Week 40.4 – It’s a Trap!

Previously: to keep the City of the Moon safe from destruction, Ghost Dragon injured Cole and trapped Digger in the Grand Cathedral with a cave-in, separating him from the mask which can restore his powers. But Twain has a plan which hinges on a shard of the broken Cup of Regret. And now…

When the palace’s security guards came to check out the maid’s story about the Ghost, they saw nothing unusual other than the shattered chest itself. One guard advanced with pistol drawn toward the glowing blue crystal still lying on its bed of velvet, the character for moon etched into its surface. He picked it up, thinking he ought to secure it someplace to keep it safe until the Czar returned.

And then he turned and fired his pistol into the other two guards. The maid, watching from the doorway, shrieked and ran as the image of the Ghost formed around the guard, laughing his murderous laugh. It stomped toward the doorway into the rest of the palace, implacable as death.


“What are you going to do with that?” Bogdan asked.

“Yes, tell us, please,” said the Ghost from behind him. Twain turned to see the Ghost at normal human size, the seeming hurricane he always carried with him now mostly tamed. “Just what good does a broken cup do you?”

“Well, you see, hrm…” Twain coughed. “Sorry, the dust from the cave-in is really bad. Do you mind if I have a drink?”

“From the cup?”

“No,” Twain said. “The cup is broken.”

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]“Yes, tell us, please,” said the Ghost from behind him. “Just what good does a broken cup do you?”[/blockquote]He fumbled the wineskin out of his backpack and took a sip directly from the spout, then cleared his throat. “Besides, in order for the cup to work, it has to sit in the sunlight for an hour. And it doesn’t look as if you’ll let us out to do that.”

“No,” the Ghost agreed.

“Of course, it’s a funny thing,” Twain said. He took another pull from the wineskin. “The last time we were down here, I filled the cup, planning to bring it out into the sunlight, but I didn’t get the chance. But when Digger ran down here just a few minutes later, it worked. He traveled through time. I think all the concentrated radiation from the crystals intensified the action of the cup, made it work faster.”

“But most of the cup is in there,” the Ghost said, indicating the rockfall, “and most of the crystals as well. So what good does that single piece do you?”

Twain looked down at the dark shape of Yi Fan’s body on the floor of the chamber. “That’s the question,” he said. He lifted the crystal above his head to look through it at one of the crystals embedded in the rock ceiling. “What good indeed?”

He lifted the wineskin and poured a stream of the golden fluid onto the shard of quartz in his hand. As the liquid struck the cup fragment, he unleashed blue radiance from the palm of his hand, through the cup fragment. The golden juice splashed off the quartz fragment, through the beam of blue, and a stream of glowing blue-green liquid emerged from the other side to fall into Twain’s waiting mouth.

The Ghost reached out to prevent it, but his clawed hand passed through empty space. Twain was gone.

Hey, what the hell? Twain finally gets to travel through time. But will it work, or is Digger right that time travel never helps? What are the chances he’ll end up at a flea market in Berkeley? For at least one of the answers, don’t miss the next exciting episode!

To read from the beginning, click here

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