The Green Valley Prophecy Part 7 of 7
Let This Be The Last Battlefield
Knight SunSpear was still holding his young counterpart up in the air by his throat. “What do you mean that ‘we are the loathsome five?’ I thought we were fighting them now.” He looked at the struggling child and sighed. Slowly, he set him back on the ground.
“We’ll never stop fighting,” said the boy as he took a swing at SunSpear.
“Stop the fighting!” shouted the diminutive Queen Hippola. Everyone froze in place and waited quietly for a few minutes. “Something’s not right here. I demand an explanation.”
“Yes! An explanation is in order,” replied Queen Rosalie.
The two queens glared at each other until Mage Bella timidly stepped forward. “Your majesty, uh, majesties. It all began when I heard of the prophecy about trying to end a war.”
“Yes, the prophecy is correct,” said Queen Hippola. “Our kingdom of Lilyshire has been at war with Buckthorn for centuries. We had hoped to end it today. Where did you come across the prophecy?”
Even though the queen was very young, Bella couldn’t help but curtsey and bow. “I found out about the prophecy from the great wizard, Mantoson.”
Queen Hippola and her party gasped. “Duke Mantoson is still alive?”
“I thought he was a wizard,” said SunSpear.
“Oh, definitely not,” said Queen Hippola. “He was a nobleman from Buckthorn. A very evil nobleman. The entire Green Valley massacre was his idea.” All of the young warriors hung their heads down sadly.
“I will start from the beginning. Centuries ago, a great and wise king ruled our two lands. It was a time of peace and prosperity. Before he died, he split the kingdom between his two sons. Over time, the younger son had depleted all of Buckthorn’s resources and insisted that his brother give him his land. It quickly escalated and we have been at war ever since.”
“Some wise king that was,” muttered SunSpear.
“Shhh!” Lady Ophelia jabbed him in the stomach to quiet him. “But what of the massacre? What happened?”
Queen Hippola sniffed and then steeled herself up to tell the tale. “Both of our lands had suffered great losses, both with lives and resources. We were all starving. After one horrific battle, my father and the king of Buckthorn were killed along with most of the men from both kingdoms. My mother decided that it was time to end the violence, or there would be no one remaining. I was but a child.” She looked around at her party. “We all were. And we were in a safe place away from the supposed signing of the peace treaty.”
The young queen started to choke up. The young mage walked up and comforted her. “I can finish the story, if you’d like.”
“Thank you, Mina, but I am the queen and it is my job.” She steadied herself and continued. “As my mother put her pen to the agreement, the people of Buckthorn attacked. Her throat was slit and the surprise attack caught most of our soldiers off-guard. They were merciless. They were killing unarmed women and children and burning our buildings down. All the while, the Duke was ordering the soldiers to kill every living thing in Lilyshire.”
The young knight nodded. “It was his plan to eliminate us once and for all.”
“How did you survive?” asked Bella.
“I do not know how or why it appeared,” continued the queen. “But, a great golden dragon appeared and laid waste to the attackers. It destroyed everyone and everything on the battlefield, and then travelled to Buckthorn to destroy it as well. Only a handful of women and small children remained in their kingdom. Just like our kingdom had become.”
“This is terrible,” said Bella. “We trusted Mantoson. We’re a bunch of fools!”
“Not only are you a bunch of fools…” Everyone turned to see Mantoson on top of a large rock overlooking the swirling portal. The siphoning staff was glowing brightly in his hands.”You’re also now expendable.”
“Duke Mantoson! You won’t succeed in your mission,” shouted Queen Hippola.
SunSpear shook his fist at him. “I see your little plan. You wanted to get both queens here so you could get rid of both in one fell swoop!”
Mantoson turned to him and smiled. “Actually, my plan was to just get rid of one queen. But, I like your idea better. I can take over two kingdoms at the same time.”
A large bolt of yellow light shot out of the staff at the group below, sending them scattering. They quickly gathered behind a large boulder as Mantoson sent blast after blast at them. “You had to go and run your mouth, didn’t you?” said Lady Ophelia as she smacked SunSpear on the head. “Who knows how much energy the staff has in it?”
“He’s relentless! Why doesn’t he get this over with?” asked Bella. “Is he playing with us?”
“Hmm,” thought Lady Ophelia. “I think it’s because he’s not a trained mage. He probably doesn’t know how to use the staff properly.”
“We’ll use that to our advantage,” said Queen Rosalie. “Knights, on my word, I want you two to race around the perimeter of the portal. Stay apart and make sure you present more than one target. Archers, aim behind him and create a distraction behind him. Ladies, use your lightning spells to blind him. Mages! You have the most important task. It will be your job to disarm him while he’s distracted.”
“What are we supposed to do?” asked Queen Hippola
Queen Rosalie adjusted her crown. “We’re queens. We bark out orders. Everyone. On my mark. GO!”
Immediately, the knights took off running in opposite directions around the sliding stones. Florise and the young archer ran around either side of the boulder and started firing their arrows, with the ladies creating a blinding lightning display.
“I’m scared,” whispered Mage Mina to Bella. “I’m not good at this.”
Bella grabbed her hand. “We’ll do this together. Our combined effort should do the trick. Make sure you feel the spell.”
“Feel the spell?”
“Yes, don’t just say the words in your head. Visualize what you want the spell to do.”
Mina smiled weakly. “I’m glad someone taught you that lesson.”
“I’m about to return the favor,” grimaced Bella. “Ready? Let’s go!”
Bella and Mina raced around the boulder. Mantoson was sending bolts in all directions, but there were too many distractions for him to notice the two small mages. “3.2.1. Now!” A large bolt of silver light shot from both wands, combined, and smashed directly into Mantoson. The staff slipped out of his hands as if it were covered in grease.
“No!” he shouted as he tried to pick up the staff off the ground.
“Archers!” shouted Queen Rosalie. “Get the staff away from him.”
Florise pulled a small arrow with a string attached out of her quiver and fired it at the staff. The arrow landed directly behind the staff. She quickly pulled the string, which yanked the staff towards her and sent it tumbling down the rocky hill. The staff came to rest next to one of the sliding stones. Suddenly, it felt like the portal was creating a vortex.
“It wants the staff back,” said Lady Ophelia.
Mantoson raced down the hill as fast as he could.an tried to grab the staff. As he clumsily tried to grab it, the vortex grew stronger.
“Everyone, behind the boulder,” shouted Queen Hippola.
Queen Rosalie winked at her and smiled. “You’re getting the hang of it.”
Everyone joined their queens behind the boulder as Mantoson finally got a hold of the staff. The vortex began pulling the staff towards it. Mantoson held on to it for dear life. “No! I need it! I can’t rule the kingdoms without it.”
“Let it go!” shouted Bella.
“Never!!!” Mantoson clutched the ground as he slid towards the swirling portal. The powerful suction grew stronger and stronger until he could hold on no longer. With a loud scream, Mantoson and the staff disappeared into the portal. Even though the portal was still open, the swirling winds came to a stop.
Silently, everyone stood nervously behind the boulder. “Do you think it’s safe to go out now?” asked Bella.
Lady Ophelia shook her head. “There was a lot of energy in that staff. It has to go somewhere. At any minute it could…”
The ground shook as a tremendous blast of golden light shot out of the portal skyward. Soon, the sky was glowing a bright gold. Everyone had to cover their eyes for a few minutes until the light started to dim. Bella looked to the sky and saw that the golden energy was funnelling into the cave on the hill. “It’s returning to the dragon, isn’t it?”
“Then there’s a chance our protectorate is still alive,” said Queen Hippola. “We must make sure she’s alright.”
The party headed up the path to the dragon’s cave. When they arrived, they saw a large golden dragon lying on the ground outside its cave. Its wings were spread wide as the golden light shone down on them. Slowly, the dragon raised its head. “I’m glad to see you have survived,” it muttered.
“Why are you protecting them?” asked SunSpear.
“I try not to interfere with the affairs of lesser beings,” said the dragon. “However, the continued war had created a profound imbalance in the environment, which threatened all the lands south of the mountains. I was pleased to hear that peace was finally decided on and hoped that the dark years would be behind us. Unfortunately, the betrayal of Buckthorn was too much for me. If they weren’t going to end the war, I was.”
“Perhaps, now that the Duke is gone, we can once again come to a peace agreement,” said Queen Hippola.
“I can offer my services,” said Queen Rosalie. “I’m known for my peaceful accords.”
The dragon slowly sat up as its strength returned. “And let them know that I will not accept anything less than peace.”
The young knight smiled broadly. “Hey, does that mean I get to be a royal, now that we won? You know. LIke the prophecy said.”
“Ugh,” grunted SunSpear. “I forgot. We’re not the heroes from the prophecy. Why did the prophecy say that Mantoson needed to find the siphoning staff?”
“May I see this prophecy? Asked the dragon, as she put on a pair of large spectacles.
Lady Ophelia handed the prophecy and the key to the dragon who read it over immediately. “I’m assuming it was the word ‘queen’ where this hole is,” muttered the dragon.
Lady Ophelia pointed “The key is…”
“I know,” dismissed the dragon. “Numbering the words. First Letter, blah blah. I think you had the key backwards. Or more appropriately, you needed to go backwards as well.”
“The key goes in two directions?” she asked.
“Yes. If you number from the beginning, it spells out ‘MANTOSON FINDS THE SIPHONING STAFF.’ But if you number backwards, you get the rest of the message, which is ‘AND THE VALLEY WILL ALWAYS BE IN A WAR.’ You should have tried harder.” Lady Ophelia blushed with embarrassment.
The dragon removed its spectacles and sighed. “I believe this was meant for me originally. I suppose the creator of this so-called prophecy wanted to keep the complete message a secret in case it was intercepted. As far as becoming royals, that’s nothing that concerns me. That’s up to whomever makes those mundane decisions for your kind.”
Queen Hippola gathered her party around her. “Yes, you shall all be royals from this point forward. After all, we’ve almost run out of them.” They all bowed and curtseyed and exited down the hillside.
“That’s it?” asked SunSpear. “We travel all over the place and risk our lives, and that’s it? We don’t get to be royals? No riches?”
“Hmm,” mused the dragon. “I supposed everyone had a part in this and deserves to be rewarded, even if they are the Loathsome Five.”
“How about a dragon’s egg?” said SunSpear excitedly. “I hear they’re valuable.”
The dragon angrily sent a small blast of flames at SunSpear, sending him diving behind Lady Ophelia. “Those are my children,” hissed the dragon. “When people talk about dragon eggs, they are not referring to our children.”
“What are they talking about then?” asked Bella.
“When there is a surplus of spirit energy in the cosmos, they coalesce into mysterious and magical eggs. Only the gods can retrieve these eggs.” The dragon closed its eyes and raised its claw. A swirling light appeared and slowly a glowing egg appeared. “And dragons, of course.”
Bella’s eyes grew wide. “Wow! What’s inside?”
“Why, a faithful companion, of course,” said the dragon. “Didn’t you know that? Ah, you silly creatures.” The dragon rolled her eyes and handed the egg to Bella.
Her eyes grew big as she held the giant egg in her arms. “I wonder what kind of companion this will be?”
“That,” said the dragon, “is up for you to find out.”
“Open it!” said SunSpear excitedly.
“Don’t be silly, dear,” said Lady Ophelia. “It needs to be incubated first.”
“Yes, but only with a unique incubator designed for these eggs,” said the dragon.
“Where do we find these incubators?” asked Bella.
“The materials to create these incubators are one found in one place and one place only.” The dragon crossed her arms and smiled broadly.
“That place? VIMworld.”