I have the audio version of chapter 13 of Ahir, Guardian of Malor. You can find the written version of this story down below if you want to read along with me.
Ahir stood in front of the stove and three beef patties sizzled in a frying pan. He prodded the patties with his spatula before he flipped them over with a loud hiss from the grease hitting the pan. He smiled and pulled nine slices of cheese off a pile sitting next to the frying pan, and placed three on each burger. He placed a lid over the pan and turned the heat off.
Trixie walked into the living room looking at her phone in confusion. “I just got a phone call from Milton, and all I heard was a scream. I sure hope that something terrible didn’t happen to him.”
Ahir shrugged. “If there is anything I’ve learned about Milton through all of this, it’s that he can take care of himself. I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Maybe he butt dialed us.”
Trixie shook her head. “I don’t think so. The call ended shortly after the scream.”
Ahir frowned. “Hmm, did you try calling him back?”
“Not yet. Do you think I should?”
Ahri nodded. “He may not like it, but I think you should. He may have been trying to contact us about a portal opening.”
Trixie typed in Milton’s number. She held it up to her ear for a moment or two, and shook her head. “It went straight to his voicemail. Why do you think he’d have his phone turned off?”
Ahir lifted the lid off of the pan and sniffed the burgers. “I don’t know, maybe he’s in class.”
Trixie frowned but nodded. She looked over at the burgers and smiled. “Are they done?”
Ahri smiled back at her. “Yes, with three slices of cheese on each patty, this is my attempt at making a mooey-gooey burger. I’m sure they’re not cheesy enough though.”
Bar’bou bounded into the room and jumped up onto the counter. “Has Milton issued communication concerning the appearance of any portals? The existence of such a phenomenon has come to my attention.”
Ahir and Trixie turned and stared at Bar’bou. Ahir itched his head. “What did you say?”
Bar’bou sighed. “Your limited comprehension is a considerable hindrance. I asked if Milton had contacted either of you about a portal opening, because one has.”
Ahir looked at Trixie. “You should try to call Milton again, these portals have been coming in groups of two.”
Trixie pulled her phone out and dialed Milton’s phone number. The phone went straight to Milton’s voicemail once more, and Trixie shook her head.
Ahir pulled the apron he was wearing over his head and set it on the counter. “These burgers are going to have to wait, we have to go and check out that open portal.” Ahir walked around the corner and picked his backpack up. Bar’bou jumped onto his shoulder and Trixie ran over to the front door and picked up her shield. Sil’abo’s head perked up from where he was taking a nap next to the heater.
“Are we going somewhere?”
Trixie nodded. “Something may have happened to Milton. Bar’bou felt a portal open up, but Milton didn’t call to tell us about any others.”
Sil’abo jumped up to his feet. “We had best hurry then, there is no time to waste!”
Trixie pulled the door open and ran out into the hall, followed by Ahir and Sil’abo. Once they made it out onto the street Ahir said, “Which way do we go now, Bar’bou?”
Bar’bou pointed to the left. “Our objective is positioned in the south!”
Ahir started running down the sidewalk with Trixie and Sil’abo following. “I heard the word south, so that’s the direction I’m heading!” Bar’bou crossed his arms and started muttering on Ahir’s shoulder. Ahir was only able to make out a word or two, but the ones he heard he didn’t understand, so he mostly ignored him and focused on running.
After fifteen minutes of running Bar’bou shook his head. “We failed to react hastefully enough. The portal has closed.”
Ahir kept on running. “Can you still guide me to where the portal was? Maybe we can make it there before Milton leaves.”
Bar’bou nodded his head. “Yes, the distance remaining is quite minute. Round the next corner to your right!”
Ahir turned the corner, and found a street in disarray. Cars were overturned and lamp posts were knocked over on the deserted street. Ahir shook his head. “It doesn’t look like Milton was here. Trixie, try calling Milton one more time.”
Trixie lowered her cell phone. “I’ve already tried, and he still isn’t answering. I’m worried about him, Ahir.”
Ahir gave Trixie a sympathetic look. “I’d be more worried about whatever is preventing him from making it here. I wouldn’t want to try to stop Milton from doing what he wants. You should give detective Miguel a phone call and see if Milton ever checked in with them.”
Trixie entered detective Miguel’s phone number and listened to it ring. “Hello? This is detective Miguel, what can I do for you?”
“Detective Miguel, this is Trixie. I was wondering if Milton had called about any portals opening today.”
“No, and I have a bone to pick with him. We’ve gotten reports of monsters rampaging downtown and kidnapping people! I thought that he had agreed to tell us when this sort of thing was going to happen.”
Trixie’s face went pale. “More people were taken?”
Detective miguel sighed. “Yes, we have reports of five more people being taken. We have officers on their way to the scene to investigate, but they were taken through one of those portals, weren’t they?”
“Yes, most likely. I think something must have happened to Milton, that’s the only reason I can think of that he wouldn’t have shown up to try and prevent this from happening.”
“I’ll have my officers keep an eye out for him, and I’ll send someone over to check out his apartment.”
“Would it be alright if I went along with them? I’m worried about what may have happened to him.”
“That would be fine. That monkey Bar’bou has the ability to sense when portals open as well, correct?”
“Yes, that was our first clue that Milton might be in trouble.”
“I think for the time being we’re going to have an officer with the two of you at all times. They should be able to get you to the portal sites fast enough to prevent something like this from happening again.”
“That sounds like a good idea. I’ll let Ahir know about what’s going on and wait for the police officers to pick me up.”
“Where are you at?”
“Ahir and I are at the location where the portal opened downtown.”
“Okay, sit tight and a couple of officers will pick you and Ahir up in a little bit.”
Trixie sat in the front seat of a police car fidgeting with her fingers, and the female police officer she was sitting next to smiled reassuringly. “I’m sure your friend is fine, miss. He’s probably just sleeping, or maybe he’s in class. He’s a college student, right?”
Trixie returned a weak smile. “Yes, he goes to the same school as I do, but Milton isn’t the kind of guy that would put class before protecting people.”
The car pulled over to the curb in front of Milton’s apartment. “We’ll find out if he’s okay soon I’m sure.” She opened her door and stepped out of the car and started walking up to the front door of the apartment. Trixie quickly got out of her side of the car and chased the police officer into the apartment.
The police officer walked up the stairs to apartment B3 and knocked on the door. She waited several seconds before knocking again. “Milton Thomson? This is officer Alicia of the Malor police department. I’m here to see if everything is alright.”
They waited for a few more seconds and then Trixie called out, “Milton, it’s Trixie. A portal opened and no one heard from you, we’re a little worried about you! Please open up!” Silence answered her shouts, and Alicia reached for the door knob. It turned and swung open.
The two of them entered Milton’s apartment. Trixie walked into the room and examined Milton’s kitchen. “This looks so normal, nothing like what I expected to find from Milton.” She turned and looked at the wall of Milton’s living room and gasped.
Alicia turned and pulled her gun out of her holster and leveled it at the wall. Her eyes scanned the room looking for signs of danger. In a confused voice she asked, “What’s wrong?”
Trixie pointed at all the pictures of Ahir on the wall. “Nothing, I just find the number of pictures that Milton has of Ahir somewhat unsettling. If you had seen any of the encounters that Milton and Ahir have had you would think that Milton hated Ahir, but it seems like he’s more of a secret admirer. It’s kind of creepy when you think about it.”
Alicia put her gun away. “I agree that it’s kind of creepy and borderline stalkerish, and you may have to have a conversation about this with him later, but that’s not why we’re here right now.” Alicia turned and walked further into the apartment.
Trixie noticed a textbook sitting on the floor by a chair that was turned to face a window. The textbook had a notebook stuffed into it halfway through the book. Trixie picked it up, opened it up and looked at the notebook. “Looks like Milton got interrupted while working on his homework. Maybe he just didn’t make it to the portal in time and doesn’t want to admit it to Ahir?” She looked at the straight back chair and chuckled. “This chair fits Milton perfectly, so stiff and formal.”
Alicia examined the sink with a plate and cup in it. “From what I’m seeing here he doesn’t look like the type of guy that knows how to loosen up and have fun.” She walked out of the kitchen and down the hall and paused. “Milton fights with a bow, right?”
Trixie started walking down the hall toward Alicia. “Yes, that’s right he fights with the…” Trixie’s eyes landed on the Powaga Joursi lying in the hallway and gasped. “That’s the Powaga Joursi! Milton wouldn’t have just left that lying in the middle of the floor, he takes that everywhere! I’m certain that something has happened to him now!”
Alicia pushed the door next to the bow open and gasped. She pulled her gun out of her holster again and darted into the room. Trixie darted in after her and shrieked at the sight of blood covering the carpet in the room. Alicia turned and looked at Trixie and grunted. “You should have waited in the hall until I told you it was safe to come in! If there had been someone in here, you could have been hurt!”
Tears started running down Trixie’s face. “What do you think happened to Milton?”
Alicia sighed. “I don’t know, but we shouldn’t touch anything. I’m going to put a call in and get out CSI unit down here to try and figure that out.” Alicia reached up to activate the radio on her shoulder. “Dispatch, this is officer Alicia Hardy, I have a potential homicide at 301 west Orion street, apartment 3B. Please send the CSI unit as soon as you can.”
A crackled response was projected from the radio. “Acknowledged, Alicia. Keep the crime scene clean until the CSI unit can examine the scene.”
“Acknowledged, dispatch. Alicia out.” Alicia turned back to Trixie. “This is all we can do until CSI gets here. We should go back out to the hall so we don’t disturb the evidence any more than we already have. We want to give them the best chance we can to find whoever did this to your friend.”
Trixie was looking around the room, deep in thought. “I wonder where Tor’jahd is.”
Alicia looked confusedly at Trixie. “Tor’jahd? Who’s that?”
“Tor’jahd is the Aureus’Aevum that has been aiding Milton, but it’s impossible to injure or kill an Aureus’Aevum without Ahir’s sword, and I don’t think that Tor’jahd would have let anyone hurt Milton.”
Alicia tilted her head down and closed her eyes for several seconds. She opened her eyes up and fixed them on Trixie. “Maybe this Tor’jahd wasn’t there to be able to stop whoever did this to Milton, and maybe he’s out hunting the person responsible for this down right now.”
Trixie sighed. “Maybe. Is it okay if I look around a bit more to see if I can find anything else?”
Alicia shook her head. “No, this is a crime scene now. We need to leave the apartment. If we mess with anything at all we could end up helping out whoever did this get away.”
Trixie nodded and and left the room. Alicia followed her out of the room, down the hall, and out of the apartment. Once in the hall Trixie placed her back against the wall of the hallway, slid down to the floor, and grabbed her knees. Alicia looked at Trixie with concern. “My understanding was that this Milton didn’t work well with others, and that is the impression that the police officers that have worked with him got as well.”
Trixie nodded her head. “He always hated it when Ahir and I would show up to help him fight against the Aureus’Aevum. He was such a loner, but I don’t understand why. Clearly he is a big fan of Ahir’s if all those pictures of him mean anything.”
Alicia nodded her head. “It sounds to me like he felt he had something to prove, but the real question is who did feel that he had to prove it to?”
Trixie sighed. “I don’t know, even though the three of us lived in the same orphanage as kids, I feel like I know nothing about him.”
Alicia formed her hands into a fist. “We’ll find whoever did this, and if your friend is still alive, we’ll do everything in our power to bring him back safely.” Trixie smiled appreciatively, but said nothing, so they sat together in silence.
Fifteen minutes later three men wearing suits carrying briefcases came up the stairs. “Officer Hardy, John Trition of the CSI. This is the apartment where the incident occurred?”
Alicia held her hand out and shook John’s hand. “Yes, I didn’t notice any signs of a break in, but we found blood all over the carpet in the study. It’s right this way.” Alicia opened the door and walked inside, and Trixie moved to follow her.
Another of the men in suits held out his arm to block her, and Trixie looked confusedly at him. “This is a crime scene, ma’am. No civilians allowed.”
Trixie looked at the man pleadingly. “But he was my friend! I want to help!”
The man’s face softened. “I’m sorry about your friend, miss, but the best way that you can help right now is if you leave this to the professionals. I promise you we’ll do everything we can to catch whoever did this. For the moment, please wait out here.” The other two men walked inside of the apartment.
Trixie sat in the hall alone for ten minutes until Alicia burst through the door. Trixie looked at her expectantly. “What have you discovered?”
“I’ll tell you about it in the car, but we have to go now. I just got the call that another portal has opened!” Trixie looked up at Alicia and then bound up to her feet and ran after Alicia down the stairs.
The group of people gathered around the fountain in the park cheered for Ahir while he juggled on the ledge surrounding the fountain at the parks center. Ahir smiled at the crowd, and switched from juggling with both of his hands to using just one. He used his free hand to wave at the crowd, and they cheered even louder. Bar’bou started screeching and jumping up and down to get Ahir’s attention. Ahir turned and looked at Bar’bou, and Bar’bou nodded. Ahir caught all the balls, bowed, and tucked them into the pocket on his vest. “I’m afraid that is all for now folks, but make sure to come back tomorrow for another show!”
The audience groaned and started to break up, but some decided to stay and called out for more tricks. A police officer that had been leaning against a tree walked over to where Ahir and Bar’bou were scooping up the money left by the audience. “Does this mean that another portal has opened?”
Ahir stuffed the last of the bills into his backpack, and Bar’bou jumped onto his shoulder. Bar’bou nodded before saying, “Your assumption is accurate, we require transportation to the northern side of the city post haste.”
The police officer nodded his head. “I have the car parked just over there.” The police officer started jogging across the park.
Bar’bou sighed. “I said… wait, you comprehended my prior expression? By what nomenclature are you know by?”
The police officer turned and smiled at Bar’bou. “My name is Daniel Thatcher, and it’s a pleasure to meet you, Bar’bou. If you’ll excuse me, I have to call this in.” Daniel started talking into his radio.
Bar’bou jumped up and down excitedly on Ahir’s shoulder. “Ahir, I request that this officer be the one that accompanies us from this point forward. Finally, one of you humans that I can converse with freely!”
Ahir smirked at Bar’bou. “I thought you enjoyed saying everything twice. I’ll see what I can do about it, buddy, but I’m guessing we’ll have more than one officer taking turns with us.” Ahir opened the door of the squad car and climbed in.
Daniel turned the lights and siren on and the car pulled away from the curb and started speeding down the road. “Can you give me anything more specific than on the northside of town?”
Bar’bou shook his head. “At this state of remoteness I’m afraid that only a vague sense of direction is experienced, but more specifics will be provided once we approach the phenomena.”
Daniel nodded. “Keep me informed and I’ll get you there as fast as I can.”
Ahir smiled and looked at Daniel in wonder. “How do you understand him? He may as well be speaking another language as far as I’m concerned.”
Bar’bou crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out at Ahir and Daniel laughed. “I minored in English in college, so I’m no stranger to Bar’bou’s way of speaking. Do all Aureus’Aevum speak with such an extensive vocabulary?”
Ahir shook his head. “Bar’bou is the only one that I’ve met that talks this way, but the others don’t seem to have any trouble figuring out what he’s saying.”
Daniel smiled. “I wonder what the Aureus’Aevum’s world is like. I hope that I get to find out someday. Hold on tight, I’m going to try to get you there in record time!” Daniel pushed the pedal down to the floor of the car and it sped down the road, Bar’bou calling out directions as they progressed.
After five minutes Bar’bou braced himself and called out, “We’ve arrived!” Daniel slammed his foot down on the brakes and the car slid to a halt. Ahir pulled his seatbelt off and jumped out of the car, the hilt of the Gladio Protegat gripped firmly in his hand. He pulled the sheath off of the blade and cast it to the ground and took in the scene. A creature with the upper body of a minotaur with straight metal legs that ended in metal balls, which it rolled around on to move and a vine-like tail with glowing yellow spheres hanging off of it was wheeling it’s way toward a portal that hung in the air in front of a building with a screaming human grasped in each of its huge, humanoid hands.
Its partner turned and inspected Ahir. The creature’s lower body had the appearance of that of a grizzly bear, but where it’s head should have been, a serpent’s long lithe body grew, with two large lizard arms growing off of its torso. “The one we were warned about has arrived, Dal’kord!”
The minotaur-like creature turned and looked at Ahir and bellowed out a laugh. “He has come alone! Without the others to aid him, he is no threat to us, Yolt’ord! We’ll return to lord Lang’kahn with these humans and the Gladio Protegat!
Ahir growled at the two Aureus’Aevum. “I started out doing this on my own, and I’ll have no problems taking care of you myself now!” Ahir charged at Dal’kord with his sword held high. Dal’kord swung out at Ahir with his tail, but Ahir jumped over the tail and swung his sword down, but the blade halted when it crashed into an invisible wall. Ahir kicked out at Dal’kord’s head twice, and a sound like glass shattering filled the parking lot they were fighting in. Ahir landed on the ground and took another swipe at the minotaur-like creature’s tail, severing it. Dal’kord bellowed out in pain and dropped the two humans he was holding.
The people screamed as they fell to the ground, and Ahir helped them to their feet and shoved them toward Daniel. “You need to run! It’s not safe here!” The people took Ahir’s advice and ran from the two beasts. Yolt’ord charged up to Ahir and punched him with one of his scaly fists. Ahir gasped and flew across the parking lot and crashed into a parked car.
Ahir struggled to catch his breath and the two Aureus’Aevum stalked closer, closing in on Ahir, and Yolt’ord laughed. “This is the human that has sent so many of our people to an early demise? Clearly we were misinformed. He is no threat to us.”
Dal’kord snarled out, “You may think he is no threat, but he has robbed me of my tail! It was a lucky attack, though; I was distracted by the two I was carrying!”
Ahir glared at Yolt’ord and growled. “You’ll recognize me as a threat once I’m finished with you!” Ahir leapt to his feet and charged at Dal’kord. Dal’kord attempted to backhand Ahir, but Ahir dropped down to his knees and slid under Dal’kord’s hand. He swung his sword up at Dal’kord’s head and grunted in surprise when Yolt’ord grabbed Ahir in both of his hands from behind.
Bar’bou cried out, “Ahir! You can’t take them both on at once alone! You have to find some way to separate them!”
Ahir squirmed in Yolt’ord’s grasp and muttered. “At least I don’t need a translator to understand him this time.” Ahir pulled his leg back and kicked Yolt’ord’s serpent-like body as hard as he could.
His foot crashed into an invisible shield and Yolt’ord laughed. “That’s not going to work, little human. Why don’t you surrender the sword to us, and we’ll let you go on your way?”
Ahir brought his leg down in another kick against Yolt’ord’s shield. “I’ll never surrender, not when it means that my friend’s world would be enslaved!”
A sinister voice called out, “Is this the friend you speak of?”
Ahir turned to look at the spot where Bar’bou and Daniel had been watching the fight and gasped. Daniel had been knocked to the ground and wasn’t moving, and Bar’bou was struggling in the hands of a fiery wolf standing on its hind legs, its yellow eyes glaring at Ahir. Ahir reached out his hand toward Bar’bou. “Leave him alone! I’m the one that you want!”
The wolf shook his head. “You should take better care of your friends! I’m glad that you weren’t in charge of protecting me.” The creature laughed again and started walking back toward the portal.
Tears streamed down Ahir’s face and he struggled in Yolt’ord’s grasp. “Bar’bou! No! Let him go!” Lightning crackled all over Ahir’s body, and shattered Yolt’ord’s shield. The lighting struck into Yolt’ord’s body. Yolt’ord screeched in pain and he let go of Ahir. Ahir’s feet touched the ground and he charged toward the creature striding toward the portal.
Bar’bou called out, “Ahir! Don’t let them take me! Help me!”
Yolt’ord dove onto Ahir. “Get back here, you little nuisance!”
Ahir struggled in Yolt’ord’s grip and a strong blast of air lifted Yolt’ord off Ahir and then encased his body in ice. Ahir turned back just in time to see Bar’bou disappear into the portal. “Help me, Ahir!” Bar’bou’s voice echoed around the parking lot.
Ahir dropped to his knees, sobbing. His eyes glowed with a sinister red light, and he turned and glared at Dal’kord. “If you hadn’t been distracting me, I could have saved him.”
Dal’kord formed a fireball in either of his hands. “What are you going to do about it, human? Now you truly are all alone.”
Ahir’s hand formed into a fist and a fiery whirlwind surrounded Dal’kord. Dal’kord’s eyes opened wide in panic and he started to shriek in pain.
A police car pulled up behind Daniel’s and Trixie opened the door and jumped out. “Ahir, what are you doing? You can’t use magic! It will corrupt you!”
Ahir stalked toward the whirlwind of fire surrounding Dal’kord and growled, “That doesn’t matter anymore. They took Bar’bou from me, and they’re going to pay for it!” The whirlwind disappeared and Ahir slashed through Dal’kord’s neck. Dal’kord’s body began to break down and fly away, lifted on an unfelt breeze.
Trixie ran to Ahir’s side and grabbed his arm. “Ahir, you have to stop! We can still save Bar’bou, but you just need to calm down!”
Ahir shoved Trixie aside and snapped his fingers. The ice around Yolt’ord’s head shattered and disappeared, and Ahir’s body jerked. A smile crossed his face and he continued on to Yolt’ord’s side. “Long have I lusted for the ability to do this.” Ahir swung his sword through Yolt’ord’s neck and laughed as his body began to disintegrate. “This is marvelous! With this power I will be sure to become the next king of the Aureus’Aevum! Any who would dare oppose me would meet the same fate as Yolt’ord.”
Trixie looked at Ahir and sobbed. “What are you talking about, Ahir? We are supposed to be protecting the Aureus’Aevum, not conquering them!”
Tor’jahd swooped down from a nearby rooftop and landed on Ahir’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Trixie, but Ahir is no longer here. I have the pleasure of introducing you to Lang’kahn, my master,” he said, gesturing to Ahir.
Sil’abo ran to Trixie’s side and growled. “Tor’jahd, you traitor! How could you still be working for Lang’kahn after what he has done?”
Tor’jahd cackled. “After what he has done? You fool, I am his advisor, who do you think gave him the idea to do all of this?”
Trixie rose to her feet, her body racked by sobs. “Did Milton figure it all out? Is that why you killed him?”
Tor’jahd grunted in disgust. “Milton learned what he wasn’t supposed to and could have caused trouble for us, if he hadn’t foolishly tried to attack me.”
Lang’kahn barked out, “Enough, Tor’jahd! The hour of my victory is upon us, and I won’t stand for any more delays.” Lang’kahn turned and walked through the portal and it winked shut behind him.