Lucas stared out over the home of the elves. Everyone went about their business, helping each other recover from the devastating battle two days ago. He could hardly believe that any time had passed since the battle. It had been two days since harm came to his people. Two days since death knocked on their doors and two days since he last saw Elizabeth. He knew she was safe. He could feel her still, feel her fear and pain. Zach had constantly convinced him not to charge off to find her. He would be killed, Zach had reminded him. Barback will search for them first. We need to beat him there.
Zach had loaded up Honour and came over to where Lucas was standing, Martha following close behind him. In her hands was the same sachet he had received from the bookstore man.
She turned to Lucas and said, ‘Celeste left this morning. She will be in contact with us shortly.' She held out her hand, passing over the bag. Lucas noticed she had a book and strange ball with her.
Lucas turned to her, taking the bag from her and asked, ‘How do we stay in contact? You don't have phones here.'
She looked at him, confused. ‘What are phones?'
He shook his head. ‘Never mind.'
She smiled and held out her hand. The small crystal ball, the size of a large orange, fell into his hand. Lucas held it out and examined it. It had strange colors. It was light blue, but when he shook it, inside the ball, bright lights moved around. Many colors blended together, colliding and making little explosions of new colors. It reminded him of fireworks exploding when the colors collided.
He looked back to Martha and asked, ‘What is this?'
She smiled. ‘It is the Orb of Tabitha. It belonged to the ancient witch Tabitha who used it to communicate with others. You speak into it and we will telepathically hear you and respond. Likewise, we use it to communicate with you. We have to set up a connection first.'
‘How do you set up a connection?'
‘My blood and your own must be spilt on it. Just a drop from each.' She pulled out a knife and made a small cut on her finger, holding it over the ball. A drop fell onto the ball and it glowed red. She handed the knife to Lucas. He wiped it clean and did the same. As soon as his blood hit the ball, it changed into a green colour before turning back to blue. Martha nodded at him.
‘Everyone will communicate with me and then I will pass on the information to you.'
Lucas smiled. ‘Thank you.' He placed the ball into his bag.
She smiled at him and spoke softly so only he could hear. ‘Lucas, I want you to take this too.' She handed him the book and he saw it was the Grimlore.
He shook his head and said, ‘I can't. It belongs to you.'
‘I want you to take it. If you … when you get the amulet back, use it to open it. You deserve to be the one who opens it first.'
‘I … I don't know what to say.'
She smiled. ‘Don't say anything. Just use it wisely.'
He looked at her and asked, ‘Can I ask you something?'
She nodded. ‘Of course.'
‘When I was fighting, I seemed to have -’
Lucas nodded. ‘Yes, I think that's what Celeste said. What happened to me?'
Martha frowned as she started pacing in front of him. ‘I am not one hundred per cent sure. I have never seen it happen before to anybody. From what I saw myself, which was only very little, your whole appearance changed dramatically. Somehow, you became stronger and faster. You moved faster than anyone I had ever seen before in my lifetime. Yet, you seemed so different.'
Lucas looked at her with a worried face. ‘What do you mean, different?'
‘You didn't seem yourself. I noticed you fought Lord Barback differently, more violently than when you first began the fight.'
Lucas looked at her, his eyes filling with fear. ‘I don't remember.'
She looked at him, concern now covering her face. ‘What do you mean?'
‘The last thing I remember was Barback laughing about hurting you. The next minute, I was on the floor and Celeste was there with me. I don't remember anything.'
‘What about stopping the fire outside?' she asked.
‘No. I don't remember that either.' He looked at her, his face white with fear and confusion.
‘What is happening to me?'
‘Lucas …' His mother moved forward and grabbed him in a hug. They stood there for a moment before he moved away. She held onto his shoulders and stared at him. ‘Lucas, I am not entirely sure, but it is possible that you may have … split your personality a little.'
‘What do you mean?' he asked.
She frowned. ‘From what I have noticed, you seem to be torn about your role in our world. The responsibilities are very difficult and to jump from being a normal child back on Earth to king of the elves and king of Bomcard is a big change. It is a heavy burden. I believe that you may have split yourself. The other half may have been a different part of you, maybe a part that accepts who you need to be. Celeste told me you seemed more confident when fighting Barback, something you try to be but cannot hide that you are not.'
‘I have accepted who I am,' Lucas pointed out. ‘I lead them into battle and I -'
‘You can lead people into battles and still be afraid of who you are,' Martha interrupted.
‘Saying one thing and acting another can be entirely different. You may show that you are accepting your role, but deep down, you are not. You are still struggling with the idea that you now lead us and yet, you still wish to be normal. You said so yourself. This other person, he does not care. He accepts his role and, someday in time, you will as well.
‘It is also possibly because of your mixed heritage. Being half elf and half human may be conflicting already deep inside you. If you are conflicted mentally as well as physically, then maybe it is possible for you to transform.'
‘Do you think it might happen again?'
She turned to face him, a sad expression on her face. ‘I am not sure, but I believe so.' She smiled. ‘You seem to need cheering up.'
Lucas nodded and looked at her with a serious expression. ‘The other night, I had this weird
dream. Elizabeth had the same dream as well and it felt so real. We were at some lake and she showed her mermaid form. We were swimming in the lake and then when we woke up, we realised we had experienced exactly the same dream. We had thought it happened and it is still in my mind, like a memory of something that actually did happen. Do you know what might have happened? Do you think it was the amulet?'
She looked at him, her thoughts racing a mile a minute. She smiled and replied, ‘No, I do not believe so. I believe that you made the dream happen.'
‘What do you mean?' he asked.
‘Well, I think that as a telepath, you were able to pull Elizabeth into your dream or vice versa. That is why you both remember and why it felt so real.'
‘I'm still confused.'
She smiled kindly at him and continued, ‘Your grandmother, my mother, was a powerful telepath. It was known that she and my father could enter each other's dreams and, also being a powerful spell caster, her magic made it possible for her to be able to make it as real as if she was there.'
‘There was a downside, however,' she spoke sadly, frowning at him. ‘One night, when my mother was asleep and in this dream state, she hurt herself. Not badly, but when she woke, she noticed that the injury from the pain carried over to when she awoke.'
He stared at her, shocked, and asked, ‘So, does that mean it was real?'
‘Yes, to an extent, I believe so.' Martha nodded. ‘The mind is a powerful tool. It is amazing though. Somehow, you seem to have my power, my father's and now my mother's. You are truly amazing. Your mixed bloodline may allow you access to powers even beyond that.'
Lucas sighed. ‘Cool.'
‘Do not fret, dear,' she said kindly.
‘One more question. It has been bugging me for days.'
‘Why does everyone call Barback Lord? I asked FieryTemper, but I'm still confused.'
‘We all fear him, Lucas,' she replied with a frown. ‘It is why, even with you here, we all call him Lord. Those who do not fear him, like yourself and Zachary, call him only Barback.'
‘Thanks. I think I get it.'
‘On a change of topic, are you ready to leave?'
Lucas smiled. ‘Yes. I believe so.'
She smiled at him. ‘Then, I will see you when you return.'
‘You won't come say goodbye?'
She smiled sadly, shaking her head. ‘I am not very good at goodbyes. If I see you leave, I will once again believe it is for good. I cannot bear the pain I felt when you disappeared from my life. I cannot watch you leave.'
He smiled at her and they hugged. She quietly walked off and when Lucas could no longer see her, he walked over to Zach and asked, ‘Are you ready to leave?'
Zach shook his head. ‘I am waiting for Honour. He is just eating right now. He will be a few moments.' He nodded at the bag. ‘What is in there?'
Lucas smiled. ‘Gifts from my mother.'
Zach nodded. ‘Did you get your sword back from Nicholas?'
He nodded in response. ‘Yes. I didn't understand why he wanted to see it.'
Zach looked puzzled. ‘Is it still intact?'
Lucas nodded. ‘Yes, as far as I can tell. I guess he just wanted to see it. I just don't understand why.' He looked out over the valley. Some elves were staring at him, others ignoring him. He turned to Zach and asked, ‘Can you believe what has happened to us? How we got here?'
Zach laughed. ‘Ten days ago, I was a palace guard and you were an ordinary human. Now, we are a Dragon Master and the Lost Son. It's funny how much has changed.' He looked out over the valley to the elves. ‘They don't see it though. How much we have had to change. You can tell by the way they are looking at us.'
Lucas looked down.
‘They don't see you as their leader,' Zach continued. 'They may believe you are the Lost Son, but they will struggle to follow you now. After that last battle, they will see you as the person who brought evil to their home.'
He turned to Lucas and said, ‘Did you know that they have lived here for years. Usually, they have to move at least once every five years. They have been here for over six years now. Then you come and on the same day, many of them die.'
Lucas frowned. ‘Gee, thanks. Good way of cheering me up. I didn't mean to bring this on them.'
Zach nodded. ‘I know and they will know that too. We have to show them.' He turned and looked at Lucas. ‘We have to show all of them.'
Lucas looked back at Zach and said, ‘This won't be easy. Are you sure you want to come?'
Zach smiled and shrugged. ‘I like a challenge. Besides, they most likely will try to kill you on arrival. Someone needs to protect you.'
Lucas smiled back. ‘I don't need protection.'
Zach laughed. ‘From King Tristan, you will. He does not like elves and being part elf is no exception.' He turned back to watching the valley. ‘I never imagined doing this without Elizabeth.'
Lucas frowned. No word on Elizabeth was horrible. He had not slept properly the last two nights. Celeste had told him that Barback would not kill her, but when he confronted her later, she would not answer him when he asked if he would harm her. He could not believe he had let her down.
Zach noticed his silence. ‘Sorry, Lucas. I did not mean …'
Lucas smiled sadly. ‘It's okay. I miss her, you know?'
Zach nodded. ‘I do. I met someone too, and I only knew her for a few days as well but that was all I needed to know her for.'
‘I just don't want her to think I let her down.'
‘She doesn't. So you shouldn't either.'
‘I let her get captured,' Lucas mumbled.
Zach shook his head. ‘I am not going to continue repeating myself. If you want to save her, get over it. We will when the time is right.'
Lucas turned and stared at him. He knew, as rude as he was, that he was correct. He did not get her captured. Elizabeth had dived head first into the battle and he had his own battles to fight. She was captured, but alive. He would get her back.
He turned to Zach and said, ‘Sorry. You're right.'
Zach smiled. ‘Of course I am right. Now, let us get ready.'
They headed out of the cave, both stopping to take one last glance at the elves' hidden home. They knew they would not see it again. They headed out and found Branchy and Honour waiting for them. They walked over to them and Honour lowered his head in a bow when they approached. Branchy started jumping up and down in excitement.
‘Hey! Branchy, stop jumping!' Lucas yelled, smiling as the ground shook.
Branchy stopped and waited for the boys to walk over to him. ‘I am sorry, friend Lucas! I am so excited! Do you believe they will listen? Do you believe they will follow?'
‘We can only hope,' Lucas replied. He dropped his smile and stared at Branchy with a serious look in his face. ‘Are you ready, Branchy? This is a big ask. I will understand if you are not willing to go through with it.'
Branchy shook his branches. ‘To think, I would not help a friend in need! Do not be so silly, friend Lucas. I will succeed in reaching my trees and finding help!'
Lucas smiled and nodded. He turned to Honour. ‘Are you ready?'
‘I am, Lost Son. However, you do know that I cannot complete this journey with you. There will be a time when we part.' Honour turned to Zach, his big eyes staring down at his master.
‘That includes you, young master. We will be separated.'
Zach frowned. ‘It is for the mission. That is what matters. We must do this to ensure our task is successful.'
‘Very well, Master Zachary. I shall do what I can to protect the both of you, until the time to depart arrives.'
Zach turned to Lucas. ‘I believe we are ready to go. Do you know where to head towards?'
Lucas shook his head. ‘No idea. No one knows where it is, but …' He went silent as he remembered something he had forgotten, something so small that he had not realised it previously. He turned to Zach and smiled, ‘I know where the castle is.'
Zach looked at him. ‘Where and how?'
Lucas continued to smile as he replied, 'I saw it the first day I was in Bomcard. Elizabeth … I think she showed me. Not on purpose anyway. It is on a small beach, on the other side of Darkness Forest.'
Zach nodded and said, ‘So, that is our location.'
Honour roared and lowered his body for Zach to hop onto. He turned to Lucas, smiled and asked, ‘Are you coming with us? Or showing off and flying by yourself again?'
Lucas smiled back. ‘I could beat you there, you know.'
Zach laughed. ‘Is that a challenge?'
Branchy laughed as Honour smiled as best as a dragon could. ‘It will be an honour to prove you wrong, Lost Son.'
Lucas smiled and leapt into the sky. He looked down, waved and yelled, ‘Good luck, Branchy!'
Branchy waved back and yelled, ‘Farewell, friend Lucas! Good luck for you too!'
Honour was now in the air near Lucas. Without a word, both were off. Lucas loved the wind on his face. It made him feel free. And he was glad that Honour was not close enough to hear his thoughts as they flicked back to Elizabeth. As long as they beat Barback there, he was happy. Talking to King Tristan will be difficult, but he had to try. He would make him listen, treaty or no treaty.
With that, Lucas, Honour and Zach raced through the skies, heading to the same beach where Lucas first came to Bomcard. The only place the diamond castle had been seen. The place he met Elizabeth, the home of the merpeople.
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