“Shush!” Perenelle waved my question off and pressed her fingers to her temples.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It’s Nicholas!” Perenelle said excitedly. “He found it!”
“Found what?” I asked.
“Wonderful!” Hecate exclaimed. “We do very much need it.”
“Need what?” I pushed, confused.
“He says that he’s coming right now, he needs help to decipher it,” Perenelle explained.
“Decipher what?!” I asked angrily.
“Part of it is in Greek, part is in Egyptian Hieroglyphs and another in the Olde Language.” She closed her eyes. Come quickly my husband! Be subtle and be safe! She thought.
“WHAT IS IT?!” I yelled furiously. Everyone’s head turned to face me. I guess the non-hearing spell wore off, I thought. I was angry… very, very angry. My aura flared black, coils of darkness spiralling into the air. My eyesight abruptly became clearer, my hearing and sense of smell sharper. I could suddenly taste the air… my tongue felt somewhat livened. A black orb entwined with silver threads became faintly visible in my right palm. It became clearer, and clearer, until it shimmered into existence. My left hand suddenly felt detached—not my own. It began to signal blindly, two fingers, four, three, and finally on. The orb of my aura grew larger. I thrust out my right palm. The orb of darkness flew through the air, trailing silver and black threads behind it. It struck giant oak tree ten times wider than me close to the bleachers. No one saw the demonstration, but they heard the sound. Every head swivelled to face the tree. No one except me, Perenelle and Hecate ever saw the magic that went on. And I had a feeling humans just couldn’t. There was a huge smoking hole running straight through the tree. My aura vanished. “So… what is it?”
“Temper, temper Zane Gladstone! I’m very impressed with you!” a voice said. It could not have been Perenelle or Hecate because they were staring at me, mouths gaping wide, their eyes dilating between me and the tree… and whatever or whoever was behind me. Whatever it was, it wasn’t human, because it had seen my aura orb. A sudden fear welled up inside of me. Someone had seen me! Was I exposed? YES! Uh-oh! I thought. Subconsciously, I allowed my aura to flood into my right hand. I glanced down at it. A black radiance emanated from my hand like a large black fire. It was like a glove made of my aura. Instinctively, I spun on my heels and stared ahead of me, on the ready. When I saw the man—I didn’t see his face—I grabbed his knee with my glowing hand. It shook, there was a crack, and a saddened Nick Lemalf crumpled to the floor screaming and clutching his knee. It was Nicholas Flamel. He looked like he was about to die! I took a closer look… he was grinning. “An Immobilizing Spell all by yourself, Zane? Well done! It’s a good thing that I put a Ward Spell on myself so that my aura would protect me! I’ve never been very good at it, and I didn’t quite perfect it this time.” He rose to his feet. “It aches.
“Aches and pains, cuts and scars, disappear into a jar!” Perenelle said, pointing at Nicholas. A bright blue light suddenly radiated from his knee. A bright red thread with black spots curled out of it. Then, a yellow liquid poured out next to it and hung in the air. A jar appeared out of thin air and caught the thread and the liquid. Its lid jumped onto it and spun itself to close it. Nicholas straightened up, mouthing ‘Thanks’. “No more magic for me today, it has completely exhausted me already.”
“If you’re so very curious to know, Zane, then I’ll tell you what I have,” Nicholas began. If he was really Nicholas Flamel. I wanted to know.
“Prove that you are,” I said.
“Prove that I’m what?”
“Well… alright!” He said enthusiastically. He snapped his fingers. There was a puff of smoke, and he vanished. “HEY!”
I turned around. Standing at the goalpost was Nick. I rushed over to meet him. “I’ll prove it in many ways. I was the real one who created the space time continuum theory and the mathematical equation to explain it.” A paper and pencil appeared in his hand. “As well as the supposed ‘Feynman Diagram on the decay of a neutron into a proton’, I just allowed him to present it. See!” He began to scribble down on the page. When he was finished, he handed it to me. It read:
“The W and Z⁰ bosons are the elementary particles that meditate the weak force. This theory really states the comprehension on beta decay of a neutron into a proton, electron, and electron antineutrino via an intermediate heavy W- boson! And how about the Finite Difference Solution? The finite difference solution may cause considerable smearing of the concentration profiles, a phenomenon known as numerical dispersion. This numerical dispersion may limit the applicability of the solution. Its value usually depends on the flow velocities as well as the space and time increments. Therefore, the space-time continuum is subdivided into a network of rectangular cells.” He began to quickly scribble down lines and math that I couldn’t understand. He finished in five seconds flat. It said:
“And if you don’t get that, how about the theory of transmutation… also known as turning objects into gold.”
“That’s all good and well, but why don’t you show me actual proof that you’re Nicholas Flamel?”
There was a pause, and Nick closed his eyes. Placing his two hands on the goalpost, Nick began to concentrate. I could see determination in his face. A brilliant blue and pink aura flared to life around him. Where his hands clutched the pole, it began to take on a new color: bright yellow, shiny. Almost… golden! The circle of gold began to spread infectiously, like a contagious disease that was being studied in a lab, only to escape and multiply as it infected the whole city. The goalpost was soon completely gold. Nick pulled his hands off the pole, still staring at it. His aura winked out as he admired his work. He grinned, obviously satisfied with his masterpiece. “How’s that?”
“Do it from scratch,” I said.
“Now that’s a little bit trickier… I’ll need some water,” he answered.
“Why?” I asked.
“Look.” The paper that once had complicated math equations scribbled all over on both sides was now blank. He drew something slowly, and then laid it on the ground. He then snapped his fingers. There was a bright flash, and the paper changed. “The original Aristotle’s Elements.”
“What is this?”
“AET—Aristotle’s Element Theory—explains how each element is characterized by a pair of wet slash dry and cold slash got properties. In other words, EARTH is cold and dry. WATER is cold and wet, AIR is hot and wet and FIRE is hot and dry. Now, based on this theory, how would you view gold’s properties?”
“Dry and cold?”
“Exactly! And how else?”
“Yellow, heavy and shiny?”
“You could say that, but what I was looking for was a combination of elements based on their given characteristics.”
“Oh,” I said embarrassed. “Earth and… fire?”
“No, it would be too as risk of spontaneous combustion if it were created with fire.”
“Earth and air, then?”
“Air is a combination of hot and wet qualities. You can’t infuse an object with opposite elements otherwise they’ll cancel each other out.”
“Then it has to be earth and water,” I said.
“Yes, gold is thought to be a combination of earth and water and to take on certain and precise qualities. It could be cold and dry, cold and wet or hot and dry. It can only be hot and dry if it were being burned; therefore, it would naturally adopt that very same quality. But under regular circumstances, when it rains it would be cold and wet. Otherwise, it would be cold and dry. That’s why I need to combine earth and water.”
“I lost you at cheese.”
“I didn’t say cheese!”
“Well then, I didn’t hear anything you said!”
“I’ll just show you then!” Nick placed one hand onto the ground. “I’m not very good at Water Magic but…” Nick’s eyes closed. His aura flared briefly. “Aestuarium, consurgo!” He blew into his cupped hand. Suddenly, water began to puddle into his hand. It swirled up and dropped into the puddle… almost as if it were living. Whenever a droplet would begin to fall to the ground, it would dissipate, and the mini rain globules would jump back onto his hand. He extended his other hand toward the ground. A faint green glow began to emanate from the earth under his hand.
“Someone will see you!”
“No one else can see auras or magic except those who wield them and can bend them to their will.” The glow grew brighter, and brighter, and brighter still. Suddenly, a small crack appeared in the earth.
“Then what will they see?!” I said urgently, unsubtly looking around. Perenelle and Hecate were observing as Ben came into view with about four or five other people trailing behind him.
“A blank space—nothing at all—I put a Refraction of Light spell around myself. It renders me invisible by bending the sunlight and fog around me. The morning dew from the ground is picked up and it hovers in place as the light bends around it. It makes it seem like you would be looking at an empty spot where the sun is hitting harshly. That’s why it only works in the morning. And, the human race cannot see auras, but creatures can—you would do well to remember that—nor can they see the powerful magic we exude.” The crack in the earth grew into a messy circle. The grass there began to age and wither. Nick’s aura flared brighter. “You can draw on the life of creatures and specimens around you to strengthen your aura momentarily. Problem with that it, you’ll be hit by a powerful blow of exhaustion after, for it takes up much energy.” The space with the yellow grass started to lift off of the dirt. A rock the size of my hand hovered in the air before me. It settled in the palms of Nick Lemalf, the green glow around it fading. Nick poured the water onto the rock and started to mutter. “Transmuto, converto, tranformo— auraius!”
“What are you saying?”
An amazing golden glow began to shine so brightly I had to divert my attention so I wouldn’t get sunspots at the back of my eyes. When the vivacity dulled, I looked back at Nick’s hands. “I said; ‘Transmute, convert, transform—gold’… in other words,” he opened his cupped hands, “I transmuted two base elements into gold.”
Lying in his palms was a rectangular prism of gold, shining mercilessly with its own halo. I could see my own reflection, staring back at me mockingly. I realized my awe-struck expression and accidentally let slip a slight, “Whoa…”
“I know,” said Nick. “Do you believe me now, Zane Gladstone?”
“I believe you… Nicholas Flamel,” I said. He smiled. I stared up at the goalpost. The yellow color had vanished. I ran back toward Hecate and Perenelle with Nicholas close at my heels. We returned to the group of chattering fifteen year old kids. I glanced to my right at Hecate. She looked older still. She looked like she was now twenty or so. Only half an hour had passed and she looked as if she’d aged three or four whole years.
“Hecate,” I said.
“My name is Kate! Don’t call me Hecate around these people,” she whispered.
“Sorry,” I whispered back. “What does Nick have?”
“A clue to where the first Jewel of Ancient is.”
“What’s a Jewel of Ancient?”
“This isn’t a good time, Zane,” she said. She was looking straight ahead, at Ben as he approached the large groups.
“I wish Lily was here,” I said. “She would be able to make sense of this. I really need her right now. I don’t want Kronos to hurt her. I—I don’t even know if she’s okay.”
“What’s happened to her? Why is she not present?”
I vacillated for a moment, and then decided how I could answer the question. “She hurt herself at a survival camp. She was in a tree trying to get her friend’s camera and she fell.” I gulped down the sour taste that was sticking to the back of my throat. “She broke her leg and fractured her wrist… I… I was scared as hell when I heard. Swearing left right and center— that was me. She was rushed to the hospital on a stretcher. I wanted to be by her side today… holding her hand, comforting her and telling her she’d be okay, but…” I sniffled. “I couldn’t. My mom went in my stead and I came here.”
“Oh, well I’m so very sorry that a terrible misfortune such as a painful injury had to befall her. I do apologize, Zane. Is there anything I can do to make you more at ease? You seem quite close to her,” Hecate said gently. She actually understood me! She wasn’t being obnoxious, but the complete opposite end of the scale! She was being empathetic and kindly. Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all.
“No, but thank you,” I said.
“Sorry it took me so long!” a voice announced. I turned my head to face an average height twenty- three year old with brown eyes and black hair. “These people were busy. But anyway, let’s go start some drills!”
“Huh?” I said.
“I said we’re going to do some drills,” Ben replied.
“Then who? Who is it that you’re talking to Zane?”
“Well… I’m—I’m not sure exactly who…” I said.