“He’s still here!” Cally declared.
“How do you know?” Derrick looked down to where she was staring and saw a river of blood!
Joanne and Sasha saw it too and shrieked. Derrick pulled back the curtains, and Cally, who was closest to the entry way, burst into the room first. She followed the trail of blood to find Homer on the ground with a sword sticking out of his chest! The four of them cautiously approached the body only to find he was still gasping for air! Sasha cried out, “I’m going to go get help!” She dashed out of the room and was quickly followed by Joanne.
Homer’s breath appeared very labored, and they could tell he didn’t have long. He reached a clenched hand towards Cally, and she assumed he wanted comfort in his final moments, but when his palm met hers, he slipped a crumpled piece of paper to her. As soon as she took it, his body went limp and he stopped breathing.
Before she could open the paper to see its contents, Joanne and Sasha returned with a constable. Joanne gasped, “Oh no! We’re too late!”
The constable checked the pulse in his neck to verify this. “He’s gone!” Joanne and Sasha held each other as they began to weep, and Cally became upset as well after watching him die. Derrick offered his arms, and she fell into them gratefully. She didn’t know Homer well, but it traumatized her to think he had suffered so greatly just for helping them! The constable questioned them all, “Did any of you see anything?”
Derrick replied, “No. We just came to visit and found him like that.”
“How do you know the victim?” The constable had asked them very routinely, but Cally and Derrick weren’t sure how to answer that. Before they could even try, another constable barged in. “Ah, Porter, we have a-.”
“Shh!” he hissed as he locked the door behind him. “Get down!” He shut the curtains as the other constable ushered them against the wall in order to stay out of sight. He then pulled the curtain in front of Homer’s chambers and joined them in cowering along the wall.
They heard the door open and heavy boots stomp in. The perpetrator shut the door behind them, and for a moment, they all hoped that whoever it was had left. A moment later, they heard Reisseck say, “Give it up, old man!” As he approached Homer’s chambers, everyone’s hearts beat rapidly, but none as hard as Cally’s did! She froze solid because she was now cornered, and although Galena had assurred them that his powers would get weakened if he killed someone, they were standing next to proof that this consequence didn’t deter him! They had no way out, so she put her hood over her face and prayed he would spare them. The constables drew their weapons as Reisseck pulled the curtain back…
Before he could see into the room, they saw a beam of light that narrowly missed him! Reisseck turned around, and when he saw who did it, he seethed, “You!” He drew out his wand and chased after whoever did it.
For a while, no one moved. The house sounded empty, but they used the utmost caution with this matter. The constables were the first to approach the entry way, and after they searched the area, Porter stated, “It’s clear in here. Prewitt, can you secure the streets?”
Prewitt kept his weapon out as he very alertly made his way out of the house, and when he got onto the street, he pointed his weapon as he surveyed it all. After a very thorough search, he called out to them, “Clear!”
Porter relaxed a little and put his weapon away. He addressed the other four, “You should get out of here in case he comes back. Contact us if you can think of anything relevant to the investigation.” They all agreed and hurried out of there.
Joanne and Sasha turned left towards their house, and Cally and Derrick turned right where they could see their horse tied to a hitching post in front of a nearby tavern. After they got to their ride, Derrick wondered, “Which way did they go? Which way do we go?”
Cally scanned the ground for footprints and found paw prints going towards the northern end of town. “Oh no! Galena!”
“She’ll be okay!” Derrick assurred her. “Cats are quick and nimble, and I don’t think Reisseck quite measures up!” Cally chuckled slightly as they took off towards the southern exit.
They rode out into a field which had lush, green grass, billowy shade trees, and wildflowers sprinkled all over. It seemed like it would provide an enjoyable ride for them, but as they began to get some distance from Bohemma, Cally felt a strong pull. “Stop!” she directed Derrick.
“What’s wrong?” Derrick responded swiftly.
“The binding spell.” She felt disappointed at this setback. Instead of a nice country ride, they would have to go back to the chaos that they just escaped from. She also worried about possibly facing Reisseck again, and that prompted her to come up with a realization. “Reisseck obviously isn’t in Bohemma anymore! He must be heading back to Dregs Hollow.”
“Then let’s go find Galena,” Derrick suggested. Cally nodded in agreement, and they headed back into the village.
As they trotted through Bohemma, they saw that people had resumed their normal activities, which Cally found kind of bizarre. She couldn’t believe that a menacing sorcerer could terrorize their town one minute and as soon as he left, they went about their day as if nothing happened. She supposed that they didn’t have a choice, but she didn’t think she could get over it so easily. She knew that none of them were worried about Galena like she was, and she figured that this fact may have spawned her critical thoughts. She couldn’t help it though, after all, she gave them so much help! Plus, she just saved six people’s lives, so she certainly didn’t want her to get killed over it! She really hoped to see a sign of her soon!
They passed by the street where Homer had lived, and they saw several constables investigating his murder now. “Why do they bother? It’s not like they’re even going to try to arrest him!” Cally muttered somewhat bitterly.
“It’s good they’re documenting it,” Derrick opinionated. “We can show this to Duke Ferrin if he becomes king and tries to enact laws too favorable to criminals like him.”
As they took off from that area, Cally remarked, “They should appoint a sorcerer or sorceress to head a law enforcement division devoted to these kinds of crimes!”
“That’s a good idea!” Derrick complimented. “You know, I think you’d make a good queen!”
Cally found herself blushing furiously, but before either of them could say more on the subject, they spotted paw prints heading out of the north end of town. They followed them as they created a trail leading up to the Oreads Forest path and into some brush by the lake that Cally had frequented. At first, the lake seemed empty, but once Galena realized that they were there, she hopped out from inside a bush with her tail wrapped around a wooden wand! “You’re okay!” Cally gushed.
Galena responded quite unabashedly, “He bested me once, you think I’m going to let him do it again? You should have seen the look on people’s faces when the big, scary sorcerer was chasing after a little kitty cat!” She laughed, and Derrick and Cally smiled. “Besides, his powers are a little weaker now since he killed someone.”
“He must have had some pretty important information against Reisseck for him to kill Homer,” Derrick observed.
“The piece of paper!” Cally recalled. She pulled the crumpled piece of paper out of her pocket. “Homer had this in his hand as he was lying on the floor. He must have died trying to protect it from Reisseck!”
“Either that or he found it as he was lying on the floor,” Galena theorized. “He definitely wanted to tell you something!”
Derrick put in, “Let’s hope he found Reisseck’s real name! Open it!”
Cally spotted drops of blood stained on it, but she tried not to think about it as she unraveled the small ball it had gotten squeezed into. As she unfolded it, she could tell that it came from a newspaper. Everyone’s nerves were high in anticipation as she revealed the article. It had a picture of Queen Avalyn and King Henrick with utterly distraught looks on their faces as they addressed a large crowd in front of Barlock, and the headline read: “Newly Born Princess Murdered Inside of Her Nursery.” Cally, Derrick, and Galena looked puzzled, and Cally said thoughtfully, “Well, we did ask about disappearances from thirty three years ago. We didn’t give him a lot of details about what we were looking for.”
Galena pointed out, “But when Reisseck entered into Homer’s house, he specifically told him to give something up. This story must be significant to Reisseck! I wonder why!”
Derrick scanned through the columns of the story. “Hmm, I don’t see any mention of Reisseck or even an evil sorcerer. We’re definitely missing something! What is it about this piece that would make Reisseck return to the crime scene to retrieve it?”
Cally studied the picture for a moment, and eventually she spotted something in the corner that looked familiar. Suddenly, it clicked for her! “He was there that day! Now it makes sense why he didn’t kill you, Galena. He had already planned to weaken his powers on someone else! He killed the princess!”