Nine-year-old Landon and his classmate and friend Ana were in school, which was strange, because school was out for the summer. What was even stranger was that Landon was at the head of the class and Ana was the only student.
“Now today class, I want to introduce you to magic wands.” He was wearing a white shirt and tie, dark slacks, and was wearing something that looked like a cross between a jacket and a robe while Ana was dressed similarly.
“Stop being silly. I’m the only one here.”
“Just trying to get into the mood, Ana.”
“Fine, you teach me how to use a wand, and I’ll teach you moose healing magic.”
“Are you sure we should be keeping this from Buddy?”
“You said you knew enough to begin my training yourself. Besides, we’re ready to start the fourth grade. I think we’re old enough to handle the basic stuff ourselves.”
“Okay. Anyway, this is a magic wand.”
“It looks like a long, thin stick. What makes it magic?”
“We do. Wands help us focus our spells, especially ones that normally would affect a wide area.”
“Like my light spell.”
“Exactly. The elemental light spell explodes like a bomb or a flash bulb on an old-fashioned camera. If you focus it through a wand, you can create anything from a flashlight beam to a laser.”
“Cool. Can I try?” She stood up at her desk and held out her hand.
“Let me demonstrate first. Stand away from your desk a little.”
The girl took a couple of steps forward. Then Landon pointed the wand at her and concentrated.
“Hey, wait a minute. I didn’t mean me.”
Then she felt herself floating upward.
“See, I concentrated a levitation spell.”
“You could have done that without the wand. Now let me down.”
“Sure, but this way, I can levitate a single person or object without affecting anything else around.”
Ana’s feet once more were firmly on the floor.
Now how about this?” He pointed the wand again and a very tiny cloud appeared near the girl’s face. It was about the size of an egg and little lightning bolts came out of it. One of them zapped Ana’s nose.
“Ouch. Watch it.” She rubbed the tip of her nose with her fingers.
“It isn’t that powerful. That should have felt like static electricity.”
“It still stings. Here, let me try.” Ana reached forward and took the wand. “It feels like ordinary wood.
“I told you. It is. It’s your magic that makes it work.”
“Okay, here goes.”
Landon had made working the wand look easy, but Ana was having a hard time getting it to do anything at all. “What’s wrong?”
“Try imagining that your spell is water and that the wand is a hose you’re making it go through.”
“Okay, here goes again.” This time Ana closed her eyes and concentrated. Landon saw her face twist into a frown. Then she shrieked and he had to suddenly jump to one side as a thin, hard stream of water shot out of the tip of the wand.
It stopped just as suddenly, and the front of the teacher’s desk was soaked and dripping.
“I didn’t say use a squirt gun spell.”
“I guess I concentrated on picturing water a little too hard. I was trying for a light spell.”
“If the light was that thin and hard, it would have burned a hole in the desk instead of getting it wet.”
“No, it’s okay. Making mistakes is part of learning.” He waved his hand and the water disappeared.
“Where did you make the water go?”
“I turned it into water vapor and then teleported it into the clouds. Buddy says you can never destroy matter or energy, just change its form.”
For the next half an hour, Landon helped Ana practice how to safely use the wand to focus light, including the control never to let it get hotter or tighter than a flashlight beam. Then he took the wand and returned it to his backpack.
“Next time, I’ll show you what I learned about moose healing.”
“Right. Now we’ve got to get things back to normal. Grandpa will be coming to pick me up soon.” Landon canceled his illusion spell and once again they were both back in the living room at Ana’s house. As far as Ana’s parents and brother knew, the pair had spent the entire time playing a video game on the television set. They could even interact with the illusion of their other selves, never suspecting that the boy and girl were really practicing magic.
Their clothes had returned to normal and Landon’s backpack now appeared next to him.
Then the doorbell rang and Ana’s Dad opened the door and welcomed Landon’s Grandpa in, just in time for everyone to see the boy collapse into unconsciousness.
“Landon!” Grandpa rushed over to the now prone boy. “He’s barely breathing. Call 911.”
Ana’s Dad was already on his cell phone when the child started becoming transparent to everyone except the little girl. All she could see was the world around her getting hazy.
“Oh no.” Quickly, she ran into her room and grabbed the box she had hidden in the back of her closet. Besides her and Landon, it was the only thing that seemed solid. She returned to her friend, knelt down, and reflexively took the wand out of his backpack. Then she grabbed Landon’s arm just as their reality faded completely from view.
Her friend’s skin was getting colder and she feared he was moments from death. “I hope I know what I’m doing.” She looked through the vials of liquid in her moose healing kit and selected the smallest one. Then, propping Landon’s head up with one arm, she popped the lid off of the glass tube and forced the boy to drink.
He coughed three times and shuddered and then was still. Ana leaned over his face. “Good, you’re breathing normally again but why won’t you wake up?”
Looking around, she recognized the forest trail they were both on. “We’re back in the moose world. That’s the way to the moosemen village.”
She touched the levitation amulet under her shirt and felt its magic stirring. Quickly, she packed up her medical box putting the wand inside and held it under one arm. She grabbed Landon with the other and willed the talisman to make them rise.
It took only minutes for Ana to get Landon over the village and then the pair descended in the center. A couple of moose children who were playing catch with a ball were the first to see them and screamed. Then the inhabitants of the small town looked out their doors and windows to see what was causing the commotion.
The moosewoman healer Sha Su recognized them instantly and rushed to their side.
“Sha Su. Help him.”
“Child, you shouldn’t have come here. It’s not safe. The moose king has been in a foul mood ever since this boy drank of the Holy Grail Moose Milk.”
“I couldn’t help it. He just fell unconscious and transported here. If I hadn’t been beside him, I’d never have teleported too.”
“Get him into my hut. Hurry. I don’t think he has much time.”
Ana used her amulet to make Landon light enough for her to carry, but then Ha Shu and several other moosemen came over to help.
“We’ve got him, Ana. Never fear. In spite of the king, you are always welcome in our village.
“It is as I feared.” Sha Su had finished her examination of the boy as Ana waited fearfully at her side. “The poison in the Holy Grail has affected him, but not in the way it would have one of our people or the moose kings.”
“What do you mean?”
“The anti-poison potion you gave him helped extend his life, but it wasn’t a cure.”
“Is there a cure?”
“Yes, but only in one place, the castle in Moose Valley.”
“Will the kings let us get it?”
“Difficult to say, Ana.” Ha Shu joined the conversation. There are several kings and they each have different dispositions, so another member of the royal family might be inclined to help, especially since Landon sent the demon horde back to Hell.”
“We’ve got to try. Will you go with me?”
“I was going to leave you here with the boy and go myself.”
“I need to go too. Landon’s my friend.”
“Take her with you, Ha Shu. She’s right and there’s nothing she can do for her companion by waiting here as she slowly expires.”
“Very well Sha Su, but it will be dangerous. How long does he have?”
“One full day. After that, I’m afraid he will be lost forever.”
The girl turned to the tall mooseman. “We’ve got to go right now.”
“As you wish. I will need to harness one of the animals to a cart. Riding will be faster than walking.”
“I know an even faster way. Come with me.” Ana grabbed the wand out of her kit and put it in her pocket. Then she led Ha Shu outside, and without warning, she grabbed his arm and they both took off. The mooseman gritted his teeth to keep from screaming as they flew back the way they’d come and toward the castle.
Landon woke up in Hell, though he wasn’t actually sure of where he was or what had happened.
“Welcome to my domain, Landon.”
The boy sat up and turned. He was sitting on a large stone among several that rose above the surface of a wide pool of lava, but he didn’t seem to feel the intense heat.
“Surprised to see me again?”
It was a demon, but other than that, he couldn’t tell him apart from any of the other demons he had dispatched when he was in the moose world. “Who are you?”
The creature sighed. “How disappointing. I thought surely you would have recognized the great Asmodius, demon king and leader of the dark army, especially after you used your Moose Milk powers to send us all back here.”
“There were too many of you to tell apart and it was dark. How did I get here? The last thing I remember was being at Ana’s house and was getting dizzy.”
“That would be the poison.”
“In the Holy Grail Moose Milk? I thought I was immune.”
“Not entirely, though I am puzzled why you didn’t arrive here as soon as it took effect.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your body isn’t really here in Hell, boy, but it should be. Some sort of magic interfered and you and your little friend ended up in the moose world.”
“It must have been Ana.”
“Yes, she did something to keep you alive longer than you deserve, and the magic must have been connected to the moose realm. Even now, they’re all engaged in a vain effort to save your life.”
“So if I’m not really here, what happened?”
“I’ve got your soul, but it’s only temporary. If you’re cured, you will be restored to your body. If you die, well, you remain my guest permanently.”
“That’s why I’m not burning up sitting on a hot rock in the middle of a lava pit.”
“This is your revenge.”
“Yes, against you for the ignominy of defeat. I don’t like to lose.”
While Landon kept the demon king talking, he had turned his senses inward. His body may be in the physical world, but his soul still possessed the magic, but it was different. Still, it might enable him to escape Hell and return to his body.
The boy stood.
“You can stretch your legs if you like, but you’re not going anywhere.”
“I guess demons don’t know everything then. Bye.” Combining a light and smoke spell, Landon suddenly vanished in a brilliant and fog shrouded explosion.
Landon was already flying as fast as he could hundreds of feet above the demon’s head, but he was still trapped in Hell. “How do I get out of here?”
Ana and Ha Shu landed just within sight of the moose castle gates which were heavily guarded by a dozen moose warriors.
“I don’t think we’re getting in that way, Ha Shu. Is there a backdoor?”
“Your dragon friend did tell me of a secret entrance. This way.”
The two of them made their way into the forest and the mooseman located the correct tree. Remembering Buddy’s instructions, he got the secret entrance open and they descended into the dimly lit caverns.
“The dragon spoke with the king after the battle was over and learned of a way through these tunnels that will help us avoid the trap they fell into the last time you were here.”
“Great. I wasn’t looking forward to that spinning room Landon told me about or running into those soldier statues.”
“Here we are.” Instead of a ladder, they both walked up a long flight of stone steps and then were facing a wooden door. The mooseman tentatively tried the latch and found it was unlocked. “In we go. Remember to be quiet.”
Ana nodded and then followed Ha Shu inside. They were both in a darkened corridor lit only by wall-mounted torches. There were doors on either side, but the mooseman led the girl straight ahead.
Suddenly all of the doors in front and behind them were thrust open and dozens of moose guards emerged. “Halt intruders!” Ha Shu was deprived of his sword before he could even reach for it.
One of the guards walked up to them. “I am the Captain of the king’s watchmen. We’ve had spies observing all of the entrances to the castle ever since the demon invasion was repelled. You are our prisoners. Come with us.”
Sha Su dabbed a moistened cloth on Landon’s feverish forehead as he tossed and turned fitfully on the sofa in the living room of the healer’s hut. “Rest easy, child. I’m sure they’ll be back soon. Never fear.”
She looked up at the clock on the mantle. Six hours had already passed and the sun had just set. The boy had only until noon tomorrow to be saved.
Just when you thought the moosecraft adventures were done, they’ve spawned yet another sequel, and these events are the direct result of what happened in the previous tale Victory and Judgment. Now Landon’s soul is trapped in Hell while his body slowly perishes in the moose world, and Ana and Ha Shu have been captured while sneaking into the moose castle. Can Landon be saved from death and eternal torment? Be here for the next chapter in this amazing adventure to find out.
Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for the better part of two years now. To read the series from the beginning, go to The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the bottom of that story is a link to the next. Each subsequent story has a link to the next chapter, so all you have to do is keep reading and clicking and you’ll eventually get back here.
The next chapter is When Hell Boils Over.