An hour later, the four were prepared to drive to Emma Hansonâ€™s mansion in Obuasi in Dr. Anokiâ€™s SUV.
It was an hoursâ€™ drive and they had time to talk in the car. Jo was in the front seat while Dr. Powell and Joel were in the back.
Joel explained, â€œThe Red Ants have two forms, the human form and a much inhuman form. That is the form that we must take up when we are in the Emmaâ€™s presence. Only she had the authority to make any of us look human in her presence.â€ Jo turned toward Joel and asked, â€œAnd why are you now telling us this?â€ Joel retorted, â€œBecause it just came to meâ€
Dr. Anoki immediately pulled over and said, â€œNow listen to me you two, we are having a big mission ahead of us; we are going to do something that none of us has done in our whole lives. The success of this mission depends on your illusions, Jo and your knowledge, Joel; so I expect that both of you cut out these useless quarrels and get yourselves together before I get out of my seat and whip the spiders and ants out of you. Now shake handsâ€
Jo wanted to protest but Dr. Anoki insisted with a strong voice. The two reluctantly shook hands while Dr. Powell laughed at them and took a picture of it with his iPhone.
Dr. Anoki continued the drive toward Emmaâ€™s house and soon enough they had parked the SUV about a mile from Emmaâ€™s mansion.
Dr. Anoki said, â€œOkay, so going over our plan, Jo, youâ€™ll use your illusions to shield the two of you. Once youâ€™re inside, Joel would split and go and find his friend. Remember Joel, after injecting him, you must calm him down or else your cover would be blown. Jo, you go and find some legitimate documents and a sample of the serum.
If all goes as planned, rendezvous with the Joel and his friend at the same place where you divided at and Jo would take it from there. Donâ€™t forget to report every progress to me through the walkie-talkies I gave you. Itâ€™s all we have for the moment.â€
The two nodded in agreement and began to walk away from Dr. Anoki. Before leaving, Jo approached Dr. Powell and confided a secret, â€œIâ€™ve always stood up for people who couldnâ€™t stand for themselves and that gave me quite a reputation. Sometimes Iâ€™ve had to use my fist but oftentimes, I trick my opponents. What Iâ€™m trying to say is, this is bigâ€¦ maybe too bigâ€
Dr. Powell put his hand on Joâ€™s shoulder and said, â€œThe spider totem reached from the depths of the earth and chose you Jo; the totem chose you to wield its power because itâ€™s you who merit it. When you were human, you faced only human problems.â€ Jo asked, â€œSo what am I now?â€ Dr. Powell replied with a smile on his face, â€œNow Jo, you are superhuman; your problems are no more going to be human problems. When you had human obstacles, you scaled them. Now, you have a superhuman problem. Scale itâ€
Jo nodded and boldly turned toward Joel. â€œLetâ€™s go and expose that freak showâ€, Jo said. Joel nodded a smile in return and the two began to run toward the mansion under Joâ€™s illusion.
The huge mansion had unarmed guards everywhere. Of course, Jo and Joel knew why. Joâ€™s illusion caused them to be invisible to everyone so they walked past the guards undetected. Joel, who knew the building, escorted Jo to the front door. They entered without detection and walked to the center of the room.
â€œEmma and Dr. Andoh have their rooms on the topmost floor. Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll find what youâ€™re looking for thereâ€, Joel said to Jo. The latter nodded and they went separate ways.
Joel left Jo and became visible then went down the stairs to the metal room that gave access to the Underground Village of Red Ants. As if by a force of compulsion, Joel began to transform. His arms became slim, tough and scaly and grew long spikes along it. His hands changed to fit his arms. His body arched and his shoulders rose, drawing out his neck in the process. His head became bigger and developed huge, dark, bulgy eyes. Two short antennae grew on his head in the process. His legs became thin, tough and scaly with long spikes along it as well. His feet changed to fit his legs and he was naturally tip-toeing. He grew an antâ€™s abdomen as well.
The transformation was painful and when it was finished, Joel looked into the reflective walls to see the hideous creature that he had become.
The room had a mechanism that transformed him even against his will. Still, no time to waste, Joel checked for the syringe that he had brought to save Delali, his best friend; he found that it was still safe.
When he stepped into the Underground Village, although he expected to see a lot of Red Ants, he was still stunned to see such a great number. The number has greatly increased in the recent past and that is really threatening. â€œShe could take over the whole nation if no one stops herâ€, Joel said to himself. Many Red Ants like him were rushing past every minute. Since all of them were under mind control, they had no time for useless chatter. Everyone was always working.
Emma made the Red Ants dig the base of her mansion deep and wide. It has ten floors in depth and stretches for the full width of her mansion. The floors and roofs of the Underground Village were raw sand and earth but had white lights lined up every five meters.
Joel began to make his way down through the maze pathways in the UVRA.
Jo began to trace his way to the elevator. He got into the elevator at the last moment and it was only when he was inside that he realized who he was with.
It was Mr. Appiah and the same young men that he had found tied and gagged in the bungalow. It seems they doubt that Dr. Andoh would hurt them and now they were coming for an appointment with him in his own lab. Jo had wanted to delay them but decided that since they would lead him to Dr. Andoh, he might as well allow them.
â€œDonâ€™t forget what I saidâ€, Mr. Appiah said. â€œFirst, ask about his health. Then express how much you wish for those criminals to be put behind bars forever and things like that; and that is where we offer him the gifts.â€ One of the young men said, â€œDonâ€™t worry Mr. Appiah, we can handle it. Weâ€™ll be in the sports group before the end of todayâ€ The others murmured their agreements among themselves. â€œAh okay, if you say soâ€ Mr. Appiah said and ended the conversation. Soon, they were off the elevator and were heading toward Dr. Andohâ€™s lab with Jo walking invisibly behind them.
Jo saw more young and handsome men guarding the floor. Still, none of them was armed. Two of the young men joined Mr. Appiah and his group and escorted them to where Dr. Andohâ€™s lab was located. At the door, Mr. Appiah and his students were asked to wait outside while one of the escorts went inside to inform Dr. Andoh.
Seeing the opportunity, Jo slipped into Dr. Andohâ€™s lab with the escort before the door closed. He found himself in a huge modern science laboratory with many modern gadgets and equipments. Jo recognized Dr. Andoh in a corner of the lab working on a science formula. He turned as soon as the door opened and asked, â€œHave they come?â€ The escort nodded. â€œBring them in.â€ Dr. Andoh said. â€œRemember to bar the door.â€ He added before the escort would walk away.
Jo knew immediately that something was going to happen. This was a trap. Dr. Andoh was going to harm them again. Mr. Appiah was a bad man but Jo couldnâ€™t allow this to happen.
Jo heard the metal doors open and the footsteps of Mr. Appiah and his students entering. He heard the metal door close and as expected, the sound of a lock being turned. â€œHow can I stop an attack that I know nothing of?â€ Jo thought to himself. â€œHow about taking advantage of the time at hand to have the element of surpriseâ€ â€œI havenâ€™t practiced how to use my powers for the offensive much but here is one thing that I donâ€™t need practice to doâ€¦ triggering a fire alarmâ€
As fast as possible, Jo looked around the room till he found the fire alarm. He run as fast as he could for it but before he could trigger it, the enemy launched their attack.
From the roof, five huge and ugly creatures that resembled ants dropped from the roof and fell between Dr. Andoh and Mr. Appiahâ€™s group. Jo was on Dr. Andohâ€™s side. The sights of the creatures were horrible and one of the students collapsed at once.
Back in the U.V.R.Aâ€¦
Joel walked down to the hole where he spent his resting hours as a Red Ant and found that it was not empty. He walked toward it and saw that the occupant was not at all a Red Ant. It was a human. He stuck out his head from the hole and said, â€œWelcome home Joelâ€. â€œAkofa!â€ Joel exclaimed in shock. The short, ugly and round man stepped out from the hole and stood in front of Joel. He was holding a pole that had a taser at the tip. â€œDonâ€™t look so surprised Joelâ€ he said, â€œRed Ants are never surprisedâ€. â€œI am not a Red Antâ€, Joel retorted in anger.
The short man eyed Joelâ€™s ant features and laughed teasingly then said, â€œDr. Andoh told me that one of his flock has gone astray and as Guardian of the Village, I had to do something about it. I told him that my men and I would find you but he told us not to worry about it. You would come to us by yourself. We donâ€™t know how you got in here but as soon as you reached the â€˜mecidide metal roomâ€™, we knew exactly where youâ€™ll head next so we prepared a welcome-back party for you.â€
Joel heard some giggles behind him and saw more human men step out of various holes on that floor. They surrounded Joel and all held tasers of different forms; some of them were made on baseball bats, others on hockey sticks, others on tennis rackets. â€œNow, just allow us to tase your antenna, then youâ€™ll go to sleep, then weâ€™ll take you to Dr. Andoh, then youâ€™ll be back among the flock in no time. Trust me; the pain will be worth it.â€
â€œWhereâ€™s Delali?â€ Joel asked. â€œYour friend? You should be proud of him. Unlike you, heâ€™s out there in Dr. Andohâ€™s lab ambushing a couple of young men who would soon be joining our cause.â€ Joelâ€™s eyes widened as he said out, â€œJo!â€
Having no time to waste, Joel decided he had to attack first. He employed a tactic that he always used in fights while he was still human. He went straight for the boss first.
The short man saw that Joel was about to attack so he put his pole on the defense but that was all he could do. Joel rushed past the pole into striking range and knocked the short man in the face with a very strong punch that threw him back into the hole that he emerged from.
The others were shocked with the speed of the attack and they were confused for a moment. Eventually, the one who was closest to Joel pressed forward with his hockey-stick-taser but Joel used his spiky arm to hit the middle of the stick, breaking it into two halves. The assailant decided to hit Joel with a punch but the latter was faster; he hit the manâ€™s rib and used his open palm to hit his face. The hit threw him back a couple of meters.
The next opponents decided to come in twos. They hadnâ€™t planned their attack well; two baseball bat holders charged at Joel and swung their bats together. Joel docked very low and listened as the two knocked each other with their bats very hard. When they fell, Joel picked up their bats and looked at the remaining attackers. There were three of them remaining and they each held tennis rackets that had their nets made of charged up electricity.
Without hesitation, the three charged at Joel with anger and determination in their eyes.
â€œWhat is going on Dr. Andoh?â€ Mr. Appiah asked the evil doctor. â€œYou are about to undergo one of the most amazing processes in human history.â€ Dr. Andoh explained, â€œYou are about to be mutated. You are going to be transformed from your wretched forms into a much superior raceâ€, he added pointing at the closest Red Ant beside him.
While Dr. Anoki spoke, Jo decided to put his fire alarm on hold and scout the laboratory in search of a sample of the serum first.
â€œI would escort you to the mutation room. If you resist, these Red Ants would crush you in one hit. They love to do that. Isn’t that right, Delali?â€ Dr. Andoh asked the closest Red Ant to him.
â€œDelaliâ€, Jo thought to himself. The name sounded very familiar but Jo couldnâ€™t tell where he had heard it before at. At that same moment, he found two test-tube racks; one which said, â€œgreantopholia mecidide Queenâ€; and â€œgreantopholia mecidide Rawâ€ He took a test tube from each rack and stacked them in separate pockets.
â€œWe should have listened when they told us you were the one behind our captureâ€, Mr. Appiah said regretfully.
â€œWhateverâ€, Dr. Andoh said. â€œThe room is this wayâ€, he added pointing ahead of him to a wooden door.
When Mr. Appiah and the others were about to follow the direction they were told to go in, the action began. The fire alarm began to scream out in madness as Jo triggered it. Water began to spray down from the roof to add to it.
The loud alarm and the water from the roof confused everyone; especially the Red Ants and they all began to scream in agony as they crouched and knelt down.
Dr. Andoh looked toward the switch and saw Jo standing next to it. â€œYou. How did youâ€¦â€ Before ending his sentence, Dr. Andoh drew out a gun and began to empty a whole round at where Jo was standing.
The additional sound of the gunshot was the exact distraction that Jo needed. The version of Jo that was standing near the fire alarm was just an illusion that he had created to distract Dr. Andoh. While the doctor was shooting away, the real Jo crept behind him and went to Mr. Appiah and the others were. â€œFollow meâ€, Jo said when he was close enough to Mr. Appiah.
Without hesitation, Mr. Appiah and the young men with him began to follow the hooded figure through the room to where the exit was. Jo heard the locks in the door being withdrawn and he immediately signaled to the others to be quiet. Dr. Andohâ€™s gunfire ceased and he was running to check if the person he shot was really a goner.
At that same moment, the huge metal doors flung open and outside stood a lot of fully morphed Red Ants ready to strike.
Back in the U.V.R.Aâ€¦
The three assailants who were holding electrically charged tennis rackets were now lying unconscious on the floor and Joel was standing on one of their heads.
He still wielded the two baseball bats that he had picked up earlier and was prepared to escape the Underground Village. Just as he stepped out and was running back to the ground floor, he heard a very familiar whistle blow out loudly. That was the sound that called for all Red Ants in the area to attack. Somehow, the short man had woken up and was calling for support.
Joel knew very well that the Red Ants would be merciless. They would try to tear him apart limb by limb. There would be no pity in the eyes of these mindless creatures. As he sped off, his antennae twitched to the left and he knew immediately that and attacker was coming at him in full pelt.
At that moment, Joel thought about how the short man had said if he tased his antenna, he would â€˜go to sleepâ€™. He decided to employ only that tactic against all Red Ants that came his way; starting with the one that was coming at him now. Joel jumped very high without breaking his run and as he soared above the Red Ant; he used the taser end of one of his baseball bats to tase one the creatureâ€™s antenna.
When he landed, he turned around and saw that as soon as the taser touched the Red Antâ€™s antenna, the creature collapsed at once like a deactivated robot.
â€œHa! Thanks for the heads-up Akofaâ€, Joel said as he looked at the baseball bats in his hands. He then continued his run; fully confident at what was coming at him.
Three ants intersected him, and then surrounded him. Before any of them would attack, Joel waved his bats wildly to hit their antennae. The first two went down before they knew what hit them. The third one dodged three attacks that came at it and charged at Joel; pushing him back with its big head. Joel took advantage of the situation and used both of his taser to tase the Red Antâ€™s antennae. The creature fell limp on Joel at once.
From behind, Joel saw that a much bigger number of Red Ants were coming toward him led by a very furious Akofa; and from the left, another big number of Red Ants. The only way was forward. One of the Red Ants which had run far ahead of the others reached Joel and was about to pounce on him.
The Red Ant that Jo had just stunned was lying on his thighs so he mustered his superhuman strength and threw the creature over his head to hit the one that was about to pounce on him. The two of them fell back a few feet but Joel wasted no more time. Je rolled over his head and back, then stood to his feet. As fast as his legs could carry him, he continued to speed off toward the exit of the U.V.R.A.
Up ahead, there were more Red Ants and Joel knew that there was only one way through. As a sportsman, Joel knew Javelin Throw and applied his skills as he volleyed one of the baseball bats at the closest Red Ant. The throw was a very good one which was rewarded by stunning two of the Red Antsâ€™ antennae before it fell.
Joel held the last one with both hands as he ran toward the remaining Red Ants; about four of them, human guardians involved. Since this part of the U.V.R.A was thin, the enemy could only attack in a single file and this provided the only advantage that Joel needed.
He gathered a lot of strength up his arms and smashed the first Red Ant in the thorax. The hit pushed the first ant to hit the rest of the assailants and they all fell backwards like dominoes. Joel realized that one of the Red Ants had recovered from the hit and was coming at him, walking on the walls. â€œWe can do that too?â€ Joel asked the Red Ant. Without a momentâ€™s hesitation, it sprang at Joel but the latter had prepared the tasing baseball bat and he stunned its antenna for it to fall to the groundâ€¦
The footsteps behind were getting closer and Joel knew that there was no time to waste.
He picked up the baseball bat that he had thrown earlier and dashed forward. He was a short distance away from the â€˜mecidide metal roomâ€™; running his legs away, when all of a sudden, it happened.
A strong hit that Joel hadnâ€™t anticipated came from the side and hit his big ant-like head. The thick pole that delivered the hit snapped into two on impact and it would not have harmed Joel that much if not for the electrical charges that charged up the pole.
â€œWhy hadnâ€™t my antennae detected the attack?â€ Joel asked himself after he quickly recovered from the strike. Then he saw Akofa step out of a corner with more human guardians and Red Ants.
The short and round man approached Joel and said in wild cheer, â€œI am the Chief Guardian of this lair; I know everywhere; and you are going nowhereâ€
In one second, all the lights went out in Joelâ€™s mind and body after Akofa tased his antenna.
At the Exit of Dr. Andohâ€™s laboratoryâ€¦
Jo and the people he came to rescue were staring at the huge number of Red Ants that had just opened the door. To the amazement of Mr. Appiah and his students, the Red Ants didnâ€™t react, they were not even looking in their direction. They were only concentrated on the mess in the laboratory. Jo had used his power of illusion to make them seem invisible.
At that same moment, Joâ€™s clone-illusion disappeared and Dr. Anoki turned his attention to the opened door. He shouted at the Red Ants there, â€œDonâ€™t let him get away. What? Where are they? Where is everybody?â€ He was shocked but recovered and reacted immediately. â€œThey must still be here. Lock the doors and donâ€™t let anything or anyone out. Some serious magic is going on hereâ€.
Before the Red Ant at the door would close it, Jo gave up the illusion and mustered a lot of strength to punch it straight in the nose. The punch threw it off back and away with the ones behind it. â€œFOLLOW ME!â€ Jo commanded the others as he dashed from the room.
Battle skills came to Jo easily ever since he began to wield the totem. Dr. Anoki told him that the totem always stored something peculiar about its wielder inside it. Some previous wielders of the spider-totem were warriors, hunters, farmers, musicians, fishermen, merchants, kings, kingsâ€™ advisors, thieves, murderers and many more.
At this moment, beholding eight big Red Ants in front of him; Jo felt no fear at all. He felt like he could take all of them down. Neither he nor the Red Ants were hesitant so the fight started in one quick move.
â€œCome and get some, you squirmy moronsâ€, Jo shouted out. He and the first Red Ant charged together but it was Jo who was able to think faster. He lowered himself and came up with a mighty upper cut that sent the creature soaring high heights.
Before the next one would move, Jo was already in front of it. He punched its stomach for it to bend, then held its big head and used it as a battering ram to push back the rest that were coming at him. â€œCome onâ€, Jo shouted to Mr. Appiah and his students. They stepped outside the laboratory and followed their hooded savior.
The previous five Red Ants that were flummoxed by the fire alarm and the water had now recovered and were escorting Dr. Andoh as he chased after Jo and the escapes. Dr. Andoh and his pawns saw Jo and the escapers running down the hallway but when they turned the corner, they saw absolutely nobody.
â€œDonâ€™t give up the search. The last one is some sort of sorcerer. Donâ€™t let him get away.â€ Dr. Andoh shouted to his escorts.
Jo had used his illusions to make the escapers seem invisible but there was still one major problem. The stairs and elevators were on the other side of the hallway; and the party of Red Ants and Dr. Andoh stood between them and their egress.
Jo stared as more and more Red Ants recovered from his previous attack and came to join the search party.
WATCH OUT FOR PART THREE