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It took another three days of butts kicking, bones screaming and almost giving up lessons with David but I finally got the hang of dark magic, at least as best as I can. After that, Victor gave me the instructions on how to conjure up and master the Power of the ancients with him explaining the light magic part and David the dark magic part. In short, I was in solitude for about a week with only Victor, David and, occasionally, Oliver- That is one experience I never want to repeat in this lifetime or the next, I tell you.

"I've missed you so much", said Victoria as she ran to envelope me in a bear hug when I walked down the stairs to meet the guys.

"But I was only gone for about a week", I told her, trying to downplay the situation but, unfortunately, it didn't work as she hugged me even tighter.

"I still missed you", she insisted and I had to concur- Believe me, you do not wanna engage in a lifelong argument with Vic.

"I also missed you", I replied, which wasn't a lie, before turning to the others, "I missed every last one of you too".

They took turns in hugging and telling me how much they missed me when I noticed that Stan wasn't present.

"And what is my 'loving' half-brother up to now?", I asked.

"Nothing mischievous", replied Kendra with a smile, she must have caught on to my emphasis on the loving part of my statement, "It's just that he offered to help Denise with Gilbert".

"Who's Gilbert?", I asked with a confused expression on my face, I'm as sure as hell I don't know any Gilbert.

"Denise's Dragon, she insisted on naming it that", she replied and my confusion deepened. Seriously, where in the world has that girl heard of a dragon named 'Gilbert'?

Anyway, I didn't dwell too much on the matter. It wasn't any of my business, plus Denise and Stan came into the room at that moment and I know better than anyone that getting on her wrong side is not the kind of start I had envisioned to my Welcome-Back-To-The-Multitude party.

"Hey there, Troy", she said with a big smile as she gave me a quick hug, "So, you're the most powerful wizard now, aren't you?"

"That's what I was told", I replied with a smile of my own.

"I think it's about time we planned our battle against Trichloris, don't you think?", interrupted Oliver as he walked into the room with Mom and Nicole at his sides- Okay, what did I miss about the situation between those two?

"Troy just returned from a rigorous training, Oliver", replied Victoria before I could, "I think it will be better if we allow him some time to rest".

"Actually, after all that time I spent in solitude, I believe I'm way overdue for actions", I replied and gave her a reassuring smile to reinforce my point.

"So, when do we begin the execution of this plan of yours?", asked Denise as we walked briskly to the conference room.

"It has already begun", replied Oliver, "Sam and Nicole is working on the first part".

"Whoa! Wait a minute", I shouted as I jumped in Oliver's front, "How can you get Mom involved?"

"It's nothing dangerous Troy, I promise", Mom said before Oliver could reply.

"You're getting involved with something that concerns Trichloris, how is that not dangerous?", I asked, more like shouted actually.

"I would never put your mother in danger, Troy", said Oliver and even though every cell in my body was telling me to trust him, I just couldn't shake off my fear.

"It's going to be fine, Troy", said Mom and I realized that I wouldn't be able to convince her, I never had that right in the first place. She left with Nicole to God-Knows-Where to do God-Knows-What concerning the battle against Trichloris while we proceeded to the conference room.

"So, how do we go about the battle against Trichloris?", asked grandpa Blake as everyone arrived and the meeting began.

"We do exactly what Trichloris had wanted us to do", replied Oliver with a smile, "Expose ourselves to the normals".

"Are you insane or something?", Victor shouted at Oliver after the meeting had concluded, if you can call everyone looking at Oliver as if he had just gone loony as they exited a conclusion. Oliver had insisted that Victor, David, Victoria, Denise, Stan and I remain in the room after the meeting.

"That's the only way we can win this", he replied, that was the same thing he had been saying for the past half an hour.

"Oliver, I know that I'm not quite vast in the world of magic but isn't exposing yourselves bad for the community?, asked Denise.

"Not if we play this right and stop Trichloris in one battle", he replied.

"Dad, you should know more than anyone that stopping Trichloris isn't going to be a walk in the park", said Stan.

"That's why we all have to play our parts right and stop him for good", he replied and I had a feeling that the statement was meant especially for me. He turned to Denise and said, "I'll need you to lock down the power grid that runs into the city that day. Also, cancel every flight going out of the city and redirect the ones coming in".

"But that is going to cause more panic than prevent it, Oliver", she countered.

"There won't be panic because there won't be anyone around to do so", he replied- Okay, is just me or is this plan getting crazier by the second?

"How do you plan on getting so many people to just up and leave?", asked Victor as he shot Oliver a 'Let's hear more of your crazy-assed plan' look.

"By asking the most influential mage I know to call the mayor and his cabinet and tell him that there's a power hungry archwizard on the loose in his city and we wizards have to take care of this in our own way".

"No way in hell am I going to do that", replied Victor as he stood up and began to pace, "The Council of Magic will surely string me up for that".

"It's a risk that must be taken", replied Oliver with a calm expression that's starting to unsettle me even more than his 'plan', "Besides, we are all in this together".

"Dad, are you sure this plan of yours is going to work?", I asked, he looks so sure of it but I can't say I share the feeling.

"It has to", he replied as he took my hands, "Or else, there won't even be a Council to punish us". I thought about it for a while and found out that he had a point. If Trichloris wins, not just the magic community but the whole world will collapse so we either break all the rules and stand a chance at survival or play it safe and lose all we hold dearly.

"Count me in", I finally concurred. The others must have seen reason too as they all agreed and we all began to prepare for the battle that the outcome will either save the magic community, or condemn it all to hell.

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