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Road Mage: Chapter Four


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Chapter 4

How I came to be the Cross Guardian is a special tale, one I’ll leave to a reflection of this old man I see in the mirror. By the by, what I just told you, with my sister and brother in law, did not happen the next day after their first appearance in this account, it was later that day. We’ll get to the real big bump in the road soon, next chapter in fact. For now, let’s get back to the old man and his version of my own life story.

“Why, the Cross Guardian was a right mad fella. He was as angry as the best of them, and then some. The fury he held in his pinky outweighed everything held in someone who faced off against the License Dispensers. They say he held every type of magic because he was the first to Enrage, and he was so angry at so many things, he became a Mage of many things. To become a plain old mage you have to get really angry, but to become like the Guardian and get a second kind of magic, you have to get even angrier than that. To get a third, fourth, twentieth, well, it’s like I said. You have to be right mad. Some say he got so mad because he was the one who led to Detour being, well, a detour. A place everyone takes the long way around. Some say that he was the one who set off the series of Enragings that led to that once state now being a crossed out part of the map. These same folk say that he feels mighty guilty because of it, and that guilt became an anger of its own, an anger he takes out by protecting the people of the Roadlands from danger, to make up for the lives lost in the Detour incident. There are a select few who think he’s an insane murderous sociopath Pleasanter, who was so happy at having a hand in killing so many that he got a plethora of powers. They say he protects people only because he doesn’t want them dying a swift death, he wants them to slowly die from hunger, thirst or the uncaring elements. I personally don’t know what to think, just that if he ever becomes an Ever Raging, we’re screwed.”

An Ever Raging, ah yes, I’ll tell you about that before I address the part about the chances of it ever happening to me. Ever Raging is what happens to someone who stops being able to suppress their generation of anger, and seeing as more anger equals more Rage, they begin spouting magic out the wazoo. Sometimes, it leads to a lot of fire. The primary exhibit being the forests, and the fact that as I’m writing this, they’re still on fire, and you may have noticed that their current state was mentioned earlier. That was six months ago. And the fires have been going on even longer than that. A ticked off forest ranger on fire lookout duty can lead to, well, him doing his job very, very badly. Soon enough, he reached the point of no return, an Ever Raging, and the fires haven’t stopped since. We call him Ranger Bernie now. Some say they sometimes see a shadow in the flames, a tall gangly figure that stands completely still, except for the swaying of its arms. I’m pretty sure they just saw a tree. So yeah, Ever Ragings are bad, especially if you have control over something dangerous. Me? Well, I don’t really see the chances of ever getting to the point of an Ever Raging, especially in my current state. As I finish foreshadowing, let’s get back to the story of my pursuers. You’ve been waiting for that bump in the road for too long.

As the car drove along the cracked, broken road, it unsurprisingly hit a rather big bump. Of course, this bump wasn’t there before, and it had only appeared once they drove over a certain patch of ground. One could say that a part of it jutted up, but, they would be more accurate in saying it slid up, as the movement seemed to be natural for the stone. Ignoring the fact that stone doesn’t move, it was rather graceful in the way it smashed against the underside of their vehicle, throwing it onto its side. Something that shouldn’t surprise you by now is the fact that Alex and my sister wouldn’t take this lying on the side, so when their attacker, a tall figure that had hidden behind a car husk, strode out, he found himself with a big chunk of road in his gut. Having kicked open the door, Alex clambered out, pulling Pristine out of the car with him, and proceeded to go over to the man now pinned below a piece of rock, groaning at the pain. Extending his hand, he felt the anger at having been attacked flow out of him and into the rock, which began to unravel, becoming a mass of snaking stones. Each piece wrapped itself around a part of the bandit, until he was up to his neck in a layer of stone serpents. A clench of the fist turned them back to simple stone, leaving the man ensnared. Having sufficiently bound his captive, Alex stepped aside to allow his wife to interrogate him, who looked quite angry at having to deal with an attempt on her life. She focused on her object, now lying sideways in the car, and allowed it to be free of the lifelessness she had inflicted upon it, feeling it come to life and fly into her palm. The traffic light now in her hand, she pointed it towards the man who had ambushed them, “Please explain to us what just happened.”

The man chuckled, despite being trapped in a stone cocoon, and said, “Minding my own business till you two just showed up and captured me. That’s not really nice of you, is it?” Pristine made her mouth a line and matter of factly said, “Wrong answer.” The red portion of the traffic light began to crackle, sparks running along the surface, until they leaped from the lamp and began to arc through the air, joining together into a single bolt, where they then hit the man straight on the forehead. The crackling energy seemed to pass straight through the skin, where it would then burrow into his brain. This was most definitely uncomfortable, but the man simply let out a small groan and said, “That’s all?” Pristine shook her head, “No. Let me give you a small lesson, bandit. You know stop sign mages? Know how they can command other things to stop by channeling their rage through the sign? Well, we Lighters, as it turns out, can do the same thing with traffic lights. Traffic lights are signs too, in their own way, so I can use that bit of traffic light energy I sent into your cranium to do, well, this.” She closed her eyes, and allowed the bit of red light in the man’s head to do its job, command things to stop, on his vocal cords. The man tried to make a witty comeback, but found he couldn’t make a single sound, “If you’re going to not talk, I’m going to make you stop talking altogether. Now, maybe you just need to talk a bit slower, catch your breath, to be able to get across why exactly you tried to kill my husband and I.”

She tapped the top of the traffic light staff, and the yellow light flashed, and as she shifted her focus to that light, the red light vanished from the man’s head. Before he could begin talking, or more likely, swearing, a yellow blob split away from the lamp, and floated through the air, where it then passed through him, and enveloped his voice box. As he began to speak, he found his words stretched out comically, like a ghost moaning about the sorrows that led it to being a ghost, “Alriiiiiiight, allllrrrrriiight, IIII goooot iiit, pleaaase, leeeet meee taaaaaaaaaalllk nooormaaaal again. I’ll taaaalk, proooomiiiise.” Pristine looked around impatiently, muttered out “Fine,” and tapped the light again, switching it to green, which caused a spray of green dust to shoot out from the light and melt away the yellow blob in the man’s throat. “Thank you, thank you. I’ll talk. Just let me talk normal, okay?” Alex finally spoke up, “Do so, and we will.” The man nodded, “Alright. I’m a Roadie, I was hired by the local gang in this area to, well, kill, anyone driving your model of car.” “Why?” “Because, and that’s what they told to me, not what I think, ‘Those damnation Carltists are a nuisance to our line of work.” I personally have no problems with you guys, worship whoever you want.” Alex looked confused, and asked, “Carltists? Who are those?”

Pristine simply sighed, “Remember I told you that Pleasanters were insane to be living in a place this dangerous.””Yeah,” Alex replied. Pristine looked exasperated when she answered, “Imagine the level of insanity of someone who thinks this place is a holy ground.” The sound of engines began to come from the distance, and Pristine turned to the man, “Let me guess, they gave you a specific time they’d be coming by.” The Roadie mercenary nodded, “Yeah, only it seems I showed up too early.” The three of them turned to see a row of cars coming down the road, with the one at the front having a man standing on the top, arms outstretched, singing a hymn about the glory of cars, with Pristine turning to Alex, “Well, this guy just made riding the next part of our journey with several Carltists our only option, who are likely to spend the entire time preaching the virtues of their Lord Savior, Carl, king of cars.” It would more than a little effort for Alex to successfully hold back Pristine before she took a traffic light to the man’s head.

Edited by Koldun
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