Zeke was reluctant to tear the page out of the book, but he didn’t feel like bringing the heavy book over to Rafe. He showed Rafe the paper and grinned happily. Rafe looked at it but she couldn’t discern what was written on it. The handwriting was so bad. She shook her head and waited for Zeke to explain.
“Can’t you see? This is the recipe for a potion my master has created to fight the Reaper’s Curse!” He was so excited he could spit. He shook the page in Rafe’s face. “All we need to do is get the ingredients and I can whip this together in no time!” A smile came to Rafe’s face. “My master is incredibly smart. He must have come across the curse in his many travels and came up with this!” He was proud to be working under such a brilliant man.
“Do you really think it will help?” Simon asked, daring to look hopeful.
“It has to if it’s in this book.” Zeke walked back over to the book and put it back into his backpack. He walked to the door of the room as he attempted to leave.
“Wait, where are you going?” Rafe asked.
Zeke stopped and looked back at her. She had stood up and was prepared to follow him. “I’m going to get the ingredients for the potion. Time is of the essence. I’m afraid we may have lost too much time already.”
“I can’t let you leave,” Rafe said. She sounded stern, but her face showed only concern. “Don’t forget that someone is trying to kill you.”
“But I’m more useful out there,” Zeke said. “Please, let me do this. I owe it to Moralie.” He looked at Moralie and saw that she looked even weaker than she had been a moment ago. Her life force was leaving her body at an alarming rate. He had to do something fast. He looked at Rafe and saw that she was considering something.
“Simon and I will go get the ingredients.” She reached out her hand to take the recipe. “You stay here with Moralie and do whatever you can until we return.”
“But you can’t read it,” Zeke said as he held the recipe to his chest. “I can understand Gresar’s writing. I am his apprentice after all.”
“You can read it to me, I’ll remember.” Rafe asked for the recipe again.
Zeke found it hard to oppose her. She was so mysterious and intimidating; he doubted if anyone or anything could ever stand in her way. He finally handed her the paper. He stood next to Rafe and read her the ingredients. She read it over to confirm what he said before she folded the paper. “You’d do well to find the wizard shop here and see if they’ve got it.”
Rafe shot a look at Simon and he stood up. She could tell that he was loathed to leave Moralie’s side, but he knew that Rafe needed him. She looked at Zeke and gave a reassuring smile. “We won’t let you down.” She and Simon left the room.
Zeke moved to the doorway and watched as they walked down the hallway towards the exit. He sighed because he wanted to be with them. He knew it was probably for the best that he stayed here. He did seem to attract the wrong kind of attention. It was safer in the hospital.
He heard a moan from Moralie. He raced to her side and listened. It looked like she was trying to say something, but her voice was just too soft to make out anything. He sat down and tried to gather what she was saying by watching her lips. Her lips quivered as she attempted to speak. Zeke was able to read the name ‘Rafe’ from her lips. “She’s going to be right back,” Zeke said in the calmest voice he could muster. “She’s going to get something that will make you all better.” Moralie didn’t say anything else. She took a deep breath and sighed. She looked more relaxed and at ease. Zeke felt that he had said the right thing. He just hoped that she could hold on until the others got back. For now, it was the waiting game.
Lyssa had arrived in Pimeria about forty minutes ago. She took in the sights and smells of the city just like a tourist. She enjoyed the genuine hospitality of the people who were only too kind to show her around and suggest places where she could find the newest styles in fashion and great places to eat. She did find the bread shop, Paco’s, which the Dark One had recommended and found that the bread was quite delicious. She wanted to beg the proprietor for the recipes, but she had to consider that she her pride. It was beneath her to beg. She realized that if she really wanted the recipe, she could have cast a spell on Paco and forced him to give it to her. That would be a waste of her powers. She had exhausted a lot of her power possessing that shop girl earlier today. Besides, she liked having the challenge of trying to figure the recipe out on her own. She was a real whiz in the kitchen when she tried.
The time for being a tourist was at its end. She had to switch gears. She remembered that she was on a mission and her time was running out. It was taking a lot of concentration to keep her glamor up and she needed a rest. Once she found the wizard she could drop her disguise and channel her powers into destroying him. Though, she didn’t have to go right away; she had a pretty good idea of where he was. The hospital wasn’t too far away from Paco’s. She wouldn’t have to rush. She could have another meat bun or three if she really wanted. She couldn’t make up her mind what she wanted to do. Maybe she could go destroy the wizard and then reward herself with a couple more meat buns afterwards. That sounded like a plan.
Lyssa laid some gold coins down on the dining table and stood up. She thanked Paco for the delicious bread and meat buns as she left the shop. She stood in the street and took a deep breath. It was a wonderful evening to take a life. She waited for a buggy to drive by before she stepped into the thoroughfare and followed it. Next stop, hospital.
After asking a few people on the street, Rafe and Simon were able to find the wizard’s shop. They noticed that the store was closed. It was just as they feared. Before they found Zeke, they had traveled through most of the kingdoms looking for a wizard to join their quest, but they were all gone, off on some other quest. It appeared that this one was gone as well. What could be so important that all of the wizards would leave at once? There was something bigger taking place, some master scheme, but they couldn’t figure out what it was.
“So, what do you want to do?” Simon asked, looking up at the dark windows of the shop.
“I suppose we should employ Tactic Number 12.” Rafe looked at Simon and grinned. He knew exactly what that meant. He was happy that he would have the opportunity to do it twice in one day.
Simon approached the shop door and swiftly kicked the door down. It landed on the floor hard, knocking over a table with a vase on it. Collateral damage made Simon happy. He walked into the shop and noticed that it smelled like cabbage. It was an odd smell for a shop to have. He turned back and beckoned for Rafe to come inside.
Rafe immediately noticed the cabbage smell and shook her head. “He must have been gone a long time,” was all she said. She took out the folded piece of paper with the recipe on it. She had memorized what Zeke had told her and started looking for the ingredients. She opened a cabinet and found that everything was labeled. She breathed a sigh of relief. She was afraid that nothing would be organized and she would have to guess what things were.
Simon walked back to the doorway and stood watch to make sure that no one was contacting law enforcement. There was a dark presence in the air; something was lurking about the city. It made him feel uneasy. He wondered if they should have left Zeke alone at the hospital. While he didn’t doubt Zeke’s magical ability, he surmised that whoever was gunning for him was more powerful than a wizard’s apprentice could handle on his own. He hoped that Rafe could find everything they need quickly.
People were slowly amassing in the street. There were approaching on both ends of the street. At first Simon thought that there was nothing to worry about, but it quickly became apparent that there was something wrong with these people. They were all dressed in black robes with their faces obscured. Simon’s hackles went up.
“Rafe, we’ve got company,” he called back into the store. “You might want to finish up in there.”
“Going as fast as I can,” she replied. This was the truth. While the wizard was organized, there was no method in which things were organized. The animal creature parts were mixed in with the herbal stuff. She was having a hard time reconciling with this level of disorganization. She was double checking every vial to make sure that she wasn’t missing anything. There were two items left that she wasn’t finding and she started to doubt whether they were even in this shop.
Simon growled as the group of robed figures drew closer. They placed their hands together and began to hum. The collective sound of their humming was calm at first, but it soon escalated into a overpowering cacophony. Simon covered his ears to drown out most of the noise. He felt that the humming was hurting him. His ears burned with pain, his skin felt warm, his magical energy was in danger of being drained. It was a power sapping spell. Simon had heard of something like this, but had never experienced it first-hand.
The robed ones soon joined hands and intensified the spell they were casting. The sound of their humming grew stronger. Simon knew that he would have to fight them to get them to stop. He slowly uncovered his ears and revealed that they were bleeding. He ignited his hands with the green fire granted to him by the Old Gods. He could feel that it wasn’t as powerful as it should be, but he was grateful that he was able to produce the flames. He sent two large fireballs at the cadre of robed figures that Simon assumed were dark priests. Their magic shielded them from the flames, which dissipated within inches from their faces. Simon gave a frustrated growl as he produced more flames. He supposed that if they priests were messing with him; they weren’t messing with Zeke… unless this was a distraction.
Simon knew that if he threw more fire, their shield would only lessen the attack. He needed a stronger attack. He extinguished his flames and began to pray. It was hard to concentrate while the priests were now chanting. He closed his eyes and began to pray out loud. He prayed to the gods that dwelled below in the depths of darkness to grant him more of their power. He felt that they heard him and sent him their strength. A smile came to his face as he felt his magical energy restore itself. He opened his eyes and they were bright green. This caused the priests to falter in their chanting.
Simon knew this was the opportunity he was waiting for. He summoned his energy and pooled it into his left hand. A gray fog emitted from it and covered the dark priests. They rejoined their efforts to chant more, but it was too late. When the fog completely enveloped them, they cried out as thousands of daggers shot out and tore away at their flesh. Blood dripped from their shredded bodies and collected in the streets. This made Simon laugh. He loved the carnage.
Rafe emerged from the shop carrying a basket full of assorted vials and jars. “I found them all!” She looked out on the street and saw that mess that Simon had created. She was no stranger to Simon’s powers and was not surprised by the damage he had caused. It weirded her out how much he enjoyed it. Sure, she had killed many people in her line of work, but she never enjoyed it as much as Simon enjoyed his handiwork. “I think we should get going,” she said to a laughing Simon. His eyes still green with power.
“Let’s stay for a little while, there’s still a fair amount of flesh left on their ragged bones.” Simon continued to laugh maniacally. He watched as the dark priests started to fall to their knees. The daggers ripped away at their bodies with vigor.
Rafe touched Simon’s arm and he recoiled. He glared at her as if he had forgotten that she was a friend and not a foe. She quickly withdrew from him, but didn’t avert her hard gaze. She hoped that if he saw her, his senses would come back to him. Simon was dangerous, but that didn’t mean that they had time for this. “Let’s go,” she urged.
Simon looked into her eyes and his eyes began to fade back to their normal brown color. He placed a hand to his head. He had a pounding headache now. He then looked at the dying dark priests and grimaced. He waved his hand and the fog rolled away, revealing the bloody mess he had caused. He had gone overboard again. He gave Rafe an apologetic look. She only nodded her head and patted him on the arm.
“Fix the door and we’ll get going,” she commanded. Simon agreed.
Simon picked up the door and placed it within the door frame precariously. He hoped that someone would come by and fix it, or maybe he could have Zeke fix it after they cure Moralie. When the door was as good as it was going to get, he joined Rafe on the steps. They walked past the dying priests who were reaching out to them for aid or a last ditch effort to afflict pain on them. Either way, it didn’t work. They fell to the ground soaked in their own blood, praying that death would find them sooner rather than later.
Next: Zeke vs. Lyssa