A/N: Sorry if it seems like I forgot about this, but I didn't. I just realized that there were a lot of things in this part... that I didn't exactly like. But, thanks to my laziness, I decided not to change anything important. O_o Don't worry, though - you'll notice SOME differences. (Like a lot more sarcasm... ooh, I love sarcasm... and that wasn't a sarcastic statement, either...)
The Tale of Sierra WinterBreeze
From the very beginning I knew that Sydney JadeHammer would not be easy to find. I mean, really. She was one wizard. One! Out of, like, one million! Plus, I had absolutely no idea where to look for her. My only hint was that she was Fire, but when I asked Miss Falmea about her, she said that Sydney didn't take lessons in the Fire school. I couldn't ask any more questions, because she then sent me off to find Fire Crystals in Dragon Mouth Cave. Stupid quests…
I'd never been to Dragon Mouth Cave before, so it took me a while to locate it. Apparently, it was in Golem Court. As I approached the cave entrance, the gate with the Fire symbol on it slid open for me.
Great. More fire. As a Thaumaturge, I was terrified of open fire. Fire wizards were all great, but fires in general were just… ugh…
When I reluctantly strode inside, I found that the cave was just like any other: rocky walls, stale air, and a dark ceiling. But this one had an ornate red and white mosaic on the ground. There was a giant statue of a dragon, with enormous wings that almost stretched from one end of the cave to the other. Half of its body was hidden in the rock. Much to my dismay, an enormous fire blazed in front of the stone dragon. Though like most fires it felt warm and inviting, I could also sense some kind of warning from it, as though some unknown danger lurked in the darkness of the cave. Or maybe that was just me being paranoid – fires just made me nervous.
I would have marveled at all of this even more if there hadn't been two other visitors in the cave. They were a boy and girl. The girl was a Fire wizard from the looks of it, and the boy Myth. Much to my surprise, they were engaged in a duel.
"I am so going to beat you this time!" taunted the myth wizard. He had the traditional royal blue and yellow myth robes on, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
"No way. I always win, remember? I'm the older sister," the fire girl retorted. She was a pretty girl with green eyes that shined like emeralds in the flickering firelight, and she wore pink and red robes with a hood over her head.
"I'll shield myself!" the myth student yelled.
"No, you won't. You don't know what spell I'm going to use," said the fire wizard.
"My minion will finish you off!"
"I bet he can't! I'm the higher level, anyway."
"Yes, but you're still losing."
The myth student cast a Troll, and his minion cast Fire Cat. All hope seemed lost for the Fire girl, until she miraculously cast a Kracken.
"Noooo!" wailed the myth student when he was defeated. "Since when do you know Kracken?"
"It was a Treasure Card."
"Oh, duh. I knew that."
"Sure you did, Hunter. Sure you did."
"Um… excuse me," I cut in. "I thought this was a cave, not a dueling arena."
Both students turned to look at me in astonishment. "Oh, I'm so sorry!" exclaimed the Fire wizard. "I didn't know you were in here. Not too many people come at this time of day."
Wondering how she would know that, I explained, "I came here to get fire crystals for Falmea."
"Oh, for Falmea? I can help with that!" The girl turned, and picked up a handful of gorgeous gem similar to a shining ruby that was sitting by the fire. She handed them to me cautiously. "Careful, they're hot," she advised.
It was warm, but when I encased my hands in ice it wasn't so bad. "Thank you!" I called over my shoulder as I turned to leave.
"Wait a minute," said the myth wizard.
I looked at him, raising my eyebrow in question.
"Uh… how come your ice doesn't melt?"
Dang! I'd forgotten about that! "Um... I don't know. Sorry!"
Of course I knew. It was because I had been "awakened" in the Tower of Lost Memories. Somehow, though, I didn't think he'd really like that answer.
"Are you sure you don't know?" The girl scrutinized me. Curse my stupidity! She definitely suspected something.
"Uh, no. Don't know anything about it."
She stopped examining me and looked me in the eye. "What's your name?"
"Sierra WinterBreeze," I announced proudly. I loved my new last name.
"I'm Sydney, but I don't tell strangers my last name. This is my brother, Hunter."
"Hunter ThunderShield!" the myth student corrected.
"Hunter! Mother says not to tell strangers your last name!"
"How can this hurt?"
"I don't know. But I'm telling!"
These two sure fought a lot. Backing away, I said, "I'd better be going now."
"No," said Sydney. "I want to duel you." She turned and a dueling circle appeared in front of her.
Okay. I wouldn't mind that. Couldn't hurt. "But… why in here? Can't we go to the arena or something?" I questioned.
"Uh…" Sydney hesitated for a moment.
"Seriously, Sydney, what can telling her do? It can't hurt," Hunter urged.
"But Mom said–"
"Mom's not here right now," Hunter pointed out. "Sydney, if you don't tell her, I will!"
She let out a huff of air. "…Fine." She turned to me. "My parents don't like me telling people we don't know about ourselves, but as Hunter said, this can't hurt. It was… when I first went to Ravenwood, on my first day of school. After showing us how, the teacher told us all to cast our best Fire Cat. When I did mine, it was beautiful, perfect; it was even better than the teacher's had been! Just as Falmea was congratulating me, the cat, it…" I was shocked to see tears form in her eyes. "It turned and attacked me. It was so ferocious that it knocked me unconscious. They tell me that it went after other students after that, and the Headmaster had to be summoned to calm it down. I was banned from ever going back to the Fire school again, but since Falmea felt sympathetic, she helped me try and find a cure for my unusual condition. With her aid, we discovered that my spells work here, in Dragon Mouth Cave. So she gives me private lessons in here sometimes. Outside of this cave… my spells will go berserk, harming myself and others. In fact, I think it is because of that day that my parents are so overprotective." She glared at Hunter. "At least I abide by their rules, unlike some people!"
"Interesting," I muttered thoughtfully. I wasn't kidding either. How could your spells go out of control?
"So… did you want to duel or not?" she asked impatiently.
I paused for a second, considering it. In any other circumstance I would have said yes, but now that she had explained that her spells could go haywire I wasn't sure.
She seemed to know what I was thinking. "Weren't you listening? I promise you, they never act up in here. Just everywhere else."
Finally, I relented. "Sure… I guess so. What level are you?"
"Great! We'll be evenly matched."
I learned quite a bit in that duel with Sydney. She was actually very fun to talk to – I hoped that I could visit her more often after this. The battle was rather long and tiring, considering neither of us was willing to give the other any kind of advantage, but in the end I won. It was close, though; one more turn and her Fire Elf would have defeated me. I was impressed. Besides, didn't I have special powers or something? According to the Frost Giant, I was a Seeker of Light. Maybe it didn't apply to duels.
Come to think of it, wasn't the next Seeker of Light named Sydney?
"Hey, Sydney…" I started to say. But before I could continue there was a loud rumbling in the ground.
"What's going on?" asked Hunter, getting up from his seat on the sidelines, looking around wildly.
"I don't know," replied a rather stunned Sydney.
"Come on," I shouted over the din, running back towards the entrance to the cave. "Let's go check out Golem Court–"
Almost the instant the words were out of my mouth, the gate with the Fire symbol on it slammed down, sealing the entrance. For a moment I just stared at it, completely dumbfounded. That had been our only way out…
"That's not possible!" Sydney gasped, hurrying over and tugging on the bars with all of her might. "How can it close all on its own?"
Hunter, on the other hand, had stayed back in the main section of the cave, now cried out loudly. Sydney and I turned our heads to figure out what was bothering him so much – and then we froze.
I'd been wondering what could cause such an earthquake. Now I knew.
The enormous dragon statue was moving.
The stone dragon raised its head and we all took a step back. It scanned the cave as if looking for something, and then it spotted us. It roared and breathed fire high into the air, scorching the cave ceiling. It started lumbering toward us, causing the ground to groan and shake with every step.
The three of us backed into a wall. When the dragon got close enough, it howled again and thrust a heavy arm straight at me. Caught by surprise, it made contact and I zoomed across the cave, thumping unpleasantly into the wall. It then targeted Sydney, breathing fire at her. Luckily, it didn't affect her at all. Fire wizards were as invincible to heat as Ice wizards were to cold. Unfortunately for me, Ice wizards were particularly vulnerable to warmth. Entering the cave in the first place had been difficult, and now…
I stood back up, ignoring the pain I felt. No matter how scared I was, I had to help Sydney. I got out my deck, hurriedly pulling out an Evil Snowman card. The creature appeared rather quickly and immediately pounced upon the dragon, attacking with all its might… but it seemed to do nothing at all. Everything just bounced off the stone body of the Dragon.
Hunter saw what I was trying to do and summoned as powerful of a Cyclops as he could. The dragon didn't even seem to notice.
The dragon was quick to realize that his flames weren't working on Sydney, so it scooped her up. She struggled to free herself, but it was no use.
No, I thought. You can't hurt my new friend! Think Sierra, think! You have special powers, right? Use them! I glanced around the cave to see if there was anything I could use. I saw Hunter's Cyclops still attacking the Dragon's feet in vain, and my trampled Evil Snowman that the dragon had stepped on. Apparently Myth, Fire, and Ice weren't working. What else could we do?
Of course! I had trained second in Death magic. Why not put it to good use? I frantically cast Banshee, and we finally began to see some effects. The Banshee's scream caused the dragon to stop, and put its hands up to its ears. It also caused him to lose his grip on Sydney… which I quickly realized was both good and bad.
Good news: Sydney was free!
Bad news: Sydney was now plummeting to the ground, and there was no way I could help her.
The dragon started stomping, and the ground shook so violently that Hunter and I were flung into the wall. My Banshee continued screaming, and the dragon kept snarling with anger and frustration. He banged his head on the wall, making rocks fall from the roof, drowning out the Banshee's wails.
And, while all this happened, Sydney continued falling, her body stiff from shock. Hunter, I noticed, had tears in his eyes. I didn't blame him. The situation seemed hopeless… there was nothing we could do…
Then, an idea occurred to me. Maybe I was just crazy, but with a little luck, this could save my newfound friend. "Sydney, cast a Sunbird!"
She regained her senses quickly, crying out, "Why?"
"It can fly. Maybe it can catch you!"
Fortunately, Sydney didn't waste time on any more questions, instead pulling out her deck and fumbling to withdraw a card. Luck was on our side at that moment – the second card in her deck happened to be Sunbird. She tried drawing the Fire symbol as she fell, the ground slowly coming closer –
And the spell fizzled.
All three of us cried out in identical cries of dismay. "NO!" Sydney screamed. "I was lucky enough to find that one in midair. I don't think I can get another one!"
"You have to try! You can't give up, Sydney! I won't let you!" Hunter sobbed.
Sydney frantically dug through her deck. Did I have any cards that could fly? I pulled out my own deck to search, but a tremor from the dragon scattered the cards everywhere. Angrily muttering to myself, I bent over to pick them up, but my gaze trailed upward to fall upon my friend. Time felt like it was running in slow motion right now… I could barely even believe that she was still falling. Dragon Mouth Cave must have been very tall…
In her haste, Sydney started dropping cards onto the ground. One fell on my pile as I was picking up my own cards, and I absentmindedly turned it over, glancing at the card name.
I almost dropped it in shock.
It… it was a Sunbird!
But even with the card, I had no idea how to cast it. I considered asking Sydney, but with one glance at her frustrated and terrified face I decided against it. If she didn't tell me, who would?
I knew one person. A certain Life student who was a few levels ahead of me, trained second in Fire, and had recently been working on Sunbird for homework…
I had learned a few days ago about Whisper Chat. You could talk to anyone from across the Spiral. It was quite convenient, and much cooler than cell phones back on Earth. I carefully pictured Rowan WillowLeaf in my mind, with her red hair and sparkling green eyes and playful smile I knew all too well. Then I said in my mind, "Rowan?"
"What is it Sierra?" came my sister's voice. I was relieved; I hadn't been quite sure it would work. "I am in a boss battle. I can't help you."
My heart sank. "But this is a matter of life or death!" I shouted desperately.
"If you get defeated, you will go back to the Commons. You can heal there."
"Not if you fall from the height of a thousand story building!" I knew I was exaggerating a little, but I had to get Rowan here.
"A what?" Rowan asked in alarm. "Hang on; I'll be there. Who is it that is falling? Is it you?"
"No, it's Sydney."
"Don't ask! Just come, now! If she doesn't make it… we'll at least need a healer…"
After a pause, Rowan answered, "I can't come to you. It's not working. Where are you? A dungeon?"
I groaned. Of course she couldn't teleport directly inside. Had I truly expected that? But what would we do if she couldn't come to cast it?
Then, Sydney cried out jubilantly, "Found one!"
I sighed with relief.
But before she could cast it, the dragon's hand thrust out and grabbed her again. The Banshee's wail was so loud now, and the ground felt like a stormy ocean. Angrily, the dragon threw Sydney against the wall.
"SYDNEY!" screeched Hunter. Now she was sliding down the wall, about to fall to her doom once more.
But this time, it was different.
We had no Fire wizard to cast Sunbird for us, because Sydney was unconscious.
I was out of options and rapidly running out of time. There was only one thing left I could think of doing. If I couldn't get a Fire wizard to cast this card for me, I'd just have to do it myself.
"Rowan," I said in despair over Whisper Chat, "how do you cast a Sunbird?"
Something in my voice must have made her realize just how important this was. "It is just like any other Fire spell," she explained. "You think about something warm, and then about the spell you want. You draw the symbol in the air, and-"
I didn't even wait for her to finish. The Fire symbol was already in front of me, waiting for someone to activate it. I did, and the Sunbird appeared. But how did you control what it did? I had to figure out fast, because I only had about ten seconds before Sydney was going to die…
"Uh, Sunbird… Go and catch Sydney!"Nothing happened, and the Sunbird ignored me.
8 seconds remained.
"Rowan, how do you control the Sunbird?"
"Don't you just tell it what to do?"
"I tried that and it didn't work!"
Hunter was in vain trying to catch Sydney, but it was no use. I thought that he would probably be crushed underneath her if he didn't move out of the way.
"I guess that's because you're not a very talented Pyromancer."
"Well duh, I'm Ice! I've never taken Fire classes in my life!"
"Okay, okay. Um, I'm not sure…"
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'RE NOT SURE?"
"There is one thing you could try…"
"What? Tell me now!"
"You could call it Flame, and just use the same command."
"I don't know. It works when I use it on my Sunbird. It likes it, I think."
"Couldn't you think of something better? I mean, Flame? Come on!"
"If you don't like it, don't blame me when your friend dies!"
I wished she were here, just so I could glare at her. "Fine, I'll try."
Sydney's limp body was actually far above the ground, but she was falling so fast it wouldn't matter.
I turned to the Sunbird. "Please Sunbird – uh, I mean Flame – go and catch her!"
The Sunbird looked wildly around at the mention of Flame. It saw me, and cocked its head as if trying to understand if I had been the one to say that. I nodded.
Flame zoomed across the cave…
…and caught Sydney!
"YES!" I cried out, before realizing that I was still in Whisper Chat. In the cave, you wouldn't have even been able to hear my cry out over the stomping of the dragon and the wailing of the Banshee. But wherever Rowan was, my yell had been loud.
"What happened? You didn't have to yell! Geez!"
"Sorry, that was supposed to be out loud. But guess what? It worked! Flame saved Sydney!"
"See, do you still think Flame is a bad name?"
"Yes, but I'll remember it forever now."
Even though Rowan didn't say anymore, and I couldn't see her, I could tell she was smiling.
The Sunbird lazily drifted down to land next to us with Sydney on its back, as if it hadn't just been amazingly heroic and saved someone from what could have been a fatal fall. When Hunter tried to help me pull Sydney off its back, I discovered how heavy unconscious people were. Even with the two of us working together it took some time to haul her onto the floor of the cave. It also didn't help that the dragon was still shaking the ground while it stomped around. We gently placed her on the bottom of the cave and I mentally deactivated the Sunbird spell, causing Flame to disappear.
"Is Sydney going to be okay?" asked Hunter loudly, struggling to be heard over the chaos in the room.
"Of course!" I replied, though I wasn't so sure myself. Though I'd never seen a dead body before, this is what I had always imagined it would look like.
Because the dragon was still thudding around everywhere, I whipped out my deck and cast as many Banshee cards as I could find. After another minute of earthquakes and Banshee wailing, the dragon let out such a pitiful cry it almost made me feel bad.
Finally, the dragon stopped roaring. It was so sudden that even the Banshees stopped wailing in the new silence. Hunter jumped up from sitting beside Sydney, and we both stared up at the dragon. It was once more solid stone, but now its hands were held up to its ears.
The Banshees vanished. Hunter, Sydney, and I were the only ones left.
I bent over Sydney. "What are we going to do?" questioned Hunter, his voice slightly hoarse from yelling so much earlier.
"We should take her to a hospital. She needs healing." Using all our strength, we picked up Sydney and dragged her to the mouth of the cave.
Unfortunately, we found that it was still blocked by the gate with the Fire symbol on it. "Oh no!" gasped Hunter. "How do we get out?"
I peered outside. "Hello? Anyone out there?" When I looked out through the bars, I saw absolutely no one. Mr. Lincoln wasn't in his usual spot by Golem Tower. Not even the wind seemed to be blowing, as if the world was holding its breath. Everything looked lifeless, as if it were just a picture.
Somehow, this reminded me of my awakening in the Tower of Lost Memories. When I had come to Rowan, she acted as though no time had passed. Could that be happening here? Could that be what I was witnessing? That would have to mean that a Seeker was being awakened though, wouldn't it?
I remembered that I was looking for the Fire Seeker of Light. Wouldn't it make sense if they were awakened in Dragon Mouth Cave?
"Hunter," I said to him, "What is your sister's last name?"
"Um, I'm not supposed to tell anyone…"
"Please. I might know a way to get us out of here if you tell me."
After a moment of hesitation, he answered, "JadeHammer."
JadeHammer. Sydney JadeHammer. That must have been it! The more I repeated to myself the more I knew it was right. Yes, Sydney JadeHammer was the Fire Seeker!
I didn't get a chance to get excited about it, though. Right away, Hunter and I heard a roar from back inside the cave, and we exchanged terrified glances. Could the dragon be back? We wouldn't stand a chance with Sydney unconscious, my Banshees tired, and Hunter's spells useless.
We rushed back into the cave, and sure enough, the dragon was there, moving again. I raised my wand to protect Sydney and Hunter, but surprisingly, the dragon laughed. Great, now it was talking! What excuse did it have for attacking us?
"Seeker WinterBreeze," it began in a distinctly feminine voice. Wonderful. Not only did it know my name, it knew I was a Seeker, too.
"Who are you?" I demanded.
"Leave my sister alone!" Hunter bravely shouted.
The dragon chuckled once more. "I will not hurt her, child. Let me show you that I am a friend." With the same hands that had once thrown Sydney across the cave, the dragon picked her up. Hunter and I let out identical cries of dismay, but the dragon handled her as gently as if she were her own child. A green light encompassed my new friend - the same shade Life wizards created to heal. When it faded, Sydney stood up and peered around, looking dazed. The dragon set her down, and Hunter ran over to hug her.
Was this dragon to be the one to "awaken" Sydney? It could be, if I pretended we hadn't just fought it with all we had a few minutes ago.
"Sydney JadeHammer," the dragon said. Sydney looked up. "Thank you for freeing me from the curse that was placed upon me. He put it there thinking he would destroy the Seekers before they got the chance to defeat him."
"He? Who?" she questioned. I glared at her. Shouldn't she know?
"The evil one… the one that you must defeat." The dragon's yellow eyes narrowed, making it look much more feral and ferocious, and the next word sounded like a hiss. "Malistaire..."
Just saying the name caused Sydney's eyes to widen in horror. I couldn't help but think about how similar this was to my reaction. "Wh-what? You... You want me to... I mean, I'm supposed to defeat Malistaire?" The dragon nodded. "But he's so powerful!"
"Don't speak like that!" the dragon said harshly, making us all jump. "You have the power to defeat him if you believe. But if you think like that, then he's already won."
Immediately the dragon's face softened, and it smiled warmly. At least... I thought it was a smile. I couldn't really tell, because I had never seen a dragon smile before, and seeing all those sharp teeth wasn't the most comforting sight in the world. "I know that you are new, so I shall let that pass."
"What am I new to?"
"Close your eyes, Seeker JadeHammer. Do you remember this day?"
"How could I forget," she whispered, and she winced, almost as if in pain.
"Your future as a Fire wizard seemed to be ruined when this happened. But Falmea was kind enough to continue to instruct you on the ways of the school. One of the reasons she did this was because she saw the great potential you have as a Seeker."
"Wow," she breathed. Sydney opened her eyes. Though I wasn't quite sure, I thought she may have once more witnessed the day she had told me about, when the Fire Cat had attacked.
"Sydney, the reason your spells attack you is not because you are bad at magic, or anything of the sort. Quite the opposite, actually. Your magic was so powerful that you were targeted by a sinister force that caused your spells to turn hostile. That is why you are perfect for the Fire Seeker of Light."
Aside from her initial outburst, she seemed to be taking this very well, or at least better than me. She was nodding, almost as if she had already known.
"Your life was almost destroyed by dark magic. You have thought that the only place your spells could work is in this cave, but you are wrong. It is actually the fire crystals that empower your spells to resist the magic that makes them turn against you. No dark magic can ever take out the power of a fire crystal when it is in the possesion of a Fire wizard."
"Wait a minute. So that means if I take some of the crystals with me…"
"…then you will be able to use magic outside this cave again? Yes. The magic of the crystals is sure to prevent your spells from attacking you."
"Awesome! I've waited all my life to hear something like that! Okay, actually only since I found out that my spells go out of control but still, yay!" She turned to Hunter. "Now we can duel in a real duel arena! And I can do true quests with you, not the made up ones that Falmea creates that let me stay in this cave. And we can meet new people! And I can train in the Fire school again! And I can-"
"I'm sure you're very excited," the dragon laughed. "But you must help Ice Seeker Sierra WinterBreeze find the other Seekers."
"You're a Seeker of Light too?" Sydney asked me. "Wow! Who's next, Hunter?"
"He very well may be," the dragon agreed. "It is very common for two siblings to both be Seekers."
"This is amazing!" she whispered. "I can't believe I can live a normal life now, and apparently as a Seeker too!"
"Okay, who is the next Seeker?" I said impatiently. I had seen all of this before, and experienced it for myself. I didn't need it again. If I had to go through this every time, I figured I would get really, really bored.
"Yes, of course, Sierra WinterBreeze has already heard all of this. You have done very well, Sierra. Now you must find the Storm Seeker." The dragon paused, as if waiting for us to say something. When we didn't, it sighed and said, "All right. Her name is Victoria RavenSmith. She is a much lower level than both of you."
"A lower level? Where will we find her?" inquired Sydney.
"Do not worry about having to go back places to look for her. To find her, you may want the help of an old friend, Sierra."
"A friend? Who?"
"One of the first people you personally met on your first days in Ravenwood."
I wondered who I had met who could possibly help us find Victoria RavenSmith. I couldn't really remember who I had first met, other than my family.
"I guess we should start searching," Sydney sighed.
"Wait," said the dragon. "I have something for both of you."
"What?" we asked in unison.
The dragon reached down a hand to where we could see it, and I saw two beautiful necklaces in it. "These amulets glow when there is dark magic near. They will hopefully protect you from him."
I grabbed the necklaces. They both had silver chains, but one had a gorgeous blue gem in the center and the other a bright red one.
"The blue one is for the Ice Seeker, the red for the Fire," the dragon explained. "The Ice one has a sapphire in the middle. The red one has a fire crystal."
They were both radiant. Sydney looked so happy with her necklace!
"Go now, and start your search. Good luck to you both."
After I grabbed some fire crystals from Sydney to complete my quest from Falmea, we exited through the now-opened gate of Dragon Mouth Cave. Sydney and Hunter wanted to go to the PvP Arena, but I decided to head back home. I'd had too much excitement for one day. For one lifetime, actually.
Because no one else was home, I let myself into the quiet house. After I had put my necklace on the kitchen counter and deposited my wizard gear in my room, I sat down on the couch in the living room to think. I needed to find Victoria RavenSmith. How? There may be thousands of Victoria RavenSmiths attending the school. It would be impossible to find just one student. I felt like I was finding a needle in the haystack. But I had found Sydney, and within a week too. Could it possibly be that easy to find all the other Seekers?
Just then I heard a crash in the other room, followed by a yell. I jumped up, startled by the noise. Who could that be? No one else was home! I happened to glance to the side as I was running through the kitchen toward the back of the house, where the crash had emanated from. My necklace was sitting there, shining bright as the sun. I couldn't ponder over it, though, because I was preoccupied with finding out the cause of the noises.
When I ran to the back of the house, I heard movement in Rowan's room. Was she home and I hadn't noticed?
I was about to walk in but someone began speaking, and I stopped to listen. "We must search the house," declared a booming voice. That definitely wasn't Rowan's voice. Footsteps started coming towards me. Panicking, I dove into the closet next to me. I knew it wasn't a very good hiding spot if they were going to search for something, but it had to do for the moment. I wanted to teleport away, but what if they stole something important? Like my wand that was sitting in plain view on my bed?
Then I wondered if I should use Whisper Chat to contact someone. But who should I tell first? My parents? Rowan? Sydney? Whoever ran 911 in Wizard City? My family had never gone over what to do in an emergency.
I again perceived speaking, but I couldn't hear with the closed door. I pushed the door open a tiny bit and prayed they wouldn't notice.
Though it still sounded mostly like mumbling, I could make out bits of what they were saying. It didn't make any sense at all, however. All I heard was something about a wand, an Ice Wyvern, and then both Rowan's and my name.
Then I heard something that sent a shiver down my spine. Had I heard wrong? But I couldn't have confused that with anything else. Malistaire wasn't a very common word.
Suddenly someone shouted "Found it!" I wondered what they had found.
After some quiet conversation that I couldn't make out, there was a howling noise that signaled that they were teleporting. Before leaving, I took a risk to stick my head out the door, and spotted the pair. They looked like two normal adult Death wizards, but the way they stood there, the way they looked around so fearlessly, and the way they simply felt made me think that they were much, much worse. Though they left swiftly, I still didn't dare come completely out of my hiding spot until I was sure they weren't coming back.
I crept back out. The house was dark and eerie, making me tip-toe around silently.
I flipped on the light in my room. The first thing I noticed that it was ruined. They had trashed it! The second thing was that my wand was no longer on my bed. I had a vague hope that it had possibly fallen on the floor while they were searching for whatever it was, but I doubted it. Now I would have to save up for a new wand. My fire crystals that had been laying on the floor were also gone, so I would now have to get those again, too. What else was missing? I scanned the room, scowling at my spell cards scattered across the ground, but none of them looked like they were gone. I dug through my pouch, and gritted my teeth when I couldn't find my gold. Great. Now not only did I not have a wand, but I didn't have money to get a new one, either!
I then peeked into Rowan's room to find it in a similar state to mine. Her spare staff was gone, too. She preferred a wand, but she kept an Ice staff in case she needed one.
A wand, a staff, a few fire crystals, and some gold pieces were certainly important to us, but why would anyone else want them? Why didn't they take anything else?
As I trudged back out into the kitchen area, I found out how wrong I had been. They had stolen something else, and this was far more important than anything else. The counter was vacant.
My brand new sapphire necklace from the dragon was gone.
I should have expected this if they knew Malistaire, but I was still stunned. I didn't come out of my dazed state until I heard Sydney calling to me in Whisper Chat. "Sierra, help!"
"Sydney?" I called back, snapping back to reality. No one answered. Had the wizards come to her house as well? With that grim thought in mind, I teleported to her.
The first thing I perceived was a voice that I knew all too well: "Hand over the necklace and no one will get hurt." Next, the scene appeared, and what I saw wasn't too surprising. We were in the dueling arena. Students were huddled against the walls, not wanting to be caught up in the fight.
One of the wizards saw me. "Hey, isn't that the other one?" he asked.
I wasn't quite sure what he meant, but there was no way I was going to let them hurt Sydney. "Leave her alone!" I commanded in a voice that I hoped sounded formidable. If these guys actually decided to fight, I'd be a goner without my wand. Plus, in my haste I had left my spell deck at home.
Unfortunately, they only laughed. "So you want to fight us then? I'd like to see you try!"
"I'm warning you," I said, but this time my voice wavered.
They chuckled again and one said, "We should take them to Malistaire."
"No!" cried out Sydney.
I noticed that Sydney was wearing her necklace around her neck and it was gleaming brightly. It was shining so much that I imagined if you stared at it for too long you would be blinded. That meant dark magic was near, which wasn't surprising with Malistaire's minions beside us.
I wanted to be brave, but I just couldn't, not when I was so terrified. I couldn't fight two full grown wizards with tons of experience. After all, I was only a kid. And an Initiate kid at that. Sydney wasn't much better, or her brother. Even with Rowan's help I doubted we would get anywhere except dead.
I wished I could discuss a plan with Sydney. All I could do was hope that she would figure something out, because I was out of ideas.
"So, little girl, are you going to give us the fire crystal necklace or will we have to take it from you?"
Sydney's lower lip was trembling violently. I saw her slowly reach a hand up and put it on her necklace. I had no idea what I would have done in a situation like this. I'd lost my necklace, but I hadn't even gotten a chance to keep it safe. Now Sydney was stuck between that decision and certain death.
Finally Sydney looked up into their eyes and quietly replied, "No."
"What?" said one wizard, his eyes flashing with anger.
"No!" How I wished I could be as brave as her.
He smirked. "Fine, then we have to do this the hard way." He took out his wand, and drew the Death symbol in the air. With a slight, casual, lazy flick of his wrist, the symbol activated and a Wraith appeared. I shivered and backed away, but it raised its hand and I fell to the ground with Sydney and Hunter beside me. I think Sydney and her brother went unconscious. I almost did too, but I struggled to pay attention to what was around me. I saw the death wizards grabbing Sydney's necklace, and then my eyes couldn't take it anymore and they closed, and everything went black. Every breath I took in shot pains throughout my entire body. I was mostly worried about Sydney. She hardly had looked like she was breathing.
I was only vaguely aware that Malistaire's minions were talking. I was just about to slip into unconsciousness until I began to sense light from behind my closed eyelids. With some amount of struggle, I found the strength to open them a small crack. Near the door of the Player versus Player arena, there was a small ball of light. It grew bigger and bigger, until suddenly, it shot of in a million different directions to reveal Merle Ambrose, the headmaster.
The death wizards backed away. They were afraid of him! We were saved!
"I believe you have something that belongs to my two young students here," said Headmaster Ambrose.
"We'll never give them up! We'll tell Malistaire and-"
"Be gone!" he shouted and they disappeared in a puff of smoke. Both the sapphire and fire crystal necklaces clanged to the ground.
It was then that I couldn't hold on any longer and I was gone.
When I awoke, I was still in the PvP Arena. Ambrose had left, but Sydney and Hunter still laid there. No one else was in the arena with us. Where had everyone disappeared to? I shakily stood up, and then bent over to pick up both of our necklaces, whose glow had died down. I came to Sydney's side and shook her awake.
I examined myself to check if I was all right. I seemed just fine, and no longer felt pained as I did when I had first passed out. Sydney and Hunter were okay too. It was as if nothing had happened, as if the whole thing had just been a dream. Yet I was still fearful. If they had managed to steal everything so easily this time, wouldn't it be just as easy the next?
The Headmaster came, I reminded myself.
...But what if next time he didn't come?
I tried to push that thought out of my mind. Besides, I couldn't wait to get home to tell Rowan. These terrifying experiences were always great stories to tell – that is, if you survived them.
A/N: The main thing I didn't like about this chapter? Dragon Mouth Cave is NOT that large in the game. Sydney can't fall for three minutes straight, or however long I made it sound like. Plus, the whole Flame thing was kind of stupid, in my opinion. It was just a reference to what my sister named her Sunbird in the game. But I didn't exactly know what else to do... so yeah. XD That's okay, though. I hope you lovely readers still like it. ;)
Speaking of you "lovely readers", thanks to Naomi Hansen, fanficreader137, sportzdawg, NeverlandGirl177, anonymous person without any name, Courtney, Laveycee, Hawkstar, Koulikovsky, PJATOSROCKS09, MayFairy, and CreatorofHavoc for the reviews!
...Wow, until I wrote you all down like that, I didn't realize there were so many! That's... twelve people? WOW! SO awesome! Hope you come back to review again! (And if you have questions I didn't answer, post them again, because I'm a lot more willing to respond individually to reviews now.)
By the way, I wrote half of this chapter on my brand new iPad, which doesn't have a spellchecker, so... I hope there's no mistakes. XD And I'm STILL working on Part 15, don't worry! Oh... that reminds me, if you're a fan of the originals (or even that much of a super fan of these three chapters that you'd enter this), there's a fan work contest on my blog, Sierra's Story. Google it or something.
EDIT: And because I just realized what the date is... HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!