Chapter 4

Copyright© 2016 by Pars001

John emerged from the opening this time at a leisurely walk. Stopping a moment he looked out past the blurriness of the edge of the time bubble they were all in. Well he thought so far so good, feeling a slight vibration he looked in the bag he was carrying.

John’s mouth dropped open, was it his imagination or was the crystal growing? Funny he thought it wasn’t any heavier, shaking his head he knew he was going to have to get used to it that was all. After everyone was settled John decided to find out how far they were from this count that Mercy had mentioned. Reaching out at first he didn’t feel anything, and then suddenly he could feel another magical presence!

John’s mouth hung open so that was how he’d followed them so quickly! From what John could feel the one that was helping the count had quite a bit of power. Crap John thought, I swear I can never catch a break!

“I need everyone to gather together again, we have to move again! It appears that this count also has a magic user. Please everyone hurry!” John told them as they all grouped up. Opening the opening again they were all gone within seconds.

The count and his men appeared a few minutes later. Reaching out the count cuffed a small elfin man’s head.

“I thought you said that they were here!” The Count growled as the Elfin man picked himself off the ground at the man’s feet.

“They were here Sire,” the small man said a look of hatred in his eyes. “The one who took them, his power has increased. It is twice as strong as it was when I felt him the last time. He is almost as strong as I am!”

“For your sake and those of the children I have in the mines, you had better catch them. I know not what it was that he used but I could not break through it. You had best hope that you can or I will work the children ‘til they fall. Then I might have the men have a hunt for a few of them. Now worm find them!”

The Elfin man nodded and stretched his hands out looking for the others and the woman. I have to warn the man the elf thought if he can free the others then I can end this. A small smile lit up the elf’s face, yes end it for good.

John and the others appeared again this time they were a lot further north than they had been. Again John felt the crystal vibrate then grow again. Everyone sat to rest as did John. A moment later, Olaf walked up.

“That is a very handy spell you’ve woven,” Olaf told him waving his hand around at the blurry edge of the barrier.

John shook his head, “Not I, it is something a friend gave me to aid in the rescue of all of you. I believe he called it a Tid stopp krystall.”

Olaf’s eyes went wide a moment then he nodded, “May I see it, sir?”

John nodded then opened the bag the crystal was in. “Ummm yes, it is indeed a Tid stopp krystall, extremely good quality. Your friend is obviously a fine craftsman, almost as good as I am!”

John could only nod as he tried to not laugh at Olaf’s words. Watching the others John hoped that they could rest for a bit. John was almost asleep when he felt a nudge, only this was more in his mind.

<I am sorry to disturb you. I am Tylon; I am informing you while I have a chance. The Count will not stop pursuing you. I am unable to hold him off for long; I am just hoping that your power is growing as fast as I can feel it is. For now I am a prisoner of the Count and cannot go against him.> The thoughts told John.

<Is he holding your family? Can I help? You are obviously not a bad Alfheim as I had at first thought.> John thought back to him.

<No I am afraid that it is too late for me. I have abused my magic far more than I should have. I haven’t much longer before the magic will turn to destroying me. No, the Count holds hundreds perhaps thousands of Alfheim children in his mines. I am afraid that he intends to work them ‘til they are all dead. Please friend if you can free them, then I can end this once and for all. The Count is the only one that knows of us, I can end that also.> Tylon thought to John.

<I am sure I could help you Tylon I... > John started.

<No! As I said I have abused the magic far too greatly, I am surprised I haven’t died yet. Please save the children, please sir, let me know that what I do will be to save them and you.> John could almost feel the other smile. <I know who you are sir, thank you! I thought it was you. I will delay them as long as I can. Hurry now sir!>

John sighed as he shook his head, then sat up to think through all that Tylon had said. Sorting through the images John started to formulate a plan. He just hoped he could keep the element of surprise.

Standing, John addressed all those with him. “I am going after the Alfheim children that the Count is holding in his mines. I am going to need several of you to help them into the walk through. The Count has been cruel and worked many to the point exhaustion. I cannot allow this to continue. I do not ask lightly for your help but I understand if you aren’t able. Now then volunteers?”

Immediately every hand rose into the air. With grateful tears John nodded as he opened an opening and they stepped through. John looked at the opening of the mines and lightly touched the rock seeing all the guards. <You are all so sleepy; it is so hard to keep your eyes open! Sleep!>

Within moments all the guards started to drop in a deep sleep All of them went into the mines. As quickly as he could John started to release the children. Sighing in frustration John knew that they didn’t have enough time to get all of them free before the Count showed up I have to...

With a smile John shrugged and figured what the heck? It was worth a try. Placing his hands on the wall John concentrated then just as suddenly the manacles started to fall off the children’s arms and legs at an increasing rate.

Olaf looked at John’s face as the manacles continued to fall. The human was expending entirely too much magic! If he kept this up they wouldn’t be able to leave when they were all free. “Sir! You have to stop! You will die as will we all! Your magic is dangerously low!”

“I cannot stop Olaf! I can only feel 3/4 of them free.” A now white faced John said.

“I can complete it sir! Rest!” Came a voice behind him.

Turning John looked at Handral, “I know you have magic but are you strong enough? There are still hundreds here that need to be released!” John told the elf.

“Yes sir, I have been watching you and I think I have a few ideas on how to proceed.” Handral told him.

Nodding John sat feeling weary as the full amount of what he’d done hit him. Slowly, he could feel his energy starting to return but would it be fast enough?

Handral could feel the drain on himself, the human had to have a massive amount of magic to have gotten this far! Twenty minutes later all the children were free. Handral suddenly looked over at Olaf who was smiling wide. “What, you think I was going to let you do this all alone? Please, I am a loner but I am not as heartless as all of you think I am!”

“Thank you,” Handral said as he slightly bowed to Olaf. “I can also open a step through but nowhere on the scale that Santa can.” Handral told Olaf.

“It’s alright, just add to his when he opens it. I will also add what I can though I can’t really do the step through I can add energy.” Olaf told Handral who was nodding his understanding.

John could only shake his head he really didn’t care as long as they got the children out of here! “Alright I am going to open the step through. I suggest that you take those that can’t walk or walk well through first.” Looking at the thousands there John told them, “We have to hurry I can feel that the one helping us is almost out of time!”

All the children were looking at the human with wide eyes as they all nodded. Concentrating John pushed all that he had into the step through and a larger opening appeared. As quickly as possible, the adults started through with the injured. Then the rest of the children moved forward, sweat was starting to bead up on his forehead as John struggled to keep going.

Finally the last stepped through with a sigh John took a step and collapsed into the opening. A moment later the Count and his men appeared. Looking around the count started to shout then smashed his fist into Tylon’s face breaking his nose.

Smiling Tylon moved his arm in a sweeping motion as the mine entrances collapsed. “Now Count Wilheim! We all die here! This will be the last time you will ever hunt or hurt my kind!”

The Count’s face twisted into an evil smile as the man brandished his sword, “at least I will have the pleasure of killing you!”

“I welcome your sword and a quick death! It is far better than the one that I face in the next few hours! So please! End my life, if you dare! You have no a hold on me and I will no longer help you! Enjoy your slow death!” Tylon told the Count with a sneer.

“You piece of Alfheim filth!” The Count said as he drove his sword through Tylon’s chest. As his blood began to flow from his body Tylon smiled. “I can actually thank you for the first time and be honest about it! Good bye!” With that there was a bright flash then there was only ash where the elf had been.

Several of the men growled as they drew their swords. “So you blackguard, you kill the only one that could have released us! For that we will make you suffer long before you die!” With that most of the men rushed the Count, the sound of shouting and swords clanging the last sounds heard from the mines.

John wasn’t sure where he was, the sun was shining, but it seemed to be slightly cool; that, and the fact that he was laying on something soft though try as he might he couldn’t get his eyes to open.

With a groan John reached up to touch his face but found a... ? Was that a leg? Again he tried to open his eyes this time getting them slightly slitted.

“I think he’s waking up!” John heard a female voice say.

“Thank the creator!” John heard a male voice say. “I knew he was using too much! It took all I had to keep it open when he collapsed!”

“Hey!” Another male voice said. “You didn’t do all of it!”

John tried to get his eyes open more but they were still refusing to obey. That’s when he saw the beautiful red headed woman that was holding his head in her lap. The look of love and worry on her face had him confused as he tried to remember where he was.

John tried to sit up and almost immediately fell back against the lap of the red head. “Please Santa, you need to rest before you try to move much!” he told him.

Again he tried to sit up this time putting his back against the tree that was behind them. “H ... ho ... how long?” John squeaked out. “Sir?” The younger of the two short males said.

“Asleep,” John managed to get out after what seemed a monumental effort.

The slightly older short male nodded then replied, “It’s been almost four days sir. We were afraid that you had expended ALL of your magic along with all of your life force. Thank the creator we were able to add enough to help you. I was afraid as strong as the step through had to be that our small power wouldn’t help you at all.”

John tried to nod though he was finding it hard enough to hold his eyes open. Taking a deep breath seemed to help as the red head next to him refused to move far from him at all.

“I’m sorry to all of you; I seem to still be foggy in my mind. I recognize all of you though no name comes to mind for any of you.” John sadly told all that were present.

“That’s to be expected, having used up all of your energy and magic.” the older man told John. “It will improve at a rapid rate soon. Your body has already started to replenish its self.”

John nodded as he looked at the older of the two males. The man was starting to look a little more familiar though the name still escaped John’s mind. Looking around John saw that they were at the foot of what appeared to be a mountain. Strangely enough the mountain triggered memories of being trapped and discovering a small town.

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