We run ungracefully through the hills, back to town. The dark clouds are intensifying, and lightning bolts are striking every minute. They strike on people, leaving them in black glass prisons. I feel terrible for them. The population of Maple Island is growing smaller.
We stumble into the square, breathing hard. Adam runs his fingers through his hair gently, and begins to re-sculpt it quickly. I continue forward, and a few seconds later he is back by my side.
“So?” He asks. “What are we trying to do? And what’s happening?”
“The Elders thought that this would be the Black Mage’s first direct attack on Maple World.” Adam gasps. I continue, “If we stop him here, it will take him a while to come back.”
I have very little experience in fighting, I realize suddenly. Adam is right, I was simply blessed. Would the blessing of a dead man be enough?
We reach central Maple Island. There are screaming people everywhere, dodging the now much more frequent lightning strikes. I should have guessed I would find Mercedes in the center of the action.
She stands there proudly, purple flower energy swirling around her, viciously swatting away lightning bolts. She focuses her energy, and arrows fly from her Dual Bowguns at unbelievable speed into an unseen target. I round the corner, and gasp.
Standing in front of her is the young elder with the ring. As he catches my eye, he smiles a creepy smile, as his entire form melts away. Adam and I shriek. He reforms into the body of a hooded figure, with a face obscured in shadow. Suddenly two red eyes light up from within the darkness of the hood.
One of the Elder members was the Black Mage. He knew our plans from the very beginning, and actually helped form them. He must have been prepared for anything we could throw at him.
Behind him was his warship. It was painted the purple of the Black Mage, and a metal pole from its deck shot to the sky. It appeared to be some sort of conductor. It was causing the lightning.
“See that?” I gesture for Adam. His eyes widen. “It’s causing the lightning!”
I nod profusely. We have to get rid of it.
Mercedes is still standing bravely, pounding mercilessly against the Black Mage with her green arrows. They don’t seem to have any effect on him. He raises a scaly palm, and a bolt of something flashes out from it, catching Mercedes square in the chest. I shriek, “no!” But Mercedes is lying on the ground, still.
That’s when the Elders step out of the shadows. They converge around the Mage, forming a tight circle.
“Vladimir, you traitor,” The oldest Elder hisses at the Black Mage. He has some nerve, criticizing the big evil doo-dah. The Black Mage just smiles, and strikes out with another bolt. It catches the Elder square in the chest, like Mercedes. I want to cry… But he doesn’t fall down. The Elders’ eyes all flash in unison, and chant a single word, creepily.
There is a brief flash of runes and magic language I do not understand, then the Black Mage is hit with the full force of the Elders.
“I would rather die than allow you to rule Maple World!” An elder yells furiously.
“That day may come sooner than you expect,” The Black Mage replies smugly. The Elders’ attack ends, and there is silence. Then, with a whoosh an arrow shoots into the Elder’s chest. He falls to the ground instantly.
I feel like crying. These people are sacrificing their lives, hopelessly protecting what they believe. I should do the same. I dash toward the Black Mage, yelling back to Adam, “you know what you need to destroy!” I fix my gaze on the Mage, and plow toward him. I raise my wand high in the air, and call out, “I’ll finish what the Elders tried to do!”
I didn’t really know what I expected would happen, but definitely not what did. My father appeared in the air before me, and flew full speed into the Black Mage. His figure crackled and sparked against the Black Mage. I didn’t have time to react. Another bolt of bright white energy shot out from my wand, hitting the Black Mage in the face. All of my hopes and dreams rested on that moment. His minions poured out of his ship, cutting down people all around me with razor-sharp swords. It is a slaughter, and it is almost surreal.
The Black Mage shrieks. “STOP THIS FOOLISHNESS RIGHT NOW!” But there is pain in his voice. I glance up quickly to see the energy conductor topple to the ground. It is unbelievable that Adam was able to accomplish it. A story for another time.
All around me, the Minions disintegrate. It seems as though the Black Mage drew from technology for his power.
My rage of power ends, and my father fades away. His form is torn and flickering, and his eyes are closing. “Dad, no!” I dash to his side.
“Son,” he says, a pained expression on his face. It’s over. The Black Mage is done for now. I glance around. The Mage is gone, and his ship is rapidly retreating. Is Adam okay? “There is something you must know. I love you, although this is the end for us. My entire spirit will soon fade. I will come back in another form.”
A hot tear falls down my dirty cheek. “No!” I say. There was nothing more that I could manage. His body disappears into the dusk. The dark clouds slowly retreat, and I feel all alone. Suddenly, Adam materializes beside me. “What happened!” he yells. I can only smile.