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SSAR-02 The Voice

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    From out of Vlad's mouth came Vladahawk's voice. "Be lucky you aren't the parent of a child that doesn't follow in his father's footsteps, like my partner, the good warrior." Vlad replied. "Easy, Vladahawk. I'm still proud of my son no matter the path he chose." Vladahawk quipped. "Valosphinx and I both remember how disappointed you were when Alexander asked to apprentice in artificing and not in Demon Hunting in your pillow talk with the Professor. Need I remind you about that time the good warrior was more of a selfish parent?"

    "Yas and me both, bloke." said Exan to Joseph regarding the blabbermouths within. "Ah chose only to support them through being magical and enchanting tools. Our parental units can keep the glory of being 'untsmen." Though he was being cordial, he did find Joseph just as cute as his brother, he stayed respectful. But then again, his youthful scent said differently to the Lords and non-humans present.

    Jirra hopped up to his charge and glared at him, You need to control your hormones, Alexander, those that can understand the Watchroo could hear him say. He then hopped forward. You have a big day tomorrow without any Lords or Lady Mathilda worrying about your libido. Get it together!

    "What's gotten into yas, Jirra?" said Exan in a confused manner. "There isn't any trouble 'ere!"

    Lord Rein said mentally. That would disappoint Robyn. She's been told that her friend Exan is destined for more and would turn out different, but she considers him as vanilla as a firefighter landing a spot as a lead of a Ranger team. Shameless mocking of Lightspeed's recruiting practices in Mariner Bay. He then said to Robyn "Lady Mathilda accidentally reached me while trying to reach a human destined for a great mission. She just wanted me to let you know that Exan will be on an extended trip for a couple evenings."

    "Two nights and a day without me trapping him?" Robyn said, then tousled her hair wildly in frustration.. "That is no fun at all!"

    That sounds simple enough, nodded Hector. I didn't try one of those treats; they looked like they could chip a human tooth.

    Izzy said, Once you run out of those things let us know. As dragons reach different age levels, the miniscule the supply would seem as they grow. As for the Emerald and Buckle, it is a special buckle known as a Driver. The Emerald Key unlocks a power and armor that will transform you into an uncommon warrior known as a Kamen Rider, once you have the dragon head chomp the key as if it's eating the stone. The armor is made to evolve with each age level of your hatchling. We are curious, what kind of hatchling was in your egg?

    Hector replied, He is hatchling with emerald scales and kite-like wings. I named him Jakkin, after a protagonist of a book I once read in school before my family moved to Australia.


      Joseph replied to Exan, "Ah know Lord Kiel 'as been around the station a lot even back when Ah was younger before my accident. Originally, Ah thought 'e was around to keep an eye on Deryk. But then there were times when Deryk would be in 'is crib and Ah'd catch Kiel observing me while Ah did my studies. The bloke was watching me; not Deryk. And now 'e wants to train me."

      Kiel smirked as he mentally said to Zeustail, My son is starting to figure it out. 'ad 'e been a normal mortal, then Delvyroo's angelic resurrection on 'im wouldn't 'ave worked. Yas saw what 'appened to the bones of the normal mortal men that was brought out of the cistern. Joseph is a Dreamtime Were-Kangaroo like myself. But 'is powers and abilities 'aven't been unleashed as yet. This is why Ah need to train 'im.

      Zeustail shot back, You sly old Lord.... why'd yas tell everyone that Deryk was yer son for?

      Kiel replied, If the others thought that Deryk was my son, they would treat 'im better in public. Mathilda will straighten 'im out once she lays the blessing on 'im. Joseph will be trained in all the fun things. Ah'll 'ave 'im smiling in no time.

      Deryk then reached out and snagged Kiel by the ear. "We 'ave to get our rest for the bus ride tomorrow. Or are yas wanting me to walk to the cavern tonight?"

      Kiel ow-ow-owed as he got dragged off toward the house.

      Zeustail grinned as he hopped over to Exan. "Are yas needing a bath tonight, Exan? And what is this Ah am 'earing about 'ormones? Are yas in 'eat or something and yer girlfriend Robyn 'as yas 'en-pecked?"

      Aboard the train, Mathilda whispered into the sleeping Nick's ears, Yes could 'ave waited for me to send an escort to guide yas down to Kane's Cavern. But yer keeping good time, my joey. Don't miss the bus in Longreach or else Ah'll 'ave a Legend Roo come and bang yer bottom.

      Gale smirked, OH, those kind of treats. I thought you meant the chewy versions. Where was my mind? he giggled to himself.

      Syrax nodded his muzzle. At least I kept my mind in the right place.


        Exan said lowly, "Ah'm not seeing anybody, Ah 'ave been focused on becoming an Artificer. Besides, Ah am more interested in blokes than sheilas." Like most other Lonewolf men. "'owever, there is something about the atmosphere that is getting me more curious about 'em. Odd since Ah never 'ad this 'appen before, and Ah've seen Deryk several times, and not seeing 'im as more than cute." He then said, "Is that what Jirra is worried about, bloke, my 'ormones? Why the concern about this?" He didn't answer about the bath. His mind seemed to cloud a bit.

        Vlad looked towards Zeustail and Exan as if Vladahawk pointed something out to him. He was concerned, and his glance toward Zeustail meant he kept his promise hold a secret from Exan until he received the blessing.

        Izzy said. Same with my mind. Once you return to your body, I would like you to try transforming with that Driver. Open the jaw and insert the Emerald Key, and close it on the key after saying the words 'Rider Transform.' That is my assignment for you before you join us again for your next lesson.

        Hector nodded. I will do that. But how do I attach it if there is no belt to go with it?

        Hover it at your waist in front of you, Izzy smirked. The belt should snake out and attach itself to your waist.


          Auranea put her arm around Joseph and guided him back into the house and directly to the young man's personal bedroom. "When Kiel returns from escorting Deryk to Kane's Cavern tomorrow night, yas will then 'ave permission to go train with 'im. If 'is order mates get frisky toward yas, just kick then in the sac while singing about Planet Janet."

          Zeustail said, "We better bed down, mates. We don't want yas to oversleep and miss the bus in the morning."

          Dirk smiled. "It will be quiet on the station once the boys are gone to find their destiny. What do yas think Robyn will do when Exan doesn't come back after the blessing?"

          Gale looked to Syrax. May I have permission to go to where Hector is on Earth to oversee his Scale Guardian training?

          Syrax giggled. I thought that was why Hector wanted a trainer to help him for. It is strange that only you asked for permission to go, whereas Izzy is speaking as if he will give advice distantly. I suppose he has a class of young upstarts that he cannot take his eyes off of. What about you, Gale?

          Gale smiled. My class finally moved on to another instructor when they felt that they learned all they could learn from me.

          Syrax chuckled. Boy, will that come back to bite them on the tail later! Very well, Gale... You have my permission to go help Hector on Earth.

          Gale vanished for a moment before reappearing quickly wearing a rainbow striped backpack. I am ready to go.


            While Auranea sounded almost as bad as the Professor's anti-Outback sister, Vlad got a little worried for his son, and what he could possibly be going through to get both Jirra and Zeustail's attention. "Seeing how she seeks Alexander as a target for her traps, she will be hard-pressed to find another person to fall for her traps without reacting." He didn't get why he preferred such an unusual nickname.

            "Ah guess since everyone's bedding down, its time that we get to the bunk'ouse near the bus stop, as planned?" He sounded like he was trying to keep himself on task at least until he earned the blessing tomorrow. He definitely sounded like he was resisting the start of a heat.

            Vlad said towards Jirra, Zeustail and his son. "Go a'ead onto the Bunk'ouse. I'll be along shortly. Just need to have a word with Dirk before I turn in myself then head back to Stonehenge in the morn."

            Izzy said, My young upstarts are barely out of their eggs as far as I'm concerned. They can't even clean their scales without proper guidance! But real dragon instructors really should find the idea of training a human quite the adventure, no matter how busy they are. The best I can do is teach Juikungrate and impart knowledge on the Rider system he apparently was granted when he received the emerald dragon egg.

            Hector then smiled. I am grateful for both of your help. If you need to find me, I am in Australia in a town called Bundaberg... it is known for brewing and producing various beverages.


              Gale smiled. Some dragon instructors love using mental speech a little too much. But I grow weary of it after a while. As for my former students, I don't train babies. The Shadodraks felt that they knew as much as I knew and when they asked for permission to go join another instructor, I let them go. I am sure old Baelwing is growling up a storm putting up with these new upstarts.

              Syrax rolled his eyes. Sounds like I need to go rescue Baelwing before he forgets his manners. Take Care, Hector. Most humans shouldn't spend so long in a mental call like this or risk becoming as scaly as Jakkin. Being a Kangaroo would be far safer than having one's tools pull up inside of a new slit that one isn't used to. And he headed off to give Baelwing a reprieve.

              Gale ended his mental speech with, I never said that I had earned the right to call myself a real dragon; not like the Imperial Dragon Council. They all think rainbow scales are a throwback to our faerie dragon heritage. But how wrong they are. Ready or not, Hector, cause here I come... And he vanished from the dragon college in an array of sparkling colors.

              Dirk took Vlad into the Demon Hunter Command Center which had a small lounge and a bar counter. "What's on yer mind, yas old soldier?"


                "Tomorrow," sighed Vlad. "It's how things will turn out for Alexander after the blessing. He's been living the human life, and soon things will be different for him. But a deal is a deal is a deal... even a good warrior knows that." He then simplified, "I regret not saying anything sooner to Alexander about why he is so magically inclined, and the real reason why Lord Zeustail is so invested in him. But a vow is a vow, even if I don't have a pouch to cross.

                "Us parents can be such selfish people sometimes, am I wrong to believe that?"

                Suddenly Hector snapped out of the mental call in his family home in Bundaberg as Jakkin chirped from his lap. "Daddy okay?" the little one said in concern.

                "Yes..." He rubbed the head of the hatchling happily. "Daddy is okay, Jakkin." He then added as he checked out the window to see if Delilah car was in the driveway or his parents were home yet. Then he checked the time; it wasn't that long since he ingested the powder. "We should expect a rainbow scaled teacher to pay a house call soon. He'll Teach me how to take care of you and keep you strong. A good dragon should be able to take care of his child, right?"

                Jakkin titled his head as he was placed gently on Hector's bed.

                Hector pulled out the Driver from the basket of care items, as well as the key. "Also since the family aren't home, I might as well do my homework.

                Hector pulled out his Scale Driver and put the belt around his waist, feeling it activate as the buckle locked in. Hector pushed down the horns of the dragon head on the Scale Driver, and slid the Scale Emerald into the maw of his belt. A standby tune was heard as Hector slowly got into a pose. "Rider Transform!" He then pulled the handled grip, causing the head to 'chomp' on the Emerald, and it's 'eye' to glow a vivid green color. A Dragon's roar is heard as emerald scaled jumpsuit formed over his body. Armored boots and gauntlets appeared first, followed by an Emerald breastplate, and bulky shoulder guards. With Jakkin securing himself inside the bulky armor, a draconic helmet shaped of emerald stone appeared over his head. With the Emerald Scale Spear appearing in his grip, Hector struck a ready fighting stance as the Kamen Rider Scale Guard!

                Multiple rapid close-ups of the armor occured in succession, ending with Jakkin finding the sanctuary within the shoulder armor quite comfortable for a hatchling of his size. Hector collapsed his Emerald Scale Spear and clipped it to the back of his belt. "Guess having armor does have some good advantages," he remarked, as he looked around his room. He found out he could see undescrible colors unknown to human-kind. "Wooow..." He then looked around and said, "Is this how dragons perceive colors? This is amazing!" His Scale Driver's eye glowed and let out a beam of light that phased through the outer wall of his bedroom and down to the driveway. His ten-speed mountain bicycle was transformed by the emerald light into an emerald dragon shadodrak-themed Rider Machine. It looked similar to a slightly armored Ryno monowheel motorcycle with a thick wheel and a parking bumper in the motif of a hatchling's dragon claws. It also had a marking printed on the side of the tire, reading 'Machine Shadodrak - STG-1.' "That's new," Hector remarked in amazement.

                Since the last time we peeked in on them, Robyn was now insisting that she couldn't let her favorite trap victim go that easily, so Lord Rein decided to train her in the span of an hour in a time dilation bubble spell of his own creation, allowing for a month of time to train in the art of chaos in preparation of using her Ranger powers for the first time. He made sure she also had a good night's sleep in between training sessions, and explained to her about her aspect of Autumn. It was nearing the end of her training.

                Lord Rein flicked his ears as he summoned a canister of matcha to make tea. "Now that you have gotten chaos powers and techniques learned and added to your skills, and the kitsune martial arts to a decent level, you will be granted the use of your morphers." He twitched his foxy ears in typical kemonomimi style. As they glowed in power and disappeared. "Now call out for them, with feeling and fun!"

                Robyn grinned as she shouted "Vixen Chaos!" She raised out her arms as two bracers appeared on her wrists. She then crossed them over her chest, and outstretched her arms wide, and touched the bracers together. "We are free!" Robyn jumped from her tree, and found herself floating in mid-air, as her surroundings change into an autumn forest! A chaos vixen spirit appeared and playfully ran around her. A black jumpsuit appeared on her first, followed by a bronze stylized tunic and skirt, a silver belt, and bronze gloves and boots. Robyn then felt the breeze lift her up as her Chaos Staff appeared in her hand in three chained sections, and snapped back in place into a staff. The Chaos Vixen Spirit then leaped up and changed into a helmet, and landed over Robyn's head. With the chaos shawl appearing over her shoulder, Robyn landed on firm ground as she struck a complacent pose. "Chaos of Autumn, Bronze Vixen Ranger! Let the fun begin!"

                Multiple close-ups occurred in rapid succession finishing off with her Chaos Staff splitting into a sansetsukon. "Ready to make Exan and his new friends fall into traps and tricks, for chaos sake!"

                "Good." praised the Kitsune Lord, as he summoned his own magic carpet, and made the time dilation bubble spell end. "Now what took a month only an hour of time has passed out here. You now have what it takes to be a little more wily and adept at the arts of chaos and have the magical powers to do so. You will have a loan of my magical carpet so you can get to Kane's Cavern and be just as sneaky as I taught you to be. After we have some tea and mitarashi dango, it will be time for you go home and get some rest. You'll need it to be in top shape in the morning."

                "Thank you Lord Rein," said Robyn as she powered down and gave the Kitsune Lord a hug.

                Lord Rein smiled as he patted her back gently. "Don't thank me yet until you get your friend good and get him to laugh."


                  Dirk poured a few drinks before saying, "Just like in the story of the Prince and the Pauper, Auranea and Ah told all of our friends and neighbors that Deryk was Kiel's son, when in truth, Joseph was Kiel's son albeit locked into 'uman form. This is why Kiel searched 'igh and low for Joseph these past few months; it was 'is son. The reason we told the normal folk that Deryk was Kiel's son was so that 'e would 'ave a shield of protection and respect from Dreamtimers and other Outback citizens. Deryk is one 'undred percent straight and 'uman. 'e 'as not shown the slightest bit of curiosity in neither people nor sex... although magic is another matter entirely. Deryk is Old Germanic for The People's Ruler or the Gifted King, while the family surname is Irish Gaelic meaning Fierce Courage. Thus Deryk is the Gifted King of Fierce Courage. A powerful magic user of Irish Gaelic descent. Joseph is a Were-Kangaroo whose name is derived from the 'ebrew which means God Increases. Therefore, Joseph as a Dreamtimer is Divine Courage. Among Dreamtimers, surnames are greatly un'eard of. Lord Kiel 'imself 'as a story where 'e 'imself 'ad died once. and 'e was revived to do bigger things. And now, 'is son is 'aving this same start. Ah didn't really believe the story myself until we learned that Joseph 'ad died and Deryk as Angelic Warrior Delvyroo restored 'im to life. Thus this is Joseph's beginning. 'e isn't ready to go off on adventures with Deryk as yet. But later on, per'aps they will meet again."

                  Dirk now turned to Vlad once again. "If by what yas are implying in regards to Exan and Zeustail... yas mean to say that Exan is a Dreamtimer offspring; let me warn yas now... Deryk is straight. If a Dreamtimer defiles 'is purity, Ah will slay the one whom did it. Deryk is one 'undred percent 'uman. And Ah want 'im to stay that way. We did not train 'im to 'ave weird sex with the creatures of the Outback. Otherwise, Ah would 'ave introduced 'im to an available devil mouse, or worse case scenario, a Pyrax. They are certainly 'orny enough. Devil Mice are stretchy." Dirk then got serious. "Is Zeustail Exan's real parent with yas?"

                  From a nearby bush which would normally have no flowers on it whatsoever... a rainbow colored flower quivered as it flowed out from the bush and landed on the ground near Hector, forming into what appeared to be a Leprechaun whom was wearing a rainbow colored glittery jacket instead of the classic green top coat. "So this is where you live. Not bad. Fear not, Hector, this is how I look among human kind. It is I, Instructor Gale." He then did a short tap dance routine as he bowed with a display of showman's flare.

                  Mathilda then pinged Lord Rein with a warning... If yer charge causes 'arm to those whom would receive my blessing, Ah will not 'esitate to slay the little bitch. We 'ave enough cranky females in the outback without your adding one more to the melting pot. Or is castration the threat that will get the 'point' across? And when she implied 'point', the image of Artemis' vorpal arrows slicing Ares' balls off was visualized. Ah am already 'aving to put up with Outback Legend's complaints in regards to 'is newest recruits. 'e says actual rocks could perform better.

                  After Auranea gave cookies and milk to Kiel and Deryk in one room and Zeustail and Exan in their bunkhouse, she departed to go check on Joseph.

                  Kiel smiled at Deryk. "Ah 'ope yas don't 'ate me for what Ah am about to say to yas, Deryk... but Ah 'ave learned that 'onesty leads to better rewards."

                  Deryk grinned at Kiel as his eyes sparkled for a moment. "Yas are not my father. My mother and father made up that story with yer assistance so Dreamtime citizens would give me better respect while Ah was growing up." As Kiel looked surprised at what Deryk had just said, the boy added, "Read Aura spell. It was one of the first spells mom taught me. Oh don't be so mopey, Kiel... Ah enjoyed yer being my bodyguard out in public or as some people suspected, my boyfriend. 'ad Dirk found out that they 'ad been saying that, Joseph wouldn't 'ave been the only one at the bottom of the cistern. Ah do love yas, Kiel, bodyguard, instructor or otherwise, yas 'ave taught me a lot. Although, since yas never displayed any sexual interest in me, Ah did not grow up looking for same-gender relationships. Exan seems nice, but 'is sniffing me the way a Dreamtimer in rut acts just before they pounce someone actually turned me off. Yas 'ave never so openly done that to me. If Ah am to learn about same-gender relationships, then Ah want that extended education from yas since yas were there for me throughout my youth."

                  Kiel smiled. "My son Joseph is a Were-Kangaroo with the ability locked. Although Zeustail 'imself is not a Were-Kangaroo, 'is is an Academy Instructor at LEAPS in Kangaroo Town, in the Dreamtime. 'e and Outback Legend train the new elites, to be, at that Academy. Although more recently, O.L.'s newest recruits are so damned lazy. 'e 'as been saying that 'uman teenagers would be better motivated. Or even... as derogatory as it may sound, a pile of rocks, would 'ave more willpower."

                  Deryk giggled as he hugged Kiel as the two finished off their milk and cookies before laying down together in bed. Tomorrow would be the big day.

                  Zeustail savored the milk and cookies that he had been given. "Exan, my boy... this Kane's Cavern blessing is serious business. One time, some Crocs went in there the night before a scheduled blessing and sprayed graffiti all over Mathilda's walls. Every Croc that did that woke up the following morning with Candy-Cane PINK scales that couldn't be cleaned off until Mathilda's cavern walls were cleaned up first. Dirk and Vlad were laughing their asses off." He winked at the young artificer graduate.

                  ((Your reply will be the last before the next morning... when I will start Part 2.))


                    Vlad said, "Alexander is a Dreamtimer offspring without knowledge of his origins as per agreement with Zeustail, but I would've forbade him from apprenticing under your wife if he was using it as an ulterior motive, which is why I played the part of the 'warrior with a wounded pride' after he refused to follow in my footsteps as a Huntsman; I tested him to make sure he didn't ruin things. Our life went back to the closest to normalcy after the proverbial blow-up Zander caused that spanned from West Australia to Stonehenge. That and I also warned him of your mother in-law in case he acted on infatuation with any of your offspring without consent." He shuddered before downing the drink poured from him. "Another please. I haven't felt even the slightest buzz since I domestically partnered up with our Professor friend; he enforced USA-style Prohibition in our home."

                    The good warrior grimaced. "I had my son witness the birth of his nephew after Zander got the Sauventreen boy pregnant as a precautionary tale to not let libido be the lord of his reason. I bet you heard from Mathilda about the incident that caused Zander to be pulling double duty for two years; working as a Demon Hunter and being on call for diaper duty. I just hope Doctor Sauventreen was sent home safely before Mathilda punished her Artificer husband for coming to the Outback to cause shit and try to kill my stepson for getting his son pregnant. Couldn't believe a man of faith would use such vulgar words and slurs and shot up the family album.

                    Hector arched an eye, as Jakkin sniffed as his neck craned out of one side of the shoulder armor of Hector. "Jakkin smell dragon. Scent coming from Daddy Dragon species."

                    "Not really human if it's a leprechaun," commented Hector as he gave the hatchling one of the rough snacking minerals to try. "My parents and sister are not home, Galehearth Prismabow. If you can turn yourself into a stuffed rainbow dragon as well, you are welcome to hide with some plush lizards I have started to collect after moving here whenever they are around. Couldn't keep my lizards when I moved from America."

                    Lord Rein had a spittake of his tea when Mathilda sent him the mental image with his warning.

                    "Lord Rein, what's wrong?" Robyn said out of concern.

                    Magicking a handkerchief into existence to wipe up his mouth, the Kitsune Lord said "I just got a terse warning from Lady Mathilda; I am to to keep you from causing real trouble, under punishment of medieval neutering." He left out the death part, but he didn't need to say it. "It'll be best not to get Dreamtime pissed off at you tomorrow, for both our sakes. Which is why you must cause any harm; real or illusion. So that means... if you want to see Exan after the blessing, you must do it after. Not before or during. I will be escorting you there, but I will be invisible to all eyes except yours and Lady Mathilda. I wonder how the local member of the unofficial Lords of Chaos handle this red tape to cause some fun?"

                    Robyn ulped.

                    Exan absentmindedly rubbed on Zeustail's ears with one hand, and patting Jirra's side with the other. "Ah almost let libido be the lord of reason earlier, and Ah cannot 'ave that. Da' warned me as such, and Ah am glad we went to the bunk'ouse when we did. Ah need to not act that way if Ah expect to be on my best be'avior tomorrow." He then asked curiously, "Da' never told me 'ow 'e knew yas, Lord Zeustail. Ah wonder if 'e lost a bet that 'e still needs to pay back?" His mind was clearer than it was clouded by the testosterone assailing his senses earlier.


                      Part Two: Kanes Cavern

                      Tour Bus
                      The Next Morning

                      When the train dropped off Nick at the depot in Longreach, he only had twelve minutes to catch the bus that would take him down to Kanes Cavern. Oddly, there were several Dreamtime citizens openly seated aboard this Southbound tour bus. Nick got seated between a Dingo gent and a grey Kangaroo boomer.

                      The Grey looked at Nick after his introduction. "So yer one of the living Kanes from Ringwood River? We rarely see any of yer people this far East."

                      Nick grinned. "Over in that area, we usually only see Dingoes, Crocs, and Bush Rats. Kangaroos tend to avoid that neck of the Outback. Mathilda began sending me the call to come to Kanes Cavern. Mom and Dad said that Ah should go and 'eed the summons."

                      The Grey grinned. "And to think Ah was thinking about teleporting today; sure am glad Ah chose to ride the bus now; Ah gots to see a Kane!"

                      Kiel and Deryk were seated out at the bus stop with Zeustail and Exan. Kiel said, "The bus will be coming along sooner or later. Are yas nervous, Deryk?"

                      Deryk shook his head. "As long as yas are escorting me, Ah 'ave nothing to be nervous about. Ah saw yas speaking to Joseph before we came out 'ere. Is 'e okay?"

                      Kiel said, "Ah told 'im the truth about 'is past and Ah promised to unlock 'is potential during training. That's when 'e punched me."

                      Zeustail smiled at Jirra and Exan. "'ow will it feel to be finally free of Robyn?" If only he knew...

                      Gale yawned as he got up from the pile of stuffed dragon plushies; he was back in his multi-colored mini-dragon form as he began sniffing around the household. Hector? Jakkin? Where are you guys? He was choosing to be mental just in case Hector's family were around today.


                        Bus Stop

                        Exan smiled. A good night's sleep helped him resist the libido even more with his willpower. He had a wooden boomerang he was carving an elegant design into the surface. He wasn't expecting trouble. It was the whole 'idle hands are the devil-roo's playthings' saying that the Professor told him once. He said, "She was never that much of a 'indrance... the only time Ah was upset with her was when she dared to go into the workshop and pull a prank on me while I was there. Other than that, getting caught in her traps for several years helped to sharpen my wits a little." If Vlad heard that, he would be proud of that view.

                        The young Lonewolf was proving that he was taught to be better than the way he acted yesterday. He only glanced towards the direction of Lord Kiel and Deryk once to wave politely, after that, he was focused on fine precision carving. Good practice for when he enchants weapons and items in the workshop.

                        Anthony Household, Bundaberg

                        Hector replied mentally as he was in the kitchen slicing up raw meat carefully and putting it in a bowl. He was considering putting a small dusting of calcium powder into the meat, but he didn't know if it was safe for dragons since this was only his second day caring for carnivorous reptile-like creatures. Plus, Jakkin and Gale were nothing like the Bearded Dragon he named Merothrax in the States that he had to give to a fellow reptile lover before the move. My sister is working on an online legal course in the living room, while I am cutting up some fresh lamb meat for Jakkin. I bought about several kilograms of that and various stew meat cuts from the butcher this morning out of my savings. Ranch-raised venison, beef, pork, only a small amount of Emu. Would you like some as well?

                        Jakkin was still snoozing in the basket, curled up like a kitten. Well... a scaly kitten with wings and a ridges on his back. But he was enjoying the warmth of the sun lamp Hector brought out for him. The lamp was on a very safe adjustable setting. Not enough to start a fire, but just enough to keep Jakkin a little more cozy comfy.

                        Tour Bus, Longreach

                        "Why do we have to take the long way when you said we can use the carpet?" Robyn complained as they got on the bus.

                        "Because," Lord Rein said nonchalantly as he returned his flying carpet to a magical orb after the quick flight from Stonehenge. He was using a spell to fool humans (except Robyn) to perceive him as one of their species. More notably, a handsome Japanese young adult wearing a fine western suit. "If you insist you be there to see how much Exan will be different, Lady Mathilda insisted that we must not take shortcuts like those journeying for their blessing." He remembered how adamant she was about killing Robyn if she caused any problems. And what is in store for him should he cause chaos himself. He looked at the various passengers, and noticed they were not ordinary animals. "Hmm... maybe I shouldn't have used a glamour, considering there are various beings of various species on this bus." He then undid the spell, and everyone saw his kemonomimi 'fox man' form in an decorative kimono with an autumnal motif. "Besides, I always wanted to ride on a bus. And do be careful about mentioning someone not here to others Robyn-kun. The subject always have a tendency to sneeze when mentioned, no matter how far the distance." They sat in the seats in front of Nick Kane, awaiting the timed departure.


                          Tour Bus, Longreach

                          The bus driver called out, "Now pulling out of Longreach station, mates! Ah'll keep the door open for late arrivals, but once we leave Longreach, the doors will be closed and Ah won't open them again until the stop in Ilfracombe, then, Devonshire, Killarney, Isisford, and then a short bathroom break in Emmet! After that, it's on to Blackall and finally our final destination at Koondoo for the famed Kane's Cavern! And today we 'ave a special treat! One of the young Ringwood Kane family members are actually on the bus with us today! Enjoy the ride, mates!" And then the bus driver turned on his personal favorite for traveling songs and got the bus moving.

                          I'm comin' home, I've done my time
                          Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
                          If you received my letter telling you I'd soon be free
                          Then you'll know just what to do
                          If you still want me, if you still want me

                          Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
                          It's been three long years, do you still want me?
                          If I don't see a ribbon round the ole oak tree
                          I'll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me
                          If I don't see a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

                          Bus driver, please look for me
                          'Cause I couldn't bear to see what I might see
                          I'm really still in prison and my love, she holds the key
                          A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free
                          And I wrote and told her please

                          Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
                          It's been three long years, do you still want me?
                          If I don't see a ribbon round the ole oak tree
                          I'll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me
                          If I don't see a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

                          Now the whole damned bus is cheerin'
                          And I can't believe I see

                          A hundred yellow ribbons round the ole oak tree
                          I'm comin' home

                          Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
                          Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
                          Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
                          Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

                          Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (Feb 19, 1973)
                          Performed by Tony Orlando and Dawn; lyrics by Irwin Levine / L. Russell Brown
                          Nick glanced at the Dingo gent and asked, "Why is it special for a Kane to be going to Kane's cavern? No one ever told me the significance of our family in relation to Kane's Cavern."

                          The Dingo gent smiled and said, "It's like this, mate... Way back in the settler days of Australia, One of yer ancestors couldn't find a place to set up 'is station and church. The bloke came upon an injured Kangaroo sheila and after tending to 'er injuries, 'e said, May the Good Lord guide yas back to the proper path. Ah only 'ope and pray that 'e will show me the way to my new 'ome. And then the kangaroo sheila got up to 'er feet and she nudged the young preacher and 'is family off toward a 'ole in the rocky 'ill near Koondoo and she then 'opped on inside. When the young family went inside, they found a chamber large enough for a small town and just beyond that chamber the young preacher saw a gigantic kangaroo sheila tending to 'er joeys and to the flyer the preacher 'ad just patched up. The giant Kangaroo sheila told the young preacher and 'is family, The Good Lord asked me to share my cavern with yer family so yas could have the land space to build yer station and yer church. But please keep an open mind, for even Dreamtime Lords and Ladies follow the word of the One and True God, The Lord of us All, and yas should permit those in Dreamtime to make use of yer church once it is built. They will even 'elp yas to build yer station as well as yer church. Do yas accept our offer or will yas be turned out into the 'eat of the Outback to fend for yerselves? Needless to say, The preacher thought this to be a miracle. Even in the Bible there were stories of animals speaking to men during times of great need." TAKE THAT, SABAN! "The first Kane Station and Church were then erected within Kane's Cavern. Livestock were brought in and then the builders attended to the first Kane's Cavern church session. When the collection plate was to be passed around, yer ancestor said, Normally, we would pass the donation plate around to those in attendance but Ah can see that yas 'ave no pockets, so we will simply offer a prayer to the Good Lord instead. When the session ended, the attending lords one at a time approached the altar and they began dropping coins, gold and silver nuggets, as well as wrapped food products into the donation tray. One lord told the young preacher, While we 'ave no pockets, we can summon our wealth and offered goods to offer to yer young family. Please enjoy the food in yer evening meal tonight. And then the Dreamtime Lords chanted, May the Kane's prosper forever! Aye! Aye! Aye! And then they left. They visited many more times over the years and then one day... poachers arrived in the region and they caught the Kane's away from the Cavern and they killed them in cold blood.

                          This started what the Outback now calls the Nights of Terror. Poachers were ritualistically 'unted down and crucified in gruesome ways in the middle of their camps. By the time the Australian Law forces mobilized to find out what was going on, there were gruesome corpses all over the Outback in the middle of illegal Poaching camps. During the 'unts, another Australian bounty 'unter 'elped the Dreamtime citizens in punishing these wicked Poachers, for even 'e enjoyed the Kane sermons. The Ancestor of the Fury family got 'is start as an Anti-Poaching Hunter and 'e went on to form the Fury Organization whose job was to hunt poachers and bring them in. But some say, when yas evade the Furies for too long, the Nights of Terror return and then no one is safe."

                          The Kangaroo Boomer then said, "Ooooo-eeeee-ooooooh! The Kane story starts off nice but ends in a not so nice way. The Kane children went on to further the following of the first Kane. Kane Town is still set up within Kane's Cavern. But a Kane 'as not lived there since the Nights of Terror. Occasionally a Kane is summoned to Kane's Cavern to receive the blessing from Lady Mathilda and that is why yas are on the bus today."

                          Nick was blown away by this story. Why no one had ever told him about this before was beyond him. His family had connections to Dreamtime and the Lord thy God. Yet no one ever talked about it. "...I never knew..."

                          Anthony Household, Bundaberg

                          Gale flew along a path just above the floor as he followed the smells to the kitchen where Hector was. When he got there, he flew up Hector's body and he gently landed on the young man's shoulders with his tail wrapped around the boy's neck. "Here you are. Later when Jakkin learns to fly, he will often perch himself right where I am now. So you have been up for a while, yes. I normally don't sleep in like I did, but your bed and plush collection were so comfortable. Next time, you should gently shake me awake. And remember that when I say gently shake, that means that you have permission to shake me like a rag doll or else I might not hear you."

                          Bus Stop, Devonshire

                          Lord Kiel said, "Ah sense that the tour base is running a little late as it just pulled out of Longreach. It seems that Lady Mathilda 'as summoned a Kane. Today is yer lucky day, mates. Meeting a Kane is considered the ultimate blessing on the day Mathilda calls for yas. So yas blokes get to be doubly blessed."

                          Deryk blinked his eyes. "Ah don't know if Ah can stand to have two blessings; it might make me forget 'ow to be a naughty joey." He winked with a grin.

                          Zeustail smirked. "No 'uman bloke Ah know can ever forget 'ow to be naughty; cause if that were the case, then old Roolock wouldn't be immoral anymore."

                          The two Dreamtimers laughed at that humor.

                          Kiel said, "That's right, 'e 'as been blessed 'undreds of times!"


                            Aboard the Tour Bus

                            Lord Rein smiled as he poured himself and Robyn a cup of tea each and place a accidental spill enchantment on both cups before handing one to his charge. "Another thing I forgot to mention about the wisdom of this beginning, Robyn-kun. There is always something new to learn when we traverse the long way around; from the dawn in the east to the dusk in the west. And sometimes well beyond that." He giggled in a childlike manner.

                            Anthony Household

                            "So a rough hand is usually needed for older Dragons taking tiny hatchling form," he said quietly. "Understood. There is a good meat market in town, and I was able to get to them when they opened. Took a little bit to learn to ride the Machine Shadodrak into town... what a strange bike. What is a Shadodrak anyways?" He then held up a plastic bottle of calcium powder. "Is it safe for dragons to have a dusting of this? I usually dust the reptiles' food with mineral powders to make sure they get the proper nutrients. Certain safe foods lack the nutrients that certain scalies would usually get in the wild."

                            In Hector's bedroom, Jakkin woke up and found an interesting treasure deep in his basket. It was a plant/toy ball that looked like a something a cutesy creature would play with. He suddenly seemed enticed, and started playing with it like a scaly kitten.

                            Bus Stop

                            Exan arched an eye, hoping he would keep on guard in case that weakness of his cropped up again. He just said. "Ah don't think even the Professor knows of that story, but 'e did tell me about the Fury family, and 'ow 'is old friend Stratton changed from such a kind kid to a tough-as-nails anti-poacher legacy. He said that even the best of friends can come from unlikely families." He then said, "Legacies are usually to be respected in the lands they 'ail from. The Furies are most definitely one of them, from the stories Ah've 'eard from the Professor." He looked to the Lords escorting them and asked. "Are the Kanes as prominent as the Furies in Australia?"


                              Aboard the Tour Bus

                              Nick then asked, "So what do yas two do for a living and why are yas going to Kane's Cavern?"

                              The Kangaroo Boomer replied, "Ah'm a chemist back in Kangaroo Town. Oh, Ah could 'ave just teleported to the Cavern, but something inside of me told me to ride the bus today. Ah 'ave to take a report to Mathilda in regards to a few boomers whom are on Flyer status back at the clinic. It is a report that she 'as been asking for."

                              The Dingo Gent said, "Ah am in charge of the printing company whom makes newspapers large enough for Mathilda to read since she is a titanic sized kangaroo. She said there was a problem with the last one we sent 'er and she asked me to come down personally to take charge of this mis'ap."

                              Nick said, "Ah told yas why Ah am going there. Ah am actually nervous to 'ave to stand before 'er. What if she squashes me?"

                              The Boomer replied, "She would only do that if yas 'ad the balls to curse 'er out to 'er muzzle. And yas come from a religious family."

                              Anthony Household

                              Gale said, "That dust is fine for a hatchling for now. As for the Shadodrak question... you might wish you hadn't asked that question once I tell you what you want to know. But since you did ask and I am your on-hand Tatsu-Lan trainer for the time being (...old Izzy is likely still asleep at this hour...), I will regale you in the dragon age ranks. Please don't mess up your cooking as I explain this to you."

                              Gale then took the time to carefully explain the Dragon Advancement Table to Hector.

                              Hatchling (Very Young) is 1-5 years
                              Deregh (Young) is 6-15 years
                              Shadodrak (Sub-adult or Teenager) is 16-25 years
                              Drake (Young Adult) is 26-50 years
                              Draconian (Adult) is 51-200 years
                              Centurion (Old) is 201-400 years
                              Guardian (Very Old) is 401-800 years
                              Tatsu-Lan Warrior (Ancient) is 801-1,500 years
                              Paragon (Eternal) is 1,501-5,000 years
                              and a Legend is 5,001 or more.

                              Various breath attack types have variant damage ranges as follows.

                              Fireball and Lightning Bolt: 3d6 + 6 damage per age rank.
                              Cone of Cold and Deluge: 3d8 + 8 damage per age rank.
                              Divine Dragons: Standard damage x 2.

                              Gale then said, "Jakkin will be the youngest age for five years before his size changes slightly and his appetite increases. Dragons only celebrate their hatching day during the Age Rank Ceremonial Days. We had to shorten the time from the human way when the parties started getting out of control. For ease of understanding, Bahamut is a Paragon, while Lord IO is a Legend."

                              Bus Stop

                              Zeustail smiled at Exan and said, "The Kanes are the religious force in the Outback regardless of what branch they originate from. The young Kane likely 'asn't take the vows of sermons as yet thus 'e is likely still as curious as yas and Deryk can be." He then paused as he focused on the tour bus just South of Ilfracombe. "Oh my... Robyn is on the bus, Exan."

                              Kiel stopped laughing. "If that prankster messes up Deryk's special day, Ah will 'elp Mathilda paddle 'er ass."

                              Deryk said, "Calm down, Kiel. Surely she wouldn't try something with a Kane present to see it as a witness. Yas told me that Mathilda's summons were serious business."

                              Kiel snuffed. "She better not. With a Kane on that bus, 'alf the Dreamtime are watching that bus currently. Plus, the bus driver is someone Ah know whom loves the Tony Orlando and Dawn song of Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Ole Oak Tree. 'e plays it as 'e is leaving each town. It is 'is favorite song. 'e loves it because it mentions that the singer is riding a bus and 'e is the bus driver. Once, a bunch of us Dreamtimers went out to Koondoo station and we planted a live Grevillea robusta (Silky Oak) tree right where we knew the bus driver would see it and we tied a 'undred yellow ribbons around the trunk of the tree. The whole damned bus was cheering and 'e couldn't believe to see as 'e saw what we 'ad done and 'e 'opped out of the bus and proceeded to thump all of us right in front of the tourists."

                              Deryk laughed about that.