If you’re just checking in, this story started Monday, so click to the left on the links for part one and two and then return here for the full story.
Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and enjoy the wizard’s duel!
Pete grinned at Papa. A wizard’s duel! It was legendary! He leaned against the gate to see better and Papa pulled him back by his collar.
He scowled and waited for Papa to let go before leaning forward again.
The other wizards muttered and gestured as they lined the road. Pete barely glanced at them. What would Whittlestrom do?
“This ends when a wizard can no longer spark,” said one wizard, a big one with a booming voice and pudgy cheeks.
Zorban and Whittlestrom bowed and then turned their backs to each other.
“On one,” boomed the moderator, “three…two…one.”
Whittlestrom immediately hit his knees as Zorban sent a ball of flame over his head.
Pete gasped but Whittlestrom winked before spinning and flinging dozens of large marbles down the road. Zorban jumped but there were too many. He skittered and stuttered with his arms flailing. He shot random balls of flame as he flailed.
Several stopped just short of the witness wizards.
One blossomed on the air shield just above Pete’s head. He gawked as it splattered sparks.
Whittlestrom flung his hands into the air and his sparks hissed and sizzled as clouds formed above Zorban. The clouds let loose and drenched the stocky wizard.
Zorban sputtered but pitched several round shapes down the road.
One hit the cobbled road with a boom! And cratered the stone. The second boomed and the building to Whittlestrom’s right crumbled, exposing the insides of a dining room and several people hiding inside.
Whittlestrom’s shoulders hunched as he raised his hands again. Large sparks flew as his clouds thinned into ropes and a net with stones weighing the edges. With a flick of his hands, he dropped his arms. The net entrapped Zorban.
Zorban hit the ground but he snaked one arm free and flame shot toward Whittlestrom.
Pete frowned. It didn’t look right. There was fire but…
Whittlestrom ducked and the flame hit a tree in the intersection behind him. The branches whooshed and great snakes of fire climbed high into the air.
Whittlestrom stepped back from the heat.
Zorban shot more flame while he was distracted.
Pete yelped a yarning but it wasn’t loud enough. Even still, Whittlestrom stepped to the side of the shot and it hit the flaming tree instead with a loud crack.
The tree tilted.
Zorban’s fingers beaconed it, like he controlled the tree’s fall.
Pete frowned harder. Still no sparks.
“He’s not sparking!” He shouted.
The tree cracked and fell.
Zorban sent a new shot of flame, not at Whittlestrom but at Pete, just as Whittlestrom reached up and sparks flew as he held the tree off his head so he could escape its flaming branches.
Pete’s arms flew up. Air shield or no, a flaming ball warranted reaction!
“Ahh!” Pete screamed as the ball flashed against the screen. The air popped and then the fire rained down.
His arms tingled, his hair stood on end, and his teeth ached. But he wasn’t burning.
No, the fire danced along his skin in ticklish waves.
Pete held his hands up in amazement and then jumped as he saw Zorban standing down the street, free of the net.
Without thought, he balled his hands and pitched.
Sparks, great green globs of fire sprites that burned the grass at his feet, flew from him, sending him back on his behind.
Woosh! The air left his lungs for the second time that day.
But his aim was true. The fireball hit Zorban in the chest and the wizard’s robes caught.
Screeching, Zorban shucked the robe over his head, with it came black sticks, several odd tubes and what looked like a tiny lantern.
As soon as the robe and extras hit the ground, Zorban ran. The moderator stepped in his way just as Whittlestrom shouted “shield that!”
All wizards stepped forward and Pete couldn’t see the burning robe.
Flame gutted harmlessly into the sky as the wizards shielded the blast.
When they stepped back, a crater the size of an elephant sunk the road.
“Zorban,” Whittlestrom said. His voice bounced around, unusually loud. “I hereby denounce you as a true wizard.”
The moderator returned with Zorban, who’s arms were tied behind his back with some sort of red goo.
Now in his undergarments, Pete saw sticks tied to the man’s legs, arms and torso.
“I second that,” the moderator spoke up.
There were mutters of agreement and then in a poof, all the wizards vanished with Zorban in tow.
Pete liked the inside of Wizard Whittlestrom’s home. It smelled like berries and was full of light.
The baker, Master Gus, and Whittlestrom were discussing rebuilding the bakery and whether or not to use magic to clear away the burn scar. Papa kept looking at Pete out of the corner of his eye, still unsure what to do with a wizard for a son.
Pete fingered the strap of his pack and waited. He found the pack on the other side of the burned tree and except for burned edged on the left strap, it was unharmed.
“Now,” Whittlestrom said and Papa jerked in his chair. “Let’s discuss your apprenticeship.” He looked straight at Pete and Pete couldn’t help but grin.
“Wizards don’t’ take apprentices,” Papa muttered.
“Well, this one does. It’ll cut down on fakes slipping through the floorboards.”
After questioning Zorban, they’d found he never could do magic. He just had a great set up for shooting fire and making things explode, an apothecary’s apprentice gone wrong.
He attacked the bakery out of pride, hurt that Master Gus didn’t like his rearranging style.
“Would you like some coffee first?” Pete asked, no longer able to hold in his surprise. He set his bag on the table and pulled out a burlap sack. The rich aroma of coffee filled the room.
Mrs. Whit took a long sniff, “absolutely!”
“How strange,” Master Gus chuckled, “not only an observant wizard, but a generous one too.”
Pete grinned harder and shared a look with Whittlestrom, who had that sparkle in his eyes and a corner of his mouth quirked in amusement.
“Sounds like a good apprentice.”
(If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions to make the story or my writing better, please let me know. I love feedback whether you love the story, hate it, are confused by it or whatever. Please be constructive and professional. That’s all I ask.)