If you're ever at the wizard's guild, stay close to a wizard. As Mistress Orla led Brend and I through the guild, I couldn't help but notice that the hallway behind us disappeared into unnatural shadows. I did not want to find out what would happen if someone got caught in those shadows.
Finally, the hallway ended before a smooth slab of stone. Mistress Orla lifted her staff, and etched symbols onto the stone with her navy magic. I'd gotten used to Brend's nonsense words, so it was strange to see this woman use magic without any mutterings.
The symbols flashed, and I squinted against the light. When it faded, the stone slab was gone.
"Mister Alex, lead the way." Mistress Orla gestured with her staff at the opening, and I frowned. But I wasn't about to argue with a woman whose magic impressed Smoky.
Crossing into the new room, it was difficult to make out just how large it was. Unlike the the other places I'd seen of the wizard's guild, this room wasn't well lit. I stopped a short way into the room.
"Keep moving forward." Mistress Orla's voice was stern. Brow furrowing, I hesitated for a moment before continuing forward.
The wood flooring changed to stone, and my right hand started burning.
"Trap!" Smoky's voice filled my thoughts as light flooded the room. Covering my eyes, I froze as the delivery bag started shaking.
"I'm terribly sorry Mister Alex, but one must take precautions when dealing with wraiths." Mistress Orla said. Uncovering my eyes, I squinted against the bright light. A strange silvery haze separated the circular stone I stood upon from the rest of the room. Mistress Orla was standing on the other side of the haze, watching me. Brend stood a little behind her, eyes wide.
"Mistress Orla, is this necessary? The wraith has yet to leave the delivery bag on its own." Brend said, and she turned to look at him.
"Brend O'Nolan, I taught you better than to take unnecessary risks." Mistress Orla said, and Brend glanced away. "Now, tell me from the beginning how this delivery boy arrived in our realm."
I only half listened as Brend told her about all that had happened during the last forty days. My delivery bag was still shaking, and my head was aching from Smoky's reedy voice constantly repeating the word trap. Stretching out my hand, it met resistance as I tried to touch the silvery haze.
Yes, I was trapped in a confined space with an agitated wraith. I just hoped that shaking the delivery bag would be the extent of Smoky's attempt to escape.
When Brend finished, Mistress Orla turned back to me. "You've been through a lot, Mister Alex."
"Well, I just want to get home." Back home, where I wouldn't be stuck with a wraith that wanted to eat me or get imprisoned by a wizard. Or were female wizards called witches here? "Can you let me out?"
Mistress Orla hesitated, and motioned at the delivery bag. "Set that down first."
"Mine!" Smoky's voice was like thunder, deafening my own thoughts. There was a ripping sound, and dark smoke shaped like a dragon shot toward Mistress Orla.
The silvery haze flared to life, obscuring everything beyond the circular stone. The dragon shaped wraith beat against the barrier, and I backed as far away as I could.
Smoky was out of the bag, and he was angry.