The Hero's Apprentice

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Ch. 16 Time out

Walter and Rye remained bound for several minutes before the spells wore off for them to free themselves. Walters’ first spell remained in force, as did Rye’s spell keeping them wherever they were and at the same time being modified by the first spell. Rye and Walter looked around and noticed that there was no academy and no dueling field. They had no idea where they were. And would’ve finished their fight if it didn’t become obvious how pointless it would be until they knew what exactly their spells had done. Walter seemed calm, Rye didn’t like this and tried to attack Walter with a flame charm. Walter grabbed the spell and turned it into a prison of fire around Rye. As Rye kept himself in the center trying to avoid being burned, Walter marched off alone, knowing perfectly well where but not when he was. It was Ando alright. Cause it certainly wasn’t home, even if it was a different when. The trees spoke a special language. And listening was the key. Walter hypothesized the trees at home sounded different, but that was only a theory. If it was home then he’d find out soon enough if someone spoke English or looked like something out of his encyclopedia.

Rye could’ve easily countered the flame prison, but he realized he was exhausted because of the spell he had caste. Six runes, and he’d be in trouble if Walter came at him with another spell after another. Walter had used seven runes, plus five more, and he was somehow easily walking away. It made Rye grit his teeth because he knew and sensed that Walter was already replenishing from the forest. Rye would do the same once the spell wore off. But that would only happen if Walter broke his focus or got too far away to focus well enough. Rye also contemplated ending his spell because it had obviously not worked. But then he would be back on the field and Walter already had an advantage by having a spell attached to Rye to which he did not know the effects. The question was whether the first cryptic spell had dragged Rye here or the third spell spoken just before the spell grabbed Walter? The third spell mentioned the time rune and travel rune. The first spell could have been anything. It seemed the third spell was to blame since Rye listened to the forest when the spell began to wear off. It was Ando, only it was being called Andro by the trees. It made sense. Names gradually changed as time went by. But were they in the Ando of the past or of the future? Rye knew Walter was going to find out. Find the academy. That was his plan. Go to the academy and study a way to beat Rye. Well Rye wouldn’t just sit by and let that happen. Wizard duels without time limits tended to be quick. But Rye realized victory was pointless unless he got home. That might have been Walters’ spell. Make it hard for Rye to get home just as he had had in mind for Walter. The difference was Walter had a home away from home. And then there was this place. Three worlds to battle on, and Walter had experience in two of them potentially. Rye couldn’t bear the obvious truth, that no matter how he evaluated the duel so far, Walter clearly had a slight head start, and was still plowing ahead to whatever the next move would be.

Rye decided he would hold out on the offense, he’d modify his spell when the time was right. Stay here in a time or place neither of them knew, that would eliminate the advantage Walter had. Of course Walter might actually choose to take them both to his world. Then Walter would have the advantage. Rye didn’t like that idea so he told himself that if Walter got any more upper hands, he’d cancel the spell and see what happened to both of them next. The flame prison spell wore off and Rye decided he would need a little time away from Walter. So using half of his remaining power he conjured an enchantment that infected the forest nearby. It was a risky spell since Rye had never tried it. But now that he had broken his vows he was free to create such things. Trees produced thorns and spikes. Vines crept across the ground consuming the grass, insects, and small animals. Using them to continue their pursuit to the magic source that out matched them all, Walter. Rye chuckled because he knew the hex would eventually reach Walter, or follow him if he remained mobile. When that happened he would have to fight, or lose vast amounts of power that the forest would take from him. How would Walter combat this nasty curse? It was true Walter might figure out that his magic only helped the spell get stronger, that would be the hard task for Walter. How to fight a spell that fed on you. Rye would’ve loved to watch Walter fail. But he needed to be away so that he could remain out of Walters’ sight, and try if he could to get back to Ando while Walter remained stuck here with a not so friendly forest that had been commanded to find him and feast on his succulent magic.

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