“Jack, calm down.” Dojima said sternly.
“But…” Jack said. His hand was on his blade. “He can’t be… The Seer’s lying!”
“Ah, terribly sorry. But, lying isn’t one of my many talents.” The Seer said.
“Ek verstaan nie!” Reza said. “Waar’s Felix?”
“Oh! Dragon Tongue! Ah. It’s been a while. Let me think now… uhm… jou vriend het gesterf!” The last sparkle in Reza’s eye vanished. Her legs turned to jelly and she fell backwards. Responsibility (who pretty much invented trust-falling) caught her.
“It’s not possible.” Jack said.
“He was hit by Perpetuum’s Bloom. There is no stronger force. He was so great that he could only be bested by the power of the sun itself.” Dojima said.
“Jack doesn’t believe it.” Jack said venomously.
“Neither do I.” Siphokazi said.
“Siphokazi?” Jack said hopefully.
“Or, at least I have some questions.” Siphokazi said. “Seer, would you mind if I asked you a few more questions?”
“Ah. Alright, I suppose.”
“How can we be sure that this Trubbleclutsh you mentioned is Felix?” Siphokazi said.
“See for yourself.” The Seer said. He tapped the sphere and the darkness started to take shape. An image appeared.
“That’s him!” Jack said. “Isn’t it?”
Siphokazi drew nearer to the sphere and inspected it. “Definitely.” She said. “That is his exact pattern. Not similar but exact.”
“How can you be so sure.” Dojima asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I have multiple sketches of him.” Siphokazi said and withdrew one of her books from nowhere and handed it to him. “I have sketches of all of you.”
“Hey! Why is there so much grey in my…”
“My second question.” Siphokazi said. “You said he’s been dead for some time now. How long?”
“Oh. Well. I’d say… Oh, wait, of course. He’s been dead for fifty years.”
This statement made so many eyebrows raise that Lazarus would have been put to shame.
“Fifty!” Jack cried. “That’s insane! Oh! Unless this sphere can travel through time! What year is it!?”
“Weapon Age 50. Fifty years since the slaying of the Slain.” Siphokazi said thoughtfully.
“In the final days before it was defeated by Valiant the Slain killed countless beings. But, if Felix, or this cat, is long dead, then who is the 50th master? Who have we accompanied this whole time?”
“Seer.” Siphokazi said politely. “You said you’ve been watching us from the beginning. If that is so, then who was the cat that accompanied us?”
“Well, it wasn’t born a cat. In fact, it wasn’t born at all… hehehe. The Seer grinned toothily.
“What?” Jack said.
“And, where is he now?” Siphokazi asked. The Seer opened his mouth and then the sphere jingled a melodious tune just in time to change the subject.
“Gix’s roots! Is it time?” The Seer exclaimed.
“I completely forgot!” Oblibli exclaimed back.
“We’d better hurry.” The Seer said.
“What? But, we have more questions!” Dojima asked.
“Do you not know what year it is? Did you not mention it just a moment ago? 50 years it’s been!”
“Since the slaying of the Slain?” Jack said.
“What!? Well, yes. But, more importantly…”
“The Balanniversary!” Oblibli said.
“Oh, please.” Siphokazi rolled her eyes.
“Hahaha! You snobby librarian-types are all the same. Oh! The evidence is irrefutable!”
“You’re wizards. You can very literally create evidence.” Siphokazi said.
“If you want the truth. I’ll take you there myself.”
“But, i… it’s forbidden!” Oblibli said.
“Ah! I’ve seen forbidden’s underwear! What can they do? Oh!”
“What’s this Balance-adversity thing.” Jack said.
“The Balanniversary. Every 50 years the balance of this world shifts. Salvatora, Immolon and Fred will all be there. The magnificent event takes place on the highest point of the tallest mountain at the furthest most inhospitable corner of Hat Island.” the Seer said.
“Right next to the student affairs office!” said Oblibli.
“Yes, the next floor up. There shall be a reckoning the likes of which none have ever seen. At least since the last one 50 years ago. That was a good one wasn’t it?” the Seer said in Dojima’s direction.
“I’m 37!” Dojima protested.
“Oh! If you say so buddy, but I can see the grey hairs under that hat of yours.”
“Guh… well… you have goat eyes.” Dojima retorted.
“You really think so? Thank you.” the Seer said proudly. “So, will you be accompanying me?”
“Yes, if it means I can expose the truth and put this to rest. But, how will we get there?”
“My good librarian. Surely, you have not forgotten that I am a magixian? Oh! There are many ways to alter what we are in such a way that allows us to travel at great speeds. I could turn us into a flock of birds and fly there. Or, perhaps a school of fish. I could even turn us into a bolt of lightning and zap us there in a moment.”
“I saw such a thing in Flockboast.” Dojima said.
“Ah, yes. That was Ranaweyt’s work. Oh, that wonderful feline. If only he’d stayed and finished his degree. Oh, but I digress. Yes, there are many ways to transport ourselves. But, personally, I’m not a fan of lightning travel. It has the nasty habit of boiling your spit. The quickest and best way by far is for us to become the light itself.” The Seer flicked his nose.
“I would travel with haste
that exceeds the taste
of the quick footed
and the fast-paced”
There was an explosion of light that vanished as soon as it appeared. They were no longer in the Seer’s sphere but back in that perpetual blizzard that is Hat Island. They were on the tallest mountain on the northern most tip of Hat Island. Up here the blizzard was worse than anything they had experienced before. They called to each other in vain. The air was cold, thin. The blizzard was simply too… oh, it stopped. The Seer dusted his shoulders off.
“What the…?” Jack said, “Jack wasn’t even wearing this!”
“You know weather-altering magix too.” Siphokazi said.
“Ah, my dear librarian. Weather-altering magix knows me. Ah ah ah. Now you must excuse me, I’m giving lifts this year. I’ll see you at the top.” And with that the Seer vanished in a burst of light that went off like a flashbang. Jack, who had been watching the Seer, caught the full brunt of it and collapsed on the floor. Reza sat silently in the snow. Siphokazi approached but Responsibility shook his/her head.
They were just outside the Student Affairs office. There was a sign on the door that read.
“Please remember to bring your student identification.” And then, a moment later, the words changed:
“Please remember to bring your proof of student residence form.”
A badgered-looking wizard burst through the doors of the Student Affairs Office.
“Blast! Have they turned off the blizzard? Gix forbid, we might have to serve some students now! Quick Henriette, shuffle the requirements and change our opening times.”
The sign outside now read: “Please remember to bring your student residence identification receipt form signed by your most recently deceased relative in triplicate.” The business hours also changed from 09:00 – 12:00 to 09:00 – Your Arrival.
“Uh…” Siphokazi shuddered, “University admin.”
“Bluuuargh!” Jack awoke all of a sudden and yelped with pain. Green-eyed Oblibli knelt beside him and used her healing magix on him.
Jack was instantly healed. A sparkling green film melted over his eyes. The first face he beheld was Oblibli’s.
“Let’s get married.” he said simply. Oblilbi’s eyes turned red and she dropped him on his head. He blacked out again.
“He doesn’t have much of a filter.” Siphokazi said.
“Look at it!” Dojima said. He was standing on the edge of a sheer cliff and looking out through the clear skies. Below them PSAM and the Gix mountain range were vividly clear. They could see the angry protesters protesting angrily in the distance. From here they almost looked amicable… I mean like ants. Ants from the Sky. Sky Ants. Hmm, that has a menacing ring to it. Anyway, the others joined Dojima and beheld the breathtaking view.
“What does all of this mean? Who is Felix?” Dojima said.
“I have some idea. But, I won’t share my thoughts until I’m certain. All we can do now…”
“… is wait and see.” Dojima said.
“Precisely.” Siphokazi said.
They could see the desert in the distance beyond the sea. A lump rose in Reza’s throat as she beheld it. It was the desert dwellers’ weapon that had shot down her ship and killed… She couldn’t put a word to her feelings. But, they stirred violently within her. Dangerously.
In the palace of the King of Jul,
“My liege!” said one of the creepy bandage-covered Jul’Dori. “Your brother is here to…”
“Out of my way.” A man brushed passed the Jul’Dori and entered the throne room. He wore nothing but the pants of a traveller, showing off his amazing upper body musculature. His hair was tied back in a messy pony tail. His left arm was covered in the bandages of royalty. At his waist there was a fearsome sabre.
“Brother!” cried the King. “You couldn’t have come at a better time. The barbaric knights are attacking! We need your h…”
“Silence!” the King’s brother said. “Why did you use the Desert Flower?”
“There was a ship… it was encroaching on our territory!” the King said.
“Did they fire upon us? Were they thieves?”
The King said nothing.
“You used the Desert Flower without reasonable cause. As a result, you have started a war. Not only that, but if the dragons are to return we have no means of stopping them. You may well have doomed our Kingdom.” the brother said.
“But they were within our borde…”
“Would you say this was the action of a fool?” the brother said, ignoring the King.
“What…? But, brother! Surely now is not the time. The enemy is approaching. If we do not fight…”
“Brother. Your blood is too noble to be spilled by the likes of them. I will not let them kill you.”
“Yes, thank you, brother.” the King said.
“But, I would have you answer my question. Was yours the action of a fool?” the King’s brother asked sternly.
“… Yes. I was… I was foolish. Forgive me, brother.” the King said.
There was a flash and the King’s head parted with his body. His brother sheathed his sabre and went to retrieve it.
“And thus your repentance shall be your final act.” he said to the head. “The black eye was wasted on you.” He went to the balcony outside with the head in his hand. There were about a dozen floating ships approaching. He aimed at none in particular and threw the head with immense strength. It splattered redly against one of the ships.
“Strip the corpse of its armour.” the King’s brother said. “It is mine now.” The Jul’Dori busily stripped the headless body of its armour and carefully carried the corpse away.
“Do not be so gentle. That corpse is merely a corpse. The black eyes are gone. It’s worth less than a Djulok now.”
“You have become powerful, Djinn.” said the King’s mother.
“Thank you, mother.” Djinn said. “I am sure you will agree that Jul deserves a King who is powerful. Surely you regret your decision in not choosing me as your heir. I am surprised you let the fool take it this far.”
“A mother’s love is blind. I see potential in all my children.”
The Jul’Dori adorned Djinn in the armour of the King.
“Spare me your mawkishness. It may have doomed us all. I must go save our Kingdom.” Djinn said. He readied his sabre and made for the battle.