Hey, everyone! I have here the next exciting installment of Magic Binds! Now, if you haven’t read the previous parts, Part I, Part II, and Part III, then I strongly suggest you do it now. If you have, then continue reading, and enjoy!

As always, I will start with the end of the end.

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I jolted awake, the knowledge of what I had dreamed whirling in my mind. The eagle that attacked worked for someone bad who lived in Simus’s old cavern. She wanted the necklace, and sent her eagle to get it. She could talk to the eagle. I had a father who was a magician, named Sarcausa. He gave me the necklace. It guaranteed that I would survive.

My heart soared. I had a chance! I could survive, I could find a way out, I could see my friends again.

I thought about the other dream. My friends were going to go to the dream castle and attempt to contact me through my dreams. The fire-jar I had made resembled my father’s style. Again, the knowledge that Sarcausa was my father. I had a twin brother. And the most shocking of all: Simus was my uncle.

I thought back to the first dream. There was something that the woman in the cloak had said that unsettled me, something that jolted everything off-course, like a puzzle piece that didn’t fit. She said I had inherited her brains, but I didn’t have any surviving family members, or I would have been left to them instead of that horrible orphanage where I grew up. No, I had none left, especially no females.

Then it hit me, the most horrible truth of all. I doubled over, gasping, almost falling into the water and becoming prey for the terrible creatures waiting below for me to lose my balance. I heard a ringing in my ears, and my mouth had gone dry. I couldn’t believe it, but it finally fit.

The evil woman in the cloak was my mother.

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This was the end of the last part. Continue on! 😀

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I sat there on the ground for a while, trying to process the information. When I was sure I had the knowledge stored and out of my mind, I stood up and concentrated on the task at hand: finding a way out.

I made another once-over around the cavern one more time, and my fingers found something that hadn’t been there before: a crack in the wall. I traced it with my fingernail until it became the outline of the door. I had found an exit!

I pushed on it, pulled, even used an Opening spell, but it didn’t budge. Panting, I sat down with my back against the door. I searched my pockets for anything edible, and came up with a small plastic bag filled with apples, potato chips, pretzel sticks, cheese chunks, and a packet filled with peanut butter. It was small, but it was all I had, so I had a small meal.

After I finished eating some apple slices with cheese, I stood up and examined the rock door again. The surface was entirely smooth, except for a small dent in the center. I assumed that something would have to fit there for it to open.

I bent over, so close my nose was touching the cold rock surface. I inserted my fingers into the groove, but nothing happened. I glimpsed the necklace hanging down, but it was tugging a little on the back of my neck, towards the dent.

I was struck with an idea. Grabbing the swinging ruby, I pressed it into the groove. It fit perfectly.

There was a loud grating sound as the rock door swung open. It was just big enough for me to crawl through, so I pulled out the necklace and crouched down on my knees. I ducked inside, crawling slowly through the opening. When my entire body was in the tunnel, I looked back. To my dismay, the rock door had silently closed behind me, and the tunnel was too small to turn around. If I came upon and obstacle that I couldn’t move, like something blocking the tunnel ahead, I was good as dead.

I kept crawling, breathing fast but deeply, my heart in my throat. I was terrified out of my skin, but I couldn’t give up. My only hope of survival was to continue on. It was pitch-black, and I was constantly alert to anything that I might not see that could be potentially dangerous or useful, so alert that I sometimes forgot to focus on the path and crashed into a wall.

I soon realized I was able to make out the faint outline of a large rock barring the way forward. My heart sank. I was sure I would die.

Just then, an idea struck, and I ran my hands over it. Sure enough, there was a groove, in which I inserted the necklace.

Nothing happened.

At first I was unsure, but I then realized that the boulder had become feather-light and a small opening, just big enough for the rock to fit, had opened in the left wall. I pushed the boulder to the side and continued.

I heard a rumble and accelerated, uneasy. I realized that not pushing the boulder back in place might have been a big mistake–it seemed as though the tunnel might collapse on top of me. At that thought, my breaths became short, harsh, and ragged, as though I were already suffocating.

I soon found that the light was coming from a broader room up ahead, where I could stand up. I lunged towards the entrance eagerly–and smashed my nose into an invisible barrier.

I drew back and stroked the air gingerly until my fingers found the barrier. It seemed to be the same one the blood riders and Simus had used after the attack on the city, but I couldn’t get through it, which meant it must have been something else.

I traced the smooth, glass-like surface of the barrier until I found a small hole. As my fingers felt a small metal plaque with speaker holes in it, the whole barrier shimmered and appeared in front of me.

“Please insert your arm into the identification circuit hole.” A female voice calmly asked. I noted that the sound came from the plaque; that must be the reason for the speaker holes.

At first, I didn’t know what to do. When the voice repeated itself, I got the message and stuck my arm in the hole.

I felt something whirring across my arm, like a pen writing on paper. It swirled around so much that I wasn’t sure if it was one or several.

“You have been identified as Sarcausa’s daughter,” the voice said. “Your clearance has been issued to the guard. You may pass.”

I wasn’t sure what to feel when I heard about the guard. Should I be happy that there was someone else here, or suspicious?

The barrier slid open like a pair of automated sliding doors, and I crawled through and into the room. Standing up and stretching, I stared at my surroundings.

The first thing I noticed was the floor. It was made of glass, but a swirling mural was painted on top, giving you the feeling that the paintings were the only thing holding you up. The outer edges of the circular room held up the ceiling with white marble pillars, with tiny stone carvings of strange symbols that made no sense to me. There was a tiny stairway–no wider than a quarter–spiraling up around the columns. The ceiling was black, but covered with tiny silver and gold stars, decorating the inky expanse. In the center of the room was a giant stone fountain. A huge stone statue of a young boy in a wizard’s outfit and waving a wand stood proudly in the center. Water spouted from the wand, twisting into beautiful shapes before splashing down gracefully into the pool below. The wizard’s eyes were shining, and his right hand was holding a book with a faded gold cover.

I took a look at my right arm for the first time since I had stuck it in the hole. Glittering symbols, like the ones on the pillars, were written in purple ink on my pale skin. Again, I didn’t know what it meant, but now I was determined to find out. Wandering over to the pillars, I compared it to the symbols. It seemed to connect somehow, but I didn’t know how.

I whipped out a piece of paper and a pen from my pocket. I traced the symbols from the pillar and then copied down the ones drawn on my arm, right next to it. It was then that I realized what it said:

Serfosua Herak Widsea, Garonet Donsua Porsquai. Tusuo Canbij Lemank, Zarok Belonia Sarcausa.

It was in a language I didn’t recognize, but somehow I understood it (the symbols were translated to English letters as shown above). I was able to translate easily:

Proceed with caution, the guard is awake. Wisdom is needed, for Sarcausa's sake.

I didn’t understand what the words were trying to tell me, but I knew it was a start. I would always proceed with caution, but I didn’t see any other life in the room. What guard did it speak of?

I decided to examine the statue of my father. As I came closer to the fountain, I gathered the crystal clear water in a few empty bottles hanging from my army belt. I looked up at the carved face of the statue and wondered if I’d survive long enough to see him in person again.

Just then, I thought of something. If Simus properly understood what Sarcausa had said before, I had a twin brother. Where was he now?

My thoughts were cast aside as easily as a stick as I looked at the small book balancing on the pointer finger of the statue’s right hand. I was drawn to the faded gold cover, and I climbed into the fountain and up onto the arm. I reached out and picked it up. Flipping it open, I realized that I had just gained access to the most powerful spells that had ever been made.

Suddenly, I heard a rumble. Dust rained down on my head from the ceiling, and I looked up, alarmed, thinking that the cavern was about to fall on me. I was still perched on the statue’s shoulder, clutching the book. I was about to slither down and dash for the exit when something astonishing and supposedly impossible happened.

It was first the left hand, holding the wand. It lowered down to the side of the statue, and the water stopped flowing. Then the right hand. It picked me up from where I was sitting and held me up in the air. Next, the diamond eyes blinked and opened in surprise. Finally, it shuffled its purple shoes in the sparkling water. The stone statue had come to life.

The guard was indeed awake.

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