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PostPosted: Fri Jul 9, '10, 7:19 pm
Chapter 4

Jack and Piotr didn't sleep all that much that night. They spent a lot of time musing on the situation in which they found themselves, trying to find some relation between where they were and their own world. They commented on the journey they had made from Landen to Aerone, from the landscapes to the passageway to their interactions with people who, until the day before, were only characters in a video game. They tried to make sense of it, but agreed that only having Corg around would help with that. After all, it was he who got them into "this mess," or so they said.

What surprised them the most was how much they found themselves thinking about the female members of their party. That’s probably what Piotr missed most about Corg, his ability to listen and offer some logical, but emotionally-sound advice about the situation.

“Hey Jack,” Piotr began to ask, staring into the blackness of room. “What do you think of Sari?”

“She’s cool. She’s pretty schwing,” said Jack. Chuckling to himself, he added, “I’d still like to see her bust out the slashage with those daggers. Why, what’s up?”

Piotr lay silent for a few moments. “I don’t know. There’s something about her—well—she’s pretty attractive.”

“I’ll give you that,” said Jack, realizing that Piotr was being serious. “You thinkin’ of tryin’ something?”

“How do you do that with a queen? I mean, I don't even have the slightest idea how courting here even works. And not just that, she’s a game character. How does that work out?”

“True dat. I couldn’t tell you what to do. You ‘fraid to talk to her?”

“I’m nervous about talking to any attractive woman I might have feelings for…you know, never know what to say. Never know how many cards to put down at once.”

“Well, at least wit her, you don’t have to worry about some other guy getting to her first. There’s only me and Wren don’t count. If this is all a game, you could always see this as practice for reality.”

“That’s just not right, though. Hecka leading a girl along just for practice. I think we should be careful how we conduct ourselves here, game or not.”

“If she’s just a video game, than it wouldn’t matter, huh? Some other player will just come along and decide her destiny and everything you did won’t mean anything.”

“Yeah, you kind of have a point. But as far as we're concerned, she and Laya are just as real as you and me. We'll just have to play it by ear.”

Jack said nothing, but simply stroked his chin and nodded with a smirk.

A few hours later Wren was in their room waking them up and requesting them to get ready for the trip. The others had already awakened and were already putting on their battle clothes. Jack and Piotr hurried and put on their armor and garb and went downstairs to meet up with the others. Mieu and Wren had gone to the alchemist shop to procure a number of vials of Monomate and anti-venom before leaving. Upon confirming their inventory, including weapons and armor, they set out for the castle.

The castle was old and run down. There hadn’t been a monarchy there for a number of centuries. Other than a throne room and few other bedrooms and servants quarters, it was a pretty meager structure. The notable aspect of Aerone is that the pilots of Aerone navigated the Alisa III from a special cockpit beneath the dungeon. In the dungeon itself was the space ship that they would use to arrive at this new planet.

Descending the staircase into the dungeon, they soon came across the jet itself.

“Dude!” Jack exclaimed upon seeing the ages old ship. “Hecka looks like the X-Men Blackbird! Hecka tight!”

“Man! You’re hecka right,” said Piotr, impressed with the design of the ship. “Hey Wren, does this baby have stealth on it?”

While Sari and Laya were furrowing their brows to figure out what these two strangers had meant, Wren simply responded, “Affirmative. The craft does have stealth capability, in addition to limited offensive weapons.”

“Like—“ Piotr began.

“Neutron cannons,” Wren said, cutting him off.

Piotr had no need to speak. His smile said everything.

They boarded the ship and found their seats. Wren would pilot the ship and Mieu would serve as his co-pilot. The other four found seats in the cabin. Jack quickly sat next to Laya, trying to charm her with his innocent smiles. At first Piotr said one row behind Sari, but a glare from Jack and a clearing of the throat quickly put Piotr in the seat next to hers.

The ship took off and soon they were leaving Elysium, then Alisa III from beneath the dome, and finally were entering space. As soon as they were on course, Sari called a meeting so they could figure out what they were going to do.

“Wren, how many hours until we reach our destination?” she asked commandingly.

“Four hours, your majesty,” came the monotone response.

“Try to land as near to the castle as you can. The quicker we can establish contact with intelligent life, the quicker we can evaluate the possibility of our landing there, not to mention find some possible clues as to the whereabouts of this Corg guy. Jack, Piotr, do you have idea what Corg might be up to when we find him?”

“In a situation like this, I can’t imagine what. He could be the most popular person in the kingdom, knowing how he was back home,” Piotr said, reminiscing about all the times he and Corg would walk down the street and people would randomly say “Hi” to him.

“Well,” Sari said seriously, obviously not knowing what Piotr was referring to. “Let’s hope that’s the case. It’ll make him so much easier to find. Remember guys, we’re on a mission of peace, but we leave the ship with our arms in hand. We can’t afford any casualties on this mission.”

Everyone nodded. After discussing a few more items, Wren and Mieu returned to the cockpit. When the door closed, Jack quickly nudged Piotr. Piotr shook his head, but Jack nudged more insistently.

“Uhh…S-Sari?” Piotr stammered.

“Yes, Piotr?” she said pleasantly.

“Your reputation with them knives is pretty well known. Could you give me a few pointers on improving my reactions with these?” replied Piotr, holding his twin steel batons.

“Sure!” was her bright reply. “Let’s see what we can do with you.” As she led Piotr to a more open space in the cabin, she quickly looked back; Laya and Jack and winked.

An hour or two later, Sari and Piotr were already sparring with their actual weapons. Basically, Sari would strike at Piotr, who’d block with one baton and simultaneously strike at an exposed spot with the other. They practiced with overhead strikes, underhand strikes, high blows, slashes in wide arcs, diagonal slashes, and other possible movements.

“Wow, you’re a quicker learner,” praised Sari, as she slashed and awaited Piotr’s reaction. “Good reflexes. Remember, the block and counter must be as close to each other as possible. Good!”

“You know where I learned this?” Piotr, feeling less inhibited as he heard the praise.

“Please, tell me,” Sari requested, switching her dagger from the underhand position to a straight-stabbing position.

“Corg and I practiced together. We used to strike pillows and beat up broken electronics. Corg was always a fan of the fighting arts, so we always joked around with this stuff.”

“Okay, let’s stop for a moment,” huffed Sari, trying to catch her breath. A moment later, she observed, “This Corg seems to be a pretty good guy, the way you and Jack talk about him.”

Piotr smiled and laughed. “He’s a good man, full of...uh...moderation. He’s pretty wise and knows a lot of obscure stuff.” Piotr paused to reminisce a little bit. “I’d hate it if anything happened to him. It was his idea for us to take this journey.”

Sari put her arm around Piotr. “Don’t worry, we’ll all be trading stories and enjoying each other’s company in no time.”

A bit shaken at Sari’s demonstration of affection, Piotr said, “Yeah…well…I guess…you’re right.” He breathed deeply a few times. “He’ll be thrilled to meet you all.”

Wren’s voice came on the intercom. “Everyone please get in your seats. We’ll be entering the planet’s atmosphere and will probably encounter some turbulence. Twenty-five minutes to reach our destination.

“Let’s go,” Sari said, grabbing Piotr by the arm.

The four sat down in their seats. Piotr looked over and saw Jack talking in a low tone with Laya. Laya smiled at almost everything he said. In a few moments, the ship began to tremble and the temperature began to rise sharply. Looking over at Jack and Laya, he noticed the two holding hands. Paralyzed momentarily, he began to slowly inch his hand over to Sari’s. Sari, however, was two steps ahead of him and quickly grabbed it before he could say that he made the first move.

Last edited by H-Man on Thu Oct 14, '10, 3:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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