Chapter II : A vixen imprisoned

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After having walked through the plains of Sylvestra for a very long time, he climbed the surrounding mountains and put away the card the archivist had given him. He knew that Scorpus was not far off... maybe even in the straw-roofed house that was now facing him.

Out of the big chimney came a strange, indeterminate-coloured smoke. As he drew nearer, a nauseating smell surprised Bilevert, who had no more doubts: it was the home of an evil sorcerer in the kitchen.

He knocked at the door but nobody answered.

He took a cut stone, cut out enough space in one of the oiled paper windows, and was able to turn the handle from the outside to enter.

After a while, his eyes got used to the darkness of the room and he discovered a sorcerer sleeping like a log, in the middle of a huge table.

On the walls, many shelves were stacked with ancient parchments, strange flasks, stuffed animals and a large quantity of jars containing insects, toads, slugs and various disgusting little beasts.

An enormous cauldron, hanging on a chain above the fire, containing a thick greenish liquid was boiling alarmingly.

The chimney kept the sleeping sorcerer's back warm.

On the table where the magician lay, was a little piece of paper defying Scorpus's apprentice, because it was him, to make a potion that would create him a pet: a snake. Thanks to this note, he managed to know the apprentice's name and therefore he worked out a plan to question him. Billgreen tried to frighten him in order to discover where Scorpus was.

He came behind the sleeping man and, in a sepulchral voice, he shouted :
" Vircis wake up I am death, I am here for you !"

The sorcerer was startled, he jumped up and faced his enemy.

Billgreen, thanks to the darkness, had hidden behind a
shelf ; he took advantage of Vircis's surprise to order :

" Tell me where Scorpus is and I might have mercy on
you ! "

Scared to death, the apprentice pointed at the bookshelves, but then walking backwards he stumbled on a skull littering the floor and knocked the cauldron upside down.

He fell heavily in the split liquid and started to melt like butter in the sun.

" Gosh ! Said Billgreen, a lot of good that's done me ! How will I be able to find Scorpus now ? "

He tried to find out what the apprentice had meant as he had pointed at the shelf.

He carefully studied each book and tried to find a secret entry by shaking the shelf.

It proved impossible to move. Billgreen concentrated on the bookshelves. Just above, a stuffed owl seemed to blink, reflecting the light of the fire. Billgreen amazed by this phenomenon, climbed up the shelves, and pushed the owl aside.

The shelves started to tremble and slowly began to revolve, giving way to a narrow corridor out of which came a sickening steam. Billgreen climbed down the shelves, walked one step or two inside the tunnel and from the smell, he understood that this tunnel led to a crypt.

This knowledge and wisdom had prepared him for those kind of strange encounter, and so he decided to explore this very sinister tunnel which went deep into the earth.

After thirty feet or so, he realized that it was lit by everlasting torches, which meant that Scorpus, who was the only one person who knew how to make this kind of torches, had been around some time.

To the right, he discovered a large black case :
A sarcophagus ! Ancient writings, partly erased showed that the man in this « box » was named Arcadius, a vampire who had died five centuries before ; his heart pierced by an iron arrow was only expecting to be waken up.

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