The wind was howling more and more as Justin sat there watching the camp. He was weighing all the options that lay before him as to whether he would be able to finish the task thrust upon him or not. He had made a free choice as to whether he would go or not, but the way everyone had pushed and honored him, he wondered if he really had a free choice in going. What if he had refused? Would they have chosen another to go in his place? There wasn't really enough time to choose someone else to complete the task, so would they have accepted his refusal so easily or talked him back into it? His mind raced with more and more dumb thoughts as the hour to meet Kyr arrived. It helped him forget the danger ahead and helped keep his mind sharp for tomorrow. He wanted to sleep so badly that he became worried he would make the wrong decision tomorrow and end the world as he knew it. Life was not so easy, he determined, and since it was so quiet lately, he decided to get a few moments sleep. He sat back against the rock he was perched on and closed his eyes. The next thing he knew was that he was being slapped on the face repeatedly, by Garth, trying to wake him.|
"Justin, wake up! Kara's gone!" he kept repeating. What he was saying finally sunk into Justin's head and he jumped up in panic. "What! Where is she?" He questioned.
"How the hell should I know!" Garth replied. "I got up and she is no where to be seen."
Justin's chest tightened and he wanted to wet his pants at the thought that he had fallen asleep on guard duty and let her be taken. He ran around searching for her but she was no where to be seen. Cheek poked his head out of the back sack that he and Kigamsti slept in and demanded to know what was going on. Garth told him and Cheek went into a total frenzy.
"We are doomed if she is gone! Find her now or all is lost," the tiny mouse screamed at the top of his tiny lungs.
After a while everyone was up and searching the area for the missing girl. She was gone. Justin sat down breathlessly in a daze that he had let this happen. Garth was yelling to the others to look here and there around the camp.
An hour later of looking could not produce the missing girl. Justin checked the ground for foot prints and found none. It was as though she had been spirited away or flown off by winged creatures in the night. Justin had a vision of doom for his world and felt responcible. Garth sat next to him and put his arm around the boy.
"Justin, don't worry, we'll find her. I understand the strain that you have been through. It will work out, don't worry."
Justin could not be comforted by his friend's words. He had gotten everyone this far only to fail. Cheek ran up his shoulder and pulled on his ear.
"Justin, stop feeling like you failed! We got this far and we will succeed! You have got to pull yourself together and get us the rest of the way. Besides, Kara needs you now more than ever." Justin felt as though his tiny friend could read his mind and felt a bit better. He wanted so badly to see the woman that he so loved that he had to get on with what had to be done. She was not gone, just missing for now and he would find her or die.
Justin stood up and announced, "If she is anywhere, then it has to do with Kyr. We will go there and find her and stop Kyr. Now!" He packed his things quickly and was mounted on Canter before the rest had finished. He took off down the road despite Cheek's warnings to wait for the rest of the group, but Justin was hot and moving. He raced on being told where to go by the reluctant Cheek hoping that Kigamsti would guide the rest of the party to their destination.
Justin traveled on for what seemed hours and Cheek clutched on for dear life. Justin was now a man determined to find the woman he loved and to stop the one thing that threatened his happiness. After a while they came to a wall of ice in the road and Justin halted Canter as he studied the structure. It reminded him of Mandara's wall of stone and how the opening had been so cleverly concealed. He didn't know how Pectin had opened Mandara's door and cursed himself for not asking. He thought to himself about how he would get into Mandara's world if he only knew the secret. He remembered how Pectin had stared at the wall and concentrated on the opening. He stared hard and thought of the wall sliding up to reveal the entrance. Nothing happened.
He thought of how he so badly wanted to get into the world beyond and concentrated on that. After a moment there was a slight rumbling as the wall slid up to reveal a large opening in the ice. He kicked the reluctant horse on and they entered the opening. There was a strange glow all around them as they traveled down a path that twisted and turned much like Mandara's cavern. After what seemed hours they came out into an opening of brilliant red light and ahead Justin could see the huge pyramid that imprisoned the evil magician.
Canter stopped on his own and reared up, dropping Justin and Cheek to the ground. The frightened horse turned back up the trail that they had just came down and bolted. Justin screamed for the horse but it was gone. Cheek lay on the trail without moving and Justin panicked at the sight of his lifeless friend.
"Cheek! Get up! Don't die on me!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "I don't know what to do!"
The mouse still laid there without moving. Justin scooped his friend up and put him in his pocket. He stood up and faced the pyramid, tears streaming down his cheeks and screamed at the monolith, "I hate you Kyr! You are destroying everything I love! I will stop you no matter how powerful you are! And don't think that I can't!"
He ran on foot toward the structure and upon reaching it he tried to climb up but slid back down the side. He tried again, and again slid down the crystal walls. He stood there in frustration and then ran around the side to see if there was a better way up. As he came around the back of the pyramid he stopped in shock as he saw a small block of ice with a familiar form imprisoned in it. It was Kara.
He ran to the block and beat on it with his fists. He kept beating and beating until his hands were bloodied. He stopped when he heard a loud crying noise behind him. He turned, expecting to see some monster, but was shocked to see himself kneeling and sobbing in the snow. The figure was in pain and begging Justin to stop but Justin was beginning to realize that nothing here could be real and turned to the ice block holding his beloved Kara only to find it contained a skeleton. He screamed and turned back towards the ghost of himself. He ran to it and grabbed it by the throat pulling it up to him.
"Tell me where she is or I will strangle the Fates out of you!!" He roared. His image just smiled and then turned into a frightened Pectin. Justin let the vision go not knowing who he was hurting. The form before him reared up and this time it was Garth holding a large sword above it's head ready to bring it down on the boy. Justin fell to the ground at the sight of his friend ready to kill him and held his arms up in defense. The figure stood there for a moment ready to strike and stopped. It had a sickly smile on it's face, then screamed in pain as the image of Garth faded into a slimey mask of death. The creature suddenly sprouted wings and tried to fly up but something was attached to it's back. Justin watched in horror as the ugly creature turned around and there was the real Garth hanging from the knife blade in the creature's back. The two of them rose up into the air and seemed to falter as the knife met home somewhere in the creature's body. They both crashed to the ground and Garth struggled to get away from the writhing mass of melted flesh that screamed and shook on the ground. After a moment the creature was silent and unmoving. Garth sat in shock at what he had done and Justin ran to him to help him up.
"Garth, are you all right?" cried Justin.
"I will be as soon as we get out of here, you stupid boy!" Garth retorted.
"When did you get here?"
"In time to save your butt!" replied the visibly shaken man. "Did you find the girl?"
Justin turned to the block of ice and there was Kara, still imprisoned there. He pulled Garth's head toward the block and pointed.
"Glad to see she's still with us," he grimaced.
Pectin came around the opposite corner of the pyramid to them as Justin helped Garth up. "Oh, am I so glad to see you two!" he cried. "I got lost around the other side of this thing."
Garth spoke quickly, "We followed behind you as fast as we could without being able to understand that stupid mouse Kigamsti. He just kept climbing all over me chattering away. I stuffed him in my pocket to shut him up and if it weren't for the hoof prints in the snow, we wouldn't have known where you went."
"Thank you for being here my friend. I'd be dead if you hadn't gotten here in time." offered Justin to the big man.
"Don't thank me yet, until you deal with that," he said looking toward the large pyramid.
They all stared at the glowing form as the thing started to flicker in color from red to orange reminding Justin of the first night he saw the moon shimmer. Justin jumped up and ran to the block of ice holding Kara intact. He removed his cloak and threw it over the form hoping it would help. The ground started to shake, knocking the men off their feet.
The top of the pyramid started to glow a white hot color and seemed to melt away. Justin watched both the pyramid and Kara's ice prison as they both were racing to melt. He heard a booming voice in his head calling to him, it was saying that the time was over for him and his friends.
Justin jumped up and ran around the pyramid hoping to distract Kyr away from his friends and his beloved Kara. Since it was Justin who was supposed to stop Kyr, he hoped that Kyr would worry about him first.
The top of the pyramid seemed to dissolve into brilliant light and energy that blew off into space leaving only half a pyramid. At the top of the remaining structure stood the form of a man. He stretched as though he had not moved in a long time. Justin knew it was Kyr, freed from his bonds.
Kyr laughed at the top of his lungs, an evil laugh that made the hair on Justin's body rise. Justin stood tall and yelled bravely up to Kyr, "Don't think you are free yet evil one!"
Kyr looked slowly down at the boy and raised his hand up. As he brought his hand down a bolt of red light streamed forth toward Justin but missed him. Justin wasn't sure if he missed him on purpose or that he was a bit rusty being imprisoned for so long. He hoped for the rust and ran around the side of the building. Kyr tried again to blast him and again missed. He seemed annoyed that his aim was off and flew down to Justin's level. He landed hard and made the ground shake. The evil one was definately off in his timing, much to Justin's delight. If he could stall him long enough for Kara to be released then there may be hope. But without Cheek to help, Justin didn't know what Kara could do. Justin kept running around the pyramid until he realized that he was back where Kara was. He couldn't turn back for Kyr was right behind him. The block of ice was not melting as fast as he would have liked and Garth and Pectin were no where to be seen.
Justin turned to see Kyr fly around the pyramid and kick him in the head. He landed unsteadily just beyond the boy. Justin lay on the ground nearly knocked silly and raised his weary head to see Kyr standing before him smiling wickedly.
Justin laided helpless on the ground, not able to move a muscle as the dark figure came over him. The sinister being paused a moment, raised it's arms toward the boy and then as the demon's face glowed, radiant energy shot from it's hands. Justin could feel his body being enveloped in the painful rays and could feel his soul going numb. As his brain fought the torturous pain, his thoughts relived the events of the last week that brought him to this agony. In a small part of his mind he could see himself sitting safely in his home reviewing his school books and, for a brief moment, relived it.
As Justin's mind returned to the present, he saw Kyr raise his hand and blasted Kara's ice block with a red light that blew off the cape and made the ice glow. The glow seemed to turn from red to blue and suddenly shot back at Kyr. He was knocked off his feet but he quickly got up with a panicked look on his face. The ice block glowed brighter in a blue light and this seemed to frightened the evil one. Kyr turned his powers on the ice wall above the block and started to melt it, causing water to pour on Kara's block, freezing her deeper in ice. Justin wanted to strangle the magician but he couldn't move. While Kyr held his attentions on melting the ice, he didn't notice Garth and Pectin sneaking up behind him. They pounced on him but they were both flung off by Kyr's increasing strength. He turned to them and as he spotted Pectin first, he pointed toward the boy. A burst of red light streamed out from his hand and enveloped the youth and as Pectin screamed in pain, he managed to throw his knife at the magician. It flew toward Kyr who caught it in his hand and flung it back at the boy. It rammed deep into the boy's chest and he slumped to the ground, lifeless.
Garth, laying flat on his back, felt a stirring in his pocket and Kigamsti ran out to witness Pectin's demise. The tiny mouse ran up to a nearby rock and stood up as tall as he could and made a human-like scream that shook the walls around them. Kyr was visibly shaken by the scream, as though he recognized the sound. Kigamsti stood there staring into Kyr's eyes and Kyr could not move. Justin could not believe what he was seeing, for Kigamsti was changing his form. He grew into a large dark figure against the light and Justin was stunned to realized that it was Mandara!
Kyr was also stunned. The two brothers stood there looking at each other as Mandara spoke in a booming voice. "Kyr, my brother! You are evil and I hate and deny you! I give myself unto the evil side of Fates by destroying you!" Mandara screamed and flew up into the air toward the shocked Kyr before he could react. Mandara landed on Kyr with his hands around his brother's throat, strangling the life out of him. They both were enveloped in a yellow light that grew so bright that Justin could not look at it any longer. He turned away until it faded. After a moment he looked back to find Mandara standing over the lifeless form of his brother.
Mandara ran to the body of Pectin and lifted the boy up from the ground. He carried him to Kara's ice block and set him before her. He removed his cloak and placed it around the ice imprisoning the girl. The ice started to quickly melt as Justin tried to get up, but he was still hurt and dazed and with Garth's help they went to where the others were.
Mandara pulled the cloak off the now thawed form of Kara and she blinked in wonder as to where she was. Mandara held his hand up to her and helped her down from the last of the ice.
"Kara you must pull the blade from his body to save him," spoke Mandara, pointing to Pectin. "I don't have the power to do so. Killing my brother has left me virtually powerless. Please help him, you have the power."
She looked puzzled but went to Pectin and pulled the knife out of his chest. From all around Pectin and Kara came a soft glow of light. As the light faded he groaned and let out a sigh. After a moment he blinked and looked around at his friends. He smiled and said, "Did I get him?"
They all laughed and Mandara, holding Pectin, said to him, "Yes my son, you did."
Back to Main Page