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Myself... In Shattered Reflection

Book 3: Unsung

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2018 MultiMapper.
All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter 48

"We're ready." Dex said simply, then added more urgently, "Go tell Milo."

The shadow before them whooshed away as if carried on a strong breeze, even though there wasn't any wind to speak of.

"Are you sure that's enough of a message?" Zanner asked uncertainly.

"Well, if we're right about why that shadow was here, then yeah. If we're wrong, then I guess it doesn't matter because we don't know what the question was anyway." Dex reasoned.

"That makes no sense. You know that, right?" Zanner asked him cautiously.

"Would you have sent a different message?" Dex asked curiously.

"I don't know. Maybe. I just know that I'd rather not give an answer until I'm more sure of what they're asking." Zanner said frankly.

"I can see what you're saying. But I don't want for everyone at all three sites to have to wait on us to make up our minds. If it turns out that I'm wrong, I'll say that I'm sorry... but I'm pretty sure that I'm right."

"Since when are you so sure of yourself? Aren't you the one who's all timid and barely able to speak?" Zanner asked suspiciously.

"I guess since I got to know you and Paul and G." Dex said thoughtfully, then continued, "I'm still uncomfortable and awkward around people that I don't know and trust. But that doesn't include you... at least not anymore."

"Oh, um. Thanks." Zanner stammered, then hurried to add, "Me too. I mean, you. I got comfortable with you, too."

Dex laughed delightedly before saying, "That sounded about as uncomfortable as it's possible to get."

"I'm not used to having friends, okay? This is probably as weird for me as it is for you."

"How can you not have lots of friends? You're always so happy and upbeat all the time. I'd think that anyone would want to hang around with you."

"Not so much." Zanner said weakly, then explained, "I guess people like me at first, but then they seem to get tired of me. I'll think that I've made a new friend, then one day they'll suddenly not be there anymore and it'll turn out that they ditched me."

"Well, that sucks." Dex said frankly.

"Perhaps we should attempt to begin the Assembly of the Magi." Reaper cautiously suggested.

"Paul was casting for a few seconds, but then he backed out." Dex said carefully.

"Do you think something might be wrong?"

"I have no way of knowing that. Nothing worried me about what I sensed going on, but I guess that doesn't really mean a whole lot." Dex said honestly.

"Maybe he's waiting for us to start." Zanner suggested.

"And maybe he isn't." Dex countered.

"Are you saying that you don't want to start it yet?"

"No. I'm saying that I don't want for us to do something this big and magical and important for the wrong reasons. I'm not scared of calling up the magic. But I am afraid of the magic being misused once we've called it up." Zanner said frankly.

"I don't know what I can do but promise not to misuse the power." Reaper said frankly.

"It's not you, Reaper. I promise, it's nothing like that at all. My problem is with us making guesses and plans without knowing for sure what we're doing. This is too important to be done wrong."

"Would you feel better if we waited for the spellcasters to return?" Reaper slowly asked.

"No. I'm pretty sure that we're alright on the spellcasting... I mean, for the barriers and stuff. What I'm talking about is stomping in, like we own the place, and throwing magic around like nothing matters except for the stuff that we care about." Dex fought to explain.

"So are you saying that you think that we shouldn't do it, or that we need to be careful, or what?" Zanner asked cautiously.

"I guess I'm just saying that we're guests here. We need to..." Dex trailed off, obviously searching for the words.

"What?" Zanner whispered.

"...show respect." Dex finally continued.

"We're here trying to save these people's homes. What more do you want?" Zanner asked frankly.

"Friend-Dex is correct." Reaper quietly provided.

"So what are we supposed to do? Or not do? I'm totally lost here." Zanner asked irritably.

"A long time ago, beings of tremendous power established three colonies to protect their most vulnerable children. It was well within their power to relocate them to other realms or to completely isolate them in this one. However, they wanted their children to at least have a chance of emerging from their isolation and becoming equal participants in the greater world." Reaper carefully explained.

"I guess that didn't work out too well for them." Zanner said frankly.

"Perhaps. Perhaps not. In the fullness of time, any or all of the colonies may be able to join the greater society. You see, we're not here to witness the end of the story. This event is just one stepping stone along their journey."

"But couldn't the Brynnhollow witches live with humans right now, I mean, if they could just get their transformations worked out? It's really not that big a deal, is it?"

"The arcane knowledge doesn't refer to this instance. It nonetheless tells me that a colony of witches would not have been included when the colonies were established. Other arrangements would have been made for them. By what the knowledge tells me, it would seem most likely that another colony had been established, but then failed. The witches would have come along later."

"But if there was a different colony to begin with, how do they make the magic work? They're so interdependent." Zanner asked with difficulty.

"What we're looking at is one plan among many. One part of one plan. A speck on a speck. And yet, from another viewpoint, if we make a wrong decision or take a wrong action, there might be no more Wudewas... anywhere... ever." Dex said passionately.

"Whoa! Where'd that come from?" Zanner asked cautiously.

"That's what I've been trying to get you to understand. That's what I was trying to put into words. Before we begin, I need you to know how big and how small what we're doing really is, all at the same time."

"I get it... at least I'm starting to." Zanner said earnestly.

"Does that mean that we may begin?" Reaper asked hopefully.

"Don't we have to wait on Mr. Hansen and them to get back before we call up the magic?"

"It will take time for us to complete the Assembly of the Magi and release the magic for their use. I believe it would be better for us to have the magic ready and waiting for them to take up and use upon their arrival rather than for us to wait for them to return before we begin." Reaper carefully explained.

"Oh, okay." Zanner said with mild surprise at the explanation, then abruptly added, "Yeah. Let's do this."

* * * * *

"Are you having any luck?" Dr. Williams cautiously asked.

"Not yet, but give it a minute. I'm pretty sure it's going to start anytime now." Milo said with determination.

"Um, Mister... um,.Milo. I think you have a visitor." Filipe said hesitantly.

Milo followed his gaze and smiled at the vague shrouded shadow figure that was becoming more solid as it approached him.

"Thank you for helping me Mr. Nail. How is the other team doing? Did they give you any messages for me?" Milo asked gently as he maintained the majority of his focus on his spellcasting.

Milo smiled, then announced to the group, "Reaper's team is doing fine and they say that they're ready."

"Well, Mah Zah says that Paul and them are okay, so I guess that means that there's no reason for us to hold back." G said frankly.

"Have you been holding back?" Milo asked with surprise.

"No! I just didn't give it one hundred percent because I wasn't sure if everyone was alright or not." G fought to explain.

"I'm pretty sure that's what holding back means." Filipe said frankly.

"You've been hanging around Paul too much." G playfully groused.

"Maybe I have. Paul is someone who puts it all on the line and gives it his all. I'm going to do my best to be just like him. Do you plan on doing less?" Filipe challenged.

"I've just been saving my best for when it was needed. I don't want to wear myself out too early." G explained self-assuredly.

Before he could respond, Filipe was distracted by a movement out of the corner of his eye.

"Milo, here's another one." Filipe said, once he had realized what he was seeing.

A gentle smile preceded Milo saying, "Thank you Timothy. I've already received a message from the Brynnhallow camp, but I appreciate you checking on them, just the same."

"Okay. Then are we ready to do this?" Filipe asked anxiously.

"Agent Fastbeck, will you and Rhuru-wra be able to keep an eye on how things are going with the Wudewas? Once this gets started, I can't be sure if I'll be able to keep track of all that's happening." Milo asked hopefully.

"Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's what we're doing here. You can count on us." Conrad assured him.

"Spellcasters? Are you ready?" Milo asked cautiously.

"Yes. Proceed as you will." Professor Everstone said calmly.

"What about you, G? You ready?" Milo asked with concern.

"Yeah. One hundred percent." G assured him.

Milo slowly raised his hands and seemed to be concentrating.

One by one, those around the room realized that Milo was spellcasting. No one knew what he intended to do, but they remained silent to allow him to concentrate on his work.

A movement from one of the archways caused one after another of those present to turn and look at those approaching.

"Although I probably won't be needing the services of my choir, I'd feel better if they were here to support me, just the same." Milo said introspectively.

"That's fine. Do whatever you have to do, just get on with it." Agent Fastbeck said irritably.

Milo looked at him with surprise.

"We're all here to do just one thing. The rest of us can't do our part until you've started yours." Agent Fastbeck explained.

"I just wanted to be sure that everyone was ready..." Milo began.

"We're ready. Do it!"

"Okay, okay. I will. But I think there's one thing that you're forgetting."

"What's that?"

"Unless I have the will for it to be so, it's not going to happen. No matter how much you push or nag me, we're not going to start one second before I'm ready." Milo said frankly.

"But what's the point of waiting?" Filipe asked anxiously.

"There's no point. I'm not holding us back intentionally. I'm just saying that, for whatever reason, I'm not ready."

"'For whatever reason?' What's that supposed to mean?" Agent Fastbeck challenged.

"That means that there's nothing you can do to change this. It's out of your hands."

"Why are you holding us back?" Filipe quietly asked.

"Please trust me. I'll start when I'm supposed to, and not before."

"Okay. How long do you think it's going to be?"

"I can't be sure, but what I can tell you is that it won't hurt a thing for us to practice and work on our synchronization." Milo said seriously.

"I guess it's better than not doing anything at all." Filipe aggrievedly muttered under his breath.

"He's definitely been spending time with Paul." Agent Fastbeck said with a barely restrained grin at the boy.

"G, go ahead and start whenever you're ready and I'll jump in when my part comes." Milo instructed.

"Is this for practice or for real?" G asked cautiously.

"It could end up going either way. If you approach it as though it were real, then you won't be caught unprepared if things suddenly fall into place." Milo said carefully.

"Alright then. Hang on. I'm going to give it all I've got." G said firmly.

Milo smiled with satisfaction and gave a slight nod to indicate that he was ready.

* * * * *

"How's it going, Paul?" D quietly asked, not wanting to be unnecessarily jarring.

"From the feel of this, you might want to get everyone settled into their places. We could be ready to start at any moment." Paul said carefully.

"Can you tell if the others have started casting yet?"

"They haven't, but I can feel the ripples of them preparing."

A quick squawk and hiss preceded the arrival of the red and black winged lizard.

"How's G?" Paul immediately asked.

D waited anxiously for Paul to translate what Ginh Zah was telling him.

"He's fine, just worried about us." Paul told his father with a quick tender smile.

Ginh Zah hissed again and drew Paul's attention.

"Yeah. We're going to be starting any minute." Paul told her seriously, then explained, "I'm probably going to be immobilized while I'm spellcasting. Xaphan is going to see to our defense, but if someone needs some kind of magical help, I'd like for you to take care of it for them."

Ginh Zah growled inquisitively.

"No. If you want to communicate with someone, tell Xaphan what you want to say and he can translate for you." Paul said firmly.

Ginh Zah hissed once and Paul nodded his confirmation before looking around the group and continuing, "If anyone needs some magical help while we're out of action, Ginh Zah will be able to help you."

"Like with what?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously.

"Like if it gets dark and all the magic users are incapacitated, you can ask Ginh Zah to make some light for you. While it's possible that I might need her help for something, most likely she'll be available to help you if you need it." Paul carefully explained.

After a long quiet moment, Agent Roberts hesitantly asked, "Did she happen to see if my shadow was there and if he's alright?"

Paul listened to Ginh Zah's response before relaying, "Sorry. She didn't hear or see anything about him."

"I'm sure he's probably okay. I just had to ask." Agent Roberts timidly explained.

"Everyone! Get ready! I think this is it." Paul said loudly.

"Are you ready for me to start again?" Mr. Bentley Brown cautiously asked.

"Yes. Get the chalice powered up. We need to jump on before this thing takes off without us." Paul said urgently.

"They can't do it without us. Worst case scenario... they have to stop and start the whole thing over again." Corabeth said frankly.

Demon form or no, the withering look that Paul sent her way was quite impressive.

"I believe that Paul would take it personally if the others had to slow down or stop due to our group's inability to keep up with them." D told the group honestly.

"When you put it that way, Paul's not the only one here who'd have a problem with that." Corabeth said with renewed vigor.

"Paul?" Mr. Bentley Brown asked in a low voice.

"Yeah." Paul responded.

"Let's do it."

* * * * *

"What the... Reaper! Your friends are back." Zanner said with a bit of disgust carried under his words.

"Yes, thank you." Reaper said calmly, then cautiously asked, "What do you have to report of the conditions of the others?"

"All are well." Zarall said simply.

"Did they give you any messages for me?" Reaper asked more slowly.

"The demon said he would proceed according to plan." Zarall said with more than a little disgust at even saying the word 'demon'.

"The verminous animal creatures claim likewise." Jael announced.

"We are currently in the process of unfolding this pocket of space and recasting the barrier that protects the Nephilim. Are the two of you capable of assisting with the spellcasting in such an endeavour?" Reaper asked curiously.

"We are capable..." Zarall reluctantly admitted.

"Then I will invoke the name of my father and entreat you to lend your aid until this matter is resolved." Reaper said firmly.

"We were summoned only to relay messages for you." Jael interjected.

"That is a lie." Reaper said flatly, then waited a dramatic beat before continuing, "You were sent here to assist me as needed. You will be released from my father's command when your assistance is no longer required."

"The intent..." Zarall began to say when he was harshly interrupted.

Reaper spoke loudly in a language that Zanner and Dex couldn't identify.

The fan of arms from Reaper's back began to flex and thrash in irritation as his words became louder.

Both Zanner and Dex reflexively backed away as Reaper seemed to grow bigger and move nearer the winged cherubs, looming over them.

Abruptly, Reaper stopped his tirade and silence seemed to hang in the air.

"I trust that we understand each other." Reaper said dispassionately.

After a long moment, Zarall finally turned to Dex and Zanner and quietly said, "Apologies. We seldom visit this realm. Unaccustomed to speaking with monkeys... Apologies again. I have heard that your people are sensitive. Don't like to be reminded..."

"It's fine. Some of us are more sensitive than others." Zanner assured him.

Zarall seemed to accept him at his word, then looked to Reaper for further instructions.

"Zanner, whenever you're ready, we may begin." Reaper said serenely.

"For real this time?" Zanner asked cautiously.

"Yes. Proceed as you will."

"Are you ready for this?" Zanner asked Dex cautiously.

"I'm an Oriad. This is what I exist for." Dex said simply.

"That may be part of what you are, but it isn't all of it." Zanner said firmly.

"I wasn't saying it like it's a bad thing. I like having a reason for being." Dex said honestly.

"I'd kinda like it if you had more than one... I mean, it'd be cool if after this was all over we could hang out and stuff." Zanner said awkwardly.

"I guess that gives us another reason to survive." Dex said with a grin.

"Since when do you joke around when things are serious?" Zanner asked with exaggerated surprise.

"Since I learned it from a friend." Dex responded timidly.

"Were you going to perform the assembly spell or engage in courting rituals?" Reaper asked facetiously.

"Well... I guess, since we're here... we might as well." Zanner said with an increasing grin.

"I'm solidly connected to the earth. Whenever you're ready." Dex said confidently.

"I summon the magic of the earth to rise up and do my bidding. Bend to my will..."

* * * * *

"You're trying to stir up the magic of wind, not the actual wind." Milo said firmly.

"Bitch, bitch, bitch. Just let me do my job and be ready to pop the top off this thing when the time comes." G said sourly.

"Yes. But before I do that, do you think you can call up the magic without making it quite so windy?" Milo asked hopefully.

"I'll see what I can do." G reluctantly granted.

A loud growl from the doorway drew a sliver of G's attention and he glanced that way.

"Okay. I'm sorry, Rhuru-wra. I didn't mean to mess up your hair." G said as he fought to keep his increasing magical output completely under his control.

"How are you doing G? Is it too much for you?" Milo asked with concern.

"This is barely the beginning. If you're worried at this stage of things, you're going to be a wreck before we cross the finish line."

"I'm just asking because of your apparent lack of control." Milo said seriously.

"Um, yeah. Why don't you try to control the wind and see how much luck you have." G suggested.

"So you don't have any control over it?" Milo asked anxiously.

"Now you ask..." G muttered, then slowly explained, "I have complete and absolute control over the wind that is part of my spell. What I don't have control over is the magical essence of the Mikael Spear. It does whatever it wants to do. If I try to exert too much control over it, the thing will just get constipated or something like that and refuse to channel any magic at all."

"Well, we can't have that..." Milo began to say.

"Not if we're still planning on accessing the mega magic stored in the vinculum." G immediately added.

After a moment to examine G's serious expression, Milo quietly said, "Now I understand. I won't assume that any stray breezes are evidence of your lack of control."

"Good..." G began to say when Mah Zah loosed a growley little hiss.

G seemed to consider for a moment, then said, "Yeah. Go ahead."

Everyone watched as the dragon-lizard demon launched herself off G's shoulder and into the air.

"Rhuru-wra, Mah Zah said that she's going to cast a spell around you to obstruct the wind. She's not putting the spell 'on' you, but it will follow you around and keep your hair from blowing like crazy for the next few hours." G carefully explained.

Rhuru-wra let loose a lusty growl, and although G couldn't directly translate the meaning, he couldn't miss the passion behind it.

"He says 'thanks' and that he really appreciates it." Agent Fastbeck translated.

"Are we ready to kick this thing into gear?" G asked as he kept the majority of his concentration on building his magic.

"I believe so. Ud-wra and Rur-wra are back. Did you need for them to come inside for anything?" Agent Fastbeck asked cautiously.

"No, but if Obby is with them, I'd like for him to come in here to stand with me." Milo said slowly as he kept the majority of his attention on G's progress.

"Obby? Milo wants you. He's inside." Agent Fastbeck called through the archway.

A moment later, the three dimensional humanoid shadow hurried into the room, directly to Milo.

"Did you have a good time visiting the Wudewas village?" Milo asked warmly.

Obby seemed to be animatedly explaining something, although no one could hear anything but the wind rushing through the mossy stone pillars of the Southseid incarnation of the vinculum chamber.

Milo smiled and slightly chuckled before saying, "I'm glad that you had the chance to make some new friends."

Obby slowly, but very deliberately, moved in and gave Milo a firm hug.

"I'm going to be tied up with a fairly complex spellcasting for the next few hours. I was wondering if you'd like to help me while I'm doing that." Milo asked cautiously.

Obby pulled out of the hug and seemed, by his posture, to be surprised.

"I'm probably going to be mentally tied into what's going on and unable to do much to care for myself. I was just wondering if you would watch after my body if I seem to lose the ability to do so." Milo asked carefully.

Obby moved in and hugged Milo again, this time more assertively.

Milo laughed with delight, then said, "I'll take that as a 'yes'."

Obby stood back and appeared to be awaiting his instructions.

"I can't tell you exactly what I'm going to need you to do, because I don't know. If I did know, I could just instruct my choir in advance."

Obby gave a visible nod to indicate his understanding.

"Basically, just watch after me. Make sure that if I'm sitting or lying, that I'm in a comfortable position... things like that." Milo said frankly.

Obby reached one of his semi-transparent hands up to cup Milo's cheek for a moment, simply to demonstrate his affection.

"Thank you, Obby. I'm glad you're here." Milo said as he placed his hand over Obby's for a brief moment.

"Um, guys... I'm about to hit the next level here. You might want to be prepared." G called out over a rushing wind.

"Don't worry. We're ready." Milo assured him confidently.

* * * * *

"Do you need for us to do anything?"

The sound drew Paul's attention and he turned to see Ares, Dark, Olive and Jazz, standing in the archway, wanting nothing more than to help in some way.

"Just make sure that your people are prepared. If everyone works together, you'll be holding the magic that we'll be using to keep your people safe for years to come." Paul said carefully.

"Yeah. I kinda knew that. But what I was really asking was if there's anything 'real' that we can do 'right now' that will help or make any kind of difference. We can be as patient as we need to be, but that's only after we've done all that needs doing." Ares fought to explain.

"Okay. I guess there is one more thing that you could do." Paul said thoughtfully.

Those at the archway were standing in a row and waiting with anticipation for his next words.

"Magic is magic. There's not really 'good' or 'evil' per se, although it can be derived from celestial or infernal sources... that doesn't matter for what we're doing. What I'm trying to say is that it's possible to 'flavor' the magic with venomous hatred or good intentions. The more uniform the 'flavor' the more easily the magic can be used."

Paul could tell that the witches in the archway were about to lose patience with his explanation.

"It might help if you went out and 'coached' some of the people who will be holding the magic for us. Try to keep them united in their vision of concern for their community and loved ones." Paul explained.

"And this will help?" Olive asked cautiously.

"It won't hurt." Paul said automatically, then explained, "I can't promise that it'll make a big difference, but there is a chance that it might."

"If it's a question of doing something or doing nothing, I think I know what I'd rather do." Jazz announced from Olive's side.

"But don't you need us here to serve as a retention pond?" Dark cautiously asked.

"I'm going to need Ares here to serve as a focal point. And the more that I think of it, having a few of you here to stand guard sounds like a good idea. But as long as the rest of you remain within the confines of Brynnhollow, you should be able to serve your purpose just as well as if you were physically here." Paul carefully explained.

"But you want for us to make sure that people are happy... right?" Jazz asked uncertainly.

"They don't have to be happy. But it'd be nice if they were proud of doing the right things to help their friends, families and neighbors. If nothing else, they can hold onto the fact that by participating in what we're doing here today, they will be helping to insure that there will be future generations."

"Paul. A moment of your time, if you please." Mr. Bentley Brown hesitantly interrupted.

"Yeah. What's up?" Paul asked as he reoriented his awareness.

Mr. Bentley Brown looked at him impassively for a moment, allowing him to get his bearings.

"Dex is up and running." Paul said slowly, then quickly added, "Looks like G is kicking up some dust!"

"Then does that mean that you're about ready to release the stored magic?" D asked cautiously.

"We're one step closer. Right this minute, everything is hanging on Mr. Bentley Brown." Paul said simply, then added, "I held the Third Grail. I have an idea of how much skill and force of will it takes to wield that power. Mr. Bentley Brown is the right person to do this job."

"Thank you Paul, but you don't have to say that." Mr. Bentley Brown said humbly.

"You're a member of this team. The rest of the team needs to know that you're doing a real job and playing a real part in the spell. They need to know that the job you're doing is hard and needs a powerful and skilled witch to do it. You're not just some bozo who got recruited because you happened to be there."

"The water within calls the water without. Like summons like and will calls to will." Mr. Bentley Brown said very precisely.

"You're probably right." Paul said with a smile at his response, or lack thereof, then continued, "There's a time to talk about it and a time to do it."

Paul took a moment to assess his situation and that of those around him before calmly intoning, "Essence of water, leave salts and sediments behind and join with air. Essence of air, renew and restore through the filter of earth. Essence of earth, yield that which has been purified, the precious water. I beseech."

* * * * *

"Um... is this supposed to happen?" Zanner asked uncertainly.

"I don't know. I've never heard of it happening before." Dex whispered in response.

"Wait. Can you feel that? We're not really here. This is some kind of a magical construct." Zanner said slowly, then asked, "G? Are you doing this?"

"No. It's not me. But you're right. We're not really here. I can taste the sorcery at work. Whatever this is, it's old magic. This spell was originally cast aeons ago." G carefully explained.

"The spell resides within the chalice." Mr. Bentley Brown said as he materialized in their dream-space.

"Are you doing this to us?" Zanner asked with a tinge of fear running through his essence.

"No. The chalice is doing this all on its own. This feature of the chalice gives us the ability to synchronize our efforts more effectively." Mr. Bentley Brown carefully explained.

"So, if I'm getting this right, we're still each back where we were before, but our consciousness is here... how does that help us?" G asked cautiously.

"Time moves differently here. This place exists at the speed of thought. While we're here, we can plot and plan. We can consider alternatives and work collectively to come to the best decisions for us all. When we return, only a fraction of a second will have passed."

"So time crawls just like in augury class." Zanner muttered.

"I can see why Paul likes you." G said with a grin at Zanner, then turned to Mr. Bentley Brown and asked, "So how do we use it?"

"At the beginning of each stage, we will be drawn back here to compare our experiences and plan for what we're going to do next." Mr. Bentley Brown carefully explained.

"But what about the sorcery spell? How did that happen? I've never heard anything about a spell like this being on an ancient relic." G asked cautiously.

"Yes. About that." Mr. Bentley Brown said reluctantly, "This feature of the chalice isn't commonly known. In fact, if I hadn't been asked to take up the chalice, you likely never would have found out about it. I very nearly told Paul and his team about the spell, but fortunately I was able to resist the urge."

"So this isn't something that always happens in an Assembly of the Magi?" Zanner asked cautiously.

"No. This feature of the chalice was included to aid the holders of artifacts and wielders of pure elemental magics. I would appreciate it very much if you wouldn't announce the existence of it. The Third Grail might be neutralized or otherwise destroyed in an effort to excise the sorcery from the artifact."

"Yeah. I can see people wanting to have access to a real-life chatroom." G said honestly.

"So what do we need to do now?" Zanner asked curiously.

"Unless I am mistaken, all of us are currently working to empower our Magi. We're pulling up the elemental essence to give them enough power to unlock the magic stored in the vinculum." Mr. Bentley Brown said carefully.

"Yeah. But do you have any idea of what's going to happen after that? I don't think anyone's said." Zanner asked cautiously.

"What happens next isn't of interest to anyone but us." Mr. Bentley Brown said seriously.

"What's that?" G cautiously prompted.

"Once we've reached peak magic and given our respective Magi the ability to release the magic stored in the vinculum, then we have to maintain the flow of elemental magic to keep the channel open for them. From that point on, our Magi will be doing all the noticeable work, but all of us will have to fight to maintain the level of elemental magic to support them. If any of us fail..." Mr. Bentley Brown trailed off, to highlight the severity of the sentiment.

"...we all do." Zanner dutifully supplied.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

I see a bit of uncertainty from the participants.

Each new chapter seems to be bringing us closer to the desired consequences. Probably each of them is a bit worried, not knowing if what they are doing is having any beneficial effect.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher