"A Remarkable Story. I never thought we would hear from Bellerin again. He was such a talented magician…" Heiron said to the three young magicians, after hearing their story following their successful retrieval of the Spellbook of Wisdom.
"Wait… you knew Bellerin, Lord Heiron?" asked Junon, with curiosity.
"Why, as a matter of fact, I did! We actually fought against one another when Prophitia and Bellerin's homeland, the Citadel of Endymion were still Enemies. He was a young prodigy back then. I knew that he left the Citadel some time after the war, but I could never have guessed that he's become the Enemy!" Heiron replied.
"But we're still on reasonably good terms with the Citadel. Why is Bellerin still our so-called 'Enemy'", Temper asked with great confusion.
"Well, to answer your question, the Citadel promised in the Treaty that if they wanted to use any of our Spellbooks, all they had to do was ask! But since Bellerin was prepared to use force against you guys, I can only assume that he defected and now wants the power of the Spellbooks for himself!" the Head Magician concluded.
"Funny, we defeated Bellerin – or rather he retreated. You said he was a young prodigy. Where's all of his promise now?" said Batel, proud that him and his comrades could beat the Dragon-riding sorcerer.
"Well Batel, he probably wanted to cut his losses and flee. After all, there are other Spellbooks that he can go and find", Junon said.
"Very true, and if he's now using dragons, then we have to assume that we didn't fight him at his very best. Although if he wants the Spellbooks for himself, what does he want to do with them? That's the real Question", the elder magician scratched his head. Heiron continued speaking. "Anyways my young magicians, we have sightings of a new Spellbook. It is the Spellbook of Secrets, and we can find it in a place called 'Ojama Country'. It's seems harmless enough, and you shouldn't find any trouble there like you did in the secret village. The journey is quite long though, so you will need to fly a dragon yourselves. Luckily, you can ride mine", Heiron smiled to himself in excitement.
The three magicians were led to a sanctuary in the city, not far from the Spellbook tower where Dragons would live and thrive in their Natural Habitat. Before them, they saw an orange, aging dragon that even had a beard.
"Magicians, meet Souzando!" Heiron introduced them to the big old dragon. The dragon didn't seem very amused and was sitting down lazily. He didn't take much notice of the magicians. But Junon, being the friendly, optimistic person that she was took it upon herself to introduce herself personally.
"Uhmmm… Hi! I'm Junon, pleased to meet you, Souzando!" The big dragon looked at her from above, making her look very small and nervous in the process. Souzando wasn't in the mood to make friends and snorted out some smoke from his nose. Luckily, the smoke wasn't too harmful although Junon coughed a little bit.
"Souzando, that is not how a thousand year old dragon behaves, honestly! Now, take these three young magicians to the Ojama Country, this instant", Heiron was never usually angry, but most people were scared when he was. Souzando was scared too. He didn't like to see his master angry and did what he was told, nodding at his master nervously.
"Oh, and Junon…", Heiron wished to talk with Junon alone, holding the newly acquired Spellbook of Wisdom in his hands. Junon turned around after noticing her comrades mounting the old dragon.
"You also said that the Spellbook of Wisdom was blank, but then it contained words soon after you opened it? You also seem to have learnt a few spells too!" Heiron smiled proudly
"Yes, that is correct!" Junon said with joy.
"In that case, maybe you should have it. I'm not sure whether the book would have contained words if anyone else had found it and based on what it says on the first page, I just feel as though this book belongs with you! And, may I also share a secret about these Spellbooks?"
"Yes. Aside from containing the formulas to various rare magic spells, the Spellbooks themselves are in fact a source of Power!"
"Really?" Junon was slightly shocked, but realised that what Heiron was saying might be true, "I suppose that's not hard to believe. After collecting the Spellbook, I was worn out, but after holding it in my hand for a few moments, making my way back here I did get my strength back!"
"Indeed! But being a source of Power, these Spellbooks are highly desired not only by Spellcasters, but a great deal of other people and entities as well. We don't want the Spellbooks falling into the wrong hands."
"I understand", Junon said as she finally joined her male comrades and mounted Souzando to travel to the Ojama Country.
Despite Souzando's old age, it did nothing to hinder his flying ability. In fact, he flew rapidly towards the Ojama country, so much so that the speed was unbearable and it was almost as though that the three magician's respective faces would be blown off due to the sheer force of the wind created from Souzando's flight. It even prevented them from saying anything which was good for Junon, because she wouldn't have to hear Batel's childish blabbering.
They finally arrived at the Ojama country, and despite Heiron's words it wasn't quite what they expected. From the other information that Heiron gave them, the Ojamas were small, ugly creatures but were almost completely harmless and that the area itself didn't pose much of a threat to outsiders.
Heiron had got it completely wrong. Sure, there were Ojamas around but they were in a state such that the 'Ojama Country' didn't belong to them. Junon noticed other beings around too. They closely resembled humans, but had wings and claws that were completely similar to that of a bird's. Almost all of them were female and were working Ojamas to the bone, like they were slaves. A lot of these bird-humans where barking orders, making bird-sounds in between and even whipped the Ojamas from time to time. The bird-humans even kept a certain breed of dragons as pets! They were either floating around the country, or sitting besides their master. In short, one would rather not be an Ojama living in Ojama country.
"W-what's going on here?! This is terrible. Are we even in the right place?!" Junon asked casually, having doubts whether they should attempt to find the Spellbook of Secrets. She carried the Spellbook of Wisdom in her hand and it was giving a warm sensation. She got it out and noticed that it was glowing vigorously.
"The Spellbook of Wisdom is glowing. I wonder why that is…" Batel asked.
"It's because, when two Spellbooks are within close proximity to one another, they start glowing. The Spellbooks are indeed connected" Temper answered Batel's question for him.
"Anyways, we need to know what's going on around here. I'm gonna go ask some locals. Boys, come with me!"
"Still as bossy as ever…" Batel said. His companions said nothing as they approached three Ojama's that were standing in a corner doing nothing actually trying to avoid being seen by the bird-humans. The trio, a Yellow Ojama and Green Ojama and a Black Ojama became very nervous as the three magicians converged to them. The Yellow one started speaking.
"Do you work for the Herpie Queen?!" he asked, speaking in a rather squeaky, annoying voice. His green brother then interrupted him.
"It's not Herpie Queen, it's Harpie Queen! Stop being so disgusting!"
"You're disgusting!" the Yellow one yelled back
"You're both disgusting!" The black Ojama said to them, "If the two of you don't shut up then the Harpies will find us and send us all to their Harpie Queen!"
Before the Ojama trio started an argument, Temper interrupted. His cold voice silenced everyone.
"No, we do not work for the Harpie Queen, whoever she is. Why would you think that, anyway?" he said, answering the Yellow fellow's initial question whilst asking one himself.
"Because you have a Spellbook and a Dragon, just like the Herpie Queen!" the Yellow one replied swiftly, looking at the grumpy old Souzando.
"I can assure you that we are not working for the Harpie Queen. We are all magicians from Prophitia. We are here on a task from Land's lord, Heiron to collect the Spellbook of Secrets. The three of us don't wish to cause trouble towards the Ojamas. In fact, we thought that this mission would be a quiet one, but it seems we have to get past this Harpie Queen in order to do so", Batel added with assurance.
"So, why are the Harpies here, exactly?" Junon asked the trio.
"Well, it all started quite recently actually. Who knows why they are here. Maybe they like bossing us little Ojamas about – They seem to enjoy being in power, taking people's lands, their other possessions and beating people senseless! This land was as you guys put it 'harmless'. Our king wanted peace. No fighting. No magic. But now our king is imprisoned in his own castle that the Harpies took for themselves. It's horrible…" the Yellow Ojama burst into tears, but his two brothers comforted him.
"There there, yellow", the Green one said.
"We still have eachother!" the Black one said. That made Junon smile. It reminded her of her friendship with Batel and Temper.
"Well, I say that we march over to that Castle and take back what's rightfully yours!" Junon said, punching her fist into the air.
"Junon, you can't be serious. These Harpies… They…" Temper added nervously.
"I think your hooded friend is right!" the Green one added, still comforting his weeping yellow brother.
"If we can't fight them, who will? Besides, we also need the Spellbook of Secrets and we all agreed to go to any lengths to acquire it. The only way to do that is to take down the Harpie Queen who has it! We can't just let the Spellbooks remain in the wrong hands!"
"I say we take this winged bitch down…" Batel said. He didn't curse very much, nor was he particularly passionate. But after hearing the Yellow Ojama's story, he was more pumped than ever.
"I suppose I'm outnumbered two to one, but oh well. Let's do this. Ojamas, you'll have to help us. Firstly, you need to take us to the castle", Temper said.
"Sure, Hoodie guy!" The Yellow Ojama said, he wiped his last tear and his mouth curved into a cheeky grin.
"Please don't call me that…" Temper replied.
"Anyways, let's get to the castle. Though, judging from the way things are looking here, we can't draw attention to ourselves. So, just to be on the safe side, I propose that we go in disguise!" Junon said.
"And how do we do that?" Batel asked.
"We transform into Harpies! There's a sweet transformation spell described in the Spellbook of Wisdom, so we can all use that!" Junon said, taking a look around to see what Harpies typically look like.
"Okay Batel, Temper… Picture one of those Harpies over there, read the step and the incantation in the Spellbook and then transform. I have an idea!" Junon grinned to herself.
Moments later, the three magicians were close to the castle, transformed as Harpies. Souzando was also there, transformed into one of the Pet Dragons that the Harpies had. As part of Junon's plan, the three Ojamas were wrapped up tightly in some chains that Junon materialised earlier. The Perimeter was heavily guarded, but only two harpies were at the door, letting people in and out.
"Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in order to get inside, you either break in or say the password. We've tried breaking in, but that's pretty difficult. The guards are too strong. Regardless, if an Ojama is seen in castle territory alone, they'll just get attacked anyway, so finding out the password is hard. By the way, is it possible to loosen these chains, I'm feeling uncomfortable!" The Yellow Ojama said.
"Shhh… quiet! Anyway, the chains need to be tight in order to be genuine. Now listen up, I know how to get the password!" Junon pointed to the Spellbook of Wisdom.
"Damn, that Spellbook has everything, doesn't it. I wonder if it has a spell for your chest" Batel whispered to Temper.
"I heard that!" Junon said, "Now, let me concentrate on the spell…"
Junon read the incantation required and focused her magical energy to her ear. Then she put her hand to her ear and was now able to listen in on the conversation at the gates. Two harpies with distinct appearances were about to enter and they needed to say the password.
"Ah, the legendary Harpie Channeler and Harpie Dancer! To what do we owe the pleasure?" A Harpie door guard said.
"We're on important business with the Queen! Now let us in!" Channeler said. She was the feistier of the two.
"Fair enough, but what's the password?" The other guard asked. Channeler nodded towards the dancer. The dancer spoke.
"The big black bird with the big black wings was certainly lacking class. Little did he know that the harpies flew above and below to kick the Black Wing's ass!" the Dancer said with joy.
"And with that, you may pass…" the guard said, opening the doors to let them in. Junon noted the password down for when she entered the gates with her comrades.
"Okay, I have the Password. Let's go!" Junon said.
"You know, I hate having to dress up as a girl!" Batel complained.
"Shut up Batel…" Temper coldly concluded.
The six of them approached the castle gate, with Souzando floating above the castle, just in case. Junon faced the guards. Temper and Batel remained silent, letting Junon do all the work.
"And what are you here for?" the guard asked.
"I caught these three Ojamas backbiting the queen and stealing things from other Harpies when they were supposed to be working. I will send them to the punishment chamber to have them dealt with accordingly. I also have to speak to the Queen…" Junon said, making a convincing Harpie.
"Very well then. And the password?" the guard asked.
"The big black bird with the big black wings was certainly lacking… ass?" Junon was struggling to remember the full password.
"Wrong answer, you shall not pass!" the guard said, attempting to drive her away. Junon knew she messed up, but to be fair, it was not truly in her nature to solve this with words. She had a backup plan and was about to implement it.
"Souzando!" Junon yelled from the top of her voice. The elder dragon responded, descending on the castle, breathing smoke onto the castle making it difficult for the guards to see. They coughed and were distracted. Junon blew open the door with a Magical blast and ran into the castle with the chained Ojamas and her male accomplices.
"There's been a breach of castle security. Everyone stay on red alert!" A Harpie guard barked.
Inside, there didn't appear to be any guards yet, but they could be heard. The six of them had to act quickly.
"Okay Temper, Batel and the Ojamas, you guys find the Ojama King and set him free. And of course, don't be afraid to fight off any guards. I will deal with the Harpie Queen myself", Junon stated confidently whilst grasping the Spellbook of Wisdom tightly in her hand.
Junon advanced carefully around the castle to where the Queen was, using all of her skill not to arouse suspicion. She would finally arrive and was in for a grand surprise. The Queen was heavily guarded, and had the Channeler and Dancer as company.
"Ah, the intruder is here. So good of you to join us!" She said, standing up from her throne, throwing her green hair back with one hand, and closing the Spellbook of Secrets that she was reading with the other. It had a dark blue appearance that matched her tight-fitting outfit but glowed in response to being close to the Spellbook of Wisdom. It was almost no wonder that the Queen detected her. Her guards were poised to attack.
"At ease, guards. I can handle this… Oh, and you can lose the disguise too", she said. Junon reverted to her original form, feeling comfortable in her own skin and not in the guise of a monstrous Harpie.
"Why are you doing this? Why take the innocent Ojama's Land?" Junon asked.
"I suppose somebody like you would never understand. You are an underling sorcerer who was born into an influential, successful habitat whilst we Harpies have always struggled for greatness up until now. The Harpies elected me their Queen after I did many things for us. As someone who now knows the taste of Power, I just want more and more. I will use any means to get my hands on that Power!" the Queen said, clenching her fist.
"I don't care! I'm taking you down, restoring this land to what it once was, and taking that Spellbook of yours. I won't let this book and this Land fall into the wrong hands!" Junon snapped, emphasising her sense of justice.
"You'd be a fool to challenge the Queen. Nobody has defeated her in a one-on-one battle. Leave now while you still can", a random Harpie guard said, warning Junon.
"No, no… there's no need for that. It's as you said. I can't lose!"
"If you're so confident that you can't lose, then let's have a deal. If I can defeat you, you give this land back to the Ojamas and you hand over the Spellbook of Secrets", Junon proposed.
"And if I win, then I take your precious smoke-breathing Dragon and the Spellbook of Wisdom. We harpies are an honourable race who sticks by their word, but I will enjoy thrashing you all the same! Follow me, Sorceress..."
Junon followed the Harpie Queen around the castle to a dark dungeon-like place which was underground. It looked quite grotsque with the rotting corpses and empty suits of armour surrounding them. The only light Source in the vast, spacious room was coming from the combatant's respective Spellbooks. They were the only two people in the room, and were ready to fight.
"Ready?" the Queen asked. Junon didn't answer and fired straight away with large Magical blast, of which the diameter was the same as the Queen's height. The queen was able to conjure up a cylinder that could contain the blast and create another cylinder that could fire the exact same magical blast right back at Junon. The pink haired sorceress dodged the shot but only just. The Harpie queen was quick to intercept her using her great speed which Emanated from her wings. Junon was tackled down by the fast, flying Harpie.
"I'm not the only one who can use magic. But I pride myself in using more physical techniques when necessary!" the Queen grinned. Her claws then dug into Junon's peachy skin, causing her to bleed and to cry in agony. The Queen then threw Junon Across the room, smashing her into a hard brick wall. It looked as though Junon would be finished. She was physically weak in comparison to the Harpie. The green-haired bird-lady beat her wings hard as she flew towards the pink-haired magician, with an expanding magical flame in her hand, similar to Junon's Magical Blast. It looked as though the Queen would be guaranteed a win by attacking from such close range.
The wall was destroyed. No doubt about that. However, there seemed to be no sign of Junon. Where was she? The Queen definitely missed her target, and was annoyed with herself because usually nobody beat the Harpie Queen in a game of speed. She looked behind her, and there Junon was, standing.
"And I'm not the only one who can use speed!" Junon used a Spell from the Spellbook of Wisdom to make her temporarily as fast as the Queen. As the Queen turned around, Junon prepared a new Spell. Junon, now exhausted from using her speed-emulating spell was forced to draw power from the Spellbook of Wisdom. Slowly but surely the power came to her and the Spell was almost complete. The queen had no idea what was going on, but she had no time to stop and look. She had to stop Junon now!
The Queen glided once more to her target, but halfway through her quick journey to Junon she was stopped right in her tracks. She was floating in mid-air but seemed to be moving as though she was being held in chains, struggling to break free, but there were no chains. What was going on?
"You are currently under my Dark Illusion – another powerful spell from the Spellbook of wisdom. A fitting Spell for someone blinded by greed, power and the need to make the weak suffer just to get more power", Junon said. The Queen couldn't actually hear her as she was stuck in the Illusion. She was sweating in fear now. Junon was determined to make the Queen's experience as horrible as possible, as she conjured up the most vile, scary creature she could think of to make the Queen tremble with fear.
"I will put you out of your misery now…" Junon fired one last magical blast towards the queen, leaving her burnt but kept her alive. After all, the Queen needed to keep her promise and Junon felt as though death would be the easy way out for her. The Queen needed to learn her lesson. The Illusion was finished and the Queen came to her senses.
"I surrender… The Spellbook of Secrets now belongs to you, and we Harpies will leave the Ojama country for good…" The Queen said. Her voice was faint, but she could still be heard. Junon heard another voice. It was much louder and was quite an irritating, distinct voice.
"Hey Pink-hair! We found the King! Let us rejoice!" It was the Yellow Ojama, with a worn-out Temper and Batel, his two Ojama brothers and the corpulent Ojama King.
"Thank you, young Sorceress", he said making the largest grin on his big face that Junon had ever seen.
The sun had set on a once again peaceful Ojama Country. An orange sky was the blanket of a small golden land that was now cheering for happiness all around. The Harpies were packing the last of their things, ready to fly away for good.
"We are forever in your debt, Junon. Do come back here wherever you want. Maybe next time you can enjoy your stay! Anyway, thank you once again for saving us from that winged pestilence. My people can now rest easy. For the Umpteenth time, I say thank you."
"Well, really… It was nothing. We were just doing our job! You get your land back, and we get our Spellbook!" Junon said, whilst blushing
"There's no need to be so modest! You sure you can't stay for the night?" The Yellow Ojama asked, laughing at Junon's attempt at modesty.
"Thanks for the offer, but we have to go…" Temper said.
"I wonder if that chest enhancing Spell is in this Book", Batel snatched the Spellbook of Secrets from Junon, flicking through the pages. The king and the Ojama brothers laughed. Junon lightly slapped Batel. The three of them mounted the grumpy Souzando, who was patiently waiting for the magicians.
They flew into the descending sunset back to Prophitia, knowing that Justice was done…