Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Zack hadn't worried about this part of the plan. DG cloaked the boat with a silence spell and an illusion so anyone looking at the river wouldn't see them. He was more worried about getting lost inside the fortress and running into Longcoats or Ichiro before they had found the rest of their gang. He and Raw secured the boat to the stone wall so it wouldn't drift from under the garderobe exit chute. At least, it wasn't still in use. The Turtles hadn't been that lucky in Ancient Japan, and April still brought it up occasionally.

His claws found purchase in the mortar between the blocks. The rope tied around his waist connecting him to DG and Raw pulled tight as he got higher then slacked a little as DG followed him up. He looked down and just saw the rope disappearing in thin air. Illusion magic still working. He resumed the climb up into the hole at the bottom of a square corbel barely jutting out from the surrounding wall.

The chute was wide enough for Raw to fit through, Zack's only concern about this part of the venture. Luckily, the top of the chute was completely open, must have had a wooden seat. He slipped the shuko off his hands and pulled himself over the edge. The privy room was barely wide enough for three people. He slipped the ashiko off his boots and tucked them into his belt before reaching down and clasping DG's forearm.

Her face was pale, eyes wide, and her breathing shallow. "Shit, they couldn't build a bigger bathroom." She went to hug herself and jumped when the shuko spikes grazed her arms.

Raw poked his head out of the low square rising from the floor. "Focus, DG. Be out soon."

She nodded, pulling off the climbing gear, trying to breathe deeper. "Stop being green. Stop being green." She shifted out of Raw's way, pressing against the wall. She closed her hands around the Emerald to try to block its light.

Kuso, Zack frowned. DG hadn't said anything about being claustrophobic. He started looping the rope they untied from their waists and gave it to Raw, who wore it across his torso. The door into the fortress had been bricked up ages ago, but you could still make out the outline. "DG, we need you to make the door." She nodded laying her hands against the bricks. Blue energy shimmered over the rectangle, shifting the brick into wooden planks with a doorknob. "Okay, cloaks on."

They moved into the larger corridor holding hands. The invisibility spell on the cloaks worked on them too, and DG couldn't figure out how to adjust the glamour so it wouldn't. At least, she had gotten them to turn off when you dropped the hood back. Zack spied the stairwell just down the hall, and pulled them toward it as they hugged the wall.

It ended on the lowest level of the fortress. They had to be under the water level of the river. "To the left," Raw said quietly. Zack moved down the corridor in that direction and it ended in one of the thickest wooden doors he had ever seen. It wasn't locked and it swung easily on its hinges. He eased it open and felt DG and Raw brush past him down the steps into the bigger room lined with iron bars.

"Glitch!" DG dropped her hood back at the first cell.

The taller man sprang to his feet and gaped at her. "Doll, you can't. You shouldn't." He pulled on his hair. "Cain is going to kill you!"

Raw dropped his hood back. "Glad to see Glitch too."

She scanned the cells before turning back to Glitch. "Where is he?"

Zack moved to the guard station as he dropped his hood. They had tossed Cain's shirt and vest on it, and his gun and belt, a razor, and a bracelet rested in a basket. He got a tight feeling in his gut as he picked up the items and turned back to the reunion.

Glitch's expression was miserable, slightly panicked, and afraid all at the same time. DG's magic unlocked his cell door, and he squeezed her shoulders as he came out. "They took him," he swallowed hard.

"To torture him again," DG finished. Her eyes blazed as she glared at the rest of the cells. The doors swung open as she looked, but the prisoners didn't come out. "What's wrong with them?"

"They're on vapors," Glitch answered.

Zack sighed, "I guess that's one way to make sure creatures with magic don't get away, drug them."

DG hissed. "This ends now." She held out her hands, and glowing, dark blue energy rippled from her. The Emerald pulsed with it, tinting the dungeons green. "Wake up. Wake up. Wake up." The fairy tale creatures moved and timidly crept out of their cells, staring at DG as she let her power fade. "Just in case you have any doubts over who is freeing you, I am Dorothy Gale of the House of Gale, Queen of the Outer Zone, and current upholder of Ozma's pact. I know you thought a dragon returned to your people, but it is only a trapped wizard, and the human traitor to my crown has been killing your people to maintain control over him." They muttered and some looked ashamed. "We have an allegiance, but you have suffered, I won't order you to do more. But I would ask that you help us before the traitor makes war on the whole Zone."

The muttering got louder, and then stopped as each of the creatures dropped to a knee or bowed if they were physically unable to do that. The bowing satyr at the front of the group looked up at DG. "What would you have us do, your Majesty?"

"Soldiers of the Royal Army are outside the main gate. I need you to open the gates and let them in. And don't hesitate to kill any Longcoats." DG may not have looked very regal in her Other Side clothes, but no one could mistake her tone of voice for anything but.

"As you wish, your Majesty." The Fae bowed again at her as they left the dungeon.

Glitch's mouth was still agape as he stared at the departing Fae and then turned to DG. "The Emerald of the Eclipse? Deeg, honey, did you just accept…?"

"We'll deal with the ramifications on human politics later, Glitch." She gripped his arm as the blood drained from her face. "Oh God, what are they doing to Wyatt?" She turned and ran from the dungeons. Glitch jumped and started after her. Zack clutched Cain's stuff to his chest and ran, leaving Raw to bring up the rear.

Zack didn't know what kind of ESP DG was using, but she didn't falter in her run nor hesitate at intersections. Glitch was having trouble keeping up with her even with his longer legs. She finally stopped in front of a door, caressing it with her hand while she waited for them to catch up.

"On three," she grinned manically. "One."

"Three!" Glitch yelled. The Emerald's glow pulsed as blue energy from DG turned the door into toothpicks along with some of the stone wall.

Glitch jumped in the DG's left, engaging the three Longcoat guards. Zack moved to her right, letting two shurikens fly. They hit the man in the black T-shirt in his shoulder and chest, and he jerked the watering can away from the man strapped to the metal waterboarding table.

Ichiro stood next to the guy with the watering can and raised his purple glowing hands. DG waved her hand and another wave of blue energy rippled through the air. It ripped the wet cloth from Cain's face and threw Ichiro and his torture buddy against the wall.

"You fucking bastards!" DG snarled as the sound of snapping metal echoed in the room. "You just pissed off the wrong Cain." She stalked closer to the pair watching her in a daze. Blue energy crackled off of her. "And Zero, you should know to leave my Tin Man alone!"

The man in the black T-shirt grabbed hold of Ichiro's arm. Ichiro clapped his purple-tinged hands together and they vanished.

DG stomped her foot with a growl and whirled around. Raw supported Cain as the man bent over kneeling on the floor and coughing out some water. The Viewer looked up as she dropped to her knees beside her husband and wrapped her arms around him. "Lungs clear. Cain just felt like drowning."

"Waterboarding?" She looked up at Zack, tears and anger fighting for dominance on her face. "Fucking CIA versus Al Qaeda waterboarding?"

He shrugged as he picked Cain's stuff off the floor and handed it to her. "It's older than that. The Catholic church loved it during the Spanish Inquisition."

Cain's breathing was starting to return to normal, and he turned to her. "DG, what the hell?"

"You're really bad at recognizing a rescue, hun." She snaked her hand behind his neck and pulled him into a kiss. Her blue energy washed over both of them.

He pulled back first. "I told you to run."

"And I did. You didn't say anything about coming back."

Cain closed his icy blue eyes with a sigh.

"We got company coming," Glitch announced from the doorway.

Zack pulled out his katana before he peered down the hallway at the group of Longcoats running towards them. "They're mine."

"Wait!" Glitch cried.

But Zack was already running down the hall towards them. The first two didn't have time to pull their guns up to shoot before he sliced and leaped. He landed between the other four and swung the katana out as he ducked to the floor. They all went down. He wiped the blade off as he stood and turned around.

"So that's why Ichiro kept saying shoot you." Glitch closed his mouth with a snap.

Zack raised his eyebrows. "Great-grandpa told him about ninjas? And I was getting the idea he was more an officer." He shrugged and started back down the hallway in the direction their group had come from.

DG reached the doorway the same time Zack did. "Ichiro's doing something with the dragon." She winced, gagged, and grabbed hold of the wall. Before anyone could reach her side, she vanished in a flash of purple and red energy.

"DG!" Cain yelled as Raw and Glitch gasped.

"Kuso! Lyle's this way, come on!" Zack started running back to the stairwell they had found earlier.

"Lyle? Who's Lyle?" Glitch wailed as the three men ran after Zack.

"Dragon is Zack's friend," Raw explained.

"How?" Cain growled.

"I'll tell you as soon as I know!" Zack skidded into the stairwell and started pounding up the circular stone passageway with Cain practically on his heels.