The Heads of the Evil Seven
"The good thing doesn't make noise, noise doesn't do anything good."
Just then a huge, sinister castle appeared before them in the faint glow of thousands of blue light stars.
"Come in. Ozelot is waiting for you." This cold, unnatural cawing in Kofur's voice made Aron shudder. But if he wanted to free his parents, he had to overcome his panic and face Ozelot. He was the lord of darkness, the ruler over all that was evil, and he held his parents imprisoned.
"What's your weapon of choice?" Kofur's rasping reached Aron's ear. An ice-cold shudder ran through Aron's entire body. As in a dream he heard himself say: " I fight with the blade of reason." (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Kofur gave off a hollow, metallic cackle. Never would Aron forget this repulsive laughter. Miss Monti now didn't move a muscle. Just once did the prince hear his cat mumbling: "We got ourselves into a real pickle now." Then she nestled again stone-like in Aron's arms.
With every bit of courage he was able to muster, the prince entered into a torch-lit, vaulted chamber-Ozelot's huge throne room. The sight literally took the prince's breath away. It brought home to him once more painfully his diminutiveness, for Ozelot's throne room was of such gigantic extent, it had to be a hundred feet high, at least in the prince's estimate. Aron needed the eyes of a lynx (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) to penetrate the darkness for the hall was only sparsely lit. The wall consisted of genuine snake scales and fiery tongues daubed it in a gleaming green. While the prince held his breath as he walked toward the throne, his eyes espied horrifying things. Seven gates supported by twice as many pillars formed an even heptagon (1) (2) (3) (4) in the large hall at the upper end of which was the mighty Ozelot awaiting his guest.
Slowly, almost gingerly, the prince approached the throne. He passed black holes, which were apparently entered through seven stone gates, and was almost startled to death. An animal-human on stilts with terrible horns peeled itself from the first pillar and threatened him with a sword. Wrathfully, he pointed the blade at Aron. As the prince retreated, the inscription SUPERBIA blinked at him. Undaunted, Aron placed one foot before the other. He kept his gaze fixed straight ahead to avoid looking the fable creature in the eyes and was already approaching the next creature. A spitting cobra (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) on horseshoes tried to hit the eyes of the prince with a long, fine poisonous spray.
Her slippery snake body was marked by the letters INVIDIA. Silver threads swayed mysteriously in the gate. The glittering veil was licking so mysteriously that Aron was unable to resist its pull until he stood directly in front of the gate. The black hole Invidia was guarding seemed bent on sucking the prince in. It breathed icy cold, making the blood in Aron's veins freeze. A repulsive shower overcame the prince from which he immediately tried to escape, but the next monster was already lurking in the wings, even more malicious and wild-an armored war dog. With a horrendous howl he emerged from the pillar, intent on doing the sun prince harm with his exposed choppers. And again, the icy cold tried to pull him through the gate into the menacing, black uncertainty. The black veil spread a magic, silver light and worked its spell on Aron. Step by step he got closer to the gate. Aron wanted to explore the black hole to see with his own eyes what was behind the gate. Fascination with the mystery drove him forward very slowly and he became so weak-willed, he just let it happen. A moment of deadly silence. The prince hesitated. Then it seemed to him that he was hearing a voice: "Enter. Show them all that you are the greatest. Prove your courage." Aron moved a step closer. The lure of the unknown seemed to be stretching an invisible bow to the breaking point.
"Over the threshold!" ordered a voice. "Over the threshold!" Aron hesitated. "Don't be a coward," breathed the ice-cold voice. "Show them all that you are the greatest," beckoned the voice. And then it happened. Prince Aron of Nubia stood with one foot in the realm of shadows. He was just about to cross a line when he recognized the abyss. Within a second the gate to eternal night opened and Prince Aron saw what he never wanted to see. Through the tunnel of darkness he looked into the eye of evil . (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
A picture of horror. Cold and hostile. The abyss of the soul. It seemed to him that something was creeping up inside of him. But that wasn't all. Suddenly he felt something he couldn't see was jumping from behind onto his neck. A beast with withered, ice-cold legs clasped his neck and choked him. A hellish fear overwhelmed the prince of Nubia. He shook with disgust as if death was sitting in the nape of his neck. Then he heard the buzzing of wings close to his ears. With lightening speed, Aron brandished his knife from under his cloak and began stabbing wildly with his right hand in all directions. With the other arm he held on tight to Miss Monti's warm body. Never would he have forgiven himself had he allowed any harm to come to the beautiful Persian. He had to protect her at all cost. For Aron had not only brought danger upon himself but on his companion as well. With a whistling sound, the menace plummeted into the depth of the abyss and a silvery rope leading to the eye of the evil one gave Aron the impression that something was hanging on the silk thread intent on pulling him into the eternal darkness. Seeing that, Aron was cured forever. Panic before an apparition seized the prince and as he ran away as fast as he could, he saw the letters IRA blinking at him from the spiny armor of the hell hound. Now the prince ran as fast as his legs would carry him for presumably it wouldn't be long before the monsters with the strange names would all come after him. Miss Monti felt the fear in her master's heart and needed no infecting by it. She was still nestled like a stone in his arms, completely invisible under Aron's royal blue cape. The next ogre was already lying in wait for the prince. A bit more portly than the others, a colossal gaoler lumbered from the pillar. His scream reverberated in the huge hall and with his clanking chain, which he swung around ceaselessly, he drove Aron onward. The word ACEDIA on the blinking metal made Aron take flight. Again, the prince felt the blast of the terrible cold from the black abyss that guarded the gate. The dark formed his energy into a ghastly muzzle and sucked on the prince's cape with such force that it required great effort to counter it. Suddenly the magnetic pull of the frosty black hole lessened and almost made Aron fall backward. The sun prince's heart seemed to freeze into a bloc of ice and the blood had drained from his face.
What were these evil forces intent on pulling him against his will into black holes from which breathed an icy coldness? Before he was able to pursue his thoughts, he was already exposed to the pull of the next gate. This time it breathed icy ankles. Little icy needles pricked him even in the calves. It was simply ghastly, for the seven gates gave off their best to present to Prince Aron his own dire condition. There was no time to rest, for AVARITIA, GULA, and LUXURIA were in every way as mean as the shrieking ogres who preceded them. The prince would have liked to send these wild creatures to the land where the pepper grows. But pepper only grew in another distant world in which the sun was shining. So the prince ran for his life. Like someone in danger of drowning he sought to reach Ozelot's throne, as if he could find refuge there. "This must be the seven plagues of which my parents spoke," Aron thought horrified and just then he had reached the throne. next