Chapter 14:

Chapter 15: Banned


Iovita as well went through the debilitating effects of teleportation, but she recovered quite quickly. She gazed over towards the mountain and saw two people still running around the top. They had no idea what they were doing because they both lacked flags. The screen in front of her was showing that the confused girl from earlier was missing one, and the other was missing two. The confused girl started moving back down the mountain scouting for flags. The Flame drone seemed torn. It was flying towards one competitor and then another. It was almost as if it didn’t know who to attack.

Iovita watched as the confused girl made her way back down the mountain. The other boy was tossing rocks off the summit searching in earnest for two more flags. The Flame drone seemed perplexed. It would start to drift towards the boy, and then back down towards the girl. It must be the only drone left behind. Iovita watched the boy run for a while, but she became bored watching him. He was yelling something at the rocks.

A series of words and phrases reached Iovita and sounded completely foreign in her ears. In fact, the audience was looking perplexed. They too must have not understood what he was saying. The words were, of course, being broadcast, but ripples of confusions spread all throughout the audience. The boy finally flipped over a final rock and found a flag! This tied up the boy and the girl together. Iovita then realized she had lost sight of the girl.

Jodoc was watching the girl make her way back down the mountain. From his point, she was the only competitor that he could physically see. The girl arrived at the rock face where Jodoc had lost. He saw a flag down to the right from her. She searched the ledge flipping over a few rocks before moving back down the mountain to the left. He shrugged. The girl moved down the mountain till she had reached the grove. In an instant, she disappeared into the grove and Jodoc wondered where the boy had gone.

Iovita watched with slight curiosity as the boy discovered a new path. Moving quite precariously down the mountain, he was taking no risks. “He really should be watching out for the Flame drone,” Iovita commented. Then she realized that the Flame drone was gone! Iovita could not see it anymore. Struggling to find out where it went, she kept an eye on the boy. He was moving down a sheer cliff face. No outlooks or rock formations on the way down; he was going straight down. He eventually reached the bottom and started tearing through the trees looking for another flag. The screens changed to show a map where the flags were. It was pretty awkward to watch because the boy and girl both were just racing across the field without even seeing the flags. Instead of getting back to the summit, they were focusing on finding the needed flag. The race was being dragged out unnecessarily and Iovita was getting bored.

Finally, the girl touched a flag. After running halfway around the mountain looking for it, she finally had the last one she needed. Jodoc wished that there was a time limit. In an unexpected turn of events though, the visual screens changed again and showed that both the girl and the boy had found their final flags.

The girl raced back to her position, and the boy seemed to have noticed her. His icon on the screen showed that he was close behind her. She reached the base of the mountain and started up. The girl could not be more than 10 meters up when the boy started climbing himself. He was hot on her heels and trying to close in on her.

The girl reached the top path leading up to the summit and began running up it. Seconds later, the boy reached the top as well, but instead of risking being next to or near her, he simply climbed up the rock face itself. He reached the top first.

Iovita began scanning the screen immediately to see where the Flame drone was. It had to become visible in order to cast magic. The boy placed his first flag down. Moving around the table slowly, he placed his second flag down. His movements were visibly becoming more slow and lethargic. Suddenly it occurred to Iovita that this was the same sensation she must have gone through as things got hot on the summit.

“Why?” she thought. “How is this happening? It’s almost as if…” Iovita stopped and put a hand to her trembling mouth for fear of what was about to come out of it. Choking back fear, she let her mind say what she was thinking. “Time magic.” “There was just no way though that time magic could be in effect. Could it be though? But then… what does that mean?!” she panicked.

Time magic was one of the three banned forms of magic. Each was banned for their own specific reason. Usually, a perversion of it on a grave scale was what caused it to be banned. Time magic was banned centuries ago when a planet had an entire army learn it. Then in just a fortnight, they overthrew a nearby planet’s government as well as carried out a genocide of the entire planet. Altheggan was so enraged at what happened, he destroyed that planet in one night.

Iovita had to repeatedly assure herself that it was just her mind playing tricks on her because there was no feasible reason that it was in effect; especially in a place like this in front of spectators. Be that as it may though, the boy was slowing down greatly. He placed the third flag. Scanning the skies, Iovita finally noticed a small whirlwind in the sky. That was how it was hiding! It had hidden itself behind the whirlwind to stay concealed until the last possible minute!

Jodoc had his eyes on the girl. He couldn’t stop watching even though the boy was placing his flags. When Jodoc did tear his eyes away, he saw that the boy was slowing down… “Why?” Jodoc asked aloud. Raising his eyebrows in surprise, he kept watching. The girl had reached the summit, but she was watching the boy from behind some rocks. Something in Jodoc’s vision moved and he focused his gaze on it. A Sky spell was dissipating and there behind it sat the flame drone. “Ah! That’s where it had went.”

The boy did not have a single clue to what was going on, but the girl did. She watched from behind the rocks making sure to keep herself concealed. The Flame drone drew close to the boy and started casting. The ground beneath him started to glow red. He had now picked up the fourth flag with his hand and was slowly moving towards the table. As the base of the stand for the flag was reaching the table, the Flame drone casted it’s magic.

The boy disappeared in a pillar of flame much like how Iovita did followed by a bright light. However, Iovita noted, he was a lot closer to winning than she was. Iovita’s eyes immediately caught movement from behind the drone and the girl leapt from behind with a large rock and brought it down hard on the drone. It sputtered for a brief moment as if it was going to recover, but it fell to the ground where she crushed it with the rock again. Now that the Flame drone was out of commission, she placed all four flags on the table at her own, increasingly slower pace, and finally the fourth flag was placed on the table. She too disappeared in a bright flash of light and landed quite gingerly on the stage.

The priest roared into the mike, “Round two is officially over!”

Iovita would never forget what she saw. She was too terrified though to put it into words.