Disclaimer: This story is not mine. It is simply a rewrite. Jasmine is in the rewrite. Credit goes to Michael Reaves, the writer of this episode, which was great.
It has been a month since I became a part of the clan forever and I was still as uncomfortable with certain clan members as I was when I was merely a guest there. Hudson and Goliath, specifically. Goliath was tall and proper, which caused me to speak only about patrols and the city. Hudson...well, I couldn't talk about a lot of things, because most of what I talked about, I had read. Maybe that difference is what brought us closer together, during the incident with The Scrolls of Merlin.
The clocktower was littered with magazines that Elisa brought us. Brooklyn, Lexington, and I was reading. Broadway was eating, Hudson was watching television, Bronx was napping, and Elisa was talking to Goliath. I glanced at them briefly before returning to the magazine in front of me. I'm not sure if anyone else thought about this, but I thought that Elisa and Goliath might fall in love. Or maybe it was just me.
"The scrolls of Merlin are being taken to the Metropolitan Museum in New York for further study," Lexington read aloud from his magazine. "Do you think the scrolls were really written by Merlin?" he asked, looking at the rest of us.
"Wouldn't that be incredible?" Elisa asked.
"Merlin?" interjected Brooklyn. "He was a wizard, right? Like the Magus."
"A white wizard of the fifth century," answered Goliath. "If you're interested, the library downstairs is full of books about him."
Merlin. It is true that the library did have books about him and King Arthur. Even the library in Agrabah had dozens of books about him. I had even read a few.
Broadway took one last bite of his food. "Why stare at marks on a page when you can rent the video?"
I looked at Broadway. Was he saying that he couldn't read? Was it true?
"They aren't marks, when you know how to read," Lexington replied, pulling a magazine out from under Bronx.
"Well, I can't read," Broadway shot back. "And I don't think I'm missing anything."
"Uh-huh. Ignorance is bliss. Right, Hudson?" Brooklyn called.
"Leave me out of this. It's time for 'Celebrity Hockey'," Hudson replied. He looked at Bronx. "Come here Bronx." Bronx went over to him and laid down beside the recliner.
I was surprised. Hudson and Broadway couldn't read? No wonder Broadway didn't join Brooklyn, Lexington, and Me for the reading sessions that we had at least twice a week.
"I've got to go," Elisa said. "Matt and I are assigned to the scrolls' escort team."
"Do they know what the scrolls contain?" Goliath asked.
"They're still sealed. Rumor is they're magic spells." Elisa went down the ladder and into the police station.
"I think we should follow Elisa. Bronx will guard our home," Goliath said.
"Why are we going with Elisa?" Broadway inquired.
"Xanatos might try to steal the scrolls," Goliath replied.
The six of us went to the balcony and glided out to the bay. I noted that a storm was brewing.
While we watched the boat that Elisa and Matt boarded, there was a low hum of engines. Looking down, there was a pair of planes heading down toward the boat.
"You were right Goliath," Hudson called over the sound of thunder. "Those machines must belong to Xanatos."
"Harrier jets. They can land and take off like helicopters. I read about them," explained Lexington.
"When your life is this exciting, who needs books?" yelled Broadway.
The jets landed and two people got out. Somehow, they didn't look like Xanatos employees to me. This was just off hand of course. I didn't know anything about Xanatos or what the employees looked like. Heck, I never even met Xanatos.
Minutes later, the two of them returned to their jets, with the scrolls! Hudson glided behind a jet and followed it on it's ascent. He landed on the jet and smashed the glass. The next thing that happened was the plane's electricity shocked Hudson and he fell into the sea.
"Hudson!" I cried and I plunged into the sea after him.
I went under, then resurfaced. I looked around and saw Hudson coughing and holding one of the canisters that contained one of the scrolls. I swam toward him.
"Hang on Hudson! I coming!" I called.
"Look out, lass!" Hudson yelled, pointing.
I turned around. A huge wave was heading straight for us! The wave crashed down on us and I blacked out.
I woke up on a beach with Hudson and he was talking to a blind man. I heard him say that he and I had a little trouble. Suddenly, I felt a pain in my left wing. I looked at it. The area below the apex on both sides was broken!
Hudson walked over to me and asked if I was alright. I whispered, "My wing is broken." I showed him the injury.
"Don't worry. It'll heal at sunrise," Hudson whispered back.
"Is something wrong?" the man asked.
"My friend has a sprained ankle. She'll be fine," Hudson said, covering up the truth, which was smart.
"Come on, then. I've got a fire going," the man offered.
"There's little we can offer in return, except our thanks," Hudson said. He helped me to my feet.
"That's payment in full," the man replied. "My name's Robbins. Jeffery Robbins. And you?"
"Hudson. Like the river. And my friend's name is Jasmine. Like the flower," introduced Hudson.
Robbins showed us his living room, which had two chairs and a fire blazing.
Hudson and Robbins sat in the armchairs, while I sat down by Hudson's chair. All three of us were drinking tea.
Hudson noticed a small picture frame with no glass, that held a medal and a newspaper article.
"What is this?" he asked, picking it up.
Robbins held out his hand for the fram and my clan member forked it over. Robbins felt the objects. "My Purple Heart," he replied. From there, he explained about his heroic deed in the Vietnam War.
"'Nam?" Hudson questioned.
"Vietnam. The war?" Robbins said. He turned to the old gargoyle. "Funny, something about your voice made me think you were a solider once."
"Aye, I still am I suppose," Hudson mused, thinking about Robbins statement.
"What fills your nights now Robbins?" Hudson asked, changing the subject.
"I write novels. Or I did until they dried up."
"You wrote all of these?"
Robbins laughed. "Wouldn't that be something? No, but I did have a few modest successes. Here." Robbins held out a book, covered with small dots, to Hudson.
"What are these tiny bumps?" Hudson opened the book. "Where are the...words?"
"Why it's Braille. It's how I can read. And write. Back when I still had something to write about. He got out another book. "Here's a printed version. This'll make more sense to you."
"Bumps, scrolls...what's the difference?" Hudson scoffed.
"You can't read, can you?" asked Robbins.
I listened to them talk while I bandaged my wing. Just as I finished tying it, I heard Robbins ask, "Jasmine, do you know how to read?"
"Yes, I do," I replied. Robbins rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"You know, you sound like royalty," he said.
I looked at Hudson with wide, amazed eyes. Hudson eyes reflected my own. It was amazing how much he knew from someone's voice.
"You are, aren't you?" Robbins persisted.
I cleared my throat. "Yes. I'm a princess," I admitted.
Robbins nodded. "Maybe you could help Hudson learn to read as well as your other family members."
"But I'm too old to learn," protested Hudson.
"Oh, hogwash. I had to learn Braille when I was almost forty and I'll learn a new way to read when I'm eighty, if I have to," argued Robbins.
"Well, I suppose Jasmine could teach me, but who else? I never told my clan that I can't read."
"I can teach you. But that's not really the point, now is it?"
"It shames me."
"I understand. But it's not shameful to be illiterate Hudson. It's only a shame to stay that way."
Just then, I heard the sound of birds chirping. Dawn was almost here. Hudson and I exchanged a look, then Hudson grabbed the canister and stood up.
"We must leave," Hudson said hastily. I stood up, too.
"Now, I've run you off with my preaching."
"No. It's almost dawn. We have to go." Hudson opened the door. We went out it and perched on the wall near his house.
"Wait," Robbins called.
I felt bad that we had to abandon him like this, but we had no choice. The sun rose.
Hudson and I awoke from our sleep with loud roars. As Hudson soared up and landed on the terrace, I followed him on the ground and took the bandage off when I reached him. The wing was as good as new. He smiled and I smiled back, even though the missing canister was a serious matter. By then, Robbins and his dog were at the sliding glass doors.
"It's only us, Hudson and Jasmine," Hudson said.
Gilly, the dog, licked Hudson's hand when Robbins opened the sliding door.
"I'm glad you came back," Robbins said.
"I'm afraid we can't stay. But I think I left something on the terrace this morning. Have you come across a large canister?" asked Hudson.
"No, but a friend of yours was on the terrace this morning. Say, Lennox MacDuff. Maybe he took it."
"We don't know any Lennox MacDuff."
"I'm not surprised. The name sounded phony. Lennox and MacDuff were two characters in a play by Shakespeare. MacBeth.
Hudson gasped, "MacBeth! We've got to go, Robbins. We...we don't know where he lives."
"Who?" asked Robbins.
"MacBeth...MacDuff. I do know him. But he's not a friend."
"Well, maybe this will help," Robbins grabbed a book off the shelf and began running his fingers down the page. He found MacBeth's "fake name" and said, "Now here's an address, just like that."
Hudson and I peered at the Braille on the page.
"Magic book," Hudson muttered.
"Aren't they all?" Robbins asked.
Robbins gave us MacBeth's address and Hudson and I headed towards it. It was actually a castle. We landed in some brush where the rest of the clan was. We heard Brooklyn say, "So, now what do we do?"
"Now we go in," Hudson answered, as we landed.
"We were worried," cried Lexington as the same time Brooklyn said, "There you are!"
"Where's Broadway?" asked Hudson.
"We thought he was with you," Goliath countered.
"I not seen him since the battle," replied Hudson.
"Up there," Lexington pointed up to the smoke that curled up into the sky.
We glided into the air and headed toward the castle. The next thing we knew, however, we were dodging laser fire.
"We'll never get past those cannons," called Lexington.
"I have an idea," said Hudson.
The plan worked and we got past those cannons. Goliath knocked a gray haired human I assumed to be MacBeth off his feet and grabbed the scrolls.
"You've caught me in a foul mood, monster!" MacBeth said. He lunged at Goliath, who moved to a side. MacBeth crashed into a torch.
"Release Broadway," Goliath demanded.
"Eh? Or what?" retorted MacBeth.
"Or I'll burn the scrolls." Goliath held them over a fire.
"Go ahead. They're worthless. No magic at all," MacBeth said.
Goliath was just about to do that when Broadway cried, "No, they are magic. But you can't burn them Goliath. You can't! It's Merlin's life, in his own words. When you read them, they take you there. It is magic, Goliath. Precious magic."
"Aye lad. Could be the greatest shame to lose them," Hudson added.
"You're all trespassing," said MacBeth. "Now take the scrolls and go." MacBeth released Broadway and the six of us headed back to the clock tower.
"We will give the scrolls to Elisa so that she may return them to the museum," Goliath told us. He looked at Hudson. "But I can read them to you first, if you'd like."
"Ah, no thank you. We'll read them ourselves." We looked at Hudson in surprise. "As soon as we learn how," he added. We smiled.
The next night, Hudson suggested to me that we go see how Robbins was doing. I agreed. We glided to our friend's hours and landed on the wall. We sat and listened as Robbins talked into a tape player, obviously "writing" a new book. His last line he said before pausing was, "Books are lighthouses erected in the dark sea of time." It was exactly how books should be described.
Next story: My rewrite of Gargoyles "The Mirror."
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