Previously: Yi Fan died fighting the Czar, after which Metalord used the Mask to take away the Czar’s powers and Twain declared himself the new Czar. The cave apparently thought that was funny, because it laughed. And now…
â€œWhat was that?â€ asked Twain, looking around the cavern.
â€œThat was me,â€ said the voice of Ghost Dragon, reverberating from the crystals all around them. The cavern, always cool, grew cold.
â€œDude, is he speaking Chinese?â€ Digger asked Cole, his breath puffing out in small clouds in the suddenly frigid air.
â€œOf course he is,â€ Cole said. â€œHeâ€™s a Chinese ghost.â€
â€œThen why do I understand him?â€ Digger asked.
â€œBecause Iâ€™m speaking to your mind, idiot,â€ said Ghost Dragon. â€œMister Twain, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Yi Fanâ€™s death has rendered her unsuitable to serve as my host any longer. Therefore, she is now free of my curse. The bad news is, these crystals taste delicious.â€
The crystals flickered and flared even more deeply than before as the Ghost Dragon finished his statement.
â€œWait a minute,â€ Digger said. â€œIs he saying…?â€
One by one, ghostly blue flames flickered to life above every crystal in the cave and further, into the Grand Cathedral, though they didnâ€™t raise the temperature even one degree. And in every frigid flame was the mocking face of the Ghost Dragon.
â€œThatâ€™s probably not good,â€ Digger said.
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]The flames flared higher, swirling and dancing until they joined together to form a massive fiery image of the Ghost from the waist up, hovering above the ranks of crystals in the Grand Cathedral, arranged in rows like worshippers sitting in pews…[/blockquote]The flames flared higher, swirling and dancing until they joined together to form a massive fiery image of the Ghost from the waist up, hovering above the ranks of crystals in the Grand Cathedral, arranged in rows like worshippers sitting in pews, or perhaps buildings lined up along the streets of a city. The Ghostâ€™s laughter shook the ceiling as the air in the cave began to revolve around him.
â€œFreedom,â€ he said, and the crystals as shook in unison with the rumble of his voice. â€œFinally free of that tiresome woman after all these years. Without another host to sustain me, I might have faded into oblivion, but this is so much better!â€
â€œYou call this freedom?â€ Digger asked. â€œHow is being stuck in the crystals better than possessing a human? Now youâ€™re trapped in this cave.â€
â€œAs are you,â€ the Ghost said. His image rippled and distorted, making his smile seem mocking.
â€œDefinitely not good,â€ Digger muttered to Cole..
â€œBut yes, as you say, Iâ€™m stuck in these crystals. And the crystals are bound together,â€ the Ghost said. â€œAll of them.â€
â€œWhat does that mean?â€ Cole asked.
â€œOh my God,â€ Digger said. He turned to Bogdan, the former Czar. â€œThat crystal I took from you in Berkeley. Are there any more of those? How many people are walking around wearing them?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ Bogdan said, but the look on his face said there must be some.
In the Czarâ€™s personal chamber, a small chest of teak burst open atop a table in the corner of the vast room. From the glowing blue crystal lying atop a lining of velvet inside rose a glowing miniature image of the Ghost. There was nothing miniature about the sinister laugh that echoed from the cavernous ceiling, sending a maid screaming from the room.
That was unexpected. Wonder how many more surprises the Ghost has in store. Be here for the next exciting episode and see!
To read from the beginning, click here…