|Never had I been sad or miserable at Ravenwood. Not even once. All I’d ever known were happy times. Like when I finally bought a forested mansion, with a little help from Chris. Like when Chris and I finally made it into Krokotopia. Like when I learned the spell Sprite Guardian, enabling me to bring help to a battle without whisper chatting to one of my friends.
Never…at least, not until today.
The day started out normal enough. Chris and I were in our usual seats at the front of the classroom. We were watching with little interest as Professor Wu explained to a group of new level-eighteens how to cast Sprite Guardian. We had already learned that spell three days ago. The little fairy that had risen from the ground was like a normal sprite in many ways. Except that she was a little bigger and perhaps, more serious.
Five sprites soon filled the room. I watched them fondly, remembering the one I had cast the other day, which had helped me beat Chris at dueling at last.
One was doing a kind of graceful ballet move across my desk when I first heard it: a loud BOOM. An explosion. Well that stirred up some people, but Professor Wu managed to calm us down.
“The Adept Diviners have their class about now,” she said wisely. “They’re probably just learning how to cast Kraken.”
We all believed her then. But then there was another booming noise. Then another. Even Professor Wu seemed to think that there was something more going on when they continued for most of the day. And even after we left class.
As Chris and I exited with the rest of the class, I heard it again. It seemed to be coming from the other side of Ravenwood. From the “elemental” classes.
“Maybe Professor Wu’s right,” said Chris. “It probably is just a storm student.”
That didn’t convince me, but…all right. “Want to meet at the Oasis after we’re finished with homework?”
“Okay.” Chris said. “See you then!”
Homework from Professor Wu didn’t take long at all. It was actually fun. I was supposed to cast Sprite Guardian and take note of all the different spells she knew. It was my Myth homework that was the problem.
Professor Drake seemed to want to give me as much difficult homework as possible. The kindest explanation I could think of for this behavior was that he wanted to challenge me so I wouldn’t be bored. Then again, Cyrus Drake wasn’t exactly known for his kindness. So I was forced to assume the worst: he wanted to flunk me out of Myth class. He had tried to expel me once.
I took out the four sheets that he had given me that had questions on both the front and the back sides. Number One, I read to myself. Name the three metals that are found in a Cyclops’s hammer.
“How am I supposed to know that?” I complained loudly. Fuming, I skipped on to the next question. Describe the appearance of a River Troll.
A half an hour later, I put my half-finished homework in my backpack. I was thinking of stopping by Cyclopes Lane to ask Nolan Stormgate the answers to the questions when I heard a knock on the door.
Thinking it was Savannah or Sadie, or maybe both, I was surprised to see Lydia Greyrose.
“Hi, Professor…” I gasped. “Are you all right?”
Professor Greyrose looked as though she had been in a fight. Her blue robes were singed. Her hair, usually up in a tight bun, was falling in her face. Her hat was tilted in such a way that it covered her left eye. And her flying was a little lopsided, due to the fact that one of her wings was stiff.
“Yes, I’m all right,” she said, with a great deal of dignity.
“But,” she added, “I wish I could say the same for these two.” She pulled from both sides of the door Savannah and Sadie, who, up to now, had been hidden from my view. They looked similar to Professor Greyrose, except they were covered in bruises. And they both had angry, yet guilty looks on their faces.
Thinking that this could mean nothing good, I asked to them in particular, “What happened?”
Both of them opened their mouths, probably to blame each other, but it was Professor Greyrose who answered.
“Miss Swiftsong and Miss Sparkleblade started a fight during class today,” she said. “I assume you heard them, did you not?”
I clenched my fists. “You started a fight?” I screeched.
“In addition,” she said, they completely destroyed the Ice School.”
“How much damage could they do?” I asked, now on the defensive. “They’re only Journeymen.”
As an answer, she waved her wand and created a kind of window out of thin air. Upon a closer look, I saw that it was an image of the Ice School. Desks were overturned. Windows were shattered. Ink was splattered all over the room.
“Are you sure it was just them?” I said. “It looks like a Kraken got involved.” She appeared not to have heard.
“Luckily, Professor Ambrose was able to repair most of the damage. Otherwise, they would be in a lot more trouble than they are now. But since, now, the damage was minimal, they will have detention for the rest of the day. Good day, Miss Spiritheart.”
And with that, she closed the door in my bewildered face.
I didn’t move from my spot for a long time. It took a while for it to sink in. My two younger sisters just started a fight.
Oh, they were in for it when they got home.
A while later, I was sitting on the edge of the well in Krokotopia, waiting for Chris to come. The fight was still on my mind, but was not as important as before. Maybe when I saw my sisters tonight, it would be different.
But where was Chris? He should’ve been here ages ago!
Sweat started to form on my brow. If I hated anything about Krokotopia, it was the heat. And the fact that there weren’t any sleeveless wizard robes just made it worse.
At first, Chris and I were super excited, being in Krokotopia. But maybe after three or four days we became bored. The tunnels all looked the same, the only monsters in this place were Kroks, and the heat was just the worst thing ever.
I bent down to fill my canteen from the well for the…third time? As I did, I caught sight of my reflection in the water. I loved my Krokotopian outfit. It was all lime green complimented with a bit of gold jewelry. However dumb it was to wear long sleeves in the desert, this fabric was light and cool, which made it a little better. However, there was also one other minor drawback. Even though the shopkeeper swore it was the latest style, and Chris told me countless times how much I looked like a Krokotopian princess, I thought that with my helm of refuge on, I looked more like a hairless freak
I took another swig of water. Then I splashed the rest all over my face. I knew the comfort would only last a little bit, though.
Great meeting spot, Chris, I thought. Maybe next time we should meet, I don’t know, inside the Pyramid of the Sun.
Then without thinking, and first checking to make sure no one was watching, I dunked my entire face in the well.
“Having fun?” someone said. I nearly choked.
I came up out of the water, coughing. Nolan smirked.
“I have to admit,” he said, “I’ve never seen that technique used before. But I suppose it’s okay if you want to get a lot of water at once.”
I laughed. Then I straightened my cap and wiped the water from my face.
“So how come I haven’t heard from you?” Nolan demanded. “It’s been, like, three weeks.”
“Um…” I hesitated.
The truth was that I had thought that I had seen Nolan in one of my more recent battles, one that I was certain that Malistaire was directly behind. But if I told him he would laugh at me, be hurt that I accused him, or be angry that I accused him. In my opinion, none of these were worth it.
But the more I thought about it, the less likely it seemed that Nolan had been there. Now I felt really guilty that I hadn’t seen him in a while.
“Never mind,” said Nolan, to my relief. “So why don’t you come to the Temple of Storms with me today? I could use a bit of help; it’s supposed to be pretty hard.”
“I don’t think I can,” I said. “I said I’d meet Chris.”
“Okay,” said Nolan. He didn’t look put down at all. “I’ll ask David instead.” He started to walk away. “See you!”
“Um, Nolan?” I asked, suddenly remembering something. “I need to ask you something.” I knew he didn’t take myth, but maybe he’d know.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Well it’s something about my myth homework…Do you know what a river troll looks like?”
“A river troll,” I said.
Nolan shook his head. “Trolls don’t live in rivers; they only live up in the mountains. Everybody knows that.”
Ten minutes after Nolan had left, Chris still hadn’t arrived. I had started to sing under my breath, which had always been a habit of mine. I sang a few lyrics from one of my favorite songs by Taylor Swift. On Earth, not the one I knew in Wizard City. I only stopped when I heard someone clapping.
“Chris!” I felt my face go red.
“No, seriously,” said Chris. “That was really good.”
“Sure,” I said, rolling my eyes. “So where were you for the past…hm…thirty minutes?”
“Doing homework,” said Chris.
“Okay, there is no way that you could’ve had more homework than Professor Drake assigned…”
“Uh-huh. And how much of that did you do?”
Caught in the act, I looked away and mumbled, “Uh…well…”
Chris laughed. “It’s okay. I’ve heard how hard it is.”
“Tell me about it!” I burst out. “I mean, we haven’t gone over Minotaurs yet!” Then I noticed Chris fingering something on his belt with a shiny, silver hilt.
I normally didn’t care too much about daggers too much. I carried a small one around with me for defense, but I didn’t let any of my siblings have knives of their own. And I had a good reason. Samuel might fool around with his. Sadie might accidentally cut herself. And who knows what Savannah would do with hers if she got angry?
But Chris’s dagger was the nicest one I had ever seen. The hilt was wrapped in leather straps and was decorated with three sparkling emeralds on each side.
“Uh, thanks.” Chris didn’t seem to be as interested in it as I was. “It’s a hand-me-down from my dad, so I don’t know how old it is. So, shall we go?”
Another thing I don’t like much about Krokotopia: no sidewalks. So keep in mind that you could be attacked by monsters anytime unless you’re backed up against the wall.
It was nice and cool inside the Pyramid of the Sun, and even colder inside the Palace of Fire. I usually can’t stand the cold, but if you’re outside on a hot Krokotopian afternoon for a whole half hour, it begins to grow on you.
“Which way to the Throne Room of Fire? Chris asked
I held my compass flat on my hand and blew on it gently. The large, yellow arrow marked “Destination” spun around in a circle until it stopped somewhere to my left.
“This way,” I said. “Come on.”
And we set off, our backs against the wall so we wouldn’t run into any Desert Golems or Narini Warriors.
When we arrived at the Throne Room of Fire, we saw another familiar face: our friend, Catherine Fairyblossom.
“Hi, guys!” she said brightly, waving.
“What are you doing here?” Chris asked. “Weren’t you a higher level than us?”
“Well, not anymore, obviously,” she said. “My sister Meghan just got into Olde Town and I’ve been helping her with bosses and stuff like that. She’s only defeating Haunted Minions right now, so I bet she’ll be okay. Oh, and speaking of Meghan, she told me to ask you where your sister Sadie was. They’re friends now, you know.”
She’s in…um…” I decided it was safe to tell her. “She’s in detention.”
Catherine’s eyebrows rose in concern, but she didn’t ask why. Thankfully.
Suddenly, Chris threw his arms around both our shoulders and pulled us together so that we were making some sort of friend sandwich. “So what are we waiting for, guys? Those monsters aren’t going to defeat themselves!” And with that, he marched us to the entrance where, in ten seconds, we were transported to the Throne Room of Fire.
That night, I lay on the couch, exhausted but pleased from the day’s efforts. I was waiting for Savannah and Sadie, not exactly sure when they would get home. I sat with my back against the pillow with a book held up inches from my nose. Back on Earth you could rarely find me in a position other than this.
Chris was the one who had originally gotten me hooked onto Wizard City literature. He had recommended a book and, just like that, I couldn’t put it down. It was a long novel by a famous author in Wizard City, Sierra Winterbreeze. Even though I knew nothing of the different books here, I could tell this one was wonderful. Almost Harry Potter standard.
I took a long enough break in my reading to check my watch. It was just past ten o’ clock. Exactly how much trouble had Savannah and Sadie gotten into?
The second I returned to my book, my question was answered for me. There was a creak, the sound of a door slamming shut, and a second later, Savannah and Sadie had joined me on the couch.
The irony, I thought, sticking a leather bookmark in the middle of chapter three.
“What happened?” I asked, deliberately not looking at either of them.
“Sadie started it,” Savannah muttered.
“What happened?” I asked again, this time fixing Savannah with my famous evil eye.
Without meaning to, I caused a shouting match to erupt in our home.
“She was just jealous because I could cast Tower Shield and she couldn’t!” shouted Savannah.
Of course, Sadie had to have her say. “She was bragging about it!” she said indignantly.
“And then she cast Snow Serpent at me—”
“I didn’t mean to! It was an accident!”
“No, it wasn’t!”
“Yes, it was!”
I just wanted to scream right then and there if it weren’t for the fact that I had gotten Samuel to sleep after an hour’s hard work and wasn’t about to let him wake up. So instead, I took two pillows and shoved them both into their faces.
“So what? You didn’t have to destroy the Ice School over it!”
That, of course, got them fired up again.
“I told you, she started it! She cast—”
“It was an accident! And she thought it wasn’t and cast sunbird and—”
This time, I did scream. But I pressed the remaining pillow to my face so Samuel wouldn’t hear. This caused them to pause for a moment and look at me. But I barely opened my mouth when Savannah and Sadie went right on back to fighting.
I grabbed the two pillows again and pushed them as far into their faces as they would go.
“I get it!” I shouted. “I get that Sadie needs to be more careful with her spell casting! I get that Savannah can’t tell an accidental spell from an intentional one! But look at what you’ve done! You’ve landed yourselves in detention! You almost blew up the Ice School, for Pete’s sake!”
I angrily threw the pillows down on the floor.
“Plus,” I said, “you’re being really ungrateful. Especially since Ambrose is cutting us some slack,” I lowered my voice, even though no one was there, “from this Prophecy of Light stuff.”
Savannah’s face turned a bright shade of red.
“Sadie won’t last a minute with Malistaire,” she said, probably to vent her anger.
“That’s it!” I said, throwing my hands up in the air. “Just apologize! Make up! Whatever! It will make my job a whole lot easier!”
“Never,” said Savannah. She crossed her arms and turned her back on Sadie.
Sadie crossed her arms and turned her back on Savannah.
I sighed. “I’m going to bed,” I said.
Fuming, I picked up my book and climbed the wooden staircase. Maybe it would be all better in the morning.
Guess what? It wasn’t.
When I got up the next morning, the day seemed normal enough. I couldn’t hear anything downstairs, which meant that the others were probably still asleep. So I did what I normally did every day. I put on my green Krokotopian ensemble. Then I brushed my teeth and tried to comb my untamable hair, which just wouldn’t stay flat…
When I got downstairs, to my surprise, Savannah and Sadie were already there. They were silently eating breakfast, which was a first for them. The silent part, I mean. It looked as though they hadn’t forgotten their fight from yesterday. To make matters worse, from one look at Savannah’s face, I could tell that she was in one of her “moods.” This meant that I would have to spend the day with none other than Miss Gloom and Doom herself.
I then heard a happy, “Good morning, girls!” coming from the stairs.
Oh-no, I thought, catching Samuel’s big, goofy grin. Today, he was unnecessarily cheerful, which could somehow get on your nerves even more than a sulking, growling, teasing, ready-to-lash-out-at-you-at-any-minute Savannah.
As we all ate, I watched them nervously, not sure how it would go. Samuel was the only one who was actually talking. Well actually, it was more to himself; he had bought his Transformers action figures to Wizard City and was now playing with them at the table.
It was when he had asked Savannah to play with him for the fifth time in a row that she finally snapped, shouting at him so harshly that he screamed for the first time in days.
Thanks a lot, Savannah, I thought.
At school, it was a little bit better. When I told Catherine and Chris what had happened, they both expressed sympathy in their own way. Chris told me that it would be all right and that, of course, it wasn’t my fault. Catherine, after her comment about little siblings being so annoying, said that she and her little sister Meghan fought all the time and that their fights never lasted long, so I shouldn’t worry about it.
So, walking back from the myth school, where I had turned in my homework, (which I had probably Flunked with a capital F) I was feeling a little more optimistic. That is, until I saw Arthur Wethersfield, holding a sour-faced Samuel by the hand.
“Just a moment, Miss Spiritheart,” he beckoned.
As it turned out, Samuel had pretended his wand was a light saber while the teacher was talking, screamed twice when things hadn’t gone his way, and even hit his best friend during class today. I nodded solemnly at this, but on the inside I was tearing my hair out by the fistful. This sounded much like the old Samuel, how he would’ve acted before we went to Wizard City.
When Professor Wethersfield permitted me to leave, I grabbed Samuel by the wrist, walked away some, and tried to explain to him nicely that he was a bad boy and we shouldn’t do these things. Maybe it was because I wasn’t an expert at these kinds of talks, but Samuel seemed more interested in a passing butterfly than in what I had to say. Sighing, I let him go off then, resolving to have another little chat with him this evening.
Did Savannah and Sadie’s fight cause some sort of chain reaction? Because now it seemed as though everyone else in the family had a pretty bad attitude. How long would it be before I lost it?
I heard laughter. I looked up and saw a group of necromancers, Nolan included, walk by. He waved at me, and I waved back. That’s when I saw Professor Drake watching us through the window to his school. He wasn’t doing anything else…just watching us.
I gave him a look as if to say, “I didn’t do anything wrong and you know it.” But whether he either didn’t get the message or ignored it, I don’t know. He kept staring at us from between his curtains until Nolan and the rest disappeared from his sight. Then he withdrew from the window.
Just staring at where Professor Drake had been moments before and contemplating this strange behavior, I didn’t notice Chris coming until he was right behind me.
“You should probably know,” he said in an undertone, “I saw your sister, Sadie, in the Storm School just now. And she looked pretty mad…”
How long would it be until we just forgot this whole stupid fight?
Chris and I did quests for the rest of the day. Then we both went home for the night. But to my immense disappointment, I arrived on the front porch only to find myself listening to another shouting match. I took a deep breath and threw open the door.
“WHAT is going ON?” I shouted
I almost laughed when they all froze, Samuel with his fist halfway to Savannah’s stomach and Savannah with a fistful of Sadie’s hair.
Remember, “almost” was the key word here.
“I’m sick of this,” I said. “I’m sick of the fighting and the attitude. You all are just acting like…I can’t say this any other way…like jerks!”
Savannah’s and Sadie’s faces flushed. Samuel, however, went up to his bedroom, screaming all the way.
“I told you I couldn’t say it any other way,” I said, smirking slightly. I was letting my anger take over completely now.
Savannah recovered the most quickly. “And you’re…what? A saint?” she snickered.
That did it. I drew my wand lightning quick, but she reacted just as fast. The Blood Bat and the Frost Beetle collided, sending a sonic boom through the hallway.
Sadie screamed and followed Samuel upstairs, probably not wanting to get caught in another fight.
Leprechaun…Fire Elf… Troll…Evil Snowman. Back and forth it went until I finally managed to knock her down with a well-aimed Cyclopes whose head nearly crashed a hole in our ceiling. Her wand clattered to a spot some ten feet from her.
No words were said. We just knew that the battle was over.
Savannah got up, smoothed out her hair, and picked up her wand. After all this, she gave me a look that I didn’t like at all. One that plainly said, “I hate you.”
Many times had she given me that look, but this was the first time it actually hurt.
Well if I hadn’t lost it then, I didn’t know when I would.
The next day, I got dressed, ate breakfast, and walked out the door as fast as I could in order to not meet any of my siblings. Unfortunately, I was an early riser, so I had to wait outside the Life School for almost an hour before Professor Wu opened the door. Once inside, Chris, Catherine, and I bunched together and sat up front.
After one glance at my face, they both immediately knew something was wrong. “Are you okay?” they both asked at the same time.
I was about to tell them when Professor Wu approached us with a bundle of papers.
“We are having a pop quiz today,” she announced. “I’m sure you will all do quite well.” Although she seemed to be looking at us, the top students, as she said this. “Just go with the flow; listen to your heart and you will find the answers.”
For the first time in my life, I was thankful for a quiz. This would be just the thing to distract myself from last night’s events.
I took the paper from Professor Wu’s outstretched…uh…hoof and read the first question. What is the maximum possible damage that could be caused by an imp? I was about to answer the question when—
I clenched both my teeth and my fists. If Savannah and Sadie had stared another fight I was going to—
But a second later, it became clear that this was not another one of their fights…
…because the entire roof of the Life School had just gotten ripped off.
Nearly everybody screamed. And then, despite Professor Wu’s protests to remain calm, there was a mad scramble for the door, Chris, Catherine, and I, having been up front, bringing up the rear.
“Oh my…” Catherine said once we had gotten outside, her hand leaping up to cover her mouth.
Dozens of monsters of all shapes, sizes, and elements were rampaging around Ravenwood, destroying everything in their path. What seemed like all the wizards in Ravenwood School were outside, watching their school crash and burn before their very eyes. The Ice School was aflame, the Fire School was literally frozen solid, and the Myth School had just been struck by an enormous bolt of lightning.
Turning around, I saw that a huge, living tree like the ones I summoned in the spell Nature’s Wrath holding the missing roof over its head. Then it threw the roof into the air.
“RUN!” I screamed.
The Journeymen Life students scattered. Not caring which way I ran, I only wanted to put as much distance as possible between me and the shadow slowly increasing in size which could possibly be my death falling from the sky…
I hurled myself out of the way just as the roof smashed to the ground where I had been seconds before.
Coughing, I could barely hear Catherine say, “Chris? Where’s Chris?”
Oh-no! I thought with a horror. What if he was crushed by the falling debris?
I looked up to find what felt like everyone’s faces staring up at me. “Do something!” shrieked a girl whose name I vaguely remembered as Rebecca.
It took me a few seconds to work out what she meant. Oh, right. Yeah, this was a job for the Prophecy of Light siblings, or something along those lines.
But even if all four of us were on the job, could we defeat all of these monsters?
Someone dragged Savannah, Sadie, and Samuel by my side, all of whom were determinedly not looking at each other. Oh well, eye contact with your teammates wasn’t crucial in a fight. Was it?
I rolled back my sleeves and pointed my wand at the giant tree. It was about to find out what would happen to anyone who messed with our school.
Savannah spoke to me for the first time since last night, “No, aim for that phoenix instead.”
“La la la, I can’t hear you. Quiet, I’m trying to concentrate,” I snapped. I then pulled out a card and cast troll, remembering the one that I had cast time had been almost as big as a house.
I couldn’t help noticing, right before I cast, that the golden wisps that normally wisped around us in times like these were absent.
From my wand erupted…a normal sized troll.
My jaw dropped as the troll ran over to the tree and started beating it with its puny club. It didn’t seem to be doing any damage at all. What was wrong with it? With me? Wasn’t it barely a week ago that I had been able to cast a troll that would’ve beaten the tree monster to a pulp in seconds?
I snuck a glance at my siblings. Savannah had cast an evil snowman that went kablooey as soon as it had touched the tree, although normally the ones she cast were as hard as steel. Sadie’s Storm Sharks thrashed and bit, but with as little force as they would’ve used before the Prophecy of Light. Samuel’s scorpion had absolutely no effect at all.
What was going on? Where were the golden sparkles? And more importantly, what would happen to our school?
I looked around. There were the kinds of monsters you’d see in Wizard City, but also monsters I’ve never even seen before. Were they from Mooshu? Dragonspyre? Some other world that only Malistaire knew about?
It didn’t matter, though, how many worlds they were from. What only mattered right now was the insane amount of damage they were causing to our school.
Through my puerperal vision, I saw the giant tree lift something else over his head. Maybe a rock.
Someone shouted, “Look out!” only I didn’t know who. I barely had time to think before something huge, something hard connected with the back of my skull. Then I knew no more.
With a great effort, I opened my eyes. The battle was still raging all around me. Even though all I could see was a blur, I could tell.
I wasn’t sure what time it was, how much time had passed after…come to think of it, I wasn’t sure what had happened then. All I remembered was the pain.
What happened? Where were Chris and Catherine? Nolan? Please oh please let them not be dead.
I saw something that vaguely looked like flames. Was that the ice school? It was on fire, wasn’t it? Or was that the storm school? I couldn’t remember.
Then I saw something else. By my outstretched hand was a small, green glimmer.
I reached out to the thing, grabbed it, and held it up close to my eye. It appeared to be a jewel of some kind. An emerald, like the ones Chris kept in his dagger.
I don’t know why, but I somehow felt a strange connection with the jewel. Maybe it was because I was a life wizard, or because it was my birthstone. Then I heard it: softly at first, but then it grew in volume. It was a strange whispering that seemed to come from inside the gem.
I held it up to my ear this time. There were voices inside, but I couldn’t tell who they were or what they were saying.
It’s a magic gem! I thought wearily. I pocketed it.
Then I blacked out again.
Cyrus Drake stormed through the streets of Ravenwood, looking for Ambrose. This was an urgent matter…
At last he found him standing over a young girl, apparently unconscious. He didn’t waste time remembering names, but he remembered this girl by her last name: Spiritheart. She had completely failed the paper he had assigned her yesterday.
Ambrose was waving his wand over the girl, creating a turban of bandages. He was also muttering to himself, “Luckily the rock wasn’t as large as it could’ve been. Otherwise it could’ve killed her. Oh, hello, Cyrus, you wanted to see me?” Ambrose’s tone was light, but his eyes were serious.
“Yes,” said Cyrus. “We have already discussed this…er…matter before.”
“Ah,” said Ambrose, his eyes boring holes into Cyrus’s.
“You know what I am talking about, then?”
A flare of hope rose up in Cyrus’s chest. “And your answer..?”
“It is the same as it ever was, Cyrus,” said Ambrose.
Cyrus’s temper flared. “After today, how can you still say that?” he hissed. “As I have said before, it is impossible for monsters to get inside the school without inside help.”
“You have expressed your views to me before,” said Ambrose, not unkindly, but with a touch of impatience. And I see your point. However, we must not blame the death school for something we are unsure about.”
“There is also,” said Cyrus, raising his voice, “a boy who I believe is not to be trusted. Darkwind, I believe. He is up to something, I know it. Just look in his eyes—”
“Cyrus,” said Ambrose severely, “You may have told me that the boy’s parents may have been rather…close to Malistaire, but that is no reason to believe he is as well. The same holds true for the whole death school as well.”
“Don’t you think it strange that he was absent from school today, right before the attack?” Ambrose didn’t reply.
At this, Cyrus tried a different motive.
“The girl,” he motioned to the unconscious girl on the ground, “she is with him a lot. And I fear he may be plotting against her.”
“Cyrus,” said Ambrose, shaking his head, “you haven’t cared for a student since your brother disappeared five years ago. But you may watch Mr. Darkwind to see if he is up to anything suspicious. But for heaven’s sake, Cyrus, don’t do anything too drastic. And don’t forget, I trust Mr. Darkwind and every other death student at this school.”
During this exchange, neither of them noticed a young, black-robed wizard crouching down on one of Bartleby’s branches, eavesdropping on their conversation.
Stupid old man, he thought.
Chuckling to himself, he disappeared into the darkness.
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