air and the words transformed into an arrow of silver light that flew towards the dragon. But the dragon wasn't going to go down easily.
Sensing danger, Geoffrey lurched to the side, dodging the bolt of light. James fired off more bolts of light from his pen, but the dragon kept dodging them all.
"Hold still!" James shouted in frustration. As soon as he said that, he lowered his pen, and the dragon saw an opportunity to catch the giant man with his teeth. James leaped away before that could happen and tried, once more, to wrestle the dragon to the ground. He stopped and raised his arms just in time to block a blow the dragon's tail unleashed when the beast twisted around. The impact pushed him several feet away, leaving two drag marks on the ground the size of a roadway that was four cars wide.
It seemed like it would take a long time to even get the dragon to hold still for a second. But while Geoffrey the dragon was distracted by the magic giant, two of the same woman had been moving into position behind the malicious creature. One of them conjured giant chains of pink metal that wrapped themselves around the dragon. Once Geoffrey realized what was going on, he twisted around, fire billowing from his mouth. That was when Mei Ling unleashed a blast of psychic energy from her sword that struck the dragon's eyes.
Geoffrey yelled in agony. Feeling the dragon's struggle weaken, May had the chains pull him further down, pinning him to the ground. Then it was James' chance to strike next. He jumped high in the air, screaming "Pile driver!" before dropping onto the dragon, elbow first.
With the wind knocked out of his lungs, the dragon could no longer struggle. Josephine used her psychic powers to send the formula flying into the dragon's mouth. Just as Jing had promised, once the formula touched the dragon's tongue, there was an explosive chain reaction. Geoffrey's entire being was bathed in blinding light.
"WHAT IS THIS?" he screamed. "MY POWER! IT'S FADING! NOOOOOO!"
Down below, the monsters all withered and disintegrated into ashes in the blink of an eye. Nothing remained of them except for what was carried off by the wind. The tar monsters that surrounded Jing and the boar man dried and crumbled to the ground.
And that was the end to Geoffrey's brief reign of terror.
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Six)
In Which A Doctor Delivers A Cure
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter Thirty-Eight)
In Which The Day Ends