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Chapter IV: Darke Day

They were alone. Beetle was unconscious. Maximus Draine was gone to terrorize and take their beloved Castle. And there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

"Finally." spoke Septimus.

"Finally what?" asked Jenna

"I was just thinking about how every single one of our adventures so far has somehow, miraculously worked out. I guess it's about time Darke got the better of us."

"Don't think like that. There's still hope."

"Where!" He turned his head to face her. "Tell me, where is the hope? He got us. Without Magyk, there's nothing we can do anymore. He's found the weakness, the loophole, and used it against us. There is no hope. None."

"I guess. But-"

Suddenly they felt themselves being transported back toward home.

7 7 7

Back at the Castle...

Hundreds of citizens did their daily tasks. Tailors made their clothes, traders sold their wares, and Gringe argued with an elderly lady that four pennies were not enough, and at least a groat was necessary.

Suddenly they all looked up. There, in the sky, what was that shape? Too big to be a bird. A—man? A booming voice swept over the Castle like a tidal wave.

"Hello, citizens. Welcome your new leader. Now, there will be no dispute about this, or your privilege to existence may just be revoked."

At this he lowered slightly, allowing a more distinguishable view of himself

"You might want to know what happened to the princess and, of course, your beloved ExtraOrdinary Apprentice and Wizard. See for yourself." Septimus and Jenna appeared then, being held by one arm each.

"Watch as your greatest defender is Drained permanently before the only competent wizard in the country. This stone has the effect of taking all Magyk from whomever it touches. The more Magykal, the more it destroys."

Maximus took out the object and started to bring it toward Septimus when it snapped away and started hurtling toward a spot outside Wizard Tower. He rushed to it, then stopped, smiled, and slowly descended downward. Septimus' eyes grew huge when he realized what had happened.

"No!" He struggled against his captor but the Apprentice was held fast.

There was Madame Marcia laying on the ground, the stone by her hand. But it was a Marcia without Magyk. Her frizzy hair had gone thin, her face white as a sheet and drawn. Her arms were almost skeletal. She was no longer who she was, and never would be.

"This is what you will look like, but far far worse. Go ahead and look, it may be your last sight on this earth.

"No, it won't."

"You sound so—"

It was then that Maximus realized that it was not Septimus who said this. It wasn't Jenna, and it definitely wasn't Marcia. He whirled around just in time to Block a giant ball of fire. There, standing in the whirling ashes, was a man about 21 years old with curly straw-colored hair and deep, deep green eyes. He looked a bit like Septimus, but with something else.

So began the most epic wizard battle since Sabitha the Great battled Merlone the Darke. One after the other, chunks of rock, clouds of giant poisonous wasps, torrents of magma, and deadly icicles were cast back and forth. Self-invented charms, charms never heard of by many, charms that would not be invented for years were now cast. Small black holes, streams of venom, rays of death, were summoned from dark parts of the universe or created from the surroundings. It was all Septimus and Jenna could do to get out of the way.

Suddenly Jenna got a determined look on her face and marched over to Maximus. He threw a sideways glance at her, smacked her with the stone, and put up a wall to block some shards of steel aimed for his heart. Jenna's face turned pale for a second, then reassembled itself.

"This can only be resolved the old-fashioned way." she said as her right hook made its way toward his face.

His arm shot out and caught her fist, but she bit his arm. Soon they were in an all out cat fight. It ended quickly, Maximus holding her arms behind her, completely immobilized.

"Brave, but pointless." he snarled.

"You sure about that?"

Jenna flipped herself up, shifting all her weight onto her attacker, and he crumpled to the ground.

"Now." she said

Maximus immediately Froze. She hi-fived the mysterious man.

"Before we dispose of him, I want to ask him something."

"Sure"

The straw-haired man UnFroze his prisoner's mouth and asked, "Why?"

"I gave you a chance. I was going to heal the Castle!"

"Heal?"

"The Castle is a horrid, horrid place. I was going to take it and make it better. Better!"

Tears ran down the Darke man's face.

"The Queen. One day I was walking down Wizard Way when the Queen crossed my path. She was absolutely beautiful. You look just like her. And when she smiled at me I knew that we were meant to be together. And then that bloody day. That bloody day! The Assasain shot her down and I vowed to get revenge. I realized that the Castle would always have enemies like my horrible son, DomDaniel. It just needed someone who could dispose of before they could do damage. I had to be that person. So I trained. I was not born a wizard like Septimus. I practiced both Magyk and the Other. And I discovered the forgotten art of Draine made by my ancestors. I had to take the castle by force to get obediance. And that meant wiping out my resistors. You ruined me! So do whatever you want to me. I don't care anymore."

"I know exactly what to do to you. But it won't hurt.

7 7 7

As the ship got smaller and smaller and finally disappeared Septimus turned toward the man.

"You sure he won't be back?"

"Oh yeah."

"It feels so weird to think that I'm ExtraOrdinary Wizard now. But I'm glad that Marcia is alive."

"Yeah. No more Magyk for her though."

"And with Jenna Queen and all..."

"You know, you sound like some crummy inexperienced author is using you to subtley narrate what he was too lazy to describe in detail."

"What makes you think that?"

"Nothing."

"Come on. Let's go back to Wizard Tower."

Back at the Tower, when Septimus arrived at the thirtieth landing he realized that the man was not behind him. He found him in the Sick Bay, behind a groggy Syrah Syara.

"Syrah!"

He ran over and hugged her. When he turned around the man was stepping into a strange portal.

"Wait! What's your name?"

He smiled. "Me? That's for you to decide."

"Who are you?"

"I'm the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son."

:)