“You and Miss Solanis seemed close,” Axra noted.
“She was always my favourite teacher,” Twila explained.
“Is that right?” Axra asked. She wanted to ask if that was all. If there had ever been anything more between them, but she stopped herself. She was just jealous, that was it. It had to be it.
The two found Velvet, Lysara, Lilly and Bonnie waiting.
Lysara ran to Twila. “So, how did it go?”
“We found leads for two artifacts that could help us,” Twila said. “The problem now is finding them.”
“Well, we’ll just have to start with the last known locations,” Axra said. “She wrote them down for you, right?”
“Yeah,” Twila answered. “The last time Zerstörelicht was seen was underground in the old city.”
“The old city!” Lysara exclaimed. “We can’t go there, can we?”
“What’s wrong with the old city?” Velvet asked.
“It’s supposed to be highly dangerous,” Bonnie said. “Or so I’ve heard.”
“I heard about it in my history lessons,” Axra stated. “Back before the cataclysm the dark elves lived deep, deep underground. Far below where they currently reside. During the wars, a powerful enemy was unleashed against them, and they were forced to flee upwards, sealing the old city behind them.”
“Bu… but if it’s sealed, how do we get in?” Lilly asked.
“Simple,” Twila said. “A phasing spell. We just have to find the old entrance and I can get us through whatever’s blocking it.”
“Sounds like a hassle,” Velvet muttered.
“But what about the enemy?” Lysara asked. “Won’t they try to brutally murder us?”
“There’s no guarantee they still exist down there,” Twila said. “It has been a long time since the great cataclysm and the war leading up to it.”
“Perhaps,” Bonnie said. “But there’s no telling what now resides in the darkness.”
“Bon, don’t scare me like that,” Lysara protested, squeezing Bonnie’s arm. Bonnie hastily pulled away from her.
“I want to know,” Twila said. “Even if it’s dangerous, I want to know what’s down there.” She looked over at Lysara. “You don’t have to come, I can go alone.”
“We’ve been over this already,” Axra said. “We’re coming with you.”
“Yeah,” Lysara’s voice sounded uncertain. “We’re all coming.”
“Sounds like everyone’s having an interesting conversation,” Reginald said. “What did I miss?”
“We’ve found information about some artifacts,” Twila explained. “We’re going to go to the old city to try and find one.”
Reginald whispered. “Interesting. Well, let’s be off then, shall we?”
Zero paced back and forth.
“Calm down, Father dearest,” Rachel said. “Here, I made you some tea.”
“Another failure,” Zero whispered. “We’ve gotten nowhere.”
“That isn’t quite true,” Moira said. “After observing your efforts these past few attempts, I think I’ve got the key to dealing with the problem.”
“Really?” Zero asked. “What is it? Tell me!”
“Step back,” Isaac warned. “She’s about to.”
“The spell’s focal point is the square,” Moira stated. “Every time you begin dispelling it, the counter-reaction kicks in once you attack the focal point directly. It should be possible to dispel the spell around it while leaving that point intact.”
“But that would keep the snow going,” Zero said.
“Only in the square itself,” Moira stated. “Everything around it would go back to normal. The people of Choltin would be able to live their normal lives. Just with a small area in town that’s constantly covered in snow.”
“In any case, it would be way better than it is now,” Isaac argued.
“True enough,” Zero conceded. “Very well. We’ll leave that part of the spell intact. I’ll send word out to everyone to prepare for the attempt.”
“Not necessary,” Moira said. “If I’m right, the three of us should be able to manage it. We’ll just have to direct our magic carefully, avoiding that point.”
“You seem confident,” Zero observed. “Very well, we’ll try it your way.”