Story: The Sword and the Staff (chapter 23)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 23

Title: Chapter 22

He dreamt of apples. In his dream, he smelt the fragrance of land and lake, heard the lap of gentle waves, felt the gaze of an auburn-haired and green-eyed temptress. He had loved that woman—had loved and adored her in equal measure. But she had turned against him, wracked by guilt over the sacrifice they had made to a land that demanded only the noblest blood. She had been a Sorceress, perhaps the greatest of all. Somewhere in the distance, a door opened—

The Council Master opened his eyes.

The enemy had arrivedand he was alone.

The Council Master briefly wondered if this displayed arrogance on the enemy's partthen concluded that even if it did, it was merited. His opponent's plan had been an audacious one after all, and the Council Master respected boldness and originality even when they served interests contrary to his.

He had been surprised by how things had turned out though. He had not expected Rin to grasp True Magic so easily. He suspected he knew the source of the Spell of Binding she had used (its overall design had been familiar), but its final configuration was an invention of Rin's own.

He had succeeded in Unfastening the Spell though, and it was for that reason that the enemy had arrived.

Moving silently, he approached the door to the chamber where the Sword was keptand opened it at the exact moment that the thief was about to remove the Seals.

The Council Master spoke quietly. "Good evening, Novice Master. I see that I've arrived just in time."


He knew he had miscalculated when he saw the expectant look on the Council Master's face.

"How long have you known?" he asked through gritted teeth.

The Council Master waved a dismissive hand. "It wasn't a lack of cunning on your part. I simply happen to have that very rare gift for Reading. I didn't have proof though, which is why it's taken me this long to spring the trap."

"If you know so much then," the Novice Master coldly replied, "then you also know why I'm doing this."

"I know why you're doing itand I even understand," the Council Master replied simply. "The temptation to use power ‘to set the world aright' has existed for as long as power itself."

"If you understood that temptation, you would have given in to it!"

"I have," the Council Master replied, his blue eyes suddenly flashing, "I have used itand I've seen it fail time and again. Force and violence will never succeed in setting the world to right."

"Just because you failed doesn't mean others will," the Novice Master responded contemptuously. "The way this Council uses magic is a farce! Magic is meant for nobler goals and bolder purposes."

"Such as annihilating the world just so you can create it again newly?" the Council Master asked mildly.

"If that's what it takes, then yes," the Novice Master replied.

"That settles it then," the Council Master sighed. "I'd hoped we could find a way to reconcile our views, but it seems you're set on yours and I'm set on mine. Which means," the Council Master straightened his posture then, "that I'll have to stop you."

The Novice Master hesitated. The Council Master was elderly, but he'd heard enough and seen enough of the old man's powers to risk a direct confrontation. There was also no way he could seize the Sword and run, since he hadn't had the chance to unfasten its Seals.

But there was no way he was going to give up now. Not after all the time and effort and blood he had expended.

Then an idea occurred to him. It wasn't what he'd planned, but it was better than nothing.

"You can keep the Sword then," he sneered at the Council Maser, "but only for now. I'll be backsome other time and some other place."

With that, he unleashed a Spell of Obliterationand the entire chamber blazed white.

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