The Star in the South
Part Five - Unknown Hero

Where are the answers to these troubled days?
Can we find a better way to live? No one listens to what you say.
Does it matter anyway, if your innocence gets blown away?

'Children of the Western World' - Steve Grace
Wildwing was forced to his knees. He glared up at Menta, who was sitting on the Throne of Puckworld, wearing the crown.

"You have no right to the throne!" Wildwing yelled. "We know who you are!"

Menta raised an eyebrow. He signaled the guards to leave.

The current king leaned on his hand. "Now that *is* interesting. Would you like to inform me of how you obtained that…information?"

"Our team mate who killed Canard was still on Puckworld when we left. She told us the name."

Menta leant forward suddenly. "She was present at the attack of the Resistance building?"

"Yes." Wildwing wondered where this was going.

"Jadestar Flashblade." Menta growled, his face darkening. "She’s the one who tipped the Resistance off! If it hadn’t been for her I would have been ruler of all Puckworld with out this ridicules disguise! And Canard never stopped talking about heain compound, a certain stream, a certain girl…"

Wildwing pointed an accusing finger at him. "You shot her!"

Menta waved his hand. "Oh no. Rather, I’m the one who saved the other one."


"If that’s what you call him, then yes. That’s not my point however." Menta leaned forward and hissed directly into Wildwing’s face. "Wildwing Flashblade, because that’s who you must be, you owe me." He sat back, and rubbed his hands together. "Oh, this is good. I’ve got the third best thing to killing her. Where’s the second? Where’s her brother?"

"Dead." Duke and Grin said at the same time."

"You don’t have a good record for keeping siblings alive, do you Wildwing?" Menta said, choosing to go for a little mental torture.

"It wasn’t his fault." Duke jumped in.

"He’s your leader, isn’t he? He’s the one with the Mask. It’s the leaders responsibility to look after his team members."

Duke jumped up onto the throne, and grabbed Menta’s shirt. "That’s enough, you dirty, good for nothing scumbag." he growled, losing his temper completely.

"Oh please." Menta said in a disgusted voice. He morphed into a dragon, and threw Duke off. He hit the wall, and slid down, but stood back up shakily.

"What’s…what’s the matter? I’m still standing…" Duke said groggily, trying to challenge the Saurian. His legs suddenly gave way, and he collapsed into Grin’s waiting arms, who had had a feeling that was how the thief was going to end up.

"You aren’t helping," Grin told him firmly. "Behave."

Wildwing stood still, not moving.

"He’s wrong Wildwing!" Mallory yelled, shaking her leader. "Don’t listen to him!"

"I’m not. I’m just thinking." he told her. "Go help Duke." He shook her off, and she obeyed, taking Duke from Grin.

"You’re such an idiot Duke L’Orange." she hissed into his ear, upset.

"Hey baby, but that’s why you love me…" Duke was only slightly conscious. Mallory groaned, and slid him to the floor.

"Shut up." She’d lost all patience, and turned back to Wildwing and Menta, who seemed to be involved in some kind of staring competition. She moved over to Tanya.

"What are they doing?" she asked.

"I dunno." Tanya sounded more stuffy than usual. "But it must be important, because they aren’t stopping."

"Menta, I challenge you to one on one." Wildwing suddenly said. All his companions turned to him in shock, except Duke, who had finally passed out.

"Wildwing, no!" Tanya squeaked. Wildwing ignored her.

Menta considered the proposition. "What does the winner get?"

"The winner," Wildwing paused. "Rules Puckworld." he said with a slight twinge of regret.

"What about the other?"

"The loser dies."

"Fight to the death?"


"But Flashblade," Menta locked his hands together. "I’m already king. Why should I fight?"

"You’d do what Dragaunus was never able. You’d rid yourself of the last Flashblade. There’d be no more contesters for the throne." Wildwing lied on the last one, and Menta knew, but refrained from commenting, though his look said it all.

"You’re on, Wildwing Flashblade. May the best Saurian win." Before Wildwing could reply, or Mallory could blow up, he pressed a button, and they were escorted back to their prison.


"Wildwing I’ve heard some pretty stupid ideas in my time, but this has got to be the dumbest!" Mallory stood defiant against her leader, hands on hips, glowering at him. Duke sat behind Wildwing, and he couldn’t help smiling at the fire that sprang in her eyes. She saw it, and redirected her anger. "And you! Stop smirking!" she yelled. He wiped the smile from his beak quickly.

"Sure thing." Duke closed his eyes and listened.

"Look Mallory, it’s for your own good!" Wildwing sighed, having told her this before.

"How? How on Puckworld is this going to benefit us? We need a leader!"

"And you’ll have one. Duke."

"Oh no. No thank you. Duke’s the one who lost his temper and sprung at the shape-shifter. Fine leader he’d be!"

Duke winced. "That hurt, princess." he mumbled. She relented slightly, but turned back to Wildwing on a different tack.

"Wildwing, if you don’t win, we’re far worse off! What’s your sacrifice going to do for Puckworld?"

"It’s Puckworld’s only chance. We’re trapped here, don’t think that we aren’t. While I’m fighting, you four can escape, and try and find help. Create another Resistance."

"What do you think you are, some kind of saint?"

"Far from it Mallory, far far from it." Wildwing’s eyes clouded over, and Mallory’s harsh words died. "But this is a question of kill or be killed. If Jadestar really did prevent a bombing, he’s very peeved. Didn’t you hear him? He’s after revenge. I wont sit around here and wait to be killed!"

"But we’ll miss you." Tanya said softly from the back of the room.

"Do you really have that little faith in me Tanya?" Wildwing said gently, almost tenderly. Tanya turned away, and Mallory went to talk tor, fool that he was."

"What did she do?" Tanya asked.

"She saw me place the bomb at the Resistance H.Q. They found and disarmed it. We had to fight them. We won, but with casualties, and the Resistance defeated me when Canard returned." Menta cast a sharp eye on Wildwing. "What’s in your hand?"

"It’s our proof that we, well Jadestar, killed Canard. It was around his neck." Wildwing held the locket.

Menta laughed. "Poetic justice, I love it. Killed by his own girlfriend. Give me the necklace."

Wildwing handed the necklace over reluctantly.

Menta held it up, and it rotated slowly. He opened it, and sighed. "He really was obsessive, wasn’t he?" He took out the photo. "Well, Flashblade," he spoke to the photo. "This makes us even. Almost." he looked up again. "Where is she?"

"She’s dead." Wildwing growled.

"Canard? They killed each other?"

"No. Jadestar held the bomb that did it." Mallory took the attention off Wildwing for a second.

"What a shame, I would have liked the pleasure." He suddenly looked up at Wildwing. "You’re the older duck who was with her."

"What?" Wildwing was confused.

"You don’t remember me? That’s odd, I would have thought you would have had the incident etched in your mind. A cert Grin, who in her mind was the only sane duck currently.

Wildwing sat next to Duke. "What do you think?"

"You want my opinion, but not Mal’s?" the duck opened his good eye to look at Wildwing for a minute.

"I want some one who’ll think with their brains, and not their hearts."

"And you picked me."

"Duke, be serious."

"You want to know what I think? I think you were damn stupid, but it’s too late now. You’re gonna have to fight him."

"Exactly. I have to. You have to get the others out."

"We aren’t going anywhere."

"But it’s for the good of Puckworld!"

"Blood runs thicker than water."

"How hard did you hit your head? You aren’t making sense."

Duke’s eye flashed open. "We’re all family. One big happy family." he said, half mocking. "So we aren’t about to leave without you." He closed his eye again. "Go to sleep Wildwing."

"You’re all crazy!" Wildwing sat by himself, depressed and despondent.

"If you were thinking straight, you’d appreciate the irony there." Tanya muttered, but nobody heard.


"You know, I’d never imagined Jadestar doing anything so pivotal to Puckworld’s future." Duke commented, fiddling with his hair. They’d all slept, a little bit, but they were too tense for anymore rest, so they’d settled for conversation. "I mean, she’s a good kid and all, but I never thought, well…"

"She was capable of saving the Resistance." Wildwing finished. "Trust me, I was kinda surprised too. But she’s been doing quite a bit of heroics lately."

"Why did she never tell us? She must have been the only one who knew that Menta was Saurian, even King Canard wouldn’t have chosen a Saurian for second command."

"Maybe she didn’t want a fuss?" Grin suggested.

Mallory sighed. "I guess we’ll never know." She looked up suddenly from her place next to Duke. "She sure had a few secrets Wildwing!"

"That’s one thing I don’t understand. Why didn’t she tell us about the attack of Resistance Headquarters?" Wildwing was puzzled.

"She probably wanted to forget." Tanya pointed out. "I mean, from what I’ve pieced together from her story and what Menta said, I don’t think it would have been a pleasant experience."

The Ducks pondered this over silently. They had nothing else to say. Mallory snuggled into Duke for extra warmth, and they went back to sleep. The others waited and watched for morning.


"One thing," Menta smiled as he and Wildwing prepared to fight. "No weapons."

"WHAT?!" Wildwing yelled. "That’s not fair."

"I don’t have a weapon, why should you? Bare fisted fighting."

"Fine. But if I can’t have my weaponry, then you can’t shape shift."

Menta considered this. "Well spoken. Very well, use your armor."

They started to circle one another, like two wild animals preparing to fight. Menta made the first move, suddenly shifting into lion, and leaping at him. Wildwing tried to fire, but Menta was on top of him before he could. Wildwing held Menta at arms length, and the rolled around on the ground, neither having the advantage, until Menta morphed into a small whale, squashing the duck. Menta lay there flicking his tail lazily, as Wildwing struggled out from underneath. He was gasping for breath, and could have been easily killed then and there, but Menta allowed him time to get himself together. He’s toying with me. This is just a game.

Wildwing shot at Menta, catching him off guard, and drawing blood. Menta retaliated by changing into a huge man, and throwing Wildwing on the ground, stomping on him. Wildwing passed out as he was kicked in the face. Menta picked his limp form up, and was about to break his neck, when he suddenly groaned, and fell to the floor.

Behind where the two fighters had been standing, near the door, stood a small female duck with long brown hair and impossibly green eyes. She also bore brown rabbit ears and a bobbin tail to match. She held a small smoking gun, still pointed. She lowered it and blew the smoke off, grinning.

"Looks like I got here just in time." she smiled.

"What the heck are you?" Duke asked.

She stepped over the prone bodies on the floor and held out her hand. "My name’s Thlayli-rah. Call me Thlayli. And you must be Duke, Mallory, Tanya and Grin."

Duke shook her hand, with lack of anything else to do.

Tanya overcame her shock and bent down to check her leaders health. "He’ll be OK." she decided.

"Did you kill him?" Mallory pointed to Menta.

"Nah, he’s just stunned. I don’t kill." Thlayli somehow pocketed the gun in her leotard, and headed for the door.

"You’re the Dimensional Traveler." Grin stated.

"In the feathers. Now, someone grab Wildwing and let’s get going. I worked my tail off for this meeting, and if we’re late you guys are sunk." Thlayli grabbed her DC, and set it. "I’m afraid this is going to be a much more interesting journey than with the elements, but I’m sure you’ll manage." She eyed Wildwing. "He’ll wake up in a moment. Could someone please carry him?" she asked again. Thlayli then bustled them all into the portal, ignoring any protests.


They came out in Destiny’s place. Destiny was looking rather put out.

"I can’t believe I let you talk me into this." Destiny complained to Thlayli.

"Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard that? Look, you were just going to leave them there! You had two sets of people in the same time! I might not know many elemental rules, but I do know that was one broken." Thlayli seemed unconcerned with Destiny’s displeasure.

"What’s going on?" Wildwing muttered. Destiny turned to look at him.

"Oh Thlayli, you let him get hurt!"

"Well, if I hadn’t been held up here by red tape I wouldn’t have been late! Besides, he’s fine. Where’s Time?"

"She’ll be here." Destiny started checking over Wildwing. Thlayli rolled her eyes.

"He’s fine. Tanya’s already checked him over."

She spun suddenly, and another black haired duck appeared. Her distinguishing mark from the other elements was her pure black eyes.

"Sorry I’m late." Her voice whistled and sighed like the wind, in sharp contrast to Destiny’s musical one, and Thlayli’s cheekiness.

"Forget it." Thlayli waved the apology away. "Do you agree to do it?"

"Look, excuse me?" Wildwing broke into the triangle of females. "Could we have an explanation? This has got to be the most confusing adventure…" Wildwing’s voice trailed off.

"Oh, sorry!" Thlayli threw her hands in the air. "I always forget the explanation! Anyway, I was Dimension-hopping, and I heard from Destiny here that Chaos had gone and trapped you guys." Thlayli pulled Destiny close for a half-hug. "Me and Destiny go a little way back, would you believe? She’s how I got started on Dimension Traveling."

"Worst decision I ever made." Destiny smiled reluctantly.

"Anywho, I couldn’t leave you guys there! So I came and convinced Destiny to get Time for me so that, with Time’s help, I could get you back on track with the Prophecy. Any questions?"

Mallory raised her hand. "Is there anything to eat around here? I’m starving."

Destiny shrugged. "I’m an element, I don’t need to eat."

Thlayli gave Mallory a sympathetic look. "I ate before I came. Sorry. If Time agrees, then you’ll be back in your own kitchen before you know it."

"Can’t we stay here?" Duke asked suddenly. All eyes turned to him. "We’re back on Puckworld. Why do we have to go back?"

Destiny turned away. "You have work to do on Earth."

"Remember Nosedive and Jadestar." Grin pointed out to Duke.

"So we have to leave."

"Yup. What do you say, Time?" Thlayli asked.

"I’ll do it. Mostly because the whole continuum is going to be wrecked if they don’t go back." Time agreed.

"Great!" Thlayli cheered. She ushered the ducks over to Time, and the formed a circle, holding hands. Time closed her eyes, and then opened them again.

"That’s it?" Mallory asked.

"Yes." Time disappeared.

"OK ducks, everyone in!" Thlayli made the portal, and they went through.