|Curse of Time|
|Book: Curse of time, Chapter 7|
Chapter 7: Out of Retirement, and the Potion
Less than a week passed after Cocou came into their lives and Duke Vallière was poisoned. Her language lessons were coming along well, and the Duke had been sent home after being nursed back to health. Now, as the armies of Tristain, Albion and Romalia enter Gallia to aid against the rebels, Tabitha takes Suzuka, Hermione, and Cocou aside for a task.
"Remind me again why we're going on a field trip with you." said Suzuka as the four rode the royal carriage to their destination
"You'll see." said Tabitha
"It's strange." said Hermione "Going on an errand with the queen of Gallia. What exactly are we doing?"
"You'll see." Tabitha repeated as the carriage stopped "We're here. Hermione, stay in the carriage with Cocou. Suzuka, you come with me." She and Suzuka got out of the carriage and went up to the door, which was hanging off its hinges "Oh dear, oh dear. Wand out and follow me." Suzuka obeyed and walked into the house with Tabitha, and a scene of devastation met their eyes. Everything was in shambles, a piano was missing a leg, pillows were slashed, a clock pendulum lay on the floor like discarded sword, glass was everywhere, and there was blood on the walls.
"What happened here?" Suzuka asked
"I have a good idea." Tabitha answered approaching an overstuffed armchair that appeared to be untouched
"You think they dragged him off?"
"You mean he's...?"
"Still here, yes." Tabitha poked the armchair in the seat and it gave a yelp of pain
"Great Brimir!" said a man who poked his head out of the top of the chair, and then transformed into a normal, pretty big-bellied, man "No need to disfigure me your Majesty."
"Though I must say, you make a very convincing armchair Drache." said Tabitha
"Thank you. I come by the stuffing naturally. What gave me away?" the man called Drache asked
"Dragons blood." said Tabitha pointing to the blood on the walls "Oh yes, introductions. Suzuka, I'd like you meet an old friend, colleague and General of mine, Drache de Malton. Drache, this is Suzuka Henrietta li Bala de vi Hiraga."
"Pleasure to meet you miss Hiraga." said Drache shaking Suzuka's hand
"Same here sir." Suzuka replied
"So what's with all the theatrics Drache?" Tabitha asked "You weren't by any chance waiting for someone else, were you?"
"Someone else? I'm sure I don't know what you mean." said Drache catching Tabitha's eye "Alright, the rebels have been trying to recruit me since the war started, do you know what's that like? I can only say 'no' so many times, so I made it look like I've been dragged off with a struggle."
"Well, no one's here now, why don't I help you clean up." said Tabitha, she waved her staff and all the devastation repaired itself. Within seconds, it looked like the room had never been disturbed "That was fun." said Tabitha as she sat down on a chair, Drache and Suzuka sat down too
"Don't think I don't know why you're here your Majesty, the answer's still 'no', absolutly 'no'." said Drache
"Oh come on Drache." said Tabitha "You were the pride of the Gallia Army. Our top general Drache the Earthmover. It's no wonder the rebels want you on their side. But if you were to return to the Gallian Royal Army...."
"If you're going to tell me I'd be better off in that ragtag band, you can save your breath. Funny rumors have reached me since the war started. If you were that hesitant to get into action when the uprisings happened, I'm not too confident with your military leadership."
"We would've been slaughtered if I had. Waiting allowed us to build up our power and the alliance with Tristain, Albion, and Romalia will put the rebels in their place. All we need now is effective leaders."
"If you think I'm going up against Zeldana and Linklan, you're crazy."
"The were your protégés, I know, I trusted them too, but they turned traitor against the kingdom I worked so hard to revolutionize." Drache didn't respond "You mind if I use your bathroom?"
"No, of course." said Drache, taken aback by the sudden change of subject. Tabitha left the room, and Drache turned to Suzuka "You're very like your mother, though there are more than a few differences. I don't know why she brought you. But it won't make a difference."
"But what she said is true, you are the best general she had." said Suzuka "I've heard stories about you. You led the army that put down the first revolt the queen experienced under her rule, with few casualties on your part. You even led the armies that invaded Albion."
"I'm not sure how that happened. I didn't know what was happening most of the time, I always lead from the front."
"Which is why you're the best. You know how to take command. With you, we could end this war."
"I've heard stories about you too my dear. Almost seventeen years ago, you came back from the future to change it, and then fought Omeggadon again almost a month ago."
"I have no memory of the things that happened seventeen years ago, but that is what happened. But now Omeggadon is back, and we need the best." said Suzuka, and Tabitha walked back in the room
"Time to go Suzuka." said Tabitha, and Suzuka got up and followed her
"You're leaving?" Drache asked
"Yes, I think I know a lost cause when I see one." said Tabitha "Shame you didn't want the job, but we would've been glad to have you back, and being back would raise the troops morale. Nonetheless, you will always be welcome a visit, should you wish. You're like young Suzuka here, one of a kind. Well, goodbye Drache."
"Goodbye sir." said Suzuka as she followed Tabitha out the door. They were at the front gate when Drache called from the door behind them.
"Alright! I'll do it!" Drache called
"You'll come out of retirement?" Tabitha asked
"Yes! I must be mad, but yes." Drache responded "I'll want command of the best battalion you have, not the ragtag runts I had before. And I'll expect to be well paid your majesty, these are mad times we live in, mad!" he returned inside
"They are indeed." Tabitha said to Suzuka as they got in the carriage and were off again. "Well done Suzuka."
"I didn't do much." said Suzuka modestly
"Do what? What was that all about?" Hermione asked
"Suzuka helped persuade a general of mine to come out of retirement." Tabitha said to Hermione then turned back to Suzuka "You showed him just how much we need him. I wasn't lying when I said he was the best we had, and it's also crucial he should return. Not only can he raise the troops morale, he has a knack for strategic value, and has pulled out some astonishing victories in the past, not just the ones you mentioned."
"Where we going next?" Hermione asked
"This will do." said Tabitha looking out the window "Driver, stop." the driver obeyed and they all got out. They were on the edge of the city.
"Your majesty, what are we doing here?" Suzuka asked
"We're now going into rebel held territory." Tabitha said casually
"What?!" Suzuka and Hermione said together
"Listen to me. For so long now, I've wondered what tethered Omeggadon to the earth after separating from miss Dina. And my spy believes she found the reason."
"What is it?" Hermione asked
"He sealed a portion of his soul inside an object, and hid it. That's why he didn't move into the next world, because a piece of him tethered the rest of him to the living world. My spy also believes she found the place where he hid it. This is where Cocou comes in."
"You've also been teaching her to use Haste." said Suzuka
"Exactly." said Tabitha, handing Cocou, who was wearing a small dress, a wand "We need to hold onto her. And Cocou, don't worry about getting lost, I'll guide you."
The girls grabbed onto Cocou and she activated her void ability. Within seconds, they arrived at the mouth of a cave in the mountains, deep in rebel territory.
"Is this it?" Suzuka asked as they let go of Cocou
"Oh yes." said Tabitha "This is exactly the place. I feel traces of magic here. Well done Cocou."
"Five years old, and already she's mastered her void ability." said Hermione as they entered the cave, which turned out to be a fairly short one
"A dead end." said Suzuka "We came here for nothing?"
"Don't say that." said Tabitha as she touched the cave wall in front of them "Surely not. So crude."
"What?" Suzuka asked
"This merely the antechamber, the entrance hall." Tabitha explained "In order to move forward through Omeggadons defenses, payment must be made to the hidden door here." she pulled a small knife out of her pocket "Blood of I'm not mistaken."
"Blood?" Suzuka said perplexed
"I said it was crude." said Tabitha, sounding disappointed, as if she expected more than this "In order to pass though, one must weaken them self. Omeggadons mistake. There are things much worse then physical injury."
"But if you can avoid it...." Hermione started
"Sometimes young one, it is not avoidable." said Tabitha as she cut her hand and placed it on the door.
"You should've let me do it." said Suzuka
"You're very kind. But your blood's much more precious than mine." said Tabitha as she healed her wound with a simple spell "And that seems to have done the trick." she was right, an archway had appeared right where a wall had just been, and they all went inside.
Inside was what appeared to be a sheer drop off a rock cliff, with a small platform floating on nothing but air. Out, what seemed to be a mile away, was a reddish glow on top of a rock pillar.
"It's all the way out there?" Hermione asked
"And we have to float on this thing?" said Suzuka "It doesn't look like it will support all of us."
"It won't." said Tabitha "But I don't think Omeggadon will have cared about the weight, more like the amount of magical energy. I believe he designed this so that only one mage can go at a time. Or, in this case, two. You and me Suzuka."
"Omeggadon would never had expected a sixteen year old, Line-class mage, to find this place. It is unlikely your powers will register compared to mine. Hermione, on the other hand, has no powers, so she wouldn't register at all. But we can't bring Cocou, since she, as the void mage, is so powerful. But we can't leave her on her own, so Hermione will stay behind with her."
Seeing how this was going to work, Suzuka stepped onto the platform with Tabitha, which started moving at once, while Hermione remained with Cocou. In less than no time at all, the pair were at the island in the darkness. It was no larger than Suzuka's bedroom at the academy. In the middle of the rocky island was a stone basin filled with glowing red liquid.
"What is that?" Suzuka asked as they examined the substance
"Something to worry about, that's for sure." said Tabitha as she tried to touch it
"Don't touch it!"
"I can't. I can't get any nearer that this. You try." Suzuka did, but she could not get any further than an inch, it was like touching inflexible air. Tabitha began waving her stave over it, muttering a strange language, but nothing happened. "I see. It cannot be scooped out, siphoned away, or made to change its nature. I can only conclude that it is supposed to be drunk."
"Drunk? All of it?" Suzuka asked
"Yes." said Tabitha picking up a goblet that appeared to have been left on the floor "Undoubtedly, this potion will act in a way that will prevent me from taking the object the hides a piece of Omeggadons soul. Though I doubt it will kill me. Most likely cause me unendurable pain."
"You're not drinking it!" said Suzuka taking the goblet from Tabitha "I am!"
"You're the Queen of Gallia. You're much more valuable than I am. Keep me drinking, even if you have force it down my throat."
"I'm not letting you...." Tabitha started, but Suzuka gave her a very Louise-like look "I remember that look."
With the matter settled, Suzuka lowered the goblet into the potion, and filled it to the brim. Taking a deep breath first, Suzuka drained the goblet in two gulps. The effect was almost immediate, Suzuka felt pain course through her entire body. Knowing she had to keep going, she scooped up more potion and drank it again. Halfway through the fourth goblet, she couldn't fight it anymore and almost dropped the goblet. Thankfully, Tabitha held her up and kept it from spilling, and poured the rest of it into Suzukas mouth.
With each gulp of the potion, the pain in Suzuka's body got worse and worse. Finally, on the thirteenth goblet, the basin was finally empty.
"There." said Tabitha as Suzuka drank the last of the potion. Tabitha then set Suzuka to rest against the basin. "You did beautifully."
"Thanks." Suzuka said weakly, clutching her stomach, still in pain "It still hurts a lot."
"Still, you were wonderful." said Tabitha as she took a small egg-sized object from the bottom of the basin "You didn't protest throughout the whole thing. I've never seen such endurance." she then pocketed the object and then helped Suzuka to her feet. "lets go. A good nights sleep should help."
Thanks to Cocou's mastery of Haste, they were back in the Gallian Royal Palace within an hour.
"You've really impressed us this time." said Louise as she, Saito, Guiche Jr., Drako, Hermione, and Tabitha sat around Suzuka while she laid in bed. "Drinking that whole potion to keep Tabitha well, and retrieving a piece of Omeggadons soul in the process. We're really impressed."
"That's to be expected of our little girl." said Saito
"Thanks mom. Thanks dad." said Suzuka
"Looks like you'll be stuck here for a while." said Guiche
"In any case, could you guys let me rest now? I'm really tired."
"Certainly." said Tabitha, taking the object from the cave out of her pocket "From the looks of this thing, we're going to have to open it to destroy this, and that's going to require research, but for now, you just rest. lets go everyone."
"We'll visit you in the morning." said Drako as they left the room
"Sleep well." said Hermione, and with that, they were gone
With a new general recruited, and a piece of Omeggadons soul in their hands, they were one step closer to ending the war, and finishing Omeggadon once and for all.