This was a real dilemma. If I had the stone I would be able to win against the magician easily proving that he didn’t swap it. However if it was lost Darlon would be able to overpower me easily, and it was a losing battle.
“I am not going back in there.” Brian said to me. “If you want to die be my guest, you can’t beat a magician especially in a house he knows back to front. Knowing him, even trying to get in would be impossible, you saw the way he trapped us in our rooms yesterday.”
“I’ve been searching for this stone for months; I’m not going to give up here” I replied.
We waited to see if Darlon would leave; if he did I wouldn’t have to do this. If he had not left by night we concluded that he must have caught on and our plan needed to happen.
It was night and still no activity. I had to leave.
“Well if I never see you again, you’ve been a great buddy.” Brian said.
“You too” I replied as I crawled away. I knew better than to give him the stone for safety. If it was real I wouldn’t win without it and if it was a fake it didn’t matter.
The silhouette of the mansion looked impossibly large. I reached the end of the grass and the stone path surrounding the house like a moat. On me all I had was a simple knife, I could just about remember the route to Darlons study. If I didn’t run right for it then I would stop myself. I would have to have an open sprint right from here into Darlons study. It was a scary thing that I was about to do and this was the last possible place I could back down from.
Under cover of darkness Brian had moved closer so that he could see me, he would be waiting nervously.
Suddenly the time felt right, I charged forward and within seconds I was at the window. I stabbed my knife against it and there was a minor dent. I stabbed it again and a small crack appeared around where the knife entered. I did it twice more and it shattered. I leapt through it and into the house.
To my right I could see the door where normal people enter. The entrance was empty so I followed the way I thought it would go at massive speed. I reached the end of the first corridor and turned left, then left again and up two flights of stairs to the third floor. Then I took two rights and found myself on the correct corridor.
I had burned the memory of Darlon’s room into my mind so I knew which door to enter. I flung it open and there he was studying normally at his desk.
Darlon could barely say “Oh” before I was there with my knife. I stabbed him with all my might but couldn’t let go of the blade.
“Fool what do you think you’re doing?” Darlon shouted through a furious gaze. “You cannot kill a magician.”
I saw that I might not have too. There was a window right behind Darlon and a dull stone on his desk. Without thinking I grabbed the dull stone and threw it at the window as hard as I could. The window smashed and the stone went through to my relief.
Now we were in a fair fight, nobody had the stone. Darlon had stood up and was looking at me with daggers in his eyes. I charged towards him but I couldn’t move, he’d frozen me to the spot.
“How did you know?” Darlon asked me.
“I’d like to ask you the same thing.”
“I knew from the moment I touched the letter, a vision rushed through me, I do that with all letters from the king and it tells me if it’s from a valid source, and even if I didn’t have that I saw that you had changed the contents of the letter anyway!” He cried out.
“How?” At this point I was just trying to keep him talking. Instead he lifted me up and tossed me towards the window, nearly throwing me out of it. Suddenly I could move again.
“I’m a magician.”
“Surely your power has limits!” I screamed, getting up and charging again.
“ENOUGH!” The magician screamed at me and for the first time I felt his evil presence oozing out of him, a pure being of terror. I was immobilised. The Fear made me stationary. I desperately wanted to get away. The only fear greater than him was the fear of jumping out the window to my death. I was trapped with Darlon who was blocking the door.
Darlon began trying to push me out of the window and I resisted. He towered over me while I scraped the glass on the windowsill, my head was just poking right out of the window and I could see a crescent moon and stars as well as a monstrous figure.
He edged me out slowly, I was losing this fight, he was going to push me to my death.
Then the force pushing me stopped and I got up. Darlon was on the floor crying in pain. His head was bleeding, covering his eyes and mouth and on the floor was one small dull stone.
Without hesitation I grabbed it and smashed it in Darlons already bloody face. As I hit I could see the stone slowly turn brighter and brigher until Darlon was dead and the stone was bright again.
In my hand was the stone of the conqueror.