"All Aboard The Gain Train" by NobodyAtAll

Note: read “Even More Slices of Life”, “A Heart-To-Heart” and the “Dragon Quest” series up to Part V first.


Lalum City.

The biggest city on planet Lumix.

In Master Luxi’s dojo, Calvin spars with Xanitas, the tailless Saingan, while Marley, in human form, spars with Xuri, the young bald Lumixian.

Calvin’s wearing the same silver gi that Luxi and his first two students wear.

Marley has tweaked his nano suit, replacing his usual green battle suit with a silver gi identical to the others.

Seated on a bench nearby, the teacher of these four students, Master Luxi himself, is seated, watching them intently.

“Alright, boys. That’s enough for now. It’s time for a break, I think.”

The five warriors head outside, Marley reverting to fluffy form.

The dojo is surrounded by a decently sized, opulent garden, a tall wall separating it from the rest of Lumix.

Luxi uses technology similar to Pierre’s sound dampeners to block out the hustle and bustle of the city beyond the walls.

He may be an elderly martial artist, but he is also a Lumixian. Using technology comes naturally to even the oldest Lumixians.

And the five warriors sit on the grass, enjoying a brief picnic.

Luxi has stressed the importance of taking breaks to his students, but Calvin and Marley already knew this.

As Luxi puffs on a silver pipe, Calvin turns to Xanitas.

“So, uh, Xan. I’ve been meaning to ask. What’s your deal? You’re a long way away from Vajarsi.”

Xanitas shrugs.

“I crash-landed on Lumix when I was a baby. And don’t ask me why my birth parents put me in a spacecraft. From what I’ve heard about the Saingans, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were just drunk and thought it would be funny. I’ve never, uh, been to Vajarsi. I consider Lumix my homeworld.”

Marley looks at Xanitas’ lower back.

“Su how did yu wose yu taiw? Aww Sain-gans hab dem, wite?”

“It’s, ah… a long story. But let’s just say there’s a reason it was removed.”

“An wut am da wee-sun?”

Xanitas tells Calvin and Marley.

They’re both in shock.

Damn. Am I glad that didn’t happen when Mar fought Konba.”

“Wut du daddeh fink Konba am up tu wite nao?”

“I can guess, Mar…”


Many, many light-years away, on Vajarsi, homeworld of the Saingans, at the top of Mount Bhubhu, in a cave, Konba trains with Lorekeeper Karne.

Konba meditates, his eyes closed, and Karne circles around him, occasionally muttering a comment or correcting Konba’s posture.

And Bulma, Konba’s fluffy, munches on a bowl of kibble. Konba has supplies for his fluffy in his ship, and Karne graciously permitted Konba to fly back down, and pilot the ship up to the summit.

“Su wut um num am da point of num num dis?”

Karne turns to Bulma.

“First of all, don’t talk with your mouth full. I may be an old hermit living on a mountaintop, on a planet of fight-loving party animals, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what manners are. Second, the point of this is helping Konba here get into the right state of mind to become a Super Saingan. There’s multiple ways to get there. But the usual method is rather unpleasant. Usually, someone the Saingan cares about has to die to make it happen. I’d rather not go down that road.”

“How manee Soo-pah Sain-gans haf dewe bin?”

Karne strokes his beard, long enough that he has, occasionally, tripped on it.

Anyone who witnesses this happen and is stupid enough to tell someone will quickly discover that, old as he may be, Karne is still a Saingan, and hasn’t lost his edge.

“A few. A few. The last one was quite a while ago. Before my time. Everything I know, my predecessor told me, and his predecessor told him, and so on.”

“Um, if mistah Kawne nu mine Buwma awsk-in… how do mistah Kawne knu dat awwa dem wuz teww-in da twoof?”

“Because, my dear, us Lorekeepers abide by a sacred oath: to pass down the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is our duty! To remember what would otherwise be lost to our kind! If a Lorekeeper were to distort the truth, to omit details, to pass down lies… then what’s the point of being a Lorekeeper? That’s the difference between a Lorekeeper and a mere storyteller, you see. It’s not our job to tell the story we want to tell. Our job is to tell the story, exactly as it happened. Nothing more, nothing less. One of my predecessors was killed by the Gallo of his time, for refusing to revise his account of one battle the Gallo fought.”

Konba opens an eye.

“My father told me that story. The Gallo got his ass handed to him, and never got over it.”

WHAP

Karne hits Konba on the back of the head.

It was a rather hard blow, but for a Saingan, it’s a love tap.

“Did I say you could speak? What are you supposed to be doing right now, Konba?”

“Clearing my mind, Master.”

“Right! And are you doing that, Konba?”

“No, Master.”

“Well! Shouldn’t you be doing that, then?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Um. Buwma nee make poopies.”

Karne sighs.

“Alright then, come with me.”

Karne leads Bulma outside the cave.

He has a designated spot for her to drop the kids off at the pool.

He grows several different kinds of rare, difficult to grow, and wonderful plants up here, and has discovered the fertilizing qualities of fluffy feces.

This is why he doesn’t mind Bulma hanging around.


On Lumix, Calvin lies back on the blue grass, looking up at the green sky.

There’s a couple of clouds hanging in the sky. Clouds are something of a rarity on Lumix.

The Lumixians mastered irrigation early in their history.

Calvin points up at one cloud.

“Hey, Mar. Is it just me, or does that cloud look like a fluffy?”

Marley, curled up on the grass, looks up.

“Huh. It du wook wike a fwuffy.”

Xuri turns to them.

“What are you guys talking about?”

“Oh, us Earthlings like to look at clouds and try to find shapes in them.”

Luxi grins.

“Eh heh heh! That’s Earthlings for you. Always trying to find patterns, everywhere they look.”

He gestures at the clouds of silver smoke coming from his pipe.

“You boys see any interesting shapes here?

Xanitas and Xuri laugh.

After a couple of seconds, so do Calvin and Marley.


On Magicca, on the B-side of the universe, Edward trains with his grandfather, Chrysus, noble dragon, and ruler of Dragon Roost Mountain.

Edward and Erdrick have returned to staying at Dragonheart Palace, but with Edward’s portal gun, the commute to the mountain is a breeze.

His blipper still works here too. Unlike the portal gun, it can’t take him back to Earth. And he’d need to go back to Earth to recharge his blipper and/or refill his portal gun. But should his portal gun run out of fluid, he won’t be stranded here. Several members of the ChaotiX are now frequently adventuring in Drakonia, and Cecil’s visiting his son at least once a week, and always brings some spare portal fluid with him.

That, and there’s a door to the Inn Between Worlds in Dragonheart City.

Edward, Erdrick and Chrysus stand in the vast interior of the mountain, the other draconic residents of the mountain watching from above with interest.

They’ve been very hospitable to their guests, and the noble dragons have eagerly been catching up with their half-human relative.

Yes, the noble dragons living here are all related. Not all of the dragons living here are, though. There’s a few different races of dragon living here. Very metropolitan.

They don’t like it when people use the word “breeds”.

Edward looks at his left arm, which is currently covered in golden scales, his hand replaced with a draconic claw. Yes, he’s a lefty.

It quickly reverts back to its usual appearance.

“Damn it! I can’t hold it!”

Chrysus, currently in human form, smiles warmly at his recently-discovered grandson.

“Don’t fret, my boy. That you’ve already managed a partial transformation is remarkable.

Erdrick, curled up on a basket, grins.

“Daddeh cud awweady du wingies.”

“Yeah, our half-demon friends can do that too. Just the wings, without everything else. And without smelling like farts.”

Yes, Dave, Robert, Slayer and François don’t have to deal with that problem, unlike those who go all the way there. At least, they don’t have to deal with it in normal form.

Most people who get some sip and go all the way there are so focused on the power they’ll be getting out of it that they don’t consider the advantages of merely being a half-demon.

Like still being able to get drunk. If only Demon Chris had known about that, huh?

Chrysus chuckles.

“Well, we don’t have to worry about that last one. But trust me, it’ll be best to work your way up. Start with one body part at a time. Once you master a complete transformation, being in dragon form will feel just as natural as being in human form is for you. Of course, you’ll find your powers to be stronger in dragon form.”

Edward scratches his chin in thought.

“So, uh, here’s an idea the dragon arm just gave me. Is there a way to… sort of… go halfway? Like, between human and dragon?”

“Wut du daddeh meen?”

“I mean like… like combining the strengths of both forms. Yeah, maybe my dragon form will be stronger, but it’ll also be bigger, and bigger doesn’t always mean better.

Chrysus chuckles again.

“Well, dragons do tend to get bigger with age. And as they grow stronger, too. I once met one particularly dense red dragon who believed that, because a dragon’s size increases with their strength, her strength would increase with her size.”

“Ewdwick fink dat Ewdwick knu whewe dis stowy am guin.”

“Yes, she gorged herself silly on livestock. And when the humans who owned that livestock finally found a party of adventurers willing to go after her, she was too obese to put up a fight.”

As Edward has seen, those dragons who seek peaceful coexistence with humans hunt wild animals, rather than targeting those animals reared by human farmers.

Dragons don’t have to eat as much as their large bodies would logically need to eat. The Dragon Force at work again. However, it can’t entirely eliminate the need for sustenance.

But those dragons who don’t like humans just eat their fill. They’re not picky eaters.

Sir Peter could tell you some stories about the dragons he’s met who didn’t like humans, and most of them end with something along the lines of “And then I turned the bastard into a pile of potion ingredients and a set of dashing dragon hide armor.”

Peter has a set of dragon hide armor for every day of the week.

Edward, in his time training here, has seen dragons, flying in after a good day’s hunt, and he’s learned that many wild animals native to Earth also exist on Magicca.

And he’s learned a lot about Magicca’s native fauna, though a lot of it is what they taste like.

Usually, when a dragon brings in something Edward hasn’t seen before, he and Erdrick portal back to Dragonheart to read up on it.

Edward is learning Drakonian, just as Nadia is learning English.

Edward takes out the gold cube Chrysus gave him, looking like a Rubik’s Cube covered in runes, and makes another attempt to solve it.

He hasn’t had much luck yet. As he said, he’s never been good at this kind of thing.

“Y’know, if Mom hadn’t ghosted, she would know that giving me a Rubik’s Cube was a bad idea. I’m never gonna solve this.”

“Nu gib up, daddeh. Yu wiww git it soonew ow watew.”

“Thanks, Erdrick.”


Back on Lumix, Luxi finishes smoking his pipe.

“Time to get back to work, boys.”

Everyone gets back up, and Calvin turns to Luxi.

“What are we doing next, Master Luxi?”

“Cleaning the dojo, Cal. That is, you four will be cleaning the dojo, and I’ll be making sure you do it right.

Calvin and Marley groan.

“Don’t you have a flying car that we can wax, instead?”

“Ow we cud gu dee-wiv-uw miwkies.”

“Eh heh heh! Sorry, boys. But this is just as important as training. Being a martial artist isn’t just about fighting, it’s a way of life. We must master the art of peace, in addition to the art of war!”

Xanitas smiles at Calvin.

We’ve done the chores around here since we started training here, Cal.”

So does Xuri.

“And now we’ve got another pair of hands, so it’ll be faster.”

Marley shifts to human form, smiling smugly at Xuri.

“You got two more pairs of hands now.”

The five warriors laugh as they head back inside.

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