Luke breathed a sigh of relief as he opened the doors to the main hall. There, across the hall, illuminated by the eight descending streams of lava falling before the walls, upon a dais, stood Princess Andromeda, chained to the wall. At last, after braving the volcano Mt. Poneron, breaking through the gate, and fending off the palace guards, he had arrived at the final stage. Now the only piece missing was the one who had captured Andromeda in the first place: the villain Echthros. Luke touched the bruise on his left arm from where one of the guards had punched him on his way in, reminding him of all the damage he had sustained and all the weapons he had used just to get to this point. Did he really have enough to beat Echthros?
Of course he did. He grinned at Andromeda as he started across the hall and as she called out to him.
Luke stopped and Andromeda’s smile of relief faltered. Luke turned around, only to see the source of this final word: Echthros. The villain stood in the open doorway, arms behind his back, his face contorted in the largest, most malicious grin Luke had ever seen. As Luke turned to him, though, Echthros’ smile faded.
“What, is role call over?” the villain asked.
“Echthros!” Luke growled.
“Ah, now it is. Yes, Luke, it is I!”
“Well, it won’t be you for much longer — I’m here to stop you!”
“Of course you are. Did you think that I’d think you were here on a tour? You completely destroyed my guards! But I don’t think you’ll succeed in stopping me; after all, I’ve seen everything you’ve put into getting here, and I know you have very little left — and certainly nothing that could get past my personal protection.”
He laughed, grinning even more widely and more maliciously than before, his eyes bulging in maniacal triumph. “Come on, Luke, there’s nothing you’ve got that can beat me!”
Luke reached one hand into his pocket as he stared his enemy down.
“There is one thing,” he said slowly. “Something that you’ve forgotten to take into account; something that you could never have predicted, because you could never imagine it.”
“What?” laughed Echthros. “True love? If this world weren’t so full of evil and debauchery so as to move me to cynicism and villainy, I might be inclined to believe you, but do you really think true love can stop me?”
Luke raised an eyebrow. “Oh, well, I suppose you can add true love to the list, but I was thinking more about…this!”
With the final word he produced a wand from his pocket, pointing it straight at his enemy and shouting, “FELISFIAS!”
With a puff of smoke, Echthros vanished; and in his place, a cat.
Luke pocketed the wand and hurried over to Andromeda, quickly freeing her from her chains.
“Oh, thank you for saving me!” she said, embracing him.
“It was a pleasure. Let’s go.”
“Do you think we should take him with us?” She was looking at the cat that had been Echthros, which was busy licking its paws.
“I suppose so. I mean, I don’t think I left any guards to take care of him.”
They walked across the hall to the doorway, where Luke picked up the cat. It promptly hissed and slashed him across the chest.
“Well, I suppose we should have expected that.”