The Legion of Garuda is the fifty-third chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on February 22, 2016.
Coming to a cemetery at night where there’s a thunderstorm moving in is not a good thing, but it ended up working good for us when we got attacked.
“That’s the one,” Dad said, pointing to a grave about ten feet away.
We walked toward it.
“Really?” I asked. “The Epic of Gilgamesh got taken out of a giant Algerian Sea Centipede’s cave by some guy named Olaf?”
“King Olaf,” Mom corrected. “And, if my source is right, yes.”
Dad and Fiskerton began digging up the grave.
I noticed Sarah was looking around uneasily.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “I don’t know, but I don’t think we’ll be leaving here peacefully.”
Lightning shot across the sky.
“The storm’s getting close, Dad,” I said. “Either that, or Thor, god of thunder, doesn’t like us grave robbing for Vikings.”
“We’re not grave robbing,” he said. “We’re grave borrowing. And if the Epic of Gilgamesh helps us solve our Kur problem, I’ll risk Thor’s wrath.”
Sarah laughed. “Good luck with that.”
Dad and Fiskerton opened up the casket, and lying in it was a skeleton holding a tablet.
“That’s it,” Mom said.
Dad picked it up and gave it to her.
“Whoa,” I said. “I guess your source was right.”
“Unfortunately, it was also a big talker,” a voice said behind us.
Dr. Beeman, Dr. Grey, and Professor Mizuki and his pet tiger appeared and had us surrounded.
“Ask enough questions about an artifact and it eventually gets out that you’re looking for it,” Dr. Grey said.
“If you know we’re here for the Epic of Gilgamesh, then you know why we want it,” Dad said.
“Like they care,” Sarah growled.
“Hoping to find some magic mumble cure for Kur?” Dr. Beeman said. “Sorry, Doc. That’s an irrational dream you would’ve only mocked six months ago.”
“Six months ago the Secret Scientists would never have tried to put an eleven-year-old boy in an cryogenic deep freeze,” he retorted, putting on his power glove.
“Well, I guess things have changed.”
Then we heard something from directly above us.
“Move!” Dad said.
We all got out of the grave just in time before Deadbolt landed on us. He turned toward us and showed us his new upgrade.
“Nice upgrade,” I said.
He shot bullets at us like he was a built-in machine gun, which he kind if was. We ran, but Komodo wasn’t fast enough and he got knocked off his feet.
“Fiskerton, grab Komodo,” Dad said. “We can loose them in the trees.”
Fisk picked up Komodo and we ran. The Secret Scientists followed.
“Head for the airship.”
Then the white tiger pounced on me, and we tumbled down a hill.
“Zak!” Dad called.
I fought the tiger and he fought back. Then Dr. Grey used her teleportation device and we fell into Deadbolt’s arms.
“No!” Mom called.
“Fall back, Deadbolt,” Dr. Grey said. “We’ll hold the others off.”
He did as she said.
“Let me go!” I said, struggling to get free.
“I’ll get him to let you go,” Sarah said, appearing out of no where, along with Fiskerton.
They kicked him away and he let me go.
“Nice,” I said.
We got back with my family and ran, but then Dr. Grey shot portals from her teleportation device above our heads, had Deadbolt shoot his bullets from one above him, and shot them down on us. Sarah summoned a force field around us to protect us from most of them.
“How many of those things does he have in here?” Mom complained.
“It’s a machine gun,” Sarah said. “So, a lot.”
I had an idea.
“Fisk, throw me at Deadbolt,” I said.
He shook his head.
“Just do it.”
He didn’t continue to argue and did as I said. Deadbolt caught me, and if robots could look confused, he sure did.
“You like making it rain, huh?” I said. “Tell me how much you like being a lightning rod.”
I stuck my claw into the base of his neck, then slingshot it up at the sky. I jumped off of him and moved far away just before lightning struck the claw, going down the cable, and shocking Deadbolt. His machine guns went off, hitting the Secret Scientists right next to him and knocking them out, then himself.
I retrieved the claw, which didn’t seem to be damaged at all. “Huh. I guess Thor’s on our side.”
Sarah gave me a kiss. “That was amazing.”
I smiled. “It’s what I do best.”
We got back to the airship and took off. Then Mom studied the Epic of Gilgamesh.
“I hope that tablet was worth it,” Dad said.
“It’s exactly what we hoped it would be,” Mom said. “Kind of.”
“It says Gilgamesh traveled the ancient world to find any way of stopping Kur. He finally found it in what would now be Jaipur, India.”
“So what was it?” I asked. “What worked?”
“The Legion of Garuda. Jadawalas, magicians. Their magic’s were able to drive the spirit of Kur from this world.”
“How did they do it?” Dad asked.
“That’s where the ‘kind of’ comes in. It doesn’t say.”
“Of course it doesn’t,” Sarah said.
“Wait,” I said. “If the spirit of Kur is the problem, couldn’t we just get the Kur part out of me somehow?”
“No more running and fighting,” Mom said. “Take out the Kur, and there’s nothing but Zak left. Then we can finally get this family back to normal.”
Fiskerton was having a hard time opening a bag of chips, and when he finally did get it open, chips went all over the place.
“Well, I mean, our kind of normal.”
“Then we head to India,” Dad said. “If there’s any remnant of this Legion of Garuda left, we’ll find them.”
So we headed off to our next destination.
When we got to Jaipur, we stopped at a library first for a little information.
“You check the facts, we get the streets,” Dad told Mom, giving her a stack of books.
She read over them.
“Umm, I think I’m going to stay and help your mom,” Sarah told me. “You guys go. We’ll let you know if we find anything useful.”
“You sure?” I asked.
She nodded. “She could use my help. Plus, I like to read, and it could be a good bonding with her.”
I gave her a kiss on the cheek, and me, Dad, Fisk, and Komodo went off. We asked one person to another about the Legion of Garuda, but got nothing.
“Zak!” Mom called.
She and Sarah were running our way.
“We find a few secure references, but nothing concrete. You?”
“No one knows,” dad said. “Or no one’s talking.”
“Any ideas for a next step?”
A little girl walked into me.
“Excuse me. Sorry,” I apologized.
She turned and faced me. She had her hair covering one of her eyes. She gestured for me to follow her. Then a bus was coming her way, but it wasn’t stopping or moving to avoid her and she didn’t notice.
“Look out!” I called.
The little girl disappeared and the bus moved over the spot from where she was standing just a moment ago.
“What? Dad, did you just—”
“I did,” he said. “And now she’s over there.”
I looked over an saw her again. She was standing in front of an alley, still gesturing me to follow her, then she ran down the alley. We followed her.
Halfway down it, the girl ran up to a man.
“You,” I told him. “You were watching us.”
“I am Gokul,” he said. “And I believe I may be of assistance to you.”
“You can help us find the Legion of Garuda?” Mom asked.
“I cannot help you find what you have already found. I am the head master of the Legion.”
“The head master lives here?” I asked in disbelief.
Mom and Dad glared at me.
“Ah, good question,” Gokul said.
“Actually, a rude question,” Mom corrected. “I apologize for my son. Zak, the Jadawalas aren’t concerned with material possessions.”
“Of course we are. We just know how to hide them. Look again, young man, from my perspective.”
I looked ahead and saw the buildings suddenly change to a palace.
“How?” I asked.
“A good Jadawala never reveals his secrets,” Gokul said.
The little girl walked by and she disappeared.
“That is so cool,” I said.
“Like you haven’t seen something like that before,” Sarah muttered.
“But, wait. So is it really rundown or is it a palace?”
“That is the real question, isn’t it?” Gokul said. “Come.”
He led us inside and served us all tea. We sat cross-legged around a table.
“Master Gokul,” Mom said. “Your sect, I hope, it still familiar with the creature called Kur?”
“That is a name you need not fear,” he replied. “Kur has been banished for millennia.”
“Yeah, well, you might wanna sit down for this.”
“I’m already sitting.”
“Then you might want to get into the full lotus.” She took a deep breath. “Kur is back, and he’s my son.”
“Hi,” I said.
“Don’t sound happy about it, because we all know you’re not,” Sarah said.
Gokul studied me. “Yes. I can see this now.”
“The Epic of Gilgamesh claims the Legion knows the way to drive out the spirit of Kur,” Mom said. “Can you do this? Can you get Kur out of my son?”
“Yes. But I cannot perform the ceremony without the Flute of Gilgamesh. It’s sweet songs will be essential to driving Kur from your child.”
“We’ll get you anything you need,” Dad said. “Where is this flue?”
“Stolen. Centuries ago by those who would prevent the ceremony from ever being performed again. To retrieve the flute, you will have to challenge the power of the naga.”
I was drinking my tea when he said that last part and I spit it out.
“Well, there’s a shock,” Sarah said sarcastically, then she stood up. “Alright. Let’s go get it.”
And she walked out of the palace.
My family and I followed.
We were back at the Chao Phraya River in Thailand, right above the nagas home turf.
“We can’t just barge in there and take the flute,” Mom said. “There’s too many of them.”
“Stealth?” Dad suggested. “If we leave the sub and go in dive suits, we may be able to slip into their nest undetected.”
“It’s risky, but if that’s the best way—”
The airship suddenly shook. We looked up at the camera screen and noticed Dr. Beeman’s aircraft shooting at us.
“So, I guess stealth is out,” I said.
Dr. Beeman kept blasting one after another.
“We’re right over the nagas underwater nest,” Dad said. “There’s no way they’re not hearing this.”
“Prep the airship for camouflage mode,” Mom said. “We’ll have to come back another time.”
Komodo didn’t like the sound of that one bit.
“No, wait. We can use this,” I said. “Kur being hunted down by humans? The nagas will eat that up.”
“No,” Mom said. “No way.”
Leave it to her to dismiss any plan about me doing something dangerous.
“You really think you could pull off the acting?” Dad asked.
“Do you still believe the Saturday sub wrecked itself when the auto pilot malfunctioned when I was seven?” I asked.
“Then yes. I can pull off the acting.”
“Wait. I spent six weeks trying to diagnose that malfunction.”
Sarah laughed. “You apparently haven’t changed much since you were seven.”
I stood up. “Come on, guys. You can back me up.”
“Zak!” Mom called.
“Just keep the scientists busy, and make sure it’s a big fight.”
Sarah, Fiskerton, Komodo, and I left the room and waited.
My parents dropped the airship close to the water and we jumped it, then they moved away quickly.
We swam to the nagas underwater nest. When we got on shore, I ripped the sleeve of my shirt off.
Fiskerton looked confused.
“Gotta live the part,” I said. “Now if only I had a black eye, then I’ll be sure to nail this one.”
Sarah suddenly punched me in my right eye really hard, knocking me to the ground. I’m pretty sure I felt a few bones break, because she does have super strength after all.
“Ow!” I said. “What did you do that for?”
She smiled sheepishly. “You asked for a black eye, and you got it. Though, I think it looks worse than I meant for it to be.”
“Yeah, I can feel it. Couldn’t you have given it to me some other way?”
She thought about it for a moment. “Black eye shadow?”
“I’ll stick with the punch. Now let’s go and get the flute.”
Fisk looked uneasy.
“It’ll be fine,” I assured him. “I’m Kur.”
Then a naga suddenly appeared behind me and wrapped his neck around me.
“Hey! You should be worshipping me!”
More nagas appeared and grabbed the others, then they took us to Rani Nagi. After they let us go, I explained to her everything that was happening to me.
“So, if I may ask, Kur, what brings this change of heart?” she asked. “You are willing to betray the human race? Your own family?”
I faked a wince. Well, from my fake broken arm, but not from my non-fake black eye. Thanks again, Sarah.
“Not my family,” I said. “Nobody touches my family. That’s the deal. But the rest of the humans, you were right. They keep coming after me.”
“And this is enough for you to make war on their entire race?” Rani Nagi asked.
“I didn’t make the war, they did. Attacking my family right now. The four of us barely got away.”
I faked a stumble and Fisk picked me up and held me. I winked at him with my un-blackened eye.
“It’s true, my queen,” a naga said. “The humans are attacking the boys family above the river.”
“Take Kur and his companions to rest in my chambers,” Rani Nagi said. “We will need his full strength for the war to come.”
They led us away into a private area, then left us alone.
Sarah kissed me. “That was amazing acting. I honestly thought you were going to suck at it.”
“Thanks,” I said. “Now let’s go.”
We moved as quickly as we could. We climbed up onto a snake statue, then I pulled out the drawing Gokul gave us from my pocket.
“Ok. We’ve got Master Gokul’s drawing of the flute,” I said, looking over it. “All we need to find out is where they’re keeping it.”
Fiskerton was wondering something.
“No problem,” I said. “This is the one thing that can bring down their big hero leader and stop all their human squashing plans, right? So just look for the place with the ridiculous number of snake people guarding it.”
We walked around and eventually did find the flute in the hands of a statue with a lot of nagas guarding it. Komodo and Sarah became invisible and went and got it, then teleported back to me and Fisk.
“Nice one guys,” I said.
Sarah handed me the flute. “Please. I could do that in my sleep.”
Fisk took the flute out of my hand and looked at it.
“Careful,” I said.
He walked around and slipped on something. When he hit the ground, the mouth part of the flute fell onto his lips and he blew into it, making a loud noise.
The nagas were coming our way.
I took the flute from Fisk. “Go!”
We ran, but stopped near the edge of a tall cliff, but it was too dark to see the bottom of the other side. The nagas were coming at us from every direction.
“We have to jump,” I said. “That’s water down there. I think.”
“It is,” Sarah confirmed.
I jumped and the rest followed. When we dropped down, we noticed Mom and Dad in our sub. We got into it and told our parents what happened.
“Uh, Zak?” Mom said. “What happened to your eye?”
I looked at Sarah, who smiled sheepishly again.
“Just a way to fool the nagas into thinking I was really hurt,” I said.
“Let me fix that now,” Sarah said.
She summoned some kind of cream to her hands and applied it to my eye.
“That should be fully healed in a few hours.”
“Thanks,” I said.
We were now back in Jaipur, India, back at the palace, and I handed Master Gokul the flute.
“My friends, you did it,” he said. “But, the nagas, how did—”
“We’ve had practice,” I said.
“Will it still work?” Mom asked. “Can you remove Kur from my son?”
“Of course. Follow me and witness the sacred sight that has not been used for thousands of years.”
He took us to a dump.
“You know, you could still take the trash out every couple centuries,” I said.
“Look one more time,” Gokul said.
I did and the place changed to another palace, minus the trash.
“Whoa,” I said. “Much more sacred looking.”
“The Legion of Garuda has kept this fortress masked since Kur’s last dark form, waiting for history to be made once more.”
He led us inside where there was a weird pattern on the floor, like a maze.
“Come,” Gokul told me. “Don’t be nervous, child. Your journey will be over soon.”
He led me to the center of the room. He had me sit on a stone table, then he walked over to two bird statues that were facing each other and threw the flute of Gilgamesh up between their faces. A beam shot out from their eyes, onto the flute, and then the beam shot toward me.
When that beam hit Zak, he writhed in pain. It looked like it hurt him a lot.
“Zak?” Drew called to him.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Gokul assured us. “This is the only way to remove Kur.”
And Zak, my powers told me in my head.
They’ve been like this ever since we met Gokul earlier. They told me not to trust him at all and that he won’t just end Kur’s journey from the earth again, but Zak’s as well. But they won’t tell me why, they just leave it to us to find out on our own, kind of like my mom. So I kind of been just ignoring them.
Zak was in so much pain that I could barely watch anymore. Fiskerton couldn’t either and he tried to stop it, but Doc held him back.
“Easy, Fiskerton,” he said.
But Fisk just kept fighting to get by.
“Keep the creature back,” Gokul said. “The ceremony must not be interrupted.”
“No,” a voice said from behind us. “The ceremony is already over.”
We turned around and saw Rani Nagi and her nagas.
“Bad serpents of the darkness,” Gokul told them. “You will not stop the work of the Legion of Garuda.”
“You just keep that ceremony going,” Drew said, all of us getting our weapons ready.
We attacked the nagas. We were doing good, but so were they.
“Fisk, we could really use your help here,” Drew said.
He was so focused on Zak, who was off of the stone table now and looked to be in so much pain.
“Don’t tell me we’re late to the party,” another voice said.
I groaned. How the hell do they keep finding us?
The damn Secret Scientists rushed toward us, blasting at the nagas.
“It’s ok to be impressed,” Beeman said.
“No, it’s not,” I said.
He ignored me, which was probably the only smartest thing he could do. “What’s going on with panda here?”
“We’re putting an end to all of this,” Drew said. “The ceremony can separate the spirit of Kur from Zak for good. You have to help us.”
“Are you truly so foolish, woman?” Rani Nagi asked. “He is Kur. We are the ones trying to save the boy. He will not survive this ceremony.”
She’s right, my powers told me in my head.
That caught all of our attention.
We looked at Gokul.
“I am sorry,” he said. “The danger of Kur is too great.”
Doc, Drew, and I were very mad. Drew charged him with her fire sword, but he kicked her back. Beeman and Miranda caught her.
“Beeman, if you stand against us now—” Doc started.
“Whatever the problems between us, Doc, we’ve never wanted to hurt Zak,” Miranda said.
“Yeah, right,” I said sarcastically.
“We’re with you on this one.”
I guess I’ll allow that. This time.
We turned on Gokul.
“You, Merlin, let’s bring it into the station, shall we?” Beeman said.
“No,” he said in a much deeper voice, then summoned a power that I could feel was strong and caused the floor to rise up and become a maze, separating us from each other.
“That was unexpected,” Beeman said on the other side of a wall from us.
I laughed, though I knew now wasn’t the time, but I couldn’t help it just by the way he said that.
“He’s an illusionist,” Doc said. “This isn’t reality.”
He was half right and half wrong. Some of the maze was real, thanks to my powers. I could see which way was an illusion and which way wasn’t.
“Then I see no reason to stand here talking,” Professor Mizuki said.
He and his pet white tiger ran through a couple illusion walls, but then ran into a real one.
“You know, I’m quickly losing faith in your hypothesis, Doc,” Beeman said.
“It’s a mixture of reality and illusion,” Miranda said. “But I’ll bet a pair of robotic eyes can tell the difference between the two. Deadbolt!”
He responded and headed for Gokul, but he just threw a spear at him and knocked off his head.
“There goes another thirty-seven million,” Miranda muttered.
“Not surprised,” I said. “Wait. Thirty-seven million? It’s already a rip-off for a robot.”
“Enough,” Rani Nagi said. “The nagas will finish this.”
Gokul summoned a gigantic hawk that went after them. Most of them fled in terror.
“Cowards!” Rani Nagi called after them. “Stand and fight!”
I know I will.
Zak didn’t look like he could hold on any longer.
“The ceremony is completing,” Rani Nagi said. “If you wish to save Kur, we must strike the Jadawala now!”
Most of them went for Gokul, but I went for Zak. The force field around him was strong. I tried to run through into it, but it knocked me away. And again.
“No,” I said. “I am not letting anyone take him from me. Especially not forever.”
Then something weird happened. My powers became stronger. I became stronger. Stronger than I’ve ever felt before. Stronger than anything or anyone. Like I could walk through any force field without it holding me back. And I did.
I moved right through the force field around Zak and grabbed onto him.
“Zak!” I cried.
A strong burst of energy came from me and went through all of us, destroying the force field and ending the ceremony. Zak collapsed on the ground with me on top of him. I was breathing hard, and Zak coughed a few times.
“Sarah,” he croaked. “Thanks.”
I smiled and cried, then I kissed him.
Drew and Fisk were standing right next to us. We got up and that’s when I noticed that the amethyst on my necklace that Zak had given me was glowing brightly. I’m starting to think that maybe that burst of energy didn’t come from my powers but from my necklace.
“Uh, does this have magic inside of it or something?” I asked Zak.
He shook his head. “I don’t know.”
We stood up and Drew embraced him with a hug.
Doc, Beeman, and Rani Nagi we’re deciding what to do with Gokul, but he used his magic to disappear, and they ran outside of the temple to find him, but they lost him. Then Rani Nagi and Beeman were arguing about who should take Zak and keep him safe, though I doubt they would actually be doing that. Luckily, he decided for them.
“No,” Zak said. “I’m staying with my family.”
“Sounds like a compromise,” Drew said. “Unless anybody has questions.”
“Uh, just one,” Beeman said. “Where’s the flute? You know, just in case . . .”
“The flute is gone,” Miranda said, coming out of the temple with Fiskerton, Komodo, Mizuki, and his white tiger. “The magician must’ve grabbed it when he disappeared.”
“Then we’re done here,” Doc said.
“Until next time, dear friends,” Beeman said. “Old and new.”
He and the other Secret Scientists, plus the nagas, went their own ways.
I snorted. “Friends? He’s kidding, right? How can you still call them your friends?”
Whatever. Right now, I just want to know how and why my necklace glowed.
Why do you guys think her necklace glowed?
Please review here.