“Come back here! Don’t try to run away!” yelled an angry voice in Cantonese.
Zachary Tan, not heeding the calls of the angry voice to stop, rushed down a flight of stairs as fast as his legs could carry him. As he exited the building he was in, he found himself in right the middle of one of Hong Kong’s famous and colourful street markets. The street was crowded with people both young and old going about their business. And the air was filled with the calls of street vendors and touts, urging people to buy the goods from their stalls. There was also the distinct smell of incense sticks burning and street food which permeated the cool night air. The young Chinese man, standing in the middle of the moving crowd in the hopes of concealing himself, closed his eyes for a brief moment, imagining the entrance to his friend’s antiquities store in his mind’s eye. He opened his eyes to find himself still in the middle of the street he was on and not in front of Wong’s store. I can’t blink out?
“There he is! Over here!” shouted someone over the already noisy atmosphere.
Zachary turned towards the direction in which the voice came from and saw the figure of a burly ork with Chinese features wearing a slightly bloodied white singlet. Next to him were two of his associates, both human. The ork’s large lower canines which protruded from his mouth looked much sharper than that of the average ork’s, giving him a much more dangerous look. Not good, not good, thought Zachary as he began to run again. He weaved his way through the large crowd of people of fast as he could, all the while gripping his finely carved mahogany wand tightly in his right hand and an orb the size of a cricket ball that was made purely out of jade in his left. “Sorry. So sorry,” apologised Zachary every time he bumped into someone as he weaved through the crowd to make his escape. I wonder why they aren’t blinking to catch me? Then it dawned on Zachary that the reason as to why he couldn’t blink out or why his enemy wasn’t blinking in to seize him was because there was probably an anti-blinking spell cast over the street they were on to prevent thefts. I need to get out of the market.
Zachary looked back to see that the men pursuing him were getting closer, pushing their way through the crowd to get to him. He could also see that all three of them had their intricately carved wands drawn. This isn’t a place for a duel. I need to find a way to distract them and get away from here, lest innocent people get caught in the crossfire. Zachary quickly scanned his immediate surroundings, hoping to find something that could help him. That could work. Zachary lifted his finely carved chestnut wand and pointed it towards a stall selling newspapers.
“Etbulliet!” Zachary yelled.
The stacks of newspapers on the stand he was aiming at shot up into the air before swarming his pursuers like a swarm of angry bees, slowing them down and obscuring their sight. That should slow them down, said Zachary to himself, smiling while admiring his spell work briefly before making his escape.
Almost there, said Zachary to himself, seeing a large beautifully lit Chinese arch which served as the entrance as well as the exit to the street he was on. His joy, however, was short-lived as he soon saw the familiar figure of William Choo, the boss of one of Hong Kong’s newest triads, blocking his way. Flanking him were two of his bodyguards, a male ork and a human woman Zachary looked around his surroundings to try and find another way out, another exit, but there was none. He only could go forward, and it looked like he would have to fight his way out of this mess.
“Hand back the orb,” demanded William calmly, wearing an expression of extreme confidence.
Zachary shook his head. “You know I can’t do that. This orb belongs in a museum.”
“That orb belongs to me!” yelled William. “It is mine!”
Zachary could see that the people were starting to disperse in all directions, not wanting to be caught in the eventual crossfire if a duel takes place.
“If you don’t hand back the orb to me willingly, I will take it by force!” William along with his two bodyguards drew their wands from their belt holsters, readying themselves for battle. All three of their wands were intricately carved and ornately decorated, like all wands that have been crafted by wandmakers from the Asian continent.
There’s no way I can take on three triad members at once, thought Zachary, analysing the situation. He could feel sweat starting to trickle down his back. I’ve no choice. I’ve to give him the orb.
“Fine, you win,” said Zachary in defeat. “You can have the orb back.”
Zachary lobbed the jade orb he had been holding tightly in his left hand towards William. The triad boss smirked as he caught the jade orb with his left hand. “A smart choice.”
“You have the orb back,” said Zachary. “So can I go?”
William smiled maliciously as he shook his head slowly. “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that. The other triads would think me weak if I let someone who’s stolen from me simply walk away with no consequences. I would lose face, and I can’t let that happen. You have to be punished. It is tradition.”
Zachary sighed. “I thought you’d say that.”
Zachary in one quick motion raised his wand and pointed it towards the orb William held in his hand. The jade orb immediately began to glow and pulsate before exploding in a brilliant flash of light that was as bright as the morning sun. Zachary who had been shielding his eyes from the flash of light could see that William and his two bodyguards were blinded, as they were feeling the air around them, trying to get their bearings. The jade orb that was previously in William’s left hand was also nowhere to be seen. Now’s my chance.
“Debilito!” yelled Zachary. A blue bolt of pure magical energy surged out of his wand and hit William, causing the triad boss to fall back, unconscious. Zachary then proceeded to do the same to his two bodyguards, knocking them both unconscious. That should keep them off my back for a few minutes.
Not wanting to waste any time, Zachary immediately made his way for the large archway which served as an entrance and exit for the street he was on. As soon as he passed the archway and onto another street, he reached into the inner right pocket of his dark brown leather jacket and pulled out the real jade orb. Time to get you to a museum, said Zachary to himself, smiling as he looked at the beautiful jade orb. He closed his eyes and in a flash of blue light, disappeared, leaving only a faint trace of white smoke behind.
© 2017 Y.Z. Tan