Note: This work was originally something I did for my English class. I really have no clue how I got 100%, but I won't complain. Here goes:
It was a cold, clear night when the trio decided to enter the scriptorium at Baron University. Their steps echoed across the large Gothic building. They were heading beyond the numerous shelves into a secret dark corridor illuminated with a faint green glow, along with an eerie hum.“So this is where the Teleport marble is stored, right?” asked a small, dark figure with yellow eyes, an oversized blue cloak, and a straw hat. His query met no response. “Scott? I’m talking to you.” The target, Scott, a tall youth with white hair, red robes and a matching hat, replied to the blue-clad figure with “Yes, Gideon, I’m certain. I’ve come here after curfew to confirm that, after all.” A girl with dirty blond hair and a conservative white robe stared at Scott with horror, as if he committed an unforgivable crime. Scott turned to the girl with a stern look. The girl immediately relaxed. Gideon peered down the hall. “So far, I don’t see any guards. You’d think they’d have better security on campus, since they keep taking all our money.” The other two nodded in silent agreement. The girl suddenly asked “Why are we doing this anyway? You know, stealing the Teleport marble?” Gideon sighed. “Haven’t you noticed that we’re the only magic users on campus that haven’t been arrested for studying witchcraft? Ever since the usage of magic had been outlawed, almost all the spellcasters in Baron had vanished. If we could obtain the Teleport marble, we could teleport to Mythidia, where the law has no effect! I wish you’d use your brain once in a while, Faith.” Faith, the girl, pondered Gideon’s words. Suddenly, the trio stopped a few feet from a radiant, sparkly, green aura on a pedestal, which shed its light on its surroundings. Its source was a small, resplendent sphere beckoning the three to come closer with a gentle, ethereal hum. Faith and Gideon turned to Scott. In unison, they asked “Are you sure there’s no traps?” Subdued, Scott responded “Yes, I’m sure. I’ve been here before. Now if you’ll excuse me...” Before any of his friends could stop him, Scott walked up to the sphere and was just about to touch it when a few guards thundered down the hall like a pride of lions zeroing in for the kill. One guard put chloroform soaked cloths over the mouths of Faith and Gideon, while another guard detained Scott. With the hunt over, the guards dragged their prize into the night to be held in prison.
A figure in a dark knight’s armor prowled back and forth on the outskirts of Baron, a panther stalking some intangible thing in the darkness. Gazing at the star-studded sky, the figure remarked to himself, “It’s a beautiful night. I wonder what the celestials are thinking. Maybe they’re just as worried as I am. After all, what I’m doing is awful. Yet, as the Knight General, I must do what I am told, never questioning the decrees of my superiors. But something’s not right. The Mage General’s orders are always too much. Why must I persecute innocent people for using magic? Get a grip of yourself, Leon.” With that, he slunk away from the city, and into the forest.
“Ugh… My head hurts.” moaned a groggy Faith. Stupefied, Gideon stared unblinkingly at the cell door. Scott paced about the cell, looking rueful. “Because of me, we all ended up in prison, and handcuffed...” Scott looked sorrowfully at their handcuffs, “and doomed to rot here. I really wish I can make up for this.” Gideon suggested, “Hey Scott, how about you help us out with finding a way to escape this...” A guard burst through the cell door, smashing it into thousands of oaken splinters on the floor, with only a rusted iron skeleton remaining to suggest the possible shape of the door. The guard yanked up all three by the handcuffs with ease, and dragged them across the ground. The sound of leather shoes squeaking on the stone ground echoed across the hallway of the dark, damp prison. Faith’s and Scott’s stomach growled in unison, which reminded the trio that they had not eaten for a long time. They decided against asking for food, because they expected that the guard would retaliate with a shank to the ribs. The guard stopped at the end of the hallway, steering them into a room and depositing them onto icy metal chairs. An identical guard with a clipboard pulled up a leather couch and faced Gideon. The guard grunted, “We are recording your information for future reference. Name? Age? Sex? Area of Magic? Job? Relations?” Gideon squirmed. He whimpered, “My name is Gideon. I’m 19 years old, and I am male. I am a master of black magic, a black mage. I currently study at Baron University. I am of common birth.” Next was Faith. “I’m Faith. I’m 18, female. I study white magic, making me a white mage. Even though I do study here, I work part time selling flowers at the corner market. I’m not related to anyone important.” Scott explained “I happen to be Faith’s twin brother, so that answers three of your questions.”He snickered a bit, earning himself a slap to the face. After recovering from the sting, he continued. “ I work as a teacher’s aide, and I practice fire and healing magic. So...” The guard replied “You would be considered a red mage. The interview’s over, you can head back to your cell.” After a long walk back, Faith stumbled into the cell. A bobby pin dropped from her sleeve with a clatter. Gideon glanced about, afraid that a guard would pounce on them, if they heard. So far, they were safe from the watchful eyes of the few sentinels patrolling the corridors. Scott helped Faith into the cell, but Gideon stalled a bit to pick up the bobby pin. When he entered the cell, he knew what to do. He picked at Faith’s handcuffs as best as he could, as he was still handcuffed. After Faith was freed, she immediately repaid the favor, even though she did get stuck at one point. With Gideon and Faith freed, our lockpickers set to work at freeing Scott. Faith got a bit rattled when she saw what appeared to be a guard passing by and ended up jamming Scott’s handcuffs. The fear was ill founded, as it was just a cat that casts its shadow on the dimly lit walls. But, even if there was no guard, Scott was still handcuffed. Faith asked Gideon, “Couldn’t you light Scott’s handcuffs on fire to melt them off? After all, you seem so bent on escaping with us, handcuffs will only slow us down.” Gideon was prompt to answer: “Faith, I think these handcuffs are fireproof. But I can try this-” With that, Gideon began chanting. A flash of white light filled the cell, and thunder roared throughout the corridors. Scott’s handcuffs were disintegrated, but Scott was a bit dazed. Faith peered outside to see if anyone might have caught them or seen them. All the guards collapsed, as if struck by lightning. Faith carefully stepped outside the cell, motioning for Scott and Gideon to follow. With that, the trio escaped from the prison, running down the halls, not thinking about the future.
A panther watched from the rafters of the prison as three figures ran down the corridors. It took careful note, as it pounced away, back to its master, to tell the master of what it had seen.
The trio, Faith, Scott, and Gideon, managed to run outside, into the open air, through the streets of Baron, to the outskirts and into the nearby woods. Their escape was slowed by the thick vegetation of the forest. However, Scott spotted something from the corner of his eye. He wandered deeper into the forest, with his friends behind him. Though the predators were lurking about, they were fortunate enough to steer clear of them. Scott suddenly stopped at a glowing fire with a giant fish cooking on the embers. The trio, ravenous, tore into the juicy, charred fish, and watched the flames sizzle, carrying the smoky aroma of grilled fish into the night sky. After the fish had been cleaned to the bones, Scott broke the silence. “You did realize that escaping prison is punishable by exile to the forest, right?” Agitated, Gideon chucked a rock at Scott and shouted “WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE WARNED US BEFORE? NOW WE ALL HAVE TO WANDER ABOUT AND EVERYTHING WILL GO DOWNHILL!” While Scott and Gideon were engaged in a shouting match, Faith entertained herself by casting a speed spell on a slug. However, the quarreling stopped as they heard footsteps crunching on leaves growing ever so louder and nearer.
Leon looked down on the trio. They were but children compared to him, the Knight General with decades of experience behind him. They were fugitives, doomed to banishment. He was the Panther, a man of the law. His proxy sniffed them out, he was to deliver the punishment. Leon was only at ease when justice was served. But yet...they were children. They looked at him in his dark armor, horrified. He had no choice, however. Clearing his throat, he began: “In accordance with the law-” The girl started to cry. He continued “As decreed by the Mage General, all magic users must be detained in prison for confidential reasons. You must come with me immed-” The kid with a straw hat stood up too quickly to protest, causing his hat to become lopsided. Readjusting it, the straw hat kid shrieked “NO! YOU”LL NEVER TAKE US ALIVE!” With that, he made a hand signal to his friends, and stared, snarled at Leon, “En Garde.”
Leon couldn’t turn down a fight. He withdrew his sword and made a lunge at the Straw Hat, who made a duck to the left, and chanted a spell that instantly made Leon feel frozen and cold. However, Leon was quick to retaliate until the girl managed to freeze him in place, so that he could not move. The third kid, a white-haired boy with red robes, seemed to be concentrating and chanting, his eyes burning with ferocity. However, his cloak caught on fire soon after. The girl tried to warn him about the fire, but the kid seemed unfazed. After all, the cloak seemed to be resistant to fire. When he saw it, he fainted out of fear, as the fire on his cloak was extinguished. Leon picked up the kid, hauled him onto his back and slunk out of the forest, the panther finding his prey at last. Leon hauled the kid into Baron. He made a turn into the heart of the city, to a seedy-looking tavern. No one there would question what he would do. Leon opened the door with his free hand. The landlady, who was busy wiping a few glasses clean, greeted the guest, and after a small discussion, all the while keeping a professional composure, rented the Knight General a room in the back. After the guests entered the room, the landlady poured a glass of mead and plopped down next to the dying fireplace near the entrance. She didn’t know what was more confusing - the guest’s attire, the large sum of money he gave her, or the unconscious youth he was carrying on his back. She took a sip. Strange things do occur in the tavern, after all.
Leon propped the unconscious kid on a threadbare mattress while taking a seat on the other seedy mattress. It was lumpy and Leon made a mental note to never come back to this tavern again. The kid was coming to. Leon took off his armor to reveal an impressive figure that would have awed even Achilles.
Scott opened his eyes to a coal-stained wall and a stern looking man glaring at him. The man introduced himself as Leon, the Knight General. Leon seemed rather condescending and panther-like. Leon continued, “It was infallible. At one point or another, a magic user or two would escape from prison. I don’t blame you. But, you broke the law. You know, you’ll be branded as a delinquent, banished for 25 years. Then you’ll relocate in some remote village, doing hard labor for the rest of your life. That is, if you’re lucky. I really do hope you’ve learned a lesson here. So, um...” Scott took the opportunity: “I’m Scott. I think you have some explaining to do. Like why I’m here in this dump, where Faith and Gideon are, and why are you persecuting us for practicing sorcery? You wouldn’t like it if I persecuted you for being a complete jerk, would you?” Leon looked a little hopeless. Good. Maybe Scott would be let out, and this whole mystery would end, he would find Faith and Gideon. But Leon slapped Scott across the face, stinging like a thousand jellyfish tentacles. “Do you want to even know what happens when one talks back to a man of law?” Leon hissed. He then proceeded “Now, if you don’t want to be tortured like the other poor souls that talked back to me, I’d recommend you keep your mouth shut and serve as my right hand man. After all, you have great potential. Your ferocity and determination are also nothing to sneeze at. You would be a great ally to Baron.” Scott was quick with his answer, “No.” Leon seemed shocked. But after a moment’s thought, he replied “I guess that I would have to arrest and torture your friends.” Scott immediately went down on his knees. “Please, General Leon! I’ll do as you say, just don’t hurt Faith or Gideon!” Leon grinned, obviously pleased with his blackmailing technique.
Gideon and Faith were circling the mountain, both anguished with the loss of Scott. Faith, obviously distressed, let out a small sob. Gideon, not knowing what to, stopped and watched awkwardly, and apologized. It was his fault. After all, he wanted to escape. Gideon thought aloud, as he sometimes did. “I think, maybe if we could sneak back into Baron, then we could find a lead on Scott. After all, it always works in the books I’ve read. That reminds me, I still have to return my copy of 50 Variations of Firaga to the library.” Faith, after overhearing Scott’s name, perked up immediately. After all, she was set on finding her brother. Faith then added her thoughts to the conversation. “Yeah, we should probably head back to Baron! He can’t be that far away...” A third unfamiliar voice, sly and high-pitched, purred “Looking for something?”
A skinny orange fox with a paintbrush tail appeared out of the forest’s dark grasp, and right in front of the duo. Faith shrieked and held onto Gideon’s arm, the latter promptly lost his balance and thudded onto a bramble. The fox directed his attention to the humans in the bush. He noted that they smelled of parchment, dampness and fish. “Relax, friends. I haven’t eaten any humans. I actually haven’t had much luck hunting nowadays.” The fox’s stomach rumbled, as the ribs showed through his fur. “I heard everything. And I’ll help you out, if you feed me in return. I’ll back my word, or my name isn’t Zorro!” Faith, a tad heartened, asked “Uh… Mr. Zorro, could you really help us find Scott?” Zorro nodded. Faith yanked Gideon out of the brambles, excitedly jabbering “Hear that? Zorro’s going to help us! Spearhead the rescue mission, Zorro!”
Zorro leapt about, while his new companions struggled to keep up. Were humans really this sluggish? he wondered. Zorro slowed down a bit. A few hours of sniffing, searching, dashing, pausing, he got to know the two humans better. The blue one was Gideon, and the white one was Faith. They were looking for a “red mage” named Scott. Zorro came to the outskirts of Baron when something red blocked his path.
Faith gasped. She must have been hallucinating. But there he was, Scott. However, Scott looked angry at her, eyes filled with ferocity, chanting something barely audible. What did I do, she wondered. Suddenly, she heard Gideon scream. Turning from Scott, she saw that he was on fire. Faith quickly casted a healing spell, then tried to stop Scott from any further attacks. Scott suddenly snapped out of his trance, and quickly hung his head. “I’m sorry. I only did this to protect you.” Faith was shocked. She huffed, “There had better be a good explanation for this. After all, you did set Gideon on fire.” Scott began. “Well, I was forced into this situation by the Knight General, and he forced me to be his slave. It’s not like I had a choice...” Scott trailed off, obviously upset. But before he had a moment to explain himself, a knight appeared, with night-black armor. The knight glared at Scott, and hissed “Scott! I thought I could trust you. Now look at you, you good-for-nothing.” Scott whimpered “B-but L-leon...” A slap to the face was automatically delivered. Scott shrank back, a little teary, but showed pure indignation towards his offender. The knight continued “I wouldn’t have done all of this. But in the end, I owe the Mage General a favor. She saved my life once, so I promised her anything in the world. She wanted to wipe out all other spellcasters in Baron so as to eliminate any competition for her title.” Scott staggered, leaning on Gideon for support. “That has to be the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day.” Leon grinned under his helmet. Scott was just a kid, after all. “Very well” Leon replied. “I couldn’t have said it better myself. But however, I’ll bring you to your knees. My proxy will take care of these matters.” With that, a large panther, as dark and massive as the night sky, leapt to Leon’s side, growling at its soon-to-be prey. Scott, Gideon, and Faith glanced at each other, then broke into a run. Something orange zoomed in front of Gideon and caught up with Scott. They ran with zeal, ducking, dodging, and distracting their chaser, Scott spearheading the flight. They ran until Scott stopped abruptly to catch his breath. Rested up, Scott glanced at the ground, where an orange fox stared up at him. Scott asked “What is that?” The fox replied “My name is Zorro. I helped your friends find you. Now, could I have some food?” Scott looked at Gideon, a tad dazed.
Faith shouted, “Look! It’s Baron University across the walkway!” Gideon and the others glanced. Confirming Faith’s observation to be correct, they decided to enter the building. They then heard a roar. A large black mass with two green eyes apparated behind the group. Faith and the rest broke into a run, with Faith casting speed spells on everyone, and Gideon distracting the beast with fire and ice. They ran to the safest place they knew: the scriptorium. Slamming the door behind them, the four caught their breath.
Gideon was the first to speak. “So… Do you want to make another stab at the marble?” Faith and Scott nodded in unison, and Zorro shouted “LOOK OUT!” Scott, Faith, and Gideon sprung out of the way as the door collapsed with a deafening clash, ripped off its hinges. The panther growled, and patrolled its prey. Zorro let out a yelp and ran into a pile of crumpled parchment nearby. The panther glanced in the general direction of the fox for one second, but soon refocused. The panther was larger than his prey, and he made sure they knew. He was able to pin down the three mages, who were petrified with fear. However, just when the panther was about to bite into the girl (as she looked the tastiest), Zorro shot out, spraying parchment everywhere. The panther turned around to determine the strange noise behind him, a decision that he immediately regretted. Zorro quickly stunned the panther by quickly biting its ear, and then shoved it off of the three mages. He managed to nudge the stunned mages awake, urging them to hurry. After all, the panther was beginning to stir. The party of four managed to scurry down the hall, with the threat of a berserk panther after their lives. They did it. They reached the chamber. The green aura, the eery hum beckoning all to draw near - nothing had changed a bit, save for the slightly scuffed floors near the radiant orb. Faith drew near the marble and grabbed it. The orb immediately turned white and filled the room with a blinding light. Then the light dulled down. Faith was no longer holding the marble. Scott, Gideon, and Zorro were in a tangled heap nearby. Once everyone managed to compose themselves, Gideon exclaimed “Guys, I don’t think we’re in Baron anymore.” Scott replied with a “Yeah, we’re in an alley. Maybe we should probably ask around. Where are we anyway?” Faith was just as confused. Zorro, however, was busy dusting himself off. Scott walked out of the alley way, into the streets. The rest followed suit. Scott waved at a merchant, and proceeded to ask where they were. The merchant claimed that they were in Mythidia. Scott, Faith, and Gideon thanked the merchant, and Zorro whistled in jubilation. Gideon pointed to a nearby tavern. “Can we go there? You know, we kinda earned it. Besides, I have enough money.” Everyone agreed. They headed into that direction. Before entering the tavern, Gideon thought aloud. “You know, all that we went through… I learned a lot from that.” Faith gestured to Zorro. “Yeah, and we found a new friend, too!” Scott added “So, let’s celebrate such an occasion with a trip to the tavern!” They let the tavern door swing to a close as they went inside the tavern.
A month later, it was a cold, clear night. Three figures paced towards the scriptorium of Baron University. They paused at the entrance. “Hey...Are you sure the Teleport marble is in here?” “Yeah...After all, I did some recon after curfew for the past two weeks.”