Chapter 2: Amaryllis Sanctum

"Hey! Those are the guards over there!" Signoli said, loudly as the group peered over the underbrush to spy on the wizards guarding the entrance.

"Shut up, baka." Nikki said, slapping him on the head. He recoiled in pain, quietly at least.

"Yes... Ma'am..." He said weakly. Signoli had a big crush on Nikki, since they were little kids growing up in the village together.

Even though Sig was loud, the group was lucky that the guards weren't really paying attention. They were too busy looking at the classifieds in the local newspaper.

"Oooh look at that one, she's hot!" One of them exclaimed.

"You think that's hot? Look at this one, she's in the nearby village of Daffodil. We could be there tonight if we leave now!" The other said.

"But we're here under strict mission from the Capital. We picked the smallest sticks when it came to our duties this week, remember?"

"You're right... I can't believe Lord Yggdra wants guards at every Sanctum around the kingdom. What's so important about them anyway?"

"Shhh... I think I heard something. From over there!" The one Royal Guardsman said, pointing to where the five youths were hiding.

"Crap! They've found us!" Arcturus said under his breath, but Signoli laughed.

"Did you forget my other ability, Arcturus? You may have more magical ability than I do, but leave this to me." He said, with a snide look on his face. "Everyone, hold your breath for a moment." Signoli whisperered, and everyone did as he said.

Under his breath he uttered: "Fog Magic: Delusional Zephyr". As he uttered this, he emitted a hazy wave from his hands, that headed towards the guards, who didn't notice it coming. They breathed it in and instantly stopped walking.

"Hey, boss, look over there! It's that girl from the paper!" He yelled excitedly, pointing at nothing. The other guy took a deep breath in, like an idiot, and yelled back at him.

"You're right! Both of those girls are there! And they're beckoning for us to follow them to Daffodil Village, where there's tons more girls like them!" He yelled, as the two ran off, giggling at their luck, not even heading in the direction of Daffodil village, and were gone in a matter of seconds.

The group stood up and brushed themselves off. "Wow, Signoli, I gotta say, that's impressive every time you have to use it." Arcturus said, patting his friend on the shoulder. Signoli smiled. "You think so? I don't get to use it often. I'm glad you like it, buddy." He said.

"I think it's lame as fuck..." Tyrol said.

"Huuuuuhhh? What did you say?" Signoli yelled as he jumped at the boy, who vanished into a portal.

"Get back here, you jerk!" Signoli yelled at Tyrol, who appeared a few feet away. "I'm not going to hold still, baka."

"Guys we need to get going into the Sanctum, it's almost noon. We've got like 6 hours now." Arcturus said.

The four others looked to the sky. It was getting cloudy, but Arcturus was right. The sun was at the apex of the sky.

As the group of young wizards walked down the narrow corridors of the Sanctum, Byron spoke.

"So... How do we know what direction we're going, or that we came from?" He asked as the group reached a set of doorways, which he felt they'd seen before.

"Ah so you did notice." Arcturus said, slightly mocking the man. He grunted.

"I've been marking every single corridor we go down, with a bit of berry juice that I gathered when we were in the woods coming here. See?" He pointed towards two of the three doorways, to show that there was purple liquid marking them.

Tyrol gasped. "So... Someones using spatial magic?" He asked. Arcturus shrugged.

"I don't know about all that, I just figured out that we'd been here before."

"So this pathway is the right one?" Nikki asked, timidly.

"I'm surprised that you don't know. Don't you come down here all the time?" Tyrol asked. She grimaced.

"No, father won't let me. He may be the mayor of the town, but he barely considers me human, let alone his daughter..." She said, clenching her fist. Arcturus was taken aback, he'd never heard her talk about her father like that before.

"Nikki..." He said, but she shook her head and calmly walked down the untraversed path.

"Let's continue." She said, and everyone followed behind her. Suddenly, the ground beneath them lit up with a magic circle and started to crumble.

"Shit! There's a trap here!" Signoli yelled. Tyrol attempted to summon a portal, but couldn't gather enough Mana.

"Damn and the circle is blocking any other magic to be used. Everyone, brace yourselves!" He shouted, as they all plummeted into the darkness.

Arcturus was the first to wake up. A pile of rubble blocked part of the new hallway he was in. He scratched his head and looked around, not seeing a sign of any of his friends. "Nikki! Signoli! Byron!"

"You dont have to yell so loud... Geez you're hurting my ears." A gruff voice said. Arcturus turned, happy to see the ever blunt Byron. He ran up to him and gave him a hug.

"Right. Let's try and find the other three buffoons."

"Okay."

Byron put his hand against the pile of rubble and dirt and closed his eyes.

"They're not here. They were... Taken..." He said, lowering his hand.

"By who?" Arcturus yelled and Byron put his hand over the boy's mouth.

"Shh... Follow me."

The two made their way down the hallway and approached a door that was glowing with green light. Inside, Byron stuck his head in and saw three robed figures and Nikki, tied up in what looked like chains made of lightning.

"Arcturus. There's some powerful magical items in there. We need to save them." Byron said, with his head down. "Those mages are from the Badlands." Arcturus put a hand on his mouth. The Badlands were a region beyond the mountains north of their village, where exiled wizards lived. It was full of black markets, dark magic, and cults of evil wizards plotting terrible things.

Arcturus nodded and summoned his light sword.

"Hey, hey! What are you lot doing here?" Byron yelled, running into the room and at the main hooded figure. The figure dodged his attack with ease and landed on a pillar nearby. A green pendant dropped from the wizards hand, although he still firmly grasped the chain it was attached to. The gemstone within it shone with an eerie light and illuminated the entire cavern.

"We only came for this. That is all." The hooded figure said, in a low tone. The other two mages jumped to his side.

Arcturus jumped at the trio of dark wizards, using his boosters to increase his attack speed.

"Stealing from this place was our idea! And it's our village so we have more of a right to the shit here than you do!" He yelled, as he swung his sword. The main mage dodged the attack, but one of the other wizards was hit in the arm. Why didn't he try to dodge the swing?

Byron leaped up onto the pillar and used his earth magic to launch himself at the man with the pendant. The man, yet again, managed to dodge the attack.

"You two are fools if you think you can hit me, especially in possession of this." He said, holding up the pendant. Arcturus just smirked.

"You mean this one?" He said, holding out his hand.

The wizard gasped, realizing Arcturus had at some point swapped the pendant out for some other trinket that lay around the treasure room.

"But... How?" The wizard said, stunned.

"It's simple. When I attacked you, I swung my sword, and then used my light magic to create a tiny hook that I attached to your pendant. When Byron attacked you with the speed that he did, you were forced to maneuver yourself out of the way. That's when I switched the pendants, during that short period where you were focused on dodging his attack. I yanked the hook in my direction, and he placed a new one in your hand." Arcturus said, smiling.

Byron smiled too. "It's a technique we use in the game that we play. If either of our other friends has the object, Arcturus and I have a pact that we'll use this technique to get it back."

The wizard grimaced and looked at the other two hooded figures disappointed.

"You two were useless. Well it doesn't matter anyway. I got what I came for. You may have the pendant, but I have what was inside it. You'll be sorry for this." He said.

"You! Get us out of here." The main figure said to one of the other two, who hesitated for a moment.

"Oh fine, you want me to distract them?" The main wizard asked.

"Lightning Magic, Blinding Glare!" The wizard said, as the room filled with bright electricity. It didn't attack the two boys, but once it died down, the trio of wizards were gone. There wasn't a hole in the walls or anything. They were just gone.

"Woah! Where'd they go, you think?" Arcturus asked Byron, who remained silent.

"Well, I guess it doesn't matter, because we protected the pendant!" Arcturus said, putting it in his pocket.

"Let's gather some other coins and then get out of here."

"Hey you two!" Nikki's voice said, coming from the doorway. She, Tyrol and Signoli came running in.

"Hey you guys, you missed Arcturus and I actually working together!" Byron said, laughing.

"Byron are you really happy about that? That's not a good thing..." Arcturus said, embarrassed.

"Tyrol here got lost." Signoli said, glaring at his brother

"Yeah well at least I didn't get scared." Tyrol said back.

"C'mon guys, it's gotta be close to sundown. Let's grab some loot and get out." Nikki said.

"Right!" Everyone cheered.