21 August 2012

Niran Kvansakul – The Star of Hope

The Star of Hope

Young genius Lucius Dalworthy climbed from his Subterranean Tunneller, straightened his top hat, and strode into the underground chamber. ‘Surrender!’ he cried. ‘There is no escape for you now!’

Standing amid the steam and dust, Cressida Mandeville – his equally young and equally brilliant arch-enemy – raised an eyebrow. ‘That’s odd. I was just about to say the same thing to you.’

Cressida popped the golden bubble encapsulating her as if it was formed from soap and water rather than the full strength of Lucius’s magic. A shimmering ruby mist appeared around Lucius and he stopped moving. The time-freezing spell was good, but Lucius knew a simple counter. The mist evaporated, and Lucius could move again. He cast his thoughts around for a spell, and settled on one that would shrink her. The rules were clear, and neither of them wanted to actually hurt the other. ‘I deserve to take the Star of Hope back. I was always better at transformations than you!’

A golden cube materialised around Cressida and started contracting rapidly. As the surfaces surrounding her diminished, she started to get smaller. ‘But I was best at everything else. We’ll see who gets to become First Magician.’ Cressida strained valiantly, but when she was the size of a mouse, she turned and ran through a cloud of steam. Lucius cursed and hurried to follow her. The chamber was enormous with various items littering the floor. It looked to be an unused workshop with some of the machinery still belching steam. There were many doors around the edge of the chamber and Lucius looked around impatiently. Finally, lowering his gaze to the floor, he noticed footprints leading to the right-hand door.

Using a magic mirror, he peered into the room. He saw a tiny store-cupboard with bare walls and no way out. In a corner Cressida was covered in ruby mist, desperately trying to get bigger. Lucius swiftly closed the door, sending a burst of gold-coloured magic to seal it. With that done, he strode to the door opposite, opening it with a complex incantation. Inside, on a table, was the Star. Pocketing it, Lucius ran from the room, through the chamber, and back into his Subterranean Tunneller.

The Tunneller made short work of the trip to the surface, and he was soon aboveground. Lucius judged he still had some time until Cressida escaped, but it never hurt to hurry. Approaching the city, Lucius double-checked the Star in his pocket. He took it and cradled it in his arm. When he arrived, the High-Magician was there. Lucius bowed, and was handing over the Star when it started humming and a vision appeared. ‘You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?’ asked a smiling image of Cressida. Lucius got a sinking feeling.

Cressida was now her full size. She had felt Lucius take the decoy, and purposely let him seal her in here. She had determined that the Star was here somewhere, but where? Her gaze settled on a battered-looking box in the corner of the room. She sent her mist out across the room, checking that the box really did contain the Star before lifting the lid. The sapphire jewel glowed with its own internal energy. With the Star in hand Cressida opened a portal to the surface and stepped through, knowing that she would be the next First Magician.

By Niran Kvansakul, Year 7 (Male)