When they had their fill of resting, Ruby, Otto, Cornelius and Edmund went past the wheel. All of a sudden, they were in the courtyard, stepping carefully over cracked blocks and bowls. Flowers and vines grew everywhere, and nobody ceased to admire anything. The phantoms floated around, guarding a small, rusted bronze key in a cage.
" So how do we get the key?" Ruby asked Otto in a hushed voice. Otto shrugged.
" We destroy them, and find a way to destroy the cage,"he suggested.
"That's MY Otto." she said, slapping him on the back with a horn.
The other African Alphas had overheard them, and were storing up mana while they waited for a phantom to attack.
" There!" a phantom rasped, pointing at them.
" Alphas, attack!" Otto shouted, and they charged. The phantoms clashed, too.
Soon, all the phantoms lay on the ground in piles of tears and dust.They all ran past them to the cage. Ruby rammed it, but it held.
" Now, we need more brains than brawn," Edmund said, although it was pretty obvious already. They rammed the cage, picked the lock, stomped on it, chanted their true names, even cast explosive spells, but nothing, not even their true names, would break it.
" Maybe we need to all ram it at once," Cornelius hissed." After all, Mira said that only we can do this quest." They did it, and the key fell out.
Edmund grabbed the key between his teeth, and they walked into the Chamber Of Strength.
Many machines to enhance strength were in there, but no dream gate. They ascended the steps...until they reached the top, an open tower.
"Why have you come to the dream gate..." the large phantom next to the swirling mass of blue energy snarled.
"We are here to lock it," Edmund replied, getting reckless. The phantom laughed.
" Mira shall die, young ones! Defy me if you wish to, but otherwise... well, then you shall be rewarded. Ruby threw a pie, and the phantom got nailed. It dissipated, but started to rearrange itself.
" Hurry, before it is reborn!" Otto shouted. Cornelius fumbled to slide the key into the dream gate in the cold gust. He locked the gate, and took a deep breath. Ruby, Edmund and Cornelius rose up on the gale to ride home, but Otto was too heavy. He started to run, but the gale was too strong.
Unluckily, at that moment the phantom was reborn. Ice crept along the stone, and encased Otto. Otto was frozen solid in no time.
"No!" Ruby shouted. She tried to hop off, but Edmund stopped her. Otto was held in a prison of ice, as a helpless hostage despite his might, and the Alphas would have to wait and see what would happen...
The End of the Beginning...