|“See ya at Ambrose’s tower!” Chris Willowcrafter called to me.
“Not if I get there first!” I laughed.
Together, Chris and I dashed through the shopping district. We were neck to neck as we dodged buildings, shopkeepers, and wizards carrying shopping bags filled with who knows what.
I willed my legs to somehow go faster. I would not give him the satisfaction of beating me.
We ran through the tunnel to the commons.
Of course, we both ran at about the same speed anyway. So no matter how hard we tried, we always somehow ended up in a…
“Tie!” Chris called out as both of our hands touched the door at the exact same moment. “Again!”
“I’ll beat you next time,” I said, laughing evilly. I opened the door for both of us to go in.
Having just finished our quests at Cyclopes Lane, we had rushed to Ambrose’s tower right away. Ever since we had been told by a Journeyman life student that we could gain access to Colossus Boulevard once we did all three quests given to us by Sergeant Muldoon, we had been working nonstop for the past week. At last, all our hard work had paid off. Not only had we each earned “Three Streets Savior” badges, but we also just might be going to Colossus Boulevard right now. I could hardly wait!
“Good afternoon Mister Willowcrafter, Miss Spiritheart.” greeted Ambrose. “You wanted to see me?”
Together, we told him about the events in Cyclopes Lane and how we had saved the three students. (How many times they had been captured, I don’t know.) Then he handed us a ton of experience points, enough for us both to become level 11.
I looked at Chris, who sadly shook his head. We both started to leave.
“Where are you two going? I still have two more quests for you.” Ambrose handed us each two scrolls, each one with the name and instructions for a different quest.
Chris was now grinning broadly. He caught my eye and pointed at one of the scrolls in his hand. It said, “Colossus Trouble.”
Chris and I accepted the quest. Ambrose, in turn, sent us to the tunnel to Colossus Boulevard, which was located in the shopping district.
We stepped out into the bright sunlight. Chris grinned craftily at me. “Race…”
“How about we just walk this time?” I said sarcastically.
“Okay,” he said. “But it’s not as fun.”
Chris and I kept up a constant chatter all the way there. “Can’t you wait to see what it looks like?” he asked.
“Um… yeah,” I said, somewhat guiltily. The truth was that I already knew what it looked like. Normally, I would have told him about it. But my other friend, Nolan Darkwind, had taken me to see it. Chris despised Nolan because he was a death wizard and we were life. So I thought it best not to let Chris know that I had anything to do with him. So far, it was working. But I had no idea how long he would remain ignorant.
We arrived at the gate. The guard, who, up to now, had prevented us from even coming within ten feet of the tunnel, reluctantly grunted a signal to raise the gate when he read our letters from the headmaster. We were in.
“Wow,” breathed Chris. Meanwhile I was trying my best to act as if this was my first time here too, as if all this snow, the cold, biting wind, and the gobblers roaming the streets were new to me.
A strong wind suddenly blew across the street. I shivered and pulled my cloak more tightly around my shoulders. While an ice wizard, like my sisters, Savannah Swiftsong and Sadie Sparkleblade, would enjoy the cold as if it were a warm summer day, I was probably more uncomfortable then anyone here.
“C’mon,” Chris said, “we need to find Mindy Pixiecrown.”
“Thank goodness for compasses,” I said. Chris sniggered. But really, without our magic compasses, we’d be stumbling around the streets, not knowing where to go next.
It didn’t take us long to find Mindy Pixiecrown. And soon, she had us engaged in fights with both gobblers and evil snowmen.
“Disgusting, isn’t it?” Chris asked me as we watched a gobbler scavenger cram a whole jar of jellybeans- including the jar itself- into his mouth during the middle of the battle. I didn’t answer; it was all I could do to stop myself from throwing up. Did these guys ever stop eating?
In the next hour, (or was it two?) Mindy had us running all over Wizard City. We went to the Ice School, back to Colossus Boulevard, collecting the stinkweed all over Colossus Boulevard, and, yes, defeating even more gobblers.
“Ugh,” I said, finishing off the last one with a well-aimed leprechaun spell. “These guys make me nauseous.”
“Let’s stop for the day,” he suggested.
“Good idea,” I agreed heartily. Between the cold air and the constantly eating gobblers, I was more than glad to leave. “See you at school!” Then, waving goodbye, I teleported to my house.
Not my dormitory. My house.
Barely a week ago, my three younger siblings and I had been living, cramped, in our student dormitory. But then, Chris, after hours of minigames, had earned enough coins to buy a forested mansion and had given the whole of his winnings to me. Now we each had our own room, which was more than we could’ve hoped for while staying here. And Chris and I were as close as ever.
I arrived in our living room, right in front of the couch. I sat down, enjoying the comfort, and pulled out my homework. Setting aside the three-page essay Professor Drake had assigned me, (That would come much later.) I pulled out my wand and spell cards and started on my life homework instead: practicing the sprite spell.
By the time Savannah and Sadie arrived, I was sitting back with my feet on the coffee table, watching the little fairy flutter around the room.
“Hey guys. What’s…?” I faltered when I realized that neither of them looked that happy.
Okay, that was the underestimate of the century. Savannah looked furious and Sadie looked almost reduced to tears. But I was used to stuff like this happening. Ages ten and seven, and levels nine and eight, Savannah and Sadie had more trouble getting along than anyone else in the family.
“What’s going on, guys?” I asked.
“Tell her,” Savannah said to Sadie, her face angrier than I had ever seen it in life. But Sadie remained silent, her bright eyes turned toward me in fear. I wondered what name she had called her this time.
Savannah apparently couldn’t hold it in any longer. “I was about to defeat the fire elf prince,” she exploded, “with some guy who said he would help me. And then she,” she motioned to Sadie, “whisper chats to me and says it’s an emergency. So I went over to find that she only had me come over to help her cross the street!”
“To help her what?” I said. Then I remembered I wasn’t supposed to be taking sides yet.
“To cross the street,” Savannah said in an “isn’t it obvious” sort of voice. “And then…” she looked at Sadie angrily, who seemed unable to speak.
“…she got me into a duel with these two Scarlet Screamers! And then more wizards joined the duel, so more monsters joined. And it took forever! By the time I had gotten back to the Fire Globe Theater, the guy who wanted to help me was gone!”
Sadie finally regained her speech. “Savannah hit me and called me an idiot!”
All was silent, except for the sprite, which zoomed around the three of us, giggling and fluttering her tiny wings.
“Sit,” I said at last, pointing at the couch. They did.
Time for a pep talk, I thought grimly.
“Okay,” I said. “Savannah, you need to calm down a bit and be a bit less… hmm, how do I put this..? Mean. And Sadie, you need to stop asking Savannah for help for every single little thing that needs done.”
“And to be less of a coward,” Savannah muttered.
I glared at her. “I heard that. Remember what we… I mean I just talked about?”
“This is probably the worst pep talk ever,” Savannah said, glaring right back.
I sighed. There was some truth to what she said. “I know. But can we please try to get along just once?”
They said nothing, probably thinking about the impossibility of my suggestion.
So I decided to change the subject. “You’ll never guess which street in the Shopping District I gained access to today,”
“Really?” Savannah’s eyes lit up. For the moment, it looked as though she had already forgotten her fight with Sadie. “You’re in Colossus Boulevard already? Can you take us?”
“Sure,” I said. Anything to get them to stop fighting. “I can take you tomorrow, if you like.”
After being asked questions about it for the next half hour by Savannah, Sadie, and Samuel, who had just arrived, I was getting sick of Colossus Boulevard already. Krokotopia sounded pretty good right about now.
The next day was as dreary as days go. A thick layer of clouds covered the sky of Wizard City, complimented with a light drizzle. Although, during class, Professor Wu said that rain was a blessing sent to help all kinds of life, that didn’t stop the day from affecting my mood. By the time I went to pick up my siblings from their classes, I was fuming, angered by the B- professor Drake had given me for my essay, saying simply that it was “two pages too long.” And I was sad because Chris said he couldn’t come with us to Colossus Boulevard because Halston Balestrom, his storm teacher, had given him too much homework.
But my spirits were lifted when I saw the happy looks on my siblings’ faces. Plus, Sadie and Savannah hadn’t fought the whole day today. That had to be an accomplishment.
And as we approached the tunnel, I saw something, or rather, someone else to make me even happier: my friend Nolan.
“Hey,” he said, waving his staff, which, I noticed, was a new addition.
“Hi,” I said to him. “What’s up?”
“Nothing,” he said innocently, but as he said it, a girl suddenly screamed. Her shopping bag had burst into flames.
I looked at Nolan, who was also watching this scene. He chuckled.
“Was that you?” I said accusingly.
“Slipped a fire elf in her bag,” he said casually. “She didn’t even notice.”
“You shouldn’t have done that!” I said, but I was laughing.
“You would have too,” he said. “She is the prissiest girl in the world; she told me off just because my banshee yesterday was too loud. So, what are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d show my siblings around Colossus Boulevard,” I said. “Oh, and by the way, this is Savannah, Sadie and Samuel.”
Nolan gave each one a brief nod. “Maybe I can come with you all. If your overprotective friend isn’t coming with you.”
“Chris isn’t overprotective,” I said defensively.
Nolan shrugged. “If you don’t mind him following you every waking moment of the day, that’s fine with me.”
“Yes, you can come,” I said, half exasperated. “Teleport to me when we’re in,” I said to the rest in an undertone so Private O’ Doyle wouldn’t hear.
When they got in, they were wearing the same expressions of delight and excitement that I had during my first time.
“This is awesome!” exclaimed Savannah, who didn’t seem to be affected by the cold at all.
So I took my siblings down the street, pointing out all the well-known buildings. So Samuel and I wouldn’t get cold, Nolan had conjured up a fire cat, which pranced around our feet, melting snow on the ground.
“And that,” I said as we arrived at a large palace at the end of the street, “is the Gobbler King’s castle. Ladies and gentlemen, this completes our tour. Are their any questions?” Nolan gave me a wry smile at my imitation of a tour guide.
Even though Sadie and Savannah were in their element here, even they got tired of seeing nothing but snow-covered cottages after a while. And they were starting to look tired too.
“Let’s go back,” said Nolan. But he was looking at Sadie with slight amusement. Her face was green, probably from being right in the way of a gobbler glutton, who at that particular moment, had released a loud, disgusting belch.
It was when we were starting to head back when we heard several terrified screams.
I looked at Nolan in case he knew what it meant. But his face was as confused as I felt at the moment. The others were also apparently lost too.
“Hmm…” I said, searching for an explanation. Maybe one of the gobblers just broke wind. That would certainly scare newcomers. But then I realized that it was no gobbler. It had to be something else… something more sinister…
Lightning flashed from the sky. More screams.
I didn’t think. I tore down the sidewalk. Everyone but Sadie joined me. As soon as I realized she wasn’t coming, I came to an abrupt halt.
“Can’t we just go home?” she said shakily.
I walked back and put my hand on her shoulder. At this, she seemed to relax.
“I’d like to know what’s going on,” I said gently. She nodded, however reluctantly.
As it turned out, all the commotion was coming from a spot near the entrance to the tunnel. A scary sight met our eyes.
This part of Colossus Boulevard was a complete wreck. Every house in the area was damaged in some way, whether it had shattered windows, had the roof caved in, or was up in flames. Apparently, the village had been evacuated- even Mindy wasn’t in her usual spot. But there was a ring of students right in the middle of the street. And it took me a while to realize there was someone in the middle. Or two someones.
Yes, there were definitely two of them. Both of them were wearing long, black leather jackets. In fact, everything about them was black: their hair, if they had any, their clothes, everything except their skin, which was as pale as the snow on the ground. I wasn’t sure who they were, but when I caught a glimpse of their arrogant stances, their forbidding demeanor, and the apparent contempt they showed the students, I was sure that they had caused the wreckage.
One of the two men, the one who had a short beard, had his staff raised, and I realized he was pointing it at a group of students who were looking maybe a little bit more terrified than the rest.
“Where are they?” demanded the one holding the staff. The bearded one.
“Who? I don’t know who you’re talking about!” The girl who was being interrogated then screamed, and that’s when I noticed the tiny black wisp floating around the students, slowly draining them of all their health.
“Don’t play games with me,” the other man snarled. This one was bald. “We’re looking for the children, the four children in the Prophecy of Light.”
Prophecy of Light. My blood ran cold. Because that phrase awoke a jarringly familiar memory.
More or less than a week ago, I was visiting Merle Ambrose’s office, finishing off one of my quests. He and Gamma had been holding a whispered conversation about me. They also mentioned something about a prophecy, a true healer, and a destiny someone had to defeat Malistaire. Since then, every day the encounter had been in the back of my mind, forcing me to wonder why Ambrose had tried to keep all this information from me.
And now, I was trying frantically to piece all this information together. Was it possible; was there a chance that these two guys were after us? It seemed impossible, yet…
Now the two men were whispering to each other. “The boss said they’d be here,” muttered the one who had tortured the students.
Malistaire was the first thought that came to my mind.
“I don’t know,” said the other, who I had decided to call Baldy. “Maybe we should just take ‘em all. Gives him a lot to choose from, don’t it?”
This wasn’t starting to look too good. “We should go,” I whispered to Nolan, who nodded.
I turned around to round up all the others. Savannah, Sadie…uh-oh…
“Did any of you see where Samuel went?” I asked the others. No, they didn’t.
Things were going from bad to worse. “I’m going to go find him,” I said, fighting to stay calm. “Savannah, Sadie, you guys can go home.”
“No,” said Savannah fiercely, grabbing Sadie’s hand. “We’re going to help you.” I noticed that Sadie didn’t exactly agree to that.
“Come on, at least take Sadie home,” I pleaded. That’s when I heard him.
“You guys are so mean!” Only one person in Wizard City was able to say that.
If it scared me to see Samuel gone, it practically horrified me when one of the men said, in a sly, silky voice, “Well, well, well, what have we here?”
I took my sisters’ hands. “Let’s move,” We pushed through the crowd of students, leaving Nolan behind.
Baldy bent right down so that his crooked nose was inches from Samuel’s face. “Malistaire will be interested to know about this one,” he said.
“Don’t touch me!” Samuel screamed.
“Yes,” agreed the other one, Goatee, I called him, “we should definitely take him.”
“Don’t!” I yelled, causing every head to turn in my direction.
“And why ever not?” asked Goatee in that horrible silky voice.
My hands clenched into fists. “He’s just a level five, and he’s four years old. You can’t just take him.”
The two men burst into fits of laughter. Meanwhile, Samuel went to stand up next to me and said, “I hate these guys.”
They were still laughing, probably trying to humiliate us still further. I took advantage of this situation and made motions to try to get the others to leave.
We had barely moved five steps back when a hand grabbed my shoulder. “Just where do you think you’re going?” one of the men said.
I tried to speak, but the words died in my throat. I was more afraid than I had ever been in my life. I could feel Goatee’s claw-like fingers digging into my shoulders and I could smell his putrid breath, which smelled worse than rotten eggs. Even worse was the knowledge that these guys could do some serious damage to us if they wanted. They might even kill us.
“Wait, Ian,” said Baldy. He was scrutinizing us. “You don’t think…”
Ian… somewhere, that name rang a bell, but now wasn’t the time to think about it.
All four of us stood side by side while the men stared at us with a mixture of thoughtfulness and suspicion.
“Maybe these are the ones Malistaire is looking for,” suggested Baldy, to my horror.
“Perhaps,” said the one called Ian thoughtfully. “We ought to take ‘em, just in case. And if they’re not the kids the boss is looking for, he can always dispose of them anyway. What are a couple more kids to him?”
I tried frantically to think of a way out of this. I looked toward the other students, all of whom looked too afraid to even take another step forward, much less come rushing to our aid.
At last, I found my voice. “You’ll have to beat us first,” I said, “in a duel.”
I don’t know what made me say it; maybe I felt it was our only chance. But as soon as I did, I regretted it. Both Ian and Baldy practically rolled on the ground, clutching their stomachs. They were shaking with uncontrollable laughter.
“Us fight you?” instantly their laughter was redoubled.
But I had my retort ready. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you two were scared.”
But wait, what was I doing? There was no way we could beat these guys! I was an Initiate, and Sadie, Savannah, and Samuel were only Apprentices! Malistaire’s minions were probably Grand Masters, if not higher.
But my previous battle had been won. To my surprise, Ian and Baldy were forming the dueling circle around us.
In the month I had spent in Ravenwood, I had learned much about dueling. There was what teachers liked to call “proper duels,” in which there was a dueling circle, players had to go when it was their turn, you felt pain from the spells but they didn’t really hurt you, and instead of dying if you lost, you went back to the commons. There were also duels that I was thankful that Malistaire’s monsters were too dim-witted to know how to do. Duels in which you didn’t fight fair, not in rounds. You had to throw in every dirty trick that you knew. And of course, the loser ended up killed.
But this was a proper duel, wasn’t it?
“And don’t think that you’ll end up safe in your commons either,” jeered Baldy. “Dueling wasn’t the only magic Malistaire taught us.”
I shuddered. It was just if he had read my mind. Could he read minds? Well, I wouldn’t put it past him.
We began to duel.
I examined my spell cards. As a level eleven, my highest spell was Troll. But what use would it be against Malistaire’s henchmen?
I looked over at my siblings, they, like me, hadn’t yet selected their cards. Savannah gave me one of those “I can’t believe you did this” looks as she cast Thermic shield upon herself. I sighed deeply and settled for Myth Trap.
After a half an hour of battling our hardest, it didn’t seem like we’d even made a dent in these guys. To make matters even worse, we were slowly being deprived of health. Ian and Baldy were enjoying this greatly, and seemed to want to make us suffer more than if we were in the average duel.
Bottom line: we were there on our four dueling circles with barely a hundred health left each, watching fearfully as the two men examined a meteor strike card.
This is it, I thought, looking around at my siblings again. Sadie was trembling so hard, I thought she’d drop her wand. Savannah was trying, with poor results, to look braver than she really felt. Even Samuel had realized what was going to happen. He was bawling, tears streaming out of his blue eyes.
If only I had taunt or distract, one of those ice spells. Then I’d be able to make them go for just me so the others would be safe. At least for a little while…
I was so concerned with the battle that I didn’t even notice that my hands had begun to thrum with magical energy. I didn’t notice the golden wisps of magic swirling around my waist. I didn’t notice the gasps and shrieks coming from the crowd.
They went first. Baldy traced the fire symbol in the air. Although I prayed with all my might that it would fizzle, it didn’t.
As a hole opened up in the sky, we all grasped hands. Later, I would know that we all had the same thought: better to be defeated together than separately.
I was vaguely aware of a golden glow. The sun must’ve come out at last. But it was to close to be the sun, wasn’t it? It was only seconds before I realized the glow was coming from us.
The air was full of flames. The fiery meteors had come at last. They were about to strike.
No, I thought.
And that’s when the first weird thing happened. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, but right before the meteors hit us, they swerved and hit Baron Greebly’s castle instead, which burst up in flames.
I shivered. We had been that close to being reduced to ashes. Well, not really. But we had come that close to being knocked out.
The golden glare around us had reached such an intensity that I had to squint so I wouldn’t harm my eyes. Suddenly, all four of us were hoisted up into the air. Not only that, but I realized our health was coming back. It wasn’t long before we had one hundred…two hundred…three hundred…
And then we landed on the ground, our health completely filled.
Baldy’s eyes widened. “No,” he growled, “it can’t be…”
“Patrick,” Ian murmured, “they… their health…”
“I don’t need you to tell me what I already know,” snapped Baldy, who was apparently called Patrick. Then he gave us a look I didn’t like at all, one that said plainly, “You’re gonna get it.” He traced the death symbol into the air.
I noticed that he didn’t use a spell card.
Up from the ground rose a banshee. But this one looked different from all the other banshees I had seen. This one seemed more threatening, evil. I wondered if this was a form of banshee that only Malistaire knew how to cast. But it was only when she opened her mouth that I was certain.
From the banshee came the most unearthly, horrible sound I had ever heard. The ring of students around us clapped their hands over their ears. I was about to follow their lead when I realized that I couldn’t pull away my hands from Savannah’s and Sadie’s. So I just pressed my shoulders against my ears instead. It wasn’t long before I saw blood begin to ooze on my sleeves.
I could feel my health dwindling. Was this banshee really that powerful?
Another scream joined the banshee’s. It was Samuel. I both listened and tried hard not to listen as Samuel’s scream grew louder and louder. Soon it had reached a volume that I would have never thought possible, and climbing. It was almost as loud as the banshee’s!
But something weird was going on. Even though Samuel’s voice was now louder than the banshee’s, and I could hear it reverberating around my eardrums, it wasn’t affecting me at all. But it did seem to affect the banshee, who had gone back under the ground. And Malistaire’s henchmen, who were on their knees with their palms to their ears. This time, it was their health that had begun to drop…
But it was Samuel’s turn now, so he had stopped screaming and was now weaving the balance symbol into the air.
The next few moments went by in a daze. I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that my whole body was both glowing and vibrating super hard. All that really mattered were the spells we cast. Samuel’s scorpion, instead of releasing its normal poisonous fluids, somehow let out a thick cloud of toxic gas at Ian, who started wheezing and coughing. Sadie, who had trained second in storm, brought down not the usual three, but dozens of lightning bats, who zoomed around Patrick, making waves of electricity course through his body. Both of the two men lost a large amount of health.
Then it was my turn. By now, I was prepared for anything, so I traced the myth triangle into the air before me without hesitancy.
In front of me was a troll, like I had cast. I watched, astonished, as it began to grow. Soon it was taller than a Cyclopes, one of the magic schools, the Gobbler King’s castle…
Both Ian and Patrick cowered in fear as the troll- my troll- raised its club, which could have easily crushed them both. And that’s precisely what it did.
When the troll disappeared, I caught a glimpse of Ian and Patrick, both of whom were knocked out. Then they vanished in a puff of black smoke. The golden glow surrounding the four of us went out.
A cheer went out from the crowd. Students from Novice (How did they get here?) to Master crowded around us, congratulating us, requesting friendship, even asking for autographs. They didn’t even stop when Merle Ambrose appeared right in the middle of where the dueling circle had just been.
He looked around for a bit, aghast. Then his eyes found me. He looked astonished. Did he somehow know what had just occurred?
Then a strong hand found mine and pulled me into a building, out of sight of my new fans.
“Thanks, Nolan,” I said, grateful that he had helped me find some privacy. He didn’t smile.
“I,” he said, “am prepared to bet anything that those were Ian Ghostbringer and Patrick Nightwalker. They are part of the Black Hand. They’re two of Malistaire’s strongest henchmen!”
I froze. That was why the names seemed familiar; Nolan had told me about the Black Hand not too long ago.
Still one question remained unanswered. But before I could even think about it, Nolan spoke it for me.
“How did you do it?” Nolan asked. “Those two have been trained higher than you could ever get at Ravenwood!”
I didn’t exactly have a straight answer ready. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “My spells just seemed…stronger.”
I grimaced. That was about as a lame reply as you could get.
“Has it ever happened to you before now?” asked Nolan sharply.
“No,” I said. “Never.”
However good Nolan’s intentions were, he was making me feel more upset and confused than ever. I hadn’t really thought about the enormity of the deed I had done until now. Ian Ghostbringer and Patrick Nightwalker…how could we have done it?
I knew one thing. There was no way we could have done it alone. Someone had to have helped us.
Ambrose’s voice came back to me: If she is, in fact, the one mentioned in the Prophecy of Light…
This was all too confusing.
Later in the day, I was sitting on our home’s front porch. I had to get away from all the wizards, and here seemed like a good place to go.
Sadie and Savannah had decided to join their fellow ice students for a party in the Ice Tower, in which they were supposed to be the guests of honor, after the fight in Colossus Boulevard. So I was completely alone except for Samuel, who wasn’t really a desirable companion. He kept casting Elemental Shield upon himself as I thought about what had happened earlier. All these frequent flashes of light were starting to annoy me, but I was trying my best not to complain.
The first place I had gone after Colossus Boulevard was the library; I was hoping to find some information there. But after turning the whole library upside down, I was forced to conclude that Harold Argleston didn’t have a single book on the Prophecy of Light or even the Black Hand. So I looked at a book on spells instead. Not only did I not find even a bit of information about supersized spells, but I was also found by a group of fans, one of them holding up a sign saying, “Be mine.” Luckily, I was able to escape home before they were upon me.
I was on the verge of telling Samuel to cut it out. But this one wasn’t a spell; it was someone teleporting.
Thinking it was probably a new friend whose request I’d been too polite to refuse, I started to turn away. But then I realized it was Gamma.
“Hi,” I said.
“The Headmaster would like to-o-o see yo-o-ou,” he greeted.
Okay. “You all right here alone?” I asked Samuel. He nodded as he conjured up his eighth set of shields.
I took Gamma’s outstretched wing. In an instant, we were just in front of the door to Ambrose’s office. Hanging on a rusty old nail was a sign that said, “The headmaster is not available at this time.” It must not have meant to be intended for me, however, because Gamma took me right in.
Ambrose was there, seated at his desk. “Good afternoon, Miss Spiritheart,” he said. He held something under his hands. It looked like a piece of parchment or a scroll.
My eyes widened.
Well, what do we have here?
There it was again, across the top of the parchment in big letters: The Prophecy of Light.
The servant of Malistaire ran down the stone hallway, his black cloak billowing out behind him. He was one of the few who knew the way to the secret parlor, the room where Malistaire hatched his most devious schemes. He was in a hurry to get there too, running with a kind of furious excitement. He was eager to know what sort of punishment had befallen on Ian and Patrick; they had failed their master’s orders yet again.
Of course, if he was there fighting at Colossus Boulevard, it might have been different. Instead, he had been assigned the pointless task of supervisor.
He turned left, right, and went through an ancient-looking tapestry. And there was Malistaire, looking furious as he poured a potion into the mouths of the two unconscious men. They awakened. And they seemed surprised looking around at their surroundings. Then they saw Malistaire, and they began to quake in fear.
Malistaire held in his wrath, however, because he saw his servant standing in the doorway. “Marcus, how are you?” he cooed.
That’s when Marcus noticed two young women sitting on a couch near the back of the room. Like everyone else in the room, they were dressed all in black and had dark hair and eyes. Although they wore nice dresses and their hair was elaborately styled, they were far from pretty. Their skin was deathly pale, there were dark circles under their eyes, and they were scowling as Malistaire gave him an affectionate gesture.
Marcus gave a chuckle. He didn’t care. They were only jealous of his bond with Malistaire. And he reveled in their jealousy.
“Report,” Malistaire ordered.
“It seems,” said Marcus, before Ian or Patrick could make up a lame excuse, “that these two have failed to carry out your orders. They have failed to bring you the children of the Prophecy of Light.”
“However,” he continued, watching Malistaire’s face grow redder and redder, “we now know who they are.”
“Cornelia, Nora,” he barked, “take these buffoons to the dungeons. I will deal with them later.”
As the four exited the room, Malistaire turned to face Marcus, his eyes agleam with excitement. “Who?”
“It is the girl, Sarah Spiritheart, and her family. She enrolled in Ravenwood school barely a month ago,” said Marcus smugly. He had known it was her all along, ever since he had met her, which was not too long ago. He had just seen something in her.
“Ah, yes, her. Only an initiate.” He couldn’t hide his relief. “I trust you know of the plan? In case this was to happen?”
“Of course.” Marcus broke into an evil smile.
“Then keep an eye on the girl…until it is carried out.”
“I’ll leave right away,” said Marcus calmly. He gave Malistaire a short bow. Then he teleported to his house in Wizard City, where he lived as Malistaire’s spy. There he had a whole new name, a whole new identity.
He kicked back in his chair. What had happened today was chance, purely chance. Sarah had no idea of her true destiny. Her capture would be easy.
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