TWELVE

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"You know that all you have to do is say the word and I'll send Ms. Firewalt's plan to hell and go with you into the school, right?", said Kendra as we stood in the morning light, watching the walls of Firewalt.

"I know", I replied, giving her an appreciative nod, "But it will be best if we don't get Ms. Firewalt mad. She can be a real dragon, believe me".

Kendra had to follow me because Victoria is still too busy being angry at Francesca and Oliver to care, Stan has gone back to hating my guts because of my intimidating 'perfect' nature and the duo, meaning Oliver and Francesca, had stayed up all night making a list of those that will be most useful in the war and are too tired to see me off.

"Can you do me a favor, Kendra?", I asked as I handed her cloak back to her, my nightmare black one creeps me out to wear even though it's just a disguise.

"Sure, what do you want me to do?"

"Help me find out what it is that Oliver and Francesca are keeping", I said and I saw her face contort in confusion.

"You don't trust them?", she asked. I can just imagine the thoughts going through her head right now, it's the same ones I'll be thinking too if someone just told me to investigate his father and friend.

"I do, but they are so used to keeping things to themselves and, believe me, I'm insanely tired of always being the last person to know what's really going on, especially if it's about me".

"Okay, I'll help you".

"Also, can you help me watch them? I know that they're more than capable of watching out for themselves but it'll do me a whole lot of good if I know someone has their backs".

"Sure".

With nothing else to say, she gave me a good luck peck and hug before running back towards the cottage, leaving me alone to my destiny.

"Well, how hard can it be?", I muttered to myself and made my way towards the wall.

Trichloris had not stationed any guard on the wall. Of course, there were initially no guards on the wall but I thought a man like him will have a guard stationed everywhere. Perhaps he's not afraid, I thought to myself and in all truthfulness, I don't see any reason for him to be. There are just six of us outside and he has an army on the inside, what threat can we be?- Well, You're about to find out, Trichloris.

Although Francesca assured me that they cannot get the defense activated without her consent, I couldn't help but feel weary of it so to calm my nerves, I casted a test spell which came back negative and finally, I was able to breathe easy. I got to the wall and moved in the same pattern Francesca had thought me before seeing the unfitting stone that served as the key to entering the defense- Guess that's one of the perks of having the original wizards from the dark war, huh?

I got into the defense, slipped my black cloak on and ran as fast as I could to the exit. Getting out, I got the surprise of my life. Trichloris had not changed a single thing in the school. I was expecting to see the flags and banners announcing the 'victory' of Trichloris hung everywhere but everything was left to its originality. The students all walked around in the same manner they did when everything was still normal although I noticed they were only Trichloris' disciples, their black cloaks more than confirmed that- Where the hell have they kept the students that are still loyal to the school?

I quickly covered my head with my hood and, fortunately, it was as thick as Trichloris' so no problem hiding my face, things will surely not go at all well for me if I happened to get discovered. I opened up the map and quickly it changed and showed me where to go. I walked as briskly as I could, all the while checking if I'm not doing it different from the people around. I stopped and looked up at the place the map had led me.

With a smile, I said to myself, "Why am I not surprised the key's in Francesca's residential home?"





"Wow!", I exclaimed to myself as I walked up the stairs of the house. Francesca's house is big- Strike that, this house's damn gigantic.

Although the house is massive, it still showcased what people call home, I never could have guessed that Francesca was homely. It has everything a big and powerful woman like her should have but that wasn't the main thing that got me, it was the art. She has paintings dating back more than I could possibly know- Well, that was normal since I know next to nothing about art, the little I know being from my Mom who's also not an art person.

The only problem was, I've been in the house for over ten minutes and I haven't so much as heard a sound coming from anywhere, where's everyone? I would have loved to sit down and ponder it but I need to get the key and time is of the essence.

I had almost reached the top of the stairs when I suddenly heard someone bark "Halt!" from behind me- Great! I finally meet someone and it happens to be the person that was going to screw everything up for me, how worse can things get?

"Turn around", he commanded but I stayed rooted to the spot. He must have thought I was impaired as he repeated himself, a little more loudly this time.

"I'm in a bit of a rush here. If you don't mind, I'll be leaving", I replied, trying very hard to hide my voice and put on a show of arrogance at the same time.

"I said stop!", he shouted as I attempted to take a step and I involuntarily shuddered. This guy must be a year five because condescending and intimidating seem to come natural to him.

"Lord Trichloris is waiting for me and unless you're ready to see him go ballistic, you'll let me go this instant", I said with my own air of intimidating and hoped like hell I hadn't just sunk myself- How the hell did I come up with that 'Lord Trichloris is waiting for me' bit? He might not even be living in the house.

Surprisingly, the guy behind me replied, "Please go ahead", and I heard him rush away like his pants were on fire, guess 'Lord' Trichloris really has his disciples in his palms and speaking of which, YUCK!- God forbid I call that man lord again.

I made sure there wasn't any other person surprises waiting for me before yanking the hood off my head and breathing in deeply, I hope never to go through that ordeal I just experienced again. I checked the map and noticed that where the key was kept was just around the corner.

Thank God, I thought as I rounded the corner but any feeling of thankfulness I had evaporated as I came face to face with the lord himself, Trichloris.

"Hello Troy", he said with a big smile, "How was I so sure you weren't going to stay away?"

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