Victoria’s luminescent yellow-green eyes were now curiously staring at Whartleburg. Having recently arrived via Channel Teleporter, thanks to June, she was expecting Whartleburg to take her under his wing.
“Who are you supposed to be?” asked Whartleburg. But he knew already; His instinct told him so.
“I’m June’s sister.”
Whartleburg didn’t know how to handle the revelation.
The two stared at each other. For ten seconds, the world was frozen in time and nothing else mattered. Whartleburg suddenly could not move. He was transfixed in place, only able to see Victoria’s luminescent green and yellow eyes. Instinct told him it was a common trap that praying mantis type Enzectozoids used to catch their prey.
But then another image entered his mind. Salyria, tall and pale, her lavish gown, a wedding gift from Spider King Ahab, the same color as her sapphire eyes. Her long dark hair danced in the winds that endlessly chase at the height of her window outside the granite prison walls.
Her eyes were saddened, yet strong, determined to wait, knowing in her heart that Whartleburg would save her. At that moment her eyes met his. She saw Whartleburg from afar and her inward gaze was turned outward.
Salyria while in her prison was not helpless. Though not built for combat, she could still encourage the heart. She spoke briefly and the vision was gone:
Remember Salyria. Should Whartleburg give up now, all his efforts to oppose Spider King Ahab would be in vain.
Whatever huntress’ charm Victoria unknowingly had sent out shattered like glass, and Whartleburg was no longer smitten. He no longer saw the great beauty in the exoskeleton of Victoria Swanson, June’s sister. Instead he saw a confused, scared Enzectozoid woman. She needed training.
Whartleburg woke up and sprang to his feet.
“Hey, you’re alive! Thank God you’re alive!” Victoria was saying.
“You thought I was dead?” asked Whartleburg.
“You were unaware of what you did? It’s called a Hunter’s Glare trap.”
“Lady, I cannot train you,” said Whartleburg, “Only a master in the Maantisazian school of Enzectozoid marshal arts can do that now.”
“The Maantisazian school is for Enzectozoids who are mantis, wheel bug, or other assassin types.”
“Who, me?” exclaimed Victoria, “I’m no killer.”
“Then show me,” said Whartleburg, “Put your hands up. Like you are praying.”
Victoria reluctantly put her hands up in front of her.
“Now close your eyes.”
At first she refused but Whartleburg convinced her it would be ok.
Whartleburg then picked up a rock and threw it right at Victoria.
Victoria quickly shot out her hand and snatched the rock out of the air. She looked at the stone, amazed she caught it. But then she realized the rock had been perfectly cut into three pieces.
“How’d I do that?”
“Your instincts make you attack anything that comes near. Until you can train, you cannot be yourself without causing violence,” said Whartleburg.
Just then, a swirling blue storm cloud boiled forth out of nothing six feet from the ground. From out of the swirling tempest emerged a giant. Muscular, white beard, light blue skinned and balding, The giant was sent to destroy the stronghold.
“My liege!” ran Whevelbor panting. “Reports have come in. The enemy knows the fortress is taken.”
“That explains why the giant is here,” said Whartleburg.
“My army has provided us transportation,” said Whevelbor.
Close to the fortress were several old military Jeeps.
“All we need to do is not get caught,” said Victoria.
“Can you still fight, my liege?” asked Whevelbor.
“It’s been a long day,” said Whartleburg, “But we must escape.”
Whartleburg raised his arms to summon his battle axes, but he knew already that he still did not have the strength to use them fully. The axes appeared, but then faded and returned whence they came.
“Alas, I need more strength,” said Whartleburg.
“What if I helped?” asked Victoria, “All we need is a distraction, right?”
“You’re not trained yet,” argued Whartleburg.
“Perhaps I can help,” said Whevelbor, “I happen to know the instructor for Maantisazian school of Enzectozoid marshal arts. I cannot use his instruction myself, but let me pass on what I know.”
Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?