Cassie Drake: Legendary adventurer and treasure hunter.
Derek Lowell: The inseparable sidekick to Cassie.
Claudia Wolff: A mysterious German.
It's always good to be famous and known for something, but Cassie gets the short-end of the stick when she's captured by a mysterious group of Germans and coerced into looking for a city of black magic.
El Salvador, October 2037
Cassandra Drake smashed the pick as hard as she could into the wall. Digging a hole with a pick into a temple in the jungles of Central America was something she definitely regretted. The wall was way too hard to dig in. Taking an expedition to El Salvador just to find an idol in one of the secluded temples was something she enjoyed but was less enthusiastic about.
After ten minutes of digging, she finally struck copper. She climbed into the temple, evaded every trap, grabbed the idol, and made bail before any boulders could chase after her.
She jogged back to the tent to find Derek Lowell talking to the lead expedition archeologist, Maria.
Maria was a short woman with blue eyes, red hair, and at the age of thirty-three.
"Yo Maria, you will never guess what I found," Cassie smiled and put up the idol.
Maria approached Cassie and took the idol from her hands and admired it.
"Thank you very much, Miss Drake. The Museum of Antiquities will be very happy about this find," She said in a thick accent Cassie couldn't understand.
"No problem, as long as it is put in a museum, I will be happy," She said. "And I get a finder's fee,"
"Of course, for you and Mr. Lowell," She finished her pockets for money but couldn't find any.
Then Derek saw something, a man standing at the tent opening. This man was not good looking because he wore a black hoodie in the jungle. This man was probably like maybe six-foot-five, weighed maybe two-hundred and ten pounds had blond hair and blue eyes. His eyes were narrow and his cheeks were hollow and he looked extremely thin for a man who weighed two-hundred and ten pounds. He decided to dub him 'Thin Man'
Derek walked around the table and pursued Thin Man but when he saw Derek Lowell, he walked off and out of view. Derek walked after him and followed Thin Man into the jungle and away from the main camp.
He lost sight of Thin Man and decided to cut back to the camp, but he ended up grabbed from behind and felt something being stabbed into his neck. It was a sedative needle, and he was already losing consciousness.
In the main camp, Cassie was busy counting the money that Maria gave her that she didn't notice that Derek was gone until it was too late. She looked back at the entrance and was about to question the whereabouts of Derek until she was grabbed from behind and drugged with chloroform. Even though Maria saw Cassie being drugged, she made no attempt to help her, as if she has been paid.
Cassie woke up with a bag on her face. She used every inch of breath she could to shake off the bag and when she did, she found herself staring into the eyes of Maria.
"Cassandra Drake, it has been so nice getting to meet you," she said in a thick accent, one that Cassie could understand: A German accent.
"Maria, what's going on? Why am I tied up?"
"My name is not Maria, it's Claudia Wolff. I hope my brother didn't cause you too much harm," She pointed to Thin Man and she got a good view of Thin Man. He was a tall man with blonde hair, blue eyes, and looked to be around the age of thirty-four.
"Your brother sure is ugly, no wonder he is still single," she chuckled.
"You dare insult us, Drake," Thin Man said in a thick German accent.
"Of course, you are the bad guys so why shouldn't I insult you?" she responded and Thin Man growled.
"You know, Drake, we have heard a great deal of you. You fold the Cold Iron in Bosnia, the lost tomb of Antony and Cleopatra, and I think we all know what happened this year when you traveled to France to look for the Philosopher's Stone. You are a woman of many talents,"
"Why are you doing this?"
"We have goals of our own," Claudia ripped off one section of her sleeve and revealed her bare skin. "We have been trying to find this lost city of black magic for years. And because you have found several lost cities, there is no doubt you can find this lost city."
"What lost city?"
Her smile widened like a sociopath or psychopath. "Scholomance."
"The City of Black Magic run by the devil himself. Sorry, but that is fake. It's from an old video game."
"I'm afraid not Drake, my men have found a scroll which proves that Scholomance is more than a myth and a city in an old video game," she told Thin Man to get the scroll from her desk and handed it to her.
"This scroll supposedly shows the location of the lost city of Scholomance but we are unable to decipher it. But maybe you can."
"I ain't telling you jack. All you guys will do is find the lost city and use the black magic for world domination."
"Sounds like a good plan." She calls Thin Man and she whispers something in his ear. He nods and walks out of the tent Cassie was tied up in. A while later, he brings back Derek Lowell and holds a knife to his throat.
"Now, you have five seconds to tell us where Scholomance is or my brother will cut Derek's throat," she threatens. "Five...four...three…"
"Okay, I'll decipher the scroll, just don't hurt Derek,"
And with that, Thin Man let go of Derek and cut Cassie free. Thin Man forced her outside the tent they were in and they discovered they were in a forest in Germany.
A man of average height, blond hair, blue eyes, around the age of thirty-two named Richter approached Cassie holding a silver scroll. He unrolls it and hands it to Derek.
"You better not mislead us or else Derek's guts will paint the forest," Claudia said in a threatening voice.
"I won't, I promise. Someone's got your panties in a bunch," Cassie remarked before reading the scroll.
I recognize this language, she thought, It's an old form of the Balkan languages. I can speak, read, and write over a dozen languages but there are some languages I can exclusively read.
"A Beloved City of Black Magic Lies in a place that would later be called in the future, Romania," she read aloud, "Who even wrote this, a cult group of some kind?" She wasn't asking, she was thinking aloud.
"In the mountain led by the river valley is where Scholomance is."
"That's a vague description," Claudia commented.
"The city hides behind the mountain the sun sets."
"Now we're getting somewhere," Claudia said with a smile.
"This Mountain is called 'Magie neagră'. Which translates as 'Black Magic' in the Romanian language. It says that in Scholomance, there are werewolves that guard the insides of the city. That and the key to opening it is not physically something we can hold. And the key is time itself. Well, there you go, I translated everything on the scroll," Cassie shoved the scroll into Claudia's stomach.
"Thank you, Drake, but to make sure you are not misleading us, we will personally take you with us to Romania and you will find the city for us," Claudia Wolff then punched Cassie hard in the jaw, knocking her out cold.
"You goddamn Neo-Nazi!" Derek shouted at the top of his lungs and lunged for Claudia but before he could strike, Richter and Thin Man knocked him out cold.
"You got heart Lowell, that is what I admire in both of you." Claudia laughed.
Cassie woke up groggy and surrounded by pitch blackness. She had been gagged and her wrists were tied together along with her feet. Derek lied beside her and he was in the same situation. She was thinking of breaking free but the ropes that bound her wrist together were extremely tight.
She couldn't break free or anything, she couldn't see but she could hear something. She heard a voice not too far from here, it sounded like Claudia Wolff's voice.
"Okay, so we will have two cargo planes ready by tomorrow and flying nonstop to Romania. We should get all 120 men on board along with all equipment," Claudia's voice said in that German accent.
"Ja," a thick German accent said and Cassie recognized it as Thin Man's voice.
"Tell Richter that we have to leave at dawn if we want to avoid detection by the German and Hungarian Government."
Thin Man nodded and Cassie heard a set of footsteps approach Claudia and Thin Man.
"Hey Claudia, I heard you say my name, what's up?" It was Richter.
"Nothing major, other than the fact that we have to load all 120 men and the prisoners into the cargo planes and take off by dawn," Claudia answers.
"Josef, can we have a minute?" Richter asked.
Was Thin Man's name Josef? Cassie thought.
"Tell the troops and prepare to move the prisoners," Claudia ordered Thin Man/Josef.
"Yes ma'am," Cassie then heard the retreating footsteps of Thin Man/Josef.
"Hey, Richter. Why were you standing outside the tent?"
"Just curious. I couldn't control myself, I can't go too long without being next to my girlfriend," Richter answered.
"When we are fighting for our cause, we are captain and lieutenant."
"We could mix business with pleasure, you know. Also, since we are going to Romania, where vampires are, I have a good pun. 'Count Claudracula'."
She chuckled. "I get it."
"But anyway, the real reason I came here after we found the lost city, then what?"
"Our orders from The Leader told us to look for the lost city of black magic. Once we learn how to conjure the magic, we use it for our goal in world domination."
"Sounds so easy in theory, Claud. But once our group has taken over the world, what do you want to do?"
"I want to enjoy an easy life with you and start a family."
"I can't wait to start a family with you, Claud."
It was barely seven am in the morning and Cassie and Derek were sitting up against the wall gagged and tied up in a cargo plane. They barely took off at six-thirty at dawn and they were flying over Slovakia
While in the plane, Cassie was being physically abused by an Austrian named Heydrich. He kept slapping and kicking her repeatedly, showing no mercy at all, until the second-in-command of the Germans, Richter told Heydrich to stop or else he would throw him off the plane.
He begrudgingly stopped and walked away. Cassie was not wounded but she got a few bruises and her insides felt like fire. Derek swore revenge on Heydrich, he would shove out of this flying plane himself and watch him plummet eight thousand feet to his death.
Based on what Maria, or Claudia, said while she thought Derek and I were asleep, there are 120 Germans in total in two planes, meaning that there are at least sixty in each plane. However, I can only see at least twenty from where I'm sitting, which means this plane must be bigger then I suspect.
Cassie looked in front of her.
This is a cargo plane, meaning that they're transporting something to take with them to Romania. Nevertheless, on a cargo plane, because you're transporting something, there's going to be a parachute attached to them as you never know if equipment is going to go flying out.
Cassie gazed at Derek and nodded.
My dad, though he was a thief, was nice enough to teach me about pickpocketing and I managed to pickpocket a pocket knife from one of the German.s
She began using the pocket that was hidden in his sleeve to cut the ropes that bound her.
Once she was freed, she pretended that she was still tied together but secretly passed the pocket knife to Derek, who cut himself free.
They searched around the cargo plane and looked for any kind of parachutes they could use when they jumped out of the plane. She saw only one thing that had a parachute, a crate that was barely big enough for both of them to hang on. All they had to do was open the cargo hatch at the back door, pull the parachute on the crate and they would get out of there. All they had to do was to wait for the opportune moment.
When the backs of the Germans were turned to them, Cassie and Derek crawled to the crate and Derek held a firm grip on the net that covered it. Cassie quietly crawled to the switch on the side and pressed it.
The hatch lowered and they were nearly swept out due to the air pressure of being eight thousand feet in the air. The Germans noticed too late.
"Grab on!" Derek shouted, his voice being blocked off due to the air. Cassie dived for the net and pulled the chute. The parachute released itself and the crate was pulled out in an instant.
Unknown to Cassie, her foot had gotten tangled in a rope connected to another crate. As a result, as soon as the crate was descending down into the air, Cassie felt being yanked backwards and she lost her grip. She screamed in terror as she thought she was going to fall to her death but the rope entangled around her ankle stopped her from falling. All Derek could do while hanging from the crate is watch her helplessly.
She began to climb up the rope and back inside the plane to pull the other parachute on the crate. She knew the Germans would be waiting for him, so no reason to disappoint them. Once she was back up, two Germans began shooting at her, most likely to wound her and to prevent her from falling.
She took cover behind a crate and was waiting for a German to sneak upon him. When he did, she knocked him out instantly and swiped his gun. She retaliated and fired back at the Germans. She killed the other Germans and ran out of ammo and reloaded with the looted magazine from the previous German's belt.
More and more soldiers fired at Cassie and she retaliated by shooting a fire extinguisher beside them, spraying them in a cloud of smoke.
She attempted to pull the chute but was grabbed from behind and thrown aside. Heydrich was dragging her towards an open side door.
With all her strength, Cassie kicked him in the groin, got up to her feet and charged at Heydrich. She shoved Heydrich and he was sucked out of the open side door and plummeting eight thousand feet to his death.
Relieved, Cassie runs back to the chute and pulls it and she flies out with the crate and lands to safety.
Cassie landed in a small lake with the parachute and swam to shore in a creepy gothic forest in Slovakia. She walked aimlessly and tirelessly throughout the forest, hoping someone will find him and is not a German.
She passed out from exhaustion, most likely from all the adrenaline she felt when shooting and falling out of the plane and barely surviving.
Several hours later, she woke up in a bed, next to Derek. She quietly observed how exquisite Derek looked when he slept and was itching to stroke his hair. She gave a soft stroke and accidentally woke her up.
"Hey D-Man, ya made it," she said in a groggy voice.
"Barely," He responded back.
"That guy who abused me on the plane is no more, I figure if he isn't dead yet, he is still falling from the sky,"
Derek got out of bed and helped Cassie out. They were in some kind of room and the room was filled with gold and jewels and valuable items that should be in a museum.
A door at the far end opened and a man of average height and skinny physique walked in. "How are my guests feeling?" he asked in a Slovenian accent.
"We are in Slovakia, right?" Cassie asked.
"Correct. I was camping in the woods and I stumbled upon both of you walking back," the man responded.
"Thanks. Look, I don't want to be rude or anything but what are all these artifacts doing in your home, these things belong in a museum," Cassie asked with suspicion obvious in her voice.
"I found these artifacts so, therefore, they belong to me,"
"Wait a second, most, if not all of these artifacts were supposed to go on display at the Slovak Museum of Antiquities but someone stole them," Derek said in a scolding voice.
"That was me," the man simply said.
"You grave robber," Cassie insulted the man.
"Look who's talking, Daughter of Nathan Drake."
Cassie was actually shocked by this comment.
He knows that I'm the daughter of Nathan Drake? I hate to be known by that title but the fact that he said it in that tone implies that he has motives of some kind. I have no idea what's going on in his head.
"What's your name, you graverobber?" Derek asked with hatred in his voice.
"Abdul," he answered.
"Return these to the museum so they can be gazed up by the world," Cassie begged, "I mean, these artifacts are worth more then your life."
Abdul reached for something behind his back.
A gun, Cassie panicked, I have to stop him.
She tackled him to the ground before he could draw his gun. He hit the ground and the gun went off accidentally. The only thing that it hit was the wall.
Not wanting the gun to be pointed at her, she raises her hand and punches him across the jaw.
Abdul's head hit the ground and he became motionless.
She regained her stance and started stuffing some small artifacts in her pockets, hoping to get these artifacts to a museum.
"Are you okay, Cassie?" Derek put his hand on her shoulder, "You're fast to catch him before he pulled a gun.
"I hate graverobbers," she commented.
He saw her stuffing the artifacts into a pouch and he decided to help. He grabbed a nearby satchel and started putting artifacts in and handed a satchel to Cassie.
After taking a lot of the stolen artifacts, they were making their way towards the nearest town (based on a map Abdul had in his hideout) to find the museum of antiques in Slovakia.
"Cassie," Derek began, "Quick question, what about the Germans?"
"What about them, we escaped and there is nothing more to it. They can't find Scholomance without us so there is probably no harm," she answered, although she was unsure of herself.
"Probably. What if the legend of Scholomance is true, we have to at least know for sure, in case you forgot, we practically drew them a map for them to find Scholomance. Behind a mountain, we have to at least find out if Scholomance is real," Derek protested.
When they arrived in a market, a group of eight thugs noticed the two adventurers but did not take any action.
"Where could that son of a bitch be," the thug leader asked in his native language to his comrades, "Abdul said he would be here in thirty minutes."
"I'm starting to get impatient," a second thug said, "If I don't sell this artifact, then I won't be able to pay my bills on time."
The third thug noticed the bags that Cassie and Derek were holding.
"We've done business with Adbul before, right?"
"Yeah," the leader said.
"Those bags those two teens over there are the same ones Abdul used when he was carrying our artifacts."
The thugs took notice.
"You're right," the leader said, "And given the shape of the bag, they're carrying multiple items inside."
"You think it's possible that those two stole the artifacts from Abdul?"
The thug leader narrowed his eyes in anger, "I spent money to buy those artifacts and I intend on selling them for even bigger profit."
Just as Cassie and Derek were walking through the market, a group of people cut their path heading straight into the museum. The two young adults decided to go around and when they were within arm's reach of an alleyway, a pair of hands grabbed her by the shoulder and yanked her back.
Cassie immediately recognized this as a mugging and she turned around. She swung the bag of artifacts over her shoulder and hit the thug leader in the face.
Derek recognized the danger that Cassie was in and charged head-first into the alleyway to help her.
There were about eight thugs but none of them were trained in martial arts like Cassie. Derek was trained but Cassie's father, Nate, taught him a trick or two.
Derek delivered a powerful blow to one mugger and sent him flying into a pile of garbage bags and quipped, "Everybody likes the jab,"
Cassie kicked one thug in the stomach and sent him flying into a group of muggers. When one thug tried to sneak up on Cassie, Derek kicked him and body slammed him. When Cassie noticed, she said, "A thug kissing in the ground is not something you see everyday,"
Derek finished off another before he heard a gunshot and a bullet barely missing his head by inches.
They pulled a gun? Cassie mentally panicked but immediately noticed that all eight thugs were unconscious.
More gunshots began firing off. It was coming from the market.
Cassie and Derek hid behind the wall. When Cassie looked over, she saw Abdul's familiar face across the street with several masked faces.
It's Abdul and he brought reinforcements. What is he after though, me or the artifacts? If he knew that I was the Daughter of Nathan Drake, would he want me for ransom?
Cassie kept her satchel at her side before she looked over to the unconscious muggers. One of them had a gun hidden in their belt and she took it out.
Abdul is probably here to reclaim his treasure.
The innocent civilians ran for their lives.
They ran out the alley and took cover behind a car as more bullets whistled past them.
Good news is that the gunshots caused the civilians to get out of the way.
The civilians already ran for their lives and gave Cassie and Derek a clear view of the gang. There were only seven of them and they all had handguns, but none of them were good shots. But Cassie was.
She popped up and fired three rounds from her handgun and all three bullets lodged into one gangster's chest, dropping him on the spot.
She took cover again and checked her magazine to see how many bullets she had left in her gun. "I have seven left, Derek, I gotta make every shot count,"
She would always peek to see if any of the gangsters were trying to flank her. One tried to flank them right and Derek was handed the gun and he shot the gangster dead.
Using the last bullets, they shot the rest of the gangsters dead. Abdul, being the coward that he was, ran off but he was shot in the back and bleeding badly before he collapsed to the ground.
If almost being killed by gangsters in the middle of a market wasn't bad, the Slovakian police were. They showed no mercy to Cassie or Derek, they barked at them in the interrogation room and caused extreme stress to the duo and were berated for having artifacts in their possession.
They explained to the police that they landed in Slovakia by accident, they were kidnapped by Germans and escaped and landed here. But the police didn't believe them. They were allowed to leave however, but not with their dignity. They were stripped searched.
The artifacts however, weren't confiscated by the police, they let the duo have after discovering that they weren't graverobbers, but archaeologists.
The first thing Cassie and Derek did when they were released was give the location of Abdul's hideout and put the artifacts in a museum where they belonged.
"What's our next step?" Derek asked.
"We're getting back home," Cassie answered.
"What about the Germans?"
"If they needed us to find the city for them then they stand no chance finding it on their own."
Their next step to getting to getting back to America.
Unfortunately, however, the airport was closed down due to unexplained malfunctions in their radar tracking system. They tried looking up other airports but somehow, suspiciously, all airports in Slovakia were experiencing some kind of technical difficulty that made it impossible for them to fly. They then decided to take the earliest train ride to Hungary, where they will get a flight back home from there.
They barely got two tickets in time.
Cassie and Derek sat across from each other in first class just as the train took off. Cassie got comfortable in her seat, rubbing the back of her neck in soreness from sleeping with her hands tied behind her back.
This is going to make one crazy story I'm going to tell my nephews, Cassie thought, This is the first time I was forced on an adventure instead of willingly going on it.
An attendant said to a speaker that they should arrive at their destination in Hungary in approximately three hours. Cassie adjusted her seat so she was lying back. Nothing to do but wait.
While Derek was sleeping like a baby, Cassie was suddenly craving a sandwich. She got up from his seat, taking her first class ticket with her and walked up to a cart with an assortment of food on it. She always loved first class because in first class, you are treated with royalty.
Cassie made her way to the bar and met a lovely-looking waitress named Anya, according to her nametag and ordered a sandwich.
She waited by a nearby window and waited for her order. When her order came, she cut the sandwich in half so Derek had something to eat when he woke up.
As Cassie was finishing up, a man walked past her seat and something fell from his bag. It was a journal with a red cover. She was going to call for his name until she saw the title, 'Black Magic' written in German. She picked up the journal and opened it.
A million things were racing through Cassie's mind like: There's a German with us? How did they track us down so fast? How many are on the train?
Nevertheless, she read through the contents of the journal. She was shocked at what she had read. She taps Derek on the knee and wakes him up.
"Are we there yet?" he asked groggily, "Oh, good."
"No, we still have one more hour, while you were asleep, a man dropped his journal in front of me. I think it was one of the Germans."
Derek's eyes opened all the way, fully awake and glanced at the journal in Cassie's hand.
Cassie flipped through the pages. "It's just an extension of what we already learned from the scroll." She stopped on one page. "Except for this part. A drawing of a pentagram and the number 1301."
Derek looked over his shoulder in anxiety. "Those Germans are messing with us." He sat up but when he turned, he saw that Cassie was captivated by the book. "Wake up," he nearly shouted but remembered that he was on a train.
The pentagram and number caught her attention the most. She read over the notes.
"Scholomance can only be revealed through one circumstance. The key to getting into Scholomance is to use this pentagram on the green flash and the entrance to Scholomance will be revealed."
Pentagram, greenflash, and 1301.
Her eyes went bright.
A pentagram is a symbol and the green flash, I've heard of it but never seen it. The green flash is an optical phenomenon that occurs during the sunrise and sunset. Before the sun sets or rises completely into view, a flash of green light could be seen on the sun's disk but it lasts only for a few seconds before disappearing. Are these not supposed to tell us that a pentagram must be drawn during the green flash? If that's the case, and it was that simple, then why didn't these Germans figure it out.
She looked at the numbers. Her quick-wits allowed her to deduce the problem.
1301 is not just a set of numbers but a date. If I switch it around, it reads 1-0-3-1. If I convert it to a date, it spells out 10-31, which is October 31st.
She stared off to the side.
Can Scholomance only be entered on Halloween during the green flash?
She looks at her watch.
Today is October 30th, which means, the only way getting into Scholomance would be during the green flash on October 31st.
Cassie closed the journal before standing up. "I've deduced how to get into Scholomance. We gotta get out of here."
"Hello, Cassie Drake."
Cassie felt a hand placed on her shoulder and she froze. She recognized the voice.
"Hey, Richter," she said nervously, "Did I ever tell you that I fought on top of a moving train?"
Cassie looked at Derek, who had an arm wrapped around his chest. Although it was meant to appear non-threatening to the passengers, Cassie spotted the tip of a blade sticking out of Derek's assailant's shirt.
"My beloved will be joining you shortly so let's just sit down."
Cassie and Derek had no choice but to comply. They sat down for the better part of three minutes before they spotted the familiar woman approaching them from the back of the train.
Claudia met up with the two adventurers and smiled. "Nice to see you again, Drake, Lowell." She doesn't bother to ask if it would be an inconvenience if she sat down. There were four seats so Claudia took her seat next to Derek while Richter took his seat next to Cassie.
"Cassie," Claudia began, "I don't mean you harm. I really don't. The group I work for has a special set of goals and we need your help to complete them."
"What are your motives?" Cassie demanded, "You guys are hard to read. You guys belong to an organization of some kind but the name of the group itself remains a mystery. Not only that but you have the resources to shut down every airport in Slovakia."
Claudia looked at Cassie.
"We land in Slovakia after escaping from an enemy plane and hours later when we try to leave, all of a sudden, the airports are down, forcing us to take a train in Hungary. I believe that after we jumped out of the plane, you landed in Hungary and sent one of your cargo planes to Germany to close down all airports."
Claudia smiled. "Smart, I expected nothing less." She put a leg over her knee. "I am indeed part of a large organization with numbers and resources."
"However, this group is useless because it can't even solve a simple cypher."
Claudia took the journal. "It is true that we may not have your superior knowledge in history and languages but we are practical. You've found lost cities in the past and knew that we had a shot with you. You're going to help us get into Scholomance or…" she gestures to the German that had his forearm over Derek's throat, "Felix will choke Derek."
"Not that I'm grateful but you're not going to kill him?"
"We know that you have feelings for your partner," she said.
"If we were to kill Derek then you would have nothing to live for and you would never help us. We're not going to kill Derek but we're going to torture him. Eventually, you'll give in because your kind heart can't bear the thought of Dear Derek suffering."
"Why are you doing this?" Cassie sneered.
"I want to make the world a better place," Claudia said, "If not a better place then one that is truly fair. My organization has ambition and we are going to help them succeed. People suffering from this cruel world will no longer go through the pain of losing their jobs, loved ones, houses, money, or anything else."
"By using black magic?"
"Titles don't determine if you're bad or not. To the Nazis, the title of Fuhrer was of honor while those who opposed him were of dictator."
If I didn't think these people were Neo-Nazis before…
"Cooperate and we will spare Derek from death, let alone pain."
I can't let Derek suffer but at the same time, I can't just willingly give out my findings to these Neo-Nazis. If I'm going to save Derek, the world, and defeat these Germans, then I need to come up with a plan.
Her mind came up with a plan.
October 31, 2037
It was the equivalent of four o'clock in the morning in Romania. Cassie and Derek were working with the Germans to help them find Scholomance but they didn't get any elbow room. Felix and five other Germans kept close eyes on them, not letting them leave their sights. The other Germans from the cargo planes were set up around a large tent that the soldiers slept in so they could have their strength when it was thirty minutes until dawn.
Two hours earlier, Claudia had sent a group of two men off somewhere else so they could get a glimpse of the green flash itself. Since they were stationed in Peleaga, one of the tallest mountains in Transylvania, they would be unable to see the green flash.
Derek turned to Cassie. "When we get out of here, what are we going to be doing?"
Cassie shrugged. "Well, it is Halloween, technically. When we get out of this mess and save the world, we'll celebrate by going trick-or-treating."
"Aren't we too old for trick-or-treating?"
"Get your head out of the gutter, I'm twenty-three. And we deserve a treat for saving the world and I think confectionery will do the trick."
"Both of you get your heads out of the gutter," Claudia ordered, "The sun rises in less then ten minutes."
The Germans got busy drawing a large pentagram in the ground, large enough for two people to stand in.
"Are you sure we're in the right place?" Claudia asked Cassie.
"The scroll said that the mountain translates as 'Black Magic' in the Romanian language and that time is the key. Based on the scroll and the numbers in the journal, we must be standing on the Black Magic mountain, Peleaga, on October 31st during the green flash."
"But where did you get the idea of drawing a pentagram in the ground?"
"I was flying blind and had dozens of other ideas going threw my head." She pointed to the ground. "However, you can faintly see pentagram symbols drawn in the dirt so I can guess that people who have been looking for Scholomance drew a pentagram in the ground but they were unaware of the date and green flash phenomena."
She's smart, Claudia smiled.
"Ninety seconds," Richter said as he approached.
"Everyone in positions!"
There were over dozens of pentagrams drawn into the ground and each one was no bigger than for two people to stand on at a time. Cassie and Derek stepped on one pentagram, Claudia and Richter on another, and the Germans each had their own pentagram.
All the Germans started in the direction of the sunrise and just as the sun was about to flash, they all stared at it with anticipation, even Cassie and Derek. Because there was barely enough room to stand, Cassie was shoved against Derek's chest, she was at least five-foot-ten with shoes on (without them she was five-foot-nine) and Derek was six-foot-one. Her head was at Derek's chest level and she could feel his heart beat fast from the anticipation of finally seeing the lost city of black magic.
"Here comes the green flash," a German soldier said over Claudia's walkie-talkie.
The sun rose into view and they briefly saw a green flash just barely over the mountain.
Everybody was at a loss of words.
A giant lost city had just appeared at the peak of the mountain seemingly out of nowhere, like it was wearing an invisible cloak until someone removed it. The city was as big as a high school but was painted black from top to bottom. Too stunned to talk, Claudia stepped off the symbol to get closer to the lost city known as Scholomance.
"I can't believe it," Cassie gasped, "A city appeared out of thin air."
"It's probably only visible to those who have stepped on a pentagram," Derek mentioned.
Hiking to the top, they met up with other Germans and they all cheered.
"Such beauty, such perfection," Claudia said before she turned to Cassie, "As a gesture of gratitude, we will spare you and your companion from death, Cassie."
"Thank you," Cassie said, "Very kind and generous."
The first opportunity I got, I'm going to seal the Germans into this lost city.
Just when they least expect it, a howl echoed throughout the night. The large group of people flinched. Some of them asked aloud what was going on. They turned towards the city and the silhouette of a tall man rushed at them before they even knew what was coming. The silhouette tackled a terrified Claudia before she knew it and she fell to the ground.
"Richter!" she called, "Help me!"
Richter picked up a rock and smacked the attacker across the face. The attacker laid on the ground, twitching as Richter helped Claudia to her feet.
"What is this?" a German asked.
"A werewolf," Cassie said, "That's a werewolf."
They looked down at the fallen man, who had a bushy beard, long fingernails, and black circles around his eyes along with hair that was so long that it made him look like he hadn't had a haircut in years.
"Yes," Claudia said, "I can see it now. These must be people who have traveled to Scholomance before, meaning that we are not the first ones to have discovered it. Given as to how Scholomance can only be seen on October 31st, it must mean that the city vanishes forever and the only escape is to wait one year until the next Halloween. Which means, we have less than twenty-four hours to find what we came for before we end up trapped like these previous explorers who grew long hair and bushy beards."
Cassie narrowed her eyes at her enemy before he spotted several more silhouettes running towards her. She jumped back in a state of panic but Derek stepped in front.
The Germans opened fired on the dozens of so-called 'werewolves' that were guarding the entrance."
While the Germans were shooting at the figures, some got overwhelmed and had long fingernails dug into their vital areas like the neck and eyes.
"Make a run for it," Cassie ordered before she and Derek followed through.
There were several werewolves in front of them but they moved out of the way and avoided them. They stumbled upon dead soldiers and quickly took their handguns along with several magazines. They ran for the giant door, the only visible entrance they could see in the city. When Cassie and Derek were at the giant open door to Scholomance, they dived through and closed it behind them.
"Adrenaline is good for you," Derek chuckled.
"Yeah," she panted, "But we have to get out of here by sunset; If Claudia's theory is true then the city will vanish and we will be trapped."
Derek heard what Cassie said but did not pay attention. He was staring at the statue's work in the main hallway. The doors were guarded by two giant gargoyle statues that scared even Cassie.
"Man, look at all of these statues," Derek said in awe. The hallway was filled with all kinds of demonic silver statues.
"Man, it's as hot as hell in here," Cassie said, wiping her forehead. It felt like she was in a giant oven turned to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Man the irony," Derek said laughing. "We're in a lost city said to be run by the devil himself."
"If history repeats itself, then the power of Black Magic will lay dormant in the center of the city or whatever these Germans are after. We can't afford to waste any time."
Cassie and Derek followed the long hallway, which was illuminated by never-ending torches and statues. It seemed the deeper they went, the hotter it felt. They had only been in the lost city for twenty minutes and already Cassie's armpits smelled like onions and Derek's shirt was completely soaked in sweat. He was sweating in places he didn't know had glands.
Taking out a canteen from her back pocket that she retrieved from the prison, she sipped it and passed it to Derek. Something happened, because Cassie only took a small sip of the water and she suddenly felt cold, like the supernatural powers of Scholomance had made her drunk.
Why am I so cold when the water should've been lukewarm and why is it so goddamn hot? Unless, the lost city is not only filled with black magic, but a different atmosphere, one that accelerates normal conditions to the point where a single drop of water is enough to make a person cold, despite the contradicting room temperature.
She was already halfway across the hallway when he felt as if the hallway had extended into something never-ending. But turns out this was an illusion as he reached the end. Cassie rubs her forehead. She was incredibly dehydrated, she needed something cool. She took out her canteen and instead of taking a sip, she poured no more than three drops onto her forehead, which sent shocks down her neck but it felt good.
They put their hands on the wall and felt for air coming through a straight and horizontal crack. They both pushed against the wall like they were doing a push-up and opened a hidden door. A giant doorway that stood at fifty feet tall opened and Cassie and Derek were hit by bright lights. They shielded their eyes until they saw what was inside. A giant chamber filled with all kinds of hand-sized rubies. They were struck in awe. The rubies were actually shining with the glare from the torches on the walls.
Derek grabbed a small one and examined it. The stone was beautiful. He threw it back into the pile of rubies and grabbed the smallest one and stored it in his back pocket. Cassie picked a large one up and examined it. Real ruby, probably to have existed since the 13th century B.C. Cassie thought to herself. "These rubies sure are real,"
"Yeah, worth a real fortune," Derek smiled and put another small ruby into his pocket.
"Derek, let's not forget the goal, we are here to destroy the lost city central location, not collect the rubies," Cassie started, and then they heard a loud noise in the doorway. They both heard someone speaking a foreign language and they both recognized it as German. "Crap, those Germans must have finished off those werewolves."
"Or it could be the werewolves and we misinterpreted their language," Derek said uneasily.
"I doubt the werewolves would be limited to only German-speaking."
"You're right," Derek said before glancing down the hallway. "We got to get to the center of the city, which is easier said than done because this place, Scholomance is huge as hell and we have no idea where to go.
"We have to keep moving forward, stay one step ahead of those Germans. Let's go."
If there was one thing that both Cassie and Derek hated, it was the fact that the deeper they went into Scholomance, the hotter the temperature was. The extreme hotness in the atmosphere reminded Cassie of the time when she beat up an international arms dealer named Keenan Rowan in a pyramid in Bosnia. She was sweating because there was no air conditioning in the pyramid and she was dehydrated, but that was two years ago.
Eventually they came to a stop. There were three passages and the writing on ground, which most likely revealed which path led to was written in a language neither Cassie, nor Derek spoke or understood.
"Great, now what?" Derek complained.
"The center path would obviously lead to the center path but without a map, we're flying blind."
"There are two of us so we should divide and split up."
"What path are you taking?"
Derek contemplated. "I'll take the right path. After five minutes, we both meet back here."
"If we stick together-"
"It'll be difficult to cover ground that way."
Cassie was about to say something before he already took off.
"Good luck," Cassie waved before heading down the left path and Derek going down the middle path.
As soon as they both disappeared into the darkness, several Germans followed behind. The surviving Germans suffered heavy loss from the werewolves and were actually cut down to forty-eight of them.
Claudia noticed the three paths and growled.
"Since there are forty-eight of us left, and there are three paths, we will have to divide and conquer. Richter, you and eleven others will go down the right path. Josef, you will lead a group of eleven down this path. Eleven will follow me down the left path and rest will guard," Claudia Wolff ordered.
Cassie was crossing a very thin and narrow bridge that looked like it was about to collapse. She walked very slowly, making sure her weight didn't break the bridge. She looked down to see how high up she was and saw a bottomless abyss, literally. She saw nothing but darkness. She felt her heartbeat incredibly fast and she felt as if it was going to explode.
Seeing bottomless abysses like this reminds me of why I became an adventurer to begin with. Sure, I love a good shot of adrenaline every now and then but the dangers, the fact that I could lose my life for something I love...
The bridge was about fifty feet long and was made of stone. She felt like she was going to lose her balance and slowly crouched down to her knees. She put a hand to her chest and counted each beat her heart made.
Instead of a bridge, Derek was walking across a series of mechanisms. If you set on a certain stone on the ground, then fire will shoot out from the wall and incinerate you. Derek barely escaped with a skin burn.
Luckily Derek found a pattern: You had to step on a bright color, like a white or yellow stone to not get incinerated, if you step on a dark color like violet or black, then you would die. He was very careful to avoid stepping on the stones.
Once he made it across, he found himself standing in front of a wall, and a narrow opening was at the bottom. He gets down on his knees and crawls through. On the other side, he found himself in a room that looked like a place where cult people would perform human sacrifices with a table splattered with dried blood turned purple in the center.
He stood up and looked at his watch, it was already three-thirty pm.
What the hell, it's three-thirty PM?! I set my watch to Romanian time so I could keep track but if we were in the US, then it would be three-thirty PM, the time the sun would slowly but surely start its set for hours to come. We've only been in here for like thirty minutes, unless time slows down dramatically in this world, like we're in a different dimension. All the more reason to hurry up with the mission.
He walked up to this altar that had purple dry blood over it. A sight like this made even Derek gag. On the center of the altar, there was an old silver shell that resembled a big snail's shell and he examined it. Inside was a grayish substance that smelled like sewer water. He knew exactly that this was the Gray Magic. "What the hell is this?" He then heard a footstep behind him and turned around in a haste and found himself staring into the narrow eyes of Thin Man and four more Germans aiming guns at him.
"Oh, Josef, nice to see you," Derek smiled, holding the shell to his chest.
"Yes, it is good to see me," the German smirked. "Now, we just discovered that Scholomance isn't just filled with black magic, it is filled with white and gray Magic. That substance you hold in your hand is known as gray magic; There are other forms of magic aside from black magic."
Derek hesitated. His eyes widened. "Gray magic is used for neutral purposes I assume."
"Correct," Thin Man said.
"Thank you. Also, I have a question to ask: What time is it?"
"No, it's not, it's three-thirty US counterpart time." Derek smiled.
Thin Man began to instantly sweat and checked his watch. "It can't be three-thirty pm, we've been in here for thirty minutes."
"Time flies through fast, especially in a school of Black Magic run by the Devil himself," Derek waited for them to take their eyes off him for one second and attack them. When Thin Man's cohorts began to check their watches, that is when Derek struck.
He pulled out his loaded handgun and fired several bullets into the Germans. The Germans behind Thin Man collapsed dead, but Thin Man was shot in the hip and wounded. Derek ran past the five bodies and crawled back out the hole with caution. There had been seven more Germans who had been standing guard. When they aimed at Derek, he slowly stood up and noted how there were no dead bodies on the colored stones, which meant that the Germans were much more cautious than Derek was.
I wonder if I could use the gray magic against the Germans as soon as I figure out how it works.
Cassie crawled through a hole in the wall and found herself in a room that looked like a church in modern times. There was a cross hanging on the wall across from her, and there were human sacrificial altars.
On one altar had a bronze shell, filled with a white liquid. She picked it up and brandished it as if she was showing off money. She was curious as to what she was holding in her hand.
I should probably take it with me either way.
She puts the shell to her chest and crawls out the hole. When she was about halfway across the bridge, she noticed a gun aiming at her from the darkness. The gun got closer and she saw Richter smiling at her.
"Cassie Drake, thank you for saving us a lot of time trying to cross this bridge and looking for the magic ourselves." Richter stepped closer and another German appeared behind him. "That item you hold in your hand, it's white magic. I can only infer because Josef told me that was on the trail for gray magic. White magic is used for selfless reasons, completely opposite to black magic. You're going to hand it over."
Cassie was contemplating whether she should pull out her own gun and shoot them or run back into the hole and make it stand. She figured the former was better, she doubted she'd make it back into the hole in time before Richter shot her.
"Hey Richter, you want the magic, come get it," Cassie held the shell with one hand extended her hand out, so the shell was threatening to fall into the abyss.
"Hey, Cassie Drake, don't do this. I would hate to have to kill you unnecessarily. I see you as a valuable ally and plus, you're a young and beautiful woman with your whole life ahead of you. Why waste it over a shell of white magic?"
"You know what, you're right." She extended the hand to Richter. "Here's your white magic."
"Heinrich, go retrieve it," Richter ordered the soldier behind him. The soldier walked very carefully around Richter and approached Cassie with caution. Just as he grabbed it, she dropped it to the ground unharmed.
"Sorry, butterfingers," Cassie laughed. And in that instant, Cassie kicked Heinrich as hard as she could and Heinrich was pushed into Richter. The German caught the falling man before Cassie pulled out her sidearm and shot Heinrich in the head. Richter quickly let go of his body before lunging at Cassie. He landed on top of her and tried to aim his pistol at her skull.
She kicked him in the stomach before pushing him off and onto his back. They both took aim and fired but both pistols were shot at and dropped. They kick each other in the face and rollover as a result. Cassie manages to grab onto a handhold in time while Richter caught himself with one hand.
She picks up the shell and pulls out her gun, knowing that there are gonna be more Germans, but she was ready for them.
Richter reaches up only to lose his grip.
Cassie watches with a shocked expression as Richter plunges into the doom, his screams fading into nothing,
I hate killing people, even in self-defense.
She pulls herself up. She crosses the bridge and follows the path after picking up the shell.
She encountered ten more Germans who ambushed her. Using the last of her gun magazine, she shoots up all the remaining Germans and runs out of the pathway until she ends up right where she was and was held at gunpoint by the remaining twelve Germans.
Now I have to take care of these guys?
Derek points at the seven Germans across from him and, although he didn't know what to do, he mockingly whispered into the shell, wishing that they would all drop their weapons and surrender to Lord Derek.
Strangely they did and they all bowed.
Before he knew it, he was attacked from behind and almost fell on one of the dark-colored stones. He shoves off the assailant and realizes it to be Thin Man. Derek knees him in the groin and shoves him onto one of the dark-colored stones. Before Derek or Thin Man could react, Thin Man was blasted by fires that came from the walls and his whole body was set on fire. He screamed in agony for thirty seconds before his screams died.
Derek noted that Thin Man's corpse had blackened skin and smelled like roast beef. The Germans were still bowing to him and just as he walked back on the light colored stones, he decided not to kill them, but to pick up their weapons and turn against Claudia Wolff.
He orders them to pick up their weapons and follow him outside to the pathway entrance. When they were outside, they saw twelve Germans aiming at Cassie, who was ready to fire. He wishes for them to kill the other Germans but not to shoot Cassie.
"I wish no harm to come for either of us," Cassie said with a gun in one hand and shell in the other hand behind her back.
The Germans' eyes went wide and they dropped their guns like they were hypnotized.
What the hell is going on? My wishes never come true.
She remembered something.
I'm holding the shell of white magic behind my back. Is it possible that I commanded them to stand down?
The hypnotized Germans continued to stand there with blank expressions.
Cassie turned to the source and saw Derek with a similar-looking shell in his hand.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm good, and I got the shell of white Magic as Richter described it. It appears to be a powerful device that allows you to hypnotize people just by holding the shell. Hypnotism can be a powerful tool in taking over the world."
"I hypnotized these guys with the gray magic, and now they are Good Germans. I figure since it's two of us against an army, we might need 'friends' to help us," Derek answered.
"Good thinking. I killed Richter."
"And I kill Claudia's sissy brother."
"Then that leaves only Claudia Wolff, speaking of which, where is Claudia,"
Derek turned to a Good German and motioned for him to walk forward. The Good German obeyed and Derek asked where Claudia Wolff is? He pointed to the left path.
"You know, using the combined powers of the white magic and gray magic, we can defeat Claudia Wolff and the Black Magic, but we gotta hurry, time flies quick." Derek said.
Cassie looked at her watch and saw it was only four o'clock. "The city disappears at sunset."
"Let's do this," Derek said and all nine of them walked down the middle path with the ones Cassie hypnotized staging behind.
Unlike the paths to the gray magic or white magic, there were no elaborate traps, but there were painfully ugly paintings of human sacrifice on the walls as they passed them. When Cassie, Derek and the Good Germans reached the end of the path, they found themselves blocked off by a fiery gate.
"Open sesame," Cassie whispered into the white magic shell and the gate opened. "Not worth a climb."
"I could have had one of my Good Germans open the gate," Derek suggested.
"Nah, I don't want any of the Germans to get hurt."
They searched around the room, looking for some way to open this fiery gateway. Cassie tried speaking into the shell again but it still didn't work. Not even the gray magic worked.
Claudia made it through without a shell, Cassie thought.
Suddenly, minutes after waiting, the fiery gates opened on their own.
When they walked through the open gate, they found themselves in a room with several lava pits all around them. In the center of the room, Claudia Wolff was lying down on the altar on her back and began to drink the gold shell of black magic.
Once she drank all of it, her face began to turn pale and she started to grow claws.
"Oh crap," Cassie cursed, "I think we're too late."
She sat up from the altar and looked over her shoulders to see Cassie, Derek, and the Good Germans.
"Why aren't you shooting them!" Claudia growled.
"We put them in a trance," Cassie said, "They serve us now."
Claudia saw two missing people. "Where are Richter and Josef?" She asked.
"They're both dead," Cassie said, putting on a determined tone to hide her sadness.
I know they are practically Neo-Nazis but I hate seeing people die.
Claudia gasped. Richter… she killed you.
Cassie dodged a sudden lightning bolt coming for her but it struck one Good German in the chest and he collapsed dead.
Claudia stepped away from the altar and straightened her stance. A huge bolt of fire began to form around Claudia's body and the fire shot at Cassie, Derek and the Good Germans. One bolt of fire struck a wall near a Good German and the Good German fell into a pit of lava.
"Shoot her!" Derek commanded the remaining seven soldiers. They all fired their machine guns and when bullets hit Claudia, they bounced off.
"It's almost sunset and we have to stop her before we get out of here," Cassie shouted.
The white and gray magic, that will stop her, she thought.
"Fight magic with magic, Derek!"
Cassie takes out her shell and whispers into it. A bolt of lightning struck the wall beside her and she went falling. The shell was kicked out of her hand and she lunged for it but she was suddenly lifted off the ground in a telekinetic fashion. Claudia was the puppeteer lifting up Cassie. The young girl was then slammed into Derek and they both hit the wall.
Still suspended in the air, Cassie took out her gun and aimed it for Claudia's head. The telekinesis used her power to snatch the gun from her and toss it over her head.
"This is for Richter and Josef," Claudia whispered.
As Claudia was about to deliver the final blow, she suddenly froze. Cassie and Derek abruptly fell to the ground and backed away from Claudia.
My body, Claudia thought, I can't move it.
She looked at her hand and saw the flesh on the tip of her fingers begin to peel away. She suddenly panicked.
My body, it's breaking down. The black magic is killing me.
She's going to die a slow and painful death, Cassie thought as she picked up her fallen gun and aimed for Claudia's head.
I'm sorry, Richter, I wanted to start a family with you. I just wanted to create a world where our children can grow up without fear-
The gunshot echoed off the wall and Claudia collapsed.
"I'm sorry," Cassie whispered. She quickly turned to Derek and said, "We have to get out of here as quickly as possible."
Cassie grabbed the white magic shell and made a final wish: "This city will collapse."
The group ran out the pathways and back out into the long hallway. As they were running, pillars began to collapse on them but they easily dodged them. Some Good Germans were crushed but some dodged the falling pillars. While running, Derek looked at his watch, it was sunset in thirty seconds and the door was just yards away from them.
With five seconds left, they dived out the open door and rolled down the hill. The green flash happened and the collapsing city disappeared from existence, this time forever. Cassie, Derek continued to roll down the hall and didn't stop until they were at the bottom.
Cassie landed hard on her stomach and Derek landed on his back, again. Cassie and Derek recovered and looked back at the mountain and saw that Scholomance was gone. They smiled and looked at each other. "Once again, we saved the world," Cassie commented.
"There are still some Germans who stayed outside but I can't see them. Given the flow of time, it's possible they already left."
Cassie looked over the horizon to see the sun long gone and it was nighttime. "It's night time and we're in Transylvania on October 31st." She smiled. "I think a reward for us would be trick-or-treating."
The End of Chapter 9
Hello, my fellow readers. This is the first time in over a year I believe since I updated this fanfiction. Yes, the Uncharted adventures are going to continue but it will take some time. Here is a story I decided to deliver during Halloween during COVID-19. Also, I wanted to say that as of November, I will be on a hiatus from Fanfiction. All of November, I will not be updating any of my FF stories but I promise, I am far from done. Thank you and I'll see you next time. Happy Halloween.