“This place is truly amazing.” Kattie said as she had her second look around.
“It is almost if we are suspended on nothing.” Neville added.
“It may appear that way, but on this level, there is a solid base, well at least of sorts. It is not until you get to the next two before any physical material has to be created by the Masters. It is a long and complicated story. After all this is over, perhaps Mr. Chambers will explain some of it to you.”
Conner paused a moment, then added,
“I really would not count on that however, if I were you.”
“Conner, if Charlie does not have the power of the arts any more, how is she going to battle with Mr. Chambers on the higher levels?” Neville asked.
“I do not know for sure. Knowing my Master, he will probably provide the platforms for both of them for a while, however at some point I think that Charlie will begin to get a “sinking feeling,” if you know what I mean. Now enough small talk, we need to stay sharp.” Conner said with a sharp tone.
Charlie was pleased that she had arrived first. She now sent her bots around placing Bio charges in areas that she could set off by remote. She was in the middle of setting up phase two of her booby traps when her security belt lit up, indicating that Chambers had arrived. She quickly withdrew her bots and ordered the Captain to fire several rounds of Nitro bolts at the entrance as a distraction. She began scrambling around inside the arena trying to figure out Chambers location.. It was because of that preoccupation, that she did not notice the Captain ignored her command. He knew that if he had obeyed, the bounce back of those bolts could have easily destroyed three of his ships. Charlie would have considered that as a small price to pay. The Captain did not.
Charlie was not able locate Chambers in the arena, but she knew he was there.
“Chambers, you were a fool to think you could run away from me forever. You also are a fool to think that this stupid arena is going to give you any sort of an edge. With both of our powers gone, it will come down to knowledge and use of technology. Face it old man, you are out classed, and out gunned. Give up now and I will take care of you quicky and not make you suffer.”
Charlie listened for any kind of response that might give her a clue on his location. She continued to call out taunts and slurs to him. These were common practices that many who used to battle here would use. The purpose then, as it was now, was to cause the opponent to make a mistake.
“Charlie, who is more foolish, the fool, or the one that follows after him? You have wasted all your time, effort, and energy, chasing after someone who has thrown a little dirt on your feet. Instead of brushing that off, you have kicked up so much dirt, that you have covered your whole body.” Mr. Chambers stated.
Charlie laughed hysterically.
“Chambers, you never change. You flow out long flowery words, that no one cares about anymore.”
“And you still refuse to listen to the words of life.” Mr. Chambers replied.
“The only thing you need to know about life, is when it will end, and yours ends now!” Charlie stated.
For the next twenty minutes, Charlie put on a great display of technology weaponry. Smoke filled the room, streaks of fire flew in every direction, Riker burst exploded in random directions, E.R.N. bolts formed a Zyon net that floated about seeking out its prey.
When this display had subsided, Charlie checked her screen for evidence of results. She was extremely frustrated that she could not get a clear reading. She signaled the Captain to see if he could detect some sort of jamming signal being sent from Chambers ship.
“We can’t any kind of readings on that ship,” was the Captains reply.
"Charlie, you can not fight what you can not see. You refuse to see the truth.”
With those word the temperature in the arena, dropped. All of Charlies weapons froze over and malfunctioned. Wind began to swirl and ice chards were flung and Charlies shielding. None penetrated, but the purpose was not to harm, but to humiliate.
“Captain, I need Geo flames fired at my location, and I need it done now!”
That was an order that the Captain could obey. It did manage to warm up her protected area enough to get her computer to function enough to send out Worde pulses that brook up the ice chards. However, they were still hitting her shielding with an annoying tap, tap, tap.
Charlies fingers were getting numb, so she quickly typed in another command in her computer, and power from the Captains ship began to be transferred down to her station.
The Captain and his crew did everything they could to prevent the loss of power, but Charlie maintained control. The Captain ordered all crew members to transfer over to the other ships in the fleet, and he set a self-destruct function in place before he left the ship. Then the entire fleet left the area and warned the warrior ships of what had happened.
With the power of the ship now backing her, Charlie pulled out all the stops. Neville, Kattie, and Conner were going non stop imitating Mr. Chambers counter moves with the illusion of being technology based. All Mr. Chambers did for the next several hours would be defend against Charlie’s attacks. He tried several more times to reason with her but was beginning to grow tired and had enough.
“Conner, transfer the three of you and the equipment back to the warehouse and wait for me at the pub.”
“Just like that? We can’t leave him now!” Neville protested.
Conner ignored him and did what he was told.
“Charlie, you have one more…”
That was all Mr. Chambers got out before the greatest show of force in the universe was thrown in Chambers direction. It would take several Mega storage banks of computers to store the list of weapons that Charlie used at that moment. Even though Wingate had survived the worst battles of those who were Masters of the Arts, that last attack took its toll on the arena. When the dust, and smoke cleared, there was nothing left of Mr. Chambers plat form.
Charlie quickly began her celebration. However, the platform below her slowly began to disappear. First all her bots that were still frozen dropped into space, then one by one all her other pieces of equipment followed. She frantically tried to contact the fleet to transfer her out, but there was no reply.
“CHAMBERS!” Charlie screamed when she was down to standing on a now two foot by two-foot square.
“You don’t have to yell. I am old, but not hard of hearing.”
Charlie looked up to see Mr. Chambers sitting cross legged on a puff of Holed.
Her face turned several different colors before she finally broke out in hysterical laughter.
“Hey, I may not be as handsome as I once was, but I certainly do not believe I am funny looking.” Mr. Chambers said with a hint of hurt feelings.
“You never lost them…did you?”
“What? My lucky dice? No, I always have them in my coat. You never know when you may be challenged to a game of numbers.”
Charlie did not reply.
“No, when your power was stripped, I was next. However Master Dunkin died before he started the procedure on me. It then hit me like a ton of bricks. I was the last of our kind. I was sure that with so many stories of our species out there, that the story of what happened to us would make those who were now powerless, either feared or hunted. As it turned out, they were hunted because they were feared. Only you, I, and a hand full of other escaped that massive hunt. I understand, in a way why you have done the things you have done, but you are taking revenge for something that was really our own fault.”
“NO! We are a superior species. We could have changed, and still be Masters,” Charlie shouted.
Mr. Chambers shook his head.
“Remember the code of truth?” Mr. Chambers asked.
“That stupid riddle? No one ever figured that out!” She barked.
“I did. ‘To be strong, you will be many. To be right, you must lose the many.’ In short, you must be one. If I was to be the one, I had to show all what was right, and fair for all.”
“Hogwash! You are just full of pride.” Charlie shouted,
She crossed her arms and shouted again,
“So, Mr. Chambers, what is the self-proclaimed chosen one to do with me?”
“I will do, what I am bound to do. I will do what is right.”
Mr. Chambers waved his hand and Charlie was gone. He then neatened up the arena and went back up into the top section of Wingate. He read for several hours the books of the Masters, that had come along long before him. In the last book he read, he came across something that he never remembered reading before. It was the code that he had quoted to Charlie, but now there was something added to the end.
‘To be strong, you will be many. To be right, you must lose the many…To carry on, you must be many, but only one by one,’
Mr. Chambers must have read it a dozen times. He finally closed the book and shook his head.
“I sure hope it doesn’t take me another three hundred year to figure that part out,” he said with a chuckle.
Conners, Neville, and Kattie, sat nervously at the Round Table Pub. Kattie twiddled her thumbs, and Neville would get up from time to time and pace the floor.
“Conner, can’t you see what is going on?” Kattie asked nervously.
“As much as I would like to, first, I am not that far along, and second, all masters can block any ability of their apprentice. I am sure that Mr. Chambers wants his privacy.”
Neville began his pacing again. This time he started mumbling as he paced. The more he paced, the louder his mumbling became. Kattie was about to fuss and ask him to hush when he let out a yelp. That was because as he made a turn to reverse his pace, he ran smack dab into Mr. Chambers who had just materialized in front of him. Neville barely avoided running into him.
“Easy boy, I am sure you are glad to see me. However, as you humans say, ‘Personal space.’” Mr. Chambers said with a chuckle.
“Forget that!” Kattie blurted out, as she jumped up and gave Mr. Chambers a hug.
Mr. Chambers gently removed Katies arms from around himself, but not until he had soaked in some of that love.
Kattie asked several questions in a rapid-fire method.
“Whoa there young lady, Let’s sit a moment.” Mr. Chambers said a little flushed.
They all sat at one of the tables.
“Because I am here, you can safely discern, that Charlie has been cared for.”
Conner had a concerned look on his face.
“You know the code.” Mr. Chambers sad sadly.
“But you are the last of your kind.” Conner said.
“The term, ‘My kind', is relative.” Mr. Chambers stated sadly
It was at that moment that great insight struck him. He then looked at all of them with an expression of wonder.
“My friends, we have much to discuss. But first, we need to hear stories of the heroes of old.”
Suddenly all the folk heroes of the past that Mr. Chambers had ever summoned, filled the nearby tables.
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight will be one to live on into infamy.”
Two years later, the Round Table Pub was purchased by Neville and Kattie. It opened two hours later and closed one hour earlier. This allowed Mr. Chambers time to summon his folk tale heroes. Over the years there was additions to Neville’s and Kattie’s family, and they enjoyed being allowed at special times to join in at the nightly meetings. The Round Table Pub ownership was only passed down to direct descendants of Neville and Kattie. What was in the books written long ago were strictly adhered to. Mr. Chambers kind would again be"many, but only one by one.' To this day, every night after hours, there is a lively discussion with folk hero's from all cultures, and species. The tradition of "Nights at the Round Table," is forever carried on in peace.
This is the end of this story however, I will be working hard to complete Reset to Start here on Tapas. Please check out all my stories here on Tapas. Just search for Ralph LeBrun. You also might enjoy the large number of stories I have on Kindle-Vella. Happy reading.
As you may or may not have discovered, I have been delayed in adding to any of my stories. Several family issues have taken all my writing time. I hope most will be resolved by October 2023. Then I hope to adding another story or two to 42nd Street Hustle, finish Reset to Start, and add a brand new story.