PART 21: BY NIAH SHAH

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The jour­ney con­tin­ued. It was eerily silent, as if the maze it­self had come and stolen their voices. They walked on. Fe­roc­ity watched as the sun dipped into murky dark­ness, and now night was upon them…

‘We’re go­ing to have to stop,’ she said firmly, sur­prised at how rusty her voice sounded, like a lock that was fi­nally opened. The oth­ers mur­mured in agree­ment. ‘But it’s too vis­i­ble here. We’d be spot­ted.’

‘What about over there?’ Trick asked, point­ing to­wards a small al­cove in the walls of the maze.

‘Looks good to me,’ she said, shrug­ging. ‘Trick, you can stay on watch with me. Every­one else, sleep.’

Aida and Ariella sat down, clearly re­lieved for the break. But where was Gug­galugs?

‘Trick! TRICK! Where’s Gug­galugs?’ Fe­roc­ity’s voice was higher than usual and she could feel panic bub­ble in­side her like a po­tion brew­ing. ‘WHERE IS HE?’

‘I don’t know,’ Trick replied hur­riedly, fear flash­ing in his eyes. ‘I thought he was with you.’

‘He isn’t,’ she cried. ‘I have to go look for him!’

She started to walk off, but was held back by Trick’s long arms.

‘It’s get­ting dark, we’ll look for him in the morn­ing.’

‘But he might be in trou­ble, I need to…’

Sud­denly, they heard heavy foot­steps stomp­ing to­wards them.

‘HERE THEY ARE!’ a voice boomed. They froze. ‘We’ve a present for these spell­cast­ers, don’t we?’

The Lord of the Beasts stood to one side, re­veal­ing a ter­ri­fied Gug­galugs trem­bling be­hind…

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