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Written by DTYarbrough
The Adventures of Sir Timothy in the Land of Tomorrow Story #2
Copyright 2010 All rights reserved
RETURN TO TOMORROW
Written by DTYarbrough
Timothy was on his way to school. Taking his shortcut through the woods, he was thinking about Merlin and the land of Tomorrow. Timothy wished he had been able to spend more time with Merlin. He had always been interested in magic, at least ever since he read his first story about Harry and Hermione. He would have to return some day when Merlin wasn't so busy. The kids at school loved to hear his stories about his adventure. None of them really believed him, except for his best friend Nigel. The next time he would have to bring back a souvenir. Suddenly the path ended. Timothy knew what this meant. He was about to enter the land of Tomorrow. Continuing straight ahead as he had done before, Timothy noticed the silence and the sun shining directly overhead. He was there, in the magical land of Tomorrow. The orange moss was no longer clinging to the trees. Merlin's spell must have worked. Maybe he will have some free time to teach Timothy about magic. Timothy could hardly wait to get to Merlin's castle. As he left the woods and started down the hill towards the road, he paused for a moment to enjoy the view. The emerald green valley stretched for miles as the sparkling blue stream wound its way between small green hills. The trees lining the road sparkled in the sunlight with all the colors of the rainbow. The castle stood in the distance, surrounded by a small village. Timothy continued down the hill. As he approached the road, two rabbits hopped out from behind a clump of tall grass. "Sir Timothy, what are you doing here?" asked one of the rabbits. "Hello, Ronnie. I've come to see Merlin," said Timothy. "But you can't be here. It's not allowed," said Ruby Rabbit. "Merlin is missing and outsiders are no longer allowed." "Who made that rule? Merlin said I was always welcome," said Timothy. "Reginald Van Rat, Merlin's advisor and the new Wizard in Charge," said Ronnie. "You have to hide before his soldiers see you."
"Soldiers? Merlin never had soldiers," said Timothy. "Where did he get soldiers and why does he need them?" "Van Rat recruited wolves and put a spell on their commander. They obey his every command and he obeys Van Rat," said Ruby. "The penalty for disobeying any law is death." "What do you know about Merlin's disappearence?" asked Timothy. "No one seems to know anything. Van Rat suddenly announced that Merlin was missing and that he was now in charge," said Ronnie. "There's been no search party organized to look for him." "No search party? Why not?" asked Timothy. "We're not allowed to congregate in groups larger than two adults," said Ruby. "You've got to go home while you still can." "I'm not leaving until I find out what happened to Merlin," said Timothy. "Can you help me get to the castle?" "Let's take him to see Henry Hedgehog. He'll know what to do," said Ronnie. "We need to get to the road where we can use the trees for cover." Timothy followed Ronnie and Ruby to Henry's house. Ronnie knocked on the door. "Who's there? What do you want?" asked a voice from behind the door. "I'm very busy and I don't have time for visitors." "It's Ronnie and Ruby Rabbit. It's an emergency. We need your help," said Ronnie. "An emergency?" said Henry as he opened the door. "Come on in and tell me all about it." "That could be a problem. Sir Timothy is here and he won't fit through the door," said Ruby. "Sir Timothy? He can't be here. It's against the law. Didn't you tell him?" asked Henry.
"We told him, but he insists on finding out what happened to Merlin. He needs our help," said Ronnie. "Here, eat this." said Henry as he handed a small bag of herbs to Timothy. "Hurry before someone sees you." Timothy quickly swallowed the contents of the little bag. It had an awful bitter taste. Timothy eyes crossed and his vision became blurry. When his eyes cleared, the house was much larger. "You guys are bigger. How did everything get bigger?" asked Timothy. "We're not bigger. You're smaller," said Henry. "What did I eat?" said Timothy. "Shrinkweed," said Henry. "Now get in here before you get us all in trouble." Timothy stepped inside. The house seemed quite roomy now. "What's this all about. What sort of help do you need, Sir Timothy?" asked Henry as he closed the door. "I need to get into the castle," said Timothy. "I need a disguise." "Why the castle? What makes you think Merlin is still in the castle?" asked Henry. "I don't believe Merlin would leave without telling someone. I'm afraid he's met with foul play," said Timothy. "Who has the most to gain from Merlin's disappearance?" "Reginald Van Rat, of course," said Henry. "But he could never defeat Merlin in a fair fight." "Who says it was a fair fight?" said Timothy. "He may have killed Merlin in his sleep." "That's not possible. The world of Tomorrow can't exist without Merlin," said Henry. "He still alive somewhere." "Well, that's good news. Speaking of good news, please tell me this isn't permanent," said Timothy. "Permanent, what's not permanent?" asked Henry.
"My size," said Timothy. "Please tell me it's not permanent." "Of course not. It will wear off in a day or so," said Henry. "It depends on the individual. Come to think of it, I don't think it's ever been tested on a boy. If you feel like you're growing, get outside as fast as possible." "Am I in danger?" asked Timothy. "Destroy my house and you will be," said Henry. "You guys make yourself at home. I've got to go down to the basement and mix up another batch of shrinkweed herbs. I hope I have all the ingredients." "Come on, Sir Timothy. Let's play hopscotch," said Ruby. "You guys go ahead. I'm going to sit here and try to come up with a plan," said Timothy. "Stop that hopping around up there!" yelled Henry in his gruffest voice. "Can we help you plan?" asked Ronnie as he and Ruby sat down on the sofa next to Timothy. "Sure," said Timothy. "When I was here before, I noticed that all the rats wore black robes with hoods. Where could I get one of those?" "What do you want with a rat?" asked Ruby. "They're not very nice." "A robe, where can I get a robe with a hood?" asked Timothy. "We'll have to ask Henry but we don't want to disturb him while he's working," said Ronnie. "What else do you need?" "Do you think you two could dig a tunnel under the moat and castle walls to help me sneak into the castle?" asked Timothy. "We'll have to ask Henry but ..." "I know, we don't want to disturb him," said Timothy. "I think I'll take a nap. We need to do this tonight."
"Tonight? What is tonight?" asked Ruby. "After the sun goes down," said Timothy. "Down where?" asked Ronnie. "The sun never goes anywhere." "You mean it's always light outside," asked Timothy. "We'll have to ask Henry .." "I know .. I know .." said Timothy. "Ask me about what?" said Henry as he walked into the room. "Can we borrow your shovel?" asked Ronnie Rabbit. "Sir Timothy wants us to dig a secret tunnel so he can get into the castle." "Wait a minute, you guys don't dig tunnels with your paws?" asked Timothy. "I just had my nails done," said Ruby. "Why would we use our paws?" "Never mind," said Timothy. "I'll think of another plan." "I can get you into the castle," said Henry. "I have to make a delivery of vegetables to the castle galley tomorrow. But you'll need a cloak with a hood so no one will recognize you and some more shrinkweed just in case you start to grow." "Do you have any carrot cake?" asked Ronnie. "I'm starving." "I'll bet Sir Timothy is hungry too," said Ruby. "Well, maybe a little bit." said Timothy. ............................... The following morning Timothy helped Henry push his handcar out to the road. Dressed in a cape with a hood and standing about as tall as a large rat, even Timothy's mother wouldn't have recognized him. He wondered what his mother was doing right about now. Was it night or day in the real world? He knew what he was doing was very
dangerous and she would be terribly worried if she knew. But what choice did he have. He couldn't abandon Merlin. "What are you planning to do when you get into the castle?" asked Henry. "Search the dungeons. Maybe search Merlin's room if I can find it. He has to be there somewhere," said Timothy. "Well, good luck. You're going to need it," said Henry. "Okay, start pumping. We're ready to go." "Goodbye Ronnie and Ruby, and thanks for your help," said Timothy as the handcar began moving down the road. Ronnie and Ruby waved until Timothy was out of sight. Timothy and Henry had to stand on the crates of vegetables to reach the handles on the handcar. Henry was heavier and stronger than Timothy and was doing most of the work. When the car went down a hill, they would both sit and rest, then jump back up when it had to go up a hill. Fortunately it was downhill most of the way. After about an hour, they reached the village. They continued through the village, across the drawbridge, and stopped beside the servant's entrance to the castle. "Help me carry these crates into the castle," said Henry. Timothy grabbed one end of a large crate as Henry grabbed the other. Henry knocked on the door. A servant open the door. "Right on time, Henry. And not a minute too soon," said Henrietta Hen. "Bring it on in and leave this crate over there. Put the rest in the storeroom." "Sure thing. How are you, Henrietta?" asked Henry. "Busy. Much too busy to talk. We have to prepare for the party," she said. "Anything we can do to help. We could feed the prisoners," said Henry. "Would you? That would be wonderful," said Henrietta. "The food's over there on the counter." "We'd be happy to help. You're my best customer," said Henry as
he and Timothy gathered the food and headed for the dungeon. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Henry knocked on the door. "Who's there?" asked the guard. "What's your business here?" "Food for the prisoners," said Henry. "Slide it under the door," said the guard. "Sorry, I can't do that. I have a trainee guard with me. I was told to show him around," said Henry. "Okay. Give me a second to find the key," said the guard. "Okay, come on in. Let me know when you're ready to leave." "Thank you. We'll let you know," said Henry as he and Timothy started walking away. All of the cell doors were open except for one. Looking into the cell, Timothy could see nothing. It was dark and smelly. The occupant was sleeping or just not hungry. He slid the food through the slot. "I'm going to stay until I can talk to the prisoner. He might have some information about Merlin. He may even be Merlin. Tell the guard I'm not ready to leave yet," said Timothy. "Okay. I hope you know what you're doing," said Henry. As Henry started back toward the guard, Timothy tried to get the attention of the prisoner. It was no use. "I've got to get inside the cell. The prisoner may be ill or dead," Timothy thought. "But how? I can't squeeze through that tiny slot and the guard is not going to give me a key." "I've got it," thought Timothy as he pulled the bag of shrinkweed out of his pocket. "I wonder if this will make me even smaller?" Timothy swallowed the contents of the bag. In a moment his vision blurred and when his vision cleared, he was indeed much smaller. Squeezing easily through the slot, Timothy entered the cell. Walking toward the back of the cell, Timothy listened for any sign of the prisoner. He heard the footsteps of the guard coming down the hallway. Backing farther into the darkness, Timothy watched as the guard peered through the small peep hole in the door. As the guard walked away, Timothy tried to take a step forward but he was stuck to something. A spider's web. Timothy had backed into a spider's web.
Timothy felt a vibration through the web. "I've got to get free," thought Timothy. Untieing the belt, Timothy stepped out of the robe, leaving it hanging in the web. The spider was closer now. Timothy began to run toward the door but fell into a crack between two of the flat stones in the floor. Hanging onto the stones, Timothy tried to pull himself up. A he looked across the floor, he saw the spider slowly but steadily moving toward him. Just as the spider was inches away, something fell and covered the spider. It was Timothy's cloak. After he removed it, his cloak had changed back to its normal size and fallen upon the spider. Timothy felt something tug on his shirt collar. "Let me go!" Timothy commanded as he was lifted high above the floor. "What are you?" said a loud voice that seemed to be trying to whisper. "Why it's a tiny boy. Who are you? What are you doing in here?" "I'm Sir Timothy. Who and what are you?" Timothy asked. "Put me down!" "Okay, Tim, don't get your knickers in a bunch," said the voice. "I've heard of Sir Timothy, but somehow I thought you would be a little taller." "This isn't my normal size. Don't you recognize magic when you see it," said Timothy. "I'm looking for Merlin. He's missing, in case you didn't know." "Smells more like shrinkweed to me," said the voice. "Why are you looking for Merlin?" "I'm afraid he's met with foul play. He may need my help," said Timothy. "Get me out of here, and I'll help you find Merlin," said the voice. "What are you, a troll or a giant?" asked Timothy. "It's so dark, I can't see you very well, but I can tell that you're a female." "My name is Elizabeth, and I'm Merlin's daughter," the voice said. "Merlin's daughter, but how?" said Timothy. "Why didn't I meet
you the last time I was here?" "It's a long story. Get me out of here and I'll tell you later," said Elizabeth. "You've got to get the key. It's down at the end of the hall where the guard sits when he's not making his rounds." "How long before he makes his rounds again?" asked Timothy. "He should be coming by in a few minutes. So how did you fall into that crack in the floor?" asked Elizabeth. "I was being chased by a ferocious spider," said Timothy. "Who, Silvia! She wouldn't hurt a fly. Well ... maybe a fly, but she wouldn't hurt you. She was probably just curious," said Elizabeth. "She's trapped under my cloak. Maybe you should help her," said Timothy. "So this is your cloak. Still not very tall, are you?" said Elizabeth. "I was in disguise. I'm much taller than that. I bet I'm taller than you," said Timothy as he watched Silvia walking back toward her web. "Ssh. It's the guard," said Elizabeth. "After he peeks in, he'll continue on down the hallway. That's your chance to get the key." "Okay. Put me down, and I'll go get the key," said Timothy. "If I let you go, you will come back, won't you?" asked Elizabeth. "Of course I will. You need my help," said Timothy. "and I probably could use your help to find Merlin." "Okay, go. Don't waste any time. The guard will be back soon," said Elizabeth. Tim squeezed through the slot in the door and ran as fast as he could toward the end of the hall. Being so small, the distance seemed much longer than he remembered. Tired and out of breath, Timothy finally arrived at the guard's table. The keys were hanging on the wall about a foot beyond Timothy's reach. Timothy looked around for a pole or anything to help him reach the keys. There was nothing to be
found. Suddenly his eyes began to cross and his vision blurred. A moment later he was staring at the keys on the wall, well within his reach. Grabbing the keys, Timothy started back toward the cell. Timothy saw the guard peeking into the cell. Quickly, he ducked into one of the open cells. The guard soon passed the cell and continued back to his desk. Timothy slipped out of the cell and continued down the hall to Elizabeth's cell. Using the key, he opened the cell door. Elizabeth stepped out into the hallway. She was dirty and her clothes were tattered. She looked like a beggar, not the daughter of the great Merlin. "I see you've grown some," she said. "Follow me." "Just a minute while I get my cloak. It probably fits now," said Timothy. "It might still come in handy." "Okay, but hurry. We need to leave now," said Elizabeth. Elizabeth continued down the hall until she came to the last empty cell. The hallway had ended. Timothy could see no way out. "Help me find the loose stone," said Elizabeth as she knelt on the floor. "One of these floor stones should be loose." "Here it is," said Timothy. "Over here." Elizabeth picked up the rectangular stone and rotating it 180 degrees, placed it back in the floor. A section of the wall began to move until there was an opening large enough for them to get through. After they were on the other side of the wall, Elizabeth found another loose stone, rotated it, and the wall closed back up. "It's dark in here," said Timothy. "I can't see a thing." "Just be patient. Your eyes will adjust," said Elizabeth. "Where does this passage lead?" asked Timothy. "These secret passages can take you almost anywhere in the castle if you can find the secret stones," said Elizabeth. "Merlin must have shown you. You really are his daughter," said Timothy. "Did he teach you magic?"
"Sure, but they took my wand when they captured me while I was sleeping," said Elizabeth. "I've got to get a new wand." "Would you teach me? I've always wanted to be a great wizard," said Timothy. "I'll teach you a few tricks. After all, you did rescue me. But it takes years and years of practice just to become a mediocre wizard," said Elizabeth. "So what do we do now? Do you have a plan?" asked Timothy. "I plan on taking a bath and getting out of these rags," said Elizabeth. "We're going to my secret room." Timothy followed Elizabeth as they wound their way through intricate passages, up and down stairways, through doors with combination locks, and around all sorts of traps. Finally they entered her secret room. "Make yourself at home. There's food in the cupboards. I'll just be a few minutes," said Elizabeth. Timothy looked around. The room was nicely furnished. Pictures of elves and fairies hung on the wall. Above the fireplace was a lifesize portrait of Merlin and a beautiful golden haired maiden. "Is this your mother in the portrait with Merlin?" asked Timothy. "Yes, wasn't she beautiful?" came the answer from the other room. "Will I get to meet her?" asked Timothy. "I'm afraid that's not possible. She's not here?" said Elizabeth. Sensing that Elizabeth didn't want to talk about her, Timothy changed the subject. "Do you have any wands here? This would have been a good place to hide an extra wand." "Oh, no. You never hide a magical object in your secret place. Even an amateur wizard could use a 'find magical item' spell to locate it, and they would also find your secret place," said Elizabeth as she entered the room. She was dressed in her riding clothes. Even in these clothes, Timothy could see that she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Tim was standing on a chair trying to reach the cupboard door.
"Careful Tiny Tim, let me get that for you." said Elizabeth. "That's Sir Timothy, and I can do it," said Timothy. "You're cute when you're mad," said Elizabeth. "I can't wait till you grow up." "That makes two of us," said Timothy. "Let's eat something and get some rest before we search Merlin's room," said Elizabeth. ........................ After a long nap, Timothy awoke to find that he was back to his normal size. Elizabeth was probably still sleeping in the bedroom. Tim decided to clean himself up a little bit. He took a bath and washed his clothes which were quite dirty after falling into that crack in the floor. Timothy wrapped a towel around his waist and looked around the rooms while waiting for his clothes to dry. The paintings on the walls once again drew his attention. Were these real elves and fairies or just someone's imagination? He had not seen any elves or fairies during his time in the land of Tomorrow. He would have to ask Elizabeth when she wakes up. Timothy knocked on the door to the bedroom. "Be out in a minute," said Elizabeth. "Did you get enough rest?" "Yes. I rested very well. About these paintings on your wall. Have you ever seen an elf or a fairy?" asked Timothy. "Sure, lots of times. We'll have to go visit them in order for me to get a new wand," said Elizabeth. "Visit them. Where do they live?" asked Timothy. "On the other side of Tomorrow," said Elizabeth as she entered the room. "You've grown up, but where are your clothes? Don't they fit anymore?" "They're drying. I washed them," said Timothy. "Well, who said you could use my towel?" said Elizabeth.
"What?" said Timothy, blushing. "Relax, I'm only kidding. Is that your natural color, red?" asked Elizabeth. "Very funny," said Timothy. "I'm going to call you Tim and you can call me Liz," said Elizabeth, "or do you prefer Timmie?" "Tim will do just fine, Lizzie," said Tim. "That's Liz, if you please," said Liz. "I'll just check and see if my clothes are dry," said Tim as he left the room. ........................ "You look very nice," said Liz as he reentered the room. "So, are you ready to begin our adventure?" "I'm always ready for adventure," said Tim, "and you look very nice too." "Okay then, let's get started," said Liz as she rotated the stone. In a little while, they were in Merlin's secret room. Liz walked over to the bookshelf and pulled down a very old looking book. "What's that?" asked Tim. "Merlin's diary. Even he doesn't know that I know about it," said Liz as she read some of the latest entries. "He was suspicious of Reginald Van Rat for some time, but could find no proof that he was plotting anything. I suspect he was taken in his sleep the same as I was." "Anything that might tell us where he is?" asked Tim. "No. I'll probably have to use magic, but first I'll need a new wand," said Liz. "Ready to go see the elves?" "I can hardly wait," said Tim. "How do we get out of the castle?"
"Secret tunnels," said Liz. "What else would you expect?" ........................ Tim and Liz exited the tunnel and placed the branches back over the entrance. "We'll need to keep an eye out for soldiers," said Liz. "Wolves, I've heard about them. Haven't met one yet," said Tim. "Let's hope you don't," said Liz. "We'll need to keep to the forest." "How far is it to the other side of Tomorrow?" asked Tim. "Relax, since we're coming back, getting there is only half the journey," said Liz. "Okay," said Tim. "Well, that's good, I think. Lead the way." As Tim and Liz walked through the forest, Tim marveled at the variety of trees and colors. After hours of walking, Liz said. "Quiet, I hear something. We may be in danger. Quick, kiss me. There's no time to explain." Timothy kissed her. His heart was beating rapidly. Was it the kiss or the danger? He didn't feel afraid. Her heart was also beating quickly. How long should he kiss her? She'll let him know when to stop. He hoped the danger didn't pass too quickly. Finally it was over. "Are they gone now?" asked Tim. "Who?" asked Liz. "The wolves," said Timothy. "Oh, them. I may have been mistaken," said Liz. "Did you ever hear about the boy who cried wolf?" asked Tim. "We've got no time for fairy tales," said Liz. "Let's continue." "Okay," said Tim as he leaned toward Liz. "No, I mean continue our journey. What's wrong with you?" said
Liz. "Wrong with me?" Tim thought. Tim had kissed a girl or two in his time but never saw what the big deal was until now. Tim tried to get his mind back on the journey. "Hey, wait for me." The trees were beginning to look much older now. "Hey, what was that?" said Tim as he heard something buzzing near his ear. "It's just a fairy. Don't worry, they won't harm you," said Liz. "Are we getting close?" asked Tim. "I'm getting hungry." "It's not much farther, but we can stop here and eat. I could use a short rest," said Liz. ........................ "Is there a city where all the elves live?" asked Tim. "How soon do we leave the woods? They are beginning to get a little spooky." "Their city is in the woods. Actually it's up in the trees," said Liz. "You'll see very soon. We're almost there. We should encounter some of their scouts soon." "What are they like? I've never met an elf before. Do they speak English?" asked Tim. "They speak many languages. They're very friendly to those who don't give them reason to be otherwise. They are fierce fighters if they have to be," said Liz. "Who goes there?" asked a voice from above. "Elizabeth and Sir Timothy," said Liz. "We're here to see Elderon the Wise." "What is your business with Elderon? Is he expecting you?" asked the voice. "We've come to get wands," said Liz. "Are you good wizards or evil wizards?" asked the voice.
"You know Elderon would not give wands to evil wizards," said Liz. "Then you may continue. May peace be with you," said the voice. "May peace be with you," replied Liz. Tim and Liz came to a large tree. A spiral stairway wound around the trunk of the tree. Climbing the stairway, they encountered a thick fog. Finally emerging from the fog, they saw bridges heading off in all directions to the other treetops. Each treetop contained one or more treehouses. They reminded Tim of his treehouse back home but were larger and much better constructed. The fog drifting just below them looked like a snow covered landscape. Above the fog, the trees still had lush and colorful leaves. "Where can we find Elderon the Wise?" Liz asked an elf. "Three bridges east, then two north," said the elf. ........................ "Elizabeth. So nice to see you again. How is that wand working out for you?" asked Elderon as he answered the door. Elderon was a very old elf. All elves have very long lives, and he was nearing the end of his. Tuffs of white hair covered the tips of his pointed ears. His eyebrows were thick and bushy. His blue eyes looked gray and his dentures caused him to whistle as he talked. "It was taken from me. My father is missing," said Liz. "We've heard rumors. Then you'll need a new wand. Who is this young human?" asked Elderon. "This is Sir Timothy," said Liz. "Sir Timothy, I had hoped we would meet some day," said Elderon. "I can't tell you how much we appreciate what you did for the world of Tomorrow." "He will also need a wand, if that is okay," said Liz. "Of course it's okay. It's the least we can do," said Elderon. "Do
you remember the way to the willow tree?" "I think so. I just wanted to get your permission before we go there," said Liz. "I can ask for directions if I get lost." ........................ "There it is. The enchanted Willow of the Wands," said Liz. "Do we just tear off a limb," asked Tim. "Oh, no. You must never touch the tree, or you will never get a wand," said Liz. "Then where do we get the wands?" asked Tim. "They are laying on the ground beneath the tree," said Liz. "No, don't touch it. It must come to you." "Come to me. But I don't understand. What do I do?" asked Tim. "Just wish for it," said Liz. "If you are worthy, it will come to you." Tim had never wished for anything more. "Hold out your hand," said Liz. One of the dead tree limbs began to wiggle like a snake. It rose into the air and drifted toward Tim. It floated into Tim's hand. Tim watched as another limb floated into Liz's hand. "Okay, we're through here. We must start back home now," said Liz. "Can't you use magic to get us back?" asked Tim. "It takes time to break in a new wand. We'll need to practice while we walk back home. I'll teach you some simple tricks so you can break yours in," said Liz. "Teach me one now," Tim pleaded. "First you must learn a few things about magic. We can talk as we walk," Liz said. "Okay. Tell me about magic," Tim said as he walked alongside Liz.
"Rule #1. A wand is required to direct the energy of any wizard's spell. Casting a spell without a wand is a waste of energy. Until you break in a new wand, it may direct energy in the wrong direction or not at all. Never try a dangerous spell with a new wand," said Liz. "Rule #2. Energy is required to create a spell. Most spells require specific ingredients. If you perform a spell without the proper ingredients, the energy will be taken from you. This can only be replaced by sleep and rest. Potions can speed the process, but improper dosage can have an aging effect on the user. Until you learn more, don't try spells without the proper ingredients." "Rule #3. Spells have a limited range, duration, and strength. The three ingredients and their proportions affect these aspects of the spell. You control the overall spell, but remember that you can't increase one without increasing them all." "An experienced wizard can limit the energy drawn from him if a spell goes wrong. A novice wizard can be injured beyond any hope of recovery. Learning to control the energy draw is the most important thing about becoming a great wizard." "That's a lot to learn," said Tim. "How will I ever learn all of that?" "One spell at a time," said Liz. ........................ "Teach me a spell," said Tim. "Not so fast. First we have to gather some ingredients," said Liz. "For your first spell you will need sulfur, bloodroot, and water." "I've got water. Where do we find the others?" asked Tim. "It's all around you. You just have to learn to recognize it," said Liz. "Normally I would just buy the ingredients, but in a pinch, you may have to find it in the wild." "What does sulfur and bloodroot look like?" asked Tim. "Here, you can have my Wizard's Handbook. I've been meaning to get the latest edition," said Liz.
As they walked along, Tim thumbed through the handbook. There were all sorts of useful tips but not a single spell. Tim found pictures of bloodroot and sulfur and tips on where to find them. "What spell are you going to teach me?" asked Tim. "The light spell. You'll learn to use your wand as a torch when you are in dark places," said Liz. "That doesn't sound like it would be much good in a battle," said Tim. "Use your imagination, Tim," said Liz. "With enough energy, you can temporarily blind an opponent or give him third degree burns." "That's good. I wouldn't want to kill anything," said Tim. "Here, you'll need this bag to hold the ingredients for the spell," said Liz as she handed a small scarlet bag to Tim. "But what about you, don't you need it?" asked Tim. "Not any more. You'll need to mix the ingredients and hold the bag in your left hand while casting the spell. I've learned to let my mind control the proportions. I only need to have the ingredients in my possession," said Liz. "Merlin can perform spells if the ingredients are within several hundred yards of him." After about an hour, they had collected all of the ingredients that they would need to break in their new wands. Keeping to the forest, they were able to avoid the soldiers. Finally they arrived back at the entrance to the secret tunnel. "Light the way, Tim," said Liz as they entered the dark tunnel. "Lumina illuminae," said Tim and his wand began to glow. In a few seconds the glowing stopped. "Need to work on the duration, huh Tim?" said Liz. "A little more bloodroot." In a moment the wand was glowing again, and they headed back to Liz's room. "We'll eat and get some rest. Then we need to decide what to do next," said Liz. "You don't have a plan! I thought you had a plan," said Tim.
"Did you have a plan when you were stumbling around in the dungeon?" asked Liz. "Well, not a complete plan. I was planning as I went along," said Tim. "That's what we're doing now," said Liz. "I think we should check the lower levels of the dungeon." "Makes sense to me. That's where I would put Merlin if I were an evil rat fink like Van Rat," said Tim. "So, we've got a plan. But what do we do when we find Merlin." "Make a new plan to get him out," said Liz. ........................ Suddenly a flash of light and Merlin appeared before them. "Father, are you all right?" asked Liz. "I'm fine. Did you have a wonderful adventure while I was away?" asked Merlin. "Nice to see you again, Sir Timothy. I see you've met my daughter Elizabeth." "Hello Sir. Yes, we've met," said Tim. "How long did it take you to escape from the dungeon?" Merlin asked. "Was this a test? I'm afraid I failed. Tim had to help me escape," said Liz. "I'm sure you would have eventually escaped," said Merlin. "I'm very proud of both of you. You've done quite well for 12 years olds." "You said you were away. Where did you go?" asked Liz. "I'm afraid that's a secret. Get dressed, the two of you. Meet me in the ballroom in thirty minutes," said Merlin. "All those rumors, did you start them?" asked Tim.
"Rumors spread easily enough without my help," said Merlin. A flash of light and he was gone. "I don't have anything else to wear," said Tim. "What are those?" said Liz, pointing to the clothes laying on the sofa. "You heard him, get dressed. I'll see you in a couple of minutes." Tim looked at himself in the mirror. He looked like a prince of Camelot. He turned to see Elizabeth wearing her finest evening gown. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. "Prince Charming, I presume," said Liz. "Shall I awaken you with a kiss?" said Tim. "You've already done that," said Liz. "Merlin's waiting. Let's go." ........................ "As they entered the ballroom everyone yelled "Surprise ... Happy Birthday Elizabeth." "Merlin was standing beside a beautiful white unicorn. "This is for you," he said as he handed the reins to Elizabeth. "Happy Birthday." "How can you have a birthday, I thought time didn't pass here in the land of Tomorrow," said Tim. "In the outside world, I would be twenty-one today. Here I'm still almost thirteen," said Liz. "This is the best surprise party I've ever had, and the best birthday present I could ever hope for." "You don't mind if I stick around for a while? You still have more to teach me about magic," said Tim. "Nothing would give me more pleasure," said Liz.
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