|A voice came to me through whisper chat.
“Hey Jake. What’s up?”
“Wanna work on some quests in Krokotopia?”
“Sure. Shall I port?”
“Yep. Liam and Matt are here too.”
“Cool!” I teleported.
At once I appeared in the middle of a hot, dry desert, crammed with wizards who were desperately trying to cool down in the fierce heat of the perpetual sunshine. I was next to Jacob Ravencloud, my best friend at Ravenwood, Liam Dawnbreeze, a theurgist and Jake’s twin, and Matthew Fireshard, Liam’s best friend and a pyromancer. Matt was the only one who looked comfortable in this heat.
“Chamber of Fire?” said Liam with his trademark grin.
“Anything to get away from this heat!” I groaned. I was sweating already. My robe was meant to be perfect for a Krokotopian environment but nothing could stop Krok weather.
“Quit whining!” chipped in Matt. “I like it.”
“You’re a pyromancer. Professor Falmea’s son, even. You’re a weirdo!” laughed Liam.
“You can’t talk, flower pot!” retorted Matt.
“Okay, can we just go now?” Jake was getting impatient.
“Yeah, whatever,” I said, and started towards the Pyramid of the Sun.
“Is it me,” said Liam, “or does it smell really weird in here?”
“Must be the Nirinis,” shrugged Matt. “They have some serious hygiene issues.”
“I wonder where they go when they’re defeated,” said Jake thoughtfully.
“To the land of smelly Krokotopians!” decided Liam.
“Or the Oasis,” I said.
“The Oasis?” Matt looked skeptical. “You don’t see them having a chat to Sergeant Major Talbot very often.”
“What are you talking about? This is Krokotopia for Ambrose’s sake! There is no night!”
Jake finally defeated the last one with a quick leprechaun.
“Aw, no fair!” exclaimed Liam. “I was gonna get that one!”
“You should have got in the battle first then!”
“Ugh, another 15+ hat…” sighed Matt.
“I wish we’d level up. We have, like, hundreds of these things now.”
“So, who do we talk to now?” chipped in Liam.
“No idea,” said Matt.
“Who gave us that quest in the first place?”
“You could say that again.”
“You could say that again.”
“Gosh!” I yelled. “You guys are giving me a major headache here!”
Matt and Liam apologized in unison. Suddenly, Matt looked surprised.
“What’s up?” said Liam.
“Saffy needs help again.”
Saffron Winterglade was Matt’s little sister. She was also the news of Wizard City. Of course, there was a shock in store when everyone found out that Dalia Falmea’s daughter was a thaumaturge. Saffy, however, was completely oblivious to this, and was still a popular little kid in her ice classes.
“Okay, well, come with us and talk to… Whoever it is, and then you can help her. I’ll come with you, if you like.”
“Are you sure, Alexandra?”
“Yes Mr Lincoln. I’m sure.”
“You want to study Life rather than Death?”
“I think you mean, yes, Mr Lincoln.”
“Yes Mr Lincoln. Please Mr Lincoln.”
“Fine. Your training points have been returned. I would go and talk to Professor Wu for some tuition to get you up to standard.”
“Yes Mr Lincoln. Thank you Mr Lincoln.”
I ran to Ravenwood, whisper chatting to Jake on the way.
“Nice one Alex! Now all four of us will be in the same class!”
“Yeah, Life is totally cool.”
I pushed open the door of the Life School.
“Good afternoon Professor Wu.”
“Good afternoon Miss Stormrider.” I always found it a bit creepy how all the teachers knew everyone’s names. “What brings you here?”
“I’ve decided to study Life rather than Death from now on.”
“I am glad to hear this child. If you have felt this instinct from within, you have taken your first steps into theurgy. I assume you wish to take some extra classes to get up to standard?”
“Yes please, Professor.”
“How do you feel about…? Mondays and Thursdays, perhaps? Here, after school?”
“That’s fine, Professor. Thanks for your time.”
Moolinda Wu smiled as I walked out of the door.
She knew the girl just wanted have lessons with her friends. She shouldn’t really let her begin theurgy if her heart wasn’t in it. Yet she could see the girl showed a lot of promise. Maybe, one day, the girl could be a fine healer.
“Nat, if you don’t hurry up I’m going without you!” I said, exasperated.
“Alright, coming,” he said. He rubbed his eyes, and added, “Did I tell you I defeated Sergeant Skullsplitter yesterday? It was totally awesome, ‘cause me and Hunter asked Tom to help, y’know, Thomas Deathsong, the one in the initiate class, I think he’s level twelve, and then he brought his friend Ethan, and we just got him bad! It was sooo funny, and then Thomas used Banshee and it turned round and started yelling at him, and me and David tried to stop it, but it just kept on and on, and then Ethan cast this Seraph, and Sergeant Skullsplitter was just looking like, ‘What the heckhound?’ and we were laughing our decks off, it was so funny…”
“Yes, Nat. You have told me. Three times, in fact. Now let’s go.”
“Hey Alex!” cried Jake from beside Torrence, where there was a constant drizzle.
“Hi Jake,” I replied. We had Storm class first that day. We entered the school and found a pair of seats near the back. Halston Balestrom was bouncing around excitedly on his desk. He spotted up and leapt over a few stools to land on our desk.
“Welcome to the journeyman class, Miss Stormrider and Mr Ravencloud!” he smiled. We had finally leveled up when we’d turned in the quest we’d finished the day before. After we’d remembered who to talk to.
After bouncing back to the front desk, he addressed the class. “Good morning journeymen! I hope you have had an excellent weekend!”
There were a few murmurs of agreement.
“Any new level sixteens?” A few kids raised their hand.
“Excellent! A new spell for you all! Wonderful! Now, move the desks out of the way, and I will demonstrate a Kraken!” Jake and I looked at each other excitedly. The only Kraken we’d ever seen was the one that went on a rampage and managed to almost completely destroy the storm school last week.
Once the desks were out of the way, Halston Balestrom leapt off his desk and waved his arms enthusiastically, tracing the storm symbol. It fizzled.
“Oh,” he said, looking a bit embarrassed. “Let me show you again…” He traced it once more. Another fizzle. By this time, Halston Balestrom was looking more than a little embarrassed. There were a few snickers, mostly from the level nineteens in the corner. He looked at them sternly.
“I assume you want to show the class then, Mr Dragonrunner?”
Blaze Dragonrunner thought a lot of himself. He was a myth pupil, and both Jake and I had met him before. He was a friend of Reed Mythstrider, the kid who used to torment Jake with his Cyclops. He sneered at us, before stepping forward. “Fine, then.”
He cast a Kraken. It didn’t fizzle. It worked, all too well for my liking.
A lizard-like purple beast appeared, roaring ominously. The creature was slowly stepping off his rock and advancing on us. I caught Blaze’s cruel expression and knew that he was behind it.
Professor Balestrom, completely oblivious, bounced around cheerfully. “Excellent, Blaze!” he cried. “Keep it under control now…” he added after it roared again and waded through the water towards me and Jake. All the time the Kraken seemed to be glaring at us. I was frozen to the spot.
On the bright side, by that point, I had realized at least two things. 1 - Krakens were scary, and 2 - one of them wanted to kill us.
To my right, Jake stiffened. The Kraken was way too close for comfort now. It seemed that everyone else was completely unaware that within minutes we would be sea monster snacks. Actually, I wasn’t sure. ‘Did Krakens eat people?’ I thought. ‘Or just electrify them. That would be bad. Then again, we’re diviners. Electricity can’t hurt us. Can it? But it could drown us. Can storm wizards breathe underwater? We should be able to. I’ll try that sometime.’ I shook my head vigorously. Now was seriously not the time to be considering whether storm wizards could breathe underwater or not.
For the second time at Ravenwood, I grabbed Jake’s arm and pulled him between a monster’s legs as it was about to smash us into pieces. However, this time it was cold water there, not a space, so I ended up testing my theory after all.
Let’s just say it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.
Halston Balestrom was a bit disgruntled when we emerged from the water, dripping wet and freezing. On the bright side, he was even more disgruntled that a wall of the storm school had been knocked down twice in one month, which distracted him slightly from our wetness.
Blaze tried to sneak off when he’d realized that Professor Balestrom knew it was deliberate, but to no avail.
“Mr Dragonrunner!” shouted an annoyed frog voice. “I did not say that you were dismissed! Come back here this minute!” Jake and I exchanged a glance and snickered.
“I can’t wait till Matt and Liam hear this!” I grinned. I wasn’t affected by the water.
Nevertheless, Jake and I were sent to Professor Falmea to dry our robes, which was slightly embarrassing as we’d walked into the middle of a test for the kids in journeyman pyromancy. Matt and Liam cracked up. Naturally.
I’ll never forget Dalia Falmea’s expression.
“Ready for your first Life lesson?” said Jake.
“Sure!” I said. “Let’s do this.” Autumn, my level nineteen friend, had taught me how to cast both Imp and Leprechaun, some basic life spells, at the weekend. I couldn’t make them obey me like my thunder snake, but Autumn said that it wasn’t bad for a first attempt, even when the imp jumped on my head and squashed my Charged Helm.
We entered the classroom quietly, but the room was quite noisy, in a peaceful sort of way, however much that sounds like I’m contradicting myself. There were kids in green robes lazing over chairs and talking to each other, much more sociable than the death kids I was used to working with. It was nice. At the back were Matt and Liam, their conversation punctuated with laughter. Liam saw us first.
“Hey! You guys!” he yelled. “Dried off yet?”
Matt grinned and added “How the heckhound did you end up dripping all over the fire school?”
We sat beside them. “It’s a long story,” said Jake, “and Alex can tell it.”
“Because you got us into it!”
“How did I?”
“You dragged me underneath the stupid thing!”
Liam held his hands up. “Wait. Hold it,” he said. “Dragged him under what?”
“A Kraken?” Matt echoed.
“Yes. A Kraken.”
“And before you ask, yes, the terrible trio was behind it. Well, one of them,” added Jake.
“Our fine friend Reed?”
“Nope, Blaze the Bu—” I started.
“Mm-hmm, lovely Blaze,” interrupted Matt smoothly.
“Yeah, him. He summoned a Kraken.”
“Which attacked you and then destroyed half the Storm school,” he said sarcastically.
“Good morning, students.” The soft voice of Moolinda Wu silenced us. Her voice was soft and musical, but authoritative at the same time.
“As Theurgists, it is up to us to preserve the beauty of nature. I appreciate that most of you have heard this from me many times before, but I cannot stress the importance of this, especially now, when there is a darkness overshadowing the Spiral… But maybe I am looking at the true savior of the Spiral now.”
Perhaps it was my imagination, which is, incidentally, extremely overactive, but I could have sworn she was looking directly at Jake when she said that.
“Nevertheless, as Theurgists, we should overlook this, we should bring light to the Spiral, for without Life, there would be no Death, or any magic.” There were murmurs of agreement across the room. She smiled serenely.
Jake was clearly concentrating one heckhound of a lot harder than everyone else. Liam and Matt were playing hangman on a piece of paper. Me? I was listening. I just happened to notice how cool the ceiling was at that point.
“You all know that Life is the study of the energy that resides in all living creatures. We can use this to enhance the growth in anything. Let me show you.” Moolinda Wu picked up a plant pot with a pathetic shrub in the center. She waved her hands – well, hooves – weaving a delicate pattern in the air, the life symbol. She muttered a few mysterious words in her musical voice and the plant blossomed before our eyes, stretching its leafy limbs and sprouting pink and purple flowers. She looked up and smiled.
“As theurgists, we must always strive…” I think this was where I got distracted. Who could blame me – Matt had managed to set the end of his quill on fire. “Whoops,” he mumbled. Liam was trying to discreetly whack it out with the edge of his robe, with no success. I quickly took out my wand, trying to make a little water come out of the end of it. I shook it. Water splattered all over a surprised Liam and the girls at the desk in front of us. “Watch it!” Liam hissed.
Autumn Willowbreeze, sitting in front of us, turned around, frowning. I think she was surprised to see me. “You leveled up?” she mouthed. I nodded. “Nice,” whooshed a voice to me through whisper chat. “But try not to soak me. What happened?” I made a face.
“Matt set his quill on fire,” I explained through my head.
“Matt? The fire one?”
She smiled and turned back around, rolling her eyes. “Typical pyromancer.”
Moolinda Wu was still speaking, I realized guiltily. “Today we will be practicing making things grow. This may not be a spell you need to know in dueling, but it will surely help you develop your control of the life energies under your command.” Ok. So, how does one do that?
“Collect withered flowers from the front. If you need any guidance, feel free to ask. Also, before I forget, may I see Miss Stormrider please?”
I walked to the front of the classroom somewhat awkwardly, despite being carried with the crowd of cheerful theurgists. Moolinda Wu beckoned me to the side. “Miss Stormrider, am I right in thinking you are unskilled in life at the moment?”
I thought. “I can cast an imp,” I said. “And leprechaun. Sort of.”
Moolinda Wu nodded. “Could you show me?”
I nodded in response and took out my wand. Moolinda Wu handed me a leprechaun card. I waved my wand. Fizzle. I went a bit pink. Life spells were known for their accuracy. I waved it again, and around my feet grew green grass. A rainbow appeared and a dwarf-sized man in green slid down it, muttering something incomprehensible. He did a little dance at the end and threw gold everywhere. A few theurgists at the front turned to look at me in surprise. The leprechaun gave me a glare and disappeared.
“Not bad. I still think we need some lessons, though. Tomorrow, after class, if you wouldn’t mind, Miss Stormrider.” I returned to my seat, a little embarrassed.
Liam’s plant was growing as we watched it, stretching further and further towards the ceiling. Jake wasn’t doing badly; his plant was slightly weedier than Liam’s magnificent blooms though. Matt was trying. The plant was green, but drooping slightly. He prodded it with his wand. It burst into flames.
“Oops,” he mumbled. “Guess I’m not too good at this flower lark.”
“Do try to control your flair for pyromancy Mr Fireshard,” came the reprimanding but light voice of Moolinda Wu. With a flick of her hoof, the plant was back to its original withered state, exactly the same as mine.
I waved my wand a little. A spark flew out of the end. I put down my wand. I didn’t want my plant to suffer the same fate as Matt’s. I had an idea. Picking up my wand again, I cast an imp. I pointed to the flower. The imp gave me a confused look which soon shifted to a mischievous grin, and he started picking leaves off the plant. I quickly grabbed him by the ears and pulled him off. He gave me one last glare of resentment before disappearing. Not such a great idea.
There was a sudden knock at the door, startling me. I whipped my head around to see Merle Ambrose entering the room. He cleared his throat authoritatively, and the room fell silent.
“Could I see Mr Ravencloud and Mr Dawnbreeze, please?”
Liam and Jake exchanged a look. Were they hiding something? Did they know something Matt and I didn’t? They got up and left the room as suddenly as Merle Ambrose entered.
“What was all that about?” hissed Matt in my ear.
“No idea…” I replied. “We’d better interrogate them when they get back, right?”
“You bet!” Matt grinned. He started prodding his plant again, more gently this time. I tried the same. Nothing.
“Can’t I just pretend Liam’s one is mine?” I moaned. I was hopeless at this. My plant seemed to droop further.
“Don’t we all wish that?” replied Matt. “It’s a tough life for us non-theurgists.” He continued poking his plant somewhat dejectedly. It sprouted a little.
I sighed. A leaf fell off my plant. I picked it up and promptly dropped it. Matt smiled, barely suppressing his laughter.
“Quit laughing!” I demanded playfully.
“Jake! Jake! JAKE!” I yelled through whisper chat.
“Alex, I’m busy. Go away.”
“What are you doing? You can’t be that busy. Can you?”
“Oh, just shut up.” He seemed to tune out from then on. Matt turned towards me.
“Anything from Liam?” I enquired.
“Nope. Nothing,” he sighed. “He just keeps saying he’s busy. Probably playing tag with an imp or something.”
Suddenly, there was a swirl of pale blue snowflakes and an icy breeze whistled past. A short thaumaturge with blue hair and a perky smile appeared in front of Matt.
“Hi Matt!” she piped.
“Hey Saffy. What’s up?”
Saffron Winterglade, level eight ice wizard, smiled up at her big brother. “Not much…”
“I can feel a ‘but’ coming up here,” Matt grinned.
“But—” she giggled.
“Told you so,” smiled Matt.
“I’m a little stuck on Firecat Alley. Bastilla Gravewynd is really hard, remember?”
“Alright, I’ll lend a hand. Coming, Alex?”
I grinned. “You bet.”
“Thank you Matt!” squealed Saffy. “You’re the bestest big brother ever!”
I almost cracked up when Matt went red.
There was a girl outside the tower when we arrived.
She was tall and willowy, with black hair in a ponytail. I hadn’t seen her around before. Her aloof expression reminded me of Reed Mythstrider, the resident conjurer bully. Her robes were unusual; they looked as though they were made of silk, dyed pale blue with a deeper midnight blue trim. Saffy ran up to her eagerly.
“Kymma!” she cried. “Are you on this quest too? That’s amazing!” She turned to me and Matt. “This is Kymma Frostleaf. She’s my best friend, and she’s the best in our class. She can cast Evil Snowman already!”
“Hello,” said Kymma Frostleaf. She sounded friendly enough, but there was an air about her – a sense I couldn’t quite place. Perhaps her eyes were too narrow, her voice too smooth.
“I thought mom said—” began Matt, frowning.
“It doesn’t matter.” Saffy looked a little annoyed.
“So, are we gonna do this or what?” I tried to be cheerful whilst wondering what Dalia Falmea had said about this Kymma.
“Yeah!” bounced Saffy, excited as usual.
We stood on the sigil and went in.
It was an easy battle for us journeymen. Bastilla Gravewynd wasn’t the hardest of bosses, so Matt and I didn’t need to worry.
I cast a Storm blade as I whisper chatted to Matt: “What were you gonna say outside?”
“About what your mom said. When we met Kymma.”
“Oh. Mom doesn’t want Saffy to hang around with her.”
I was caught off guard by a dark sprite which pushed me over. I got back up again to Saffy’s giggles and Matt’s somewhat guilty reply of: “I don’t actually know.”
“Didn’t you ask her about it?”
“Yeah, but she wouldn’t say. You know my mom, terrible temper.”
“That’s where you get it.”
“Oh, shut up.”
“Eh, you’re alright. Sometimes.”
“All I know about this Kymma is that she’s an orphan. Lives alone in her dorm. Seconds in death.”
“Yes, death. It’s a bit odd, isn’t it? Most thaumaturges go for a high attack school, fire or storm.” Right on cue, he waved his wand and a sunbird appeared, attacking a minion.
“S’pose it’s up to them, though.” I cast a storm shark at Bastilla Gravewynd, who screamed and fell into the ground.
“Bastilla’s Deadly Choker!” I said out loud. My head was aching from whisper chat by then. “Brilliant! It gives me two death traps!”
“Nice,” grinned Matt. “Except – you don’t take death anymore!”
“Oh… Yeah…” I remembered.
“So you won’t need it. You can sell it at the bazaar.”
I considered it. “Actually,” I said, thinking out loud, “it’s Nat’s birthday next week. I could give it to him.”
“You’re way too nice,” said Matt, shaking his head. “If I got some brilliant ice gear for level 5+… I’d sell it!”
“No you wouldn’t!” cried Saffy. “That’s not fair!” She ran up to him and buried her head in his robes.
“Just kidding, Saffy, just kidding…” Somehow she managed to climb onto his back. “You want a ride, huh?” Matt started running around making dragon noises. I laughed.
“Well, I’m going,” began Kymma. She started towards the door.
“Wait for meee!” cried Saffy, sliding off Matt’s back and sprinting after her. They disappeared out of the door together.
“Not even a thank you!” said Matt mock-indignantly. “Kids these days…”
I laughed loudly. Matt never failed to make me crack up.
“Talking of rude kids,” he continued, in a more serious tone, “we should go find the terrible twins!”
“Yeah, I guess.” I tried to whisper chat to Jake. “Jake! JAKE!”
“Ouch, Alex. Do you have to yell?”
“Yes! Where have you been? Where are you now?”
“I’m in the Commons. With Liam. Port.”
Matt and I turned to each other and said at exactly the same time “They’re in the Commons.” Simultaneously, we teleported.
“Jake! Liam! What happened? What did he say? Where did you go? What did you do? Why did you take so long? We went all the way to Firecat Alley! And back! When did you get out? How did it go? Did you—”
Liam held up his hands. “Whoa. Whoa. Slow down, Alex. You’re a regular twister sometimes!”
“Make that all the time,” added Jake.
“What were you doing?” asked Matt.
“Headmaster Ambrose wanted to speak to us.”
Matt frowned. “And it took you an hour?”
“What was he talking about?” I demanded. “Were you in his office? Did you do something wrong?”
“Nothing much, yes, and no.” Liam was grinning.
“What’s ‘nothing much’?”
“Well, he had to be talking about something!”
“He was talking about—”
Jake interrupted. “We’re not supposed to tell anyone!”
“We can tell these guys!”
“But Headmaster Ambrose said…”
“Stop being such a wimp. These guys won’t tell anyone! You won’t, right?”
I shook my head vigorously.
“Well—” Liam stopped abruptly. “Good afternoon Headmaster.”
I turned around quickly to see an elderly bearded man. Merle Ambrose was directly behind me.
“I hope you weren’t about to divulge your secret, Mr Dawnbreeze.” Ambrose looked stern.
“Not at all, Headmaster. Wouldn’t dream of it, Headmaster.”
“Good, good. Just remember that I am always watching… Or Gamma is, anyway.”
“Now, follow me. Yes, both of you. I have some things to give you.”
Both Jake and Liam looked uncomfortable as they were taken into Ambrose’s office.
“What is up with that?” Matt asked in confusion.
“Please tell me, Jake. I promise I won’t tell. Honest. Please. Pretty please. Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top.”
“No. No, no, no, no, no. I can’t tell you. I’d like to, but I’m not allowed. Now quit bugging me about it!”
“Oh, but please Jake. I promise promise promise I won’t tell!”
“No! How many times do I have to tell you?”
“Jake, I’m your best friend. You can trust me.”
“I’m sorry, Alex. I can’t tell you.”
“Fine. I’ll ask Liam then.”
“Please tell me, Liam. I promise I won’t tell. Honest. Please. Pretty please. Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top.”
“Look, seriously, Alex. I’ve told you. Ambrose will kill us if we tell you. Maybe one day, but not now, okay?”
“But why not?”
“Because Ambrose will kill us.”
“Did you tell Matt? Because I’ll ask him then.”
“No, I didn’t tell Matt.”
I was reminding myself of a bratty toddler at this point, or Nat in one of his strops. I decided to sit down and cool off. Triton Avenue.
I hadn’t been there for a while. I’d been busy trying to get into Krokotopia. And then out of Krokotopia. Now I was there I couldn’t wait to see the back of the place. It was hot, and when I got hot, I got stressed out. What can I say? I’m a diviner.
A voice floated into my head – Matt’s voice. “Got anything out of them yet?”
“Nothing,” I sighed.
“Same here. I reckon my mom will know something about it. I’ll ask her…” The voice floated away again.
It must be something pretty big if they can’t tell anyone. Maybe something… Spiral-wide. Something really major. Maybe it wasn’t my imagination when Moolinda Wu looked like she was looking at Jake when she said about the ‘true savior of the Spiral’. Maybe Jake and Liam were destined to save the spiral. Maybe… Maybe they were in the prophecy Ambrose mentioned a few weeks ago, when I had that detention with the Mythstrider kid!
“She does know something about it!” yelled Matt triumphantly in my head.
“What did she say?”
“She told me to mind my own business.”
“She knows but she won’t tell me. It’s so unfair…”
Matt was interrupted by another voice.
“What is it now, Nat?”
“Can you help me?”
“Lord Nightshade! Me and Hunter just got there!”
“Hunter and I…” He still hadn’t got the hang of basic grammar.
“Whatever. Can you help?”
“Yeah, yeah, fine, whatever.” I teleported to him. He was standing right in the middle of Haunted Cave. I ran to the sidewalk. “You could have told me you were in the middle!”
“I could have, yeah…”
Hunter Ghostblood was standing outside Nightshade’s tower. “Nathaniel,” he said. “Can we just do this, now?”
“Yeah, Nathaniel,” I said, teasing him. “Let’s just go and finish this. Nathaniel.”
He grumbled something rude under his breath as, for the second time that day, I stood on the sigils.
I waved my wand; my arms were tiring now. A trio of angry lightning bats appeared and swooped down over Lord Nightshade, who cringed in pain. Hunter cast a Dream Shield on Nat. Nat cast a Thermic Shield on Hunter. Lord Nightshade stepped into the circle and I felt the life drain out of me. The next round was easy; it wasn’t mana-consuming to cast the final wand spell which would let my little brother into Krokotopia.
“Yes!” yelled Nat and Hunter simultaneously. I smiled, remembering the day Jake and I had done the very same thing after finishing this quest.
“Thanks Alex!” cried Nat. He teleported to the Commons so quickly it was a small wonder I saw him turn as he disappeared.
It was an easy battle, if I was honest. I sighed to myself, wishing I could get some of my own quests done. I wondered what the other three were doing now. Jake and Liam were probably still running around after Ambrose.
Then a voice I’d heard a lot of that day suddenly came into my head.
“I’ve had an idea.”
Merle Ambrose spent a lot of time thinking. Today, however, he had thought far too much. He rubbed his forehead as though it would stimulate his musings.
He sighed as he, again, picked up the crumpled old parchment on his desk. It was torn at the bottom, as though the paper had been ripped in half. Ambrose seemed to remember this as he fingered the tear. His face reflected the regret and frustration he was feeling.
“Gamma,” he finally managed to croak. “I leave tonight. I will be back within a few days.”
“Headmaster,” hooted Gamma, and if owls could show concern in their facial expression he would have done so. “Is this really necessary? It’s far. The journey alone…” Gamma left the threat hanging.
There was a long silence. Ambrose broke it with an exhausted, “I know”. They exchanged a glance.
“Headmaster, without you, the future of Ravenwood is precarious. You know barely anything about this world. To send students there would be… Do you know the consequences of quests that are too dangerous?”
“Are you questioning my knowledge of teaching? This is why I must travel there first! It could be the home of the magic we seek. Imagine how much further magic could advance!” Ambrose’s voice was fierce, and any trace of tiredness had gone.
“Very well, Headmaster.” Gamma flew away, defeated.
Headmaster Ambrose left the room. A few books rearranged themselves on their shelves, and there was silence.
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