|September 5, 2004
Everyone was quiet. The only sounds that were heard in the Wizard City Library were the scratching of quills on parchment, book pages being turned, a few books whistling through the air, and the water falling from the ceiling to the ground near the main desk. There were some people looking at the books and scrolls on the shelves, but most were either taking notes from books on the tables or just reading.
This was where Victoria Darktalon—a twelve-year-old Ice wizard with white hair and bright green eyes—was absentmindedly flipping through the large pages of The Spiral and the Words Within. In her left hand, she was twirling a wand that she had bought at the Wizard City Wand Shop. It had a silver handle, but had a blue crystal attached to it. Every once in a while, the crystal emitted a faint blue light and a few white sparks would appear, but Victoria didn't seem to care about this. Instead, she just kept staring at the book with the same blasé-like look in her eyes.
For about two hours, Victoria had been in the library, studying for an upcoming test in Myth class. The people who had been with her had already left to pursue other tasks and she finished her studying less than half an hour after that. She had already finished the tasks that were assigned to her a few days ago by her teachers and nearly everyone else that she knew was still busy. She felt too tired from studying and didn’t want to go outside in the hot weather to find someone to hang out with, so she stayed inside. But she soon discovered that she was not too excited about this plan either: she read all of the interesting-looking books a long time ago (she wasn’t a fan of rereading books) and even if she wanted to talk to someone, nobody in the Library would want to since they were there to study for the final exams that were coming in October and November.
Victoria did not pause from the noise, but instead let out a soft sigh.
She had a twin brother, Stephen. He was known by many of the students and professors in Ravenwood to be soft spoken, if not completely silent. He didn't even seem to attempt to socialize with any of their peers either, even though it would be easy for him to make friends. But he had his odd quirks: his way of greeting his sister was to try to sneak up on her. Unfortunately for him, this usually failed due to her good sense of hearing.
“Stephen, if you’re gonna sneak up on me, get some new shoes. You’re still too loud,” Victoria said in monotone.
She could hear a soft growl behind her. This made her crack a small smile.
“This is the third time you’ve called me ‘Stephen!’”
Victoria jumped in surprise. The voice sounded nothing like her brother's. She quickly turned around. Sure enough, the person she saw now was not her brother. Instead, it was her friend, Tyler Duskglade. Like Victoria, he had white hair, but his eyes—which were now showing slight annoyance—were an amethyst purple. And unlike Victoria—who had a black wizard uniform with navy blue trims on her sleeves, hat, and shoes—his uniform was white with some purple trims.
“Oh,” she replied, “Hey Tyler.”
Her hand quickly stopped twirling the wand. She gently threw it up into the air. With a soft poof, it vanished. Tyler rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. The Ice girl was grinning in her head. She usually didn’t act so childish, but Tyler was an exception for her.
“Show off,” he whispered.
Victoria teasingly stuck her tongue out at him. Tyler looked at her from the corner of his eyes. His raised his eyebrows slightly.
This time Victoria’s eyebrow twitched. She then gave him a cold stare with her bright emerald eyes. Tyler looked as though he was trying not to look away and shiver. He was a year older than her but they both knew that the ‘look’ was not good for anyone unfortunate to have it cast upon them. It didn't kill anyone, but it gave the impression that she wanted it to.
“H-hey, come on, calm down. We don’t want to make a scene here, Ed.”
Her cold stare was replaced by slight confusion.
“…Ed? Do I look like a guy to you!?”
Tyler seemed unaware of her newfound annoyance. In fact, it seemed like he was trying to conceal a smirk.
“Well, since you seem to like calling me ‘Stephen,’ I thought that it would be—well, fitting to give you a new name as well. Besides, consider it a compliment,” he said with an extremely cheesy smile on his face.
Victoria's face started to become red.
“You know that’s always an accident!” she argued. She noticed that she spoke louder than she intended and covered her mouth slightly. Some people looked up from their books for a few seconds before they resumed reading. She took a quick breath before she continued.
“Besides, how is that suppose to be a compliment?”
“Come on, you don’t see it? Giving people nicknames is a thing friends do all the time! It’s a tradition to do that.”
Victoria gritted her teeth together.
“And how did you come up with… Ed?” she asked hesitantly.
She knew that either way, the answer to a question like that would be an odd one. Especially if it was an answer from Tyler Duskglade.
“Think of it like this,” he answered cheerfully. “The initials for your name are V and D. Unfortunately, I can’t find a way to pronounced V.D. So I just made the V into E, since it’s the vowel that sounds similar to it. That’s how I came up with ‘Ed.’”
“… Why do I even bother asking sometimes?” Victoria sighed, placing her cold hand on her forehead.
“Hey, look on the bright side: Now you can call me ‘Stephen’ as much as you want!”
She glared at him again.
“I told you that I always do that on accident.”
By now, Victoria was rubbing her eyes in frustration.
“Sure, whatever you say, Ed,” Tyler chuckled.
Victoria rolled her eyes and stroked her hair. But a thought came to her head. She smiled and softly chuckle.
“What?” Tyler asked, his smirk fading from his face.
“You’re a year older than me,” she said, her small chuckle turning into a laugh, “yet you’re the one acting so immature. Heh, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.”
She had a hard time containing her laughter. The fact that she now saw Tyler’s eyebrow twitching did not help matters.
“Why you little--!”
But Victoria did not pay attention to what her friend had to say. At that moment, she suddenly felt her table move underneath her right hand, which was still placed on it. Slightly startled, she quickly turned her head around to see that some of her pieces of parchment had moved a few millimeters from their original positions. Her face looked calm, but in her mind, she had a million thoughts running through it. Most people—probably even wizards—wouldn’t see or feel any significant change, let alone get worried. But past experiences that ended or almost ended in disaster told her that she should be on guard.
“Did you notice that?” she asked Tyler, who was still ranting to her. She quickly looked around to see if she was wrong about nobody noticing the tremors.
“Um, no? Why..?” he asked.
Victoria didn’t look at his face, but from the all too familiar tone in his voice, she could tell that he was in between being confused and annoyed by her interruption. In fact, from what she could guess, he probably thought she was crazy.
“Tyler, I’m serious. Did you—”
Victoria’s table jumped again and her papers and books shifted with it. This time, people seemed to notice it also, since not only did the rest of the tables make some kind of perceptible move, but some of the books on the shelves fell to the ground. One extremely thick volume even hit a short girl in the head. She could hear that people nearby either gasped or squealed in surprise. Then everything was still.
Victoria quickly stood up and looked at her friend, who seemed as shocked as everyone else.
“I really doubt that this is an earthquake,” Tyler said to her.
She looked at him with an I-Think-We-Already-Know-That look on her face. She opened her mouth to say something.
“Get out of the way!”
Everyone, including Tyler and Victoria, turned to the front windows of the building. What they saw were many student wizards and civilians running towards the direction of Unicorn Way. The civilians and some of the wizard were panicking. A few brave wizards were firing attack spells in the opposite direction of where everyone else was running. Victoria thought she even saw a Sunbird carrying a child on its back while swiftly flying in the direction of the throng of people.
Many students in the library were starting to get terrified. They started whispering to each other, trying to figure out what was going on.
This time some of the students yelled in shock when they fell onto the ground when the tremor came. Everyone seemed to know that whatever or whoever was causing the chaos was starting to get closer to the Library.
“I can’t take this anymore! I’m outta here!!”
They looked to see that one of the wizards had teleported out of the building.
“I agree with her. We should leave!”
“Everyone! GET OUT!!”
Poof! Poof! Poof! Poof!
Everyone else did the same until the only ones left were Victoria and Tyler. Victoria turned around to see that Tyler had a completely stunned look on his face.
“Tyler, we need to go,” she softly said.
He didn’t seem to notice his friend’s plea.
“Tyler? Hello? You there?”
More books and scrolls fell off their shelves while some tables jumped and fell violently to their sides. Victoria quickly glanced outside to see the street outside deserted.
"Hey! Come on!"
He still didn’t budge. As she tugged on one of his sleeves to get his attention, her anxiety seemed to grow.
“Tyler, let’s go!” she said while shaking his right arm.
But it was too late. Outside the tall windows of the library, Victoria saw that a giant figure with only one eye was peering into the Library. It wore a leather skirt and large brown sandals.
"Oh no. A Cyclops," Victoria whispered.
The Cyclops picked up a humungous stone hammer. It slowly raised the hammer above it's giant head. Victoria knew that it was about to swing—and that they were in the hammer’s path. Then the Cyclops roared angrily.
Victoria gasped as Tyler immediately pulled her towards him. He then held his left hand above their heads, and an Ice symbol was being traced in the air.
The stone hammer caused the walls in front of the duo to instantly crumble to the ground. Many of the bookcases were crushed by the rubble that fell on them, but it didn't seem to fall anywhere near the two wizards. When the hammer was about to him the two though, it crashed into an invisible barrier about their heads. But for some reason, the shield started to crack and soon it shattered from the blow. The remaining force of the hammer was strong enough to knock them down to the ground. Victoria was able to quickly get back up, but Tyler seemed to have the wind knocked out of him since it took him a second to recover.
The building was a mess. Most of what was in front of them was obscured by a cloud of dust, but they tell that nearly every section of the front of the Library was completely demolished.
"Too bad Ice Armor is only big enough to protect one or two people," Victoria said, trying not to breathe in the dirt.
She could hear Tyler coughing behind her.
“Get out of here. Now,” Tyler told her sternly between coughs.
Victoria turned around looked down on him, as though he said something insulting. Her emerald eyes seemed to shine with newfound anger and confusion.
“Are you crazy!? Not when you're like this,” she responded in an eerily quiet tone.
Victoria couldn't guess what Tyler was thinking since he kept coughing. Her expression softened when she held her hand out in front of him. When he stopped coughing, he grabbed it and was pulled up. When he let go, she held her right palm in the air. With another soft poof, the wand she had earlier instantly appeared in her hand.
"And besides, the Cyclops is over there," she said slowly, as though she was talking to a child.
Tyler glowered slightly at her, but nodded.
“HEY! No! Bad minion!”
They both turned around, surprised. They looked around the dust cloud to see where the voice came from. Victoria’s eyes grew wide when she looked towards the direction of the front of the building.
“Oh man! You gotta be kidding,” she groaned.
At first, the cloud of dust obscured their view. But after a couple of seconds, it finally started to settle. What they then saw in front of them was a Myth wizard, who was kicking the Cyclops’ large feet. The wizard seemed to be the same age as Tyler, but his appearance seemed to completely contrast from the male Thaumaturgist: He had black hair, very dark skin, and dark grey eyes, which now looked extremely furious. He was wearing black and red robes, shoes, and hat that looked like they were from Krokotopia. The wand in his hand had a golden cobra head on it.
Victoria let out a frustrated sigh, but Tyler seemed a little amused.
“Isn’t that your Myth friend, Michael Starstrider?”
She gave a curt nod.
“Why didn’t I guess that this had to do with him?” she whispered to herself.
The Cyclops, who seemed confused, stopped swinging his hammer. Instead, with its one eye, it was staring at Michael. It started scratching its head as though it was trying to figure out what was going on. But Michael seemed unaware of the minion’s pause. He continued to yell orders and kick the Cyclops’ feet.
“I don’t know. Maybe you don’t think too much,” Tyler chuckled.
Victoria’s expression showed nothing, but she quickly jabbed her elbow into his rib cage.
“Ack! Okay, maybe I went a little far with that,” he stated. He started to gingerly rub his ribs to get rid of the pain.
Victoria kept observing Michael, who started to look as though he wanted to tear the hair off of his head.
“Exactly how many times have Myth minions done this kind of damage now?” Victoria asked with slight curiosity.
“Depends. You only talking about the times this year alone?”
Again, Victoria sighed.
“Why do their minions always have to destroy at least one building..? I mean, it seems to happen almost every year here,” she whispered to herself.
What Victoria said was true. During the early months of autumn, when students were learning a new spell from their school of choice, many Conjurers were learning how to summon a new Minion for themselves. Usually, most of the students were able to control them. But some of them—usually the less talented students—would sometimes lose their ability to command them and the Minions would run amok in the city. People usually feared the times when Journeyman ranked Conjurers learned how to summon a Cyclops, since they were big enough to destroy buildings with their large hammers, just like the Cyclops in front of them did with the library.
“I know what you mean,” Tyler responded.
Victoria raised a white eyebrow at him.
“Where is this going?”
She didn’t need to ask the question to know what he was talking about. But it stilled worried her a little.
“Well, it seems that most of the damage done here that is not caused by rogue monsters is either because of Myth people’s minions or a Storm spell gone wrong. Since Starstrider there is obviously not Storm, it’s his minion’s fault.”
Victoria softly gulped.
Please don’t say it Tyler, she thought to herself, wincing.
“In fact, this is why I hate Myth! The teachers—well, mainly Professor Drake—never seem to care if they teach inexperienced students how to summon minions. Especially someone like Michael Starstrider. I mean, come on! We both know that he’s not exactly the brightest torch around here. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t understand how he even got into Ravenwood—”
As he was speaking, his voice got noticeably louder with each word, which caused Victoria’s eyes to grow wider every second out of utter shock. She soon started glancing back and forth between outside and her friend, who, at this point, was basically yelling his frustration out to himself. Quietly, she started to slowly back away from him while trying not to trip on any rubble that was near her feet. When she felt that she was far enough, she teleported away with a soft poof!
“—even though he can’t even seem to cast a simple Pixie spell properly! What is up with that!? Novices seem to do a better job at it than him! If you ask me, he should’ve been Storm. He’d fit in since he seems to fizzle so much. Not to mention he’s just as…”
Tyler froze in mid sentence when he started to notice how silence it was around him. It soon caught his attention that he was alone when he looked behind himself to see that Victoria had disappeared.
“Oh there you are Vi—”
He turned around, but instantly froze again. It wasn’t his friend he saw. Instead, it was Michael. And he didn’t seem too happy.
“Eh, um… Hey, what’s up?” Tyler said faintly and gulped.
Michael stayed silent while giving Tyler a chilling death glare. For a second, Tyler wondered if it was scarier than the one Victoria gave him half the time.
“You know, if you ask me,” Michael whispered in a cold mocking way, “you should be in Storm. You’d fit right in.”
Michael crossed his arms and silently looked at Tyler with the same chilling stare from before. Then Tyler looked behind Michael and noticed that the Cyclops minion was right behind the Myth wizard, staring at him with its one eye. Tyler thought that it seemed as mad as it’s master.
The Cyclops gave its full attention to its master in front of him now.
“Do what you wish with him,” Michael quietly said.
Yellow and blue light enveloped him as he teleported away. When he was gone, the light quickly faded. Only a few seconds later, the minion picked up the giant stone hammer and prepared to swing again.
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