The Discophonics were sitting on the front steps of the club they were playing at that night, plunging chopsticks into cartons of Chinese food.
"Quackerjack would be in heaven," Mike said. "You know how much he likes Chinese food."
"Yeah, and he'd love Chinatown," Jerry replied. "This place is great!"
"If you like Chinese," Reggie said, dropping a piece of egg fu young back in the carton. "Doggone it! I can't get the hang of these things!"
"Neither can Micky," Mike replied. "And neither can I for that matter."
Mike snapped his fingers, and his chopsticks were moving themselves. They plunged into the carton, and came out with a piece of sweet and sour shrimp (without the sauce). Mike leaned over and grabbed the shrimp in his mouth while the chopsticks were still hanging there. Reggie and Jerry began throwing the white rice at him.
"Hey, hey!" he shouted. "Stop it, you guys!"
"Cheater!" Jerry yelled.
"Foul! No fair!" Reggie shouted.
"Okay, okay! Truce!" Mike yelled.
"If we gotta struggle with chopsticks, you gotta struggle with chopsticks," Jerry said.
Mike snapped his fingers, and his chopsticks fell into his carton of shrimp. He stifled the urge to pour the carton of sweet and sour sauce on Reggie and Jerry's heads. He just continued to try to eat with the chopsticks. He was pleased to see that Reggie was having a worse time with them. At any rate, the boys then moved to the fortune cookies. Reggie smashed his cookie, and pulled the paper out of it.
"Aren't you gonna eat that?" Mike asked.
"Nah, I don't like fortune cookies," Reggie said. "I prefer the fortunes."
"So what's it say?" Jerry asked, chewing a piece of his own fortune cookie.
"Thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six," Reggie said. "Huh, my kinda fortune!"
"Those are the lucky numbers, you moron!" Mike shouted.
"Oh," Reggie said, sheepishly. And he turned his paper around. "It says you will come into great fortune soon. Hey great. Dinner's on me!"
"Reg, you're a goofball," Jerry said, swatting him. He took his own fortune and read it. "Mine says you have had great success. Work harder. Yeah, like I don't work hard enough already."
"So what's yours say, Mike?" Reggie asked.
"Weird," Mike said. "I'm pickin' up vibes from it. It says there is a prospect of a thrillin' time ahead for you."
"Why would you pick up vibes from that?" Reggie asked.
"I don't know, but my sixth sense is tellin' me there could be trouble," Mike replied.
Jerry and Reggie looked at him as if he were crazy. Then they changed the subject and went back to trying to finish their dinner with the chopsticks.
As the Discophonics were struggling with their chopsticks, and talking about their gig that night, in the Other Realm, trouble was brewing. Mike didn't sense any of it at the time, because this part of the Other Realm was too far away from Chinatown. The setting was similar to the Orient, however, with a dash of Middle Eastern as well. On the top of a hill, there was a large palace. The ruler of the land was known as the Dragon Lady, and she was ruthless. She ruled her land, called Dragonia, with an iron fist. The people of the land were downright afraid of her. The Dragon Lady had a personal jade mine, where she had slaves to work in there. Most of her slaves came from other worlds, since she felt that her own subjects wouldn't make good slaves. Besides, all her subjects were forced to work in her fields, and other places, and were taxed nearly out of house and home.
That day, the Dragon Lady was sitting on her throne, meeting with one of her subjects, who was on his knees begging for mercy.
"Oh please, oh exalted one," he said. "I'm just a poor beggar, I can barely afford food for my family!"
"It is not my fault you are in this situation," the Dragon Lady said. "You have an obligation to pay your taxes!"
"But I have no money."
"That is very unfortunate for you."
The Dragon Lady took a jade stone from the small table next to her throne and held it up to the light. A beam hit the stone, and then the peasant.
"I shall turn you into a little mouse," she said. When the light subsided, the peasant was turned into a mouse. He squeaked and sniffed around the throne room. The Dragon Lady clapped her hands, and her pet Siamese cats entered the room.
"Look, my darlings," she said, pointing to the mouse-turned peasant.
The cats looked at the mouse, and then ran for him. The peasant beat a hasty retreat out of the throne room, and out of the palace. The Dragon Lady sat on her throne and laughed. This was the punishment if people couldn't pay the taxes, and for slaves who tried to revolt. The Dragon Lady put her stone back in it's place just as the captain of her guards entered the throne room.
"Oh mighty Dragon Lady," he said. "You sent for me?"
"Yes, I did," the Dragon Lady said. "Why haven't the workers given me more jade? What are they doing down there?"
"If they are loafing on the job, I will gladly punish them for you."
"That won't be necessary. I want you to take the men and bring me more slaves."
"Right away, your all mightiness. It will be a pleasure to serve you, Dragon Lady."
The Dragon Lady smiled wickedly. She knew the captain of the guards wouldn't let her down. The captain gathered up the rest of the guards, and they mounted their horses, which were as black as night, with glowing red eyes, and wings like a Pegasus. The guards flew into the air and a porthole opened in the middle of the sky. The horses flew through it, determined not to come back to the Dragon Lady empty handed.
In the meantime, the Discophonics danced out on stage, opening their show. The kids in the audience began screaming and applauding. Once the boys finished their number, Jerry picked up the mic and looked out at the audience.
"Hey, Chinatown, how are ya, huh?" he asked, launching into his radio schtick. "Whoa, looks like a sellout out there."
"Yeah, standin' room only," Mike replied, looking around. "Bear with us, folks. This is our first concert here in Chinatown, and, well, none of us speak Chinese."
"Yeah, it's all Greek to me!" Reggie shouted. The audience laughed.
The boys went into their next song then. During the instrumental interlude, Mike tapped Jerry and Reggie on the shoulder.
"I'm gettin' that feelin' in my sixth sense again," he said.
"Danger sensors this time of night?" Jerry asked.
"It's only seven thirty, Mike," Reggie said. "Are you sure trouble's afoot?"
"Oh yeah," Mike said.
"Cool it," Jerry said. "Interlude's almost over. We gotta get back to singing."
The boys went back to singing their song. Right before the ending chords, however, a large porthole opened in the middle of the room, and the strangest looking horses ran out. Everyone at the club began to scream, and panic.
"What the heck is that?!" Reggie asked.
"I don't know, but this is obviously what my sixth sense warned us about!" Mike shouted.
The Discophonics ducked behind the curtain, and watched what in the world it was these strange horsemen were doing. They were flying around the room, and just grabbing the first person they came across. The scene was definitely chaotic. People were trampling each other trying to reach the exits! The horses were practically squashing people as well.
"This isn't good," Reggie said.
"You can say that again," Jerry replied. "What do we do, Mike?"
"Simple," Mike said, cracking his knuckles. "We create more exits!"
Mike pointed his fingers, and every single door in the club opened and stretched out, allowing more people to go through.
"Now all we have to do is stop those weirdos," Mike said. "You two try to make a break for it."
"Got it," Reggie said, running into the wings, ready to use the side door.
Mike began zapping at the horses. He hit most of them in the hindquarters. The horses whinnied, and shot into the air, causing the rider to let go of their captive. Mike just followed the screams of people as he zapped.
"Jerry, go!" Mike shouted. "Don't hang around here."
"Okay, I'm going," Jerry said.
Jerry jumped off the stage and followed the crowd. He was planning on running into the crowd. That would probably be easier to try to escape that way. No such luck. The captain of the guards, grabbed him by the back of the shirt collar and pulled him towards the horse.
"Mike!" Jerry shouted, trying to get Mike's attention. The captain took quick action. He yanked Jerry up to the horse, and slapped his hand over the DJ's mouth to prevent him from screaming.
"I know what your friend is up to," he said. "Well, the Dragon Lady is going to get at least one slave!"
Jerry struggled, and tried to pull the captain of the guard's hand off his mouth, screaming his head off, trying to get Mike's attention. He finally managed to pull the captain's hand off his mouth, briefly.
"Mike!" he screamed. "Mike, help! Please help!"
Mike turned around then. The captain of the guard opened the porthole then. He whistled for the other guards to follow him. Before he left, and before Mike could zap his horse, the captain pulled a small bead out of the pouch on his belt, and threw it at Mike. The minute it hit the floor, green smoke came out of it, blinding him, and everyone else in the club.
"What's going on?!" one patron shouted.
"I can't see!" another yelled.
"Mike, what's happening in here?!" Reggie shouted, coming back in.
"I don't know, hang on a second!" Mike yelled, snapping his fingers. The green smoke swirled into a tornado, and then flew out the window. By that time, the strange men on the strange horses had disappeared, and it seemed they had done it without a trace. Everyone began talking at once.
"What just happened?" Reggie asked.
"Obviously we've been raided," Mike said. He picked up the microphone and tapped it to make sure it was working. "Okay, everybody calm down. Relax, there is absolutely nothin' to worry about."
"How do you know?" Reggie asked. Mike put his hand over the mic and turned to Reggie.
"I don't," he replied. "I just want them to calm down a little. You're gonna have to stay here and entertain the crowd."
"Because I have to follow those weird horses wherever they went. While I was busy with the other weirdos that came in here, one came in and grabbed Jerry. I didn't have any time to help him like I did the others."
"Do you know where they went?"
"No, but there's probably a fortune teller or somethin' along those lines here in Chinatown. You stay here and appease the crowd. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Reggie nodded, and Mike dashed off the stage and ran out the side exit. Reggie picked up the mic and cleared his throat.
"Slight change in plans," he said. "Looks like I'm flying solo while my bandmates . . . . . uhhh . . . . . take care of a little business."
Reggie launched into a version of "Sukiyaki," in Japanese. He didn't speak Japanese, but he memorized the song.
In the Other Realm in the meantime, the guards had returned to Dragonia. The captain of the guards dragged Jerry into the Dragon Lady's throne room, and threw him at her feet.
"We ran into some slight trouble, your highness," he said.
"What trouble would that be?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"Some half witch tried to stop us. He was pretty successful. Unfortunately, all we have for you is one slave."
"Slave?" Jerry asked, standing up. "No chance! I'm getting out of here!"
Jerry was about to run for the door, but he was blocked off by the guards, and their spears. He gulped and started to back up. The captain of the guards grabbed him by the arms, and dragged him back to the Dragon Lady.
"Let me go!" Jerry shouted, struggling.
"Silence!" the Dragon Lady shouted. She stood up, and walked down towards Jerry and the captain.
"Is he the best that you can come up with?" she asked.
"Unfortunately yes," the captain replied. "He seems to be a trouble maker."
"Darn right," Jerry said. "I'm not about to be anybody's slave! Let go of me or else I'm gonna . . . . ."
"You can't do anything," the Dragon Lady said. "He'll have to do, captain. Who knows? Maybe just one more slave is enough for now."
"You wish," Jerry said. "I'm getting out of here now while the getting's good!"
Jerry stomped on the captain's foot as hard as he could, and took off running. The Dragon Lady kept her cool. She picked up her jade, and aimed it at the light. The light hit Jerry, and when it surrounded, he found himself bound hand and foot, and gagged. The Dragon Lady walked over to him, grabbed his shirt collar, and pulled him up.
"You're not going anywhere, except to my jade mine," she told him. Then she threw him at the guards. "Make sure he is properly attired, and then throw him in the mine with the other slaves!"
"Yes, your majesty," the guards said. Then they took Jerry out of the throne room and down to the jade mine.
Back in the mortal world, Mike had just walked into a Chinese novelty shop. An old man was putting things on a shelf.
"Excuse me," Mike said. "I'm havin' a bit of a problem."
"Yes sir," the old man said. He was probably directly from China, since he had an accent.
"Do you know where I can find a fortune teller or somethin' like that?"
"Fortune teller? What do you need fortune teller for?"
"This is gonna sound really ridiculous. I was playin' at a club not too far from here, and these weird horses just showed up from a portal in the middle of the room. They were black with wings and red eyes. They were bein' ridden by these guys. They looked Oriental, or Middle Eastern or somethin' like that . . . . . I'm not exactly sure what. I've got to find them."
"Why would a nice boy like you want with people like that?"
"They kidnapped a friend of mine. I'm not exactly sure what's gonna happen or what they're gonna do with him, but I don't want to take chances."
"You shouldn't. Those horsemen belong to the Dragon Lady."
"Dragon Lady? Who in the world is the Dragon Lady? And how do you know?"
"I'm an old man. I've been around. Dragon Lady lives in the Other Realm. She often stages raids like this to get slaves to work in her jade mine. This is probably why her guards kidnapped your friend."
"The Other Realm, huh? Well, that's no problem for me. I'll find her in no time if that's the case."
"You can't just go into the Other Realm and expect to find Dragon Lady. She lives in a land called Dragonia. You can't get to it like you could anywhere else in the Other Realm."
"How do I get there?"
"Come with me."
Mike followed the old man into the back room. The old man was pulling things out of a box, looking for something or another. He finally pulled out an old talisman, and handed it to Mike.
"This will take you to Dragonia," he said. "And it will get you back here. But you must beware. If Dragon Lady catches you, you could become a slave, just like your friend."
"I'll be careful," Mike said. "But how do I use this thing?"
"Just hold it up to any light, and it will take you to where you want to go."
"And that's it?"
"That's it. Oh, and pay me, of course. Twenty-five ninety-five."
Mike rolled his eyes, and pulled out his wallet. He shelled out a fifty dollar bill and handed it to the old man.
"Why do I get the feelin' I'm buyin' a worthless piece of junk that won't do anythin'?" he asked as he left the shop. He walked out into the street, and held it up to the lamp post light.
"I knew nothin' would happen," he said, as he pulled the talisman away from the light. The minute he did, he was surrounded by a purple, green, and pink swirling light.
"What is this?!" he shouted. "A psychedelic drug trip?!"
The colors continued swirling around and around. Mike shielded his eyes from the bright lights before he could go blind. When he looked, he found he was standing in a field. He looked up into the sky, and saw that it was filled with dark clouds. He looked around, and found the field was deserted.
"Hello?" he asked. "Anyone here?"
No answer. Mike started walking around the field, looking for someone. He thought he saw someone move behind some of the tall plants, and followed it.
"Hey, wait a minute!" he shouted. "Stop!"
Mike reached out, and reached into the brush. He grabbed something, and ended up pulling out one of the Dragon Lady's field workers.
"Please don't hurt me!" he shouted. "I don't have any money!"
"I'm not gonna hurt you," Mike said. "I just want to know where I can find the Dragon Lady."
The peasant ran off as fast as he could the minute Mike mentioned that name. The Texan just stood there, surprised.
"Was it somethin' I said?" he asked.
"You should not mention the Dragon Lady to the workers," a woman said, walking over. "We are all scared of her. You are a very brave young man, if you are looking for her."
"Darn right I'm lookin' for her, lady. Her guards kidnapped my best friend, and I'm not gonna let her get away with that. So where can I find her?"
"Her palace is on top of the hill. Just follow the path. And I must wish you luck. No one tries to rescue the Dragon Lady's captives and lives."
"I'll take my chances."
Mike started walking down the path. The way he was feeling, the Dragon Lady wouldn't dare mess with him, unless she wanted to be plucking false eyelashes off her ceiling. The people in the field watched Mike follow the path. The woman who told him where to find the palace told the man standing next to her, who told the young girl next to him, who told her older brother. Pretty soon, everyone was whispering to each other about Mike wanting to find the Dragon Lady.
"He is a very brave man," a young woman said.
"No one dares to challenge the Dragon Lady," a man replied.
The other people began whispering. Mike glanced at them, and gave them all strange Looks.
"How bad can it be?" he asked. "She's probably a lot like a bunch of witches I've tangled with before."
If Mike knew what these people had been going through, he wouldn't have been so cocky about facing the Dragon Lady.
Back in the jade mine, the Dragon Lady's slaves were hard at work. The Dragon Lady had them all dress in white tunics, with chains on their wrists and ankles. They were guarded by two guards. One watched the door, while the other kept cracking a whip. The Dragon Lady was coming down to see how everything was going, and to ask why she hadn't gotten any jade from them. When she arrived, all of her slaves immediately dropped to their hands and knees, and started bowing to her.
"All hail the Dragon Lady!" they shouted.
"Oh puh-leeze," Jerry muttered, rolling his eyes. He was the only one in the mine still standing there.
"I heard that," the Dragon Lady said. "Bow down to me!"
"Not on your life! I don't bow down to anybody!"
"I'll make you bow down to me!"
The Dragon Lady pulled out her jade and held it up to the lantern hanging on the wall. Once the beam hit Jerry, it felt like he was being pulled to his knees. The Geator squeezed his eyes shut, and clenched his teeth, resisting the power. Unfortunately, it was too strong for him. He dropped to his knees quickly, and was thrown into a bowing position.
"Never back talk me again," the Dragon Lady said to him. "This is your only warning. Is that clear?"
Jerry didn't answer. He didn't want to give the Dragon Lady any satisfaction. The Dragon Lady turned to her guard and nodded. The guard came forward, and thrusted the whip at Jerry's back. SNAP!
"Aaaahhh!" Jerry screamed.
"I said is that clear?!" the Dragon Lady shouted, as the guard continued whipping Jerry.
"Yes!" the DJ shouted. "Yes, it's clear! It's clear!"
"Speak up, I can't hear you."
"Yes, your highness! It's clear!"
"Good. Now get back to work!"
The Dragon Lady walked out of the mine and went to her elevator. The slaves stood up, picked up their shovels and pickaxes, and went back to work, digging for jade. Jerry wondered if Mike knew where he was. It looked like he wasn't going to get out of this one, unless Mike arrived.
Mike, in the meantime, just made it to the hill. He looked at the giant palace and whistled.
"This is bigger than Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal combined!" he shouted. He was about to go in when the guards blocked him with their spears.
"Halt!" one shouted. "Who goes there?"
"I'm here to see the Dragon Lady," Mike said, folding his arms across his chest. "It concerns these slaves of hers."
Mike walked into the palace, as the guards alerted another, who alerted the captain. He ran into the Dragon Lady's throne room.
"There is a young man here, your majesty," he said. "He says his business concerns your slaves."
"He's probably a slave trader," the Dragon Lady said. "Show him in."
The captain of the guard let Mike enter the throne room. Mike got a good look at the guard and glared at him.
"I know you," he said. "You're the creep who ruined my club gig!"
"And you're the half witch that tried to stop me from gathering slaves!" the captain shouted.
"Kidnappin' is more like it!" Mike yelled.
"You two know each other?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"He's the one who ruined our raid, your greatness," the captain said.
"What did you expect me to do?" Mike asked. "This creep was tryin' to kidnap a lot of innocent people here. You've got to be pure evil, lady. No wonder everyone in this place is afraid of you."
"You are obviously a friend of my newest slave," the Dragon Lady said. "You're mouthy, just like he is."
"Where is he?"
"In my jade mine. But I have no use for any new slaves. So I'll let you live, as long as you never come back. Guards! Throw him out!"
"Don't bother. I can show myself out, thank you."
Mike turned and walked out of the palace, without even looking back. Once he was down the path, he dove into a bush, and snapped his fingers. A pair of binoculars appeared in his hands, and he looked through them to see what the guards were up to. He also snapped his fingers, so a listening device could be planted on them.
"I don't trust that guy who was just here," one guard said.
"Neither do I," another replied. "Something tells me he'll be back."
Darn right I'll be back, Mike thought, smiling sneakily.
Mike decided to go find the jade mine himself. He snapped his fingers, and a guard's uniform appeared on him, instead of his regular clothes. He walked over to the castle, and followed a line of guards around the back way, and then down a flight of stairs. Once they were there, the guards opened a door, and found the Dragon Lady's slaves still shoveling for jade.
"All right!" the captain shouted. "That's it for tonight! Everyone back to your cell! Single file! Hup, two, three, four! Hup, two, three, four!"
The slaves got into a single file line, and trudged down the hallway. Mike kept his eyes out, and finally caught sight of Jerry. He looked terrible. His hair was disheveled, and his face and clothes were covered in dirt. Mike barely recognized him.
"Hang in there, Geat," he said, quietly. "I'll get you out of this."
"You there!" the captain shouted. Mike nearly jumped a mile.
"Who me?" he practically squeaked.
"Yes, you," the captain said, handing Mike a set of keys. "Guard the slaves. Make sure they don't escape."
"Oh. Yes sir!"
Mike saluted. The captain nodded, and led the rest of the guards out of the mine. Mike clicked his tongue against his teeth, and looked inside the window. It was a small cell, crammed with people. They were all packed in like sardines. Mike looked around to see if the coast was clear. Then he unlocked the door, and carefully stepped inside the cell. He used his psyches to lead him to Jerry. He found him a few moments later, sound asleep. Mike took the keys, and kneeled down. He lifted the Geator's wrists, and began to fiddle with the lock on the manacles around them. As he was doing that, Jerry groaned, and began to shift his position. Mike had a feeling if he woke up, he would give away his position. He had to act fast. Jerry opened his eyes. Before he could say anything, Mike slapped his hand over Jerry's mouth. Since Jerry didn't know it was Mike, he screamed.
"Relax, Jerry, it's me!" Mike hissed, taking his hand off Jerry's mouth. "I'm gonna get you out of here."
"Thank goodness," Jerry said, as Mike unlocked his wrists, and then moved to his ankles. "That Dragon Lady's bad news!"
"No kiddin'. This is one of her common things, Jer. She sends her guards to the mortal world, and has them grab anyone they can find and then the guards take them back here, and the Dragon Lady makes them her slaves. Come on. Let's get out of here before they catch us."
Mike and Jerry snuck out of the cell, and down the hallway. They looked like they were home free, until a guard making his rounds came around the corner and spotted them.
"Prisoner escaping!" he shouted to Mike. "Grab him!"
Mike snapped his fingers, and an anvil dropped on the guard's head. Then he and Jerry ran off.
"Kinda cartoony, don't you think?" Jerry asked.
"Well it works for Bugs Bunny," Mike said, shrugging.
The guard pushed the anvil off his head, and realized Mike wasn't a guard at all. Just an impersonator. He sounded the alarm. Mike and Jerry ran down the hall, and made it to the staircase. The guards were right on their heels.
"We've got to get out of here!" Jerry yelled.
"Up the stairs!" Mike shouted.
The boys ran up the stairs, with the guards following. Mike flung open the door, and found more guards, pointing their spears at him and Jerry. Behind them were guards as well, all pointing spears.
"We're surrounded!" Jerry yelled.
Mike bit his lower lip, and pulled the talisman out of his pocket. He began searching around for light, but before he could find one, one of the guards grabbed his arms, and threw them behind his back, causing the Monkee to drop the talisman to the ground. No one noticed. The guards handcuffed Mike's hands behind his back, and did the same to Jerry.
"Take them to the Dragon Lady!" the captain shouted.
Mike and Jerry looked at each other, nervous. They were taken directly to the Dragon Lady, who wasn't pleased.
"I don't tolerate escapees," she said, glaring at Jerry. "Especially not from my newest slaves."
"It was my fault," Mike said. "I tried to rescue him."
"Then you should have known better than to try a rescue attempt!" the Dragon Lady shouted. "I should make you a slave, but I only have room for one more."
"Well then take me."
"Mike, are you crazy?!" Jerry shouted. Mike held up his hand to silence the disc jockey.
"Hmm . . . ." the Dragon Lady said, thinking it over. "Interesting prospect."
"You can't make him a slave!" Jerry protest. "He's hypoglycemic! He'll pass out before he could get any actual work done! Take me back to the dungeon. I'll be your slave."
"No," Mike said. "I won't let that happen!"
"But Mike, I can't let you become her slave!"
"Silence!" the Dragon Lady shouted. "I can see we have a problem. However, I can solve this easily. You boys are not the same age?"
"No," Mike said. Jerry shook his head.
"So one of you is older?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"Yes," Mike replied. Jerry nodded.
"Very well," the Dragon Lady replied. "Whichever of you is older will be my slave."
Mike and Jerry looked at each other. Although Mike was much taller, he was also two years younger than Jerry. But he couldn't let him become the Dragon Lady's slave.
"That's me," Mike said.
"What?!" Jerry shouted. "Mike, you know you're two years younger than me!"
"So you are saying you are older?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"Yes," Jerry said. "I'm older."
"No, I'm the older one," Mike said, quickly.
The Dragon Lady tapped her chin. This was a very hard decision to make.
"This is a problem," she said. "One of you is lying."
The Dragon Lady stared at Mike and Jerry for several moments. She was trying to figure out which one of them was the older one. Mike was starting to get nervous.
"Ma'am, may I point out that I'm much taller than he is?" he asked. "Aren't taller people older, and sometimes much stronger than shorter people?"
"That is true," the Dragon Lady said. "Very well. You will be my slave. Guards! Throw the short one out."
"Mike, no!" Jerry yelled, as the guards grabbed him by the arms.
"Jerry, I have to," Mike said. "I can't let them make a slave out of you."
"But what about you? Mike, you can't be a slave! What about your hypoglycemia?"
"Listen to me. I'll be fine. You have absolutely nothin' to worry about."
"But you can't get your magic out when your wrists are chained."
"Jerry, don't worry about me. You have to find a way back to California. You've got a lot more to live for than I do."
"But Mike . . . . . ."
"Enough long goodbyes!" the Dragon Lady shouted, picking up her jade. "Throw that one out of here! And make sure he never returns!"
"Yes, your greatness," the guards said.
Mike stood there, watching the guards drag Jerry out of the throne room. The Dragon Lady held her jade up to the light, and zapped Mike with it. He was now wearing the white tunic, and chains around his wrists and ankles. Then the Dragon Lady whistled for her guards, to take Mike down to the mine. It was almost time for the slaves to start working again.
As the guards were leading Mike down to the jade mine, the Texan Monkee caught sight of the talisman he dropped. He wondered if he could move it to him by using telekinesis. His fingers may have been on the blink when restrained, but he wasn't so sure about his psychic abilities. He concentrated on the talisman as the guards filed the other slaves out of the cell. To Mike's surprise, it worked. The talisman sailed over to him. Mike used his psyches to throw it around his neck, and then he hid it underneath his shirt. The guards didn't notice a thing. Mike was then shoved into the mine with the other slaves and then put to work.
"So what's the story around here?" he asked.
"We're all forced to work for the Dragon Lady," the slave replied. "It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it."
"A word of advice, effendi," another slave said. "Do whatever the Dragon Lady says, or else!"
"Or else what?" Mike asked.
"Or else you will be severely punished," the second slave replied. "The Dragon Lady has a magic jade. She can use that to punish you. She turned a friend of mine into a mouse, and let her cats chase him."
"Yikes," Mike said.
The guard at the entrance of the mine cracked his whip, and the slaves went back to work right away, digging up the jade. Mike had to figure out a way out of the mine, find Jerry, and get back to California. That was going to be easier said than done.
The guards brought Jerry to the edge of Dragonia, and practically threw him to the ground, on the other side of the border.
"You're lucky," one guard told him. "The Dragon Lady normally doesn't show mercy on people like you!"
Jerry glared at them both and stood up. He brushed himself off, and started walking down a path, making the guards think he was going on his way, away from Dragonia. Once he was out of sight, the guards started making their way back to the Dragon Lady's palace. Jerry ran behind a tree, and watched them go. Once they were out of sight, he headed back for Dragonia himself.
"The Dragon Lady's not gonna get away with this," he said. "Mike's saved my life about a million times. It's my turn to pay him back."
Jerry looked around to make sure the coast was clear. He had to find a way back to the jade mine without anyone noticing him. He ran into the fields where Mike had landed when he entered Dragonia, and encountered some of the townspeople.
"Who are you?" one whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" Jerry asked.
"The Dragon Lady might hear us. What are you doing here?"
"I've got to break my friend out of that jade mine. But I'm gonna need help doing it."
"Oh no, I can't! The Dragon Lady will turn me into a mouse! Or worse!"
Jerry sighed, and talked to some of the other townspeople. All of them had the same response. Jerry was on his own.
"All right, fine," he said. "If you guys are too chicken to stand up for yourselves, then I'm just gonna have to do this alone!"
Jerry started towards the palace. All the townspeople began talking among themselves, whispering in panic.
"Oh dear lord," one woman said, looking up to the sky. "Have mercy on that poor young man!"
Jerry happened to hear her, and he rolled his eyes. He figured if Mike could do the rescue bit, so could he. He ducked behind a tree, and watched the changing of the guards. He had to figure out how to get past them so he could get down to the jade mine. He thought it over for an extremely long period of time. He had to find some way to create a diversion. He looked down, and spied a small rock by his foot.
"Not the world's most original diversion," he said. "But it'll do."
Jerry wound up, and threw the rock at the palace door. The guards stared down at it.
"A rock," one said.
"Yeah, but where'd it come from?" the other guard replied.
"Some wise guy probably threw it."
Jerry picked up another rock, and hurled it at the guards. It smacked one of them right in the head.
"Very funny," he said.
"What?" the other asked.
"You hit me with a rock."
"No I didn't."
"Well someone did."
Jerry smiled. He picked up another rock, and threw it at the other guard. Direct hit, right between the eyes!
"Hey, now you cut that out!" he shouted.
"Cut what out?" the first guard asked.
"You hit me with a rock!"
"I did not!"
Jerry bit his lower lip to keep from laughing out loud. He picked up two more rocks, and flung them at the guards. Both hit them at the exact same time.
"That does it!" the first guard shouted. "Put 'em up!"
"Oh yeah?" the other guard asked. "Well take this!"
Within moments, the two guards were rolling around the ground, trying to punch each other's lights out. Jerry smiled triumphantly and snuck right by them. He ran to the side of the palace, and walked down the stairway. There were the two guards, keeping a lookout. Getting rid of them was going to be trickier. Jerry needed a better diversion than just throwing rocks. As he was thinking about how to get rid of the guards, Mike was planning an escape attempt of his own. He put down his shovel, leaned against it, and turned to the other slaves.
"Have you guys ever considered goin' on strike?" he asked.
"If we went out on strike, the Dragon Lady would punish us severely!" one of the slaves shouted.
"You want to be slaves the rest of your lives?"
"Well, no . . . . ."
"Then strike! Refuse to work! We can out number the Dragon Lady easy, and I can out magic her."
The other slaves just stared at him. They didn't know what to make of this. At any rate, Mike threw his shovel aside, and sat down on the ground. The other slaves continued to stare at him, until the two guards walked in.
"Back to work!" he shouted, cracking his whip. All the other slaves got back to work. Mike just sat there, arms folded across his chest.
"I said back to work!" the guard shouted again.
"No way," Mike said. "I'm on strike."
"Strike? I'll give you a strike!"
The guard cracked his whip. Jerry, who was standing right outside the mine, cringed. Mike yawned, and held up his wrists. The whip snapped the chains connecting the manacles. Mike looked down at his wrists, and smiled sneakily.
"Well, well, well," he said. "Looky there. They jes' don't make chains like they used to."
Jerry laughed a little at that one. It looked like Mike had everything under control. For the time being.
"Get back to work!" the guard yelled.
"Not on your life!" Mike shouted. He stood up, and put his hands on his hips, giving the guard a defiant glare, daring him to crack that whip again. The guard did indeed crack that whip again. Mike jumped backwards, and the whip hit the chains that connected the manacles on his ankles.
"Nice try," he said. "Wanna try again?"
The guard threw the whip to the ground, and stormed off. The other guard went with him. They had to inform the Dragon Lady about this right away. Once they were gone, Jerry walked into the jade mine, applauding.
"The work of a genius, my man," he said.
"Thank you, thank you," Mike said. "No autographs please. Just get these off my wrists and ankles."
Jerry picked a sharp piece of rock off the ground and began fiddling with the locks on Mike's chains. They finally broke loose.
"So what are you doin' back here?" Mike asked.
"What else?" Jerry said. "I owe you big time, and I really mean big time."
"Look, you'd better get out of here before that Dragon Lady finds out you're back."
"If she catches me, I'm telling her that I'm older than you are, and I'm putting my foot down about it."
"Jerry, come on . . . . . she already thinks I'm older. Anyone who doesn't know us would think that I'm older only because I'm taller than you."
"Big deal. We've got to get out of here."
"Yeah, you're right. Hang on. I'll get us both out of here in a jiffy."
Mike took out the talisman, and was looking for a light to hold it up to. Just as he found a lantern, another whip cracked, and knocked the talisman right out of the Texan's hand.
"Jerry, split," he said. "Go now."
"But Mike . . . ." Jerry started.
Jerry ran off towards the back of the mine, where he couldn't be seen. Mike zapped an exit from the mine back there, and motioned for Jerry to leave the palace and get as far away from it as he could. Jerry ran down through the exit. Mike closed it up the minute Jerry was out of sight. Then he snapped his fingers, and the chains became intact. He put them back on his wrists and ankles, but he didn't lock them so he would be able to shake them loose later. The guards led the Dragon Lady down to the mine, where everyone was working.
"I thought you said they were on strike," she said.
"They were!" the guard shouted. "The tall one said . . . ."
"Do you know what happens to people who lie to me?!"
"No, your greatness, please!"
The Dragon Lady held her jade to the light. The beam bounced off the guard, and turned him into a pig.
"Now get out of here before I decide to have pork for dinner!" she shouted.
The pig squealed and ran out of the mine. Mike glanced at the Dragon Lady over his shoulder, and glared at her. He was right about her being pure evil. She just had to be stopped. The problem was he didn't know how to stop her. Apparently, Jerry had an idea. He went back out in the fields, and began talking to the workers about ganging up on the Dragon Lady.
"We can't!" one shouted.
"But we outnumber her!" Jerry protested.
"And she out powers us," another worker said. "She'll turn us all into mice and snails and all sorts of things if we stand against her."
"Okay, I'll admit we don't have any power," Jerry continued. "But haven't you realized the Dragon Lady is nothing but a big bully?! It's a simple case, really. If we stand against her, she'll back down."
The workers were awfully silent. Jerry stared at them as if they were crazy. All the workers dove into the brush. Jerry rolled his eyes.
"What a bunch of chickens," Jerry said. "Jumping at the slightest little thing!"
Jerry was about to go on when someone clamped their hand over his mouth, and pulled him back into the brush. He thought it was one of the Dragon Lady's guards for a moment or so, but then realized it was one of the field workers.
"Shh!" she shouted. "Quiet, or the guards will hear you."
The woman kept her hand over Jerry's mouth until the guards rode by. They were making their rounds, looking for people to torture with their whips.
"Now do you see why we whisper all the time?" the woman asked, once the guards were out of sight, and earshot.
"Not really, no," Jerry said.
Suddenly, the two of them heard the cracking of a whip, screaming, maniacal laugher, and begging for mercy. Jerry and the woman staid hidden behind the trees, and looked over at a beggar man, being whipped mercilessly by the guards.
"Now I do," Jerry said.
"If they should happen to hear us, that is what they will do with us," the woman said.
"But with your help, the Dragon Lady would be defeated."
"It is impossible to defeat the Dragon Lady. You are a foolish man for thinking so. My advice to you is get out of this land while you still can. You do not belong here, and you can not do anything to change this world."
The woman walked off through the bushes as the guards rode away. Jerry glared at them, and started back towards the palace. He wasn't going to give this up easily. Back in the jade mine, Mike threw off his chains, and snapped his fingers. The other slaves' chains fell off, and clattered to the ground.
"What do you think you're doing?" the slave next to him asked.
"I'm gettin' us outta here," Mike said. "Come on!"
"But what about the Dragon Lady?"
"Forget about the Dragon Lady! I'm in the lead, and I can handle that puny little jade of hers! Now let's go! This is our only chance, while the guard's asleep!"
Mike led the other slaves out of the mine. The guard didn't notice the difference. Mike started running up the stairs, and he threw open the door. He started running, but realized he forgot his talisman. He couldn't go back now. As he was running, he ran directly into Jerry, and the two of them crashed to the ground. All the slaves stopped, thinking it was a guard.
"Perfect timin', Jer," Mike said. "I need you to go back down into the mine and get the talisman I had."
"Where is it?" Jerry asked.
"On the ground somewhere. You'll know it when you see it."
"Okay. I'll get it and meet you in the fields."
Jerry ran down the steps into the mine. The guards were still sleeping. Mike started to lead the slaves away from the palace. Inside, however, the guards were delivering the jade that the slaves had dug up.
"Not much, is there?" she asked.
"The mine is almost empty your greatness," the captain said.
"Make those slaves work harder then," the Dragon Lady said. "Or else!"
"But your greatness, if we don't get more jade by midnight tonight . . . . ."
"I know, I know. The Dragon Demon will destroy not only the palace and myself, but Dragonia as well. Then there will be no one to order around."
"What can we do, your greatness?"
The Dragon Lady thought this over. As it turned out, she didn't want the jade for herself. She usually gave it to a large dragon, known as the Dragon Demon. He was very picky about the jade. Usually when the Dragon Lady couldn't deliver, she would use one of her slaves as a sacrifice, and that's when she sent the guards out on raids to get more slaves for her.
"We're just gonna have to set up a sacrifice," the Dragon Lady said.
"I think I have the perfect slave in mind," one of the guards said. "That new one. He's always causing trouble."
"Hmm, possibly," the Dragon Lady said. "Let's go."
The Dragon Lady and her guards headed for the jade mine. To their surprise, they found it completely empty, and all the chains lying there on the ground. The Dragon Lady wasn't too happy. She clenched her fists, and turned to her guards.
"How could they have escaped?!" she shouted. "They were being guarded, weren't they?!"
"Well . . . . ." one of the guards said.
"Ooooh, must I do everything myself?!"
The Dragon Lady took her jade and zapped the guard with it, turning him into a bat. Then she and the rest of her guards left the mine to find her slaves. She managed to catch up with them while they were retreating to the field. Just before they reached the field, the Dragon Lady appeared right in front of them, with a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning.
"Ho boy," Mike said.
"And just where did you think you were going?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"Bus-ted," Mike muttered.
"Take them back to the mine!" the Dragon Lady shouted. "I'll deal with them shortly."
"We'll be turned into rats!" one slave shouted.
"Or worse!" another yelled.
"Just cool it," Mike said. "I'll get us out of this yet."
All the slaves started panicking, except for Mike. He was trying to keep his cool. Someone had to, and the other slaves were beginning to whine, cry, and shudder at what the Dragon Lady had in store for them. Once they were all back at the mine, they began to get back to work, digging up as much jade as they possibly could to please the Dragon Lady, except Mike. He just stood there, arms folded across his chest.
"What does she do with all this jade, anyway?" he asked.
"She gives it to the Dragon Demon," one slave said.
"Dragon Demon? What, pray tell, is a Dragon Demon?"
"Trust me, you don't want to know."
"What happens if she doesn't get enough jade for this demon?"
"You don't want to know that, either."
"Man, I sure don't want to know a lot, do I?"
The slave didn't say anything. He just continued to work. Mike shook his head. He thought it was pointless to try and dig up any more jade. There wasn't any left in the mine. The Dragon Lady came into the mine then, and saw her workers working, except for Mike.
"Why aren't you working?" she asked.
"Because I'm nobody's slave," Mike replied.
"It doesn't matter. There is no jade left in this mine."
"Yes, too bad. Too bad for you. All of you."
The slaves began shuddering. Mike just stood there, stifling a yawn. The Dragon Lady walked around the mine, looking over the slaves. She finally averted her gaze back to Mike.
"I think I'll take this one," she said. "I believe the Dragon Demon will find him quite appealing."
"What do you mean by that?" Mike asked. Before anything else happened, the guards chained his wrists behind his back.
"If the slaves don't gather enough jade to please the Dragon Demon," the Dragon Lady said. "He takes one of my people as a human sacrifice."
The guards took Mike out of the mine to prepare him for the Dragon Demon. The other slaves were hustled out of the mine and to the jade temple, where the Dragon Demon usually arrived to collect his offerings. In the meantime, Jerry had just made it out of the mine through the alternate exit with the talisman. He was about to head over to the field when he saw the Dragon Lady, wearing some kind of ceremonial get-up. Following her were two more guards, carrying a silver platter, piled with the jade that the slaves had dug up. Following them were two more guards, carrying a wooden plank, and Mike was tied to it. Jerry's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, and his jaw nearly hit the ground. He saw the slaves and the field workers follow the procession into a temple. He followed to find out what was going on. Once everyone was inside, the captain of the guards took a mallet, and hit a golden gong with it, making a terrible noise.
The Dragon Lady sat down on a throne. The guards walked up to an alter and put the silver platter on it. The other two guards carried Mike up to the alter and stopped. The Dragon Lady stood up, and faced the crowd of people. Most of them were talking at once. Women and children were crying hysterically.
"Oh great Dragon Demon!" the Dragon Lady shouted. "Please accept these offerings!"
The captain banged the gong again, and the guards were about to place Mike on the floor. Jerry bit his lower lip, and pushed his way through the crowd. The captain of the guards was about to bang the gong again, when Jerry suddenly ran up the steps of the alter.
"STOP!" he shouted at the top of his lungs.
"Who dares interrupt our ceremony?!" the Dragon Lady shouted.
"Please, stop," Jerry said, catching his breath. He dropped to his knees, then. "Please don't sacrifice him, please! You just can't!"
"Oh?" the Dragon Lady asked. "And why can't I?"
"Because . . . . . well, what you said earlier . . . . . when you made him your slave . . . . ."
"I made him my slave because he was the older of the two of you."
"He only said that to protect me! He may be like three heads taller than I am, but I'm older! You've got to believe me, I'm older than he is!"
"So you're older than he is. It doesn't matter now. Get out of here. There's nothing you can do to help your friend."
"There's got to be. There's got to be some way . . . . ."
Jerry had to think fast. The guards were about ready to put Mike down on the alter. Jerry swallowed hard and turned to the Dragon Lady.
"Wait!" he cried.
"Yes?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"Take me instead of Mike."
The crowd gasped. Mike leaned up and looked at Jerry as if he were crazy.
"Jerry, are you crazy?!" he yelled.
"You'd be willing to sacrifice yourself for your friend?" the Dragon Lady asked.
"If I did," Jerry said, looking at Mike. "Would you let him go?"
"Consider it done," the Dragon Lady said. "Guards, release him!"
The guards untied Mike from the plank. He ran towards Jerry and grabbed his shoulders.
"Don't do it," he said. "Let's you and I make a break for it, right now!"
"I made a deal, Mike," Jerry said. "You know when I make a deal, I never go back on my word."
"But Jerry, you just can't do this!"
"Mike, you've saved my life more times than I can count. Please, just let me save yours once."
"I so detest long good byes," the Dragon Lady groaned.
The guards then grabbed Jerry, and started to tie him to the plank. They pushed Mike down the steps. He landed flat on his stomach at the bottom of the steps, among the crowd. The guards raised the plank into the air, and then set it down on the alter. The captain banged the gong again. Mike had to hurry. He knew Jerry dropped the talisman somewhere, but he didn't know where. He began crawling around looking for it.
"I've got to find that thing!" he shouted, searching frantically.
Mike finally spotted the talisman and picked it up. The captain banged the gong again, as hard as he could. That scared Mike out of his wits. He jumped, and dropped the talisman. It crashed to the ground, breaking into at least a hundred pieces.
"Oh no!" Mike yelled. "Now there's no way to get back home! Unless I get the Dragon Lady's magic jade!"
The flames on the torches turned green just then. Mike forgot about his mission and stared at the flames. Everything was silent, except for the Dragon Lady and the guards chanting what sounded like ancient Chinese. Smoke rose from the torches, and formed into a giant dragon. The slaves and workers began to scream and panic. Mike just stood there, jaw dropped, eyes wide. This had to be the Dragon Demon. Everyone in the temple began bowing to it. Mike did the same. He felt this thing was ten times more evil than the Dragon Lady himself! The Dragon Demon took the platter from the alter and looked at it.
"Not too much jade here, Dragon Lady," he said.
"The mine ran low," the Dragon Lady said. "There is no more left."
"I hate to see what you can come up with during the next full moon."
"Well, I do have something else here for you."
The Dragon Demon looked down at Jerry, tied to the plank.
"Kind of small, isn't he?" the Demon asked.
The Dragon Lady just shrugged. The Demon picked up the plank, and snapped off the ropes with his claws. Then he pulled Jerry off the plank, and threw the piece of wood to the ground. He held the DJ up to his face and just looked at him.
"Tender little morsel, although a tad scrawny," the Demon said. Jerry gulped. "Oh well. I'm sure he'll be nice and tasty."
"Over my dead body!" Mike shouted, giving the Dragon Demon a good zap in the eyes. The Demon screamed, and dropped Jerry. Mike caught him before he could hit the ground.
"Thanks, Mike," Jerry said.
"Come on!" Mike yelled. "Our only chance of gettin' back home is to get the Dragon Lady's magic jade! And that's gonna be easier said than done!"
The Dragon Demon growled and began smashing up the jade temple. Everyone inside screamed, and ran for the exits. The Dragon Lady wasn't too happy about this. She picked up her magic stone, and aimed it at Mike.
"I'll turn you into a toad!" she shouted.
"Mike, watch out!" Jerry shouted.
Mike ducked just as the beam shot out of the stone. The Dragon Lady began chasing after the boys just then, determined to catch one of them. She aimed her jade stone at the door frame, and zapped it. The ceiling collapsed, and blocked the boys from the door.
"We're trapped!" Jerry shouted.
"Oh man," Mike groaned. "And we're surrounded!"
"What are we going to do?"
Mike shook his head. The Dragon Demon moved in close to the boys.
"There you are," the Dragon Lady said. "And the temple as well. That should make up for the small amount of the jade my slaves dug up."
"Excellent," the Dragon Demon said.
"Before you eat us," Mike said. "I've got somethin' for you. A little indigestion!"
Mike thrust his arms forward, and a bright beam shot out of his fingertips and into the Dragon Demon's mouth. He swallowed Mike's magic, and completely exploded. KA-BLAM! Then he snapped his fingers, and the rocks blocking the door flew into the air.
"Now let's get out of here!" he shouted.
"Stop them!" the Dragon Lady shouted. "Don't let them get away!"
The guards began chasing after the boys. Mike wasn't going to give up that easily though. He climbed up onto a rock, and then glanced at the Dragon Lady.
"Come and get me!" he shouted.
"Don't worry, I will!" the Dragon Lady shouted, holding up her jade. Mike aimed his magic carefully, and zapped the Dragon Lady's hand with his blast. The magic jade flew into the air. Jerry jumped into the air and grabbed it. Then he held it up to the nearest light, which was a lantern hanging from what was left of the jade palace.
"I think a rat is the perfect thing for you, Dragon Lady!" he shouted, as the light beam hit the Dragon Lady.
"Noooooo!" the Dragon Lady shouted, as she morphed. When the light subsided, she was reduced to a rat.
"Heeeere kitty, kitty, kitty!" Jerry called out.
The Dragon Lady's Siamese cats crawled out from the bushes and looked at the big, fat, juicy rat in the middle of the mess. They licked their lips, and started chasing her around. One of the cats caught her, and did what cats normally do to rats. Jerry smiled, and held up the jade.
"I guess there's a little magic in us all, huh Mike?" he asked.
"Jerry, you're the best," Mike said. "Now take us outta here."
"You got it, my pal."
Jerry held the jade up to the light. The beam surrounded them, and when it subsided, they found themselves back in Chinatown, wearing the clothes they were wearing when they were performing at the night club. They smiled, and then ran back to the club to see how Reggie was doing. Unfortunately, it wasn't too well. The crowd had come to see the Discophonics and they were about to get hostile if all three of them didn't perform soon!
"It's about time you got back!" he shouted. "I was running out of material!"
"Whoa, cool it!" Mike shouted at the crowd, picking up the mic. "Just a little business we had to take care of, but we're back."
"And we are ready to rock!" Jerry shouted. "And speaking of rocks, Mike, do your thing!"
Jerry threw the jade into the air, and Mike blasted it with his magic. It exploded into pieces. Reggie stared at the fragments, oddly.
"What was that?" he asked.
"We'll tell you later," Jerry said. "We've got a show to do."
"Yeah, man," Mike said. "And this audience is gonna get mean if we don't deliver!"
Reggie shrugged, and the Discophonics launched into one of their numbers.