|As I stepped out of the teleportation ring, I looked around at my surroundings.
Everywhere that I looked I saw only trees. But it wasn't as the Colossuses described. These trees were skinny, with lots of sunlight coming through their branches.
"This place must be a misnomer. It's not treacherous at all!" I remarked.
"Don't be so sure," Sylvia answered back.
"Why is that?"
"Because this is only the beginning of the forest. As the forest progresses, the trees will get thicker, causing less sunlight to escape through their branches and into the forest," Sylvia explained.
"Hmm. That makes sense. I'm sure we will be experiencing many dangers before long," I said.
"That's not all. I've heard rumors that the trees in this forest move and talk," Malistaire stated.
"Move? Talk? That's some pretty deep magic that someone put over this forest," I said.
"It could just be the nature of the forest. Everything in this forest talks - from the trees to the animals, to the ground we are on now. Or at least that's what I've heard," Malistaire told me.
"Well, we will soon put that myth to the test," I said. "Although I'm sure it's true if this place is known as the Treacherous Forest."
We traveled on a little, experiencing no perils.
The trees began to get a little bit thicker, but not too much. I tried moving between two trees, but the trees lowered their branches to block my path.
"So the rumor is true!" I exclaimed.
"The great Malistaire never lies!" Malistaire remarked.
"Yes, I'm sure you're the honest Abe of the wizards," I said sarcastically.
"Who is this honest Abe that you speak of?" Malistaire asked.
"Oh forget it. You grew up in Wizard City. I grew up on Earth until I was accepted as a student here," I said. "My concern right now is how to get through the trees."
"Oh well that's simple enough!" Malistaire told me. "Just go through another tree."
I went to the tree next to it, but the trees simply lowered their branches, blocking me from passing between them.
Then an idea sparked in my head, but I did not say it for fear that the trees would hear it and simply block me off again.
I started running, thinking that I would run fast enough and then instantly move between two trees and catch them off guard.
However, everywhere I ran, the trees lowered their branches, like a row of dominoes. There was no place I can go.
I turned around, thinking maybe I can travel by a different route.
But the trees that I came out of had their branches lowered, making me trapped in.
"Oh no! We're trapped!" Sylvia pointed out.
"Well thank you for pointing out the obvious," I sarcastically added. "Now how are we going to get out of here?"
"You must figure out a way, and quickly!" Malistaire exclaimed, due to the new peril that was awaiting us.
The trees started moving in, and coming closer to me. Pretty soon they would crush me.
Then an idea ignited in my mind.
"I've got the perfect solution! I know exactly how to get out of here!" I exclaimed happily.
I stretched out my palms and held them out in front of me.
"Powers of fire, I call upon you in this hour of need. Ignite my palms on fire, so I can set that fire to those leaves," I chanted.
All of a sudden, my palms were on fire! I held up my palms to one tree, and the tree grew scared of the fire that could burn it down.
The tree backed away in fear and raised its branches for me to pass through.
"Genius!" remarked Malistaire.
"Magnificent!" exclaimed Sylvia.
I then turned around and faced all the other trees. They backed away from the fire and held up their branches for me to pass through.
"You may be wondering how I did that. As I'm sure you know, in advanced wizardry class you learn how to make up your own spells," I explained.
"Correct," Malistaire said.
"Well, I simply made up my own spell for that!" I remarked.
"That was an amazing move," Sylvia told me.
As we traveled more in the forest, I kept my hands ablaze, and all the trees backed away in fear and let me pass.
"Haha! This forest isn't so treacherous anymore!" I remarked happily.
I thought that was my only adventure I would face in the forest. But you know my luck better than that.
Eventually, the trees became thicker and thicker, and the air became heavier and heavier, making it harder to breathe.
I needed a place to sit down, rest, and eat. I was exhausted and hungry - not a good combination.
As we traveled on, we saw a nice clearing. A place with no trees - just ground.
"I need to rest and eat for a few minutes. Let's head over to that clearing," I said.
"No problem," Sylvia stated.
We headed towards the clearing, and I sat down for a few minutes and ate. Although it wasn't a full meal, I still felt revived.
When I finished eating, I heard a hissing sound in the distance.
"What was that?" I asked alarmed.
I heard the hissing sound again, and again. Each time it came closer to me.
I realized what it was. It was a snake.
I turned around and found myself face to face with a big, green snake that looked as if it could devour me in one swallow.
"Back off, or I will kill you!" I warned the snake.
"Oh no! Nice wizard like you wouldn't harm Kralutch," the snake named Kralutch hissed at me. "Nice wizard like you have compassion on poor, hungry Kralutch."
"Wait… you talk?" I asked, amazed.
"Of course I talk! Everything in this forest talks!" Kralutch hissed at me.
"That's what I told you," Malistaire stated.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you," I told Kralutch.
"Because Kralutch has valuable information for nice wizard - that is, if nice wizard doesn't hurt Kralutch."
"I won't hurt you. What type of information can you have that I need?"
"I can show you how to get out of this forest," Kralutch said.
This made me extremely happy. I was finally going to escape!
"Do you really trust this snake that he will tell the truth?" Sylvia asked.
"It's the only choice we have," I said. "Kralutch, I won't hurt you. How do we get out of here?"
Kralutch turned his head and pointed east.
"Travel through there, and you will reach the end of the forest."
"Thank you so much," I said. "Now we can finally escape!"
"I can't believe you trust this snake!" Sylvia exclaimed.
"I told you, it's the only choice we have."
Out of all the trees and animals in that forest, the snake was more cunning than any of them. The snake wanted to lead me to my doom, but I did not know of it.
We traveled in the direction the snake told us, and the air got heavier and heavier. I didn't think much of it at first, because I knew it would happen as we got deeper into the forest.
Then the trees started to get thicker and thicker, until we approached a great oak tree.
This oak tree must have had a trunk with a diameter of 50 feet, and its branches were longer and higher than any other tree's branches.
As we approached the oak tree, the air became even heavier.
Then I dropped to the floor, fast asleep.
NOTE: Due to the fact that Andrew Firerider is currently asleep, and his sleep will make a boring tale, I will tell this from a narrator's point of view.
Malistaire and Sylvia rushed over to Andrew's side, distressed at this great loss.
"Andrew! Wake up!" they said, shaking Andrew, but it did not work.
The air that was around this great oak tree was put there by evil magic, and it only affected Andrew. Not ghosts.
"We have to do something! And quickly!" Malistaire exclaimed, pointing to a group of green goblins heading towards them.
The goblins were also unaffected by the strange air around the tree.
"Hide, and we will follow from a distance," Sylvia whispered.
They went off to the side, and saw the goblin's leader step up to Andrew and yell out in the goblin language.
"Lark akdrea daret dafk!"
Translation: Look at this wonderful piece of fresh meat that we have found. Let's take it prisoner, put it to work in our town, and after ten years we will cook it or fry it or mince it or boil it and have it for breakfast or brunch or lunch lupper or supper. What good luck has befallen us that we have found something like this in our path! Rejoice, goblins, for today is a happy day for all of us!
Goblins tend to speak in their own language, although they do know English.
Another goblin stepped forward and put metal chains around Andrew's hands.
Then another goblin stepped forward, and they both dragged Andrew Firerider across the ground as they traveled along with their fellow goblins.
The goblins gave a loud yell of joy, and then continued moving on. Malistaire and Sylvia followed at a distance.
As they moved farther and farther away, Andrew Firerider began to wake up.
NOTE: I will now write from Andrew's perspective.
"Urrrrrrrrrr," I groaned. I was so tired. "Where am I?"
I looked around my surroundings, and quickly realized I fell asleep and I am now a prisoner.
But where were Malistaire and Sylvia?
I could not find them, no matter how hard I looked.
That's because they were following from a distance, but were remaining unseen.
The goblins saw that I woke up, and they decided to sing a song in English to terrify me.
It did its job. Here is a portion of that song, sung in the goblin's horrible, screeching voice:
"Smash! Clash! Make a gash!
Grab! Grip! Pinch and nab!
And down to Goblin town you go
Ha ha, my lad!
Snap! Clap! Crack a back!
Gongs and Tongs! Drills and thongs!
And down to Goblin town you go
Ha ha, my lad!
Swish! Smack! Whip and crack!
Yammer and bleat! Batter and beat!
Work, work! Don't dare to lurk!
While Goblins laugh, you will work,
Round and round, far underground,
Down to Goblin town you go,
Ha ha, my lad!"
And so, the goblins sung and traveled on, but then stopped. A shrill sound was in the air, and from behind the trees came another group of goblins.
But these goblins were different. These were black, with armor on them, and spikes protruding from the armor.
I remembered them from Thaumaturge Island - these were the goblins of the Dark Lord.
Their leader stepped forward and spoke to the leader of the group that held me prisoner.
"Krae!" said the leader of the black goblins.
Translation: That prisoner is ours, as we are sent by the Dark Lord, and we must fulfill his command. Send him over to us, and we won't bother you any more. On the contrary - we will reward you with great riches and prizes.
"Lae!" said the leader of the green goblins that held me prisoner.
Translation: This prisoner is ours, as we have found him first. But please travel along with us for a little while, and when we stop for a break, we will discuss this matter.
And so, the two bands of goblins joined together and traveled through the forest even more.
Eventually, the goblins stopped to rest and discuss what to do with me. They put me on the side, but I was pretty much weak less. I couldn't escape, because my hands were tied together, so that wouldn't help me much, and I was too weak to melt the metal.
Then Malistaire and Sylvia came closer to me, and I was so relieved to see them!
But we were in mourning, because we knew that we were finished, and we did not speak.
The green goblins said I was their prisoner, but the black goblins wanted to take me as their prisoner.
You can imagine what happens when a beastly, monstrous race such as these goblins fight. War breaks out between them.
All the goblins pulled out their swords and attacked the other group. The fighting was so immense, and it came closer to me.
Then, one goblin fell dead right next to me. His sword was on top of him, and I seized this opportunity to escape.
I dragged myself across the ground and onto the dead goblin's body. All the other goblins were too busy fighting to notice me.
I rubbed the handcuffs across the sword of the dead goblin, and the handcuffs started to break.
I rubbed and rubbed, and eventually, the handcuffs came off. I was free!
"Quickly! Let's go now!" I whispered to Malistaire and Sylvia, and we ran away from the battle scene.
Although I was not there to see the conclusion of the battle, I knew that after a few minutes they would realize I was gone, and then regret the fighting. But I would be too far away by then.
"Let's hope that's all the adventure we will face in this forest!" I cheerfully said.
After we traveled through the forest, I decided to stop by a tree and rest a few minutes.
My rest was undisturbed…that is, only for a few minutes.
A howling sound was heard a few yards away.
And then another howling sound in the opposite direction.
Soon my surroundings were filled with many howling sounds.
"Wolves! This must be their meeting spot! Quickly, hide!" Malistaire said.
Malistaire and Sylvia flew up to the treetops (they're ghosts, and they can fly through the air, which is why they tend to hover above ground), but I was left alone on the ground.
I lit my hands on fire again, and showed it to the tree. He got the idea not to mess with me.
I extinguished the fire from my hands, and then started climbing up the tree.
I was pretty high up, and I hid myself between the leaves and the branches, just before the wolves came around my tree.
These wolves spoke in English, so I don't need to translate.
One wolf, the leader, came towards my tree and looked up at where I was.
"I can't see you, but I can smell you. I know you're in that tree. It's better to come down than us having to surround that tree until you come down. We won't give up," howled the leader.
I didn't say anything, because I didn't want them to hear me, but what could they possibly do? I was up in a tree, and they were down on the ground.
Still, I realized that I didn't want to spend the next few hours up in a tree terrified. I needed to conjure up an idea, and fast.
I then realized something. Most of the time, I had been using fire to escape from my adventures. What if I did that this time?
I summoned the fire to my hands, but not before whispering to the tree that I wasn't going to burn it down. The last thing I needed was for a wild tree that can move while I'm in it.
"Hey, wolves! Get some of this!" I shouted at them, throwing down fireballs onto them.
"Awoooooooooo! Get the fire off! Get it off!" shrieked the leader, who was hit smack on the back by my fireball.
I then continued to throw more and more at the other wolves, until they were all howling in pain.
To extinguish the flames, they tried rolling on their backs, but that was all right with me. It kept them distracted, and even if they noticed me descending from the tree, they would still be terrified of me.
And so, I climbed down from the tree, and traveled more through the forest.
That was an "easy peril" compared to the other dangers I faced.
"Let's continue on our journey through this treacherous forest," I said, finally realizing how it got its name.
And so we traveled on and on, until finally I saw a big ring coming out of the ground.
"The teleportation ring!" I exclaimed, so happy that I was finally going to get out of here.
I should have known better that I was still going to have to face another adventure.
In the teleportation ring was a single hole; it was for the golden watch.
Behind the teleportation ring was a huge tree, looking similar to a Dryad, but much more grim and evil looking.
I rushed towards the teleportation ring to put the golden watch inside the hole, but the tree immediately came to life.
"Where do you think you're going?" it said in a singsong voice.
"I think I'm going out of here. Actually, I KNOW I'm going out of here," I answered. "Toodaloo!"
The tree didn't like that. Not one bit.
The tree's branches came swooping down at me with such great speed and threw me a few feet away.
I was badly injured.
Then the tree started to move and approached me.
It raised its branches, and prepared to cast them down on me.
It lowered its branches, and they were about to hit me, but I rolled over to the side.
I ran towards the teleportation ring, and then one of the branches hit my back and sent me falling onto the ground.
The pain was immense.
I continued to run towards the teleportation ring, and I put the golden watch in.
The teleportation ring hummed to life, and the blue substance was forming.
The tree gave one final attack at me.
It reached down and grabbed me in its hand.
That's right - this tree had a hand.
It started to squeeze me, and it was too much. I was in pain, and I knew I wasn't going to make it out alive.
"Hahahaha! You will never escape from here!" the tree laughed at me.
"Oh…Yes…I…Think…I…Will…" I said in between groans.
Then I summoned the remaining energy I had, and sparked a fire on the hand that was holding me.
The tree yelled in pain, and released me from its grasp, and I fell hard to the floor.
"Uch this can't be happening," I said, as my vision started to fade.
I knew what was happening - I was so badly injured, that I was losing consciousness.
The next step would be death.
Weakly, I stepped up to the teleportation ring, with the shouts of the screaming tree. I stepped through the teleportation ring, and found myself in a new terrain.
Malistaire and Sylvia were next to me, and everything was blurry because of my eyesight.
I saw some creatures approaching me, but I could not see what they were. They could have been friendly or hostile, but at that second, I faded into unconsciousness.
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