The Pint-Sized Piloto
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The Pint-Sized Piloto

By: t.m.gutierrez Ongoing

Language: English
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Chapters: 14 views: 1.1K

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MagicReincarnationAdventurousFantasySecond Chance

It is 1941. Joaquim Dela Cruz is a Filipino pilot on an obsolete plane, a down-and-out fighter squadron, and is up against the might and the insurmountable force of Imperial Japan. When Joaquim is shot down and crashes in the jungles of Batangas, he transforms into something unexpected: a five-inch dwende. There is a hidden history in the Philippines, stories historians can't record, and it's called Folklores. And it's one Joaquim suddenly finds himself thrust into. He has no idea how and why someone played this trick on him. Joaquim finds out he isn't living in a bedtime fairy tale, this is as real as it gets—too real, in fact, that whoever caused this silly little metamorphosis, on whatever new mission he needs to do, can change the tides of war.

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14 chapters
Prologue
Prologue Once upon a supposed time, a pilot has gravely miscalculated the odds of his luck. Flying the skies over Batangas, his banged-up airplane was riddled with bullets. Sputtering smoke, losing fuel and altitude, it was the end of the road for this pilot. His plane was a dead stick. It just wants to give up and crash. An instant before the inevitable, the pilot’s head rang with a cruel thought, You’re not supposed to die today… you have so much stuff to do. It was like a kick to the groin. It was Christmas time. If he wasn’t on this plane, he should’ve been grilling and eating Lechon. He promised his daughter to make her the best-looking paper lantern ever. He should’ve been anywhere but here. But life is a train where no passengers want to get off. And death is always an unscheduled stop. The pilot looked across the shattered glass of his monoplane, a green and brown Boeing P-26 Peashooter, streaking acro
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The Piloto
December 5, 1941   Lt. Joaquim Dela Cruz only had one rule in a dogfight: Always check your six-o-clock. Though his aircraft was a lumbering, big barreled monoplane whose engine crackled and spouted like an old man grumping about every time he climbed an altitude, nobody ever got on his tail. For Joaquim had eyes of a hawk and a neck of an owl; habitually gawking his head in various directions. It was supposed to be an occupational hazard, but Joaquim was used to it. After hundreds of hours of flight time, his vertigo has become his friend.   Joaquim and two other pilots were on the air, with their marvelous Peashooters, doing their weekly practice drills and some reconnaissance. It was a privilege to fly planes. With the limited budget allotted for this homegrown Air Force, the supply for fuel was limited. Once a week, a gas truck would arrive in Lipa, Batangas, which took another full day to get to the airfield.   The
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The Bandits
December 8, 1941. Joaquim was already in Batangas airfield with half of the squadron present. At around 7 am, Captain Villamor read a telegram report informing them that Clark airfield picked up a formation of unidentified planes flying over at Central Luzon at high altitudes. The “bogies” streaked through the Philippine air space in a Christmas tree formation. All USAAFE forces were placed on full readiness alert. “At what altitude?” Joaquim asked. “25,000 feet.” “That’s higher than what our anti-aircraft can reach.” “American superiority, my ass,” quipped Lt. Barria. Joaquim and the other pilots prepped up the Peashooters for combat. Boxes of .30 caliber ammunition were brought out and stacked beside the monoplanes, ready to be loaded to their Browning machine guns. Gas tanks were filled. They sat beside their planes ready for take-off notice. A red flag was hoisted up on a flagpole to signal a take-off order. Under the Captain’s ord
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Mayday
December 12, 1941 They were losing. Within 48 hours, the 6th Squadron has lost half of its pilots. Lt. Barria and Lt. Jose have crashed and were missing still. The pilots knew the end was near. But Joaquim who had bravely fought off wave after wave of enemy planes had stuck with the promise he made to himself to turn every damn Japs back to where they came from…. By then, he has become a local hero overnight, along with Capt. Villamor. At dinner time, they were celebrated and toasted by Batangenos. They pray for his safety, calling for the saints to spare this crazy, stubborn pilot who never gives up.  After days of combat, he was now fighting fatigue. His Peashooter was barely air-worthy. Iron patches had been welded to cover bullet holes. It’s quite a feat that it can still fly. Even more so, it’s incredible its pilot still had the determination to fly in the face of defeat. Another wave of bandits has been spotted approaching from Cavi
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The Metamorphosis
Chapter 4 – The Metamorphosis  “I wasn’t supposed to die today” was merely a thought—a whisper—Joaquim uttered in that instant when he found himself enveloped in the flames. Followed, of course, by an expletive cursing, which was only a typical expression by those who believe their time isn’t up yet. Regardless of his dire situations, what Joaquim didn’t know was that someone may have heard, maybe someone with magic, or some divine being, who took his whisper as a prayer. Because when death had come, when Joaquim had closed his eyes, he thought he was supposed to see light at the end of the tunnel and all that. Instead, he was whisked off into another and went somewhere else. Sure, as routines in life-after-death stories go, he had flashbacks: He saw his wife on their wedding day; he saw the first time he held his daughter in his hands, and the first time he glanced over his cockpit as he flew a plane and saw the spectacular view of Laguna de Bay
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Nineteen Twenty-Four
Anyone interested in stories about fairies and dwarves may find the town of Parola up to their standards. Because see here, in 1924, Parola had a bunch of them. Though the grownups couldn’t see, the children did. Every single day. They were often spotted in open places. Fairies dangled on trees. Dwarves from different colors of different tribes flocked the marketplaces, the farmlands, churches, and barangay posts. Some slept under the huts for a better shade. They were part of nature. And to some extent, they were involved in the various activities of children.  Joaquim Dela Cruz spent his childhood in this town and was used to seeing little folks participate in many things that children do. On his first day in Parola elementary school, he spotted dwarves sitting leisurely by the window, watching as the teacher pointed her ruler to the blackboard. The dwarves appeared like gangly children, with a silvery and yellowish hue, and pointed hats and ears, and curling shoes. W
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The New Order
Joaquim remembered so vividly when he flew the pigeon past San Martin de Tours church that he had arrived in Taal, but it had turned into the wrong town. It had lost its luster, compared to the last time he was here. That was just days ago, he believed. But as flew about and raced across the town proper, it looked increasingly evident that weeks, or even months, have passed. Because magic is as magic does. It can do anything. If it had turned him into a dwarf, it could certainly push him forward in time.   And so, apparently, Christmas had come and gone and surely, when it did, the Japanese broke the festivities and soured the mood. They never celebrate it anyway. More likely, they took down the decorations and the flowers that festooned the plaza last December. Joaquim only spotted a large Japanese flag draped in front of the town hall.   The Tokyo men have posted their sentries in various select areas of the town. It was a way to remind ev
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The Guardian
First Lieutenant Shimoda was seated at a scarred desk, studying some papers in front of him. He was in his late-thirties, with thinning hair, intense black eyes under bespectacled round glasses, and had a pedantic manner about him.   He had been in charge of the Japanese army sent into the deep south of Luzon. He had arrived with the background on infantry command and the zeal of an idealist, determined to make sweeping reforms to this atrocious Asian country turned into a rural western. Two days ago, a daring heist committed by a few ragtag thieves caught his attention. Despite posting several soldiers in the depot, they still failed to do a simple job: guard the supply depot. It didn’t really matter what had been stolen. If the locals get word how incompetent his troops were, there would be anarchy. He won’t allow that. Not while he is in this post. He called in his assistant. “Send them in.” Mako, Ichiro, and Jiro stepped inside. Their ha
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The Passenger
Joaquim thought he had it all figured out. Being human, you know the basic cause and effect of things. You know the laws of physics. When a force exerts something on you, you get pushed back—or thrown off, as you would in an explosion. You know how people get killed. When shrapnel hits your body, you bleed. You die. The grenade has certainly sent the eye-patched officer lying flat on his face. Joaquim couldn’t tell whether he was still alive.   But Joaquim quickly realized he was not in a typical earthly plane. Things work differently here. After the dust settled, the nuno towered over him with a tight grimace. He didn’t even budge an inch. Though soot and dust had covered him, he remained unscathed.   “You just made things worse,” said the nuno. “Now look what you did.”   The mound of earth that was home to the nuno had been completely blown off. Now I’ve really dug myself into a hole, Joaquim thought
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The Cotton Fields
Chapter 09 – The Cotton Fields   The last hour or so had been filled with chaos and bedlam. Although Joaquim had been trained how to cope with it, nothing can really prepare you for actual combat, you just have to learn how to face it. But as the elder dwarf, Ruperto Isidro, approached him, his fight or flight response ebbed. Somehow, he had a calming presence about him.   “Ah, pardon me, young sir, but where did I meet you?” Ruperto asked.      “It’s a long story, but you once saved me from crashing my airplane.”   “Did I now?”   The old Katipunero suddenly emerged from the bushes from behind them and looked down at Joaquim.   “Thank you for the head’s up dear dwende,” he said. “We would’ve been in front of firing squad right now if it weren’t for you and your pigeon crashing in on our table.”   Joaquim felt a pang inside him o
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