[MV] The Super Wizard From Space #20: The Echo People, Part 4

Wil Alambre wilalambre at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 08:24:29 PDT 2011

Andy Dharma donned the douli hat of light, and though it floated inches
above his head, he immediately felt an astonishing weight collapse upon

It was like an entire other reality had been tucked inside, that it all
poured out and soaked into his pores, muscles, and bones. The very
heart-stuff of galaxies and nebulas, ground down into a near invisible
mist, latching onto every one of his atoms, turning each into a
condensed solar system of themselves. His skin felt like it was a
stretched membrane trying to hold this new everything inside while still
keeping the old everything out.

He clutched at the brim with both hands. He shut his eyes tight. He
gritted his teeth. He emptied his mind, and the cosmic energy just
filled it up. He instinctively dropped into the blankness of his calming
zen, and the cosmic energy just filled it up. He drew on decades of
training, on centuries of teachings, on whispers and theories of long
dead masters, expanding out into the meditative spectrum, down past the
x-zen and plummeting into the dangerously nonexistent gamma-zen... and
the cosmic energy just filled it up.

"What have you done?" came a sugary, poisoned voice from beyond the
confines of the new power. 

It was like a lifeline, something he could cling to and pulled himself
out of the immensity of his new self and back to the balcony and the
valley and the world. When he opened his eyes, it felt like the first
breathe of a drowning man accidentally learning to swim. Everything old
and comfortable and familiar was seen with a new desperate appreciation.
The weather aged wood of the balcony, the mossed covered stone of the
mountain monastery, the black blue of the evening sky illuminated by a
sliver of a far away moon and pinpricks of distant stars.

Transparent shapes swirled around him. Ghastly, milky eyed, opened
mouthed, their scales dull and aged, their fins torn and ragged. The
ghost fish swum through the cool night air like they did in the seas of
their long abandoned lives, a thick school of over a dozen. And amongst
them, her golden liquid form radiating instinctive authority, the
shocked angry stare of Queen Buzz.

"I've claimed what is mine," he said slowly, hearing his voice again
with new ears. "The cosmic crown of the Invisible Monks, bequeathed from
father to son down the line of the Dharma family."

"It doesz not belong on your brow, villain. It isz the burden of the
maszter hero, Brody Dharma."

"For what?" he spat out, his fury unconsciously manifesting as a burst
of rippling wind that scattered the phantasmal school. "To be kept and
hoarded? To be hidden here atop this mountain, as he hides our martial
order and our sacred teachings? While the simpler people beneath the
mist scrape by unenlightened and unseen?"

"You have not earned the right."

"And he did?" he said, pointing at Brody's prostrate form, still
paralyzed from Andy's flurry of nerve pinches. "Doing what he was told,
believing what he was taught? He is me. I am him. We are the same."

She held out her gel-shaped hand toward him, palm up, as if to hold him
within her grasp. The ghost fish started to regain their courage, their
minds' eyes envisioning psychic nets. Even in this temporary form,
transmitting from vast distances, her presence was like a gravity sink
to the leaderless school. 

"You are unbalanczed. You cannot be truszted with coszmic power." Her
hand closed into a fist and squeezed. From every direction, the spectral
fish tossed out their determination in crisscrossing grey lines, trying
to ensnare his mind. 

Andy reached out and grasped at the mental tendrils, wrapping them
around his fingers and tugging sharply. Cosmic energy flattened the
universe around him, making the spiritual forms of the dead sea life as
real to him as the wooden floor under his feet. The school recognized
the risk, flooding the area with panicking purples and reds, but they
could not escape the sudden pull. Andy turned in a half-circle and,
envisioning a whirlpool with no bottom, he dragged the unlucky ghosts
into the infinite nothingness of his meditative state, stoppering it
with his chi.

The surviving fish circled in widening rings around him, against the
current of his pull. Queen Buzz raised her chin, frowning, and held her
other hand palm up beside the first. The fish glared at Andy as she
started to form a fist. Their milky eyes hollowing, their simple forms
becoming jagged fearsome reflections of their anger.

"No more of this," he said. Standing to his full nine feet, he pointed
directly at Queen Buzz and declared, "I challenge the Super Wizard From
Space in cosmic challenge and you shall bear witness."

The douli hovering over his head shone with a blinding energy, wrapping
chains of white light around him as the weight of the challenge
manifested with electrical rigidity. He felt crushed. He felt confined.
His shoulders felt a pressure on them, like the words had shackled him
to the planet.

And though her form was a transmission, no more real that a long,
far-off whisper, Andy could see her buckle under the same sudden weight.
The liquid gel almost collapsed, losing its grip on her appearance. It
rounded into a simple sphere for a moment before it pushed back into the
female shape. Her eyes were filled with heavy troubles, her mouth a
promising frown.

"I am as much Brody as he is me," Andy said, cutting off any response
from her, "I have worn the crown as long as he has. I know how to use it
as well as he does. And I know of your vengeful tournament. I am no

"You can no longer harm me. Not while I am engaged in my challenge. The
crowns prevent it. All you can do is watch." He couldn't help a feeling
of gloating as he saw her face try to repress some very ugly
frustration. It was so satisfying to see that normally beautiful visage
lose control. 

"But do not fret, your majesty. I will give you exactly what you want."
He leapt up onto the railing of the balcony, easily balancing on the the
thin rail. He looked down into the valley between the two tallest
mountains, staring at the mile wide metal disc wedged between them. It
had come down with such force that it had dragged and scrapped the sides
of the peaks, but eventually settled flat, nearly parallel to the
ground, stuck just above the ever present mist like a varnished plane.
"I will fight your dread wizard. I will take his crown. And more, if
need be."

Her frustration broke and there was a wide eyed surprise that slowly
melted into a careful calculation. Andy decided it best to wear his
motivations on his sleeve; she would never trust him, but he expected
she might agree with him if his goals advanced her own. "I want you and
your ilke gone. I have a world to change, a zeitgeist to be on which to
be the forefront. You are the troublesome stones lurking in the leaves
of my autumn raking. What do I have to do to have Amity to myself?"

There was a straggling mumble from the floor between them. Brody was
trying to slide toward him, only having regained some control. The
Twenty Bandit Pinch that Andy had struck him with was feared throughout
the invisible galaxy for its ability to do permanent damage to not only
its victim, but to the victim's immediate loved ones, so great do the
blows resonate. Luckily, their father had confronted the original
bandits one at a time, developing an instinctive countermeasure that he
had taught his offspring. { The Adventures of Buddy Dharma #44 }

Queen Buzz looked down at the struggling lizard, then stepped forward,
standing between him and the railing. This close, Andy could look right
through her semi-opaque form. He could count the right angles of the
circuitry in the honey-tech, and could see the blurry form of his
brother behind her.

"Don't do this..." Brody managed, reaching out an unsteady hand toward
Andy. He looked so small now. Did Andy seem that way to him when he wore
the power?

"Kill him, Andy Dharma," demanded Queen Buzz. "Kill the Szuper Wizzard
From Szpace."

Wil Alambre, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wilalambre

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