Part XII – Face to Face
Momotaru swayed side to side slightly as he sat in the hovercraft with arms folded across his chest. He stared out across the vast expanse of desert. Ahead, he could see the barren, sandy terrain give way to the outskirts of the city. Soon he would be inside the place he never wanted to step foot in again, so long as he lived, the sun elf royal palace.
“So, um, Iris-” Zahur tried to say before being interrupted.
“It’s the Butterfly Samurai to you, confused little girl,” said Iris with a small, devious smile.
Momotaru grumbled slightly.
“Okay, Butterfly,” came the snarky reply from Zahur. “How exactly did you find us?”
“What makes you think that I’ll just give up my secrets so easily?” Iris replied.
“Well, I just thought… that,” said Zahur before trailing off sheepishly and looking out across the roofless convertible hovercraft. The wind whipped at her short purple hair like a tattered flag being assaulted at the top of the mast. “Well where are we going? Can you tell us that at least since you’ve kidnapped us?”
“You two came of your own accord,” Iris fired back. “I kidnapped no one and you’re free to go if you like but know that powerful forces have amassed against you and without us, you’re doomed.”
“I’ve been doing pretty good on my own,” said Zahur. “Who says I need you two?”
“The only thing that you’ve managed to do so far is get the entire sun elf police force chasing you,” said Iris.
Zahur turned away, pouting. She watched the desert melt away to be replaced by the urban forest that now surrounded them. As they neared the under-city central area, they approached a long line of hovercrafts waiting for their chance to ride the elevator into the floating capital of Aver.
Iris swerved away from the growing traffic and entered the much shorter VIP lane for those individuals who had obtained the secret force field passcode which allowed direct entrance to the city. Within minutes they were being levitated between the several hundred thousand meters of metal and magic that separated the under-city from the floating capital.
When they reached the street level of Aver, they were immediately surrounded by the sun elf police force. Hover cars blocked the street and sirens blared. Officers on foot approached the car with las-guns drawn.
Sergeant Hoplow and Major Rufap stood watching several meters away and leaned against their hovercraft. Hoplow quickly clasped his hands together and rifled through a series of hand symbols in order to channel his mana. He cast a spell that would amplify the volume of his voice. “Get out of the car with your hands up,” demanded Sergeant Hoplow.
The three humans in the car hesitantly complied, slowly raising their hands. Police officers quickly swarmed over the three traveling companions and placed them in green, glowing magical handcuffs. As they were ushered towards the large, hovering van, Iris Longwing fought as if she were headed to the gallows.
“Hey!” shouted Iris as she was pushed passed Major Rufap. “We had a deal damnit! Let me go!”
“I’m sure we can find something to charge her with,” said Sergeant Hoplow. “Take her away.”
The three humans were thrown into the hovering van. The heavy, metal doors were slammed shut.
“So,” said a sarcastic Momotaru. “How well is that deal working out for you now?” He eyed Iris warily with a furrowed brow.
Iris could only cut her eyes at him.
“What do you think they’re going to do to us?” asked Zahur, voice breaking with each word.
Momotaru did not bother to look in her direction. He shrugged his shoulders and turned his head away.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” said Iris. “His mommy won’t let anything happen to precious prodigal son.” She wore a wry smile and a playful light glinted in her colorful Acro eyes.
Momotaru did not react, sitting motionless and silent in the van until the vehicle zoomed upwards several minutes later. In a matter of minutes, the large gates of the sun elf royal mansion were visible through the windows. Unfortunately for the three criminals sitting in the back of the police van, they had no windows and had no idea where they were being taken.
The back door opened and sunlight flooded the dark interior. The guards ushered their prisoners forward with a wave of the hand. They each jumped out one by one and were led through the front gate of the palace. Stopping in front of the porch, they looked to the top of the small flight of steps where the sun elf princess and her parents stood.
Momotaru swallowed the lump in his suddenly dry throat as he laid eyes on the maternal half of his lineage.