"What just happened?" Thomas asked.
Gwendolyn shrugged. "It seems the Urocubus has a serious hate towards Sarine."
Derrick raised an eyebrow. The Orocubus was sentient? "Well, that's convenient." he answered.
"Anyway, we'd better follow him and make sure he doesn't hurt our friends." Gwen added.
"Good idea." Thomas agreed.
The two of them started after it, with Snickers at their heels, but Derrick stayed still. "Wait!" he called. "I know how to get us there faster!"
They stopped. "How?" Gwendolyn asked. "What can you do? Manipulate time?"
"Better." Derrick said, stepping cautiously towards them. "I can make things go around time."
"I don't follow." Gwendolyn said.
"Neither do I. . . what are you talking about?" Thomas asked.
"Come here." Derrick said. "It's more like something I need show you rather then explain."
"I don't know. . . ." Gwen said, but Thomas quickly went to Derrick's side.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Stick close to me, kid." was all Derrick said. "Gwendolyn? We're running short of time. There's no way we'll beat the Urocubus there on foot."
"Then what do you suggest? We fly there?" Gwendolyn asked. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to take us back down to the cavern, as close to where the Dragons are as possible." Derrick explained. "If you want to beat it there, we'll have to go now. Stand still next to Thomas." he ordered as he knelt to draw a large circle in the ground with his hand. "You, too." he added, pointing to Snickers. "But I can't promise you'll enjoy this."
"I don't doubt that I will dislike it." the bobcat replied. "As long as you promise we will get there in one piece, I will be fine."
"Good." Derrick replied, motioning him to get inside the circle.
"Do you know what he's going to do, Snickers?" Gwendolyn demanded, looking at her companion in surprise.
"I have a notion of it, milady." he replied.
"Hold on to me." Derrick ordered, mentally rehearsing the spell as he stood up in the center.
As he closed his eyes, he felt two tugs on sleeve of his shirt.
Derrick sighed in irritation and opened his eyes. "No, no. Thomas, stand on my other side." he said.
Thomas moved. Then, to Gwen's surprise and discomfort, Derrick put his arm around her.
Gwendolyn tried to pull away. "What are you-"
"I'm not comfortable with this either, Gwendolyn. Bear with it." Derrick snapped. "You, cat, wrap your tail around Thomas's leg. Tightly. Thomas, hold onto me."
"Yes, your highness." Snickers replied sarcastically as Thomas grabbed hold of Derricks other arm.
"If any of you let go, we won't get there in one piece. Please don't be this loud when I recite. I need concentration. Oh, and you may feel disoriented for a minute after it's over." he added, as if it were an afterthought.
"After what's over?" Gwen and Thomas demanded in unision.
Derrick ignored them, and closed his eyes. "See now the space so vast we must cross." he recited.
"What is he doing?" Thomas whispered.
"See now the place where we are." Around them, the walls and floor seemed to waver.
"I don't know." Gwen replied, also whispering. "Snickers?"
"See now where all in this circle must go." The colors around them seemed to muddle and turn grey.
"Teleportation spell." the bobcat whispered back as Derrick spoke the last line,
"Let magic fly us through time to the cavern below."
The grey seemed to deepen as they "flew" down to the cavern using magic.
As the grey blackened, they could sense all sorts of magics of all kinds. They weren't flying, but the magics seemed to fly by them. It was a hollow, moving, grey-black world.
Gwendolyn gasped, and it echoed all around them. Thomas seemed tempted to shush her, but didn't dare speak or let go.
Derrick was having trouble focusing. He didn't know where the cavern they needed to go to was, and he needed to try and sense where it was. Wait. . . . .wasn't that a blast of Soren's magic?
Derrick stopped the spell abruptly. The grey quickly faded, and the four comrades landed duely in the middle of their friends' fight with the royal Guardians. Once he was aware of the surroundings, he let go of Gwen and shook Thomas off of his arm.
"Get ahold of yourselves fast. There's not that much time." he said, trying his best to call up a protective barrier. Which wasn't working.
"Oh, for crying out loud." he muttered to himself, looking around. What could he use. The Guardians were closing in. . . .
"Soren! We need your help!" he screamed at the top of his lungs.
Soren, only a few feet away, turned to see the Gwen, Thomas and Snickers looking very confused and Derrick looking very desperate. He dashed towards them and put up a wind barrier. It would slice anyone who dared touch them.
"Keane? Thomas?" he exclaimed. "What in the world- when did- how'd you all get here? Aren't you supposed to be finding the Urocubus?"
Derrick massaged his temples, feeling half-drained from the spell. "We found it. It hates Sarine with a passion and is on it's way to get her." he exclaimed over the noise.
"What? What do you mean, hates her with a passion?"
"He doesn't just hate her. He's the king of all Urocubus, he ancient! His name is Toranux." Gwen added. "Urocubi can speak, and Teranux spoke to me. He hates dragons, and Sarine is the worst of the worst."
"It can speak?" Soren repeated.
"Only to me." Gwen said. "He can only speak to sorcerers of command. When I told him about Sarine living in this place, he got very upset. Now he's tearing his way down here so that he can find her."
"Really? So, it's on the way here?"
"Yes. We came ahead of him so that we could warn him not to kill you and the others in his rage." Thomas added.
"But how did you get here? You didn't actually teleport, did you?" Soren asked, giving Derrick a look. "I'm not sure I can believe that."
"No, Soren. Technically, we flew through frozen time using magic." Derrick replied in his sarcastic, matter-of-fact matter. "Teleportation is the layman's term, if you'd like to know."
"Only you would know something like that, Keane. Are all of you okay?"
"We're fine!" Thomas and Gwen said. Derrick nodded. Snickers merely growled at him. Teleportation didn't exactly make animals happy.
"Can you fight until the Urocubus gets here?" he asked, making the wind barrier a bit lower. A bunch of Guardians had surrounded them now, and were anxious to fight them, the intruders.
Derrick looked at Gwen and Thomas, who nodded.
"Snicks?" Gwen asked.
The bobcat nodded its head. "I will fight, milady."
"Whenever you're ready, Soren." Derrick mentally prepared himself for combat.
Just as Soren dropped the barrier, a deafening roar sounded throughout the place. Toranux was almost there.
In the same breath, four of them began launching attacks on the Guardians. They had to get as many out of the way as possible before the king of the Urocubi passed through, probably killing them all.
Gwendolyn dashed towards the entrance where the roar had come from, and screamed at the top of her lungs, "STOP IN FRONT OF ME, TERANUX! YOU MUST HEAR ME BEFORE YOU PASS!" in a voice that surprised Derrick more then anyone.
Who knew that such a woman could yell so loud? he thought as he fought beside Thomas and Soren. This battle was already bringing out her true colors.