Brandon rubbed his head. He looked over his shoulder to see the black hair ball creature, Hal, rolling around on the mossy ground beside the Wizard's tower laughing. “Hal, Hal. We’re here. We made it. We-”
“Ha, eh oh yeah, this is real cool,” Hal said, looking up to the wizard’s tower. “Now, where’s the door? Oh here.”
“Hal I heard-” Brandon started.
“Let’s stick to reality,” Hal interrupted as he stepped through a mossy little door at the bottom of the tower. It was tiny and round and quite covered with vegetation. This was a little too easy and Brandon didn’t like it.
They entered a dark room made of the same large stone bricks as the tower. There was a little wooden table on the side with a chair beside it. Papers were scattered over it, and there was an old shiny black pen that sat in a glass jar.
“Hmm, these are studies on the human hero and books about the Magi-Queen,” Hal said, running his fingers over the desk, “‘Magic History’ ‘Who’s Our Hero’ hey, that one’s by Sima Blanc! ‘Gentoridge Trees And The Danger They Bring’ ‘How Could We Stop The Queen’.” As Hal read off the names of books and files on the desk, Brandon spotted a door.
“Hey, Hal. Uh, let’s get going,”Brandon said,” If we’re ever going to find this Wizard we are going to have to hurry. Plus, if he doesn’t want us here, then we got to get to him.”
“No, Brandon. The wizard is really nice. Plus, if he sent you here he’d probably delighted to see you. You’re a human,” Hal said.
“Yeah, but haven’t the other humans came? Like…” Brandon said.
Hal gave him a wide eyed look. “Nooo nooooo. All the humans died. It’s no place for them here.”
“Wha?” Brandon said, shocked, “What killed them? Am I going to die?”
“Eh,” Hal shrugged,” Some experimenting with things, but most killed by the N.H.E.A. No big deal, you made it so far, basically you can’t be harmed.”
“Wait!” Brandon said, jumping in front of the door so Hal couldn’t go into the next room, “No big deal? Who’s the N.H.E.A.?”
“Uuh, so many questions!” Hal moaned and rolled his eyes, “The N.H.E.A. is the No Humans Evil Association. Your rock friend or S.O.M.L. whatever, they work against N.H.E.A. Not just to keep you humans safe but everyone else too. They launch attacks sometimes, but they can never out-think our amazing safety.”
“Eh, so,” Brandon started,” No big deal once I’m here?”
“Yes!” Hal said loudly dodging Brandon and moving into the next room.
The room was small with a little table in the corner that has a vase on it. In the vase were perfectly dried flowers. They looked normal and alive, just tinted yellow and brown. Hal touched one of the petals and it fell off into a powder. Most of the rest of the room was filled with a rickety wooden staircase.
“After you,” Brandon said shakily, motioning to the staircase. Hal stepped on and Brandon after him. Dust and pieces of wood drifted into the air around their feet as they stepped and the stairs creaked very loudly. There was another fleet of stairs after, that was a s old and dusty as the one before. On the third step Hal yelled loudly and fell through the stair.
“Watch your step,” he said.
They emerged into a fancy old hallway with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The hallway was lined with doors but when Brandon opened one, he almost fell. The door was on the side of the castle so if you walked out, you would fall to the ground, a long drop.
All of the doors were like that, until they reached the last one at the end of the hall. Paint that had been peeled from the ceiling was hanging in front of the top of the door. Brandon grasped the rusty doorknob and expected to see another long drop. But, it was actually a giant old room that had walls of gold and modern lights on the ceiling. Even though it was old, it had been touched up. There were large pillars in rows leading to a big comfortable looking throne where a very old man sat humming to himself with a sugar pastry in one hand and a book in the other. There were cauldrons around the room with a big velvet carpet coming from the door to the throne. There were shelves with trophies and little glass bottles in them. Maps were on the walls and scattered on tables.The old man looked up and Brandon gasped then dove behind a pillar. He really hoped the man was the wizard, and if he was, he would be the same man that Hal described. “Ha ha ha!” The man laughed, “The little boy’s scared of me. Hello, Mister Creature what can I do for you? Wait, is that a human?”