The Hero's Apprentice

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Ch. 8 Hide and Seek

Back in Ando Rye and the villagers were taking in the awkward scene of free fish from heaven. The villagers busied at collecting the fish so it didn’t go to waste. Rye was pleased by this because he knew he had to find the piece of ground where Cro had displaced himself. There would be traces of magic there, and given enough time he could enchant the area to duplicate the last spell performed there. It was an easy spell, the problem was you had to be certain of the runes used and the thoughts of the person who had performed the spell. Otherwise the spell would look for the next best thing, and you’d either find yourself in a heap of trouble, or have a bunch of onlookers laughing at you, especially other wizards.

Magic pranks were all the rage at one point, but Rye had put an end to most of them. Well not really Rye because he had tried to pull one not two days ago and look at what had happened? Rye took an oath that he would never let his desire for amusement ever get the better of him again. The rectifying of this situation would be the one exception because it needed to be done. From now on he would do things efficiently. No more unnecessary wastes of magic. If nobody could learn from him tough luck. He’d cast spells on himself and learn the counter spells if things really got so melancholy. Ryes’ oath seemed to be a good one. He’d learn from his one mistake and never make another one. And yet somewhere Rye was getting over the humiliation and secretly amused that someone had finally pressured him to the point where he was actually having to exert himself. He just hoped it would last a week like he hoped. He’d be at full strength, and there’d be two wizards that he could do battle with. One who had been off limits due to his status. But that didn’t matter once Rye got rid of him. And then there was the unpredictable one. It would be quite educational. Or it would be a bust cause there was the chance that Walter wouldn’t learn beyond what he already had. He’d fall into a textbook situation with a textbook spell, and it would just be a simple matter of re-strengthening the spell each week so Walter never escaped the spell or the effects it caused. Rye decided a week wasn’t that long anyway. In seven days he would get his little scrimmage.

While he waited was the only question left now. Cro and Walter were gone. Drey would have to have a satisfactory answer for their absence. The king and queen would certainly be back any moment. They would have to be as convinced as Drey, or she would ruin everything. Drey was the key. Get her comfortable. Make her think she has it under control. Put Rye as Cros’ temporary replacement. Feed her ideas and make them look like her own. Walter is off training with Cro. And there was a good chance that wasn’t far from the truth. They said they’d be back in a week. If not I’ll go in search of them and return swiftly. Rye would gain favor in all these pursuits. And then there was the tricky business of getting rid of them. Of course! The runes from Yuessay. Rye chuckled at how everything was set up for the best. He’d learn the runes, revive while he waited for Cro and Walter. And if they showed up in an hour, or a week as he anticipated then they’d be right back where he had wanted them only a minute ago. Rye decided to get down to business. First the princess, the runes next. No actually the king and queen first. Delay them, one less thing to worry about. Rye made sure no one detected him as he returned to his house. Inside magnified by the power of his one of three outposts, Rye located the king and queen. Almost done circling the kingdom. They’d be back in less than a day. Luckily for Rye he found them in their sleep. Only the escort was awake. Oh what to do? Murder or kidnap would cause a ruckus. Taking a detour might agitate them, but it would also be a viable excuse for them and Drey. But how to postpone them for another week? Bandits? Monsters? Oh the possibilities were endless. Rye should’ve been a storyteller. In the end Rye had a toss up between illness and some urgent emergency in the nearby vicinity where the king and queen were. But technically illness was one of those. The village would see to it that the king and queen were treated, they’d get better, come home completely assured that the kingdom was doing great, as was the medicine available to them if they ever set out again.

Rye set to work making a spell of disease. Making sure it didn’t start with the king and queen. That would be bad public relations. The villagers would head here if such a thing occurred. And worse, the wizards at the academy were not all stupid. They’d analyze the illness and come to the conclusion that it was magic to some degree. Rye almost enchanted one of the fish outside, but that would become a plague and Rye didn’t want to have to clean that mess up, since he knew the princess would request it. Something already present, just amplify it to something a little more serious. It would be less magical as well since the disease would be real. Rye had wasted enough magic without the added knowledge that he was going need a whole lot more for a whole list of things. So he left the house again. Watching for falling objects this time. He circled the village in the hopes of finding someone stricken with an ailment. Stomach trouble, bowel movements. It had to be something that would take a while to recover from, especially without magic. The local town the king and queen were resting at would certainly send for someone if it didn’t clear up after three days. He just hoped it wouldn’t be him. The irony would be he would have to treat yet another predicament he had caused. And just after vowing to never have to undo one of his mistakes again. But Rye couldn’t seem to find anyone unless he used a locater spell. Rye finally couldn’t keep searching and used it. He used one of his potions to help compensate for the loss.

He found a child with the measles. Even if the royals had it before, this version was going to be slightly different. He’d change the color of the spots to a dark shade of yellow. Make them tickle instead of itch. Oh the local physician would be stumped by this new ailment. And best of all, it would only spread to people who tried to treat it. Rye decided on no name for it, the locals would do that for him. He carefully engraved the runes around the sample he had taken from the child. The childs’ parents had been out helping clear up the fish. The child had been sleeping as soundly as the king and queen were miles away. When Rye finished he had made quite a spell. It would travel to the designated location to the exact room. Latch onto the biggest living thing available and start to wear off after five days. Rye borrowed the magic stored in his wand for this spell. And sure enough, the disease hit its targets without fail. Rye only concentrated long enough to be sure the king and queen were giggling from the sickness that was going to make it a quite restless night from that time forward.

Finally, Rye could go deal with Princess Drey. But Rye was exhausted. He’d used up a potion and some of his wands’ impressive power. No, tomorrow, tonight the sleep was needed. And tomorrow he’d do twice as much service to speed up recovery with his now firmly established week of relief from King Yur and Queen Lain. Rye prepared for a good nights sleep, anticipating a less frustrating few days ahead. Too bad that was when Princess Dreys’ garrison knocked on his door and announced he was needed at the palace immediately. Rye hadn’t even slept a good five minutes. Rye swore he’d never eat fish again. The whole day had started and ended with fish. And whatever it was Drey wanted, if it so much as hinted of Walter and Cro. Then Rye was not gonna stick around for long. He’d go to them, cause the world was doing a pretty fine job of slowing him down without them being around. Rye dressed himself and headed back to the castle. Hoping that Drey was requesting he go find Cro and Walter. He’d do it with more pleasure than all the other errands he had performed combined. I never liked fishing with a rod that much anyway. I think I’ll take up spear fishing when this is all over.

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