Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 47: Welcome News

The two ships returned to Beyond City’s shipyards. Everyone departed the ships and were greeted with cheers when the crowd met them. Batman shook hands with Gandalf and they both introduced Wonder Woman and Galadriel to one another. The Elf and Amazon seemed to hit it off. “That rope compels anyone to tell the truth?” Galadriel asked Wonder Woman.

“A gift from the gods of my people,” replied Wonder Woman. “Unfortunately, it’s considered a polygraph and any evidence taken from that won’t be admissible in court.”

“…Sounds rather counterintuitive.”

“Sadly, can’t change a man’s mind that easily, especially when they’re in charge of more than half the world.”

“That IS true.”


As the Elf Lady and Amazon Princess spoke, Batman and Gandalf shook hands. “Thanks for joining up again,” said Batman.

“My pleasure, Mr. Wayne,” replied Gandalf. “So, you and Wonder Woman married and had a child.”

“Persephone, the current Robin.”

“How big IS your family, just out of curiosity?”

“The biggest in Gotham. Gotta say, I think I prefer you in gray robes.”

“I’d feel better if I had my hat, but the only color they had was gray instead of blue.”


Death grinned as she found Bounty. The two Horsemen hugged each other tightly. “It’s been too long!” whispered Death.

“So Vortech’s been beaten, I hear,” said Bounty. “Chaos has been avenged.”

“We had to find a new Chaos quickly, though. Frankly, a little too quickly.”

“Let me guess, it’s someone from the Thanatos line in that universe where everyone has yellow skin and an overbite.”

“She doesn’t look like that anymore.”

“Really?”

“Really. In fact, here she is now.” Lacey arrived and bowed her head to Bounty.

“Welcome home, Bounty,” she said.

“And what was your name, Chaos?” asked Bounty.

“Oh, I still go by my usual name. I’m Lacey Thanatos Atmadja.”

“Really?” Bounty grinned. “You’ve settled in well as the new Chaos.”

“Big shoes to fill.”

“You wear them well.”

“Ah, Lacey, there you are!” called Anansi’s voice. “I just need to-” Anansi stopped when he saw Bounty.

“Of course. The spider has to be involved in the behind-the-scenes work!”

“YOU?!” yelped Anansi. “Lacey, please tell me you aren’t bringing the Horsemen of Flourishment here! PLEASE tell me that!”

“Well, yes. We’ve updated the security of this universe, so we’re bringing them here.”

“If you and your friends had half the sense you pretend to have, you’d get them out of here at once and leave their Sources here! If you like,” Anansi then turned into a giant spider, “I’d be more than pleased to expedite their departure!” Bounty raised her hands as if she were going to fling fireballs.

“Hold on, no one’s leaving!” protested Lacey as she got between them.

“Their presence here,” urged Anansi, “is the biggest security risk!”

“That’s not your decision to make!”

“ANANSI!” called Richard. The spider looked at Richard. “We said we’d get the Sources of Flourishment here, that also included their respective Horsemen. Why didn’t you raise any objections when Life was brought here?”

“Life’s here too?!” asked Bounty.

“She’s at our mansion right now,” explained Lacey. “I can-” Bounty then breezed past Lacey and Anansi in the general direction of the Horsemen’s mansion. “…I guess not.”

“Lacey,” said Anansi as he returned to his human-ish shape, “I REALLY urge you to get her out of here.”

“Your advice is noted, Trickster,” replied Lacey. She then left Anansi to his thoughts.


As he was being congratulated, Richard noticed something odd. “…Somebody’s missing,” he muttered.

“What’s that, Daddy?” asked Kaitlyn.

“I said somebody’s missing.” Kaitlyn then looked around.

“…Where’s Mom?”

“That’s who’s missing!”

“Someone asking for Mama?” asked Kaede as she strolled up.

“Kaede, where’s your mother?” quizzed Richard.

“She’s back home, talking on the phone with Ms. Nonsu.”

“That’s my old boss’s secretary. What does she want with her?”

“Actually, she wanted to talk to you personally.”

“Me?” Richard was a little worried now. “Let’s get home then.” They took Kaede’s car and made their way home. Richard then dashed into the house and found Megumi on the house phone.

“Ah!” she said to the caller. “The man you want to talk to has just arrived.” Megumi then handed the phone to Richard. “Ms. Nonsu for the man of the house,” she said.

“Thank you,” replied Richard as he took the phone. He then spoke to the caller. “Hello, Ms. Nonsu. How are you today? …That’s good to hear. …Oh, I’m fine as well. Just saved a universe as usual. …Yes, I’d like to know why you called. …Oh, that rat’s fired? Good riddance. So, who’s your-? …YOU?! You’re in charge of MNN?! That’s wonderful! …Hold on, that means you need a- …Oh, you have one in-? …ME?! But I was-! …That’s three times what I was-! …Well, if you REALLY think I’m worth that much…all right, I accept! When can I get the additional training? …Well, I just finished a mission and teams without me will be saving other universes for the foreseeable future. …Wednesday morning, it is, then! See you then! Bye bye!” Richard hung up, then punched the air! “HEAD ANCHOR, BABY!” he cheered.

“I had a feeling your luck would turn for the better,” chuckled Megumi.

“Daddy, did MNN rehire you?” asked Kaitlyn. Lisa then came into the room.

“What’s going on?” she quizzed.

“My dears, the matriarch of the house already knew about the details, so it pleases me to fill the rest of you in,” said Richard. “MNN’s board of directors were a bit alarmed at their station’s sudden change from actual news to Khan-centric propaganda, so they went down to the station and fired all of Khan’s supporters and had Ms. Nonsu take over as the one running the place. She hired some new people, even an anchor to fill my old timeslot. The reason for that is because she wants me to be trained as Head Anchor for MNN and, in her words, ‘put MNN’s fact-checking abilities back on track’. This new job comes with a salary triple to what I used to make. To sum up, the one man in this house…is back among the working crowd.”

“And with Ms. Nonsu at the helm, MNN will be the shining example of news broadcasting it once was!” cheered Megumi.

“Thank you all for your help,” continued Richard. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this family, but I thank whatever gods are out there that we’re together now.”

“Well, Emily DID kind of get a bit pushy.”

“Don’t tell her that, she’s got a big enough head as it is.” Richard and Megumi then wrapped each other in a hug and kissed. Kaede opened her mouth to object to how blatant they were being, but Kaitlyn put her hand on her sister’s shoulder, shaking her head and pulling her out of the room.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 46: Really Useful Heroes

Everyone made it to Tidmouth Sheds after that debacle. This was now the first time that Tidmouth saw Transformers. Richard and the Fat Controller explained things to Bounty as the engines gathered at the sheds. Percy was on a flatbed as his charge with the trucks caused him to bend his buffer beam. Bounty looked saddened at hearing the news. “Then my Source is no longer safe here,” she mumbled.

“I’m afraid not, Ma’am,” replied Richard.

“And I really like Sodor!”

“As do I, but Sodor’s no longer safe for you to stay in. After Academy, on the other hand, I know there are four people that want to see you again.” Bounty sighed.

“It would be nice to try and get some meat on Famine’s bones.”

“And there’s another problem,” continued Richard. “You’ve worked for Sodor for a long time. What would happen if you left?”

“Well, good news on that front; I already trained my successor as secretary for the Sodor Council. The only issue would be that my friends would miss me.”

“We would, indeed,” agreed the Fat Controller. “I’m sure we can help you find work if you ever decide to come back. And that goes for all of you, Mr. Saunders, even your Transformer friends.”

“Sir?” asked Richard.

“I know their size makes them a little unusual, but if they ever want to work on Sodor or visit us, and this offer applies to you, simply ask me and I shall ask any of the managers of the various industries on this island. Sodor’s borders are open to you, Heroes of the Multiverse.”

“We can’t take all the credit, Sir,” replied Richard. “Percy was a big help in giving us an opening. If you need us to help his repairs financially-”

“I appreciate the offer, but that will not be necessary. You’ve done plenty for us.”

“It was nice having you and Kaitlyn as my crew,” said Percy.

“And it was nice working with you, Percy,” replied Kaitlyn.

“With all of you,” Richard said to the engines. “Even you, Diesel.”

“…Well, I mean…thank you.” Diesel was a bit thrown off at being praised like that. Yes, he got the same from the Fat Controller whenever he did a good job, but it was still foreign to him.

“May I say something?” asked Bounty.

“Of course,” replied Richard. Bounty turned to address everyone.

“Friends, it has been a pleasure serving Sodor in the capacity I did, but I’m afraid the time has come for me to leave the island. I assure you, my time here was most enjoyable, from riding the Wild Nor’ Wester, travelling in Annie and Clarabel, to riding on Bertie the Bus. Thank you all for a most wonderful friendship with you all.”

“It was our pleasure, Ma’am,” said Edward.

“Three cheers for Bounty!” called Thomas. Everyone blasted their whistles three times, even Percy.

“And let’s not forget Percy’s actions,” said Richard. “Without him, Bounty would still be wriggling in Crystal Widow’s grasp.”

“Oh, I just did what was necessary,” Percy replied modestly.

“And thankfully, only lost a buffer beam in the process,” reminded the Fat Controller. “Unfortunately, that means it’s back to the Works for you.”

“Ah well, I should be back tomorrow morning.”

“And it means a little longer without hearing Percy’s snoring,” muttered Thomas.

“Excuse me, I do NOT snore!”

“Oh, yes, you do!”

“Where’s your proof?!”

“My eyebags are proof enough!”

“SILENCE!” boomed the Fat Controller.

“They’re never gonna stop, are they?” Thundercracker asked Richard.

“Nope. That’s part of their charm as friends, though. …After we get back to After Academy, I need to do something.” Thundercracker arched an eyebrow, then Richard made a call. “Teletraan, Glanthel, whenever you’re ready.” The heroes were beamed up to the ships and a ship-sized rift opened. The engines below whistled their goodbyes and their crews and controller waved goodbye. The Fat Controller, Sir Topham Hatt, sighed in relief.

“…Stay strong, my friends,” he said. “You’ve all proven to be Really Useful like my engines.”


“INCOMPETENCE!” roared Igura. “MY TEAM WAS RIDDLED WITH IT!”

“Oh, it came from the top, I can assure you!” hissed Yamta.

“I had a flawless plan! All you had to do was follow my orders! WHY DIDN’T YOU?!”

“YOUR ORDERS RESULTED IN WASTEFULNESS!”

“DESTROYING YOUR ENEMIES IS ALL THAT MATTERS!”

“WHAT ABOUT SERVANTS?!”

“THEY ONLY NEED TO COME FROM THOSE YOU KNOW ARE LOYAL TO YOU AND WILL OBEY YOU WITHOUT QUESTION!”

“If you ladies are done,” called Ziddet as she swung her prosthetic arm between them. “Khan wants a word with you.” The Cardassian Lord led the two women to the throne room. The ambient lights were red. Igura and Yamta knelt in front of the throne as Khan steepled his fingers.

“Ladies,” he said coldly, “explanations?”

“We came to Sodor to disrupt its operations and locate Bounty and her Source,” replied Igura. “The only way to do that was to get the railways out of the way and-”

“You’re telling me the original plan,” hissed the Author. “I already knew the plan. Yamta came up with the plan and told me it. It was her plan and it was a good one. What I fail to understand is why you decided TO GO AGAINST THE PLAN AND TAKE COMMAND OF THE OPERATION!!”

“Because Sodor is useless and has no place in an empire!”

“FOOL! They’re the very model of industrial labor! I’ll have to rewrite that universe for the New Multiverse now!”

“Rewrite it, Sir?” asked Yamta.

“There are universes I like. I would like to preserve them as much as possible and NOT rewrite them for the New Multiverse. Thanks to Igura’s insanity and the resulting incompetence and making a laughingstock out of the Realms’ greatest strategists, I have to rewrite all of Sodor. Yamta, you and Yulduk come up with a better plan for your team to take Famine’s Source and its guardian. After that, figure out which of you will take command of the team.”

“As you wish, my Author,” said Yamta.

“I WILL NOT SURRENDER MY POWER!” shouted Igura as she drew a sword made out of the same solid space as her arm. Khan then read a passage from the Tome.

“‘The Onini Saber wrapped itself around Igura’s sword and tossed it and its wielder into a wall,’” he said. He then shut the tome and drew a snake-themed sword, the Onini Saber. The Onini Saber wrapped itself around Igura’s sword and tossed it and its wielder into a wall. Igura then rushed forward with her space arm outstretched, but Khan caught it, then bent it so her hand was pressed against her forehead, then held it down as her own hand burned her! She screamed in agony for a good minute until the Author had enough. He let her go, then turned to Yamta. “I want an eye kept on her at all times.”

“She’ll have two eyes on her,” promised Yamta.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 45: Bounty’s Return

Percy arranged the empty trucks so that he could push from behind. He was at the yards at Crovan’s Gate and whispered his plan to the trucks. They were a little scared, but Sodor was their home and they didn’t want it to be destroyed, so they went along with Percy’s plan. Once the train was ready, those that could ride in the trucks boarded them and closed them up. The guard blew his whistle and waved his flag. Percy whistled twice and departed Crovan’s Gate, going down the mainline to Vicarstown. Before they arrived there, they had to pass through Henry’s Tunnel. Ordinarily, Richard would sing the rhyme, but this wasn’t the time for it. Once Percy went through, the Transformers left the hill the tunnel was cut into. They soon arrived at Vicarstown. Igura and her cronies were there. Percy stopped at the platform and saw Crystal Widow holding a plump woman in her hand. The woman was blue all over, her dress, her hair, her skin, everything. “Bounty,” whispered Percy. Yamta and Yulduk opened the trucks and directed the heroes onto the platform.

“That green caterpillar’s your favorite engine?” scoffed Igura as she went down the line.

“Yes, he is,” replied Richard. Igura then slapped him.

“I don’t understand you, gaijin,” she said. “I told you to get your favorite engine. When I said you, I meant all white folk like you, and you all have Thomas as your favorite, yet you say it’s the accident-prone moron.”

“Percy is anything BUT stupid!”

“Why else would he make those mistakes?” Igura then slapped him again. “What kind of joy do you get out of seeing him fail?” Another slap. “What do his stories tell you?” This time, Richard caught her hand.

“They tell me that goose-stepping Nazis like you should try READING The Railway Series books instead of burning them!” What Richard didn’t realize was that she was using her Vortech arm to strike. She heated her arm and burned his hand. Richard let go and Hanako cast some healing spells centered around burns.

“Pathetic. You always go for the last resort. Hence why you’re the only country in the world with irradiated blood on its hands.”

“Perhaps, but our countries’ respective sins are not the topic today. We surrender, Adachi Igura.”

“No!” called Bounty from Crystal Widow’s hand.

“I’m glad you saw it my way,” purred Igura.

“Don’t get comfy, this is Khan’s only victory,” warned Richard.

“Oh, this isn’t for Khan.” Richard arched an eyebrow at that.

“How so?”

“Because, apparently, this is one of Khan’s favorite universes.” She grabbed Richard’s shirt and pulled him close to her. “And you were stupid enough to think I would honor the deal! Sodor will still burn!”

“And your teammates understand your duplicity?”

“No, we don’t!” called Yamta.

“They fulfilled their end of the bargain, now we have to fulfill ours and leave Sodor alone!” agreed Yulduk.

“Not that I like her,” replied Crystal Widow, “but Igura’s right. Sodor’s worthless and it’s time to get rid of it.”

“Sodor still has value!” countered Katie.

“A wise shepherd doesn’t cull the entire herd,” advised Auriella. “We only kill those who are useless to us and the rest can exist as our slaves.”

“Moderation is for the weak!” argued Igura. “I’ve made my decision and-!”

“NOW!” Percy called to the trucks as his driver opened the regulator to full.

“ON! ON! ON!” cheered the trucks as they surged forwards into Crystal Widow’s ankle! The impact was hard enough to make the Terrorcon woman feel pain. She held her ankle high and dropped Bounty.

“GET THEM!” called Richard. He and his fellow Riders readied their belts.

“HENSHIN!” they all announced as they rushed at the villains. The sudden attack caught them by surprise!

“A RUSE!” roared Yulduk.

“SLAUGHTER THEM!” ordered Igura as she and the other Riders readied their belts.

“HENSHIN!” they all called. Once they were armored up, the villains fought back. The Transformers then surrounded Crystal Widow. Guard then touched the derailed Percy and got his i.d tag.

“The Breakdown Train’s already on its way!” he promised.

“It’s up to you now!” said Percy. “Get those brutes off our island!” Guard nodded and then clashed with Talon as she summoned Lords for backup. Guard then swapped his personal i.d tag out for Percy’s and spun his Vortex Driver’s wheel.

“Percy the Small Engine Steel!” it announced. The Wheel Wardrobe appeared and attached green armor with red stripes onto Guard’s suit. He had a funnel on top of his head, Percy’s wheels and side-rods on his forearms as well as his lower legs. His knuckles had buffer beams on them and his upper arms had Percy’s saddle-tank on them while a number six was emblazoned on his chest.

“You SERIOUSLY think that the smallest and weakest engine on this island,” scoffed Talon, “is a match for me?!”

“Considering his weight and strength compared to a human, yes!” replied Guard. The wheels then spun and Guard went from 0 to 45 miles an hour real quick, slamming his fist into Talon’s. Talon was thrown for a loop. “Without the added weight of his water and coal supply, Percy weighs about 25.6 tons in American measurements. He can exert 49,000 newtons of force. And you wanted to know why Percy’s my favorite engine? Here’s why!” Guard punctuated each statement with a devastating punch. “He fixes his mistakes! He never repeats them! He never gives up when he has a job! He does everything in his power to make sure his home survives! THAT’S why Percy’s my favorite engine!” His last punch forced Talon out of her transformation. Igura clutched her stomach and saw her troops falling all around her.

“…GRAGH! KEEP BOUNTY! YOU’LL REGRET THIS!” She opened a portal and dashed into it.

“HEY! WHAT KIND OF COMMANDER LEADS THE RETREAT?!” shouted Yamta. Crystal Widow then went into the portal and led the Lords through it. Yamta, Yulduk, Katie, and Auriella covered the retreat.

“You’ve incurred my wrath today, Richard Saunders!” warned Katie. “No one upsets me and gets away with it!” She was the last to leave and the portal shut behind her. Guard sighed in relief. Diesel then arrived with the Breakdown Train.

“…Huh,” he muttered. “Looks like I’m too late to save the day. What a pity.”

“Look at Diesel, lads!” called one of the Trucks. “All dressed up and no place to go!”

“Maybe we should show him our appreciation in song!” giggled another.

“That’s enough!” said Percy. “The song’s gotten stale anyways. We just saved Sodor, so don’t press your luck.”

“Right, let’s get this mess cleared away, lads,” called the head of the Breakdown Gang. The cranes soon went to work.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 44: Captial Clash

The Glanthelantir and Ark flew towards a remote spot near Suddery, Sodor’s capital. No one below looked up as they flew silently and with cloaking devices on. Glanthel radioed Teletraan. “I hate flying with a cloaking device,” he grumbled.

“Why?” asked Teletraan.

“Well, on top of it being illegal, it’s undignified!”

“I’m sorry, Glanthel, but we can’t afford to panic the people with two flying objects over their island nation’s capital. We’re already testing it with having Kong step into Suddery in beast mode.”

“Perhaps you can explain something to me. Kong’s the leader of an alien world, yes?”

“That’s right. So why does he look like a beast you would recognize?”

“…His people get asked that a lot?”

“Yeah. It’s just how evolution made the Animatronians. They all turn into a different animal.” The ships landed, ending the conversation. Blackarachnia led everyone out. As they patrolled Suddery, they noticed something off.

“Guys, I’m gonna be the first to tempt fate here,” Blackarachnia remarked over the comms. “It’s quiet, TOO quiet.”

“Where IS everyone?” asked Thundercracker.

“I’m not getting any inhabitants either,” said Goldbug.

“Something’s wrong,” muttered Kong as he looked through the empty city.

“Split up,” ordered Blackarachnia. “I don’t want any surprises.”

“Oh, but a surprise is what you need,” chuckled a voice. Everyone turned to Blackarachnia as the voice sounded like hers.

“…That wasn’t me!” she gulped. The voice then giggled like a lunatic before launching into a song.

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet

Eating her curds and whey.

Along came a spider

Who stuck her fangs inside her

And slaughtered Miss Muffet that day!” A white and pink version of Blackarachnia then tackled the black and gold one and jabbed her with a venom cocktail. Blackarachnia spasmed, then stopped and panted as she was helped to her feet. She then saw her attacker and her optics widened.

“Crystal Widow?!” she yelped.

“Hello, sister!” cackled Crystal Widow, Blackarachnia’s twin from a mirror universe.

“So, there IS a resurrected Terrorcon here!”

“Yeah, gotta thank your boyfriend for that!”

“Husband, now.”

“Husband? You married that immature walking American Flag?”

“Hardly immature now.”

“And you’re working with a Decepticon again.”

“And this time,” said Thundercracker, “we’re working as peacetime allies instead of wartime ones.”

“Hold on,” interjected Crystal Widow. “You’re teaming up with them, Thundercracker? You DO realize the Autobots ghettoized you guys after the first war?”

“…Under Optimus and Megatron’s leadership after defeating both Primus and Unicron, we’re equal.”

“…WHAT?! You mean you’re friends now?! You guys are no fun at all! What happened to snuffing each other’s Embers? I mean Sparks. Look at you! You obviously want to kill each other, so do it!”

“Unicron’s dead, so we’re not playing your sick games anymore,” growled Goldbug.

“Really?” asked Crystal Widow. “And what about YOUR sick games, Autobot?”

“What sick games?”

“You know you people love makin one another suffer. Why else would you be at war with each other?”

“I think you’ve said enough!” bellowed Kong. “Where is everyone?!”

“Cowering in a hole, I’d wager,” chuckled Crystal Widow. “They don’t exactly like talking machines of our caliber.”

“If you’re vying for Bounty-!”

“Already got her last night!” That sentence stunned everyone.

“…What?” asked Teletraan.

“Bounty’s already in our grasp!” repeated Crystal Widow. “If you don’t surrender by tomorrow morning, this island is toast and Bounty will be tortured until she surrenders her Source!”

“Not happening! You’re gonna be surrendering her to us!” challenged Goldbug as he readied the Magnus Hammer. Everyone else steeled themselves for battle.

“Oh please, like I’m supposed to be scared of you?” scoffed Crystal Widow.

“Well, if Igura’s hired a bimbo who thinks she’s acting like one, we’ll be on easy street!” Crystal Widow then drew her gun and snarled.

“And just who are you calling a bimbo, pipsqueak?!”

“PIPSQUEAK?! GET HER!” Everyone leapt at Crystal Widow. Crystal Widow fired her gun at everyone.

“FORCE CHIP IGNITION!” Crystal Widow flicked her universe’s equivalent of a Cyber Key into the air, then it inserted itself into her back and the pipes on her upper arms rotated and leveled at her opponents.

“CYBER KEY POWER!” Blackarachnia’s process was the same. The two spider-themed car ladies then opened fire with their Cyber Key weapons. Goldbug then swung the Magnus Hammer at the ground and channeled lightning to Crystal Widow.

“Pathetic,” scoffed Crystal Widow as she twirled out of the way. Kong transformed and grabbed her leg. “…Optimus Primal?”

“It’s KONG Primal!” bellowed the gorilla bot. He then threw her into the air as Thundercracker drew his sword and slashed across her back. Blackarachnia then grabbed her and jabbed her with a cyber-venom cocktail. Crystal Widow recovered after a few seconds, then smirked.

“My threat still stands,” she said, then she opened a Ground Bridge and went through it. The portal shut behind her before anyone could get through.


“Bounty was taken?!” asked the Fat Controller once everyone met at the Works at Crovan’s Gate.

“I’m afraid so,” sighed Blackarachnia. “Various members of the Sodor Council confirmed her being kidnapped right before their eyes.”

“Igura’s team left a note at Wellsworth,” continued Richard. “They said we had to surrender and the way we would signal our surrender is to be pushed along in an empty goods train by the team leader’s favorite engine.”

“That’s Daddy,” remarked Kaitlyn, “and he just told us that his favorite’s Percy.”

“Absolutely out of the question!” boomed the Fat Controller. “Every single engine in my fleet is a member of my family! I will NOT be sacrificing any of them to that madwoman!”

“Sir,” came Percy’s voice, “I may have an idea where no one has to be sacrificed.”

“Percy, no! No engine of mine is meeting that madwoman and that is that!”

“…I’m sorry, Sir, but I HAVE to disobey.”

“Percy, no!”

“I have to side with Sir Topham Hatt here,” supplied Richard.

“Like I said, I have a plan and it involves the trucks,” insisted Percy. “Don’t worry, Sir. You WON’T lose me. I won’t disgrace your father and grandfather like that.”

“…You’re absolutely sure about this?” asked the Fat Controller.

“I’m positive.”

“…Very well. But come back to the sheds alive, please.”

“I will, Sir. I promise.” As the Fat Controller left, fatherly worry furrowing his brow, Percy outlined a plan.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 43: Hurry!

The day finally came. Everyone assigned to the route gathered at Knapford for the morning Wild Nor’ Wester. They showed their tickets to the Guard and boarded the coaches as Gordon backed down with a smile on his face. He was actually five minutes early. The Fat Controller was confused. “What are you doing this early?” he asked Gordon.

“Oh, just heard some news concerning my Fireman,” replied Gordon. “Specifically, his wife!”

“Do you mean-?!” asked the Fat Controller.

“He does!” confirmed the Fireman. “She’s pregnant!”

“Congratulations!” praised the Fat Controller. “No wonder you’re here early! Is this your first one?”

“It is, and we’re already thinking up names! I’m considering Bertram if it’s a boy!”

“I’m flattered to hear that!” The Guard’s whistle then blew. “Ah, mustn’t keep you! Good running!”

“Thank you, Sir!” replied Gordon. He then moved his wheels. “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” he called to the coaches. His speed soon climbed. “Out of my way! Express coming through!” Gordon thundered down the line.


Inside the coaches, Richard was bouncing up and down in his seat like a little boy. “I’m riding Gordon’s Express! I’m riding Gordon’s Express!” he giggled.

“Geez, Daddy!” chuckled Kaitlyn. “You were like that when you built your ‘Spectacular’!”

“Because another childhood dream of mine is coming true! I’m riding on a train on Sodor with my second favorite engine pulling it!”

“Wait, Gordon’s your second favorite engine?” asked Daniel. “Then who’s your first?”

“Well, don’t tell Thomas and Gordon, because, as I said, Gordon’s my second favorite and Thomas is my third, but my most favorite engine of all is Percy.”

“Percy?!” protested Kaitlyn. “Listen, I like the little guy. I enjoyed being his Firewoman, but he’s the most accident-prone engine on the railway! Why would he be your favorite?!”

“Well, his season 1 theme’s a real good song, his shape’s similar to mine, and his work ethic’s-”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” came the Guard’s voice over the coaches’ tannoy, “we are now approaching our first stop at Wellsworth. All passengers disembarking, please collect all your belongings and mind the gap as you exit the carriage. Thank you for choosing the North Western Railway’s Wild Nor’ Wester and have a great day.”


Gordon slowed down and gently brought his coaches to the platform. He looked at the station’s clock. “…Just five minutes early,” he muttered to himself. “I must be getting old.”

“Come on, Gordon!” laughed his Driver. “It’s still early!”

“Yes, but I usually arrive fifteen minutes early. Perhaps this is going to be my first step towards retirement from the Express. …What on Earth am I saying?! I still have years of steam and speed in me!”

“Trust me, you galloping sausage!” called a woman’s voice. “You don’t!” Part of the track next to Gordon then vanished in an explosion. The station staff quickly evacuated Wellsworth Station as Richard and his team investigated what was going on. They soon found their answer as Igura, Katie, Auriella, Yamta, and Yulduk faced them.

“Adachi Igura,” growled Richard.

“A pleasure to see my son-in-law again,” purred Igura.

“Believe me, the feeling’s not mutual! Bounty’s coming with us!”

“Bounty?”

“Don’t play coy with me! You’re after Bounty because Khan wants her Source for his New Multiverse or whatever he calls it! You only imitate Hiro’s plans after he fails miserably!”

“Imitate?!” snarled Igura. “I come up with my OWN plans!”

“And I’m hoping my eyesight’s going bad, but that better not be Katie Barker with you!”

“It is,” replied Katie.

“You’re not allowed on railway property after that stunt you pulled with Edward!”

“My wife and I,” called Auriella, “do NOT require permission!”

“AURIELLA SEFLOWA!” shouted Azuliterii in uncharacteristic rage. “I was hoping Katie didn’t mention your name, but is it true?! YOU’RE her wife?!”

“You, of all people, have an issue with girls marrying each other?”

“I do when one of the women is the worst kind of criminal scum who has no business calling herself a Queen when NO ONE of our power should EVER have that title!”

“That’s nothing more than Chizaran Propaganda! I unchained the Adrexians when I finally became the first Queen!”

“ENOUGH!” shouted Igura. “Richard Saunders, surrender to us or Gordon is scrap!” Azuliterii responded for Richard as she swung her arm and projected an energy wave that knocked the villains off their feet.

“Gordon, the instant your path is clear,” Richard said to the big engine, “just go! Never mind the speed limit! Get your passengers out of here!”

“Right!” replied Gordon. As the villains picked themselves up, the Kamen Riders fastened their belts on and pulled out their transformation devices.

“HENSHIN!” they shouted. They all transformed and drew their weapons. Amy swung her hammer as if she were still fighting Eggman.

“Is that supposed to impress us?” chuckled Igura. She, Auriella, and Katie then pulled out their belts and fastened them.

“Shocker Driver!” called Igura’s belt. Auriella and Katie’s belts looked like diamond rings without the diamond in it. Igura then pulled out her i.d tag as Katie and Auriella each pulled out a diamond.

“Henshin!” the three announced. Igura inserted the i.d tag into her belt.

“TALON!” it called. “Hito yon’de Akuma no Shocker! Hito yon’de Akuma no Shocker!” Armor then materialized on her body and she became Kamen Rider Talon. For Auriella and Katie, they just inserted their diamonds into their belt’s clasps. The diamonds shone and armor appeared on them. Richard, now Guard, gripped his sword.

“Igura’s Rider name, I already know,” he said. “What are yours?”

“I’m Kamen Rider Glam,” said Katie.

“And I’m Kamen Rider Jewel,” finished Auriella, “and we both wear the Dazzle Driver.”

“You’re still villains!” declared Guard. “GET THEM!” The Heroes then leapt onto the Villains and were met with heavy resistance. It was still enough for Gordon’s line to be cleared. “GO, GORDON! GO!” shouted Guard. Gordon wasted no time in leaving Wellsworth. He got his train out of there as the Heroes fought the Villains. It was then that Guard noticed that his opponent, Talon, wasn’t fighting as hard as he remembered. “What’s going on?” he demanded. “You fight better than this! Or is this the result of being in Hell for so long?”

“Not considering a third option?” chuckled Talon. Guard arched an eyebrow under his helmet, then they widened in fear.

“No!” he said. Talon then delivered a solid kick to his gut and knocked him into Hanako and Flora, Herald P.

“Scrapping Gordon would have been a nice bonus,” chuckled Glam, “but our main mission WAS accomplished.”

“We just needed you here,” purred Jewel.

“We have Bounty in our grasp,” said Talon. “If you do not surrender tomorrow morning, Sodor will be wiped off the face of the earth.” She then summoned a rift and she and her allies jumped in. Once it closed, Guard growled.

“Adachi Igura, I’ll have your head!” he vowed.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 42: Summit

Early the next morning, the engines woke to hear the sound of motors. “Erf!” grumbled Patrick. “Early morning car show?”

“…No, I think it’s the diesels,” replied Culdee. He was right. Four boxy engines reversed into the sheds. Unlike the steam engines, these four were level all the way. They were rectangular with a square cab at the back and were colored like the steam engines. Sira, Yufantel, Irina, Endram, Glanthel, and the Manager all stepped out of their cabs. The Manager spoke to the engines. “Engines, may I present Nina,”

“Hello!” greeted the diesel with the number 9 on both sides of her cab.

“Himalaya,”

“Hi!” called the number 10 diesel.

“Shen Ven,”

“Nice to meet you,” said the number 11 diesel.

“And Greta,” finished the Manager.

“You have a very lovely line,” remarked the number 12 diesel.

“Now, Irina, I want you to help Nina learn the line,” directed the Manager. “Sira, you’re with Himalaya. Yufantel, you work with Shen Ven. Glanthel, I want you to assist Greta.”

“We’ll know this line like the back of our buffers!” boasted Nina.


As each engine worked, their personalities came through. Nina was a proud diesel, which bit her in the rear buffers only once as she overshot the platform at Shiloh. After that, she decided it was best to keep her self-praise to herself until the day was done. Himalaya was a very quiet diesel, but a friendly one. Shen Ven liked working with the “Trucks”, the supply and maintenance train. Greta once looked everywhere but the track during the first leg, but then Glanthel told her about Godred’s death and recent haunting. That made her pay more attention to her work. The day soon finished without incident, and everyone returned to the shed. “So,” Patrick said to Nina, “had a bit of an oopsie today?”

“Oh, like you didn’t nearly overshoot Skarloey Road on your first day!” protested Alaric.

“OI!”

“Well, after that, the passengers had a VERY smooth run!” chuckled Nina.

“It looks like everyone is working nicely on the railway,” mused Irina.

“It’s good to have you engines with us,” Culdee said to the new diesels.

“It’s good to be working finally!” replied Shen Ven.

“And it’s good to see such excellent hard-workers,” called the Manager’s voice as he approached the sheds. “Thanks to your efforts, the Culdee Fell Railway will more than survive the upcoming summer rush, it will thrive! I’m proud of you all! Nina, Himalaya, Shen Ven, Greta, you’ve done marvelously on your first day! Endram, Sira, Irina, Glanthel, Yufantel, you have more than earned my trust here! I need to tell the other Controllers about your efforts. In the meantime, take a week off. I’m sure you’d enjoy seeing your friends.”

“Thank you, Sir!” said Yufantel. “It was nice working on a railway!”

“And the Culdee Fell Railway,” continued Irina, “is the perfect start for working on a Mountain Railway.”


“MORONS! ALL OF YOU!” Igura was LIVID with the teams she sent out. “Katie, you never got any of Fat Hatt’s engines scrapped! Yamta, your bombs were discovered and defused! Yulduk, you never accounted for the engines using different trucks! Auriella, your ghost still had morals! You’re all idiots!”

“Are you done?” asked Auriella.

“Done with your moronic plans?! Yes! We’re doing things my way now!”

“But Crystal Widow-!”

“Is on MY side!”

“It’s true,” cackled a voice. It sounded like Blackarachnia’s, but it was a bit more crazed. A white and pink copy of Blackarachnia then stepped out of the shadows. She had purple optics like Nemesis Prime. “Time for a little mayhem!”

“You’ll be going to Suddery to find Bounty,” ordered Igura, “then Yulduk and Yamta will take her when you give them her specific location. After that, we’ll intercept the heroes’ two teams.”

“Two?!” asked Katie in disbelief.


Everyone met with the Fat Controller over where the ships were parked. He was smiling warmly. “My friends, you have been a credit to all the railways on this island. I am proud of you all.”

“It was our pleasure, Sir,” replied Richard.

“Now, I must confess something,” continued the Fat Controller. “Bounty doesn’t work for any of the railways. She’s a secretary for the Sodor Council in Suddery. I didn’t tell you this because my previous history with Richard made me unsure of his intentions. Now, I must ask, how do you plan to get to Suddery?”

“I’m honestly not sure,” answered Richard. “I want to use our ships, but they might be a bit inconspicuous. As would our Transformer friends.”

“Maybe the giant friends,” suggested Thundercracker, “can take the ships to a remote area near Suddery by going along the outside of the island while the rest of you can…I don’t know…take the train there?”

“An excellent suggestion, Mr…” said the Fat Controller.

“Thundercracker, Sir.”

“An excellent suggestion, Mr. Thundercracker!” The Fat Controller then opened a case. “There are two tickets for each of you,” he said. “One is for the morning Wild ‘Nor Wester, the other is for the local passenger run from Wellsworth to Suddery just a few minutes later. With my compliments, of course.”

“The Wild ‘Nor Wester?” asked Kaitlyn. “Isn’t that Gordon’s Express?”

“Indeed it is. And, barring any problems, Gordon will be pulling it tomorrow.”

“We’ll be at Knapford ready for the train!” promised Richard.

“Excellent! I’ll make the necessary arrangements with Gordon! Good night, ladies and gentlemen!” The Fat Controller turned on his heel and returned to his car.

“This is it!” cheered Richard. “We’re in the home stretch!”

“Don’t get cocky!” urged Kong Primal. “We still have to FIND Bounty first.”

“He’s right,” said Thundercracker. “Pardon the old Seeker views, but the mission isn’t a success of failure until we go home.”

“…You’re right. We gotta get Bounty reunited with her sisters. And good news! We got Gandalf back from the Lords and we picked up Galadriel!”

“Gandalf?” asked Flora. “So, we have a positive id on our mystery Lords?”

“Yep, and just like Batman, they were fighting against them on the inside!”

“Nice work, Thundercracker!” said Irina.

“She’s right, good work!” agreed Richard. Thundercracker arched an eyebrow.

“Erm…thank you?” he said.

“…Didn’t Megatron praise your work?” asked Richard.

“The only time a commanding officer ever praised me was when I killed Autobots for the glory of the Decepticons. Being thanked for saving lives instead of taking them is a little…new to me.”

“Well, let this be the first of many, because I’ve seen more from you than merely taking lives.” Thundercracker wasn’t sure, but he felt something in his Spark…lighten.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 41: Slope

Wilfred, Yufantel, and the Fireman were pushing a passenger train up the mountain. They were crossing Devil’s Back in clear weather and were about to reach the station at the summit. There was still a bit of wind, but it wasn’t enough to make anyone worry. Yufantel was a little nervous as they climbed the last remaining near straight-up 600 feet of Devil’s Back. They soon saw the Summit Station ahead. Yufantel then released a breath in relief. “It’s weird,” she muttered.

“What is?” asked the Fireman.

“I commanded a skyship just fine, but I get nervous on mountains unless there’s a clear building in sight.”

“I’m like that with rollercoasters if you can believe it. I prefer to control the speed of the train and going fast on high hills isn’t exactly fun.”

“Yeah, I guess I prefer having closed walls around me as I’m in the air.”

“Er, Yufantel?” asked Wilfred. Yufantel then realized what was going on and screwed on the brakes a little quicker than usual, but still enough to ease into the platform. Patrick and his crew were on the opposite platform, waiting for passengers to climb aboard.

“Head in the clouds?” chuckled Sira.

“Something like that,” replied Yufantel embarrassed.

“Long as it’s not a habit, especially on a mountain,” remarked Irina.

“You’re absolutely right,” agreed Patrick. “It’s a risk no one should take.”

“Says the risk-seeker,” muttered Wilfred.

“FORMER risk-seeker!”

“HEY!” called the Stationmaster as he stormed out of his office. He was looking directly at the points outside the station. “Clear off, you! Patrick has to-!”

“Not again!” gulped Patrick as he guessed who was sitting on the points.

“Stationmaster, what’s the number on the engine?!” called Wilfred’s Fireman. The Stationmaster was confused at the question but walked toward the engine. He didn’t get behind it as he saw the nameplate and screamed in horror as he fled to hide by Wilfred.

“G-G-G-Go-God-d-d-dr-!” He couldn’t get the name out. Irina guessed it quickly.

“Godred,” she said as she stepped out of Patrick’s cab. Sira and Yufantel followed her and faced Godred’s ghost.

“What are you doing here, Godred?” asked Yufantel. “The engines, staff, and visitors all believed you had moved on after your accident.” Godred said nothing. “…Godred, if you want help moving on, I’m a licensed ghost-easer. It’s my job to help ghosts that want to move on but can’t.” Still nothing. “…Can you hear me?”

“He can hear you, all right,” chuckled a woman’s voice in a cold tone. The speaker then came out. She was tall and wore a seafoam green dress. “I just made it so that he won’t speak as long as he’s mine.”

“And you are?” asked Irina.

“Oh, where are my manners? I am Auriella, Queen of Adrexia.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Only because you Vortex Riders never passed by it or asked the Chizarans about their cousins.”

“I see. So, you’re the reason Godred’s haunting this mountain?”

“I prefer the term ‘revisiting’.”

“Souls that moved on and are pulled back tend to cause havoc!” argued Yufantel. “You need to let him go!”

“And a Queen obeys a mere Princess?” scoffed Auriella.

“You’ll obey this one!”

“You’re in no position to give me demands, child!” Auriella turned to Godred. “It’s time, Godred.”

“Time for what?” asked Irina.

“For his last passenger run. Must keep to time, and all that.”

“He can’t even touch anyone!” scoffed Patrick.

“No, my Superheat Design Friend, but he CAN take you.”

“…Possession,” hissed Yufantel.

“P-Possession?!” gulped Patrick. “As in…take over our-?!”

“Wilfred would be a better candidate,” remarked Auriella, “since his construction is similar to Godred’s.”

“Then what?” demanded Sira.

“Then he takes the engine’s train back down the mountain.”

“Godred never kept a good look-out!” protested Wilfred.

“If he’s a repeater as I suspect,” supplied Yufantel, “then the engine he possesses will be doomed to repeat the events leading to his death!”

“Meaning Godred will no longer be alone,” said Auriella.

“Murder is murder, no matter how you slice it, you thug!” Auriella snarled at that insult.

“I never did expect someone like you to understand. Godred, Wilfred’s ready for you. Take him and his passengers.” Auriella then summoned an energy ball in her hand. “As for you lot, onto the coach. Get in quickly please.” Just then, Auriella heard a snap from behind her. She turned around to see Godred rolling backwards. “What?! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!” she shouted as she turned the energy ball into chains. “COME BACK HERE, YOU-!”

“That’s enough!” shouted Yufantel as she tackled Auriella and pinned her to the ground.

“GET OFF ME! YOU’RE NOT FIT TO TOUCH ME!”

“You’re not in a position to give orders, lady!”

“I SAID GET OFF!” Auriella threw Yufantel off and into Patrick’s coach. She then threw a smoke bomb at the ground and used it to get away. Everyone was confused at why Godred repeated his accident.


“And he just rolled down the mountain?” asked Culdee once the day’s work was done.

“Derailed at Devil’s Back again,” replied Sira.

“But what would make him do that?” asked Alaric.

“I can answer that,” said Yufantel. “At their core, ghosts don’t want to harm anyone. So when he was ordered to possess an engine with a coach full of passengers, then he felt like he had no choice but to repeat the actions that led to his death so others could still live.”

“…Still, I wish we could help him move on,” sighed Irina.

“That will take less effort than you think,” chuckled a new voice. Everyone gasped as Godred stood in front of the shed. This time, he was smiling. “I see the railway’s still in good hands after my tumble,” chuckled Godred.

“Godred, it really IS you!” gasped Culdee.

“Hello, Culdee,” replied Godred. “How are things?”

“Just…just fine, but…” Culdee was lost for words.

“Ah, my sudden appearance. That’s Auriella’s doing. I WAS resting peacefully after my accident. Then she ripped me from the afterlife. I see that my accident is used as a cautionary tale.”

“Y-Yes,” stammered Wilfred.

“Well, it’s kept Patrick and his fellows on their axles. I just came to finally say goodbye.”

“That’s it?” asked Irina.

“That’s it. If it were possible to tell you what the afterlife was like, I’d tell you. As it is now, I must stay mum. Stay safe up there.”

“We will,” promised the engines and their crews. Godred then faded away. Once he did, the Manager strode up to his engines.

“I saw the whole thing,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be right for me to interrupt.”

“Well, thank you, Sir,” said Alaric.

“Now, I DO have some bad news,” continued the Manager. “While we had a slight decrease in passengers during this incident, the fact remains that the summer rush is approaching and we’re likely to our busiest season yet. So, to that end, I have acquired four new engines. They’ll be coming in the morning.”

“How hard-working are they?” asked Patrick.

“Well, they’ve been shut up in their sheds since their construction in the 80’s. Their sisters have had better luck on the Snowdon Railway. When I approached them for a chance to work on a mountain railway, they were thrilled. I need our new drivers to help them along the line while your normal crews return to work.”

“The 80’s?” asked Culdee. “That’s when they were built?”

“But steam traction stopped being the norm around the 60’s,” recalled Wilfred.

“Exactly,” confirmed the Manager. “These four engines are mountain diesels.”

“We’ll make sure they know how this railway works,” promised Endram.

“I knew I could count on you! Well, that’s all the news for tonight. I’ll see you in the morning. Good night!” The Manager then walked off to his car and drove home.

“Well, I, for one,” said Culdee, “am eager to see how these diesels handle themselves.”

“As am I,” agreed Eric.

“Well, we can’t exactly do that,” remarked Patrick, “without some sleep.”

“He’s right,” affirmed Wilfred. “So, good night.”

“Good night!” everyone bid. The crews headed off as the engines went to sleep.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 40: Ridge

The next morning, Patrick and his crew, Glanthel and Endram, were taking a passenger run to the Summit. The train went without incident, but that didn’t stop Patrick from grumbling about what was said last night. “Ghosts on Sodor,” he scoffed as he climbed Devil’s Back. “The only ‘ghost’ here was Percy tricking Thomas on the NWR! He got his comeuppance later on! There’s no such thing as ghosts here!”

“There is some truth to ghost stories,” remarked Endram as he checked Patrick’s fire, “even if the ghosts themselves are fake.”

“Oh, really? And did you happen to see any ghosts?”

“As a matter of fact, the Under-realm, the home of my son’s beloved Malnar and Gorfanth, is the ghost capital of the Realms.”

“Back before the Realms fully united,” explained Glanthel, “the Under-realm was very liberal with necromancy.”

“Death-related magic, yes?” asked Patrick.

“That’s right. Because of their frequent use of it, the veil between the living and the dead was permanently weakened and so ghosts are a common sight there. It’s usually unheard of when a ghost pops up in any other Realm.”

“I do recall one incident,” said Endram. “It happened during-”

“THERE’S AN ENGINE ROLLING DOWN THE LINE!” called the coach. Patrick braked to a halt and his crew and passengers saw a single engine going backwards down Devil’s Back. It then rolled off the tracks and down the mountain. Patrick could see that it almost looked like Culdee!

“Quick! Get Control on the line! Culdee’s had an accident!” urged Patrick. Glanthel quickly took the radio and call Control.

“Emergency!” he said. “Culdee’s derailed off Devil’s Back! Repeat, Culdee has rolled off of Devil’s Back!”

“…Are you being funny?” asked Control.

“We’re not! Culdee’s had an accident!”

“That’s impossible. Summit’s reported that he delivered his passengers to the Summit Hotel safely. He’s still waiting for you to come up so he can come down.”

“Then it was probably Shane Dooiney! Or Wilfred! Or Ernest!”

“Shane Dooiney is currently arranging the Truck and Wilfred and Ernest are coming back from their maintenance.”

“Well, whatever engine that fell down the mountain wasn’t to Superheat Design, I can tell you that!” snapped Patrick. “I know Alaric and Eric are doing track maintenance around Skarloey Road! And I’m still on the rails!”

“Then you were mistaken and there WAS no engine derailment! Quit wasting our time!” Control then ended the call.

“Bu-but-!” stammered Patrick.

“We saw it too,” assured Glanthel. “And so did the passengers, from the sound of things.” While the passengers talked about what happened, Patrick resumed his journey up the mountain. His smokebox was all a blur with his thoughts.


Later in the evening, Patrick told everyone what happened on Devil’s Back. “I’m telling you; I saw that engine as he tumbled down the mountainside! It looked almost like Culdee!”

“I’m surprised Control didn’t send someone over to the crash site,” muttered Shane Dooiney, the number five engine.

“They did,” replied Glanthel, “but there was nothing there.”

“What is going on around here?” muttered Yufantel. “If it IS Godred’s ghost, why hasn’t he appeared before now?”

“Someone may have artificially weakened the veil between the living and the dead,” guessed Irina.

“There’s merit in that theory,” said Endram. “I was about to tell Patrick about it before we saw the crash.”

“About when you saw the ghost of Daddy Lardeth’s father?” asked Yufantel.

“That’s the one. I take it someone told you about it?”

“It was Grandma Olmarfa who told me.”

“Do you want to tell the story or should I?”

“You tell the story.”

“Very well.” Endram then took in a breath and began. “First off, we all must get clear that I am NOT Lardeth’s father. Oh, yes, I married his moms, but that was after their previous husband, the father of their children died. His father, the previous Over-King before me, a human called Yentil, was once an engine driver for the Great Wysper Northern Railway. Even when he was King, he would always find time to work there with his firewoman. From my wives and children’s description, he was also very boastful and so was the firewoman. They always talked about their spotless record, how they had never once been late or had an accident. The real kicker of it was that it was all true.”

“True?” asked Sira incredulously.

“I didn’t believe it myself until I saw the documentation to prove it. They were quick to criticize anyone, even their own crew, if they were late in any capacity. Their Controller always praised them whenever they delivered their trains on time. That’s ultimately what caused the accident.”

“What happened?” asked Culdee. He had a guess but wanted confirmation.

“Yentil and his firewoman had to take a late-night express passenger train. They suffered a delay and couldn’t get out of the station fast enough when the Conductor finally blew his whistle. Back when the Great Wysper Norther Railway was in operation, their main line went around a mountain and there was a deep ravine. The night they took that train was foggy and there was snow on the ground. With the poor visibility, icy rails, and Yentil and his firewoman’s desire to maintain their spotless record, thus causing them to go at a criminally reckless speed, the outcome was inevitable.”

“They crashed,” summed up Irina.

“Came right off the rails at the first sharp bend. Yentil, his firewoman, all the passengers, and the Conductor lost their lives that night and the accident ruined the railway’s reputation forever. It closed and the mountain line was ripped up and the engines and rolling stock were sold to other railways so they could regain some of their financial loss.”

“What does that have to do with ghosts?” asked Patrick.

“For a while, there was a story that, on the anniversary of the accident, a ghost train would go along the old mountain road to try and finally complete its journey. Lardeth didn’t believe it until his Tour of Duty came to an end. A week before, our Destroyer brought a Wraith to the Over-realm and it’s believed that his actions weakened the veil between the living and the dead for that moment in the Over-realm, thus allowing everyone, even Lardeth, to see the ghost train. We managed to intercept it and the old Railway Controller asked forgiveness for cultivating their ego to the point it led to a fatal accident. Yentil and his firewoman forgave him and one of our former Gods gave the ghost train a new path to the eternal rest they craved while also restoring the barrier between living and dead to its former state.”

“And if that mystery engine IS Godred’s ghost,” remarked Culdee, “we need to help him achieve his rest.”

“And how, pray tell,” grunted Patrick, “do we do that?”

“…I don’t know.”

“We can’t exactly plan with no sleep,” said Irina. “We need to discuss this in the morning.”

“Irina’s right,” agreed Alaric, the number seven engine. “We need some shut eye. Good night.”

“Good night,” replied everyone else. The engines went to sleep as their crews went home.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 39: Mountain Base

The Culdee Fell Railway is a mountain railway that travels up Sodor’s tallest mountain, Culdee Fell. It is a rack-railway, meaning that there’s a third line with teeth that allows the trains to climb the 8-mile trip to the summit with one or more cog wheels. The engines boilers are tilted down so the water would be level when climbing the mountain. There are no turntables, so the engines push their loads up and then carefully go backwards down the mountain. Because of the dangers, even the trucks that make up the goods trains don’t dare play tricks on the engines. They’re the only railway to not have a number one engine. The engines don’t like to talk about it. Right now, it was a beautiful morning and the weatherman said it would be a calm day for the area. Irina and Sira were getting their engine, the railway’s number four named Culdee after the railway and mountain, ready for the day’s work. Culdee’s fire was burning nicely and he had plenty of steam. It was time for his morning passenger run. Once he was ready, Culdee and his crew set off to collect their coach, Catherine. He buffered up to Catherine and pushed her to the platform. The passengers then boarded the coach and the guard blew his whistle. “Right away!” called Sira. The train then set off with Culdee pushing from behind.

“I’ve never been on a mountain railway,” admitted Irina as she checked Culdee’s fire.

“I have,” said Sira. “Quite a few exist in my universe.”

“Perhaps you and Culdee can tell me why only one coach. Surely, we can do two.”

“Only on a trial run. Even then, the coaches have to be empty. This line’s pretty steep for two fully loaded coaches.”

“And it’s because it’s so steep,” continued Culdee, “that we’re only allowed one. That’s why the coaches look ahead to make sure everything’s all right. Catherine here is so clever that I know at once if anything’s wrong.”

“That’s got to be a load off your mind,” mused Sira.

“Not his buffers!” laughed Catherine. “It’s hard work for-CULDEE, STOP!” Culdee quickly put his brakes on.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“There’s an engine on the line ahead of us!” Irina and Sira poked their heads out of the cab to see the engine. It was shaped like Culdee and had a blank face. The Guard then stepped out of Catherine.

“Excuse me!” he barked. “You’re not supposed to be on the line! Explain yourself!” The engine didn’t reply. “I’m talking to you!” Still no response. “Right! That’s it! You’re coming with us down the line! Where’s your crew?!” The engine stared silently. “All right! I’ll be taking your controls! Culdee, you lead the-!” As the Guard attempted to climb into the cab, his hand passed through the engine’s outer metal! Once that happened, the engine vanished! The Guard was stammering at the whole thing. “Wh-wha-what…? What just-?!”

“I think it’d be best,” said Catherine, “if we get to Shiloh at once and explain what happened.”

“G-Good idea!” The Guard quickly got back into Catherine and the train set off again. As they reached the next station, Culdee was deep in thought.

“It couldn’t have been. …Could it?” he muttered to himself.


The rest of the day went without incident, but the story of the engine spread up and down the mountain. Patrick, the number six engine, scoffed at the idea. “Rubbish!” he said when everyone was at the sheds at the foot of the mountain.

“It’s not rubbish!” argued Sira. “It was there! We all saw it!”

“Sira, did anyone see any number on it?” asked Culdee.

“…I didn’t see anything.”

“Neither did I,” replied Irina.

“Oh, come on, Culdee!” remarked the number two engine, Ernest. “It can’t be his ghost! We’d have seen him during the beginning!”

“Well, around this time IS the anniversary of his accident,” replied Culdee.

“Who are you talking about?” asked Endram.

“The former number one engine,” said Culdee. “His name was Godred, named after King Godred of Sodor. I’m sorry to say that the prestige that went with the name went into his smokebox. He never kept a good lookout. He’d roll down the line and look anywhere but the track. I warned him to be careful, but he wouldn’t listen. He’d always depend on his automatic brakes and his driver’s air brakes.”

“That’s dangerous!” shuddered Irina. “How could he obey his driver’s controls if something goes wrong?”

“That’s what I tried to tell him. So did his crew and the Manager at the time. They took him apart and put him back together to see if anything was wrong, but he still carried on in the same way.”

“…Is that why there’s no number one engine on your railway?” asked Glanthel. “That attitude of his did him in?”

“Yes. In the deadliest way possible. It was a miracle his crew, passengers, and Guard didn’t suffer any injury. I saw it happen. It was on the fourth of June in 1900, a month after the railway officially opened. He was coming back down the mountain when he derailed on Devil’s Back and rolled down the mountain. The Guard braked the coach to a halt and Godred’s crew jumped clear. Unfortunately, Godred was damaged beyond repair and it would have been too expensive to fix him, so he was scrapped and…and cannibalized for parts so we could be mended until our overhauls in Switzerland. That was later in 1962, and Patrick, Alaric, and Eric were bought to help.”

“And Godred’s accident,” continued Patrick, “was used as a cautionary tale ever since. But his ghost?! Come on! You never mentioned that you believe in such things!” Irina leaned against the shed wall and pondered.

“Maybe we can get the Ghostbusters to help,” she mused.

“Ghostbusters? What are they?” asked Endram.

“They’re like pest control, but they deal with ghosts.”

“You know, the ghosts of my home,” remarked Yufantel, “would take offense to being compared to pests.”

“This is absurd!” snapped Patrick. “There might be ghosts where you’re from, but here on Sodor, there’s no such thing! Now, I’m going to sleep! Good night!” He promptly fell asleep.

“While I don’t agree with his tone,” muttered the number three engine, Wilfred, “I think Patrick’s right. We need some sleep to puzzle this out. Good night.” Everyone wished each other good night and the engines drifted off to sleep while their crews headed for home.

Categories
Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 38: Return

Falnii woke up the next day feeling much more refreshed. After taking Yulduk prisoner, she felt more at ease. She came down to breakfast and saw Hejema cooking. “Good morning!” she called.

“Good morning, Your Majesty,” replied Hejema. “You’re looking happy today.”

“I’m FEELING happy today!” Wilson then came into the room. “Good morning, Wilson!”

“Morning!” answered Wilson. “Feeling better?”

“Much!” Emma was the last to enter the room. “Good morning, Emma!”

“And good morning to you, Falnii!” said Emma. “Sleep well?”

“Slept like a log! I feel like I can take on the world!”

“Well, we’ve only got our jobs to take on today,” remarked Hejema as she served breakfast.

“A pity, but I’m sure we can do them easily!”


After breakfast, everyone arrived at the sheds. The Small Controller wasn’t there yet. “Where is he?” muttered Wilson.

“It’s not like him to be late,” replied Mike.

“No, it usually isn’t,” came the Small Controller’s voice. He was running to the sheds and carrying a newspaper. “I do apologize for my lateness, but after seeing the headline, I had to share it with everyone.” He opened up the newspaper and displayed the headline. It read “Arlesdale Railway Delivers Victory!” “The article,” continued the Small Controller, “talks about what happened yesterday and how we’re joining the efforts to end a conspiracy against this island! We’ve been called heroes! I’m proud of you all! Not only will this spark a tourist boom, but it also sparked a goods traffic boom! Everyone is learning how Really Useful we are! There will be plenty to do during the tourist season!”

“Great, maybe passenger trains might prove a challenge,” mused Mike.

“Oh, come on, Mike!” protested Wilson.

“Given the projected uptick in passengers, I’d say yes, Mike, it might prove to test your strength,” chuckled the Small Controller.

“YOU’RE STROKING HIS-! I give up!” grunted Wilson.

“Now, this DOES mean that our new staff members have proven themselves, so I am giving them the week off after that Yulduk business. Your regular crews will be in charge.”

“Very well, Sir,” replied Falnii. “To be frank, I’m eager to see how well Yulduk’s handling life inside a cell.”

“Before you go, would you mind picking up your paychecks?”

“Will do, Sir.”


After Falnii collected the paychecks, she teleported herself and her teammates to the ships. “So, how was life on the Arlesdale Railway?” asked Richard.

“Barring Yulduk’s shenanigans,” replied Hejema, “quite pleasant.”

“Speaking of which, he’s been trying to break out of the Glanthelantir’s brig.”

“I’ll chat with him,” said Falnii. “How about our two mystery Lords?”

“We have medical scans and determined what at least one of them was. The lady was an Elf, but there’s nothing in the medical database about her type of Elf. I’m thinking of speaking with them both after I talked to Boulton.”


Falnii made her way to Yulduk’s cell. Yulduk was throwing himself against the energy field locking him in. “How long has-?” she asked Glanthel.

“Since he was put in there, Your Majesty,” replied Glanthel. Falnii rolled her eyes before speaking to Yulduk.

“You know, they say the definition of insanity is repeating an action while hoping to get a different result.” Yulduk stopped to catch his breath.

“I’m undead!” he hissed. “This field will only be deadly to a living person!”

“It’s been modified for Revenants too, Yulduk. We had to make the modifications in case modern Revenants went as crazy and as criminal as you.”

“…How are there Revenants now? The spell can’t work without Oyed.”

“The Divine Mana that you guys drained spread throughout the Realms. The spell only needs to draw from that.”

“I see. I must admit, I thought you a shrinking violet during the Final War. When you killed me, then stared me down when you saw me again, you proved me wrong. Then your plan succeeded, and you became the first one to put me behind bars where others had failed. For that, you have my respect.”

“I’m flattered.”

“You should be. When one earns my respect, that means I don’t rest. I devote all my energy, everything I have…TO KILLING THEM!” Yulduk punched the wall for emphasis, then he sat down on the bunk. “I don’t care what your social status is, ‘Your Majesty’. You’re dying just the same.”

“We all have to die at some point, but my death is not today.” Falnii then left the brig.


Richard was in a different section of the brig, where Boulton and the two mystery Lords sat. Boulton was looking at the floor as he sat on his bunk. “How are you holding up?” Richard asked Boulton.

“I’ll live,” replied Boulton. “Funny, I always dreamed of seeing you and your family again. …Never thought it’d be like this.”

“Neither did I. It’s good to see you again, in any case. I’m glad you’re fighting for right again.”

“I thought I was when Khan said that you were dead. I was hoping to see a multiverse where you died after me. I guess you just moved to another universe so you’d be among fellow immortals.”

“There’s a place for you in Beyond City if you want to atone.”

“…I’ll leave that to the judges. I betrayed the USA and those close to me. Whatever happens, I deserve it.”

“You still have allies.”

“I’d be surprised if that were true.” Boulton sat back down and hung his head in shame. Richard sighed before turning to the next cell with the Elder Lord.

“Good morning,” he said. The Elder Lord looked at him curiously.

“What do you mean by it?” he asked. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“…I swear I heard that before. In any case, it’s all of them at once. I’d offer you a pipe of tobacco, but I don’t smoke. At the moment, we have no hurry. …At least not until another disaster strikes this island.”

“Then you are in the middle of an adventure?”

“Yep. This is one fragment of a greater crisis. One that YOU guys and your boss started. Good morning.”

“What a lot of things you use ‘Good morning’ for!” chuckled the Lord. “Now you wish to no longer see me and that it won’t be good until I’m out of your sight! To think that I should be good-morninged by Michael Archer’s best friend and the inheritor of the Shift Keystone as if I were a common criminal!” Richard goggled at that statement. The Lords, to his knowledge, didn’t know either of those things.

“…I’m sorry, do I know you?” he asked.

“You know my name, though all this Lord garb has made you forget that I belong to it. I am Gandalf! And Gandalf means…me!”

“…Gandalf? …GANDALF?!” Richard turned to the brig guard, a female Orc.

“…Lie detectors are silent,” she replied. “He IS this…Gandalf person.”

“Then the Elf lady with you is-?!” Richard looked to the female Elf Lord. She smiled.

“I am,” she said in an ethereal voice.

“…Lady Galadriel,” whispered Richard as he knelt.

“Please, rise, hero of the multiverse,” said Galadriel. Richard rose, then his face became one of confusion.

“Wait, how did the Lords get to Aman in the first place?” he asked. “I mean, you two went to the Undying Lands with the remaining Ring-bearers and the rest of the Elves. Eru Ilúvatar should have stopped them from coming anywhere near Aman.”

“That is Khan’s doing,” replied Galadriel.

“He sought out the ones closest to the F.N.S and warped us into what you see now,” continued Gandalf. “Luckily, Batman helped us block out the rest of the Lord Collective.”

“Well, we better get all that stuff off of you two,” said Richard. “We can’t keep you wired in forever.”

“Sir, you’re gonna have trouble with that,” remarked the Orc guard. “I can’t lower the energy fields on just their cells, I have to open all of them in both this block and the other one. Yulduk’s still in the other one.”

“And I ain’t leaving this cell until this whole Sodor mess is over,” called Boulton after he overheard everything.

“…You’re sure?” asked Richard.

“Positive. I’m sorry, Richard.”

“It’s all right. I understand.” Richard then fastened a gauntlet onto his hand. It was a Keystone Gauntlet like Megumi’s, but the symbol was different. It was an upside-down triangle with a different colored circle on each vertex, cyan, yellow, and magenta, with arrows pointing to them, one going from cyan to yellow, the next going from yellow to magenta, and the last from magenta to cyan. “Let’s see if I remember how Batman used this thing. Shift Keystone, activate! Cyan, by the door leading out to the hallway! Yellow, by the guard’s console! Magenta, on the ceiling above the guard!” The guard then got away from her console as portals of the colors on the Keystone appeared where Richard wanted them. “Shift! Gandalf! Yellow! Shift! Galadriel! Magenta!” Copies of the yellow and magenta portals appeared beneath Gandalf and Galadriel and they were sucked into them. They then tumbled out of the ones Richard had already placed. Gandalf quickly caught Galadriel, then set her down. Richard chuckled. “Man, your shippers would have-!” The Elf woman and Wizard then loomed over Richard. “…Right, not funny,” he gulped. “Er, how about I show you to the med-bay so you can get all that stuff off?”

“That sounds splendid,” grunted Gandalf. Richard then led the two out of the brig. He then turned back to call to Boulton.

“When I get back, I’m filling you in on what happened to me,” he promised.

“I’ll be here,” replied Boulton. The brig block was then filled with only himself and the guard.

“…You know, you and I are a lot alike,” she said. “We both did what we thought was the right thing only for it to bite us in the rear.”

“…You were assimilated?” asked Boulton.

“No, but the enemy of the Realms lied to me and I betrayed those closest to me because of it.” Boulton gave a sad smile.

“Well, I’ll be. You know what’s going through my head.”