Week 41.3 – Time Travel Never Helps!

Previously: Twain discovered the Ghost trapped in a strange cylinder inside an ancient temple. He decided to destroy the cylinder to destroy the Ghost, but stopped when he realized the evil spirit might then be able to take over Twain’s crystal-enhanced body. And now…

“No,” Twain said. He backed away further, into the shade of the trees beyond the cave entrance. “I can destroy the cylinder from a distance, where you can’t reach me.”

A strange motion caught the corner of his eye, a swirling of shadows underneath a tree to his left. “Exactly how far is that, do you think? And how long would you have to wait before you returned for the scroll, to be sure I was really gone?”

“What makes you think I would return for the scroll?” Twain asked. “Who says I want it?”

The shadows shifted, and something in Twain’s mind told him the Ghost was smiling. “You want it. I can see the greed on your face whenever I mention it. So go ahead. Claim it.”

Twain looked at the spot where he was standing and retreated another 50 yards, until he could barely even make out the dark blotch of the cave opening in the shadow of the cypresses. He waited a moment to see if the Ghost would come taunt him, but nothing happened. Surely he was far enough away now that the Ghost could not possess him when he blasted the cave.

“What are you waiting for?” the Ghost called from a distance. “Surely you’re far enough away now. Don’t worry about destroying the scroll.”

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]Twain turned back to the cave. Now or never. He had to destroy the temple…[/blockquote]Destroying? What if he destroyed the scoll in destroying the cylinder? He didn’t even know for sure if there was a scroll, but if there was… Imagine being able to learn all the things the old man had tried and failed to teach him and more.

He couldn’t risk destroying such an ancient and fragile artifact. The cylinder would have to be opened carefully, which meant Twain had to risk being possessed. But how could he…?

He was interrupted by the sound of voices in the woods behind him.

He turned and saw a man climbing up the hill behind him, picking his way through the trees. Following behind by several paces was a teenage girl. “I’m hungry,” the girl complained. “Let’s stop and eat a little.”

And even though she was almost a hundred yards away and several years younger, Twain recognized Yi Fan’s voice. Could this be the day that she was cursed?

Twain turned back to the cave. Now or never. He had to destroy the temple while she was still far enough away that the Ghost could not possess her and destory her life.

But the scroll… Could he really destroy such ancient knowledge? What might be lost from the world with such an impulsive act?

No, there was another way. He would stop them before they found the temple. He would turn them away, and then they would be safe. He began to walk down the hill to head them off. “Stop!” he shouted.

Yi Fan’s father looked up in alarm, then stepped in front of her protectively. “Who are you?”

“I’m the Guardian of the Temple,” said Twain, “and you shall not pass.”

I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Don’t miss the confrontation, next episode!

To read from the beginning, click here

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