Cheryl Olive hastily drew the circle into the ground, using a smaller stick than before. She then drew the triangle, and finally the large circle that surrounded everything. This time, she placed the stick directly into the centre of the triangle, and knelt at the top point, the point facing the cottage.
Merrell knelt to the point on Cheryl Olive’s right, and Beryl knelt to her left.
They joined hands, and focussed upon the top of the stick.
“Rallek!” declared Cheryl Olive, and a glowing orb fizzled and hissed into view atop the stick. Tiny bolts of lightning were firing out from the orb in all directions, but swiftly vanishing into nothing.
The orb began to glow, brighter and brighter. Soon, the light was so intense the garden and side of the cottage appeared to be in brilliant sunlight.
Psychic Sue stepped outside, and had to cover her eyes the light was so intense.
The Witches Three were now kneeling with their arms outstretched, palms facing upwards and no longer holding hands.
“Igbon!” they chanted in turn.
A scream overhead preceded the sudden arrival of Lycralad, who was thrown with force into the cottage wall beside Sue. Although he was stunned, he was OK, as Sue found out when she knelt to check him out.
A red hand grabbed Sue by the shoulder, and threw her into the middle of the witches’ circle, causing the orb to vanish and the three to lose their composure, and knocking Beryl completely off-balance.
Lycralad cleared his vision, and through the bright light could make out the familiar face of the scripulus peering and sneering down upon him.
“Helloooo my matee,” she said, frothing at the mouth. Bright sunlight caused the scripulus to go into frenzy, accentuating their every desire into uncontrollable urges. Magical sunlight amplifies the effect. “Come with meeee…” she said, as she once again lifted Lycralad by his shoulders.
Like a rag doll, Lycralad dangled. The scripulus had taken him high above the ground, and was preparing to drop him. They enjoyed treating their ‘mates’ as toys and playthings, and she was ecstatic with frenzy.
She dropped him, and quickly flew and caught him, throwing him up into the air. This was in very quick succession, and Lycralad didn’t have time to concentrate to activate his powers. Again he was thrown.
He looked down, and saw the witches had gathered their places around the triangle, the glowing orb back in place. Sue was looking up at the scripulus, when…
Igor grabbed the scripulus by his right claw, and carried her away from the cottage. Lycralad breathed a sigh of relief and flew down to be with Psychic Sue. He watched as the juvenile wyvern and the scripulus vanished into the darkness. “Good old Igor!” Lycralad shouted, “Handy we brought them along today!” He looked over to the circle, and noticed it becoming covered in a dark shadow.
Two figures were expelled from the centre of the shadow, and both rolled over to the edge of the woods at the bottom of the garden. Invisible Charlie got to his feet, and tried to pick Annabeth off the ground.
Instead of her tail, she now had two legs. And, he noticed, completely naked.
“Thank you,” Annabeth said to Charlie. “You have freed me from the sea demon’s curse by bringing me into land. However can I thank you properly?”
Charlie looked over toward Lycralad, who had run over to the couple. “Can you cover her?” Charlie asked, and Lycralad used his material controlling abilities to ‘grow’ a long flowing dress around the now human mermaid. He even made it green to match the creature’s eyes. “That’s much better,” Charlie said, “Not as uncomfortable now!” he looked at Annabeth. “Sorry about what I said earlier. I didn’t really mean it…”
“I have no recollection of your words,” Annabeth said, “but I am forever grateful for you helping me.”
Charlie looked over to Sue, who had also joined the small group. The three witches were still chanting in their triangle, in almost as much frenzy as the scripulus had been.
“That’s what they do?” Charlie asked Sue, remembering what she’d said earlier about the mermaids.
“Well, in my fairy tales they do,” Sue said, “they must be different in these parts!”
They all felt a tremor in the ground, and then another. The tremors became very strong; Sue suggested they all run over to the wall of the cottage so as they weren’t out in the open.
A hole in the ground emerged, close to where they had been standing, shortly followed by a figure being expelled from it.
Firetop had now returned to the group, after being spat out from the ground where the bony hands had carried him. In his hand he grasped tightly the amulet from the old man.
Sue checked that Firetop was OK, after his trek through the earth, and took the amulet from him. She also retrieved the diamonds from Lycralad and Charlie, but she made sure that none of the Witches Three saw her do it.
“What’s going on, Sue?” Firetop whispered, noticing how discreet Sue was being.
“I’m not exactly sure yet,” Sue whispered in return, “but look at them. They seem so intent on their chanting, they don’t seem to remember that we are actually here. Something doesn’t seem to be making sense.”
“I thought that,” Lycralad whispered. “I thought that I found my diamond far too easily.”
“Yes! Me too!” Firetop clicked his fingers.
“Shhh!!!” Sue held her palms up to Firetop, looking over at the Witches Three, although she didn’t really need to worry as they were in a world of their own.
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