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The Solution

                             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.

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 refrigerator 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 (Even his name left a bad taste in his mouth.) He changed his form into a Gamma Ray and quickly started toward Alarius.

* * * * *

Deep depression filled Iffley. The entire trip back to Devonshire had been abnormally quiet. The Quische flew around the mansion and gently landed in the Atrium. Silently, Iffley and the Quische went up to their room. Watching Iffley's reaction to Adena's marriage filled Jonathon's heart with pain. He turned down the gravel path to admire the roses. In the far corner of the Atrium, he had always worked out his problems; he felt safe among the roses.

He passed the Lilacs, Lilies, and Daisies, unimpressed with their beauty. Finally, he reached his goal; yet, somehow the roses looked different: The usually neat bed was starting to overgrow with weeds; the Roses were starting to wilt and droop; a cold wind blew throughout the garden. Jonathon shuddered at the sight and turned quickly away.

No matter the circumstances, he had to send a wedding present to the happy couple. He left the garden wondering about their happiness.

* * * * *

Large rubies sparkled in the dim light. Iffley touched the brightest ruby, which began to hum softly. The light from the rubies increased, bathing the entire room in a red light. Iffley found the light comforting and peaceful. He slowly walked over to his bureau and opened the top drawer. He found the object he sought: a small golden triangle.

The vertex of this triangle was made of a small emerald, and the corners of which lay a sapphire and ruby. He studied the triangle for a moment and then slipped it into his pocket. He waved his Sceptre and then appeared in the Treasury.

In the Treasury, he opened a large safe, full of jewels and valuable objects. He removed two pouches: one containing emeralds; the other sapphires. He waved his Sceptre again and transported into the Obsidian Room.

He prepared his gift and duly wrapped it in blue paper. A call brought Jonathon and the Quische into the room.

Jonathon, with a present wrapped in green paper in his hand said, "Give your gift to the Quische. I will not step onto Blue's territory again!" The Quische turned into a small mail box and received the packages.

"Good-bye, my dear friend...and good luck!" Iffley said, tears gathering in his eyes. He waved the Sceptre and the Quische faded away. He answered Jonathon's puzzled look: "I have got to go away for a while. Please take care of the Quische for me. And tell the others, I said good-bye."

The two stood, looking at each other for strength. Jonathon broke the silence and said, "You shall, and always will be, my friend. I will remain here for you until you return. You are always welcome in my house."

"I am afraid that is not possible." Iffley said, tears welling within his eyes. He held out his hand, which Jonathon gladly shook, and disappeared.

Jonathon looked at the Ring on his hand, and wept.

* * * * *

Iffley appeared outside the Castle of Ozino, a place he had often visited when he was younger. He found his way down into the dungeon. With a wave from the Sceptre, a small cell door appeared, beckoning him to enter...

* * * * *

A small airplane glided its way toward Phire Island. The trip was slow, for the airplane was holding valuable cargo. It landed in the middle of the Island, a land known as Camelot. The airplane reverted back to the original form of the Quische.

Adena and Blue strolled along talking quietly. Adena looked up and said, "There's that stupid Quische again. But look! Presents!" The pair walked up to the Quische and received the gifts.

Adena opened the small, green package. Inside the paper was a beautifully crafted box made from emeralds and diamonds. She carefully opened the box, revealing a tiny sapphire tie-tac for Blue. She duly thanked the Quische and watched as her husband opened the gift in blue.

Inside the wrapping paper was the Mirror of Sight. Large sapphires and emeralds lined the frame, giving the Mirror class. The newlyweds stood before the Mirror and admired themselves as the Quische flew away.

"Don't we make a cute couple?"

The Mirror changed and began to cloud as it reflected and image to the pair:

Iffley sat in the corner of a small room. His face was tear-stained. He waved his Sceptre and the rusty door changed into a solid wall .He removed the triangle from his pocket and examined it carefully. He touched the emerald and a hologram of Adena began to form within the triangle.

Upon seeing his love's face, Iffley burst into tears. Times had changed; Adena was not for him to love. He removed the ruby from the triangle and cast it aside. He would not break up a home--not even for love.

He touched the ruby with the Sceptre, changing it into an ice dagger. He gently set the Sceptre and the triangle beside him and took the dagger. The coolness of its blade bit into his skin. His emotions flowed freely as he thought of his lost love. Tears streaked down his face and onto the blade.

"My love, my life, my all: Adena!" He cried, "Adena, why have you done this to me? Adena, my love!" The icy blade met warm flesh as he plunged it into his heart. His very essence-the life force-left his body and became one with the Sceptre. The Sceptre glowed with the new power and returned to Devonshire.

Iffley's body lay still as the hologram of Adena flashed silently by his side...

"No!" Adena screamed in horror. Tears streamed down her face as she ran from the room. Blue stood still watching the Mirror for any signs of revival from Iffley.

* * * * *

Jonathon was startled by the appearance of the Sceptre. He questioned its arrival, for Iffley never let the Sceptre from his sight. Jonathon called the Quische, who had just returned from Phire. He climbed aboard the Quische and waved the Sceptre, transporting them to Aldery.

The police station at Aldery was a small but rather effective force of the law. Jonathon and the Quische walked directly into the Constable's office.

"Welcome, Pierce. What can I do for you?" Asked Constable Nai.

"Iffley is missing and somehow the Sceptre has left without him. Could you please come with me and help to investigate this matter?"

"Of course. First, let's go to his castle." Jonathon waved the Sceptre and the group transported to Nuper.

They reappeared in a sea of ruin. The walls of the castle lie crumbling in the courtyard. Small fires smoked in various places and the four turrets burned in a large blaze. A worried expression appeared on Nai's face. Jonathon raised the Sceptre and said: "Search!" The Sceptre transported them deep into a castle a thousand miles away.

The Constable checked Iffley for signs of life. Seeing none, he collected the evidence and stored it in a plastic bag. He examined the wound and pulled out a small piece of ice.

"Ice dagger, eh? I haven't seen one of these in a long time." Throughout the entire investigation, Jonathon remained silent, holding his emotions inward. He thought only of revenge. A painful, long revenge on Adena, the one who had caused his friend's death. The Quische clutched at Jonathon in search of support. It cried as Nai put his coat over the corpse.

"Is there any chance for resurrection or revival?"

"I am afraid not. He saw to that. We may bring his body back to life, yet his life force would not be there. He would simply vegetate forever. I, however, think I have a clue on his murderer. Take me to Phire. "He picked up the corpse and Jonathon waved his Sceptre, teleporting them to Phire.

* * * * *

They reappeared at the gate of Camelot and quickly found Adena.

Her bloodshot eyes told them that she had been crying. She saw the group and rushed toward them.

She saw the body in the Constable's arms and cried, "Jonathon, I..."

"Yes, my dear, we know." He interrupted.

"Adena," The Constable began, "according to the evidence I have found at the site of the murder, from the knowledge that you had last in your possession an ice dagger, and from the knowledge of your recent marriage to Blue," He nodded at Blue who entered quite suddenly, "you are under arrest for the murder of Suralio Iffley."

A startled protest came from Blue but a warning glance from Nai stifled him. "I suggest you hand over those," He said, pointing at her Keys, "and come along quietly." Adena reluctantly removed her Belt and Amulet and handed them to the Constable. "The trial for your wife will be held on Tuesday, Mr. Ledic." A Police Hovercraft landed beside Nai who took the prisoner inside. The craft, loaded with passenger and Constable, flew into the distance.

"Happy Honeymoon!" Jonathon said sardonically and then vanished, leaving Blue to the solitude of the island.

 © 1984, 

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

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