Patrol Abroad Chapter 3

By Captain Gaul

Red imp and yellow imp stood guard.

“Jif, what are we guarding? It’s been so long I forgot.”

“Magus likes to use this room for magical arrivals and departures. We’re supposed to make sure nothing gets in the way.” The yellow imp looked down at the cat who was pawing at his ankle. “Stupid cat!” he said as he kicked it away.

“You’d better watch it. You know how attached the boss is to Alfador II.”

“What’s with the ‘II’? What happened to the first—crap. Incoming!”

The high window on the north wall started to rattle, and the energy in the room built up. All of the sudden, the window exploded into a million pieces, covering most of the room with tiny shards of glass. Jif screamed and dove for cover under a suit of armor; he was unfortunate to choose the same shelter as Alfador II, who slashed across his nose several times. Jif’s partner watched the whole scene quietly. The mist floated into the room, gathered at the center, and a timegate opened.

“G’day boss,” the imp began as Magus and Captain Gaul stepped out, then, recognizing Gaul, he cursed loudly (“Mok shiessen!”) and dashed from the room.

Magus glanced around the room. Jif was still screaming. Alfador II was hissing and clawing like crazy. Broken glass was everywhere. Magus just shook his head and said. “Jif, clean up this mess. Next time, open the window. Gaul, come with me; I need to discuss this in a different atmosphere, and this isn’t much improvement over the dungeon.”


In Magus’s library, the two sat discussing the deal.

“The terms are really pretty simple. You needed my help getting out of there; now I want your help in my task.”

“Which is?”

“If you wouldn’t interrupt me, I’d tell you. My task, of course, is to find Schala. After the Ocean Palace disaster, I awoke at the North Cape. There was a timegate there, and I could feel Schala’s aura nearby.”

“So she went through the gate? Then all you had to do was follow her, right?”

“Don’t interrupt. This timegate, now, was unstable. Which means that at any one moment, it would have led to a different point in time and space. Which means…aren’t you going to interrupt?”

“You told me not to….”

“Go ahead. Please.”

“Which means she could be anywhere and anywhen? Which means you have to search the world many times over if you hope to find her?”

“Correct. I can’t do it myself; not with any efficiency. So I took advantage of my position with the mystics—”

“I thought they hated your guts after you disappeared!”

“Only Ozzie, Slash, and Flea. The rest of them didn’t really care. Anyway, I’m trying to form a new ‘army of mystics’, only this time it’s more of a ‘search and rescue’ team.”

“Where do I fit in?”

“Even to mystics, much of this world, at many times, is still dangerous. I need someone to train these guys in a little bit of martial arts. Remember that move you pulled on Dalton?”


“Teach them that, for starters. Also, anything you could do to help out in the search itself would be appreciated.”

“Fine. How about we just say I’m working for you? I’ve no future in Guardia.”

“That’d work. And since you’re going to be my new general, maybe you should meet your lieutenants…Moe!”

A sulfurous cloud exploded out of nowhere, and out of the cloud walked a grubby looking young man wearing oil-stained overalls.


A fog grew nearby the sulfur cloud, with a sweet fragrance, and a young Manatetan woman in a karate gi daintily stepped out of it.

“Gaul, meet your lieutenants.”

“So…let me guess. She’s Flea,” Gaul began, pointing at Chi, “he’s Slash, and I’m Ozzie?”

“The power structure is right, but the abilities are a wee bit different. Chi, why don’t you go first?”

Chi nodded smartly, opened her mouth, and…emitted an ear-piercing scream. Bricks from the walls shook out of place, mirrors shattered, statues fell over, young imps exploded down in the village, and generally the sustained shout caused general mayhem across the continent. After five minutes she stopped.

Magus pulled his face back into position after the wince he had been sustaining. “And now, let’s see what Moe can do.”

Moe leaned over, spat out a chunk of cigar, and wielded a wrench the size of a small child. He held his thumb out in a few feet in front of his eye, grunted, and threw the wrench with his other arm. The wrench shot through the air, and struck an old statue of Ozzie in the corner. The statue crumbled into dust, and Moe walked over to the wall to attempt to extract his wrench from it.

“Magus…these are my lieutenants? This is the best you could do?” Gaul’s voice was weak.

Magus muttered under his breath in some strange language. Then he spoke in Common: “Budget cuts. Since we stopped raiding human settlements on a professional basis, there’s been no source of income, and the best I can do are ‘discount mercenaries’ and people who owe me favors, like you.”

“Great…just great.”


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