Catalog
26 Chapters
-11-
Ruslan turned the sheet of paper that contained the copied spells around and tried to decipher the fascinating writing system by himself. It looked beautiful but stranger, more alien and unreadable. Yet they also had an air of mocking familiarity, and he felt he would be able to read them if he only looked at them the right way."Latin?" he asked, looking up at the sorceress with unconcealed admiration. Vasilisa was packing her grimoire, wrapping it up with a large piece of gold cloth she had found.

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-12-
By the time Cassandra and Ruslan reached Mischka Park, it was closed. They had to find a way to sneak in, which was not an easy thing to do. There was a security post by the entrance gate. They weren't sure if there were any guards around, but the post was empty.Ruslan found a gap in the park's fence and motioned for her to make use of it. They could see the greenhouse in the middle of the farmland. At the edge of the park stood the old mansion of the former landlady. No one lived there anymore. It would cost a fortune to renovate it, so it was practically abandoned. Some said the Soviet doctors had turned it into
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-13-
They were now sinking down to the waist, and when Cassandra looked up, she saw the great jaw open wide above them, ready to swallow them whole. Just as she thought she was going to die, her eyes caught a glimpse of glowing light from her belt, and then she remembered the Gracelin dagger the Feathered Serpent had given her. In fact, the elven blade had been glowing ever since they had entered the mansion, but Cassandra did not notice and thought that it was just her own flashlight. She wanted to smack herself in the face
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-14-
It was nearly midnight at the World Beyond, and they were waiting for the moon. They waited by the window because it had a clear view of the sky."What I'm worried about," said Vasilisa, "is the open mirror. For every moment we wait that means any magical beasts or evil mags can cross to the mortal world. We are running out of time."

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-15-
"Owlyn, do you think you can lead us the way into the Wood?" Vasilisa asked the bird."I'm afraid the path is lost to me, too, my lady," Owlyn said sadly. "In the World Beyond, only Feathered Serpents and the fiery falcon, Raróg, have the power to travel fast and wide. And the warlocks, with their portals..." The white owl stopped and sighed."If we're fortunate, we migh
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-16-
In the long silence that followed Cassandra felt herself sinking like a stone with her captor. They went deeper and deeper as if the oasis was bottomless. Cassandra tried to wiggle her body against the tight grip, but as she struggled, she caught a glimpse of a long dark green eel-like tail flipping beside her. Cassandra's frantic heart thumped against her ribcage.She bucked and kicked her feet, but the monster's arms held her down like an octopus's. Then it twirled her body around. Cassandra finally came face to face with her captor. She saw through the clear water, a beautiful red-haired maiden wearing light, sh
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-17-
The morning came, pale and clammy. Cassandra woke up and found a tree-root under her back, leaving a dent mark there, and that her neck felt as stiff as the tree-root itself.She woke Ruslan and they both ate some cheese and bread for a quick breakfast. Owlyn was nodding off after a whole night of watch. Then again, the daytime was not for our nocturnal friend. Cassandra decided to let the owl rest while she looked around for Vasilisa.

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-18-
Never once did Cassandra think of her mother as anything but a perfectly ordinary woman. Of course, she only had vague memories of her. How her melodious voice sounded, how nice she smelled, and how warm she was to Cassandra when she was a child. Aunt Klementina told her that once when they were going to attend a wedding party, Cassandra's mother told her not to dance. Aunt Klementina hadn't been so fond of her mother for some reason and no doubt she went and danced her legs off. And she broke her hip that night.But that was
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-19-
Ruslan frowned. He had tumbled out onto a rocky hillside and knew at once something was wrong. He wasn't near the hill with the willow tree where they rested anymore. In fact, he didn't even seem to be in the marshes at all for that matter. How did he get here? Where were the others?Ruslan turned around and around, calling out to Cassandra. The air tasted foul, and it made him cough. It still had a hint of the metallic sulfur that had nearly choked him. And the sky, now he noticed, looked the wrong color. It had the purplish tint you sometimes got before a storm, except no storm was approaching — there was n
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-20
There was something about the grey creatures that sent Ruslan into a frenzy of revulsion. He fought like a demon himself. He punched and kicked furiously. The demons were nearly naked so he could see their repulsive, dark grey, hairless scrawny bodies, and their spindly limbs. When they touched him, his skin crawled.Individually, they were smaller than he was, but there were dozens of others who were human-size swarming across the rubble to help. He knew immediately that they were the Drekavac, the screamers, the mythical demons Owlyn had warned them aboutRead more
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