A Tale of Two Courts Maria slowly unlatched the heavy lock that sealed the magical laboratory in Castle Britannia. Maria’s candlestick barely illuminated the gloom. Maria shuddered, realizing she would spend most of her afternoon dusting and clearing cobwebs out of the tangled heap of vials and fragile equipment. Overhead the shards of the fire ruby glinted menacingly inside of an enchanted case. Maria knew that the fire ruby had belonged to the Shadowlords, who were trying to create a new Gem of Immortality. When Dawn crushed the fire ruby in her hand, Lord Casca suddenly died. The sight of the damaged fire ruby filled Maria with dread, as it did the other servants. Unfortunately for Maria, she picked the short straw for the task of cleaning the room and had the duty of cleaning the Court Wizard's laboratory. Suddenly, a silver serpent shaped clock began to chime, with a heavy metallic click, the emerald eyes of the serpent snapped open. Maria jumped back in surprise and reached for the handle of the wooden door. An eerie green light flashed on the stone walls of the chamber as the hands on the clock spun faster and faster forward. Maria reached for the handle of the door; but just as it was thrown, a robed gargoyle entered the room. Maria bolted under a wooden table and watched. The gargoyle uttered a spell that caused the protective enchantments on the display case to fade. Then seizing the fire ruby in his clawed hand, the gargoyle vanished. The hands on the clock slowly wound backwards and the emerald eyes of the mechanical serpent shut once more. Maria came out of her hiding place and looked up at the crystal case; but the fire ruby was still there! Then with a heavy clank, the hands of the clock began to creep forward. Note: Find out who is trying to steal the gem before time runs out! Search for information in the royal courts of Castle Britannia and Queen Zhah’s Palace Ter Mur.