Week 36.1 – Hole Cards

Previously: Digger and Cole, escaped from the Czar’s dungeon, were headed toward the City of the Moon, while Yi Fan and Twain were bound for the palace to depose the Czar. And now…

“I can’t believe this,” Yi Fan said. “My house.”

“I’m not sure what’s so hard to believe,” Twain said. “It was the Ghost that did most of this.”

Yi Fan’s mansion was utterly destroyed. A few sections of wall still stood, but the tallest ones barely reached above Twain’s head, and he was sure he could topple them with a push. Moreover, the trees on the acreage were almost all gone, burned to blackened stumps by the Czar’s blue beams. The tallest stood almost 12 feet; the shortest, barely four.

“I know,” said Yi Fan. “But he usually keeps himself in better check around our stuff. I mean, he has to live in here, too.”

She patted herself on the chest, and Twain had to fight not to take the opportunity to stare at her boobs. They weren’t big, but they were nicely alert, like guard dogs. He wondered what would happen if he petted them.

Twain shook his head. He still hadn’t completely recovered from having his wounds healed. Now was no time to get stupid over a woman, although Twain had to admit, he could see himself spending the rest of his life with Yi Fan. Granted, that was mainly due to the possibility of the Czar killing them at any moment, but still…

“Let’s get to work, shall we?” Twain asked, turning away.

“I don’t understand why we’re here at all,” Yi Fan said. “I thought we needed to go back to the palace.”

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]Twain shook his head. He still hadn’t completely recovered from having his wounds healed. Now was no time to get stupid over a woman…[/blockquote]“There’s something else I need to do first,” Twain said, rooting through a pile of brick and singed wood. “Do you think any stores are still open? I need some shendu juice.”

“Why do you need an open store?” Yi Fan asked. “Just go to one that’s been blown apart. There should be plenty.”

Twain nodded. She had a point.

“So what are you looking for?” Yi Fan asked.

“A cup,” Twain said. “A cup of milky crystal with a wooden base.”

“Like this?” Twain turned to see Yi Fan lifting the Cup of Regret from under a shrub beside the walk.

“Yes, that’s it,” Twain said. It must have been kicked over there during his fight with Digger. “Now, come on. We have to move quickly.”

“Where are we going?” Yi Fan asked.

“First, to get some juice,” Twain answered. “And then we’ll pay a visit to the City of the Moon.”


“Tell me again why we’re going to this cave?” Cole asked as he and Digger picked their way up a wooded hillside strewn with fallen branches and chunks of charred brick that must have landed there from one of the multiple times the nearby town had been ravaged. “I thought we didn’t want to take the Czar’s powers.”

“We don’t,” said Digger. “But you need a place to hole up until you get your powers back, and this seems ideal. He’d never expect us to go there, because he has no idea we know about it. What could happen?

No, no, no, you never ask that. To see what could happen, make sure not to miss the next episode!

To read from the beginning, click here

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