The Final Players Enter the Stage

The Sharkwoman pounced before either of us could speak.

“Get off of her!” I yelled, grabbing the Sharkwoman. “She’s a friend.”

The Sharkwoman sneered. “Are you sure?”

“I’m positive.”

Reluctantly, the Sharkwoman stood up, but never taking her eye off her target. “Good thing you got her off me,” the girl said from the ground. “Or I would’ve had to do it myself.”

“Tilly,” I warned, as I helped her to her feet. “Don’t start.”

“She started it,” Mathilda replied. “I was just going to end it.”

“Go ahead and try it, meat!” the Sharkwoman said, baring her still very pointy teeth.

I immediately stepped in. We had no time to waste. “All right, ladies. Let’s calm down. We’ve got a real problem to deal with.”

“Like where the hell have you been?” Tilly demanded. “I kept waiting to be caught up in your instability explosion. How have you managed to hold it together?” Tilly checked her scanner. “Only 32%. How is that possible? You’ve been gone for four days!”

“Four days?” I had lost track of time in that strange world, but there was no way I had spent four days there.”I was in another dimension. Time must not flow at the same speed there.”

“You went to another dimension without me?” Tilly pouted.”I’ve been stuck in this stupid palace all by myself, pretending to be sweet and innocent, bored out of my mind.”

“Being bored isn’t so bad,” I assured her.

Tilly looked over my shoulder at the carnage. “Yeah. I can see that. What the hell is going on, Frank?”

“That is Maqesh and he is evil.”

Tilly nodded. “I got that.”

“He stole a magic horn and a magic pendant and came here to conquer the Earth.”

“Magic?”

“Just think of them as power sources,” I told her, cutting the debate and skepticism off before we got into it. “We need to get them away from him.”

“And we need to save Lu Wu,” the Sharkwoman added.

“The Chinese Ambassador?” Tilly asked.

“The great sorcerer!”

“Sorcerer?”

I nodded. “It’s a long story.”

“Ok, so we need to save the great sorcerer from the evil other-dimensional would-be world conqueror by taking away his magic horn and pendant?”

“That about sums it up.”

“Sure. Why not?” Tilly said with a shrug. “How about this, you provide a distraction while I sneak up from behind and snatch ‘em away?”

I looked at Maqesh, at the bodies laid about him. There were only a few Dracs left standing. We weren’t going to have much help. “Sure,” I said. “I think we can do that.”

“If I don’t kill him first,” the Sharkwoman said before jumping into battle.

“You always attract the sweetest girls, Frank,” Tilly said.

“Maqesh!” the Sharkwoman screamed. “Get away from Lu Wu!”

Maqesh rotated in the air until he was looking right at her. “Gruesser?’ he laughed. “Aw, how sweet, you came after your love? Well, that was awfully dumb of you.” Maqesh’s hands lit up with magical energy.

I had to move quick or he’d fry the Sharkwoman alive. She didn’t have enough experience with legs to be able to escape him. I ran out the other side, putting a good twenty feet between the two of us. “Maqesh!” I yelled, waving my arms.

“And the human,” Maqesh said with glee. “You’re all here, ready to die together.”

“We’re not going to be the ones dying.”

Maqesh broke out in laughter. “You are just too much, human! Too much! Perhaps, I should keep you alive to amuse me when I’m feeling bored.”

“You’re not going to win, Maqesh.”

“And who’s going to stop me? You?”

“No,” General Zlodeyskiy said, stepping out of his palace. “I will.”

“And who is this?” Maqesh asked. “Another of your friends?”

“I am General Imre Zlodeyskiy! This is my land! I rule it! I will defend it from all foreign powers no matter who or what they be! None will take my power from me!”

“And what power do you have, little human? I have defeated your soldiers, slain your monsters, destroyed your flying machines. What else do you have?”

“I have Dragons!” The gates behind him opened and a pair of dragons came running out. One was short and fat and had tiny wings and breathing problem. The other was incredibly long and moved like a snake, swinging its body back and forth. It also seemed to have difficulty lifting its head.

These are your dragons?” Maqesh asked, far from impressed.

“I also have one more.” He pointed up and we all looked just in time to see the creature fly in. The first thing I noticed was its huge bat wings. Each one was the size of a bus. With each flap, it was like being caught in a hurricane. It roared, letting out a loud screech. The other two dragons answered in their own way. Even after all I had seen in that other dimension, I was floored. This was a dragon. A real live dragon!

“That’s a little better,” Maqesh said. “But is he more than just a pretty face?”

“Dragons!” Zlodeyskiy shouted. “Crush!”

Fire flew from the dragon’s mouth. Maqesh raised his hands to stop it, but the flames got past his defenses consuming him completely. Or so it seemed, but when the flame stopped, Maqesh was still standing there. “Nice attempt. But maybe they’d like to give it a second try?”

to be continued…

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