Mission to Middlehaven: 22

The group gathered in the parlour.

“Thank you for your help, and keeping the entire Universe safe.” Cheryl Olive began.

“Oh, it was nothing!” Firetop commented, not exactly sure what he had done.

Beryl looked at Lycralad, who looked away quickly and into the eyes of Adam. He then looked away quickly once again, down to the floor. Adam smiled broadly.

“OK,” Charlie wanted to know what they had just been through. “It feels calmer now, somehow, that is very clear, but will you please tell us what has just gone on?”

Merrell began. “When we captured Ganthenex, the demon of all demons,” “Yes, we get that…” Firetop was now impatient. Merrell glared at him for interrupting, and he sat back sheepishly. “We made sure he was securely incarcerated in the Realm of the Underworld.” Merrell continued, regardless. “But we hadn’t taken into account his daughters.”

“As soon as Ganthenex had been imprisoned,” Beryl took up the tale, “his daughters captured the three of us, and trapped us separately within three crystals. They then took our forms, our thoughts, our memories and our places. We were scattered across Middlehaven Isle in the daughters’ hope that we would eventually be forever buried, thus lost forever.”

“They didn’t take our minds into account,” Cheryl Olive now took over. “Using our final source of available magic, we enchanted the crystals to be guarded by whomever so found them, which they were by these three. When the time of their reveal was necessary, we made it clear that there was to be little resistance in their finding, as you have all discovered.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say ‘little resistance’” Lycralad now interrupted, “but you did make it rather easy for us.”

“Ganthenex’s daughters,” Merrell continued, “needed to destroy the crystals at midnight on the day you know as Hallowe’en, when the mystical energy levels are at their lowest. And with the crystals destroyed, the gateway to the Realm of the Underworld was opened, and Ganthenex would once again be free.”

“So Adam was a guardsman?” Lycralad asked, nodding towards Adam.

“As was Ammeloc the Elder,” Beryl gestured toward the elderly man, who smiled towards Firetop. “And the banshee” Beryl continued, looking now at Annabeth. Charlie watched as Annabeth changed her appearance, quickly to that of the banshee, before returning to her normal human appearance. She smiled as Charlie jumped slightly in his chair.

“But I found Annabeth the mermaid by chance,” Charlie asked, thinking back to the cliff top.

“You did,” Annabeth responded, “and you graciously helped me for which I am eternally grateful, but the banshee are a collective, and are from many forms. Mermaid, human, any form.”

Lycralad looked at Adam. “Shadow is a banshee?” he asked, desperately trying to keep up.

“No, my strange friend,” Adam laughed, “Shadow is merely a horse, but the Huntsman’s horse. He has the same tracking abilities as I, hence our ability to reach you tonight as swiftly as we did.”

“Ah…” Lycralad thought he understood.

“So how did Sue know to…?” Firetop suddenly remembered the mouse Sue was speaking to him through. “Sue – “

“I was wrong, Firetop. I felt so small; I thought I was ‘inside’ a mouse. It turns out it was a spider.”

“Ugh!” Cheryl Olive shuddered. “I can’t stand spiders!”

“Ah!” Firetop snapped his fingers, thinking of the scene with the spider in the garden. “But wait – the son? Me?”

“You are not the Son of Ganthenex, Firetop,” Cheryl Olive laughed, “although the son is still free somewhere. The Children of Ganthenex have strength when together, so, although still powerful, he shouldn’t be too much of a threat should he surface.”

“Once Sue connected psychically to the crystal energy through the daughters’ reflections in the crystal ball, we were able to send our locations directly to her, and command your ‘methods of transportation’ to bring you to us. The daughters thought you had selected them through their enchantment, but it was us. We apologise for the rather uncomfortable journeys you would have undertaken to help us.”

“Think nothing of it…” Lycralad commented, remembering the scripulus.

“The daughters’ intention was to destroy the crystals, but by selecting you four from the Elite Force of Britain they actually entrapped themselves.” Beryl said with a smile. “That was a little intentional on our part. We have to protect ourselves, you know! And, of course, we knew you were the perfect choices for the job.”

“So, the Universe is safe once again!” Sue declared. “On that note, I think it is time we start to bid our farewells, and make our way back to the EFB headquarters in Mid.”

“One of these days I’m going to save the Universe actually knowing what I’ve done!” Firetop said, feeling quite good that another job had been well accomplished. “Thank you for your help, Ammeloc” he said to the elderly man, shaking him vigorously by the hand. “I told you I wasn’t a demon.”

“You are still the Son of Igbon to the tribe, my friend,” Ammeloc replied, “but I shall make them understand that rather than being the swallower of light, you are in fact the giver of it!”

Invisible Charlie walked out of the parlour with Annabeth. “So, what are you going to do now, Annabeth – or…”

“Annabeth is fine,” she said, “I like it. I’m going to stay here. By the coast I will become mermaid again, and all that luring takes its toll, even if we aren’t fully aware of what we do. But, that is one aspect of the life of a mermaid. I’m still banshee as well, so going back to the lighthouse may also mean I rejoin the collective; I’d like to give being human a go!”

“Good choice!” He said, giving her a warm hug. She hugged back, starting to feel just a little more human already.

Outside, Lycralad spoke to Adam, who was patting Shadow. “Thank you for your help, Adam,” Lycralad said, “We seem to share a bond you and I.”

“It is entirely my pleasure, Alex,” Adam said, “Although you hide behind name and mask, I understand the bond of which you speak. Feel free to return here at any time, and call upon my help whenever needed.”

“And the same goes to you too, Adam.”

Adam mounted Shadow and waved with a smile as he sped off through the trees into the darkness beyond.

“Seems you’ve made a good friend there,” Sue said, placing her arm around Lycralad’s shoulders. But you’re good at that.”

“Helloooooo my sweeeetttt…” the scripulus whispered from behind Sue. Lycralad made a move to run back inside, and Sue stopped him.

“Relax!” She said, and Lycralad suddenly felt very calm. Sue then looked at the scripulus. “Thank you for your help also. I release you from my control and compel you to return to your kin. You will also be compelled to forget what has happened here… although,” she looked at Lycralad who was looking across the garden towards Igor, “I think I shall keep the channels open. If we are to be fighting demons, you may be of great help to us.”

“Offff courssseee……” the scripulus replied, “take care of my sweeeetttt…” She took to the skies, and also vanished into the night.

Lycralad and Sue walked over to Igor. Lycralad released him from the tether. “There you go, Igor. You are free once again. Return to your family, and thank you for your help.” The wyvern gently rubbed his head into Lycralad’s chest before flying away from the cottage.

“I sent him that way.” Sue said, with a smile.

“I thought mind control was bad?” Lycralad asked.

“It is,” Sue replied, “But gentle prompts don’t hurt. Besides, we can’t have your friends at each other’s throats now, can we?”

Lycralad smiled, as he and Sue joined Firetop and Invisible Charlie in the centre of the lawn.

Beryl, Merrell and Cheryl Olive, and Annabeth, stood before them.

“Thank you for all your help this evening,” Cheryl Olive said. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell then lifted their left hands, and in a flash they, Annabeth and the cottage were gone. In front of the EFB now were the helicopter and the clearing in which they had landed upon their arrival to the island. A couple of wyverns flew overhead.

“Another job well done,” Invisible Charlie said, “Let’s go home… And Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

Mission to Middlehaven: 21

As the flames struck the amulet, red, blue and gold lightning erupted from the plate. The elderly man let go of the object, and swiftly ran beside Lycralad.

Firetop continued sending his fire to the amulet, which now had began glowing white hot.

“Pleased to meet you!” Adam said, taking Sue’s hand as this was taking place. “Finally!”

“And you, Adam!” Sue replied. “Charlie, could you pass me the crystal ball?”

Invisible Charlie dashed back inside the cottage, and returned with the crystal ball as Sue requested. Sue held the crystal ball high into the air, and closed her eyes. She thought of pure energy as the ball lifted from her hand, and transported itself over to the glowing amulet. It struck the amulet in a blaze of multicoloured shards of light, and three large masses formed from the combined object. They were flung to the bottom of the garden, when three more solid looking energy masses appeared. Each of these masses went to Cheryl Olive, Merrell and Beryl, and in turn pulled them inside. They could be seen hammering on the inside of each mass, unable to break free. Suddenly, their forms altered to become green and lizard-like, with their eyes once again glowing white. They appeared to be shouting, or saying something, but the sound, like the Witches Three, were trapped inside. A second later, the masses then travelled back toward the smelted amulet, which now lay within its own burnt circle on the ground. The masses shrank in size, and travelled inside the glowing remains. In another blast of light, the amulet returned to its metal form, and upon it once again were three crystals: a red one, a blue one and a gold one.

“It is done!” Sue said.

“It is done?” Lycralad asked. “What is, Sue? Just what is going on?”

“I’m not sure it is done,” Invisible Charlie joined in, pointing to the garden. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell were making their way towards the group.

“It is good to see you once again, sister!” Cheryl Olive said, speaking directly to Sue.

“And you too, my friend!” Sue replied, warmly.

Charlie, Lycralad and Firetop were all confused. Adam couldn’t help but laugh. “You three have wonderful expressions at the moment! You will all understand in a moment!”

Annabeth walked over to Adam, who was also joined by the elderly man. Beryl and Merrell also joined them, and Cheryl Olive stood slightly in front.

“Please,” Cheryl Olive said, warmly, “come inside the cottage and we will explain everything. It is the least we can do after all your help!” She started walking toward the cottage, Lycralad and Charlie stepping aside to let her, and then the group, through. Sue nodded, encouraging them to follow.

“Igbon!” Cheryl Olive declared, walking through the doorway.

“Don’t start that again!” Firetop whispered, as he walked behind Charlie and Lycralad. Sue smiled and walked in beside him, placing her hand reassuringly on his shoulder.

Mission to Middlehaven: 20


Horses hooves! Lycralad was hearing hooves in the distance, not thunder, rumbling along getting louder and therefore closer.

A black horse broke through into the edge of the garden, and galloped towards the group, Causing Lycralad to run for cover around the side of the cottage once more.

The Witches Three and Firetop, still with their white glowing eyes, were slow to move, and unfortunately for them the horse ran directly through them, knocking them in four directions. Firetop fell backwards and hit his head with some force into the cottage wall, sending him into the realms of unconsciousness.

Merrell took more of the brunt from the horse than the others, and she too hit her head, on the ground this time, and was momentarily stunned. Lycralad saw that her eyes had returned to normal, as she blinked them open several times. Lycralad also noticed Adam on the horseback, this time joined by what looked to him to be a wizard.

“No!” Screamed Cheryl Olive, as she realised their link had been broken by both Firetop and Merrell losing consciousness. She ran over to Merrell and started shaking her ferociously. “Wake up!” She shouted, desperately. “WAKE UP!”

Adam and the wizard dismounted from Shadow, and the wizard ran inside the cottage. Adam walked over to Lycralad. “Good to see you are well, my new friend!” He said, shaking Lycra by the hand.

The elderly man then walked out of the cottage, with Annabeth, Charlie and Sue. Lycralad noticed that everywhere was now in darkness, the green glow had disappeared.

“I’m not even going to pretend that I know what is going on…” Lycralad said, still seeing chaos around him.

Beryl had joined Cheryl Olive, and Merrell was sat on the ground with her head in her hands.

“We still have time!” Cheryl Olive declared, as she picked up another stick to draw another circle in the ground.

“I think not!” Firetop opened his eyes and saw the elderly tribesman, who he last saw cowering at his feet, addressing the Witches Three. Once again he had the amulet, although this time he was holding it aloft with this left hand. Firetop saw that instead of the blue diamond being in the centre, the gold diamond had replaced it. On one side of it, there was now a red diamond, and the blue one was opposite it. The elderly man looked at Firetop. “Welcome back, ‘Son of Igbon’!” he said, followed by what seemed to be a mocking laugh. “Your flame!” the man directed Firetop, “Use your flame to destroy this amulet!”

“No!” Cheryl Olive screamed, and ran towards Firetop at speed, intending to knock him into the wall and out cold again. As she connected with him, a huge spider leapt from Firetop’s shoulder onto her face. Screaming, Cheryl Olive stepped backwards and tripped over the stick she had intended to use, and fell on top of Beryl.

“Firetop,” Psychic Sue said, “do as the man has asked. Use your flame to destroy the amulet.”

Reluctantly, Firetop raised his arms and sent fire toward the amulet.

Mission to Middlehaven: 19

Psychic Sue couldn’t move her body. Through the green glow, and within her mind’s eye, she could see Annabeth and Charlie trapped alongside her. She brought her attention to the crystal ball in the centre of the room. She reached out with as much of her psychic strength she could muster. Come Now! She pleaded, the chaos is commencing! She hoped that her message had got through.

Streams of the green energy that were holding the three in this strange stasis were now reaching out to all of the candles around the parlour. Each candle the energy came into contact with erupted into a great green flame, before dwindling away into nothing. The electrical lighting above flickered on and off, before exploding into a cascade of sparks. The room was slowly being plunged into an eerie green darkness.

Outside, Lycralad looked at Firetop, who was still holding Cheryl Olive’s hand. Beryl and Merrell had limped their way over and were beginning to ‘worship’ Firetop, just as Cheryl Olive was attempting to do.

“Get off me!” Firetop shook his hand free. “I am not the Son of Igbon. And I am most definitely NOT the son of Ganthenex, the de…” he suddenly remembered the elderly man and the tribe of people who began to worship him in a similar manner earlier “…mon…”

The porch lights exploded above Lycralad’s head, making him realise that all of the lights in the cottage were now out. The green glow from the parlour was now extending to the kitchen / dining area and the hallway.

“Blessed Be!” Beryl bowed before Firetop. “Blessed Be!” Merrell joined in. Lycralad couldn’t help but smile at Firetop’s expression as he watched these two strange women with straggly skin bobbing up and down before him. “Blessed Be!” Cheryl Olive had now joined in. Firetop cupped both of his hands in front of his chest, in preparation to send out another burst of flame to distract the three witches, but then remembered how his last blast caused the lightning strike. He decided not to use his flame and put up with being worshipped instead. He glanced over to Lycralad and rolled his eyes once he saw Lycra’s smirk.

“Beryl, what’s happened to you all? You seem…” Lycralad couldn’t finish his question.

With white blank eyes once more, the three witches simultaneously stopped their bowing and looked at Lycralad, moving their mouths in unison, but speaking only in Beryl’s voice. “We are the daughters of Ganthenex. We have summoned the Son of Ganthenex and by the Power of Four we shall revoke the cage that holds our father and free him. This time, Ganthenex shall rule the entire world for thirty five minutes before bringing forth the Darkness of the Ultimate End. Then we shall see the truth of our everlasting peace and darkness.”

Lycralad looked at Firetop, who now too was looking back in his direction with the same blank white eyes. The four of them now moved their mouths at the same time, but the voice Lycralad heard this time was Firetop’s. “By the combined power of four from three, the swallower of light we invoke thee. Come forth this night and set yourself free, come forth Ganthenex and so it be!”

Lycralad swallowed as he heard more thunder in the distance.

Mission to Middlehaven: 17

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.