The Archives of the Heroes: Series One - Foundation.

This is the story of two brothers growing up in our Universe. They manage to find themselves all kinds of trouble and adventures while travelling from galaxy to galaxy with their father.
Or, in some cases, by themselves.

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4. Episode Three: In which the boys go to extremes to find answers.

 

As the boys waited for their tutor to arrive, they began scribbling on the whiteboard.

'This,' Liart began, writing neatly, 'is my first question. Who was that man? My next question is, 'why did he put that question in our minds?' It seemed like he wanted to cause trouble. The next question is, 'why was father so upset by the question?' This leads to several questions, including, 'who is our mother?', 'where are our relatives?', and 'where are daddy's friends?' These questions lead to the most important one of all: should we ask?'

Liart turned to face his brother, who seemed uncertain.

'We upset him so much last night...' he reasoned. 'Perhaps we shouldn't. Maybe...' He shook his head. 'No, that's ridiculous.'

'What?' Liart prompted. 'What is?'

'Th-the... idea that maybe...' His voice trailed off.

'Maybe that man wanted us to ask all these questions?' Liart finished for his brother. Strongh seemed impressed, and nodded. 'I don't think it's ridiculous. He did seem to be looking for trouble. So then, let's say that the man asked us that question to cause trouble,' he added this bubble to the whiteboard. 'The next question is, 'why would he want to cause trouble?''

Strongh frowned. 'He said he knew father...' He stopped suddenly, and let his eyes flit over to his brother's. Liart seemed to have reached this conclusion a while ago.

'He must have spoken to father the same day.' He nodded, impressing Strongh with his quick logic. 'That would be why daddy looked so worried before we spoke to him. He must want to get us all in trouble.'

Strongh was angry now. 'Well we're not going to let that happen. Come on, you and I will work out why he wants to hurt us... and we'll teach him a lesson while we're at it.'

Liart panicked as his brother stood up. 'No, Strongh!' He cried. 'Maybe that's exactly what he wants! Maybe he's going to get us into trouble! Maybe this is all a trap!'

Strongh's face was dark and determined. 'I'm going with or without you.'

'Strongh!' Liart pleaded. 'Remember what happened last time I pleaded with you not to do something?'

Strongh briefly remembered the lion incident. Then, smiling, he nodded. 'That went according to plan. Why won't this?'

Stubbornly, Liart crossed his arms. 'So what's your plan, exactly?'

'Find the man, tie him up, find out what we want, then come home.'

'And how will we tie this man up? He has nine friends.'

'And we are two children. It will be easy!'

'Who's to say they won't attack our home the next day!?'

'They won't... I'll make sure of that.'

'How? You can't kill them, Strongh.'

'I know. But I could give them amme... amnes.... am... NEE-sha...'

Liart blinked, unimpressed. 'Amnesia.'

'That's what I said. Come on!'

'You think you can just hit them over the head and walk away?'

'I know I can.'

Liart sighed, but saw there was no winning. 'Hold on a minute.' He grudgingly gave in. 'Let me check something.'

He ran over to his desk, where he pulled out a large chemistry textbook.

'What are you doing?' Strongh asked mockingly. 'You gonna make us a smoke machine for an unforgettable entrance?'

'No. I'm looking for an... amnesiac, I suppose.'

'You mean something that makes people forget stuff?'

'Yes, Strongh. A forgeter-er.'

Strongh beamed, and waited as patiently as he could manage for his brother to find what he was looking for.

'Ah-ha!' Liart finally cried, making Strongh jump. He ran around the class room in a sort of frenzy, looking for various chemicals. Then, after stuffing them in a bag, he turned to his brother. 'We can go now.'

Footsteps echoed down the hall, and the two's eyes widened.

'Quick!' Strongh cried. 'Out the door!' As he spoke he opened the sliding glass door that led into the paddock outside. 'Look out for the cows...' He added as an afterthought.

'And their manure.' Liart pointed out, as Strongh closed the door.

The teacher entered the room just as the door closed, and his eyes expressed his complete shock. The boys had never done anything like this before.

'Come inside!' He cried, to no avail. The boys took off in an instant, leaving him alone in the classical classroom.

 

'How do we even know where he lives?' Liart asked, seeing a new flaw in his brother's plan.

Strongh wasn't too sure how to answer this question. 'Well.... we just ask everyone if they've seen a man with nine minions. That should help.'

'Strongh, we can't let anyone see us. They'll send us home.'

'Don't be silly. We hardly know anyone but children, and they won't turn us in.'

Liart sighed, shut his mouth, and followed his brother in silence.

Strongh stopped briefly at the butcher's, where he asked the man if he had seen an 'old man with nine minions'. The man nodded in confirmation of the fact, and pointed to his right. Then, after thanking the man, the boys continued walking in the new direction.

Eventually they paused again, to ask a seamstress if she had seen an 'old man with nine minions'. She also replied that she had, and pointed to her right - the direction the boys had just come from.

'We just came from there.' Strongh told the woman, making her shrug.

'Perhaps we passed it.' Liart reasoned. 'They might live in the middle of this street. It is a long street, Strongh.'

 Strongh was frustrated, but he listened to his brother and followed his footsteps.

When they had roughly gone about half way down the street, Liart pulled his brother aside.

'Ask someone here if they've seen him.' He suggested. 'Then we'll know for sure if we're on the right track.'

Strongh sighed impatiently, and boldly approached a jeweller. 'Excuse me,' he said, though the man was not doing anything, 'have you seen an old man with nine minions?'

The man smiled. 'Minions?'

'Yeah. They follow him like puppy dogs, and he looks rather sinister. So minions was a pretty good choice of words.'

'Hmm - I suppose I can see your point. As it turns out, I have seen an older man with nine friends. Why do you ask?'

Liart replied before Strongh could ruin everything. 'He's our grandpa. We lost him a little while back, and we can't find our way home.'

The man was concerned now. 'Are you okay?'

Liart nodded. 'Just eager to go home.'

'How did you get lost?'

'We ran away to play. We thought his friends were boring... though Strongh was convinced they were evil.' He glared at his brother, who frowned, making his story more credible.

'You've done awfully well then to come this far.' The man continued, impressed. 'Your hotel's right across the road. See the tall one?'

Strongh turned around and spotted the place instantly. Then, in a poor attempt to lie, he cried, 'that's it, brother! That's where we came from!'

Liart tried not to flinch at his brother's bad acting, and smiled. 'We found it!'

The jeweller was an inquisitive man, and would not simply allow the children to walk off. 'Are you on holiday?' He asked.

'No.' Liart replied without even thinking. 'But our house caught on fire a while ago. They just had to fix it up a bit.'

The man nodded. 'Well, all the best for that. Don't get run over crossing the road.'

Liart smiled, and followed Strongh to the intersection.

Lysas typically went ridiculously fast - around the speed of light, as the name suggested - and the driver relied heavily upon their instruments. Each vehicle had about ten back-up systems in case one small detail failed to work, so they were far safer than would be expected. However, around residential areas, the extreme speed of the Lysa was a hazard within itself, and so speed limits were enforced. Drivers did not enjoy travelling at such slow speeds, but it certainly had saved lives. Lysas flew through space, but once on planets they drove, like a car, bike, or motorbike. In fact, once on the road, the only notable difference between a Lysa and a car was their aerodynamic shape.

Strongh did not appreciate having to wait for the vehicles, and ran across the road when it was finally clear. Liart struggled to keep up, but managed in the end.

Strongh did not even check his brother was following before bursting into the hotel and confidently approaching the front desk.

'Excuse me,' he began, 'but we're looking for an old man with nine min... friends. He's our grandpa - we lost him.'

The woman at reception clicked her tongue. 'Ran off did you?'

Liart widened his eyes and nodded, as winningly as possibly.

The woman replied appropriately, and soothingly informed the boys as to which room their grandfather was staying in.

'Would you like me to show you?' She asked kindly.

'No thank you.' Strongh replied, looking less than grateful. 'I'll remember this time.' He walked off without another word, and Liart obligingly followed.

Strongh pressed the button for the lift and waited impatiently yet again. To his surprise, Liart tugged on his arm, dragging his ear to his mouth.

'Strongh,' he whispered, 'do we have to take the lift?'

Strongh frowned and straightened up. 'What's wrong with the lift?'

Liart was hesitant to explain. 'It's dangerous.' He finally finished.

Strongh rolled his eyes, sighed, and took his brother's hand. Much to the smaller boy's delight he dragged him up the many steps to the fifth floor.

'There,' he said when they finally reached the floor. 'Are you happy?'

Liart nodded. 'Thanks, Strongh.'

The boy rolled his eyes yet again, and began searching for the correct room. Then, when he had found it, he turned to Liart.

'You know what to do.'

Liart was confused. 'No I don't. What do you want me to do?'

Strongh did not seemed too phased by this reply. 'What you did to the jeweller and the receptionist. It comes far too easily to you.'

Liart frowned. 'That's not a good thing. I probably shouldn't practice lying.'

'Just do it, Liart.'

It was Liart's turn to roll his eyes now, as he walked up to the wooden door and knocked. Strongh quickly disappeared into a cupboard full of mops, brooms, and other cleaning materials.

The door opened, and Liart smiled sweetly up at the strangest looking man he had ever seen.

'Hello.' He greeted the man kindly. 'I like your hair. Where are you from?'

The man shrugged. 'I'm half Zraiatormmaein, half Ai. You decide.'

'You're a half-breed?'

'I'm not a breed - breeds are for dogs.'

'Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude.'

'What does he want?' A voice growled from within. Slowly, the man - the leader - came into view. Liart realised he had already recognised him, just by his voice.

'I want to ask you a few questions.' Liart replied. 'Might I?'

'No. Go away. And where's your brother?'

'Ah - I'm not sure actually. He ran off.'

There was a pause, so Liart smiled winningly. He thought he heard a couple of 'aww's from the back, but the leader was completely unimpressed.

'Find the brother.' He growled. Then, when his men did not move, he roared, 'find him!'

Liart waited patiently to see what his brother would do, as the men ran around the vicinity looking for him. He jumped in shock when he saw Strongh right beside him.

He had a gun - a big gun.

'Sit down.' He instructed, aiming the gun at the leader.

The leader raised an eyebrow, but did so.

'Tie him up.'

Liart quickly did so, wrapping the rope he had been carrying around the man several times for good measure. He and Strongh had learned about many different types of knots, and he had been surprisingly good at them. He was rather thrilled that this strange talent came in handy now.

'Where are the others?' The man asked, eyeing Strongh sternly.

'Locked in various cupboards.' The boy replied. 'Let's just say they're a little slow.'

The man smiled. 'They'll knock down the doors easily.'

Strongh smiled right back at him. 'Dear, dear. You underestimate me. You think I just locked them up in the cupboard and hoped for the best? Liart, come here.' The boy obediently did so. 'Take the gun and hold it at him. Don't move.'

Liart did exactly as he was told while Strongh ran out of the room. He returned moments later, dragging in one of the leader's unconscious men. Quickly, he tied the man to a chair, then left, returning with another in no time. He repeated this routine eight times, until he dragged in the ninth man, tying him to a chair as per the others.

Liart's eyes were wide with amazement, as were the leader's.

'You knocked them all out?' Liart asked, speaking for the two of them.

Strongh shrugged. 'Well I had to, didn't I? Now,' he closed the door to the room and took the gun back from his brother, 'questions. Kindly answer a few.'

'Don't think for a moment I believe you'll use that gun.' Was all that the man said – and out of turn, too.

Strongh shook his head and clicked his tongue. 'Dear, dear. Are you underestimating me again?'

He paused, allowing time for his words to sink in, and his captive's eyes flashed with fear.

'Next question,' Strongh continued boldly. 'Liart, why don't you ask? You know all the right things to ask.'

Liart smiled proudly, and turned to face the captive. 'My first question is about your question. Did you ask us if we had a mother just to cause trouble?'

The man smiled. 'Well... we are bright, aren't we?'

Liart was pleased with this reply, and so continued. 'But why, is my next question. Why did you want to cause trouble?'

'Now, now, don't jump the gun. Shouldn't you first ask what kind of trouble I wanted to cause?'

Liart frowned. 'Maybe. But I didn't.'

'You don't respect your elders either. What a shame.'

'I respect you, sir. But unfortunately treating you respectfully doesn't seem to work.'

'Answer his question.' Strongh chimed in, aiming the gun a little higher.

The prisoner eyed the gun warily, and replied, 'your father is an idiot. He should not have custody of you and he knows it. My goal is to crush him, and force him to give up.'

Liart blinked. 'You mean give us away?'

'Yes, fool.'

'Hey! I'm only five!'

'Don't ever make excuses for yourself, boy. They'll hold you back.'

Strongh was just as confused as his younger brother. 'Wait... are you trying to protect us?'

'Yes, that's right! You've worked it out - impressing me once again. You know, I really have underestimated you.'

'Don't try to flatter me, old man.' Strongh returned, trying to sound as rude as possible. 'Tell me why. Explain yourself.'

The man grinned. 'Haven't you heard?' Looks of worry and confusion passed over the boys' faces, and the man chuckled. 'Oh, someone has been keeping secrets.' Then, disturbingly, he looked above the boys' and asked, 'haven't they?'

He seemed to be holding eye contact with an invisible being, so slowly the two looked up. What they beheld made them tremble in a mixture of guilt and fear.

'Maybe.' The man answered. 'But it's for a good cause, I assure you.'

'Fool.'

'Now, now,' the man continued, entering the room further. He smiled playfully, as he mocked the elder's voice. 'Respect your elders.'

He scowled. 'You're not my elder, idiot.'

'No...' he reached into his pocket. 'But I have the gun.'

The prisoner’s eyes filled with fear for a split second. Then, quickly, the man knocked him out and turned around.

Strongh and Liart knew they were dead, so they turned and ran down the stairs.

'Strongh!' The man called after them. 'Liart! Come back here, please!'

The boys glanced at each other, and their decision was unanimous: keep running.

In the end, though, they had no-where to go but home. And so their best option was to hide wherever possible.

He entered the house, breathing heavily, gasping for breath, and walking frantically. 'Boys!' He cried, pulling suitcases out from the cupboard. 'Come out now! We have to go! Check your rooms if you must - your tutor should have packed for you.'

Their tutor walked out of Strongh's room and nodded. 'I've packed everything, Sir. Don't worry. I'll find a tenant for your house also.'

The man was truly grateful. 'Thank you.' He said, taking a moment to look into the other man's eyes. Then, in an instant, he was frantic again, and running around the house desperately.

'I knew this day would come.' He muttered, opening cupboards and checking under beds. 'So everything's in order. There should be a tenant ready to move in. I called the cleaner and she should be here in the hour.'

'Very well, Sir.' The tutor replied. 'Good luck finding the boys.'

'Oh, I wish they hadn't run off. They've got no idea how foolish that was. Now they'll be in danger wherever they go!'

The tutor nodded, edging towards the cupboard where the two boys were hiding.  

Strongh and Liart tensed, worried and confused.

'Are we really in danger?' Liart whispered to his brother.

Strongh frowned, uncertain. 'I - I don't know. I suppose it makes sense. Maybe we should get out.'

Liart shuddered. 'After you.'

The cupboard flew open, and the boys came face to face with their pursuer - Jaliq.

'There you are!' He cried, a little relief entering his eyes. 'Come on, hurry up - we have to go!'

Strongh crawled out of the cupboard in a daze. 'Are we really in trouble?' He asked. 'Did we really do a bad thing?'

'Yes.' Jaliq replied bluntly. 'But it was sure to happen sooner or later. Come on, hurry up!'

The tutor handed them each a suitcase, making Liart tremble yet again.

'Are we really leaving home?' He asked. Jaliq only nodded in reply.

'We may not return for a long time.' He added, grabbing the biggest suitcase.

Liart began to panic now. 'Where is Galileo!?' He cried, running into his room.

'Here.' The tutor replied, handing him the bear.

Strongh was possessed by a strange impulse, and - grabbing his backpack - ran into the store room. He was not sure what he was looking for - he supposed he was just checking that nothing was left behind. Still, he had never been allowed in this room before. It was always locked. In fact, if Jaliq hadn't of been in such a panic he was sure he would have been dragged out of the room by the ear.

Perhaps that was why he had run in here: he wanted to know why. Why wasn't he allowed in this silly room?

He laughed. Now he was sounding just like Liart.

He saw a number of shelves to his left, and so turned his attention to them. Here he found one solitary box that was not empty. This struck him as strange, and so he checked to see what it was that was being left behind. Inside the box lay a ball - red and black - that was heavy and solid. He had no idea what it was, but he was strangely drawn to it and felt sure it was his. So he stuffed it inside his more or less empty back-pack and tore out of the room.

'Are we ready?' Jaliq asked, looking round. Strongh had arrived back just in time.

The boys nodded, though neither was certain, and Jaliq grabbed Strongh's hand.

'Hold onto your brother.' He instructed, and Strongh obeyed. Then, after a soft goodbye and thank you to the tutor, the man tore out of the house, dragging his two children behind him.

And so the group began their rushed journey through the night, afraid lest anyone was watching, following, or - worse - ...waiting.

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