I walked up the ramp into my uncle’s magical lair. His scaly, winged, draconian minions helped escort me to him. He was levitating above an endless pit, studying his magic, as usual.
“Uncle Malistare, I have a question.” I asked innocently, my crimson eyes filled with an odd combination of fear and awe.
“Yes, dear?” he eyed me with his stern glare. “What is it, Chelsea, my young necromancer?”
“I got a letter from some Headmaster Ambrose man. He wants me to attend Ravenwood School of Magic. Seems cool.” I said, fiddling with the Cerulean Edge, the one of a kind blade Malistare gave me when I started my apprenticeship. “Can I go?”
“Aren’t you enjoying my teaching?” He questioned, as if he had something against Ravenwood. “Ravenwood is just some lousy school for lowly twerps!” he paused, and then lowered his tone. “Chelsea, dear, if you ever want to be as strong and powerful as myself, you must stay with me…”
“Well, I guess you’re right.” I replied. Before I could walk away, a strange light popped in. A man emerged. He was tall, bony and thin. He wore a star covered robe outlined with red and gold. His hat was quirkily positioned on his head. His flowing gray-white beard brought out his twinkling light blue eyes.
“Chelsea Seahaven, Apprentice of Malistare, I, Merle Ambrose, invite you to learn magic at Ravenwood School of Magical Arts.” He said, hiding a deeper plot. “We could use your skill. I have heard that you excel in your studies.” He glanced at Malistare.
“My uncle won’t let me. And besides, why would I need to go to a school if I already am apprenticed to the Master of Death Magic?” I argued. It was true. I had a good point.
“You know, Chelsea is right, you chump of a man, Ambrose,” Malistare spat. Ambrose didn’t seem the slightest bit offended. Instead he popped out of Malistare’s large, fiery lair. But, he took me with him.
* * *
Ambrose’s office was small, comfortable, and showed Merle’s appreciation for books. The checkered floor was covered by an enormous round red rug that matched the walls. Entire doors were blocked by mountains of books, and you would be surprised to find a desk under the stacks and stacks of papers piled up.
What am I doing here? I wondered. My vision was blurry, but that’s to be expected right after your first teleport. A girl in spring green Ravenwood robes stood behind Ambrose. She had long flowing and oddly white hair with narrow amber eyes and freckle spotted cheeks. She was about a year or so younger than me.
“Welcome to Wizard City! Nicole, introduce yourself to Chelsea” Ambrose whispered gently, tucking her hair behind her ears. He seemed to have a close relationship with her.
“I’m Nicole! Nice to meet you, Chelsea!” she said cheerfully. ”I am a Life wizard. I can mend those in need. I’m an especially good friend to have around in battle.” Nicole grinned. She had a friendly smile, with thick lips and chubby cheeks.
“Hi….?” I said, still disoriented. “I—I feel dizzy. Can I sit down somewhere?” I almost fell down.
“Oh, yes… Nicole, dear, can you escort Chelsea to your dorm while I get my paperwork in order?” Ambrose asked in his clearly aged voice.
“Oh, yes, of course, grandfather!” Nicole replied in her naturally excited voice.
“Grandfather?” I responded, weak. “Figures.”
* * *
Nicole’s dorm was cozy, similar to Ambrose’s office. There was a very eye-catching green banner that read: “Life”. Her red bedspread looked pretty with the red seats of the couch. I sat while Nicole grabbed us a tasty lemon beverage.
“Mmm. Tastes like summer.” I said. She nodded.
“Yep. Special potion I learned to make today. It reminds you of what you truly miss.”
“Yep. Special potion I learned to make today. It reminds you of what you truly miss.”
“That’s… cool.” I said “But it’s not exactly what I truly miss.”
“Then what do you miss?” Nicole tilted her head in question.
“I—It’s nothing. Don’t worry ‘bout it.” I lied
“I know you’re not telling the truth.” She looked at me expectantly. “I can sense your feelings”
“Really, Nicole, it’s nothing.”
“No, it’s not. Tell me!”
“Seriously?” I said with an annoyed tone.
“Yes, seriously, I can help.” The sun shining through the window reflected on her amber eyes.
“Fine.” I gave in “My father is Perseus Drake, brother of Malistaire and Cyrus Drake.”
“The explorer?” she gasped “He—he’s dead… oh. I see.”
“Yeah.” I said desolately. “My dad supposedly died on an accident in the lost world of Celestia.”
Nicole nodded her head. She had heard this before. She stared into my eyes with a look of sympathy.
“But I know he’s still alive.” I said confidently. A single teardrop fell onto my black Death Apprentice robes. “I can feel it.”
Nicole scooted over and put her arms around me in a friendly, comforting hug. I instantly felt warm inside, like I was back at home with my mom and dad in Dragonspyre, helping my mom sell her goods with her jolly colleague.
“Thank you,” I said. She cracked a smile.
“You’re welcome. It’s part of being a life wizard. I refuse to hate anything.”
Chapter 2: Blake
I was called to Ambrose’s office. It was early in the morning and the jays were chirping their melodic tune. Kids on horses galloped by. Some had wings and were headed towards their morning classes. The commons was bustling with people, mounts and pets alike, as they all had places to be. Shopkeepers stepped out of their homes and headed to the shopping district. I reached Ambrose’s small front courtyard and walked in the door.
“Hello, Chelsea,” he smiled. “I have something to tell you.”
“Yes?” I was clearly tired.
“You know your uncle, Malistare, correct?” I nodded my head. Duh. I thought. “He’s been hiding something from you” I wanted to roll my eyes. “He’s trying to take over the entire Spiral.”
“Yeah, right.” I muttered “Why would he do that? Where are you getting that information from?”
“Actually, he has told me himself.” He said patiently.
My eyes shot open. “What? How—Why?” Suddenly I realized that Ambrose must have been lying to me. “Hey! Stop telling me lies. I don’t know what you’re trying to get from me, but I don’t want in!” I started to storm out of the office.
“Wait just one minute, please, Chelsea.” He stared at me desperately. “Just look at this, please.” I turned. Ambrose had a crystal ball. I learned that you could never fake an image on one of them.
A picture of a tall, skinny robed man appeared. It showed him planning a scheme to destroy Wizard City and the entire Spiral.
“Oh my draconians.” I said. “I have been ranked in an evil army.” I practically fainted.
“Does Nicole know of this?” I asked.
“No she does not, nor does she need to.”
“So…” I desperately continued the conversation. “What am I going to do about it? How do I defeat my uncle? Especially after the times I’ve had with him.” I broke into tears of frustration. “I have spent almost half of my life with him. I just don’t understand.” My head fell into my knees.
“There, there, Chelsea, dear. You’ll find your way.” He patted my back comfortingly. “Oh, that reminds me! You need a school to train!”
“A what?” My head rose from my knees.
“A school, silly.” Ambrose chuckled.
“Still not helping.” I looked at him, waiting for an answer.
“A school is a type of magic that you study. For instance, you have mastered the school of Death,” he paused, waiting for me to catch on.
“—And my dad was the professor of Life, right?”
“Correct! I knew you would catch on soon enough.”
“So I have to choose the school I want to learn?” I sighed. I didn’t want to train a school at all.
“I suggest you start with the school of life. Your father was a natural, so you should be too.” I laughed at his pun.
“Alright. When do I start?” I asked with a little reluctance.
“You better hurry, class starts in ten minutes!” he shouted. Before I could run out the door, he added: “I’m sure Nicole will be quite pleased with your choice!” he winked, and I was on my way.
I made my way out of Ambrose’s courtyard, turned to my left, pushing through the crowd, and took the cobbled tunnel up to Ravenwood. At least a hundred students made their way to their classes, none of the listening to my call for help.
“Hey!” I called. “Can anyone tell me where the Life class is?” It was no use. “Anyone?”
Suddenly, I bumped into a boy my age with neatly combed black hair, sky-blue eyes, and purple and yellow lightning-strike robes.
“Hey” He said with his cool, calm voice. “Looking for the Life classroom? Looking straight at Bartleby, the great tree, head off to the left and the first class is where you need to be. By the way, my name’s Blake. Storm School.”
“Thanks. I’m Chelsea. I’m new here.” I smiled, and then left for the classroom. He seemed nice enough. I shrugged.
Inside the Life class was unlike anything I had ever seen. Green walls, ingrown plants, desks all facing a platform at the back of the room, where a cow in a green kimono stood on her hind legs. Odd. I looked around. No one else seemed to be bothered by the fact that she was an animal. Could she even talk? Well, there was only one way to find out.
“Hi, I’m Chelsea, the new girl. Am I in the right place?” I asked, still a little confused.
“That depends, Chelsea.” The cow said in a sweet, serene voice that felt like a waterfall of words flowing through a river. “Does your heart feel in the right place?”
“Confused, aren’t you?” her voice relaxed me.
“How’d you guess?” I laughed.
“I am Moolinda Wu, Professor of Life. You must be Chelsea Drake, daughter of Percy Drake.”
“Well, I like to be called by my mother’s maiden name, Seahaven, but you can call me that.”
* * *
Moolinda’s class was interesting, but it sounded like gibberish to me. As I walked out of the classroom, I scanned the crowd. Was Blake there? I wanted to find him so I could “bump” into him again. I assumed he would be coming from the Storm School and headed that way. Sure enough, he was standing right next to the storm school, on a wooden dock, speaking to a tree. I would have thought that was odd, but trust me, when you just learned a lesson from a talking cow, nothing really freaks you out.
I started towards the willow tree, which was in a pond. It had a sad face, which was how I always thought willow trees would look if they had faces.
“Hey,” I tapped him on the shoulders. “Would you mind giving me a tour of the campus?”
“Not at all” He smiled, and his blue eyes twinkled. He pulled a few stray dark chocolate colored bangs from his forehead, and we started on. He was sort of the cool, calm, educated, fish-out-of-water type, but not really popular or anything. He led me around the campus, and then the commons.
“So, where are you from?” He asked.
“Umm, Dragonspyre,” I replied. I liked him, but strangely I wasn’t getting that nervous around him. I felt like I was connected to him. Yeah, right.
“Oh, cool. I’m from here, but I’ve always dreamed of living in Celestia.” He laughed
“My dad set out on an expedition there.” I half-smiled “He—he never came back.”
“Oh.” His eyes dulled with solemnity. “Your dad was Percy Drake!?”
“You know?” I raised my eyebrow.
“Yeah! I used to look up to him as a role model. All my friends did, too. His brother, Malistare, is planning to overtake the entire Spiral. So disappointing…”
“I literally just learned that. I’ve been his apprentice since my dad’s decease.” I shrugged.
“So I assume you’re a Necromancer?” he smiled.
“That’s awe-full” Blake chuckled. I frowned.
“I said awe-full. With awe, like awesome. I made it up.”
“Got it.” I nodded. “You want to go grab a bite to eat in the Shopping District?”
“Sure. Meet you after class.” He waved, and then headed to his next class.
* * *
Blake and I headed to a small sandwich shop in the Shopping District. It was cute, with small round wooden tables, paintings and sketches of sandwiches and subs, and a wooden counter in the back. I ordered a turkey on rye, and Blake ordered a ham and cheese.
“Chelsea, let’s get a table in the quiet area, okay?” he suggested
“That’s totally fine with me.”
We sat down and sipped a sweet, fizzy drink. I took a bite of my sandwich.
“Delicious!” I announced.
“Yeah. Best in Wizard City.”
We ate and chatted for a good thirty to forty minutes. When we finished our sandwiches, we looked at each other with nothing left to say.
“So…” I said.
“I don’t know. Are there any nice parks in Wizard City?” I asked.
“Oh, that reminds me. I have to take you to Unicorn Park. It’s on Unicorn Way. It’s gorgeous.”
We left the sandwich shop totally satisfied. I pointed out the various mounts and pets that the streets of the Shopping District were filled with. As we walked up the tunnel to the Commons, we caught a glance at a Transcended Pyromancer. We passed the Headmaster’s House, and finally came to the Unicorn Way Gate. A guard stood, blocking the way in.
“None shall pass!” he bellowed.
“Okay. Um... That didn’t work.” I said.
“Why is the gate blocked, Sir?” Blake asked the guard.
“The undead have run amok in there!” the guard replied.
“Can we help?” I drew the enchanted sword my uncle gave me when I started my apprenticeship, the Cerulean Edge. It was one of the most powerful blades in the Spiral, and the only one of its kind. “We are fully armed.” I proposed.
“I’m sorry miss; I am not permitted to let anyone pass without permission from Headmaster Ambrose.”
I looked at Blake with a devious look. He looked at me the same.
“You know what we have to do now.” He said.
“Yes, yes indeed. Great minds think alike.” I grinned.
“I don’t understand…” the guard interrupted.
We nodded our heads in the awkwardness.
“Well, off we go!” I said
We walked to the Headmaster’s House, into his office and right to him. He was standing in his usual spot by the crystal ball, Gamma, his owl on his shoulder.
“Hello, Headmaster.” We said simultaneously.
“Greetings. Do not bother telling me why you have come. For I already know.”
“What?? How--” Blake started before I interrupted him.
“What?? How--” Blake started before I interrupted him.
“How can you kno--” I looked at the crystal ball. “Oh.”
“You are granted access to Unicorn Way” He smiled and then chuckled.
“But why?” I questioned.
“You are my two best fighters. You are both naturals with the sword, and ahead in your wizard studies. You are granted access on only one condition.” He was stern. “You fight off the undead.”
Chapter 3: Unicorn Way
“Well this is not how I planned it at all.” Blake said as we traveled back to the gate. “But I guess we have to do what we’re good at.”
“No joke.” I chuckled.
We walked up to the gate and asked the guard permission to enter once again. He looked at us funny, then we handed him the slip that Ambrose handed us.
“Ah, Headmaster’s seal, eh? This is some official stuff, huh? You may pass,” he said as he held back his enormous belly.
“Okay, let’s get our warrior on,” Blake said, excitedly.
“Yep,” I looked at him. “I’ve got something to tell you, Blake.”
“Spill it!” he laughed.
“I—I’ve never been in actual combat before. I don’t know what it’s like,”
“Don’t worry. You have Drake blood in you. You’re a natural born fighter. Your ancestors were.”
“But what if I’m not? What if I fail?”
“Don’t think that way. I have faith in you, and besides, I got your back.” He winked. His words were poetic, and they gave me confidence.
“You’re right. Let’s roll.” I felt a sense of power running through my veins. My heart beat rapidly, and I felt as agile and sly as a cat.
We walked down to the street and I pulled the Cerulean Edge from my belt. I was born ready. I had the feeling I had done this before.
Unicorn Way was enchanting and romantic. The buildings were stone, like the rest of Wizard city, but these had ivy trickling up the sides. Widespread green parks and fragrant flower gardens were scattered. A dueling arena to my right, market stalls to my left. We came to the start of the actual street and noticed that ghosts were haunting them.
“How exactly do we slay ghosts with swords?” I asked.
“You have one of the most powerful swords in the Spiral, and I—well, I have my ways,” he said with a dangerous intent in his deep, shimmering sea-blue eyes.
“Charge!” I shouted, and then crashed my blade into one of the souls. It dissipated. I was totally stunned, but I realized I had to continue. I cartwheeled to the next one and slashed my blade. I noticed that Blake was chanting some familiar words that sounded Latin. Suddenly, a massive tidal wave came out of nowhere and knocked several spirits off their nonexistent feet.
Surprised with my ninja-like skills, I laughed. “Hey, this is kind of fun!” I lunged toward a group of souls and slammed the Cerulean Edge into the ground, leaving a crater in the once beautifully paved street. The ghosts jumped away and dissipated. I winked at Blake.
“Think we got em’ all?” I grinned.
“Think so, but we should check with Lady Oriel in the Hedge Maze down the street.” He replied.
“Well that was helpful.” I snapped. What in the world—ahem, worlds—was a seraph?
“You’ll see.” He said as serenely as a brook flowing through a meadow.
“Hey. What are those—those Goth fairies?” I was puzzled
“I dunno Chel. Can I call you Chel??” He asked in his cool voice.
“Sure, I guess” We wandered down the street to a beautiful garden building with a circular path leading up to it. The building, not unlike the others on the street, was a pearly white with an emerald green roof. The doors lead into a courtyard with a beautiful hedge maze. Fairies fluttered through, and flowers bloomed in multitudes of pastel colors.
“Is that her? I pointed to an angelic blonde woman with white wings and a flowing blue dress.
“Sure is, Chel!” Blake said coolly.
We ran up to the seraph, who was depressed but still emanated a heavenly radiance. She stood in a circular pavilion that stood in the center of the maze.
“Lady Oriel, uh, we were just wondering about the ghosts haunting the streets…” Blake trailed off.
“My, oh my! Are they still haunting my beautiful street?” she asked, with a hint of worry. “It’s bad enough that my fairies have been enchanted, but—”
“Hold your horses for a moment there. Enchanted? Fairies? Those Goth fairies out there are actually enchanted? Cool! Er, I mean not cool. Not cool at all.” I corrected myself. Lady Oriel raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, young hero. That poor-mannered pirate put a fatal hex on my humble pixies.” A silver tear fell to the cobblestone pavement. “Could you maybe help me?”
“Uh…” I looked at Blake.
“There isn’t anything we can’t do! Sign us up!” Blake beamed.
“So, how exactly can we help you?” I asked.
“Bone cages.” the seraph said in her calming and beautiful voice.
“Bone cages?” Blake questioned.
“Bone cages. That wretched pirate locked my fairies souls in them. Could you free the captured fairies and rid Unicorn Way of those evil undead?”
“Seems easy enough.” Blake said. We shrugged and smiled and headed out the door.
As we opened the wrought iron doors, we noticed that the cages hung from lamp posts had petite green wisps trapped inside. I took one side of the street and Blake the other and we started unlocking and opening all of the cages. Each time we opened one, a fairy would become pure again. It was really an overpowering experience. Why was I getting emotional? I mean, they were just fairies after all.
An hour later, when we had finally covered all of Unicorn Way, uncontrollably I ran to Blake and gave him a huge friendly hug. I was lifted and twirled, and we laughed at each other.
“We better talk to Lady Oriel.” He blinked.
“You’re right. I bet she’ll be really happy with us…” I said awkwardly.
We walked back up to the gardens and in through the tall doors. The seraph smiled nervously. She saw that we had had grins on our faces and beamed as well.
“Your fairies are free!” I exclaimed.
“Not quite, young wizard, “She said solemnly. “Rattlebones, that despicable skeletal pirate is still capable of re-enchanting my poor fairies. Destroy him, then we may rejoice.” She said coldly but still sweet-manneredly.
“Okay. Now we just need to defeat Rattlebones…”
“Great.” Blake said unenthusiastically.
Chapter 4: Rattlebones
Rattlebones’ lair was a tower down the street from Lady Oriel’s Hedge Maze. It was a sufficient size for doing evil. Blake and I walked through the door, and I shivered.
“Chel, aren’t you excited?” He laughed. “This is our first invasion together.” He glanced at me and saw my terrified expression. “Chel?”
“Ugh, has anyone bothered to clean up around here lately?” I dusted off a pile of books. We headed across the circular room when we heard distant voices and rattling bones.
“Chel, I don’t think anyone named Rattlebones has the need to clean up. And besides, we need to be quiet. He’s coming!” Blake said in a hushed tone.
We ran into the foul smelling room and ducked behind a bookcase. Our heads peered out and saw a skeleton. It was alive and rattled as it walked. The noise was wretched and his voice even more so.
“We can’t let that irresponsible and disobedient apprentice to Master Malistaire ruin our plans for the takeover of Wizard City!” he said, his croak of a voice echoing in the room.
“Irresponsible? Excuse me!” I whispered with attitude to Blake.
“Shhh! He’s coming!”
“Did you hear that?” The animate skeleton turned to its corrupted fairy minion. “I heard voices.” He scoped the room. “No matter. No invaders can possibly survive my wrath!”
The air suddenly became still. I turned to Blake, his blue eyes like bright blue oceans staring at me. This was our time to move out. We ran back into the middle of the room and brought Rattlebones to a halt.
“Intruders!” said the skeleton. “I was not mistaken, but like I said, minion, we are safe. No one has ever faced me and lived to tell the tale. Besides, they are only puny little first year wizards! They will never stop us!” he laughed maniacally
Blake and I nodded at each other, signaling the start of our attacks. In the air, I drew the Necromancy symbol, a skull. Soon, a minion of mine, the ghoul, appeared and drained some of Rattlebones’ health. The ghoul had mastered the art of stealing health and transferring it to his master, me, and so he did. Or at least I think it was a he.
The dark fairy approached Blake. With lightning-quick reflexes, it struck him. He was pulled up by a dark force and then released .
“Blake! Are you okay?” I yelled in the heat of the moment.
“Yeah, fine. You?” he’d always seemed so… cool about things.
“Okay… I guess.”
In a flash, Rattlebones threw his aged and rusted sword at my arm. In horror, I watched as it plunged itself into my right forearm. Blood gushed out from the wound and onto the grimy floor. Blake saw me and flashed me a sympathetic smile, and his face read, I’m sorry, but I think we’ve lost this one Chel. In that moment he stood there, Rattlebones came at him from behind and took him. I looked back in despair. I felt lightheaded. The last thing I remember is thinking Oh shoot.
* * *
I awoke with no recollection of the time that had passed. My vision was still blurry from the mass of blood loss. In the corner a shadowed figure was huddled. No. It was tied to the wall. What was that?
“Blake?” I said, my voice quivering from my nausea. “Are you there?”
“Chelsea!” the silhouette exclaimed. It was definitely Blake. “Thank gosh! I thought you’d never wake up!”
“Yeah, well, I’m just cool like that…”
He laughed, then went serious again. “I sent Ambrose a mind message, but I haven’t mastered the art yet, so we can only hope for the best.”
What was only minutes felt like hours. I glanced around the room. It was only then that I noticed that I was chained to the wall as well. The stone bricks of the interior wall were cold and merciless, strong and unwilling to budge. I looked over at Blake’s dark outline and noticed that he had been trying to pry off the stubborn shackles.
I was about to say something when we heard a crash at the door. Another followed shortly. We heard a surrendering “Ugh!” and at that moment Blake’s eyes met mine. What puzzled me was that it was a girl’s voice. I thought Blake had called on Ambrose.
We heard a third thud, and the door blew open. Inside the doorframe, a pretty girl with warm chocolate eyes and light vanilla skin stood. Her hair was a fiery red and was done so that the majority of it was down, but two ponytails with the bands at the bottom framed her face. She wore orange and yellow garb, and a flimsy hat that looked juvenile.
“Hey, Chelsea, Blake. I’m Esmee, your new best friend.” She said in a sweet but severe voice. Half her weight rested on one leg and the other was stretched out, her hand on her hip.
“Are you here to help us? Or do you work for Rattlebones?” I said bleakly, putting a hateful emphasis on the name.
“Yes, I am. Ambrose sent me.” She said as she un-cuffed me. Her defined facial features made me feel so unattractive. My sloppy ponytail had fallen out, and my long brown hair fell onto the shoulders of my black Dragonspyre style apprentice uniform.
Esmee turned and strode towards Blake. She freed him as well and gave him a flirtatious smile. I’d only known her a few seconds, but I already hated her.
“Follow me. We have some unfinished business.” I said, looking only at Blake. He gave a chuckle, and unknowing of my jealousy, so did Esmee.
Chapter 5: Esmee
Together, we ran up the stairs to the next floor. The reek of rotting flesh shoved its way up our noses, even worse than that of downstairs. Rattlebones turned to see us and in horror, dropped his sword. His expression quickly changed and he taunted us with his bony fingers.
“Its… wonderful that you kids could join us.” He smirked. “And you brought your friend! How… lovely!”
“You got the best of us before, but never again shall you haunt the streets of Wizard City!” Esmee exclaimed. We ran up to Rattlebones, fear not overruling us. What felt like adrenaline coursed through my veins, hot with fury. The Cerulean Edge was no longer a sword, but an extension of myself. I felt that without its cool, dark, celestial magic, I would be powerless.
I summoned all the power within me and cast it out at Rattlebones. He fell, shocked. It seemed to take all his strength to get back on his feet. “Arrgh!” he yelled and charged towards Blake. Esmee pulled fire out of thin air and it sat on her palm. With a flick of her arm, she threw it at Rattlebones. I watched as it was hurled at the skeleton and encased him in its red-orange rage.
Blake seemed amused as Rattlebones struggled in the flames. “I think we got him.” He smiled and shot me a glance. I melted at the sight of his sea-blue eyes. Why did he do this to me? I knew him only a few days and already he felt like my best friend.
“Oh Storm Lords! There’re more!” Blake blasted the next skeleton with a purple ball of lightning, and it was knocked over. I slashed the one closest to me with a swipe of my cold golden blade. It immediately saw my arm and squeezed the wound. I cried out in pain and caught Blake’s and Esmee’s attention.
I fell to my knees but had the strength to stab him once more. The skeleton shattered to pieces and freed his grasp on my wound, bleeding still from the initial blow. There was one skeleton left. It approached Esmee with great caution. As it did, it pulled out an old metal sword an almost had the chance to slice her but was washed away by Blake’s tall ocean tidal wave. A feeling of victory came over me.
“We need to get you to a healer, Chelsea.” Esmee said with new concern. “Lucky for us, Lady Oriel happens to be a very good one.” Blake nodded in agreement and stared at my gaping scar. I didn’t know if I could walk, the once ocean like surging power had settled into a calm flowing brook, at my use but not at its greatest.
Yet I did, although it took all the effort in me to just step out into the yellow sunlight.
* * *
“Esmee?” I asked as we walked into Lady Oriel’s Hedge Maze. She turned her head towards me.
“I wanted to know how you knew to come for us, and why Ambrose sent you.” Blake looked at me as if I had stolen his question.
“Uh, well. I—uh. I am new here, as you know, and I used to study privately, and I am very advanced in my art, so I guess Ambrose lies his faith in me to save you.” She said and I realized suddenly that she was vaguely familiar.
We were now standing at the feet of Lady Oriel, her long flowing dress and curly yellow-blonde hair flowing at the beat of her angelic white wings.
“Hello children. I see that you are badly wounded.” She took my arm and said words I could not understand. I felt healing warmth radiate through my skin, and slowly, my arm began to numb. The cut did not close up, but instead of feeling the strong sting of pain, I felt a warm and pleasant sensation.
“Wow!” I said, admiring and appreciating the healing. “Thank you.” The seraph smiled at me in a way that said: You’re very welcome, dear.
“I should say the same to you. You rid my street of such a horrid being. Go tell Merle Ambrose of your amazing work. He will surely reward you handsomely.” She expressed in a singsong voice.
“Okay, well I guess we’re off!” said Blake as we started out the doors. As soon as we were back on the street, we noticed major change. The fairies were no longer “goth”, but instead forest-y, fun, dancing and singing, playing with one another. The sun seemed brighter. We had done a good thing.
We walked down the street happily awaiting our talk with Ambrose. He would be proud, glad, he’d make our names known throughout Wizard City, maybe even boost our grades! When we finally made our way out the Unicorn Way gate, an assortment of sounds came from the heart of the Commons: people talking about their ordinary wizard lives, spells being cast, horses neighing, kids laughing, and the gentle flow of the cool water in the Commons Lake. People were having picnics under trees, exchanging potion recipes, and rushing to make their way to class on time.
The door to Ambrose’s office was tall, and it faced the center of the Commons. It was surrounded by a courtyard fenced by tall stone walls and a wrought iron gate. The building itself was large enough to be a house, which I assumed it was. The medieval stone cottage style architecture was breathtaking, yet cozy.
Now it was time to talk to Ambrose.
“Congratulations, my dears,” said Ambrose upon our entrance. “I’m glad to see that you’re back in one piece—for the most part. I was worried about you.” He glanced at my bloody, open wound.
“So why’d you send her?” I gestured towards Esmee, but soon realized that I was being rude. “I mean, when I sent you the message I intended that you send a professional—or you yourself, you know?” Esmee rolled her brown eyes.
“Yes, Chelsea, I do. But I have trust in Esmee and her ability. She is quite skilled, actually. Just get to know her, let her follow you around. She is quite delightful.”
“Okay, I guess…” I looked at Blake desperately. He didn’t seem to mind that Esmee was joining us.
“Chelsea, dear,” Ambrose said, concerned. Ambrose said, concerned. “I know you and Blake are somewhat of a ‘Dynamic Duo’, but Esmee here needs an occupation. We can’t waste good witches like her in times like these.”
“Fine. Come on Esmee, Blake,” I gestured toward the door.
As we started walking, Ambrose said: “Meet Sergeant Muldoon by the Bazaar in Olde Town. I hear all three streets are in a fit of chaos.”
* * *
We passed through the Shopping Districts, and the large groups of students chatting about their lives. Pfft. They thought their lives were complicated. The cool afternoon air blew wistfully past, and the bright sun gleamed gently on the rooftops.
Olde Town was a quaint, open, paved area with a few towers. Due to the unusual land formations of Wizard City, Olde town was in layers. The air was sweet with the scent of bakeries, and kids roamed, ran, and played. Blake, Esmee and I spotted a shady area where some guards were standing around.
“I bet that’s Sergeant Muldoon, girls,” said Blake in his charming voice, and I saw Esmee blush a little.
“Yup. That would be him,” Esmee replied, trying to keep her cool around Blake. It was funny, because I’d had the impression that she was confident with boys. She was rather pretty, anyways.
“What are we waiting for, then!?” I laughed, and we continued walking on down the street towards the guard.
Esmee looked at me as if to say: What do I say to him to make him like me?! I just looked away, at the buildings, and let the smells of the street enter my lungs. Esmee was clearly irritated by this, and, still looking away, I cracked a smile and let a chuckle escape.
“I heard that,” Esmee muttered. Blake looked at me, confused. His eyes were large when they were confused. Cute, so cute, I thought. A second later, I thought Chelsea! What are you thinking! I sighed.
Sergeant Muldoon looked down at us intimidatingly. “Kids? Need something?”
“Oh, uh, yeah,” I told him. “Ambrose sent us.”
“Aye, you’re the extra help, I presume?” Muldoon examined us. Staring us down, he said: “You’re a bit small, and you don’t look too coordinated, but help is help, eh?”
Esmee grunted, and then rolled her eyes. The Sergeant looked at her in amusement. “Yer a little ball of fury, ain’tcha?”
“We’re a whole lot tougher than, we look, sir,” Blake said respectfully. A gust of wind blew my long, brown, tied-up hair into his face. Nice going, Chelsea. He blinked, then did something unexpected. He laughed. Although I’d only known him for a day, he’d already been my best friend. I loved his ability to see the bright side of awkward situations.
“Well, ye’re quite the rag-tag band of little heroes. If you want to help out, you can defeat Lady Blackhope and lock her in her tower on Unicorn Way. Then come the real tasks. Sound like a plan?”
“I suppose,” I said, now holding my hair to keep it from blowing back into Blake’s face. “Deal.”
* * *
“Unicorn way looks just like it did three hours ago,” Blake smiled as we approached Blackhope’s tower.
“Uh-huh. Guys, can we try to have a game plan this time? I mean, Once Esmee is in, she can’t exactly bust back in to save us again…” I said.
“Yeah, no, not really,” Esmee giggled. Weird, I never thought she was the giggling type.
“So, what’s the plan, girls? I mean, we could sneak in…”
“Or we could just break in and wreak havoc,” Esmee said. “It worked for us last time,”
“Esmee’s right, Blake. Remember how we got caught last time?” I suggested.
“By sneaking around, I guess. Esmee’s plan it is,” said Blake.
Suddenly, I remembered that my good arm was cut. “Guys, what about my arm?”
“Well, this is a problem. Why don’t you just sit out here and Blake and I will handle it,” Esmee winked.
“No. I’m not going in without Chelsea,” Blake glared at Esmee. “I may have only just met her, but I can’t risk leaving her out here, and she’s definitely an incredibly powerful fighter.”
Esmee simply stared at him. Finally she said: “Fine. Chelsea can still use chants, and use necromancy.” She scowled at me. “But anything happens, and I’m not going to be too happy.”
“Right.” I said, and opened the door for Esmee and Blake to file in. I followed and slammed the door behind myself.
Chapter 7: Blackhope
Blake, Esmee and I filed into the large room. It was suspiciously similar to Rattlebones’ tower. Sure, it was a bit tidier, but apart from that, I wouldn’t have been able to tell any difference. Same musty smell, same scattering of disturbing objects.
I soon realized that my nose detected a distinct scent. It was actually rather pleasant, and it stood out amongst the smells of decay and rot. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, or what it smelled like, for that matter, but if I had to, I would say it was like warm vanilla and the aroma of an oncoming storm. It flooded my nostrils, which had no issue taking in the comforting fragrance.
“What? Intruders? Oh… This is what Ambrose has to offer?” Snorted a ghost that was ugly—she looked like she was deprived of sleep for a week and hadn’t washed for even longer—and yet still looked feminine and, for lack of a better word, flowy. “Mere mortals should not dabble in the affairs of the undead. Leave now and run back to Ambrose or perish now!” she warned in her aged but elegant voice.
“That’s our cue, guys,” I said, recalling some old Necromancy chants from the back of my head. I wished I’d had my staff to guide me in my spells, but I had to make do with my hands.
“Yeah, that’s pretty obvious, Chelsea.” Esmee snapped. She was clearly disappointed that she wasn’t able to ditch me out on the curb.
“Esmee, would you stop being so difficult? You won’t leave Chelsea alone!” Blake retorted protectively as he absentmindedly shot a bolt of lightning out of his wand, his eyes still staring Esmee down furiously. It surprisingly shocked the ghost, harming her and forcing her to have a small seizure. I couldn’t stop the blood from rushing to my cheeks. He cared.
“Blake,” Esmee pouted. Without a care, she summoned a Firecat, which proceeded to pounce on Lady Blackhope.
Despite the fact that we were definitely in immediate danger, Blake and Esmee chose to continue their standoff. Flattered as I was, I couldn’t let it cause our eventual defeat. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Because my friends had weakened her, I could perform am unsummoning spell. It required human blood. Fortunately for me, I had a gash on my right arm. With my left arm, I pulled some of the blood from my wound—by means of necromantic blood levitation—and uttered a chant.
Esmee and Blake, completely oblivious of the ghost’s collapsing form, continued their debate. “Blake do you have a crush on someone?” Esmee taunted. “Because someone is getting defensive over someone… And that’s not good—silly, because that someone should be crushing on me.”
Blake was outraged, blushing profusely. “Alright Esmee. Listen up.” He said, his lean figure hovering over her short and small yet curvy one. “Ever since we met you, you’ve been nothing but rude and blatant. I don’t understand. It’s like you see Chelsea as competition, as an obstacle. You’re both pretty in your own ways,” He looked at me, and then back to Esmee. “But at the moment, I’ not interested. Stop trying to be seductive, because you could be a really nice person. Can we get on with it, then? Thank you.”
I didn’t know whether to feel flattered, guilty, or let down. At least he thought I was pretty. “Well, in case you two hadn’t noticed, I brought her down.” I explained.
“Yeah… I noticed.” Esmee said, still a little taken aback by Blake’s speech.
“Good. Now can we go talk to the guard?’ I said seriously, hiding my mixed feelings.
* * *
Sergeant Muldoon looked surprised to see us in one piece. “Greetings, kids. Did you defeat her?” he asked in his heavy accent.
“Yes. Can we go help some people out now?” I asked, taking on leader-like qualities.
“Aye, of course. But don’t stay out past curfew,” He pointed to the nearest gate. “Just through that gate, a student is making claims of missing lads and lassies. Go help ‘em.”
We headed towards the gate. It was late in the evening, maybe eight o’ clock. The sun was about to set. “Guys, we should wait for the sun to set. There’s a nice ledge we can sit on and hopefully not fall into the sky.” Esmee pointed out.
“Yeah, that sounds nice,” Blake said as we changed direction and headed to the edge of the world.
Pinks and purples and oranges mixed, a painted sky behind out reality. We sat, our feet dangling off the side of the world, leaning back on our hands. I was in between Blake and Esmee. Without my permission, my hand slowly moved itself towards Blake’s. Really, Chels? He just said he didn’t want to be in a relationship! His hand moved towards mine as well, but I jerked mine back. “Sorry.” I muttered, head hanging low. Esmee snorted.
As the sun went down and the moon came up, we walked up to the gate we were instructed to enter. Cyclopes Lane. We decided it was okay to stay out past curfew and that Ambrose would understand. It was for a good cause.
We made our way to the festival grounds quietly, keeping in mind that everyone ont the street was asleep. The street was peaceful and lantern-lit. The park was quiet as well, except for a distressed looking boy a little older than us.
“Hello. You look concerned. Are you the boy who called for help?” I asked him. He was wearing yellow and blue Myth School robes, the standard.
“Yes. And no, I am not concerned for anyone. I’m the most talented Conjurer around!” He laughed arrogantly.
“That can’t be too much an achievement, seeing as there’s no one around.” Esmee countered.
“Shut up. You must not know who I am,” said the boy.
“Nope. No clue. Now would you tell us about these missing kids, please?” Blake demanded.
“Pshht. I’m Nolan. Nolan Stormgate.”
“We don’t care!” I shouted in frustration. “Just point us in the right direction!”
“Ugh. First years. Can’t appreciate a good wizard when they see one. Last I heard, General Akilles had them. You’ll have to get through Romulus, though.” He continued. “And you might want to get that looked at.” He pointed at my arm, disgusted.
“Yeah. Thanks for the advice,” I said sarcastically.
Chapter 8: Akilles
“If I remember anything from my lessons, it’s that Romulus isn’t that smart. If we find a pass of sorts, we can bypass him and get into the palace.” Blake proposed.
“So, like the thing that the Warhorns carry around,” Esmee suggested.
“Yeah.” He said. “Let’s go win three off them.” He glanced at the steady stream of minotaurs patrolling the area.
“Okay. You guys go. I need to perform a healing ritual on my arm. I’m scared of bleeding out.” I explained. “I’ll catch up in a sec.”
“Right, then,” Blake said. “Stay safe. We’ll just be over there.”
I watched the two wander off casually. They approached a minotaur, careful and yet still fearless. The minotaur looked down on them, confused about their intentions. Those confusions turned into understanding when Blake began to divine. Esmee started to cast, her body in tune with her chant.
I turned back and began to think to myself, alone beneath the night sky, leaning against a white marble building. I didn’t stay back to do some healing ritual. I needed some time alone. I was sort of an introvert. Okay, totally an introvert. I don’t remember ever having friends before Blake. I was also a little confused about all this recent drama. Why was I even here? I didn’t serve these people! I never asked for this! I didn’t deserve this, either. I had lead a generally good life, despite the fact that I was apprenticed to a dark lord, but that didn’t count, it was innocent. I was innocent. I was nobody’s hero. I didn’t need to be. My life had already given me enough trouble. I hadn’t seen my father since I was nine.
I felt fingers on my shoulders. “Chels, you okay?” came Blake’s voice.
“Y-yeah, sorry man.” I shrugged.
“Well, we’re finished up. I’m sorry you missed out on the action,” Esmee smirked.
“Oh, yeah, it’s no problem.” My voice trailed off.
“Okay, Chels, let’s go talk to Romulus.” Blake said.
“Right.” I said, voice slightly hoarse. We walked to the end of the street to a decently sized palace. In the front stood a cyclopes guard--Romulus, by the looks of him—with his arms crossed defensively.
“Hello, sir,” Esmee introduced herself in her charming way.
“Hullo, little-one-with-two-eyes. Can I see your pass?” said the Cyclopes in his unintelligible voice.
“Oh, yeah, of course.” Blake pulled out the passes.
“You bunch don’t look like Warhorns, but these seem legit. You may pass.”
We entered the building, which was elaborate. It was dim, and the only light was from a wooden chandelier hanging from the tall ceiling. The only light the windows provided was from the moon. When the door closed, we heard pleas from voices on children around twelve, our age. We were also noticed by the owner of the building, General Akilles.
“Come, fight me, I’ll put up a fight!” He called. We charged.
Arm still weak, I decided to rely on magic. The first spell that came to mind was a simple blood drawing spell. I could pull some strength from my enemy. Because it was a simple version of the spell, it wouldn’t cause too much harm, but it was easy enough to perform. Under my breath, I muttered a few ancient words and made the arm movements.
I watched as General Akilles’ face twisted slightly. I was successful. I felt a small amount rejuvenated myself. I turned to my friends, whose eyes were intent, focused. Blake appeared to be summoning a bolt, based on the jerking movements of his arms. Esmee balanced fire on both palms of her hands, aiming and throwing them gracefully at the cyclopes.
I managed to dodge a swing of the general’s hammer, using my momentum to cast another minor blood drawing spell. The room flashed as Blake’s spell was cast. General Akilles’ defenses were coming down. I managed to slip behind the cyclopes. Though I was right-handed, I hastily grabbed the Cerulean Edge, immediately feeling its power engulf me. I felt like the high that came from it was the only thing keeping me alive.
With the blade, I stabbed the cyclopes in the back, resulting not in a flesh wound, but in an ethereal drawing of energy. The Cerulean Edge was empowering, and it was almost as if it had emotions of its own. It hated stabbing, and whenever I stabbed with it, I got bad vibes that interfered with my feeling of power.
Esmee finished the cyclopes off with a special move of her own. She combined two of her fireballs, from which emerged a large and colorful phoenix. It consumed the body of our enemy. We took a key off the general.
“Are you okay, Esmee?” I asked, visibly concerned for her health. She looked winded, as if the spell had robbed her of her energy.
“Yeah, totally. Just haven’t mastered that one yet.” She panted.
“Well you two sure are beat up. Speaking of which, it doesn’t look like you performed a healing spell, Chels,” Blake noted abruptly.
“Um.” I stuttered.
“What’s up, Chels?” He asked.
“Nothing, I’m fine. Let’s go free those kids.” I replied. We walked over to the cells that were holding the kids. “Are you guys okay?” I asked as I unlocked the cage.
“Yes, of course! Thanks for saving us, guys!” said a girl in Balance School robes. There were three of them. They all ran out into the night. “We’ll find our way back to our classroom.” She said.
I turned to Blake and Esmee. “Let’s talk to Muldoon.”
Chapter 9: Gryphonbane
We headed in the direction of Muldoon’s post. We greeted by a sleep deprived guard. He didn’t look too happy to see us, though, as his eyebrows angled in. “Kids, yer were supposed to be asleep hours ago! Wait until Ambrose hears!”
Esmee was aloof with her words, “Muldoon, Muldoon, we’ve already passed your test. We’ll pass this one, too… Ambrose… well, favors us. We’re his best students.”
“Alright, then. I’ll let it slide, but only once.” He said, his accent both heavy and hearty.
“Mmkay. We’ll just be off to bed, now.” Esmee said with, her voice soft but bold. We headed towards the shopping district gate.
* * *
In the morning, we met up by Bartleby. It was a Saturday, so we didn’t have any classes. We decided to talk to Ambrose, because Muldoon probably wouldn’t exactly be happy to see us. “Hello, kids,” Ambrose welcomed us. “If you’re looking for another person to help out, Susie Gryphonbane on Triton Avenue has been pleading for assistance.”
“Say no more, we’re there,” Blake said, smiling. We headed out the door, Blake and Esmee clearly ready to put up a fight if necessary. I envied them, they were both perfect, they were amazing fighters, awesome friends (okay not Esmee), and they were both confident in themselves. I, on the other hand, was busy questioning whether or not I should be a good person.
We walked through the Shopping district, past the sandwich shop and out of the gate into Olde Town. My boots were soft against the cobblestone, unlike Esmee’s heels. Olde town was layered, broken into three tiers of land. The entrance to Triton Avenue was on the second level, so we walked down a wide ramp.
Once inside, we headed around an immediate corner to see a ramp at the end of the street. We walked down to see a girl robed in Diviner’s garments. “Hi, are you the help that Ambrose sent?” she asked in a high pitched but troubled voice.
“Yeah, of course, what’s up?” I asked.
“Well, I haven’t seen my brother, Artur, in a while, and I’m worried. I found his broken wand in the Haunted Cave. I’m really worried. Would you help me out so I can sleep at night?”
“Yeah, sure, totally. Where should we start?” I replied.
“Duncan Grimwater. He’s a bit snobbish, but he should be of some help.” She suggested. She pointed in the direction of a Necromancer boy. “He’s just over there.”
“Thanks, we’ll find your brother.” Blake offered. We walked up to the boy, who had darker skin and silver eyes.
“Hi, we were wondering if you knew anything about the whereabouts of Artur Gryphonbane.” Esmee said, strutting around.
“Ha. I personally think Artur’s just hiding out at the school, but I’ll… look around for him. In the meantime, would you help me out with my studies?” he said arrogantly.
“How so?” Esmee challenged.
“Would you defeat some fodders? I need to know about the fighting tactics of the undead. A little win-win scenario?”
“Fine. Just give us some information about Artur when we get back.” I said before we turned to walk away.
We found some undead wandering around. One of them spotted us and was walking towards us. We rushed at it, throwing spells here and there. I knew that most undead creatures resisted my magic, but this one was not. When we noticed that it started to chant in its mumbling, worn voice, we were taken aback. We were even more shocked to see a Storm spell effect Esmee.
“Fodders aren’t supposed to use magic.” Blake said, confused, as he shot the zombie down with a bolt of lightning. The fodder fell, dropping an amulet with it.
“This could be what helps them to cast spells. Esmee said, crouching down to pick up the purple amulet. “Let’s take it back to Duncan.”
When we got to Duncan, we explained what we saw. “They were using Storm magic?” Duncan asked, shocked. Esmee handed him the medallion. “Ah. I see. This is still odd. I need some Lumina Crystals… They’d react to the medallions and help me understand how they work. Would you three fetch some for me? Blad Raveneye has a ton of them.”
I sighed. “Fine. Whatever. But promise you’ll help Susie and us out.”
“Yes, of course. Now go.” He demanded. I didn’t know about Blake or Esmee, but I was getting tired of running around for this guy. We walked down to the bridge and over it, using a teleporter to get up to where Blad’s mill was.
“Hey, sir, do you have any Lumina Crystals? We’re investigating some undead activity.” Blake explained politely.
“Undead activity? I’d love to help you out, but my Lumina Crystals have been drained of magic. You can rustle up some of the banshees over there, I know they have some charged Lumina Crystals.” He said.
I muttered a few words under my breath. “Chelsea, are you alright?” Blake asked.
“Yeah, fine.” I lied. I was really confused—about everything.
“I can tell when you’re lying.” He said.
I made up an excuse. “Not now, now isn’t the time.”
When we found ourselves a banshee, I turned to face my friends. “Let me handle this. IT will be fast, I promise.” I walked up to the banshee, whose hair was red and messy. Her skin was green and her dress was tattered. She sniffed the air.
“I smmell…. I smmell a Necromancer…” She spoke in a ghastly voice.
“Yep. You smell me. I am—was—apprenticed to Malistaire. Now do me a favor and give me one of your Lumina Crystals.”
“Ohh, but whhy?”
“Because if you don’t, I will send you to places no banshee wants to go. Now give me the Crystal. Now.” I argued.
“A fffeisty Necromancccer…. I want to see you trrryy….”
“I don’t have time for this. Give it to me now.” I performed a minor ghost-harming spell.
“Fiiiine…. Hhhheere you go…” She handed me the crystal.
I walked back to Blake and Esmee, who looked both shocked and confused.
“How…?” They asked simultaneously.
“I’ve got my ways. Let’s go.” I said, and we walked off to talk to Duncan.