Canto 125 – Spider Hunting
Rocket Rogers, Phoenix, and Friashqazatla, better known as “Freddy,” were gathered in Shen Ming’s office when Tempi, the messenger boy, came in breathlessly explaining what had happened to Alec and Jackie in front of the palace courtyard. Shen Ming nodded seriously.
“What did Alec do?” asked Phoenix angrily.
“It seems, my young friends, that he put the Avenger helmet on his own head. And then he made young Jackie strip naked and run away with him to the Black Spider Palace. Tempi says the people in the courtyard could not stop him.”
“I always knew that Alec’s conversion to the White Spider’s service was the least likely to hold,” growled Phoenix.
“Gosh darn it! Now I need three brave caballeros to go attack the Black Spider Palace and bring them back. Especially the naked, pretty one.”
“We will do it, Shen Ming-sama. We’ll burn them out of there.” Rocket’s enthusiasm was almost too much.
“But we won’t burn our two classmates,” amended Phoenix a little more darkly. “At least, not the pretty naked one.”
“Good, good, young ones. If you make an oopsie and burn down the Black Spider Palace accidentally, don’t be too upset about it.”
A wide grin split Shen Ming-sensei’s face as the three boys left the office.
Phoenix was a little bit anxious about this test. Going back to the Black Spider Palace would not be an easy thing. He would be going back to a place where terrible things happened. But it was also the place where he would probably have to face Bone Daddy once again. And this time it would be different because he had betrayed his master, the wraith assassin from the planet Darkworld. And facing up to that betrayal was going to hurt.
Phoenix looked at his two companions. He was entirely confident of Rocket’s loyalty and friendship. But Freddy? Rocket had an arm around the younger Zaranian. He would be loyal to Rocket, but there were things Phoenix wouldn’t be able to order Freddy to do if the need arose.
“So, if we are going to track Alec and Jackie, we are going to need a good tracker,” Phoenix said. He and Rocket both looked at Freddy.
“The Black Wolf, huh?”
Freddy sniffed the air and immediately transformed into the small black wolf form his Psion power allowed him to become.