We left our heroes in Emperor Khazaduul’s treasure dungeon in search of Prospero the Wizard’s heart. Will our heroes succeed in their task? Find out below.
“Corpses, corpses everywhere but not the ruby we need,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“My God,” James says. “That’s really dark.”
“But true,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. About 30 of the piles of treasure had been reanimated into skeletons. A countless number of sections remain as various gold trinkets, coins and baubles.
“Not all of these were wizards though,” Tracy says. “A lot of this is just actual treasure.”
“I never thought I would be sad being surrounded by riches,” James says, “even if it is a simulated simulation thing. Were these all wizards?” James points to a skeleton ZoopZoop’s magic smoke unveils.
“I don’t believe so, no,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “I thought they would be, but the heart of a wizard is sustained by…” Ozburtle the Wizard stops talking.
“Magic?” James asks.
“No, I mean to your understanding it does seem like magic but you’re familiar with the concept of energy?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks.
“Yes,” James says.
“Okie dokie, so then you’re familiar with the law of the conservation of energy?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks.
“Energy can’t be created or destroyed, only transferred,” James says.
“Right, so I won’t bore you with how energy came about or how wizards became wizards. No, I’ll get straight to the point. The point is that this magical energy is trapped as potential energy in a wizard’s heart. Through meditation and other forms of wizardry we can store up this energy and this gives us the ability to perform our feats,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“Do you do yoga too?” Tracy asks.
“Yes, sometimes, but that’s beside the point. A wizard in this situation would have stored up so much energy that if they made it here, they’d have enough left over to do other magic if need be,” Ozburtle the Wizards says.
“So, Prospero’s heart would still—“ James says.
“Have enough energy to maintain its structure and would still have the map stored along with other magical knowledge,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“That’s fascinating boys but it doesn’t really matter if we don’t find the heart in the first place,” Tracy says. ZoopZoop continues his dusting.
“You never know,” Ozburtle the Wizard says, “perhaps young ZoopZoop will stumble upon this treasure sooner than you think.” ZoopZoop uncovers a skeleton leg with its multi-colored breath. Then, a pelvis and up the lower spine toward the ribs.
“Is ZoopZoop young?” James asks. “How long do space lizards live?”
“Beep!” ZoopZoop says. ZoopZoop takes a big gulp of green flame and blows his smoke onto the sternum. A sparkle of light reverberates through the slits of the ribcage.
“Is it a ruby?” Tracy asks. The four heroes gather around the skeleton.
“Do you want to check James?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks.
“Is this like the minotaur pee thing?” James asks.
“No, but I’ll be sure to get another bottle for you since you seem to love it so much. Anyways, I’ll look to see if there’s the treasure we seek in this wizard’s chest. It’s like a literal treasure chest.”
“Go on Ozburtle, quit stalling,” Tracy says.
“Beep!” says ZoopZoop.
“I just think that it’s cool, is all. James, how about you?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks. James looks down at his feet. “Well fine, I try to make your worlds a little brighter but let those gray grump clouds roll all over the place.”
“Come on,” Tracy says. Ozburtle sweeps his robes behind him and rubs his hands over his beard and strokes his chin. He reaches his hand downward but snaps back.
“I just,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as he balls his hands into fists, “I’ve been searching for this ruby for 25 years. Give me a moment. I don’t want an albatross, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner scenario on my hands.”
“What?” James asks.
“It’s a Coleridge poem, you should read it. Essentially, I don’t want to be cursed. And you all might be cursed with me. If that is the heart of Prospero, who knows what devilish magic he might have crafted in his heart to thwart someone from gaining access to his magic knowledge. Wizards back in the day were ruthless. This whole turning-corpses-into-treasure thing, well it was devised by a wizard name Roderick the Benevolent.”
“Beep!” says ZoopZoop.
“Beep indeed,” Ozburtle the Wizard responds. “So this isn’t a task to be taken to lightly.”
“Well,” James responds, “do you know like a counter spell?”
“A counter spell?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks. He jumps into the air. “Yes, you’re exactly right. We need a soul sacrifice. Brilliant James.”
“A what now?” Tracy asks.
“I just need to sacrifice one of your three souls,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“I have three souls?” Tracy asks.
“No,” Ozburtle the Wizard says, “I see how that was confusing. No, I need to just sacrifice one soul. It’s a great protection plan, lasts about a week and protects you from curses, hexes, spells, potions, bad omens, etc. It’s a panacea, a cure-all against the dark arts.”
“That seems a bit extreme,” James says.
“Well, you can never be too careful against curses. So, who’s it going to be?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks. No one responds. “No takers, well fine.” Ozburtle the Wizard shuffles off to a different skeleton and utters the three sounds, OPONA FUG NUDRA, in repetition.
“What is he doing?” James asks.
“I don’t know,” Tracy says. The once treasure, then skeleton after ZoopZoop’s magic smoke, begins to take on flesh. Skin swirls over the bones and reanimates the body completely. OPONA FUG NUDRA OPONA FUG NUDRA OPONA FUG NUDRA OPONA FUG NUDRA. The body begins to float three feet above the ground. The former corpse takes in a breath which Ozburtle yanks out with his right hand and forces into a crystal vile he holds in his left as he continues to chant the sounds. Ozburtle stops the chant. The body turns back into a skeleton and before it hits the ground turns back into treasure. The breath in the vial turns blue then black and then it vanishes. Ozburtle walks back over to the other heroes.
“Okie dokie, all done,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“My god Ozburtle, what did you just do?” James asks.
“Soul sacrifice, silly, remember, it’s what we were talking about,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “Now,” he says and cracks his neck, “let’s get that ruby.”