Bella reread her book of spells and checked the disarming spell for a third time. “Ok, third time’s the charm,” she said aloud. She turned towards the tall scarecrow that was holding a large tree branch. Raising her flower wand, she repeated the incantation in her head. A small puff of smoke belched out of the flower and floated harmlessly in the air.
“Oh, blast it all!” she exclaimed. “I can do this if I’m reading aloud, but I keep forgetting the words if I’m not reading.” She quickly grabbed the spell book to determine where she went wrong.
“Are you trying to memorize the words?” said a deep voice behind her. “You need to memorize the feelings behind the words.”
Bella spun around and saw a tall praying mantis with wizard’s robes on. He was quite a bit older and had a simple walking stick in his hand. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Bella looked around to make sure she had swept in front of her tiny mushroom house.
“Who am I?” he asked. “Why, I am the great wizard, Mantoson.” He waited for a few seconds and then let out a loud “Harumph! You’ve never heard of me?”
“Er, not really,” said Bella. “Should I?”
Mantoson hung his head down sadly. “I had hoped my legacy would have been heard further than my home land. You see, I am one of the few survivors of the Green Valley massacre.”
“I think I remember my parents talking about that,” said Bella. “That happened about nine or ten years ago? I was a bit younger then.”
Mantoson sat on a small rock and looked Bella directly in the eye. “The war-loving villagers of Lilyshire attacked our peaceful kingdom of Buckthorn. We fought fiercely for days on end. And just when it seemed like we were winning, they unleashed their secret weapon.”
Bella put her hand to her mouth as she hung onto every word. Mantoson took a deep breath and took his time before he spoke again. “It was a golden dragon. Somehow or another, they had convinced a powerful dragon to do their evil work.”
“I thought golden dragons were good creatures,” said Bella.
“Yes, but even the best of creatures can be forced into evil deeds. Or tricked. I know not how they enslaved this dragon, but it laid waste to our armies and lands. I was able to perform a defensive spell moments before the dragon rained fire down upon us. When it was all over…” Mantoson choked up a bit as a tear ran down his face. “All the adults on the battlefield were dead. Our kingdom razed, and the only thing that remained were the children too young to fight.”
“Oh, no! That’s terrible,” cried Bella. “And then what happened?”
“They just left. They didn’t steal from our treasury. They didn’t take our land. They just wanted to get rid of us.” He looked off into the distance. “They just walked away.”
“And they got away with it? Someone’s got to do something about this horrible crime.” Bella paced furiously with anger.
“That’s why I’m here,” said Mantoson. “You see, in my studies to discover how to best defend ourselves in the future, I discovered a prophecy.”
Bella’s eyes grew wide. “A real life prophecy? That’s so cool! Ooops! I didn’t mean to sound so casual about everything that happened.”
Mantoson chuckled. “It’s quite alright. It actually is a very good thing. It tells of how to stop the battles and have peace forever. And, the prophecy is the reason I’m here. I am here to see you.”
Belle looked around at her humble house. She had only been there a few years and couldn’t figure out what she might have that could help him. “Do I have a magic item or something?”
“No, it is you I need. I need a powerful mage. Like you.”
Bella looked around nervously. “I’m not that good. I’m still in training.”
Mantoson nodded. “Yes. That’s what the prophecy said. “A mage in training who has yet to learn her true powers.”
Bella gasped. “That does sound like me. My parents were powerful mages, but I haven’t quite got it all figured out yet. What else does this prophecy say?”
Mantoson stood up and leaned on his walking stick. “Come with me and I’ll share it with you. But we must hurry and find the other four warriors before it’s too late.” He turned around and started walking down the path.
Bella started to follow him, but realized that he was moving slow enough that she had time to throw on a jacket and grab her spell book. When she caught up to the wizard, he handed her a scroll of parchment paper.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. “A real prophecy.” Hesitantly, she removed the ribbon that was wrapped around the scroll and opened it up.
Part 2 , The Prophecy Revealed