Running Faster than Destiny: Part Five
“So, that’s what Onyx’s spell really was,” Kari said. “He didn’t make Twitch any faster. He just made anyone who raced against him slower.”
“Yes,” agreed Gar. “You see, Onyx had tricked Twitch. The sorcerer had given Twitch what he wanted, but not in the way Twitch had expected.”
“Now Twitch can’t race,” the Island Xweetok added. “Not only would he be cheating, but he would hurt the other racers. Was that what Onyx wanted?”
“I believe so,” Gar answered. “So, where did I leave off?”
“Twitch had just fallen asleep in the woods,” Kari replied quickly. “He was looking for Onyx to try and get the spell removed.”
“I see you were listening,” teased the Royal Cybunny. “Now, Twitch had fallen asleep, like you said, although he hadn’t intended to...”
Slowly, Twitch opened his eyes as the sunlight coaxed him awake. It was morning, he suddenly realized as he jumped to his feet. His parents were no doubt worried and it all had been for nothing. He hadn’t found Onyx and the spell was still in effect. He had failed.
“Good morning, my young friend,” an all too familiar voice called down to him. “I was beginning to think you would never wake up.”
Twitch followed the sound of the voice and saw Onyx sitting in the branches of a nearby tree. The same wicked smile was plastered on his face as he sat there, almost content. “You tricked me!” Twitch yelled, walking to the base of the tree.
“You tricked yourself,” Onyx calmly responded. “You wanted to be a winner by any means necessary and you allowed yourself to be blinded to the simple facts of the matter.”
“I didn’t want this to happen, and you know it!” shouted Twitch.
“I don’t think you really cared at the time how the spell worked as long as you got what you wanted,” Onyx countered. “Besides, none of that stuff matters now. Everyone will blame you as much as they blame me. I couldn’t have done anything if you hadn’t wished for it.”
“That’s not true!” Twitch cried, but his voice had lost some of its conviction.
“Isn’t it?” Onyx asked, jumping down from the tree and landing lightly with a few flaps of his Shoyru wings. “Besides, will it matter what the truth really is?” The blue Cybunny was quiet for a few moments, and Onyx apparently thought that mean that he had resigned defeat. “Perhaps we can do business in the future,” the sorcerer said tauntingly, as he started to walk away.
Onyx hadn’t gotten too far, when he heard a flurry of footsteps from behind and felt himself began to weaken. “What’s going on?” he asked, as he turned to see Twitch running towards him.
“You should be careful who you race with,” Twitch advised.
“But I didn’t – I wasn’t racing you!” Onyx snarled.
“Well, you see that’s the thing about that spell,” explained Twitch. “It doesn’t matter if you think if we are racing. It only works if I consider a race and it most certainly was. How does it feel?”
“You little brat,” growled Onyx.
“I guess that means that it doesn’t feel too good,” Twitch said, with a laugh. “Looks like you’re going to have to remove the spell.”
“I’ll never do that,” Onyx insisted.
“Then you’ll just keep moving slower and slower. Now, I’m confused about one thing. Do you actually ever get to the point you reach a full stop or will you just be moving so slow that it looks like you stop?” Twitch was actually enjoying the moment.
“All right,” began Onyx, “you win. Happy? Just help me get back to my tent and I’ll remove the spell.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Twitch, “but you’ll have to tell me where it is. You moved it, didn’t you?”
“Of course I did. I didn’t want you finding your way back when you realized what the spell actually did.” Onyx was already sounding much weaker.
“Better save your energy so you can guide me to it,” Twitch said. “You don’t sound so good.”
Onyx’s reply was little more than a growl, but he quickly began pointing out paths and turns that led to the tent. As it turned out, the tent was only a short distance away and Twitch was amazed at how close he had been the entire time. There was no time to ponder this, though, as he opened up the flap and helped Onyx inside. The sorcerer was becoming heavy as Twitch helped him into a chair and uncovered the cauldron. “What do I do first?” he asked.
Onyx turned his tired gaze to the wood beneath the cauldron and started to speak in a low, heavy voice.
“Fire, answer to your burning name
And with a spark, begin your flame.”
A tiny flame flickered beneath the cauldron and the watery contents began to bubble. Slowly, Onyx pointed to the sloping shelf to the back. “I need the first two vials to the right on the top shelf,” he began, “all the vials on the second shelf and only the green on the bottom.” Twitch got the requested vials, struggling not to drop any and returned to the cauldron. For the next several minutes, Onyx told him the amounts of each vial and the order they should be placed into the cauldron. Twitch found there was a lot more to this potion making than he imagined. Finally, Onyx said that the potion was complete, and asked for Twitch to serve him a spoonful.
Twitch did as the sorcerer asked, but never expected what happened next. One moment, Onyx was sitting there quietly, harmless and docile. However, the second the potion had touched the Shoyru’s lips, he had leapt up from his seat with strength and vigor.
“So, all I have to do is to get Greysoon and the others to drink this stuff and they’ll regain their speed?” Twitch asked carefully.
Onyx laughed and suddenly shoved the cauldron onto its side. Twitch watched helplessly as the potion bled into the dry floor and was absorbed by the ground. “What are you doing?” he demanded.
“You are so trusting,” Onyx said, “Did you actually believe I would give up so easily? That was a clever little stunt you pulled. In fact, no one has ever attempted to use my own magic against me, so I have to give you credit for that at least. Still, you were foolish to think that I would just take away the spell. Now, I am free of the spell effects and immune to them in the future. However, your little friends are still growing slower by the second. Don’t you think everyone will notice that everyone who races against you loses their speed forever? They will soon enough.”
“Why are doing this?” Twitch demanded. “What have I ever done to you?”
Onyx’s wicked smile spread across the contours of his face as he stared at Twitch. “I just like being evil,” he answered. “Haven’t you figured that out by now? It’s even more fun being bad when there’s someone else there to take the blame. I get to sit back and watch all the fun.”
“You won’t get away with this,” Twitch announced, trying to sound brave.
“And who will stop me? You are helpless to do anything because you are as guilty as I am. However, if you try and cross me, I’ll put the same exact spell on you. How would you like that?”
Twitch answered honestly. “I would take the spell if you would remove the effect it had on the other racers.”
“You’re serious,” Onyx said, amazed, “but it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll just put the spell on all of you. I can even pick a curse that’s so bad, you’ll wish you never even existed. It’s not like you can do anything to stop me.”
Twitch had never felt so helpless yet so determined. Even in all the races he had competed in, he had never been so determined to be victorious. “You will be stopped,” he said, “and I will make sure of that.”
“And how will you make sure?” Onyx countered.
All at once, there as a brilliant burst of light that momentarily blinded both of them. Onyx cried out, as if in pain, but Twitch found the light beautiful and comforting. He felt himself being taken away from Onyx’s shabby tent and transported somewhere warm and bright.
The light faded and they blinked several times to clear their vision. “I see we have visitors,” a regal voice said nearby.
Twitch looked up and found himself beyond words. There, before them in all her glory, sat the Faerie Queen Fyora. Twitch bowed low, but Onyx began to tremble.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry,” chanted the sorcerer, but Fyora’s gaze was focused solely on Twitch.
“There seems to be a matter we need to straighten up,” Fyora announced, her lilac eyes shimmering with knowledge, compassion, and justice, “and the time to begin is now.”
Twitch began to wonder if he should apologize profusely as Onyx was doing, but he felt that the time to aspire to the Queen’s good graces had passed.
To be continued...