The Wonder Worlock: Viva Las Vargas! Part 2
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
September 08, 2011 13:26 | Updated: 1 year 40 weeks Ago
September 08, 2011 13:26 | Updated: 1 year 40 weeks Ago
PART THE SECOND
The Wonder Worlock has not even entered hyperspace before Marlee hits his star-faring form with a cataclysmic bolt of reality-altering energy from the ruby. And as the galactic guardian sees the face on his foe, here in the ceded territories of the Great Goff Empire, his entire body grows limp and almost pale white.
“Ma-Marlee?!! H-how came you here, to the rigors of blessed dark space?” the wizard asks. “How come you here now, when I am on an urgent trip to rescue friends, instead of pinned up dimensions away on Threlkel as you should be? How …?”
Then, seeing the Ruby of Reality in her hand, all questions are answered.
“Beware, little girl, you fool with more power than you can understand,” he warns.
“Go suck a hi’opsys’ horn!” is Marlee’s response as the ruby creates red ribbons of ethereal energy which begin to tighten around the mage. “My peoples were casting mystic spells when your ancestors were monkeys in trees … er, I guess. Anyway, you – not Traven but you … you, the Wonder Worlock – are responsible for my current plight. So have at thee!”
A large bolt of cosmic lightning from inside a dwarf star in the Goff system strikes the mage as the Ribbons of Ruby Reality hold him fast.
“I am a very popular target these days,” the Wonder Worlock says, appearing from the glare. “Remind me to tell you about my friend, Tral-Faz, and something called Farr-Pong someday.”
With out another word, the winds of a thousand worlds respond to their master’s call, fairly forcing the jewel from the former queen’s hand as she copes with her unfamiliarity of battle … in space, anywhere! Shopping was always Marlee’s true calling.
Still she hangs on to her bobble, but the winds are just a diversion as the black-clad one probes the Thelkellian’s mind for the origin of her trophy. Ahh … Java, you haunt me even after death, eh? thinks the mage.
Marlee screams, and erects a flimsy shield with the ruby’s form as the Wonder Worlock goes on the serious offensive. Fire shoots out of the crossed hands of the mage, melting most her red shielding. Bending space around him, the shaman becomes momentarily intangible while at the same time summoning the Seven Suns of Synester! These seven orbs, ranging in color from white to deepest black, heat the area and begin to literally wither if not the owner of the Ruby of Reality – the mage is himself shielding Marlee’s form – the gem itself.
Suddenly cooling waters flow from nowhere, quenching the flames of the sorcerer’s cosmic blaze. “Your knowledge does you proud, girl, but ‘tis no gypsy you face this day, no N’Moy shaman. I am the Wonder Worlock!”
At that moment, the mighty Guided Muscle springs from the right hand of the mage, grabs the ruby from Marlee’s hands – she thought Java said that was not possible – and crushes the reality-altering stone. He then uses his winds to send each separate shard whirling through space in a thousand different directions, many to the heart of the surrounding stars themselves.
Meanwhile, on the extra-dimensional planet of Threlkel, the horns grow silent over the Forbidden Zone. As Zavar of the Scientists of Threlkel arrives in the zone by hover-ship, the robo-guards report that all is well.
“Well,” says the world’s most powerful telepath. “How can that be?” He rushes to Marlee’s cell and, seeing the girl in her prison, a tear falling down her face, her right hand still blood-red from the sting of combat with a cosmic legend, she says simply to Zavar: “Don’t ask. Please don’t ask. Just tell me Traven is well and Java Lyn is still dead and his bones rotting in Hell …?”
Zavar nods, knowing not what else to do.
After eons of captivity in Neptunia’s Ghost Sector, Vargas is swift to make use of his new prison – the body of his descendent, Skrill – to worm his way into the affections of both Queen Arema, a new conquest, and the heart of his captain, Gar, something Skrill did ages ago. No more loyal man has ever been known by the Neptunian battle forces than Skrill, and his granddaddy is gonna make the most of it.
Despite himself, Vargas finds that he is delighted to again be among those of polished manners and courtly elegance. And while he finds the underwater queen of Oceanus quite attractive, thank you, the power her soldiers wield is much more intoxicating.
As Skrill, Vargas also finds out about Arema’s great Intz experiment, and marvels at the knowledge that is loose and public about the worlds of the Shirewood, what was, what is, how it is connected to Oceanus and also how it may be put to his advantage.
The first step? Skrill of Neptunia will visit the Elder Intz Tokeen and the former scourge of the universe, the powerful Plantagenous Rex, in the latter’s garden on the Shirewood II. Oh, and what a coincidence! Queen Arema will be light years away on a peaceful mission discussing extra-species mating to Gar’s fellow officers on board the Neptunian starship, Mates Ahoy. And what about this? Gar will accompany her!
All this courtesy of Captain Gar’s scheduling officer – Skrill!
The sun of Oceanus is kind to the water world below, extending good weather this season to most of the life planet-wide. Not that there is a lot of it, especially of the intelligent variety.
The Wonder Worlock is wary as he exits hyperspace and plunges into the cold waters of the planet whose people he hopes he has aided. Ahead is the spectacular underwater city of Arema, golden buildings rising to touch the fencing amid ornate shellish designs of every kind imaginable. Fish species swim freely in and out of the netting; it prohibits energy, not life. Abruptly, the star-farer begins to glow white-hot but it slows him not one whit.
“Ho! ‘Tis the Wonder Worlock, Friend of the Crown, who doth approach!” he yells underwater to the guard tower. But instead of opening gates, he is greeted with a barrage of fire from dozens of differing kinds of energy weapons of both Oceanian and Neptunian make. Of that, he is certain.
“O Shield of Synester, protect my path,” he utters, and a protective tube oozing from the large glowing shield around the mage allows him protective passage right into the Great Hall of Arema, guards beating at it furiously and weapons firing at its great length notwithstanding. Once inside, he seeks she who is his beloved, but the Royal Bed Chamber is empty. A brief psionic probe reveals neither the Queen nor his friend Gar are about.
“SKRILL!!! Where is Tokeen??! Where is Plantagenous??! I feel there essences not!” the celestial shaman screams to the top of his lungs.
And in the corner of the Chamber’s sitting room, in the dark with an energy pistol twirling around a single finger like a comical cowboy, sits Vargas, aka Skrill.
“So you are the high and mighty Wonder Worlock?” says the escapee of the Ghost Sector. “Would you believe Oceanus children are already learning of you and your heroic deeds across the galaxy in the schools here? Astounding! Oh, I know you know that I am not Skrill. D’ast, the bloodline sure did thin down after my … trial, was it? Is that what they called it? Bwahahaha!”
“I know much of you, Vargas,” the wizard responds, not a bubble appearing around his dark collar which threatens to drown all light. “Gar and his people are shamed by your act. In fact, their lifes’ mission is to undo the inbreeding nightmare that almost cost them Neptunia and all its adjacent populated worlds. Imprisonment into a phantom zone was good enough for you, and – as I see in your mind’s eye – fie upon me again for trying to solve a major problem like Java Lyn in so elementary a fashion, for it has unleashed a beast far, far worse – he who stands before me in sheep’s clothing!
“Tokeen. Plantagenous. Where. Are. They?”
“Forgive me, Lord of Lies, but I have ‘magically’ whisked them away into Never-land, as I have your queen and friend, Cap’n Fishface! Bwahaha!”
“’Lord of Lies’ fits you as a moniker far better than me, Vargas. Knowing the only magic you may possess is through your tongue I ask again and for the last time the whereabouts of my friends.”
Wonder Worlock begins to chant softly: Orb of Truth/Before you boundaries decay/I need the truth/Show me the way!
A small bobble of light floats from the glow in front of the mage’s face and makes its underwater path straight to – the mouth of Vargas!
“Zootalaris! But what madness is this? Have you adopted the great sin of the Plantaine peoples? Cannibalism?!”
“Yes, yes, I ate them! Bwahahahaha!!!!!” Vargas laughs in the face of an angered Wonder Worlock. The laugh is short, though, as his Guided Muscle squeezes more truth from the old Neptunian.
“Argghh!! Cease, cease!” Vargas begs. “I killed and swallowed the essence of the Intz as he was sending his spirit from plant to plant during my attack on the Shirewood II. Tokeen is dead, the Intz are dead. And his surviving seed … is in me. What happened to the oh-so-mighty scourge of the universe Plantagenous I haven’t a clue. But as you can see from the cooperation here, Skrill’s image and Tokeen’s minor telepathic powers have served me greatly. I …”
“Seed? SEED?!!” screams Plantagenous as his full and powerful form, brimming with cosmic energies since cured of his ills by the Wonder Worlock, springs forth from a microscopic plant on the pants leg of Vargas. “I have been biding my time until the Wonder Worlock arrived, as he always does, to assist me. And now that I know your diet, allow me to make sure your meal fills you up!”
Before the mage can say a word, telepathy Plantagenous learned at the feet of Tokeen finds the lone essence of the Intz’s energy in the stomach of Vargas. Mentally “grabbing” the seedling like a cowboy ties a steer, the seed begins to grow, and grow, and grow, and grow … not into an Intz, unfortunately, but into a combination of all the other vegetable matter Vargas/Skrill has consumed during those courtly dinners of which he was so fond. The plant grows inside Vargas – and grows, until –
As the Wonder Worlock kneels into the goo that was Vargas, remembering that it was also a loyal military man of the Neptune Navy named Skrill, Plantagenous asks for assistance from a people coming out of their daze: “Could someone please remove this Varg-ass goo from the floor? Plantagenous Rex!”
“I am leaving the Intz babies with Rand’s mother on Goff,” the Wonder Worlock tells Plantagenous as he leaves his former foe on the Shirewood II, his beautiful and beloved garden in disarray. “But I shall return to assist you with your garden and the project of which Arema has spoken. Meanwhile, Zavar of the world called Threlkel has promised to continue your telepathic mentorings, and you now have the cosmic power yourself to visit the Goff Empire, as in days of olde. The Rands will welcome you, I will see to it. And so will your nephews!”
“Nephews,” Plantagenous says, “yes, my friend’s people shall walk among their beloved forests here again and they shall know of the great Elder Intz Tokeen from me … me and you of course, mage.”
Plantagenous then notices a shining bit of red in his disheveled garden. “Look! A bit of ruby! I hope the cosmic miners will not tear up this Shirewood as I once did, looking for mineral wealth beneath the surface of the soil when it is the life above ground that is the true spirit of this planet.”
“Fear not, my friend,” the mage says. “This shard of ruby is nothing, not even of this world. It is what it started as … a legend, nothing more.”
Before Plantagenous can form another query, the Wonder Worlock says, in his haughty admiral voice: “Don’t ask!”
-- FINIS --