I awoke to the sound of children running around and talking. Where was it coming from? I slowly opened my eyes. The room was so bright. I wished I could use my new magic to make the room darker. I was so sleepy… Wait. How could it be bright? That meant it was morning!
I jumped up, forgetting that I was tired. I was going to be late for class! I quickly grabbed my Helm of Hailstones, Snowstalkers, and Cloak of Heart and forced them on. As far as I knew, there was no clock in my room and I didn’t know what time school started anyway. So, all I could do was hurry downstairs and find out how late I was.
Rowan Willowleaf was playing with a sprite that she had obviously conjured up. When she saw me, she gasped and said “Sierra, did you just now wake up? I’m leaving in 5 minutes! There are already many kids outside.”
I grinned and replied, “How could you tell that I just woke up?”
“Well, if you had bothered to brush your hair, then maybe I wouldn’t have noticed.”
“Oh.” Was my hair really that bad?
“Um, are you going to stand there all day? If you don’t want to be late then you’d better hurry!”
I groaned. “How can I possibly get all my spell cards together, eat breakfast, find my wand, brush my hair, and get to school on time?”
As Rowan shrugged, Angela Unicornrider, my mother, walked in. She too appeared very surprised when she saw me.
“Oh no, what happened? Sierra, why isn’t your hair brushed?”
“I just woke up.”
“What!” She exclaimed. She shook her head. “Well, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do anything today… but I guess I’ll have to help.” Then, she waved her hand at the hair brush, and it began to magically brush my hair for me. The large pile of cards that had been lying on the table suddenly arranged their selves into a perfect pile. “I’ll go look for your wand. You eat.”
I was still staring dumbfounded at the spell deck and the floating hairbrush. “You can do that? Then why don’t I sleep in every morning!”
“Because it’s tiring,” answered Mom.
I glanced at Rowan, who was smiling ominously at me. “Did you know that she could do that?”
She nodded. “Mom has done it thousands of times for me. It has gotten us out of tight spots sometimes. So, you better start eating. I would usually be leaving now, but I’ll wait for you.”
So I began eating breakfast. As I was eating, I thought about the first day I came here, a weak novice. I hadn’t had a family. I only had lived in an orphanage in a world called Earth that was far away from my real family. I was so happy when I finally found out I had a mom, a dad, and a sister.
Of course, now I had managed to get all the way to level 13, but Rowan still was superior to me. At level 15, she could defeat me still. But I was gaining on her fast. My experience points were getting very high. I would level up very soon.
It also helped that yesterday I had defeated the Kraken in Triton Avenue. The guy who had given me the quest helped a lot by handing out tons of experience. And the Kraken had been easy! So many other wizards had been there to help.
I finished my breakfast, and Rowan and I headed out to class. We separated when we arrived in Ravenwood.
She went off to Journeyman Life Magic, and I went to Initiate Ice Magic.
Lydia Greyrose, or as students called her Professor Greyrose, was already handing back our scores on the test yesterday. Though I was nervous, I soon found out I didn’t have to be. I saw a huge “A+” on the front. I had passed with flying colors.
After a long class of the same boring stuff we did every day, the bell rang and I had to walk to Initiate Death Magic. After a class in which we once more practiced Banshee, I finally was free. I met Rowan in front of Bartleby.
“How was school today?” she inquired.
“The usual,” I answered.
“You ready to go to Colosolous Boulevard?”
“Sure!” I couldn’t go to Colosolous Boulevard yet. I had to teleport to Rowan to get there. I loved it though. It was icy and cold, just like a nice winter day on Earth. But here in Wizard City, it never snowed.
Only in places like Colosolous Boulevard you ever saw snow.
So we were ready to go. We walked through the Shopping District, which was really crowded. It was always busy around this time, right after all the kids had gotten out of school. They were either going to buy new clothes since they leveled up, doing quests, or trying to get to Olde Town or Colosolous Boulevard.
Finally we fought our way to the boulevard. Rowan went right on in, uninvited. I attempted to follow her, but as usual the guard stopped me. I teleported to Rowan.
I always loved being in here, feeling the cold on my arms and legs! I rolled up my sleeves. Rowan glanced at me. “You’re crazy,” she always said. “How can you stand such cold?” But to me this wonderful cold felt like a warm, sunny day to most people. And I knew I wasn’t alone. I had seen other ice wizards in here that felt the exact same way.
Since Rowan was cold, she summoned a Fire Cat to warm herself up. It melted some of the snow around us, but as we moved along the snow formed again. That proved how cold it was in here!
I loved this world. I finally fit in! First of all, in the other world my hair had been strange. My hair was blue, which made me even more freakish on Earth. I was so embarrassed by it that I dyed my hair brown to keep from getting made fun of. Here in Wizard City, I had seen the strangest colors, including pink and purple. Now it was normal!
Second, I always have had strange powers. And third, I didn’t have a family on Earth.
We walked over to see Mindy Pixiecrown. I tapped my foot impatiently as Mindy told Rowan to do some kind of quest. When she was finally done, she came over to me and said, “I have to battle gobblers.”
“Gobblers? You mean those green things that are all over the place?”
“Yep, that’s right. Will you help me?”
“Of course I will.”
We went off in search of some Gobblers. It didn’t take us very long. We battled so much that day that my mana ran out 6 times! I had plenty of potions though, and we went to the Mini Game Fairgrounds a couple of times. We were battling hard and by the end of the day, we were both exhausted.
“How… many more… do you… need?” I asked between breaths.
“None.” She replied. She wasn’t nearly as tired as me. She had just come back from a trip to the Fairgrounds, but I had stayed behind to feel the icy weather. “Actually, I haven’t needed any for a long time. I thought it was fun fighting them!”
“Oh, really?” Even though I should have been, I wasn’t mad at her. I had thought it had been a fun day too.
“Yeah, sorry. We should be getting back now.”
Unfortunately, on the way back I got engaged in a battle against two gobblers. “I don’t need any help,” I told Rowan. “Go on ahead of me.”
She did, and I was left alone to finish off these monsters. It didn’t take very long; I only had to use Snow Serpent a couple of times and they were goners. But these ones seemed different somehow. It seemed as if these gobblers were intelligent. Their moves made sense, and they weren’t constantly eating in the middle of the battle.
I guess it didn’t matter in the end, because I still easily defeated them, even if they were smarter than the average gobbler and I was low on health and mana. I began to head in Mindy’s direction, when I noticed something shiny lying on the ground where the second gobbler had been defeated. After making sure no monsters were about to drag me into a battle, I hurried across the street and picked it up. It looked like some kind of bronze key. I couldn’t examine it any more though, because an evil snowman had just rounded the corner and he looked like he wanted to fight. Besides, evil snowmen were hard because we both resisted each other’s attacks.
I met up with Rowan at the entrance of the boulevard. She noticed the key in my hand. “What’s that?” she questioned.
“Um, I’m not really sure… one of the gobblers had it. It looks like a key of some sort, doesn’t it? I can’t imagine what it would open.”
“Strange. Do you suppose it might be for one of the buildings in Wizard City?”
“I don’t think so. How would a gobbler get a key to something in Wizard City?”
“I have no idea. I’m just trying to brainstorm.”
“Well maybe we should go home. We’ve been out all day and I have homework.” Plus, I was very, very tired.
The next day we went back to Colosolous Boulevard again to try and find out what the key was for. Poor Rowan tried to help me as much as she could, but Mindy was sending her on too many quests, not to mention the others in Colosolous Boulevard that wanted help.
“Don’t worry,” I finally told her when she was trying to unlock a door and battle an evil snowman at the same time. “I can find it myself.”
She looked at me doubtfully, but didn’t say anything. She threw me the key and continued on with her battle. I looked all over the boulevard but couldn’t find anywhere that the key seemed to fit into. It was hopeless, until I came upon the final destination that I could think of: Gobblestone Castle.
I highly doubted that the key would work here, since this door was always open and wizards came in here daily to try and convince the gobbler king to leave. Not to mention they came in here sometimes just to annoy the gobbler prince and to fight him.
I approached the castle. It was large and ominous, but it rarely managed to scare anyone. To think that the gobblers got to live in such a magnificent place, stuffing their fat faces all the day away… it just made me angry.
The door was closed, so I just inserted the key in the door. And sure enough, when I turned it, it worked!
I looked suspiciously around, as if I were doing something wrong and didn’t want anyone else to see. I turned the lock again, and the lock clicked open.
I tried to open the doors. Strange, they seemed heavier than usual. After a lot of struggling, I finally opened it just wide enough for me to fit though. Now I was glad Rowan wasn’t here. It would have been hard for us to both fit through, especially since the heavy doors closed right behind me after I entered.
This didn’t look anything like Gobblestone Castle. It seemed even bigger than before, and there was no longer a passageway at my left leading up to the king. The floors were no longer black and white; they were now sky blue tiles, just like the ice school color. There weren’t boxes of pies and other treats stacked up high to the ceiling either. The entire place seemed empty and deserted.
“Hello?” I called out. “Is anyone here?” My voice echoed off the walls of the quiet hallway.
All was still and silent, so I was about to walk out the door again. Suddenly I heard something. It was soft voices, even quieter than a whisper. I couldn’t make out what they were saying.
“Who’s there? Show yourself!” I tried to tell the voices, but they kept getting louder, as if they were coming closer and closer…
Now all I heard was a loud mix of voices, all together. No longer were they quiet. Now they were so loud that I couldn’t stand it.
I hurried to the closed door, but it was locked and I saw no keyhole that I could use the bronze key in.
Now I was panicking! I turned around and my eyes swept the open space. I held my wand high, ready for a fight. Now that I cared to listen, I finally could understand what they were saying: “Winterbreeze.” My last name.
“How do you know who I am?” I shouted. “Go away! Leave me alone!”
The strange disembodied voices only continued their chanting.
I covered my ears, but I could still hear them as clearly as if they were right beside me. I gave up and sank to my knees. I began to cry, adding to the loud chorus of noise.
Then, after sobbing for a long time, the voices seemed to fade away. They were becoming quieter again. I didn’t care. It only made me cry louder, because now I was going to be all alone in this silent castle. What in the world was going on?
Suddenly, I felt an arm rest on me. I stopped crying immediately and stood up, wand ready. The monster was obviously here.
Instead of a monster, there was a giant there. An ice giant, like the ones I had seen at level 6 for my spell quest. Except this one was smaller. Much smaller. He was only a tiny bit taller than me.
“Sierra Winterbreeze.” He smiled such a warm smile that I had to lower my wand. How could this guy be an enemy? Weren’t ice giants supposed to be the good guys? “We are honored to have you here as our special guest.”
Our? We? What was he talking about? We were the only ones here. “Um, who are you?” I asked.
“My name is not important. I am one of the great ice giants, but I was banned from the sky long ago because of my size. I was sent here, to guard the Tower of Lost Memories.”
“The Tower of Lost Memories.” I repeated. I looked around. “So that is what this place is called. What happened to Gobblestone Castle?”
“It is still here. You used the Key of Frost on the door and opened the tower.”
“Okay… well I’d better be going. Bye!” I tried to walk out the door, but the giant blocked my way.
“Oh no, you can’t leave now, Winterbreeze. You are the ice Seeker of Light, and we need you here.”
I looked at him doubtfully. “I think you have the wrong person. I’m only an initiate ice wizard from Earth. I hardly know anything about Wizard City yet, and I can’t even get into Colosolous Boulevard without my sister’s help! Get a master or someone to help you.”
“The magic you know now does not matter, only the magic you will learn.”
“Sure, sounds great. You know, I’d love to listen to you go on and on about some weird ‘seeker of light’ stuff but right now I don’t have time. My sister will be looking for me. Can you open the door?”
“Only the keeper of the key can open the door.”
“Stop talking in riddles! If you need the key to open the door, then you can have it.”
“I cannot, for I am not the keeper of the key.”
“Hey, are you sure that the only reason the giants banished you from the sky was because of your size?
Because you seem pretty annoying, and I think that if any normal person heard you, then they would, um, you know… banish you or whatever.”
The giant’s face stayed stoic, not showing any emotion. “Do not insult me, Sierra Winterbreeze, or you will see the true extent of the giants’ power.”
“Ok, got it.” I said, backing away. I didn’t want to mess with this guy. Even though he was tiny for a giant, he was still larger than me and could win in a physical fight easily.
He did not say anything after that, and I waited for a long time, just staring into that expressionless face of his. Finally, I said “Who is the keeper of the key then?”
“Me? But how can I possibly open a door without a lock?”
“It will be revealed to you when you learn the truth.” I waited for him to say more, but he didn’t. I yelled in frustration. I wanted to throw my wand across the room, but I decided against it. I had tried that once before, and the wand had broken in half. I couldn’t cast magic for a week because I had to save up to buy a new wand. And that is very hard to do if you can’t battle monsters.
“Okay. Um, can you pretty, pretty please tell me whatever you want to tell me? I really just want to get out of here!”
“Fine. Come here.” He motioned for me to follow him into the wide open hall.
When I did, he said, “Try to touch this wall here.” He pointed to a completely ordinary looking wall.
“Sure…” I said as I obeyed. I didn’t understand any of this. Oh why had I been so curious at what the key did?
But the moment my hand touched the wall, images appeared in the air. They flickered to life like a broken television screen. Even when the image finally became clear enough to see, the pictures were still blurry. On the strange floating screen, I saw a face that was very familiar to me: Angela Unicornrider. My mother. In her arms she held a baby. What was I viewing? Was this the present? Near future? Or past?
The giant seemed to read my mind. “This is the past,” he said.
“That baby is you when you were 6 days old.”
“Six days old…” Why did that age sound familiar to me?
Angela rocked me a few times. Then Caleb Frostsong, my father, came into the picture. He said something, but this weird video had no sound. Angela replied, and then set me down in the baby carriage in front of her. The two walked out of the picture.
Now I was alone. I was waving my arms around, and I guessed I must have been giggling. Then all of a sudden, I was gone. The image became extremely blurry again, like at the beginning of this strange scene. But this was not over yet. Now it was me as a baby again, somewhere strange. It must have still been inside the house. Then I disappeared again and the screen changed again. I was beside a hot burning stove somewhere. I decided that I must be teleporting. How else could I be going such distances?
Suddenly, the curious baby Sierra reached up to the burner. “No!” I shouted out, as if that could change anything.
The poor baby touched the fire, and it turned to ice.
I was stunned. How could that happen? No matter what, whenever any ice wizard tried to freeze fire, the ice melted into water. We had been told that multiple times in Initiate Ice Magic. So how can a baby possibly do that?
“As I said, you have amazing potential. You are the ice Seeker.”
I just continued to look at the screen. Now my younger self was disappearing and reappearing again. I was in a garden, by a dog, in the middle of a dueling circle, out in some desert somewhere which from the picture
I estimated was Krokotopia. I could teleport to Krokotopia? I should have tried that a long time ago!
The baby was teleporting all over the place. Just as I figured out where she was, baby Sierra just teleported once more. After teleporting off the top of a building, the strange unclearness lasted a lot longer than usual. I waited and waited to see where I was, but nothing happened. Was that the end?
“No, it is not the end,” the giant said. How could he read my mind so accurately?
In the blur, I thought I saw a face. But as quickly as it had come it had left. That face hadn’t looked friendly at all. Who had it been? Maybe a giant? I didn’t think that a giant would look so… so… well, evil.
Then, finally, the blur went away. I was in a crowded street. People were gasping at the baby that had just appeared. A car was coming along, and just before it was going to hit me, I teleported again.
“A car…” I said aloud. Was I in Marleybone then? But no, I couldn’t be. The people on the street had been wizards, not dogs…
Or had they been humans?
At that same moment I remembered why 6 days old was such an important date. It was the day I had teleported to Earth!
So I hadn’t gone directly to the beach. This footage proved that I had indeed teleported to Earth by accident, and that I had gone through a lot before I finally wound up on the beach and got taken away by the owners of the orphanage. How I had hated that place! Even thinking about it now brought up so much resent in me that I couldn’t even think straight. And John. He had been the worst of them all.
Finally, the image faded away and the screen was gone.
The giant turned to me. “Did you notice anything strange about this memory, Sierra Winterbreeze?”
“Well, yes. Actually a lot of it. First, the fire turning to ice. Second, that long period when the screen was unclear.”
“Yes, but did you notice anything extra strange about the time in which the screen was blurry?”
“Did you mean that face?”
The giant nodded. “Yes. What do you think it was?”
“I’m not completely sure. It just didn’t look very nice. Do you know that person? And why was it in there?”
“Yes, I do, but that is for you to find out.”
“Oh come on! Can you at least tell me if you know that person? Or at least give me some kind of hint!”
“I do know him, too well to my liking. And you know him too, just as all of Wizard City does.”
I had no idea who he was talking about.
“Well Winterbreeze, are you ready for your task?”
“As a Seeker, we need your help.”
I sighed. Of course, this amazing experience was just going to end in a quest. “Fine, what do you need?”
“We need you to find the other Seekers. There is one for each school. They will each have their own version of the Tower of Lost Memories in which they will be awakened. The first one we need you to find is our fire chosen one. Her name is Sydney Jadehammer.”
Sydney Jadehammer. Where could I find her? How could I possibly find someone I’ve never even met before! I didn’t even know her level. What if she was a grandmaster, and all the way in MooShu or Dragonspyre?
“Do not doubt yourself, Sierra Winterbreeze. You will find her.”
“Fine. But what exactly is a Seeker or whatever you called it?”
“The Seekers of Light are the ones whose lives have been affected by dark magic. You are to one day join forces and defeat Wizard City’s greatest evil, the one who the giants are forbidden to talk about… I think you know who I’m talking about anyway, don’t you?”
Of course I did. Malistaire.
“Because you have came here and been awakened, you now have your full power. If you wanted to, you could now freeze fire like your younger self did. Now you may go. You should be able to see the lock now. Good luck, Sierra Winterbreeze!”
“Thank you, almighty powerful giant!” I called back. I think he was flattered by how I used “almighty” and “powerful.” Luckily he hadn’t heard the sarcasm in my voice.
When I went to the door once more, there was indeed a lock there now, and when I turned it, the heavy
doors slid open by themselves. No need to do it myself this time!
I began to run as soon as I was out of the tower. I looked back over my shoulder as I was running to the sidewalk, and I only saw Gobblestone Castle.
I wondered how long I had been gone. It must have been at least an hour, more than enough time for my family to become worried about me. Ever since I came back from Earth, they had been too protective.
I was running and I ran straight into a lower leveled storm wizard. “Sorry!” I called back over my shoulder. I couldn’t stop now. I didn’t want my entire family to get all worked up over nothing.
And then, as I was approaching the gate, two gobblers ran into me. “Go away!” I shouted angrily, but the dueling circle was already forming around us. “No!” I tried to say. I had to get home and fast! Plus, my health was very low, and my mana was only at 13. I thought I was doomed.
Then, as I was using up the last little bit of my mana to try and use a pixie spell, another wizard joined.
Maybe if there was someone else to fight, then I should flee.
But when I looked over at my new companion, I saw Rowan!
She smiled at me but didn’t say anything. She summoned a unicorn to heal us both, and she finished off the last gobbler with a leprechaun. Even when the battle was done, she still didn’t say anything about my disappearance.
“Um… aren’t you wondering what happened?” I asked her.
“Oh, you mean about the key? Did you find where it fit?”
“Yeah. But aren’t you wondering about where I was?”
“What do you mean? You weren’t gone that long, Sierra.”
“I wasn’t? But it must have been at least an hour.”
“It has only been like 3 minutes since you last checked on me. You said you were going to Gobblestone Castle.”
“What! That can’t be. I was in the Tower of Lost Memories for what seemed like forever!”
“The what? Are you feeling okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. What about you? Are you feeling okay? Because I must have been gone for a longer time than at just three minutes.”
“Well at tops it could have been five.”
I groaned. Nothing was making any sense. What was going on?
“Well, uh… Sierra, maybe we should go home now. Tomorrow we can look at where that key goes, ok?”
We began to walk out the gate. I felt sadness come as we left the frosty streets. I thought about my job that I had been given. It was almost like the ultimate quest, a difficult one that seemed impossible to complete. I knew I had to do it, though, because the fate of Wizard City now rested on my shoulders. But compared to what could have happened, I decided I was lucky. I only needed to find a single fire wizard, and even without any clues or even an idea at what she looked like, I could beat it, with some work. I had to, for the ice giant and everyone else. I didn’t know if I could handle all this pressure! What was a new Seeker of Light to do?