“Caroline, can we please leave? It’s so HOT in Krokotopia!”
With the quick transition from freezing-cold Colossus Boulevard to sweltering-hot Krokotopia, I was sure Rebecca Duskglade couldn’t be too happy.
Aedan wasn’t helping either. He kept on running around and excitedly pointing things out such as “Dog!” “Mander!” “Pyramid!” “Caroline Dawnrunner!”
I knew Rebecca wanted to leave right away and Aedan wanted to stay about three more weeks, but I just wanted to find out why I’d been sent here, and by whom.
I remember getting the note that sent me there as clear as day.
“Caroline, could you pass me the newspaper?” Dad asked over his coffee. I looked around. “It’s not here,” I said. “I’ll go get it then,” Dad said as he rose from his chair. And that’s when I smelled smoke. I whipped my head around to see that the eggs and toast were burning.
“Holy…! Go get your Mom!”
“What’s she gonna do?” I asked nervously.
“She’s a Thaumaturge,” he said quickly. “KIM!” Dad dashed upstairs. The room was filling up with smoke fast. I had to get out of there!
I found myself two minutes later gasping and panting, my back to the wall of the building, my gaze focused on the mailbox. For some reason looking at it made me think of Dad…oh. Yeah. Newspaper.
I walked over to the mailbox and opened the flap. Instead of the usual mail, there was a single envelope labeled, “Caroline Dawnrunner, Rebecca Duskglade, or Aedan Thunderpyre”. Intrigued, I picked up the envelope and was about to rip it open when my parents rushed outside. I quickly put the envelope behind my back as my Mom embraced me. My Dad, looking at our open mailbox, said, “So, any mail?”
“What..? Oh! No, there wasn’t any,” I replied nonchalantly, slipping the envelope under my robes. Somehow I knew the envelope was for my eyes only.
After I had finished breakfast and so had my parents, I went to Ravenwood. Since it was a Saturday, there weren’t many people around. I saw a few Grandmasters going into the World Tree, Professor Wu was telling Blossom something, and a Novice Fire Student was trying to plant kisses on a Diviner.
I walked over to the World Tree, where Bartelby was muttering something about Firecat Alley and “only the beginning”. I leaned against the World Tree and took the letter out that was from that morning and was about to ripped it open, and I was about to read it when Aedan Thunderpyre and Rebecca Duskglade teleported to me.
“Hey Caroline,” Aedan said shamelessly, plopping down right on the grass in front of Bartelby. Rebecca leaned against the trunk and stared up at the winding branches above her.
Aedan stared up at Bartelby’s many branches also, but as though he was stargazing, and muttered, “This city.”
“Aedan, I told you that only works if you’re looking outside an office building. On Earth.” Rebecca said without looking down. Aedan shrugged. “I don’t care.”
“Hey guys, could you look at this for a second?” I waved the note under Rebecca’s nose. Rebecca snatched it away from me and read:
Go to the well near the Oasis. Bring friends but not enemies.
We were silent for a few seconds.
“Lemme see that,” Aedan said, grabbing the note from Rebecca. “Go to the well near the Oasis. Bring friends but not enemies. Friends but not enemies…”
“We shouldn’t bring Travis Spelldust.”
“We had no intention of bringing him.”
So here we were at the Oasis six minutes later, Rebecca groaning from the heat amd Aedan running around excitedly.
I sighed. Were was this guy who was going to meet us? (Although it didn’t specifically say someone was going to meet us.) I checked my reflection in the water, then spashed some on my face and drank some up. Immediately my face dried and my tongue turned to sandpaper, it was so hot.
Feeling faint, I leaned against the side of the well. Rebecca had given into heatstroke, and was snoozing slumped against the side of the well. One off the architects must not have been too careful when they designed the well, because a sharp brick was protruding right near Rebecca’s ear. I decided to gently move Rebecca so the brick wasn’t a hazard to her head. I got up in front of her and placed my hands on her shoulders. Immeadiately she jerked awake, yelling something about stupid Nirinis and mean parents and hit her head on the sharp brick.
I sucked in air, thinking Rebecca was in for it now. But when her head hit, the brick fluttered to the ground. It wasn’t a brick—it was another piece of parchment.
Rebecca rubbed her head and yawned. “What’s goin’ on,” she croaked groggily.
I held the parchment up to my eyes. It read:
The Vault of Ice holds many secrets.
“Guys! Check it out!” Aedan ran over to us. “That Mander is PURPLE!”
“It was a mistake to bring him,” Rebecca said expressionlessly.
“Fine, let’s go back to Wizard City,” I sighed.
“Thank you.” Rebecca stood up and teleported.
“Well I’m staying here,” Aedan said indifferently, then went off to bug Hetch Al’Dim.
The next week went by pretty easy and fun. Aedan finally got to Krokotopia so he didn’t have to keep whispering to ask if he could ‘port. Rebecca took a trip to Mooshu with her parents to look at some private schools (she promised me the interview would be a nightmare for every Headmaster she met). So she came back with the shock of having the exact same quests as Aedan.
On the same day that Rebecca came back from her trip, I was just getting ready for the Vault of Ice when Aedan ‘ported to me, causing me to spill my cards on the ground.
“Hey!” I said angrily, kneeling down to pick up my cards.
“Oh no you don’t!”
Rebecca ‘ported—right on top of my cards!
“Watch it!” I growled. Rebecca didn’t notice. She stepped forward and proceeded to chide him about why fleeing is for cowards. Aedan argued that he had had barely any health. “Well I’m a Theurgist! I could’ve healed you! And now you have hardly any mana!” Rebecca stammered. Sighing, I proceeded to pick up my cards. I finally picked up the last friggin’ Seraph card I had, when I discovered a really old slip of parchment. “The Vault of Ice holds many secrets,” I whispered to myself.
“YOU ARE A COWARD, AEDAN THUNDERPYRE!” Rebecca bellowed.
“AM NOT!” Aedan yelled back.
“I bet if Caroline were here she would agree with me!” Rebecca retorted.
“Umm, hel-looo, right he-ere,” I said waving a hand in her face.
“Well tell Aidan that he’s a coward!”
“Uhh—ooh! How ’bout we do the Vault of Ice with me?”
Of course my two best friends couldn’t refuse me, so ten minutes later we found ourselves fighting Guardian, Protector, and Defender of the Fang. When Aedan had finally catch-phrased the Protector out of existence and the last lock was broken, we could fight the Keeper of the Fang and get me closer towards the Temple of Storms.
“You guys ready?” I asked.
“Oh, yah, definitely” came the response.
“As long as Aedan doesn’t flee again.” Rebecca glared at him.
“Drop it,” I told her. Aedan pulled the lever, and the door opened. But instead of finding the Keeper of the Fang in the room, there was simply a hooded figure, standing as though waiting for us especially.
At first I thought this was the Keeper of the Fang, until the figure said in a cold voice, “How polite of you all to come.”
“Huh? Who are you?” Aedan asked stupidly.
“Oh, you wouldn’t know me, Mr. Thunderpyre,” the person laughed coldly. It was like shards of glass hitting the wall.
“Listen, just tell us who you are and what you want so we can fight the Keeper of the Fang,” Rebecca said calmly.
“It’s not all the simple, Miss Duskglade,” the person said. It was a woman. Her voice sounded really familiar. Like something you couldn’t forget.
Then I remembered where I’d heard it. Something from a dream—somewhere in on a street, a voice calling out—
“You’re the Cold Master,” I said.
“What do you want?” Rebecca growled.
“I think you already know what I want, Miss Duskglade,” she said.
“What?” I asked.
“Sylvia Drake’s Diadem,” Her Coldness whispered.
“We don’t have it,” I blurted out.
“But you can get it for me.”
“No way,” Rebecca said immediately. “C’mon, guys, we’re leaving.”
She turned around to leave, but all the sudden—
“ARISE, SPIRITS OF THE VAULT!” The Cold Master commanded, her voice reflecting off the walls. “DESTROY THOSE TRESPASSING UPON YOUR DOMAIN!”
Suddenly, (don’t ask me how, because I don’t know) five Colossi appeared, and raised their weapons, ready to defend their territory.
“Oh Bartelby, we’re screwed,” Aedan said nervously.
“Don’t say that,” Rebecca said.
One of the ice spirits cast a Snow Angel, which I thought was pretty unfair because Aedan didn’t have his Treasure Card with him this time, and I was only level 25 at the time.
I counterattacked with an Efreet, which took down Colossus #1 easily. But there were still four more Colossi.
Aedan said hid radical catch-phrase again: “I hope you like Storm cuz you’re in for a TEMPEST!”
Waves crashed against Colossi #1, 2, and 3, but #4 cast an Absorb shield, so the wave did hardly any damage.
#4 was a Cheater.
At first I thought, no maybe he cast the Absorb before, because the only cheaters are from Briskbreeze Tower and Celestia. But then the point was proved when Rebecca cast a Seraph, and the remaining Colossus cast a Life shield just as the Seraph was Smiting him.
I stared at the Cold Master. She was not watching and enjoying our struggle against the Colossus. Her hand was to the wall and she was whispering something.
I could’ve stared at her for a couple more minutes, but the cheating Colossus had cast a Colossus (Heheh go figure) that almost broke my neck. So right then I had to focus on the cheating Colossus. But honestly, how do you deal with a cheater if you’re under level 50?
Then the answer came so easily it was almost laughable.
Problem? Cheater. Solution? Cheat back.
“Hey! That’s cheating!” Aedan realized indignantly.
It took all of my mental willpower not to slap Aedan across the cheek and focus on the task at hand.
The Colossus casted a Leviathan that loomed over us, and I knew we were dead meat.
Aedan’s next brilliant idea: “I have got to have that card!”
Wow, Aedan. The likelihood of that happening is in 40 levels unless the Colossus suddenly…
So then I realized that I could steal the card from the Colossus.
I dodged the Leviathan, ran across the dueling circle, and stole the Colossus’s deck.
I returned to my spot in the circle and tossed Aedan the Leviathan card. “Now kill the Colossus!” I said excitedly.
I’d meant for Aedan to use the Leviathan card, but he instead used another Tempest. The Colossus, caught off guard, finally died then and there, leaving in his place a Krokomummy pet and (unbelievably) the Fang.
“Aedan, I wanted you to use the Leviathan card,” I said, grinning.
“No way, I’m holding onto it,” Aedan replied.
The Cold Master appeared to have left the room, so I stepped forward and took a rubbing of the obelisk.
The Cold Master was gone for now.
But she would come back.
Because she wanted us dead.
Next Chapter: The Bed of Ice