When I reach the top of the stairs I go straight to the window and look out. Nothing shows itself so I go and sit in the tall chair I had first seen Antheus in. The chair dwarfs me and I calmly sit to await my fate. It isn’t long before I hear the door downstairs slam shut.
I go to the window and see Antheus striding away from the tower. He heads straight for the road that leads back to Perdeen. I wonder if he will convince Sareanne to turn over her vineyards or Rutheus the kingdom for my safe return. At this point I no longer care. My only thought is to keep my word and not betray the book.
My gaze is automatically drawn to the book. I see it sitting on the reading stand where I had left it the first time. From my position at the window I can see the text on the page. That confirms my suspicions and Antheus’ statements that I can now read the book.
In frustration I turn away, but then my brain stumbles upon another idea. I could read the book and I wonder now if I can also destroy the book. My pulse quickens as the idea grows stronger in my head. I know that I cannot take any of the words into my mind where Antheus will certainly pick them out, but if I destroy the book then it will no longer be an issue.
I get up slowly and approach the reading stand. Keeping my eyes firmly stuck on the window I reach out and shut the book so I can’t read any of the text, then I gather it in my arms and start down the long spiraling staircase. This walk seems even longer than the one before and the book gets heavier with each step. When I finally reach the main room I see the fireplace with a cheerful fire crackling.
I have to drag my feet over to the fire and just as I reach the hearth the tower door swings open with a crash. I look behind me and see Antheus’ towering figure, enraged. The wild fear in his eyes is enough for me. I reach out and drop the book into the flames.
“No!” he cries leaping across the room and shoving me aside.
His hands shoot out to pull the book from the fire, but he is stopped before he can touch it. I hear the sizzling and smell the burning hair on his hands and arms. He tries two more times to retrieve the book without success. I watch with satisfaction as the cover of the book catches fire and begins to smolder and smoke.
At first I think it is a trick of the light, but then I see the tendrils of smoke laced with light and…magic. A huge weight is released from my shoulders and I step back. Antheus turns on me and the fear returns.
“You idiot!” he screams. “How could you do that? Don’t you realize what was in that book?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care. As long as you can’t get it then this world is safe,” I say defiantly.
He stalks toward me his face growing angrier with each step. Fear courses through me as I back away. I feel the stone wall at my back and then the ground begins to shake. I look up as the sound of falling rock fills the stairway.
I’m only steps away from the door and I slide toward it. Just then a tumble of rocks and blocks come crashing down the stairs. I slip out the door as the slide sweeps Antheus off his feet and slams him against the wall where I had been standing just moments before.
I run away from the tower as I listen to the sound of falling rock and cut stones behind me. When I am near the edge of the forest I turn around to watch the tower slowly crumble and fall to the ground. I didn’t know if Antheus had survived the rock slide, but if he did I was certain he was crushed by the crumbling tower.
His curse was now completely broken. I half expected to be whisked back to my Los Angeles hotel room, but nothing happened. It took several minutes for realization to push its way into my consciousness. I wondered about the things I had seen from the window, but nothing approached me from the forest.
After an hour I went closer to the tower. There was no way I was going to try and walk across the bridge and back to Perdeen.