I'll admit, I'm enjoying writing Instruments of Time so much, I'veunwittingly sent my other stories on a sort of holiday. They'll beback when I have ideas for them, but right now I'm cutting back toonly writing Instruments of Time and the Psychic Jinjuuriki. MaybeI'll post an extra chapter of Marvel vs Jump and Remnants of Galaxiaso their readers don't yell at me again for not posting any newchapters, but they'll come with a message informing the readers thatthey'll not get updated again for a while. Anyway, enough of that. Onwith the story!
"Are you sure those wall carvings won't leave the temple?" asked Ryu as Jack and Lupin led the way along a secret passage.
"Absolutely", said Mickey. "The magic that they're made up of can only transmit through a particular type of stone. There's no way they could move into the walls of neighbouring buildings unless they developed a way of converting the stone.
"They seemed to be able to come out of the wall", said Taskmaster.
"Yes, but they can't completely detach from it", said Mickey.
"What, so we leave a temple full of deadly wall carvings for others to stumble upon?" asked Ryu as Jack climbed a flight of stairs before opening a hatch above them. They followed him out into the street above. "What about the old temple caretaker? Does he know about them?"
Mickey gave a laugh. "Oh he knows about them all right".
Ryu saw a convoy of vehicles coming and smiled. "Looks like Larten and the others are back".
The truck, two motorbikes and what appeared to be a robotic Tyrannosaurus stopped in front of them and their occupants got out, amongst them an unfamiliar girl in a white cloak and a small, white, bespectacled, tied-up, dog. Shortly after, the truck transformed into his robot mode.
"So I take it you got the sword back?" said Taskmaster. Sora grinned and held up the golden sword. "Good. Stab it into the ground, quick".
"Is that an Instrument of Time?" asked Jigen, glancing at the sword as Zero stabbed it into the ground. The buildings stopped their slow movement to the centre of the town.
"Could be", said Lupin. "It's obvious this town of many eras didn't make itself"
Stitch walked up to the sword and pointed the ornate gun at it. "What are you doing?" asked Zero.
"Listen, you don't want to be stuck here guarding that thing forever, do you?" asked the experiment. "I mean it's not like this town was ever meant to exist in the fist place, right?"
"You don't mean to..." began Larten.
"Relax, it won't be like when it was stolen", said Stitch. "If that had been allowed to continue the whole town and everyone in it would be wiped from history. But if we use another Instrument to stabilise it, we can send all the residents of Timetown safely back to where and when they belong".
"That's all well and good as an idea, but we don't have another Instrument to use", said Taskmaster, then he glanced at the gun. "That's not an Instrument, is it?"
"Half of one actually, but that's not what I think Stitch intends to use", said Woody, taking his hat back from the alien's head. "Jack, hand me the Hand of Fate".
"The what?" said nearly everyone present (Larten noted that Optimus and his group seemed unsurprised).
Jack handed Stitch what looked to be a silver gauntlet with gold engravings. The alien put it on one of his four hands and grabbed the sword with it, still pointing the gun at it with another, before pulling it from the ground.
"If you're going to be sending back all the buildings and people, could you leave that aircraft hangar over there?" asked Ryu. "There are some enemies in there I'd rather not release".
Optimus took a look at the hangar in question. "Deathwing and Biollante?"
"How did you know?" said Ryu.
"I've only seen four things big enough to need that big a building to imprison them, and one of them probably helped you capture them".
"I don't know about that", said Po. "Ever heard of Tai Lung? They had a prison bigger than that to hold him, and he's about my size".
"Now that you mention it, we should probably call the others there too", said Tintin.
"I can do that with the sword while I'm sending the buildings back", said Stitch. "If you can draw me a picture of them or something".
"Before you do, was that grey-skinned girl and her little group here?" asked Deadpool. "What did you call her, Kerni, Kerna..."
"Kernor, maybe?" said a voice behind Deadpool. The mercenary spun round to see the girl behind him, accompanied by Micro-ice.
"Speak of the devil..." said Dante.
"Alright, you don't have to draw her group, I remember what they look like", said Stitch. "But anyone else..."
Tintin handed Stitch a sketch of Klaus, Namah, Taokaka and Dash, while Samus handed him one of Spawn and Ezio handed over a picture of Takanuva
"Ok, here we go", said Stitch, swinging the sword. A gale-like wind descended on the city, and the buildings were reduced to points of light, which Stitch directed with the sword. Before long, the group was standing in open desert outside the hangar.
"Shall we step inside?" said Mickey.
Inside, they found Takanuva, Spawn, Twilight Sparkle, Spike, Taokaka and Dash, but no sign of Klaus, Namah, Shinji or Rei. Restrained at the back of the hangar were Biollante and Deathwing.
"We should split up into smaller groups as soon as possible after we're done here", said Woody.
"Why's that?" asked Tahu. "Together, we are strong. Divided, beings like those imprisoned here could overpower us with ease".
"True, but there are enemies that could maybe do that even when we're together", replied the Sheriff. "And I'd rather not draw attention to ourselves".
"There ARE almost fifty people here, not counting captives", said Tintin.
"But what could be so strong as to wipe us all out in one?" asked Takanuva.
"What about people like that Vader guy?" said Dante. "He seemed incredibly strong. If he's got a whole team as strong as him..."
"Plus brains beat raw strength most of the time", said Stitch. "Take Lupin for example. Power-wise, he's useless compared to people like, say, the robot dinosaur over there. But give him time to prepare and the right resources and I'm pretty sure he could incapacitate him pretty easily".
"Grimlock not get beaten by tiny thief man!" bellowed the Autobot.
"Granted, brawn with brains behind it is the best of both worlds and..."
"What's your point already?" interrupted Larten.
"The enemy is after what we have", said Buzz. "They have the surprise advantage. If we split up into four seperate units and stay in constant contact, we can inform each other of attacks and possible Instrument locations in four points in time at once, while in the process quartering the chance of all our Instruments being taken and draw less attention to ourselves".
"Interesting conclusion", said Snake. "I'll agree with that one. Plus, if one of our bases is infiltrated, we won't all be in danger. One question though. How does this lower the chances of them taking the Instruments if they know who has them from the start?"
"I'll need some help, but I think I can prepare some replica Instruments" said Stitch. "I'll shuffle them around so even we don't know who has the real ones".
"Interesting, you've even planned against traitors or disguised spies", said Snake.
"Any questions?" asked Tintin. No-one spoke for a while. Then Micro-Ice raised a hand.
"How did you get that cool gauntlet thing?" he asked
"That's a long story", began Stitch...
I know nothing much happens this chapter. It's mostly scene-setting for the next arc