And incredible stroke of luck. That’s what they had the moment the tunnel crossed the hurricane and Jongleur threw the whip through, hooking it right away. The thrust pulled them all at once, closing the hole behind them as if the hurricane was trying to trap them inside. And when they left it behind —Jongleur’s cap included, taken away by the wind —Majorette cheered in joy.
“Wohoooo! We did it!”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!”
Jongleur knew well that they were not only hanging from the whip, but also attracted backwards by gravity, waving like flags. Barely with the strength to hold up all the weight, he was obliged to use both his hands while Majorette held on tightly to his neck, trying not to choke him.
At the same time, Pipoh was hanging from one of her uniform’s ornaments, resisting and fluttering like a fish from a fishing rod.
“Wait ‘til it moves away and use the ‘sharp wind’!” He yelled over the noise.
“Are you sure?!” She wasn’t convinced. “What if I kill someone in the process?!”
“You’ll have to take the risk!” This time, it was Jongleur. “I don’t think there’s anybody down there so do it NOW!”
“I… I can’t! I need space to spin the baton!”
Jongleur huffed and promised himself that it was the first and last time he’d commit such an insanity. Using all the strength he could, crawled the whip and entwined the remaining rope around his arm and wrist, making sure it wouldn’t untie easily. He then put the other arm around her waist.
“I got you!” He said, enduring the pain in his bare arm. “Just climb a bit and hold on to me with your legs! I won’t let you go!”
Although they’d had a bad start, the look she saw in those eyes of green was enough to convince her. She wouldn’t know why… but she did know he wouldn’t let her down.
Determined, she nodded and began creeping up, but still felt a bit uneasy. Clinging her legs around her partner-due-to-the-circumstances, she had half of her upper body next to Jongleur’s head, feeling his hand tight on her waist, arousing a weird tingling right where it stood. While it was the first time she had that kind of contact with a boy, she forced herself to focus. She’d have the time to deal with her hormones later.
Extending her arms, she took a deep breath and prayed for the whole thing to work without hurting anybody. She wasn’t completely confident about the results without any practice, but whether that was the only way to end the nightmare, luck hopefully was on her side.
Aiming for the hurricane, which was already moving away, she used the new spell for the first time and focused the attack on the lowest part of it.
A sharp half-moon-shaped gust emerged like an arrow to the target. When they collided, its ends closed around the swirl and the energy literally cut the air flow.
All the objects that had been caught into the tornado ‘rained down’, producing such a racket that it was heard miles away. Not to mention the holes they opened on the pavement.
Luckily, there weren’t any civilian victims in the wreckage, but Majorette had no time to feel relief, for gravity disappeared instantaneously.
The fall made the three of them scream. If it weren’t for Jongleur, who was still hanging from the whip, they’d be dead. Or, at least, her. However, the ginger head had kept his promise of not letting her fall, even though she’d been about to slip from his back when they had lost horizontality.
In fact, they were now hanging like Iberian hams in a slightly different pose… Majorette’s legs had moved to the level of his shoulders and he had caught her like he was carrying a sack of potatoes… with this glove on her backside due to an emergency reflex. On the other hand, to avoid hitting her head against him, she hadn’t been able to catch anything than also his backside. It was one of those anecdotes you prefer to be buried with before telling it to anybody but, even though they were lost for words, there were still some things to take care of.
“We should… find some solid ground to stand.” She whispered, aware that her face would look rather red, not only because of the shame.
“I agree.” He replied, getting some of his breath back.
Moving them away, Majorette put her hands on Jongleur’s upper back to push backwards, forcing him to also move his hand away from her buttock —fortunately protected by her pompous shorts —so she could grab the whip.
Pipoh called them from above, where he had flown to.
“The whip’s tied to a railing on a flat roof! You can get up here!
Majorette said the word ‘extend’ and the baton lengthened until a flat’s solarium they had underneath.
“You’re coming? —She asked him, offering help.
Alexander nodded without saying a word and grabbed the baton, glad that his wrist would be free from the rope. They used the improvised elevator and he untied when they got to the top.
He later let himself have a moment to rest and recover from the previous horror he’d been through while she leant out to look for something down the street.
“There!” Pipoh pointed at the monster, which was still alive despite its condition.
She sighed in relief and climbed to the edge of the wall. Jongleur stood up in surprise.
“What are you doing?! Get down…!”
“I have to finish it.” She muttered, briefly looking at him before lengthening the baton once more and use it as a pole, shortening it on the jump to gently touch the ground.
When she was in front of the creature, she made it disappear in a matter of seconds, after uttering a spell that Jongleur was barely able to hear. However, the boy was amazed when, at the same time, all the damages done by the tornado were gone as fast. He rubbed his eyes just in case he was imagining it all, but it was real.
“What the…? How did she…?”
Looking for a hook for the whip, he used it to go down and went straight to Majorette.
“How the Hell did you do that?”
“Do what?” She turned to him.
“Making everything look the way it was before the hurricane.”
“Oh, that.” She smiled. “Yeah, there’s a little detail I didn’t tell you about. You see, when the monster disappears,all the material damages go backwards, as if they never happened. However, if someone gets hurt while the creature’s active, they won’t get better once the magic is gone.” She looked around with pride. “Luckily, nobody was injured today.”
“And you say it just like…?” Jongleur hushed when he spotted a slight shaking on her face and knew that Majorette was pretending to be calm. She really looked like a confident, serene person, but… was she really that strong inside? He sighed as if he had lost interest on the matter and his eyes found the cap he had lost, now visible on the pavement. “Oh well, at least it’s fine now.” He bowed down to pick it up and shook it a little as he added: —But… there’s still something we have to settle.”
Their eyes met again and she lost her smile while understanding what he was talking about.
“Are you really going to…?”
Pipoh stood in the way like he’d done before, opening his arms and floating at the same level of his head.
“Don’t you dare, Jongleur!”
Alexander wasn’t intimidated by those little doll eyes that were trying to feign fierceness. He fed up and tired of losing time. Moreover, he’d been on the verge of death a couple of times; and all because of a mission supposed to be easy.
Moving forward, he caught the pixie with a hand and threw him away while stepping closer to the girl, who was now gripping the baton with both her hands, facing him and moving backwards.
“Don’t get closer…”
After a pair of metres, her back reached a wall but, instead of cornering her, Jongleur stopped at a short distance, lending her some personal space. Staring at her eyes, he waited a second before speaking with a deeper voice than he intended to.
“I’ll let you be for now. Take it as an act of gratitude for... not letting me get hit by some stuff in there. However, next time we meet… I’ll take the baon. Keep it in mind, Majorette.”
Even though she was still feeling kind of uneasy, she looked back at him, defiantly.
“We’ll see that… Jongleur.”
He couldn’t avoid smiling since she had finally retained his name.
Then, sensing a nearby presence, he realized that some people had come out to the street and were approaching. It was the perfect time to leave.
Gazing at his antagonist one last time, he replaced his cap and threw the whip with a “see ya” before lifting himself over her head and disappearing the same way he’d come.
Majorette then noticed the people getting closer and decided she had to leave too.
Running along the rooftops, she came back to the high school but, this time, avoided the top because she thought there would probably be some people trying to get a better view of the scene. And she was right; the roof was full of students that had decided to ditch their lessons, although not for long.
She landed discreetly among some bushes in the campus and put away her mask to detransform.
“I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever get used to this…”
Going out from her hiding spot and after saying goodbye to Pipoh, she got into the building without realizing that somebody else was doing the same at the opposite extreme of the high school.
Alexander had also jumped the wall without being caught because all the eyes were still staring at the horizon, looking for the gigantic hurricane that wasn’t there anymore.
In his usual clothes again, he was planning on going back to his class like nothing happened, assured that no one would mind him. Nevertheless, he had barely reached the entrance door when he got startled by a familiar voice behind him.
“Argh! Y-you scared me to death…!”
“Sure.” Jester smiled. “But not as much as the creature you fought today, did I?”
Alexander frowned, suddenly irritated.
“I wasn’t supposed to deal with those things. I could be dead now…”
“But you’re still alive.” The magician replied, stepping away from the wall he’d been leaning on. “And I must admit I’m delightfully surprised. You have what it takes to be a warrior, but... there’s this little detail I can’t quite understand… “He folded his hands together as if he was trying to bring up a sensitive topic. “Why… didn’t you take the baton from her... when you had the chance?”
The youngster gulped although he was expecting the question
“It didn’t look appropriate to me.”
“Appropriate?” Jester lost his smile. “You know what else isn’t appropriate, Alexander? Time. The time that is slipping through our fingers.” The boy stared at him in silence. “You think I like to put you in this situation? The destiny of my world hangs by a thread while I can do nothing but watching from afar. Do you really think that I wouldn’t face Majorette by myself if I could? I entrusted this mission to you because I believe in your potential and I can’t do this alone.”
“I know.” He answered, standing up to him. “But... since we’re talking about trust, how about you tell me the truth about the origin of those chimeras?”
Jester tilted slightly his head, careful not to expose himself.
“What do you mean?”
“When I was with Majorette, she she said something about a... dreamer.” He remembered.
The Guardian lifted his nose as he caught the drift.
“What did she tell you... exactly?”
“She said that it was the person whose nightmare had become a monster and that these creatures that appear… are not from Circussa.” He pointed out. “She also said that she must fight the monsters first before ‘separating’ them from the dreamers. Otherwise, these could die.”
“I see…” Jester adopted a thinking pose. “Mmh… It’s curious…”
“Well, I do come from Circussa. It’s odd that she told you this… when I wasn’t even aware of it. Isn’t it curious that she knows about the monsters being human nightmares… and that the first one appeared when she began using the baton? Think about it.”
The boy considered it.
“Well… you do have a point.”
Jester smiled for himself and continued spinning his web.
“I thought the creatures crossed from Circussa, which border is unprotected right now, into your world. But if what she says it’s true… then, it’s really suspicious that she has that information while I had none. I mean” he added, “I was the one telling you about the Games in the first place. How could I not know about the nightmares if I’m actually the last of the official Guardians left?”
“Are you implying that she lied to me?”
The magician played his cards carefully.
“I’m only saying that the creatures appeared at the same time she did; quite after me arriving in this world. I don’t know if it’s Pipoh’s doing, but... if he told her a story and she believed it, she may think that she’s saving people while it’s actually her fault that the monsters are in town. If those creatures are really not coming from Circussa, but they are nightmares, as she says… it’s pretty obvious that she’s somehow connected to them. It’s possible that Pipoh’s using humans to awake those nightmares while getting her to believe that she’s doing something good, but the truth is that he’s just killing time while trying to find the way to get away with the baton again. That’s my guess, though. I could be wrong. Who knows?”
“But Pipoh… he’s just a pixie. He can’t be that…”
“I told you, don’t underestimate that bastard. He might look harmless, but he’s more powerful than you think. He’s a minor guardian; remember that.”
Realizing that Alexander was now staring at him with a suspicious expression, he sighed and pulled himself together.
“Oh well; we’ll have to wait until she acts again. For now… it will be better if you go back to your human group. Wouldn’t be good if anybody misses you.”
The other one let out the air in his lungs and smiled bitterly.
“I don’t think they would.” He opened the door and waved goodbye before running up the stairs while Jester stood there, thinking.
“I better be careful with this one…” he whispered, “he’s not as fool as he seems.”