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Old 09-09-2015, 07:46 PM
RVM45 RVM45 is offline
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Chapter Ten






Most of my team and a few group members were standing in Mayor Dunno’s office waiting to be dressed down.

“Spoil, I’ve come to a conclusion,” Dunno said.

My father used to use exactly that same tone of voice and facial expression when he said:

“Spoil, I have a job for you.”

He acted as if I’d told him:

“I’ll bet you one hundred dollars that you can’t think up some tedious and pointless chore for me to waste my time on.”

And by coming up with such a task he’d won the bet and shown how clever he was to boot. Except I wasn’t stupid enough to ever issue such a challenge.

All in all, my father wasn’t such a bad fellow even though he had enough fusty mannerisms to have been in an old “**** Tracy” comic strip or maybe “Lil’ Abner”. However if Dunno was about to start channeling my father’s more annoying mannerisms he was going to come to the end of my patience very quickly.

“You can throw more spawn than anyone else in the village,” Dunno started.

That’s interesting. I knew that I was getting up there—and all my first wave spawn were over power level 4.0—but that made it official. Gerald wasn’t too far behind me in pure numbers and his spawn were all a good deal stronger than mine.

“Now that you have the sumo and the Hell Hound I think that your talents are wasted as an intel-gathering group leader. I’m going to hold your team in reserve as a rapid deployment strike force,” Dunno said.

“Whatever,” I said.

“But David is the best aerial surveillance specialist that we have and Cary is a gifted rat runner—in the top two or three. McVeeblefester is one of our best strategists. I think that it’s a waste to have them on a rapid deployment group. I’m going to reassign them to an data gathering group,” the mayor said.

“You can remove me from Spoil’s team, but you can’t place me on another team or send me on a mission without my consent,” David said.

“That goes for me as well. You can use us as team members on Spoil’s team or we can sit idle and draw casual pay,” Cary said.

“I’m not quite so picky,” Enn said, “I’m willing to move up to team leader—but only if my team is assigned to Spoil’s group.”

“There is no reason to send valuable resources on suicide missions,” Dunno said.

“So you plan to send my team on suicide missions?” I observed.

I moved quickly and grabbed Dunno’s tie, pulled him across his desk and trimmed it for him once more.

“You’re starting to raise the volume a bit. I just wanted to remove temptation,” I said.

“If you ask me, I’ll kill this little boss for you. His bodyguards can’t stop me,” Duncan said.

The lights in Saul’s eyes grew in intensity and he growled deep down in his throat.

“Nah, it’s cool. Dunno isn’t worth killing,” I reassured my newfound friend.

“He reminds me of my little brother,” Duncan said and turned his back pointedly on the plump little mayor.

“I will need eight weeks to work in my new members. Then you can send us on all the high risk missions that you’d like,” I said. “By the way Dunno—I sometimes have a weird or knowing. I just had one. It is my geas to kill you someday. That isn’t a threat. It is simply a fact.”

************* ****************** **********************************

“This chitinous armor isn’t natural,” the veterinarian said.

She pulled a big breastplate from Saul’s chest. It came loose with a bunch of fine hairs as if someone had given the Hell Hound a bikini wax.

“Since no one is warping his chi anymore the plates are gradually coming loose from the skin and hair is starting to grow in underneath. Give him a good soak in warm water every week or so until all the plates come free. Don’t force them. While they’re quick they’ll hurt if you try to remove them. You’ll be able to tell. Thank you for bringing him. He’s quite an interesting study,” she said.

************ ************** ************************

“This is Homer Sensei,” James said. “He isn’t an Adept, but he teaches kenpo in his own small dojo right here in the village.”

“I heard that you’re taking on students who couldn’t get admitted into the academy and you’re teaching them Adept tradecraft,” the ordinary looking black man said

“Just so,” I said.

“I hear they’re raising Hell with you for using their training facilities. You’re welcome to use my dojo,” Homer said.

“Thank you. That will ease things considerably,” I said. “Given your approval, we’ll finance any number of improvements and extra gear.”

“I came here thirty years ago with my older brother. He’d been accepted into the academy and he brought me to the village with him. He died on a mission shortly after graduation. I liked to think that if he’d lived that his recommendation might have greased a few skids for me. As it was, I never got accepted. I’m forty-two years old now. I suppose that it’s too late for me but I applaud what you’re doing,” Homer said.

“You’re right. It is too late for you. Everyone always starts everything important in their life too late—because we’re only here on this Earth for a brief span of days. In thirty years, you’ll be seventy-two. You will be seventy-two if you study tradecraft and you’ll still be seventy-two if you don’t,” I said.

************ ************* **********************************

“I’m six-one and I weigh two hundred and twenty seven pounds,” I told my students.

I stepped onto the one-inch diameter steel cable suspended thirty inches from the ground—which was liberally sprinkled with crash pads.

“I’m not a circus performer and I’m neither super agile nor very skilled,” I told my students. “I can do these stunts only because I cheat and use generous amounts of chi to bind me to the wire.”

I did the splits and then rose to standing. I did a cartwheel on the wire. The second time I stopped in the middle and did a handstand that evolved into a one armed handstand. I went back to two hands and moved to an “L” Seat and held it for about forty-five seconds then regained my feet and did a back somersault off the wire.

“I’m not the most gifted or acrobatic of the Adepts,” I said. “In fact most would consider me a bit slow and clumsy at acrobatics. No one is going to ask any of you to climb onto a tight rope or even a true balance beam for some time.”

I pointed to a board for practice. It was a bit wider than a standard balance beam and its surface was only ten inches off the ground.

“Y’all will start on that. Acrobatics are fine but focus on the chi manipulations that make acrobatics beside the point.”

************ **************** *******************************

I went to see the armorers.

“What do you have there,” Taylor asked me.

“Have you ever seen the little toy Kunai knives that discount houses like ‘Bud K’ sells?”

I showed him the little toy Kunai. They sell for about thirty-five or forty dollars for a dozen and they come in their own little carrying case. The blades are only about three inches long and they’re about six-and-a-half inches overall.

What do you expect for thirty-five bucks? At least the toy knives are fun.

An Adept could turn the little toy blade into disabling or even lethal weapons with chi assist. You could carry quite a few of the little knives for a minuscule weight penalty. I didn’t want to replace the full-sized Kunai—just supplement them.

I particularly liked the idea of throwing dry spawn with one full-sized Kunai for infighting and half-a-dozen toy Kunai for throwing and no harder to spawn than a single full-sized knife.

In the same vein, I’d brought some of the silly-cheap throwing stars—eight pointed and stamped from 12 gauge—tenth-inch—sheet metal—you have to throw them vertically because if you throw them horizontally they’ll plane randomly through the air like a Frisbee but without a Frisbee’s potential for accuracy.

One problem was that once someone started flinging the flimsy missiles with a chi-charged vengeance, they didn’t last long. I was after some higher quality gadgets made to my specs.

“By the way, we’ve made a saber to your specs—thirty–nine inch blade and all,” Taylor said. “Its rather heavy and bulky.”

“What does it weigh?” I asked.

“Three pounds and seven ounces,” Taylor said.

“Heros Von Borke’s sword weighed three pounds and thirteen ounces and it’s blade was only thirty-six inches. He wasn’t an Adept—at least so far as I know. Three-seven is cool. It will be hard to hide though,” I ran down a bit at the last.

“Not with this new sheath. It absorbs a tiny bit of your chi and makes the sword invisible to non-Adepts. You’ll need to watch yourself in crowds though. If the sheath smacks someone they will feel it.”

“You’re a good man Taylor,” I told him.

************* *************** **************************

“Why do I need to learn to throw spawn?” Duncan said. “I’m already the strongest Adept around.”

“Gerald,” I prompted.

Gerald threw a dozen wet spawn and each one had a power rating above 6.0.

“Could you whip all of them and then Gerald’s second wave?” I asked. “Duncan you aren’t truly an Adept. Too much of your chi manipulation has been done to you rather than by you. Your power rating is probably close to 12.0. You are the strongest member of my team by far.”

I paused a moment to let that soak in.

“You are weaker now than you were when we met in Nashville. I’m sorry, but you’re going to get weaker yet. I hope that we can keep you at least at 9.0. 10.0 is better. What if we run into your brother again and he’s got a sumo that he’s boosted to 15.0? If you are standing there at 10.0 and you can throw three or four spawn at even 9.0…”

Ratings get really shaky as a way to measure ability much above 5.0-6.0. Duncan’s spawn even at 6.0 would be far more physically powerful than one of Gerald’s spawn at 6.0. I couldn’t even throw a spawn at 6.0.

My slashing approximations were more to motivate Duncan and to explain why the things we endeavored to teach him mattered.

Duncan could be motivated to diligently throw Kunai and stars, climb on the ten-inch high balance beam or learn breakfalls by mentioning that another face-off against his brother was almost a certainty in his future.

************** ****************** *************************

When I walked into one of the pole buildings that we’d built on the dojo’s property I saw Cary and Gina—David’s eleven-year-old sister. No, get your mind out of the gutter. They had two dozen or so of Cary’s black rats and surprisingly—perhaps I should say “astonishingly” there was also several black cats walking around nonchalantly in their midst.

“EE?” I interjected.

“I’m teaching Gina to run cats,” Cary said.

“Everyone can’t teach tradecraft. Gina is fairly young to be exposed to this type stuff and finally what would David say?”

“I find that I can teach. Times they are a changin’. Who knows when this could be an essential survival skill and no time to learn,” Cary said.

“Survival skill?”

A half-a-dozen black cats were between me and Gina with their back’s arched and fierce hisses while Gina brandished a Karambit in each hand. Point taken.

“And about her brother…”

“Actually, I’m the one who asked Cary to teach her,” David—who’d just entered the room—said.

************* **************** ***************************

In the end, we only had five weeks. I was grateful that we had five weeks.

I’d thought long and hard about how my students could grow and improve while I was away on assignments. I’d written a three-volume manual on chakra trees, chi manipulation and tradecraft. I left it for Homer, Coach O’Brian and Coach Brown to read and critique while I was away. Homer—although he wasn’t an Adept he had many years of teaching martial art under his belt—was to share selected parts with the other students to see how useful they’d find it.

There was a volume of kinjutsu that was being bartered between two groups of Adepts in Indianapolis. It was our job to intercept and snatch the book.

I disliked going looking for trouble, but now I had a new and improved Duncan and Saul on my team. I had several new weapons from the armorers…

And I finally had my left hand saber with a thirty-nine inch blade. The longest sabers or katanas seemed to have thirty-six inch blades as a maximum. I didn’t know what sort of edge—and liability, because nothing is free—the extra three inches would give but I expected that I’d find out.





.....RVM45
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:36 PM
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Chapter Eleven





The exchange was going to occur at The Indianapolis State Fair.

I was in Indianapolis in 62 when they had the big explosion at the Ice Show. I was a small child, but I can remember hearing the blast and my parents wondering what caused it. Of course when the morning paper arrived we all knew.

I was living there when Kennedy was assassinated. I remember going to see the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument at Christmas. They’d draped it with Christmas lights and were billing it as “The World’s Largest Christmas Tree”. Later I learned that 1962 was the first year that they’d done The World’s Largest Christmas Tree.

I’d never cared much for Indianapolis. The roads are very confusing and the people all seemed to have that big city brusqueness and impersonality in much greater degree than the size of the city necessitated.

It has always seemed to me that East of the Misses’ Hip, the farther you go North of the Mason-Dixon Line the wetter and soggier folks get. They become ever more saline and ever harder to get along with.

That’s just me. If you like Indianapolis you’re welcome to your share of it and mine too.

Over nine hundred thousand people attend the State Fair every year. We can round that to an even one million. The fair lasts seventeen days. Divide seventeen into a million and you get fifty-eight thousand and some odd. That probably isn’t one hundred percent accurate because the number of people at the fair waxes and wanes from day to day.

Some folks attend more than one day. On the other hand few folks get there at noon and stay until they roll up the sidewalks at 11:00 pm.

Guesstimate ten to twenty thousand people milling around mindlessly on the midway at any particular moment of time—along with a few score Adepts—especially if you count each and every spawn.

Our source said that the exchange would be on the midway. There were fifteen of us counting a few of my more advanced students. I had the students stay out of the fairgrounds and send spawn only. Numbers were welcome, but I didn’t want any of them hurt or captured by formidable Adepts from. the opposition.

I threw fifteen first wave and nine second wave spawn. That was twenty-four of me walking around—not counting the original me. I had to be close to the action to call shots and send spawn reinforcements from any recycled chi.

All of the spawn’s faces would be copies of mine, but each one used a minimal glamor to change their appearance. A neat thing about the masking glamor—no two people would perceive the face exactly the same way.

Of course a glamor would be like wearing a flashing LED encrusted vest that said: “Adept”. But it is nearly impossible to hide one’s status from another Adept anyway.

Gerald contributed a dozen spawn. Enn and Ladonna both contributed six each. Cary could do five and four of them were on the midway running huge numbers of rats.

David could throw four wet spawn. Two of them were in his electronic surveillance panel truck helping him monitor all the streaming data from his multiple flying drones. He held two spawn in reserve both to help boost his chi and as protection if he were discovered. One of Cary’s spawn helped David with surveillance and was ready to help defend him if it became necessary.

James and Chandra also watched over David, but from outside the panel truck hopefully looking nonchalant. They each had two copies walking the midway with one held in reserve to help defend. Finally there was a single Duncan spawn with a power rating above ten watching David’s panel truck.

David worried me. Unlike long distance chi links, electronics can be traced. It was encrypted and bounced around a bit—but someone just might track it back to the source—and David was too valuable a game piece to casually cast aside.

The one thing that we had going for us was that most Adepts ignore high technology as unnecessary and uninteresting. For them it is superfluous most of the time. It isn’t always superfluous though.

I had eight turkey vultures soaring effortlessly above the fairgrounds relaying occasional views when something matched the images that I’d told them to look for. I wish that I had more of them. The red-tailed hawks also soared but their eyes weren’t as powerful as the vultures.

My ravens and crows flitted around gathering data here and there.

Most birds have very poor night vision. I’d manipulated my bird’s eyesight until they had half again as much light gathering power as a human. That’s still nothing to brag about and a raven flying rapidly through an obstacle rich course probably needed more than a fifty-percent increase over human night vision to do such stunts well.

There is a limit to how much change that you can make in two or three generations though.

At night I had my crows and ravens fly as slowly as possible while pausing for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time to perch somewhere that they could scan the crowd—while I tried to make some sense of the jumbled and kaleidoscopic images they sent me.

Psychedelic!

My owls? The sharp contrast between the brightly lit midway and the surrounding night made them less than useful this time around.

I had five third wave spawn on tap nowadays and I was using three of them in a triangle formation to screen threats to my person while I held two in reserve. What the Hell? I’m a very important game piece myself.

Duncan stayed within eyeshot, but far enough away that it wasn’t obvious that we were together. He had three ungodly powerful spawn on tap. He beefed up my guard and keeping him close meant that I could keep an eye on him too. I trusted his loyalty beyond question. I didn’t trust his tact and finesse any farther than I could throw him.

Duncan’s weight was down to around four eighty. He’d lost some strength but gained quite a bit of speed and agility—especially since we’d been teaching him simple acrobatics. It wasn’t a matter of diet. His brother had simply forced Duncan’s body to carry far more supercharged muscle than was good for him. In the absence of such compulsion Duncan’s body was cheerfully jettisoning tissue that it had never wanted to add in the first place.

Be that as it may. Duncan wouldn’t have looked fat if you could see him, but he would look huge and deformed. He was using an overall glamor that made him look like a five hundred pound fatty—complete with belly rolls and jiggles as he walked.

I’d given him more than ample funds and he was having loads of fun playing the role and buying things to eat and drink at every food stand that he passed.

I was doing okay that way myself. Keeping so many spawn in play at one time, checking with my flock regularly and giving out orders over radio or rat-a-gram burned huge numbers of calories and the blazing hot August sun made me thirsty.

The one thing about Duncan that was a poor fit was the way he wandered the midway without the slightest apparent effort and occasionally he’d forget himself completely for a step or two and bounce around like Neil Armstrong.

Note to myself: check into getting a faux electric scooter for Duncan. When it really hit the fan he could abandon it—hopefully temporarily—but it would need power, speed and battery life greater than ordinary for it to keep up with us on a moving stakeout. Sure, some of the regular models were built to take Duncan’s weight but then they crawled at about two miles per hour. Also a genuine five-hundred pound fat man wouldn’t drive up and down the midway for ten or eleven hours at a time.

No one seemed to be playing the free throw game across the midway. There was an Oriental gentleman bouncing a basketball and trying to bark up some players. He lost his ball momentarily and when he bent to pick it up his right leg was stiff. He caught me staring at him. We recognized each other as Adepts at about the same moment.

Just as I recognized the threat, he was behind me whispering in my right ear.

Almost instantly one of my ravens stooped and dive-bombed him. Its chi-shrouded beak should have hit him smack-dab in the middle of his face but he’d already teleported back to the front of the free throw game. Only I’d been looking right at him the whole time and he hadn’t moved.

“Truce! Play the game and talk,” was what he’d whispered in my ear.

“Take a chance? Three tries for ten dollars!” he shouted at me.

I walked over and handed him a twenty. He handed me a five and five ones for change. There were three green pieces of paper with some rather fine writing upon them. I fold the bills and the message over and thrust it into my pocket.

“You have part of my mind,” he said. “And you really wreaked havoc on my left leg.”

He could talk like a ventriloquist without moving his lips.

“Peace, I don’t blame you. It was masterfully done. I could have repaired my mind and my body a long time ago if the punishment details they keep me on didn’t keep me on the verge of total collapse. The Tiger wasn’t punished though,” he said with a heartfelt sigh.

“That was a long time ago. This doesn’t look like such a bad duty,” I said.

“The Yokahama Ninja are exchanging a book of ninjutsu for a book of forbidden techniques with the Minnesota Manglers,” He said. “Everyone that can possibly be spared is at the fair trying to intercept one or the other books—or better yet, both.”

“Are they really from Yokahama?” I asked.

“Are the Manglers from Minnesota? It’s a name. It shows more imagination than ‘The Outfit’,” he said.

“Two books? I thought one side was bartering valuable consideration for the other’s book of kinjutsu,” I said.

“They are. What could be a more valuable consideration to an Adept than a book of privy lore,” he said.

“Privy lore? You make it sound like witchcraft.”

“Isn’t it?” he said.

“Little Boss?”

“His group is from Dallas. He’s a little bit under the weather lately but his gang is represented. Your sumo over there trying to act like a five hundred pound grossly obese fellow—isn’t that his older brother? You accepted the sumo into your team—ergo you accept defectors. Would you take me?” he asked.

“Now?” I asked.

“No, not now—later. There is contact info on the papers that I gave you.” He said.

“My father said that if animals and small children cotton to someone then he is probably trustworthy. Don’t trust anyone who weirds out children or dogs. I will let the sumo, his Hell Hound and my rat-runner decide whether you are trustworthy or not. Otherwise we can call it all off amicably and we both back slowly away,” I said.

“We’ve been talking too much. Score a basket and then argue,” he hissed.

“I scored!” I shouted.

“You stepped over the line. You’re disqualified,” he said.

“You lying slant-eyed bastard! You deliberately set your platform up to be cockeyed and rickety and so I stood behind it. How in Hell cold I have stepped across the line?” I shouted.

I hoped that he wouldn’t give in. I didn’t want one of the giant plush and if he gave in it would be conspicuous to drop one of the five-foot tall teddy bears in the first trash barrel that I came to.

“It says right there on the sign—all decisions by the game manager are final. I’ll tell you what though. I’ll give you a small bear if you’ll go I peace,” he said.

Twenty minutes later I saw Ladonna.

“Here, don’t say that I never gave you anything,” I said as I passed her the stuffed bear.

***************** ******************** ****************************

That night I consulted with several of my team and then I contacted the North Korean interrogator via text at the number he’d given me.

“Dude, here is the deal: if my sensitives give you a go you’ll be with us but bound an guarded. That is if they think you’re sincere. If not, you’ll be stripped and bound and left where you may not be found for several hours. Think what that will do to your approval rating at North Korean Adept Central,” I texted.

“Wonderful!” was the only reply.

“Either he’s desperate to get away or he’s determined to try to infiltrate our group and/or The Outfit.” I said with a shrug.

We’d lucked out and rented a luxury suite with several interconnecting rooms. After my phone message Ladonna sat with a straight razor and scissors along with needle and thread diligently doing something to her teddy bear.

“What are you up to?” I asked.

“Look at this,” she said while handing me a revolver.

It was a custom Smith and Wesson K Frame .357 Magnum. I knew that it was custom because of the bobbed hammer and the five-inch barrel. There were factor four-inch barrels and factory six-inch barrels but no five-inch ones. There were also very few full-sized K-Frames with round butts.

“It’s an old custom Smith. So what?” I said.

“I think that if I pull out enough stuffing that I can put the gun in the bear and close it again with a Velcro flap,” she said.

“It’s a bit slow to access,” I shrugged.

“Not as one of several tertiary back-ups,” She said.

“Okay, what do I know? I just work here,” I said.

Cary looked pained.

“Well…they pay you,” he finally conceded.

“Said the man who talks to rats.”

“Says the man who played a carnie game and won a plush.”




.....RVM45
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:12 PM
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Chapter Twelve






“The ravens have it!” I told my team. “They’re exchanging gifts in front of the bumper cars.”

I moved in and swiped a book.

What does a book of kinjutsu look like? I have no idea—old maybe? I’ll bet that most of the other Adepts on this snipe hunt had no idea either. That’s why I’d stopped by a used bookstore and bought a set of encyclopedias—one consisting of big thick volumes with a nice pseudo-leather cover. Then I carefully spayed a black crinkle coat on them—damned shame to mess up a nice old book that way.

Each team member had a volume and so did all of their spawn. Once I had had the true volume in hand, half the team started a frantic shell game. In the meantime, the other half of the team pursued the remaining volume backed up and assisted with big flocks of crows and ravens along with dozens of rats and aerial drones.

None of the spawn looked like me—in case they got into a shootout or something. For the razzle-dazzle shell game to work though, we had to look alike. I have a Celtic nose—wide but comparatively short—and I have long hair along with caveman supraorbital ridges.

Using a confusing glamor is comparatively easy. Making yourself or a spawn look like a specific image is comparatively difficult. It helps to have a distinct image in mind.

I’d caught an old favorite on the radio on the way to Indianapolis. I hoped that he’d forgive me but I turned each and every spawn into a spitting image of a young Meatloaf—complete with silk hankie and white ruffled shirt and copious rivulets of sweat. I hadn’t been that heavy in a long while but the coarse features were similar enough.

I did an abrupt left face and ducked into a small and roped off gangway between gaming tents and when I walked out the other side I was a whole new me.

The boss North Korean was waiting for me on the other side. He must have waxed his shaved head because the shine in the bright sunlight was intense.

“You’re the Adept who shot me in the ankle. You also stole my subordinate. Now you have the book. This will be short but painful,” he said.

I threw a dozen dry spawn at once. They showered the Korean with mini-chakram washers, sheet metal throwing stars and mini-Kunai. They mixed them up so the trajectories weren’t as predictable. After throwing a quick dozen missiles they drew a full-sized Kunai and charged while I threw ten more dry spawn to keep the shower of pointed objects flowing.

The missile all bounced harmlessly off a shield of chi that he surrounded himself with. Then the Korean made an impatient backhanded sweeping gesture with one hand and twenty-two of my beefed up dry spawn abruptly popped. I never cared for that bunch anyway.

He wasn’t going to allow me the space to draw my saber so I drew a Bowie and attacked. He intercepted my slash with a bare shuto hand and cut the blade of my Bowie off. Now I was mad. That was a very nice custom Bowie.

He attacked slashing for all he was worth with the knife-edges of his open hands.

This was me and not a spawn. I didn’t give three hoots in Hell about dying but if he whacked off all my fingers I’d have to live with the aftermath.

I sent loads of chi to my own knife-edged hands but I made the chi sheath extend about six or seven inches beyond my fingertips.

He slashed at my collarbone. That seemed one of his favorite attack points. I met him with the very tip of my right chi knife and it stopped his attack. Now that I knew that the chi would protect my hands I didn’t need to continue to create the hard to maintain extension.

I slashed at his head, clavicles and arms while parrying his chi finger with my own chi finger. Bluish white bolts of static jumped six to nine inches from our chi-shielded hands when they collided. It was like playing with a huge static generator or a Tesla coil.

“You stole my hand technique,” he said in an accusing tone.

“It is like: really man, be for real!”

“Talk seriously you fool,” he hissed.

“Alright, I think that pudding is a beverage,” I replied.

He got enraged and attacked furiously. That gave me the opening that I needed.

As he stepped close to deliver a resounding slap, I reverted to the pincer attack that Josh had shown me so long ago. The super reinforced fingers penetrated his shield and went into his chest.

I didn’t quite penetrate the chest cavity but I seriously damaged a couple ribs and came back with a respectable sized chunk of skin and pectoral muscle.

“You fool! Scum! Peon!” he screamed at me.

Just then a raven hit him hard in the back of his head with a chi-sheathed beak. It cut the skin on the back of his head deeply and it stunned him slightly…

Yeah, sometimes adepts just know these without having to see, hear or feel them.

The backlash fried my raven. Bummer. I thought too much of my birds to send them on kamikaze missions—but the threat is generally stronger than the execution. I had eight and then nine ravens circling and making aborted feints at his baldhead. They could also dive and flair their wings at just the right moment to block his vision of me at a crucial moment.

I realized just then that we were kinda elsewhere. The carnie was gone. The people were gone. There was no green grass and no blue sky. The Korean seemed to have surrounded us with a bubble of chi that totally enveloped us on all sides.

Psychedelic!

I drew my saber and sheathed it in chi. I’d waited too long for the saber to have this poster child for Planned Parenthood cut the blade asunder.

The Korean pulled a pair of blue metal tonfa seemingly from nowhere. They were the very lustrous blue like the plum-blue finish that you see on a few old, top of the line and well preserved antique shotguns or European pistols.

He pushed a button on each handle and a thirteen-inch blade of blade of such shiny steel that it seemed to glow with an inner light slapped into place. Apparently they worked like an out-the-front switchblade.

“Remember, “ I told him. “In a Kingdom of The Deaf a man with a runny nose will ride a bicycle.”

If silly talk angered him, he might become careless enough for it to matter.

God alone knows what might have happened but just then Duncan managed to breach the barrier that the Korean had erected. Duncan came from behind me and to my right. Before he even got within range of the tonfa armed Adept a second Duncan burst through the barricade one hundred and eighty degrees from the first Duncan.

They did sumo style rushes and trapped the Adept between them. The Korean’s jutsu and weapons didn’t seem able to penetrate the tanked up sumo.

The tonfa disappeared back into the sub luminous ether or wherever the Hell it came from. The Korean gathered himself and beheaded Duncan with his super-powered shuto hand.

Duncan vanished. That one was a copy!

The other Duncan snatched the Adept up and started trying to pile drive the bald man into the ground headfirst. The Korean buffered himself with chi and time and again he folded into an acute “J” shape instead of meeting Mister Ground with the crown of his head.

Finally the Adept’s head hit the ground—once with moderate force, once hard and then Duncan went to slam him like he was trying to shatter a bowling ball with a boat oar.

Somehow the Korean managed to reach around with an extended chi finger like I had used earlier and sever both of Duncan’s legs just above his knees—but it was too late to forestall the super-slam.

Duncan fell with blood spurting from each of his severed legs while the Korean boss lay with crushed skull, broken neck and multiple ruptured disks in his back.

Then both of them popped. The second Duncan was a spawn too—as well as the Korean.

With the demise of the Korean the micro-mini world that he’d created vanished and we were back on the midway. Duncan stood there with an oversized Kunai in hand. There was two of Ladonna—both with a silly teddy bear’s rump protruding from a shoulder bag. There was three of me and a couple of student’s spawn.

I also got the experiences of five popped spawn all at once. They hadn’t just popped. Somehow the Korean’s barricade had kept the chi and experiences from reaching me. That was interesting but tangential.

“Everyone, throw as many dry spawn as you reasonably can. Make sure that they all have a faux book. Whenever you can create more dry spawn without weakening yourself dramatically, do so. Remember, we may be called upon to fight again soon so don’t deplete your chi too drastically. We are executing of the Exodus Protocol,” I said.

Have you ever disturbed a rally big nest of cockroaches and seen them scramble and scurry in all directions? That’s the effect that I was striving for with the dry spawn.

“You don’t know how ridiculous you look handing out orders while looking like Meatloaf,” Ladonna said.

O…EE...never mind. I’d forgotten the glamor.

“Ding-a-Ling! I just lost a spawn who was guarding the Korean mind reader. We need reinforcements sent,” I said.

“And remember—Everything louder than everything else.”

**************** ********************* *************************

“My name is ‘Jung Jae Min’. You can call me ‘Jae’,” the Korean defector said.

‘Okay Jae, Duncan has a rather simple mind. It isn’t so much a matter of intelligence as it is architecture. I can scan him and know that he’ not hiding anything.”

Jae nodded understanding.

“You’re a reader and what little I saw of your mind back when, your mind is both complex and convoluted. I couldn’t be sure that you weren’t hiding something from me. There is even the outside chance that you could download some sort of malware into my mind,” I said.

“I realize that as an Adept you can probably get out of those handcuffs fairly easily. The duct tape should be a bit more challenging, but it gives me some warning if you decide to boogie. By the way, anytime you change your mind about joining us, say so. I’ll put several strategic cuts in your duct tape and we’ll all go away—leaving you free to move on to wherever,” I said.

There was a commotion outside the abandoned factory. In walked the expert swordsman that had slain me so casually during the battle for the warehouse.

There was blood on his katana. Apparently he’d killed me yet again.

“So you’re the Japanese sword master,” I said as I drew my saber.

“‘Japanese?’ Do I look Oriental to you?” he seemed offended.

He was standing there with an OD brown gi top and OD brown kendo or aikido style elephant pants that were so loose and flowing that they looked like a skirt. He had a katana in hand and a wakizashi and a tanto thrust into his sash.

He was dark complexioned with cruel black eyes and long shiny jet-black hair.

“You do,” I said.

“I’m a brujo and a Mazatec Indian from Oaxaca Mexico,” he spat. “And after I defeat you, I’ll drink you blood and eat your heart to steal your power.”

“My aren’t the walls vertical?” I said. “ O, and about that other—go ahead if you’re able.”

I glanced at Jung Jae Min.


“Friend, they want you back pretty bad if they send this pouf to redeem your coupon,” I said to him. “If I were you, I’d start working your bonds loose.”

“I’m not here for the mind-rifler. I shall leave him untouched if he doesn’t interfere. I’m here to kill Duncan Sweet,” the Mazatec said.

“’Sweet’? Duncan and Little Boss’ last name is ‘Sweet’? How ironic. He’s not here. I intend to kill you anyway. You’re a naughty child living in a tumultuous age,” I told him.

“I too intend to kill you. Putting off a necessary battle only prolongs the discomfort.”

Sword fighting is largely a question of trying to cut the client’s sword arm off. Once that is accomplished cripples are easy to finish off.

That is mighty grim and merciless. That’s why you don’t fight unless you have to. One’s life is a small token to wager. The prospect of having one’s strong left arm chopped off is a scary thought.

An arm is largely useless without fingers. The fingers are small, vulnerable and on the most distal portion of the arm—often the part of oneself closest to the client.

Of course most swordsmen realize this and so it isn’t as terribly easy to chop off a client’s fingers as one might hope.

The Mazatec had a katana. Katanas have skimpy finger protection. The techniques compensate for this to a large degree or “stubby” would be popular slang for “Samurai”.

But I had my long saber’s luxuriant protection for my wrist and fingers so I could afford to snipe at my client’s relatively unprotected fingers. Another thing: a long-range one-hand thrust has more reach than a two-handed thrust.

I played it patient and thrust snap cuts at the Mazatec’s fingers or forearm whenever possible. Finally I scored a fairly good slash across the back of his right hand and then along his forearm.

Ever wonder why swordsmen seem to make a big deal out of “first blood’? For one thing, bleeding saps one’s strength very quickly. Bleeding even three or four ounces while in “fight or flight” mode makes a perceivable difference.

First blood is also a nice proof of concept. I was already committed to be the more patient of us. Now the longer I stalled the more he’d bleed.

Then a thrust penetrated a half-inch into the same forearm.

The brujo abruptly switched tactics. He drew his wakizashi with his left hand and launched a two handed attack on me that seemed taken from the berserker’s handbook. I took a long step back with my right leg and drew my right hand hanger.

He managed to slash my left deltoid rather deeply with his frenzied attack, but I thrust my hanger up under his ribcage and through his heart and I pumped and wiggled the blade around before I pulled it out. He got a good deep slash high on my right forearm as I backed out.

I created a small air bomb and slammed it into his left ear with my right hand. It pretty much mangled my fingers but I didn’t have any long-range aspirations for them anyway.

************ ***************** ***************************

I walked into the abandoned factory to find Jung Jae Min frantically trying to put a tourniquet on my spawn’s right arm and pleading with him not to die. Whatever.

Sometimes you eat chocolate chip cookies but sometimes the cookies eat you.

{It was a bear in the original version but my version makes more sense.}

I popped the poor spawn’s cork and realized that he’d been lingering to test Jae’s reactions.

Jae looked up with a silly expression on his face.

“He looked so real. His mind even felt real,” he said to no one in particular.

“Don’t bother to bind him again. Why take the trouble?” I said.

We spawned the kinjutsu volumes several times over. The spawned versions wouldn’t survive the spawn that had been cast with it, but while the spawn survived there was a bewildering array of volumes floating around.

That’s how I ended up riding in the back seat of a four-door pickup truck reading a bit of each book as we travelled. It would have been incautious to have both volumes with me otherwise. Never wrap all your baskets around one egg—so to speak.

“That’s in some foreign language," Ladonna said. “Maybe he Korean can read it.”

“This is Hiragana script. It’s Japanese not Korean. It’s hard to follow because it uses the old spellings and grammatical usages,” I said.

“You can read it?” she asked.

“Of course, do I look ignorant?”

“What about the other book?” Ladonna asked.

“That’s clerical Latin circa the early medieval era,” I said.

“And you read Latin too?” she queried.

“What kind of school did you go to Ladonna? They didn’t teach Latin. They didn’t teach Hiragana. Did they teach Kanji or Katakana? No? Damned Nation! Next you’ll be telling me that you can’t solve multiple linear equations and that you didn’t study Riemann Geometry or three-phase wiring.”

I was teasing Ladonna. After I’d learned Spanish, Portuguese, Eye-Talian and a bit of Catalan Latin was easy. I’m sure that Ladonna studied Riemann Geometry and advanced linear algebra in grade school just like every other schoolchild in America.

Some of the stuff that I was skimming from the books was thought provoking and some of it was profoundly disturbing.

As soon as we were back in the village I needed to request permission to study the books in more depth before they destroyed them. Unless and until they could wrest the originals and all copies from all and sundry destroying these volumes was beyond pointless.

It would be stupid—Dunno stupid.




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Old 09-15-2015, 01:32 PM
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Chapter Thirteen





“Never argue with an idiot”, they say. “Arguing with an idiot makes you look like an idiot yourself.”

There is more than a little truth in in that. Another problem with trying to reason with an idiot is that even when you thoroughly demolish each and every one of his points, he’s too jack stupid to realize that he’s been soundly defeated.

Sometimes though, when an idiot holds the keys to the kingdom and taking the keys by force isn’t an option then you plead. It’s not that you expect it to do any good. It’s just that you have to try.

Dunno met us when we arrived in the village and he had every guard and sympathizer with him.

“Dunno please! Some of these techniques would strengthen the village’s fighting force immensely. All of the techniques in these books aren’t punishing or destructive to the Adepts that use them. Everything is jumbled around and scrambled together and can be separated given time,” I pleaded for the fifth or sixth time.

“Yeah, like you can read Japanese and Latin,” Dunno scoffed.

At this point, why try to set the shabnasticator straight?

“Hand over the books or fight us for them,” Dunno said.

I noted that he was wearing turtleneck and not a suit and tie.

I made a face like I’d just been told that I had to eat a cereal bowl full of steaming rabbit turds and made a silent gesture for my team to hand over the two disputed volumes.

It made me wish that I’d made my own copies before we ever reentered the village…

No wait, I did make my own copies before I reentered the village—multiple copies in fact. If I hadn’t then I’d have been as stupid as the knob-gobbler occupying the black room—village slang for the mayor’s office—only by folks who have issues with the current administration.

************** ****************** ****************************

Two years passed relatively uneventfully. I continued training folk who couldn’t get into the academy. Also I continued to polish and improve my books on tradecraft—even though we were rarely sent out, even on overnight missions—so I was rarely away from my students.

Dunno was seeking to surround us—we were a serious irritation to him—with layer after layer of malignant neglect. Instead of being suffocated or stifled though we used the time to become a pearl.

I started getting graduates. Of course even a fair student, let alone a good or excellent student continues to learn all his life—or maybe that’s too tough a standard. Lets say they’re improving their skill and understanding at least up into their late fifties or mid-sixties. Some folk are pretty much used up and run down a bit by then.

The point was, I could pretty well teach everything that I had to teach in two years, not the academy’s three. I started getting graduates.

Dunno refused to recognize or use our graduates so they simply joined my team. That was all well and good, except for one problem. Everyone on my team who’d graduated from the academy was entitled to casual pay with a hefty bonus for being part of a rapid deployment force.

Most of my students had to hold down at least a part time job to put beans on the burner and to put powder and primers together.

*************** ******************** ***********************************

The Japanese manual didn’t use The Outfit’s chakra tree to manipulate chi of course. They used a system based on five elements corresponding to five centers of energy in the human body:

“Earth, water, air, fire and the void.”

“Earth” translates to all things in a solid state. “Water” is liquid. “Air” is gaseous, "Fire" is matter in the plasma state and “The Void” is a vacuum. Each of the five elements has its is own color and finger position to represent it along with its own musical note.

The Latin Volume spoke of the four “Humours”:

“Black Bile”, “Yellow Bile”, “Phlegm” and “Blood”.

It surprised me how rapidly that I learned to visualize each system, though the texts were sometimes rather obscure. That wasn’t deliberate. Try to teach a small child to drink from a straw or how to whistle. Words just don’t tell the whole story. At some point you need to fall back on demonstration and imitation.

Once I knew how a skill worked and felt it working through me I could translate it into the chakra tree system—and as I have said, skilled Adepts have been developing, pruning and evolving The Outfit’s system for two or three hundred years.

The name of the genius that first decided that the mental images were merely abstractions that let trainees and Adepts grasp something that was largely ineffable has been lost to time. The best that I could tell the other two groups were handicapped by believing that their mental constructs connected to something real and actually “out there” somewhere.

I extracted five usable skills from the Yokahama shinobi book and a couple from the book in Latin.

Many, no most of the skills I wouldn’t touch with the tip of a long fly rod. Some aged the user dramatically with each use. Some caused progressive deterioration of the eyesight or memory. They gave a whole new meaning to the old canard:

“Can I do it till I need glasses?”

If the world can’t be saved without me damaging my eyesight, then goodbye world.

There were also some very dangerous and potentially blasphemous stuff—how to summon demons, spirits and haints and how to make covenants with them.

God, the Holy Ghost and angels cannot be summoned by any sort of necromancing. If they could that would mean that they were constrained by the power of the necromancer and must appear wherever he commanded.

The very air is so filled with unclean spirits though that if they were composed of matter they would have to fly in holding patterns to avoid collisions. Their only agenda is to lie, kill, cheat and then destroy. It is inconceivable for any of them to wish anyone or anything the slightest good.

They are not constrained by any form of necromancing either. Think about that for a moment. Why would God in his infinite wisdom forbid all commerce with spirits and then build all sorts of compulsions into reality to let the disobedient order the demons around and profit by their disobedience?

Sometimes though, demons will play along with someone’s delusions long enough to cause all sorts of serious mischief.

Apparently these particular unclean sprits had been hanging with and humoring shinobi and alchemists for centuries. Once I realized that a book—each volume contained multiple books, some little more than a pamphlet—was a grimoire I skipped that book.

The whole thing caused me to do some soul-searching. The Old Testament says:

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

It also speaks against “Familiar Spirits” whatever that meant at the time. The New Testament says, “Sorcerers will not inherit he kingdom of God.”

Was what I was doing “Witchcraft”?

I had never thought so. The Outfit wasn’t exactly scientific—there were far too many things in their system that couldn’t be explained or described. They could only be experienced. Nonetheless things were presented in a spirit of open inquiry and there was no calling on “Spirits” or “Essences”. Everything was rational, mechanistic and impersonal with little or no “Woo” factor.

But these two volumes seemed so intertwined with appeals to unclean spirits that it was hard to distil a clean and impersonal technique from them.

Maybe I thought to myself, these volumes should be destroyed—except that didn’t address the fact that there were multiple copies of the volumes floating around in the world.

I went from fifteen first wave spawn to sixteen. Something told me that I was topping out on the number of spawn. Every one of the first-wave had power levels over 6.0 though and their power continued to climb. I had eleven second wave spawn at 4.3 seven third wave at 3.1. And as a last resort I had four fourth wave spawn at 2.1.

Each of my spawn could throw larger numbers of dry spawn than almost anyone. I’d beefed up my dry spawn noticeably but I’d seemed to leveled them out at the maximum power and longevity possible—at least for the nonce.

I carefully separated out the usable jutsu and put it an a fourth volume of tradecraft that I was composing.

************** ****************** ************************

I’ve said that there are several Cherokee farms and villages in the same swath of land as the village. Some of the villages have their own egress points into the outer world. You see a few Cherokee in the village occasionally—usually shopping.

None of them ever bothered me so I never bothered them. Although I was curious I figured that they concealed their villages for a reason and that it would be rude of me to barge in uninvited.

I don’t have any idea how Cherokees dressed back in Daniel Boone days. A few period portraits that I’ve seen show them wearing white shirts with a string tie and black suit jacket. Today they seem to like mellow brown colored buckskin adorned with multiple Indian beads and dyed porcupine quills. They seemed really into bone necklaces and chokers and belts of wampum and many wore silver and turquoise jewelry.

Some of it may be anachronistic or from groups that lived west or north of the Cherokee. The thing is: we have television and radio in the the village and the surrounding countryside. We also have DVD players, VHS, computers and Internet access and a steady stream of modern goods—like books and magazines—flowing in from the outside.

Some of the families even send their children to school on the outside—rarely for more than a year or two—just so they know how folks act and talk in the outside world.

So the Cherokee are exposed to certain stereotypes of Indians just like everyone else. They may have chosen to adopt some of those stereotypes for reasons of their own.

************** ****************** *********************************

Thomas was a Cherokee who chose to live in the village for reasons best known to himself and he’d been attending my classes for the last couple of years.

“Do you know that here are at least two enclaves like this one in the Everglades?” Thomas asked me. “That is one reason that the United States never managed to completely crush the Seminole.”

“Okay.”

I couldn’t see where this was leading.

“What do you know about the drug trade?” he hopscotched.

“Very little,” I admitted.

“A lot of the drugs from South America are flown into Florida and there are parts of the Everglades that are reasonably close to a good road and they’re often used as discrete arrival points,” Thomas said.

It’s hard to keep up with such things unless one has an abiding interest. However it was my understanding that any drugs not destined solely for the Florida trade end up being transported overland through Georgia and that Georgia offers a number of advantages for folks who want to fly straight there instead of Florida. That’s one reason that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States—having more personnel than some federal agencies.

“Our tribal elders stay in touch with the Seminole elders. There is going to be a big shipment into the Glades soon and it is going to be cash on delivery. If your team will help us take them down then your team’s cut of the cash will be three hundred thousand dollars,” Thomas said.

“I don’t know Thomas. I can’t really get behind the drug dealers. Drugs destroy many people’s lives. On the other hand, the ‘War on Drugs’ and black-market prices do far more harm than the drugs themselves ever could. At any rate, stealing from drug dealers would make me no better than any other thief,” I said.

“We thought you might say that. First of all, this is the same North Korean backed Russian mob that was turning people into basket cases in Chicago. Their sound defeat at the hands of The Outfit drove them out of Chicago for a few years but now they’re coming back. They’re also branching out and growing,” Thomas said. “Think of it as an act of war.”

“The Seminole would have been content to live and let live. However a family happened to live near one of their ersatz landing fields. They weren’t Seminole by the way. But at any rate, they tortured and killed the whole family. I have crime scene photos if you doubt the elders’ fidelity,” Thomas told me.

I didn’t particularly distrust the elders but I spent several moments examining each of the photos in detail. Know your enemy.

“Finally, I can offer you these as further inducement.” He said while handing me two slim volumes.

“This is in Cherokee,” I said. “I can’t read it, but I recognize the script.”

I set the book aside to look at the other.

“This is Korean. It’s in Hangul. No wait, it’s in Hunminjeongeum,” I said.

“What’s the difference?”

“Well since the partitioning, South Korea and North Korea’s writing systems have diverged. Hunminjeongeum is the root they both started from,” I said.

“So you can read the Korean book of kinjutsu?” Thomas asked.

“Slowly and painfully,” I said.

“The elders said that you’d probably say that. Here’s an English translation of the Cherokee as well. They said that it wouldn’t be right to try to bribe you. They said that after you’d examined each of the three volumes to tell you that they are a gift no matter what you decide,” Thomas said.

So it was time to rob some drug dealing Adepts as well as their very brutal but Non-Adept running dogs.

**************** ******************* ***************************

I wanted to use as few folk as possible. I’d go. My sixteen first wave and eleven second wave wet spawns would be a strike force all on its own.

I’d take Gerald because he could throw almost as many spawn as I could. I was used to working with Ladonna. David’s drones would supplement our aerial surveillance. I added James because he was one of the better firearms handlers around and Chandra because she and James were an inseparable team.

The Russians liked AK-47s or failing that, some other high rate of firepower carbine. I supposed that we could have gone up against them with AKs or ARs or something of the like.

Semiautomatic AKs and ARs are expensive. I had a couple or three of each—but that wouldn’t begin to cover even my own spawn. I thought that illegal NFA firearms were too much of a liability—even within the village. They cause far too many federal agencies to target a man’s scrotum.

There had been a great number of Lee-Enfields available dirt-cheap a few years earlier. Like a fool I let the opportunity pass me by. The Cherokee had bought them up in large numbers though. They gifted us with a gross of them.

They were “Sporterized” which I generally took to mean “Neutered”. In this case though, they’d been sporterized to turn them into Scout Rifles. Even trimmed down to Jungle Carbine dimensions with the lighter Semi Monte Carlo stocks they were a bit heavy to be true Scouts—but they were very formidable at the right range.

Each one had a Scout scope of course, but they also had a laser sight for use in low-light conditions. I intended to have my people’s spawn already in place—no closer than eighty yards and no farther away than a hundred and twenty yards.

The Russian mobsters—even those born and raised in the US—seemed to fight with very little regard for life or limb. The one’s associated with the North Korean Adepts were worse. I suspect that the Adepts had hexed their minds to make them both absolutely loyal and to purge any residual thoughts of self-preservation.

I had little doubt that this would turn into a “last man standing” type of firefight.

Yip-Ee-Ki-Aay Dudes!




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Old 09-17-2015, 01:01 PM
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Chapter Fourteen






In the end Duncan and Saul came along too. He sensed something was up and he was going, no discussion or dissuasion possible.

Duncan turned out to have more native wit than I’d given him credit for—not that he was a genius but he wasn’t a moron either. His mind and his personality had been repressed rather drastically—both deliberately and as a by-product of overstimulating his body.

I had tried to persuade him to learn tradecraft and especially spawning by saying that his brother might come back at him someday with a sumo at power level 15.0—as shaky a measurement of power level as 15.0 would be.

Now Duncan could now throw five wet spawn with power levels of 16.0 and two second wave at 12.0. He’d also learned a few new skills that had nothing to do with brute strength.

He now weighed four hundred and five pounds—having lost a hundred and sixty pounds—and I believe that he was physically stronger than ever. That’s because it is far more efficient to stimulate your own body from within rather than have someone else do it from outside.

Some feats of strength are limited by how much ballast one can bring to the table—especially pushing and pulling movements. Duncan would be weaker with those than he had been at five hundred and sixty five pounds. On the other hand he was far quicker, more agile and had far more endurance.

I’d say that the new Duncan would whip the old Duncan easily.

Despite my misgivings about automatic weapons, Duncan prevailed on the Cherokee armorers to loan him six M-60s—belt fed machineguns in .308 caliber.

No, I have no idea where the Cherokee got them. The stork brought them?

I couldn’t spawn a Lee-Enfield at all well—but I could spawn a single-shot H&R copy in .45-70. The caliber was so that even a low pressure spawned load would have stomp-them-flat stopping power.

Each spawn was created with the two big .45 caliber revolvers that I carried. Today I also wore one of the cranky little Star replicas I spawned the .45-70.

I issued each of them a real time Enfield—no clowning around there. The idea was that once the clients were in sight, each wet spawn would throw a half a dozen dry spawn and arm one of them with the H&R .45-70 and another with the Star along with three extra magazines. The four remaining dry spawn would charge in like berserkers, Kunai in hand and add to the general confusion.

Vultures circled far overhead. Occasionally I’d tune into one directly and experience the panoramic view. My crows and ravens were divided into three apparent flocks. They should have sufficient numbers to stand off any local flocks that chose to defend their territory.

Anyway, they were bigger and stronger than natural birds. They had faster reflexes, greater intelligence and some ability to use chi. One of their chi abilities was to hit any would-be avian challenger with a big psychedelic blast of unpleasant hallucinations.

*************** **************** **************************************

The plane came in right before dawn to take advantage of the night. We waited until they’d unloaded all their goods. The work would tend to wear them out a bit. Also, the receivers weren’t going to come forward with the cash until the merchandise was all stacked and accounted for.

It wouldn’t take a plane anywhere near that size to carry millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Apparently though, the coke was in addition to a large amount of baled marijuana. I guess that you could call them equal opportunity smugglers.

I could pick out the Russian mob members. They were the ones standing guard with AKs or laboring with two or three pistols in plain sight.

The Korean Adepts stood and watched. They had no weapons showing but they used their chi to cool them off enough that they could comfortably wear suit jackets or even long dusters despite the heat—close to one hundred degree—high humidity.

It is strange. Even after spending years as an Adept I still think of myself primarily as a pistolero. It’s who and what I am. Yet here I was fighting folk who were largely invulnerable to pistol fire.

Most of the Russians went down went down with the first volley. Truth be told, there was more than one sniper targeting most of the Russians when the skirmish began. We cleaned up any that had slipped through the cracks within a couple minutes.

Apparently even a couple of the North Koreans—or at least their spawn—were vulnerable to rifle fire.

Then the real battle began.

The six Koreans watching the monetary transaction were only the tip of the iceberg. The woods were full of Korean Adepts, Cherokee Adepts, Seminole Adepts and my students.

The Korean boss was there in the flesh. He was so powerful that he eschewed hiding behind spawn.

He charged one of my sniper spawn.

************ ************* *************************

I lined my sights up on a Russian. When the signal was given—via a “silent” dog whistle inaudible to Non-Adept ears, I shot and hit my client right between his shoulder blades. As I worked the bolt of my Enfield the Boss Korean charged me.

I shot him at close range and saw my bullet freeze and then drop to the ground.

I’d anticipated the need to fight Adepts at close range. I set the rifle down and drew a hanger—far easier to spawn than the big saber—and I shot a very powerful thrust at the Boss Korean.

It was a no-go. Even my most powerful chi assisted thrust with a chi-sheathed blade couldn’t penetrate his aura. It stopped a good six inches from his body. Then I was pushed backward via the force transmitted through the blade—for an instant.

He slapped my blade contemptuously aside and took my head off with a single chop of his open hand.

************* **************** *************************

Three more of my wet spawn fell to the Korean—but that wasn’t his prime objective. He was using them to triangulate my position somehow. I’m still not entirely sure how that jutsu works.

He met me with my saber in my left hand and a thirteen-inch buckler—a small shield but with its own unique manual of arms—in my right hand.

“I’m surprised that you’re not farther from the battle and harder to find. It seems that you fancy yourself a swordsman—so I came prepared,” the Korean said.

He produced a scimitar from thin air—one of those that look like a very elongated Bowie with a deeply recurving swedge ten or twelve inches long and a deeply curved belly. It was a bit longer and far heavier than my saber.

The scimitar didn’t have much hand protection. I tried to snipe at his fingers or hand a half dozen times only to be rewarded with sparks where the chi sheath on my saber met his adamantine chi force field.

“Do you want to fight or play?” he asked in contempt.

Now the smart thing would have been to keep sniping. I wasn’t under any sort of time limit. Instead I chose to stake everything on one thrust.

As his shield absorbed my thrust he counter thrust and ran the blade right through my torso even severing my spine.

A fraction of a second later I turned into a flock of ravens and flew every which way. I’d wanted to try that in combat ever since I’d found it in the kinjutsu. It isn’t nearly as satisfying as it looks because it is an illusion. It’s just a wet spawn using short term dry spawned ravens to make a flashy exit.

“I’m over here Knob-Gobbler,” I said from fifteen yards behind him. “Its never that easy to find the real me.”

I got the idea from his facial expression that he didn’t like me.

I’d picked my area well. I was standing on an incline and he had to attack uphill. It wasn’t a big advantage but it was. I’d foreseen that I might have to fight this fellow and I knew his force field would be problematic. So I’d armed myself with one of the big two-handed great swords and I wore gauntlets to further protect my digits.

My first attack was a massive overhead slash with the great sword. He parried.

It was over quickly. I thrust the sword like it was a battering ram while holding onto the big ring guard intended for that purpose with my right arm. It managed to break through his aura and penetrate him almost to the hilt.

I hesitated momentarily uncertain whether I should try to churn the sword and twist it, try to withdraw it or abandon it and draw my saber.

The hesitation was costly. Hesitation often is. His return cut severed my forearm just below the elbow.

“I’ve walked this Earth for over two hundred years and then I’m defeated by a fool. But you will remember me every time you try to tie your shoes or open a can,” the Korean said with red drool cascading out of his mouth.

“I’m afraid not dude. I’m a wet spawn—a very special type of wet spawn. The kinjutsu word is a tongue twister. I call them ‘The Big Kahunas’,” I said and popped my cork so he’d know that I wasn’t bluffing.

Once I had popped out one of Gerald’s spawn was toting a big flamethrower. He came out of hiding and immolated the dying Adept. You have to be triply sure that you’ve wasted an Adept.

************* ***************** ***************************

The aftermath was largely a matter of gathering the money and picking up Enfields that had been dropped by popped wet spawn. The Enfields were a gift from the Cherokee but the M-60s weren’t.

I could see the look on some law’s face at a traffic stop.

“Why come y’all gots so many Enfields?” the law asks.

“EE…because I’m starting a militia?”

The M-60s would be even harder to explain.

Since the Cherokee had taken them back, it would be their headache.

They also decided that they had some use for a couple kilos of Cocaine and a bale of grass. I doubt that they dealt. If that were the case, they’d have taken everything.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that they were doing some business with some heavy-duty arms merchants. I’d imagine that only the most lunatic fringe arms dealers would smoke dope or shoot a syringe full of cocaine while doing business.

But lets face it, having Adept powers made dealing with lunatics more reasonable—since even if they flipped their lid it would be hard for them to hurt an Adept—especially if he was cautious and sent a spawn in his place. So maybe sweetening vendors with blow and Ganga was good business practice.

The Seminole expertly dismembered the bodies of the Russians and Koreans and sunk them in the swamp. I hoped that the gators and snapping turtles would come and feast on them before any human bodyparts were discovered.

Then I saw a prehistoric sized alligator climb out of the water and commune silently with a Seminole.

“Don’t tell me…” I started to say.

“You run crows and ravens. Cary runs rats. David runs electronic toys and Duncan has Saul. Some of the Seminole run gators,” Thomas said.

“I wouldn’t think a gator had enough brains to do anything useful,” I said.

“Well, they mold them even as their parents and many great-great grandparents were molded. They have four chambered hearts, a brain that’s thirty percent larger and supercharged muscle and reflexes when they need them,” Thomas said and then added:

“Anyway, they are more than smart enough to answer the dinner bell. That gets rid of evidence quickly. Also, much of the Seminole land is only accessible by boat. What happens when a canoe or a john boat is hit by a six or seven hundred pound beefed up Seminole gator?”

“By the way Thomas, about the Cherokee…” I started.

“They are my kin and my people and I have useful contacts among them. I will try to do my kinfolk or the elders a solid when I can. That doesn’t make me any less of a team member,” Thomas said.

“Spoil, I was considered a full-fledged Adept by my people before I came to the village. Yet you’ve taught me things that I didn’t know. You also have a gift for teaching—especially with people having some sort of difficulty. The academy isn’t wrong in their assessment of these people’s potential—though we might disagree with how they deal with the slow learners.

“But you manage to make many of them full-fledged Adepts in spite of that. Dunno is throwing away many strong warriors when he refuses to use your graduates,” Thomas said.

As we prepared to depart Ladonna handed me something

“I got this from a dead Russian. I thought that you might like it,” Ladonna said.

I was apprehensive lest she brought me a body part as a souvenir. I’m not squeamish, but think how it might sound in court some day.

It turned out to be a Coonan—a 1911A1 upsized to handle .357 Magnum cartridges. They’re scarce and very expensive. This one had its own inside the waistband holster and two two-round magazine pouches—though there were only three extra magazines.

“I looked around, but I couldn’t find a dropped magazine anywhere,” Ladonna said.

“Maybe that’s all he had, I shrugged.

Our fee was three hundred thousand dollars, but there turned out to be a bit more money than the planners had thought. The Cherokee with their strict code of honesty whacked fair and gave us three hundred and eighty five thousand dollars.

That meant that I could pay everyone and add in a hefty bonus and still have a wee bit over two hundred thousand in Team Soil’s treasury.

We were going to need it.

************ *************** ***************************

“You have been practicing forbidden jutsu,” Dunno’s aide told me. “And you have taken on contracts on your own—in conjunction with The Cherokee of all people. Whose side are you on?”

Dunno sat dressed in a purple gi. I guess that he didn’t want me to cut his tie again. I also guess that he also didn’t trust himself not to raise his voice.

“Yeah, about that—are we at war with The Cherokee? If we are, I hadn’t heard. If you’d throw some missions to my team we wouldn’t have to take on side jobs,” I said.

“You are to leave the village immediately and never come back,” the aide told me solemnly.

“I and my team will leave, but it will take us a few hours to gather our things,” I said in a tone that brooked no argument.

“Arrest this man! Give him a good beating and throw him out the gate!” Dunno screamed. “Without his corrupting influence many of the others can be reclaimed.”

That last bit of explanation seemed addressed to no one in particular.

There were six guards in purple gi tops lining the wall behind and to either side of me. I waited until they had started to move towards me and I exploded into a bunch of angry ravens. By the time they’d gotten the ravens out of their faces and got over the surprise I was standing behind Dunno with a big Bowie to his throat.

“Sooner or later you’ll tire,” Dunno told me with some satisfaction. “When you do, you will either cut my throat or release me. Then my guards will kill you.”

“About that Dunno, I’m a spawn. I’m in contact with my team. I’m giving them ninety minutes to pack and get out. Then I will pop my cork and join them. It is still my geas to kill you some day, but not yet,” I told him.

************* ***************** *****************************

I took a few essentials from my room. It wasn’t the time to be sentimental and load myself down with all the little things that turn quarters into a home…

But when I locked the door I used a kinjutsu to seal it. In the absence of some very strong sensory chi it would look like the room had simply vanished. Neither the door nor the window would be visible from without.

They would know a room was missing from the missing number and the fact that there were more rooms on one side that the other. Measuring the length of the building from outside or the length of the hallway from the inside and comparing it to the combined measurements of the other rooms would reveal a discrepancy. None of that would help anyone to find my room. The sealing was similar to the seal on the village—though it was much smaller. It only took one person to work it and there was less possibility of circumventing it.

About “The Big Kahunas”: I’ve never been to Hawaii or even the West Coast and I’ve never been enamored by the surfer culture—but the name just seemed to fit.

My first wave had gotten to a rather wobbly seventeen while my second wave stood at twelve. As I said, I had gotten to the point that I couldn’t expect to add more than one or two more, and that over long periods of time.

The forbidden technique let me cast three “Big Kahunas”. A big kahuna was like a super wet spawn that could cast wet spawn all on his own. Three was the number. I either had to cast three big kahunas or none. When I cast them I sent my ability to cast my first and second wave with them.

Each big kahuna could cast six first wave with a power level about a tenth of a point lower than if I’d cast them—but note: there is another spawn added to the mix. The second wave would be very close in power to what I’d do on my own.

I had my third and fourth waves relatively intact and I don’t know quite how to explain it—it seemed similar to all those electron orbitals in chemistry. My first wave and second wave orbitals were largely filled—although unlike electron orbitals spawn orbitals could grow a bit over time.

But I had room for more and higher powered spawn in the inner two orbitals—not to mention that splitting my chi into three gave each big kahuna more potential orbital spots eventually—though the chi expenditure would become epic.

Big kahunas could last for weeks or even months. Not only did they add three more copies of me into the mix…

For some obscure reason each big kahuna not only had one hundred percent of my power and chi—but even a bit more. Big Kahunas could do the raven trick and teleport ten or fifteen yards in the process—like I’d done to the Boss Korean and Dunno. I could and did do chi building exercises with each big kahuna. Progress was slow, but it was progress. No one could tell—so far as I’d been able to learn—a big kahuna from the original.

There were downsides. There always are. I had to split my flock at the outset and while a big kahuna lived, I couldn’t access those birds—just when I’d started to get the numbers up to where I’d wanted them.

I had to divest myself of my first and second wave for the duration. And the experience and leftover chi from popped first and second wave spawn went back to the kahuna who’d spawned him and not me. In fact, I don’t know what sort of limbo the experiences and residual chi paused in, but while even one of the kahunas lived, I didn’t get anything returned from them to me.

Sometimes a kahuna showed initiative and independent thought that was a bit scary.

Finally, it didn’t happen immediately but once all big kahuna had popped and returned to me I was due for a major crash—the kind where I barely had the strength to climb out of bed once or twice a day and load up on high calorie, high protein and high chi food and drink and then stagger back to bed for more sleep.

************* ****************** **************************

Once my ninety minutes were up I laughed maniacally, gave Dunno a nice schmisse across one cheek and popped my cork.

I was happy that we’d seen fit to put tiny cameras in various places at the headquarters. It was a joy to see Dunno and the guards’ faces when I did the ravens—especially the second time where I simply disappeared.

************* ***************** ****************************

So what to do?

I had about four hundred and fifty people come with me. It wasn’t just Adepts and students. I had carpenters, plumbers and stone masons, cooks, armorers and tailors come with our team. Dunno had started to become a royal pain to many and I was popular.

I’d discovered a vocation as a teacher. I had some excellent teachers like Homer Sensei, Coach Brown and Coach O’Brian come with me.

I decided that I wanted to build a dojo in the outside world. It would charge fees for those that could afford them, but no one would be turned away. Those that trained diligently would be introduced to the more advanced tradecraft.

Two hundred thousand dollars would build a reasonably nice dojo if we used a pole building. Especially since we’d brought much of our gear with us and we had beaucoup construction tradesmen in our group. It didn’t answer the question of what to do with all the Non-Adept in our entourage.

While I sat and brooded Thomas walked up with a dude that looked like he’d walked out of a “Snuffy Smith” cartoon complete with bib overalls and black stovepipe hillbilly hat.

“How would y’all like to relocate in Macersville?” the man asked.





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Old 09-18-2015, 12:47 AM
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Chapter Fifteen







I never figured that Macersville Kentucky was a real place. It certainly isn’t on any map of Kentucky. You won’t find it with any Google search. In fact, I got curious once and looked it up. There isn’t a city of Macersville in any state of the union. There’s no town of that name in Canada, Mexico or New Zealand either.

When I was a boy I remember my cousin Wizard entertaining us kids with stories about Macersville and other tales at Thanksgiving and Christmas or at the big summer picnics.

We all called him “Wizard”. Someone had hung that tag on him because he claimed to encounter haints and the occult everywhere that he went—at least to hear him tell it. I’m sure that I heard his real name sometime but it was a long time ago and my memory for names has always been poor.

My father could have told me, but he’s gone and there’s no one left to ask.

Wizard drove a 1975 Ford E-150 van. It had aftermarket four-wheel drive and it was candy apple red.

Now the way wizard told it, there are vans for many purposes. There are vans used by businesses as delivery vehicles and a lot of tradesmen like plumbers, locksmiths, heating and air conditioner repairmen use them to haul gear and a ready supply of the most frequently needed parts.

Churches and even schools that don’t have enough people to even justify a short bus get one with three bench seats in the back and use it as a mini-bus. If you put two or four captain’s chairs in the back along with an icebox and card table with drink holders bolted to the floor it can be a luxurious means to transport VIPs. Many Ambulances are converted vans.

Then there are randy young bucks that think of their van as a sort of elegant hip and psychedelic boudoir they tote around with them like a hermit crab and his periwinkle shell.

Wizard said that the one thing you never see much thought put into is how to fix a van up as a one-man camper for a travelling working man who doesn’t always have the price of a motel room.

Wizard said that for him, one of the worst parts of trying to live out of a van was trying to put your pants on of a morning. You just have to lie on your back, pull them up to your buttocks and then kick and hunch and curse trying to get over your rump.

He said that he was always astonished to see a van where someone had taken the time and expense to remove the factory roof and then the riser that they install still isn’t tall enough to let you stand upright.

On the other hand, raising the roof eighteen to twenty four inches increases air drag and sends gas mileage into the toilet.

He’d seen a newspaper photo one time that was his inspiration. Someone had taken an old Volkswagen Beetle and taken the top: Front windshield, back windshield, roof and side windows and used it as a van’s skylight.

It was a nice moon roof. It gave him room to stand in one place—which he only needed to do once daily—to pull his pants on. It was very aerodynamic. And he had it fixed with screens and he could take out the cross windows for ventilation. On a really cold night, there were snaps to let him seal the top portion off with a cover.

Wizard didn’t like carpet in a van. He said it was nigh impossible to keep clean when you actually live in your van.

“A van with a linoleum floor could be cleaned with an old ‘T’ shirt and a half pint of water,” Wizard always said.

He believed in a full-length bed.

“How many nights can a man sleep all curled up in a five foot cross-body beds before his back starts killing him?” Wizard always asked.

Now Wizard drove his van way back into the woods for some reason. He said that he wanted some time to do some serious thinking. He took quite a bit of food and he spent two or three months camping in sight of his van. He was running out of food so he cut way back on food the last couple weeks.

When no epiphany seized him, he fasted for several days. Later he said that he wasn’t sure how many. He was smart enough to know that if he waited too long he might be too weak and lightheaded to drive. He’d saved a can of Salmon, a half pound bag of peanut M&Ms and two sixteen ounce cokes—that was back before twenty once soft drinks became common.

Wizard came down out of the sticks and he had to drive part of the way back to the paved road along a coal-clinker service road that ran beside the railroad tracks.

Part way back he noticed a very “inviting” two rut trail through the chigger weeds and notwithstanding his desire to get the salmon and peanut M&Ms some company, he felt constrained to turn off and explore it.

By he time wizard wanted to give up, there was nowhere to turn around. Wizard wasn’t one of the better drivers at backing up. A four-wheel drive van isn’t the easiest vehicle to back any great distance and Wizard was still a bit unsteady from his long fast.

He just kept driving while hoping he’d come to a place that it was possible to turn around.

Wizard came out in a meadow and there was a small town visible in the distance. Rather than thread the needle once more Wizard drove across the meadow into the town.

It was an odd town. There was a VHS Tape rental place and Wizard had never heard of any of the movies or actors or actresses in any of the movies. The stores didn’t have any of the brands that he’d ever heard of—not even candy, soft drinks or cigarettes.

When Wizard went to the pharmacy and bought a bottle of aspirin, the druggist tried to sell Wizard an ounce of liquid morphine and olde tyme looking reusable glass syringe.

The town marshal was a toothless old man who wore bib overalls and carried a Colt Single Action in .38-40. Wizard said that he looked kinda like the longhaired and long-bearded elf on the old Frosty Root Beer signs.

The thing that mystified Wizard the most was that there were no roads leading to the town from the outside world and no railroad tracks either. He demonstrated that to himself many times over, driving round and around the town.

Supplies had to get there from somewhere. Airlifts and underground railways seemed equally improbable.

No matter how many times he asked the locals and no matter how he phrased the questions, they simply didn’t seem able to understand what he was saying.

Wizard met The Pale Lady there in Macersville.

As one of the townspeople explained to him, a Pale Lady just missed being an albino. She’d have pale ditchwater blond hair, skin the color of a Kabuki Dancer and eyes of the palest washed out blue.

Pale Ladies are almost never ill, but they seem to be very low-energy people. They have little interest in fashion, fine clothes, fancy food or even money. They don’t seem to have much if any interest in love, courtship, parenthood or sex. Passion about anything seems denied them.

Pale Ladies rarely marry and if the odd one does, she will almost never have children. They seem to be in touch with animals, especially wild animals and growing things. Many become midwives and herb doctors and in olden times they were often suspected of being witches.

Pale Ladies are not nearly as common as they once were, Wizard’s informant told him. Some thought that if you had a long family tree where first cousin marriages were the rule rather than the exception and then someone committed a major incestuous faux pas…

But sometimes it took two or three generations for such a snag in the bloodline to throw a Pale Lady. And there were women who were generally assumed to be the product of incest who had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and nary a Pale Lady in the wood pile.

Wizard was quite taken by the Pale Lady and the garrulous old man told him to follow his heart.

“After all,” he told Wizard, “The reason that I know so much about Pale Ladies and in spite of everything that I’ve just told you…my mother was a Pale Lady.”

Wizard won the Pale Lay’s heart, but before they were wed, he insisted on going back to the outside world to wrap up a few affairs and to collect a few belongings.

The eyes of the Pale Lady ad never been meant to ever shed tears of either sadness or joy. Her heart was never supposed to feel even the mildest of emotions.

She cried as she pleaded with Wizard not to leave.

“If you leave now, you will never return,” she told Wizard over and over.

Do you remember where Jesus says that sometimes the Holy Ghost closes a man’s ears lest hearing, he understand? And how he sometimes blinds folk, lest seeing they believe?

It isn’t always the Holy Ghost that prevents true understanding. In Wizard’s case—he thought that she meant to say that once away from her for a few days, he’d lose his desire to return.

No, she meant that he wouldn’t be able to. Wizard discovered that a few days later. Search as he would he couldn’t find the way back to Macersville. The last time that I saw Wizard, he’d been searching for over twenty years.

He told me that Macersville Kentucky is close to Cawood Kentucky not far from either Harlan Kentucky or Pennington Gap Virginia. I heard that he’d branched out into Western Kentucky, Tennessee, Southern Indiana, Montana, Arizona and once he left his trademark red Ford custom van behind and spent a few months looking for Macersville in Northern New Zealand.

My van is a 1988 Ford Econoline 350. Wizard always said that he’d get a 350 if he had it to do over again. Like Wizard’s mine has been converted to four-wheel drive and it has a Volkswagen top for a skylight. It has linoleum on the floors too. Mine is the blackest of jet-black imaginable rather than Wizard’s candy apple red.

I didn’t drive it much except in the village or on short personal errands in town. It was too distinctive and on a mission it might always become necessary to crash, scuttle or abandon a vehicle.

Root was a cousin twenty or thirty years older than Wizard. He had dementia, was slowly dying and he was raising Hell and demanding to talk to a family member. I was the only one both left and willing.

“You’re not Wizard!” Root shouted.

“Now that we have that out of the way, how can I help you?” I asked him.

In between rants about freshwater graymeat mermaids—I mean, aren’t all mermaids graymeat? I’ve never seen a representation of a black mermaid…

“Tell Wizard that he has to cross the river. It isn’t the O-Hi-O—damn sure not the O-Hi-O. It’s not the Allegheny or the Monongahela. It isn’t the Snake River in Idaho. It’s not the Klondike or the Wabash. It’s not the Rio Grande or the Congo. It’s not even the river Lethe,” Root rambled.

“Tell Wizard to cross the Father of All Waters. Almost any mystical creature he meets will be happy to give him directions—unless they want to kill him. O yes! Haints peering at a man from behind every damne tree,” He finished.

And maybe cousin Root was as crazy as a politician. He was a very feeble old man though. They found Root’s doctor and a couple of nurses brutally murdered a few weeks later and neither cousin Root nor an orderly he’d scrapped with were ever seen again—at least not in this world.

************* **************** ****************************

So this lunatic wants me to move my students and friends to the mythical town of Macersville Kentucky.

“Do you know my cousin Wizard?” I asked.

“We’ve met. We talked a few times,” he said.

“Do you know the Pale Lady?” I asked.

“She’s my cousin.”

“How about my cousin Root?” I persisted.

He looked pained.

“We don’t like to speak of such things. I’ll answer ‘yes’, but that is all I will say,” he said.

“So you’re legitimate, or your whore’s spit crazy or you’re tying to bait me in. Tell me, is this like a single entry visa like Wizard had?” I said.

“For you, at this wavelength, you can come and go as you please. The area around Macersville is similar to the area around The Outfit’s village. It’s larger, far older and resonates on far more frequencies,” he said.

After a moment’s pause, he added: “What you call ‘Macersville’ is wanting some new friends. And yes, I believe that my town is sentient the same way that you believe that your pistols are sentient.”

“You know a lot about me,” I said.

“Your ravens told the Pale Lady your story. You’re facing imminent death and defeat. It’s not that you’re weaker or unworthy. It is simply the way your geas runs—but destiny can be altered. If you can warp fate enough there might be a crack large enough to let Wizard enter the city again—maybe.”

“If this is a trap…I’m not easy to take down and I won’t forget,” I told the odd looking character.





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Chapter Sixteen






I was surprised how the numbers of people willing to leave the village to join my baseless and homeless band continued to climb. I called a conference to decide on our next course of action long term and short term.

“You didn’t notice because the life of a trainee and then an active Adept is rather insular and you weren’t born in the village,” McVeeblefester—Enn said.

“Dunno was elected mayor early in your first year at the academy. He’s been cautiously but diligently drawing more and more power and authority to himself. That’s one reason that he took a dislike to you. Several times you interfered with an established practice that he wanted to create by your insistence on following the charter to the letter,” Enn continued.

“Dunno wants to be a dictator—not just of the village but of all the hidden land and eventually the other hidden lands and Adept groups. He might even have his sights set on being the ruler of the US or even North and Central America,” David added.

“I don’t think that his ability is great enough to be more than a small time local despot. With all the Adept groups scrambling for power and kinjutsu he’ll do well to hold onto his own little fief,” Gerald said.

“That’s the way that the greedy and power-hungry mind works though,” David said.

“That is why so many folks want to leave. They’re flashing on heavy weather ahead,” Enn said.

“There’s something else,” Ladonna said. “Many of the adult Non-Adept applied to the academy over the years and were turned down. They had their hearts set on their children becoming Adepts. But your class was the last one selected on merit. All the others are loaded with folk that Dunno pulled strings to get in. The quality of trainees and graduate Adepts has been steadily declining since you graduated.”

“So that’s where all the goofs in violet gis are coming from. I thought maybe Dunno found them under cabbage leaves,” I said.

“But the point that I was trying to make: many parents are willing to follow you so that their children can train under you. Many of the senseis like Coach Brown and Coach O’Brian heartily approve of your practice of accepting all comers and they’re intrigued both by your methods and your new skills,” Ladonna said.

“There is one other thing,” Enn said. “Do you know why Macersville is accepting us with open arms?”

“From the goodness of their hearts?” I ventured.

“I have no doubt that they’re goodhearted people but unlike any other hidden town that I’ve ever heard of they don’t have a cadre of Adepts to bear the brunt of the fighting if they’re invaded and as we’ve already noted, the Adepts are on the move,” Enn said.

Macersville functioned on a silver based economy. They even had a small mint. They used old US coins as templates: Mercury Head Dimes, Seated Liberty Quarters, Walking Liberty Half Dollars and Morgan Silver Dollars. They eliminated any reference to the US so as not to imply sanction and they had modern dates.

A little silver went a long way in Macersville. Visitors were celebrities in Macersville. When the very rare outsider wandered into town the locals were more than happy to exchange the worthless fiat paper money dollar-for-dollar for silver and eat the loss.

I had over two hundred thousand dollars in my team’s treasury alone—not counting the large numbers of paper dollars that many of my people had brought with them. That much paper would have wrecked the local economy.

I used some of my money and most of my people’s money to buy silver bullion in the outside world—getting a small discount for buying in large quantity. The mint turned them into currency for us while keeping five percent for the town’s treasury.

My first priority was going to be getting my people housed. I was thankful that it was early spring and that I had five or six months before the weather would be terribly severe.

To understand the situation, I need to explain a bit about how hidden lands work. The village—though it is only a fraction of the hidden land that it resides in—is hidden in plain sight.

If a Non-Adept outsider became convinced that there was an anomaly in the topography around the village’s hidden land and if he tirelessly mapped all around as if he was playing a giant game of “Battleship” he’d come up with a hole—an area a mile or a mile and a half in diameter where he couldn’t go and where he couldn’t even see.

Note: The area inside the “black hole” is always far larger than the area of the blank circle on an accurate map.

We needed carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, and electricians and so forth in the village. It would be a giant no-go to bring outsiders in to wire a house or add a fireplace. On the other hand, there wasn’t anywhere near enough work to keep the construction tradesmen gainfully employed year-round.

Most of our tradesmen worked at outside jobs. They weren’t the only ones. We even had people working in factory jobs or as convenience store clerks on the outside.

EE…? So perhaps I should put on my application:

“No Social Security Number; place of birth—Neverland; place of residence—Neverland…”

Nah! That’s a no-go.

We had mail delivery in the village. The Outfit just always contrived to get a villager appointed as the postman for all routes in the village. There was probably only one mail address for every fifteen or twenty families—but we made it work. Most folks in the village had no need to receive mail from outside anyway.

People who held down regular jobs outside paid taxes and social security and what have you. The very powerful concealment jutsu kept almost every outsider from being even momentarily aware that something big was being hidden from him right before his very eyes.

Parenthetically, Macersville didn’t seem to have any presence at all in the outside world and it was far more insular and self-sufficient. Also, the hidden land around Macersville dwarfed the lands around the village.

At any rate we had many construction tradesmen in our happy band to call upon.

Dropping two hundred thousand dollars worth of silver into Macersville’s economy all at once wasn’t good. Some historians and economists say that all the silver and gold the Spanish brought back from robbing the Incas and the Aztecs inflated Europe’s economy for decades.

I had six hundred and fifty people to house. I had great temporary pole buildings packed with row after row of three tiered bunks. There were vacant houses in Macersville as well as run-down buildings that could be quickly rehabilitated and a few vacant lots where the local builders could put a house or an apartment complex and some of our single Non-Adepts would be quite satisfied with a one room apartment.

If I bought all the building materials that I needed locally the price of wiring, lumber, bricks, cement and so forth would go through the ceiling and I’d put local builders out of business.

On the other hand, I have a deep-seated distrust of altruism. Altruism is for posturing ego-driven fools and it is fraught with unforeseen consequences and that means many otherwise productive hours are wasted stamping out brushfires.

I organized three for-profit construction companies of village tradesmen and a few Macersville folk. I bought most of my construction materials from the outside and imported them. My three companies could average three houses per week and I auctioned the houses off to the highest bidder.

There are some smaller homes in the downtown part of Macersville. However very large extended families had never went out of style in Macersville—so houses with five bedrooms or more, full basements and large front and back yards was the general rule.

We were creating a large housing development adding whole new streets and extending others. If I’d built a bunch of small two and three bedroom homes our development would always be seen as a ghetto. As it was, about one house in five was sold to a long-time Macersville resident and that helped speed assimilation. And often the Macersville family that moved into a new home left another home vacant.

To my way of thinking, I needed about one hundred houses to make conditions acceptable for most of my people.

Take a slashing approximation and say that an average village family has four members—the parents and two children. That should mean that one hundred houses should house four hundred people. But wait—many of our people were kin. At least two four-people nuclear families along with grandma, grandpa and weird Uncle Harold ought to be willing share a large house temporarily.

It didn’t work out that way though because the number of people from the village continued to grow. As time went on they became more and more like refugees rather than folk who’d just decided to move.

Our development was on the Northeast corner of town. As much as I admired the way the Adept dorms or barracks were spread throughout the village, it wasn’t feasible in Macersville where much of the town was already in place.

I placed a generous number of dorms, training facilities and a couple mess halls just south of town.

Yes, those men and materials could have built more houses but both Adepts and trainees need to be housed and fed and Trainees need places to train. Otherwise there was no point to our coming.

*************** ****************** ******************************

“Morgan,” I said to the Snuffy Smith look-alike who was my full-time liaison. “Something confuses me. Wizard has been searching for a path into Macersville for decades and he said that one of the most noteworthy features of the town as that there was no roads into the town from outside. Yet here I am bringing in boxcar loads of people and construction materials and the town has several roads to the outside. I’ve yet to encounter the Pale Lady either.”

Morgan looked pained as he often did when I broached subjects such as this.

“Do you know how a hologram works? If you set up a laser just so, you get an interference pattern that contains a 3-D image. With the early holograms you needed a laser to view the 3-D image. Later they improved it so that you only needed a laser to create the image but not to view it afterward,” Snuffy said.

“Yeah, there are ways to create holograms without a laser, but it is more troublesome and exacting. If I’m not mistaken, holograms existed as a scientific curiosity well before lasers made them commonplace,” I said.

“Okay did you know that you can store multiple images on the same hologram film by using different wavelengths of lasers? In one way it is a step backward because to view any one image, you need to backlight the hologram with the proper frequency,” Morgan said.

I stood looking at Morgan stubbornly refusing to ask anything else and waiting for him to circle back to the topic all on his own.

“Macersville is like one of those multiple image holograms. It has many many levels. In order to stabilize this level enough to allow so many people and so much matériel to come in, we’ve had to lock this level down. Don’t worry. It’s not like we’re going to pull the hole in after us. That’s not even possible. But once this Christmas rush is over and we can crank down the size of the irises dramatically the paths to the other Macersvilles should open one more,” Morgan said.

“I wish that I could contact Wizard. He’s looked so hard to find a way back to Macersville,” I said.

Morgan shook his head gravely.

“If Wizard is ever to return, he needs to enter another Macersville—at least he needs to enter on an entirely different frequency. If you found him there is nothing helpful that you could tell him,” Morgan said.

“I could tell him not to lose hope,” I said. “Wizard is kin and his plight affects me deeply.”

“There is that. Think though. Isn’t a life spent on an enormous quest better than an ordinary life? Isn’t Wizard happier searching for Macersville and his beloved Pale Lady than he would have been working in a factory or an office somewhere?” Morgan said.


*************** ******************* **************************

As a new spring dawned, I took stock of our situation. Building houses had slowed to a crawl during the winter and tempers had become frayed amongst the refugees who were largely confined to the pole building shelters by the cold weather.

With the dorms and training facilities mostly finished I had enough wherewithal to build five houses per week—and that wasn’t counting the houses built by local contractors. Some of them were building a small housing development of their own due east of town.

Altruism is one thing—a stinky thing. Being generous and giving is something else again.

I built a large Olympic sized swimming pool in between our new houses and the old ones so the kids could have fun and mix a bit in the process. I built two other large pools in other locales hoping to give most of the children who wanted to go swimming the opportunity.

I also built a YMCA Style gymnasium for the city. It featured pool tables, Ping-Pong, basketball courts, padded wrestling rooms, a well-stocked weight room and a good sized indoor pool. The place charged modest membership fees and applied the money to replacing worn or broken equipment.

************* ***************** ************************

My weight had gradually shrank to two hundred and seventeen pounds and my raw muscular strength while using just a little chi had grown despite my decrease in weight.

But the big kahunas altered the equation. I found that I could keep them alive for over three months and the best way to make them stronger was to throw them and have them diligently develop their chi generation and storage.

I had gotten them to where they were capable of throwing eight first wave spawn and five second wave. I could feel their third wave struggling to scrounge enough chi to be born.

Once the kahunas were thrown, I had my third and fourth wave remaining. I got my third wave up to nine at something like 4.3. The Fourth wave was five at about 3.0. I’d developed a very feeble fifth wave of three spawn at about 1.3.

I was surprised to find that the kahunas became more powerful than the original—me—and the differential grew.

As the kahunas became more long-lived and powerful the more the backlash when they finally popped grew. It actually melted fat and even muscle off my body and it took ever-longer periods of recovery.

After the first three-month exercise my weight dropped precipitously from two-seventeen to one hundred and seventy pounds—even while I ate large amounts of high protein and high calorie foods every day I started to look anorexic.

I was afraid that if the kahunas grew much more powerful that I might starve to death in the aftermath. I started deliberately bulking up before I sent the kahunas out.

Weighing two hundred and forty five pounds helped. I only went down to one hundred and eighty one pounds after the next three-month exercise. Two fifty seven worked better and two hundred and seventy pounds worked best of all.

There was some fat in the mix, but my overall body fat stayed below eleven percent and my unassisted muscular strength grew far more than I could ever expect it to grow at my age.

“That’s why it’s a forbidden jutsu,” David said. “You’re big boned and to be honest you have large guts—I mean stomach and intestines. Then you have those three double chakras. Most people would drive the kahunas until his body gave out on him.”

“What about you?” I asked.

“I only call mine up in dire straits and I collapse them immediately afterward. I have no desire to make them more powerful. They’re more than powerful enough. I’m not power fighter anyway so far as that goes. I believe that you’ll eventually come to a place to where you will know that you cannot go any further without wrecking your body. That’s when you’ll either have to pull back or burn brightly and then crash—fatally,” David told me.

Then word came to me that Dunno had built a wall all around the city and that he wasn’t letting people leave anymore.

Right on the trail of that cheering news a dude showed up wearing a purple gi with blood all over it. He drove a convertible. He had a girl with him who’d been beaten up pretty badly.

*************** **************** *************************

The guard looked gaunt like a wrestler right after Christmas who’s cut his bodyweight down to the bare minimum and held it there for most of wrestling season season. His head hung listlessly off to one side like he just didn’t care anymore. He looked like I felt about five or six days after I’d recalled the last big kahuna.

Jung Jae Min had been called because he is far better at reading minds than I am. He’d just finished his reading when I walked in. I called an aide to me and gave him some detailed instructions and sent him on his errands.

“Take the cuffs off him. We aren’t at war with The Outfit,” I said.

That could have been used as a ploy to make the fellow think that I was the “good cop”, but I was sincere and he was too tired to care who was naughty and who was nice.

I placed my hands on the guard’s head—not because I didn’t trust Jae’s reading because it saved time to see the events and emotions as they’d happened and because you always check everything that can be checked.

The memories were lying there right on top.

**************** ******************* **************************

The girl rolled up to the guarded gatepost in an old but very clean convertible. Her name wasn’t on the list of people authorized to leave the village. She had a part time job at the Dairy Queen and as the guards wasted more and more time, she became fearful of being late to work.

She became rude and abusive and the guards pulled her from the car. They pulled her around the corner of the guardhouse and were in the process of giving her a severe stomping.

I felt outrage. This was against the rules! I stepped forward to protest and my superior sucker-punched me with a powerful butt smash to the pit of my stomach with his rifle.

I didn’t particularly care about the girl—only about the rules in a coldhearted sort of way. Rules are rules! Having hands laid on me was a whole other thing. I was in a full state of berserker even before I managed to fully catch my breath. I will show you what it means to lay hands upon me!

It took a half a dozen deep breaths and then I activated the kinjutsu. I carried a pair of custom Kukris with sixteen-inch blades inside my violet gi. I’d honed to the sharpest edge that it is possible for good steel to attain.

My jutsu let me move at incredible speed but my mind went through an accordion effect. It would speed up to match my super fast movements or even more. My mind sped up until everything seemed to be standing still. Then events moved in slow motion. Then I’d moved ten or twelve feet with no memory of having traversed the intervening distance.

There must have been some sort of autopilot though or I’d have hurt myself badly moving so rapidly. The memories of slashing the other four guards and the sergeant was a psychedelic kaleidoscopic jangle.

************ ****************** ***************************

My body shook almost uncontrollably. Having experienced the boy’s kinjutsu first hand—even vicariously—had caused a huge cascade of adrenaline in my body. I felt like I might puke.

“That boy is barely sixteen years old. They’ve barely taught him anything except the best way to cut with various blades and the basics of marksmanship. Then they lay a forbidden technique like that on him. He’ll rip himself apart before he uses that technique another half dozen times,” I said.

“I know,” Jae said. “It is much the same way that they prepared us for use in our clan. I learned how to protect my psyche when mind-diving on my own. I had two brothers and a sister who never found the balance point.”

“And?”

“They went mad and they were euthanized.”

The aide returned to the door with my order. It was a quart shake fortified with everything that I found helpful in restoring my chi and energy along with several tablets of various herbs and other things—brewer’s yeast, desiccated liver, St John’s Wort along with a strong painkiller.

“That was for him,” I said gesturing at the guard. “Now I need one. How about you Jae?”

“I won’t turn a cold drink down. When I get back to my quarters I’m going to drink something stronger,” Jae said.

“Norman, take these pills and drink the shake. It will make you feel better,” I said.

When I’m in that state, I don’t need even the slightest encouragement to pack the food away—but then as David pointed out, I am naturally inclined to eat large and be large—extra-extra-large. There was once a time, before I became an Adept, that I had to fight hard to keep from becoming obese.

Norman—I knew his name very well from the brief time that I’d spent in his head—sat staring warily off into space. I looked at Jae and shrugged. Jae put his hand on Norman’s head and laid several compulsions on him.

Norman took all the pills and sat listlessly but dutifully sipping at his shake.

When the aide returned I gave him instructions.

“The boy’s name is ‘Norman’. Put him in one of the holding cells. He shouldn’t wake except to urinate or drink water for…” I paused to look at Jae.

“About sixteen hours. There’s a crapper and a sink in his cell. If he asks for food or drink before that, make every effort to get him what he wants—and notify me immediately,” I said.

I paused to take a quick drink of my energy shake.

“Tell everyone even remotely connected to guarding him this. He has mastered a kinjutsu that lets him move so fast that you won’t see anything but a blur. Don’t open the door to his cell for any reason. When he wakes, tell him that he is not a prisoner but that we need to be sure that he’s fully conscious before we let him walk amongst us. Only Jae or myself can give the order to open his door. Now repeat all that back to me,” I said.

“Where to Jae?” I asked.

“I want to go get a contact reading on the girl. What about you?”

“I need to start packing the high density food away. I’m going to have to rouse the kahunas again a good three weeks earlier than I’d planned to,” I replied.

“Why come?”

“I need to pay Dunno a late night visit to convince him to open his borders once more,” I said.

“Can you persuade him?”

"I'll persuade him or his successor."


.....RVM45
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Chapter Seventeen







I took one of Cary’s spawn with me because he’d lived in the village all his life and his perpetual practice missions with his rats had acquainted him with every little nook and cubbyhole. I took Thomas because no one could move as silently and as invisibly as Thomas. He’d been playing stalking and hide-and-seek type games with the other Cherokee children since he was four or five years old. Adept training simply added decorative icing to his already frosted cake.

Keep in mind, although some Adepts focus very strongly on a particular sense and develop it to very high levels, almost any Adept’s sight—particularly night vision—hearing, smell and taste will be noticeably and usefully enhanced. In addition, Adepts think faster. Sixty actual seconds becomes seventy-to-ninety or even a hundred subjective seconds to an Adept.

Adepts are hard people to sneak up on. On the other hand, we were hard people.

Cary tapped a guard on the shoulder.

“Excuse me,” Cary said.

The guard was startled and he turned and stabbed with a curiously curved-bladed Kunai. The blade penetrated Cary up under the ribcage angled upward to intersect his heart.

Cary abruptly turned into an improbably high six foot tower of tightly packed black rats and of course the tower collapsed in the blink of an eye with rats scurrying every which way.

“I’m over here,” Cary said from behind the guard.

The guard whirled and started to unsling his carbine. I couldn’t have noise…

Well, I could have had noise. I just didn’t want to. Gunshots really drag my beat when I’m trying to slip in unnoticed.

Thomas threw a rather thick scarf around the guard’s neck Thuggee style. It was thick to avoid crushing the windpipe but it was thin enough to quickly shut off the blood flow to the brain and the guard collapsed in an unconscious heap.

I stepped out of the shadows and laid my hands on the guard’s head. I didn’t expect that a private in the perimeter guard would know Dunno’s whereabouts but he did know the guard’s schedules and where the captain of the guard’s office was.

Thomas assumed the form of the unconscious guard. He strode boldly into the captain’s office and blurted out:

“You need to come see this!”

The captain started for the door but as he passed Thomas he sniffed suspiciously. Damned nation! He was one of the Adepts who supercharged his sense of smell. I should have guessed from the heroic size of his nose.

I loved the Tarzan stories growing up and I coveted Tarzan’s keen sense of smell. In point of fact, there would be a number of difficulties ramping a human’s sense of smell up to that of a dog’s.

Look at a Bloodhound’s nose—great big honkin’ thing ain’t it? A Bloodhound is about 3x an ordinary dog’s sense of smell. It illustrates the point nicely. If you want to ramp up your sense of smell, you need to make room for more turbinates richly coated with more olfactory receptors—not that human olfaction couldn’t be improved somewhat working with the space that we already have.

Another thing, a dog’s and many other creature’s sense of smell works somewhat differently than a human’s. We perceive airborne molecules. A dog’s nose runs with a thin watery drip. The drool gets way out on the inside tip of the dog’s nose and dissolves airborne molecules. Then the dog sniffs it back into the interior portion of the nose to be analyzed. It’s an ongoing process.

And no, I’m not talking about Jacobson’s Organ. That is something else entirely.

At any rate, this Adept smelled Thomas. Smell is one of the hardest things to mimic. Most mimics don’t even try.

Thomas chopped the man across the side of his throat causing both the carotid and the jugular on that side to relax momentarily. Down the captain of the guard went.

A couple more uneventful captures and mind scans and we’d climbed high enough up the scrotum pole to find out where Dunno was likely to be.

**************** ****************** *************************

There was a seven story tall cylindrical building. It was ostentatiously and unnecessarily high for the village, but it suited Dunno’s bloated ego perfectly. There were, so my scans and Cary’s rat recons told us, five well-guarded floors between Dunno’s quarters and us.

{He used both the sixth and the seventh floors as his living quarters.}

“How do we get to the roof?” Cary breathed quietly.

‘Y’all stay here. I’m going around,” I said.

The raven trick can be turned around and ran in reverse. It is much trickier and it is a chi burner right up there with the three big kahunas or Norman’s hyperdrive.

Ravens converged on Dunno’s balcony and then they coalesced into me—or one of my big kahuna’s. I was beginning to wonder if that was quite the same thing.

I tapped Dunno awake and when he opened his mouth to scream I shoved a wadded silk scarf into it.

“I am the ghost of Christmas future,” I told him.

I don’t know if he got the literary reference or not.

“Dunno if you contrive to summon your guard somehow, I’ll kill you. There are many things that you are doing that I don’t approve of but I’m going to let most of them slide. I don’t have the time to supervise every move that you make,” I said.

“At this stage of the game, if I killed you someone like you would simply take your place. I wasn’t put on this earth to be a fly swatter. You are going to open your gates though and let anyone who wants to leave free to do so. They will take as many of their worldly goods as they can reasonably carry, load into a car, pushcart, trailer or pile onto a beast of burden. In fact, I would take it as a special favor if you’d make an effort to box, label and send out some of the household goods of the folks who left with nothing,” I told him slowly and distinctly as if speaking to a slow-witted child.

“There is one more thing. I need you to appreciate how far from the path of righteousness that you’ve strayed and how harsh I will be if you don’t act on my ultimatum,” I said.

I laid hands on him and did a quick scan of his memories. Some of what I found was so surprising that I recoiled as if from a stout electric shock.

I caused him to fall into a deep sleep and I used a straight razor to remove both of his ears. I carefully stitched the wounds closed and bandaged them. It was part of a psy-op.

It stood to reason that Dunno had books of kinjutsu that I didn’t. I had never seen Norman’s hyper drive jutsu for instance.

I found seven books of kinjutsu in Dunno’s safe along with a swede drawstring bag dyed purple. Inside the suede bag was a drawstring bag of thick jet-black velvet. Inside there was forty-seven flawless white brilliant cut diamonds. A few were one-and-a-half carats. Most of them were from two-and-a-quarter to three-and-a-quarter carats.

I didn’t know much about diamonds then. I don’t know a whole lot more about them now, but I picked up the specifications from Dunno’s mind. There should be between two and five million dollars worth of diamonds in the bag depending on the latest spot price.

There was no time to be examining the kinjutsu books in Dunno’s quarters but I knew a little about the books just from reading the top of Dunno’s mind. One was in old Ogham script. I can understand Gaeilge but I couldn’t read Ogham. One was in Devanagari. I can understand enough Hindi to follow the plot of a Bollywood musical without subtitles—but then, can’t everyone?

Something written in Devanagari might just has well be in French for all the good it did me. This one was probably in Sanskrit.

One was in very ornate German cursive and it was the best techniques from several volumes of the occult and kinjutsu that the NAZIs had ferreted out and translated during their brief moment in the sun. It makes you wonder how the Allies managed to win the war—but then there were probably Adepts on the Allied side too.

I had long wondered, but that confirmed a long held suspicion of mine. The Powers That Be couldn’t possibly be ignorant of the existence of Adepts.

A couple of the books were in shorthand. Those might prove the hardest of all to decode. Look how long that it took to decipher Pepy’s journal.

One was in toki pona of all things. I looked forward to seeing how someone could even attempt to transmit a jutsu with a language of only a hundred and twenty words. It did have multiple diagrams though.

As I was stashing my haul and to tell the truth, wool gathering more than I should have been a sumo walked into Dunno’s safe room.

He probably weighed as much as our new slimmed down Duncan but he spread it over about five more inches and he was wider and just a bit more raw-boned…if any four hundred pound man—or woman—can ever be called “raw-boned”. He had a shaved head like Duncan had once sported.

Do you remember how I told Duncan that I had one favor to ask if he was going to hang with me?

“Let your hair grow out like a man’s dude!”

And it was a request, not a command.

Look what happened to Sampson when he went for that shorthaired metrosexual look—nothing good.

This dude had a jagged scar running diagonally across his crown. It looked like it had keloided a bit.

“You aren’t leaving here with those kinjutsu. You’re not leaving period,” the sumo said.

“Ach Ja! Du bist Kaufman,” I said.

“What?”

“You’re Roland Sensei aren’t you? You’re a dumbass and your feet aren’t mates…and all your kids do book reports on MTV,” I said.

I figured that I was stronger. With me bulked up to two-ninety and squatting seven hundred and fifty pounds for twenty repetitions…

There was no way this dude was stronger. And my Kahunas ranged from fifteen to thirty percent more powerful than me.

Then Roland threw five spawn and they all charged me.

One of the spawn grabbed me in a vicious bear hug. I turned into a flock of ravens and teleported behind him.

I slammed a small, very high pressure and tightly focused air bomb into that sumo spawn’s ear. His puréed brains flew out his other ear and nostrils and my hand stung a bit but it was just fine otherwise.

“It’s a drag it’s a bore;

“They don’t even lock their doors,” I said.

I threw eight wet spawn at that moment—two for each duplicate.

“They haven’t had a party since the second world war,” I completed my scrap of song.

“Looks like it’s me and you Petunia,” I said to the sumo.

He didn’t even deign to throw a Kunai at me as he charged. I, on the other hand, threw six mini chakra washers at one time and they broke the sound barrier. That was a first for me.

“Yip-Ee-Kie-Ay!” I cheered my first sonic boom.

I wanted to get back to Macersville and examine the kinjutsu books. I really didn’t want to spend inordinate amounts of time clowning and playing patty-cakes with this cretin.

He thought that my super-sonic washer attack was my all-or-nothing squeeze play. I let him think that.

He rushed me just like his namesake—a sumo. My back contacted the inch-thick bullet proof Lexan that Dunno’s sliding balcony doors were made of. They shattered. He was driving me backward that hard.

If I hadn’t been pumped full of circulating chi, every one of my ribs would have shattered and every one of my discs would have ruptured. He drove me to the guardrail and I realized that his intention was t push me over the rail.

I flew up here dumb ass! Do you think that I can’t fly back down?

Apparently he’d never watched any sumo matches. Ever seen the one where the dude being pushed out of the ring uses the raised rim for leverage to throw the other dude out first?

Roland went tumbling over the rail but he locked an Iron grip on one wrist and pulled me over as well.

Did you forget something dumb ass?

I did the raven trick once more and Roland was left holding nothing.

A seven-story fall isn’t guaranteed to kill an Adept—especially an Adept like Roland with super-sized bones.

His right arm seemed the only one of his limbs that was unbroken. I started to break it with a kick to his elbow as he drug himself along and then I stopped to ask myself why. It would have been unnecessary brutality.

Killing him might have robbed Dunno of a powerful subordinate, but we weren’t at war with The Outfit. It just seemed pointless at that moment in time.

We doubled back to where we’d hidden the high-ranking guardsman. He didn’t really have a paramilitary rank. They just called him “Boss”.

I gave him Dunno’s ears—mounted beautifully on a coat hanger wire. The brief short-lasting compulsion that I put on him called for him to call as large an assemblage of people as possible and rant and rave about what a shame and disgrace it was for rival Adepts to infiltrate the village, penetrate Dunno’s tower and take his ears as crack-brained trophies and make off with all the books of kinjutsu in Dunno’s safe..

He was to make a big point of showing Dunno’s ears to everyone who’d listen.

Why?

Dunno’s best move would have been to keep the theft of the kinjutsu and his ears quiet—just sweep it under the rug and pretend that it never happened. The truth tended to make him appear both impotent and ridiculous.

But Dunno and his segundo Roland were both going to be out of it for several hours. By then everyone in the village would know the truth. When he opened the gates and told anyone who wanted to go to leave…that would be another puncture in his posture balloon.

************ ************* ******************************

The three of us arrived back in Macersville without incident.

I popped my Kahunas. The other two had simply been doing chi strengthening exercises and eating a couple big meals while the mission went on.

I had settled in for the long haul, translating kinjutsu, pushing heavy weights in the gym, bulking those flywheels and eating for a small army. I had decided to let the kahunas rest for awhile. I’d been forced to bring them out three weeks before my self-imposed limit of two months had passed.

We arrived back in the village on Thursday morning. I decided to wait until at least three weeks from the next Monday at the very least before bringing them out again. When that Monday came I still wasn’t sure. I sensed some sort of watershed was approaching with the kahunas.

Maybe I was close to my absolute limit. It would be a bit of a let down to know that this was as good as it ever gets. It happens. I’d grown far more than most. I couldn’t complain.

It was more likely that I might be coming to the place where my body and chakra tree couldn’t take the strain of using the kahunas very many more times. You don’t miss what you’ve never known, but now that I’d known the power of using the three big kahunas I’d feel very weakened and humbled to be stripped of them.

The most unlikely possibility was that I stood poised on the threshold of even more power and jutsu. I liked that one and hope springs eternal but hope isn’t always the best guide to where you should place your bet.

Tuesday morning came and I still didn’t throw the big kahunas.

I was awakened at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning.

“Come quick! There is an army of skinheads on motorcycles getting ready to invade the town,” David told me as I grabbed my clothes and weapons.





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Cool

Chapter Eighteen






I sent a spawn to “negotiate” with the skinhead bikers. I could have a few spawn in play and still summon the kahunas, but I couldn’t call them with any large number of first wave spawn on line. I heard a proverb one time:

“A wise eagle hides his claws.”

That is meaningless in relation to nature, but the intended meaning is clear.

I took copies of Thomas, Ladonna and Homer Sensei—yes, he’d learned to cast three wobbly spawn—simply because the skinheads had a reputation of being racist. I took a copy of Duncan because he looked intimidating.

“We demand the return of the kinjutsu volumes and Sandra and Norman. You will hand them over or we will raise your little hovel of a village,” the leader said.

I looked them over. The leader was tall and muscular with glacial gray eyes that were perpetually darting about. He’d taken off his helmet momentarily to liaison with us.

The bikers were all on big black motorcycles that weren’t chopped. They wore black uniforms—well, if you can imagine black SS dress uniforms made from denim and subtly altered to be a bit more practical on a motorcycle. They wore NAZI style metal helmets but the sides had been swept forward to cover most of their faces leaving only a Greek style “Y” shaped gap for the eyes, nose and mouth. The gap was less of a slit though, being almost an inch wide.

They lined up two abreast and twenty-four deep. There were six of the twenty-four man groups with perhaps fifteen or twenty yards between each group.

I ‘saw’ that these dudes weren’t Adepts or even bona fide trainees, but they’d been given just enough chi training to make them more muscular than many champion boxers. Each one had perfect bones and teeth, was in vibrant good health and had his reflexes jacked. These dudes were quicker than a mean alley cat that’s gotten ahold of big dose of crystal meth somehow.

Three true Adepts led each group. The front group had the usual three Adepts plus one more to be the overall leader. The three Adepts from the front group joined the supreme leader so I was fronting four Adepts.

I couldn’t tell just what jutsu each Adept had up his sleeve, but I’d hazard that the single Duncan spawn could probably have taken the four of them and half of the front platoon unassisted.

“You have desires,” I told them. “It is a sad fact that there is far more desire in the world than there is satisfaction. There is also far more induction in the world than there is capacitance. Do you suppose that these two facts could be related in some fashion?”

The skinhead leader became so angry that big ropey looking veins stood out on his neck and forehead.

“Don’t play with me you mongrel!” he shouted.

Mongrel? Not that I care, but I was probably just as Aryan as the quarrelsome Hauptsturmführer.

All the rank and file soldiers carried what looked all the world like MP-40 machine pistols while the Adepts limited themselves to a single pistol in a cross draw flap holster and what looked like an SS dagger with a fifteen inch double-edged blade instead of the standard six inch.

Machine Pistols? The Germans called the MP-40 a “Machine Pistol” and it was considered quite proper to call any weapon—carbine or not—a “Machine Pistol” so long as it fired pistol ammunition. Jeff Cooper always used the term that way. No one ever said that use was incorrect back then.

Then Jeff Cooper got into a running debate with Chuck Taylor—a minor acolyte of Cooper who’d branched out and started his own system of combat gunnery.

Cooper contended that weapons like the Thompson, Uzi, PPsH or whatever are heavier, bulkier and can make far more noise and waste ammunition faster than a pistol chambered for the same round—but they offered little or no tactical advantage.

Taylor disagreed and it rankled him when Cooper called his beloved sub-machineguns “Machine Pistols”. One day he decided that he was lord and supreme potentate of the English Language and he declared that it was incorrect to call sub-machineguns “Machine Pistols”. He wanted to reserve that term for weapons like the selective fire Star, the VP70 and the Beretta 93R.

Many gun writers are ignorant, unimaginative and imitative hacks. They picked up Taylor’s act of lese majeste and aped his pronouncement. Nowadays fools will fatuously tell you that it is incorrect to call a sub-machinegun a “Machine Pistol”.

It isn’t. Chuck Taylor isn’t God and I call them “Machine Pistols” every chance I get—just to freak the squares and defy them.

At any rate, the bikers close enough to hear the exchange all reached for the pistol grip of their machine pistols. As the ones further back saw what was going down farther forward, the clutching of grips spread rearward.

Then Norman appeared. He wore his purple gi just so there was no doubt at all that he was the one. He’d been in Macersville a little over a month—since I hadn’t launched my raid the very same day that he appeared. We’d been cram-jamming him full of high calorie food along with many chi-building herbs. We’d also started him on a few chi-building and chi-controlling meditations and exercises for the last three weeks.

You can easily ruin something in three weeks—or three hours—sometimes even in less than three seconds. You aren’t going to build someone’s strength, constitution or stamina very much in three or four weeks though. We had gotten Norman’s storehouse of fat, glycogen and chi somewhat replenished though.

“I’m the one that you want. I‘m not going with you and neither is Sandra. Please don’t take your displeasure out on these people. They’re not involved,” Norman said.

Then he went into hyper-drive. He drew his large Kukris and walked calmly down the right hand row of bikers cutting each skinhead’s throat to the spine using first a right backhand on one biker and then a right forehand on the next. He carried his right hand cocked as he walked from bike to bike greatly reducing the number of hyper-drive inches the arm had to traverse.

Clever Norman. You didn’t use that technique in the village.

I say he “walked”. Definitions can get sticky when you’re talking about something like race walking where you have people diligently trying to push the envelope every which way that they can.

Nonetheless, one main difference between walking and running is that in running both feet leave the ground momentarily. Once you’re airborne you pretty much have to wait for gravity to push you back to where you can get traction once more. Hyper-drive all that you want. Gravity isn’t going to speed up for you.

Norman had mastered a technique of walking where at least one foot was on the ground generating thrust at all times—yet he was moving close to the speed of sound.

I could follow his movements only because of my Adept senses.

When Norman got to the end of the first platoon’s left side row of bikers he faltered and went to one knee for a fraction of a second. He climbed to his feet, shrugged and crossed the street. He worked his way back towards us, standing to the right and using his left hand to sever spines this time.

Norman collapsed close to my spawn and went to one knee and gasped for breath. His cheeks were now as hollow and gaunt as the first time that I’d seen him.

Like the song says:

“Oom blah dee; oom blah da;

“Life goes on Bra…”

Three large groups of ravens coalesced into my three big kahunas.

Then the event that I’d feared happened. There was a sea change in my big kahunas—but it was a change for the better—mostly.

Each big kahunas cast two medium kahunas. The medium kahunas cast five first-wave wet spawn each and then three second-wave.

The medium kahunas—in and of themselves—were six new spawn. They weren’t as powerful as the big kahunas but they were still five or six percent more powerful than me.

Two medium kahunas casting five wet spawn each—that’s ten. Count them. That’s two more first-wave than the big kahuna could have cast on his own and their power levels had gone up a couple or three points. There is nothing mysterious about that. Unless and until a big kahuna has the wherewithal to cast all of the first-wave spawn at that power level, the second wave of kahunas won’t manifest.

A pair of kahunas casting three second-wave spawn for a total of six was one more than the old five. Their power ratings were a very wobbly point one higher than each of the old gang of five.

I could sense each big kahuna had three rather weak third-wave spawn now, held in reserve for a possible end game where everyone’s chi is largely depleted and even spawn below power level two can be a game changer.

Bombs, bombs, air bombs…

Explosives work by daisy-chaining a bunch of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and usually carbon atoms into a very unstable compound that I a solid—or liquid. Hit the daisy-chain just right and those atoms recombine into water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in a tiny fraction of a second—releasing beaucoup heat in the process.

Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are both gases. So is water at those ungodly temperatures.

Gases need far more elbow room than solids. For a brief moment they’re at many tens of thousands of pounds of pressure and they move in every direction at several times the speed of sound creating a great shockwave in the process.

Each explosive molecule carries enough and sometimes more than enough oxygen to turn everything to gas. That’s why dynamite or firearms would work perfectly well in space.

What about coal dust, or flour, gasoline or kerosene? They have plenty of carbon and hydrogen but little or no oxygen—and they’re more stable to boot.

Spread enough gasoline as a very fine mist though and it can create one Hell of an explosion.

In fact, gasoline has about twice the explosive power on a pound for pound basis as most high explosives. The reason? Half of the explosive has to be oxygen since it needs to pack its own.

The trick is getting the oxygen to the hydrocarbons fast.

The military developed bombs where a relatively small explosion turns a quantity of gasoline to a very fine mist covering many cubic yards and then a second blast ignites it. They’re very powerful bombs.

I had several containers built to contain about four ounces of kerosene, a couple ounces of very finely powdered aluminum, about three CO2 cartridges worth of carbon dioxide just to help the liquid atomize a bit and I’d added just a pinch of finely ground copper because I grooved on the pretty green glow that it produced momentarily.

I surrounded the PVC cylinder with a vacuum the size of a basketball. I set the cylinder to spinning frantically. At some point the cylinder ruptured and the kerosene atomized every which way. In an instant I had a ball of kerosene vapor spinning clockwise at about 3600 RPMs. The temperature was above three hundred degrees but the kerosene couldn’t burn in the absence of oxygen.

Then I spread my net wide but his time the net was a sieve. It captured oxygen but let the other gases go through. It wasn’t one hundred percent effective, but I had a sphere of a over ninety-five percent oxygen about thirty inches across—surrounding the kerosene ball and spinning about 3600 RPMs counter-clockwise.

The oxygen was at five hundred degrees at close to three thousand PSI when I threw it at the third platoon of bikers faster than sound. The inner barricade vanished a very tiny instant before the over-pressure ruptured the outer barrier. The sonic boom was awesome by itself. I was afraid to throw it any closer to us. I had it explode just overhead about a third of the way through the platoon.

The explosion rocked my fillings and threw human body parts every which way.

Keep in mind that I had three big kahunas throwing the fuel-air bombs simultaneously. One each for the third, fourth and fifth platoons. One might not suffice so each big kahuna threw a second and a third kerosene bomb.

The six kahunas contented themselves with throwing somewhat smaller air bombs without kerosene to play cleanup.

All the first and second wave spawn mopped up the second platoon.

Meanwhile the irritable Hauptsturmführer transformed. He grew about eight foot tall and while his muscles grew and bulged in every direction while he sprouted three extra pair of bulging veined brawny arms and another eye in the center of his forehead.

I let the Duncan spawn take the Kali-looking dude because he’d have pouted for a week if I hadn’t. Meanwhile the Saul clone took on two of the remaining adepts. Saul was the only animal that I’d seen so far that would spawn spontaneously without prompting and using nothing but his own chi.

He’d found a way to throw spawn all armored and wired to the max like he’d once been. He was definitely more formidable covered with chitin armor plates and pumped full of every kind of “fight-or-flight” hormones and short term chi. It was just that he couldn’t have lasted much longer that way. He’d have use himself up very quickly if he hadn’t changed when he did. With spawn, longevity wasn’t much of an issue.

At least I guess Saul had been more dangerous in his old guise. He was quicker and had both more wind and stamina now and his mind was clearer.

I stepped forward to deal with the remaining Adepts.

Hell’s belles and cockleshells and skeletons all in a row!

The Adept’s mouth opened far wider than a human’s mouth should have opened—kinda like a Pez dispenser just part way open—and he sprayed me with burning napalm—the kind with aluminum and magnesium powder mixed in with the jellied petroleum to raise the burn temperature.

I’d never faced a fire jutsu but I had air jutsu at my command. I opened my mouth and blew a phantastic blast of wind at the stream of napalm. I hadn’t even known that I could do that.

I think that all else being equal, his jutsu was the stronger. He’d gotten started blowing fire before I sent my wind. I diverted or redirected the bulk of the napalm but I still caught a bunch—largely on my right arm and side and my wind had fanned the flames.

A human might not have survived those burns for long. I was a spawn and my maximum lifespan was a matter of days at most. I was like a samurai or the cherry blossom—aesthetic bur ephemeral.

I used both air blast and a shield of chi to block his second blast of napalm long enough to get within arms reach. My left hand drove forward hard enough to drive my fingertips well into his chest cavity and I managed to rip out a chunk of heart muscle along with a couple short sections of his short ribs.

Thanks again Josh.

I went to grab his windpipe with my right hand only to find the fingers were entirely burnt off. I butted heads and then went for the proverbial “Bite his nose off”.

An instant later I popped my cork. I opted to use the raven illusion just for a bit of a flourish. I realized afterward: that was the first time that I’d been able to do the raven exit with a non-kahuna.

************* ************* ******************

“You are a weapon of mass destruction,” Morgan said to me as we debriefed afterwards. “That is the last time that these kind of numbers will ever get so close to Macersville. The event had its own sort of necessity but it was a very singular event.”

“Could we equip a few motorcycle platoons like the skinheads? I can see a number of potential uses for an affiliated motorcycle club,” David asked.

“Logistics. Dyed-in-the-wool bikers probably aren’t the folk we’d need for this. Wanna-bees might sign up to join us, but then we need to wait until they have the cash to buy a bike. If they get a loan to buy one then they’ll be tied to a nine-to-five to pay for it. That could make accepting missions rather problematic,” I said.

“What if we supplied the bikes and got some really good motorcyclists to give riding classes while we did Adept training too? We could run the training though the clubhouse. They wouldn’t be full-fledged Adepts after six months but they’d be way ahead of those losers. We could continue further training between missions,” David said.

“A good new bike sells for around twenty thousand dollars give or take. Excuse me, but for what we’re doing, I’d like to keep them fairly uniform. That means that just the bikes for one club is gonna be a million dollars. We could afford to set up one club—maybe two—but that’s one Hell of a lot of money tied up and bringing no return,” I said.

“Another thing,” David said. “Those MP-40s the bikers had were beefed up to 10mm magnum. The P-38s had been altered enough to be usable with .357 SIG. Obviously they have their own underground manufacturing facility. Why don’t we start our own?”

“David, if you don’t quit I’m going to put you on the committee to perfect the jutsu of defecating money,” I said.

Then I started down another path my mind was wandering down.

“Dunno has been working in collusion with a couple of other Adept groups. Not only that, but he’s been heavily into drug smuggling, loan sharking and assassination for hire. I’m not an economist or an accountant, but a number of things never really added up for me,” I said.

All of the buildings in the village were built with donated labor. The contractors bought building materials in bulk and wholesale. The village had its own industrial sized generators as well. I assume the generator’s fuel was also bought in bulk—probably bypassing some taxes along the way. Electrical power was supplied without payment to everyone in the village.

There were farms and farmers outside town but within the village’s purview. The village had their own abattoir, mill and bakery. They had orchards and dairies and breweries. The village’s cobblers kept the shoes and boots it top repair. The village’s woodwrights and cabinetmakers made world-class furniture for modest amounts of money.

Things like lemons and oranges, bananas and chocolate were brought in from the outside of course, but the presumption was that everything produced in the village was cheaper through cutting out many middlemen and quite often the taxman too.

Still, it didn’t seem as if the Adapts could possibly bring in enough money to pay so many trainees and casuals for doing nothing that brought no real income into the village.

There are very large amounts of cash to be made in the drug business though.

Yeah, you could say that dealing drugs is a dirty business but someone has to do it.

Maybe in some existential way someone does have to deal drugs…meaning that in some way illegal drugs perform an essential function in society.

I just didn’t want me and mine involved. It isn’t even the drugs per se—it’s the snitches and narcs, pimps and prostitutes and scam artists that you have to deal with. Play with filth and some dirt is bound to rub off.

Yet I knew from my brief plumbing of Dunno’s mind that The Outfit hadn’t been free from unethical business practices at least since World War II. Dunno wasn’t the first mayor to cut corners.

Never mind what The Outfit might have done or might continue to do.

Was there any way that I could organize an organization that was prosperous enough to allow trainees the necessary free time and liberty to grow into Adepts and allow Adepts the time to perfect their jutsus and stay in top form—without stooping to actions that I found distasteful?

I was sitting lost in thought when Morgan cleared his throat and spoke.

“There is something that I’d like to show y’all. It doesn’t need to be widely known, but I trust y’all. I think that this will answer a good many of y’all’s questions,” Morgan said.






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Cool

Chapter Nineteen






“Have you ever asked yourself why Macersville functions on the silver standard?” Morgan asked.

“I haven’t a clue.”

The retro silver coins were neat and a precious metal standard is always better than fiat money. Hell, you could probably work out a system where each promissory note was redeemable for so many pounds of 1090 steel and it would work better in practice than fiat money.

“It is because for some reason gold is more plentiful here than lead,” Morgan said.

He opened a door and turned on the light and there was row after row after row of gold bullion stacked like so many bricks. Take all the gold at Fort Knox and combine it all the gold in California—that’s in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills—and it would be small potatoes compared to this.

“We have some gold jewelry and such. Gold is pretty and it doesn’t corrode. We try to keep it halfway reasonable though. When word of a fabled city of gold leaks out many men spend large portions of their lives searching—sometimes the searches persist for generations—the effects can be catastrophic,” Morgan said.

“Reich! Reich! Wir sind reich!” I deadpanned in a monotone.

“What would happen if you dumped all this gold in the outside world?” Morgan asked.

“The spot price of gold would drop precipitously. I don’t think that any major economies are still on a gold standard but nonetheless gold still casts a powerful shadow over the economies of the world. Then there are hard money tycoons and ordinary folk who invested in gold as a hedge against inflation. They’d all be wiped out,” I said.

“Even the prices of electronic components and some precision instruments would be confused,” I added as an afterthought. “Also, never mind the scrutiny the dude dumping that many tons of gold into the world market would garner.”

“On the other hand, I think we can donate a few million dollars worth of gold to your cause and not create much of a tidal wave in the outside world’s economy,” Morgan said.

“Works for me.”

************** ****************** **************************

I had a few of my people melting down bars of gold, adding in a bit of lead, tin, antimony and a bit of silver and casting them into .69 caliber balls meant for 12 Gauge punkin’ ball loads.

“Why are we debasing this wonderfully pure gold,” James demanded.

He sounded frustrated beyond measure.

“There is less than one percent impurities in Macersville’s bullion. No one has bullion that pure on the outside and bullion is a very poor way to sell lots of gold and try to stay off the radar. Gold from the ground wouldn’t be so pure and a crack-brained prospector just might cast his gold into round balls for ease of transportation,” I said.

I didn’t add that I had every confidence that the golden balls would be assayed for purity and there was no intention to defraud anyone.

My group had managed to locate several poor prospectors in several gold bearing states to act as front men. I’d seen a few of these type dudes on nature and educational documentaries. I’d often thought that the main thing motivating them was a love of being in the wilds and the thrill of treasure hunting. Actually finding a large pocket of gold might prove more of a curse than a blessing.

They still hadn’t struck the mother lode though and they were still free to search for it. Part of what I paid them was put into a trust fund for their retirement. Another trust fund gave a small annuity so that they could winter in style and set out with top quality gear each prospecting season. Of course I also gave them a fair chunk of money to fritter away while they were at it. And the vast majority of them would fritter it away one way or another.

Meanwhile I’d had my agents bribe a couple of writers for the prospecting magazines to tout using round ball bullet molds to keep track of a prospector’s loose gold. It might not be a great idea, but because it had been touted in print no one would question prospectors in several states coming up with many pounds of round golden balls all at one time.

*********** **************** *************************

Many folk that The Outfit recruited in their better days come from martial arts backgrounds. I was a case in point. Nonetheless The Outfit’s recruiting of outsiders was very hit or miss.

I sent trainees out to take martial arts classes in the outside world. They might take tae kwon do or kenpo, judo or Brazilian jujitsu, boxing, capoeira or some form of kung fu. The style or art wasn’t important. What was important was finding competent senseis or coaches who were truly dedicated to teaching and to the martial arts.

When they found a prospect, they sent him to me.

************* ******************* ******************************

“Welcome sensei!” I said to the newcomer.

He was about five-ten and weighed about two-ten without too much fat—though like many middle-aged grapplers, his muscles seemed all smoothed over with a thin covering of fatty tissue.

He looked Japanese and he taught judo but his accent was pure Kentucky middle south.

“I wish that we could do this at your dojo, but you don’t have the proper facilities,” I told him.

“You know what they say: my dojo, my rules. There are many ways to fake martial arts feats. There are ways to fake miracles. There are ways to run scams and ways to counterfeit money. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate miracles or genuine hundred dollar bills,” I continued.

He looked at me openly with just a twinge of skepticism. That was good. I preferred people who weren’t ready to swallow everything hook, line and sinker.

“By the way, I promised you a thousand dollars to come and talk to me but I’m sure that coming here cost gas and meals on the road and you might want to spend a night in a motel before heading back home,” I told him.

I handed him sixteen one hundred dollar bills.

“This should make your one thousand dollars pure profit. They’re not counterfeit. Check the serial numbers. Hold them up to the light. Note the hologram and the tiny metal strip,” I told him.

I stepped onto the clinical scales and weighed myself.

“Three hundred and five pounds and I’m almost ripped,” I said. “But for all you know, I may be floating in enough steroids to alter the outcome of the next three superbowls or my scales could be bollixed. Please weigh yourself to verify my scale.”

I stepped onto the tight rope and did the splits and then rose and went into a one-armed handstand and then did a double back somersault coming off. Next I did a few tricks on the still rings and the horizontal bar. My stunts would be commonplace at a national gymnastics competition. Coming from a sixty year old man weighing over three hundred pounds it was awe-inspiring—always provided that it wasn’t trickery.

“Have you ever thrown knives?” I asked.

“Some,” he admitted. “It isn’t judo.”

“Would you throw these knives at a target—whichever one you want—and then retrieve them. Check out the targets while you’re down there. Those are laminated end-grain pine.”

I stuck three full-sized Kunai then a half a dozed mini Kuni and then I followed up with six single washers then six washers at once.

“That whipcrack noise you hear is the washers breaking the sound barrier. Walk on down to the target and examine it in detail. Note the depth the washers and blades have sunk in.”

Finally the judo sensei said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me. You can do things that I never thought to see outside a cheap kung fu movie. What is the point? What do you want from me?”

“I want to teach you how to do those things. I want to finance a nice big dojo for you and I want you to teach others what you’ve learned. You don’t have to pay me back with money. You will pay me back by offering your most promising students the opportunity to come and train with my people,” I said.

“I’m a Christian. I don’t want to be involved in the demonic,” he said.

“That would be an excellent objection but I don’t think that there is anything unchancy about what we do. There is an impersonal force permeating both matter and energy and we’ve learned through mental exercises to harness it. It’s no more demonic than electricity. There is this: some of our rival groups are turning to the demonic to increase their power, but there’s nothing new about such things,” I told him.

I could see that he wasn’t convinced.

“Take these three books. I wrote them to give my students something to study and to give them useful exercises when I was away and couldn’t train them every day. Take your time and look them over. I’ll get back to you or you can contact us,” I told him.

“What if I don’t join you but I teach the things in these books to my students anyway?”

“Feel free. Believe it or not, I wrote those books to help people and not for profit or credit,” I said.

“What if I plagiarize them and publish them as my own works?” he asked.

“You won’t. If you were that kind of fellow I wouldn’t have invited you here. But so far as that goes—I don’t give a rat’s ass if someone wants to steal my works. There is another factor though. There are two dozen or more groups of Adepts in the US of A alone. Many of them are very hard-core and dedicated to keeping the techniques secret,” I said.

************** ****************** *************************

We’d gotten the dojo conversion process down to a science. One third of the dojo was open to the public. It would be well lit. It would have spacious padded rooms and a very good selection of training equipment.

The second section held a nice weight room and some advanced equipment. Why have the weight room in a restricted area? It was conceivable that someone might tire of martial art training, but continue to pay the modest fee to use the weight room and we didn’t need people cluttering up the place.

Of course the last third held the most advanced equipment and only the top ten percent or so were authorized to be there. Even the intermediates would either be intimidated or would suspect fraud if they saw some of the things that the advanced trainees were doing.

In the beginning a couple or three advanced students would go and stay with the resident sensei until he had the rudiments of chi manipulation. They might stay six months or sixteen months. If they had to take off a few days occasionally for a mission, personal concerns or whatever it didn’t diminish the quality of the training.

While the advanced students were there they also served as assistant instructors to the class.

Once the sensei was deemed competent to carry on alone, he’d still spend the occasional three or four-day weekends at our headquarters—throw in a two to three week stay once or twice per year. There were also frequent visits by various Adepts to help out and to further the sensei’s skills.

Remember The Outfit’s prime axiom:

“Nothing good ever comes from haste.”

It might take five or six years for a sensei to get to where he could truly be called an Adept with our on site training.

The beginning mental exercises were given to the students from the start.

“The purely physical will only take you so far in the martial arts. These exercises are simple and they take a long time to bear fruit but they’re important. If you will do them diligently for a year or two you will begin to see an improvement. Your greater mental powers should just be beginning to come online as you’ve exhausted he physical,” was the rap laid on the students.

We didn’t have “Sis-Boom-Bah” demonstrations to convince the students the visualizations worked. Our policy of asking students to do the exercises “just because” tended to select those who were dedicated, not particularly physically gifted and willing to give something a good long trial based on faith in the sensei.

Eventually we had one or more dojos in Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, and Lafollette—including the suburb Knoxville, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Evansville and St Louis and over a dozen more Southeastern metropolises.

We had our headquarters just east and south of Harlan Kentucky and so far as The Powers That Be and the general public were concerned, we were a dedicated confederation of martial arts fanatics—clannish but too open to really qualify as a cult.

We chartered the “Nine Tails Motorcycle Club”—with few visible ties to the martial artists. Unlike any other bike club that I ever heard of, the “Nine Tails” had little hazing of new members but there was an exacting apprenticeship.

The clubhouses hid gyms and training facilities. Apprentices were taught tradecraft and they weren’t supposed to ride a bike on the roads until they had a year of tradecraft under their belts. Waiting until they’d gotten in better than naturally possible physical condition and jacking their reflexes by thirty percent and more greatly cut down on accidents.

The clubs held big road trips and camping expeditions. The mood was joyful but they didn’t have the reputation for boozing, getting high and chasing loose women that most other clubs had. Honestly they were more like a militia of sober minded bon vivant scholars and poets.

Then there was the “Dragon’s Teeth Motorcycle Gang”. I have no idea how that one got started.

They didn’t ride motorcycles—but don’t tell them that. They used old Volkswagen Beetles and souped them up almost beyond recognition. Some had Ferrari engines or other high performance sports car engines shoehorned in.

They jacked rear ends up. Some of the Beetles were converted to 4-wheel drive. Most kept the rear mounted motor but many converted the cars to front wheel drive and added a drive shaft. Chain drives were also popular.

A complicated but popular conversion was moving the steering column to dead center and having just one centrally located bucket seat.

“X” harnesses and crash helmets with goggles were de rigueur. So was brass-studded leather vests or jackets and with the club logo. Many Dragon Teeth carried lorgnettes.

The club members dressed like Prince, Doctor Who and a shipload of Vikings had collaborated on the wardrobe. They acted like someone had taken the most over-the-top Japanese Zen Master of all time, Castaneda’s Don Juan, Gallagher and Mork from Ork and thrown them in a container and shook them until they coalesced into the most manic word salad spouting Fool-Saint of all time.

You guessed it. Capoeira and Drunken style and Monkey style kung fu were their favorite martial arts.

Yeah, one effective combat strategy is to play the fool.

************** *************** ***************************

We had several good years when there were only the most minor rumbles with other Adept groups. I knew that the lull would be temporary. We used our time to our advantage.

I had some ideas and I was able to wield a few jutsu more powerfully than most. What really gave us a rocket-boosted assist was all the gold from Macersville. I knew that the gold had to stop at some point. I knew that it had to stop soon. I just didn’t know precisely when it would stop.

The final form of my kahuna jutsu was throwing three big kahunas who threw three kahunas each. Then the nine kahunas threw three little kahunas for a total of twenty-seven little kahunas.

The little kahunas weren’t physically small of course, but each one only had about ninety five percent of my power. Each one of the little kahunas could cast seven +5.0 wet spawn with a second wave of three at about 3.5.

The big kahunas and the kahunas could also cast modest first and second wave spawn, but most of the power and action was focused out on the most distal branches of my spawn tree.

I knew somehow, deep down inside that I’d taken that particular jutsu to its maximum. Truly, it is generally better to travel hopefully than to arrive. I mastered the odd jutsu here and there, but I also knew somehow that I’d never find a jutsu that would give me a tiny portion of the boost of power that I’d gotten from the raven jutsu in conjunction with the kahuna jutsu.

I needed to bulk up to well over three hundred pounds to handle the kahuna backlash when it came. I didn’t look fat. I looked like what the reigning Mister Olympic wishes that he could bulk up to.

When I was a ten I’d have grooved on the idea of being such a muscular monster. Now it was a bother. I stood out in any crowd unless I used a glamor. It was hard to find ready-made clothes to fit.

That really didn’t begin to cover it. I just felt like, looked like and had to train like a sumo-lite and I didn’t like it.

Speaking of sumos—Duncan wore his hair well down his shoulders now. He hadn’t went bald but over half of his hair had turned snow white. Saul didn’t seem to age. He was well past the normal lifespan even of a Rat Terrier an they sometimes live eighteen years or so.

************** *************** ***********************

One day I happened to be alone with Ladonna.

“Do you ever regret that you never had children?” Ladonna asked.

“I have hundreds,” I said.

“You know what I mean,” she insisted.

“Ee…having children requires a woman. They’re far from easy to acquire. Moreover, to win one you have to compete. Competition is defiling. I never compete.”

“Do you think that I like women?” she asked.

“No. But since you bring it up—do you? And why do I care?”

“I’m straight but when I was a senior in high school the prom queen made a pass at me. I was horrified and ashamed. When I told my grandmother she was very stern—like when you tell someone something that they damned well ought to know,” Ladonna said.

“She told me that big muscular loud and outspoken women like me were an abomination. She said that I didn’t deserve a man and that I’d better learn to like splayed women because that’s all that I could ever get. You say that you won’t compete against the men who dated me before you or who might come after you. There aren’t any. I have never been on a date with anyone—male or female,” she spat out.

“I don’t know what to say. If I’ known when we were younger I might have acted differently—maybe. I can’t say of a certainty,’ I said.

She gave me one of those looks of resentment and dislike that has fermented and festered for decades. It’s like one of those big hot aching boils and you know that it will pop someday but you’re not sure exactly when.

I’m all for openness on one hand but on the other hand I hate psychodrama.

Just then David came walking in.

“I’ve just gotten the word. The North Koreans—Jae’s North Koreans—are going to swap some kinjutsu with the Dallas Adepts. There is going to be twenty-three volumes altogether,” David said.

“Do you know where?” I asked him.

“Gatorworld in Orlando,” David said.






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Old 09-28-2015, 02:39 PM
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Chapter Twenty







I went to Gatorland in Orlando when my family lived there. That was back in the 60s. I had many nightmares afterward partly as a result of seeing the gators up close.

My mother opined one day that she wouldn’t live somewhere with a canal running through her back yard. I said that it wouldn’t bother me.

“Yeah and one morning you’d climb out of bed and a gator would snap your leg clean off,” she said.

She could go from zero to hate-filled bitter sarcasm remarkably quickly.

I got the idea from her stupid remark that the water could rise until it was knee deep and a gator could cruise in through locked doors without anyone suspecting anything was amiss.

Every time that I had to go wee-wee-wee after bed time I was scared spitless lest a gator take my leg off as my first foot hit the floor—and we were staying in a trailer. Once that first foot safely touched down without incident I knew there wasn’t a gator lying in wait and I was reasonably good to go.

We went there again while on vacation sometime in the early 70s. The place was much as I remembered it but I was several years older and it didn’t give me nightmares.

As I checked the place out with online photos and Google Maps much of it was the same. The wooden walkways looked just like I remembered them but they’d added a whole other lake behind the first lake and a couple of smaller lakes as well.

So that’s where they meant to do the exchange.

Game theory came heavily into play here. Neither side was willing to go into the other side’s territory. The potential for ambush was too awesome and spawn would be detected and disallowed at the gate lest they be on some sort of Kamikaze mission.

There was much that could pass without notice in the outer world or what could be written off as gang violence, terrorism or drug wars, but there were limits. Either side would be unlikely to start a pitched battle in a public place.

Neither side was likely to try to palm off fake books either. An all out war was something no one wanted. However, once word got around that a group was weak and indecisive it would start a feeding frenzy among Adept groups.

Word that someone had been gipped was bound to leak out. The only way to save face would be to launch an all-out war on the one who’d ripped them off.

That only left the mechanics of trying to intercept the packages and it wasn’t at all easy.

On the other hand, I feared the consequences of letting twenty-three volumes of kinjutsu get around and our new group needed to establish our bona fides. It was also a tempting opportunity to mess with people that I didn’t approve of.

This was going to be a hard snatch to pull off, so I contacted the Seminole to make it a joint operation.

************** ****************** ******************************

Gatorland’s parking lot was filled with big custom touring bikes all done up in brown and chrome. There were also many bizarrely customized Volkswagens there too. Both of the gangs left four members to watch over their rides while the bulk of each gang went inside.

The Nine Tails wore their summer colors—a lightweight brown leather vest with a kyuubi embroidered on the back with lots of fluorescent orange and psychedelic lime green. The Dragon’s Teeth had a white and yellow fire-breathing dragon embroidered on their black leather vests.

I had been concerned lest the park hesitate to admit so many color-wearing gang members at one time. I’d padded a lot of pockets from ticket sellers all the way up to middle management with enough long green to insure everyone would simply turn a blind eye to the outlaw bikers on the big day. There had also been a simple compulsion laid on each bribed employee to insure that they told no one. Even if he was an operative for another Adept group, the compulsion should hold.

When I say “I” I mean that one of my people did. There are folk with far better mental jutsus than I can command

As it stood there were two-dozen Nine Tails and nineteen Dragon’s teeth scattered through the park.

Some of the Seminole looked Indian and some had gone for a Hispanic look. My three big kahunas were there. Each one dressed differently and had a different face via an unobtrusive glamor.

Duncan had one fatty walking and hitting all of the snack bars. He had another riding an electric wheel chair. The third Duncan sat on a park bench with his legs crossed and tried to be inconspicuous. Since that hid his height and made the view of his extra broad lower body at least partly obstructed I had hopes that his glamor might suffice.

That left Duncan and Saul with two more first-wave Duncans on tap with my originals.

There was a number of other spawn in Gatorland. Gerald’s kahunas—he still had just the three—There were spawn by Cary and James and Chandra. I had all of David’s spawn either watching his drone monitors or watching the sixes of the Davids watching drone monitors.

They made the exchange behind the restrooms not far from the parrot house—right next to the breeding marsh. Right off the bat there was trouble. Someone else made their move an instant before we did.

There were fifty white-hot fires around the two package bearers. The fires were like looking into a TIG welding torch without a hood or at a big magnesium fire for a moment and then when I looked back there were fifty men armed with oversized leaf bladed scimitars.

Fitting in for them was a no-go. They were bare chested with big green turbans of shiny silky material with big multi-colored balloon pants and shoes than turned up like elf shoes on the end. They were all muscled like pro bodybuilders on contest day.

Eccentricities of dress I could fathom, but none of these dudes were alive—not even like a dry spawn is kinda alive. These fellows were more like mineral wool or asbestos fibers wound extraordinarily tight and suffused with more chi than I’d ever seen in one place, along with some very ugly saffron colored energy.

They all looked identical with black brooding brows, hooked beak noses, fierce handlebar mustaches and glowering cruel countenances.

“They have summoned the djinn,” One of the Texans shouted.

Nine flocks of ravens converged and then combined into kahunas. Nine kahunas summoned twenty-seven little kahunas.

The Texans seemed to mostly be armed with Heckler & Koch MP-5s or some knock-off look alike. The North Koreans seemed to prefer M-4s with a D-Cell flashlight battery sized moderator. The Texan’s MP-5s also had D-Cell sized suppressors.

Parenthetically—some of the high tech wet silencers can be that size and do a yeoman’s job of suppressing a pistol cartridge’s muzzle blast. They weren’t going to come close to suppressing the muzzle flash and blast from a short barreled .223—but they could make it milder and more endurable for the shooter—hence the term “moderator”.

A bunch of dudes with shaved heads and carrying what looked like German MP-40s came in firing on the heels of the djinn.

Both the Texans and the North Koreans hosed the djinn, but bullets didn’t seem to affect the inorganic life forms. My speeded up Adept senses could see the bullets flatten on the djinn’s skin—causing the mildest momentary ripple—and then tumble harmlessly to the ground. Some of the Montanan’s wild spraying from behind hit their djinn servants, masters, owners—whatever in Hell they were with their 10mm Magnum bullets. That didn’t discomfit the djinn either.

None of the other groups seemed to have even the slightest concern about hitting innocent bystanders.

As a big Kahuna, I could throw five first-wave spawn after the kahunas. Each one was only a bit above level 3.0 but they were.

One of my wet spawn snatched up a little girl. He shielded her body with his and carried her out of the crossfire. He absorbed several bullets in the process. He wasn’t popped yet, but he was sliding that direction.

He drew his thirty-nine inch saber—seeing as how bullets seemed to have no effect on the djinn—and gave one of the haints a full-powered chop across the side of his neck from behind.

The saber’s edge bit into the djinn’s neck a little over an inch and molten something—white hot—erupted from the gash along with foot-long sparks of high power electrical arcs.

The djinn’s wound had closed over by the time that he’d turned around to face my spawn. He swung his oversized scimitar hard enough to bat my saber away and cleave my body from my left trapezius to my right iliac crest. He cut me in two diagonally and a tiny instant later the spawn’s cork popped.

I wouldn’t get any experience back from the kahunas or their get until the last kahuna fell, but since there wasn’t a kahuna in the line of propagation, I received that spawn’s memories and left-over chi immediately.

My four remaining wet spawn threw as many dry spawn as possible and entered the fray—to protect people and others.

**************** ****************** ************************

One of the djinn got distracted and stepped toward a toddler bawling hysterically in his stroller. His scimitar started down. I stepped in close and blocked the blow with my saber. Lets see if you can still bat my saber away so casually when it is charged with every dreg of chi that I can force into, around and through my mighty blade.

My blade blocked the chop at the toddler—just barely. The second time he chopped downward at me. I reached up and supported my blade with my right hand. That worked just barely and he almost got my right hand’s fingers as he raked the scimitar outward across the saber’s blade on the way out.

He’d be ready and he’d get my fingers the next time that I used that strategy.

The djinn drew back for a mighty overhand smash. I threw my saber up to deflect the blow marginally as I stepped close and rammed my right hand hangar as far into his chest cavity as it would penetrate.

He tried to pull back. I stuck to him like flypaper and kept the hanger sheathed in his heart. He tried to pull back even harder.

It was as I surmised. Somehow he could bridge the moments from before his flesh was rent to the moment in the near future when it might—in theory—exist unrent once more—that is, if his flesh wasn’t torn or pierced very long.

The longer the hanger stayed in him the harder those moments became to bridge and pretend that they’d never happened in the first place. His left hand gripped my left wrist and tried to crush my radius an ulna in his crystalline grip. His right hand groped for my eyes.

I sheathed my right wrist and forearm in chi to prevent him pulverizing the bones. I dropped the saber and grabbed his left wrist. Something very hard and cruel came up from deep inside of me.

Something that I’d read long ago came rushing into my mind:

“When winning becomes solely a matter of who can hate harder, that’s when you gotta fight as if you could avenge every injury and sleight that you’ve ever suffered at the hands of man or fate—right here, right now in this exact moment of time.”

I had no idea what I hated that strongly but pure unadulterated malice caused my strong left hand to clamp down until I felt whatever answered for bones in the djinn’s wrist to creak and I threatened to crush them with my power.

The djinn popped or whatever the correct term for djinn is. He left enough white-hot molten metal to destroy what was left of my body. I popped.

************ *************** ***********************

“Ding-a-Ling!” Damn it!

Two spawn were down and there were forty-nine djinn to go. I was already behind on points. This wasn’t going well.

One of the djinn started to kill one of the giant tortoises—just from meanness I guess.

It was time to front him with saber and hangar in hand and try to figure out a way to kill djinn that didn’t take my spawn down with him.

“Dude it is like: leave the big turtle alone,” I told him.

************ ***************** ********************

Meanwhile Duncan lost a spawn to the djinn but the other two Duncan spawn had a clear view of what happened.

A djinn would assay an overhand chop at Duncan. Duncan would nonchalantly bat the leaf-bladed scimitar to one side with a chi-shielded hand. Then he’d step in close and rip the djinn’s head off. Duncan’s chi aura was more than robust enough to shield him from the molten metal reflux that a popping djinn created.

Two Duncans destroyed eleven djinn short order. The djinn didn’t seem capable of adjusting or altering their tactics but three of them happened to target one Duncan at one time. He got two before he went down and then the last Duncan destroyed that djinn.

Duncan had wrecked fourteen of the knob-gobblers so far, but we were down to one Duncan and there were more than fourteen djinn left.

Gerald had worked out a way to triple-team a djinn with one kahuna and two wet spawn but putting all our baskets around taking out the djinn left no baskets to take out the other bad eggs.

But the Seminole hadn’t been heard from yet. Up out of the breeding marsh pond came an alligator that was as long as a Greyhound Bus—not counting his tail. Like all Adept animals he’d been improved: more brains, quicker reflexes, four chambered heart, far better eyesight in the air and legs with far better conformation for four-legged locomotion on land.

I have no idea how they got the dinogator into the pond. Thing was: he could travel as fast overland as an Olympic sprinter and he could take out a djinn with one bite.

I saw a Seminole with an old-fashioned stone war club with feathers and bird’s feet hanging from the head and the butt of it. He swung it downward at a djinn from a yard too far away to contact the unchancy being. An instant later a huge bolt of lightening struck the djinn from a clear blue sky.

One Seminole had a bow. Every djinn he shot abruptly vanished with no molten backlash. Only problem was that he only had seven arrows. I guess special arrows like that must be hard to make. I’m sure that he’d have brought more of them if he’d had them.

Then there was James. James had been carrying one of those five-shot Colt cap-and-ball replicas—the one in .375—loaded with five silver pistol balls that he’d cast from ingots. I kept telling him that there weren’t any such things as vampires or werewolves and I didn’t know of a single haint that was affected by silver. Nonetheless he always brought the revolver with its five silver balls along just in case.

Wouldn’t you know it? When nothing else seemed to stop the djinn James pulled one of his silver-loaded pistols. Any shot that hit a djinn anywhere with one of the silver balls popped him like a soap bubble—or a dry spawn.

Thing was: James wasn’t there in person but he’d spawned five replica Colts along with the five spawn he’d sent to Gatorworld.

The djinn were going down. The Texans and the Montanans seemed to have largely eliminated each other and there were only a few North Koreans left.

The Texans and the North Koreans were all originals. From what I could gather sending spawn to these events was a major faux pas.

All the bikers were spawn and most of them had changed missions almost instantly and had devoted themselves to shielding the non-combatants. Consequently only two bystanders had been shot but most of the bikers had popped.

Many kahunas and little kahunas had popped but all the big kahunas had survived.

As the closest Kahuna to the books, I charged. The scholars brought to examine the books were about all that was left to protect them. I laid them out with knockout blows to the head when possible. I had a soft spot for scholars and I wanted to spare them if possible. That isn’t always the easiest thing. Some of my chi enhanced punches killed rather than stunned.

I shoved all the books into a duffle and I summoned my secret weapon. It was a raven that had been bred up to the size of a roc or a pterodactyl—big enough to pick me up with its padded feet and lift me up and carry the kinjutsu and me.

Yip-Ee-Kie-Ayy!!!

Flying far above the far too realistic Earth and knowing that I had the kinjutsu volumes was a heady feeling.

So far that day I’d seen real live—or undead—or whatever djinn. I’d seen a Seminole call down lightening. I’d seen haints that could actually be destroyed by silver bullets. I’d seen a giant dinogator and now a giant raven was carrying me.

It had been quite a day.

What was that?

No! O Hell no!

A huge black Oriental style dragon barred my path to safety. He was long enough to stretch from end zone to end zone on a football field. He was thicker than a house trailer. He had great giant arms well behind a very long neck and two relatively stunted rear legs sprouted about twenty yards from the tip of his tail. He was breathing out some sort of black miasma and Duncan’s little brother—Little Boss—sat calmly in a lotus position on the dragon’s head.

If I was going to have to engage in some sort of off-the-wall Adept aerial jousting I needed to be in a more advantageous position than clutched in my roc’s claws.

My giant raven dropped me and then executed a perfect Split S—the converse of an Immelman maneuver. Once he’d leveled off he was at a lower altitude—having swapped height for speed—and he intercepted my trajectory, giving me the opportunity to land on his back.

Of course now we were headed away from the dragon. And this is bad because?

What’s that old Monty Python ditty about a tranny lumberjack?

No, that’s not it. It’s about Brave Sir Robin:

“Brave Sir Robin ran away;

“Bravely ran away, away!”

Brave Sir Raven flew away; bravely flew away, away!

Yeah only sometimes there ain’t enough strategic retreats in the whole world…

The black dragon was about to catch my giant raven, get peanut butter on my chocolate and sink my battleship.

That was a no-go.




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Old 09-29-2015, 06:22 PM
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When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled, brave,brave,brave brave sir Robin......lol
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Old 09-30-2015, 03:44 PM
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Chapter Twenty-One





At least one of my kahunas or little kahunas was still alive and kicking. That meant no feedback or returned chi until every last one of them had popped. I was very tempted to pop all of them and call them back. This battle was going to take every bit of chi that I could muster.

I forbore for one excellent reason—my minor kahunas and/or the wet and dry spawn they’d thrown might be in the middle of doing something crucial. Popping them might put my friends or the bystanders at risk. I couldn’t do that with a clear conscious.

All my first wave spawn had fallen so I had their chi remnants. I still had all of my second wave spawn since I hadn’t used them.

I popped one of the chi balls in my mouth, crunched and swallowed. That was a kinjutsu—a gumdrop suffused with massive amounts of pure chi. The drawbacks were that it was much like mainlining a huge hit of crank and there was supposed to be a vicious crash afterwards.

One gumdrop might drive me over the edge, give me a brain aneurysm or cause my heart to vapor lock. Anything worth doing is worth over-doing though. I counted down waiting for the wave of chi to suffuse my system. As I felt the first tentative tingles of the coming rush I popped three more of the chi gumdrops into my mouth to slowly dissolve like hard candy.

My raven did an Immelman. We were facing the dragon once more but we were higher and we were moving very slowly through the air—having swapped most of out speed for altitude.

I’d been trying to delay long enough to let the first wave of chi hit me full blast.

I felt it and I tried hard to throw two wet spawn and two wet rocs.

The rush from the gumdrop that I’d chewed and swallowed made me feel as if I’d stepped onto an elevator on the seventeenth floor only to realize too late that here was no elevator—just a massive fall.

A long time ago I’d seen an olde tyme jazz musician named “Buddy Rich” do a drum solo on television.

That’s what those three gumballs in my mouth felt like they were doing. Each one had its own distinctive “flavor” of chi and as they quickly unraveled—far faster than I thought they would—each new layer of chi was like a single drumbeat as it suffused my system.

I was a big kahuna. I’d maxed out my kahunas and little kahunas. I’ve said that “little” kahunas aren’t actually little. Well they aren’t. But while my original is about a quarter inch above six foot, big kahunas are about six-four and three quarters. A kahuna is about six-one and a half. “Little” kahunas are about five-ten.

I did something that shouldn’t have been possible. I cast a single second-wave kahuna complete with his own roc. He was a small kahuna—literally. He was about five-one and just about everything else about him was appropriately downsized.

My small kahuna cast three wet spawn—each one was pygmy-sized at about four foot nine or ten inches. Each wet spawn had a downsized roc just the right size to be proportional to my raven and me.

The three gumballs in my mouth were gone. I didn’t remember swallowing them. I was sure that I hadn’t spit them out. I believe that they simply dissolved and/or were absorbed.

The small kahuna and company might be downsized in both size and power but they packed a potent sting for all of that.

I shouted a battle cry at little boss:

“I am sure this dude’s an idjit;
“He's the ultimate example of a mental midget;
“This bugs me more than artificial pork fritters or John Ritter;
“Thank God I'm only visiting this place, driving through…”

“I’m going to…” Little Boss said.

He had a very clear and precise bass voice and you heard it despite his conversational tone. Whatever he meant to say was washed away in the blast as the littlest kahuna and his three minions hit the dragon and its rider with one fuel-air bomb after another.

One by one he blasted all my people to oblivion—but not before they hit him with many bombs.

Finally it was just Little Boss and our steeds as well as me.

Guess what dude. You returned enough chi for me to spawn one more recycled wet spawn—a fairly powerful one so far as that goes.

I created the final spawn right in front of me. It wasn’t so much that he was powerful compared to Little Boss—but he was one more annoying layer of wrapping paper that Little Boss had to deal with to get to me.

“Damn you! I will steal your soul and damn it to the worst part of Hell!” he bellowed at me. He was losing his temper big time and showing more and more of his true form.

“Dude it is like: you’re welcome to do that if you’re able but let me tell you a secret. All souls belong to God and it is God who judges men—not some half-baked rutabaga-headed minor minion of Satan. Thing is though—I don’t believe that you’re able to slay me here and now in this world,” I told him.

I’d been binding myself tightly to my mount the whole time. It was like my buttocks and the back of my legs were super-glued to the raven.

In his rage Little Boss leaped to his feet and stood on the head of his dragon like a demented ten foot tall George Washington standing in the bow of the boat as he crossed the Delaware or the Rubicon or maybe the river Styx.

Time to provoke Little Boss a bit more. An angry client is often a careless and foolhardy client.

“Time flies, every other minute;
“Past the church where the ladies got a big sale in it;
“O gross, dinner time is when you hit the local café;
“It's no ordinary menu oy vey,” I chanted.

“You’re a fool!” Little Boss screamed in rage.

“My name is ‘Spoil O Warren’ but I’m not your Spoil. I shall be your nemesis,” I said.

Yeah, you can’t damage real demons with silver but Little Boss’ dragon wasn’t a demon from Hell. He was simply one of those haints that occupy the empty spaces between the greater voids.

Little Boss couldn’t fly. Without the dragon he’d drop like a pompous rock or an unsupported red brick.

Metals don’t spawn well. Somehow the aluminum and magnesium in my kerosene bombs had transmuted into silver when I was spawned. Unfortunately more than half of the silver had mutated into something else when I threw the small kahuna and the single wet spawn.

But I could “see” what even minor quantities of finely powdered silver in a fuel-air mixture explosion did to the serpentine dragon. I could “see” that all of the metal powder in my own bombs was still pure silver.

I cranked my gasses to unheard of temperatures and velocities inside their compartmentalized spheres of chi. I had a white-hot ball in each hand. This time instead of throwing them as before I created a lance of pure chi and rammed them as hard as I could into the dragon. I only let the gasses out in one narrow beam turning it into a shaped charge. One double charge was all it took.

Have you ever heard the vulgar colloquialism about the dude who is so startled or embarrassed that he jumps through his own rectum and disappears?

I don’t know if the dragon had a rectum and if he did, where he kept it. Nonetheless the dragon seemed to regress and invert himself several times in the course of vanishing.

“I will kill you some day!” Little Boss promised.

“I am no one. I come from nowhere. I cling to no thing. My life is a random waltz on my way toward oblivion. If you strike me down you will have accomplished nothing,” I said.

By now Little Boss was already falling so I had to shout.

“If you kill me, I’ll simply go to dwell with Jesus,” I said.

That sent the demon into paroxysms of rage. O well.

“Damn Dude! What did I ever do to you?” a miniature dragon about four foot long and as thick as my thigh hovering before me asked.

“Let me see, could it be because you were totin’ that homicidal cretin?”

“I didn’t have any choice once he summoned me,” the dragon said. “I’m free now. Why don’t we make a covenant between us?”

“I am not interested in covenants with evil haints or diabolical agents. Go away,” I told him.

“Dude, I’m not evil. I don’t want your soul or the blood of a virgin or even a big fat steer. A covenant is just a sort of pledge to be best friends forever—think about it. I’m too weak to hang here any longer,” the dragon said and then he vanished.

************* ****************** ***************************

I was with David and Duncan in the electronics room twenty miles from Gatorland.

“What in the Hell did the big kahuna just do?” David asked.

“It looks like he just cast a pint-sized second-wave kahuna,” I said.

A few moments the battle was won and the roc touched down briefly in the parking lot. My big kahuna got off and nearly collapsed.

“Get him inside,” I said.

“Why don’t you pop him?” David asked as the roc took off—hopefully before anyone noticed him.

Once I had the big kahuna inside I took the time to explain to David.

“Once all my kahunas are popped, I’m due for a super crash. I won’t be able to throw any kahunas for three or four weeks at a minimum and I’ll hardly be able to raise my head or get out of bed for a week or even ten days. I need to be up an functioning and we may need him for backup,” I told David.

“Call them back dude,” I told the big kahuna. “The rumble at Gatorworld is over.”

I ate heartily trying to get a little more padding for the emaciation in my near future. I also encouraged the kahuna to eat and load up on chi restoring potions and substances.

It is paradox and perhaps homeopathy. The chi laced gumdrops had ripped into the big kahuna’s system causing all sorts of damage to the tissues—micro tears and mini blowouts. The best way to help him heal was more chi.

There was a difference though. Each body has its own unique chi as well as each organ and probably each cell—though all of the body’s variegated chi would be broadly similar. Eating the chi drops was kinda like drinking scalding hot water to treat severe dehydration. At some combination of dehydration and water temperature it is just feasible but rehydrating comes at the price of burned lips, tongue, throat and stomach—maybe even parts off the small intestine.

The body’s chi could be used for healing much—hopefully all—of the chi-scalded body. It wasn’t helpful that the kahuna’s assimilation of food and chi builders was still noticeably inferior to mine—but as my kahunas became longer lasting their assimilation improved.

It’s like one of those old conundrums:

“Which came first—one egg or all the the plethora of baskets one shouldn’t put around one egg?”

I had my doubts that I’d ever dare one of the chi-drops in my own body but they both frightened and fascinated me. In a way I was anxious for my big kahuna to cease so that I could savor his experiences first hand.

************** **************** ********************************

I enjoyed studying the new—to me—kinjutsu manuals. Some of them were very disturbing though.

The kinjutsu to summon the djinn called for a sacrifice of three dogs for each djinn.

First of all, killing dogs for such a crack-brained purpose both angered and appalled me. Second that was getting into the realm of sorcery and the occult where I—or any Christian—could not in good conscious follow.

Some of the other summoning’s required the sacrifice of pigs or goats or chickens or even virgin women.

I had no desire to follow them to that place but it caused me to wonder if the opposition’s willingness to court the abominable and the diabolical and dance with the devil didn’t give them an insurmountable advantage power wise.

The black dragon was in one of the volumes. There were at least threescore of those type dragons. About one third of them had wholeheartedly embraced evil, but at least according to the book the others were free moral agents similar in some ways to humans.

The spaces where these dragons dwelt were totally empty. Even hardest vacuum is something. The places where the dragons dwelt did not even have empty space. Each of the “spaces” was self contained and some dragons dwelt in one hyper-sphere of total negation while others dwelt elsewhere and there was no moving from one realm to another—even should someone get the whimsical urge to transmigrate.

Although some of the dragons shared a realm, the nature of the place made it impossible for them to communicate or even be aware of each other in any way.

There were several mindblowers in the accounts. The negated spaces functioned as a sort of spacer or perhaps more like roller bearings for vast voids even emptier than the negated reams.

Did the dragons fly freely in these negated realms?

What could there possibly be to hinder them? On the other hand without anything—including even emptiness—what medium was there for the dragons to fly through?

It was like trying to imagine the little end of nothing whittled down to a very fine point.

The dragons weren’t summoned with sacrifices, blood or incantations. One simply imagined them strongly with chi. It was the same method I used to summon my ravens or other birds.

I fed my birds small amounts of my blood but that wasn’t thaumaturgy—I don’t think. Imagine that my chi was tiny little bits of iron filings and that I could make the filings do all kinds of things via magnetism. There would be bits of those special iron filings in my blood of course—since the filings completely suffused my body. Feeding my blood to my ravens was a convenient way to get some of my “iron filings” into them so my “magnetism” could reach them and resonate through them.

Yeah, doesn’t sound good for my case, does it? Suffice it to say that I manipulated the ravens with a clear untroubled conscious but sacrificing animals—or people—to summon haints from beyond—that is definitely necromancing.

*************** *************** ****************************

Harold the dispatcher from the village stood before me.

“The Dallas Adepts are laying siege to the village,” Harold said. “They think that you’re still part of The Outfit. Nothing that we can say will convince them. We’re not going to open the gates and let them waltz in. On the other hand, they’ve sworn to kill every man, woman and child if we resist them. I know that you an Dunno have had your issues but please…”

I cut Harold off with a raised hand.

“The Vvillage is what—five to six hours drive from here? Does anyone know a way to get there quicker? David, alert all the Nine Tails and Dragon’s teeth in within three hundred miles. Many of them have never even been in the village, so stress that I only want volunteers,” I rattled off all staccato like an olde tyme typewriter.

A foot long dragon appeared in the air before me.

“I doubt that your raven can carry you over a hundred miles flying at ninety miles an hour. I can get you there travelling faster than sound,” the dragon said. “Let me whisper my true name to you and we’ll be good to go once you repeat it.”

“Won’t everyone hear it then? Why not just say it aloud?” I objected.

I was picking nits because I had no intention of saying the name.

“Do you know what the one that you call ‘Little Boss’ will do to the children if he captures the village?” the dragon said.

Images of sadism, torture, heathen sacrifices and other abominations flooded my mind. That is one of my most basic gifts—even before I came to the village. I can be fooled by ordinary lies just like anyone else. I can spot an insincere preacher, hypocrite, demagogue or of the big-time scammers at a glance.

The dragon was sincere.

I sat comfortably on the dragon’s head. Sitting exposed to the supersonic wind would have been suicidal but he created a chi shield to protect me.

************* ***************** *************************

We arrived at the village within about fifty minutes of hearing Harold’s plea.

The Texans hadn’t stared the siege in earnest yet. Little Boss was seated on a dragon that was twice as long and thick as my black dragon. The new dragon seemed to glow with a sickly iridescence.

I leaped to my feet and prepared to do battle with one of Hell’s head firemen.

“You stole my brother, you steal my kinjutsu, you steal my Hell Hound and now you steal my dragon. I’m going to kill you,” Little Boss said.

I leapt to my feet and sang a snippet of the song that had been running through my head the last few weeks because it isn’t the words in a battle song that counts but the spirit and chi that one projects into it.

“One night in Boonville feels like half a month there;
“Not much to do and even less to see;
“Housewives do laundry and the rednecks drink there;
“All the kids do book reports on MTV;
“(I can feel the flute-player sneakin' up on me)” I sang.

Yeah, it is kinda embarrassing.

Just as I completed my last verse and prepared to joust with the new super dragon slaying fuel-air bomb fortified with a half-pound of finely powdered silver and used like the biggest knight’s lance in the history of jousting.

Little Boss threw a massive “V” shaped blade of chi at me. It was like a giant chi boomerang twenty-five feet across. Only it didn’t spin like a boomerang. It flew pointy tip foremost. There was no blocking it and no dodging it.

It hit me just above the navel and it cut me clean in two.

I was the real me—not a spawn or a kahuna—just me. I couldn’t turn to ravens and fly away like Trickster.

A Non-Adept would have lost consciousness instantly. My chi managed to give me a few extra seconds.

My new companion the black dragon was cut into small pieces as well…

The astute reader will realize that I managed to cope with the situation somehow or I wouldn’t be telling the tale.

Yeah, death always gets you eventually but there are ways to postpone the inevitable—sometimes. And yes, I did find a way to gain an indefinite life extension and it came about in this wise:





.....RVM45
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:19 AM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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Wow, that was some good stuff, didn't see that coming.
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Old 10-01-2015, 04:04 PM
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Chapter Twenty-Two






I found myself somewhere that neither ground nor sky nor any landmark existed. There was a fierce wind howling and it seemed to come from all directions at once. Everything was in blackest black and whitest white like the picture on an old black and white TV with the contrast cranked way too high.

The contrast was so fierce I could see the wind’s turbulence. The wind didn’t feel fierce though. It felt like a hot but dry wind being blown pleasantly across my bare back with the comforting drone of a belt-driven fan added in—only my whole body felt that way. So was I naked? Your guess is as good as mine.

There is a single quatrain in a latter translation of “The Rubaiyat”—on the whole I find the later translation inferior to the earlier one—but I groove on these four previously omitted verses:

“Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
“And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
“Were't not a Shame — were't not a Shame for him
“In this clay carcase crippled to abide?”

“You’re not dead,” the black dragon told me somehow—plainly and calmly with no need it seemed to shout to be heard over the maelstrom. “But you soon will be if you don’t take effective action.”

“Your thoughts are speeded up well over one thousand times but you have considerably less than a second of real time. Everything is monochrome because your mind is struggling to make sense of data that isn’t processed by any of your physical senses,” the dragon continued.

“Listen carefully. When one of your spawns returns to you, the return is instantaneous. It is one of the very few phenomena that are faster than light. However each and every one of your spawn had to go through a transition like this one before they could return to you and that transition is not instantaneous.

“That is why you get no return from a dry spawn. Their chi is exhausted before they can mount what Omar called ‘The Air of Heaven’. It isn’t that though. If it was, this state would be irreversible.

“Instead of a spawn riding the wave to you, you need to reverse the direction—the polarity—or something and ride the current to your big kahuna—the one who ate the chi balls,” the dragon told me.

I remember watching films as a boy in first and second grade. As I watched the film wind from one reel to the next I pictured a big fat man at the zoo. He was eating peanuts or maybe popcorn and he was looking intently at a penguin across a moat.

Why a penguin I have no idea.

Anyway, somehow the penguin hooked onto the fat man’s essence and as the film wound around the new reel the fat man’s substance was pulled across the moat.
When the film was one hundred percent on the new reel, somehow the man and the penguin had switched places. Now it was the man’s fate to exist in a cage and he shed bitter tears at the penguin’s jutsu.

But the fat man had one last trick up his sleeve. The elementary school teachers were kind and they did rewind.

Somehow the fat man snagged the penguin’s essence and as the film rewound he resumed his rightful place as a free human being and the penguin shed bitter tears.

As a point of fact, since rewinding is much faster than playing mode we can surmise that the fat man’s jutsu was far more powerful than the penguin’s. Not that I’d ever heard of jutsu in the second grade. I just had a vivid imagination.

Nowadays I’m struggling to find a way to rewind DVD disks. It is true that they work quite well without rewinding—but it is unkind not to rewind.

I’d been playing the role of the penguin in each and every instance of transferring the spawn’s data—their very being—to me. Now my biggest big kahuna needed to assume the role of the fat man and wind all of my substance around his reel—and do it fast. I wasn’t going to last long flapping in the breeze like this.

************* ***************** ********************

“What in Hell is the deal with you?” Gerald demanded as I woke and sat up on the cot that I lay on.

I was glad to note that they’d taken the unresponsive big kahuna to the battle site—probably in hopes that he’d revive soon enough to lend support.

“Everything is so shockingly realistic,” I said.

I noticed that I was surrounded all around with a cyan-colored aura six to sixteen inches thick all swirling and omitting green sparks of static every which way.

“My body was destroyed. I had to vacate the premises and relocate here. I don’t think these lightning bolts are damaging but stay back a bit just in case. In the meantime, bring me a big meal, all the chi-boosting herbal concoctions that you can find and a bag of those chi drops,” I said.

************** ***************** **************************

“I’m afraid to eat one of those chi-drops and you’re munching them like they were M&Ms,” Cary told me.

“How many kahunas are there?” I asked once I was up to speed.

“The other two big kahunas and five kahunas. None of the little kahunas survived,” Gerald said.

“Summon them. In the meantime, I know that it’s a mind blower but I’m no longer a kahuna. I’m Spoil. Even that is wrong but language isn’t fully adequate to express. I always was Spoil I was just forced into a precipitous retreat and had to move shop to this location,” I said.

************ *************** ****************************

Once all the kahunas were assemble I spoke to them.

“Guys, I had a choice with y’all. You are earlier and less powerful versions of what I can now create. I could simply absorb you but your chi is piddling and there is no necessity. Instead I’m going to top off each of your chi and set you loose. Once you’re free, you’ll find that my memories and experiences within you will become a little fragmentary and a bit fuzzy. That isn’t meant to be cruel or high handed. It is an unavoidable byproduct of y’all being cut loose. Everyone grab a chi-drop and chow down,” I said.

The former spawn that didn’t faint straight away after I loosed them were nonetheless in a psychedelic hallucinogenic state of consciousness.

“Have someone take them somewhere and let them recuperate. They won’t recover in time to be part of this battle. Tell me, what is the current tactical situation?” I said.

“The Dallas forces have control of the village. They hold the survivors hostage—though they’ve graduated to torturing some of them for information—or more likely—for their bestial amusement. I know, concern for hostages should never be a reason for non-action but…we’re not strong enough to retake the village. By the way, they also have at least three Cherokee villages under siege,” Gerald said.

“Okay, I’m about ready to retake the town for you—and for the captives. Tell everyone to fall back once I get started. Also, have everyone on my team have one of these,” I said while waving the sack of chi-balls. “I can ‘see’ that today no one will over amp if they take one.”

I stepped outside the trailer that served as a command center.

I cast seven big kahunas—each one more powerful than the three that I’d cast at Gatorland. Each of the seven big kahunas spawned four kahunas. Each of the kahunas cast three little kahunas and each little kahuna cast two extra small kahunas. The small kahunas all cast three wet spawn—though to tell you the truth, although the number of wet spawn out on the furthest branch of my spawn tree had grown the power of each terminal wet spawn had only gained a piddling 0.1 or a wee bit more.

My dry spawn hadn’t improved perceptibly in years, but today they all became about seventeen percent stronger.

I walked into the fray casually brushing Dallas Adepts out of my path. Many of them died and many were sorely injured but I took no heed. I just needed to confront Little Boss and they were the flotsam that happened to be in my way.

There in the village common I found Dunno. He’d been crucified and left to hang.

“I’ve long known that I’d kill you one day Dunno. I didn’t know that when the time came that it would be a kindness. Have you made your peace with God?” I said.

“A man in this position who hasn’t made his peace with God is a fool. I may be a fool but I have called on he name of the Lord,” Dunno replied.

“I’d save you if I could, but you’re too damaged,” I said.

“I know. Spoil I’ve hung like this for almost five days. Whenever death comes close they force chi into me to prolong my suffering.”

I drove a chi finger deep into Dunno’s head. His brains should have been thoroughly pureed before the contact with his forehead could even have been felt. I abused Dunno’s corpse a half a dozen ways, but quickly. I wanted to eliminate even the remotest possibility that he could be revived to suffer more.

“You broke my play-pretty Spoil. I’ll let you take his place,” Little Boss said.

He threw another of the pointy boomerang looking thingies at me. I didn’t deign to even block, dodge or parry the energy bolt. It made only the barest ripple in the skin on my stomach.

“That doesn’t work on me any more William. Fall to your knees and tremble in terror!” I said.

“I’m not William!” Little Boss screamed.

“No, sadly you are not William anymore. Duncan’s brother was thoroughly consumed by you long ago wasn’t he? Yet you cling to his template don’t you? He is like a photographic negative or a hologram. As long as you hang onto it, you can project your avatar into our reality. How long Little Boss? How long?” I said.

“Duncan is almost five hundred years old—what does that tell you?”

Little Boss summoned the ugly chartreuse dragon. It seemed to have doubled or tripled in size.

“This is remarkably tedious,” I said.

I summed my friend with a gentle mental nudge. He chose to present as a dragon a yard long. Size is generally a fair indicator of a haint’s power but not always.

“Can I eat the whole thing,” he asked like a deliriously happy six or seven year old child.

“O please do,” I told him. “Enjoy but do make haste. I fear that he may only be the appetizer,” I said.

“That tiny thing cannot defeat Destroyer Of Worlds,” Little Boss shouted.

“What a long and tedious name. My dragon simply goes by ‘Panic’ and he do incite it,” I said to Little Boss.

Panic ate the huge dragon, sucking the smoky substance of it down greedily like a crack head sucking on a glass pipe. In seconds it was gone.

Little Boss was so angry that he danced a little jig like a small child gearing up for a temper tantrum. Or maybe I was being too harsh. Maybe that furious frantic stamping little schottische that he was doing was part of his summoning ceremony.

He brought forth a half a dozen gargantuan haints at one time. Here was a spider whose abdomen was the size of a twenty-room apartment complex. There were three dragons, a jackal that would have dwarfed Clifford The Big Red Dog and a porcupine as big as a four-door pickup truck with lightening conducting spines—like someone had assembled hundreds of “Jacob’s Ladder” spark-gap generators.

“Panic, don’t play with your food. I’m finding this whole sordid affair unspeakably monotonous,” I said.

In a mere instant the haints were gone and Panic had grown to thirty feet long with a grossly distended abdomen.

“You’re on your own for awhile. I can’t eat another bite. I can’t even fly right now,” Panic sighed.

“This farce has gone on long enough,” I said.

I grabbed Little Boss. I got a good grip on one of his ankles and threw a super-powered wet spawn to grab the other.

“Make a wish,” I said to my double.

Judging by the way Little Boss screamed, it must be really painful to be torn apart that way.

************* ***************** *******************************

I toured the ruined village. There were too many dead and grieving. Most of my close associates had jumped ship with me, but there were many casual acquaintances lying dead on the street and it grieved me.

“Friends, you don’t have to act afraid of me,” I said. “I was filled to overflowing with chi that needed to be dissipated. If there wasn’t a battle then I’d have needed to find some other way to discharge it,” I told them.

“I’m sick of these kinjutsu wars. I’m going to put a stop to them,” I added.




.....RVM45
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:54 AM
DWwolf DWwolf is online now
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Just an observation .... was DragonballZ an idea that helped influence this story ?
The continuous escalation reminded me of.this story.
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:27 AM
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"Naruto" and "Nabari"

I watched "Dragon Ball Z" Quite a few years ago—It might have given me Ideas but I don't recall anything but a brief outline.

My memory isn't as good as it once one, but I can still recall the story line of several hundred books…

But I can't recall the plot from a single episode of "Miami Vice" or ""Rockford Files"—two shows that I've watched every episode several times.

A friend says that you remember things that you read more because the brain is much more involved and stimulated when he reads.





…..RVM45
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:48 PM
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Twenty-Three





The old saying is that:

“It is better to light a candle than to be constipated.”

But I preferred the Hacker’s Manifesto:

“Information longs to be free.”

It took a few weeks for David to set it up. All the books of kinjutsu went up on multiple Internet sites, free for the downloading—both in the original versions and with the best translations into English, Spanish, Japanese, Gaelige and German that we could come up with. A few of the new books that we’d acquired were as yet untranslated and/or undecoded. That couldn’t be helped.

I uploaded them in their entirety even though many of the volumes contained techniques and practices that I found abhorrent or that were highly damaging or even fatal to the user. I figured that if someone messed with crap after he had been specifically warned then it was on him. If I edited out all the dirty and nekkid portions then folk would still scramble for the unexpurgated versions.

Adepts might find ample cause to fight in the future but they wouldn’t be piling up collateral damage from seeking kinjutsu volumes.

Of course many Adept groups and governments frantically tried to suppress the sites. It was like trying to stamp out cockroaches or the clap though. Every time one site was hacked and crashed two or three more sprang up to take its place.

There were still a half a dozen or so books of kinjutsu floating around that we didn’t have access to. We were steadily tracking them down. All at once The Outfit and the Macersville group was an object of fear and apprehension in the Adept community.

We would try—in all sincerity—to explain to the possessors of an as of yet un-outed book of forbidden techniques that they were a target. If they’d share a copy with us once we published all motive to steal their volume vanished.

I had the distinct impression that many coughed up copies of the requested volumes from terror of us rather than because our logic swayed them. We tried hard to convince them that we were asking and not demanding but our reassurances often failed to convince them.

By then I had written eight volumes of jutsu and some of the forbidden justsu—those that weren’t sorcery, or flat out ruinous to one’s health—and that didn’t involve unclean spirits.

That was a bit more complicated than the kinjutsu. I wanted anyone who was interested to be able to have actual books on archival quality paper in their possession. Things on a hard drive often turn out to be rather ephemeral.

I was afraid though, that die-hard secrecy advocates might target any publisher. I self published and I had scores of publishers. There were over two dozen in the US of A alone. I had a publisher in New Zealand, one in *****ia, three in Mexico, four in Japan, two in Germany and three in Ireland.

I published my books in the English, Gaeilge, German, Spanish, Japanese, Yoruba and Esperanto languages with beaucoup illustrations—most created by me. My people took possession of the books and paid off the printers well ahead of my advertising them.

Once someone ordered them—either online or by post—a virtual labyrinth of mail forwarding and cutouts were used. Orders in a given language were routed randomly to a location where books were kept.

There would be no profit in attacking a publisher since his role had already been played. Most Adepts would agree with Miyamoto Musashi:

“Do nothing useless.”

Even if they could track down one site that was mailing books there would only be three or four people and a couple hundred volumes there. Once the stock was exhausted in one locale, the cell moved to another location.

I’m sure that some folks thought that they’d been ripped off by the time they received their books because sometimes delivery took three to five weeks.

At first my jutsu books were poo-pood and my name and art was put into the same category as Bruce Tegner, Ashida Kim, Count Dante and Stephan Hayes.

Then people started to notice several things. The books were on top quality archival linen paper with substantial leather covers and gold leafed borders and they sold for less than many trade paperbacks. I was selling them at well below my cost.

I’d have given them away except that then many people would order who had absolutely no intention of doing much more than look at the books and I couldn’t afford to throw that many books away. I also donated sets to over three hundred libraries in the United States alone.

Anyone who was distrustful or skeptical was free to examine the books in their entirety online.

So I might be a goof and a charlatan, but I was a surprisingly well-funded one and I wasn’t in it to fleece people of their money.

I strongly urged everyone to both exercise and to study some sort of traditional martial art to go along with the visualizations and meditations.

What? Yes both folkstyle wrestling and boxing are legitimate martial arts.

The sections on weight training and nutrition were demonstrably well written and contained good—though hardly unique—Information.

The sections on the throwing arts were also sound and included the use of washers/mini-chakram and methods to help train the weak hand.

Finally, I told people right up front that if they were in great shape and already a black belt or the equivalent it might take three to five years to see results working on their own—and even then the improvement would be subtle at first.

A pasty-face otaku who rarely got out of a chair in front of the television or computer monitor might take even longer.

Then after a couple years three groups started touting my books: College and professional football players—particularly linemen, power lifters and Japanese sumos.

About a year later several professional baseball pitchers admitted reading my books and applying many of my throwing and chi-assisted throwing exercises and visualizations. Soon shot-putters, discus throwers, javelin throwers and strongman competitors also joined my endorsers.

The thing is—one of the things was—very few people would make any effective use of even the most elementary techniques in my books. It took too much motivated perseverance and very few folks have the will and patience. Without a very sound grounding in the basic techniques and several years of chi building and storage the kinjutsu were spectacularly useless.

I suppose that my books ay be written off as nonsense and eventually fall into obscurity. In five hundred years, or a thousand or fifteen hundred if the Lord tarries that long, my books may have become the kinjutsu that Adepts fight over.

For right now though they should be the backburn that causes the big fire to fizzle out for lack of fuel.

Yeah, except that for the first few months after I published the kinjutsu online several Adept groups turned on us like a huge swarm of sparrow-sized rabid hornets.

Yeah, invertebrates can’t get rabies—I said "like".



.....RVM45



This chapter is short for stylistic reasons--not because I'm running down.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:10 PM
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Friends,

I quit watching "Nabari" halfway through because I read the wiki—spoilers and all—and the main protagonist wanted to Destroy all the jutsu manuals.

That just seemed wrong to me.

I thought that going public with all the techniques was an interesting and so far as I know no one else has ever used that particular plot device.

What does everyone think of the plot development?

More to come—but I may spend the whole weekend plotting—i.e. staring into space and daydreaming about the characters...

Sometimes I can write with my sister home and sometimes not.

I didn't figure that any sort of action sequences would fit well with the "Go Public" exposition.




…..RVM45
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