|Sierra Winterbreeze was sitting in a desk in Ravenwood, on a normal day in Ice Magic class. Professor Greyrose was at the front of the class, rattling on and on about one of the spells they had just learned. Suddenly, the classroom shook, and children all around jumped up from their seats, trying to figure out what was going on. Sierra jumped up from her seat as well, but she somehow knew what was about to happen. The entire roof of the classroom was blown off. Children around Sierra were afraid and tried to run out, but she stood still, waiting. Malistaire came in, walking as casually as if he owned the place. Sierra didn’t notice him until it was too late, and he knocked her to the floor. Then, he summoned a Scorpion to rise from the ground and attacked her, and then she was next to some balance wizard in a pitch black room. He was hovering over her, and she was frightened. She tried to get up and run, but something or someone held her down. Then her necklace, the sapphire one that the dragon in Dragon’s Mouth Cave had given her, was in front of her, and she tried to grab it but it burnt her hands. Then, it transformed into an enormous snake, which began strangling her, and with her last breath of air the balance wizard came next to her. He raised his wand, and with a flash, he attacked her with a spell. Sierra was fading quickly. She called out but no one answered, and-|
I woke up from the terrible dream.
My breathing was quick. That had been quite terrifying, and seemed so real. I even felt as if my breath had just been taken away and abruptly restored.
I wondered what time it was. As I have mentioned before, there wasn’t a clock in my room. It still seemed so dark, so I went back to sleep without having anymore dreams for the rest of the night.
The next morning, I jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed. It was the weekend, so no school today and Jasmine had agreed to introduce us to Victoria Ravensmith. The only problem was, I overslept.
I could only hope that Victoria would be available today. It had been weeks since Jasmine had originally told me that she knew Victoria. It seemed like every time we tried to contact her, something happened. The most recent was that Jasmine’s father had been injured and was in the hospital, so Jasmine had naturally stayed with him the entire day, leaving Sydney and I alone in the cold, without any idea of where she was. Other times it had been Victoria who was busy, maybe doing some kind of quest that we couldn’t help her with.
I threw on Biti Nirini’s Hood, Sphinx’s Vestment, and Glittering Sandals. I didn’t even bother to bring one of my pets, like Prince Ginger, Princess Lilly, or Taz. I almost forgot the Mummified Deck and Runed Sapphire Wand as I ran out the door. I was a level 23 Adept Thaumaturge.
I met Sydney and Jasmine in our usual spot, right outside Dragon’s Mouth Cave. Jasmine was already engaged in a conversation with Sydney. I apparently was late, as I had feared, despite my hurrying.
“Finally, Sierra’s here!” said Sydney when I came up. “Guess what? We can finally see her today!”
“Who?” I asked, not quite thinking straight.
“Victoria!” answered Sydney. “Jasmine’s not busy, and neither is she. Victoria is supposed to be meeting us here really soon
“Awesome!” I exclaimed. “There’s only one problem
“What’s that?” asked Jasmine.
“We still have no idea how to awaken her
“Oh, yeah,” said Sydney glumly.
We waited for a long time. After talking about almost everything we could think of (weather, new items, favorite spell, what we had for breakfast), we couldn’t take it anymore.
“Where is your friend, Jasmine,” said Sydney angrily. I had to admit, she was certainly taking her time.
“I don’t know,” said Jasmine calmly, “but there’s no need to panic. Victoria is often late for many things
“She can’t be for this,” I grumbled. “We’ve been here for too long. I was planning on finishing up the Krokosphinx today, but if we stay here too much longer, I won’t have any time. I’m leaving.” I turned to go with Sydney following me.
“No, please. I promise she’ll be here!” Jasmine begged.
“I’m sorry Jasmine, but we have other things to do,” Sydney said as she walked away.
But just when we were about to walk out of Golem Court, a girl came running in and crashed into both of us, causing Sydney and I to fall to the ground. “I’m sorry!” said the girl without even looking at us.
She rushed over to Jasmine, and I noticed she was wearing purple robes. Could this finally be the evasive Victoria Ravensmith that we had been waiting for?
“Victoria!” called out Jasmine, running up to the girl. “You’re here!”
Sydney and I exchanged happy glances. Now we could finally meet the next Seeker of Light!
“Sierra, Sydney,” announced Jasmine, “this is Victoria Ravensmith, my best friend in the whole Spiral.” They smiled at each other.
“Finally,” I mumbled.
“Victoria,” Jasmine said, “these are my new friends Sierra and Sydney
“Hello,” she greeted us.
“Hi Victoria,” I replied. “Nice to meet you.”.
“Sierra and Sydney wanted to, um, talk to you about something. Right?” said Jasmine..
“Yeah, it’s about something that happened before your accident,” Sydney told her..
“What is it?”.
“It’s something we wanted to show you in the Temple of Storms,” I cut in, thinking that the Temple of Storms may be a good place to start looking for her version of the Tower of Memories. After all, that is where she was first awakened..
“What?” she asked curiously..
“Just something.” I turned to Jasmine. “Will you let us in there? I can’t get there on my own. Or maybe Victoria would let us in instead.”.
“Victoria? Oh no, she can’t. She’s still on Triton Avenue, and only level 9.”.
“Level 9? But you said that she was angry because she couldn’t leave Krokotopia, and she cast Kraken!”.
“Oh. Well… she lost her memory of spells in the accident, so she had to start back at level 1 again and re-learn everything.”.
“The dragon did say that Victoria was going to be a low level,” Sydney commented..
I sighed. “I’m sorry Victoria that you had to lose your memory like that.” I wondered what it felt like to be the second Seeker awakened. If Victoria hadn’t lost her memory, then that’s what I would be. “But anyway, Jasmine can you let us in?”.
“Of course,” she answered, and she teleported away..
We went to her and found ourselves outside the Temple of Storms, inside the Tomb of Storms. Luckily, no one else was around. But how were we supposed to get in? Victoria had used a Kraken on it, but she couldn’t anymore. I wondered if any other spells would work, but somehow I doubted it. We were trying to awaken a storm seeker, after all. Wouldn’t that mean you needed a storm spell? .
We got Victoria to try Thunder Snake on it and other storm spells she so far knew, but none of them worked. Then I tried my spells, mostly evil snowman, and when that didn’t work Sydney and Jasmine tried theirs. But nothing was working..
“This stinks,” I said. “We came all the way here and now we can’t even figure out how to get in.”.
“Well, I can get us in,” said Jasmine. “But you need it to be different, right?”.
“Yeah,” I replied. “What are we going to do?” I sighed and leaned back on the wall. Suddenly, we heard a “clang!” and the doors slid open..
“What just happened?” asked Sydney..
“I have no idea.” I stood up and looked behind me. At first it just looked like a normal wall, but after I examined it more closely I noticed the tiniest button I had ever seen..
“It must have something to do with this,” I said, pointing to it..
“But has it transformed into what we need?”.
“I don’t know,” I said..
“Oh yeah!” exclaimed Jasmine suddenly. “I remember that! Victoria’s Kraken hit that button when it was trying to open the door.”.
“So maybe it did work,” I said happily. “Why don’t we go in and look?”.
Slowly and cautiously the four of us walked inside. This definitely was not the Temple of Storms. It was much more spacious. Not only were the small Krokotopian hieroglyphs that had been on the wall were gone, but the entire room had grown to triple its usual size. Now the walls were decorated with traditional storm colors. But no one was to be found..
Suddenly, we heard a voice behind us: "Welcome Seekers to the Castle of Rain!".
We turned to see an enormous Triton standing in the entryway..
"I am glad to see you all safe. Oh! I see you've brought your friend again, Victoria.".
"What?" asked Victoria, confused. I couldn’t blame her. Meeting a giant Triton who knows your name would be pretty surprising. Obviously the Triton remembered her, but due to the accident she didn’t remember the Triton..
"You have done very well, storm Seeker of Light. You have already awakened both Sierra Winterbreeze and Sydney Jadehammer!".
"But that's the problem," I tried to say. "She doesn't remember any of it.".
The Triton looked at me in disbelief. Then he looked at Victoria and the others, and back to me. "But then... that means that you are the first Seeker!" he said to me..
"Yes, I am. We came to have Victoria re-awakened.".
"Oh my, I never expected this to happen. Alright, I will begin by giving you your memory back." The Triton raised its trident into the air and waved it around. Lightning bolts rained down from the sky into his magical fork, and it pointed it at Victoria and-.
The Triton fell over..
All of us gasped to see a Wraith behind him, with the one and only Malistaire..
Victoria and Jasmine backed away and cowered in the corner, but Sydney and I stepped forward. "What did you do to the Triton?" I screamed at him. "Victoria was about to get her memory back!".
"Yes," he chuckled, "but I couldn't allow that to happen, now could I? It would ruin my wonderful plans for Mark, that other miserable Seeker you are looking for.".
"Mark? Mark who?" I asked..
Malistaire said nothing, but instead teleported away in some strange way. Instead of the wind coming around him, he was enveloped in darkness and dissolved into it..
As soon as he was gone, Sydney and I ran over to the Triton. He didn’t look as if he were breathing. We were both devastated, but mostly dazed. Hadn’t just a second ago the Triton had been about to get Victoria her memory back?.
Now the poor creature was dead, and we had no way of awakening the storm Seeker. I sighed and stood up. “Well,” I said, “that was… unexpected. I guess the only thing we can do is move forward and find the next Seeker. Maybe another creature can awaken Victoria.” .
“Yeah. Um Sierra, about that…” Sydney said..
“Well… we don’t know who the next Seeker of Light is.”.
“Oh,” I said is disappointment. But then I remembered our unwanted meeting with Malistaire and I cheered up. “But Malistaire said something about ‘a miserable Seeker that you’re looking for’.”.
“You’re right!” exclaimed Sydney. “I think he said it was Mark.”.
“Yeah, that’s what he said,” chimed in Jasmine..
“But Mark what? We don’t even know what school he’s in, or his last name, nor if he even has a last name!”.
“Well,” I said, “this, uh, Miserable Mark can’t be too hard to find.”.
“Miserable Mark?” Sydney giggled. “Is that what we’re going to call him?”.
“I guess.” I grinned at the thought. “But we’d better get out of here to start looking.” I motioned for everyone to follow me out the place that the Triton had called “The Castle of Rain.” Jasmine and Sydney came without hesitation, but Victoria stayed put..
“I’m not leaving until someone explains what the heck is going on here!” she yelled..
I looked at Sydney for help, not entirely sure what to say. “Well,” she began, “you are a Seeker of Light. Um, well, I’m not completely sure what they are exactly, but we have to someday join together to defeat Malistaire.”.
“Malistaire?” asked Victoria, her eyes widening. “No! Not Malistaire! He is so scary and intimidating and… and… impossible to beat! I can’t fight him!”
“But Victoria,” I reasoned, “it is your destiny.”
“I don’t care. No destiny or whatever is going to make me try to defeat Malistaire!”
“Victoria, what has happened to you?” Jasmine said sadly. She almost looked as if she was about to cry.
“What do you mean?”
“Before the accident you were so brave and kind! When the Triton first told you about this, you were proud to be a Seeker. You accepted your fate without any questions, and vowed to finally defeat Malistaire. Why did you change? What did that horrid catastrophe do to you? Memory or no memory, you promised to beat him, Victoria.”
Victoria just looked at her shoes with her head hung low. I wondered what she was thinking about.
“It doesn’t matter,” Jasmine continued. “You probably always were just a coward. How could I have been so wrong about you?”
“You weren’t wrong, Jasmine,” Victoria said, looking up again. I saw tears in her eyes. I felt bad. Jasmine had been a little harsh. “Actually, now that you mention it, I do remember that promise.”
“What?” I exclaimed. “Does that mean that you remember being a Seeker?”
“No,” she sadly replied. “I do kind of recall something about meeting the Triton though. But not much, only vague bits.”
“Wow, that’s great!” I said, hardly being able to hold in my excitement. “At least that is a start. Maybe if you keep trying, you’ll be able to completely remember it!”
“Yeah!” said Jasmine. “She’s right! I’ve been able to recall many things since the accident. Maybe you will too!”
Victoria smiled. “I hope so. But can we go now if we have nothing else to do? I need to get home soon.”
“Sure,” I said happily as we all walked out the door.
Sydney and I said goodbye to Jasmine and Victoria in the Spiral Chamber. Jasmine headed off to Marleybone, and Victoria teleported back to Wizard City. Sydney agreed to do a few quests with me, as long as I would first come with her to the Oasis shops so she could buy a new wand. While we were walking to the wand shop, we heard a very quiet “Meow!”
Sydney wildly looked around. “Sierra, did you hear something?” she asked.
“Yeah. It sounded like it was coming from over here.” I walked over to the well in the center of the shops and peered into it. I couldn’t see, so Sydney conjured some fire to give us a little bit of light. Letting it float down into the well revealed a tiny baby Fire Cat, meowing for help.
“Oh no!” gasped Sydney. “Look! We have to save it.”
“But Sydney,” I began, but she was already climbing down the side of the well. I sighed and hoped that she wouldn’t fall. I tried to think of some way to help her, or maybe a spell that would magically get the Fire Cat out of the deep source of water. But I came up blank, so all I could do was worry.
The Fire Cat’s usually beautiful glowing fiery fur was now damp and wet. Usually it burned brightly, but now it was too soaked to give off light. I knew that if a Fire Cat’s fiery fur was put out, then it would die. So I guessed Sydney was right. We did have to save the poor creature.
The whole time the cat was meowing and hissing and crying so pitifully that I felt horrible. How could I have ever even considered leaving it alone!
“Be careful, Sydney. The walls are going to be slippery because of the water,” I cautioned.
“Don’t worry. It’s easy. All I have to do is dry off the water with some fire and-” Suddenly Sydney screamed and her light went out.
“Sydney? Sydney!” I yelled.
I was just about to try and climb into the well also when I heard her voice. “Oof. Don’t worry Sierra. I’m fine. Just – ouch – a little sore is all.”
“Phew,” I said with relief.
“But it seems too wet. I can’t make any fire, or else it goes out. I can’t see.”
“Great. Just great,” I moaned. “Why can’t anything go right today?”
“Don’t worry. I have the Fire Cat,” said Sydney. When I listened closely, I heard it purring.
“Just stay there. I’ll go get help,” I said, backing away.
“No wait! I think I can do it myself.”
“I’m not going to let you, even if you can. That was the second time you’ve almost died from falling, Sydney. I’m surprised you just won’t give up.”
“But I can’t just leave the helpless Fire Cat here!”
“Ugh. Fine. You work on climbing out, and I’ll help in any way I can. I’ll start by freezing the water that keeps you from making light.” So I focused my energy to freeze the water. It wasn’t very hard. That was one of the first things Novice ice wizards learned. But it was hard when Sydney lit her fire. Being a Seeker, my ice didn’t melt from fire. But Sydney’s fire was also extra powerful, so I had to concentrate hard to keep my ice from melting.
Sydney carefully and cautiously climbed up. I could imagine that it must have been extremely hard with the slimy walls without any footholds. I was watching her in anxiety, not being able to do anything but concern about her safety. All of a sudden, Sydney’s light went out and she was screaming once more.
“SYDNEY!” I shrieked.
But before I could do anything, the scream transformed into laughter. “I can’t… believe… you actually… fell for that!” Sydney said between shrieks of laughter.
“Sydney!” I shouted again, but this time in anger. “This is no time for that! Put yourself in my place and think about what I feel right now! I’m so apprehensive for your safety that I can hardly sit still, and yet you deliberately tease me in life-threatening moments!”
“Sorry,” she said offended at my anger. “I was just trying to lighten the mood.” Her light below came back on and I saw her disappointed face.
I was still annoyed at her, despite how hard she tried to get me in a pleasant mood. The entire rest of the way up the well she continued to apologize. But no matter what she did, I didn’t listen.
The rest of Sydney’s trip to the top of the well was uneventful. When Sydney emerged from the dark depths of the well with the adorable baby Fire Cat in her hands, I still refused to talk to her. I didn’t even bother to help her dry off the Fire Cat. I don’t think I could have though, even if I wanted to. I didn’t have anything to use to dry off the water.
I continued walking with her to the wand shop. I waited while Sydney bought her wand, but still I stayed silent. Even when we walked to the Krokosphinx I didn’t dare speak.
Sydney tried to start a conversation with me. “What do you think I should name this little guy?” she asked, scratching the Fire Cat behind the ears as it purred.
I didn’t answer.
She scowled at me. “Stop being so stubborn and at least look at me. I was thinking about the name Sir Romeo. What do you think Sierra?” She still continued to talk as we boarded the flying boat that takes wizards to the Krokosphinx. She sure was desperate!
It was almost a relief when we got into the Krokosphinx and I got dragged into a battle in the Vault of Ice. It was with the Keeper of the Fang, the final boss in there. Sydney stopped talking so we could concentrate on defeating her. The Banshee-like Keeper was almost defeated when one of her minions crept up behind me, unnoticed.
Sydney was the first to see. “Sierra, watch out!” she hollered, but it was already too late. I turned to see it cast a spell, and it was about to knock me out. I closed my eyes, certain that I’d awaken in the Oasis, weak without much health, but instead something hurt the minion.
“Ooowww!” it moaned, and then it vanished.
When I saw who my savior was, I noticed that it was the Fire Cat that Sydney had saved, Sir Romeo!
“Sydney…” I said slowly, “I think your Fire Cat just saved me!”
“Yay, you’re talking to me again!” Sydney said with glee.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not angry with you anymore,” I told her angrily. “You shouldn’t have tricked me like that.”
“How many times do I have to tell you I’m sorry?”
“How many times do I have to tell you I don’t accept you’re apology?”
“You will have to make it up somehow. But let’s finish off the Keeper of the Fang before she gets away.” I turned and cast a Vampire and defeated her.
We left the Vault of Ice and I redeemed my prize for Shalek the Wise. After doing more quests for the rest of the day, Sydney and I departed and went back home to Wizard City. When I got home, I found my parents glaring at my sister, Rowan Willowleaf.
“Young lady, that boy is a bad influence on you!” my mother was saying.
“I’m sorry Rowan,” said Dad, “but we can’t allow you to see him anymore.”
“Why? Just because he’s a death student doesn’t mean that he’s a bad kid!”
“But you have been with him too much. Sure, you’re both in MooShu, but that doesn’t justify it.”
“Mom!” wailed Rowan. “Mark is a great, kind, loving, loyal friend! He could be a life student if he tried!”
“I’m sorry honey, but death is evil. He can’t be good for you.”
“How do you know that I’m not the one influencing him? Maybe I can turn him good.”
Angela Unicornrider, my mom, shook her head. “Rowan, I apologize, but we can’t take our chances. You are just spending way too much time with him. You are now forbidden to see him anymore.”
“Mother!” Rowan cried out, but she was no longer listening.
While she was leaving, I heard my dad whisper to Rowan, “I’m terribly sorry dear. I personally have nothing against the death school, but your mother seems to hate it. There’s nothing I can do.”
“It’s not fair,” she said. “Sierra is allowed to be death, but nooo. I can’t even be friends with a death student!” Then without another word, she huffed off to her room.
“What’s going on here?” I asked Caleb Frostsong, my father.
“Oh, hello Sierra. Did you have a good day out with your friends?”
“Yes, thank you. But what was that fight about? Something about a ‘Mark’?”
My father sighed. “It’s nothing. He’s just a friend - well, now an ex-friend - of Rowan’s.”
I was interested in this, because she had said Mark. And from the sound of the fight, he had been death, which was not one of the schools that already had Seekers. Could this be the same Miserable Mark that we were looking for?
“Go to bed Sierra,” Dad ordered. “It’s getting late, and you have school tomorrow. And I don’t want to have to tell you about this whole complicated conflict. Ask Rowan about it instead. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” I replied.
The next morning, I took my father’s advice and cornered Rowan before school.
“Who’s Mark?” I asked her.
“The Mark that you and Mom fought about. Who else?”
“Oh! Mark Darkcrafter! He is my best friend, but Mom says I can’t see him anymore just because he’s death. But today, I’m meeting him after school in the Life Tower for a party that we’re arranging. Please don’t tell Mom! She can’t know! You can come if you like, but only if you swear that you won’t tell.”
“Good!” Rowan looked much happier. “Meet us in the Life Tower right after school, okay?”
“Sure! A party will be tons of fun.”
“If you want we can make you a judge of the pet contest.”
“Wonderful!” she said smiling. “Well, I have to go now. Believe me, it is really bad to be late for Adept class. Especially when you’re ice, because Professor Greyrose is really strict about lateness. Anyway, got to go! Bye!” She waved to me as she left.
I could barely contain my excitement throughout the day. I would finally meet Mark. But of course, I couldn’t be sure if it was our Miserable Mark. Actually, I had no idea how I would possibly know if he was a Seeker or not. I wish the ice giant or dragon or triton had explained to me how to tell whether they’re a normal wizard or a Seeker.
That thought almost made me laugh out loud. I had only been in Wizard City a few months and already I thought wizards were “normal.” Just a little while ago, I would have thought someone was crazy if they said that they were a wizard. Now they were normal!
Finally, the day was over. I was the first one out the door. I didn't even bother to say goodbye to Professor Greyrose or my friends. I rushed to the Life Tower. In my hurry I think I knocked over a few kids, but I hardly noticed.
I arrived at the Life Tower panting. Even though I had run twice as fast as Rowan, she still beat me. After all, she had come from the life school which was just across the street. There was no one else there though, so I concluded that Mark Darkcrafter hadn't shown up yet.
"Hiya Sierra!" greeted Rowan.
"Hey Rowan. What's up? Is Mark here yet?"
"Nope. He has classes with Dworgyn you know, so it takes him longer to get here."
"Why doesn't he just teleport to you?"
Just then, a boy came bursting through the door. Unlike some students, it was obvious that he was death. Everything about him was dark: his hair was black, his eyes a deep green, and even his clothes as dark as night. "Hi Rowan," he said as he stumbled inside.
"Hi Mark. This is my sister, Sierra Winterbreeze. She wanted to meet you. Can she be a judge for the pet contest? Unless you wanted to, then I'm going to be the only one."
"Sure. I didn't want to be a judge anyway."
"Great! I can't wait, Sierra. This will be the best party ever!"
"Um Rowan, don't the teachers discourage parties in the school towers?" I asked.
Again she shrugged. "I have no clue. It was Mark's idea."
I rolled my eyes. "Maybe he is a bad influence on you, just like Mom says," I muttered under my breath as Rowan walked over to Mark.
While they spent their time trying to plan their party, I sat in a corner alone, regretting my decision to come. How could I have thought that I would be able to figure out if this was our Miserable Mark just by looking at him?
At long last, Rowan and Mark finished setting up the party. Rowan told me to go out and advertise our party. I had no idea how though. After all, I couldn’t just run through the streets of Ravenwood yelling “Party in Life Tower!” I had seen some kids do that before, but I didn’t know how they managed not to get caught by the teachers. Instead, I let Mark go out to do the advertising and I stayed behind. I decided to invite Sydney, Jasmine, Seth, and Victoria to come.
Pretty soon the tower was full of students milling around. Personally, I thought this party was very boring. But somehow kids stayed in, so I guess it didn’t matter.
Mark came back a few minutes later. He had evidently done his job well.
I was very, very bored so I walked over to Mark. I guessed that I may be able to figure out if he was a Seeker or not by talking to him.
“Sooo…” I said when I came over. “You’re Mark, right?”
“Yep,” he said, “the one and only Mark Darkcrafter.”
“’The one and only’? How do you know that?”
“Because my name is so awesome that no one else could have it,” he joked.
“Well anyway,” I said, not feeling like laughing at the moment. I had too much on my mind. “Did you always want to be death?”
He nodded. “Of course! It is the best school.”
Again I refused to laugh. I wonder if that made me look like someone with no sense of humor. I wanted to be friends with this guy, just in case he was the right Mark.
“Well actually,” he continued, ignoring my lack of humor, “my entire family is life. All the way up to my great, great, great, great… uh, well I’m not sure how many greats there were but it was a ton before my grandparents. In fact, my parents don’t really like me. All my brothers and sisters are life.”
“How many siblings do you have?”
“Oh, just twenty-eight.”
“Only twenty-eight?” I asked, astounded.
“Hey, well at least it’s not fifty.”
“Finally!” he exclaimed. “I’ve broken your gloomy mood.”
I laughed. When Rowan came over I was still trying to think of another question to ask him. “Sierra,” she said to me, “it is time for the pet contest. I need your help judging, remember?”
“Oh yeah,” I said.
“Come on! Everyone has already entered their pets. Let’s go.”
I followed her over to a long line of contestants. I saw many adorable, fierce, and friendly faces of the pets, but none of them looked like a contest winner. “Rowan,” I whispered to my sister, “what exactly are we looking for?”
“Just the best pet,” she answered matter-of-factly.
For a second time I scanned the crowd of various pets. I saw an interesting ghoul, a scary ghost, a kind sprite, a formidable helephant, and many other pets. But I just couldn’t select ‘the best pet’, not by just looking at one.
“What do you think about this one?” asked Rowan pointing to an Dark Sprite.
“I don’t care.” I said, hardly even looking at her. My mood was rapidly plummeting again.
Finally, she gave up letting me choose and decided the winner herself. While she announced the victors, I sat in an area far away from the crowd. Now I was almost furious that Rowan had made me come. What had I been thinking, letting her talk me into this like that!
Mark Darkcrafter noticed me alone and walked over. “Hi Sierra.”
“Hi Mark. Why are you over here? The party is that way.”
“Why are you over here? I only came to see if you were alright.”
“I’m fine,” I mumbled not very enthusiastically.
“No, you’re not. Can I do anything to help?”
“The only thing I want is to make this party better, but I don’t think you can do that.”
He smiled a mischievous smile at me. “How do you know?”
I couldn’t help but smile. “What are you planning?”
“Come on,” he said.
Mark had already had a complicated scheme devised. Over and over again I wondered why he was crashing his own party. But I didn’t care. This was going to be hilarious.
It happened when Rowan was giving out the prizes for the contests. They were supposed to be rare treasure cards, but neither Rowan nor anyone else in the room except for Mark and I knew what was really going to happen.
Earlier he had switched the real cards with some fake ones that no one could cast spells with. When they did, they exploded. But luckily not a real explosion, one that could hurt someone.
Rowan announced the third and second place winners first, the ones whose treasure cards we didn’t sabotage. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud when the first place winner, a girl named Michelle Dragonmancer and her Heckhound King Elvis, Mark was grinning from ear to ear. Mark called out, just like he was supposed to, “Why don’t you try out one of your new treasure cards?”
Kids in the crowd thought it was a marvelous idea, so Michelle tried to cast it. But when it did, the fire symbol she had been making completely exploded, and Mark and I fell over laughing.
When the smoke cleared, Michelle was covered in soot. She was angrily glaring at us.
Rowan was also glaring at Mark, but in a playful way. “You did this, didn’t you?” she asked him.
“Who else?” he giggled.
She sighed, but her eyes were happy. “I should have known you were going to do something like this. It is just like that time in MooShu where you got me caught in that series of battles with Samooris. Just what am I going to do with you?”
“You sound like my mom. ’Mark, why couldn’t you be life? We can’t make anything out of a death wizard!’” he said, imitating a woman’s high-pitched voice.
“Um, hellooo,” said Michelle impatiently. “What about my prize?”
“Oh yeah, sorry,” Mark answered. He took out the real cards that he had been hiding in his pocket.
Michelle furiously yanked the cards from his hand and stomped away.
Soon, the whole life tower had been cleared of students. The only people left were Sydney, Rowan, Mark, and me. Since it didn’t look like the party was still going on, and that I didn’t want to stay and help clean up after the way setting up had gone, I left and walked out into the empty lanes of Ravenwood.
It was very silent. Not many kids were still out. I strolled along, looking in at the schools. When I came to the death school, I peered down into the deep hole that the school had supposedly fallen into. While I was looking, I heard footsteps behind me. When I turned, I saw Mark there.
“What are you doing here?” I demanded.
He smirked. “Not much of a greeting.”
“Sorry,” I apologized. “I kind of want to be alone right now.”
“Oh, I’ll leave if you want…”
“No it’s okay. You’re here now so you might as well stay.”
“What about me?” Sydney suddenly appeared from behind one of Bartleby’s roots.
“Sydney!” I exclaimed. “Where did you come from? Were you spying on me?”
“No!” she said defiantly. Then after a moment of hesitation, she said, “Well, I wasn’t at first. I thought that maybe you were going to have some sort of personal moment and you wouldn’t want me to intrude.”
I rolled my eyes. “No, it was nothing like that. I was just having a chat with a friend.”
Mark beamed at me. “Do you really consider me a friend?”
He was almost speechless, and I chuckled. “Fire Cat got your tongue?”
I heard a quiet meow. When I looked down I saw Sir Romeo, the Fire Cat that had saved me earlier, following Sydney. I wondered why it liked her so much. I used to think it was a wild Fire Cat, but not since it began to love Sydney.
We all laughed at the little Fire Cat. I couldn’t believe the timing of its meow.
I was still giggling when the ground began to shake. It was shaking so violently that Mark and I lost our balance and fell to the ground. Sydney also lost her balance, but her consequence was much worse: she fell into the death school hole.
“Sydney!” I screamed. She managed to hold onto a root, but the ground was rumbling so much that I doubted she would hang on for much longer.
I crawled over to the ledge and reached down my arm. But when she let go of the root to grab my hand, she was heavier than I thought and I fell with her.
“Sierra!” cried out Mark. He then tried to grab me, but I was already too far down. Sir Romeo was sitting next to Mark and frantically meowing.
“Hang on… I think I can reach you…” Mark said while he stretched his arm down. But we were way too far down, and falling fast. “Wait, I think if I-” But before he could execute whatever plan he had for saving us, an extra large tremor knocked him over and he came tumbling down after us.
“Now we’re doomed,” I moaned.
“We were before,” muttered Sydney.
It was already night and dark outside, so it appeared as if we were falling into a pitch black abyss.
“Sydney, do you still have your Sunbird? Remember, the one named Flame that saved you in Dragon Mouth Cave?”
“Well, I do, but I left my cards in the Life Tower with Rowan.”
“What are we going to do?”
It didn’t take long for the darkness to completely envelope me. If Sydney hadn’t been holding my hand, I would have been worried about her. That didn’t mean I wasn’t worried for Mark, however. I strained my eyes to see in the surrounding blackness, but it was no use.
I tried to call out his name, but no one answered. Where could he be? Hadn’t he fallen after us?
I was so disoriented. I didn’t even know which way was up. We had been falling for a long time. What if this was one of the bottomless pits that you see in movies? I hoped not. I think it would be better to crash to the ground and die than to fall forever and starve to death.
“Uh Sydney,” I said finally, “why aren’t we crashing to the ground?”
“I don’t know,” she answered. “No one has ever fallen into here.”
“Why me?” I whined.
“What happened to Wizard City?” asked Sydney. “That quake may have caused damage.”
I shrugged, but then remembered she couldn’t see me. “I don’t know,” I said.
We waited for another long period without any talking. “How long do you think it has been since we left the party?” I asked Sydney.
“Not sure. Maybe thirty minutes?”
“Really? That long?”
“It was just an estimate. I can’t be sure.”
“Where could Mark be?” I whimpered.
Without warning I saw light. “Hey Sydney, do you see that?” I said, pointing to the beam.
“What?” She twisted in mid-air to look. “Yeah! There’s light there!”
“Good, so I’m not imagining it. But what could it be?”
“I have no idea.”
Pretty soon we came closer to the light. Only then could we see what it revealed: land.
“Sydney! We’re going to crash! There’s the ground there!”
“We have to do something!”
“Don’t panic! If you do, we won’t survive.” Sydney was strangely calm.
“Alright… then what do you propose we do?”
“I think we should wait until we hit the ground. Somehow I don’t think we’ll be hurt.”
“Don’t worry Sierra. Trust me, we’ll be fine.”
“Okay, I guess.” I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, but it is extremely hard when the ground is rushing at you.
And so, with the ground quickly approaching, I closed my eyes and prepared for impact.
But it never came. I still to this day don’t know what happened, but I only landed with a soft “Thump!”
As soon as I knew that it was actually solid ground beneath me and not some dream or illusion, I stood and looked at my surroundings.
We were in some sort of room with wooden walls. The area was lit up, but there was no apparent light source anywhere. I almost felt as if I were inside an enormous tree trunk.
I saw Sydney struggling to her feet and walked over to help her. “Where are we?” I asked her.
“How should I know?”
“Well, you knew about not getting hurt when we landed.”
“That was just a guess.”
“Well it is a good thing you didn’t tell me that. I would have died from fear before we even landed if you hadn’t said anything.”
“This place just felt… magical.”
“Ever since I’ve come to Wizard City everything has felt magical to me!”
“Well you grew up in an orphanage on Earth.”
“But what about-”
“Thump!” Someone landed beside us. We turned to look, and saw Mark there. “Mark! Thank goodness you’re ok!” I ran over to him and hugged him.
“Wow, it seems that I was really missed!” he said with a smile.
“Are you kidding? I was so worried!”
“So where are we, and why weren’t we hurt when we fell?”
“You are in the Crevice of Time.”
Again I spun around, but this time a Scarecrow was there.
“Who are you?” I demanded, taking out my wand.
“I am merely a Scarecrow. I serve the death school, and I’m here to awaken the death Seeker.”
“Oh! So Mark is a Seeker of Light!”
Sydney twirled around to face Mark. “Miserable Mark, we’ve found you!” she said with a grin.
I laughed with her while Mark looked confused. “Miserable? What are you talking about?” he asked. All we did was laugh harder.
“You, Mark Darkcrafter, are a Seeker of Light. To show you what I mean, we must go back in time,” said the Scarecrow. With a wave of his hand, the entire room around us faded into darkness.
“What’s going on?” I shouted, but the room was already back. But no longer were we in the place that the Scarecrow had called “The Crevice of Time.” Now we were in some kind of hospital, by a mother and a father holding a baby. Three other young kids were around them.
Everyone in the room was dressed in green, suggesting that they were all life wizards. The family, the children, the healers – even the baby was wrapped in a green blanket.
Yet the scene seemed strange and fuzzy. When people moved, their actions seemed delayed, as if something else was controlling them. The only people whose movements seemed to be natural were Sydney’s, Mark’s, the Scarecrow’s, and mine.
I tried to think of something to say to the family. After all, we had just magically appeared in their hospital room. But it didn’t seem to matter. They didn’t even notice us.
“Those are my parents!” exclaimed Mark.
The Scarecrow nodded. “That baby is you, Mark,” it said. Mark, the baby in green? How was that possible? Wasn’t he death?
Mark’s parents looked pleased with their baby. His mother held him close. “He is a beautiful baby, isn’t he?” said Mark’s mother.
“Yes,” his father agreed. “I just can’t wait until he’s old enough to start training in life magic.”
“What should we name him?” asked his mother.
“I think I like either the name Wolf or James.”
“I like the name… Mark.”
“Mark? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m quite sure. I think it is a lovely name.”
“I guess so. But what about his last name?”
“I don’t know. Maybe Starsong or Rainbowleaf.”
Just then, a healer came in with some flowers. “See if he actually is life,” she said. “If he has the ability, then he can make more flowers grow.”
“Oh, but his whole family has been life for generations. I’m sure that-” Then the women gasped, but the healer was blocking the way so I couldn’t see. When I repositioned myself to a better spot, I gasped too. Not only was the flower in the pot dead, but every single flower in the room was dead. But that was not all; a banshee had appeared in the room.
“T-the flower!” Mark’s mother screeched. “It’s dead! And where did that… that thing come from!”
I looked at Mark to see what he was thinking. I couldn’t believe what I saw: he was actually smiling!
Mark’s father backed away from the bed. “No, it is not possible! Our fourth son can’t be death!”
“I’m sorry Alex and Autumn, but it appears as if it is so. Mark is a death wizard.”
The women began to cry.
Before I could completely absorb what just happened, we were back in the Crevice of Time again.
“So,” said the Scarecrow to Mark, “what do you think?”
“I’m not surprised,” he said. “That is just like my parents. And what I did to them was hilarious! The only thing I am surprised about is what just happened. How did we just see that? That happened a long time ago.”
“Do you not remember?” I said. “We’re in the Crevice of Time. Wouldn’t that mean we can go back in time?”
“Precisely,” said the Scarecrow. Then he looked around. “Are there only three of you? It doesn’t look as if your leader is here.”
“Leader?” I asked. “What do you mean?”
“Your leader is the storm Seeker, or the first one to be awakened.”
“Victoria? But she can’t be our leader! She is a lower level than everyone! And she lost her memory!” I said.
“What?” said the Scarecrow. “What are you talking about? Then who was the first one awakened if she lost her memory?”
“That would be Sierra,” said Sydney, pushing me forward.
“Then you are the leader of the Seekers, Sierra Winterbreeze!” he told me.
“Leader?” I said, very confused. “But I don’t want to be a leader! How can I be a leader? What does a leader even have to do?”
“The leader is not much different from the other Seekers. You are in charge of awakening each and every Seeker, and hopefully the others will respect you.”
“No! Make Sydney do it! I really, really don’t want to be the leader of anything!”
“Come on Sierra,” said Sydney. “You’ll be a great leader! Though I’m still not sure what they have to do. And I have a question. How come Victoria’s and Mark’s place had a name, but mine didn’t?”
“How can you say that I will be great at something you don’t even know?” I complained to Sydney without answering her question. Then to the Scarecrow, I said, “Listen Scarecrow or whatever you are, choose someone else. I’m still new to Wizard City and don’t know my way around very well. Didn’t you say it would be the first one awakened? Just because Victoria lost her memory doesn’t mean she isn’t the first one anymore. She will at least be a better leader than me.”
“Do not doubt yourself, Seeker Winterbreeze. You can do it.”
“Yes, but what exactly am I doing?” I said.
“Do your normal job and you shall figure it out. The Seekers of Light may not even need a leader. You are only there just in case you need someone to finalize your decisions.”
“Ok…” I still didn’t understand any of this. Why was I chosen to be leader? Was I different somehow?
“Good. Now, where was I? Oh yes. You, Mark Darkcrafter, are the death Seeker of Light.”
“I already got that,” said Mark. “What are Seekers though?”
“Each of your lives has been touched by darkness. It seems as though you were forced to be death when your entire family was life.”
Mark stiffened. “I wasn’t forced to do anything. I have always wanted to be death.”
“It doesn’t matter,” the Scarecrow said. “All you need is to help find the rest of the Seekers and awaken them.”
“Wait,” I said, “what are the names of all the Seekers? I think we should know, just in case something goes wrong again like in the Castle of Rain and we don’t know who the next Seeker is. We were just lucky that Malistaire messed up and told us Mark’s first name.”
“I am sorry, but I do not know all the names of the Seekers. But I can tell you which schools you need to find in which order. First is storm, then ice, then fire, death, myth, life, and balance. Unfortunately, it seems as though the order has been mixed up since ice was awakened first. I don’t know if any of the others will be out of order either. Since I’m down in this crevice, I don’t get much information.”
“Ok. So we have to find the myth Seeker next?” I asked.
“So who is it?”
“Uh… well, I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t remember his name.”
“What! Then how are we supposed to find him?”
“You already know him. And you will know from how his life will be affected by dark magic. Malistaire is targeting his teleporting magic, so you’d better watch out.”
“We already know him… Sydney, who do we know that is myth?”
Suddenly, we heard another thump behind us. One by one, we turned to see a small, terrified Fire Cat there.
“Sir Romeo!” cried out Sydney jubilantly as she ran to hug him. “Where did you come from? You jumped down here to save us, didn’t you? You are such a good boy!”
“Meow!” said Sir Romeo shakily.
“Well,” said the Scarecrow a little impatiently, “you should be going. Are you ready to leave?”
“I guess,” I answered.
“Alright. But before you go, I have a message you must heed. That tremor that brought you down here was no ordinary earthquake. Malistaire created it. It was made to kill you, but instead it obviously helped you. Anyway, good bye! And I hope you find the next Seeker!” The Scarecrow then lifted his arms, and we began to fly. Yes, fly!
When we drifted to the top, we were settled down gently. When I looked around, everything seemed just as we left it. That made sense, since I had already figured out that no time passes when a Seeker of Light is being awakened.
“So…” I said.
“What should we do now?” Mark asked me.
“Why are you asking me?” I said.
He shrugged. “Well, I thought you were the leader.”
I sighed. “I don’t know why I’m the leader though. I didn’t ask for this. I guess we should get some rest so that we have our energy to look for the myth Seeker tomorrow.”
“Sure,” said Mark, turning to leave.
As I was walking away with Sydney by my side, I realized something. There was only one person I knew who was myth, and that was… “Sydney,” I said, “I think I know who the myth Seeker is!”
“Well... you aren’t going to like this much but…”
“Come on, just tell me Sierra!”
“It’s… your brother.”
“My brother?” Sydney gasped. “You mean Hunter? How can he possibly be a Seeker! He is way too annoying to save the Spiral.”
“But think about it, Sydney. He is the only myth student I know, and who else could it be?”
“But what about the teleporting problem?” she pointed out. “Hunter can teleport just fine.”
“I don’t know, but wouldn’t it make sense if he were a Seeker?”
We arrived at Sydney’s house then. I said, “Look, at least keep an eye on him, ok? If anything strange happens, let me know.”
“Fine, I guess so.”
“Thank you, Sydney. And just so you know, I’m really glad you’re a Seeker of Light.”
She smiled. “I’m glad you’re our leader.”
“But I -”
But Sydney was already walking into her house.
I sighed. This Seeker stuff was harder than I thought. Why me? Why couldn’t Rowan be the leader of Seekers? And…
Wait a minute. Bandit, our family’s Heckhound, wasn’t coming out of his doghouse to greet me as he always did when I got home.
And why was there smoke coming out of the window?