At the Magnolia Train Station, Stewart and Niklas stood patiently for Monsieur Dobou. The sun beat down relentlessly upon the dry wooden platform, and dark, rainy clouds threaten the beauty of the day as they loom closer from the horizon.

"So... Stew... Where do you thing he could be? I mean, we don't know what he looks like but... do you have any idea?" Niklas asked

Stewart perked up and stared to Niklas' right. A man standing at average hight struts onto the platform, accompanied by a group of Rune nights. Stewart taps Niklas and points him to the sight. 

"You think that's him Stew?", Niklas asked. Stewart nods his head and starts to move around Niklas, toward the man. Niklas follows Stewart. "Let me do the talking", Niklas whispers into Stewart's ear.

Niklas walks up the droved of men and asks, "Hello, ould you guys happen to be..."

"You must be... Niklas Thoth and Stewart Hartenfelds?" said a short man wearing a a velvet purple overcoat, a monocle, and a black fedora. His face had wringkles on it, many of which covered by a white, long beard.

"Wow, you said Stewart's name right" Niklas proclaims. The man reaches his arm out to shake his hand and they do so. "Pleased to meet you!"

"Ah, Mister Thoth! It's always a pleasure!" Dubou looks towards Stewart. "And you too, my quiet friend! Now, Mister Thoth, while we wait for our train to arrive, let's discuss the job for which you were hired!" 

Dubou, Niklas, and Stewart all sit down at a nearby bench. Dubou continues ot speak. 

"I assume you know what you are protecting, right?" he says. 

"Yes.....I think. Stewart do you remember?", Niklas ask, turning to his comrade.

Stewart looks at Dubou. "We are... protecting you?"

"That's right! Simply keep me safe from any robbers, bandits, baddies, and monsters that try to forcefully take their share of my fortune!" Stewart is slightly startled by Dubou's rambunctious and zealous response.

"Don't we also need to protect your cargo?", Niklas ask Dobou.

"Correct! You must also protect my precious cargo as well!", said Dubou with an eccentric attitude.

"Well, Where exactly are we taking this cargo?" Stewart asks.

"It is in a magic truck that should be here in a few minutes. When it gets here, we shall load up the train that we are scheduled to be on.", Mr Dubou says.

"How will we load it on in time?", Niklas ask.

"My workers all use Speed or Teleportation Magic! So all the workers should be able to get it done in a reasonable time", explains Dubou.

"That shouldn't be too hard." Stewart says. Stewart hears the faint clanking in the distance. He says, "I can hear the train coming," while down the tracks, the train is nowhere in sight.

"I'll check just in case", Niklas says while putting his hand on the ground. "Summon the Painted Wolf....Iris!". Iris appears and whips her tail underneath Niklas. Green paint gathered under Niklas and rose him about 120 feet in the air. Niklas looked at the horizon to see a smoke billowing train rolling over the hills. "Hmph, as always, Stewart's keen hearing puts animals to shame". Niklas contacted Iris telepathically. The green paint formed a slide which Niklas used to slide down to where Stewart and Dubou stood. When at his arrival, he saw a calm Stewart and an amazed Dubou looking at him.

"I love seeing that. Anyway, How far is it out?" Stewart asks.

"Maybe about 2 miles east. It should get here in a couple of minutes", Niklas replied.

After less than two minutes of waiting, a long screech that was enough to cause stewart to force his ears shut with his hands heralded the arrival of the train for which they were eagerly waiting to arrive. Its chimney at the lead car seethed with steam as the doors of the train made of tempered, beaten steel and mahogany wood opened to allow passengers and cargo on board. Dubou's assistands made haste in loading the goods onto the cars; such that when stewart offered to help, the rich, short magnate declined because the job was already done. He, Stewart, and Niklas stepped on board and took seats in soft, burgundy leather booths. Dubou sat by himself at one, while Niklas and Stewart sat side-by side, across form Dubou.

Niklas looked over at Stewart, then back to Dubou. "So what kind of business do you attend to Mr. Dubou?", Niklas ask the short man.

Dubou suddenly gets giddy with joy and exclaims, "I am an entrepreneur of the highest order! I am a maker and seller of all sorts of magical items that are sold in almost every western half store!'.

Niklas, "Interesting. Thats probably the reason you are so worried about this trip. Your afraid that being so famous will draw attention", Niklas says.

"You are correct my friend!", Dubou says.

The two mages and the latter talk for another 2 hours. There subjects are mostly on everday conversation and the occasional unintentional humor that comes from Stewart. Occasionally, Stewart gets queasy due to his Dragon Slayer magic induced motion sickness, but he is able to control it for the most part due to the healing propertes of his magic. Everything goes smoothly for another 30 minutes before Stewart stands up and says, "I smell something".

Niklas trusts stewart's senses, though it isn't until 5 minutes later that the train comes to a complete screeching halt. the screech is enough to hurt Stewart's ears as he tries to cover them. Stewart uncovers his ears after a few seconds to ask, "What's going on?"

Niklas stands up. "Don't know, but it doesn't sound good.", He says as he runs to a ceiling door. He undo' s the latch and climbs onto the roof of the train. The wheels looked like they had been picked at by metal blades. Niklas looks up just in time to see a bird baring its long talons towards Niklas' face. Niklas barely dodges  attack and looks up once more. Circling ahead was 2 dozen birds with metal plated feathers and talons the size of shark teeth. The beaks were long and pointed, also made of metal. "Stymphalians", Niklas muttered with disbelief "Metal birds".

Stewart goes to the end of the car and jumps off the train from there. He looks up to see the same Stymphalians that attacked Niklas. The sun is but a few degrees to the west, barely in the right spot to blind Stewart. He places his left hand over his right s he brings it back behind him, entering a boxing stance with the left foot pointed toward the flying metal birds and his right pointed away at 45 degrees.

"Shoryu..." Stewart mutters to himself as he clinches his right fist, collecting magical energy within. His glare still locked on to the Stymphalians, he shouts "Kaze!" as he uppercuts the air. The swift, whip-like motion of his fist releases all the magic energy stored in one burst that creates a powerful updraft which staggers the metal birds. their flight is now unstable and they have trouble trying to get equilibrium.

Niklas smiled,"thanks stew, that'll give me the leverage I need.". Niklas then stretches put his hand. "Toy Bear Head Shot!". Multiple stuffed teddy bear heads shoot out of a green magic seal made by Niklas the shoot up towards the birds. At the last second the birds dive down under the upstart made by Stewart, dodging the heads. The birds launch toward the latter 2, talons outstretched.

Stewart holds out his right hand toward one of the birds. He collects magic energy in his fist once more while saying "Arctic Dragon Ghost Punch." As if his hand only twitched, Stewart actually threw out a short punch in the air, releasing the collected energy in a concentrated bullet at the flying bird. thanks to its keen eesight, the bird twists its body while veering to its left and continues its assault. Stewar sees this and prepares to be hit. he covers his face with his right arm and hardens the skin on it.

Just before the bird bears down on Stewart, a clank is heard. When Stewart uncovers his face he sees Niklas holding his staff in front of him. It looks like he swept aside the bird. Niklas looked back and said "Don't go getting scratched on me bud. I'd rather not have to use my healing necklace just on a puny scratch.", Niklas smirks and swipes away another bird.

"That would be wasteful." Stewart says while fending the assault of the bird. As he defends himself, more clanking is heard, and Stewart's eyes are following its motion, taking notes of the Stymphalian's every move. After a few seconds, Stewart sees an opening and strikes the back of the bird down with a swift karate chop ffrom his left hand. The bird is swatted toward the ground with enough force to slightly bury it stuck. Stewart quickly collects energy in his hand and, as if he used a whip, he swiftly strikes the eair and releases a Ghost punch. The magic released instantaneously hits the bird, denting its armour and burying it further. Stewart then barrages the bird with his signature move until the creature is almost buried completely. Around the bird is a small crater of grass blown away from the center as if it was flattened. Stewart then looks over at Niklas' progress.

Niklas has summoned Fuex to handle the ones in the air while he summoned Po to helps right the birds descending on him. Fuex was skillfully dodging multiple strikes from the birds and even creating blades of light to cut of a metal wing. Po however seemed to enjoy smashing the birds together with Telekinesis. Telekinesis doesn't work on living organism's but the birds had metal plates allowing Po to manipulate them. Once again, Niklas' intelligence is his greatest strength. Niklas seemed to also be standing his own ground which shocked Stewart as he was a summoning type mage. In Niklas' left hand was his staff, Arbre d'étoiles while in his right hand was a broad sword with a thick and curved blade. The hilt was styled after a bear. He was swatting aside birds with his staff while at the same time, hacking at the metal skin of the birds with the sword. Niklas looked back with a smirk on his face.

Stewart had not the time to watch Niklas' deft management of hsis spirit as as the opportunity presents itself for stewart to regroup with niklas.for Stewart to regroup with Niklas. He runs over to his aid to assist Niklas and as he does, he is dodging droves of birds who seem to come out of nowhere. His runnign speed is enough to oupace the bird's flight speed and as Stewart arrives, he jumps up and shouts to Niklas, "Plant your feet on the ground!"

Niklas does just that as Stewart descends. His magic is stored now in his feet, and as he lands, he releases all of the magic into a powerful, omnidirectional wave of wind that blows away some advancing birds, and finishes off others that previously got hit by Niklas' attacks. He wastes no time in channeling his magic into his eyes. As he does, he says, "White Gale Eye." His irises turn black as his pupils turn white, and as his head moves, a trail of white light follows his pupils.

"Niklas, not a single one of these birds are getting close to his train." He says with purpose as he stands ready to defend.

"Let me help you with that.", Niklas says with a smile on his face. He summons Frostbite and chants "Bear Embodiment: Frostbite!". Niklas started to let of an early glow. When the light faded, Niklas stood taller at an astonishing 8 feet. His nose turned into a polar bear snout and he had armor on. He even sprouted ears on his head. His feet became bear claws and his legs were more muscular now. In his right hand was an ax while in his left was a lance. Niklas jumped up in the air at an astonishing height and slammed his axe into the nearest bird. He stabbed at another with his spear. The birds were dropping like flies under Stewart's and Niklas' wrath.

Stewart, with his newfound visual acuity and heightened senses, was able to swat down the last of metal birds with his bare hands. His swift chops caused some to be buried in the ground and others to have their metal armor distorted. Becuase of the fact that silence replaced the sound of combat, Stewar was able to hear something unnerving: a voice that said, "Crap, they took out all our decoys. we need to move fast!"

"Niklas!" Stewart shouted. "Go to the train! This was a distraction!"

Niklas transformed back into a human. "On it!". Niklas ran back into the train cart as fast as possible and found the thieves just in time. They were heading back to Dubous cargo cart. Not only that, but Dubou was taken hostage, being dragged along behind them. Niklas ran after them with his bear sword and staff in hand. Niklas caught up with them at Dubous cargo. He grabbed a key and started to chant "Open gate of th-" but he was cut off when the hostage taker said "Stop! Or I'll pump rich guy's brain full a lead". He was holding a gun up to Dubous head who looked strangely calm as if expecting this to happen.

When Stewart arrived, he was confused as to why Niklas didn't attack. He looked over to the man who held Dubou Hostage and realized what was ging on. He began to charge up energy in his fist once more, but was interrupted by the hostage taker.

"Did you hear me?" he shouted, "Take another step and the rich midget goes to the afterlife!" Stewart paused, trying to think of what to do. Niklas did the same. Both were pensive, until Niklas sensed an oppressive, eerie aura coming from Stewart's chest. Stewart locked eyes with the man who had an audience of lackeys ready to strike the moment they twitch.

Little did any of them know, Stewar began to use CHarm Magic, and given his inherent mastery over this forbidden spell, even the the hostage taker fell victim in spite of them both being the same gender. His heart pounded, paralyzing him in the process. He ignored Dubou, Niklas, his henchmen and women, and even the reason he was here; all he could see or think about was Stewart.

"Don't worry about the man with Dubou. I'll handle him. Just take out the others." Stewar whispered.

Niklas nodded and noted that there were 7 other henchmen. 3 women and 4 men. He could easily overtake them with magic except for the fact that summoning magic wouldn't do so well in a compact car. Plus, any of them could replace Dubous current hostage taker. He would have to take a risk. 

Niklas leaped at the nearest thief, a male, and hit the side of his head with the flat of Niklas' blade, knocking out the thief. 2 others came at Niklas with a spear and dagger. The thief with the dagger stabbed at Niklas' left abdomen, but Niklas parried the blow with his sword and knocked out the thief with his staff. The other brang his spear down on Niklas' s head. Niklas stopped the spear with his staff and swept the thief under his feet. 2 females came at him, but Niklas spun his staff around and knocked them out of the ballpark. The last to males, dropped there weapons and ran. 

Niklas didn't let them get far. He threw his sword at one while stabbing his staff into the the floor. The blade hit one thiefs sleeve and held him on the wall. As for the other thief, a tree had erupted  the ground, entangling itself around the thief, effectively trapping him. 

Niklas looked at the time. "Haha! New record! 7 down in 25 seconds!". Niklas looked back over at what Stewart had been doing. To his surprise, Stewart was flirting with the man to keep him distracted and unaware of the spell's usage. Niklas stared, attempting to keep in his laughter.

"Could you do me a favor, love?" Stewart asked the man. "After i knock you out, tell the police everything you and your friends were up to?"

The man, with blind desire in his eyes, obliged by saying "yes" before Stewart delivered a swift right hook to his jaw. He collapsed to the ground, motionless and unconscious. Stewar looked at Niklas. he couldn't help but laugh at the scene of Stewart flirting with anyone. Stewart's face looked serious.

"Just so you know, do not tell anyone that happened. Charm Magic is illegal as you know." he said.

"But I can't even---!", Niklas feel to the ground laughing, unaware that tthe train was in motion again. Niklas wiped tears from his eyes and let the scene die down. The motion of the train didn't last long, however. When it stopped, bothe Stewart an Niklas stepped off the cargo cart, both with prying eyes and magic ready to use in case some other threat may assail them. All was quiet, with the exception of the grunts of tied-up thieves that tried to assault the cart earlier.

It wasn't hard to notice the boulder that towered over the train, resting on the tracks. Its bare, brown and gray sheen made the rock look nothing out of the ordinary, but its massive size almost gave the boulder a personality of its own: a stubborn and intimidaitng one.

Stewart sighed. "How are we going to get past this, Niklas?"

"Hmmmmm, let me handle this one.", Niklas said. He held out a key that seemed to be made of stone. "Open gate of the Earth spirit, Tracks!". The moose appears and stomps his give in the ground. Multiple columns of rock erupt from the ground and push against the side of the boulder. "Summon the Polar Warrior, Frostbite!". Frostbite appears and pushes against the boulder. The boulder budges but a small bit. 

After around 3 hours the boulder was off the tracks and an exhausted Niklas collapsed into Stewart's arms.

"I'll get you into the cars so you can rest up." STweart picked Niklas up, walked into the cabin of one of the train cars, and gently placed him down onto a cushioned booth.

"I can't thank you two enough!" Dubou said as he walked into the cabin. "Those hooligans really tried to play dirty by using me as a hostage. I guess they got a taste of their medicine when you used your charm magic on my hostage taker!"

Stewart stared at Dubou with shock. "B-but How did you know i used charm?"

Dubou smiled. "I may be old, but i've lived long enough to sense all different types of magic. That is just my fancy way of saying that it was used on me once before! I noticed you didn't have a ring on you, though. I guess you have the ability to use Charm Magic as a Caster Magic?"

"Yeah. I am not entirely Human, actually. I am a type of Humanoid called and an Incusapien, and we have the ability to use only Charm and Transformation as caster magic." Stewart replied.

"Only Charm and Transformation? What about the wind magic you used earlier? How were you able to use that when you said your kind could only use two magical abilities?" Dubou asked.

Stewart looked away from Dubou and gazed downward to the floor while he crossed his arms. "...I'd rather not talk about it."

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