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A Deadly Shade of Silver

                                 by Jonathon Pierce

The Taft Lab (Taft Towers, Inc.) was an incredible facility for science and torture. Machines of immense bulk lined the walls of the laboratory, while strange devices were contained in the center of the room. Operating tables, all in a row, stretched from wall to wall. In one corner, a small freezer held the remains of Kirk Jameson, various packages of vitamins, and assorted rotten apples.

The plastic vial containing Kirk was almost empty; Kirk's remains only came up to the one-third mark. The contents of the vial began to bubble as Kirk started to revive. He altered his molecules and changed into a X-Ray. He left the refridgerator and changed back to normal form.

He muttered to himself. Somehow, his fool-proof plan had backfired. Instead of creating war between Taft II and Pierce, he had almost died. Yet, he would still have his revenge on Jonathon Pierce. He thought of Jonathon's devotion to Iffley. The best way for revenge would be to hurt his friends. He changed his form into a Gamma Ray and quickly started toward Alarius.

* * * * *

Jonathon and Iffley rode silently on the Quische. It landed in the Atrium and the passengers disembarked. Jonathon was rather irate at the newlyweds. He felt his friend's pain and suffering. Iffley sensing Jonathon's anger spoke softly, "We must be happy for them. The marriage changes nothing, Jonathon. Time will assuage my wounds. Let us now go and prepare fitting wedding presents." With these words, they departed to the interior of the mansion.

Having choosen suitable presents for the couple, they loaded them aboard the Quische. Changing into a small plane, it flew off toward Phire. Iffley stood and watched his companion depart. A strange feeling of lonliness filling his heart.

* * * * *

Adena sat quietly reading a book entitled: Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. Quite accidently, she had found the book in an old library in Odinia. It was apparently written before the Plague. A slight droning noise returned her to reality.

Looking up from her book, she spied the Quische landing in the courtyard. Expecting news from Iffley, she ran to meet it. The Quische bowed to her as she received the presents: Wrapped in blue paper was a beautifully crafted emerald box; The box contained the star of Sesian, a flawless sapphire; The Mirror of Sight, wrapped in green paper, was carefully inlaid with emeralds and sapphires. Expecting nothing else, she duly thanked the Quische for the gifts.

The Quische, however, opened a small compartment and handed her a note:

Dearest Adena,

I congratulate you on your choice. I must, however, consult with you on a rather personal matter: I have found the Silver Chalice of Yabeo. Could you possibly leave Phire tonight? I would be most appreciative.

                     Suralio

Adena studied the note with great care. Her husband was still not yet quite well, yet he could take care of himself. She accepted the invitation and climbed aboard into the Quische. She hoped she wouldn't get Quische-sick.

* * * * *

The Atrium, a thing of great beauty, was an enormous comfort to the entire household living at Devonshire. Its delicate flowers, arranged so precisely, gave the observer a slight form of inner peace.

The roses, by far, were the greatest attraction in the gardens. The pulchritude of the roses was surpassed only by their aroma. The varying shades of the red roses combined with the white, yellow, and pink. The most elegant rose, however, was colored a brilliant blue. Its symmetry revealed its rarity; it was the only know rose to have achieved the color of blue. It was the pride of the garden.

Next to the blue rose, a statue stood, made of the purest quartz. The statue showed a remarkable likeness to Iffley: It even held a Sceptre. A small note was attached to the quartz Sceptre:

To search for me will bring pain to others.

Kirk Jameson

* * * * *

The Quische landed at the rear entrance of Devonshire. Unexpectedly, Adena had enjoyed the ride. It was quite a remarkable creature, perhaps she had been too harsh to Iffley before.

The Quische formed a small ramp, providing Adena quick, easy access to the ground. She stroked it gently and waited for Iffley. Warning her of a presence, the rubies in her Amulet began to glow. She turned sharply around and discovered Iffley.

"I am sorry to have kept you waiting. There is no time to explain now, I fear that Taft will try to reach the Chalice before us." Telling the Quische to remain, he lead her through the Devon Woods on a wide path. He changed paths quickly and illogically. Adena now was quite lost.

The path extended into a large clearing, containg a wide wall of crystal. He led the way around the wall into a large opening. He final1y explained:

"These are the Crystal Catacombs. Deep within the interior of the maze, you will find a silver pedestal containing a silver cup." He touched a small orange crystal on the wall, closing the entrance. "That, my dear, is the Chalice of Sesian. Bring it back to me." He changed his form to Kirk Jameson.

Adena quickly resolved the situation by firing her laser. The bolt of energy passed through Kirk's body and impacted on the crystal wall. The walls began to glow, as if she had set off an alarm.

"No, my lovely, you cannot escape from me."

"And why should I recover this Chalice for you?"

"1 will give you two reasons..." He pulled a small triangle from his pocket. He touched the ruby on the left corner. The triangle began to hum as it showed a picture of the Atrium. The hologram focused on the bed of roses, and then on Iffley. "He is quite unharmed, I assure you. No one, however, can rearrange his molecules, except me. Reason Number Two:" He touched to sapphire and the hologram changed to a picture of Blue. "So you see, my dear, you have no choice."

"I will do what you ask."

"The Catacombs are filled with great dangers. You must overcome these dangers and reach the Chalice. It is protected by a magic field, which I am not strong enough to break; therefore, the logical choice is you. With your power and innate abilities, you shall achieve your quest. When you have the Chalice, call my name three times and I shall rescue you from your ascertain fate." After Adena's reluctant nod, he continued, "Then I shall reverse Iffley's condition. Oh, by the way, the Catacombs are magically sealed. Don't expect any help from Blue. Jonathon can't help either, he seems to be in quite a pickle: He has so much to lose if this deal goes sour." He slowly changed form and disappeared, apparently moving through the crystal itself.

Adena moved quickly through the Catacombs, her power began to weaken. The walls glowed brighter and brighter with each passing second: They were draining the power from her Amulet and Belt. Hearing a slight noise, she turned around. A creature dark as the night, jaws agape, came to meet her. She let out a blood-curdling scream....


 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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