Canto 116 – On the Rooftops
Tempi, one of Shen Ming’s messenger boys, spotted the intruder first. He was riding on a PZ-27 anti-grav sled more commonly known as a pregnant penguin. He was wearing a golden helmet with three spiked horns, just as Shen Ming had warned Tempi to look for.
“Master Shen! Master Shen! Your old enemy has come, like you thought he would! What do we do?”
“Oh, my! What, me, worry? No, this is a job for the White Spider and his charges. Run, Tempi, and warn young Master Shu or young Master Phoenix… or both!”
Tempi ran as fast as short legs could manage.
Shu Kwai was the first notified and the first to respond. He found the helmeted intruder menacing a crowd of people in the courtyard with a pair of strange ray pistols.
“Die, ugly, worthless Gaijin! In the name of the traitor Shen Ming, I slay thee!”
Shu immediately grabbed at the guns with his telekinesis powers, and though he couldn’t take the weapons away, he could pull the shots off target. The rays splashed harmlessly on the palace walls and on the ground. In fact, surprisingly damaging or burning nothing at all.
Swiftly Sara Smith was at Shu’s side.
“Can you grab his mind and put him out?” Shu said.
“No, I can’t. His mind is shielded from my power in some strange way. But I sense that as he fires, he doesn’t even try to hit his targets. He’s… missing on purpose.”
Jadalaqstbr teleported into a group of children that were in danger in the middle of the courtyard. She grabbed two boys by the arms and let a small girl wrap her arms around her neck. Then she teleported them all to safety.
Shu and Sara gave chase as the intruder leaped up to the roof of the library. Shu shielded them from the shots he took at the two of them, but they seemed to be incredibly weak shots.
Taffy King lifted herself up to the library roof and used her telekinesis to make a barrier that forced the helmeted stranger directly towards the trap that Phoenix had planned.
It was Phoenix and Rocket Rogers that stood at the end of the intruder’s path.
“Rocket! The fire bubble to burn his oxygen!”
Rocket, at Phoenix’s command, sealed an air-tight dome of flaming air over the man and absorbed his ray-gun shots.
“Now, I drop him with heat…”
Phoenix’s temperature-spiking bolt took him down.
“You didn’t kill him, I hope?” asked Ged-sensei as he arrived at the scene.
Shen Ming arrived in time for the unmasking.
“Your messenger said this was some kind of old enemy, Shen-sensei,” said Ged.
“Ah, yes… yes. Every three hundred years he comes around to threaten and maybe kill people seeking vengeance for something he imagines I did to wrong him.”
Of course, everybody present knew that Shen-sensei was more than nine hundred years old. A vendetta that old was not surprising.
“So, you’ve never caught him before?” Ged asked.
“Oh, no… not quite like this… This one is too old to remember his evil self, but he is called the Avenger.”
Phoenix pulled off the horned helmet.
“It’s Jai Chang our archery master!” said Ged in confusion.
“Hmm… now, that seems so unlikely. I recall Master Jai is only thirty Earth years old. A mystery this is…”
Shu noticed that the old man had a suspiciously jovial smile for the circumstances.
“We will take him to the infirmary and strap him down. When he comes to we will learn more about what caused our faithful teacher to do this thing.”
Shu and Taffy picked Jai Chang up with telekinesis and floated him down from the roof and to the infirmary. Ged and his students looked at the inscrutable Shen-sensei and shook their heads in wonder.