"The Curse, Part 3"
At first I wasn’t sure what just happened. Best guess, Nathan attacked me and snatched the jewel, and Aura blinded me. But something didn’t seem right about this blindness. It felt like I was floating! I tried moving around, but didn’t seem to get anywhere. It appeared that I had been transported to a void of darkness. No light, no sound, nothing. The only sound I could hear was the flapping of my wings when I tried to get around. So this was the greater punishment for failing in my duty to protect Aura’s Jewel.
At first I could think about nothing but being in this void for the rest of my life, however long that may be. But I guess in order to think about having to be here, I had to think about how I got here as well. The most obvious answer was that Nathan turned against me. But for some reason, that didn’t sound right. I may have only spent a few minutes with him, but it seemed to me that he wasn’t the type of person who would do such a thing. Something else was going on when I was hiding in the cave. But what? It seemed that I was never going to find out.
I’m not sure how long I was in there. I tried to keep myself from going insane by counting. I was up around 600 when I noticed a ray of light. A strange sight for being in an infinite darkness. I wasn’t sure how far away it was. It either started coming closer to me or was growing in size. I saw a figure in the light. I couldn’t tell who it was, until I heard Aura’s voice. “You are needed back in your world. I will send you there, and you are to perform an important task. But don’t think that you’re getting out of this punishment that easily. You may no longer be here, but an important part of you will.” She held up her hand towards me, and there was the same bolt of light that sent me here in the first place.
I awoke back in the cave. The cave was still filled with some of the smoke from the gas canister, but it didn’t seem to affect me. The first thing I needed to do was find Nathan. I found him just outside the cave, knocked out. Apparently someone else was after Aura’s Jewel that day. I was about to shake him to wake him up, when my hand went right through him! Was I a ghost? It only took one look at my claws to answer that. I could see right through them! What sort of task would I perform that a ghost could?
I noticed that even though I was a ghost, gravity still held me down. And I could still feel the ground under my hands and feet. Heck, I could still feel. As I was pondering over this, Nathan started to wake up. “Hey, are you okay?” I was about to hit myself for trying to speak to him, when the living can’t hear the dead, when he responded. “I’ve been better.” I’ve often felt the same way about myself, actually. He then looked up to me. I could tell he saw that I was a ghost by the look on his face.
“Whoa, how come I can see through you like that?”
I replied. “Well, I think I’m a ghost. Look.” Then I put my arm through him.
“How the heck did that happen? I read that you couldn’t be killed. And how come I can still see you?”
“I can be killed by the person who gave me the invulnerability in the first place. Let me explain.” I then told him about everything I mentioned so far. About being a power-hungry fool, about Aura and her jewel, about her curse, and the mysterious task I had just been given. Nathan seemed to take it in pretty well. Now it was my turn to ask the questions. “What happened here? Who stole Aura’s Jewel?”
“It was General Blaque and his goons. He found my fleeing men, and found out from them that the jewel was found here. I was conked out with knockout gas, and I guess he took the jewel. He’s probably back at King Rechin’s castle by now.”
It sounded like this Rechin and his general were big trouble. I began to wonder if my task was to retrieve Aura’s Jewel from them. But there was one question to be answered. “How did they know about the jewel in the first place?”
“King Rechin pretty much runs everything in Durhia. When I needed an expedition group and the equipment to get here, I had to get the rights to do so from one of King Rechin’s counselors. I didn’t say much about the jewel, but I guess since the kingdom pretty much sits right under the mountain I guess they had to have heard of it before.”
Durhia. Of all places that I had to go, it had to be the exact same kingdom that I tried to take over many years ago. I wasn’t completely sure if my task really was to retrieve the jewel, but it seemed to be the only possible option. The only question was, how? I couldn’t do it on my own. My best hope was Nathan. But how could I possibly help him in this current state? The best I could do would be to tell him if a guard was attacking him from behind. But would Nathan really be able to fend off all those guards? He didn’t look like the type of person who was skilled at fighting. We don’t even know the exact location of the jewel! If it were me doing the fighting, I would have been of more use. Or at least with this dragon strength. Something then came to mind. What if it wasn’t Nathan who was supposed to go into the castle? “Is there anyone in the town strong enough and willing enough to storm the castle to get back the jewel?”
“I don’t think so. Maybe willing after hearing about the powers of the jewel, but nobody that would succeed.”
Not helpful. The last thing I wanted to happen was for someone else to get a hold of the jewel and use it for themselves. “Perhaps there’s some other way. I have to get back the jewel, but unfortunately only you would be able to actually do anything.”
“Sure, I’ll do it. It shouldn’t be too hard. I might not be very strong, but I am pretty good at stealth.”
“Then it’s settled. We leave immediately.” Perhaps we have a better chance at this than I had thought. But I had to wonder. How good is his stealth? If we were caught, how well could he defend himself? I of course didn’t have to worry about being killed, but Nathan was still young, full of years. I’d have hated to see him die because of false hopes. I could have tried finding a different task instead, but unfortunately this seemed to be the one. My new objective was to go into Durhia Castle, and retrieve Aura’s Jewel.
As we were walking towards Durhia, we reached the barrier that had kept me on Mt. Kolz for so long. Sure enough, the barrier was no longer there. Or if it was, it didn’t affect me in my ghostly form. We finally reached the edge of the forest, and across a small field, I saw the final destination. There it was, the city of Durhia. And we were about to storm its castle.
To Be Continued...