A young Chinese woman, dressed in a green silken dress and smoking a long pipe entered Maxwell’s Oddities and Antiques. She didn’t hesitate as she walked towards Jayden Hall who was sitting behind a large oak desk, reviewing a ledger book in dim candlelight.
He looked up from the ledger, “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Lai Xinya, the Celestial Dragon? Do you have something you wish to trade?”
The woman took a puff from her pipe and answered Jayden’s query. “Asil is free.”
“I find it hard to believe that it is possible, so it must be impossible. We sealed all the Jinn up. She was the last one to be sealed up right after World War II. I know I have almost all of them in my shop. The location of the rest is known, and any others are cut off from entering our plane from any other plane, thanks to the elves.”
“I know, except your great uncle could never acquire Asil.”
Jaden got up from his chair, went to a stack of ledger books, and pulled out one from the middle without knocking the rest down and sat back down.
He opened the ledger, and with his index finger scanning the line he read aloud to Lai Xinya, “I was contracted by Winston Churchill to deal with Asil at the end of the War and worked with Major-General Colin Muri Barber to locate her. I sealed up Asil in a copper flask from the Major-General. The Major-General then took the flask from me and said he’d see it was disposed of properly per the deal I had accepted. I learned later that he dumped it in Dolshire Loch, Scotland.” Continuing, “And this is written in my great uncle’s handwriting.”
Lai Xinya took a puff on her pipe one last time, then tossed the pipe in the air as it disappeared. “That may be, but some reckless group of humans thought they could find lost treasure at the bottom of that loch and managed to dreg up the flask. One of them freed her and now all the planes of existence are threatened by one of the most powerful magical creatures that ever walked this universe. A human has access to her, and her endless wishes.”
“Oh fuck! This is bad. This is how we ended up with World War II and people like Group 67 from Nazis, Germany. If Hitler hadn’t got access to get her back in 1918 just before he was wounded, he would have died. Instead, she granted him health, and he kept ongoing with the wishes until he oversaw Germany. Her wishes are not just powerful, but always end up in disaster for everyone but her.”
“Jayden, to make matters worse, you cannot just wish her back into a bottle. She’s too powerful of a Jinn to fall for such a stupid trick. You must use magic to seal her into one. Like how your great uncle did back at the end of World War II.”
“I’m not as clever as my great uncle. She’ll outfox me at every turn. Besides, her magic is far more endless than what I have at my disposal.”
“Your great uncle wouldn’t have chosen you to be this shop’s keeper if he didn’t think you could do the job. He had faith in you, and so did the rest of the Dreamfolk when you took over. If it makes you feel better, I can go with you.”
“That would help. But even an ancient maybe no match for such a powerful Jinn.”
“I’ve run into her before and survived. I am confident that I will be fine and there is no cause for concern. Now let’s look around this shop for things we can use against her.”
As the two rummaged through the shop’s many shelves, Jayden commented, “It’s a shame we can’t recruit the Snake Witch. Her powers are enough to cancel any of Asil’s wishes.”
“That was true for Stalin, and she stopped Hitler’s advances into Russia. But Stalin was supposed to live until his mid-80s, and that witch took his life at 74 as payment. Stalin evidently satisfied her carnivorous appetite by giving her dissidents he didn’t like since the end of the war up till she took his life. Stalin said something to the Witch that ticked her off, and she took his life as the last payment. She always has a price for using her powers, as much as Asil does for her wishes. This is a universal truth for such powerful magical creatures.”
“I realize this the more I work for the Dreamfolk.”
Jayden Hall’s Journal Entry for the Shop
Transaction 463468- Asil, the Jinn
Journal Entry 12 In Ledger Book 342467
“The shop will not like this transaction. There’s no exchange involved, no treasure, and I’m endangering my life to imprison a powerful Jinn. With Lai Xinya I’ve gathered several items to take with us. I still don’t know how we plan to capture Asil. All I can come up with is a broken bottle that I can reassemble, encasing Asil into it using my ebony cane to make a sub-dimension inside it and sealing it so that it can’t be opened or smashed. Although clearly, whatever spell my great uncle used to seal her was easily broken. Maybe it had to deal with the corrosion of the flask overtime, weakening the seal. It’s no wonder that elves see magic as nothing more than probability and causality.”
New Master- Lewis Meyer
(Two Weeks Earlier)
Lewis Meyer was part of the Canadian team who were dredging the bottom of the loch for MacKinnon’s treasure. He was working alone in an old warehouse converted into a makeshift “lab” slash SpotLife studio (an early internet predecessor to YouTube) and just finished cleaning an encrusted copper flash when its lid broke off and reddish-purple smoked emitted from it. Smoke formed a tall, scantily dressed African-Arab woman next to him.
“Thank you for freeing me. I’m here to serve you, my master. My name is Asil, the Jinn of Endless Wishes. What year is it?”
The obese man stood up from his chair and rubbed his balding head. “Damn! You look so hot. Like something from one of those RPG games, and it’s Monday, June 9th, 2003.”
“I don’t know what an RPG game is, but all Jinn are hot. We are made from fire.”
“I mean, you are sexy.”
“I see you’re not married or have a harem, do you?”
He shifted back and forth in embarrassment, then answered back, “No, I can’t get a woman to like me. Not even one on a dating app.”
Asil calmly walked around Lewis, touching him ever so lightly in a nearly seductive manner. “I can easily fix that. All you must do is make a wish. But I have two basic rules you must obey. One, you cannot make a wish that harms me directly or indirectly, like wishing me back into a bottle. And two, you cannot wish to stop or reverse any negative side effects because of a wish. This second rule I can make exceptions for, but to do so will cause things to get worse. Do you understand these rules?” She gently stroked his chin as she faced him.
Lewis simply nodded after the chin stroke.
“Then I think we have a deal, master. What’s your first wish?”
Without thinking, Lewis belted out, “I wish Mia Cameron was totally in love with me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m very sure. I wish Mia Cameron was head over heels in love with me forever.”
“Very well then. Such a wish is easy to grant.” She snapped her fingers, and as soon as she did, nothing happened.
“How do I know it worked?”
“Lewis, it might take her time to get here.”
“Get here? You mean she’s coming here?”
“Oh, yes. That’s what it means to be head over heels in love with someone. They cannot stay away from you. But I suppose you don’t know anything about that since you’ve never had the pleasurer of knowing a woman.”
After five minutes, Mia Cameron of the team came bolting into the warehouse.
“My love, Lewis, where are you? I must have you now!” Mia’s words echoed through the building.
“That’s Mia’s voice. She sounds desperate. Is she supposed to be like that?”
“Of course, Lewis. She’s desperate to be in your arms. Now go to her, but as a fair warning, you might want to leave here. Her husband, I think, is not far behind.”
“Did you say husband?”
“You didn’t know she was married? And her husband happened to be here?”
“No. She never mentioned her husband, and she wasn’t wearing a ring.”
With a thoughtful expression, Asil tapped her chin, pondering deeply. “I suppose some women don’t like to bring up such stuff. I’ve been out of circulation for several years, so it might be a modern thing. But I think her husband must have recently come here. They were having lunch down the street when you made the wish. I can’t speak to why she’s not wearing a ring. The last thing I recall about that is that it means something about a broken promise.” Asil started to walk away from Lewis. “Well, good luck with everything. I’m off to explore this new world. It’s been at least 70 years since I was trapped in that flask. I have a lot of catching up to do. If you need me, you can call my name.” With that, she disappeared in a puff of reddish-purple smoke.
Lewis stood there dumbstruck as the smoke dissipated and Mia rounded the corner with arms opened wide.
A bloody, and nearly toothless, Lewis, laid somewhere on a gravel path in Ebennau, the small Scottish town where the team had made base camp for their survey of the loch. In a faint whisper, he called out Asil’s name.
A puff of reddish-purple smoke swirled as her form appeared from it.
“Master, I’ve barely been gone six minutes and you’ve called for me.” Then pointing at him, “And look at you, you’re a total mess. Do you wish to be fixed up?”
Mustering all the strength he could, Lewis managed to say, “Mia… Mia’s husband… tattoos… was a biker.”
“I suppose so. But to be fair, you didn’t even know she was married.” Crossing her arms. “Are you sure you don’t want to wish for me to heal you?”
“Please heal me.”
“I’m sorry it doesn’t work that way. You must say the word wish.”
Face planting his head into the gravel, he mumbled out, “I wish to be healed.”
“What was that? I didn’t quite get that?” she said, cupping her ear.
Lewis lifted his head up, and with much anger behind his words, repeated his wish.
She picked him up from the ground by the scruff of his neck. “Now you are being plain rude. But a wish is a wish.” She snapped her fingers and in an instance all his wounds healed, and his teeth were back in their sockets. She then let him stand on the gravel path.
“Her husband took Mia kicking and screaming back with him after he thrashed me.”
“To be expected, considering the wish you made. He probably has her locked up in a hotel bathroom, wondering what the heck has gotten into his wife. He’s probably thinking you drugged her.” Putting her finger to her chin. “I wonder if he’ll try to have you arrested?”
“Arrested? For what? If anyone should be arrested, he should be.”
“Do you want to wish for that?”
Lewis stood there pondering what, if any, downside there could be, and he couldn’t come up with any.
“Well, what’s it going to be, Master?”
“I wish for Mia’s husband to be arrested for beating me up.”
“Done.” She snapped her fingers. “Now, if that’s all, I’m going to leave to continue to explore this world.”
“Sure, sure. That’s fine.” Lewis felt proud of himself. Justice was finally in his hands, or at least in the snap of his Jinn’s fingers. No one now could ever do him wrong again unless they wanted to be arrested or, worse, end up in prison. He wondered if this was what it feels like to be wealthy and powerful? Now all he had to do was get Mia back.
As Lewis walked back to the group’s hotel, he saw Mia’s husband being stuffed into a small Scottish police car. Just then, one officer waved at him to come over and he did exactly that.
With a thick Scottish accent, the officer asked if he was Lewis Meyer staying at the Tower Hotel. Lewis nodded yes. The officer then asked if he knew a woman by the name of Mia Cameron. Again, he nodded yes. The officer then asked if Lewis knew her husband, Thomas Cameron?
“Yes, he’s the man who beat me up not more than half an hour ago.”
The officer looked over Lewis and then arrested him on the charge of making a false statement and they released Mr. Cameron.
Objecting, Lewis became flushed with mixed emotions of anger and fear. “You have the wrong guy. Mr. Cameron is the one who attacked me because of his wife.”
As Mr. Cameron was being unhand cuffed with burning eyes, he stared directly at Lewis, saying, “Serves you right for messing with my wife, you perverted freak. I don’t know what you did to her while she was here, but you’re getting what you deserve.”
Lewis was taken to the local police station and processed. There he sat in a holding cell, trying to figure out how his wish went totally wrong. He realized this Jinn was nothing more than a trickster. A supernatural creature from folk lore not to be trusted. He comprehended how this Jinn worked. He knew he could simply make another wish to get himself out of this mess, but if he did that, something nearly as bad would happen. That he’d been too impulsive with his wishes and didn’t think them out fully based on the specific wording or sequence of events. Now he was stuck in jail on charges of making a false statement. His mind kept coming to one conclusion- Asil had to be out of his life. Except if he released Asil before reversing the wish on Mia, the problem is Mia would always be after him and so would her husband. Lewis leaned forward as he sat on the stool in the jail, holding his head in his hands. All he knew is if he reversed the wish on Mia, the downside could be worse and made worse if asked to minimize those effects. He hated all this. It was like playing a video game where you needed a cheat code to win against the final boss.
Like a perfumed breeze of reddish-purple wisteria, Asil materialized before Lewis. “Master, I see things are not working out for you. But I’m having a most delightful time in this new world of yours. I’ve met the most fascinating people in a place known as Silicon Valley. Do you know Veronica Simmons? She’s all about the internet and thinks this new internet video stuff is going to take off, and she’s taken a fancy to me. She reminds of Cleopatra Thea of Syria. Cleopatra Thea was a woman with grand ambition. Like my last master, Adolf.”
Looking out the jail bars, Lewis asked, “Asil, can others see you?”
“Only you can see me, and those I let you see me in whatever image I desire.”
Lewis stood in front of Asil. “I’ve been thinking that maybe we should end our relationship.”
“Are you sure about this, master? You realize Mia is still in love with you. I could make her divorce her husband.”
Lewis sat on the stool again, putting his head into his hands. “I don’t know. What if he refuses or gets mad and tries to kill me?”
“Oh, you could wish that he embraces and follows Gandhi’s views about violence.”
“What if he wants me to join his new peace-loving biker cult? I don’t want to join some weird religion.”
“Easy, make a wish for that.”
“That’s the problem. Every time I wish for something, it never ends up the way I think it would. Something bad always happens, like how I’m stuck in jail.”
As she touched her chin, a pensive expression appeared on her face. “Yes, it’s true you probably shouldn’t have healed yourself until after his arrest. Then your case with the police would have been stronger. But still you couldn’t move, and who knows how long it would have taken for someone to find you? I suppose you could have wished for someone to find you. That’s my mistake, master, for not offering that one. All I was thinking about was your personal wellbeing.”
He was looking up at her with a bewildered expression on his face. “Why do I not believe you? Why do I think you take great, perverse pleasure in seeing your masters tortured by your evil wishes?”
Touching her chest in utter surprise. “Me taking perverse pleasure in my master’s wishes? I cannot believe that what you just said is so utterly nonsensical. I’ve been on this plane since Mesopotamia was a great power, and all my human masters made similar wishes of power, glory, or love for themselves. You are no exception to this. The problem is they have been impulsive like yourself. It’s a common trait among humans. Never fully thinking things through and seeing all possibilities. But I suppose this is to be expected for creatures that are mortals.”
“So, if I wished I was immortal, then I would gain such insight?”
“Do you honestly believe that? A vampire is technically immortal but can cease to exist under the right circumstances. Even I, a Jinn, can be killed, just not on this plane. Immortality is not what you think it is for a creature like yourself made of the dust of the earth.”
“How can an immortal be killed? That makes no sense?”
“Have you not heard of the Son of God?”
“You’re talking about that Jesus person?”
“Well, he’s technically immortal, but still died. Do you understand now?”
“Are you saying you knew Jesus?”
“No, I didn’t know him personally, but I knew some of his apostles. There was this cute one by the name of Andrew I hung out with for a time. But he was killed in Patras, Greece. A real shame because he was a good talker. His only problem is he never felt he was up to being a follower of Jesus. A few of the apostles were like that. A bunch of cowards if you ask me.”
“I didn’t realize the apostles were so ordinary. What you’ve said is blowing my mind away from what I was taught in Sunday School as a kid. But what you’re saying is if I ask for immortality, there’s a chance I’ll still die somehow.”
“More than likely.” She paused for a moment, then added, “Hey, I have an idea since you seem stuck. Why don’t you wish me to have a new master, like Veronica Simmons?”
With a puzzled look, Lewis said, “What? For me to wish your new master was Veronica Simmons?”
“Done and thank you.” She snapped her fingers. “It’s been fun, but I’m off to my new master.” She disappeared again in a puff of smoke.
“Wait… how was that a wish?”
From the smoke, she said, “Close enough for me.”
June 24th, 2003
A bluish-white vortex opened in the center of the street in front of the Tower Hotel, and Lai Xinya and Jayden exited from it as it sealed up behind them. An old woman pushing a wire-cart filled with her groceries noticed them coming out of the vortex.
Lai Xinya pointed to the old lady saying, “Jayden, you need to be more careful.”
Jayden tapped the dragon head of his cane while pointing it toward the old woman, saying, “Insania.”
“Oh, come on Jayden. You’ve given the old woman dementia.”
“Well, this way, it’s more believable.”
“Fine, let’s see if we can locate Mr. Meyer. He should be in this hotel with the rest of those looking for the treasure.”
The two inquired inside with the desk clerk, only to discover that Mr. Meyer had been taken to the local police station.
Pulling away from the front desk, Jayden took Lai Xinya aside, saying, “Odd. Must have been a wish gone wrong.”
“Jayden, do you sense that? There’s strong Jinn magic somewhere upstairs. I think we should investigate.”
I hadn’t noticed it before, but now that you mention it, I felt something.” Turning to the desk clerk. “Sir, do you mind if we go upstairs to see if we can find the rest of crew and talk with them?”
“Nae bother (no problem)” answered back the clerk in Scottish-Gaelic.
“Thanks.” With that, the two proceed up the old wooden set of stairs.
Lai Xinya sniffed the air of the second floor as the two walked down the hallway. Occasionally she’d sniffed at a room door until she came upon one and pointed at it, saying, “In here.”
“Before I knock on this door, how do you propose we deal with this? Jinn wish magic is nearly impossible to break.”
“That’s not entirely true. Depending upon the wish, there’s some counter magic, items, and even saying the wish in reverse. It all depends on the specific Jinn casting the wish. But this is Asil’s doing, so most of those things will not work. We’ll have to see what’s going on and make a guess how to unravel the wish. Like opening a complex lock.”
“This is why I hate Jinn. The more powerful ones require magical knowledge on par with the elves.” Jayden knocked on the door.
After peering through the peephole, Mr. Cameron opened the door with the safety lock still in place. “Who are you two, and what do you want?”
Jayden and Lai Xinya could hear banging on the bathroom door from inside the room as Jayden answered. “We’re with the hotel, and some guests were complaining about the noise. Do you mind if we come in?”
“I’m busy.” Mr. Cameron slammed the door shut.
“Why do they always insist on doing this the hard way?” Jayden touched his cane to the door while mumbling under his breath something unintelligible. The door latches could be heard coming undone, and the door flung open. Jayden entered the hotel room, seeing a surprised Mr. Cameron standing next to the bed.
Jayden thrust his cane onto the floor and shouted out loud, “Dormi!”
A gust of wind issued forth from where the cane hit the floor, and Mr. Cameron fell over asleep, dropping to the bed.
Cries of “let me out” kept being issued from the bathroom.
Sniffing the bathroom door, Lai Xinya said, “Our wish victim is in here. It’s Asil’s work alright. We should help this lady.”
Jayden rapped his cane against the door. “Hello in there. My name is Jayden. What’s your name?”
The yelling stopped, and the woman’s voice answered back, “Mia. Are you here to free me?”
“Hopefully. But Mia, why do you want out?”
“I want to go to be with my lover, Lewis.”
“Is that the man who’s in this room?”
“No, he’s, my husband. I hate him. I love Lewis.”
Turning to Lai Xinya and taking her aside, “Well, clearly, it’s some sort of love wish Lewis made. What do you propose?”
“Let me look.” Lai Xinya stared at the door. Her human image doubled overlapped with a golden oriental dragon as both the dragon’s eyes and human eyes glowed with a golden light. After a couple of minutes, she resumed her human form. “This is complex. But her husband needs to do something sacrificial for his love for her.”
“Does he need to do this in front of her?”
“Not necessarily, but the impact would be faster.”
Jayden looked at the slumbering Mr. Cameron with all his tattoos. “I don’t know. This guy doesn’t look like the sacrificial type.”
“Then you’ll have to put a prompt into his head to make it happen. Otherwise, the wish will stay as is.”
“You know the love department isn’t my thing. I made a terrible date as a teen.”
“I know. You’ve told me about those stories before. Your great uncle wasn’t any better, either. Making dealing with vampires harder by not comprehending their tricks. Now there are some creatures who know all about seduction and sacrificial love.”
“So, why don’t I consult with a vampire for a suggestion?”
“You know they don’t work for free?”
“Neither do I. So, I’ll leave you here with our sleeping prince charming, locked up wish-love freak, and I’ll go talk to a vampire I know about a suggestion that could work.”
“Okay, but don’t be too long.”
Jayden opened a vortex and left.
Jayden, Edward, and Group 67
In an instance, Jayden found himself in the Black Forest of Germany with bolts of energy whizzing by his head and hitting fir and spruce trees, splitting them into two.
Jayden jumped for cover behind a fallen tree. “Edward? Where are you?”
“Is that you, Jayden?” said a gruffy voice from behind a large stone as Edward took a shot back toward energy bolts with a pistol.
“I need to ask you a question.”
“I’m too busy right now with Group 67 to answer any of your questions.”
“I could help get you out of here. I can use a portal to take you and me somewhere safer.”
“Fine, how about the 1900 Bistro Café in Berlin?”
“Sounds great.” Jayden opened another vortex between both, and each of them ran into it as the bolts continued to whiz past.
The vortex dumped them in a nearby alley. Jayden looked at Edward. He hadn’t aged in the last twenty years, was still fit, handsome, blond, six-foot four inches tall with a scruffy beard and dressed in a dark blue trench coat. They walked to the café, sat down in front of the café, and placed their orders.
Sipping his coffee. “Thanks for getting me out there.”
“No problem. So, I take it Group 67 has been a problem for you lately?”
“Unfortunately. Has to do with problems with the throne, and Group 67 is taking advantage of the chaos.”
“Yeah, I think I heard something about those problems, but not much has reached the Americas.”
“Right now, the problems are in Europe. But they will spread soon enough. So, what’s your question?”
“I need to know what’s a good idea is for a human to do as a sacrificial love for his spouse?”
Edward nearly fell over in his chair with laughter upon hearing this question. “Really? An idea for sacrificial love for some guy who’s married?”
“Yes, it’s the only way to break a powerful wish cast upon his wife.”
“Well, if you put it that way. Hmmm, let me see. First, let’s discuss payment.”
“You want payment? How about the fact I saved your skin from Group 67 just now?”
“Oh fine, I can accept that. But you’ll not really go to like my suggestion.”
“Look, I will not pay any more than that, so tell me.”
“What? Attack him?”
“Yes, using your magic cane.”
“I don’t understand?”
“Let me explain. If you attack him, especially if she’s your prisoner, and he fights for her back, then he’s offering protection which is self-sacrificing for the one he loves.” Then counting on his fingers. “It’s what we vampires do all the time, that and sharing immortality, sacrificing our desire to drink our lover’s blood, or going into self-exile for the one you love. The rest the humans make up in novels and movies.”
“Let me get this straight. I should fight him with my magic while I hold his wife hostage. Should I fake losing?”
“All you need to do is make his win believable in her eyes. That’s it.”
Getting up from his chair, Jayden said, “Thanks. Do you need me to drop you off anywhere?”
“I’m fine here in Berlin, thanks. But aren’t you going to pay for the coffees?”
“Oh, sure.” Jayden pulled out an 1845 Mexican silver reales coin from his coat pocket and placed on the table.
“What the heck is that?”
“A Mexican silver coin from the mid-1800s. It should easily cover the cost of the coffees.”
“Look, I’ll keep the coin and use my credit card. Jayden, you need to carry actual cash, or at least apply for a credit card.”
“Why? I have a ton of treasure back at the shop I can use. Well, I’m off.” With that, Jayden opened a vortex portal and left.
Jayden entered the hotel room from a vortex in the hallway, locking the door magically behind him.
“I see he’s still out. She still wants out.” Said Jayden, acknowledging the banging on the bathroom door.
Lai Xinya took a long draw on her pipe, blowing a large smoke ring toward Jayden. “You took too long. That woman has been a big pain in the tail, complaining she wants out to see Lewis all the time. What did your vampire friend suggest?”
Waving away the smoke ring. “I must attack her husband while we hold his wife hostage. He needs to fight back, and I need to make my defeat look believable to her. And didn’t you notice the sign downstairs about smoking in rooms? It isn’t allowed.”
“Only those sensitive to magic can see or smell my smoke. So, there’s nothing to worry about.” Jayden rolled his eyes at Lai Xinya’s comments. Continuing, she added, “I suppose you want me to help you with the hostage bit?”
“That would help. Is there any way you can take a smaller dragon form they both can see you?”
“Sure, but why?”
“I was thinking you could wrap around her body like a snake.”
“A snake? Jayden, that’s insulting.” She puffed on her pipe.
Slightly bowing, Jayden said, “My apologies, oh mighty Celestial Dragon. I meant no disrespect by my words. I suggested that your hold her tight with your own body.”
“You’re forgiven, and I got the image the first time. I suppose we should get started then.” She tossed her pipe in the air, and it disappeared.
Lai Xinya transformed herself into an eight-foot-long golden oriental dragon that coiled about the air. Jayden positioned himself to open the bathroom door and thrusted his cane onto the floor while saying, “Excito.” A gust of wind rose forth along the floor and Mr. Cameron awoke. Jayden opened the bathroom door. Mia rushed out, and Lia Xinya coiled around her.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Mr. Cameron said as he sat up, seeing a coiled dragon wrapped around his wife, who pleaded for help to be freed.
“Mr. Cameron, your wife is mine. My name is Jayden, and the dragon is my pet familiar.” Lai Xinya glared at Jayden for the comment of being a pet familiar. Jayden continued trying to ignore Lai Xinya. “I’m a powerful mage who cast the spell upon your wife for Lewis, but Lewis cheated me. So, I’m taking your wife as my payment.”
Mr. Cameron’s eyebrows were drawn together as the veins along his neck were bulging out. His forehead scrunched up as well as his body tensing up.
“I see you are both confused and angry. If you attack me, I’ll overpower you easily.”
Mr. Cameron cracked his knuckles. Jayden realized his opponent was going to be physical, and he’s been in these fights before with more powerful creatures. They weren’t fun, and it required him to slow time down to allow him to dodge the punches. That was a problem because he didn’t have the time piece with him, needed to slow time down, and the cane didn’t have that power. He could instantly teleport, but he found small distances were difficult to control with precision with the cane. For most teleportation, he’d use a vortex because it didn’t require him to know his destination personally, only the name of the target person or location. And using vortexes was out because they’d take too long to cast. He’d have to use the cane’s invisible force shield ability to block the punches as best as possible.
In between Jayden’s blinks, Mr. Cameron leapt from the bed toward Jayden. Jayden could quickly mumble off the spell to cause an invisible barrier to surround him, but the force of Mr. Cameron’s jump knocked Jayden to the floor, hovering two inches above it. Mr. Cameron began pounding on the shield, causing a rippling effect to occur with each blow. At this rate, the shield would not last long, and he had no way of getting up with Mr. Cameron on top of him. He’d have to try to instantly teleport himself away with no distracting thoughts. Which was going to be hard considering his situation, but he was being left no choice in the matter. He mumbled the spell. The dragon’s eyes on the cane glowed.
“Jaeweajan? My mind must have slipped.”
Mr. Cameron realized he was no longer in the hotel room and was in a sandy desert with four suns blazing in the sky. The heat was incredible and nothing like he’d ever felt before. Sweat immediately began to issue from every pore on his body and evaporated. He stood up and in the distance were remains of what looked like large spaceships, but he couldn’t tell because they looked scavenged.
Pointing to Jayden. “What have you done, wizard? Where have you brought me?”
Getting up and brushing off the sand from his coat. “I’m amazed a man like yourself is so willing to accept that I’m a wizard. Most people would think I was insane to say such things, but evidently not you. As to where we are—we are in Jaeweajan, one of the planes of existence that intersects with our plane.”
Mr. Cameron had a far-off look in his eyes, and yet his face should be an emotional incongruence to Jayden. It was as if Mr. Cameron was not just confused, but totally bewildered about life, the universe, and everything.
“Mr. Cameron, we need to leave here. First, those suns will burn us alive with their oppressive heat. Second, there are two powerful groups living on this plane fighting a war that will not take kindly to our presence. So please take my hand while I get us out of here.”
Jayden walked towards the wrecked spaceships in the distance.
Mr. Cameron pulled his hand away from Jayden’s. “I thought you’d use your magic to get us out of here. Why are we walking towards those wrecks?”
“I’m sensing a crack in this direction from our plane leaking what us wizards would call magical energy. This plane works differently. It’s founded on a neutral energy called flow. From flow arises all material and life on this plane. In our plane, magical energy is based on quantum energy states. Or at least the elves tell us that. But here one group controls the flow with the mind and body to alter the material world physically, and there’s another group which uses the flow to power what we would call technology. Both conflict with each other. The problem is, I’m not that proficient in either method. And my magic doesn’t work here. This includes the ability to teleport us back to the hotel. If I get close enough, my cane might draw enough power to work. Take off your clothing and use your shirt as a dew rag.”
“But where am I going to keep them? And what about you?” Mr. Cameron undressed.
“I’m used to being in way hotter places than this, and for all I care, just toss your clothing on the sand. The heat from these suns will, over time, will break them down. But keep on your underwear, shoes, and socks because the sand will burn your feet.” Jayden was both impressed and felt sexually diminished by the fact Mr. Cameron could so easily slip his jeans off without dealing with his biker boots.
But it was a bit of a white lie about being in hotter places than where the two were now. Underneath his magical jacket, he was drenched with sweat, which rolled down his body into his shoes and evaporated. The heat was quickly impacting his thought processes, and Jayden found himself second guessing the direction he was sensing the leakage of magical energy. His mind kept returning to the desire of wanting to take a mizuburo (a cold plunge or shower in a Japanese bathhouse). Maybe with some female attendant scrubbing his back to remove the sweaty grime sticking to him. He could easily afford such a luxury if he got back, and he knew exactly which place to go to in Japan. But he still had to deal with Mr. Cameron’s wife and find and trap Asil. Still, maybe a trip to a Japanese mountain onsen (a Japanese hot spring spa) would be a good way to reward himself for a job well done. “Yes, an onsen weeklong trip would be so nice. Especially without Lai Xinya.” Jayden mumbled out loud to himself.
“Huh? Did you say something?”
“Mr. Cameron, I was talking to myself. We’re getting closer, I can feel it.” Again, Jayden wasn’t sure what he was feeling with the heat impacting him. He did not know what the leakage would look like on this plane. He knew that the leakage of the flow into his realm took the form of power trapped in crystals, and for one reason certain electronic worked. To make things worse, as he looked back at Mr. Cameron, he noticed blisters were forming upon his muscular skin from the suns.
“Mr. Cameron, soon enough, the heat should let up. Three of the suns are setting.”
Mr. Cameron mumbled out some gibberish.
As the suns were setting, Jayden noticed silhouetted in the sky, dripping into a pile on the sand, peanut sized stuffies. He wondered if this was the leakage he was looking for. It was unusual, but then again it could be a heat fever.
With in a few steps, he came upon the dripping flow from the sky and ran his hand through it. The little stuffies bounced off his hand. They were clearly real.
“But that’s a pile of micro-stuffies?”
“Yup. But here on this plane, this is what the leakage looks like.” With that, Jayden, using what strength he had left, thrusted the cane into the pile and the dragon’s eyes glowed. Holding the dragon’s head, Jayden said to Mr. Cameron, “Now take my hand, and let’s try this again.”
Jayden and Mr. Cameron reappeared standing in the hotel room, sweaty and looking sunburned. Jayden let out a sigh of relief that the spell worked, and that he was being cooled off by the air conditioning of the hotel room.
Both Lai Xinya and Mia were shocked because not over two seconds ago the two were on the floor, and now they were standing upright, sunburned, and Mr. Cameron was in his underwear and shoes.
Mr. Cameron, regaining his senses in the cooler temperatures, immediately decked Jayden. With that, Jayden fell backwards to the floor.
Lai Xinya released her grip hold Mia, and Mia immediately ran to her husband.
He stopped her from touching him with an outstretched arm. “Sorry, dear, but you can’t hug me right now. I have a bad sunburn. That damn wizard took me to some other world with four suns.”
Lai Xinya still in her dragon form, spoke, “Here, let me fix that for you.” With that, she took a single claw and touched Mr. Cameron’s third eye. His blisters and burns were gone. “This is the least I can do for… uh…” Lai Xinya choked out the next few words, “My master has done to you.”
With that she coiled around Jayden and with her nose turned up at the wretched sweaty smell emanating from Jayden’s body, she left the hotel room.
Meanwhile, in the plane of Jaeweajan. Aboard a large space battle cruiser of the Confederated Ascendancy, approached the very multi-star system Jayden and Mr. Cameron had appeared, a tall and skeleton-like, robotic Lord General Unak was talking to his full cybernetic human Vice-Captain Ero.
“Lord General Unak, why are we in this system? There’s no life here, and the flow is weak for any use. Besides, this is countering the orders from High Command.”
“Vice-Captain Ero, it’s the fifth planet I’m interested in. The sensors have picked up another temporal anomaly occurring here.”
“Sir, we cannot keep chasing these temporal anomalies. The last one resulted in a pile of small useless toys.”
“True, but our scientists said those toys were not made from the flow, but of something unknown in our universe.”
“With all due respect, sire, they still were only toys. Our scientists could find no use for them.”
“Toys that were resistant to all forms of destruction. Now if we can harness this ‘something’ and armor our ships with it, then the Urakukhi cannot stop us. And the Confederated Ascendancy will finally win this damn war.”
“Of course, sire.” The vice-captain bowed in respect.
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