“I hope that guy doesn’t show up again.” I said, panting while running fast along the rooftops.
“I have enough on my plate… with these monsters… for also having to… deal with an idiot.”
“Unfortunately” Pipoh added, flying by my side, “I’m sure we’ll see him a second time. Jester can’t reach the baton on his own, so… he’s chosen somebody to… do the dirty work. Worst is… he does have one of the Games.”
I stopped for a second to recover my breath and I took the chance to ask him.
“He said that… Majorette had killed the other Guardians. Did she actually…?”
“No” he answered firmly. “Jester did; and Majorette was the last one standing to face him. If it wasn’t for her… things would be really different now.”
“I know it’s not the best moment but… maybe, you should tell me what happened at the time. Don’t you?”
Pipoh tightened his tiny lips and took a couple seconds before answering to me.
—It’s fair. You see… when we met, I told you about Jester and Majorette, but… there were actually three more Guardians: Jongleur, Guardian of the whip and fire; Harlequin, Guardian of the sphere and water; and Pierrot, Guardian of the juggling clubs and earth. The five of them took care of Circussa’s Realm and protected it; they were unstoppable. In fact… Jester was maybe… the best of them all. But, after the last battle they fought together, he started behaving in a weird way. Jester became unfriendly and distant… he stopped being himself. And not long after that…” He swallowed saliva and I finished the sentence for him.
“He killed the others.”
“It was a massacre.” He added in tears, describing the scene that had taken place in the Guardians Council so I could imagine it. “He sneaked up on them, one by one on his own. Harlequin was the one to warn Majorette before she died; and she knew she couldn’t take him down by herself, so… she entrusted me the baton… even if she knew she’d die soon without her powers. She used her last one to put a spell on the baton and open a portal before sending me to the other side. It was the only way to avoid him getting hold of the five Games altogether and keep the baton safe. However… I nearly got caught some minutes before I found you that day.” He sighed. “When I made you the new Guardian of the baton, I really hoped that he’d give up and notice he couldn’t get it back, but... now that he’s replaced Jongleur —and that he actually CAN reach the baton... —the situation has worsened.” He took his little hands to his eyes. “I have no right to ask more of you, Bibiana… but you’re my only hope to avoid a greatest catastrophe.”
I allowed him some silent seconds before muttering another question.
“Say, if Jester managed to get all the Games… with all those powers… ¿what would happen?”
“If Jester obtains the baton and gathers all the Games…” he answered slowly, “he’d become so powerful and out of control that… he’d be able to destroy both our worlds. If not much more. Can you imagine… that?”
I swallowed saliva and nodded.
“Yeah… I can.” I took a deep breath and let it out before adding “and if that’s true… I have a heavier weight on my shoulders than I thought.”
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”
His teeny-weeny crying voice sank my heart so I took him in my hands and lifted his chin up to look at me.
“Yes, it IS a heavier weight” I said, “but if both of our worlds depend on us, we can’t give up just yet. And if I can go through this, so can you. Let’s take care of that clown first and we’ll think of a way to solve our other problems later. Deal?”
He stared at me for a second with a surprised look and then dried away his tears before giving me back a more confident smile.
“Good.” I let him take flight again and I focused on the clown that was jumping not far away from there. “Let’s see… we know that the boomerang kicks don’t work on this fella… and I don’t think I’ll get to hit him with the baton if I lengthen it. I could end up flying, just like he’s done to that Jongleur guy. So… What could we use to knock it out…? Mmh… —I took a hand to my chin while thinking about a way when, all of a sudden, Pipoh clapped his paws once.
“I think I know how you can deal with it. There’s another spell that Majorette used in cases like this. She called it the ‘Hurricane’.”
I stared at him and blinked twice.
“Let me guess… is it something like that little swirl you made for me last friday?”
“Kinda… but stronger. You need to create a bigger whirlwind, powerful enough to trap that clown inside for a while. Once it’s dizzy, you’ll be able to use the wake-up spell.”
“Got it. And how do I…?”
“You basically fast-spin the baton in your hands, aiming for your target, and say the word ‘hurricane’.” He told me. “You’ll create a swirl that will become bigger as long as you keep spinning and will catch up the monster. However, I recommend you to do it at a shorter distance, in case there are people around.”
“Piece of cake”. I lengthened the baton and used it to jump forward once more. “C’mon!”
It didn’t take me long to narrowing the gap with the creature, who showed a pointy, white-teeth smile back at me when noticing my arriving.
Without losing a second, I stood up and shoot my attack at it. I really wanted to end that mission already.
The view of it was mind-blowing. The wind shaped when going through the improvised propeller in my hands and became a spiral of great dimensions that fastly reached the spring-clown without mercy. In fact, the monster actually tried to escape again, but I won that battle. The hurricane swallowed it in the blink of an eye and I felt proud of my success. Nevertheless, when I stopped spinning the baton, I noticed a horrifying tiny-winy detail.
“Gosh… I think I enlarged it a bit too much…”
“¡¿A bit?!” Pipoh stared at the air giant in total horror and flinched when he noticed it was moving in a different direction. “It’s coming towards us! ¡RUUUUUUUN!”
He didn’t end up saying the word, we were already jumping to another roof.
The hurricane moved along the street like a rat trying to find the exit in a maze. The buildings acted as the walls of the labyrinth, but its powerful attraction pulled us like a titanic vacuum cleaner. In fact, the wind swept along anything that wasn’t sticked to the floor: cars, bins, manhole covers, flower pots… even doors or windows that weren’t completely fixed.
I was running as if I was in the Olympics, but I felt my pace weakling against the increasing strength gale that was pulling me backwards. And when one of those flying objects passed over my head, I had to throw myself to the ground to avoid contact; but I didn’t even touch the floor.
The power of the hurricane finally caught me and, at that moment, although I tried hard to resist it, even with my nails, my efforts were all in vain.
Pipoh was the first to disappear inside the swirl and I followed him seconds later. As a kid, I had always wished to have magic flying powers… but not like that! Going round and round in circles, I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Not to mention the terrible nausea I was getting from it, so I closed my eyes to try concentrating a bit and prayed for not getting crushed against any of the objects that were passing right next to me.
I could have lost conscience directly and end up my days in that deadly spiral… but my survival instincts were stronger. Even though I knew I couldn’t get out at that speed, I remembered something I had learnt in Science class: the eye of the hurricane is always way calmer.
I opened my eyes again, miraculously dodged a trash can and did some ‘swimming strokes’ to approach the hood of a car on my left. I needed a steady place to try putting an idea I had in mind into practice, although it seemed pretty crazy. And when I was about to start, my eyes caught the glimpse of a familiar face that was getting closer at high speed.
Alexander had witnessed the formation of the whirlwind when he still was far away, but now he had closed the gap, he’d also discovered his own mistake. He shouldn’t have come closer.
The hurricane had swallowed Majorette and Pipoh, and was coming right in his direction. He had no idea how to stop it, but it would be useless if he also ended up inside.
Knowing that his only chance would imply to stick himself to something capable of resisting the strong wind, he tied the whip to the metal rail —hold by ciment —that surrounded the flat room he was standing on.
As soon as he finished curling the other extreme of the rope around his body and tied it, the hurricane was already there. Its power made him lose his cap first and he found himself waving over the ground like a flag. If he hadn’t considered it dangerous, he’d even liked the experience. However, he noticed soon enough that the rail wouldn’t stand the violence. The die was cast.
Regretting getting himself into that mess, he screamed when the metal broke and his body flew out right into the tornado.
He went round and round in panic for several seconds, hitting some objects along the way. It felt like diving into the void without net, without a rope, without ANYTHING to avoid his death. And just when he thought he wouldn’t make it out alive, the whip got caught on something and he sensed a tight pull in his waist before daring to open his eyes.
What he saw, left him speechless. Majorette was holding the whip with all her might while trying to pull him closer to the car she was standing on. It seems she had some muscle, after all.
“How’bout you help me a bit, here?” she yelled to make him react.
Alexander took the other end of the whip and used his own strength to crawl forward just like he would have done in PE class. Short after that, he reached Majorette and used her help to finally get on the car’s hood, sticked to the windscreen.
Then, they looked at each other and he couldn’t help but scolding her.
“Did you have to create a damn tornado?!”
“It wasn’t part of the plan to make it that big!” She defended herself, dodging a flower pot that crashed into the left mirror of the car.
“Make it stop, then!”
“I can’t! I don’t know how!”
“But you did create it!” He insisted.
“Yeah, but I have no idea how to vanish it! I’m as new as you in this…! WATCH OUT!”
She pushed him backwards by the chest to avoid getting smashed by a big cupboard, but the furniture skimmed really close to their heads.
They stood still, sharing another glance for a second that seemed to last forever, and Majorette finally moved her hand away.
“I can’t stop it like this!” she said. “But if I can reach the center I may find a solution! Maybe reverse it from the inside!”
Jongleur took a look at his right and understood what she meant.
“And how are you going to get to the eye of the storm if you can’t go against the flow?!”
She showed him a confident smile.
“I have a plan!”
At that moment, the car began inclining to one side and Jongleur bent to the other to keep it in balance.
“Alright then! ¡Get us out of this washing machine!” Without warning, Majorette took the whip’s rope and passed it around his waist. “W-what are you doing…?!”
“Just trust me ” she said so closely that he heard her perfectly.
The girl passed the rope also around her own waist and tied them both together with a knot; her back against him and almost sitting on his lap. That position was quite unknown for Alexander, whose contact with the opposite sex had been mostly non-existent in his life, so he barely knew how to react to it.
When they were secured, Majorette held the baton tightly in her hands before yelling over the noise.
“I’ll form a new swirl to push us into the centre of the hurricane! And then I’ll create another one to keep us floating over the ground!”
“I don’t think I like your plan!”
“Hold on tight!” She shouted, ignoring his words and spinning the baton with all her might. “Hurricane!”