Time Masters Apprentice
Chapter 9: Surprise
16 months later (1 year and 4 months)
Clockwork floated into the viewing room after coming back from another meeting with the Observants, a grim expression on his normally calm features. For the past year and 11 months, Clockwork had known what was going to happen, but regardless of his knowledge, he could not prevent these events from occurring. He tried to reason with the Observants and ask if he could meddle a little bit with the time line to try and have a different outcome, but they denied his request. This pissed Clockwork off so badly, that he was tempted to summon the Apocalypse of Hell down upon his employers.
Clockwork could completely understand Daniel's temptation to tortured the non-living daylights out of...what does Daniel call them again? Oh yeah! Those 'One-Eyed Jerks'.
Sighing softly, he turned to a viewing screen and turned it on to watch the upcoming events for the millionth time since Daniel came to be his apprentice. He studied the event with a thoughtful expression. Maybe if he gave gentle nudge in the direction he wanted, things would flow more peacefully. No, he wouldn't meddle with it directly, but he would cheat a little to get the time line that he preferred.
He wouldn't be disobeying the observants and he would be getting the time line he wanted. Now he just needed to get to work so that he may attempt to change the time stream a bit. He just hoped that everything goes according to plan. There was a very slim chance that it would fail, but things may still happen.
2 weeks later
I was gliding though the green elegant swirls of the Ghost Zone, heading back to Clockwork's Tower after finishing up a mission that he had sent me on earlier this morning. I was anxious to get back to my home. I remembered that Clockwork had told me that he had something very important to tell me when I got back. I was dying to know what it was...Uhgg, what a terrible pun. I thought bitterly, picking up the pace when I saw the tower approaching in the distance, my cloak fluttering behind me.
I flew inside and landed gracefully on the cobblestoned floor, pulling back the hood of my cloak. I walked deeper into the room, looking around for my mentor. After not seeing him present in the room, I decided to call for him.
Not even a few seconds later, Clockwork appeared via a blue swirl of clock hands. The small toddler version of my mentor smiled warmly at me. "Ahh, Daniel. You're back already. That's good, mean things are flowing smoothly."
I blinked in confusion at his choice of words, but nodded. "Yeah, I'm back. What was it you wanted to tell me?"
Clockwork shifted forms and floated into the middle of the room as he fiddled with his Time Scepter. "It is more of a request. You do not have to do it if you do not wish to, but you are more suited for the job than anyone else."
I continued to stare at him in confusion. "So...it's basically another mission?"
Clockwork nodded his head. "If you would like to think of it that way, then yes. But it is nothing like the other missions I have sent you on." He said turning his serious blood red eyes on me. "This is a mission where you might be...conflicted with your emotions and you might want to think twice on whether you wish to go or not." he said shifted forms into his elder version.
More curious by his statement, I pressed for information.
"And what would this...'mission' be?" I asked tilting my head to the side slightly.
"I need you to go to earth to stop an oncoming problem that could turn into a major threat, both to the Human Realm and the Ghost Zone." he told me seriously.
I shrugged not quite seeing what the big deal was. "Okay. So you want me to go to the Human Realm and stop a threat to both races. No problem. So, where do you need me to go to stop this from happening?" I asked calmly.
I froze, my body tensed up and my eyes widened. That was definitely NOT what I was expecting. I stared up at Clockwork, not quite believing him. "This a joke… right?" I asked weakly.
Clockwork shook his head. "Afraid not, Daniel."
I took in a deep breath that shuddered slightly and ran a hand through my black and white locks. I looked down at the ground, unsure of what to say. Should I accept or should I turn down this mission. Part of me wanted to do the right thing and help everyone, while another part of me was screaming 'NO'. Could I honestly go back to the place in the Human Realm that I once lived in?
"You do not have to go, if you do not wish to Daniel. But there is only a slim chance that the Human Realm and the Ghost Zone will be able to survive to this threat." Clockwork said, breaking me out of my thoughts. I looked up at him, indecision filling my mismatched eyes.
"I-I know. It's...just hard to think through...I don't quite know what I should do." I told him, my voice thick with emotion.
Clockwork nodded and placed a hand on my shoulder. "I understand. You are more than welcome to think it over as long as you need too."
I nodded my head with a small jerk. "Y-yeah. I'll think that I will do that. When I come up with an answer, I'll call for you." I told him, not even bothering to look up at him.
Clockwork then teleported away, giving me some alone time to think. I turned around on my heels and walked to my bedroom in a daze. I was still in shock from being allowed a chance to go back to my old home town, Amity Park, even if just to visit for a short while, to help rectify a problem for Clockwork. In only fourteen days more it would be two years since I had been to my old haunting grounds and the simple thought of going now brought many questions to my worried mind.
Will I be able to go there and keep my sanity? Will I see my old friends? My old family? Will I be able to stand being in the town that caused my half death and then my full death?
I entered my room, still in a daze, walked over to my bed and sat down on the edge. My blue and green eyes were wide in shock at the proposal that Clockwork had given to me.
I stared up at the ceiling, looking at all the stars and the quarter moon that was in one corner of the room. I would love to see the real night time sky too. I haven't seen it in almost two years, and for someone who loves astronomy like I do, that's practically an eternity. To be able to soar through the night time sky again feeling as if I was one among the stars on some of those clear nights.
I closed my eyes and laid my elbows on my knees as I ran my hands through my hair. What should I do? My Hero-Complex was kicking into overdrive to try and help the Human Realm, my old home, while the other part of me that was nervous to see all those familiar faces, wanted to stay here in the Ghost Zone and hide from the world.
I sat there for several hours, going through all the pros and cons of going back into the Human Realm to protect it from this 'problem' my mentor said would happen. But I needed more information. "Clockwork!" I called out, not even raising my head from my hands as I heard Clockwork teleport into my room.
I sighed softly and looked up at him. "I need more information before I can accept or decline. What will I need to be doing in the Human Realm to stop this threat, and who or what is the threat supposed to be?" I asked him softly, my voice still drained.
Clockwork answered my question causally. "You will need to be re-enrolled into Casper High School, because the threat is one of the students that go there. I will not tell you who because you need to find out on your own."
Groaning I buried my head back into my hands. "And how am I supposed to stop him or her?" I asked.
"You will know when the time comes. I cannot answer that for you." He told me simply.
I nodded in understanding and rubbed my temples in soothing motions to try and calm the headache and stress that was starting to build up in my body. Great, I would have to go back to High School and risk meeting up with my old friends and them finding out who I am: both as Timegear and Danny. Life —or afterlife— was never easy, was it?
After a few silent moments of thought, I slowly looked back up at Clockwork, whom was still floating a few feet away and gave him a defeated expression.
"Alright. I'll do it."
Clockwork nodded his expression blank and unreadable. "Very good. I would suggest you pack anything that you will need to go back into the Human Realm, and you need a new Human Identity, along with some new cloths." he told me. "I will also give you a few other items to help hide your Ecto-signature and your Ghostly Aura. Can't be letting people find out who you are, can we?" He said with a sly smile that told me he was hiding something from me.
I sighed and nodded. "Yeah, that would be a bad thing. I just want to hurry up and finish the mission so that I can come back and stay away from the possibility of being found out or captured by someone."
Clockwork smiled gently. "Mhmm. I will meet you down stairs when you are finished packing, so that I may see you off to the Human Realm safely."
I smiled gratefully up at my mentor for his thoughtfulness. "Thank you. I'll be finished and be back in few days, hopefully, so I don't have that much I want or need to bring with me."
Clockwork gave one final nod, before vanishing out of my room. Once he was gone, I groaned again and flopped down on my bed twisting in mid air so I landed on my stomach with a resound 'thump', burying my face in the soft covers. I stayed like that for a moment, mostly trying to figure out 'why' I accepted the mission. But it was too late now. The deed was done so I needed to shut up, grow up, and get over it.
I pushed myself back up to my feet and walked around the room, gathering things and placing them inside the travel-bag that was on my bed and that 'mysteriously' ended up there. Clockwork. After a few minutes, I finished packing everything and zipped up the back and slung it over my shoulder before heading down stairs to meet up with my mentor, so that I could get ready to head out. I walked rather slowly, not quite wanting to reach the viewing room. A few moments later of walking nervously and slowly down the halls, I stepped into the room to see Clockwork floating in the middle, Time Scepter gripped tightly in his hands.
As soon as I stepped in, Clockwork gave me a small smile, a failed attempt to cheer me up. "I am sorry about the circumstances that this mission will put you in, but I am also thankful that you are willing to put your afterlife, your reputation, and your identity at risk to try and save our worlds. That is what a real Hero is. You are a legend and an idol here in the Ghost Zone, and a Hero in the Human Realm in the eyes of many. You may no longer be going to Amity Park as Danny Phantom or Fenton, but you are still going with the same heart and courage." He told me as he floated over and ruffled my black and white hair. My eyes slowly drifting up to his solid red ones, with a small smile of my own.
"Thanks, Clockwork. I will try my best to do what I can." I told him honestly.
He gave me one of his warm smiles and nodded his head. "Anytime, Daniel. Now, I best go ahead and give you your supplies so that you can be on your way." He told me, then reached into his cloak and pulled out a small black bag about the size of a change-purse, and held it out to me. "Everything you will need from me is in this bag."
I took the bag and pulled the strings, opening it, then reached inside, pulling out the contents and looking at them as they rested on the palm of my hand. A folded piece of paper, a necklace and a key. The one thing that caught my eye the most was the necklace. It was mini version of Clockwork's Time Medallions, about the size of a quarter, but instead of having his CW insignia it had a TG on one side and my Timegear logo on the other. I picked it up off of my palm and examined it curiously.
"That Medallion has the same effect as my own," Clockwork explained. "But it has a few other uses as well. It can hide your ghostly aura and signature from any ghost weapons as long as you are wearing it. Take it off and it will be like setting of a flare beacon to any anti-ghost weapons within three miles from you."
I looked up at him surprised. "Three miles? That's quite a distance." I told him honestly.
Clockwork nodded his head. "Yes, ever since you came here and got trained by me, you have gotten a lot stronger. In the Human Realm before you got here, you were a level 7 on the ecto-scale. Now you might be a level 8 to 9. Also being a full ghost now jumps your power level up by quite a bit from when you were a Halfa." he explained.
I nodded my head in amazement. Wow. I've gotten that much stronger since I left?I thought to myself.
"On the paper is your address for the house that you are now the owner of and the key is for the front door. From the moment you step into the Human Realm, Daniel, you are on your own. You will find a credit card on the kitchen counter so that you may go out and get whatever other human supplies you will need, and a change of clothes is in the upstairs bedroom so that you can go. I don't think it would be very wise to leave the house dressed as Timegear. And you do not need to worry about money limits. Also your human name will be Daniel Time, so be sure to remember it." He told me with a smile. "Now," Clockwork said. "Let's go ahead and get you into the Human Realm."
I smiled nervously and rose up my right hand, gathering energy into the palm and forcing it out. A Natural Portal appeared. Clockwork taught me how to make Natural Portals after I asked him how Dan could do it. It was now a very useful ability to have. Not only could I make portals from Earth to the Zone, I could make portals from one area of the Zone and appear in another area. Looking at the swirly mass of energy, I raised a foot to cross through, but in a second of doubt I stopped and turned to look nervously at my mentor. He offered me an encouraging smile before nodding his head at the portal, gently urging me to move forward. Sighing softly, I pulled every ounce of determination I had in me and with steady feet I stepped into the human realm.