The Missing Unicorn in the Land of the Zombie Fairies—Part Sixteen
By: David K. Montoya

DEDICATED TO MY GIRLS, ZOIE & LILY

The three friends stood in silence with their mouths gaped wide; it was Olivia who was first to speak as she asked her sister and Prince Theo, "What just happened?"

"He… He betrayed us," Prince Theo answered. His eyes swelled with new tears, as his heart was sincerely broken. "Kén was our friend… Why? Why would he do such a bad thing?"

Emma walked over to her sister and Prince Theo. She wrapped her arms tightly around them, and at that moment, they wept in sadness. In the midst of tears, Emma said softly, "I don't know… I thought Kén was our friend too."

Emma let go and took a step back; she exhaled and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Okay, we still need to get to the Land of the Zombie Fairies."

"But Oscar is gone, and Kén did that thing Theo said he did," Olivia said as she, too, wiped her tears away.

"Betrayed." Theo shared.

"Yeah, that," Olivia said and pointed at Theo.

Emma stood for a moment in silence and held her chin in thought. Then raised an eyebrow as an idea came to her.

"I know that look, what, Em," Olivia asked with excitement that her big sister had a new plan.

Emma picked up the old tome that Oscar had off the floor and then said, "We only ever wanted Oscar to open a portal to the Land of the Zombie Fairies. We have the book of spells right here… Let's do it ourselves."

"Why not," Olivia said with a shrug.

#

With a loud clang of metal chains, Yoon slowly opened his eyes. The ancient unicorn, speechless, watched as Kén Tauros, while he forced Oscar, the old magus, into the small jail cell. It was constructed of a wooden floor and roof, laced with metal bars with an eight-inch distance for each other to prevent escaping. Straw carpeted the wooden beams at their feet to provide a makeshift bed or Yoon a snack when he was hungry.

"Keep your hands apart," Kén Tauros said as he removed the shackles from Oscar. "Don't try any of your magic stuff! I'm watching you, old man."

At the sight of Yoon, Oscar hurried over to him and embraced him. "Yoon, old friend. Are you well?"

Yoon appeared weak, his white mane dirty, and had big blue sad eyes. "I continue to live, old magus."

"Yoon," Oscar said, and he raised an eyebrow. "Have you lost your spirit?"

"It appears that Schartzmugel has finally won," Yoon said softly. A sense of gloom and defeat wrapped his words. "Recently, he brought the entire kingdom of Paracelsus in as his prisoners. They are forced to work in the mines but has the Queens somewhere in his black castle."

"Do not lose your spirit of hope, Yoon," Oscar said. His energy was strong and unwavering. "I have foreseen your hope. The sisters are coming to rescue us."

#

Emma held the tome in her hand and read the strange words etched on the old brown paper. "Si in verbis, et in pulveris de ratione liceat nobis claudere ostium in terra Zombie pr├Ždictas Fatales. Peto placet. O placet, peregrinatione ad patitur nos!"

The three stared at where the original portal opened, but there was nothing in that attempt. Olivia looked at her big sister and shrugged. "Try again, I guess."

Prince Theo erupted in frustration and began to sob uncontrollably once again. "Why? Emma is not a wizard. She cannot read those words as well as the old magus! What is the point of trying when you know you cannot do it! Why bother? I will never see mother, and you will never see the unicorn! You should just give up and go home!"

Olivia tried to hug Theo but pushed her away as he cried hysterically.

"I want my mommy!" Theo exclaimed.

At that moment, Emma felt a wave of self-pity crash into her. She had not considered that there was a chance of failure. A small tear formed in her eye. "Maybe… Maybe, Theo is right."

"What? No! Em, no! We can't give up," Olivia said with fire in her words. "What did you say when I tried to ride a bicycle and crashed. I didn't want it anymore."

"I said, win, or lose. You have to try—even if you fall again, it is okay as long as you did your best," Emma answered softly.

"Expectly," Olivia said with a serious look.

Emma smiled at her sister's error and said, "Expectly."

#

Kén Tauros jumped to attention and announced, "All rise to honor the King of the Zombie Fairies and soon to be King of all of the Realm of Imagination, Lord Master, Schartzmugel!"

Schartzmugel strutted out from behind a doorway into the throne room. The Zombie fairy was only the height of Kén's legs and was half as wide as he was tall, with his big gray belly visible over his loincloth.

Like all Zombie Fairies, Schartzmugel's face was sunken in, and his eyes had no color or pupil. Along with long stringy white hair, while he was quite alive and healthy had an appearance of the walking dead, hence the name of Zombie Fairies.

Schartzmugel shuffled over to the cell that contained Yoon and Oscar. He instantly noticed that while Yoon appeared drained and weak, the old magus, despite apparently physically ill, still had plenty of fight left in him. I need to break his spirit as well, Schartzmugel thought.

Yoon looked up with tired eyes and said with disdain, "Schartzmugel."

"That is Lord Master Schartzmugel, unicorn," Schartzmugel said with a self-amused chuckle. He turned toward the old magus and continued, "How lucky am I? Not only do I have the most powerful creature in all of the explored realms, but now, I have the strongest wizard as well. Although I have to say, Oscar, you aren't looking so hot these days."

"What are you up to, Schartzmugel," Oscar said in a trembling voice. At the moment, he felt as though his life force was actively being drained from his body. The old magus dropped to one knee. "What are you doing to me?"

"What am I doing?" Schartzmugel mocked. He turned his back on the two and looked at a large window. "I am using soul magic to open a portal that leads into the Other Realm."

"You are a dark creature," Oscar said and lowered himself onto the hay. "You do not have that sort of power."

"Well, Oscar, I can call you Oscar right," Schartzmugel said as he looked over his shoulder. "You see, as a dark creature, I can only open portals within the realm. But, I do not have the essence to travel to Earth, but Yoon does, and that is where everyone's favorite unicorn comes into play.

"But can you believe it, our boy Yoon… He can pull a few across the dimensional webbing but does not have the strength to hold it open for thousands of my warriors to cross over. That was when I decided I needed more power and sent my army to fetch the Gnome Queen of Paracelsus, that is where your friend Kén came into play. He stalled your little helpers long enough with those ridiculous bunnies that allowed me to not only capture the Queen but the entire kingdom of those ankle bitters.

"Yoon even pulled Billy into the realm to help his sisters, but he sacrificed his magical armor to defeat the dark Gnomes… So, Billy is no longer an issue to me. But, you, Oscar… You are just icing on the cake. You were never apart of my plans, but since you are here, I will use what is left of your life force to substitute my own, and I won't have to give any of my life force."

#

Emma stared at the old worn tome. Frustration swelled inside her belly, and self-doubt filled her mind. I'm just a little girl after all. Yoon has always been the hero of our adventures, Livi and I have always just helped. I am not good enough.

Olivia looked over at her sister, slouched with the leather book in her lap closed. Her face looked blank. She knew Emma needed help and scanned the small area in the hut until her eyes landed on the old magus' hat on the table next to her.

Olivia jumped to her feet and exclaimed, "I got it! I know why you can't cast the spell!"

"Really? Why," Emma asked and perked up excitedly.

"Because you aren't a wizard," Olivia said enthusiastically.

"Oh, well, yeah. I already know that," Emma said and looked down at the book sadly.

"No, silly! You're not dressed the part," Olivia grabbed the large blue velvet hat with the white stars on it and plopped it onto her sisters head. "NOW! You are a wizard!"

Theo ran up to the sister excitedly and exclaimed, "Yes! Yes! Now you are a wizard!"

"Okay, now read," Olivia said and opened the old tome.

A new surge of confidence rushed through Emma and said, "Really, you sure?"

"Yes! Yes!" Theo shouted.

"Okay, let me try this incantation," Emma said as she focused on the words once more. "O magnum in natura placet rogavi portal ad rationem virtutis faires in Zombie est terra. Peto placet. O velit peregrinatione ad patitur nos!"

The sound of a wild wind filled the hut, and a blinding white light accompanied it. As fast as it appeared, it was gone with a glowing multicolored portal that swirled in its wake.

"You did it!" Olivia cried.

With the tome in her hand and hat on her head, Emma jumped up from the stool and said, "Okay, let's go to the Land of the Zombie Fairies to save Yoon and defeat Schartzmugel once and for all."

To be concluded in The Missing Unicorn in the Land of the Zombie Fairies book coming out 5/10/21…

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