Ahir, Guardian of Malor, Chapter 12: The Threat from Inside

This is the audio version of chapter 12 of Ahir, Guardian of Malor. If you want to read along with me, you can find the rest of the story down below.

A field of blue appeared against the wall in a parking lot and opened up into a portal. A tall Aureus’Aevum with limbs covered in hard bark and long, pointed spikes stepped out of the portal and a deep chuckle came out of its wooden pig-like face as it looked at Milton. “Only one of you? I thought that there were three of you humans that we would have to worry about. You are the wielder of the Powaga Joursi are you not? I’ve heard that you have been slowed by an injury. What hope could you have against us alone?”

Milton snorted. “Maybe you Aureus’Aevum are just not as dangerous and impressive as you think you are. Maybe I’m more than enough for you.”

A large bird covered in feathers that dripped a black ooze and a horn growing out of its forehead flew out of the portal behind the large tree-looking creature, and cawed a laugh. “Oh, please. We’ve heard from the others. In your state you can barely survive two of us attacking you with Ahir’s help. Do you really think you can handle the three of us alone?” A large egg rolled out of the portal behind the bird.

Milton snarled. “I don’t need that murderer to deal with the likes of you. I’m not the same warrior that the others have faced, and one of you is an egg. That’s two and a half of you at best.” Milton’s eyes opened wide in shock as cracks appeared all over the egg, and pieces of shell rearranged themselves to take on the appearance of an armored man, except the armor was hollow with a yellowish light glowing inside the egg armor.

“If you count me as a less than the biggest threat, you have already lost, boy. Take him, and the Powaga Joursi. Lang’kahn will be happy to have them under his control, and we’ll take more servants to our lord.” The bird flew up into the sky and the tree-like Aureus’Aevum charged at Milton.

Milton shot himself with the Powaga Joursi and then shot a second arrow at the base of  a building across the parking lot. The tree creature’s fist crashed into the ground where Milton had been standing, and Milton drew back his bow and fired an arrow into a garbage can and a second arrow at the ground behind the shell-armored Aureus’Aevum. The trash can flew over the ground and crashed into an invisible shield surrounding the Aureus’Aevum. The shield cracked and the Aureus’Aevum was sent sprawling on the ground.

Milton released the bow’s pull on himself, and he slid across the ground with a smile on his face. He heard a crackle above his head and dove to the side as a bolt of lightning arced from the horn on the circling bird’s head to the ground where Milton had been standing. The bird’s eyes opened in surprise. “I thought that the boy was damaged! How is he moving so well if his leg is injured?”

The tree-limbed Aureus’Aevum bellowed out, “It must be that traitor Tor’jahd! He must have healed his injury!” He charged at Milton and the spikes all over his body bristled. Milton fired an arrow at a dumpster sitting behind him and then fired a second arrow at the ground behind the tree Aureus’Aevum. The dumpster started rolling toward the creature, and, as it neared Milton, he jumped up and landed on top of the closed dumpster. Milton smirked when the Aureus’Aevum lowered its head and charged toward the dumpster. Milton fired an arrow into the dumpster and fired another arrow behind the shell-armored Aureus’Aevum before launching another arrow at a wooden pallet leaning against the wall in the alley and fired again straight down at the ground in front of the tree-limbed Aureus’Aevum.

Milton ended the pull of the first set of arrows he had fired into the dumpster, and it changed directions and started rolling toward the egg-shelled Aureus’Aevum, who was struggling to get to his feet, and the wooden pallet crashed into the shield around the tree-limbed creature, knocking it over to land on its face. The dumpster crashed into the egg shell creature’s shield. The dumpster continued on and pushed the creature into the wall of the building, and pinned it there. Milton leapt off of the dumpster just before a fireball crashed into it.

A sound like glass shattering filled the alleyway, and the egg-shelled creature bellowed out, “What are you doing, Tal’yon? You are supposed to be striking the human while we distract him!” The creature pushed the dumpster away from himself and stepped out from behind it. The dumpster crashed back into the building once he let go.

The bird- like creature called out, “He won’t stand still! I thought we would be facing an opponent who was barely able to move!”

The egg-shelled one stalked toward Milton. “You have worn out my patience, human, and you will regret that.” It pulled its arm back and punched at Milton, its fist detaching and flying at him. Milton attempted to jump out of the way, but the fist of the egg-shelled creature caught Milton in the shoulder, spun him around, and knocked him to the ground. The bark skinned-creature charged at Milton, and Milton fired an arrow at himself and then a second one at the base of a building on the other side of the parking lot.

Milton was pulled across the ground out of the way of the charging Aureus’Aevum’s fists, and he jumped up to his feet. The egg-shell-armored Aureus’Aevum launched another punch at Milton, but it missed him as he continued to be pulled along by the bow. Milton drew back the string and fired two more light arrows, one into the egg-shelled creature and the other in front of himself. The shell-armored Aureus’Aevum was pulled along the ground toward Milton, and it crashed into the tree Aureus’Aevum, interrupting its charge at Milton. Milton released both of the bow’s pulls and fired a series of four arrows, one set into the shell-armored creature with it’s partner arrow going through the portal, and a second set into the dumpster that was stuck against the wall and into the ground in front of the tree Aureus’Aevum.

The dumpster and the egg-shelled creature flew past each other, the creature spewing out curses and promises of revenge on Milton. The dumpster crashed into the tree Aureus’Aevum, who was rising to its feet, another sound like glass shattering filling the alley as the shield surrounding the Aureus’Aevum broke. Milton smiled and fired two more arrows, one into the bark skinned creature and one through the portal. The creature was pulled through the portal once more.

Milton dove to the side as lightning rained down from the sky into the spot where he had been standing. Tal’yon called out, “You handle yourself well, human, but I have you at a disadvantage! You don’t have anything to use your bow on to hit me with your projectiles! You may be dodging me now, but you won’t be able to keep that up for long!”

The horn on Tal’yon’s head started to glow, and three bolts of lightning arced at Milton. Milton jumped back and forth, the lightning missing him with each strike. Milton muttered to himself, “He’s not wrong. How am I supposed to break his shield?” Milton shot himself with an arrow and fired a second on at the top of one of the buildings, and was instantly pulled up into the air. He climbed up onto the rooftop and stared up at Tal’yon. Milton was only ten feet below him, but that still wasn’t high enough. Tal’yon’s horn started to glow again and a fireball formed on the tip of its horn and arced at Milton. Milton jumped back and the fireball crashed into the rooftop where he had been standing, sending a spray of brick chunks showering onto Milton.

Milton looked down at the brick chunks and frowned, saying to himself. “It’ll never work. But it’s the only idea I have, so I may as well try.” Milton picked up a brick chunk and tested its weight. “This is crazy. I’ll have to fire faster and more accurately than I’ve ever fired before.” He chucked the brick as hard as he could over Tal’yon and fired an arrow at himself and a second one at the brick chunk.

The arrow hit the brick chunk and Milton was pulled up after it. Tal’yon looked at Milton in shock as he flew past, and Milton turned and fired off three sets of arrows, one into a cement parking stop, one into a trash can, and one into a tire, and the pairs for each of those arrows into himself. The three objects flew up and crashed into Tal’yon’s shield, shattering it. Milton bumped into the brick piece, and the two of them started falling back toward the ground. Milton smiled at Tal’yon as he fell past him, and Tal’yon started trying to fly away desperately, but Milton fired an arrow into him, and a second one into the portal. Milton fired an arrow into himself, Tal’yon being pulled past Millton into the portal, and Milton drew back the string on the bow, but didn’t fire it at the top of a building until he was about ten feet above the ground.

Milton held onto the pull of the Powaga Joursi long enough for it to start pulling him upward and slow his fall, and released it to drop the final five feet onto the ground. Milton walked across the parking lot toward the portal, and Tor’jahd swooped down and landed on Milton’s shoulder. “You handled yourself very well, Milton. I’m glad to see it was worth the risk to heal your injured leg.”

“Thank you again for that Tor’jahd; I’m not certain I would have survived that battle if you hadn’t risked healing my leg.” Milton reached out the Powaga Joursi into the portal and the portal closed around it. Milton turned to see three police officers standing on the sidewalk at the edge of the parking lot. Milton sighed. “I suppose they will want to talk to me now. I suppose I should go ahead and get it over with.”

Milton walked over to where the police officers were waiting. One of them looked a little nervous. “Are they all gone?”

Milton nodded. “For now, but others will be coming later. Thanks for making sure that no one else got involved in my fight. It helps me to concentrate on the battle better.”

The police officer smiled. “Thank you for letting us know about it. Hey, I heard that that guy Ahir’s monkey could talk. Does that bird perched on your shoulder also talk?”

Tor’jahd sighed. “Yes, I can talk. If you will excuse us, Milton has to get to class.” The police officers moved out of the way as Milton walked past.

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Trixie and Ahir stood in an empty alley with police officers standing at the mouth. Trixie smiled at Ahir, “So, Ahir. Would you like to go out and get something to eat after this? We could go get more Mooey-gooey burgers.”

Ahir blushed. “That sounds good, but I may have to do a show or two first to be able to afford to pay for both of us.”

Sil’abo sat against the wall further down the alley with Bar’bou resting on his back. “Don’t forget about us! I’d like to try one of those burgers too!”

Bar’bou smiled. “The object of my desire is an apple pie!”

Ahir sighed. “Maybe three or four shows.”

Trixie giggled. “I can cover the bill, so don’t worry about it.”

Ahir shook his head. “You already are giving us a place to stay Trixie, I can’t let you cover going out to eat too. Besides, I’m not going to let my girlfriend pay for our dates.”

Trixie crossed her arms across her chest. “Ugh, you are so old school, Ahir. In that case we’ll never get to go out on a real date.”

Ahir flinched. “Ouch.” Ahir was cut off from saying anymore when a portal opened at the end of the alley. A large cat made out of floating stones stepped out of the portal, electricity crackling between the stones keeping them all in the air. Two stone tusks grew out of the creature’s mouth, and stone antlers like a deer’s grew out of its head.

The creature chuckled. “Ouch? But we haven’t even begun yet. By the time we’re done here, you’ll be saying more than just ouch.”

A long vine-like leg stepped through the portal behind the stone cat. A high pitched voice echoed out of the portal, “When we are done with them, Kli’ton? What about when master Lang’kahn finishes with them?” Seven more vine-like legs followed the first out of the portal, and those led back to a large clump of dirt shaped like a spiders body, with a ball of flame resting on top of that. A stone mask hovered in the midst of the ball of flame, and a long vine-like tail tipped with a sharp thorn point, like a scorpion’s, grew out of the creature’s body. “They will wish they had never been born by the time he is done with them.”

Ahir put on a brave face. “Good thing we don’t have to worry about that then.” Ahir charged at the spider-like creature, and swung the Gladio Protegat at one of its legs. The spider-like creature jumped over the blade and thrust its legs out to either side of the alley and climbed up out of Ahir’s reach. It spit a gout of fire at Ahir, but Trixie ran up to intercept it with her shield, and sent the fireball right back at the creature. The fireball connected and knocked the plant spider back down onto the alley floor.

Ahir charged at the fallen Aureus’Aevum, but out of the corner of his eye he saw Kil’ton, the stone cat Aureus’Aevum, charging at him, and did a backflip out of the way. Kil’ton continued on and crashed into the building, and collapsed down into a pile of stones. The creature made out of vines and dirt struck out with its long scorpion-like tail at Ahir, and Ahir did another backflip out of the way of the attack.

Sparks started flying out of Kil’ton, and soon the rocks began to float once more and formed back into a large stone cat. He leapt up onto his feet and turned to face Ahir. He called out, “Thank you, Gwe’dlon. If you hadn’t intervened, I may have met my end.”

Gwe’dlon climbed back up the walls of the alley. “Just returning the favor, Kil’ton.” Something else stepped out of the portal, unnoticed by Ahir or the others. The mask that made up Gwe’dlon’s face smiled. “It appears that we are doing well against these humans.”

Ahir charged at Kil’ton once more, “Thanks for having my back, Trixie.” He swung his sword at Kil’ton. Kil’ton jumped back out of the way and then rushed at Ahir with his horns lowered. “I’m going to try to deal with this one, make sure the other one doesn’t attack me while I’m distracted!”

Trixie rushed up to Ahir’s side, her eyes on Gwe’dlon up above the alley floor. A man started to walk across the alley toward Trixie, and Sil’abo started trotting toward him. “Sir, you shouldn’t be here! This is a very dangerous fight going on right now, and you will only get hurt!”

The man turned and smiled at Sil’abo, but it was a smile from a mouth full of fangs. Large claws grew out of his fingers and he rushed at Sil’abo and slashed him and Bar’bou, knocking both of them over. Trixie turned and looked at the man, and her eyes opened wide. “Ahir! What’s going on?”

Ahir quickly turned his head and looked at the man, but turned his head to face his opponent once more. He instantly turned and looked at the claws growing out of the man’s hands and he said, “I think that must be another Aureus’Aevum!” He saw Bar’bou laying on the ground. “No, Bar’bou!” Ahir turned away from Kil’ton and rushed at the strange man.

Trixie looked after Ahir with concern. “Ahir, what are you doing?”

“He hurt Bar’bou! I have to stop him from doing it again!” Ahir slashed at the Aureus’Aevum, but his sword ran into an invisible wall. The creature laughed and slashed out at Ahir with its long claws, but Ahir backflipped out of the creatures range.

Kil’ton changed his charge from going after Ahir to target Trixie instead. Trixie turned back to see what Kil’ton and Gwe’dlon were doing, and quickly brought her shield up to stop Kil’ton’s charge. Kil’ton ran into Trixie’s shield and was thrown back, and a sound like glass shattering filled the alley way as Kil’ton’s invisible shield shattered and fell away. Gwe’dlon formed a spiderweb with electricity flowing over it, and fired it at Ahir.

Trixie shouted out, “Ahir, look out!” Ahir looked up, saw the web flying at him and dove to the side. The web crashed into the floor of the alley shooting sparks out.

Ahir looked at Trixie. “You are supposed to be blocking those attacks for me!”

“I’m sorry, Ahir, but when you moved over there, I got stuck fighting against Kil’ton! Give me a second and I’ll move over to cover you!” Trixie started backing toward Ahir.

Ahir jumped to his feet and rushed back at the human-looking Aureus’Aevum, and thrust his sword out in two quick jabs followed by a slash at neck level. The shield surrounding the creature shattered just before Ahir’s sword made contact. The creature’s body started to break down into dust that was blown away by an unfelt breeze.

Kil’ton charged at Trixie with its head lowered. Ahir ran past Trixie, and dropped down into slide that took him under the Aureus’Aevum’s body, and he held his sword blade up as he did so, and the blade sliced through Kil’ton. Kil’ton’s body broke into two pieces, which broke down into a dust before they could hit the ground. Ahir looked up at the last Aureus’Aevum up above his head. “I’ll give you only one chance to leave right now. If not, I will end you for what your friend did to Bar’bou!”

Gwe’dlon laughed. “You do realize that your friend is an Aureus’Aevum, so unless you decide to hit him with your sword then there isn’t anything that can hurt him, right? And I’m going to have to refuse your little bluff, because there isn’t anyway that you could reach me up here!”

Trixie grabbed Ahir’s shoulder. “Ahir, I’m pretty sure that Bar’bou is fine! You need to slow down and think about what you’re doing! Together we’ll come up with a plan to take this guy…”

Ahir pulled his shoulder out of Trixie’s grasp, pointed up at the Aureus’Aevum and shouted out, “Don’t say I didn’t give you a chance!” Ahir ran at the wall and started to run up it, he got six steps up before gravity started to pull him back down. Ahir pushed off of the wall and slashed at Gwe’dlon’s leg as he flew past it. He grabbed onto the edge of a fire escape that was attached to the wall on the other side of the alley. He pulled himself up onto the fire escape and jumped off toward the fire escape on the other side of the alley, slashing at one of Gwe’dlon’s legs once more as he flew past. The shield shattered, and Gwe’dlon struck out with it’s long vine tail, narrowly missing Ahir. Ahir grabbed onto the fire escape, pulled his legs up to rest his feet against it, and jumped off to sail over Gwe’dlon’s body. Ahir drove his sword down into Gwe’dlon’s back. Gwe’dlon shrieked out in pain and fell down to the alley below.

Ahir landed on top of Gwe’dlon, pulled his sword out of Gwe’dlon’s back and sliced through its head. Gwe’dlon started to break down into a black dust that flew away. Ahir stood facing the portal while breathing heavily. Trixie walked up behind him and put her arm around Ahir’s shoulder. “Ahir, are you alright? I’ve never seen you get so worked up before.”

Ahir turned to Trixie and gave her a smile. “Yeah, sorry about that. When I saw Bar’bou get hurt I kind of lost control.” Ahir walked up to the portal, thrust his sword inside of it and closed it. Then he walked over to where Bar’bou and Sil’abou were sitting. “Are you alright, Bar’bou?”

Bar’bou waved his hand at Ahir. “I am uninjured, the makeup of my physiology prevents any altercation to terminate, or even cause the minutest damage to my person.”

Ahir stared at Bar’bou blankly, until Sil’abo chimed in, “He said that our bodies won’t allow any blow to kill or hurt us.”

Bar’bou nodded his head. “He is a most apt translator. Now, I recollect you orating something about an apple pie?”

Ahir shook his head. “I heard something about apple pie, which means that I have to go do a show or two. Let’s go.” The group turned and walked out of the alley. A bird watched them from the top of a near by apartment building. Once they were gone, it flew away.

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Milton opened the door to his apartment, walked inside, and dropped his keys onto the counter. He walked past a wall full of photos of Ahir, mostly from his performances. There were pictures of Ahir juggling, doing tightrope walks, doing handstands and cartwheels, and even one of Ahir eating fire. In the center of all of the photos was a picture of Milton and Ahir from when they were boys in the orphanage. Both of them were smiling, and if you looked carefully, you could see Trixie standing in the background watching Ahir.

Milton walked into his kitchen and opened the refrigerator, and pulled out a half-eaten sandwich. He opened his mahogany cupboard and pulled out a plate, placed the sandwich onto the plate, and then walked into his living room and sat in a straight-backed chair facing the large window that made up most of the north wall. His apartment overlooked a park, and he watched children frolic and play in the grass, enjoying a far better childhood than he ever had. He hadn’t been able to play, he had been forced to work to earn his supper and bed.

Milton ate his sandwich in silence, and wondered when Tor’jahd would return. He usually stayed close by while Milton was in class, but today he had winged off saying something about tasks he must perform, though Milton couldn’t imagine what those might be. He always left one of the windows in his study open, for Tor’jahd to come and go as was necessary for him.

Milton opened up his backpack that he had placed up against the chair and pulled out his Advanced Geometry textbook. This was without a doubt the least favorite of his math classes, but he had to admit that learning about angles had been coming in handy since he had acquired the Powaga Joursi. He started reading over the next chapter for class, but he raised his head up when he heard voices coming from inside of his apartment. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he was pretty sure that one of them belonged to Tor’jahd.

Milton set his book aside and got out of his chair, and started walking down the hallway toward his study, where the voices were coming from. He pressed his ear up against the door and listened. Tor’jahd said, “It’s not my fault! I’ve been driving every wedge between them that I can, but it doesn’t seem to be making enough of a difference.”

A voice Milton didn’t recognize said, “I thought we could finish off Milton if I sent three of my servants against him at a time, and we would have been successful if you hadn’t decided to heal him!”

“It’s not as simple as that. Milton was prepared to pass the bow onto another, he was even considering giving it to Ahir! Could you imagine how difficult he would be to defeat if he had all three of those artifacts at his service? I don’t know that we could defeat him and claim the sword if I hadn’t.”

“Yes, they gave even myself trouble when all three were gathered together. That is why I wanted them kept separate! Everything seems to turn out exactly the way Ahir needs it to! Even when we managed to get the humans law enforcement involved they only added to his strength! Your plans have been one blunder after another, Tor’jahd.”

“Forgive me, Master Lang’kahn.” Milton’s breath caught in his throat when he heard that name. Tor’jahd had been working for Lang’kahn all along! Suddenly he understood why he had been working so hard to keep him and Ahir separated. He started to move away when Tor’jahd continued to talk. “I may have discovered something that could be of use to us.”

“What is that? More of your pointless observations?”

“No, Master. I think our original plan of playing Milton and Ahir against each other isn’t going to work. I think we instead need to focus on turning Ahir to our purposes.”

“Bar’bou is with him, and has already drilled into his head that using magic isn’t an option.”

“Ah, but what if Bar’bou was no longer with him? I watched Ahir’s fight today, and when one of your minions attacked Bar’bou, Ahir lost it. Could you imagine what would happen if we took Bar’bou from him?”

“That has some promise, Tor’jahd. Our next attack will focus on separating Ahir and Bar’bou. But if this fails, then I’m going to be coming through the portal myself to deal with him and you!”

Milton turned and tiptoed down the hall to his front door where he kept the Powaga Joursi. He snuck back down the hallway, and kicked the door open. Tor’jahd turned and looked at him in surprise, and before he could react Milton had fired two arrows off, one into Tor’jahd who was perched on Milton’s desk and one into the floor. Tor’jahd was instantly pulled to the floor, and Milton pulled his cell phone out. “I heard everything that you are planning, and it’s not going to work. I’m going to tell Ahir about what you have been plotting, and when he gets here he’ll use the Gladio Protegat to put an end to all of your plans!”

Milton dialed Trixie’s phone number and held the phone up to his head. Tor’jahd sighed. “I was hoping that I would get to use you for a little longer. You were an excellent pawn, but I’m afraid you have forced my hand.” Tor’jahd spread his wings, and the light of the arrows that pinned him to the ground shattered, and he rose up into the air.

Trixie’s voice came over the phone. “Hello? Milton? Are you there?” Tor’jahd flew at Milton’s face and Milton screamed as Tor’jahd’s tallons sunk into his shoulders.

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