“Retevol foria!” Emily chanted. Stephen, Allison, Yvette, and Oscar watched as a door on the ceiling in the castle hallway opened up and revealed a dusty, wooden staircase. Emily chanted, “Lumenia modeo,” and the attic above them lit up. Emily went up first, and as the others followed her, she exclaimed, “This is kind of exciting! I haven’t explored the attic yet!”
“It’s not as interesting as it sounds.” Yvette clearly didn’t share her enthusiasm on the prospective project. “It’s mostly a bunch of old boxes.”
Emily’s fervor for the idea wasn’t shaken. “Yeah, but really, really old boxes! This castle has been occupied for hundreds of years now, so there’s bound to be some cool stuff inside!”
Allison probed, “You guys are sure that there’s galactic pyrite up here?”
“I swore I saw some up here!” Yvette insisted. “I just don’t remember where exactly.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Oscar assured Allison. “Yvette’s got a knack for remembering little details like that, things just tend to shift around up here…” He glanced up at the imminent attic nervously.
Yvette asserted to the others, “It’s not haunted! Just the inherent magic in some of the objects makes some of the boxes shift around.”
Stephen remarked, “I’m sorry, this attic holds a bunch of objects so steeped in magic that they don’t stay still, and you don’t think it’s very interesting up there?” Yvette shrugged, and Stephen attributed their lackluster response to their magical upbringing.
When Stephen finally set foot inside the attic, he had really high expectations for what he’d see up there. To his dismay, he just saw a large room with rows and rows of cardboard boxes. Yvette saw his facial expression and chimed, “See?”
“Oh, I’m sure the contents of the boxes will be a lot more interesting for you!” Allison ensured Stephen.
“I bet!” Stephen surveyed the room with his imagination reeling from the different possibilities of enchanted items that almost literally lurked there. Despite his great interest in the subject, he shook off this notion in order to stay focused on their mission. “Let’s split up and start searching. If you find the galactic pyrites, get it to the ICI headquarters immediately.” Everyone agreed to his terms and picked an area to start searching.
Stephen felt drawn to the boxes under the window, so he chose a random box, pulled out a pocket knife, and cut it open. With their main goal of searching for very specific, powerful stones, he expected to see all sorts of random things used for spells up there. As peeled off the flaps of the first box, he truly thought he’d find feathers, scales, candles, or something along those lines. Instead, he came across some old bed sheets. “Oh! I should have known this wasn’t it. It’s way too light to be any kind of stone!”
Emily, who had been searching near an antique trunk behind him, commented, “It’s not all potion ingredients up here.”
“Oh, of course not.” Stephen hoped that he successfully hid the disappointment in his voice. “Sorcerers and sorceresses have to store stuff in the attic just like any other person.” Stephen felt duty-bound to find the galactic pyrites, but his curiosity had roused at the idea of seeing ancient, magical objects flying around, so a part of him hoped to stumble across these things. He reasoned with himself that it was better if they weren’t distracted by that, but he less eagerly opened up the next box.
“Can we listen to music while we work?” Oscar requested. “It’s a little bit too quiet in here…” He caught Yvette’s face, but before she could say anything, he jumped in, “Don’t even start!”
Yvette smirked a little. “I wasn’t gonna say anything…”
Oscar didn’t buy her claim. “Uh huh, sure!” He then pointed to the roof and chanted, “Adcanto musympha!” A lively pop song sounded throughout the room, which seemed to relax Oscar a little.
“Oh, I haven’t heard this song in ages!” Allison recalled. “Didn’t they use it in that alien movie?”
“Yeah!” Oscar replied to her. “The Mars Diaries! I love that movie!”
Stephen politely differed, “I know people loved it, but it personally bugged me a little. The way they portrayed federal agents was pretty off!”
Emily teased him, “So, not how you’d handle an alien invasion?”
“We wouldn’t handle it,” Allison informed them. “The military handles defense, not us! Now, if aliens do exist and start committing crimes against our planet, then maybe we’d have to help enforce our laws.”
“Only until we created an interplanetary agency,” Stephen added.
Oscar conversed, “You guys don’t believe in aliens?”
Stephen shrugged. “To be honest, I’m usually too busy to think about it much.”
“I think anything’s possible,” Yvette voiced her opinion. “If they do exist, it probably won’t be anything like they portray them in the movies!”
“I’d love to see their reaction to The Mars Diaries!” Emily joked, which made everyone laugh.
Allison started to state, “Assuming they speak our… Woah!”
Stephen asked her, “Did you find it?”
“No,” Alllison answered. “I was moving around some boxes when I found… Well, take a look!”
Oscar, Yvette, Emily, and Stephen all very interestedly flocked over to Allison’s spot to see what she discovered. They saw a gilded stand with a glass case that encased an aged piece of parchment with a long list. Upon closer inspection, Stephen saw Emily’s name at the top of the page, and beneath that, he saw Torunn and Elska Sirvard as well as Cara Fenmore. “It’s the list of heirs to the throne!” Stephen noted.
“It must automatically update who’s at the top,” Allison observed. “I don’t see any of the heirs who were killed on here.”
“Ugh! There’s Xavier’s name!” Oscar pointed towards the bottom where Xavier’s name almost seemed to hover.
Everyone gazed at the name in disgust, and just seeing his name and knowing how much he valued this position thoroughly disgusted Stephen. It also reminded him of why they went to the attic in the first place. “Come on, guys, let’s keep looking for that galactic pyrite so we can find that son of a bitch!” Emily, Allison, Yvette, and Oscar all shared his sentiment and returned to their stations.
When Stephen got back to his area, he noticed that the boxes had shifted around slightly. This threw him off for a second, but then he reasoned, “Well, at least I know the boxes I’ve already done since I left them open!”
“Oh, you’re probably close to a powerful object!” Emily reacted to him as she continued to work.
“Good! ‘Cause so far all I’ve found is old bed sheets! I doubt I’ll find any magic in bed sheets! Except maybe in ours!” Stephen said with a wink.
Yvette piped in, “We can hear you, you know!”
Stephen and Emily giggled as they returned to work. His lighthearted mood got interrupted when he came across a box that felt cold to the touch. No one mentioned anything about the galactic pyrite’s temperature, but something in Stephen’s gut prompted him to believe he was about to unearth something deeply important, so opened the box with great interest. A chill ran down his spine as he lifted open the flaps, and to his surprise, he unearthed a plethora of medieval artifacts! Emily must have sensed his ebbed attention and went over to see what he found. “Wow! This is amazing!” Emily expressed as she poured into the box.
“Do you think it belonged to King Alexander?” Stephen probed as he peered at an ornate, bronze chalice.
“If it did, then it belongs in a museum!” Emily replied while studying a heavy ring.
Stephen spotted a small, very simple, green chest, and he could feel the source of the iciness coming from inside of it. “I gotta see what’s in this! Do you see a key?”
Emily told him, “No, but I don’t need one!” She pointed at the box and chanted, “Retevol serclostum!”
The chest unlatched, and Stephen commented, “You gotta love magic!” Emily smiled at his remark, and then both of their eyes gravitated to the chest. With mounting anticipation, Stephen lifted up the lid.
They saw a small dagger wrapped in a cloth sheath inside! On the inside of the lid, they could see a note that read:
The greatest power lies in your blood,
unleash it with this.
When evil seems unstoppable,
use this, and the other will receive it.
“Hmm! What does that mean?” Stephen questioned.
“No idea!” Emily responded.
Stephen gently picked it up and unsheathed it. The blade appeared a little jagged and worn, but otherwise, it still seemed like it could get used by someone. After a moment of staring hypnotically at it, Stephen queried, “Mind if I keep this?” He couldn’t explain why, but he felt as though this dagger meant for him to find it and keep it. He hoped that Emily wouldn’t ask a lot of questions about his motives since he wasn’t entirely sure about them himself, but it felt important to him for some reason.
Emily relented, “Go ahead.” Stephen stored it by his gun, and then he glanced up and viewed Emily’s expression. She had a look of pure understanding, and as she grinned at him, he felt a surge of gratitude for accepting his needs without hesitation or explanation. He couldn’t find the words to say how much he appreciated her, so instead, he gave her a passionate kiss!
All of a sudden, Allison cleared her throat by them. “A-hem! When you two are done, we found the galactic pyrite!”
Emily and Stephen beamed at each other before they picked themselves up. Stephen regarded the entire group, “I think we have everything we need for that spell to work now! Come on, let’s go find Xavier!”