Half an hour before, my plan was simple: going to the library as always, stay for the whole break enjoying a good book and a tea —even though the ones from the cafeteria are kinda ordinary —and have no contact with people at all; not even with that silly girl that came to bother me later. What was her name…? Ah, yeah, Bibiana. She was one of my classmates and… for some reason, didn’t seem to get my vibe as others did.
It really had caught me off guard when she offered herself to work with me on the project Mr. Bukowski had set for us but I wasn’t going to do it with her anyway. She had been disappointed, obviously, but I work alone; everybody knows that.
Just when she had left and I thought that I could finally have some peace... BAM! One of those things appeared. And that Jester dude had warned me about it, but I didn’t think it’d be this soon. In fact, I didn’t feel ready for… whatever I had to do.
Technically, if I found that Majorette girl he said and took her baton away to give it to him, he’d do something about those monsters once back at the place he belonged to, but… who would fight the one outside the building at that very moment? Me? Could I even do it with that… thing... he had given me?
I looked outside the window in the library, just like the few people in the room, and then discreetly checked the belt I was wearing. It’s surprising how he had managed to transform that whip into a simple accessory and… I must admit I still couldn’t believe that magic actually existed. For real, I mean. Nothing to do with silly rabbits in hats and white doves. Not even the old Copperfield’s tricks —and they were good. No… this thingamajig was far beyond logic and the way I could conceive it; but if I wanted to know more about it, there was only one way forward.
I quickly put my belongings in a safe place and left the library right after, heading somewhere to… well, to prepare myself before going out there without being spotted.
I found an empty classroom some steps later and shut the door before removing the belt from my pants and repeating the words Jester had told me to say —and yeah, I’m aware that they sound cheesy.
“Jongleur, Guardian of the Sacred Whip and fire, please lend me your power to protect this world. Transformation!”
The buckle of the belt enlarged all of a sudden, giving form to a golden hilt that fitted my hand perfectly, followed by the lengthening of the rope that became thinner at the end, glowing warmly. And then, that ‘magic’ flowed through my arm, making my clothes change or simply disappear in thin air. My hands were covered in white gloves while my sweater turned into a gray no-sleeve t-shirt topped with a red handkerchief and also red suspenders. My now checkered-pattern trousers became comfier and I got a couple boots which felt like leather. The Gatsby cap on my head and the silly mask in my eyes gave the final touch to my disguise and, although I’m no expert in fashion, I felt ridiculous when I saw my reflection in the window.
No kidding; even my eyes were green now; my skin was tanned and my hair was… ginger. I was GINGER?! Wait… I also had an... earring!!! For Gawd’s sake! AN EARRING?! What was I? An otaku idol? And where the heck had my glasses gone???
Yeah, right... I was impressed by the fact that I could see perfectly fine without them but… this definitely wasn’t my forte. I refused to show myself in public dressed like a clown. However, when I heard those ‘tee-hee’s’ outside again, I remembered why I was doing this.
The magician or… whoever Jester was, had promised a change in my life if I helped him; not to mention the safety of this planet. Moreover, nobody would recognize me like that, right? Not that I really cared… after all, they all called me freak. It wouldn’t make much of a difference but, for some reason, I was really feeling out of character.
It took me some minutes to get used to the idea and a little more to get to the hall and find a way out. Everybody was looking outside the windows, so it was easier to go unseen and reach one of the exits to the flat roof. And then... I saw her. The lady in the red uniform.
She used the baton as a pole to jump from a building to another but I couldn’t follow her the same way. Looking around, there wasn’t anything helpful but the whip in my hand; and calculating the distance to the nearest building I knew it wasn’t long enough. I hadn’t even practiced with it to begin with, so I decided to make some moves first to get used to it. It surprised me when, trying to make a whipping, the rope lengthened and reached the rail of a balcony that I was facing; which, frankly, was much further than I’d imagined.
“Oooo-k… now what?” The rope wouldn’t get lose —or I didn’t know how to do it yet —so I used it to pull myself up the fence. Trying to keep my balance, I looked down; and when I saw the distance between myself and the floor, I began to regret my actions. Not that I wasn’t used to a certain height with the silk ribbons in my bedroom but… not this much.
The lasso was still stuck on the balcony and there was only one thing I could do in that situation… unless I refused.
Mr. magician wasn’t around either and he had promised to guide me on this so why should I risk my life? No need to answer the question. A sudden wind made me lose stability and I found myself plunging into the void. Luckily, both of my hands got a good grip of the hilt and, seconds later, I was flying. Well, more like swinging, Spiderman style. Gotta admit it was cooler than I’d expected.
I landed on a roof and felt quite excited about the first jump. When I located my goal, I repeated the experience and realized I had already got the handle on it. The whip stretched and shortened depending on the gap to bridge —which means it was very elastic —and I could also use it to grab things from the distance. No doubt it was a useful tool and I said to myself that I’d give it a more detailed look later if I had the time.
Pushing its potential a little more, I used my own weight on the jump to make a yo-yo effect and the whip pulled me up to the top of a ten-floor building.
“Wow… I like this!”
Couldn’t help but think that this would have been a win at the Firefly Circus… and my memories hunted me again. I had learnt all my abilities at that little place while traveling around the world and never had thought to leave it behind, but… every time my parents came to my mind… every time the accident did… I hit reality, like a hard wall.
I didn’t know why my destiny had brought me there, acting like a comic-book hero… but it probably was a one-time-in-life experience and it would end up once I got Majorette’s baton. After that… would my luck REALLY change or would I still be the loser orphan everybody knew about? I couldn’t help but wonder if my parents would be proud of what I was trying to achieve.
I shook my head to avoid thinking too much. I didn’t have time to lose.
My feet took me to the edge of the flat roof and I spotted Majorette. Don’t know why, I hadn’t been as excited as the other guys when she had first appeared. And looking at her right now… she didn’t seem much of a deal, actually. Quite short and slim, I couldn’t see if she had any muscles under that ridiculous outfit.
When I was pondering over the possibilities to approach her, she used her baton and I saw an opening. I used the whip to catch one of its ends and she was forced to stop. Just then, she noticed me.
“Hey! You! Let it go!” She shouted.
“Not gonna happen!” I replied, pulling the whip as if I was fishing. “But if you hand that thing over I will leave!”
“Who’s that guy?!” Majorette exclaimed while pulling the baton.
“I don’t know, but… those clothes… they look extremely familiar...” Pipoh was staring at the intruder with a suspicious look.
“Well I’m not gonna stand this. It’s my last word!” She shouted. “If you don’t let go, there’ll be consequences!”
“And what are you planning to do?” Replied Jongleur in a mocking voice.
Enough! She wasn’t going to bear with an idiot when there was still so much to do, so she simply took the extreme of the baton and said: “Shorten”.
A second later, he yelled and she realized —maybe too late —that her move hadn’t gone as predicted. Majorette wasn’t able to react when the baton pulled him towards her and she found herself knocked down by a stranger and his weight. They both managed to survive the blow but it was a hell of a hit.
Their eyes met for a second, with him on top, and Majorette felt the urge to push him away.
“What the heck, buster?!” She stood up and had a better look at the one to blame for her headache. “Are you a kamikaze or something?”
“You’re one to talk.” He replied with a fierce look, also massaging his head.
“WAIT A MINUTE!” Pipoh meddled in, exclaiming in panic. “That’s Jongleur’s uniform!”
“Damn right it is!” The boy answered, standing up. “And I guess you must be Pipoh.”
“Who the heck is Jongleur?” Bibiana was a little confused back there.
“He’s... one of the Guardians of the Five Games… ” Explained the pixie, trembling.
“What? There are more Guardians?”
“Were... “ He specified. “They all died before Majorette...”
“Yeah, because she killed them all.” Accused the redhead. “And if this keeps going on we’re all gonna die too, so give me the baton and we’ll finish this nonsense once and for all.”
She stared at him.
“Don’t do it.” Pipoh opened his little arms, like standing in his way. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“Look, man. I don’t have all day and I’d honestly prefer to be somewhere else right now, so I’ll make it easy for you. Just hang me over the baton and I’ll leave you both unharmed.”
Our heroine clenched her fists around the baton.
“And if we don’t?”
At that point, Alexander had used up all of his patience, so he simply concentrated —just like Jester had told him —and muttered the word ‘ignite’ to set the whip on fire. Literally.
“You choose.” He said while staring at Majorette with a deep look.
She gulped. For some reason, that guy made her feel uneasy… and not just because he was threatening her with fire. There was something in those eyes of green… something she couldn’t put her finger on, but… what was it? And why was he so determined to confront her?
Just when she feared there’d be no way out from the fight, a distant laugh suddenly became closer… and she had the reflexes to jump away to avoid getting crashed in the last second by the head of an annoying spring-clown, just like Jongleur had done.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” He shouted, once his feet touched the floor again. The vision of the laughing puppet moving its long neck forward and backwards, and a hole at the spot he’d been standing an instant ago gave him a shiver. He could be dead! That was no child’s play and that girl... wait, where was she?
Alexander looked around and fastly located Majorette at the other side of the mess. She seemed alright, but too far to reach and the clown was getting ready for a new strike. If there was a moment to try those firey powers of his, it was now.
“Here goes nothing” he muttered, leading the whip down to throw it directly at the monster.
The shot reached its goal by the nose and Jongleur used the ‘ignite’ spell to fire it. However, even though he got a good cry from the clown, it was a minor burn; but enough to make it really angry. In fact, the creature took a grip of the whip with its big teeth and pulled him in the air.
Jongleur found himself flying in circles, like the lasso of a cowboy, before the monster let go of the whip and threw him further to crash against a building. Luckily, he went through a window and landed on a soft sofa in someone else’s home. The family in the room were eating at that moment… and looked at him with an astonished look, letting food fall from their forks.
Alexander stood up as he could and tried to find something to say, although he felt pretty embarrassed. Maybe… act natural?
“Sorry for the interruption. I’m leaving immediately, don’t mind me and enjoy your meal.” He helped himself over the sofa and located a good spot before using the whip and getting out of there.
Safe again, he searched for the monster from the heights. Wow… he really had got far.
His eyes caught a glimpse of Majorette, running along the rooftops like a ninja in the distance, jumping from one building to another and narrowing the gap between her and the clown.
That small detail made him think about something he hadn’t noticed before. According to Jester, the new Majorette was keeping the baton so the magician couldn’t take it back, but… in that case… why would she risk her own life fighting the monsters? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep it and herself hidden so nobody else would know about the weapon’s existence? In fact… that weirdo Pipoh was supposedly lying to her, but… what was in it for him to risk her life? I mean, both lives; for he was also present in the battle…
With all those questions dancing in his brain, Jongleur told himself it wasn’t the moment to think about them and that he should focus on the monster before it destroyed the whole city.
Using the whip, he threw himself forward to also close the gap.