Chancer and I ran outside. How had they gotten in?! When I wasn’t on duty, the foxes of the village managed things! I mean, they didn’t know about the Mage Gems, but they still managed it! How had a whole army gotten past the— oh, wait, was that Dalandis the fox? The leader of the fox patrol? Why, that little traitor!
“Where’s the Mage of Midnight now? I don’t see her running to help you!”
“You’re standing in our treasure! This village is the treasure!”
“Nonsense! Even if most of your citizens don’t know, we know you have something else!” the cat said.
Dalandis help up an opal. “Indeed.” That was the Opal of Invisibility! “I knew something was up, so I did a bit of sneaking around. We foxes are excellent at that.”
“And treachery,” I growled. I had never liked this guy, but now it was even worse.
He ignored me. “I discovered this. At first, I thought it was your normal, every day jewel. But now I see that when you concentrate...” he turned invisible. “This happens. And I found it in the Chief’s hut.”
From there, things passed by in a blur. The battle was hard. Unfortunately, my people were forced to retreat. Only a few of us escaped, including me, Chancer, my father, and Cortan, who some villager had thought to save. We found ourselves in an old cave that I’d only been in once. Once we’d hidden the entrance, the escapees started bombarding my father with questions. He explained everything to them while I ventured deeper into the cavern, where I could be alone.
Ugh. This was all my fault. I had been having dreams about this. I’d known they were from the Emerald of Foresight, and I hadn’t even payed any attention until it was too late! I spent too much time focusing on a little rabbit that I let an entire army find it’s way into Acronia! Now we were hiding out in a cave that nobody ever went into unless they were desperate. Ugh. And I was going to be chief someday.
I was so focused on my thoughts, I didn’t even notice Chancer come up behind me until he spoke. “I know what you’re thinking, and it was not your fault.”
“But it was, Chancer! I knew this was going to happen! I could have prevented it! But I didn’t think anything of it!”
Either he had some special mind-reading powers, or he was good at hiding confusion. Or he remembered my mention of the Emerald. “Chosi, there was nothing you could have done. The Emerald’s prophecies cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try.” Ok, third one.
I sighed. He had a point. So I just said, “Come on. Let’s head back to the others.” We walked back. We got there right as Dad shouted, “SILENCE!” I stopped in my tracks. So did Chancer.
Dad started saying, “There is one more part of this secret that only the current chief knows. Nobody else. Only them.” Was he talking about a part that I didn’t know? I thought he had told me every part... “Sankali left behind instructions. He had known this would happen, as the Emerald of Foresight, the most powerful Mage Gem, told him. This was a sign of the Eight Great Mages being gone for too long. These gems were not discovered by Sankali. They had originally belonged to the Eight Great Mages of Malancia. These gems were the source of their power, each of the gems’ powers enhancing that element of magic. The Eight Great Mages knew that they needed to give these gems to Sankali. There are many holes in the story, but what we do know is that what is coming will be prevented if we return the gems to their home region. We must do this. Or at least we would be if we hadn’t left the gems behind!” Dad punched the wall. I blinked. I’d never heard of the Eight Great Mages— must have been a forgotten tale. Many things such as this are forgotten around here. Or maybe it was mostly just from the outside.
“Um... Dad?” I heard a hoarse voice speak up. We all turned to Cortan, who was lying in the corner. “We do have one of the gems.”
“What are you talking about? None of those who actually know about them went to retrieve them.”
“Well, I had one all along.” We stared. I said, “What?!”
Cortan sat up and pulled out a beautiful peridot. I gasped. Chancer said, “The Peridot of Plants!” Dad simply said, “Why do you have the Peridot, Cortan?”
“I got a feeling last night. I was feeling a bit— cough, cough— better, so I went down and grabbed the first one. It was late, so you and Chosi weren’t awake.” I blinked. Then laughed. “This means we can get started! The outsiders may have the rest, but we can get started!”
“Indeed.” Then, my father said, “We need only a few people to return the Peridot to its region. Do we have any volunteers?” I shouted, “Well, I have to go! At least one of the chief family should go!”
“And I’ll go too,” Chancer said. Then, softer to what he thought I couldn’t hear, “To keep her out of her normal trouble.” I glared at him.
Dad looked at us for a minute, and said, “Very well. Anyone else?” I could almost hear the crickets. “Ok. Chosi and Chancer shall go alone.” He walked over to us and said. “Follow me. I must explain things to you in a bit more detail.”
Hey guys! Sorry about the cliffhanger here, but what’s a story without a cliffhanger? Thanks for reading! TO BE CONTINUED (either tomorrow or even just a few hours)