Vidente, his composure intact, fixed the Tommy Knocker with a piercing stare. “Shim, you are to release the Centaurs. Release the Centaurs now. Then you may escort your guests out of the Cave of the Bats. No harm may come to any of them, or you will answer to me.”
Shim stomped his feet and shook his fists in the air. “I won’t! I won’t! You can’t make me!”
A look of sadness passed over Vidente’s face, his eyelids half shielding his bright blue eyes. His beard, which had been white when he first appeared, turned a deep shade of black. Slowly, he stretched forth his hands in fists, pointing the large rings on his middle fingers toward Shim. Two streams of light, one red, one blue, shot from the rings and surrounded Shim. The Tommy Knocker was immediately frozen in place, his fists above his head, his face contorted with anger.
Vidente lowered his hands and slowly shook his head. “You see, Carling, the stones you are gathering have abundant power. But remember, power can be used for great good, or it can corrupt. What you see before you is the latter.”
Vidente turned his attention to the Centaurs dangling above the pool of bubbling lava. He smiled sympathetically. “Well, my dear Tibbals and Tandum,” he said, “I am sure you would like to be released from your swinging prison.”
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