Warning: spoilers for the Spirits of Sin Saga.
Note: read “Lavender: A Nice Chat” first.
Hey, it’s Eddy!
It’s been a while, huh?
Drakonia’s still rebuilding after Dehak’s reign, I’m still training with Erdrick, and we haven’t gotten our next clue yet.
And, uh, my beard’s growing nicely. I’ve trimmed it down to a goatee.
We’ve been up the Tower of the Heavens a few times, searching for any clues we might have missed during our first trip there.
But I’m sure that the next clue will present itself eventually.
Maybe that old lady will come back? I dunno. Nobody I’ve asked seems to know who she is.
It’s not like I’m gonna be sitting on my ass, waiting for the next clue.
Trust me, there’s plenty to do here.
I’ve been going back to the home side frequently. I’m still on sabbatical from Fluffywood, but Dad starts to worry if he doesn’t hear from us.
Plus, there was another mission, and me, Dad, Nadia and Erdrick were all needed.
Yeah, Nadia’s joined the ChaotiX too.
But our role in this one wasn’t very big, unlike Operation Rising Sun.
We were just guarding Harvey, while he was luring Superbia into a trap.
Uncle Harv’s been a lot more cooperative lately, and a lot more remorseful, too.
He’s had a lot of time to think about the way his life has turned out in his cell.
We’d be happy to let him out, but he won’t leave unless he has to.
Because, of course, Dehak is still somewhere out there.
And that’s not all.
We think that Dehak might have crossed over to Earth.
See, Cal passed on something he heard from Lavender.
She was talking to Umbra in his cell, and used her telepathy on him. She didn’t hear a lot before he kicked her out of his head, but from what little she did hear, it sounded like there’s more passageways besides the Pit of Giaga.
Naturally, I asked Grampa Chrysus about it, during the next training session.
And sure enough, he told me of another passageway.
The noble dragons can use the one in Dragonfly Forest just fine. They can assume human form, after all.
But the Pit of Giaga is too small for the other kinds of dragons, so if you’ve been wondering how they got to Earth, well…
So it’s possible that Dehak has already used that other passageway.
It’s called the… the Dragon’s Anus, and I’m only saying that once.
We searched the area, finding the body of a hermit in a cabin near the passageway.
According to the Nerd Squad, the body was there since around the Festival of the Rising Tower, and according to Deston and Panthera, there were traces of powerful magic on the corpse.
Now we know where Dehak wished himself back to corporeality.
Of course, people on both sides are aware of the situation.
With Chrysus’ guidance, me and Erdrick were able to open the… the other passageway, and it leads to a mountain in Siberia.
So, as far as we know, if Dehak’s on Earth, he’s somewhere in Russia. He’s probably traveling by foot, because if he used his magic, we’d know, whether he’s using his magic to, ahem, acquire a vehicle, or just to teleport.
I don’t think he’d buy a car. Why would he bother paying for things when he can just zap the owner to dust and take what he wants?
Every mage on Earth would be freaking out and making plans to emigrate to another plane of existence if they felt his kind of power.
On the other hand, we don’t know if Dehak’s buddies in the Octovirate are with him, and they can cast magic too.
Like, that Rider guy, he used to be a wizard when he was alive.
But he wasn’t a very good wizard, because he got himself killed through sheer stupidity.
So how powerful can his magic be?
If Varney’s with Dehak, we’d probably know if he was casting spells too. He was the Archmage of his era until he was staked, so he might be on the same level of power as Des, or Panthera.
Or not. As Cal has told me, older doesn’t necessarily mean better. Sometimes, technology from an ancient civilization is just crap compared to modern day tech.
And Des is more powerful than his dad, which proves Cal’s point. I know Des and Mr. F are at least like, three hundred years old, but even they aren’t sure how old their dad is.
For all they know, he used his old staff to make himself immortal before he lost it, and he refuses to comment on the subject.
Point is, if those dark-loving douchebags are with Dehak, we could pinpoint any of them if they start bringing out the big guns.
And Dehak’s the kind of guy who wouldn’t even think about having small guns.
There haven’t been any signs of them in Drakonia for a while, so we’re assuming that they are with Dehak, wherever he is.
Varney’s vampiric spawn are still trying to propagate vampirism and feed on innocent people throughout the kingdom, but the Hunter Association has a presence in Drakonia now, so those vampires aren’t getting an easy meal.
Wherever they are, they can’t run forever.
And they could at least ask before they turn people into vampires.
There are some vampires over on Earth who will turn you into a vampire, for a fee, and after you sign a buttload of paperwork, including a waiver, and sit through an elaborate presentation about the pros and cons of vampirism.
It’s all to weed out the people who aren’t serious about it, people who would probably regret it later, people who would abuse the power of vampirism for evil intentions (which Earth’s vampire community doesn’t tolerate) and the ever-obnoxious Twilight fans who would be disappointed when they realize that sunlight doesn’t make them sparkle.
They want their, uh, clients to be absolutely certain about becoming vampires, because once they bite you, there’s no going back.
Unless you’re Cal.
Right now, me and Erdrick are standing outside Dragon Roost Mountain, with Chrysus, Nadia, Aurelia, Panthera and Nocturne.
Panthera’s here to help us with something. He’s worked his magic, conjuring a trail of giant glowing red rings in the air around the entire mountain.
The draconic population of Dragon Roost Mountain are watching from the many openings in the mountainside.
Musculus, a kinda fat blue dragon, is munching on half a bear like it’s a goddamn bucket of popcorn.
He’s got a big appetite, even for a dragon.
You can probably guess what those rings are for, right readers?
I mean, there’s tons of video games where you have to go through giant rings.
Like Grand Theft Auto, or Jak and Daxter, or… Superman 64… okay, maybe not the best example…
Cal suggested this. He didn’t choose the gamer life, the gamer life chose him.
Chrysus, currently in human form, is holding a stopwatch, which we got from Earth.
“Alright, Eddy. I think you should go first.”
I nod, summoning my golden dragon wings.
“Sure. Pay attention, Erd. And don’t feel bad if you can’t beat my time on the first go.”
“Ewdwick am pay-in atten-shun, daddeh.”
Nadia is holding a checkered flag, which we also acquired from Earth.
“So, I wave this when Chrysus says go, right?”
She’s wearing a flight pack too. Red and gold, like her battle suit. She got that thing after Operation Suburban Doxology, and she loves it.
She’s taking a turn after Erdrick. He beat her to calling dibs by a second, and in the ChaotiX, dibs is always respected, like calling shotgun is, begrudgingly or not.
“That’s right, Nadia. And again when I finish. You’ll do great, I know it.”
“Thanks, Eddy. So will you.”
Chrysus holds up the stopwatch.
“On three, okay? One… two… three… GO!!!”
As Nadia waves the flag, I take flight, zooming through the first ring.
And as I pass through it, it chimes and turns green.
I fly around the mountain, rising up, passing through ring after ring.
And as I pass by each opening in the mountain, I hear the dragons cheering me on.
So I show off for them, doing a loop-de-loop before the next ring.
God, this is fun.
A lot more fun than it is in all of those games.
The others watch Edward fly through the rings from the ground, the humans-- and Chrysus-- holding binoculars.
Also acquired from Earth.
“Look at him go, Nadia. He’s certainly got a handle on flying.”
“I know. It’s like he’s been doing it his whole life.”
Chrysus chuckles, looking at the stopwatch.
“Well, we all know who he was in his past life. It’s no surprise that he’s honed his powers so quickly. It’s like, uh…”
“Wike wide-in a bai-sih-kuw?”
Chrysus raises an eyebrow.
“What is a… bye-sikkel?”
Nadia explains, keeping her eyes on Edward, who is now really showing off, and barrel rolling towards each ring.
“It’s a vehicle from the other side. It looks a bit like the Star Chariot, or Eddy’s mow-ped, but you make it go by pushing pedals with your feet. It’s actually pretty efficient: you can get around, and get some exercise.”
“Oh, now I see what Erdrick meant. Once you learn how to ride a, ah, bye-sikkel, you never really forget, yes? I think that is an apt description. Perhaps Eddy is simply tapping into the memories of his past life?”
“I don’t think he’s the only person in the ChaotiX to be the reincarnation of someone. Blueberry’s been reincarnated too, I think.”
Panthera chimes in.
“Yes, Deston told me all about that.”
Nocturne idly grooms himself.
“You two have been spending a lot of time talking magic together, Pan-Pan. If he wasn’t already married, I’d be expecting you to propose any day now.”
“Can you blame me for wanting to talk to him so much, Nox? How many times have the Archmages of Earth and Magicca had the opportunity to meet?”
“It’s funny, you know. For so long, the two worlds were separate, and travel between them was rare. But since the ChaotiX came here, the worlds have become linked in so many ways, and now people are flitting back and forth like it’s no big deal.”
“It am da same fing wif Pwai-maw Uwf. Ewdwick neba bin dewe, but Ewdwick haf huwd stow-wees. We cud gu dewe sum time.”
“Auwewia gu whewe-eba mummah gu.”
Erdrick hugs his special friend.
“See, Ewdwick can git bee-hine dat.”
Nadia briefly smiles at the hugging couple before she resumes watching Edward.
“Wherever the ChaotiX goes, they break boundaries down. The ChaotiX sparks change in every world they travel to.”
“I’d say that Sir Calvin is the main catalyst of that change. He is usually the one leading the ChaotiX’s excursions to other worlds.”
“Panthera, we all owe Cal an immense debt. Had he never given his word to help find Eddy’s mother, Dehak would still be ruling this land via Harvey. The four of us would still have to pretend we’re dead, or we would be dead. And my father would still be Dehak’s prisoner.”
Nocturne grins mischievously at Nadia.
“That, and you wouldn’t have met your hunky half-dragon hunk of love.”
She nods, and then does a double take.
“So it would be incredibly rude to not invite Sir Calvin to the wedding. I dare say he deserves to be the best man, seeing as there wouldn’t even be a wedding without him…”
Nadia’s face turns crimson, and she starts stammering.
“Wedding?!? It’s far too soon for that… I mean, I like Eddy… and he did slay a dragon and save me from a tower, but that doesn’t mean we’ve gotta run off and get married right away, does it? Does it?”
“Nadia, I’m teasing you. Don’t you know me by now? We only spent a decade in hiding together. Honestly, I’ll be happy if you two just stop doing the whole he’s-not-my-boyfriend/she’s-not-my-girlfriend thing. I mean, everyone can see it! If you were both cats, you’d spontaneously go into heat around Eddy! You’d be yowling like someone was tap-dancing on your tail! And, well, you’d be cats, which is better than not being cats.”
Nadia blushes even harder, and immediately drops out of the conversation, looking intensely up at Edward flying through rings like he’s the only thing in the world.
He’s almost at the top.
Erdrick grins at Nocturne.
“Ewdwick nu knu abowt dat, Nocks. Bein a hawf-dwagon am pwetty gud tuu.”
Nocturne dismissively flicks his tail.
“The way I see it, dragons are basically just big scaly cats with wings.”
“Su how du yu see fwuffies, den?”
“As cats that aren’t very good at being cats, frankly.”
“Oh. Dat am a bit of a wet-down.”
“It’s alright, Erdrick. You’re good at other, non-cat-related things.”
I pass through the ring floating above the top of the mountain, taking a second to enjoy the view before diving down to the next one.
Alright, that’s the halfway point crossed!
Just keep going, Eddy!
I fly down towards the ground, circling around the mountain, passing through ring after ring, just like on the way up.
Man, sometimes I kinda wish I had another voice in my head, like Cal does.
I mean, narrating is hard when you’ve gotta do it all by yourself!
But Dragonbane doesn’t have a spirit in it, so I don’t have a Fi.
I’ve never been bitten by a vampire, so I don’t have a Nivlac… or rather, a… Drawde? Don’t have a Memories, either.
And Val’s still working on making more of those Endo-Klyn Suits, so I can’t get one of those yet.
But I’m almost at the bottom!
I haven’t been keeping track of the time, so I’m hoping Chrysus has been keeping track.
I’m pretty sure clockwork has been a thing here for a while.
Longer than indoor plumbing has, at any rate.
Still gotta thank Uncle Harv for introducing that to Drakonia.
And for telling people not to make the pipes out of lead.
So he did some good during his illegitimate reign.
Okay, only a few more to go!
Let’s finish this with style, Eddy!
I start twirling through the air, spiralling down through the last few rings.
As I fly through the last ring, making a perfect three-point landing on the ground, the others cheer, Nadia eagerly waving the flag, and I take a bow, dismissing my wings.
“Thank you, thank you. Okay, Grampa, how long was that?”
Chrysus checks the stopwatch.
“…I just realized that I can’t read Earth numbers.”
I sigh, reaching out for it.
“Here, allow me.”
So he hands the stopwatch to me, and I check it instead.
“Eight minutes, eighteen seconds! Wow, it felt longer than that. Erd, you hear that? You’ve gotta try to get through all the rings in less than that.”
“Ewdwick huwd yu, daddeh.”
“Alright. Panthera, if you will.”
Panthera nods, looking up at the glowing green wings, waving his hands at them and muttering an incantation.
All of the rings chime as one, going back to red.
“As we say in Drakonia, done in two shakes of a dragon’s wings.”
“Thanks. Alright, Erd! It’s your turn! You ready?”
After Aurelia hugs him for good luck, Erdrick summons his golden wings.
“Ewdwick am weddy, daddeh!”
“Then I’ll time you. On three, yeah? Three, two, one… GO!!!”
Meanwhile, on the A-side of the universe, the Octovirate of Darkness’ ill-gotten camper van parks outside the long-abandoned ghost village of Naukan, Cape Dezhnyov, Russia.
This village has been abandoned since 1958, when the forcible relocation of the Yupik Inuit people living here was completed.
From here, the four villains can see across the Bering Strait, to the Alaskan shore, merely a tantalising fifty miles away.
It’s a bright, sunny day.
Sitting in the passenger seat, Dehak scowls.
“So there isn’t a ferry across the Bear-Ring Strait. We’re so close, yet so far!”
But the Hungry Rider, driving the van and still wearing his helmet, isn’t so upset.
“That would be a problem if we weren’t, y’know, US.”
“I suppose. But how are we going to get to Ah-lass-kuh without anyone catching us? I can’t use my magic, every mage on Earth will feel it.”
“Come on, Dehak. You know we’ve got more than just magic. It’s lucky that the Many was willing to spot us a few shitrat souls, because we can’t go shitrat hunting JUST yet.”
“And it’s lucky that our employer is still willing to do business with us, after our prior failures.”
Dehak looks over his shoulder.
The camper van has already started to become a house of magic, being slightly larger on the inside now.
Varney’s sitting at the table, drinking a can of NuBlood, and the Many is sitting on the table, looking a bit bored.
And Shadow Calvin is still sitting on the bed in the back, blankly staring into space. It hasn’t moved an inch since the last time you saw it.
The Rider’s motorbike is still taking up a lot of space, and so is another addition: a large tarp, currently rolled up.
If it were unrolled, you’d see a very unpleasantly familiar arcane circle on the tarp, drawn in permanent marker.
Yes, you can draw an arcane circle in permanent marker. It’s tricky, and most wizards wouldn’t do it.
Witches, on the other hand, are masters of making do with what they’ve got.
“That was a stroke of genius, I must admit.”
“A portable arcane circle. It’s easier to cover your tracks this way.”
“Yuh, Dehak weft dem siw-cuws aww oba Dwak-oh-nee-yuh.”
“I couldn’t lug a tarp like that around when I was jumping from body to body! Certainly not in that young girl’s body! I had to travel light, because my spare bag of holding was in my secret crypt!”
Varney shakes the can a little bit, to judge how much NuBlood is left in it.
Not a lot.
“I’ve been meaning to ask. You had a crypt full of magical supplies all along. Why didn’t you just go there straight away after escaping the Lich Yard?”
“Because my secret crypt has an enchantment that vaporises anyone that isn’t me immediately upon entry. Including anyone I happened to be using as a host body, it doesn’t discriminate. Which is also why we didn’t regroup there.”
“And why didn’t that enchantment affect Shadow Calvin?”
“Because it vaporises people upon entry. Shadow Calvin didn’t enter the crypt, he was created in it, and left it. If you’re done playing Thirty Questions–”
“Whatever! If you’re all done asking questions, it’s time to cross this strait. Rider, you’re up.”
The Rider starts the engine up, driving towards the coast.
As they get close, he waves his hand, and a bridge made of black light appears, stretching over the Bering Strait.
The camper van drives onto the black bridge, and as it moves on, the bridge vanishes again behind them.
“Next stop: Alaska.”