|From the moment the battle started, I could tell that I was outmatched by Dayrdae, her spells were powerful and she knew little tricks to make the game go in her favor. Even with my most powerful spell, Elemental Dragon, her shield would absorb almost all of the damage.
“You’re not doing so well for the one who was prophesied about.”
“You’re not doing so well for an evil master Necromancer.” The angular Dryad smiled as she dealt a spell that I did not recognize. The whole of Krokotopia seemed to shake as black vines began to wrap around the Grand Arena. At the tip of each was a black flower that opened to reveal bloody fangs. The entire plant seemed to snarl and hiss. Slowly, vines began to snap at my ankles and slide up my legs. At last, the vines reached my throat, gave a sharp tug, and vanished.
I fell down to the ground and rubbed my scraped my bruised and grazed neck. Dayrdae gave a wicked grin, revealing fangs like the ones in the dark flowers. My mana was quickly draining and I didn’t have many choices. After shuffling through my cards a few times, I found a Treasure Card that might do the trick.
“Dayrdae, prepare to descend to the pits of which you came.”
“Don’t waste your breath, mortal fool. You don’t have many left. Soon, you will descend into the ranks of Malistare.”
So she did work for him! I suddenly felt the rush of hatred that I always did when I thought of the evil sorcerer. My father and mother had been murdered due to his hand. All of my thoughts and actions were fueled by the burning loathing in my heart. I passed my next turn, readying myself with pips to cast the Treasure Card.
“Don’t you know how to duel?” taunted the witchy woman. “This late in the game with only 356 health points, it’s foolish to waste your turns. But I don’t know why I expected anything more of a boy mortal.” She raised a card that was blacker than the blackest night. Out of it, a long, black, serpentine creature slithered. A Death Snake? Yes. Ready to strike, the muscular neck coiled up. It opened its mouth and emitted a Banshee-like scream. Dayrdae cackled. I only had 56 health points, but now I had enough pips to cast it.
Quickly, I recovered from the attack and pulled out the shining Minotaur card. The great beast lumbered from the stony ruins and swung its great axe. Sensing her defeat, Dayrdae vanished, shrieking, “Malistare will find and kill you as he did your parents!” With that, she was gone.
The moment that I could see her no longer, Alhazred gasped back to consciousness.
“Where did she go?” he whispered, looking at me.
“I think I beat her, but she vanished at the last moment.”
“She has gone to Malistare. I can no longer get to her, for Malistare has hidden in a place known as Otherworld, where he is calling upon Dayrdae’s sisters. But, you can.”
“I’m only a kid. I can’t defeat Malistare.”
“Only the one of the Prophesy can travel to Otherworld.”
“Can’t you hear me? I am only a Journeyman! Malistare is a Master, and has the power of millions of death minions.”
“Don’t defeat him, get the Key. Malistare holds a key in his hand. That key is what unlocks Gate.”
“Gate opens up to the Master Staff, and also opens the only way into and out of the realm of the Undead. If you open Gate and hold the Master Staff, none will be able to stop you. You will seal Gate with the Master Staff.”
“But how do I get to Otherworld?” I asked.
“Use all of your mana. You will get there. When you hold the Master Staff, you will be replenished. Now, go. Malistare is about to unleash the Undead Lord.”
Otherworld was hardly what I would call a “world.” All that I saw were swirling patterns of light in the sky and the ground, and all around. But I was silent, for I saw Malistare chanting in a strange language and holding up a gleaming key. My wand had enough power in it for one last Major Clash. I aimed it carefully at Malistare’s hands, which held the shimmering, mysterious key.
Malistare cried out in pain and clutched his bruised hand as the key careened through the air and landed in my pack. I pulled it out and saw my glowing eye staring out of the handle, the same that I had seen in Krokotopia. And, just as in Krokotopia, my eyes felt as if they were burning. Odd words slipped out of my mouth without my accord. They sounded similar to the strange language that Malistare had been chanting, but not as menacing. I heard something that sounded like the tumblers in a huge lock clicking in the air. Suddenly, the gleaming outline of a thin staff formed in the air.
THE MASTER STAFF!
I had retrieved the Master Staff. I dropped the Key and clasped the silvery staff in my hands. It made a strange, singsong noise and glowed brighter than the stars. Malistare snarled as he saw me and lunged at me. I cowered, waiting for pain, but none came. I opened the eyes that I had clenched in fear and could see that Malistare had been knocked back by a blast of power from the Staff. With a mind of its own, the Master Staff dipped and spun in the air until I heard a sound that echoed through the entire Spiral. It was like a metal door slamming closed to the world. I had closed Gate! As quickly as everything was there, everything was gone, and all I saw was blackness.
My eyes fluttered open to a blinding light and the sound of cheers. I was standing in the Headmasters tower, but the amethyst crystal at the center of the tower was shining in multiple colors and there were millions of wizards that poured out of the tower and into the street. I saw all my professors and all of my friends, all of the soldiers of Wizard City, Marleybone citizens, Krokotillians, Dryads, Pixies, Unicorns, Dragons, all shouting my name.
“You stopped Malistare!”
“No more Undead!”
“Hooray for Arrozen, the Prophesied One!”
I gave a small smile as I was given the title of Grand Sorcerer.
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