I led the other members of my group, 7 wizards and Kaolin, around to where the pegasus stables were. I didn’t think Lymlock knew about the secret passageways throughout the castle, so I wasn’t worried about going in.
Actually, it was just the opposite: I was anxious to begin. We had gone through this whole quest, fighting off enemies left and right, and we were too far in it to fail now. So I wanted to go before too much time passed.
I yanked open the heavy trapdoor that concealed the entrance. I wondered for a moment why this felt so familiar. I had never entered through the hatch.
Then I realized that it was the same type of door that had covered up the lair of the sorcerer who had captured us back in Melzult.
Shaking off the bad memories of that place, I started down the stone steps of the secret passageway.
I guided my team down the path I had traced so long ago, fleeing from the castle from Maybelle’s room.
It was amazing how much had happened in such a short amount of time. But I’ve said that before, so I’ll just continue with the story.
We walked down the hallway, footsteps echoing in the cold silence of the tunnel. Eventually we came to the trapdoor leading to Maybelle’s room. I cautiously pushed it open, hoping there would be nobody on the other side.
There wasn’t, luckily enough, and I breathed a sigh of relief before looking around. Seeing something so normal after all that time was just surreal. It was just strange, thinking that Maybelle would come in any minute and knowing she wouldn’t.
“Come on, let’s go,” I whispered to the others, afraid someone would hear even through the soundproof walls. It was good that they were soundproof, but we had no way of knowing if there was an army on the other side of the door waiting for us.
Kaolin pushed in front of me and opened the door first. He really seemed to want to protect me.
“All clear,” he informed us quietly. “Let’s go. I think I know the way, but you probably know it better than I do, Akeelay. Or the rest of you.”
“I know the way really well,” I murmured back. “But the other wizards live along this corridor too, and maybe it would be best if one of them led.”
“I’ll go first,” a tall woman said. She wove through the small group and walked out of the door, turning left.
We followed after her. Not knowing any better place to start, we had decided to go to the throne room first, and go from there.
The wizard in front turned the corner, and I heard her say, “Sensih!” If she needed the unconsciousness spell, there must have been a sorcerer. The wizards and I rushed around the corner to join her and saw only one sorcerer lying on the ground. The rest of the hall was empty.
“Only one,” she reassured us. “Let’s keep moving.”
The moment was tense. We had just made our first real move in what we were all thinking of as a war.
“We’ll be fine,” Kaolin whispered to me. “If we really need help, anyway, we can just signal Neyolc.”
“Right,” I responded, smiling up at him. He was a few inches taller than I was, and that could seem comforting or annoying, depending on the situation.
But I digress. We kept carefully walking down the hall. There were no more sorcerers walking around, which was good. Until we rounded the final corner to the throne room, and each of us stopped in surprise, shocked into motionlessness.
The sorcerers were waiting for us.
There weren’t very many there; most had probably gone to stop the intruders upstairs, the same way the wizards had so long ago.
But they were there. Lymlock, too. In his oh-so-dramatic way, he said, “Hello.”
“We’ve been expecting you.”
Kaolin unfroze and yelled, “Sensih!”
There was a beat of silence, and then, as a sorcerer fell, Lymlock yelled, “Attack!”