Hey, everyone! I know that you must be waiting anxiously to see what happens to Misveri, Delrany, Stoob, and Simus the Necromancer after our last adventure in Magic Binds, Part 1. Well, it is all listed here, but I will start with the beginning of the epilogue. Enjoy! 😀
“You can open your eyes now.”
I pulled my hands away from my face, then widened my eyes at the pile of presents on the table. “You didn’t have to do all this!” I protested, surprised.
“Well,” Stoob meowed, rubbing his face against my legs, “since the young army lost your records, which includes your birthday, who your parents were, and all of that, we figured we could cover your birthday and your magical anniversary with one party.”
“It has been a year since you accepted my offer and signed the binding magical contract entitling you to be my apprentice,” Simus added.
Delrany handed me a present, making a face of regret. “If you weren’t a magical necromancer’s apprentice, I would smash the cake in your face, but….”
I ripped open the wrappings to find…more wrappings. I tore that off, to find even more. I got through about the 8th layer before I asked Delrany about it. As always, she blamed the cat.
We went through all of the presents (most of them being smelly dead mice from Stoob) until we got to the last one, a silver one the size of a matchbox. Delrany eyed it nervously. “I don’t remember that.”
“Open it with care, Misveri,” Simus warned me. “If something nasty pops out, our combined shields should hold it off.”
I hesitantly reached out and pried the lid off, bracing myself for whatever lay inside. I shakily pulled out a necklace, with silver and blue pearls. A blood-red ruby, the size of an acorn, hung from the middle, glittering grotesquely. Suddenly, it pulsed with an electric blue light, and I released it, shrieking, just as a menacing shadow passed overhead. A giant eagle swooped in with a raucous call, snatching up the necklace. It dropped a ball of wire onto the table. As I looked closer, it seemed more like the support frame for a metal ball. On top of that, it emitted a faint red light and an eerie ticking sound.
“Hit the ground!” Delrany yelled, grabbing my sleeve and yanking me down.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Stoob scrambling up the nearest tree. I tried to shout, to tell him not to, but the bomb had started giving off smoke and it clogged the thick air, making me choke. “Stoob climbed a tree! When that bomb explodes, it’ll blow the tree clear off and kill him. We have to get him down!” I hissed to Delrany.
“It is unwise to get up now, that thing is going to blow any minute! If you ask me, someone’s really out to get you,” Simus croaked anxiously, his voice hoarse.
“You have a 4 out of 5 chance that you will die, Misveri! You could get set on fire, or fall from the tree when rescuing Stoob, or explode into bits from the bomb, or–” Delrany added, shuddering with worry and fear.
Suddenly, I saw an image of myself nearing the bomb, throwing myself on top of it with a desperate yell, disappearing when the bomb exploded into a shower of mist, and the mist blanketing the clearing with a dull gloom but not harming anyone. Simus placed his hand on my shoulder, as if he could see the foreseeing magic I had used, the images I had conjured.
I stood up, shaking off his hand. “I can’t just leave him! I’m going to get him down, or die trying. He is my friend!”
This is where I stopped last time. Now, the rest will be available to you!
I bounded forward. Instead of going in Stoob’s direction, I ran towards the bomb, which had started beeping loudly and quickly. Just like in the vision, I yelled and jumped on top of it, shielding the majority of the blow from the others and closing my eyes tight.
But nothing happened. I was beginning to wonder if my vision was true. Then, I opened my eyes–to pitch darkness.
“What the–” I scrambled to my feet and tried to look around me. Unfortunately, there was no light source anywhere. I unclipped my flashlight from my army belt and switched it on, but the tiny light hardly penetrated the blackness.
“Lumiera,” I muttered. The light flared brighter, thanks to my light spell, and it only just illuminated my surroundings.
I was standing on a rock in the middle of a large black lake, inside a vast cave. I had no idea where I was, but I began to feel a little scared. As far as I knew, I was alone here, unless there were zombies under the glassy surface of the lake, making those ripples that seemingly came from nowhere.
I shivered and searched around for a way off the rock and to the edges of the lake, by the wall, where there was a minuscule stretch of rock just wide enough for me to stand on. Maybe I could find an exit from there.
I soon discovered a boat at the edge of the rock, large enough for one person, tethered to a wooden post that was about to come out of the rock it was nailed in to. I was about to climb into it when my hand brushed something hard and cold. It felt like a stick, but I wasn’t sure. Surely, no stick would bend and curve like that?
I shined my light on the thing, and my heart skipped a beat. My stomach flipped and I felt like I was going to throw up, but I managed to hold it in.
I was holding one of the rib bones of a grinning, rotting skeleton.
I shrieked and jumped back, almost slipping on the wet rocks and falling into the dark water below. Cautiously I stepped forward and gave it a little push. It toppled over the edge of the boat with a little plunk and started sinking.
I took a shaky breath and cautiously jumped into the boat. I looked to my left and the skeleton was there, bobbing at the surface.
I rubbed my eyes to see if I was imagining it, but no, something was dragging it down from under the surface. Finally, only the right arm was left above the water, as if the skeleton was crying for help.
I stood up suddenly, intending to get off of the boat. If the skeleton, which was made of hard bone, could be pulled down as easily as grabbing a fallen feather from the air, what was to stop whatever it was doing it to grab the wooden boat next?
I was tensing my legs to leap out when reason caught up to me. If the thing could have touched the boat, wouldn’t it have taken it down already? The skeleton was inside the boat, which was probably why it couldn’t take the bones. The moment I tipped it out, it was vulnerable to the monster.
I came to the conclusion that the boat must be enchanted, and sat back down again. I couldn’t find the oars, though. They had probably fallen to the bottom of the lake some time ago.
I tapped the edge of the boat and it shot forward, gliding on the surface and cutting through the dense mist. The shore was in sight about a minute later.
That was when I felt the first THUD.
I whipped around, heart pounding loud enough to wake the dead. It must be the thing that took the skeleton. It rose to the surface, and I’d never forget that face when I saw it.
It had slimy, green scales with a tint of metallic blue on every third one. Its eyes were bloodred and glowed in the dark with their own light, and its claws were narrowed down to sharp silver points. Golden gills extended on either side of its head, and a lightbulb-shaped glowing bubble hung on a curved stick tied to its long brown horns behind the gills, like those fish that lure others to their deaths with a shining light attached to its head.
I reached for the stout stick I always had clipped to my army belt. Gripping it in my hand, I murmured the enlarging spell and felt comfort as the stick lengthened steadily. After a few seconds, I held a fully functional baseball bat in my hands.
The monster leaped at me, and I swung the bat hard, colliding with its head and knocking it back. It wailed, and the sound echoed throughout the cavern, bouncing off the walls. It even seemed to get louder in the middle, before steadily softening and dying.
The boat lurched forward suddenly and I fell back onto the wooden bottom. I realized, with a sickening feeling in my stomach, that the echo didn’t get louder, it was actually joined by more calls.
I stood up, breathing fast, eyes wide with fear. I looked about me, and all around me the things were popping up from under the lake’s surface. They were all staring at me with their bulging goggle-eyes, probably thinking about how I would taste as their dinner.
I held up the bat, but I knew there was no way I could survive this with just the stick. I also knew I would probably go down fighting, but I would try to take as much with me as I could.
The first one jumped, and I smacked it back, but I heard a roar behind me. I whirled around and hit the other one hard in between its eyes, and it fell back, screeching.
And so it went. I was stabbing, poking their eyes, smacking and slapping them with even my bare hands, hitting them with the bat. I was keeping them at bay with nothing but a large stick.
Then I noticed it.
One of them surged towards me from behind, and I didn’t turn fast enough. It was almost upon me, and I stared into its eyes. It lulled me into a trance, one of which I had no chance of escape from.
I knew I should look away, but I couldn’t. I started to feel sleepy, and I was about to sink down when the monster slammed into some invisible wall and the spell was broken. I shook my head to clear the drowsiness and braced myself as the rest came flying at me. They all fell short.
I began to doubt that they could even get close to me, and if they couldn’t get close, they couldn’t touch me. If they couldn’t touch me, they couldn’t kill me, and without that they couldn’t eat me.
“You’ll have to go hungry tonight!” I yelled at them defiantly.
Only then did I register that the boat was filling up with water. Fast.
I shouted in frustration, but sat down and tapped the edge of the boat. If I could make it to the shore before the boat sank, or at least close enough that I could swim to it, I might stand a chance.
It zoomed forward, the prow making a path among the now silent monsters. They watched me go past, but seemed to accept that they couldn’t eat me, and didn’t follow me. The boat soon bumped against the shoreline and I climbed out. I tapped the other side of the boat and pushed it in the direction of the rock, for anyone else who might have the misfortune to end up here. Then, I sat down on the fine black sand and struck a match against a rock. I soon found out that the sand was flammable, so I built a little rock circle around a flaming mound of sand. Wrapping my emergency jacket tighter around me, I stared across the inky expanse to the tiny rock. I put my hand to my throat, thinking how narrowly I escaped death, and why.
Then, I felt the necklace.
It was there, on my neck, the same one in that silver box I opened just before the eagle with the bomb attacked. I felt uneasy. How did it get there? I dropped it on the ground, I never wore it, and nothing else came with me to this place. Was it magical? If so, I didn’t like that it was automatically with me.
I took it off and considered throwing it into the lake, but it could be useful, so I tucked it into my army belt’s secret pocket.
I laid down by the dying embers of the fiery sand, but no matter how tired I was I couldn’t fall asleep. I lay awake for a while, thinking about Delrany, Stoob, and Simus. Hopefully they were all right.
After hours of staring up into the darkness, I finally slipped into a fretful doze.
I was back in the clearing, and the setting was just after the bomb exploded. I knew instantly that it was a dream–I wasn’t really there.
Simus and Delrany were coughing in the gloom, and Stoob was clawing his way back down the tree. “Misveri! Stoob!” they called.
“I’m here!” Stoob called, bounding forward. “Where’s Misveri?”
Simus looked up, alarmed. “I thought she was going to help you down from the tree! She was convinced that the bomb would blow up the tree and kill you.”
Stoob puffed out his chest. “It takes more than a bomb to finish me!”
Delrany coughed. “Do you see Misveri anywhere?” She asked as the mist cleared.
Simus stood up and looked around. “The bomb must have created some kind of vacuum that takes the nearest person with them to wherever they disappear to, and uses this thick mist as a cloak to cover its disappearance.”
They searched the clearing for clues, but I could tell they couldn’t find anything. Delrany was bent over where the bomb was, Simus was using magic to discover possible clues, and Stoob was prowling through the grass, looking for things that might have been discarded, little things that could make a big difference.
“Guys, come here!” Delrany called. The others crowded around her. “Look.” She pointed to the upended table, and the empty silver box. “The necklace is gone.”
Please check regularly for Part III of this exciting installment. It will be out soon. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to presenting you with the rest! 😀