Author: Spadefire PM
The Xiaolin Warriors get zapped into a computer game! The only way out? Beat the game's maker. But to do that, they'll have to fight their way through steampunk beasts, evil knights and more. Come in and find out what happens! R&R! ON HIATUS.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Fantasy - Chapters: 11 - Words: 32,374 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 09-05-12 - Published: 05-01-12 - id: 8077761
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: AAUUUUGGHH THE FEELS. SO MANY. You guys are AMAZING! I thought I'd get maybe one more review than normal, (I usually get one from TheXGrayXLady and Marukaite Chikyuu Doitsu and Disciple of Darkness,) so getting SEVEN was mind-blowing! :D I can't thank you enough! By the way, if you haven't read much (or any) of my other junk, Emma and Jack kind of hang out and play video games every now and then. They're mutual friends, but also enemies. It's too bad there's not a word for that. Oh, and to make Emma even more of a Mary Sue, there will be massive amounts of fluff in this chapter. Seriously, it's gross. So brace yourselves. A note on the desert people: their social system operates similarly to Indian caste systems, but it's not nearly the same. You'll get it as you go. Enjoy!
"So, you got a beta request too?" Emma asked. She and the boys walked beside the lizard gearbeasts after Jack and two of what he called the desert people had found them. They had put Clay on one so no one would have to carry him, and he had yet to regain consciousness. The desert people had mostly ignored them, but Jack had been happy to talk. Apparently, not many of the desert people liked to speak English.
"Yeah, but when I showed up at Knightfall they laughed at me," he muttered. "It's not fair! Just because I don't fit the requirements to be the Joker here I get kicked out. I can't rule the real world or a digital one."
"Yeah, it's tough being you," Raimundo said, rolling his eyes. Emma glared at him, then turned back to Jack.
"If you got kicked outta Knightfall, how'd you end up with these guys?" she asked, glancing at the silent riders.
"Well, they kinda left me to die out here. Luckily for them, the desert people picked me up. I've been sharing my evil genius with them," he said, brushing off his robes and smiling smugly.
"… No you haven't."
"Says the boy who can't beat the Elite Four."
"Hey, I can't help it! Marshal is intimidating."
"Albino say what?"
"Knock it off, you two," Raimundo said. "Jack, will the desert people help us out too?"
Jack shrugged. "Well, none of you losers are nearly as cool as I am, but they might." Emma thwacked him upside the head, and Omi suppressed a laugh. Jack glared at Emma, rubbing the back of his head. "Though I doubt they'll like you if you keep doing that…"
Suddenly, the rider at the front halted, holding up his hand. Everyone else stopped, and the Warriors traded glances. The rider dismounted, motioning for the others to follow him. "See you guys at dinner," Jack said, giving them a superior grin. Emma stuck her tongue out at him, but then realized that they were taking Clay away.
"W-wait! What're they gonna do with Clay?" she asked.
"Probably take him to the medicine man's house. You'll get to see him too," Jack said. Emma sighed in relief and turned to go with her friends. But she paused, glancing back at Jack.
"Hey, um… thanks for helpin' us and everything." Jack paused, surprise written across his face.
"Well… you're welcome," he replied, nodding resolutely at her. She nodded back, then turned and dashed back towards her friends. Jack lingered a moment more, wondering what had inspired the outburst of kindness, but dismissed it as the heat getting to her head.
The man led them through a colony of tents, colorful and bright, with exotic perfumes wafting out from between the fabrics. Some were triangle-shaped and others were circular with a pointed roof, and still others were dome-shaped. Light spilled from the openings in-between loose seams and entrances, and lit up the sand as the sun began to set. The sand was much firmer here, as though many had walked on it for a long time. As they walked, the tents grew larger, until they reached a tent three times as big as the smaller ones. It had a pointed roof, and branched out on either side. It was also the best lit. The man lifted up the cloth draping over the entrance and waved for the four to go in. They did so, surprised at the state of the inside. Tapestries hung against the walls, helping shield them from the wind and adding splashes of red and green and yellow against the gray fabric of the tent. The floor was also covered with brightly patterned Oriental rugs. A few small tables were scattered around the tent, piled with books and tools and pieces of machinery, and they were spread around the edges of the room as well. In the center of the room sat a group of men in a circle, all wearing turbans and resting on plush cushions. They looked up when the three Warriors entered the room, and the man that had led them in backed out of the tent, bowing as he left.
The man that sat farthest from the entrance smiled warmly at the kids and motioned them in. They walked into the circle, and sat on four empty cushions across from him. "So, you are Jack's friends?" he asked. The man had a red turban and a shaved face, as opposed to the bearded men around him. They all looked Indian, and were dressed accordingly. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties, but had an aura of power about him. However, he seemed very friendly, and there had been no hostility in his question, just curiosity.
"Hardly his friends," Raimundo muttered, but Emma jabbed him with her elbow and he stopped. "Well, we know him, yes."
"Excellent! I am the Sheikh of this tribe. You may call me Hakim," he said, bowing slightly.
"I'm Raimundo, this is Omi, that's Emma, and our injured friend is Clay. Thanks for helping us like this," he added, bowing in return.
"It was your friend that convinced me to let you come into our camp. Jack has been a great help to us in repurposing the gearbeasts to use for our own needs. As a Mechanist, this is no surprise to us, but he is exceptionally skilled."
"Considering his own experience with robots, that is no surprise," Omi replied, nodding.
"Yes, Jack told us of his many conquests in your world. He even told us of you," Hakim said, then frowned slightly. "Although, you all seem more intelligent than he described. And he mentioned there were five of you…?"
"Our friend Kimiko was taken by Knightfall," Emma said, and a few of the other men in the circle glared at her. One whispered into Hakim's ear, and he frowned deeper.
"Ah. I am sorry, Emma, but females are not allowed to be in the presence of the council when we meet," he said. "We did not realize that you are a-"
"Oh, forget it!" she snapped, standing abruptly. "I can take a hint! Tell me what happens, guys," she said to Raimundo and Omi before turning and striding angrily out of the tent. Hakim winced, and the other men seemed greatly surprised.
"Um, yeah, sorry about her, she's just…" Hakim glanced at Raimundo, a broad smile growing on his face.
"Ha ha ha! She is very spirited, isn't she?" he asked, making the other men frown disapprovingly.
"That's one word to describe her. Others are psycho, annoying, bonkers…" Hakim laughed again, shaking his head.
"Well, not many of our women would act that way. It is good to see a change of pace."
"Sometimes a change of pace can be a bad thing," muttered an old man in a green turban. "Like King's taking over and forcing us from our home."
Hakim glared at him, and the man shrunk back a bit. "My father died because of King. That is why I am Sheikh and why I hate him, but I will concentrate on one problem at a time… like the survival of our people if we are spread out like sand in the wind. If we must adapt new ways to survive, so be it."
"Wait, wait- who's King?" Raimundo asked. The men turned to him, looks of shock and annoyance present on their faces. Hakim sighed and shook his head.
"That is a long story. But you are lucky, for tomorrow we begin our yearly pilgrimage to our true home, the only act of mercy King gave us. Each night we recount the story of our people, so that we may never forget his cruelty. If you wish, you may stay with us for the journey; we will be going near Knightfall, which I assume is where you are going," he added, making Raimundo and Omi trade glances. "We also have the resources to heal your friend faster than you could, even though you are a Healer," he continued, motioning to Omi. "We would be there in two days. What do you say?"
"Um, one second," Raimundo said, pulling Omi aside for a moment. "I say we go with them."
"I agree. Perhaps we will get to Knightfall faster than if we traveled alone," Omi said, and Raimundo nodded. They turned back to the circle, and Raimundo spoke. "We accept. Thank you for letting us stay."
"It is no problem," Hakim said, smiling again. "You may have the green tent nearest to here. Emma may sleep in the red tent near the medical area."
"That's probably where she is now," Raimundo said, standing. "Thanks again."
"Sleep well, my friends," Hakim said as they left. The other men in the circle turned to look at him in astonishment and admonishment. He crossed his arms stubbornly and said, "We must embrace new ways if we are to survive. These children can help us do so. That is my final word on the matter."
A/N: (Now would be a great time to pull up the song Firewood by Regina Spektor, just to let it load and stuff. Seriously, get it soon. YOU WILL NEED IT. Kthnxbai.)
Raimundo and Omi found the tent easily enough. It was not nearly as spacious or bright as the Sheikh's tent, but it had sleeping bags and a small lantern, and it was better than sleeping on the ground, at least. Omi crawled into his sleeping bag immediately, but Raimundo paused, remembering he had to tell Emma where she would be staying. So, muttering about how sore his legs were, he left again to go find her. It was dark, since the sun had set and the moon was just starting to come out, and he was half-worried about stumbling into someone who wasn't quite as welcoming as Hakim had been.
Luckily, she was where he'd figured she would be; standing outside the low, gray medical tent, pacing back and forth in a mixture of anger and worry. Her cap was in her hands, and she was twisting it up and pulling it out again, the bells at the ends jingling relentlessly. "How's he doing?" Raimundo asked, making her jump slightly.
"Oh. I don't know, the medicine man hasn't come out yet," she replied, rocking back on her heels. It was obvious she wanted to get her mind off of Clay's predicament. "So… what'd the Sheikh say?"
"Um, he likes your spirit or whatever, we're welcome to stay, they can heal Clay and we'll be at Knightfall in two days," he replied. "Oh, and during that time we might get a chance to learn about what's going on here."
"That's great," Emma said, nodding, but she lacked her usual enthusiasm. Raimundo tilted his head slightly, frowning.
"Are you okay? You look like you're buggin'."
"I kinda am," she admitted, glancing at the medical tent and rubbing her arm. "I just… it's just that, I feel like it's my fault he's in there."
"It is," Raimundo said, nodding, and suppressed a grin when she glared daggers at him. "But he knew what he was doing. Besides, Hakim said he'll be fine, so you don't need to worry."
"Yeah, you're right," she sighed. Just then, a stooped old man wearing gray robes stepped out, looking around. When he saw Emma and Raimundo, he waved for them to come over, and they did so eagerly.
"Your friend is very lucky you had a Healer in your party," he rasped. "His wound was treated very well, and quickly enough so that he wasn't poisoned too badly. You keep an eye on him tonight, and he'll be fine by tomorrow." With that, he walked away, leaving Emma and Raimundo to be confused.
"So… does that mean one of us has to stay here tonight?" he asked.
Emma's hand shot up. "I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!" she cried, waving her arm in the air.
"Shh! Shut up before you wake everybody up!" he hissed, shushing her. She quieted, and he sighed. "You can watch over him. Just don't try to sleep-hypnotize him or anything, okay?"
"Jeez, Rai, I'm not gonna try anything funny. This is just 'cause I feel guilty about him saving me," she said, shoving her hat into her bag. "G'wan, I'll make sure he's okay."
"Alright. Goodnight, freak."
"G'night, jerk." Emma watched Raimundo disappear through the myriad of tents, then turned back to the medical tent with a tightness forming in her chest. She lifted the flap and entered, blinking as her eyes adjusted. A covered torch emitted a pale, flickering light that dimly illuminated four mats, three empty and the farthest one from the door occupied. Emma crept over, bending down slightly so she didn't knock her head against the tent's top pole. She knelt beside him, examining his wound. He was shirtless, which made her go red, but she tried to ignore it and focus on his gash. The medicine man had given Clay fresh bandages that smelled like bleach, and a rag and a bucket of cool water sat beside Clay's head. It was obvious why; his forehead shone with sweat, and he twitched in his sleep as though he could still feel the poison.
Emma winced and dipped the rag in the water, wringing it out and laying it on Clay's forehead. He calmed down almost immediately, though his breathing was still too short and his hands continued to shake. "Shh, shh, it's okay, I'm here," Emma said, wiping his forehead with the rag. "You're gonna be fine, I promise." Clay groaned something unintelligible, and Emma sighed. "I said shh." When Clay didn't reply, Emma smiled softly and sat cross-legged, taking one of his hands in hers. After a few minutes of silence and the occasional grunt of pain from Clay, Emma glanced at the entrance and decided that nobody else was going to come in. She looked back down at Clay, frowning.
"You know, you gave me a real scare back there. Nobody's ever taken a hit for me before. That was sweet of you. And brave, too, but I already knew you were brave…" Clay shifted on the mat, and Emma paused to move his hair away from his eyes, which were shut tight in pain. "Just live through this so I can thank you, okay?" she whispered, giving his hand a small squeeze. He didn't say anything, but his breathing began to slow just a little bit. Emma smiled and stroked his hair again, and he seemed to calm more. That gave her an idea. She took a deep breath and softly began to sing.
"The piano is not firewood yet. They try to remember, but still they forget- that the heart beats in threes, just like a waltz. And nothing can stop you from dancing. Rise from your cold hospital bed. I tell you, you're not dying. Everyone knows you're going to live… so you might as well start trying.
"The piano is not firewood yet. But the cold does get cold, so it soon might be that. I'll take it apart, call up my friends. And we'll warm up our hands by the fire."
"Don't look so shocked. Don't judge so harsh. You don't know you are only spying. Everyone knows it's going to hurt… but at least we'll get hurt trying.
"The piano is not firewood yet. But a heart can't be helped, and it gathers regret. Someday you'll wake up and feel a great pain, and you'll miss every toy you ever owned. You'll want to go back. You'll wish you were small. Nothing can slow the crying. You'll take the clock off of your wall… and you'll wish it was lying.
"Love what you have, and you'll have more love. You're not dying. E-everyone knows you're going to love…" Her voice cracked, and the tears that had bubbled up behind her eyes spilled over, and she had to whisper the last verse. "Though there's still no cure for crying."
Kimiko wanted to hit her head against the wall out of boredom, but the wall was stone and it would hurt. Also, it was wet and she didn't want to mess up her hair any more than what had been done to it; the air was damp and gross and was totally making her frizz. The dungeons were absolutely nasty; they consisted of several long hallways made of cobblestone with cramped rooms covered in moss and slime and goo and infested with rats and roaches and other assorted creepy-crawlies and it was super gross and she wanted out. Or to hit her head against a wall. But, seeing as both options were moot, she was left to try and figure out how the heck she could escape. With every plan she dismissed, however, her hope dwindled away, and she was beginning to get nervous. She wasn't actually sure they would trade her for Emma- who Kimiko assumed was the Joker, since she had gotten the beta request in the first place- thought Raimundo would be all for it. Clay would probably be torn, and she figured Omi would side with Raimundo. Emma would probably go through with the trade, if only to gain power and end up ruling the world herself, and Kimiko had seen Emma's Minecraft account, so she knew what the witch did with a world of her own and an unlimited supply on TNT. That would end poorly.
"Miss?" Kimiko's head jerked up, and she was surprised to see Autumn standing there, holding a tray of food. "Are you alright?"
"Well, I've been better," Kimiko admitted. Autumn slid the tray in the small space under the bars, and handed Kimiko a glass of water through them.
"I'm sorry about the conditions here, but there's not much I can do at the moment," Autumn said, kneeling down to speak with Kimiko. "King is very upset. We could hear him shouting from the kitchen!"
"Oh, great, I made this world's most powerful monarch mad," Kimiko grumbled. She picked up one of the two pieces of bread on her plate, realizing with distaste that it was stale. But she was hungry, and it would hold her over for a while, so she began to eat.
"The other girls are excited to hear that you'll help us," Autumn whispered confidentially. Kimiko nearly spit out her bread, but managed to regain her composure.
"Wh-what other girls?" she asked.
"Oh! I should have told you earlier. Lydia and I aren't the only ones taken from our home. There are many other girls and boys that were brought here to keep the castle in top condition. I let the girls I talk to know, and they're spreading the word as we speak. Soon, every errand boy and scullery maid will know that we've got you on our side, and your friends as well!" Autumn seemed very happy about it, and pleased with herself for initiating it, so Kimiko decided not to mention that her friends may not even arrive.
"That's… great, Autumn! Way to get the news out," Kimiko said, giving as genuine a smile as she could muster and a thumbs-up. Autumn positively beamed, and for a moment, Kimiko felt better. Then they heard the clanking of chain mail, and a guard came around the corner, glaring at them in the dim torchlight. He wasn't wearing his helmet, which let the girls see his angry expression.
"Hey! What are you doing here?" he snapped, motioning at Autumn, who went white.
"She's just getting me food," Kimiko said quickly. The guard turned to glare at her, and she got the feeling she had just made the situation worse.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"Just another prisoner," she said slowly, raising her hands. Then, as the guard was about to say something else, thin streams of fire shot from her palms and singed his hair. He screamed and took off running, patting furiously at his hair. There was a moment of silence before the girls turned to look at each other and burst out laughing.
"That- that was brilliant!" Autumn squealed, laughing so hard she fell back. Kimiko was laughing just as hard, mentally fixing the guard's expression in her mind so she could describe it to Raimundo. Autumn stood, wiping her eyes as her giggles began to fade. "Thank you, Miss," she said, still smiling. "You've got an army in the castle, now. We're at your beck and call- just give the word and we'll rise!"
"Good to know, but the rising will have to wait until my friends and I have a plan," Kimiko said, standing as well. She shook Autumn's hand through the bars, and then the girl dashed away to avoid more confrontation. Kimiko's smile, however, faded as Autumn got farther and farther away. Now the kids of the castle had hope… but would she be the one to destroy it?
It was going to be a long night.
Things are really rollin' now! Sorry for the fluff overdose, but I've had that scene in mind since I first hear Firewood (a while back) so I knew I was gonna do it. Thanks again for all of your reviews, and please leave another on your way out! LOVE YA!