Where Dreams Come From




There was great joy in the small kingdom of Fantasia. Queen Serena was waiting for a friend of hers, Wilhelm Westerman, to arrive at the palace, with his niece, Bette, a witch from Fantasia, and her husband, Warren Nesmith, a mortal from Texas. Will and Serena were old friends. Like Bette, Wilhelm (but everyone called him Will) was a witch, with great powers. He lived in the mortal world, but was able to come to Fantasia with the help of his magic amulet.

Serena was holding a big celebration for her friend, because Bette had given birth to a son named Robert Michael Nesmith, half witch, half mortal. Will had been doting over his nephew since the day he was born. Michael was a week old when Warren, Bette, and Will brought him to Fantasia. Serena and her two-year-old son, Prince Gerald, greeted Will and the Nesmiths at the castle gates.

"Will, my dear friend," Serena said. "I welcome you to the palace."

"Thank you, Serena," Will said. "You are looking lovely, as usual."

"You are a shameful flatterer, Will."

"Admit it, so are you."

"Indeed I am. Come on in, don't just stand out there."

Will, Warren, and Bette followed Serena into the palace throne room. Many of the townspeople of Fantasia were gathered to see the young half-witch. Michael looked around the throne room, all in amazement. Being only a week old, everything astonished him. Everything astonished young Prince Gerald, too, especially Michael. Michael was interested in Prince Gerald, too. The two boys looked at each other intently, as if they were sizing each other up.

"Looks like your son and my son might become good friends," Bette said.

"I hope so," Serena said. "They seem to like each other already."

The boys smiled at each other. It appeared as if a friendship was born. Serena walked over to her throne, and stood in front of it.

"People of Fantasia!" she shouted, to her subjects that had gathered in the throne room. "Today is a day of celebration. My dear, dear friend, Will Westerman, has returned to Fantasia, after a long engagement in the mortal world. After nine long months, he has returned. May I present to you, the reason of Will Westerman's absence, Robert Michael Nesmith!"

Warren and Bette walked up to the throne. Serena took the baby from Bette, and held him up so the people could see him. Everyone applauded.

"There is something special about this child," Serena said. "For he is born of two worlds. His mother, Bette McMurray, is a witch from our fair land of Fantasia, and his father, Warren Nesmith, is a mortal from the mortal state of Texas. He is half witch, and half mortal, the child of the first marriage of a witch to a mortal."

The people applauded and cheered once more. Will was clapping his hands as hard as he could, when someone put a hand on his shoulder.

"Will, I take it that he's your nephew," a wizard by the name of Harliman said.

"Harliman, my old friend," Will said. "I haven't seen you in at least nine months! And yes, that is my nephew."

"I sort of guessed that. So learn any new spells while in the mortal world?"

"I've been too busy with mortal things. I can't give away my secret, now can I?"

"I guess not."

Will and Harliman began talking about old times, and old magic spells for awhile. Then the two wizards walked up to Serena. The queen handed the baby to Will.

"He is a very well behaved baby," she said.

"Except at two o'clock in the morning," Will commented. "But other than that . . . ."

That got a laugh out of the crowd. Serena led the crowd to another room of the palace, where a great feast was presented. Everyone came up to Bette and Warren to congratulate them. Will introduced Michael to all the great sorcerers of Fantasia, even though he was too little to understand what was going on. It looked like nothing was going to spoil the celebration. But looks can be deceiving. While everyone was enjoying the festivities, Serena's faithful steed, a reddish-brown horse named Wildfire, came bursting into the throne room. Whinnying in panic, he ran up to the queen.

"What's goin' on?" Warren asked.

"I'm not quite sure," Serena said.

Wildfire reared, and began to whinny again. The sky outside suddenly turned dark. Lightning flashed, and thunder crashed, just as suddenly as the sky had turned.

"Looks like rain," Will said, looking out the window.

"Not just rain, my friend!" a voice shouted. "The end of a reign! Ha, ha, ha!"

A figure in black appeared at the window. He removed his hood to reveal the evil Lord Ferdinand, sorcerer of the Black Hills, and Queen Serena's cousin. He had always wanted to take over Fantasia and become king, but the only way he could was with Will's magic amulet. And since he had been in the mortal world for so long, and with no way to get to the mortal world himself, had to bide his time until one day Will returned, with the amulet.

"Now that you've returned to Fantasia, Westerman, with your amulet," Ferdinand said. "I will now be able to take over the land and become king!"

"You'll never get my amulet, Ferdinand!" Will shouted. He aimed his index finger at the wizard, and zapped him good and hard into the wall.

"I'll get that amulet if it's the last thing I do!" Ferdinand shouted. He held up his magic walking stick, and threw a piece of magic at Will. He ducked, and the magic hit the wall, resulting in a gaping hole.

"I think I may have something here," Ferdinand said, and he smiled sneakily. He held up his staff, and some of his black magic hit the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It came crashing down.

"I may not be able to enhance my power with that amulet to take over," Ferdinand said. "But I can take over the old fashioned way. Soldiers! Charge!"

Ferdinand's soldiers came crashing through the walls of the palace, swords in hand. The people of Fantasia began to panic and scream. Some of the guards were waving their swords, and others were using black magic.

"What are we gonna do?!" Warren shouted.

"Hold them off as long as we can," Bette said, cracking her knuckles.

"Don't worry about a thing," Will said. "He can't do much without the power of my amulet."

"Which is why you must leave, Will," Serena said. "Go back to the mortal world, and stay there. You must never return to Fantasia as long as you have the amulet!"

"But I can't leave my homeland!" Will protested.

"You must! It's the only way. Ferdinand will never be able to take over Fantasia this way. You may take Wildfire. He will return to Fantasia once you and Michael are safe in the mortal world."

"If you say so."

Will took Wildfire's reins, and climbed up onto the horse's back. He took Michael from Serena, and the horse began to gallop off as fast as he could.

"You won't get away that easy, Westerman!" Ferdinand shouted. "I want that amulet!"

"Too bad, because you're definitely not going to get it!" Will shouted, as Wildfire galloped off.

Ferdinand wasn't going to take this lying down. He lifted his staff, and shot a beam of magic right at Will's amulet. It didn't do too much damage, it just broke the chain. Will grabbed the amulet, and rode off into a portal, one Ferdinand couldn't get into no matter how hard he tried. The portal closed up the minute Wildfire, Will, and Michael went through. Ferdinand glowered at the spot where it had been.

"You may have escaped now, Westerman," he said. "But someday, I'll get that amulet. And I will be waiting until that day!"

Ferdinand was in for a pretty long wait. Will had planned on never returning to Fantasia for as long as he lived. While in the portal, Will held up his amulet, to inspect the damage, and saw that it had broken right in half.

"Oh no," he said. "It must have happened when that magic hit it. Well, it doesn't matter much now, anyway. Even with only half an amulet, Ferdinand won't be able to take over Fantasia. And this is all for the better. I shouldn't think I'd be able to get back to Fantasia anyway, with only half the amulet."

Another portal opened, and Will and Wildfire found themselves in a small town in the mortal world. Will looked around, trying to figure out where they were. He knew it wasn't Texas, that was for sure.

"Just as well," he said, climbing off Wildfire's back. "If Ferdinand found a way to get to the mortal world to get this half of the amulet, he'd naturally start in Texas, now wouldn't he?"

Wildfire neighed in agreement. The portal opened up again, and Wildfire jumped through, on his way back to Fantasia, hoping that Ferdinand didn't do too much damage. Will took Michael, and began walking around.

"This is as good a place as any to start our new lives, eh, Michael?" Will asked.

Michael didn't respond. He was fast asleep. Will walked along, and found that he was in California. This could work out very well. Bette's sister, Kathryn (Kate for short), lived in California,. Surely she wouldn't mind if Will and Michael came to live with her, after she heard the news about Fantasia.

Twenty-four years later on a bright, sunny, summer day in Los Angeles, California, Will Westerman's new home. He was out in the yard, enjoying the sunshine, and planting some flowers he picked up at the local florist with Kate. Michael, going by just Mike now, was throwing a softball against the side of the house, and it was driving his uncle crazy.

"Michael, please don't do that," Kate said. "It's giving me a headache."

"Sorry," Mike said, throwing the softball on the ground. "Sure isn't much to do around here when it's summer, is it?"

"You could always help us plant the plants," Will suggested.

"No thanks," Mike replied. "I don't have the green thumb you and Aunt Kate do, Uncle Will."

Will nodded, and continued planting his plants, but he watched Mike out of the corner of his eye. Mike was sitting on the front porch of the house. He would have liked to go look at the want ads in the paper to find a job, but Will didn't want him working. Mike never understood that, but he didn't say anything.

"Why don't you call some of your friends and hang out with them, Michael?" Will asked, standing up.

"I don't have any friends," Mike replied, standing up himself. "They all think I've got somethin' to hide, since I'm always so secretive. Why can't I tell anybody I'm half witch?"

"Because people in this world aren't too keen on witches," Kate said. "They'll call the Enquirer first chance they get. You'd be exploited."

"I see your point, Mike said. You guys keep mentionin' California as 'this world.' Is there another world that I'm not aware of?"

"Never you mind, Michael, Will said. Never you mind."

"You're hidin' somethin' from me. And I'm gonna find out what it is."

Will waved Mike off, and went inside the house. Mike rolled his eyes, and began walking around the side of the house to get to the backyard. When he was young, he had enough toys and games to keep him occupied. Now that he was twenty-four years old, things like swing sets and sandboxes bored him. He wanted a little action. He was bored with every day living. He knew he was half witch, but that was about all. He wished he could go to far away lands, like Fantasia. Will had told Mike stories about a land called Fantasia, and he often dreamed of the magical world, full of magic and myth. But he knew he could only see it in his dreams.

Mike climbed over the fence that led into his backyard, and began walking around. The backyard was pretty empty, since Mike had been nine years old. The swing set, sandbox, and kiddie pool had been long gone. There just wasn't much to do during the summer.

"What I wouldn't give to be six again," he said.

Mike continued walking around the backyard, looking for something to do when he kicked a rock. The minute Mike kicked the rock, a flash of light hit Mike right in the eye. The sun was shining down on the spot where Mike kicked, and reflected something off the surface.

"What in the world is that?" he asked.

Mike kneeled at the spot where the shine was coming from, and began digging. He unearthed a chain of some kind, but it was attached to something stuck in the ground. Mike continued digging. He might have had magic powers, but there were some things he liked doing the mortal way. He finally unearthed half a medallion of some kind. He looked at it for awhile, and finally started inside the house.

"Uncle Will!" he called. "Uncle Will!"

"In the kitchen, Michael!" Will called. "What's the matter?"

"Nothin'," Mike said, walking into the kitchen. He set the necklace on the kitchen table and turned to his uncle. "I just found this in the backyard, and I wanted to know what it is."

"Where did you find this?" Will asked, picking up the necklace.

"In the backyard," Mike said. "I just told you that."

"I buried this a long time ago. Michael, I think it's time I told you about Fantasia."

"Fantasia? You mean like those stories you used to tell me when I was a kid? The same place I used to have dreams about?"

"Fantasia isn't just a place in a story or a dream, Michael. It's the other world I'm referring to when I refer to California as this world."

"You mean the stories you told me when I was little weren't just stories?"

"Indeed not. Fantasia is a real place. Queen Serena is a real person, and Wildfire is a real horse. Your mother was from Fantasia, and your father was from Texas. She was a witch, and he was a mortal."

"I kind of figured that when you told me I was half-witch."

"Yes well . . . . . I spent most of my time in Fantasia. But I mostly lived in the mortal world. I used this amulet to travel back and forth between worlds. Or at least I used to."

"Why don't you anymore?"

Will handed the amulet to Mike, and explained what happened that fateful day, from the moment the family had arrived at the palace to when Ferdinand broke the amulet in half, to when Wildfire dropped them off in California.

"And since then, you and I have lived with your aunt in California," Will said.

"So whatever happened to the other half of the amulet?" Mike asked.

"I'm not entirely too sure," Will said. "I think it might still be in Fantasia, but I'm not sure if Lord Ferdinand had gotten his hands on it or not."

"Can't you go back and retrieve it?"

"I'm not sure of that either. It may not be possible to go back to Fantasia with only half an amulet. Ferdinand wouldn't know how to use only one half of it, I know that much. But it's not certain if he has the other half."

Mike just nodded. He wanted to see Fantasia now that he knew about it. He looked at the half of the amulet, and then out the window. He had to find away to get to Fantasia to retrieve the other half of the amulet.

"There must be some power left in this half," he said. "Maybe if I combine my magic to the magic in the amulet . . . . "

Mike walked out the back door, taking his uncle's amulet with him. He held it up to the sunlight, and sent a little big of his magic into the half of the amulet. As soon as he did, a strange portal opened in the middle of the sky. He looked around for his uncle, and to make sure no one was coming. Once he was sure the coast was clear, he jumped into the portal, and ran through it until he came to the other end. He jumped through it, and the portal closed up. Mike found himself in a garden of sorts. It was bright and colorful. Plants grew everywhere. There was no smog, like there was in California. No cars or buses, either. Everyone got around by horse and cart, or riding horses alone, or by walking. Just like in Will's stories, and in his dreams.

"I could get used to a place like this," Mike said, putting the half of the amulet around his neck.

Mike began walking along a path, until he came up to a man on a horse.

"Oh," the man said, stopping. "Welcome to Fantasia, traveler."

"Fantasia you said?" Mike asked.

"Yes," the man on the horse said. "I believe I did."

"Hot dog! I made it! Uncle Will was wrong! I knew there was power left in this!"

"I don't believe I follow you, sir."

"Believe me, buddy, if I tried to explain, you'd follow even less."

And with that, Mike ran off down the path, looking around Fantasia. He wanted to see the palace of Queen Serena. He had heard about it in Will's stories, and he was curious to see what it looked like. And, according to the story he just heard, Will and Serena were friends, so the guards would probably let Mike in. He found the palace and walked right up to it, but the guards stopped him.

"Halt!" one shouted. "Who goes there?!"

"I'm Mike Nesmith," Mike said. "Will Westerman's nephew. He told me and Queen Serena were good friends."

"Yes, they were," the second guard said. "Will Westerman's nephew, eh? Last anyone saw of Will Westerman and any of his family was twenty-four years ago."

"Sounds about right. I'm twenty-four."

The two guards huddled, and began to whisper. Mike just stood there, and waited. Finally, they let him inside the palace. The inside was nothing like the outside. The outside of the castle was white with gold trim, and looked clean. The inside, was dark and dreary, with cobwebs all over the place. Curtains were torn, and everything was very dusty and dirty.

"I take it the maid doesn't clean very often," Mike said.

"That's an understatement," one of the guards said. "The queen isn't in good health. This is the doing of Lord Ferdinand, it is."

"Uncle Will told me about him," Mike said. "He said that twenty-four years ago, he tried brute force to take over the throne."

"And he's still at it," the second guard said.

"You're kiddin'," Mike said.

"He's trying to find both halves of your uncle's amulet," the first guard said. "That might have been the only way he could take the throne from Queen Serena."

"He sounds like a real walk in the park, if you get my drift."

"Indeed."

Mike looked around the palace, and tried to picture what he could remember from Will's stories, and the dreams he often had about Fantasia. But something seemed to be missing. Something Will had told him about just before he arrived in Fantasia.

"Hey," he said to the guards. "Doesn't the queen have a son who's around my age? Or at least he would be by now."

"We're not sure," the first guard said.

"How can you not be sure?" Mike asked, confused.

"One night, about twenty-two years ago, maybe even later than that, Queen Serena's only son, Prince Gerald, mysteriously disappeared. It happened right before Lord Ferdinand raided us."

"Oh boy," Mike said.

"Since then the queen has never been the same," the second guard said. "She sent the guards searching everywhere in Fantasia, and all the areas around it, even beyond Fantasia and into the Black Hills, where Lord Ferdinand lives. But we couldn't find a trace of the prince."

"Queen Serena has never given up any hope of finding her son," the first guard said. "For twenty-two long years, she's gone out to look, until she couldn't look anymore."

Mike and the two guards reached the end of the hallway, where the queen's bed chambers were. The two guards opened the doors and led Mike inside.

"Your majesty," the first guard said. "There is someone here to see you. Someone you haven't seen in years."

"Please tell me it's Gerald," Queen Serena said.

"I'm sorry to say it isn't your majesty," the guard said. "It's Will Westerman's nephew, Michael."

Queen Serena looked up, and saw Mike standing at the foot of her bed. She smiled, and waved him over.

"Robert Michael Nesmith," she said, wistfully. "It's been twenty-four years since I saw you last. It couldnt have been that long."

"Well, it has," Mike said with a shrug.

"Come sit beside me, Michael."

Mike shrugged, and pulled up a chair that was in the room. He sat by the queen's bed, and got a good close look at her. He had seen her many a time in his dreams, but she always seemed to be full of life and energy. Now, she seemed tired and weak. This couldn't be the Queen Serena his uncle knew.

"I want to know all about you," Queen Serena said, taking Mike's hand. "Your Uncle Will was a dear friend of mine. You're even wearing his amulet. Or half of it at least."

"Oh yeah," Mike said. "See, he didn't want to return to Fantasia, 'cause he said you told him not to."

"Yes, Lord Ferdinand is still trying to get his hands on the amulet. No one is sure what happened to the other half."

"It's a mystery all right."

"There have been a lot of mysteries since Will has left Fantasia. I'm sorry to say your parents did not survive that one raid when I threw a party for you, introducing you to the magic of Fantasia. Nothing has ever been the same since that day."

"Well, maybe I can help set things right, your majesty. I came here to get the other half of Uncle Will's amulet back, and I have magic in my system. I am part witch, after all."

"Michael, you have the courage and determination your uncle has. But Lord Ferdinand is no match for you."

"I'll set things straight, your highness, or I'll die tryin'! I ain't goin' out without a fight!"

Queen Serena laughed and smiled at Mike. She ordered her guards to show him to a room where he could spend the night. Once the guards showed Mike his room, he went out again to explore the castle.

"Let's see now," he said to himself. "If Lord Ferdinand doesn't have the other half of Uncle Will's amulet, then where could it be?"

"Anywhere in Fantasia," a voice said. Mike whirled around and saw an old sorcerer standing behind him.

"Don't do that," he said. "You nearly scared me out of my wits!"

"I didn't mean to," the sorcerer said. "I recognized the amulet of my friend, Will Westerman. Or at least half of it."

"You must be Harliman. Uncle Will told me about you. He used to tell me stories of Fantasia and the people who lived there, and I often dreamed about it."

"Then you must be Michael. None of us has seen you since you were a week old. You inherited a lot from your Texan father, you realize that? Your height, your black hair, your accent . . . ."

"Hey, Uncle Will told me that my mother was born in southern Fantasia, so she had an accent, too."

"Yes, so she did."

Mike laughed a little. He remembered his uncle telling him that Harliman was a bit scatter brained. He cleared his throat, and held up the half of the amulet around his neck.

"I'd better go back home at get Uncle Will," he said. "He's probably got more magic in his system than I do, considerin' he's all witch and I'm only half-witch."

Mike held the amulet up to a torch on the wall, and sent some of his magic through the half of the amulet. There was some light, but nothing happened. No portal opened.

"Huh," Mike said. "That's weird. Let me try again."

Mike held up the amulet higher, and sent some more of his magic through it, but again, nothing happened.

"Hey, what's with this thing?" he asked.

"I was afraid of this," Harliman said. "I don't think there's enough magic in the amulet to send you home. You need both halves to get back."

"Both halves?!" Mike shouted. "But I don't even know where the other half is!"

"Well, then you had best start looking for it first thing in the morning. Lord Ferdinand is still after it, you know, and he won't stop until he gets both halves."

Mike sighed. It looked like there wasn't any other way to get out of Fantasia unless he found both halves. He would have to set things straight without the help of his uncle, and he knew that wasn't going to be easy. He went outside to walk around, and clear his head. As he was walking by the stables, a horse whinnied. He turned around, and saw a reddish-brown stallion with dark mane, whinnying and neighing. There was something familiar about this horse. The horse pawed at the ground, as if he wanted Mike to come closer to him. This horse seemed to recognize him.

"It's strange," he said. "I feel like I know you. But I've only seen you in my dreams."

The horse nudged Mike in the head with his nose. Mike laughed, and ran his hand along the horse's nose and forehead. He read the name plate on his stall.

"Wildfire," he said. "Somehow, I think I know you. Considerin' what Uncle Will told me and what I've been dreamin'."

Wildfire nickered, and continued to nudge the young half-witch. Mike laughed, and continued to stroke Wildfire's forehead.

The sun went down a few minutes later, and Mike walked back into the palace to get some sleep. He would need all the energy he could to look for the other half of the amulet, which could be anywhere at all in Fantasia.

Hours later, some time after Mike had fallen asleep, he was awakened by the sound of church bells. He groaned, leaned up, and looked out the window. It was still dark outside. He looked at his watch. Twelve-oh-two in the morning. Mike groaned, got up, and walked out of the room. All the palace guards were gathered in the hallway, heading for the throne room.

"What's goin' on?" he asked.

"Queen Serena is dead," one of the guards answered.

Mike just stood there, too shocked to even move. He followed the procession into the throne room to see what was going to happen next. The captain of the guards was standing where Queen Serena's throne was standing, addressing the guards.

"I know this is a sad time for all of us," he said. "But we must make plans for the future. The funeral for Queen Serena will be at dawn."

The guards nodded, and walked off. Mike held his half of the amulet. He couldn't help feeling that Lord Ferdinand would be coming to that funeral.

"I'd better be prepared," he said. "Especially if Lord Ferdinand shows up."

Dawn approached. Everyone in Fantasia gathered at a local cathedral to pay their last respects to Queen Serena. Mike had never seen such a big turn out for a funeral in his entire life. Everyone must have liked Queen Serena a lot.

"Quite a big turnout," Mike said.

"It is," Harliman said, nodding. "It's a shame your uncle couldn't come. I'm sure he would have definitely been here."

"Yeah, I know."

Mike and Harliman continued to walk around the cathedral, greeting people, until they came to a tall man wearing a black cloak. He had black hair, like Mike's, and a thin mustache. He carried a walking stick with a ruby on the top of it. Mike nearly backed away from him, he was a little intimidating.

"Greetings, Harliman," the man said. "I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of dear Queen Serena."

"Greetings, Ferdinand," Harliman said, in somewhat of a sneer.

"So where's Westerman? I'd think he'd be here to mourn the loss of the queen."

"Uncle Will couldn't make it," Mike said. "I take it you're Lord Ferdinand."

"Correct," Lord Ferdinand said. "And who, might I ask, are you?"

"Mike Nesmith, Will Westerman's nephew."

"Last time I saw you, you were no bigger than my pet cat. My, have you sprouted."

Mike rolled his eyes. He hated it when people whom he hadn't seen in a long time commented on his height. Lord Ferdinand walked up to Mike, and spotted the amulet around his neck.

"That's your uncle's amulet, is it not?" Lord Ferdinand asked.

"It's half of it," Mike said, grabbing the amulet in his fist. "I found it, and I intend on findin' the other half."

"Not unless I find it first, boy. But I didn't come here to exchange pleasantries with Westerman's relatives. I've come to talk business with you, Harliman, now that the queen is no longer in power."

"There is no way in the world we will ever let you become king, Ferdinand," Harliman said.

"Really," Ferdinand said. "Well, I don't see how you're going to get around this. After all, I am the only living relative to Queen Serena, you know."

"You gotta be kiddin' me," Mike said.

"Well, since Prince Gerald disappeared, you all have no choice but to crown me king," Ferdinand said, matter of factly.

"Now he's just disappeared," Mike said. "No one said he died. Harliman, isn't there somethin' we can do so we don't have to crown him king?"

"I was hoping it wouldn't come to this," Harliman moaned. "But I guess it must be done. We don't have to crown Ferdinand king if Prince Gerald can be found within seven days. If the prince isn't found by sunset on the seventh day, then we must crown Ferdinand king."

"Unfortunately, no one has heard from Prince Gerald in twenty-two years," Ferdinand said, somewhat smugly.

"Well, don't pack your bags into the palace yet, Ferdie," Mike said. "While I'm lookin' for the other half of Uncle Will's amulet, I'll find Prince Gerald!"

"You have got to be kidding. Prince Gerald has been missing for twenty-two years. Everyone in Fantasia has been searching for him since he disappeared. If the guards can't find him in twenty years, what makes you think you'll find him in seven days?"

The guards are mortals. I have magic in my blood, plus a magic amulet."

"Half a magic amulet. It probably won't do much good without the other half."

"You just wait and see, Ferdinand."

Ferdinand scoffed at Mike. He stared at the young half-witch, and Mike stared back at him.

"Very well," Ferdinand said. "We'll just see who becomes king, and I can bet you anything, it will be me!"

"In your dreams, fella!" Mike shouted.

Ferdinand stormed out of the cathedral as fast as he could. Mike folded his arms across his chest and glared at him. Harliman walked up to Mike and put his hand on the half-witch's shoulder.

"Are you sure you know what you are getting yourself into?" he asked.

"Positive, Harliman," Mike said. "I just know he'll make life miserable in Fantasia. And he just won't stop there. He'll probably plot to take over the world, especially if he finds the other half of Uncle Will's amulet, and gets this half, too!"

"Only if you are certain about this."

"Definitely."

Mike stuck two fingers in his mouth, and whistled. Then he ran outside and stood on the front steps. Waiting for him, saddled and bridled, was Wildfire. Mike climbed onto his back, took the reins, and turned towards the people in the cathedral.

"Don't worry about a thing," he said. "I'll find the other half of the amulet before Lord Ferdinand does, and I'll find Prince Gerald before the seven days are up. Incidentally, Harliman, how will I know Prince Gerald when I see him?"

"You must get him to hold the whole amulet," Harliman said. "The amulet will produce a light in the rightful rulers hands, but only in the rightful rulers hands."

Mike clicked his tongue to get Wildfire to go, and he did. The townspeople waved to the young half-witch as he rode off into the woods.

"Good-bye, Michael," Harliman said. "And good luck."

Mike rode along the woods for what seemed like hours. He didn't know where to go, or what to do.

"I really wish Uncle Will was here," he said. "Not only to give me advice, but just so I'd have a little company. I'd get pretty bored talkin' to a horse, unless he was like Mr. Ed."

Wildfire neighed, and shook his head. Mike laughed, and continued down the trail. He came across a small house in the middle of the woods. Figuring someone lived there, he jumped off of Wildfire, and ran up to the front door. He was hoping someone had seen the other half of Will's amulet. Before he could knock on the door, he spotted someone coming over to the side of the house. Mike ran over to get a better look, making sure he was well hidden on the side of the house. There he saw an old well, and a skinny young man with dark brown hair, tying a wooden bucket to a rope. He lowered the bucket into the well. There was something familiar about this young man, but Mike couldn't place it. He continued to watch the young man at the well. He strained to turn the crank to lift the bucket out of the well.

"Hey," Mike said, coming over. "Need a hand?"

"Boy do I," the young man said. "I don't know why, but this thing just seems to get heavier every day."

Mike grabbed onto the handle, and helped the young man turn it. Once they got the bucket up, Mike got a good look at this kid. The only possible way to describe him was skinny. Extremely skinny.

"Don't take this the wrong way or anythin', but you look like you're a little . . . . . undernourished, you know what I mean?" Mike asked.

"Yeah I know," the young man said. "Everybody I meet tells me that. But they don't tell that to my master."

"Master?"

"Yeah, I'm just a lowly servant. I work for Sir Maxwell LeBron. He's a merchant in town."

Mike just nodded, and he helped carry the bucket of water into the house. As the two boys brought it over to the kitchen table, the door was flung open, and there stood a heavy set, well dressed man with flaming red hair and beard. He didn't look particularly friendly. Mike just stared at him.

"Is that him?" he asked.

"Yeah," the young man said, nodding. "Whatever you do, don't make him mad."

"Jerry, I just would like to know what takes you so long with the well water?!" Sir Maxwell LeBron shouted.

"Sorry, master," Jerry said. "I'll try to be faster with it tomorrow."

"Well, you'd better," Sir LeBron said. Then he looked at Mike. "Now who are you?!"

"Mike Nesmith," Mike said, coolly.

"Well, you're obviously not from Fantasia, I can tell you that much. Judging by your clothes, I'd say you have no sense in style whatsoever."

"What's wrong with my clothes?!"

Mike was wearing a blue, short sleeved button down shirt, blue jeans, and black boots. And for some unknown reason, a green wool hat. He was about ready to blast Sir LeBron through the wall for that one.

"Don't mind Sir LeBron," Jerry said. "He's a merchant who happens to sell fabrics, and he usually thinks anything that isn't made out of silk and velvet is inferior."

"Oh," Mike said.

"I can tell you though," Sir LeBron said. "Your taste in clothes may be desirable, but you do have interesting taste in jewelry. Probably won't get much for it on the black market though."

"You never know," Mike said. "This happens to be a powerful magic amulet. Well, half of a powerful magic amulet. One that belonged to my uncle, Will Westerman."

"Will Westerman, eh? Oh yes, I remember about twenty or so years back when Will Westerman presented his young nephew to the court of Fantasia. Right before Lord Ferdinand arrived that is. You must stay for dinner then."

"Don't mind if I do."

Sir LeBron led Mike into the dining room, and ordered Jerry to start cooking. While dinner was cooking, Sir LeBron showed Mike some of the fabrics he had in the house. There were silks and velvets of all colors, not to mention fur.

"Can I interest you in a nice fur coat?" Sir LeBron said.

"Eehhh, no thanks," Mike said. "I come from California, and I really have no use for a fur coat. I'm just out here lookin' for the other half of my uncle's amulet."

"Well, I wouldn't know a thing about it. That thing disappeared a long time ago."

"Yeah, along with Queen Serena's son, Prince Gerald. I'm out here lookin' for him, too."

"I seriously doubt you'll find him. If the queen's guards haven't found him by now, he's probably dead."

"Well, you never know. So what's the deal with Jerry? I mean, this isn't a very big house. What do you need a servant for?"

"I work all day and I need someone to tend to the household chores. Besides, he has to do something to earn his keep around here. He has no family, and no remembrance of his past. What else could I have done but take the poor boy in? I'm all he's got."

"Huh. Yeah, I think I get it."

Mike felt that Sir LeBron's story sounded a little fishy. But he didn't push it. At any rate, Jerry came from the kitchen carrying a large black pot of some kind of soup. It was much too heavy for him to carry alone. Mike knew that when he saw the darn thing. He was about to get up to help when Jerry tripped on a loose board in the floor and fell, loosing his grip on the soup pot. The pot clanged against the floor, and the soup splattered all over the room, including Sir LeBron's fabrics.

"Oops," Jerry said. "Sorry, Sir."

"YOU CLUMSY LITTLE FOOL!" Sir LeBron screamed. "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!"

"He said he was sorry!" Mike shouted.

"But he's ruined my fabrics!" Sir LeBron shouted. "Do you know how long it takes to clean all my fabrics?!"

"Chill out, LeBron, I'll fix 'em for you."

Mike stood up and snapped his fingers. The black pot stood up straight and all the soup that spilled out of it was swept back inside. Sir LeBron's fabrics were cleaned. Sir LeBron was impressed.

"How did you do that?" he asked.

"It's all in the wrist," Mike said, shaking his hand out. "Now how 'bout some dinner, fella? I'm starvin'!"

Jerry smiled. He had a feeling he was going to like Mike. Sir LeBron was just too stunned to speak. After dinner, Mike started back outside to continue on his way. Jerry went with him.

"You got me out of a big mess with LeBron back there," he said. "Thanks."

"No sweat," Mike said, climbing on Wildfire. "He just went ballistic for some reason. Why is that?"

"I think he hates me. I don't know why, though."

"So I've noticed. Listen, do you know where I could find the other half to this amulet?"

"Let me see it."

Mike took off the amulet and handed it to Jerry. Jerry looked at it closely, and shook his head.

"It looks familiar to me," he said. "Like I've seen it before. But I'm drawing a blank. Sorry."

"Rats," Mike said, putting the amulet back around his neck. "I guess I'm still lookin' then. Thanks anyway, Jerry."

"Hey Mike?" Jerry asked, as Mike started to leave.

"Yeah, what?" Mike asked.

"Think maybe I could come with you? I mean, it's gotta be better than hanging around here with Sir LeBron, when all he does is yell at me."

"Yeah sure. It'll be nice to have someone to talk to, other than my horse."

Mike pulled Jerry onto Wildfire's back, and they were off into the woods, to continue looking for the other half of Will's amulet. As they were walking, Sir LeBron walked out of the house, and saw his servant on the back of a horse, riding off.

"Hey! Wait! Stop!" he shouted. "Jerry! JERRY YOU COME BACK HERE THIS MINUTE!"

Sir LeBron began running after the two boys on the horse. Mike saw him coming, and squeezed Wildfire's sides with his legs.

"Come on, Wildfire!" he shouted. "Run like the wind!"

Wildfire reared, whinnied, and began to run as fast as he could. He was the fastest horse in Fantasia, and nothing could catch up with him when he got running. Sir LeBron kept running, but he was fat, and out of shape, so he couldn't very well keep up with the horse. He stopped to catch his breath, and nearly fell flat on his face into a mud puddle. Mike and Jerry saw him, and they began to laugh. It seemed Wildfire was laughing at him, too.

"Hey LeBron!" Mike called. "There's mud in your eye!"

The boys and their horse laughed, and continued riding along in order to find the missing piece of the magic amulet. Sir LeBron leaned up, spat mud out of his mouth, and moaned.

"Oh dear," he said. "This can't be good. Lord Ferdinand is going to be very displeased with me!"

Sir LeBron got that one right! Lord Ferdinand was watching the entire thing through his magic mirror. He saw Mike and Jerry climb on Wildfire and run off into the woods. He wasn't too happy with Sir LeBron.

"That fat oaf!" he shouted. "Wait until I get my hands on him!"

Lord Ferdinand grabbed his magic walking stick, and stormed over to his mode of transportation, a flying black horse named Midnight. He climbed on his horse's back, and flew towards Sir LeBron's house. Sir LeBron was climbing out of the mud puddle, and brushing himself off when Midnight whinnied, and landed right behind him. Sir LeBron was so startled, he jumped right back into the mud puddle.

"Maxwell, Maxwell, Maxwell," Ferdinand said, disapprovingly. "What can I say?"

"I'm sorry, your greatness," Sir LeBron said.

"We had a deal, LeBron! I would pay you ten pieces of silver to keep that boy under wraps until I became king!"

"Yes, I know, my lord, but how was I supposed to know this was going to happen?"

"It was your job to prevent this! I have no choice but to do this."

"Oh please, my lord! Please, no!"

Ferdinand held his walking stick forward, and the jewel on top glowed brightly. A piece of magic shot out of it and surrounded Sir LeBron, and he was turned into a toad.

"And you will remain a toad for two thousand years!" Ferdinand shouted. He climbed on Midnight, and began to fly back to his castle.

"I must stop Nesmith before he finds that other half of the amulet," he grumbled.

Midnight neighed, and flew off. Ferdinand was fuming. He needed to get back to his castle and his magic mirror so he could keep a good close eye on Mike.

Mike and Jerry, in the meantime, were traveling along the woods, still looking for the amulet half. It was all easier said than done.

"I don't have any idea where it could be," Mike said. "I was sort of guessin' it would be by Queen Serena's castle, but I couldn't find it there. That's where Uncle Will lost it."

"Well, it's been over twenty years since your uncle lost it," Jerry replied. "Different things could have happened to it."

"If I don't find it, I'll never get home. And if I don't find Prince Gerald, Lord Ferdinand becomes king."

"I used to see Lord Ferdinand often whenever he needed fabric for a new cloak. He always wore either black silk or black velvet. He has this thing for black."

"Why does that not surprise me?"

Pretty soon, Wildfire came to a cliff. The only way to get across to the other side was to cross a very old bridge. Mike climbed off Wildfire's back and looked at it. Then he shook his head.

"Wildfire, how far can you jump?" he asked.

Wildfire looked at the bridge, and then at the cliff across the gorge. He looked at the bottom of the cliff and saw a raging river down below. He whinnied and began to back up.

"Can't do it huh?" Mike asked. Wildfire shook his head, and whinnied.

"I think the only way across is to cross the bridge," Jerry said, climbing off Wildfire.

"Yeah, but the bridge will never hold Wildfire," Mike said. He looked at the horse and pet his muzzle. "Sorry, boy, but you're gonna have to stay here."

Wildfire neighed, and nudged Mike with his muzzle. Mike petted him again, and then started towards the bridge. Jerry followed.

"I don't know, Mike," he said, a little nervously. "It doesn't seem very safe to me."

"We don't have any other choice, Jer," Mike said. "It's the only way across, and the only way to find the other half of the amulet."

Mike took a deep breath, and stepped onto the old bridge. Jerry followed. They walked slowly as they possibly could, so they didn't break any boards. The boards creaked a lot as the boys walked on them, since they were old, and practically rotting away. This was the sort of thing Ferdinand was waiting for. He watched the boys through his magic mirror and smiled sneakily.

"Perfect," he said. "If that bridge happens to give out, they'll be plunged into that river. Then Westerman won't find the other half of the amulet."

Ferdinand picked up his walking stick. The jewel glowed, and a beam shot into the magic mirror. Mike and Jerry continued walking slowly across the bridge.

"Hey, how's Wildfire going to get across?" Jerry asked.

"He can't," Mike said. "We might have to leave him back there. There isn't another way around this gorge."

Jerry nodded, and he and Mike slowly made their way across. At least until Jerry stepped on a rotten board, and it snapped right in two. He let out a scream and fell through, grabbing onto another board before he fell.

"Mike, help me!" he shouted.

"Whoa!" Mike shouted, turning around. He bent down, and reached his hand down. The board he was standing on broke too, and he fell, grabbing onto the rope holding the bridge up.

"Ho boy," he said, a little panicked.

"What do we do now?" Jerry asked.

"Don't make any sudden moves, or else this bridge is gonna come crashin' down to the bottom of this gorge."

Jerry shuddered, and then gulped. Mike wasn't in total control, either. As a matter of fact, he was scared to death. He wanted to use his magic to get them across the bridge, but he was afraid if he moved his hand, he'd either fall, or cause the bridge to give out. Wildfire had saw what happened, and began to whinny. He walked towards the bridge, in order to help the boys.

"No, Wildfire! Don't!" Mike shouted. "Stay back! You're too heavy!"

Jerry moaned, and squeezed his eyes shut. Wildfire took one step onto the bridge, and that side ended up collapsing. Mike and Jerry didn't fall completely, since the other end was still intact. They were just scared to death.

"Okay," Mike said. "No problem. We'll just use this bridge as a ladder. Come on, Jerry."

Jerry gulped again, and followed Mike up their makeshift ladder. However, their weight was just a little to much for the bridge, and the ends of the rope loosened from the cliff. The two boys fell into the river at the bottom of the gorge and were swept into the current.

"Now what do we do?!" Jerry yelled.

"Hang on!" Mike shouted. He snapped his fingers, and a rope appeared in his hand. He threw it like a lasso to a branch hanging over the river. He tightened the rope, and held on as tight as he could. Jerry grabbed the end of the rope, and held on as tightly as he could.

"Okay," Mike said. "Let's climb it."

Mike and Jerry pulled themselves to the walls of the gorge, trying to climb up, hoping the branch would hold. Ferdinand was watching the entire thing, and glowered.

"You're resourceful, Nesmith," he said. "But let's see how well you fare when fate is against you?"

Ferdinand aimed his jewel at the mirror again, and the branch broke. The boys were once again swept into the current. They held onto the rope so they wouldn't be separated.

"I guess we only have one option," Mike said. "Ride the current until we get to shore!"

"Sounds good to me," Jerry said.

Mike was just glad there weren't any hidden rocks in the area, or else they would be in big trouble. The boys rode the current all right, but it began to pick up, and there was no shore in sight.

"Is it just me, or are we going faster?" Jerry asked.

"We're goin' faster," Mike said. "What's goin' on?"

"I think I might know. And I don't think you want to look."

"Why?"

Mike looked, and saw the boys were heading directly for a waterfall. Indeed, Jerry was right. He didn't want to look!

"Hang on, Jerry!" he shouted. "I'll get us out of this yet!"

"I hope so!" Jerry shouted, gripping the rope as hard as he could.

Mike did some hoping of his own. He hoped there was enough power in Will's amulet to get them to safety. He wasn't sure if he was going to need both halves of it. He tied the rope he was holding around his waist, held up the amulet, and sent his magic through it. Sparks flew about. Mike bit his lower lip and moaned.

"Come on," he begged. "Please don't do this to me!"

The boys inched closer and closer to the waterfall. The amulet still sparked. Mike groaned. He had a feeling that he needed more power, and for that, he was going to have to find the other half of the amulet.

"This isn't workin'!" he shouted. "I need the other half!"

"Too bad we don't know where it is!" Jerry shouted.

Mike continued to send his magic through the amulet, but to no avail. The boys went over the falls. But the minute they went over, the amulet began to glow brightly, and a beam of magic shot out of it, surrounding the boys. The magic took them past the jagged rocks below the falls. But once they were away from the rocks, the magic died out, and the boys fell into the water again, but at least they were safe, for the time being. The current carried them to shore. Both of them coughed, and spat the water out of their mouths.

"Ooohhhh," Jerry groaned. "What a wild ride that was!"

"Even though I know you can live through it," Mike said. "I don't want to do that again!"

Jerry agreed. He crawled onto the shore line, and collapsed. He couldn't move another inch. Neither could Mike. They groaned, and staid right where they were, trying to catch their breath.

"Where do we go from here?" Jerry asked.

"I'm not sure," Mike said. "But let's take a break."

"Good idea."

Mike managed to crawl all the way out of the water, and further onto the shoreline. Jerry followed. Both of them had a hard time moving, since their clothes were heavy with water. Mike snapped his fingers, and a small fire appeared in the center of the spot the boys were sitting in. Mike began to unbutton his shirt in order to wring it out.

"Man, are we a mess," he said. "I think we'd be better off if we hung our clothes out to dry, what do you think?"

"I think you're right," Jerry said.

Mike snapped his fingers again, and the boys clothes were hanging from a nearby tree branch to dry out. The boys themselves were draped in towels in order to keep warm. Mike had a feeling, since the sun was going down, it was going to get colder.

"Not much we can do until mornin'," Mike said.

"Aren't you going to take your amulet off?" Jerry asked.

"No. Lord Ferdinand might try somethin' sneaky to get it, and I'll just be welcomin' him to it if I take it off."

"Oh, I see. Why do you need the other half of the amulet?"

"So I can get back home. Uncle Will doesn't have any idea that I'm here in Fantasia. He's the only family I have, and I don't want to worry him too much. I'd like to get his amulet back to him."

"Oh."

"I'm also out here lookin' for the queen's long lost son, Prince Gerald. I don't have the slightest idea how I'm gonna find him, so maybe if I find the other half of the amulet, and put the two halves together, maybe the magic in that can help me find the prince."

"Good thinking."

"But I've only got seven days to find him. Or else Lord Ferdie's gonna be crowned king, and he'll make life in Fantasia a livin' nightmare! Do you have any idea where I could find the prince, Jerry? I mean you've lived in Fantasia your whole life, haven't you?"

"To tell you the truth, Mike, I don't remember. I don't ever remember there being a prince of Fantasia. I know there was a queen, though."

"It's just as well. The prince disappeared twenty-two or so years ago."

"Sorry, Mike."

Mike sighed. He couldn't think of anything else to say to Jerry. So he stretched out, and began to lean back in the grass to go to sleep. Jerry did the same. There wasn't much else to do anyway. Lord Ferdinand had been watching through his magic mirror. He was about ready to scream.

"Curses!" he shouted. "That Nesmith is smarter than I figured. But this is nothing a little magic can't take care of."

Ferdinand ran out of his throne room, and ran over to Midnight. He figured he'd be able to get the amulet while Mike was sleeping. He flew Midnight over to the spot where Mike and Jerry were sleeping. He pulled his walking stick out, and aimed the jewel at Mike's neck. The amulet slowly slid off his neck. It floated to Ferdinand's hand.

"Okay, here's one half," he said, twirling the amulet around. "Now all I have to do is find the other half. Heh, heh, heh. Nesmith will never be able to find either half of the amulet now!"

Unknown to Ferdinand, he was being watched by a pair of friends in the bushes. They were a flying green dragon named Simon, and a lavender unicorn named Lilac. They glared at Lord Ferdinand as he held the half of the amulet.

"I smell a rat, Lilac," Simon said.

"A water rat," Lilac replied. "Lord Ferdinand must be up to no good."

"Let's get that half of that amulet!"

Simon flew into the air. Lilac whinnied, and she followed her friend through the bushes. Both of them charged Ferdinand.

"What the heck?" Ferdinand asked.

Simon growled and flew right into Ferdinand's face. He breathed fire at the sorcerer's feet, giving him one heck of a good hot foot.

"YEEEEEEOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHHH!" Ferdinand shouted. He grabbed his foot and began hopping up and down, dropping the amulet at the same time. "Hot, hot, hot, hot! Oooooh, that's hot!"

Lilac whinnied and lowered her head as Ferdinand hopped backwards. He headed right for her horn, it ended up sticking him in the rear.

"AAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!" he shouted, shooting forwards.

All the noise got Mike and Jerry's attention, and they woke up immediately.

"What's goin' on?!" Mike shouted.

"Mike, the amulet!" Jerry shouted.

Mike looked down, and noticed that his half of the amulet was gone. He gasped, and began searching the ground for it.

"Here's your amulet!" Simon shouted, flying the amulet to Mike.

"Yikes!" Mike shouted. "A dragon!"

"Don't be afraid," Lilac said, coming forward. "Simon's a friendly dragon. He only breathes fire at enemies."

"Oh," Mike said, taking the amulet. "For a minute, I thought I was Texas Barbeque. What just happened?"

"Lord Ferdinand tried to steal your amulet," Simon said.

"That rat," Mike groaned, putting the amulet back on. "Looks like we can't even get a goodnight's sleep with Ferdie around."

"Looks like we're going to keep moving," Jerry said.

"Right," Mike said, snapping his fingers. The boys clothes were restored, and they started to walk off. Simon and Lilac flew after them.

"Wait for us!" Simon shouted. "Lilac's the fastest runner in Fantasia!"

"I'll get you to wherever you're going faster," Lilac said.

"Okay," Mike said, and he climbed onto Lilac's back. Jerry did the same. "Hey, have either of you seen the other half of this amulet?"

"Nope," Simon said. "Sorry."

"Never seen a whole amulet like that before," Lilac said. "But we'll help you look."

"Okay," Mike said, and the foursome was off.

Ferdinand made it back to his castle, in one piece, all though he was in pain.

"Darn forest animals," he grumbled. "That Nesmith leads a charmed life. There must be some way. Some way I can lead him off the track. I'm sure that he'll be coming close to finding the other half of his uncle's amulet, and I need to get to it before he can."

Ferdinand began pacing around his throne room. He needed something to distract Mike while he had a chance to find the other half of Will's amulet. He began pacing back and forth, trying to think. His pet raven came flying down, and landed on his perch. Then he began to preen his feathers.

"And where have you been?" Ferdinand asked.

The raven just cawed, and continued to preen his feathers. Ferdinand continued pacing, until he came up with a brilliant idea.

"That's it!" he shouted. "That's it! Nesmith will never be able to resist! I'll just send a quick raven-gram and then the amulet is mine!"

Ferdinand took a scroll and wrote something on it. Then he grabbed his raven by the neck, gave it the scroll, and threw it out the window.

"You know where to take that!" he shouted. "And don't come back until you've delivered that message!"

The raven cawed, and flew through the air with the scroll. He headed for a neighboring kingdom called Emerald Valley, not too far from Fantasia. He dropped the scroll on the windowsill of a castle, and tapped the window with his beak. Then he flew off back to his master. Mission accomplished.

The sun was rising over the horizon. Lilac stopped to rest by a stream. Mike and Jerry climbed off her back, and began searching for the amulet. They were digging in the dirt, looking under bushes, climbing up tree branches, everything you could think of, but they just couldn't find a trace of that amulet!

"It's gotta be around here somewhere," Mike said. "Uncle Will said it never left Fantasia."

"Incidentally, how did your uncle get to California from Fantasia, Mike?" Simon asked.

"Same as I did, I guess," Mike said, shrugging. "There was a portal in the sky, and we just fell through it."

"Do you think the amulet might be stuck in the portal?" Jerry asked.

"Eh, I doubt it," Mike said. "My intuition is tellin' me that it's somewhere in Fantasia."

"Well, don't worry, Mike," Lilac said. "We'll find it."

"I hope so," Mike said. "Uncle Will's bound to be pretty worried about me by now."

"It doesn't look like the amulet's here anyway," Jerry said. "Let's keep going."

Mike nodded, and climbed onto Lilac's back, as Jerry walked beside the unicorn, and Simon flew, keeping an aerial surveillance on Fantasia. All through the morning, the foursome stopped at various places, and either dug in the ground to find the amulet, or asked people if they had seen the other half. They didn't have any luck at all.

"I'm about ready to call it quits," Mike said. "There just isn't a trace of that amulet anywhere!"

"Or of Prince Gerald," Simon replied. "How long do you have to find him, Mike?"

"Six days," Mike said. "Before the sun sets on Sunday. And it doesn't look like I'll find him in that amount of time, either."

"Don't give up, Mike," Lilac said. "We're sure to find both the amulet and Prince Gerald."

"At this point in time," Mike said. "I can only hope!"

The group continued on their way. The days went by, and still no sign of the amulet, or the missing prince. Mike sat down on a nearby log for a break. He began playing around with the chain on his half of the amulet for a little while. He was swinging the amulet back and forth, thinking where he would find the other half, when a very loud, shrill scream brought him out of his thoughts. He jumped to his feet, and ran to where the scream was coming from. There, he saw the biggest black dragon in the entire land, chasing a girl. The girl ran over to Mike, and latched on to his arm.

"Oh please don't let that dragon get me!" she shouted.

Mike got a good look at this girl. She was medium in height, and had long blonde hair and blue eyes. She wore a long, purple dress, and a pearl necklace. She also had a string of pearls around her head. Mike nearly lost his head for a minute, but shook his head out to get focused.

"Not to worry," he said, snapping his fingers. A sword appeared in his hand. "I'll slay the dragon for you, m'lady!"

"Now I've heard everything," Jerry said. "Nice to see chivalry isn't dead. It's just been in a coma, that's all."

Mike ignored his companion, and walked towards the dragon. He waved the sword, trying to scare it off. The dragon growled, and spat fire out of his mouth at Mike, nearly burning him to a crisp. Mike screamed, and ran back to the log, abandoning his sword.

"Well, that did a lot of good," Jerry said.

"Hold your comments," Mike said, snapping his fingers again. A bottle of seltzer water appeared in his hands. "I'm not licked yet!"

"What's he going to do with that?" the girl asked.

"Beats me," Jerry said, with a shrug.

Mike walked right up to the dragon, shaking the seltzer bottle. He smiled sneakily at the dragon.

"Hey furnace face!" he shouted. "I've got somethin' for ya!"

The dragon breathed fire at Mike again, but this time, he was ready. He sprayed the seltzer water, dousing the flames. He continued spraying, until the seltzer water ended up directly into the dragon's mouth. The dragon leaned up, and tried to breathe fire, but all that came out was a little puff of smoke. He began to whimper. Mike picked up his sword and waved it at the dragon.

"You want to try that again, fella?!" he shouted.

"Yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe!" the dragon shouted, scampering back into the woods.

Mike smiled, and twirled the sword. It disappeared into thin air.

"Not bad for a kid from California, huh?" Mike asked.

"No knight in shining armor could have done better, my friend," Jerry said.

"He's got that right," the girl said. She sighed, and wrapped her arms around Mike's neck. "You're my hero, brave knight!"

"Uhh, I'm no knight, miss," Mike said. "I'm just your average half-witch from the mortal world."

"Well, whatever," the girl said. "You still slayed the dragon, and that entitles you to a reward."

"Oh, don't worry about it. I'm sort of in a hurry, so if you don't mind, we'll just be goin'."

The girl leaned up and kissed Mike on the cheek. Mike got a dazed expression on his face, and floated upward, literally.

"On the other hand . . . ." he said, slightly dazed.

"Ho boy," Jerry said. "Hey, Mike! Get down from there! We're supposed to be looking for your uncle's amulet!"

"What amulet?" Mike asked, still dazed.

"I'll get him down," Simon said. He looked up, and spat a little piece of fire at Mike's feet. Mike screamed, and came down off his cloud.

"Yeow!" he shouted. "What're ya tryin' to do?! Give me a hot foot?!"

"Well, I had to get you down somehow!" Simon shouted.

Mike glared at the dragon, and turned towards the strange girl.

"Soooo . . . . ." he said, trying to think of something to say. "I'm Mike, who are you?"

"Oh, forgive me for not introducing myself," the girl said. "I'm Princess Phyllis, and I come from Emerald Valley. Its not too far from Fantasia, actually."

"Hey how 'bout that?" Mike asked. "I rescued a princess from a dragon."

"Yeah, great," Jerry said. "Look, Mike, we've got to get going. We've got both half an amulet and a missing prince to find."

"Oh yeah," Mike said, snapping back into his mission. "Hey, maybe you can help us. We're lookin' for the other half of my uncle's magic amulet."

"You know, I think I saw something like this not too far from my palace," Phyllis said. "You must come to my palace, Mike. Looks like you boys could use a good meal and a place to sleep."

"Well, I don't know," Jerry said.

"We'd love to," Mike said. "We'll go on Lilac."

Mike took Phyllis's hand, and helped her mount Lilac. Mike started leading the way down the path. Simon flew upwards. Jerry followed Mike. For some strange reason, he didn't trust Phyllis.

"I don't trust her, Mike," he said. "There's something about her."

"Don't worry about it, Jer!" Mike shouted.

"Well, it was just a little easy beating that dragon. I think Lord Ferdinand might be up to something."

"Jerry, man, if Ferdie was up to somethin', he'd sic that dragon directly on me, and not on a princess!"

"I still don't know. She might be working for Ferdinand."

"Yeah, right. A beautiful princess like Phyllis workin' for a demented evil wizard like Ferdinand. Uh huh, sure."

Jerry glanced at Phyllis, and then shrugged. He still didn't trust her. They rode to a large white castle, with gold turrets. Mike let out a low whistle.

"That your castle?" he asked.

"It sure is," Phyllis said. "Let's go. We'll have a great feast."

"Sounds good to me," Mike said. "I'm starvin'!"

"I'm not so sure about this," Jerry said.

Mike wasn't listening. He just led Lilac to the drawbridge. Phyllis climbed off the unicorn's back, and took Mike's arm.

"You'll have to leave your animal friends outside," she said. "The servants draw the line at unicorns and dragons."

"I see," Mike said. "Let's go, Jerry."

Jerry sighed, and shrugged, and followed his lovesick friend into the castle. The trio went to the dining room, and were met by a large feast. Neither of the boys had ever seen that much food in their entire lives.

"Wow," Jerry said, looking at all the food. "What a spread!"

"Even Uncle Will never had a banquet this size!" Mike shouted.

"Well, what are you two waiting for?" Phyllis asked. "Dig in!"

The boys practically dove into the food and began chowing down. They hadn't eaten since they left Sir LeBron's house. Jerry was too hungry to protest about not trusting Phyllis. Phyllis sat at the table, and watched the boys stuff themselves. She picked up a plate of food, and handed it to Mike.

"Here you go," she said. "A special dinner for my hero."

"I think I'm gonna lose my appetite," Jerry said, rolling his eyes.

"Thanks!" Mike shouted, grabbing the plate. "Bein' a hero sure has it's advantages!"

Jerry wasn't so sure about this whole thing. He just watched Mike eat. Phyllis kept staring at him, longingly. At least that's what it looked like, at first. Jerry then realized she was eyeing the amulet. Mike didn't know any better. He thought she was looking at him. And he was looking at her with that same expression.

"You must tell me where you got this amulet," Phyllis said. "I'm sure it's an interesting story."

"It's not so interestin'," Mike said. "The amulet belongs to my Uncle Will. He's had it for a long, long time. It broke in half one day, and here I am, lookin' for the other half so I can get back home to California."

"You want to leave? So soon?"

"Well . . . . . maybe now I don't think I'm in that big a hurry to leave."

"Mike!" Jerry shouted. "What about Lord Ferdinand?"

"Lord who?" Mike asked, looking at Phyllis adoringly.

"Oh brother," Jerry groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "That's it. I've lost him. Excuse me, but I've just lost my appetite."

Jerry stood up, and left the table. If Mike wasn't going to find the other half of that amulet, then he was going to. Phyllis watched him leave out of the corner of her eye.

"So you're out in my neck of the woods looking for the other half of the amulet?" she asked, turning back to Mike.

"Right," Mike said, nodding. "We're also lookin' for Queen Serena's long lost son, Prince Gerald. If we don't find him by the time the sun sets on Sunday, then Lord Ferdinand becomes king of Fantasia, and then he's gonna make life miserable! Jerry's helpin' me."

"I see."

"I remember you sayin' you saw somethin' like this amulet?"

"Let's not talk about that now. We'll talk about it tomorrow morning. You must be tired after your long journey."

"Well, now that you mention it, I could use forty winks. I'll find my own way to a room, Phyllis."

Mike stood up, yawned, and stretched. He could barely keep his eyes open. He was about to leave, when he turned back to Phyllis and walked up to her. On an impulse, he leaned over and kissed her cheek.

"Forgive me for bein' so forward like that," he said. "But I couldn't resist. I've always dreamed of doin' that to a princess."

Phyllis had a surprised look on her face, and her hand to her cheek. She smiled as Mike left the room. She sat down at the table, and sighed. She began to daydream about her and Mike at a grand ball, dancing together. It was a nice daydream. Her thoughts were disrupted by a clap of thunder. She shot to her feet, and turned around when she saw Lord Ferdinand standing at the end of her table.

"Daydreaming, are we?" he asked.

"I didn't hear you come in, Ferdinand," Phyllis said.

"Don't forget your part of the plan, princess. If Nesmith finds that other half of his uncle's amulet, I'm ruined."

"I don't know, Ferdinand."

"Don't tell me you have an attraction to that tall, long legged, half-witch!"

"I don't know, maybe I do, maybe I don't."

"Well, just remember what you have to do. And get rid of Nesmiths friend. My plan will be completely ruined if he hangs around!"

With that, Ferdinand climbed up onto the windowsill and whistled for Midnight. Then he flew off. Phyllis sighed. She wasn't sure if she wanted to follow through with the plan anymore. The next morning, Mike and Jerry met Phyllis at the dining room table for breakfast.

"So I take it you two are going out to look for the amulet?" Phyllis asked.

"Yeah," Jerry said. "We've only got one more day to find it and Prince Gerald."

"Oh, what's the hurry?" Phyllis asked, leaning into Mike and batting her long eyelashes at him. Mike smiled, and nearly melted then and there. Jerry rolled his eyes.

"I already told you what the hurry was," Jerry said. "I've had enough of this. I'm going to look for the amulet, Mike. If you want to stay here, fine. I'll just bring you the other half if I find it."

"Yeah okay," Mike said. "I'll catch up with you later."

Jerry rolled his eyes, and walked off. He couldn't imagine how anyone could forget something important as this, and over a girl, too! He was about to walk right out of the castle, when Phyllis ran up to him.

"I know where you can find the amulet," she said.

"Why not tell Mike?" Jerry asked.

"He doesn't really want to leave yet. Let him hang out here, and you can go find the amulet for him."

"Looks like I don't have much of a choice but to do that. Where is it?"

"There's a forest right outside my castle. It's in there. I've seen it."

"You'd better not be lying."

"Would I lie?"

"I don't know. But I'll just have to take your word for it. For now."

Jerry left the castle, and Phyllis went back to Mike. She had a slight uneasy feeling about this whole thing, however. She sat down next to Mike.

"What's wrong?" Mike asked.

"What makes you think something's wrong?" Phyllis asked.

"You've got this look on your face. It's the same look I used to get when I'd sneak cookies out of the cookie jar when I was a little kid. You look guilty of somethin'."

"Don't be silly. Would you excuse me for a minute?"

Mike nodded, and Phyllis stood up. She went into another room, so she could be alone for a minute or so. Mike had been right. She did feel guilty about tricking Jerry. She sent him into what was known as the Haunted Forest. The amulet wasn't hidden there, and without any magic or weapons, Jerry was as good as dead meat, which is what Lord Ferdinand wanted. A clap of thunder was heard, and Phyllis whirled around to find Lord Ferdinand in the room with her.

"Don't look so distressed, my dear," he said. "You've done exactly what I wanted you to do."

"I know," Phyllis said. "But I wish I hadn't."

"Oh you've fallen for that Nesmith all right. I can tell. But he isn't worth it. I already made a promise to you. Once I become king, you'll be my queen."

"I don't think I like that arrangement."

"How could any girl pass that up? Just keep Nesmith here for awhile longer. That should be easier done than said."

"I don't know, Ferdinand. It doesn't seem right to me."

"Don't you get all goody two-shoes on me now, princess!"

"Hey Phyllis!" Mike called, as he walked into the room. "I thought I heard voices, and I was wonderin' . . . ."

Mike stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Phyllis in the arms of none other than Lord Ferdinand. His lower jaw nearly hit the floor, but he recovered quickly, and snapped his fingers. A sword appeared in his hand, and he held it up.

"Get your hands off her, Ferdinand!" he shouted. "I'm warnin' you, if you touch her, I'll slice you to ribbons!"

"I don't think that's necessary, Nesmith," Ferdinand said. "The princess is a friend of mine."

"She is?"

"Of course she is. We might as well tell him. That dragon you slayed? It was one of my minions. You've fallen for a little trick of mine."

"What?! You mean that whole dragon thing was a set up?"

"Yes, and you've fallen for it."

"Phyllis is that true?"

Phyllis bit her lower lip, and hung her head, which only told Mike that it was true. He groaned, and snapped his fingers. The sword disappeared.

"That's all I need to know," he said. "I'd better go catch up with Jerry."

"It might be too late for that," Ferdinand said. "The princess sent him to the Haunted Forest. He'll never come out of there alive!"

"Not if I can help it, buster!" Mike shouted. He turned, and began to leave the castle. Phyllis followed him.

"Mike, wait! Please wait!" she shouted.

"Why should I?" Mike asked.

"Because I want to help you now."

"Why should I believe you? How do I know you're not lyin' to me now like you lied to me then?"

"Because that was then, this is now!"

Phyllis grabbed Mike's arm, and gave him a pleading look. Mike shook her off, glared at her, and stormed off.

"I don't trust anyone workin' for Ferdinand," he said, and he walked through the palace gates, and climbed on Lilac.

"Come on, Lilac!" he shouted. "To the Haunted Forest!"

Lilac ran off towards the forest. Simon flew after her. Phyllis stood there, staring at Mike. Ferdinand laughed hysterically.

"This is perfect!" he shouted. "He'll never make it out of there alive!"

"Not if I can help it," Phyllis said, grabbing Ferdinand's sword out of his belt. "As of right now, the deal is off!"

"Hey, you can't do that!"

"Watch me!"

Phyllis ran to the stables to get her own horse, and she rode into the forest after Mike.

"I'll never understand women," Ferdinand said. "But I'd better follow her, and make sure she doesn't come out of there alive along with Nesmith and his friend!"

Ferdinand ran to the windowsill, mounted Midnight, and flew off.

Jerry, in the meantime, was looking all over the forest, trying to find where he was going, and the amulet. It was hard to see in the Haunted Forest, even in broad daylight.

"Why did I let that girl talk me into this?" he asked. "I get the distinct feeling she was lying to me."

Jerry continued to move along until he came to an area full of nothing but bare trees. The branches looked eerily like fingers. The whole thing creeped him out.

"Okay," he said. "I'm going back to that castle. There is no way I'm looking for the amulet in this forest without any source of light!"

Jerry turned around to go back, when a tree began to growl and reach out, trying to grab him. Jerry screamed, and ran in another direction, but another tree blocked him off. Every direction he turned, the trees made an effort to grab him. He was surrounded. The trees were about ready to rip him to shreds. Jerry dropped to his knees. It was about all he could do. A tree reached out, ready to grab him when a bright light cut the branch clean off. The tree screeched in pain, and retreated slightly. Jerry looked up, and saw Lilac gallop over to him. On her back was Mike, holding up the amulet.

"Hi Jerry," he said. "Looks like I got her just in time."

"Mike, watch out!" Jerry shouted.

A tree behind Mike swung it's branch out, and knocked the half-witch off Lilac. Mike recovered quickly, and shot a piece of magic out of his index finger at it. The branch was cut off just as cleanly as the first one.

"Let's not waste anymore time in this forest," Mike said. "Let's get outta here!"

"I'm with you!" Lilac shouted.

"I'll lead the way!" Simon shouted, and he spat his fire out at the tree roots. The trees screeched, and retreated. Mike and Jerry climbed onto Lilac's back, and she began to gallop through the woods.

The foursome wasn't out of the woods yet. More trees began to reach out and grab them. Mike did what he could, magic wise, but there were just too many trees to handle by himself.

"I need another thing to cut the branches," Mike said. "I just can't do it by myself."

"I wish I could help you," Lilac said. "But I'm not a magic unicorn. Just a plain ordinary unicorn."

"And I'm out of fire power," Simon said. "I'm only a little dragon. The big dragons have all the fire power."

"And I don't have a sword to help you," Jerry said.

The trees closed it, ready to grab the foursome and crush them. Mike squeezed his eyes closed, as the tree branch came closer, and closer. Suddenly, a sword flashed by, and cut the limb clean off. With another swipe of the sword, more branches were being cut off. Mike dared to look, and saw Phyllis on a pure white horse, chopping off tree limbs with a large sword. He couldn't believe his eyes.

"Well what do you know?" he asked.

"Looks like she's on our side after all," Jerry said.

"Darn right I am," Phyllis said, slicing the last tree branch. "And I've got some better news, Mike."

"What's that?" Mike asked.

"I know for sure where the other half of your amulet is."

"Great! Lead us to it!"

"Follow me!"

Phyllis's horse and Lilac galloped through the Haunted Forest. Phyllis waved her sword and Mike held up his amulet, in order to intimidate the trees. It worked. The trees didn't bother them until they made it out of the forest, and into a desert of some kind.

"What's this?" Jerry asked. "Another trick?"

"No," Phyllis said. "I swear this isn't a trick. The amulet is buried underneath the sand somewhere. I just don't know where."

"Well, let's get started," Mike said.

Lilac began walking into the desert. As she did, Mike's amulet began to glow. When it glowed, a spot underneath the sand gave off a dim light.

"I think we found it," Mike said, and he jumped off Lilac. Jerry did the same, and followed Mike.

The boys got on their knees, and began digging. The glow got brighter and brighter the deeper they dug. Phyllis jumped off her horse and ran over as well. She got on her knees and started to help the boys dig. Finally, Mike unearthed a green and gold object. It was the other half of Will's amulet!

"I found it!" he shouted in delight. "I found it! I found it!"

Phyllis, Jerry, Lilac, and Simon began jumping about, and cheering. Mike smiled, and lifted the half of the amulet around his neck.

"Now all we gotta do is put 'em together," he said. "And that should help us find Prince Gerald."

Mike held up the two halves of the amulet, and began to bring them together slowly until they touched. The minute the two pieces of the amulet were together, a green glow surrounded it, and Mike. Mike went through a slight transformation. When the glow had subsided, his clothes had changed. Instead of a shirt and blue jeans, he was wearing a black chest plate with gold accents, dark blue pants, and a blue cape fastened to his shoulder by a gold clasp with a red jewel on it. Mike looked at his attire, and smiled.

"Not bad," he said. "At least the plate isn't heavy."

"It may not be made of cast iron," Jerry said. "Well, we found the amulet. All that's left to do is find the missing prince."

"That shouldn't take too long," Phyllis said, knowingly.

"You know somethin' we don't?" Mike asked.

Phyllis nodded, and was about to tell Mike what she knew when the wind began to blow violently, stirring up the sand in the desert.

"What's goin' on here?!" Mike shouted.

"It's a sandstorm!" Phyllis yelled.

"Everybody get down!" Lilac shouted.

The quintet ducked down as the sand blew as hard as it could. While the sand was whipping around, thunder crashed. Mike dared to look, and he saw Lord Ferdinand and Midnight riding through the desert sandstorm.

"I knew if I followed you, you'd lead me to the amulet!" Ferdinand shouted.

"Tough luck, Ferdie!" Mike shouted. "You ain't gettin' this amulet from me!"

"We'll just see about that!"

Ferdinand picked up his magic walking stick, and zapped at the amulet. It began to float towards him. Mike quickly grabbed the chain, and tried to pull it back to him as hard as he could. Ferdinand increased his own power on it. Phyllis grabbed Mike's arm and helped him pull. Jerry did the same.

"Pull as hard as you can!" Mike shouted. "We can't let him get the amulet!"

Lilac grabbed the back of Jerry's shirt with her teeth, and gave it all her strength. The amulet couldn't take the stress of being pulled in two different directions at once. It split into two pieces. One piece flew right to Ferdinand while the other staid with Mike. Since the amulet split, and Mike, Phyllis, Jerry, and Lilac had been pulling on it with all their might, the four of them lost their balance and fell backwards into the sand. Ferdinand held one half of the amulet in his hand and laughed.

"You're just like your uncle, Nesmith!" he shouted. "Just a weakling!"

"Give me back that half of the amulet!" Mike shouted.

"If you want it, come and get it!"

Ferdinand aimed his walking stick at Mike, Phyllis, and Lilac, surrounding them in a cloud of sand. They couldn't break out of it. It was too strong for Mike's magic. Jerry stood there in shock. He had to somehow get his friends out of that sandstorm. But before he could make a move, Ferdinand grabbed his arms, and pulled him up onto Midnight.

"Oh no you don't," he said. "You're coming with me! I can't allow you to return to Fantasia. It will ruin everything!"

Jerry struggled to break away from Ferdinand's grip. Ferdinand laughed, and gave him a good zap with his walking stick. Jerry collapsed, unconscious.

"Energetic little fool, aren't you?" Ferdinand asked. "Have fun playing in the sand, Nesmith! Ha, ha, ha, ha!"

The sandstorm subsided just as Ferdinand and Midnight flew out of sight, with Jerry and the other half of the amulet. Mike was so mad he felt like hurling a rock at the flying horse, but he knew it was too far out of range to hit.

"That does it!" he shouted. "I'm mad now. I'm really, really, really mad!"

"We've got to go after him," Phyllis said. "Time is of the essence!"

"Darn right it is," Mike said, as he and Phyllis mounted Lilac. "We've only got until Sunday by sunset to find Prince Gerald and get him back to Fantasia, and we can't do that without the other half of Uncle Will's amulet."

"You don't need the amulet to find Prince Gerald," Phyllis said.

"Yes I do. I don't know how else in the world I'm gonna find him without it."

"You already found him. Jerry's Prince Gerald."

"What?! You're kiddin'! How do you know that?!"

"I'll explain on the way to the Black Hills. Come on Lilac! We don't have a second to spare!"

"Right away!" Lilac shouted, and she began to gallop as fast as she could as Phyllis explained everything to Mike.

As it turned out, two years after Lord Ferdinand's first raid, Queen Serena increased the guards around her palace, in case of another raid. Ferdinand knew he wouldn't be able to try anything with extra guards, so he sent some of his to Serena's castle, to pose as her guards. One night, Ferdinand ordered more of his guards to attack the palace. Serena sent her guards out to fight. While Serena's guards were busy with Ferdinand's, the spies from the Black Hills snuck into the palace, and under Ferdinand's commands, kidnapped Prince Gerald. They brought the young prince to Ferdinand, who took the prince into the forest. He left him with a merchant named Sir Maxwell LeBron. Ferdinand told LeBron to make sure the young prince never remembered his true identity.

"And Ferdinand was biding his time until Queen Serena had died," Phyllis said. "Since the heir to the throne couldn't be found, Ferdinand, being Queen Serena's cousin, would become king. Once Ferdinand became king, he was going to go back to LeBron and kill Jerry, to ensure that he would never find out his true identity."

"I should've guessed," Mike said. "Jerry is short for Gerald. And since I came along and met Jerry, Ferdinand's been tryin' to kill us so I wouldn't find the other half of Uncle Will's amulet and find out Jerry was Prince Gerald."

"He sent me to keep you off the track. But that was before I saw your face, Mike. It was love at first sight."

"I know. And I understand. But we have more important things to do. How do we get to the Black Hills?"

"Don't worry, Mike!" Lilac shouted. "I know this area like the back of my hoof! I'll get us to Lord Ferdinand's castle in no time!"

Lilac let out a whinny, and tore down the path, riding like the wind. They made it to Lord Ferdinand's castle in the Black Hills in no time. It was dark, dank, dreary, and spooky. Thunder clapped, and lightning flashed.

"Oooh, creepy," Mike said.

"It doesn't look like the guards are around," Phyllis said. "They're usually posted all over the place, but now it looks empty."

"I wouldn't bet on it," Mike said, climbing off Lilac. "But we'll just have to take that chance. Come on."

Phyllis gulped, and climbed off Lilac herself. Then she followed Mike through the gates of the dark, spooky, castle. Mike snapped his fingers, and a small candle appeared in his hands.

"I wanted a flashlight," he said. "But I guess this'll have to do. I'd better get that amulet back. My magic's startin' to go a little nuts on me."

"I'm guessing Ferdinand would be in his throne room," Phyllis said. "It's down this corridor. Follow me!"

Mike followed Phyllis down the corridor. They had to find Lord Ferdinand before it was too late.

Indeed, Ferdinand was in his throne room. He was sitting on his throne, looking at Jerry, who was laying on the floor. Jerry groaned, and sat up, putting his hand to his head. He had one killer headache.

"Oooh, my head," he groaned. "What happened?"

"Welcome to my humble abode," Ferdinand said. "I trust you had a pleasant trip."

"Not really," Jerry said, standing up. "What's going on?"

"You don't remember, do you?"

"No. Remember what?"

"I'm sure you've heard about the long lost prince of Fantasia."

"Something along those lines. I mean, I was helping Mike look for him."

"Yes, I know you were. But he didn't need to look far, my young friend. Especially when he dropped by the house of Sir Maxwell LeBron."

"What do you mean?"

"You honestly don't remember. I knew you wouldn't remember your past, Jerry."

"How do you know my name?"

"I know more than that. I know for a fact that you are Queen Serena's son."

"You're telling me . . . . ."

"Right. You are the one and only Prince Gerald of Fantasia."

Jerry couldn't believe his ears. It made sense to him, though, how he couldn't remember anything past his fourth birthday, and how he had lived with Sir LeBron all his life.

"That's why you brought me to your castle, isn't it?" he said. "And stole that half of the amulet. So Mike wouldn't figure it out."

"He may figure it out anyway," Ferdinand said. "Our dear Princess Phyllis knows the story, too. And she's sure to tell Nesmith. I'll deal with that little traitor later. But first I must take care of you."

Ferdinand laughed, and pulled a dagger out of his cloak. Jerry gasped and began backing towards the wall. Ferdinand came in closer.

"Don't worry," he said. "This will be quick."

Jerry hit the wall. He was trapped. There was no way out. Ferdinand laughed, and inched closer, holding up the dagger, ready to plunge. Luckily, the throne room had a frosted glass window for a wall, and Mike and Phyllis could see them inside.

"There they are!" Mike shouted. "Stand back, baby, I'm goin' in!"

"Mike, it's a glass wall," Phyllis said. "You'll slice yourself to ribbons!"

"A half witch's gotta do what a half witch's gotta do," Mike said, and he began backing up. He made a running leap and ran right through the window, smashing it to pieces. Amazingly enough, he didn't get hurt. He stood up, brushed himself off, and glared at Ferdinand.

"The door was open," Ferdinand said.

"Yeah, but it's more dramatic this way," Mike replied. "You know what I've come for, Ferdie. I want that half of the amulet."

"Tough luck, because it's mine now, and I intend on getting the other half!"

"Over my dead body!"

"That can be arranged, my friend."

Ferdinand picked up his walking stick, and zapped at Mike. The half-witch jumped and dodged, avoiding all zaps. He did some zapping of his own. He had to get that amulet back! Phyllis came into the throne room through the door, and tackled Ferdinand. She was about to take the other half of the amulet off and throw it to Mike when Ferdinand grabbed her arm.

"You traitor!" he shouted. "How dare you!"

Ferdinand picked up his stick, and aimed. Phyllis jumped out of the way before she could get hit with a magic zap, but she also let go of the other half of the amulet. Ferdinand grumbled, and put that half back on.

"Now where was I?" he asked. "Oh yes. I was about to blast Nesmith to kingdom come."

"You wish!" Mike shouted, and he sent a blast of his magic at Ferdinand.

Mike and Ferdinand continued throwing everything he possibly could at each other. Jerry and Phyllis watched as if they were completely crazy.

"They're gonna kill themselves," Jerry said.

"Nothing's going to stop Ferdinand," Phyllis said. "We'd better do something before both of them turn into dead meat."

Jerry nodded. He and Phyllis walked forward, and grabbed Ferdinand by the arms, wanting to get the amulet back. Ferdinand struggled to try to break loose.

"Let me go!" he shouted. "Let me go I say!"

"Not until we get the amulet!" Jerry shouted.

"You two hold him down!" Mike shouted. "I'll beat him up!"

Mike pointed his finger and zapped Ferdinand. Ferdinand blocked it off with his walking stick, and began flailing it around. He managed to hit Jerry in the face with it.

"Ow!" Jerry shouted, and he stumbled backwards.

Ferdinand smiled, and managed to push Phyllis off him, and into Jerry. Then he zapped Mike with his stick, and lifted him off the ground.

"I've had just about enough of this foolishness," he said, throwing the half-witch into his friends. "I'll finish you all off now!"

Ferdinand aimed his walking stick at the trio, about to fire the most deadly magic he could think of at them. Before even one tiny spark could get out, a clock in the distance began to strike. Ferdinand took a look at his own clock on the mantle. It was one hour until the sun set.

"I shall deal with you later," he said. "But I must get to Queen Serena's castle for the coronation. They'll be crowning me king."

"You wish," Mike said.

Ferdinand laughed, and walked out of his throne room, locking he door behind him. He used his magic walking stick to repair the hole in his glass wall. The glass was stronger than ever now. He figured nothing would be able to break through it.

"Next time you see me, I'll be King Ferdinand of Fantasia!" he shouted, as he walked down the hallway. He whistled for Midnight, and was off to Fantasia.

"What do we do now?" Phyllis asked.

"Looks like Ferdinand won," Jerry said.

"Not hardly," Mike said, pounding his hand with his fist. "I broke through the wall once, I can do it again!"

Mike backed up to the wall and ran for the glass. He smashed against it, but it didn't break. It didn't even crack!

"He's obviously made it thicker," he said. "No problem. I'll just use magic to penetrate it."

Mike backed up again, and thrust his fingers at the wall. His magic hit the glass and bounced off it. Mike sighed, and shook his head.

"No way," he said. "The only way we're gettin' out of here is with the other half of the amulet, and I don't have it."

"What can we do?" Jerry asked. "There's no way out. Ferdinand's going to be crowned king."

Mike began pacing. He had to come up with an idea and fast. He only had one hour before sunset. There was no way he was going to let Ferdinand become king of Fantasia. Not while Jerry was still alive, that was for sure. He finally came up with an idea.

"As much as I hate to suggest it," he said. "It has to be done. All three of us are gonna have to break through that glass wall. It's the only way out of here."

"It's worth a shot," Phyllis said.

"I hope it doesn't hurt too much," Jerry replied.

Mike, Jerry, and Phyllis backed up to the wall, and stood there for a minute.

"On the count of three," Mike said. "Run into the glass as fast as humanly possible. One, two, three!"

The trio ran for the wall, and hit it. The extra force was all it took for the wall go break. The three crashed right through it.

"It worked!" Phyllis shouted.

"Yeah," Mike said. "Come on, you two! We've only got an hour to get back to Queen Serena's castle! Lilac's the only thing that can get us there on time. I hope she can carry all three of us!"

Mike, Jerry, and Phyllis ran out of the palace, and jumped on Lilac's back. Lilac reared, whinnied, and raced off.

"Don't worry, guys!" she shouted. "I'll get you to the palace lickety split!"

Lilac took off through the woods. Lucky for Mike, she knew every shortcut of Fantasia.

Ferdinand had already made it to the palace, using his own shortcut. It wasn't long before the sunset.

"Nesmiths obviously not coming back with the prince," Ferdinand said. "Why don't you just crown me king now?"

"It's not sunset yet," Harliman said. "There's still time for Michael to return."

"He'll never return. I say just crown me!"

"You don't know how much I'd love to do that, Ferdinand. But I shall control myself."

"We may have no choice, Harliman," a guard said. "Time's quickly running out. Even if Michael returns, I'm sure Prince Gerald won't be with him."

"He'll be here," Harliman said. "If Michael is anything like Will Westerman, then he'll be here. I know it."

Ferdinand scoffed. He sat down in Queen Serena's throne, and prepared for the coronation. The sun was slowly sinking into the horizon. Mike had only seconds to return. And it didn't look like he was going to show up.

"If Michael isn't here in ten seconds," the guard said. "We're going to have to crown Ferdinand king."

"He won't be here, Harliman," Ferdinand said, in somewhat of a sing-song voice. "He'll never make it back on time."

"You just wait and see, Ferdinand!" Harliman said.

"You put all your faith into a half-witch weakling. Nesmith will never be here. In five seconds, I will be king! Five, four, three, two . . . . ."

"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" Mike shouted, as he burst through the door. Phyllis and Jerry were right behind him.

"Michael!" Harliman shouted.

"Nesmith!" Ferdinand growled.

"That's my name," Mike said. "Don't wear it out."

"What are you doing here?!" Ferdinand shouted.

"Stoppin' you, what else?!"

"You can't stop me! You're too late! I'm the king now!"

"No you're not," Harliman said. "Michael came in here just as the sun set over the horizon. Oh please, Michael, tell me. Did you find Prince Gerald?"

"I sure did," Mike said. He put his arm around Jerry's shoulders. "Here he is. He may look like a peasant now, but I can tell you, he's definitely the prince."

Harliman wasn't so sure. He couldn't tell. Neither could the other guards. And Jerry's memory was so fuzzy about his past, he wasn't able to confirm the story.

"It's a lie!" Ferdinand shouted. "This peasant can't be the prince! He's an imposter!"

"But you said I was," Jerry said.

"I said nothing of the kind," Ferdinand said.

"Oh yes you did! I remember it clearly when we were up in the Black Hills right before you were gonna plunge a dagger into my chest! You told me that I was Queen Serena's son!"

Harliman and the guards began to murmur to themselves. Ferdinand was up a tree. All eyes were on him. He had to think fast.

"The boy's obviously a lunatic!" he shouted. "There's no proof of what he claims. I never told him that he was the prince!"

"I can prove he's Prince Gerald!" Mike shouted. "I just need the other half of my magic amulet!"

Mike snapped his fingers, and the other half of his uncle's amulet was lifted from Ferdinand's neck. It sailed over to Mike's hand, and he put the two halves together. A bright glow filled the entire room.

"This amulet is supposed to glow when it's in the hands of the rightful ruler of Fantasia," Mike said. "Jerry, would you please hold my uncle's amulet for a minute?"

"Of course, Mike," Jerry said.

Mike handed Jerry Will's amulet. Immediately, nothing happened.

"I told you he was an imposter!" Ferdinand shouted.

"Wait," Mike said.

A few seconds later, the amulet began to glow dimly. Slowly, the glow increased, until a brilliant light filled the room. Mike folded his arms across his chest and gave Ferdinand a smug look. Ferdinand grinded his teeth and clenched his fists. He was really mad now! The people of Fantasia didn't notice. They were all cheering.

"You don't have to crown Ferdie king after all," Mike replied.

"You've done it, Michael," Harliman said.

"Not yet he hasn't!" Ferdinand shouted. He held up his walking stick, and blasted the ceiling with his magic. Everyone ducked to avoid getting hit with falling chunks of stone. Ferdinand grabbed the amulet right out of Jerry's hands.

"I've got the amulet now!" he shouted. "And I intend to use it to become king!"

Ferdinand held up the amulet and aimed it at Jerry, giving him a good, hard zap of magic. Jerry screamed in agony. Ferdinand knew within a matter of moments, the blast from the amulet would kill Jerry, and then Harliman would have to crown him king of Fantasia. But Ferdinand didn't count on Mike running into the scene with his own magic. He pointed his index finger, and blasted the magic beam coming from the amulet. Jerry nearly fell face first to the ground.

"Don't you dare!" Mike shouted.

"Even if the prince manages to survive," Ferdinand said. "He won't be reining long, especially since I have the magic amulet!"

"Not for long. That amulet belongs to my uncle and I intend to get it back!"

Mike and Ferdinand glared at each other. Ferdinand held up his walking stick, and began to blast at Mike. Mike began jumping and dodging, doing his best to avoid getting hit. He had to get the amulet back, and he knew just how to do it. He snapped his fingers, and the royal crown of Fantasia appeared before Ferdinand.

"Well," Ferdinand said, staring at the crown. "I'm glad you see it my way."

While Ferdinand was busy envisioning himself as king, Mike snapped his fingers, and slowly brought his uncle's amulet over to him.

"Like takin' candy from a baby," he said.

Ferdinand didn't even notice. He reached for the crown of Fantasia, only to find that his hand went right through it.

"What the . . . ." he said. "A hologram?!"

"Darn right," Mike said, putting on Will's amulet. "I have the amulet now."

"Not for long you don't!"

Ferdinand raised his stick, and fired a magic beam at Mike. Mike held up his uncle's amulet, and the beam bounced off. Then, Mike snapped his fingers, and shot his own magic out at Ferdinand. It hit him in the hand, causing him to throw his walking stick upwards. Mike caught it, and twirled it around.

"Looks like I've got the upper hand now, Ferdie," he said, smugly.

Ferdinand glared at Mike, and started charging. Mike twirled Ferdinand's walking stick, and held it up. He threw it into the air, and zapped it with the amulet. The stick burst into pieces.

"No!" Ferdinand shouted. "Not my magic walking stick! It's destroyed! I have no power left now!"

"Too bad," Mike said. "Okay guards. You know what to do with him."

The guards took Ferdinand by the arms and started to drag him to the out of the palace.

"This isn't over yet, Nesmith!" he shouted. "I'll get you someday!"

"Not without any magic, you won't," Mike said.

Everyone in the room cheered. Mike smiled, and took the crown of Fantasia from Harliman and walked over to Jerry.

"I believe this is yours," he said.

"Thanks," Jerry said, putting on the crown.

"I know proclaim thee King of Fantasia."

The people cheered loudly. Mike smiled, and held up the amulet.

"Well, I guess it's time for me to be headin' out," he said.

"Do you have to?" Phyllis asked. "I wish you could stay."

"I know," Mike said. "But I've been gone for a week. Uncle Will's bound to be worried about me. I don't want to keep him waitin'. Besides, I have to give him his amulet. Since we've got it back, and we don't have to worry about Lord Ferdinand, we'll probably come back."

"Right. But before you go, I want to give you something."

"Okay, sure. Lay it on me."

Phyllis grabbed Mike by the shoulders, and pulled him into a big, passionate kiss. When she pulled away, Mike had an extremely dazed expression on his face. Suddenly, his feet began to smoke, and a low rumble was heard.

BLAST OFF! Mike shouted, before blasting through the ceiling and into the sky. Everyone began to laugh.

As the others were watching Mike orbit, Harliman walked over to Jerry, holding a ring in his hand.

This ring belonged to your late mother, he said. It possesses much magic. Im sure shed want you to have it.

Thanks, but I really dont think I deserve it, Jerry said. I think it should go to someone else.

Like who? Harliman asked.

Suddenly, Mike came crashing through the ceiling, and hit the floor. He got up, shook out his head, and cleared his throat.

"Uhh," he said. "I'd better get goin'."

"Right," Jerry said. "Thanks for everything, Mike."

"I didn't do too much, Jer."

"Are you kidding? I wouldn't be where I am now without your help."

"Yeah, well, it was the least I could do. Your mom's a friend of my uncle. Besides, we couldn't let Lord Ferdinand take over."

Hey listen, before you go, I want you to have this. Harliman told me it belonged to my mother, and it contains a lot of magic.

Jerry handed Mike the ring. Mike just stared at it for awhile, and then looked at Jerry.

Jerry, I cant take this, he said. I mean, I didnt do anythin to deserve it.

Of course you did, Harliman said. You were the one who found Gerald. You didnt give up when everyone else did. And you saved our kingdom from Ferdinand.

But . . . . Mike started, but Jerry held up his hand.

Thats a direct order, Mike, he said. And as far as I know, everyone in the kingdom must follow the orders of the king. Now I order you to keep that ring.

Mike laughed, and put the ring on his finger. He went outside to get back home, but stopped at the drawbridge. Simon and Lilac were waiting for him.

"Bye, Mike," Simon said.

"Come back and visit us," Lilac said.

"I will," Mike replied. "Thanks for everythin', you two."

Mike held up the amulet, and was ready to send his magic through it to get home, when he heard a loud whinny in the distance. He looked over, and saw Wildfire charging through the bushes. He nudged Mike in the shoulder with his nose.

"I was wonderin' where you got to!" he shouted. "Ready to get me back home?"

Wildfire whinnied and nodded his head. Before Mike got a chance to hold up the amulet, he looked over at Lilac, who was staring at him. He looked at the lavender unicorn, and whinnied. Lilac whinnied too, and began to rear.

"Wow!" she shouted. "What a stud!"

Lilac and Wildfire trotted over to each other and began to nuzzle. Mike laughed.

"Ah, horsey love," he said. "Come on, Wildfire! Let's get home."

Wildfire whinnied, and ran over to Mike. Mike mounted the horse, and held up the amulet. The portal opened, and Wildfire jumped through it. They went through the lights, until they reached California. Mike jumped off Wildfire, and waved to him as the portal closed.

"Bye, Wildfire!" he called.

"Wildfire?" a voice asked. Mike turned around and saw his uncle standing behind him.

"Hi Uncle Will!" he shouted.

"Michael, where on earth have you been?!" Will shouted. "I've been worried sick about you!"

"I was in Fantasia. I wanted to find the other half of the amulet. In fact, I had to find the other half if I wanted to get back. Oh, and guess what?"

"What?"

"I defeated Lord Ferdinand, so it's okay to go back!"

Will lifted his amulet, and held it for a moment. He smiled, and shook his head.

"Why don't you keep it, Michael?" he asked. "I was planning on giving it to you someday. You certainly know how to use it's power."

"Thanks, Uncle Will," Mike said, smiling. "Want to hear about my adventure?"

"Yes, I do. It sounds very interesting."

"It sure is, Uncle Will. It's much better than my dreams!"

Mike and Will started inside the house, talking non stop about the trip to Fantasia, the adventure Mike had, and all the people he met.

 

The End