Ch. 14 part 2

1.

"Do you have to whine about everything? Why can't you just be quiet for once?!" he shouted angrily and threw his pack at him.

Chip fell over and then popped back up angrily. "That was mean!"

Shou Lang smirked, "Sure it was," he said looking up at the night sky. "I'm not a nice guy," then he flashed Chip a wicked grin. "I'm hungry...what would you like to be cooked in?"

Chip hugged himself wailing, "Stop teasing me, Shou Lang! Please stop teasing!"

Shou fell on his back and looked up at the sky, "Stop the whining and I won't eat you," he said gruffly.

Chip fell silent and huddled next to Nitro's hoof.

Then he heard a rustle and stood up, "Chip...get on the horse."

Chip jumped on his back and ducked underneath Nitro's black mane whimpering.

He heard the rustle again and took out his sword, his eyes found the rustling of a nearby bush and then something stepped outside of it.

"Shou Lang! Don't kill me!" said a trembling voice.

"Who are you? Show yourself!" he demanded.

The person stepped out into the dim lighting of the fire and rubbed his hands together nervously. It was a goblin, an ugly green goblin with thousands of warts covering its disgusting body. It had a chest plate made of steel and a thick belt around its bulging stomach.

He made a face, "Ah...Golem...what do you want?"

Golem looked around nervously and then back at him, "I have a message from Master Monde..." he said looking around.

"Make it quick, goblin!" he said raising his sword.

Golem cleared his throat, "He says that he knows about your well where you found the girl...don't you remember the woman that came before the girl?"

He narrowed his eyes, "What of it? What do you want?"

"Lord Monde wants you to know that he's found seven other portals to the same world...and that there are Uoy in those worlds."

He gasped quietly and then snarled, "Stop you lying, you crazy fool! Do you expect me to believe that there are Uoy in those wells?"

"Not all of the portals are wells..."

Shou Lang tensed, "Why are you telling me this? It has of no importance to me."

Golem grinned, "We know that the navigator has left this world and has been taken to another, meaning that you no longer have her under your protection."

He felt his stomach flip, "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that Monde has gone to her world along with other Uoy teams for her. The humans there have no idea about demons, so I'm told."

He felt sick, "You...he...wouldn't..." he gasped.

"Yes, and he'll kill all of those humans in that world, he told me to tell you so you'll come to that world and challenge him. He doesn't think you have the stomach for it."

He lowered his sword and then with anger raised it to his throat, "Did you hurt her?!" he growled.

"Not I..." the goblin stammered. "It is the other demons that you should be worried about, Monde is giving the word out to all of the demons that there are portals with Uoy inside of them."

Shou Lang shoved him down, "Damn him! And damn you! Get out of here! I'm ready to slit your miserable throat!"

Golem crawled back into the bushes, "And just to let you know, there are already demons on that world that know about her, Monde has been to that world many times before..."

"I said to get out!" he shouted angrily.

Golem got to his feet and ran away tripping and falling over his feet.

Once he left he turned to the fire and gripped his head with his hands, "Damn it! Damn this whole planet and their greedy hearts!"

"They're looking for San?" said Chip.

"It could be a bluff, Chip," said Shou Lang glaring into the fire. "I know that Monde has been to that world once because he told me about it, he met up with this woman. She was the first to hold the navigator, but she went into the well and never came back out."

"Monde is in San's world?" he asked.

"I think so, he's trying to get under my skin. I'm the only demon that can really pose a threat to him, I guess."

"This is horrible! What are we going to do?"

"I don't know," he said shutting his eyes. "I don't know."

"Couldn't we just go in San's world and find her?" he asked hopefully.

Shou Lang groaned, "I'm not going in her world. It isn't San I'm worried about, it's the other people on her planet. Monde will turn her planet into mine, I can't let that happen..." he said looking away.

"You know what San's world is like?"

"Yes," he said looking at Chip.

"How do you know that?" asked Chip jumping down from Nitro's back.

"You know that woman that Monde had for the navigator at first?"

"Yeah..." said Chip absently.

"I was the one that helped her escape..."

2.

She was quiet for a moment longer, she was inside her cousins' house and looking out the window. She couldn't sleep, she was so excited about the next morning. She heard so many stories about her mother's childhood and her cousins'. She couldn't wait to hear more the next day.

The moon was a half moon, it looked so big and huge against the sky.

Looking at the moon she thought of the man she met in the airport and shuddered, when he had touched her it burned. She felt along her forehead and frowned, it was warm, perhaps she was coming down with something.

She looked back into the moon and sighed, she already missed Chip and Shou Lang. It was strange how much an impact they had on her. When she first came to that world she was afraid and afraid of everyone in it, and now she wasn't as afraid of it as she was before.

"I wonder what they're doing now..." she said to the moon. "Are they still hunting for Uoy stones or are they teasing each other..." she smiled. "Yeah...Shou Lang is probably teasing poor little Chip to death."

From down below she saw a car pass by.

She cocked her head and sighed, a breeze shuddered the curtains around the window. She looked back down at the road and watched another car roll by.

Then she climbed back into bed and closed her eyes, she figured that in the morning she would ask questions about her mother's death.

As she settled down in the covers she felt a spot in her forehead getting warm and hot. She sat up and touched it, it was throbbing, and it didn't feel like a headache. She kicked off the covers and stood up.

It throbbed and buzzed, she felt with her finger and then put both hands to her sides.

"This is weird," she said cocking her head. "It isn't my whole head, it is just one spot..." she touched the spot in her forehead again and shuddered. Something was telling her to look outside for some reason, she looked at the window.

The burning sensation went up a notch.

She winced and held the side of her head, then she looked back out the window again. She found it in her gut that she wanted to look out there, something was out there.

She walked over to the window and peered outside, nothing was there. She looked all around but didn't find anything interesting, she was about to pull away when she saw something move in the corner of her eye. She looked directly down and saw a black figure standing there with a dark baseball cap on its head.

Her eyes widened and she pulled back from the window breathing hard. Then she peeked down there and to her amazement the figure had vanished. She swallowed and looked around the yard frantic, she didn't see the man or anything else.

Had she imagined it? She gripped the windowsill and gasped.

"Get a grip...calm down, it was dark out there...you didn't see anything," she said closing her eyes.

The pain in her forehead throbbed slowly, she held her head and pulled away from the window. Then she turned to go to bed, then she found the dark figure sitting there on her bed, it was the man from the airport.

She screamed and fell backwards.

He tipped his hat and grinned, she could see the whites of his teeth from the moonlight. He stood up and walked towards her.

San whimpered and backed away, "Who are you?! What do you want?! I don't have any money, you've got the wrong person!" she cried.

"I don't want any money," said the man.

She took the dagger from her neck and took it off and then pointed it at him, "Don't come any closer!" she shouted at him.

He knelt down and shook her leg, "I haven't come to harm you."

"What are you doing here in my house?! Leave us alone!"

He shook his head, "I can't...you have something that I want..." he said.

San could barely breathe, the man reached out and touched her forehead again, and the spot in her head grew hotter, burning her.

He pulled his hand away suddenly and then took off his shades so she could see red glowing eyes looking into hers. "You're...not...human!" she gasped.

"You're right, I'm not human..." he said.

San held her dagger in front of her and he backed away. "Don't come close!"

"I don't intend to," he said standing up.

"What do you want?!" she demanded while staggering to her feet.

"I want you to stay alive for me...that's what..."

San swallowed, "I don't know what you're talking about! Get out of my house and leave me alone!" she shouted.

He turned and faced her, "You know someone that I know...I want you to bring him here, to your world..." he said putting on his shades.

San backed against the wall. "What?"

"Once he's here...tell him to come to Bangkok, Thailand," he said walking to the window and shoving his hands in his pockets. "I'm waiting for him there..."

San swallowed again and pressed herself harder against the wall.

He faced her again, "Do you know what a black crystal is, sweetheart?" he asked.

She didn't answer.

"It is very popular with you humans, you'll do anything for jewelry and gems," he said with a dry laugh. "In your world this black crystal are in fact Uoy stones, you know what those are..."

She gripped tighter to the handle of her dagger.

"Who are you?"

White shone inside of his mouth, "Can't you just use your 'sight' and find out?" he said shoving his hands back into his pockets.

"Get out!" she commanded.

"Ah..." he said with a sigh. "You haven't 'seen' anything yet...have you?" he said shaking his head. "Oh...but you will...you will see things, horrible things that will haunt your mind for all eternity," he said turning his back.

"I told you to leave!" she said raising her dagger.

He looked over at her from his shoulder, "Remember what I said...and this won't work if you die on me, so stay alive, ok?" he said. He turned back around and looked out the window. "We will meet very soon, my dear. Until then...take care," and then he disappeared.



3.

"I...um..." she looked away and then stared at Ms. James. "I don't know."

"They weren't nice?" asked Ms. Ran.

Lin and Sasha looked at each other painfully and then looked back at her.

"Yes...they're very nice...and sweet..." she said.

"This isn't meant to be hard, San. You can always change your mind," said Ms. Tanner tapping her shoulder. "Your decision isn't set in stone, this is just for now. You'll want to visit your cousins, right?"

San looked at her feet, "Yes."

"Ok, so make up your mind," Ms. Ran shouted. "This isn't a big deal, San. Do you want to live with Ms. James or with your cousins?"

"I don't know," she said again.

Ms. Tanner sighed, "It's ok, sweetie, I know you're stressed out."

San bit her lower lip and shut her eyes.

She felt Ms. James reach over and pat her on the arm, "Would it help if you stayed with your cousins for a while until you've made up your mind?" she said.

San opened her eyes and sighed.

"Ms. James," said Ms. Ran patting the old woman's shoulder. "San will be better off with her family. You don't need this kind of trouble at your age, Sasha and Lin can handle her. I feel that you're too nice and letting her step all over you."

"I don't think..." started Ms. James.

"Ms. Ran, don't you think you're coming off a little strong?" asked Ms. Tanner staring at Ms. Ran.

"Not at all," said Ms. Ran looking at her.

San shot her a scowl and turned her head away.

"You don't have to live with us, dear," said Sasha scooting up.

San smiled at her, "I know that..."

"We understand that you're happy with Ms. James, and you had no idea that we existed until now."

San's gaze drifted to the window where she watched the leaves from the trees move and whip with the gusting wind. Outside...the wind...

Then her forehead buzzed and she touched the spot closing her eyes.

"San?"

"Dear, are you all right? San?"

"She never listens, what did I tell you..."

"Do you have a headache? Are we pushing too hard?"

San shook her head and then nodded while swallowing hard, "I'm fine..."

Ms. Tanner and Ms. James looked at each other, the sisters were looking outside to see what she was looking at.

"I...I think I need a glass of water," said San rising to her feet and touching the spot on her forehead. "I'll be but a minute, excuse me..." she said stepping over Ms. Ran and running into the bathroom across the hall.

She slammed the door shut and leaned against it.

Then she turned on the sink and washed water on her face, the wind battered against the house and howled at her, she turned off the water and looked into the mirror.

Then she opened her mouth to scream but she couldn't, her reflection had light coming out of a small circle on her forehead, it was red light that filled the whole mirror and then shattered the glass.

San fell on the tile floor against the glass and held the spot on her forehead that was burning and throbbing again.

She looked into the broken glass and found her broken reflection staring back at her looking scared and pained. She touched the glass and watched her reflection change and melt into another face, Shou Lang's face along with Salem's. She swallowed hard and then blinked.

Everything was back to the way it was. The mirror was intact and the water was still running in the sink, her reflection was a normal reflection. The circle on her forehead was gone, everything appeared normal. She blinked again and looked around.

What just happened? Why did...?

There was a knock on the door and she jumped.

"San, honey? Are you all right in there? Do you need some medicine or anything?" it was Lin's voice.

"Yes...I'm-I'm fine!" she told her in a shaky voice. "Give me a minute, I'm fine..." she said and then swallowed and looked back into the mirror.

What was that? Was I daydreaming?

She found her reflection being normal, San touched the center of her forehead. "This...is weird..." she said in between sharp gasps. "What's going on?"

There was another knock, "San? Come out!" demanded Ms. Ran's voice.

San whirled away from the mirror and turned off the water, she could have sworn that she turned it off before, or was it part of the daydream? She opened the door and walked out, nearly running into Ms. Ran.

"What were you doing in there?" she demanded.

"I was...washing my face..." said San looking away and walking back into the room with everyone else.

All eyes looked at her in expectant silence, Ms. Ran went into the bathroom and shut the door.

"I've made up my mind," said San looking outside.

She saw in the corner of her eye Lin and Sasha holding hands.

"I...want to live with Ms. James," she said. "Just for now, I don't know if it is permanent or not..." she lied. She knew that she wouldn't be living with her cousins but she had to give them something.

Sasha nodded her head and looked at Lin, they both stared at each other.

Ms. James stood up with Ms. Tanner and they both walked in front of her with pleasant smiles on their faces.

"Well...that just sums up our weekend," said Ms. Tanner taking San by the arm and steering her outside.

"Thank you all so very much," said Ms. James.

"Yes!" she called over shoulder. "Thanks!"

Ms. Ran jogged out of the bathroom with a flush and then joined them in the rented car they got from the airport.

"Are we all ready to go?" she said slipping in the driver's seat.

Ms. James sat in the front while San and Ms. Tanner sat in the passenger seats.

"Yes, you should start driving, Ms. Ran," said Ms. Tanner buckling her seatbelt.

San did the same and peered out the window.

She thought she saw the man standing on the roof but she wasn't sure, the car went by too fast. She had only caught a glimpse.

4.

"I'll be soon, Ms. James," she said shutting the door behind her and stepping into outside her house. It was dusk, they had arrived back home by late afternoon.

San zipped up her jacket and walked across the street.

She felt as though she needed to be outside, the air was crisp and cold. She sucked in a deep bitter breath and looked behind her.

Her forehead was warming up again and it scared her, she touched it worriedly and picked up her pace.

The wind was mild, it blew around her face and chilled her nose and cheeks, and she was starting to wish that she had brought her mittens and scarf. She jammed her hands in her pockets and tucked her face deep inside her jacket.

Just as she turned away from the entrance of her neighborhood and into town she heard footsteps crunching behind her.

She stopped and took off her dagger, then she whirled around. An old man looked at her with wide confused eyes, she cleared her throat and slipped the dagger back over her head. "Um...I'm sorry, sir," she said and then turned away and ran behind an alley.

What are you doing? Get a grip! That guy...he's in Vermont...

Then she checked behind her and slipped back on the sidewalk and stared at her feet as she walked past the streets. Cars went past her along with buses and trucks, it was one of the busier times of day.

She ducked into a corner and turned another alley.

She had no destination in mind, she just needed to be outside and think. She had saw herself in the mirror and Shou Lang and Salem. What was that supposed to mean? She swallowed and turned another corner, looked both ways and crossed the street.

She heard more footsteps and this time didn't turn around. Probably some other old man trying to get home, she thought kicking a bottle out of her way.

The person passed her, it was a woman with red high heels and with a little girl clinging to her hand trying to keep up with her fast pace. San watched them then turned another corner and looked inside the windows of the stores around her.

The sun set and the streetlight turned on in response, she checked behind her and then decided to head home. She jumped past a trashcan and crossed the street.

The cars had stopped coming, after all she lived in a small neighborhood with few people living in it.

She was alone on the streets and pleased by it. She took her hands out of her pockets and sauntered down an alley with her eyes trained on the windows.

She heard a crunch behind her and then the sound of a bottle rolling on the sidewalk, she stopped but didn't turn around. She saw the bottle roll past her, then she turned and saw three teenage boys whistling and grinning at her, she rolled her eyes and crossed the street.

She was nearly home, she had three more blocks to cover before she reached her neighborhood, she quickened her pace and skirted behind a telephone pole and then behind a small building.

She heard a door open and then two women saying their 'goodbyes'.

San found the sidewalk and jammed her frozen hands in her pockets again, the wind had started up again.

Then she heard a shatter of glass and stopped, turned around and saw the old man she saw before breaking bottles against a brick fence. San hurried by and then went into another alley.

The streetlight made the alley a weird orange tint, it looked like a perfect scene for a scary movie. She squared her shoulders and checked behind her again, then she jumped over the brick fence. She was at the end of a dead end street and started walking out of it.

She saw a figure step out of the corner and then stand silhouetted against the streetlight. It was right in front of her, she ducked her head and walked faster. As she got closer to the person she recognized a dark baseball cap, she froze and then started backwards as the figure started forwards into the dead end street.

She turned around and starting running.

She heard footsteps pounding after her, she jumped over the brick fence and ran around the corner.

Footsteps echoed against the pavement.

Then she bumped into something dark and black, she knew in her gut it was him. She twisted away but he had her in a tight hold. "Hello sweetheart," he said.

"What do you want from me?!" she cried.

He didn't have on his shades, red eyes blazed into hers.

"Where is he, girl? He's supposed to be here!"

She fought against him, he pushed her against the brick fence. "I...don't know who you want me to get!" she cried fishing for her dagger.

He grabbed both her wrists and squeezed them painfully against each other. "You have the navigator...Only Lord Shou Lang travels with it," he spat angrily. "Where is he?!"

"I...don't know!" she cried and twisted away again.

He cuffed her on the side of the head, "Think!" he shouted at her. "Where could he be? You know where one of the portals is, right?"

She held the side of her face he hit breathing hard.

He took her by the shoulders and shook her, "Where is the portal, girl? How did you return back to this world?"

She shook her head pushing against him, "Let me go!"

He shoved her on her back so he could step on her stomach, she gasped for breath.

"I'll squish you like a bug," he said coldly.

"Please...let me go!" she cried out in pain. "Please...you're suffocating..." she gasped against the pressure of his foot.

The pressure increased, "Where is he?"

"I...can't...breathe...!" she rasped.

Then he lifted off his foot and knelt down so he could squeeze her throat with his hand, "Can you bring him here or not?"

"I...!" she gasped and held tightly to his wrist.

He narrowed his eyes, "Worthless!" then he knocked her head against the brick wall.

She felt warmth running down her temple, she closed her eyes and regained her breath.

"I know where you live...so you will bring him here, or that sweet old lady gets it," he said standing up.

"Please-NO!" she cried. "Don't hurt her!" she cried.

"That's up to you," he said and turned, she heard his footsteps fading away. "Bring him to Bangkok, Thailand," he said turning the corner and disappearing from the street.

San hugged herself and cried silently against the fence.

5.

Something moved, he couldn't sense it but he knew it was there, he knocked again and waited patiently.

"He might not be home," said Chip quietly.

"Hush!" he told him sharply. "He's home, he's just not answering the door," he said and then kicked it down. "Salem! Salem!" he shouted into the cabin as he stepped inside.

"Shou Lang!" Chip hissed while jumping on his shoulder.

The demon scent he smelled was behind him, he shrugged Chip off and pulled out his sword and ran outside. Salem was leaning from the roof of the cottage looking in.

"Shou Lang!" he said then flipped off and stood in front of him.

He squared his shoulders and sighed, "Did you get a message from Golem?" he demanded.

Salem shook his head, "No...but I know of the message you speak of. Did Golem pay you a visit?" he said cocking his head.

Shou Lang nodded his head, "Yes, who else got it?"

"That...I do not know," he answered with a careless shrug. "I hear that Monde has found portals to another world. Seven of them..."

"I did not know that there were so many," he said.

"Me neither, I've heard of the strange world from drunks and lunatics, I did not know that it actually existed."

"What have you heard of this message?" Chip jumped on his shoulder.

Salem's orange eyes flashed, "I hear that Monde has found Uoy in the new world and somehow the information leaked out to other demons. Now more and more demons are finding the portals and going into the new world for Uoy stones."

Shou Lang felt sick, "Naturally they know of San..."

"Yes, I'm sure that they do," said Salem slowly. "They might not know where she is, though..."

He looked up and nodded, "Yes, that is correct."

Salem shook his head, "I also heard that the humans are also attracted to Uoy and other gems on the new world," Salem looked at him. "Some of the humans have arranged a tournament to take place in a certain place."

He felt his insides flip, "A tournament?" he gasped.

Salem nodded, "Yes, the humans place bets on the winners and receive money from it, while the winning demon gets to claim the loser's Uoy stones. It is a deadly circle..."

"How do you know of this?" he demanded.

Salem looked away, "I was told ahead of time by a friend of yours."

"You know that I have no friends, Salem."

"Kithara."

He swallowed hard and turned his back, "Kithara?!" he whispered.

Chip sighed, "I hear that she works for Monde, Shou Lang."

He couldn't conceal his surprise and dismay, he looked at the ground and tried to think clearly but he couldn't.

"Why would she tell you something like that?" he said after a while.

"I don't know, we were once all friends, Shou Lang," Salem said.

Shou Lang balled up a fist and swallowed again, "Why would she join a tournament like that? For the Uoy stones?"

"She said that she joined because she knew that the demons on the new world weren't as strong as the ones on ours..."

He lowered his head, it was Kithara's greed that did this.

"She didn't think that I'd find out, did she?"

"I don't know," said Salem and then he nudged him with his toe. "Come inside, I have an idea."

Shou Lang glared at him, "I don't work with partners."

Salem smiled, "Neither do I, but for now we have no other choice but to work together on this one."

"Why?" he said narrowing his eyes on him.

"Do you want Monde to get stronger than what he already is? With each Uoy fragment he gets stronger, Shou Lang. Think how many there are on the new world!"

He reluctantly followed Salem inside the cabin, Chip scurried after him.

Salem sat down on the floor, Shou Lang sat across from him.

"Ok, demon, what's your grand plan of action?" he asked thinking hard.

Salem shrugged, "You and I are good fighters, are we not? And each of us has a respectable amount of Uoy stones, to enter the tournament we need at least over ten pieces."

"That's a lot," he said returning his sword.

"Yes, but we have well over that amount," said Salem.

"You think we should enter the tournament?" he said leaning back on his palms. He watched Salem nod his head.

"It is wise, you and I can be a team and defeat Monde together."

"Why do you wish to kill Monde?" he asked narrowing his eyes.

Salem narrowed his eyes just the same, "Because I hate wolves," he said.

"I am a wolf," said Shou Lang with a smile. "What makes you think that I can trust a man that hates wolves and expects one as his partner?"

"You hate demons," said Salem nodding. "So we're even, yes?" he said.

"Just because you hate wolves you want to kill my brother? That hardly seems practical, does it?" he said coyly.

Salem sighed, "My reason should have nothing to do with your knowing of it, just as long as you have a ticket to killing him you shouldn't care. It'll be easier if we fight him together."

"I want to kill my brother by myself."

"Fine," said Salem rolling his eyes. "But you'll still need help working your way up the tournament challengers. Some of those demons on the new world are very strong, as I've heard."

"We can team up in a tournament?"

"It doesn't matter," said Salem. "Just as long as the humans get the money they want it shouldn't matter. Humans and demons alike are going to be watching this tournament."

"Hm," he said nodding his head. "I see, they just want the blood and gore, right?" then he felt sick again. "This is why I can't stand human or demon," he snorted.

"Why does that bother you so much? You kill more than any human or demon on this world," said Salem cocking his head.

He was going to argue but decided not to, Salem wasn't worth the time. He looked at Chip and sighed.

"Shou Lang...you are one of the few demons not connected to Monde that knows where one of the portals are," said Salem. "Where is the portal?"

"I'm not telling you, you'll just have to follow me," he said standing up and squaring off his shoulders.

"Then you and I are partners?" said Salem extending out his hand.

Shou Lang looked at it, then nodded his head and shook it, "For now."

The new alliance was made.

... End of part 2