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Solus Magus

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About Solus Magus

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  • Age in Years
    25
  • Gender
    Male
  • Sexuality
    Not Telling
  • Favorite Genres
    Adventure
    Fantasy
    Horror
    Sci-Fi
    Thriller/Suspense
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    Etheria
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    Magic, mystery and mayhem. Tell me something out of the ordinary.

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  1. Awww. Thank you so much! ☺️
  2. Holy crap in a good way? Or holy crap in a bad way? 😆
  3. The next day, I went to the Chase’ house around lunchtime. Mrs. Chase was more than happy to welcome me despite being an extra mouth to feed for the past two weeks. Otis ate with me while we were waiting for Phineas to arrive. “How’s Mrs. Ellison?” Otis asked he chomped on the burger his mom made for us. He didn’t seem to care about the drop of sauce on the side of chin. “I do hope her health is improving. What happened really sucks.” “Not much really. But I think she’s getting better.” I lied. But the night before that was a terrible gamble. My mother almost died. And Eran shrank a few inches to save her. “The doctor still doesn’t know how long will she be like that.” “I’ll wish for health as soon as I see a shooting star tonight!” Otis grinned. It was kind of thoughtful but childish at the same time. All I managed was a slight chuckle out of that. “Cheer up, Nikki! It was just a joke!” “Yeah, I get that.” I mumbled as I took another bite out of the burger. “Have you ever thought of what we’re all gonna be when we grow up?” Otis asked out of nowhere. It caught me off guard. I painfully swallowed what I chewed down my throat. “I mean seriously, you do have dreams when you grow up, right?” “That was such a sudden question.” I commented and took a few gulps of my soda right after. Otis just gave me a funny look. His eyebrows went cross and seemed discontented. “Well?” He pushed further. “I want to be a doctor someday. Maybe a neurosurgeon.” I replied. Otis’ facial expression didn’t really change. He was still discontented. “Then let’s see if you really have a brain.” “Very funny. I’m good at using my brain. You guys just don’t appreciate how great it works.” Otis muttered dryly. Then he knocked on his head as if it could tell whether he has a brain or not. “What about Phineas? Do you have any idea?” “I think he wants to be a lawyer.” I pointed out. Then Otis frowned at me with another expression of discontentment. “He never really did tell us though. I think he might go for it because his parents are lawyers.” Then Otis just fell silent. His gaze was fixed on his food but he was no longer eating. I checked out Mrs. Chase and it looked like she went upstairs. “What’s wrong?” I asked in a soft voice. “Nothing.” He moaned. “That doesn’t look like nothing.” I observed. Then I nudged him softly on the shoulder. “Come on, tell me. It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell me something is bothering you.” “Both you and Phineas are smart.” Otis replied. “I mean really smart. You’re both like the smartest kids in school.” “So?” I asked. “That doesn’t really matter. You’re both my best friends.” “That’s not it, Nikki.” Otis objected. He looked down and sullen. I was amazed that he has the capacity to look sad. “I’ve always wanted to be a soldier. My uncle was part of the US Marines and I might follow his footsteps. Their boot camp is somewhere in the West Coast. You and Phineas on the other hand are really smart so I’m sure the both of you can study in the best schools!” “Yeah.” I agreed. “But what’s your point?” “The best schools are in the East Coast.” He pointed out. “Mom said all the Ivy League schools are there. You’re both gonna be there while I’ll be in the West Coast!” “You don’t even know that!” I retorted. But Otis didn’t look convinced. “You’re thinking about it too much. That’s not like you at all.” “After we graduate from High School, we’re all gonna be separated from each other.” My friend lamented. But he had a point. Maybe Otis' brain was really under-appreciated after all. “Even after we graduate, I might be deployed to some other country. Then the two of you will live in the big city.” "What's going on? Did the girl rejected Otis already?" Phineas suddenly entered the dining room. He had the usual inquisitive look on his face. "You might want to knock on the door next time." Otis whined. "Sorry." The ginger boy grinned. Then his eyes swung between me and Otis playfully. "What's with him?" "He's just sad that we would be separated for good after we graduated High School." I explained. "I told him that he wasn't even sure of that." "Nikki's right, Otis." Phineas said to my other best friend. "We're not even sure if you're going to graduate on time." I couldn't help but laugh at the snarky side-comment. "You shithead!" Otis exclaimed. Then he fell silent to check if his mom heard him cussing on the table. But no response came so he lowered his voice. "The first thing I'll do after boot camp is to throw a grenade at you!" Phineas and I just laughed at his pathetic comeback. After the three of us cleaned up the table, we asked permission if we could pass by the game store since Otis wanted a new game. Mrs. Chase gave us the go signal and the three of us rode on our bikes. Except mine since I borrowed Otis' old bike. It wasn't really much of a long ride. The fresh breeze of spring clashed with out faces. And it was faint feeling I needed. The game store was a fusion with the comic book store so I dragged Phineas to the other end. It was indeed a den for geeks and weebs like us. Otis on the other hand was busy checking out what he can buy. Since it was still quite early in the afternoon, there wasn't much people inside. Phineas was busy geeking out right in front of me. It wouldn't be so hard to push him into Asphodel where I could proceed with the ritual. My Nyxian blade was ready to appear in my grip at any moment. The boulder in my guts went heavier and heavier until I could barely breathe. Slowly, I reached for his shoulder. As soon as I touched him, he spun around and was surprised. "Yes?" "Nothing. I'm just gonna find the restroom." I lied. Normally, Phineas would have noticed that. But he was too enthralled in the dozens of comic books and mangakas around him. "I'll wait for you guys in front, okay?" "Sure." Then he went back to geek out. I went back to the front door and waited for them there. Then I was also undecided and bought a comic book for myself. Phineas and I met each other at the counter and he beamed with the limited edition release for his collection. After half an hour more, Otis was finally able to decide which game to buy. The three of us were quite contented when we made our exit. "Otis, can I borrow your bike?" I suddenly asked. "Sure." He chirped joyfully. "Where are you going?" "I'll just bring this home first and then I'll pass by the hospital to check on my mother." I explained. "No problem." He replied as he slowly removed the lock on our bikes. "I'll just tell mom where you went. She wouldn't mind." "Thanks." I said to Otis. As he slowly pulled from the bike rack, my red haired friend approached me with his bike at the ready. "What?" "Can I come with you?" Phineas asked me. "Uhm, meet me in the hospital after a couple of hours." I muttered. "I need some time alone. "Got it." Phineas replied sadly. But I knew he was observing me from behind when I turned around. "See ya." With that, I separated away from my other two friends. It took a few minutes for me to get back to my house. When I entered my room, I was surprised to see the blonde haired boy sitting in the middle of the floor. The Necronomicon was open and he was studying the scribbles of the spell. "What are you doing here?" I inquired. "Trying to look for an alternative for you." He quipped. Eran looked really bored of reading the same lines repeatedly. The lines under his eyes were more pronounced than ever. "Did you do it?" “I couldn't do it.” I groaned. I couldn't help but grit my teeth with the way he asked so coldly. “There has got to be some other way.” “I’ve checked it over and over again. This ancient thing doesn’t really have an instruction manual.” Eran replied. His high-pitched voice went even higher due to his reversed aging process . “It’s demanding blood.” I looked over the ritual more than a hundredth time. But Eran was right, it was loud and clear what it was demanding. It didn’t really take a genius to decipher than it wants the closest blood bond of the Necromancer that will release its powers. My eyes gazed at the writing on the first page of the Necronomicon. The powers of the dark and beyond, welcometh thee, while the untold can inviteth backeth what thee hath lost, for coequal vile madness shalt runneth hence from thee, but the reins of such terrors hast a price and did cost. Ope thy soul and behold who is’t is a parteth of thee, to beest a master of souls, one shalt payeth the same price, so much power I shalt giveth, for only one of thee, a vile exchange to gain controleth over death’s vise. Life is hath found in the crimson red of thy veins, for power yond endues forth life shall hest such, the bright life of the sacrifice shall beest our binding chains, ink me with half of thy soul so our destinies touch. Whoever thee payeth me with, shalt never ever returneth, and whatever thee surrender shall beest a parteth of me. We shall never separateth nay matter how far thee runneth, for the powers of Asphodel cometh with wondrous misery. On its next few pages were the contract seal inscription to bind my sacrifice and myself to the book. I gazed upon it over and over until it was engraved in my own memory. As I examined it even closer, I noticed that the ink used was in deep red. I switched my attention to Eran and he gave me a funny look. “What are you thinking?” He asked. “How were you able to make it show the first page?” I asked. Then Eran just pulled back his right jacket sleeve and showed me a mark at the mid-way part between his wrist and the back of his elbow. It was a wound that had just healed. “I offered it with my own blood. That thing is hungry for more.” “I won’t do it.” I stated firmly. But it was all really a brave front. Nothing but a hollow conviction. “I won’t sacrifice Phineas. My mom is clinging to life and she’s buying us time. I won’t waste any of that.” “You don’t even know how much time she has left!” He replied harshly. The boy simply reiterated what we already knew. “She almost died thanks to you.” “I don’t care!” I snapped. But I knew for myself that Eran was right. We didn’t have much options. And I almost killed my own mother out of desperation. “I will find a way!” With that, I left for the hospital. Eran went back to the orphanage before Father Declan would notice. Thanks to his ability to grow wings, traveling wasn’t much of an issue for him. Yet I still wonder how he could evade the detection of people who coincidentally stared at the sky the moment he passed. Then I sent a voicemail to Phineas if he could come over while on the way there. I rode on Otis’ bike and pedaled passionately as if my life depended on it. At the back of my head, something felt wrong. A bad omen. As if an invisible black cat crossed the path I was about to take. I didn’t know how. But it wasn’t good. When I got near my mom’s room, I noticed a small commotion. There were nurses and doctors inside. It was simply chaotic. Orders flew around the small enclosed space. Gadgets were dragged inside. And I stupidly gawked in the hallway, unable to process what was going on. I immediately ran into the room and saw them trying to revive my mother. A loud set of consecutive beeps echoed inside. One of the nurses started injecting stuff through her IV. But then everyone practically stopped for a micro-second when her body responded and started coughing up blood. A chill flew up my spine as the beeping of the machine went even louder. The next thing I knew was the beep turned from a pattern into a long line of horrific and screeching pitch of tone. My throat went completely dry. I knew what the long beep sound meant. Mom already flatlined. “Inject 1 milligram of Epinephrine. Stat!” One of the female doctors barked. It was then I noticed that it was Dr. Dany. I didn’t even notice her checking on my mom the night before. She was supposed to check her vitals past midnight but I was probably fast asleep on the couch. “Then page Dr. Harrison and prepare him an operating room.” “Injecting 1 milligram of Epinephrine.” One of the nurses announced as she smoothly administered the necessary drug. It was quickly and cleanly done. Then one of the female nurses jumped on the bed and knelt over her torso to give her a better angle for chest compressions. As she furiously pumped on behalf of my mom, another female doctor was inserting some object through her throat. Most likely to help her breathe. “Prep her on Heparin.” Dr. Dany commanded as she assisted the other nurses. She injected some sort of drug into her IV and also barked some orders around. Her quick wits and determination was fierce. Clearly seen through her eyes. All I could do was lean on the wall and prayed silently that my mom would make it. “Her body is still unresponsive damn it!” Dr. Dany muttered loudly. I just stared at the others who seemed dumbstruck at what to do next. “Tell Dr. Harrison and the operating room to prepare for an percutaneous thrombolysis and embolectomy! And get me the patient’s latest angiogram results! Stat!” Two of the nurses inside scrambled through the door as they got my mom ready to move. Another nurse rushed inside to assist as the other nurse kept doing CPR. In one quick motion, the bed started to roll. As my mom’s bed passed by me, I ran along with them and held my mom’s hand. I tried to sense as much as I could what was happening in her body and I noticed some sort of strange avroi was in her system. It was probably the poison. I already felt the same sensation before. Yet this time, it was a lot clearer. Dr. Dany stayed back and pulled me away when we got to the entrance of the Operating Room. She held my shoulders firmly yet with care. I couldn’t help but tear up as I watched my mom vanish inside the swinging doors. “What’s going on with my mom?” I asked her. “She’s going to be fine. It was a good thing we were around when she started crashing.” Dr. Dany explained as she rubbed my shoulder. “Your mom was having a pulmonary embolism. I think the operation should be quick if there are no further complications. You can go take a break in the waiting room.” “Okay.” I numbly chirped. “I’ll go wait inside her room instead.” “Don’t worry about your mom. She’s a very strong woman. I’ve never seen someone fight so hard for her life.” The doctor assured me. Then she gave me a soft pat on my head. “I have to go, Nikki. I’ll have to talk to her surgeon.” I simply watched her walked away as I went back to her room. Then I sat at the couch as I stared at the empty spot where her bed used to be. I leaned back and closed my eyes to focus my connection with Eran. My mom almost died again. I sent my thoughts to him. She flatlined right in front of me. It was scary. What happened? Eran replied in my head. Pulmonary embolism. I stated in my head. She’s currently in an operation room. The doctor said she should be fine. But the poison is still in her blood. I have no idea how her body would respond. Yet Eran was silent. You’re right. I might have to do it. I gulped. I couldn’t believe what I was even saying. Phineas is already on the way here. It looks like I really don’t have another choice, Eran. I’m so sorry, Nikki. I really am. Eran’s voice in my head was so soft. No one deserves to make a choice between who lives and who dies. I didn’t make a reply. Eran disconnected from my thoughts after a minute. I didn’t even notice that I fell asleep until I felt a light tap on my legs. When I opened my eyes, Phineas looked at me with a worried face. “Where’s your mom, Nikki?” He asked fearfully. “She’s currently in the operating room.” I explained. Then I loomed over at the empty space in the middle of the room. “Mom almost died a while ago. But Dr. Dany and the other nurses saved her. Her doctor said that she’ll be fine. She was rushed inside a couple of hours ago.” “Oh no. I’m so sorry!” Phineas gasped. Then he sat down beside me and looked at the ceiling thoughtfully. “I’d give anything to save your mom.” “You wouldn’t.” I chuckled “I’m serious!” He pouted childishly. Phineas and I talked to each other over silly things over the next couple of hours. He would try to make me remember the most random things during our elementary years. Yet each second was getting heavier and heavier for me. We didn’t even notice the time until there was a knock on the door. Dr. Dany entered and a couple of nurses were pushing my mom inside. She seemed calm and the grayish-ness of her skin the day before were slightly less pronounced. “The operation was a success. She’s stable for now.” Dr. Dany said. Yet there was an eerie sad tone in her voice. “But I am afraid we still couldn’t figure out why she’s in a comatose state.” She then delivered a quick report on what happened during the surgery and simplified it so Phineas and I could understand. He was quick on his hands and recorded Dr. Dany’s report in his phone. It was meant for Mrs. Chase so she’ll be updated, too. After that debriefing, Dr. Dany left the room. “I’ll go get us something to eat.” Phineas said and left. I stood up and observed my mother. Then I touched her cold hands but I still felt no radical change. The sensation of the invasive avroi was still inside her and it was still a problem. It was only the antidote that could save her. Then I leaned forward and whispered into her ear, “I will save you, mom. I won’t let you die. Whatever it takes.” I decided that it was time. I took a deep breath and left the room to look for Phineas. Every step made the boulder in my gut heavier and heavier. And it was the weight I was willing to carry. For the sake of my mother. As I strolled through the hallways, I silently mumbled to myself that Eran was right, I no longer had a choice. It was either my mom or Phineas. The ritual spoke true. There will be serious consequences if we used fraudulent blood on that ancient ritual. And things couldn’t get worse from there. When I turned to the right after the nurses’ station, there I found him. He was in front of a vending machine, trying to choose what he could buy for himself. I had to bit my lip because he looked so peaceful. His boyish innocence struck me even harder. And he simply shouldn’t be sacrificed for such an unfair deal. I looked around to make sure that there were no people. Not even cameras should see what I was about to do. The while halls were silent and every footstep created an echo. It made my stomach churn at how ironic everything was. The next thing I did was to make my quiet approach and hugged him from behind. Streams of tears started to fall down my cheeks. “Nikki?” Phineas gasped. “I’m sorry.” I cried out. “I’m so sorry, Phineas. I have to do this.” Then I hugged him tighter that caught him by surprise. My head was buried at the side of his neck. I couldn’t help but sob. He was probably weirded out. Even words couldn’t form in my mouth. To my surprise, he slowly turned around in my grip and faced me. He hugged me tighter as I just cried like a baby in his arms. “What’s going on, Nikki?” He asked light-heartedly. Almost a whisper. Phineas even started to rub my back gently. “Is your mom gonna be okay? Did she…?” But I just kept bawling my heart out. It felt like it lasted for a couple more hours when it was just a few seconds. Phineas cradled me and comforted me as much as he could. Yet he was still completely clueless at what was about to happen. There was no going back after the next moment. With tremendous effort, I pushed him forward and held him in place by my firm grip on his shoulder. His face was a mix of surprise and wonder. My puffy eyes could barely look at him. But I promised myself, I would look him straight in the eye as I did it. And I did. Much to my distaste. It took all of my mental and emotional strength to summon the Nyxian Blade in my hand. The surprised look on his face was replaced with awe. Just like a kid watching a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat. But as soon as he recognized that it was a deathly black sword, his face went pale. It was full of dread and shock. With one quick stroke, I drove the blade into the middle of his gut. His eyes shattered into tears. Phineas’ face contorted as he reached for my blade. But he started to cough blood. I knew that it had hit his diaphragm and his breathing pattern started to collapse. Before the blood would start making a mess, I pushed Phineas into Asphodel. Both us went into the small rip in space. A whimper was all he could reply. “Nikki? What are you doing?” Then Phineas looked back at me as my tears kept flooding my vision. I could barely see the look of betrayal in his face. I pushed Phineas on the wall and used my blade to pin him on it like a huge nail. With a bit more effort, I drove my blade into him a bit deeper. I reached for his chest next and with my thumb. Then I slowly ripped the opening I made on his shirt. He made a soft grunt and fell silent again. His bony chest was exposed. Blood started to pour out from the open wound and he was still perplexed in what was happening. I dipped my left pointer finger on his blood and hastily drew the inscription on his chest. It was a small ritual circle that I saw on the third page of the Necronomicon. As I got busy on that part of the ritual, I didn’t dare look at Phineas’ eyes. It might slow me down since we were both in Asphodel. I knew that the pain in his eyes would immediately stop me in what I was doing. Since he was not able to use any form of necromancy, his life force would have faded quickly. Doing it on the other dimension would have been a harder thing to do since someone might see us. “Veriz aign zo eln zsyk Ydj delnis duplicis,” I started to chant. The markings on his chest started to dance and had spread all over his body. They looked like chains that had bound his limbs. The markings even reached to his face. “Estele elzythimia falk reyolos koz frenis ekpliris.” That was when I looked at him one last time as his life force slowly poured into the ritual circle on his chest. The markings pierced his skin and sucked his blood. It was like a reverse blood transfusion and all his fluids were drained. A red crystal started to form. And its glimmer was full of life. “I’m sorry, Phineas.” I whispered and bumped my forehead into his. Yet my friend didn’t make the slightest reaction. “I wish I had a choice. But I didn’t.” Although Phineas was already completely catatonic. There was just no emotional response anymore. I just found him staring at me with blank eyes. His face started to dry and his skin slowly went gray. Phineas’ body slowly decayed before me. Even if I was busy proceeding with the ritual, I didn’t stop crying. My eyes were already puffy. But I couldn’t help myself. I leaned in and kissed Phineas on the lips. One last time. It was still soft and I tasted his blood that dripped out. “I love you.” I tried to whisper but no sound came out. My hands touched his delicate face as a rapid form of muscle atrophy had already kicked in. Within the next minute, he was turned into a frail boy with nothing but bones and skin. His fleshy membrane was brownish gray and the surface had already started to wither. His green eyes were glassy and blank while his red hair slowly fell away. Then out of nowhere, he slowly moved his head up to look at me. Phineas suddenly smiled. I immediately blinked my eyes because I couldn’t believe it. But all I saw was the dead body of my best friend. His head was down and the only thing that kept him up was the blade that pinned him on the wall. He was but a body that was merely decayed and rotten. The ritual had done its job. Phineas was marred beyond recognition. At the center of his chest was a crimson red diamond about the size of a newborn’s fist. I took it out and my friend’s body immediately turned into ashes. Even his bones didn’t make it. What’s left of Phineas completely fell apart. It was similar to the remains of a person that was cremated. Except nothing was left. Then I stepped back to pull out my sword and hurled it away into the dark halls of the alternate world. It was nothing but a cursed blade. Everything in my life fell apart the moment it arrived in my room. And I would have done anything to give it back. I would have done anything to have my mom and Phineas back. I fell on my knees. Then I roared and screamed and bawled with all my might inside Asphodel. I kept punching the floor until my knuckles went numb. The pain on my fist was nothing compared to heaviness of the boulder inside my gut. It pulled me down with so much weight. The bodies drowned in blood in M’Vokagola. The ashes of Phineas by the floor nearby that very moment. It was all because of me. Once more, I screamed into the darkness of Asphodel. I thundered and bellowed until my vocal chords couldn’t take it anymore. I had let it out until my lungs gave in. The peaceful solace of the dead dimension was broken to pieces. All because of me. My silence was interrupted by a throb from the crystal I plucked from Phineas’ chest. The thing was alive. It wasn’t filled with avroi, but life. It was as if it’s a person on its own. My friend’s whole life force was compressed into the existence of the crimson crystal. The small precious thing had a pulse that was nudging to move. After what felt like hours of silently mumbling and sobbing in the darkness that is Asphodel, I picked myself up. It felt like I swallowed a huge bulldozer down my throat and pulled myself together. The sacrifice of my friend must not be in vain. Yet my arms were suddenly heavy, I took hold of all my strength to fight forward. I walked through the dark version of our streets in Asphodel and sent a mental message to Eran to meet me at our house as soon as possible. The evening had started to set in and people would start looking for Phineas. They would look for me, too. Everything must be done quickly. Or else it wouldn’t matter anymore. Phineas was dead and my mother would soon follow if the exchange failed. When I pushed myself into my own realm from Asphodel, it took half an hour before Eran started opening the window. The boy caught me laid on my bed, staring the ceiling. I didn’t even notice him until he was standing beside my bed. My eyes just lingered at him momentarily before I fixed my sights above me again. Eran noticed the crimson red crystal in my grip and took out the Necronomicon. The red crystal hummed for a split second before falling silent. “You did it.” Eran uttered. “You actually did it.” Yet I gave no answer. I just looked at him straight in the eye but only for one or two seconds. My hand just gripped the crystal harder. And my teeth clenched on its own. Even my breathing was disrupted. “We have to be quick.” The boy urged. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into my feet. Eran led me into the room and chanted something under his breath. A huge ritual circle suddenly appeared. The inscriptions even extended up to the walls of my room. “I prepared this last night and used a spell to hide it from sight.” Then he dropped the ancient tome into the middle of the circle. Out of nowhere, I felt an invisible hand on my shoulder and started to guide me towards it. It kept whispering my name over and over again. But a different name was uttered by the voice in my head. It was a familiar voice of a boy with red hair. Nikolai…Nikolai… The crystal in my hand suddenly felt more alive and was being drawn towards the Necronomicon. The ancient tome’s old front cover suddenly moved much to our surprise. A small vertical mouth appeared. It even had small sharp teeth and a small black tongue stretched towards the direction of the red crystal. The horrifying little mouth managed to pull me out of my catatonic-like trance and I stepped back. “What on earth is that?” I marveled. The ancient tome suddenly made a small jump that caused Eran and I to jump, too. “What the hell? It moved on its own!” “No idea.” Eran replied. His eyes were still fixated on the ancient tome that was slowly turning into a monster. “Give the crystal to that thing. Quick!” “I’m not gonna feed Phineas to that!” I objected. Then I reluctantly looked at the ancient tome that was excited for its small meal. “He’ll be scared!” “That thing in your hand is not Phineas!” Eran barked. Then he tried to move towards me and get the crystal from my hand. I immediately stepped back and summoned my Nyxian Blade from my hand. “The Necronomicon needs to be fully awakened before the full moon rises!” “No!” I stepped back further and raised my blade against him. Eran didn’t look like he was going to retaliate. But it would easily get ugly if we started a fight in my room. “Stay back!” “Nikki.” Eran scoffed. “Don’t make this harder than it already is.” “You don’t even know what you’re saying!” I snarled at him. But the blonde boy was relentless. He made another step forward. “You gave me no choice!” Eran just looked at me silently. The Necronomicon seemed to have calmed down and waited patiently by the floor. Even the mouth on its cover momentarily closed for a few seconds. “I didn’t have to kill him! Phineas had nothing to do with this!” I sobbed. Tears started to stroll down my face once again. “He should be home with his family right now. With his parents and his little sister!” “Then avenge him!” Eran admonished harshly. It suddenly zapped me out of my sobs. Then I stared at him as if he gave me the answer. “Samael Aspheraltz must die. And the Black Sorceress must never see the light of day ever again.” “The diasmo.” I muttered. Eran and I stared at each other eye to eye. The bulldozer in my throat suddenly felt slightly smaller. A bit more smoother. While the boulder inside my guts slowly moved into a more comfortable spot. “You want to release it. Then it’s gonna destroy the Black Sorceress.” “Make a choice, Nikki.” He stated. His sheer confidence was frightening. “If the diasmo can destroy something that is practically immortal then it should have the powers to destroy the avroi-based curse in your mother. It’s a worthy risk.” “But it’s easier to simply give this to Samael so I can get the antidote for my mother.” I objected. Yet the other boy didn’t seem to care at all. The mouth of the Necronomicon stirred to life again. “I don’t know what to do!” “It’s still a worthy risk. You can either blindly trust the ancient being or give the Necronomicon to Samael. The choice is yours. You were the one who made the sacrifice.” Eran pointed out. “We don’t even know if Samael can be trusted.” “Then we would be killing two birds with one stone.” I concluded. Eran just nodded to affirm what I said. That was when I started walking towards the ancient tome and picked it up. “You’re right. I will avenge Phineas. I need to avenge my friend. I will not let his death go to waste!” The Necronomicon sensed my hand and its mouth opened again. Slowly, I fed it the crystal and the tongue wrapped around the small stone. It pulled the only thing that was left of Phineas into its small jaw and bit it in place. The crystal flared a bright light in the room and both of us were thrown back. Eran hit the wall and I fell on my bed. Pulses of energy erupted from the book. There were huge amounts of deep red avroi that was condensed into tendrils that scattered everywhere in my room. I saw the inscriptions dancing in and slithering towards the book as chaos consumed my small room. Even my lights flickered on and off. I managed to take a quick peek outside the window and the energy pulsed outwards. Even the neighbors noticed that their electricity were blinking in and out. “What’s going on?” I screamed at Eran who was just as perplexed. The gush of energy created so much static in our ears. “Eran!” “I have no idea!” The boy roared back. The Necronomicon floated in the middle of the room as it simultaneously burst out energy and absorb the magical formulas that Eran prepared beforehand. It was simply furious and after it ate all the formulas, the avroi that it released got more sinister. That was when I remembered one of the lines: ink me with half of thy soul so our destinies touch. I gripped my blade and sliced my other palm open. It was barely painful and the cut was barely four inches long. Blood was drawn and it was pulled through the air and into the book. The red fluid twitched from my and jiggled into a dark samba. My wound suddenly closed on its own and a loud bang exploded from the ancient tome. All the lights were suddenly shut off. The only source of our sight was the faint glow of the red crystal. I looked to my window and noticed that even the neighbors’ lights were fried. The book was laid into the middle of room. My whole room was thrown into chaos as if a tornado passed by. Books were torn all the certificates on my wall were also misplaced. Broken pieces of glass flew everywhere. “Are you okay?” Eran asked in the darkness. People were screaming in fury outside as power went out with no explanation. “We need to go!” I made my approach and took the book. It throbbed in my hand but I ignored it further. Then I went for the door and pulled Eran’s hand with me. With one push, I ripped the fabric of space and slipped into Asphodel. My companion activated his mark and the writings immediately spread all over his body. It was the only way for him to survive in the other dimension. The book felt heavy in my hand. I could feel the thing beating as if it had its own heartbeat. It was suddenly full of life. And the aura it gave off was all too similar with someone I held dear. Cheery and silently caring. The Necronomicon’s pages finally showed their contents and dozens of rituals were inscribed on its pages. Most of its inking had a deviously crimson color. It was they very life and blood of Phineas intertwined with mine. “What’s next?” I asked Eran coldly. “Take us to the deeper level. We won’t find the diasmo here.” He urged. Then he focused more to let the markings spread even further. It gave him an eerie blue aura that gave vibrancy to our surroundings. “It’s already evening in your realm. I think today is the best moment to seek the diasmo.” I simply nodded at Eran as we slowly sunk into the ground. The darkness swallowed us whole. And as we opened our eyes, we found ourselves again floating above between the infinite sky and the infinite sea. As we stood up, we scanned the area but found nothing. Not even a hint of anything that is alive. It was then I noticed that the small chain link emerged from the end of the book’s spine. I decided to hook it through my belt so I could easily carry it. The thing fit perfectly and was easily accessible. “This place is vast. We don’t even know where to begin.” I commented. That was when I noticed at huge shadows slowly emerged from the waters. There were at least a dozen of them from each direction. “What the hell are those?” “No idea.” Eran admitted. “I’ve never thought I’d made it this far.” “But how did you know that the diasmo would be here?” I asked. “That’s where the myth ended.” He replied. Then Eran tried to study the shadows that started to take shape into people. “It said that the ancient hero fighting for freedom fell before the highest Being and was chained into the deepest corners of death.” “But that’s too ambiguous!” I objected. The other shadows started to make their approach towards us. And we still couldn’t figure out what they were after. All of them started to even developing some sort of clothing. It was then I realized that they look similar to Dementors from Harry Potter. “It could have meant a lot of things.” I summoned my Nyxian blade and flames erupted from Eran’s fists. Yet those things didn’t think of us as a threat. They pushed forward despite us trying to show them our ability to engage in combat. “The second layer of Asphodel doesn’t work like a normal realm.” Eran added. “How on earth do you know all this?” I exclaimed. “Long story!” Eran scoffed. The shadows were just a couple of feet away. He fueled his white flames further and blasted one of the open spaces. Water simply splashed upwards as Eran summoned his wings. It ripped a hole from the back of his shirt and flapped upwards. I grabbed him immediately by his foot and we literally flew away. “Hang on tight!” One by one they also started to take flight. It didn’t even take a whole minute before we were surrounded in mid-air. It was infuriating because I couldn’t even defend myself. Eran tried to blast them with white hot flames but they effectively dodged all of it. All I could do was hang tight on his leg. Utterly pathetic. “Shit!” The blonde boy snapped. “I can’t fly fast. You’ll fall!” “Take us down.” I admonished. Then my focused on the seal. I commanded it to release itself. As the marking crawled all over my skin, I summoned one of my special serpents that was sealed inside the mark. “It would be better if we could defend ourselves at the same time. I just need to turn one of them into my own so I could summon more back up.” Eran obliged and put us down. I jumped on the watery ground before my only companion even touched the ground. As they encircled us, one of them began to kneel down. The others followed through and we were surrounded by a small army of cloaked shadows figures. All in a kneeling position. “What’s going on?” I exclaimed. “Master has been waiting for you.” One of the shadows spoke. Eran and I just looked at each other. Totally perplexed at what the thing said to us. One by one they marched around Eran and I. They chanted with a weird and an indistinguishable groaning. It didn’t sound any of the Altimereaean languages at all. It was far more guttural and primitive. Like some ancient dialect of some sort. A huge iceberg slowly emerged from the water. Eran and I just stared in silence as its majestic size unfolded before us. There was light coming from the inside of it. A powerful glow emitted from the huge orb enclosed by the ice. Hundreds of magical inscription was written all over chilly surface. Each of it was continuously moving and crawling like a busy colony of ants. In the middle of the glowing orb inside was a silhouette of a giant figure. A hulking humanoid with two pairs of wings that was spread out. Yet we couldn’t see through the thickness of the ice. The thing was simply mysterious. “It found us.” I said. “How?” Suddenly, a bright blue light sparked from the center of my right palm. A mark appeared in the center before a unique set of blue inscriptions shot out of it. Then the Necronomicon that was hanging on my belt came to life. The pages opened and red markings of the same nature like the one from my hand emerged. Both the blue ones from my hand and the red ones from the ancient tome danced in the air and slowly formed some sort of code. I stared back at the iceberg and there was a missing puzzle piece on the inscriptions. A missing link. Combined with the mysterious mark that emerged from my hand plus the red formulas from the Necronomicon, they turned into a short code that fits the giant puzzle. “What did you do?” Eran asked. “I don’t know! I don’t even remember why I have an invisible mark on my hand! It doesn’t make any sense!” I exclaimed. As the short code twisted and turned in mid-air, it did morphed into a key and fell into my palm. The shadows moved and rearranged themselves like an aisle. It was pathway to the iceberg. “I have no idea what’s going on anymore!” The front of the iceberg turned into some sort of altar. All of the writings started to converge into the center. It was like a huge circular gate. Almost looking like a portal into another dimension. The code in my palm hardened into some sort of physical key. While the ice responded like wise. A key hole appeared at the center. “Looks like we did find the diasmo.” I said. Then I looked at Eran who was still in awe of the sight before him. “Funny. It was as if it’s waiting for us to arrive.” Both of us walked towards the keyhole. It was a victorious feeling. In my head, I was rejoicing. I couldn’t help but stroke the red crystal that was embedded on the face of the Necronomicon. The thing throbbed in response as if it congratulated me, too. As we walked closer to the iceberg, the crystal pulsed even harder. It left me confused if it was out of excitement or anxiety. Yet there was no turning back. I had made my decision to ask help from the mysterious being. Samael and the Black Sorceress would be going down. The ice shifted themselves into a flight of stairs. We walked over them as we got nearer and nearer through the gate. And as we got nearer, it even looked more impressive. As the huge circular gate towered before us, I raised the key and slowly inserted it into the door. Blue and purple fire started to blaze and it caused us to step back. The blue and purple flames ate away the inscriptions and the next thing we knew that was the whole iceberg was on fire. Even the ice beneath is started to go soft so Eran and started to run back to solid ground. Within the next minute, the iceberg melted away and the mysterious shadow inside the white orb of ice started to stir. “I must thank the one that released me from this slumber.” The enormous voice boomed. It was heavy and majestic. Even the very surface of the water vibrated from the force of its voice. Some kind of force appeared and almost pushed down on my knees. “What are your names, young ones?” “Nicholas. My name is Nicholas.” I was barely able to speak. It was like being plunged into kilometers deep into the sea. All of the pressure of the ocean almost crushed my back. Yet it was simply the foretaste of the diasmo’s power. “And this is Eran.” “Is that your real name, Nicholas?” The voice asked. I tried to peek but the huge ball of solid white ice didn’t melt. It simply glowed powerfully in the night skies of the deeper Asphodel. I could not fathom its divine presence. And every second that passed by heightened the gravity around us. “My true name is Haborym. And I am one of the warriors of Elysium.” “Yes.” I gasped. By that moment, all the ice melted away. All that was left was the huge white orb that glowed and hovered before us. All the markings on the ice were gone along with it. All burned away. “I have always been Nicholas Ellison.” “Perhaps you are not aware of your true name, young one.” The voice replied back. I slowly peeked at Eran who just shrugged at my direction. “You might not even be aware of your true nature, Nikolai.” “We need your help, Mr. Haborym.” I started to plead. My knees wobbled as the mysterious being inside the orb started to move. From the looks of it, the thing was studying me. “That’s all I need from you. Please!” “My child, speak truthfully and we’ll see if it is within my capacity to help and repay you for this.” The voice admonished. Cracks suddenly appeared on the orb as my weight multiplied further. It caused us to drop on our knees. The only thing that supported me was my arms. “It seems to me you are seeking revenge. And I am a warrior who delights in the vindication of those who lost something.” “Yes! I lost my best friend! Please help me avenge him!” I pleaded further. It almost brought me to tears again. But I managed to push it all the way down at the very last second. “They made me choose between him and my mother!” “Then we shall avenge the sacrifice you made! A young and innocent child like you does not deserve to make a choice between two loved ones!” The voice roared and lamented. A burning sensation flared throughout the deeper Asphodel. Then a wave of energy was released. The stillness of the waters immediately turned into mid-sized waves. “Tell me who is responsible and my blade shall fall on them! Tell me who to eliminate and they shall pay the price!” “Eliminate Teios Kyr!” I stated with all my might. I just didn’t care anymore how awful I looked. It was my only chance for retribution. Phineas’ soul won’t rest until my enemies are pounded into the ground. “Eliminate Samael Aspheraltz and the Black Sorceress once and for all!” Silence erupted after an echo of thunder blasted the skies. The pressure was suddenly withdrawn. Everything simply went peaceful. But only for a short moment. I found myself relaxing that very moment. A sigh of relief escaped my mouth. “Tell me, young Nikolai. Why should I eliminate her?" The voice asked. Then the pressure crashed on us again. It was even heavier than the last and made my knees tremble. “The woman suffered more than you ever dared to dream. She is like you who seeks to avenge the people she lost against the greatest traitor of all. I’m afraid that this request is beyond my capabilities” I fell silent. It was all I could do. “My child, your plan to release me from my slumber worked.” The voice said suddenly. Yet I was not able to move. Not at all. It caused me to wonder who the being was talking to. “Well done, my faithful servant. The bindings of Aleus and the legendary rune mage was weak against the powers of the Necronomicon. Our spy was able to tell Veronica the key to the inscription at the very last second.” “Thank you, my dear father.” Eran spoke. My stomach twisted and crunched in a funny way. I simply gawked to my side to see the blonde boy making a reverent bow towards the giant orb. “Though I must admit, I didn’t expect you to make the first approach. All I knew was that Nikolai is the key to release you. Veronica was quite right. He is indeed useful.” Then I felt the presence of the mysterious being shifting its focus back to me. “You see young Nikolai, I was the one who gave the Black Sorceress her power in the first place." It stated calmly. Everything fell into place. The image of the Black Sorceress shaking my hand surged into my head. Then Eran’s words and subliminal persistency in pushing to revive the diasmo followed afterwards. “The Black Sorceress is also one of my faithful servants. After all, I was the one who made her immortal.”
  4. “What’s the next step?” I asked Eran. It’s been a couple of days since we got back from M’Vokagola. And so far, there were no mages showing up on our doorstep for revenge. Our getaway was quite quick and unexpected. All the avroi that I saved up was consumed to cover the distance that we travelled. I was knocked out for a don hours the day after. Our two other mysterious companions were alive and got out safely, too. But Isvar barely made it. A blade was able to puncture his side during the chaos of their escape. Thankfully, Morsden was able to use his flame to cauterize the wound. Eran was able to meet them a couple of days later. “I’m still not sure.” Eran replied. Both of us were in my room with the huge tome spread on the floor. All the pages were blank and we still had no idea how to use it. The old parchments that were compiled by a spine just stared at our faces. “Don’t tell we almost got killed for a blank book.” I grumbled. “I don’t think so.” Eran pointed out. His blue eyes were intense. Then he softly scratched his chin in frustration. “I’m sure there’s a specific secret behind this.” As I stared at the blank page, I zoned out for a moment and thought back what happened in the other world. The monsters that were created with my magic were severely powerful. And the necromancers that we encountered were seriously surprised by how we barged into the Citadel. Then the image shifted into some bodies that were knocked out on the floor. I felt my fingers twitching whenever I would remember the blood on their bodies. They were defenseless against the brute force that my Alazonian Curse was able to bring out from dead wights. People were dead. By my hand. The thought created a heavy boulder in my stomach that I wanted to puke out but couldn’t. And the stone started to break inside me and pushed into my other organs. It was simply suffocating. I wanted to gasp for air but I couldn’t. As if my diaphragm was frozen. As if my lungs refused to work. “You’re thinking about those again.” Eran stated. His blue eyes narrowed down on me. Studying me my thoughts. “Quit it out.” “Yeah.” I chirped sadly. My fingers twitched again. “I killed those people.” “I told you, we’re not sure of that.” He assured. Eran turned a few more pages but nothing really popped up like some magic trick. “Isvar sent some feelers into the area if there were news of the break out. It seems that our small parade was kept in secret from the rest of Altimeraea. Only the Solus Magus knows.” “But I saw a lot of bodies during our raid.” I groaned. The stone in my stomach even got heavier. A horrid pull in my gut almost ripped me inside. “I killed them.” “They were just knocked out.” The blonde boy pointed out. Eran put a hand on my shoulder and lightly slapped my cheek. I caused me to look into his eyes and those blue orbs spoke so much peace. “Nikki, it’s tremendously hard to kill a necromancer. Or any mages from Teutesus for that matter. Because their magic is heavily intertwined with life itself.” “Whatever.” I quipped and looked away from him. Both of us silently studied the Necronomicon. It definitely looked like a dusty, ancient book. Its spine had a deep dark color with no glint of light reflecting on it. “You said before that Samael needed this as much as we do. It was you who pushed me to help you get this as soon as possible.” I said. His eyes lingered back to me with an unreadable gaze. “I understand that it can help me achieve my full potential as a necromancer but you never told me why you need this.” “This thing contains a lot of rituals that can do the most powerful soul-binding magic in existence. That’s why Teios Kyr wants this so much because they still have not figured out how to unseal the soul of the Black Sorceress. That bitch just won’t die.” Eran started explaining. He frowned at the mention of our enemy. “But this thing just won’t give us answers. I have yet to research about it.” “You avoided my question.” I retorted. “Why do you need it?” “For the same reason as them.” He replied gravely. Then looked straight to my eyes with a provocative glare. “I’ll need to unseal her, too. It’s the only way.” “You son of a bitch!” I hissed. My Nyxian blade immediately summoned itself into my hand. Then my hand was already placed on my floor, a seal was about to be formed. “Why on God’s green earth would you do that for? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of everything else?” “Calm down, Nikki. Let me explain everything.” Eran stated. Then he also used a fraction of his avroi to amp the tension in my room. I knew I grew more powerful ever since I learned how to use magic, but Eran’s avroi was frightening if he wants it to be. “If you think I’ll show you mercy for taunting me, I won’t.” Both of us had a stare-down for almost a minute before I broke from it. “There is an ancient being hidden within Asphodel that can disintegrate the soul. And like the Black Sorceress, that thing is sealed with powerful magic.” Eran pressed on. “It’s an exo’gia diasmo.” “It’s a…what?” I asked. “Exo’gia diasmo.” He clarified. My eyes narrowed at the weird word. It almost sounded like a malevolent spell. “There’s no specific meaning or translation in your world’s languages nor our Qraellic and Altimearean languages. That’s because that thing came from a different universe, far deeper into the Divide.” “And…this thing, it’s a powerful entity that can get rid of the Black Sorceress once and for all?” I gulped. A silent thrill erupted at the back of my head. “That thing is a secret weapon?” “That’s correct.” He confirmed with a quick snap of fingers. Eran smiled at me with a determined confidence. “The diasmo cannot obliterate a soul that’s sealed. It’s necessary to unseal her, too. And the moment we do unseal her, the diasmo can do its thing.” “Two questions.” I stated and raised my hand. Eran looked ready to answer my questions anyway. “First, why would that thing help us? You said it’s not from your world nor mine. It has nothing to do with all the chaos that you and Samael had being going on about. “The diasmo was a legendary warrior of light. According to some stories, it was able to destroy a whole army in one night. Some of the legendary feats in the religious texts that you hear in your world originates in ours.” The blonde boy explained. Beneath the cold exterior was a side of him who loves explaining things about his world. He slightly be more animated as he discussed. “It was a myth. But there were historical artifacts that the Solus Magus were able to uncover. A good sect of The Ministry believes that the existence of such creatures are real.” “I don’t know how that thing could defeat the Black Sorceress.” I mumbled to myself. “We don’t even know how they would have the ability to revive her.” “Neither do I.” Eran confessed. “There are still things we don’t know about the Teios Kyr.” “Okay. Second question, why haven’t the powerful mages of Altimeraea thought of that?” I asked further. Eran studied me again. Trying to check where I was coming from. “I’m sure a civilized society like yours have governmental councils that should be accountable for all this crap. A couple of kids like us shouldn’t be sent on a suicide mission to solve adult problems!” Because they will not go on a witch hunt for a mythological figure to solve their problems for them.” The boy just sighed. Then he frowned at my wall with an indignant stare. “Besides, Altimeraea is not as peaceful as you think. Fuhrstenvald is a huge threat.” “Samael mentioned that place when I confronted him.” I pointed out. “It’s an isolationist country under a dictator. Fuhrstenvald is located in an eastern continent called Isvarde. Our knowledge about them is severely scarce but we know that they have fused Altimeraean magic with your world’s technology.” Eran replied. I was suddenly horrified at the thought of a magical Black Ops Team blasting through our doors. Quite colorful. “Most of the governments of other countries are convinced that they are able to weaponize certain experiments. Yet not a single evidence against them is found.” “Since the Black Sorceress is practically dead, it’s not really a priority for them to solve as of this moment.” I added after. Eran just nodded. “Aren’t they wary that her son is out there, doing everything to revive her?” “They are.” He confirmed. “But Teios Kyr never had the military ability to pose a huge threat. It’s more a of a minor group of zealots that originated in Zidania. A whole country, hiding an unknown destructive weapon, is still a bigger threat than a group of ideological rebels.” “And we’re taking their threat seriously. Those who have the powers don’t give a damn. But we do.” I pointed out. My fist clenched themselves. “Why? I just don’t get it. Why do we have to do all this?” “Because your mother’s life is on the line.” Eran replied. I fell silent for a few seconds after that. “You’re right.” It was all I managed to reply after almost a minute of being dumbstruck. I frowned at him and stood up. “I’m doing this for my mother. But I don’t see any reason why I should further involve myself after that.” “Do you really think they would leave you alone after that?” Eran asked. It was a question I couldn’t answer. And I refused to think about the first answer that the back of my head is whispering inside my ear. “Are we done here?” Eran coldly asked. “No, make that three questions.” I added further. Much to his annoyance. “My last question is, where do you even get this knowledge? You’re living in an orphanage, Eran. The fact that you know so much is frightening.” “That’s a question I’m not yet ready to answer.” Eran replied. His poker face was pretty convincing. But I knew better. “I will. But not right now.” “Whatever.” I quipped. “I still don’t fully trust you.” “I asked for your help because your powers play a crucial role. Not for us to be close friends.” He retorted. I was taken back by his statement because I was starting to consider him one. Then Eran stood up and started exiting my window. “I’ll go back to doing my research and find a way how to open this. If we can’t open this, then it’s all for nothing.” Just like before, he removed his shirt and wings erupted from his back. He looked so majestic every time. Those white wings were simply divine. Eran jumped to the night sky and simply vanished. The boy was either an angel of light, or a fallen angel. What is he? Another question with no answer. After that, I didn’t hear from him for a few days. The days flew by quickly. My mom was still in the hospital with no signs of recovery. She wouldn’t last two weeks and the fact that we still had no answers gave me a heavy feeling. Mrs. Chase never left her though. She was truly a friend. To make things worse, the images of dead bodies flooded my mind’s eye and sleeping began to be troublesome. During my extra time, I would stay at home to infuse more avroi in to the mark on my wrist. I spent my energy on preparing more wights for battle anytime as well as studying my experiments even further. Sadly, there were no living subjects to fully observe the extent of the curses’ potency. The horror of what happened in M’Vokagola was a bitter reminder not to use them anytime. As far as I knew, I could give enormous boosts of strength and muscle mass. Or give someone the ability to absorb avroi. If it’s permanent or temporary, I have yet to know. I stayed at the Chase house for the mean time. Phineas slept over with us during the end of the week. Both he and Otis helped take my mind off of what happened the week before. Even my teachers were suddenly more merciful in giving us homework. It was a small thing to celebrate for the three of us. It was a Sunday morning when I felt Phineas’ hand draped over me. We slept beside each other since we agreed to take the weekend in Otis’ house. Mrs. Chase helped us fix her son’s unruly bedroom so there would be a huge cushion bed for the three of us on the floor. Funny enough, I was placed in the middle of the two for the past couple of days. My ginger friend almost snuggled me whereas Otis had his backside turned on us. It was peaceful morning. But it didn’t last a minute because the world came crashing back at me. My mom was on the verge of death with no answers in sight. I would then feel the heavy stone in my stomach as the bloody bodies race back to my imagination. Phineas suddenly stirred and his sea-green eyes peeked at me. I looked back at my friend who nonchalantly yawned. He was distraught at how I had been withdrawn for the past couple of weeks. Everything was simply a mess. “Good morning, dweeb.” He smiled warmly. Followed by another long yawn. “I guess knucklehead is still asleep.” “Yeah.” I half-chuckled. “Do you want to go down and eat breakfast?” “I’m good. Let’s wait until Otis wakes up.” Phineas replied. Then he raised his head a little to check on our other friend who was oblivious in his sleep. “That should give us another couple of hours.” “More like a whole day!” I snickered. “I swear, he sleeps like a baby. Maybe I should try giving him a good ass-kicking to see if he’ll wake up.” “I have a better idea!” Phineas grimaced. Then he stood up to get something from Otis’ desk. It was a black marker paired with a devilish sneer on his face. I was just astonished that Phineas would actually dare something like that. But I was quite excited, too, at how far he was willing to go. I covered my mouth because I couldn’t help but giggle at what he was gonna do next. Phineas just shushed me and we both snuck near Otis’ head. The clueless boy just laid there defenseless. To make thing worse, he turned and laid flat on his back. It was as if he deliberately gave us easier access to his face. “What should we write?” I whispered. “Come on, Nikki. Think!” Phineas whispered back. Mischief exploded in his eyes. It was simply out of nowhere. “Use that big brain of yours.” “Easy!” I took the marker out of Phineas’ hand and slowly combed Otis’ wavy brown hair away from his forehead. He stirred a little bit Then I proceeded to quickly draw a big fat dick on his left cheek. “I should’ve made it bigger and juicier.” Phineas and I struggled to hold our laughter inside as he took the marker and drew a pair of big boobs on the other cheek. I moved back a couple of feet away because I couldn’t help but giggle. I had to bite the side of my hand to stop myself from laughing loudly. Phineas on the other hand was crawling away slowly as he tried his best not to laugh. Then I signaled him to take a photo of it with his phone. My friend immediately obliged to my suggestion and took his gadget from under his pillow. I snuck closer as he started taking photos of Otis. Then he suddenly stirred as we almost jumped. Yet the other boy was still knocked out cold despite having a couple of doodles on his face. I took the marker again and drew a tic tac toe chart on his forehead. Then I booked an X mark to start the game. I had to cover my mouth because it was just hard to control my laugh. Phineas took the marker and the both of us proceeded to finish the game in a minute. Every turn was a dose of utmost suffering because we couldn’t let out our laughter. I managed to win but I almost stepped on Otis’ arm. If Phineas didn’t push me, we could’ve woken up the poor guy. But our sleeping friend was still oblivious to what was happening. Yet Otis didn’t even flinch! Phineas took another photo of our quick masterpiece. Then he ran outside the room before I followed through. We fell to our knees and laughed madly on the floor. The hallway was filled with our laughter and it echoed loudly in the second floor. Our glee felt like hours and we struggled to stand up again. “Holy crap!” I shrieked. “He didn’t even wake up after that?” “I feel bad for Otis!” Phineas giggled. “But it was worth it!” “Come down to get your breakfast!” Mrs. Chase yelled from below. She seemed to have heard our commotion. Her voice was eerily cheerful despite being loud. “Get it while it’s hot!” “We’ll just wake Otis up, Mrs. Chase!” Phineas yelled back. Then we went to laughing again on the floor as we take a look at Otis’ face on his phone. Once Phineas finally upload it to the cloud, Otis wouldn’t be able to retrieve it back anymore. We want back into the room before Phineas pulled me out the door again because he couldn’t help but laugh once he sees Otis’ face again. It was another round of hilarious giggles for the both of us. But when I tried to take a peek inside Otis’ room, all I saw was a dead body and blood everywhere. All the glee just simply flew out of my mouth. A cold snap erupted through my spine and as I stood frozen by the door. And it felt like hours of staring at the bloody mess on the floor. “Are you okay?” Phineas snapped me out of the short trance. I didn’t even notice that his hand was on my shoulder. “You look like you saw a dead body. It’s just a sleeping Otis, dummy.” “I’m okay.” I sighed. “What’s wrong?” He asked. “Nothing.” I mumbled with a low voice. “Seriously. I’m okay.” “Hey. You know that I’m here for you, right?” Phineas grinned. His shy side was suddenly side aside and he brimmed with a boyish charm like Otis. “No matter what. You’re both my brothers. My best friends.” That broke me. “I love you, Nikki.” Phineas confessed. And all I did was stare at him. I was totally dumbfounded at those words. “I’ve always loved you.” Tears escaped my eyes and Phineas closed in to hug me. My arms found his back and the grip of my embrace just tightened. The dam opened. And I sobbed onto his shoulders. It went like that for almost 5 minutes. I bawled as Phineas cradled me in his arms. Weeks of torment went down the drain of my mismatched eyes. The boulder in my stomach went significantly lighter and it eased the pain of my ruptured organs. Then out of nowhere, Phineas kissed me on the lips. His lips were soft and I had my eyes closed. I didn’t notice how long it really took. Probably a few seconds. Or a few minutes. Or maybe even a few hours. As my tears subsided, Phineas just ruffled my hair. “I knew you needed that.” “I did. And it felt good.” I confirmed. “Can I tell you a secret?” “Sure.” Phineas replied. “I’m actually a Necromancer.” I flatly stated. It was abrupt and impulsive. My friend just stared at me like it was some sort of practical joke. “And I have powers to raise the dead.” “Right.” He chirped happily. His sea-green eyes seemed brighter even. “And I’m a summoner who can summon my best friends when I need them!” “What?” I gawked. “No. Wait.” “Nikki! Phineas! You freakin’ bastards!” Otis growled loudly from the room. It immediately stopped our moment together as we controlled our giggles from coming out. I had to swallow all the objections I had in mind. “What the hell is wrong with you guys? You guys are dead!” I dragged Phineas to the bathroom and slowly closed the door. The both of us hid behind the curtain and waited for Otis to come in. He was surely going to wash his face. “Thank you for letting me cry on your shoulders.” I whispered as we slowed down from laughing. “I needed that. And I mean it.” “No problem. I mean it, too.” He chirped. Then we heard talking loudly in the hallways and towards us. Phineas displayed his rare smile of mischief again. “And I mean that as well.” “I love you, too.” I whispered. “Please don’t leave me. Ever.” “I promise. I won’t leave you. Ever.” Phineas whispered back. Then he gave me another peck on the lips. We heard Otis shuffling towards the bathroom so we decided to shut up. “On a count of three, okay?” I nodded silently. Then he raised his hand as we heard Otis come inside the bathroom. I had to cover my mouth because I couldn’t stop from laughing. Our friend went silent as our count began. One…Two…Three! Phineas and I eagerly jumped at Otis from behind the curtains to surprise the crap out of him. It was a huge prank to draw doodles on a friend’s face. But to surprise him within the sacred grounds of the bathroom was simply sacrilege. “Holy fuck!” Otis squealed loudly. But we were just as surprised. We were expecting him to wash his face first but we were wrong. He was actually taking piss at the toilet and he instinctively faced us from the surprise. His cute little uncut dick was shown with all its nakedness. The yellow piss flew with him and Otis sprayed his piss all over us. The three of us shrieked at each other in surprise at the moment we realized that he just literally pissed on us. It was then it dawned on me that he never opened the faucet to begin with. An amazingly stupid move! It was an eventful Sunday morning indeed. After that, we spent the whole day together and then we visited my mom in the afternoon. Mrs. Chase also had to scold us for making a mess in the bathroom so we had to clean it up, too. Including the clothes that we accidentally soiled. I felt tremendously closer with Phineas, too. Otis was a huge comic relief to our friendship but I realized it was my ginger friend who had the ability to understand what I was going through. But I never had the chance again to tell him about the secrecy of my powers. And the fact that our English teacher was secretly an inter-dimensional murderer. Maybe someday, I’ll show him my powers for real. It went like that for a week. The threat of my mom dying was just hovering over my head every second. Provoking me to almost losing it completely. Samael said she should be dead by the previous weekend but she was still alive and fighting for her life. All I could do was stare daggers at Samael who continuously pose as my teacher during the week. I was nothing but a puppy who could easily be kicked around the pavement. For I was simply at his mercy. Samael had a big devilish snicker as he made an exit from our classroom. It was a sickening idea that we had something in common—that we would do anything for our mothers. Otis, Phineas and I left the school and decided to watch a movie before I go to the hospital because I decided to stay there for the night. When we got to the theatre, there was a line because it was the premier of the superhero movie we were about to watch. “I’ll go buy the tickets.” Otis volunteered. “And I’ll go buy us some food.” Phineas was next to speak. The two of them quickly left for the lines. “Just stay here, Nikki.” I was just by the door and waited for the two of them. “Nikki.” A voice broke the silence. It almost made me jump and turned around to see who it was. Eran finally made his appearance and I quickly pulled him out of the building. As far as I could tell, Otis and Phineas were still busy. “What are you doing here?” I demanded. “I cracked the code. I’ll explain later how.” He slightly smiled. The bags under his eyes had turned pretty sunken and obvious. Even his skin was a lot paler than usual. A bit more dry, too. “We can open the Necronomicon. And it has to happen tomorrow night, during the full moon.” “Great!” I exclaimed. “It’s already a miracle that mom lasted more than a week longer. Samael said she should’ve died last weekend. But the last time I checked, her life force is still strong.” “That’s great!” He smiled painfully. “How are we going to use it?” I asked excitedly. I almost jumped up and down like an excited dog. “If we can make the exchange tomorrow then we can wake up mom tomorrow night!” “I have a question first.” Eran said. He wore a convincing poker face. My eyes narrowed at the suspicious statement. “Aside from your mom, who’s the person closest to you?” “That’s easy.” I quipped warily. But Eran looked determined. “It’s Otis and Phineas. But I’d confidently say that Phineas it closer to me. What’s with the sudden question?” “The Necronomicon demands a cost to the Necromancer that will open it.” He replied. My lips went dry at what he just said. “It demands the life and blood of the person closest to the caster of the ritual.” It took a second to sink in. “What? No!” I snapped. “No way damn it! You’ve got to be kidding me!” “I am afraid not.” Eran sighed sadly. “The Necronomicon was clear. It will only open for someone who is willing to pay the price.” “What the hell? You’re asking me to trade Phineas for my mom! That’s just fucked up, Eran!” I shrieked. “Damn it! Can’t we just offer someone else?” “Ope thy soul and behold who is't is a parteth of thee, to beest a master of souls, one shalt payeth the same price,” Eran closed his eyes to focus and recited some sort of spell. I just gulped as the words slightly made sense. “so much pow'r I shalt giveth, f'r only one of thee, a vile exchange to controleth ov'r death's vise.” I was dumbfounded after that. My head felt like it floated away from my body. “It has to be someone who is entwined with your soul. Someone whom you’ve known for a long while.” Eran added softly. He reached out to place his hand on my shoulder but I swatted it away. “I’m sorry, Nikki. No one deserves to make a choice like that. But that’s the cost. A life for a life.” “Fuck you!” I snarled. Then shoved him back. Eran didn’t resist at all. A couple of teenage bystanders even peeked to check us out. But I didn’t care. “Don’t you ever show yourself again!” I stormed back into the theatre to see Phineas and Otis finished buying the essential things we needed inside. They seemed to have noticed the scene through the glass doors. Thankfully, Eran didn’t follow inside. I turned my head a little bit to see that he was already gone. “Who was that?” Phineas asked. His hands gripped tightly on a small bag of chips, popcorn and soda bottles. “You looked like you’re gonna beat up that little kid.” “Yeah. And I would have taken a video of that!” Otis exclaimed as if he was actually egging for it to happen. Then he shifted to a weird announcer voice, “On tonight’s news! The bullied becomes the bully. Watch this mean boy beat the small blondie to a pulp! By the way, this video is sponsored by Otis Chase. Please support me next year on The Voice!” “Don’t mind him.” I grumbled. “It’s nothing.” “That doesn’t sound like nothing.” Phineas pointed out. Then he just stared at me intensely. “You looked pretty angry out there.” “Just drop it.” I grumbled and took some of the bags from Phineas’ arms. He did not know it was about him. And I had no plans to tell. “Okay?” “I am afraid we are not contented with that answer, Mr. Ellison.” Otis objected mockingly with a British accent. “I’d be happy to beat you up in the loo if you put a hand on that young lad.” “I said drop the topic, damn it!” I snarled with a louder voice. Some teens around turned their heads at us as I walked past my friends. “Let’s just get inside.” Otis just shrugged it off but Phineas just studied me carefully. I ignored him instead and we got into the movie house. It would have been enjoyable but my mind just drifted to the image of a dead Phineas. The image back in Otis’ house that Sunday morning shot back into my mind’s eye. Except it turned into the dead body of Phineas. And it almost made me throw up in my popcorn bag. I grabbed the cuffs area of Phineas’ jacket sleeve and gripped it tightly. Then with a bit of hesitation, I held his hand in mine. He seemed to have noticed it. My friend slouched back and rested his head on my shoulders. It effectively calmed me down as I desperately attempted to enjoy the movie. The darkness of the huge room helped me hide the tears that glistened my eyes. But it was futile. My head just swung wildly between my mom in the hospital and my friend beside me. Getting the Necronomicon could have killed us. And the cursed thing wanted even more from me. After the movie, Mrs. Chase picked us up and dropped me in the hospital. I gave her my thanks after and said my goodbyes to Otis and Phineas. They were pretty psyched about the movie’s ending but I was remarkably silent. I didn’t even understand a single thing at all. All I could see were the dead bodies of my mom and Phineas in my head. Before I got out of the car, Phineas quickly hugged me. Then he tapped my face lightly that took me out of my fazed look momentarily. “Don’t worry. We’re not mad at you or anything.” He whispered softly. I tried my best not to break down because it would be embarrassing to cry in front of Mrs. Chase. “We’re here for you and we understand.” “Thanks.” It was all I managed to say. Having said that, I left. When I entered the room, I just gawked at my mother’s helpless figure on the bed. There were more stuff that was attached to her that monitored her vitals. I’d have to talk to her doctor again if ever. I checked her charts and it seems that no one would be making a visit for her meds until midnight. She even looked worse than the last time I saw her because there was a tint of grayish hue on her skin as if he was really dead. Her breathing was already labored and it was a miracle she already lasted that long. I just couldn’t let her die. Not without a fight. “Ekzorizein Apalezio.” I chanted. At that very moment, I started to use the avroi inside Isis’ mark on my wrist. Black scribbles of magical formulas started to spread throughout my arm. My right pointer finger started to focused a specific amount of avroi at the tip. It was what Isis taught me so I could start writing temporary ritual circles. I started writing on my mom’s skin and left some sort of blank ink on it. It was to be expected. That was what I did to create the Alazonian Curse. The venom was simply a medium to contain the curse that I infused the specific formula to create the foundations of the curse itself. To put it simply, the venom works as the nucleus and the formula works similarly like a DNA. Any specific commands that I had inscribed into its DNA will cause a specific reaction to its medium so it may enact the coded instructions. That was what Isis told me. It was the very foundation of Altimeraean magic—it takes hold of the so called Law of the Realm and makes temporary amendments to create varying effects. I had to read a bunch of ancient books during my time with Isis. The mysterious feline just summoned books out of nowhere so that I may learn the fundamentals of the Law. Thankfully, I had always been gifted in understanding complicated things. My mom always told me that I should not have held back in my academic achievements. I could have accelerated above my current grade level if I really wanted to. But Otis and Phineas were precious to me. I wouldn’t trade them. Isis also told me that mages all over Altimeraea have their specialties in amending certain portions of the Law. However, there are certain chosen mages called Rune Mages that had the capability to amend a huge range of the Law which makes them the most versatile. That’s why Isis taught me an unorthodox way to inscribe magic and infuse them to specific forms of mediums. It was a way to imitate their form of magic. The feline’s knowledge was vast but it admitted that there are still a lot of things to learn. That was when the image of the dark-skinned woman with silvery white hair whom I encountered back in the M’Vokagola came into mind. Her magic was quite confusing. She could use weapons, conjure projectile based magic and further enhance her nimble movements. If it wasn’t for my surprising trump card, I wouldn’t have gotten past her. As I was busy preparing the ritual, the door swung open. My heart almost leaped to my throat. No one was scheduled to visit her. I immediately shifted my focus from my inscription to getting my wights ready for a summon. But it was none other than Eran who showed up. “What are you doing?” He asked firmly. “I thought I was clear that I don’t want to see you again.” I barked. “I asked a question.” Eran stated. A bit more stiffly this time. He walked towards me and saw the ritual I was in the process of making. “What are you planning to do, Nikki?” “Why do you care?” I asked. “Because you might end up doing something stupid.” He retorted. Then he slowly gazed upon the inscriptions I made. Eran mostly knew how to read them and would have an idea what I was planning to do. “That looks complicated.” “It is.” I admitted. “You’re planning to curse your own mother?” He asked. “Yes.” I quipped. Then I went back on finishing the formula. “Theoretically speaking, it should work. How did you know I was here?” “I sensed your magic.” Eran replied. His eyes were still studying the formulas that were laid all over my mom’s body. “Your avroi was fine-tuned so specifically so I thought you got attacked. I went here as soon as I can.” “I can handle myself.” I said coldly. Then I wiped beads of sweat that started to form on my forehead. “I don’t need your help. The Necronomicon was a waste of time. I’ll find a way to remove my mother’s curse without the need to offer Phineas.” “You don’t know what you’re saying. What you’re going to do is insane!” Eran disagreed. He gritted his teeth and summoned white flames in his hand. “If I have to stop you by force then I will.” “I’m not in a mood for a fight, Eran.” I admonished. He just leaned back on the wall and snuffed out the flames. It was nothing but an empty threat. “Not in front of my mom.” “Just what are you planning, huh?” He asked again. “Just stop this. You know the answer already. You know what Samael really wants.” “You don’t know how hard it is to choose between a friend and a parent. And I doubt you will ever understand that.” I almost snarled at him. Then I summoned my Nyxian Blade to made a shallow cut on her arm. “Just get out of here if you really want to help. I need to focus.” “Let me know first what you’re going to do here.” Eran replied. “I’m going to recreate a similar curse like the Alazonian. Except it runs on avroi. The original one was designed to consume the victim’s soul to heavily boost its regenerative capabilities and it’s physical qualities.” I started explaining. Eran just listened intently. “Wights will infuse avroi on the other side of this spot and feed it to her the same way I was connected to them when I had to fill up my mark. In short, I’ll be creating a wireless charger for her. That should buy me a lot of time as I find a way to remove the curse.” “Interesting. Isis was right to say you’re a genius.” Eran admitted. There was a surprised look on his face. “It should potentially work. But I lied. I won’t leave. I’ll stay and watch just in case.” “Suit yourself.” I replied as I finished up on the ritual. Eran just sat on the couch and observed closely with I was doing. It took me almost an hour to finish inscribing the ritual. The hospital bed and the other stuff were covered in magical formulas. Then I used the blood that was drawn from the wound as an ink that connects with the rest of the formula. “Why did you have to draw blood?” The blonde boy suddenly asked. “Curses are amplified greatly if it is absorbed by organic things like saliva or other body fluids. That’s why I used snake venom before to carry the inscription of my curses.” I explained as I added the finishing touches. “This time, I’ll be using my mother’s blood as the medium.” I took a deep breath and activated the mark on my wrist even further. The formula on my skin began to dance and extended further throughout my body. It would consume a lot of avroi for me because I was going to infuse it with at least 4.5 Liters of blood. That was the average amount of blood. It’s possible that there would be less because of my mother’s health. I took a deep breath and summoned all my focus. Eran watched intently behind me and just observed. Then I cracked my knuckles as if I was going to do a grand performance on stage. The first thing I did was to press upon the wound and started to spoke the ancient Qraellic language from Altimeraea. Avroi flowed madly through my arms that I had my other arm reached for the arm I used to press on the center of the ritual. “Exouzis drachoris Ydj zeiseis apothrekareis,” I chanted. Eran seemed to be even more impressed. He step forward to take a good look as my hand shimmered into a blue hue. “dravaris ekstensi apanaoi aft Synvasis.” The formulas all over the room began to dance and flow into the center of the ritual like it’s being absorbed. But the avroi in my body was tossed and turned as of there was a huge storm that raged. My lungs felt like their filled with fluid and my breathing almost stopped. It was almost like they were going to crack open. My body went numb. But that went away as my efforts were rewarded. Color came back to my mother’s arm. The apparatus beeped as her BPM rose steadily to a normal one. I couldn’t help but smile as the pain the coursed through my body echoed. Everything about the ritual was like having lightning strike a metal rod to bring forth Frankenstein to life. Except this time, my body was the metal rod. And I was the conductor for the massive amount of energy that was being passed into my mother’s body. Before I knew it, I was falling back. Eran immediately caught me from behind and everything went dark. I groaned in pain as I opened my mismatched eyes. Eran was focused on my mother and had his back on me. The boy stood up and both his palms were glowing into a mix of white and blue colors. From the looks of it, his breathing was heavily labored. “What happened?” I asked as I slowly stood up. My legs could barely support my ability to stand as I awkwardly walked towards Eran’s back to take a look. But he kept his focus on my mom. “Talk to me!” When I checked her body, she was like a dry leaf. Her body went into an even worse state and I couldn’t do anything but watch Eran cast some sort of magic on her. “Your plan backfired.” Eran grunted painfully. He was sweating hard. But the one thing I noticed the most was that he shrunk slightly shorter. “The curse started to consume her blood. She would have needed a transfusion if I haven’t intervened.” “What?” I shrieked. “How did that happen?” “I have no idea.” Eran admitted. But his focus on his palms were intense as his mysterious white flames brought a peaceful glow in the room. “I managed to stop the curse because some of the inscription that you used were familiar since Isis also taught me a bit of it.” “You quickly used a counter-inscription to negate the fundamental formula I used on that curse.” I concluded. Eran just nodded to confirm my suspicion. “Thank you.” After a few more minutes and he stopped. When he faced me, I couldn’t help but gawk at him. It was as if his body went on a reverse and he was indeed shorter. His face looked more youthful. Eran simply became a couple of years younger. “How did this happen to you?” I asked. “This is the cost of the magic I use.” He replied. His voice was even more high-pitched. “If I force myself to produce the avroi I needed, it starts to eat away my body. That’s why I looked younger. But in reality, it consumes my life span.” “That’s why you know a lot of things.” I added conclusively. Then I stared at him for a moment. “You’re not really a kid, are you?” Eran just stood silent at stared back. I looked at her vitals that simply dropped down to quite alarming levels. Her heart was barely beating. “I don’t have to say it.” Eran suggested. “You know what needs to be done.” “I can still find a way!” I gritted my teeth. But I knew that it was just a delaying tactic. Eran’s eyes were full of pity. And I could feel my blood rising to my cheeks. “I know there are other ways!” “Samael’s curse had suddenly progressed quickly. Your mother managed to fight it effectively.” Eran replied bitterly. He tried to reach out to my shoulder but I slapped his hand away. We saw each other eye to eye. Yet I could barely see his. Tears had already started to pour out. “I’m sorry about this, Nikki. I am. But as of now, it’s the only way.” “No!” I snapped. “No. No. I won’t do it!” “You know what to do.” Eran groaned. “Only Samael has the antidote. And we don’t have other means to get an alternative cure.” “I can still find a way!” I almost growled at him. “There is always a way.” “Yes.” He said gravely. His eyes were already blank and its deep blue colors made it even colder. “And this is the only way.” My knees wobbled. Strength had left my legs. The next thing I knew was that my body fell forward. But Eran caught me. The blonde boy hugged me and I couldn’t help but hug back and cry on his shoulders. “I can’t do it.” I sobbed. Eran just stayed silent. He just welcomed me in his arms. Both of us were locked in an embrace inside my mother’s hospital room. In my head, there was that aching question that echoed over and over again. I just found it even worse that the drums of my heart had beaten even louder. That one question started as a small voice. And in the next few minutes, they had turned into screams of agony. Am I willing to kill my best friend for my mother?
  5. The next day, I went straight to school and didn’t wait for Jaden. I left a voice message on Ven’s phone to meet me behind the gymnasium. Then I added that it was very urgent. It didn’t really take much time before he appeared. Curiously, Morsus was present as well. “Bring me along.” I urged. Ven and Morsus just looked at each other after I said that. The younger one just shook his head. “I will not take no for an answer.” “I understand that you’re frustrated but this isn’t really a safe expedition.” Ven argued. I clenched my fist but it wasn’t much of a retaliation. “You’ll just give Rei more reason to constrict you under his protection. I don’t like the idea of you being tortured for the sake of being safe.” I just frowned at him. For being right. “But—“ “We don’t need the extra baggage. That’s what Ven is really trying to say, Chance.” Morsus quipped harshly. I was taken back “You’ll just screw up the whole sneaking part because you’re the last person I know whom I would call as an asset.” “I’m still part of this team.” It was all I could say. But the younger boy just gave a cocky smile. “Let me be a part of this. I want to help you.” “You’re the last person I’ll ask help from, Chance. When did you start assuming you were ever part of our operation?” Morsus asked severely. It was almost like a snarl. “You’re the damsel in distress. Nothing but a damsel that gives us stress.” “You have already involved me. And Jaden suffered for it. If our enemies are planning to drag my other friends, too, then it’s my responsibility to protect them.” I firmly stated. Ven just looked at me. Eye to eye. “I will not stay idle at the sidelines. If you won’t let me then Rei will know about this.” “How dare you blackmail us!” Morsus glared at me. “He’s right.” Ven resigned. He didn’t give much of a fight. His eyes studied me very carefully. Morsus wanted to throw another insult but Ven signaled him to calm down. “You can come along but you’ll follow whatever I tell you, got it?” “Yes.” I replied. Ven quickly snapped his finger and a man landed right beside him. I almost shrieked from the surprise. But as he stood up, the man looked in his mid-20’s. His skin had a strong tan on it and the first thing that came into my mind as I studied him was a ninja. The man looked Arabic and his eyes were a light amber. His dark hair was combed neatly. And short stubbles of facial hair was present through his jawline. The mysterious man was clothed mostly in a black attire. A black cotton trench coat was over his dashing dark suit and black trousers. However, I could see hints of weaponry hidden underneath them. It made me raise an eyebrow when I noticed a holster under his arm, complete with the sidearm inside. “This is Baltair Drekhar. He is one of the personal guards of my contact in the Citadel of Jeonnan. My friend and I have come a long way and we’ll be meeting with him shortly.” Ven introduced. The man just silently nodded at me. His silence was quite alluring. “He’ll be directly teleporting us there.” “Wait.” Morsus warned. “That kind of spatial magic is dangerous!” “It is. We could die if this is handled incorrectly.” Ven acknowledged. My fingers twitched at the sound of possible death. “But my friend makes sure that his personal guards are competent.” “How come teleporting there is more dangerous than how we teleported the first time?” I asked. Morsus just looked at me annoyingly but Ven shrugged. “I’m sure there’s a difference but I don’t see the logic behind it.” “First, there is an intricate parallelism between your dimension and ours. The United States and Zidania are quite aligned. Meanwhile, the Citadel of Jeonnan might be parallel somewhere in western Russia. That spot is like thousands of miles away.” Morsus explained it swiftly. “Second, all Citadels of Solus Magus, as well as some of their private territories are protected by ancient barriers. Getting through them are quite tricky.” I replied with nothing. My question was satisfied. Ven nodded at Baltair and the man suddenly did some sort of hand signs with both hands. After that, he knelt and touched the ground with his palm. Some sort of writings started to slither around and formed a circle around Ven, Morsus and I. Then the next thing I know was that we were inside a huge room. It was like a palace and we were in some sort of mini throne room. The teleportation was so quick and smooth. My surroundings just faded from my school back in Saintsville into a huge room. It looked better than a Powerpoint presentation. I peeked around and it seems we were located in some sort of room at the side of the Citadel. There were huge windows that showed us a grand view of a seemingly endless forest. I concluded that the huge building was on the side of a mountain. An elevated scene of the outside gave me a picturesque feeling. But there was no actual throne in the room. There was just a huge table in the middle of it. Only one chair seemed to stand above the rest. Whoever sat there was surely important. Most likely the Ven’s friend. Everything else looked really prim and proper. “You have got to learn how to do that spatial magic teleportation whatever.” I whined towards Morsus. But he was just irked by what I said. “The last time Ven teleported me here, I almost threw up my spleen. This was a lot smoother.” “Easier said than done.” He replied with a smirk. “And that says a lot because I’m far more superior and talented than you.” I shrugged it off and when I looked around further, Baltair was nowhere to be found. He was replaced by another man who just entered the huge door and was cheerfully greeted by Ven. “Master Ven, it has been a while.” The man grinned warmly. Both of them did a quick embrace like old friends. “You have indeed grown a lot since I last saw you.” The man was partially wearing a knight’s armor. Only the breastplate was worn and some sort of sigil was engraved in the middle of it. The rest was some sort of brown medieval leather. It contrasted the silvery and gold breastplate perfectly. He looked about a man of mid-30’s. Really huge and more than 6-feet tall. He could probably step on Morsus by accident. But his handsome face was gentle and rigid at the same time. His dark brown hair was trimmed nicely and his hazel eyes spoke volumes of wisdom. His calm demeanor was perfectly similar as to how I would imagine a noble knight. “This is Sir Dagon Noward la Aristaeus, Blade of the Dartmack Hills.” Ven said. The man just gave a quick bow to Morsus and I. As he did so, he closed his right fist and tapped his right chest twice. It was probably some sort of salute. “He is the Captainsgarde of my friend’s Royal Kingsblade. He is also a good friend of ours.” “This is Chance Valentine. It seems that he was Israfil’s chosen vessel.” Ven introduced me afterwards to the man who towered over me. “This is the second time that he was visited Altimeraea. The first time wasn’t so good.” “Greetings, Master Chance.” Then he shook my hand firmly. Despite being a huge intimidating figure, he was a true gentleman. “I must say, you do look a lot like Master Israfil.” “Please drop the Master title, Sir Dagon.” I replied. My cheeks were kind of warm whenever he would mention it that way. “I’m a lot of things except a master.” “I must insist, Master Chance.” Sir Dagon chuckled. His handsome face barely showed any wrinkle lines. “My lord will surely give me an earful if I do not address his guests in high esteem. And who is this younger lad?” “This is Morsus Galva. He was traveling around Altimeraea when your envoy stayed in Ravenport. He stayed here in Jeonnan for a year to study because he is a Rune Mage.” Ven introduced Morsus. The two shook hands shortly. But the young boy just kept silent. “He is also a close friend of Israfil.” “Greetings, Master Morsus. You have interesting fellows, Master Ven.” The knight quipped and scratched his chin. “Rune Mages are powerful warriors. They are the most versatile amongst all the mages. I don’t think I have to wits to study such a lot of complicated magic.” “You studied here?” I whispered to Morsus. But the boy just completely ignored me. “This place looks more like a royal castle than an actual school.” “Master Ven, you mentioned that this was urgent business, correct? Then let’s get to the important matters as soon as possible. “ Sir Dagon urged. “My lord must be ready now. I shall be on my way to retrieve His Highness.” The man swiftly and gracefully made his exit from the room. “Holy crap. You’re friends with some royal dude?” I gawked at Ven. “Yeah.” He replied. “A couple of years ago, my friend was sent to Zidania on some diplomatic mission and Israfil’s family hosted his envoy. It was only a couple of weeks but turned our guest into a friend. That was the last time I saw him.” “Plus, what’s with the title after this long name?” I asked. “Blade of the Dart-something hills. What was that for?” “In their culture, titles are given if they have won major battles. This world isn’t perfect. Rebels sometimes arise. Or there will be a war between the country and some external enemies.” Ven disclosed. His eyes were thoughtful. “However, I’ve never really asked how Sir Dagon acquired his.” “It sounded like a huge battle.” I commented. There was a knock on the door and Sir Dagon entered. “His Highness has arrived.” Sir Dagon announced formally. His voice boomed all over the room. “I present to you the crowned prince of the Kingdom of Sevel, Prince Zein Cenhelm Estmond zi Aleksandri, Sixth of His Name, Glaive of the Newbalt Plains, High Guard of the Rockramcroft and the Sentinel of Sundora Isles.” “Holy crap. Three titles?” I muttered under my breathe to Morsus. He pulled the door open and a child even younger Morsus came out. He looked like 8 or 9 years old. The young boy came in with a natural poise in his royal robes that were quite modest. It was simple and elegant in the shade of brown. Then a dark cloak with silver and gold embroidery rested on his shoulders. It reach until the back of knees. The young prince walked timidly to his chair across us. Sir Dagon helped him by pulling the heavy seat for him. And the only thing I did was stare at him all the way. This tiny kid won three major battles worthy of praise. The last thing I wanted was to believe it. But as an added insult, there was a testimony of his victors. A small scar could be found at the right side of his fragile jawline. Plus another one on the left side of his neck. “I’ve missed you, my dear friend. How I wish we have met again in such less than dire circumstances.” The young prince greeted. His voice was so soft and high-pitched like a frail child. It sounded ridiculously innocent as if he never slaughtered men in battle. “I’m just happy that you brought me new people I could befriend. I have forgotten my socializing skills, so pardon me if I accidentally say something inappropriate. My life has been quite busy especially that my father had given me more responsibilities.” “The Rockramcroft title is new.” Ven chuckled. “Some southern pirates decided to attack the small town when I was taking a vacation. So, I empowered some of the villagers and fended off the attackers for three days and two nights.” Prince Zein explained and looked downwards. His tone was profoundly sad. “It’s horrifying to remember that they killed some of the kids. I didn’t deserve the title, really. We won the battle, but we lost some of the next generation.” “I’m sorry to hear that, Your Highness. Any loss of life is tragic.” Ven muttered. “But I’m afraid we don’t have much time. Let’s discuss what we have come for.” There was an exchange of names across the table after that. Ven started talking about what had happened for the past year regarding Israfil. Prince Zein listened intently to what my companion would disclose. I managed to get a good look at his boyish features. Light freckles were splattered on his nose and cheek area. His head was full of dark auburn that was shaggy. A good portion of it was braided from the back of his right ear and rested on his collarbone. His facial features were elegant and good-looking. The prince was beyond beautiful. Jade was cute. But he was no match for the royal person before me. Yet there was no crown on his head. But the one thing that anyone would notice the most were his eyes. They were weirdly beautiful. The prince’s eyes were brightly blue with a tint of silver. But near the area around the pupil had a greenish hue with a speck of gold and hazel. His eyes were truly dazzling and would shift colors along with his movements. They were just full of life. As soon as Ven explained the plan, it was followed by a short silence. “Morsus and I will be leaving shortly and head to the Room of Hoshi’therossi. I think we will just take a few minutes. But as soon as we get back, we want to ask for your guidance.” Ven said. “And what we’re about to do violates the Ordinances of Solus Magus. I hope that this will be done under confidentiality.” “I shall keep my mouth shut.” The prince replied. Ven’s face was serious and the prince welcomed the honest request. “I’ll stay here in this room with Chance. I think we will get along just fine.” “Thank you for this, Your Highness. I won’t ever forget this.” Ven said. He and Morsus bowed before the prince and swiftly left the room through the huge door. “Your face looks like you have a lot of questions.” Prince Zein said to me. “There aren’t much, really.” I replied. “Uhm, Your Highness.” The young prince just chuckled like a child that he was. “You’re quite funny, my friend. For someone who looks like Israfil, you’re very different in that aspect. That other friend of mine is quite stiff at times. I saw the look on your face when I entered the room, you know.” “Ven told me a while ago that honorary titles are given those who won battles worth of praise. You got three. More titles than a Knight.” I confessed. It sounded so stupid to question a crowned prince’s title but Prince Zein was relaxed and listened intently. “I didn’t expect you to be so young.” “On the contrary, my older twin brother and I are turning fifteen after a couple of months.” He replied. And I wasn’t able to hide the surprised look on my face. The young prince was even older than I am. Unbelievable! “Yes, it seems that both of us are late bloomers. But it doesn’t really matter. Regarding your question, it’s a matter of competition and expectation. It takes some time for a young Knight to be given the chance to lead a small army into a battle. However, our father had groomed us for such things at a very young age.” “We were given the best strategists as our mentors and I was deployed for a battle at the age of 9. Even if I had Knights with me who are strong, my father gave the task of coming up with the strategy.“ The young prince continued. His eyes glimmered into a shade of green before turning hazel. He really had the most dazzling eyes I had ever seen. “Of course, I feared for my life back then. I shall not deny that.” “That’s amazing, Your Highness.” I remarked. His honesty about his fear was refreshing, too. “I’ve lived for thirteen years and I’m still a potato. Meanwhile, some of the royalties in our world are just spoiled rotten.” The young prince just chuckled at the sentiment. Even his childish giggle was kind of charming. I had to stop myself from thinking of potential sexual fantasies towards the royal prince. “A potato is at least helpful and necessary for our bodies to function.” “May I ask something, Your Highness?” I requested. “Go. By all means.” Prince Zein replied. “Ask something interesting.” “I’m just slightly confused. You are a crowned prince of a kingdom but you’re currently staying within another. May I ask why?” I inquired. He tilted his head and tried to study my expression. “I feel guilty for bothering you with our problems when you’re possibly in another diplomatic mission.” “I am not in a diplomatic mission. And I was not really bothered. In fact, it gave me joy that I get to meet some old friend again.” Prince Zein replied. His boyish grin was genuine and infectious. “The Ministry of Solus Magus is an independent inter-dimensional State that is dedicated to protect our magical heritage. The Citadels house thousands of books. Jeonnan specifically focuses on Divination Magic. Rune Mages are sent here for that.” “That makes sense why Ven urged us to go here.” I pointed out. “Are you trying to spy on certain enemies then?” “I’m afraid not.” The prince corrected. Then there was a short pause. He looked a bit conflicted on what to say next. “My father sent me here to look clues about a certain prophecy. He said that a huge war is coming and the prophecy is the key that could help us defeat the incoming adversary.” “That’s kind of scary.” I shivered. “My father said that there will be a young person who will bring forth great darkness in Altimeraea.” He added. The chill went down my spine as the image of Samael showed up in my head. “But the same person will also bring forth the light that will give liberty to the people. It’s really kind of weird and sketchy. That’s why he wanted the specific prophecy.” “Maybe he will be redeemed.” I replied. “That will be an interesting twist to the story.” Prince Zein affirmed. Then he started to stand up and walking towards the far end of the room. “But I’m feeling quite the glee today. Come with me, my friend. Let’s eradicate boredom and answer your question at the same time.” I followed him until we both stood in the other end of the mini throne room. It was pretty spacious despite being within an enclosed space. “I don’t think I have a question, Your Highness.” “Spar with me, Chance Valentine. I clearly see the doubts you have over my fighting abilities.” The young prince admonished. Suddenly, a huge spear appeared in his hands. It even looked bigger because of the young prince’s body structure. He wasn’t really that tall after all. The shaft was mostly made of silver while the blade at the tip designed with gold highlights. Markings could be seen at various parts of the weapon. “This is the weapon that won all of my battles, Brastius.” “I respectfully decline, Your Highness.” I objected. But I was more surprised at the fact that I was doubtful of his achievements. My remark about my amazement was seen as fake. “I feel like it would be a big insult if I am challenged to have a spar with a royal prince.” “It’s a bigger disrespect if you declined such offers. Sir Dagon always give me a boring fight because he doesn’t want to go all out.” He replied. “Besides, you need to represent Israfil. We have a settle to score.” “But I’m not Israfil, Your Highness.” I protested. “That’s why I asked you to represent him.” The prince chortled. He looked really excited for some reason. Then he raised his spear as if he was ready to strike me anytime. “Let’s settle with two minutes. Your goal is to cut my braid. If you fail to do so then you lose.” “Okay.” I replied. “I’ll play with you, Your Highness.” “Great!” The young prince gave a goofy grin. I had to look away before I would blush. Then he produced a small round golden ball in his fingers. He flicked it upwards into the air. My eyes followed the small object in the air. “We start as soon as it hits the ground.” The ball clanged on the floor. Before I could prepare a spell, the prince made his move. He charged with his spear and went straight for my head. I managed to dodged it at the last second and I instinctively summoned a couple of dark blades. My hands moved on their own and deflected it away with my short weapons. He used the force I made to deflect his weapon into the jumpstarting the momentum of his next swing. I managed to duck at the last second but his managed to throw a powerful spin kick that threw me off a couple of feet away. Despite having a small body, his strength was incredible. Before I could even recover, he launched his spear at me. It made me use the same deflective spell I used against Morsus’ fireballs and jolted the spear away. The thing flew back to the other end of the huge room but it disappeared before it even landed. Prince Zein just had it back to his hand and charge at me with his ferocious speed. So, I used the chance to summon dozens of spikes from my shadows that were directed at him. He pulled back at the last second and threw his spear behind him because I took advantage of his momentum and used a spell to pull him harder. Before my weapons could make contact, the young prince suddenly teleported to his spear a couple of feet away. “Interesting.” I commented. Thankfully, I was wearing a hoodie and I already activated the mysterious mark that started to leak a huge amount of avroi. But it seems that the prince noticed it, too. I was still able to control and the markings only extended to my elbow area. “You can teleport your weapon back to your hands and vice versa.” He didn’t answer and threw the spear at me. I charged towards my opponent and he seemed surprised that I managed to move faster. As soon as he vanished in front of me, I knew that he teleported to the spear behind me. I quickly spun around while summoning dozens of blades that I had it jolted towards the spear’s direction. But the young prince was nowhere to be found. In my peripheral vision, a small golden ball was hurled towards me. It was then I realized that he teleported to the ball and not his spear. The ball was a weapon, too. It struck me at the side of my head and I grunted in pain. The thing bounced upwards and Prince Zein teleported to it. He summoned back his spear and held it upwards. In one stroke, he performed an overhead slash. As the spear travel in one straight line, it quickly morphed into a two-handed sword. All I could do was step back a couple of feet backwards as my opponent was able to gracefully land. He charged aggressively again and utilized his weapon further. The young prince never gave me room to recover. His weapon morphed into a variety of bladed weapons. It turned from the sword, to a scimitar, into a rapier, into a lance, and even a battle ax. I was overwhelmed and did nothing but to defend myself as best as I could. He was able to mix his ability to hack and stab me with his weapon together with the annoying skill to make quick movements around me. The young prince was using three golden balls and two bladed weapons simultaneously. It was a miracle that I was even able to defend myself. “You’re not all that bad!” He complimented. Prince Zein’s next attack was always a potential surprise because he could morph his weapon mid-way during an stroke. He could probably defeat a small army on his own. His titles were suddenly vindicated. “I’m often under-estimated because of how I look. And it’s one of my most favored weapons.” His body was agile and nimble, relying on momentum as his sole source of strength. He was even able to maximize his short height to strike low enough that it was not practical to defend. So, I had no choice but to keep stepping back. Prince Zein was making a play-thing out of me. I wanted to prepare a gravity-based spell but defending myself from all the attacks cost me all of my focus. I managed to cast a gravity lock spell on my palm and managed to grab the shaft of his spear as I defended myself. It was the same tactic I used against Morsus in my first skirmish with him. Then I discarded a weapon every time he would attack me with a forceful stroke. Blades after blades fell on the floor. As the number of blades on the floor grew, I activated the lock spell and all the blades jolted towards him simultaneously. But he teleported behind me. The weapons changed their directors and hurled themselves towards him while being caught in its trajectory. Then he would blink into a different spot again. My weapons were flying all over the place. The young prince used my own weapons against me! I suddenly found myself defending against his attacks and my own blades. Almost two-minutes passed by quickly. And I never managed to shift my stance into offensive. Not even once. That was the moment I realized that close-quarters combat was something I suck at. Suddenly, There was a knock on the door before it opened. Both of us stopped midway and carefully turned our heads to see if we were done for. But thankfully, it was both Ven and Morsus. They seemed to be shaken but they were able to swiftly execute what needs to be done. The little kid look wasted and sullen. But Ven look undoubtedly hopeful. “What happened to him?” Prince Zein softly said. “The Eye of Kamitsurugi used up almost all my avroi.” Morsus huffed. Even his eyes had sunk and his lips were cracking. It was as if he was sealed within a sauna for an hour. “And I could only last a few minutes seeing into last week’s meeting.” “Come.” The prince urged. “We have matters to discuss.” “What was happening here?” Morsus whispered. “Don’t ask.” I replied under my breathe. “It was embarrassing. He didn’t even break a sweat.” “Prince Zein, I still cannot thank you enough for willing to break certain Ordinances for our sake. You may seriously hurt your diplomatic immunity within any of the Solus Magus grounds.” Ven said as we went back to the table. I sat across Morsus while Ven sat across the Prince. “The last thing I would want is for Sevel to be cut off from the knowledge of this world’s heritage. All for our selfishness.” “Non-sense.” The young prince replied warmly. His glinting gray eyes spoke of noble intentions. Spoiled and rotten was the last thing I would use to describe the young ruler. “As my dear father had always reminded me, weak-minded individuals will simply make a big deal out of the most minor of things. What’s worse is that they would project those weaknesses towards others. That’s what makes politics so dirty." “I am not that well informed about matters of politics to make any conclusive opinion about this, Your Highness.” Ven admitted with a slight bow. I was particularly impressed with how he could be so full of poise before a royal friend. “I am very sorry. Perhaps, I could study more about it then we can discuss about the reality of such things some other time.” “No worries, my friend.” Prince Zein stated warmly. “I applaud you for knowing when to break certain rules to avoid unnecessary politics. Honestly, I do not fully condone your actions. But with the urgency of what you have mentioned, I am more than happy to help taking down the Black Sorceress before she becomes a bigger threat.” “And I am quite grateful that we agree on such important matters. It was a bit of a gamble on my end. I have no intentions of ruining my friendship with you.” Ven beamed. But there was a slight pause. “If I could be candid about this, I was afraid that you will not trust what I had to say at first.” “Let’s not wander over these minor scruples.” Then the young prince raised his hand and signaled Dagon to leave. The huge man bowed solemnly and made an exit for the door. Prince Zein had his eyes softly move towards Morsus. “You may begin telling us what you have seen.” “There were three major things that I was able to hear from their discussion. I think most of them are bad because they pertain to an imminent attack at the city of Gyroseus.” Morsus started explaining. His voice was bleak and sour. Ven and the young prince kept their poker faces on. “First is that Teios Kyr is planning to launch an attack on the Zidanian capital, the city of Gyroseus. It seems they’re planning to use some sort of experimental weapons. Whatever they are, the Council doesn’t seem to have any clues. And then there’s the grand plan of Teios Kyr to open the highest dimension in the Great Divide, Elysium.” “Their grand plan we already knew years ago because the Black Sorceress had been open about it.” Ven pointed out. “However, they never really said what they are planning with it. Opening Elysium requires the most ancient of magic. Even the Ministry of Solus Magus, the center of all magical knowledge, is still in progress of searching their own archives on what could open it.” “The attack were already predicted by some of the Rytiers in the Knights after they have gathered information on some of the movements. Also, other military movements have contributed into suggesting how to combat these, too.” Morsus continued explaining. The boy looked so happy as he discussed what he was able to gather. It seems that he has a knack on keeping intel. “But they discussed something about a ritual called the Soul Bridge. Teios Kyr is planning to use it.” I was obviously clueless. After all, I was the newest addition around. But both Ven’s and Prince Zein’s faces resonated with mine. They were just as baffled as I was. And that would most likely be a bad thing. “It’s the first time I’m hearing about it.” The young prince was the first to break the awkward silence. “Maybe that’s their experimental weapon that will be used in the Capital.” “I don’t think so.” I objected. Something inside pushed me to say it. The Ritual was for something else. I just knew. Like a distant memory that came into my mind’s eye. Then followed by a slight pain at the side of my head. “You said it’s a Ritual, right? That doesn’t sound like a weapon at all. They’re going to us it to prepare for something bigger.” “How do you know that?” Ven argued. “I just know.” I quipped. Then I grabbed a handful of my hair as the pain started to grow. My head swayed a little bit sideward. “It’s like I just know it all along.” “There’s no proof that you have, I’m afraid.” Prince Zein pointed out. “To me, it sounds like a hunch. But we couldn’t play on hunches if the lives of people are at stake. As a crowned prince, one of my primary duties is to ensure the safety of my people.” “I meant no disrespect, Prince Zein.” I apologized. “It’s like answering a simple question you already know.” “None taken.” The young prince chuckled. “The mind can be a funny thing.” “It’s possible that you’re accessing Israfil’s memories. I couldn’t think of any other explanation.” Morsus observed. Then he looked at me even further. “Israfil is a very knowledgeable person. Both brothers are geniuses when it comes to both intellectual and magical prowess. There’s a reason why they are from the Noble Family.” “I’ll trust what Israfil knows.” Ven said. A sharp pain suddenly struck the side of my head. It was like a metal bat was swung to the side of my skull. My hand automatically squeezed my temple. I winced in pain that Morsus was able to take notice. “Are you okay?” Morsus asked. I started to sweat profusely that even Prince Zein had a raised eyebrow. Another groan escaped my mouth. “Hey! Talk to me.” “Veronica is just half of the puzzle. The other half is hidden. Like the dark side of the moon. Waiting in the abyss.” I suddenly said. Ven gave me a curious look. But so did Morsus. It was like an insane person was handed to them on a silver platter. “I don’t think they would kill me. They want information from me. Because Israfil is the only key in reviving her.” All of them fell silent. Dismay were strongly present in their faces. “The Black Sorceress’ immortality is not of Altimeraean origin. She allowed herself to be killed to test the limits of her newfound immortality. Her true power is yet to be revealed.” I added further. Ven practically gulped so loud. Even Morsus lost his cocky composure. “I think it was too late when Israfil and his companions cornered her. They never saw what was really coming.” “Where did you get this?” Ven asked with a slightly louder voice. His skin went paler. Even his lips quivered. I could almost see the scenarios play through the terror in his eyes. “We’ve never heard of this. Rei does not always keep us in the loop but he would never withhold any crucial information like that.” “I think Teios Kyr is just waiting for Israfil to awaken. Chance must be protected at all costs.” Prince Zein grimly added. The volume of the statement dawned on us harshly. “Then they will take Chance in one swift action. If he falls into the wrong hands then it’s only a matter of time before the Black Sorceress rises again.” “They wouldn’t do that until Israfil awakens. Sadly, we don’t even know what it would look like if he does awaken within Chance.” Ven admitted. Morsus opened his mouth but closed it before he could speak. “It’s safe to say that Chance is relatively secured. I’m more curious about where are all this information coming from.” “Likewise.” Morsus quipped. “Teios Kyr is always a case study in our classes aside from potential attacks from Fuhrstenvald. That country has never sent a Rune Mage for the past two decades. Either ways, information about them is very scarce.” “I do not blame you, my friend.” Prince Zein said. “My father assigned me to check possible sources that could give Sevel information about Teios Kyr. But their activities are well hidden.” “Even the Qirian Council lacks intel.” Ven confessed. The young prince just looked at us with sad eyes. “All we were able to gather was some activities near your town. Most were designed to have surveillance over you." “The council doesn’t know shit!” I winced. My fingers attempted to massage my temples as I sighed in agony. But it didn’t help. “Samael also have powerful mages within Teios Kyr. There’s this guy Azriel. And then there’s Omniel and Theliel. One of them will be showing up in the attack.” “I’ve never heard those names.” Ven pointed out. However, Morsus doesn’t look all surprised. “Whenever Teios Kyr is brought up, it’s always centered on Veronica.” “They’re like officers in their organization. The Six Fallen Archangels. We only have four of the six names. Two more are missing.” I pointed out. All three of them shuddered at the name. “They have been deceiving us all this time and they’re probably expanding.” “It’s possible that she had set the attention on her so it would drown all the smaller things that needs to be kept in the dark.” Morsus suggested. Ven just nodded at the idea. “She may have built a lot of connections everywhere while taking away everyone’s focus. The Black Sorceress played us.” “She made herself an effective smokescreen. That means it’s far from over. I think we should regroup with Reizal as soon as we can.” Ven stated. Morsus and I followed with a silent acknowledgment. “I’m still wondering how Israfil knows a lot of things about Teios Kyr.” “No idea.” I shrugged. “Maybe the Black Sorceress gave a huge villainous monologue before killing them all off. Go watch some movies back at home. They do it all the time.” The young prince just gazed at me warily. His gray eyes were inquisitive. It tried to poke holes all over me. Studied my facial expression carefully. Then he looked away as soon as my lips slowly curled into a frown. But before I could say more, the pain shot up by a dozen doses. The next thing I knew was that I fell to the floor. My whole skull started to feel numb. Even my eyesight was a blur. Everyone got surprised and called for my name. Surprisingly, Prince Zein was the first person to come to my aid. “They need at least ten thousand people for the Soul Bridge Ritual.” I groaned bitterly. My head was still ringing from the madness caused by the ache. All of them looked at me with a troubled face. “How on earth did Israfil knew all of this? No wonder why Teios Kyr checked right away if he has awakened. I think Israfil could seriously screw up their timeline.” Everyone’s worry for me was quickly thrown aside. Even the prince slightly lost his composure from the initial shock. The glint in his eyes momentarily faded. Then he pulled himself together as he helped me back to my chair. “That information is indeed disturbing.” Prince Zein lamented. His eyes were thoughtful mixed with a pang of anxiety. “Sadly, we do not have any conclusive evidence that all of what you said is true. I will give you the benefit of the doubt but there is no actionable proof you have that your Council can support.” “He’s right.” Ven confirmed. “There is no way that the High Praetor would give us military support for wherever this attack would be.” “Maybe they will attack the Capital directly. At the same time, they will send their experimental weapons to test against it. Samael summoned another ally to ensure the benefits and cover a lot of ground.” Prince Zein suggested. “It would be killing two birds with one stone. A showcase of their forces so that the Council of Mir’Quies would take their threat more seriously.” “It fits.” Morsus noted. “If that’s the case then I would have to inform my father about this. I am sorry, my friend. I regret that I would have to break my promised silence about it.” Prince Zein said bitterly. “But if Teios Kyr are making so much effort to make a loud noise over an experiment then that means they still have more plans to execute. I can promise that my sources about this knowledge will still be dealt under that oath of confidence.” “Perfectly understandable, Your Highness.” Ven replied. “The threat is already growing as the weeks pass. It should have been taken seriously to begin with. But I thank you for not letting them know of our timely defiance here.” “We are all imperfect beings.” The young prince bemoaned. “It’s just sad that the adults would rather have qualms among themselves than be vigilant towards the present evil of this time.” “I still get the feeling that we’re missing something.” I interrupted. The others didn’t say a word. But with their serious face and lack of relief had shown me that they agree with their sentiment. “I am just not convinced.” “Likewise.” Morsus agreed. His fingers were tapping madly at the edge of the table. “First, Gyroseus has a huge land area. It will take a lot of military force to cover all of the checkpoints. Not to mention the capital has the most powerful Knights. It’s an experiment so they are not expecting to win. They just want information.” The three of us just nodded at his direction. “Second, there are Rune Mages that are living in the capital. They are not part of the military force but they are still extremely useful in case of emergencies. Most of us know how to erect a powerful protective barrier and set up a mass teleporting spell.” Morsus continued. There was a smile at the corner of his lips. It was a smirk of pride. “Lastly, we need to cross out the prince’s suggestion that they want to make a loud noise. I think the attack on the capital is just a ruse. Experimental weapons can be dispensable. Their real concern is the Soul Bridge. We were not supposed to know how it is done so it has to happen somewhere far from the distraction.” “Therefore, they won’t attempt to start the Soul Bridge Ritual in Zidania.” Ven concluded. “They will attack it but just to test the experimental weapons. Their real target is somewhere else.” “Ergo, another place will be attacked.” Prince Zein added. He looked like he was almost sulking. “The idea that Samael will be bringing a prominent mage within Teios Kyr supports that.” “The question still stands.” Morsus interrupted. His eyes determined. “Where would they find ten thousand people to offer to this ritual?” “Let’s try to list down everything they need so we can narrow down our choices.” Prince Zein suggested. Despite being the youngest, I was quite in awe at how he could keep taking charge of the conversation. “First clue is there should be a lot of people. You don’t see ten thousand people gathered for no reason.” “Second, no military force should be able to respond quickly and intervene while they are completing the ritual.” Ven was the next to suggest. His blue eyes were intense. “They might do this swiftly and silently.” “Third, it has to be a smaller space. You mentioned that a huge land area would prove hard for them to fulfill the rituals quickly.” I said. Ven silently nodded at my idea. “A huge stadium or a social gathering should have a lot of people. But I couldn’t think of any place since I am not familiar with your world’s territory.” A pause among the four of us dawned. “Fourth, it’s a place that Teios Kyr has been watching for some time.” Morsus added. His breaking of the silence made us feel closer to the conclusion that we were waiting four. “It’s more strategic if they are familiar with the place.” “What else?” Ven asked. “We have room for one more suggestion.” “I think it should also be a place that the Council of Mir’Quies wouldn’t really care about.” Prince Zein proposed. It was the bitter truth. “If they attacked a place that is beyond their scope of power then retaliation wouldn’t be expected from the horrors that would follow.” “I don’t think they would attack Fuhrstenvald.” Morsus analyzed. He went on tapping the edge of the table with his fingers. “Even so, they have sent a representative to be their Seno Legatos. They respect the Council of Mir’Quies. I hate to admit it but that isolated country still have an ounce of diplomacy.” “I’m still confused about what those councils are.” I said. “The Qirian Council is the ruling authority over the Federation of Zidania.” Ven explained. “They are composed of six powerful mages from chosen noble families. Each member or Praetor represents each of the Six Houses. Israfil, Rei and I are part of Noble Families that they get chosen from.” “And the Council of Mir’Quies is a small council that represents each of the six countries. The Seno Legatos is a title for each of the diplomats that embody the will of each of their country.” Prince Zein added. “I heard stories about your world. I think you could compare them to the United Nations.” “What are the six countries?” I asked further. “The Federation of Zidania then the large anarchistic island of Teutesus located at the south composed the Continent of Vuesvarde.” The young prince answered. “My country, the Kingdom of Sevel, and the Qah’livan Kingdom south of ours compose the Continent of Midvarde. Lastly, we are located in the western part of the Empire of Shintotsukawa. Then there is a separate island called the Republic of Fuhrstenvald that composes the Continent of Isvarde. However, there are smaller Protectorates under some of those countries. Any questions?” “None, Your Highness.” Then I shook my head. “Sorry for the interruption.” “Don’t be ashamed of having a curious mind.” He replied with a smile. The young prince had really impressed me within a small span of time. “If the only the circumstances weren’t so dire then I’d love to have you visit our kingdom. I would love to give you a tour and introduce you to our culture. Shall we continue?” “Based on all the suggestions that we laid on the table, we could cross out all six of the Altimereaean countries.” Morsus said. “The only alternative left is Earth.” Ven concluded. My fist clenched on its own at the thought of his suggestion. “If they attack Earth and started killing humans, it wouldn’t be much of a fight. They have no means of defending themselves from magic. It will be a huge massacre.” “No way.” I gasped. It dawned in my mind. The horror was splattered all over my face. All the suggestions we listed pointed to that one single event. And the sight of a bloody field invaded my imagination. Tears suddenly formed at the corner of my eyes. “They wouldn’t dare!” “What’s on your mind, my friend?” The young prince asked. His voice was piqued with curiosity and worry. “Do tell.” I looked at them with dread. “They’re going to attack the Black Daze Fair.”
  6. “Have you received it?” Dylan asked me excitedly. A sly grin was on his boyish face. It was a rare thing to see his eyes glinting. I almost laughed at his lack of composure. “I’m sure you’ll be the first one to get it.” “Yeah. I did.” I replied. Then checked at my side to see a curious look coming from Anya. Although, it was normal of her to give is silent stares. “I can’t show it to you guys yet. Sorry. I promised my dad.” “That’s okay.” Dylan assured me with a goofy grin. “We’ll see each other in the Black Daze fair anyway.” Anya shifted uncomfortably in her seat and started fidgeting her phone. “What’s up with the two of you?” I asked. “Nothing!” Dylan snapped but there was a slight blush on his face. My eyes narrowed at his sudden lie. “”Where’s Jaden and Caitlyn anyway? It’s not like them to miss out our lunch period. Even Ven is not around lately.” “Yeah.” I agreed. I looked around but there was just a bunch of noisy bully students like Eric Coulson and Miles Scott. Both of them were pretty terrible people that would try to mess with us every once in a while. “That is kind of weird.” “Don’t forget it’s someone’s very important day tomorrow.” Dylan said. Then Anya took out a small gift from her pocket. She was sort of bragging it that she already had a gift for Jaden. “He’ll be turning fourteen tomorrow.” “Right. He will be sulking for weeks if we forgot about it.” I chuckled. It dawned on me that I didn’t have anything yet for him. What’s worse is he’ll be really angry at me because I totally forgot about it. “Remember a couple of years ago that we pulled off a surprise for him? He was so mad because he thought no one remembered!” The three of us laughed at the memory. We were still sixth graders back then and Jaden was about to cry before we pulled off the surprise. He was very sensitive when it comes to his birthday. It was probably because it was also his birthday when they learned that his dad was cheating on his mother. Jaden was always determined to only make happy memories for his birthdays since then. It was one of the things that he opened up to me. I just felt bad that it had completely eluded my mind. It was going to be a big fight if I didn’t get him at least something. That needy best friend of mine can be such a douche when it comes to birthdays. But it was quite understandable. “Do you know what’s up with him lately?” Dylan suddenly asked. Even Anya gave me a serious look. Fully intent on listening if I had any idea on what’s really happening. I was almost caught off guard. “I’m kind of worried.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “He’s more aloof than usual. I’ve never seen Jaden drowning in his own thoughts before.” Dylan replied. And it had hurt me to hear Jaden being described that way. It was clearly not the person we enjoy being with. “He’s barely making any jokes. Even Caitlyn is worried for him. It’s like Jaden turned from an extrovert into an introvert in a snap of a finger.” “Are you sure you’re not a psychologist?” I chuckled. But Dylan slightly shook his head. Even Anya frowned at me for taking it as a joke. Both of them were quite serious about it. “Fine. I’m sorry. I thought I could lighten things up.” “Jaden is bothered by something.” Anya softly chirped. Her emerald eyes spoke volumes about it. Dylan and I were surprised that she would express it verbally. Both of them were seriously anxious. “I really thought it was just a bad day or something. Looks like it’s already getting out of hand.” I explained. Anya just looked at me like I was a hypocrite. “But if it’s already worrisome then I’ll try to talk to him. Maybe I could sort things out for Jaden.” “Thanks, Chance. You’re the person who knows him the most.” Dylan smiled warmly. If only he knew how correct he was. It was followed by a reassuring clap on my shoulder. “Don’t forget, I’m always here for either of you. For everyone. And don’t forget to give him something cool.” “I’ll surely do that.” I grinned. We went forth to eat our lunch. After a few minutes, the bell rang. The rest of the day zipped away. Jaden, Ven and I were together during our last subject. As Dylan mentioned, Jaden was indeed silent and aloof. Ven on the other hand was playing along as if nothing happened. I tried to talk to the blonde boy but he was pretty evasive. After the last period, they just vanished before I could catch up to them. I quickly strolled through the hallways and see if I would be able to catch them. But Jaden wasn’t in his locker. Neither was available. It was weird because Jaden was nowhere to be found after walking around. And so was Ven. Celine was probably with her boyfriend again so I didn’t attempt to give her a call. I was able to catch a glimpse of Anya and Dylan while in the hallways. But neither of them saw Jaden nor Ven. They haven’t seen Caitlyn either. We just wondered where those three had gone off to. “I’ll make sure to call you if I ever see any of them.” Dylan assured me. Since I didn’t have any choice, I decided to walk home by myself. But before I even got to stroll down the road for a hundred meters, I already saw a familiar face standing in the distance. To make things worse, he was waiting for me to pass by. It was none other than the man who choked the neck of my best friend the first time we met. Truly unforgettable. Truly infuriating. “We need to talk.” Rei stated. But I just passed by him and ignored the guy. However, he ran up to me and stopped right in front of my way. “I have nothing to say to you. So, get lost!” I snapped then walked around him and continued my walk home. “I know I stepped beyond my boundaries here but please listen.” The man pleaded. “All I have ever done is to make sure that this mission is a success. And I will sacrifice everything I have to make sure the Black Sorceress stay dead.” “Stepped beyond your boundaries? You call that stepping beyond your god damn boundaries?” I snapped. “Wrap it around your head that what you did was attempt to violate my basic human rights. If you could do that in your world then I don’t really care. However, I’m afraid you will get imprisoned for a long time if you do that here. And don’t you dare talk about sacrifice.” Rei was still silent. No reply or whatsoever. “If you’re going to sacrifice something you have then that’s fine with me.” I grumbled on. “But leave my friends and I out of your list of goats to slaughter!” “Please! Listen to me, Chance. Let me explain!” Rei pleaded further. But what he did was beyond horrifying. “I am well aware that you—“ “Shut it! I have no interest in your lousy excuses!” I quipped harshly. But the man remained calm. Tears had already started to well up in my eyes. And I was sure that Rei had already took notice of it. “Do you have any idea what it did to my best friend? He’s losing his mind!” “Again,” The man urged on. “I am so so—“ “Sorry?” I snapped. Then started to walk faster away from him. “I don’t think you have the least idea of what it means to be sorry. “Fine. I don’t need you to forgive me. What matters is Israfil is still safe inside you.” He replied as he started walking with me from behind. “But rest assured you and your friends will still be protected. You’ve already been dragged and we still don’t know how Samael wants to play this out. Just promise me you won’t do something stupid.” “Whatever.” I grumbled. “And promise me you’ll take care of Israfil.” He added. “He’s all I have left.” I was caught off guard with that. Sometimes, I would forget Rei was still a person. He was from another dimension but he was still a person altogether. What Morsus told me before should have gave me an idea that he, too, knew what it felt like to lose someone. He’s all I have left. It resonated with me. More than I could ever admit. The thought of protecting my loved ones put a heavy toll on a kid like me. I decided to call Jaden but he didn’t answer. I was directed to his voicemail so I opted to leave a message for him. [Hey dummy. Call me when you get this.] I started walking towards home again. When I put back my phone in my pocket, I noticed Morsus crossing the street to meet me. He looked a bit more relaxed compared to the last time I saw him. His strawberry blonde hair was messy as usual. “Are you sure you want to be seen with me?” I asked. But based on his poker face, he wasn’t anxious at all. “Rei might question your loyalty or something.” “Just walk with me.” He admonished. His brat-like voice was featured. “Rei may have control over Israfil’s situation but he knows I won’t play by the rules all the time.” “Okay. Fine. I get it.” I replied. Then we turned around at corner that directs away from home. My brows raised at where he was leading me. But I didn’t have any plans to antagonize him yet. “He doesn’t really look like he’s in control of the situation. We don’t know where are enemies are or how they will attack. And then we don’t know how to awaken Israfil for good!” “He’s more aware of what’s happening than what you think he is. I know you’re angry with him and he seemed to keep stepping on the wrong foot every time he would attempt not to antagonize you. But his heart is in the right place.” The boy replied. He brushed his hair out of his face that seemed to irritate him. “Rei is not always around because he’s constantly on the move throughout Altimereaea. He should be heading to the Empire of Shintotsukawa. It’s in the Isvardian Continent and he was able to gain diplomatic immunity thanks to the Qirian Council. I heard he got some good intel on Teios Kyr’s next move.” “And what about Israfil?” I asked. “He has already resigned to let things happen naturally.” Morsus frowned. I noticed that he momentarily clenched his fist. “I had to talk him down because what he planned to do with Estelle was wrong. He’ll stick to the original plan in terms of awakening Israfil.” “Okay.” I quipped. The topic about Rei should be dropped. “What are you planning anyway? I need to meet up with Jaden.” “Do you want a test drive?” Morsus asked. His tone sounded so innocent but straight-forward. Almost like dropping facts. “We can try somewhere with no people. I think the place where I introduced you to my friend would be a safe zone. Not even Ven knows about it.” “What do you mean by that?” I replied with a question. But there was a pause as we walked down the street. He was in some sort of deep contemplation. Yet no conclusive response was given. “Hey!” “Your new powers.” The little boy replied. I fell silent after he said that. It was true. I still didn’t know what the extent of what was given to me by that mysterious being inside Morsus. Whatever it was, its presence had still left me shaken. “I assume that you will be able to help me access it since you have the same thing on your palm.” I said. Then I inspected my palm curiously. With a little bit of avroi, the mark appeared at the center of it. My hand suddenly felt heavy with power that my body started to tremble. “This thing. It scares me.” “Wrong.” He quipped. “I honestly don’t know what kind of powers you have been given. That thing gave me access to monstrous amounts of avroi to give me so much spells at my disposal. But yours seem to have a different function.” “How could you tell?” I asked. “I can check it for you if you want. Let me take a look at it.” He urged. Then he held my hand and brought it between us. Our palms we side to side with each others, both marks were exposed. Both had the same specific mysterious alphabet in our palms. Morsus closed his eyes and his fingers moved to draw some sort of his glyphs as he cast a spell. “Alithimateia!” He opened his right eye that suddenly turned into silvery white. His sclera was sort of glowing but his iris and pupils had a brighter light. The avroi inside the mark was urging to explode. It felt so heavy as if a dam was able to collapse. After a few seconds, Morsus’s eye returned to normal. “What you did was freaky and amazing.” I commended. The boy motioned us to keep walking further. There were some people around checking us out. Probably wondering why a couple of boys stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to look at their palms. “But I hope it gave you some answers.” “It had the same avroi signature. Everything was the same.” He replied. His face was frowning slightly. Almost like a spoiled anrgy kid who didn’t get his way. It was sort of funny to look at but I wasn’t about to pop the chance to see his less aggressive side. “But I could tell that the way it affects your body is different than mine.” “But it’s the same mark.” I pointed out. The mysterious mark was starting to freak me out. My imagination was getting the best of me. And that last thing I wanted was to turn into a giant housefly when I’m sleeping. Of course, that was an impossible thought. “There shouldn’t be much of a difference when its put in use, right?” “Wrong again!” The boy hissed. “For a person who is the vessel for someone as honorable and heroic as Israfil, you’re a huge disappointment. My dog could have done better critical thinking than that.” I just rolled my eyes at his snarky comments. “It’s just the same on the outside because that the main inscription of a magical formula that holds the mark altogether. Think of it as a signature that binds the contract and puts it into play.” The boy started explaining. But his tone was very cold and calculating. “However, just because you put in the same signature doesn’t mean that it pertains to the very same contract.” The two of us just kept walking. And the direction was the abandoned place where the mark was given. I was already decided to play along with Morsus. And I am more than curious to know what the power upholds. “That mark on your palm is just the doorway of its true powers. It extends inside your arms then to your shoulder. And then it chains itself to your heart before it is embedded to your core which is the main source of our avroi.” Morsus started explaining. He was like a mini-professor as he did so. “The inscription of magical formula in those chains are different compared to mine. After I was able to get my mark, I scanned it right away to see. That means it would create a different effect compared to mine.” “What does it do then?” I asked. “Not entirely sure.” He concluded. “The inscriptions used for the formula don’t have an Altimeraean origin. I can only assume that it’s coming from a different dimension. There are books about it in some of the libraries of Solus Magus. But I don’t have the clearance to access those.” “For a smug brat like you, I think you’re as much of a disappointment as me.” I groaned. It was a joke but I was not sure if he was going to take it seriously. Morsus seemed like the type of kid without any sense of humor. “I was actually anticipating that you have some answers.” “That’s why I told you that we need to test it to be sure. Do you really think I would completely trust that being inside of me?” Morsus objected. His high pitched voice was almost a growl. “I will make sure that Israfil’s soul will be well-looked for and things like these aren’t necessarily safe. They’re for drastic measures!” “But still, what you’re demanding isn’t necessarily safe.” I said. We were already in the abandoned spot. “Ven isn’t here to stop us. We might seriously hurt each other this time.” “Are you afraid a small kid will beat your ass this time?” The boy gloated. I found it even more irritating that he was able to say that with a poker face. “I would have beaten you if Ven didn’t intervene.” “Not one bit.” I grinned. Both of us were in the middle of abandoned field. “Apallatherosi!” Morsus commanded. He raised his palm and the mysterious mark appeared. Slowly, some sort of writings slithered from within the marking and crawled all over his arm. The boy was a shirt so I got to see it extend up to under his sleeves. “Now, try it.” “Apallatherosi!” I chanted. The spell easily rolled of my tongue even if it was the first time I heard it. It was as if some dormant knowledge within me helped me activate it. Then my hand started to shake. Avroi suddenly rushed coming from the mark and the next thing I knew was that half of my body was covered in tattoo. I gawked at the denser markings that wrapped my whole arms. “What the hell?” “Interesting.” Morsus scoffed. Then he started drawing some glyphs in the air and fired a barrage of spells. “Exaclismus. Roie. Petra Estimatia.” His arms wove like a delicate dance as water suddenly was drawn from the grass around him. They immediately dried up and died. It gathered into a pool of floating water than acted like mirror before it turned into ice. Morsus easily made a makeshift mirror out of natural resources. Then I saw myself on the mirror. The markings extended up to my neck area. I even peeked inside my shirt to see the markings extended to my upper core area and my chest. There were a lot of tiny writings on it but my skin was so covered with it I could barely see my flesh. Yet the thing that shocked me the most were my right eye. The sclera had turned black and my right eye was a demonic hue of red. My pupil even turned into slit like a snake’s. “Holy crap.” I gasped. Then Morsus snapped his finger and the frozen mirror turned back into water before splashing onto the ground. His gaze never left me. The boy chanted the same spell and one of his eyes started to glow silver. “I don’t think this is Israfil’s power anymore!” “I’ll come at you!” Morsus declared. Then he lifted his hand to draw a quick spell. “Rych Rohibius!” The next thing I saw was he blinked right infront of me with his fist closed and ready to punch me. My reflex kicked in and tried to catch the incoming blow from his fist. Since his hand was pretty smaller, I was able to completely catch it. “Astra Ecruenti!” The boy chanted. As soon as his punch connected with my palm, there was a small explosion in my hands. Sparks blasted everywhere. But I didn’t feel pain at all so I immediately gripped his hand and threw him away. Morsus was just as surprised as I was though. The boy wasn’t all that heavy but I would never have the physical capacity to throw him beyond a dozen feet! And to do it with one arm was just beyond surprising. Yet before he could be thrown so far away he had his next spell ready. “Aneodragmus!” Morsus suddenly jolted from one spot in the air to the next spot. He kept landing from one invisible wall to another like a ball bouncing inside a small dome. I tried to have him within my sights but he was moving around so fast. He would even taunt me by landing just right behind me. I tried to swing my arm at him to my defense but he was too damn fast. The spell he used last time helped him move at blinding speeds gave him the advantage just like last time. Then he landed at least thirty meters behind me with a hand raised. I turned around to see him already finished casting his glyphs. “Zematisima!” The boy chanted and some sort of symbol around the area suddenly sparked into bright lights that blazed into huge flames. They were placed on the spots he landed. I looked around to see dozens of fireballs surrounded me like an enclosed dome. Very similar to the tactic I used in our last fight. “Chreosa Arpagia!” All the flames charged simultaneously towards me. What’s worse was that it slowly heated up further and the red-orange flames blazed into blue ones. Before I could react, Morsus snapped his fingers. “Alysidio Schimatimo!” Black chains were suddenly wrapped around my arms and body coming from the spot where he landed before. It was not to taunt me but to plant another spell only to be activated at the very last second. I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening. Morsus was right. He could have defeated me if he really wanted to. The boy was trained to be one of the most powerful kind of mages in all of Altimeraea. He had the capability to move around fast. Then he could delay the activation of offensive spells at the same time prepare a snare so the target wouldn’t be able to move. He had the mobility, the disabling ability and the firepower to blast the enemy into oblivion. And he was doing all that to test my newfound power. A sharp pain was emitted by my mark and a spell was whispered to my ear. I felt my body was charged up with so much energy that continuous amplified as the dozens of giant fireballs were about to toast me into burnt meat. It felt like I was lifting a 400 pound bag and my whole body was tensed from carrying the load. In my head, I let go of the bag. All the tension went lose. And a powerful blast of avroi erupted inside of me. It created a repulsive force that blasted away the chains along with huge balls of flames. They were all swept away and a reversal of trajectory happened. Morsus disabled the spell before it ignited the whole neighborhood. In one snap of a finger, all the flames dissipated in mid-air. Meanwhile, I was on my knees and gasping of air. The boy approached me as I slowly stood up and looked at him with an annoyed face. “You almost killed me!” “I could disable that magic at the very last second if you were not able to defend yourself. But you did.” The red-head boy chuckled but it was still more of a gloat. “Congrats. Our little baby is learning to walk on his own.” “I still don’t know why we had to do that.” I huffed. Morsus just looked bored and exhaled silently. The markings on the right side of his body “That was overkill, damn it!” “I needed to put you in a life or death scenario so you can intuitively use that power. The pressure is often helpful for mages to access more of their magic and use it appropriately.” Morsus explained. “But at least we learned two things. One, it gave you so much raw avroi to be able to deflect so much spells at once. Second, it also gave you superhuman durability as well as superhuman strength. That’s already a huge advantage against other mages.” “I didn’t know you could pull so much firepower out of your ass.” I whined. It appeared that his goal was clearly met. “I almost turned into a pile of charcoal!” “Now try to contain your power into the seal.” He admonished. His hands were on his waist and looked as if he was going to beat me to a pulp. Even if I was a few inches taller than him. “Try to inhale and exhale properly. And make sure you won’t use it by accident. The last thing we need is Rei breathing down our necks because you used unfamiliar magic.” I followed his instructions and that was when I noticed there were a lot of tensed muscles on the right side of my body. As I breathed, I envisioned my avroi inisde me pushing back the darkness that conquered the right side of my body. It was like someone else was with me inside my own head and I was trying to put it to sleep. Slowly, my muscles relaxed and I could see the tiny markings slowly retracting back to the center of my palm. However, it left my right arm a bit sore. Almost like the day after doing some heavy lifting in the gym. I stretched my arm and waved it around. But I just ended up wincing in pain. “Pussy.” Morsus spat. There was a smile at the corner of his mouth. But before I could say something, he turned his head around. Then that was when I saw Ven walking towards us. He seemed to be serious and was about “What on earth are you two doing?” He demanded. First was Dylan. Then it was Ven who slightly lost composure today. “I was in our house and I practically felt the unleashing of avroi in this place. Both of you need to be careful. I actually thought you two were attacked or something.” “Sorry mom.” I chuckled. “We’ll be very careful next time.” Ven looked around and I could tell he was trying to sense something. There were part of the field that were singed with the flames Morsus threw at me. “What happened here?” “We had a rematch.” I scoffed. “It happened pretty quickly.” “And I won.” The boy retorted. “It was an easy win.” “You threw a ruckus just to have a rematch?” Ven shook his head. He looked like an irritated older brother. And he also looked liked he was about to blast us with a lightning spell. “You two are crazy.” “If I was in a danger of being attacked anytime, then why is it that I didn’t have more protection?” I asked. Ven’s annoyance was quickly flushed out of his face. “Not that I want to sound more demanding. It doesn’t make sense if Israfil’s intel is too crucial.” Morsus and Ven just looked at each other. Their faces were suddenly sullen and serious. All of Morsus’ gloating vanished. Then the blond haired boy just nodded at the other. “Good question.” Ven just pointed out. “That’s because they didn’t really have a huge interest with you.” “Why did he show up right away after you made contact with me? He almost tried to kill me.” I retorted. Of course, I wouldn’t forget the freaky encounter and a quick skirmish in the middle of the street. “Then there was this freak who can make me see things in my head.” “He just wanted to test you.” Morsus replied. “After gauging you, they must have realigned their priorities.” “Their activities had dropped significantly for the past few months. But they will try to show a bit of movement every now and then just to let the Council know that they are still out there.” Ventus explained. “From the looks of it, they are still a threat. Israfil’s existence still is, too. But Samael must have obtained a crucial milestone for their plans. All their movements point to their confidence.” “But the presence of Abraxas and his Night Dwellers in the nearby towns would have meant something.” Morsus suggested. Ven and I nonchalantly took note of his observation. “And that something would include bad news.” “There are also rumors that they are building small camps all over the State but we still haven’t pinned them down. No conclusive evidence had shown it.” Ven added. Then he motioned us to start walking home. “ “Because they have an interest in this place.” I concluded. The three of us fell silent. “That means they are still interested in Chance.” Morsus pointed out. “If they want to take out Israfil then they could have killed me by now. No offense but you have been indirectly telling me all this time that this enemy is beyond more than what you guys can handle.” I stated. Coldly I might add. It seemed to upset Ven a little bit though. “That means that they want Israfil alive, too.” “How could we have missed that?” Ven gulped. “He is right.” Morsus said bitterly. “Shit!” “And when we found you, we led them straight to you.” Ven echoed. His face was trying not to contort itself from his frustration. “Rei was so pressured to revive Israfil as soon as he can. And he was just heading to what Samael really wanted.” “He needs to know about this.” I said. “Rei is not one of my favorite people but Morsus is right, he was doing it for us.” “We are too late.” Morsus objected. “Rei just left for Shintotsukawa.” “That’s it. I’ve had it!” Ven almost growled. And he really sounded pissed. “We are going rogue. But we’re going somewhere else.” “What are you planning?” I asked. “I was able to hear the specific coordinates for the Qirian Council’s meeting place. And I have a good idea which days they discussed the movements of Teios Kyr. I already took notice of their meeting days when Israfil and Rei’s father was still alive.” Ven started explaining. “We’ll need to infiltrate the Citadel of Jeonnan in Shintotsukawa. And Morsus, we’ll need you to access the Room of Hoshi’therrosi. And then we’ll try to know what the Council knows!” “Do you know what you’re even talking about, Ven?” Morsus jeered. “You are talking about treason against the Council! And you’re making me violate one of the Ordinances of Solus Magus! We could be imprisoned!” Ven took a deep breath. “So be it.”
  7. “Altimeraea is beautiful.” I gasped. It’s only been a couple of hours since Eran brought me for the first time to the other world. But there was still a ringing headache because the ritual to summon us there was quite disorienting. It was like being sucked into a tiny vortex that turned my insides into some sort of moldy Italian pasta. And it felt horrible. “We have to go.” Eran said. When I looked at him, there was some sort of creature that was following him. It was some sort of horse mixed with an eagle. The thing’s front part of the body was an eagle, including its wings. And then the rear was that of a horse. “I found a shortcut to Teutesus. But we still need to travel to that Artizal.” “What on earth is that?” I exclaimed and pointed at the winged horse. The creature looked at me with those sharp eagle eyes. And it looked like it was about to peck on my face any second. “It looks angry at me for some reason. Have you already fed him?” “Relax. This is a hippogryph.” The blonde boy explained. Then I took note of the change of clothes. And everything he wore was black. From his black leather jacket, down to his dark high-cut boots. “I was able to borrow him from a partner I made a deal with a year ago. They’ll be waiting for us on the other side.” “Holy crap!” I shrieked. “It’s the hippogryph? Wait. I thought these things don’t exist! They’re mythical creatures!” “Some mythical creatures were inspired by real ones because they were seen here first.” Eran started to enlighten me. But he looked annoyed at the fact that he had to give a quick history lesson. “There are mages that didn’t settle in Altimeraea and chose to live in your world instead. However, some of their stories have inspired some people to put it in their fictitious works.” “You mean there are other mythical creatures on Earth are real?” I gasped and started to think of the wildest ones I have ever heard. “ “Just shut up and hop on it.” He commanded. “And no, the kraken is not real because it was originally something worse than that. There are sleeping titans in this world that could rip the kraken into shreds. And that movie monster called Godzilla will pale in comparison to them.” “Damn.” It was all I could say. Imagery of giant monsters had already flooded my creative head. And I looked like a fool staring into the distance. Eran just looked even more annoyed. “I couldn’t wait to share it to my friends." “You’re bound by the secrecy of this world.” He pointed out. Then I pouted at him though he was unmoved. “It’s something we need to discuss after.” “So, what about you?” I asked. “I can fly.” Eran replied then turned around to see openings on the back of his jacket where wings can freely sprout. And as he turned back to face me, both of them erupted from his back in time. His white angel wings made him look so benevolent and honorable. “I’m used to it. Hop on him before I lose my patience on you.” And I did. But I was very reluctant to ride on a creature that could shove me off anytime on its back. The hippogryph didn’t look very trustworthy. From the looks if it, it heard my thoughts and was as reluctant as I was. “Are you sure about this?” I frowned. “This is insane.” “Stop worrying and ride on it! It’s trained for things like these, okay?” Eran grumbled and already sounded pissed. And I hated to admit it but he looks cute whenever he would look pissed. Although to begin with, he’s cute in every facial expression that he would show. “We are against time. There will be lesser guards in the Citadel due to some sort of ritual on the other side of Teutesus.” We didn’t stick to any more talking and simply went on our way. As much as I hated to say it, I closed my eyes most of the time. The height was too much and I felt like I was going to throw up. There was some sort of thrill that I was able to ride on the back of some supposedly non-existent creature. The flying went on for hours. I would steal a glance on Eran who gracefully glided through the air and flew at inhumane speeds. Even I could barely see him because of the furious winds, he still looked like a mini-Adonis. I just couldn't help adore his physical perfection. He didn’t even look tired and I still haven’t seen what he could really do with his magic. Getting wings are cool. But we would need more firepower if we would be raiding a citadel. Another hour went on through the skies before we got to land on top of some mountain. There were a couple of them standing on the ground, waiting for us to land. Both were men around their mid 20’s. And both of them had a slim and lanky build. “Meet Isvar Shatosh and Marsdon Letha’as.” Eran introduced. His voice was emotionless which was already a give away they he didn’t know both men personally. “They’re mercenaries for hire but I got to convince them to be pro bono since they are willing to do anything to take down the Black Sorceress. Marsdon is a former Rytier here in Zidania and a member of two Houses—the Kaizer and the Yeter’el. Isvar, on the other hand, is a mage from Qidrah who specializes in negating magical attacks.” Both of them were wearing the same color themes but both also had less leather on them. However, Isvar had a lot of knives and other projectile weaponries all over his clothes. There was even a couple of short swords strapped to his back. I wasn’t sure what it was for but mages don’t usually fight with bladed weapons. I just gave him a funny look before Eran approach them. “We still have a good distance to cover. Let’s just get this over with.” The four of us started to walk and a cave sprung into view on the side of the mountain. We went inside and Marsdon used his magic to summon a huge ball of flame that hovered over this hand. It served as our torch as we went deeper into the opening. And at the end of the tunnel was a huge naturally-made dome with a pedestal in the middle. It was on an elevated platform that had weird markings all around. “Good job on finding this.” Eran commented. “It wasn’t easy.” Isvar grumbled. “I had to corner a few people to make sure it was legitimate. It seems that this Artizal is being used by some people from the Ministry of Solus Magus to go directly to M’Vokagola. And you know how much they hold on to their secrets.” “How did you manage to extract it out of them?” Eran asked. “It went bloody.” The man shrugged. His voice was deep and intimidating. “And it took a while before they spat out the necessary combinations to use this portal.” The four of us stepped into platform and Isvar navigated the pedestal. There were markings all over it. The small tower-like marble contraption were divided into segments that could be rotated. As soon as Isvar aligned the proper components, it started to shake. Everything aside the platform faded and the cave vanish. It was replaced by the view of the clear sky. We were suddenly transported to a middle of some forest. Isvar scanned the area and saw some old tracks that were used. He crouched to some seemingly random spot to inspect closer. “This way.” The man directed. Then he took a couple of throwing knives and hurled it to few spots around the pedestal. “It’s a day old and I don’t see any other fresh tracks so we’re in the clear.” We just nodded at each other in silence and kept on walking for a couple more hours. Isvar took the lead while Eran and Marsdon were guarding the rear. I was on the middle because I had the least experience when it comes to fighting. We were already in hostile territory, after all. Everyone stayed quiet. My palms were sweaty and my stomach was churning into some awful dance. I would quickly jerk my line of vision from left to right as if someone would attack us at any second. But after an hour of waling through the trail, nothing really abnormal happened. At the end of the trek was a hill that oversees huge plains beyond it. “We’re here. This will be our exit point.” Eran announced. Then he turned to our other two companions. “As soon as we got out, you know what to do.” With their commands given, they started to walk away. “Wait!” I quipped. Then I ran up to them before showing them a secret I was supposed to save for later on. There were only a few doses that I concocted during my short experiments with Isis. In each of my palms was a small viper that were wrapped around my fingers. “Just in case. They’re friendly and I think they’ll be handy for a worse case scenario.” “How can that be trustworthy?” Marsdon questioned. “I was able to create a venom that can induce a curse. You can put them in your pocket and they will stay hibernated. Just feed them a bit of avroi to wake them up and they will bite your hand.” I replied. Isvar took the viper reluctantly into his side pocket. Marsdon had no choice but to do the same after getting some sort of look from Eran. “That curse can temporarily amplify your physical and magical abilities. Use it as a last resort.” With that, they both left. Then I summoned a couple more vipers and dropped them silently to the ground. That way, I had eyes to check for our exit point. “Looks like you did your cramming for your finals well.” Eran said. “I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve.” I replied. “But I have a couple of other experimental things I got to do with Isis. It’s not yet finished but it should do a fair job if things go bad. I just haven’t seen them yet if used.” “We need to be careful once we cross to the other side.” Eran warned. But I was at loss because he stared into the empty plains again that were a few hundred feet away. The boy didn’t wait any further and started to walk towards the plain. So, I made a funny look in the direction he was looking at. There was nothing before us except a huge piece of land. The place was quiet and eerie. To make things worse, I just noticed that it was actually some sort of cemetery as we walked closer. “I don’t see any citadels here.” I stated. But Eran looked determined and scanned the small stone tablets that were laid everywhere. “Or any buildings for that matter.” “It’s not here.” He replied. “It would be on the other side.” “Oh. Of course.” I agreed. Then I grabbed a hold of his shoulder and we both slipped to Asphodel. But when we both checked the land before us, it was still empty and barren. Before I could speak, Eran suddenly fell on one of his knees and groaned. “Eran!” I exclaimed. He started to clutch his chest and winced in pain. Even his forehead started to sweat. His eyes were slowly turning bloodshot as if oxygen was zapped out of his body “What’s happening?” “My body feels like it’s burning!” He groaned. The boy gritted his teeth and a massive discomfort was painted on his face. “Nikki, I’m afraid we have miscalculated something.” “Why?” I asked. But he was not able to bring out any answer. The boy just gasped for air and I was already thinking if I would send him back to Altimeraea. And then it dawned on me. “Because you don’t belong in Death. Only people who have learned the basics of Necromancy can roam around here. And it will claim you for good if you stay here. I think your body is slowly dying, Eran.” “It doesn’t feel any slow at all.” He moaned. Then he closed his eyes. He activated his mark and inscription of magical formulas started to slithered like snakes around his skin. It extended from his right arm to the right side of his shoulder. And within the next few seconds, the signs of his hard breathing faded away. “That should do it.” “How did you—?” I gasped. “I learned a kind of magic that can exponentially regenerate any damages that my body takes.” He explained. “But I didn’t know I would have to start using my avroi the moment we got here.” “Then we better finish this fast.” I nodded back to him. And it gave me a peace of mind that he looked normal again. It was still at the back of my head that couldn’t drag this raid for as long as we could. “What’s next? I don’t see the citadel here that you spoke of.” “It’s most likely in the secondary layer of Asphodel.” He stated. “Are you ready to bring us there?” “Yes.” I answered and took a grab of Eran’s shoulder once again. I closed my eyes as Eran and I slowly sunk into the ground. It felt like we plunged ourselves into the ocean. But without getting wet. The next thing we knew was we were in the secondary layer of Asphodel. We both found each other laying on the ground like a starfish. I stood up first and saw the endless and expansive sea. It was like we were standing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There weren’t any waves that would toss and turn us. It was plainly calm and flat. And above the sea was the endless and expansive dark sky of the night. Everything was just dark and peaceful. Simply dead. When I checked below the surface of the water, I could see the primary layer of Asphodel that was set upside down. The secondary layer was simply an inverted sub-dimension underneath the primary layer. Just as Eran mentioned, the Citadel of M’Vokagola was an inverted building underneath the cemetery. But on that side of Asphodel, it would look like a normal castle-like building. Floating above the expansive ocean. And that was what we saw before us. I went down on one of my knees and executed a corpse-summoning ritual for different critters. A black coffin emerged from the waters and opened itself. Vipers slithered towards the citadel from the coffin. Then ravens followed after and encircled from above. After that, I sat in an Indian-stye position and pulled on my hood. Then I focused on my mental links and tried to see through the critters I had sent out to spy inside and above the citadel. In my mind’s eye, I could see all over the place and Eran waited patiently. “You’re right, there aren’t much people inside. There are only a dozen of them and I already found the Necronomicon.” I informed my companion. “It’s on the east wing of the citadel and it looks like it’s in the middle of a small dome-like enclosure. I think I’m seeing some sort of altar.” “That sounds about right.” Eran mumbled. “As planned, I’ll start blasting randomly everywhere and try to go for it as soon as you can. Then summon me to your side once we’ll be able to get away.” “Got it.” I hissed. Eran clenched his fists and white-flames erupted on both of them. He jumped into the sky and started throwing fireballs at the highest points of the Citadel. But I stayed out hundreds of feet away and summoned my small undead army. I started to use my mark and inscriptions slowly slithered through my arms. The avroi that I saved up for rushed into my body and gave me the strength to expand my summoning circle further. With that, the bodies of wights and wraiths started to materialize above the area with me in the middle. The souls of the dead had a different feel compared to the souls of the living. I was curious what made them tick but we were in the middle of a raid and I would have to answer that question some other time. I would be needing more time for experiments. As soon as their materialization was complete, they started jolting for the citadel and banged the door. Most of them had blunt weapons because I was not willing to kill any of those Necromancers outside. Knocking them out was my only goal. But my other priority is to see my experiment in action. A wraith and a wight stayed beside me and as I approached from behind, I grabbed them by the nape and had a couple of my vipers bit them. They groaned and their rotten bodies started to mutate. Both got slightly bigger and their seemingly half-dead bodies went even firmer. They were practically zombies with my specialized steroids. As Eran and my small army wreaked havoc inside, I sent out the wight with my experimental curse to test its new powers. The wraith was beside me to protect and I tried to search for a way inside the dome. From the looks of it, the door was sealed and only my critters could enter through the small spaces. And then I lost contact with a couple of vipers and a raven. The mental connection was cut. No response was returned. Eran! I called out in my head. But all I heard in my mind was a disgruntled voice. And it had me worried. I knew that Eran was a powerful mage and something inside was giving him a hard time. I will be needing to enter the Citadel after all. I think the gate to the dome is sealed. We need to drag this battle a bit so I could get inside. Go for it! I’m pinned here so tell your goons to press it further. The last thing we need is them finding out what we want! He roared. The voice in my head was a bit scruffy and animalistic. There’s a mean asshole over here that I want to blast to pieces. After that, I heard the sound of an explosion. So, I immediately connected myself to my experimental wight and commanded it to start destroying everything it sees. The wraith beside me ran forward and led the way to the dome. Then I commanded my critters to started fusing altogether into a mutated chimaera. Since animal corpses were soul-less creatures, I could have them mixed into some sort of monster. And a new breed of creature came into existence to join the fray. As I walked through the dark corridors of the Citadel, it was even bigger on the inside. I snuck around with my undead bodyguard and thankfully, there were no Necromancers that we encountered. In my head, I was able to lay out the map where I needed to go. After a few more turns, I ended up in the bridge-way towards the eastern dome. Before me was a huge door and in the middle of it was a place I could put my palm. It was then I remembered what Isis told me a couple of days before that there are some doors that only Necromancers could open. I approached the door and put my palm on the engraved space. Nothing. We have a problem. I called out to Eran. But there was no reply. So, I immediately sent a special raven to look for him. There was a special inscription inside that raven which could help me summon it to my side. The door won’t open for me. It’s not as easy as it looks. I tried to study it but before I could inspect it further, a fiery blast came at me but my wraith was able to intercept it. In that split second, I managed to dive away and summoned the Nyxian Blade to my grip. Thankfully, it was a dark corridor and my huge hoodie managed to kept most of my face hidden. In the corner of my eye, there was a tall lady at the end of the corridor. She looked like an African but her hair was silvery white. Her skin was a dark mahogany that made her look elegantly strong. The woman looked to be around here mid-30’s and looked at me curiously. Yet the corridor was dark so I couldn’t make out her physical appearance further. She started to walk towards with me a curious look. Meanwhile, my wraith was knocked on the ground and its skin was still sizzling as if the blast was made of boiling magma. Then I took my focus out on it and activated the secret trick up my sleeve—the Alazonian Curse. The wraith started to mutate and it’s skin turned into a dark bluish hue. An icy aura emerged through the corridor as the undead thing stood again. The boiling magma that left a gaping wound in the middle of its body was neutralized and the undead being slowly turned into an almost 7-foot monster of muscle. It roared with majesty as the woman stopped in her tracks. But it did the same to me, too. I did not expect the curse to be effective. Markings started to slither all over its body and huge amounts of avroi was released in the enclosed space. I stood back to my feet with my blade at the ready. The woman started to cast a spell again but my Frankenstein monster jolted for her. With one swing of its arm, the woman was jolted to nothingness. But before I could react, she suddenly appeared before me. I attempted out-maneuver her with a slash but I was suddenly blasted away to the door. My back felt like it was broken from the impact. The huge gate was a solid stone. Before I could even think of my next move, she already had summoned a blade that was about to drive itself to my chest. She was a few feet away but her movement was gracefully quick. Her feet had strutted into a dance and glided towards me with weightlessness. The woman was practically a monster. She had the firepower to blast me with powerful magic. Then she had an outstanding spell for evasive maneuvers. Yet she was also a master swordsman all at the same. And most of all, she was still doing all of that as if she was walking in the park. The tip of the blade was almost to my chest when she vanished again. My wraith had swung its arm sideways and she managed to evade it at the last second. I stood back up to my feet but when I looked at my one and only ally, both of its arms fell of and turned into a mush of flesh. Then the curse took into place and the huge holes where the arms were ripped off started to regenerate quickly. Two muscular pairs of arms emerged from the body and the woman who was suddenly a dozen feet away tilted her head in curiosity. “You have a curious pet.” She said. Her voice was soft but icy. Claws started to emerged from my wraith’s fingers and growled furiously at her. “I have never met a talented young Necromancer.” I refused to reply. Then the other wight with the same curse appeared on the other end of the corridor. Bat-like wings erupted on its back and the head had grown horns. As I expected, the mutations were random and designed to adapt to whatever wound was given to them. The woman was in the middle of both monstrosities. She sighed in frustration in raised her thin rapier-like blade. Her form was fencer’s and would rely on agile strikes to vital points. My pets were slower than her but she could not afford a mistake or else they will have a chance to strike her with a deadly blow. That was when it dawned on me. Only Necromancers could open it because they had the touch of death. I ran for the door and used the avroi in my mark to send it over to the engraved spot. But I closed my eyes and remembered the feeling of how I would push myself into the realm of Asphodel from my own realm. The stone door started to absorb my hand as if it was an opening to another dimension, the same way how I would slip into Asphodel. Markings started to appear all over the wall and expanded throughout. Certain glyphs activated and it started to grumble. The woman rushed towards me. She managed to teleport but was stopped when the wight managed to get ahold of her leg. Its wings gave it a huge speed boost to catch up to her. My enemy’s blade was just a foot away from the back of my head. With a satisfying crunch over her bones, she was hurled to the far end of the corridor. But she was still able to cast another spell and a lightning blast erupted everywhere. The walls came down and we were suddenly exposed to the outside of the Citadel. Its ceiling fell on us and my wraith managed to come quickly to my aid and guarded me from falling debris. The other Necromancers jumped to the rescue and with the seemingly impossible timing, the door finally opened. I was surrounded so I went inside the dome. But the other Necromancers knew the secrets of their own home base and started teleporting inside with me. Two of my best weapons had to hold down the woman who was our biggest threat. And I was surrounded with at least five enemies, not yet counting the undead they have started to summon. A blast came from the ceiling and Eran shot inside. He landed a couple of feet away from me and looked different. The boy was glowing. His hair was golden light and his blue eyes were further electrifying. The black markings turned into golden marks and white flames danced on his skin. Even the black leather he was wearing turned white from the glow. He looked nothing short of glorious. An angel of light. What on earth were those monsters outside? He asked in my thoughts. Eran clenched his fists and a mix of flames and lightning erupted further from his arms. I saw the Necromancers stepping a bit back and were reconsidering their attacks. They’re my experiments. I replied as I stabbed my Nyxian Blade into the ground. A ritual circle expanded and more of my undead started to materialize. And I could still produce a couple more. I just need you to pin down a couple of them and bring them to me. Bad news. Eran hissed in my head. The enemies also retorted to summoning more allies to their side. Two armies started to emerge within the dome. We’re surrounded. Where? I asked. Their reinforcements arrived. The boy said bitterly. We don’t have a way out. But it’s not yet over. I concluded as I stared at our goal. The Necronomicon was resting in the middle of the dome as if it was some sort of religious artifact.. Pretty much. Eran groaned. I’ll try to get you a couple of them. One of their undead creatures started to run towards us and the skirmish inside the dome ensued. It was like a miniature war as blades and hammers tried to strike its intended enemies. With the Nyxian Blade in my grip, I was able to slash my through towards the goal. A couple of Necromancers got there first though. From afar, I could hear the roars of my two other experimental weapons trying to fend off the woman. Explosions could also be heard from the outside and I noticed that more Necromancers have arrived. We were losing the battle of attrition because it was two against an army of Necromancers. Eran and I had the advantage against the enemies because we had more firepower. But they had compensated it with sheer numbers. Before I could step further, a couple of bodies was dropped by my feet and my ally was flying above me. I immediately grabbed them by their necks and my vipers slithered around them from my arm. The vipers bit the Necromancers at the same time. Thanks to Isis' mentorship, I managed to revise a bit of my mark's inscription and aligned it with the same summoning ritual I used for my critters. That way, whenever my mark is active, I could easily materialize my vipers to inject any experimental curses I have on my targets. Both Necromancers stood up and I had overridden their minds with a strong mental link, amplified by Isis' mark. And their control over their bodies started to degrade as the curse had spread all over their body. They ran into the crowd and Then I had the vipers inside the pockets of Isvar and Morsden. I felt them groan in pain and used the curse as a way to establish a mental link with them. Their avroi most likely shot up. I tried to peek into their sights and they also had their hands full with enemies. Morsden was blasting left and right. Then his flames suddenly grew hell of a lot bigger much to his surprise. While Isvar had a boost of agility and it became easier for him to slash through their enemies. Like us, they were still outnumbered and I could sense their anxiety of being taken over. This is Nikki! I alerted them. Get out of there! Now! With the last of my breathe, I pushed myself and jolted for the center of the dome. There were other mages pouring in but after successfully injecting the Alazonian Curse into two of them, they started to mutate painfully into huge pounds of flesh. Muscles erupted and expanded from within its arms. The curse was designed to continuously regenerate stronger muscle fibers in an exponential rate at the cost of the person’s soul. During my time experiment with Isis, I learned that souls are potential sources of avroi. But there was a cost. It can never be converted back once consumed. The good part is I didn’t have to care because those victims because they weren’t allies. Another thing about the Alazonian Curse was it releases an animalistic rage from within the person. And it removes any logical or any form of reason that could help them. As of that moment, they weren’t anything else but creatures slowly turning into cheap knock-offs of the Incredible Hulk. As the curse progressed, they would be irreversibly reduced into soul-less animals. That was how I imagined the curse would be. But this would only be a beta version. A prototype. And we didn’t have any time to stay around to check the results. As soon as I was able to grab the huge tome, I summoned my other special viper and had it bit me by the left side of my neck. Its dark purple and blue scales shimmered in the dark dome as it injected my other experiment—the Li’Margian Curse. And it hurt like hell! Symbols of the magical formula started to appear coming from the wound and slithered all over my face and body. “Eran!” I roared across the room. “Come here! Now!” The blonde boy nodded and the pair his glorious white wings flexed from his slender back. In one swift motion, he glided through the small battlefield. I looked around to make sure the other Necromancers were busy. They have tried to summon more undead creatures but my beasts were faster before they had a chance to. To make things worse for them, they wouldn’t be able to resurface back to the primary layer of Asphodel. It would drag them out of the battlefield and I had left them a surprise, too. I might as well call it a checkmate as soon as we got out. “What’s the plan?” He gasped sourly. His pinkish left cheek was bruised and blood was on his lips. The supposedly small skirmish turned out bad for him. “I see no way out.” “My wight back in Madburrow will reverse-summon us through a hex-ritual I placed on it.” I explained and gasped in some air as the curse crawled through my veins. I could practically smell the avroi that surging everywhere. “Ugh! It fucking hurts.” “Your own I avroi will not be enough!” He warned grimly. “That’s why I was saving this other special experimental curse. This is my trump card that can get us out.” I groaned and pulled back my jacket sleeve to show him the curse’s inscription that had spread all over my body. “This is our only way but I have not tested it on anything yet.” “But you still need immense amounts of avroi for that! We’re hundreds of miles away from Madburrow and we’re coming from this dimension! This is an impossible feat.” Eran hissed. But when looked in me in the eye, he knew I was being serious. “You’re insane! You’re going to die if you exhausted all your avroi!” Both our lives depend on the unfinished experiment that I managed to come up with in three days. I was not even sure if it was going to work. The curse throbbed in my body and I started to sweat profusely. My body's avroi was rejecting the curse inside me and it was a huge physical toll. These were definitely things I needed to improve on. “That’s the point of storing up all that avroi inside my mark and yours. With both of ours combined, it should be more than enough.” I objected. If my theory was right, it would take a lot less avroi than it should. We were in Asphodel and this dimension is potentially connected to my own realm. “Now give me your hand and unleash all the avroi inside your Aesculapius Mark!” He grabbed my arm and as soon as he did, the mark on my neck throbbed in full passionate flames. The curse’s inscription formula slithered from the wound like a snake and traveled to the whole length of my left arm. I grabbed the mark that Isis also gave to him and I started to absorb all the avroi he could offer. The two deformed monsters that started to mutate even further raged and battled against the other Necromancers in the room. Thanks to Isis’ teachings, I was able to pull off a curse they have never seen before. Otherwise, they had all the means to beat us to a corner. We were only saved by the element of surprise. Within those precious few seconds, I momentarily possessed the wight I left at our house through the mental link. Then I commanded it to perform the summoning ritual that was linked to my body. In a last-ditch effort, I linked it to Eran as well and I used myself as the source of the ritual. Then with the final command, the wight summoned us from the other side. Some sort of wormhole sucked Eran and I. My head felt like it hit with a baseball bat. The next thing we knew was we were both inside my living room. My hand was still clutched to his arm. And my other hand grasped the Necronomicon tightly to my slim body. It was nothing short of a miracle. And all I could do was gasp, “We made it.”
  8. I was still shocked at what happened. Just like that, the man left. His last instruction was that to give it with its seal released. Yet it was not written on the paper how to unseal the artifact. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be useful for anyone else. But he and Eran said the same thing: only Necromancers can fully open it. Eran also mentioned that the cost is grave. I never bothered to ask. And I was not quite excited to know what it would demand. Simply, I was not ready yet for the gut-wrenching secret. Phineas and Otis waited for me by the school gates. They looked quite perplexed at the reason why I chose to be left behind for a few minutes. It would have saved me of embarrassment. I thought I would have been in control of the situation. But it got easily out of hand. “I thought you hated that guy.” Otis started. “This is something new.” “I just had to ask a few things from him.” I defended. My voice was stern and cold. Almost a hiss. It probably scratched their inner ears. “It doesn’t automatically mean that I like him already.” Phineas wanted to add something but he pulled back. His eyes filled with the lack of his usual gentle assurance. He simply bit his lip but said nothing. I walked past him and went straight ahead for the main road. “What’s with him?” I heard Otis whisper. “Not sure.” Phineas whispered back. “Let’s just go. He’s probably having a bad day because the doctors still have no idea what to do with his mom.” We decided to all walk home since the buses had already left. But the other two strolled a few meters behind me while I silently brood over how to retrieve the Necronomicon from Asphodel. Samael mentioned that there is a deeper layer inside that dimension but I have not yet explored it. I took a deep breath and tried to send a mental message to Eran. Hey. Yes? His voice answered back. Stoic but firm. Have you thought about it? Is it possible to get it tonight? I asked. There was a short pause before I sent out the follow up message. There’s no time. What’s with the sudden change of mind, Nikki? Eran asked. His amusement was seeping through and I felt it in my head. You sounded so firm before. I got Samael cornered and he admitted to poisoning my mom. He said that he used some sort of spider venom from some other place and she would be dead within a week. I explained dryly. Are you up for it? Wow, you got to corner Samael? That’s huge. He must have let you do it if that’s the case. His amusement went even further. But he didn’t know what really happened in Asphodel. It was a huge humiliation and I had underestimated Samael tremendously. We don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side, Nikki. The first thing we need to do is to prepare. How soon can we do that? I almost snapped back. Delay was something I didn’t want. It was going to be a race against time. There’s no checklist of things to bring when raiding a different dimension. Don’t be stupid! Packing some extra battery would be helpful. Eran commented. He even sounded thoughtful about it. You’ll never know. Why on earth would we need batteries? I whined. My tone was pitched in a bit of condescension. Now is not a time for a joke. I am serious about this, Eran. Not literal batteries! We need avroi for our spells, remember? You only use avroi whenever you are going to summon some sort of creature. But that’s not applicable to me. Eran responded. His amusement steered towards annoyance. But I had a bit more to enjoy from this. I wanted to drag his irritation out further but it was not the perfect time. Isis is more knowledgeable than I am. I’ll be sending her to you tonight. Okay. I quipped. But when are we planning to go there? Give me three days. Eran replied gravely. That’s too long! I retorted. Mom might not make it. We don’t have that much amount of time. Might as well be prepared than screw up. He admonished. Almost like a finality for our decision. It’s your mom’s life on the line! Choose wisely, Nikki. Fine. I said, giving in. Just tell me once Isis is on the way. She already is. He informed me. Start with her crash course as soon as you get home. Isis is a huge help in our current situation but she’s not the best mentor to reach your full potential. I just don’t understand why we have to prepare that long. It could have been tomorrow night. I commented. What if mom would not make it? Be patient, Nikki. Think of this as preparing for camp. Eran objected. You need to make sure that you got the list right because there’s no going back once we are there. We’re going to be a long way from home. That’s a bad example! I scoffed in my head. Thankfully, neither Otis nor Phineas could see the visible frown on my face. Just tell me directly why we need to prepare. Because I need to prepare my spells. Eran objected. I have not yet seen the full potential of the blonde kid I was curious myself what he could really do. Mine will definitely take some time but it can help us tremendously And you need to prepare a small army of wights and wraiths. I just gulped at the thought of it. Preparing three wights alone were already draining for me. And worse, they were easily disposed by Samael. I was practically defenseless when I taunted him. How many do we need? At least two dozen. Eran replied. Crap. I exclaimed. My heart almost skipped a beat. I felt tired already just from imagining at how many I needed to summon from the dead. Are you serious? Again, we don’t know what’s on the other side. He said coldly. The reality of things was giving me an awful headache. Two dozen was too much for me. I’m serious about preparing for this. And that’s why we need three days. It’s going to be tiresome for you so I suggest to put the illusion curse over your wight again like the last time. Why didn’t you tell me this before? I demanded. I couldn’t help but grit my teeth in frustration. Because you sounded like you were not interested in the first place. Eran pointed out. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. Besides, I need to hunt a ride for you. Hopefully, you will be able to learn how to revive a dead beast within the next three days. Otherwise we may need to extend. There was silence after that. Just focus on learning stuff from Isis and then I’ll have to review again the lay out for M’Vokagola. He said, sounding a bit more tender and sensitive. Eran was starting to sound more like a friend. But for some reason in my guts, I still couldn’t trust him fully. I still need a good escape plan. If you can find a way to travel to places instantly, that would be great. Where is that? I asked. In your world, it’s somewhere in Brazil. He replied. It sounded like a joke. But I knew it wasn’t. It wasn’t his type to joke around over things. We’ll be needing hours to travel there. You’ve got to be kidding me. I sighed. It almost pushed me to resign from the plan in the first place. That might even take days! I’m afraid not. Just get home and rest a bit. I’ll think of a way to get around that travel distance. We need to be fast after all. The other boy instructed. His thoughts became stern and dry. Like a desert that wandered into my own head. Then start learning whatever Isis would teach you. I’m also checking out potential allies in this area. I survived this long because I have kept everything to myself. Thankfully, I am a natural in learning different spells. But not this time. You, learning new things, can change the tide of this operation. Why are you doing this? I asked. You still have not told me the real reason why you are so driven in finishing this war. You said that you kept everything to yourself all this time. So what on earth is stopping you from running away and forgetting all this? Revenge. He answered. His voice inside my head was cold and distant. He took away my father for the sake of a deal and an experiment gone wrong. I don’t want anyone else experiencing that. Raw anger seethed in his mental voice. Eran growled. The Black Bitch must die. After that, there was silence. I felt a tug inside of my head and Eran’s presence was simply gone. It was supposed to be my spell that I learned from Isis, too, but he easily took ownership of it. “Are you still grumpy?” Otis joked, almost jumping from behind. But he still sounded rigid and scared. “I’m sorry if I sounded so mean.” I apologized. Otis’ features immediately softened and I heard his light-hearted hum. “I’m just so tired with everything that is going on. I just don’t know what to do.” “I’m here for you, Nikki.” Phineas lightly jabbed my arm. “Count me in as well!” Otis jabbed me from the other side with a bit more force. His goofy smile turned into a contagious laughter. “If you both keep on doing that, I might end up crying.” I admitted but they kept on laughing at me. The heavy air was all but suddenly gone. “You’re both jerks, do you know that?” The three of us walked home with nothing but laughs. I told Otis and Phineas I just needed to have a change of clothes and bring new stuff before I would be able to go back to the hospital. Both my friends escorted me home before they went on to their separate ways. “Just visit me tomorrow at the hospital, okay?” I said. “We’ll be there!” Otis grinned. When I entered my house, Isis was already waiting for me. It’s huge, glassy and yellow eyes punched through my defenses and tried to pry my mind open. The spike of avroi danced around my head as it started to take a toll on my mental strength. With a flick of my hand, I summoned the Nyxian Blade and swung it upwards toward the feline. But Isis’ movements were so fickle. The blade barely touched its shadow. “Good job, my little student.” The cat applauded. It praised me but yet looked bored at the same time. From my point of view, it was barely impressed. “That was an advanced form of a spell someone from Solus Magus might use on you.” “It seems to me you are far more knowledgeable with spells than Eran. And you’re making a plaything out of me.” I commented. Sounding a bit hurt. Isis wouldn’t care but I waited for an empathic reaction. There was none. “But you’re also not the best…cat that could help me with Necromancy. That’s what Eran told me.” “That’s all true.” The cat simply agreed. It tilted its head a bit and a shot of invisible avroi took a jab at my mental defenses again. “I do not use Altimeraean magic because I am from another universe. But the fundamentals of all the forms of magical formulas are the same for each dimension. Thankfully, the magic I use can be considered synonymous to Necromancy.” “That’s why you were able to teach me.” I concluded. “Yes, and no.” It replied. Isis took a deep breath and started explaining further about magic. The cat wasn’t exactly the most favorite teacher I had but it taught me far more than what I could learn from Elementary. For some reason, I could easily remember all the details and I absorbed information like a sponge. “You were using unorthodox Necromancy magic now because the formula that is incorporated is slightly different. Think of it as a narration of an essay but the whole thing is completely paraphrased. It speaks of the same message but a different set of words and style was used.” “Got it.” I stated. Isis went on with a lengthy discussion on the history of Necromancy again. Based on how it described the narrative, the more it seems that Isis may have been hundreds of years old. Magical creatures were a subject that we still haven’t touched. Eventually, we found ourselves back in the living room, experimenting with wights and other creatures of the dark. Next, I summoned a wight and Isis taught me the proper transmutation spell this time to make it look like me. It wasn’t simply illusion so it wouldn’t be disfigured just in case anyone touched it. I whined about the stinking smell last time and the cat also taught me how to suppress the rotten stench. The illusory spell was cast on the dead body to make the stench undetectable. Then the cat taught me another spell that was not entirely Necromancy. It was a spell to create a stronger mental bond between myself and my undead army. Since they were soul-less beings, it was far easier to establish. I could connect all of my senses to my wights and would be a lot easier to scout ahead or check on my mom in the hospital. It would also be best if I could indirectly talk to my friends just in case through my undead creatures. “You could have taught me this the last time.” I groaned. My classmates and teachers were probably furious why I smelled like a rotten piece of meat. Hopefully, it would go away or else I might earn some appalling nickname through high school. “I seriously think you did that on purpose.” “We had no time.” The cat retorted. A small trickle of evil smile showed at the sight of its small mouth. I couldn’t help but groan when I saw it. “And yes, I did that on purpose. You should be very well aware by now what it means to be invisible in public.” “It didn’t have to be such a harsh lesson.” I pouted. But Isis was busy creating another ritual circle for a different spell on the living room floor. The house was pretty chaotic and stinks. Thankfully, I could potentially summon extra hands to clean it up later on. “Now my classmates won’t ever forget me for bringing a soiled diaper to school.” “A small matter to worry about.” The cat replied strictly. As usual, it looked bored and unimpressed with all the things I was learning. “That’s not a small matter for a kid.” I pointed out. But the cat completely ignored my complaints and went ahead to further discuss with the things I could do with a wraith or with a wight. “High school can be a mean place for unpopular kids like me.” Isis was silent as we both wrote the formulas on the floor. “After all of this, I’d love to go back to a normal life.” I sighed. “You were not meant to have a normal life.” Isis disagreed. For the first time, the cat didn’t sound bored. The statement was full of conviction and firmness. I was taken aback and looked at the small frame of the cat. “You have a genius-level intellect, Nikki. The things I taught you now may take a normal mage a few weeks or months for them to learn. But you were able to get them within a couple of hours. I do hope you realize that a normal life doesn’t fit you.” I bit my lip and couldn’t believe the cat was able to see through me. “Why did you purposely hold back yourself?” Isis asked. There was not a single ounce of curiosity in its tiny voice. It demanded one thing: a completely honest answer. “If you gave your full effort, you’re supposed to be a university graduate by now. Looks this is the only time that you’re using your mind in all its worth.” “I don’t want to leave my friends.” I replied in a low voice. “All the awards and achievements mean nothing if I forgot the real things that I value in the process. My friends and my mom are more worth it.” “Good for you.” The cat answered. All its interest vanished just like that. “You may want to consider being a Biologist or a Physician when you grow up. The magic of Necromancy focuses on the intricacies of life. It would be best if you learn the physical science behind that.” “I have already read different books on Biology and Medical Sciences when I before. It’s one of my favorite fields but I didn’t have anyone close to talk to about it. I even joined online groups that discusses about those fields but I had to use a different name. No one will take a kid seriously.” I said. It was my plan to get a scholarship once I graduated High School so I wouldn’t be a financial burden. “Mom would always tell me about how bright I am and suggested that I could become a gifted surgeon or something. “ The next thing we did was send the disguised wight to the hospital. I would check through its eyes every once in a while to make sure it arrived in its given destination. A summoning spell was also placed to summon a couple of other wights as back up just in case they were attacked. It would be the last resort because it would be a hassle to explain all these to everyone else. A few other wights were on the other side of Asphodel just in case, loaded with a spell to summon themselves on this dimension. Dragging them in this problem would be the last thing I needed. After that, Isis approached me. It looked at me with eyes that were no longer golden yellow. Both irises turned into a devilish hue of red and the cat significantly grew bigger. Almost like a small tiger. “Before I teach you everything I know, I would like to give you a parting gift.” “For what?” I asked. A bit afraid at the new form Iris took. A small pair of horns could be seen on its forehead and its fangs were more pronounced. “And what’s with the sudden transformation?” “Show me your wrist.” Isis commanded. I took it out and displayed in front as the feline walked to my side for a better angle. The glow in its eyes were so furiously compelling and I already knew what was about to happen. “This will hurt a little.” Before I could react, the huge black cat bit me at my wrist. But something was immediately introduced to my bloodstream and I lost any sensation over my arm. I couldn’t even jerk back my hand away as the left part of my body started to shiver uncontrollably. “Crap!” I exclaimed, gritting my teeth. There was a searing pain in my muscles as if acid was flowing into my bloodstream. “What on earth are you doing?” A small mark appeared at the base of my wrist. It was a rod with a viper wrapped around it. A skull was also found on top of the rod. Similar to the symbol that can be often seen in the hospitals. The mark looked like a tattoo before slowly vanishing into my skin. “The Rod of Aesculapius.” I remarked. It was the symbol of some ancient greek deity. The god of medicine. The serpent in the legend was non-venomous and would often be used for healing rituals. “But I’m not a Physician.” “Not yet.” The cat retorted as it slowly shrunk back to its normal size. “In the next few days, you might as well be. But I do solemnly hope that you can find a mentor who can help you unlock the potential of your true powers.” “What did you give me?” I asked Isis. As I focused on my wrist and allowed avroi to flow into it, the mark reappeared. “Ekzorizein Apalezio.” A chain of dark markings with unknown alphabet erupted from the mark as if the tattoo was alive and extended its marking all over my skin. It slithered like a snake and wrapped around the whole of my left arm. The mark gave me a full wrath of energy as it pumped into my slim body. “It’s a portion of my power.” The cat replied and walked away from me. Then like a normal feline, it started to lick its paws. The tail flung left and right as it stared back it me with a more piqued interest. “That mark can store avroi far more than the natural body can handle. I gave a similar mark to Eran.” “That’s why he told me that he’ll be bringing extra batteries.” I pointed out. “Exactly.” Isis agreed. Then it stared me, eye-to-eye. “But you are a different case, my little student. I can teach you how to infuse avroi within the mark and you can use your undead to do it for you. But first, we will need to seek the souls of dead mages who are more accustomed to magic.” “I’ll be practically an avroi powerplant.” I commented. “Correct.” Isis admonished. Then started to draw another set of magical formulas to teach me the fundamentals. “As you perform more rituals, the undead you have summoned can infuse for you within a good distance. Another ritual will be used and you will be chained to them like electric power lines. During this time, whatever they infuse will be stored directly to the mark.” “However, you cannot abuse this because a huge amount of flowing avroi may take a huge toll on your body. But I can say you can bring a lot more stored energy in the mark than Eran can infuse in a month.” Isis continued explaining. “The mark also has other special properties. It can also give you extra physical strength especially that Necromancers aren’t really front-liners in battle.” “Any other thing I should know?” I asked. “You will also have an affinity with vipers.” Isis replied. My eyebrows raised in surprise with that one. “As I mentioned, Necromancers aren’t really front-line fighters and rely on sly and dirty tactics. You’ll be needing to study a lot about different kinds of venom and serums. Vipers and other similar critters are the best ways to inject them into the host. Curses and hexes can also be done in a similar manner.” “So, for the next three days, we’ll be doing nothing but charge my batteries.” I sighed. Then I stood up and stretched my body. I was a bit on a scrawny side so I couldn’t help but wonder how far my body could take it. “And then at the same time, I’ll be materializing souls into wights. After all, Eran asked a couple dozen of fighters for us.” “Wrong.” Isis simply answered. “Your wights will do that for you. We’ll be focusing on experimenting on dead bodies.” “Seriously?” I shrieked. “But that’s disgusting!” “Bring out all your knowledge in Biology because we need to create a number of wights with quality.” The cat explained. “No matter how many undead creatures you can summon, if they amount to nothing but foot soldiers then they can all be easily eliminated.” Isis made a valid point. I was so proud of summoning wights against Samael who easily stomped out of existence. The cat was suggesting to create my own Frankenstein monster that can pose a substantial threat to any opponent I would be facing. “Understood.” I agreed. There was no way I would be disagreeing with that. For the next three days, we went through the plan. I summoned wights to infuse avroi on my behalf as they were stored into the mark. Then I summoned more of them, basing on the souls of dead mages so I could produce undead creatures that can use a bit of magic. Within that time, I also learned how to reanimate dead animals. They didn’t have souls but they were easier to materialize. However, Isis summoned vipers and taught me how to properly care for them. By the end of the third day, our house had a stink of a veterinary clinic from all the different animals I have revived. I also found love for insects because they were effective tools to carry different kinds of venom. However, I had not yet acquired the most effectives ones and may take time to gather them. I also took time to read more on Zoology and even Botany to study different poisons that I could potentially use. Anatomy was also fun to read and I didn’t notice the days that gone by. Neuroscience was also a field I’d like to get to but I didn’t have a live brain to experiment on. Unfortunately, the brains of the undead were entirely different than their breathing counterparts. I was against the fact that three days were too long. But Eran was right, it was definitely not enough. Even if I could absorb a ton of information from the books I read and the websites I visit as well as process through all of them, I didn’t have the time to experiment and apply some theories I could think of. Within those three days, I didn’t sleep. Thanks to the continuous supply of raw energy, there was no ned for rest. However, the bags under my eyes have darkened and looked ghostly as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. With the most than I can, I was able to ready a hundred undead and ten others that I would like to call as super soldiers. By the end of the last day, Eran had finally came to my house and knocked on the door. Isis had already left me on my own since it no longer thinks that I still need its guidance. Yet I was still thankful for the little cat. The blonde boy looked surprised as I greeted him at our doorstep. “What on earth happened to you?” Eran asked. The life in my skin had almost faded away and I had a glassy look on my eyes. It was almost like I’m an undead myself. “You practically looked like one of your creatures." “This is what happens when you cram for your final exams.” I sighed. We both sat down at the living room. Since we will be leaving for a faraway place, I had to make sure our house was fully clean. Thankfully, I had a lot of extra hands to finish it. And I’m quite happy that I will never have to do chores in my life ever again because I will always have slaves to do my bidding. “Are you ready for thi-this?” Eran asked. There was a stutter. And that was the first time I heard him do that. “I honestly have no clue what we may encounter there.” “Yes.” I replied. “Now, tell me the entire plan.”
  9. It was all but a seductive ruse. And it was working perfectly for me. “Just what on earth are you?” I asked. “I am neither from Earth nor Altimeraea.” The voice replied. Its slithering voice caused some shivers down my spine. Like a wet and damp towel massaging my eyeballs. Utterly painful. “Where I came from is somewhere further in The Great Divide. No mage has ever returned from those depths.” “What do you want then?” I demanded. “You sound powerful enough to wreak havoc on your own. It doesn’t make sense.” “Wrong again, little boy.” The voice insisted. “There are still a lot of things in play that you do not understand. Even the people who are after do not know what they are really tampering with.” I fell silent. “I will not be giving my demands yet.” It quipped. “Because I want you to think carefully what you are entering in. What I want is no easy task. That’s why I will be sharing with you my power.” “There’s always a price to pay.” I replied. “Indeed.” The voice agreed. “Yet there is a purpose for this short meeting.” “What?” Morsus’ stepped forward with his hand stretched towards me. “I will let you have a small taste of what my powers can do.” It said. The voice was firmer and heavier. Even my throat felt dry despite the atmosphere getting colder. “It would only be a small percentage. Once you have made up your mind, Morsus will always be there as a gateway. Then we can seal the contract.” Then some strange symbol appeared at the center of the boy’s palm. And I didn’t need to be extra sensitive to feel the intense amount of avroi emanating in his hands. It was a now or never moment. “A free trial of some unknown powers, huh?” I commented. “Until when will this free upgrade stay with me?” “You can give it back to Morsus anytime.” The voice replied. “And I will not hold it against you.” But for some reason, I felt that it was so confident that I will ask for more. I was not going to let that happen. Whatever thing that was inside Morsus, I was sure it was far more sinister than I have ever seen. Truly evil. I hate to admit it but it was undoubtedly more awful than Rei. It was a now or never moment. “No demands?” I asked to be sure. “None.” It quipped. “A free flow of limitless power in your palms. But I suggest that you exert tremendous effort to keep it in. Or they’ll be on to you.” I just nodded back. Then I took the boy’s hand. But I didn’t expect the pain that shot through my whole body. It was like I was a balloon that was being inflated by a high pressure hose with water. Thousands of volts surged through every fiber of my being and the next thing I knew I was kneeling on the ground with barely a breathe. An ocean of water forced itself into a fragile glass container. My muscles shivered at the sudden surge of energy. Then all of a sudden, it collapsed and all that power shrank back within me. No trace of it could be felt. I looked at my palm and had the same symbol embedded on it. After a few seconds, it disappeared. I stayed like that for a few moments, looking at my palm, before Morsus pulled me back up on my feet. The sinister aura was gone and the boy was back into his normal brat-like self. “You’re a bigger weakling than I thought.” He quipped. “Unimpressive.” “Thanks.” I gasped, ignoring him. “Where’s all that amount of avroi gone to?” “It’s sealed within you so no one will sense it.” Morsus explained. I just heaved in more air and struggled to breathe. “What happens next then?” “Nothing.” He coldly replied. And I couldn’t help but wince at the sudden wall between us. “Stay out of trouble until we find a way to awaken Israfil and find him a vessel. And don’t do anything stupid.” “But what about Estelle and the others?” I asked. “They wanted to use some kind of magic on me to force Israfil out.” “The plan won’t work. It goes against certain rules of magic and Estelle is not knowledgeable enough to find a way around it.” Morsus stated dismissively. “Rei’s theory was wrong. He’s just going to put you in danger.” “How do you know?” “I just know.” “That’s not really a satisfying answer.” I scoffed. “Your magic is different. Ven was just straight up conjuring lightning and wind spells but you were using words to command magic. And your avroi feels so otherworldly compared to them. I just can’t describe it perfectly.” The boy fell silent and sat on one of the unfinished pillars that rose up to waist level. He studied me carefully but I was not going to give up the chance to learn more about mages. Ven and Rei were teaching me to use magic but they have never mentioned anything about their world. “I know I’m not your favorite person but at least give me some details on how your world works.” I pleaded. Morsus’ angry stare softened for some reason then looked away. “And I’m sorry if I offended you or something the first time we met. I was out of bounds.” But the boy didn’t reply. “I’m sure you miss Israfil. Ven said he was like an older brother to you.” I said then hesitated if I should also share that I got to talk to Israfil momentarily the day Ven appeared. “I couldn’t imagine if Jaden was taken away from me. So, I guess I understand why you were being a mean little brat.” “It’s because I’m a Rune Mage. And our education and training is way, way different than what Ven and the others went through.” The boy admitted. And my head just tilted in confusion because it didn’t make sense at all. “Altimeraea is comprised of six huge countries. Each is almost the size of a continent in this world. I was born in the same country as the others did but there are certain mages who are gifted and are more capable of using one kind of magic.” “Okay.” I commented. “So, you’re one of those gifted ones.” “Yes.” The boy quipped. “Those mages are taken care of in secret because they are targeted by terrorist groups so they can be used as weapons. We were sent all over our world to learn all kinds of magic. Our schools are well protected and hidden throughout the lands.” “Even in your world, there are also people who would take advantage of others.” I groaned. “That just sucks. I was hoping that I get to explore it when all of this is over.” “Our world isn’t any more better than yours.” Morsus admitted. But his eyes looked sad. “Funny, Israfil said the exact same thing. He also wanted to explore Altimeraea.” “You all have those amazing magic but you can’t move around as much?” I asked. “Both Earth and Altimeraea had the same phases in history. Decades ago, we also had major wars at the same time of your first and second World War. But it had calmed down ever since. Yet the tension is still there.” The boy explained. Morsus started to look more animated and his strong features went a lot of softer. “It has directly influenced the history of each other though Earth was oblivious to that fact. In fact, it’s easier to travel from country to country here on Earth than in Altimeraea.” “That’s just weird.” I whined. “When Ven brought me there, the place looked peaceful. I never thought of the idea that the international boundaries in your world would be a lot more strict.” “You have a lot of stuff to learn about our world, then.” The boy replied. “Just wait until all of this is over. Then maybe you can tag along with Israfil and explore it.” “That would be really nice.” I smiled at him. But he went back to frowning and looked away. “What about what you mentioned a while ago? You said that Rei’s plan was not going to work. If that’s the case, what is your suggestion?” “Nothing. The Soul Magic used by Israfil’s father was infused with Rune Magic and a bit of Summoning Magic. During the battle with the Black Sorceress, their father was accompanied by one of the legendary Rune Mages and a powerful Summoner.” Morsus confessed. He looked very deep in thought. Brooding and calculating. “I’ll try to go back to the Citadel of M’vokagola. It was my school that taught me the fundamentals of Necromancy magic. Then I’ll be heading to the Citadel of Hayamatsukami that taught me Summoning and Conjuration Magic.” “That’s a lot of burden for a young person like you.” I said then slowly out a hand on his shoulder. The boy’s shoulder flinched at the sudden invasion of personal space. “You shouldn’t be doing this alone.” “I have always told them what we are dealing with. It’s like they are trying to solve the puzzle without enough clues to solve it.” He muttered. The boy sounded harsh and rejected. “But I was silenced to a corner because they said I was too young to be involved. Rei was furious when I left the Citadel of Harfjord because I heard they found you. He’s still bugging me to go back as soon as possible.” “Aren’t you going to be in trouble for that?” I asked. “Yes.” He replied. And I was just in awe of his determined answer. It was firm for an answer from a small kid. “But if it’s for Israfil, it’s worth it.” “I wonder why Rei isn’t listening.” I pointed out. “He seems like he’s the type of person who knows what he’s doing.” ““Rei is probably being pressured by the Supreme Qirian Council.” Morsus said. “Ever since the new Praetor was assigned to replace their father, Rei became more driven to finish what their father started. But he’s slowly being careless.” I just gawked at him. Clueless of what to say next. “It’s the government that rules over Zidania, if that’s what you’re wondering about.” Morsus added. “Six leaders, called Praetors, are chosen by a certain group of people to govern the country. One person is selected for each of the four major regions. Then one of them is assigned to govern internal affairs and lead the whole council. And another one for external affairs.” “The Supreme Qirian Council is a proud bunch.” Morsus continued. “The level of threat that the Black Sorceress posed was greater than most oppositions they have seen for the past five hundred years. And the fact she came from Zidania and was trained by the best High Magi of Solus Magus made it even worse. The Council just won’t yield into asking help from the other countries.” “But you said a legendary Rune Mage was also involved. That means they asked helped from outside.” I objected. “Right?” “Yes.” The boy agreed. “And they were ashamed that they would have to ask help from someone like Leo Knightley. Their father didn’t care. One thing only mattered and that was stopping the leader of Teios Kyr. But the Council still reprimanded him of involving outside help.” “Don’t make me start to feel bad about Rei.” I admonished. Anger was back in my voice. “He’s still jerk. That guy strangled my best friend. Then he forced Ven to do some weird crap on me. And now he’s stopping you from being an actual help to the bigger cause.” “Rei is just a very determined individual.” Morsus pointed out calmly. “He’ll sacrifice everything for the sake of the mission. And he will not be afraid to do the harsh things in order to finish it.” “But he doesn’t have the right to sacrifice people just because it’s necessary.” I pointed out. “He cannot play god.” “Their mother died due to sickness when Israfil was a baby. Their father was killed more than a year ago. And it is still unknown if they could do something about Israfil.” Morsus added further. “He’s a man who lost his whole family. I couldn’t blame him for his desperation.” I fell silent after that. “He is driven by revenge.” I deduced. “Rei is a dangerous man.” “Hey guys!” A voice called out. I looked around to see Jaden walking towards us. His cheery self was invading Morsus’ gloomy atmosphere. “What’s up weird people?” Jaden just looked perplexed at the sight of the younger boy beside me. His eyes gazed warily at Morsus and studied the little kid from head to tie. I knew that look. He gave the same look with Ven. “Hey.” I replied. “Chance, I’ve got to go.” Morsus hastily said. He nodded at me. The brat-like attitude was gone just like that. “There are things I need to check.” He quickly left and walked away. The kid walked passed by Jaden without a slight glance. My best friend had question marks all over his face and I couldn’t really do anything about it. That was going to be hard to explain if Dylan was around. “Who’s that?” Jaden asked. “Ven’s cousin.” I lied. It was the first thing that popped into my head. “Long story. Where are we heading to?” “I dunno.” Jaden sat on the spot Morsus previously occupied. “Let’s stay on this spot for a while before we head back home. This place is probably upset for us notbeing able to visit it for a long time.” A tingling sensation danced on my fingertips. It was as if a dagger will be summoned from my shadow any moment. The blade was aching to show itself to Jaden. Or perhaps, it was me aching to be honest in what I was really going through. But I couldn’t. Rei was right. I couldn’t involved any of my friends. Especially Jaden. He was almost Samael was very dangerous and the way he toyed Ven the first time I met him said a lot. His power is immense. But I had been upgraded, too. “Can I trust you?” Jaden suddenly asked. He looked at me seriously. His eyes were so blue and intense. “Please don’t laugh.” “Sure.” I replied. “I think I’m going crazy.” “Aren’t you crazy enough already?” I chuckled. “I’m being serious, damn it.” Jaden scoffed. “I’m having weird dreams lately. About you and Craig. You always end up doing some crazy shit in my dream like you have powers.” “You’re just watching too much Netflix. I can’t even do shit. ” I dismissed. Then I jabbed him lightly on his arm. “See? That didn’t even hurt.” “I’m still convinced you have powers. You and Craig. And you just don’t want to show it to anyone.” Jaden pouted. “Even Dylan thinks I’m crazy when I told him about this. Ever since that day JJ made a ruckus at school, you started to feel off. It’s like I don’t know you all of a sudden.” I gulped at his sudden disclosure of his thoughts about me. Whatever Estelle did was not enough. Jaden was confident. And he was determined to prove it. Then he faced me. “What are you hiding, Valentine?” Out of nowhere, he took out a pointed piece of short metal and lunged at me on the ground. Jaden raised his hand and tried to stab me with it. I was able to catch his wrist just in time before he got to strike my neck. “What on earth are you doing?!” I shrieked. We both struggled a few moments on the ground before he gave up. My best friend was more fit than I am and I struggled both against him, and against myself because I might accidentally hurt him. It would only take me a flick of my finger to summon a blade form the shadows. “Jaden! Stop!” Then he came to his senses. He backed away and stepped back by a couple of feet. Tears were rolling down his face and was shaken just as I was. The last thing I expected was Jaden trying to kill me with a metal pike that he probably picked up along the way. He almost caught me off guard. One more second quicker and I might have had summoned a blade from my shadows. But my heart broke when I looked at Jaden. He was a complete mess. I think he wanted to hug me but hesitated. “I’m sorry, Chance!” Jaden sobbed. He was crying and wiping away tears from his eyes. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! Fuck!” “What on earth were you thinking?” I stammered. “You could’ve killed me!” “I-I thought that if I su-surprised you with an attack, you w-will use your powers to de-defend yourself.” Jaden stuttered in between his sobs. “I-I’m sorry, Ch-Chance. I think D-Dylan was r-right. I-I’m getting a-all crazy!” “Trust me.” I replied and walked towards him. He stepped back. Guilt and shame was written all over his face. But I reached out to him and pulled him into a hug. “You’re not crazy, Jaden.” We stayed like that for a few more minutes. Jaden just cried and kept saying sorry for what he almost did. And it broke me that he was getting involved in this despite not knowing. He was moving around and started spitting non-sense things. I saw the damage of our carelessness. The voice inside Morsus was right. I needed power to protect my friends. And I remembered my oath. Jaden didn’t deserve being dragged to my dangerous world. “Jaden! Stop it!” I exclaimed. “You’re not crazy!” “No! I almost killed you! Chance! You were supposed to summon a blade from the shadows and then tell me that you have powers!” He stammered. Jaden was still crying and I tried to grab ahold of him but he kept resisting. “What have I done? Damn it! I'm so fucking stupid!” “Calm down!” I urged. For the fifth time he swatted my hand away. He was still in tears and furious at himself. “Jaden. Please!” “No! No!” He cried. “I’m so fucking stupid. I’m so—“ Then I grabbed him and kissed him. I closed my eyes and let my lips feel the softness of his. Jaden’s body went rigid then slowly relaxed. Both my hands that grabbed him by the shoulders traveled upwards to his face. I slowly opened my eyes at the same time as he did. Jaden was simply shocked and stunned. Before I could speak, he leaned it and kissed me even hard. More forceful. More enthusiasm. More passionately than my desperate attempt. He quietly broke away and grabbed me by the head. Then he kissed my forehead before kissing me again at my lips. I couldn’t help but close my eyes and enjoy our sacred moment. Our hands simply held each other’s cheeks and I felt his tears on my fingers. “I love you. I’ve loved you ever since we were kids.” I was so lost in the moment that I didn’t even notice who said it. But it caused both of us to kiss each other even more passionately. I didn’t care anymore if it was me who said it or him. I loved Jaden and it didn’t matter who confessed first. When I finally broke away, he was deeply red. And it was darn cute. He couldn’t even maintain eye contact and walked away. “”Let’s go home.” I suggested. “Thanks.” He sighed. “I hope this doesn’t change anything.” “It won’t.” I smiled warmly. “You’re still my knuckle-head best friend.” Our walk home was awkward. Jaden seemed out of tune with his usual noisy self of senseless and random antics. Instead, he brought up so much sentimental memories when we were kids. It was still a nice stroll through memory lane. I thought that it be best to talk about those to ground him back to reality. Sadly, everything lately was just crossing the borders of what is real and what is not. I couldn’t blame Jaden at all why he had a hard time coping up. By the time we got home, he’s almost back to his cheery self. But not quite. I was able to see the deep-seated shame and guilt through his blue eyes. It looked awful and horrid. And it was screaming from his insides. “Do you want to stay over?” He asked. “Sure.” I replied. Then I couldn’t help but quickly bite my lip. "I can't stay long though." Then we entered to his house. It was the same set-up as usual. A simple living room. A simply hallway. His mom was busy making dinner and smiled at my direction. It looked like she was preparing some sort of salad. “Hey, Mrs. Parker!” I greeted. “Say Mrs. Parker one more time and I’ll throw you through the roof!” Jaden’s mom shot back. “I thought I already told you not to call me that!” “Sorry, Trish.” I chuckled. “I couldn’t help it!” “Are you staying over for dinner? You should try what I’m making!” She asked. “I could make some extra if you want.” “No thanks. I won’t be long.” I stated. Then Jaden tugged my shirt and I followed him upstairs. “We’ll be in Jaden’s room.” “You buys have fun!” She chirped. And damn, I was actually looking for fun. Jaden and I continued where we left off regarding our stupid classmate back in sixth grade and laughed. Then we proceeded to playing on his game console. For the temporary consolation, I allowed him to win against me more than he should. “So, should I ask who said that?” Jaden suddenly asked. “Said what?” I quipped. “The ‘I loved you ever since we were kids’ statement.” He stammered. Then I looked at him in reflex. He was red again. Jaden looked really cute when he was being upfront with his feelings. “Was it you who said that?” “Funny, I didn’t even notice who said it.” I said. “Does it matter?” “I have no idea.” He muttered. “So, what does that make us?” “Dunno.” I admitted. Then I scooted closer to him. For some reason, my sense of smell heightened. And he smelled so good. “Does having a label matters?” “I guess not.” Jaden smiled. Then he leaned closer to me. We faced each other and dropped our controllers at the same time. It was me who suddenly made the move and kissed him square on the lips. It was even softer and more tender compared to the previous kiss. Yet at the same time, he was the one who used his tongue. My lips danced along with his and I opened my mouth. Sparks and butterflies were found between the battle of our tongues. We were not sure what we were really doing but it felt right. Completely right. He pushed me back and had me laid on his room’s carpet then positioned himself on top of me. Then he rubbed his head against mine and kissed me on the forehead like before. His boyish smell that was just so fresh invaded my nostrils. It was intoxicating. Addicting. Jaden’s hips grinded mine. His hard-on wrestled with my own through the fabric of our shorts. Our waist simply did a tango as his kisses slowly moved downwards to my chin then to my neck. He pulled my shirt up and my bare chest was for him to see. It was his turn afterwards before Jaden went back to his progressively aggressive kissing techniques. Our chests were bare. And the warmth of his body mixed with mine. It felt like heaven. Afterwards, he slowly moved down again and started playing with nipples. His hand reached for my boner and pulled down my shorts and undies. Jaden played with the tip and spread my precum all over my glans. It felt great and divine. Slowly, his tongue moved from my nipples then my stomach then to my navel. My throbbing cock was just begging to be sucked. “Oh no you don’t.” I gasped Then in one swift motion, I pushed him back. He looked surprised as I lunged on him. It was my turn on time and I repeated the same aggressiveness that he had shown me. Slowly, I reached for his shorts and removed it downwards. “It’s my turn.” I didn’t spare any moment and went straight for his cock. It was longer and thicker than mine but that was better for me. Probably even bigger than the last time I saw it. More or less 6 inches of thick meat. And I couldn’t help but find the small patch of pubes above it as cute like the rest of him. Then I went for it. I tried to take as much as I could into my mouth. I heard Jaden gasp. His high pitch voice was angelic as he took the pleasure. With all my might, I slowly bobbed my head up and down on his shift. I took more and more his cock into my mouth. His hips started to hump me upwards and fuck my face. The head of dick rammed to the opening to my throat. But sadly, I didn’t have the skill yet to take it all in. He grabbed my head and fucked my face even harder. It kind of hurt but I kind of liked it, too. His hands found a handful of my dark hair and squeezed it. I knew Jaden was a wild boy. But that wild side of him turned me on even further. “Fuck!” Jaden gasped. “I’m gonna cum!” I took a deep breath and pushed myself to take as much of his cock. It throbbed wildly in my mouth and I tasted the sweet and salty fluids that I swallowed right away. I tried to take as much as I could but he cummed so much. And so hard, too. I just had to back away and the cum dribbled down to his pelvis. “Holy fuck!” He gasped again. “That was good!” But when I looked at his cock, it was still standing with so much strength. Out and proud. Gloriously divine. I rubbed it slowly and squeezed the remaining bits then I leaned in to lick the tip. “What the hell?” I whined. “You’re still hard!” His cock was still rigid and it was shiny with my spit. That was when I decided to do something he wouldn’t forget. I moved up straddled on his torso. Then I positioned his cock towards my hole. I rubbed the tip of his cock to my opening and sparks simply flew around. Even my own cock throbbed even hard just by being pleasured from my entry hole. “Are you sure about this?” Jaden asked. “This belongs to you.” I gasped as I pushed myself downwards. I took a deep breath and winced from the sharp pain from the other side. Jaden’s face looked concerned but he didn’t say anything. The head slowly popped inside of me and I leaned down to kiss him. “I want to belong to you.” “Shit.” Jaden exclaimed. His reflexes kicked in and his hips automatically pushed upwards. More of his shaft entered me before I slowly pulling out. Jaden sighed in deep pleasure as he slowly fucked me with half of his boy meat. “Feels so good.” Little by little with each push, more and more of his cock entered. It took me a minute to adjust because I didn’t expect him to fill me up so much. With one last push, I sat on his cock and had every inch of inside. A special spot inside was tugged and I couldn’t help but whimper. To make it even worse, or better for that matter, Jaden pushed his hips upward with such gusto that my prostate was hit even further. It caused me moan louder and I saw an impish smile on Jaden’s face. “You like that don’t you?” Jaden smirked. Then he pulled halfway before ramming it back until all of his cock went it. I moaned even louder than the last one and my eyes almost rolled back from the pleasure. “You’re so tight, Valentine.” I instinctively gripped his cock even harder as he started to fuck me upwards. My hips started to move on its own and rammed myself downwards on his hips. Then my arms rested on his shoulders. He found the back of my head and pulled me to kiss him. Our tongues clashed once again as we made love wildly on his bedroom floor. I moaned between the kisses as he slammed his cock even deeper inside me. The slapping sounds of skin to skin turned me on even further. My prostate was crying out in pleasure as more precum dripped between us. Jaden just kept grunting and moaning in unison with mine as his animalistic instincts just took over. He even bit my neck as a mix of barbaric pain and pleasure erupted inside my body. “Shit. I’m gonna cum again.” I buried my head in his neck as he rammed even harder. He pushed and rolled both of us on the floor and positioned himself on top of me, missionary style. Jaden pulled both my feet to his shoulders and started slamming his huge cock into me. I just had to moan and didn’t care anymore if his mom could hear it. His breathing went rigid as he smacked his lips against mine. Then some sort of magic happened and his cock expanded inside me. The throbbing was as wild as before and I knew he cummed within. Tears dropped on my face and we stared eye to eye. Those blue eyes of him enthralled me. Spoke to me about who he is. And the soul that was peeking through those windows was far more special than the moment we just shared. “Sorry.” He apologized. “I cummed inside you.” “It’s okay, dummy.” I sighed. “I thought I was gonna lose you for good after what I did.” He wept. His face just contorted like a baby yet I still find it cute. Jaden’s cock was still throbbing inside even after he orgasmed. “I couldn’t forgive myself.” “You won’t lose me.” I assured him. “I belong to you. From here on out.” “I love you, Valentine.” Then he pecked me on the lips. “I love you, too.” I replied. Jaden’s eyes were simply dreamy. I was fucking lucky to get fucked by the cutest guy in our grade. He pulled out. I was still hard but there was a mess of precum on my pelvis. But what surprised me is that Jaden was still stiff as a nail. There was an impish smile on his face as we stood up and got on the bed. “Why on God’s green earth are you still hard?” I exclaimed. But it made my cock even harder. The sight of his huge boner was enough to give me the energy for another round. “You’re a fucking horndog!” “Oh, Chance.” He groaned as he positioned me on the bed for a doggy style. I danced along because I didn’t want to stop until I managed to make him dry. His cum squished inside of me and I felt the looseness of my asshole. “You don’t know how much you made me horny all this time.” I just bit my lips as he playfully spanked my ass cheeks. He positioned himself on the edge of the bed as I perked my ass higher for him. Jaden slowly guided his cock and since I was already loose, entering inside me was no longer a problem. My cherry was gone and the sphincter was all ready. My best friend slash lover started to move his hips. Every time he bludgeoned my prostate gland, pleasure ruptured inside my guts. My hands clenched on his sheets as I tried my best not to scream. It was just too good! Jaden was a god damn sex demon or something. My cock was hard and I felt the build up rushing from my balls. Before I knew it, I started to feel my cum rushing through my dick. “Fuck!” I whimpered and my insides gripped him so hard. Jaden pushed all the way as my prostate gave in and started cumming below on his sheets. I could hear him grunting as he still tried to buck his hips. Then he stop himself and gave me a solid shove. He reached a deeper spot that gave me even more bliss. “Shit! I didn’t know I could cum just by getting fucked!” “Well now you do!” He groaned. Jaden slowly pulled out his cock halfway. Each move was giving me goosebumps in every part of my body. “I’ve always dreamed of this moment.” Then he fucked me even harder. But my prostate was so sensitive that each movement and friction inside was sending huge waves of pleasure that rippled through my mind, body and soul. Jaden just kept fucking me and the slapping sounds just echoed in his room as if we were shooting some awesome porn movie. It went on for ages and I felt myself hard again. It was painful already, both front and back. But it was also addicting. I would push my hips back and welcomed the incoming force that he was giving. The build-up was growing and then before long, I was cumming again below his sheets. It caused my ass to grip him even tighter. “Shit!” Jaden grunted. His cock expanded for the third time while my loose ass tried to crush it simultaneously. But his boy dick was far stronger than the grip I can give especially after the beating it gave. Jaden and I collapsed on his bed together. I didn’t care anymore that my cum was all over me. His cock was still inside and throbbed. And my asshole played along and gave it an occasional grip. We didn’t move and he simply rested on top of me. The aroma that he gave changed. It had a stronger smell but in a good way. “I thought our first time was gonna be gentle.” I sighed. “I can’t help it.” He replied. “You’re so fucking hot.” Then I closed my eyes and my body felt like it was floating on water. I swam within my own mind and I didn’t notice that I drifted off to sleep. Jaden’s cock was still inside me but he was already spent. I could feel his cum drooping out of my hole. I woke up almost an hour later and we laid next to each other. He slept like a baby and there was a faint glow on him. Jaden looked even more attractive to my eyes and I leaned to kiss him on his forehead. He felt and stirred awake. “I have to go.” I groaned. Then he held my hand. “Mom’s gonna be mad if I didn’t come home on time.” “Can we have one more round?” Jaden smirked. “My ass is beat.” I replied. “I have to clean up.” Then I stood up and went to his own bathroom to excrete all the cum he injected inside me. My butt was loose and it felt so empty without his cock. It was a special moment and I knew I would be jacking off to this memory for years to come. Of course, I could always pull Jaden anytime for a hot sex so I didn’t have to do it alone. The thought excited me and I cleaned up as quickly as I could before I wouldn’t be able to resist his invite for a fourth round. When I got out of the bathroom, he was already dressed up. Jaden waited for me to get everything back on before he walked me out of house. He sheepishly peeked inside his house before giving him “I’ll see you whenever.” He said. His blue eyes twinkled. “Yeah.” I replied. “Gotta go, horndog.” The walk back home wasn’t so exciting. I had too much for a day already. It was already sunset and I’m sure I was still quite early. “I’m home!” I announced as I got inside the house. Mom was just setting up the dinner table. Celine was doing something on her laptop and dad was sitting on the couch, watching TV. It felt good that I came home to something normal. “Look at this guys!” Dad suddenly exclaimed on his laptop. His eyes were twinkling at the sight of something interesting. “A few towns away from us, police found some dead people. They were found in some abandoned building.” “Sounds like a serial killer on the loose.” I commented dryly. “Except they’re drained of blood.” Dad added. And I just found it weird that he sounded so entertained with something so macabre. “That’s quite weird. They would practically look like mummies. Too bad they censored them.” “That’s just plain creepy.” Mom interjected, suddenly entering the living room while mixing some stuff on a bowl. “There is so much weird stuff out there. And I’m just surprised we’re digging up more mysteries than answers.” Including the fact that you hid a twin brother from me. I thought to myself. In fact, I almost blurted it out. That would have stirred a very weird Saturday night dinner. But I managed to push it to the back of my throat. I couldn’t let them know that I already knew. It was a different mystery for some other time. “Do you think it has something to do with Ellie?” Dad asked. His tone went dead serious. “I mean, there was a similar murder of an elementary school teacher weeks before she fell into comatose.” “I can’t say.” My mom replied sadly. Her eyes wanted to say more but kept it shut. She held it back. “I couldn’t imagine how Nikki is doing after all that. First, his teacher was murdered then his mom got sick. It’s one bad thing after another.” “Right.” Dad agreed. He absent-mindedly scratched the stubbles on his chin and looked deep in thought. “Then there’s another murder scene a few days after. It really is getting crazy out there. I wonder if that affected Chase’s marketing for his event. Those murders are within the same State as his event for crying out loud.” I fell silent and felt bad at the same time. There were people out there who went through worse than I did. And the news about my mom’s friend has been out for quite some time. Mom went back into the kitchen to finish preparing. Our conversation went around with dad asking how we were holding up. It was typical parent-children kind of topic and dad announced that he will be getting more and more business trips way from us. Celine asked permission if she and her boyfriend could get out of town for a weekend after the New Year. Dad easily gave the approval. And if he was cool with it, so would mom. The small and weekly family catch-up ended when mom announced that dinner was ready. “Just in time!” Celine yawned with a stretch. Her slim and fit athletic build still stayed despite quitting from track and field a couple of years ago. “You guys are starting to talk about weird stuff again. I can’t stand it!” “I’m hitting the sack!” I exclaimed and stood up. “By the way son,” Dad said. “Your uncle stopped by a while to leave the VIP packages. I left them on your bed this afternoon since you weren’t around.” “Got it!” I replied. “Thanks, dad!” “Remember the deal!” He smiled with mischief and playfulness. “Where we got it is an absolute secret. Okay?” “Yup!” I chirped and left the dining room. “Completely classified.” Dad told us that since we were related to some big-shot in the entertainment industry, we should keep a low-profile. My uncle didn’t really have a family of his own so he would spoil Celine and I with some good stuff every once in a while. I went to my room and tried to send a mental message to Ven but there was not reply. Rei was surely going to grill him and if they dare barge into my house, I wouldn’t give in without a fight. Knowing their desire to put things in secret, I was sure that they wouldn’t break the anonymity any time soon. True enough, I found the packages on my bed and opened it quickly. Each VIP package were inside a separate stylish box for each individual. They’re all stored up inside a bigger box with my name on it. I caressed the black box that felt so premium and expensive. Uncle Chase was definitely trying to impress everyone with this. I opened the black box and it contained our VIP badges for the big event of our town. But I was not entirely comfortable with the idea that thousands of people will be gathering for that big modern-style town fair. With the threat of Samael looming nearby, I couldn’t help but get a really bad premonition that it wouldn’t end up well. I took one out to inspect it further. There were a lot of other stuff inside and decided to look at it later on. The main thing was what I was interested at. The ID badge was made out of some special carbon fiber glass that’s the size of a regular phone. It looked thin and fragile. But for an ID, the ‘screen size’ was big and was probably 6 inches diagonally. But it’s because everything we needed for the fair was inside the thing. It wasn’t just an ID badge but a device that worked like a smartphone. All the purchases needed will be done through the badge. We just needed to load our money on it through certain stations and everything can be bought by just online means. It had it’s own maps, including a GPS-like option to find your friends specifically. All the schedules for the events were there. We could also plug in our social media so we can exchange contacts if we made new friends just in case. There were a lot of other better features in store and I’d be taking a look at them later on, too. As much as I hated to admit, I’d have to present this to Ven and the others as soon as Rei realized that it was stupid to force me through his plan. Our VIP badges had darker color themes compared to regular people and had access to special areas. We also had a ton of discounts and had a lot of perks. I just couldn’t help but be thankful that our uncle was giving it to my family a certain set of friends for free. The badge was styled so elegantly with the new technology being offered by FordTech, Inc. The logo of the tech company was a small capitalized “FT” at the lower right of the ID badge. I played with it for a while and even information about FordTech, Inc. and saw the name of the CEO that says, Giulia Rutherford-Bishop. I also found it interesting that there was another name on it that had no exact title. Ainan Rutherford. Something familiar was present in the name but I just couldn’t remember so I went back to checking out the rest of badge. My uncle’s company was engraved at the back of the badge in a glimmering, dark green color. Black Daze Entertainment.
  10. Yes, that's pretty much needed right now. I apologize for the confusion at times since my grammar weaknesses really involved the inconsistencies in regards to my tense. I tend to overlook them more than I should. However, I still have not yet found an editor for this. Thank you so much for the criticism. I value these comments very much.
  11. A couple of days later, Jaden was back to his usual self. He’s still the cute best friend that I had like before. But of course, I sensed the faint traces of avroi inside of him. Apparently, Abraxas caused the commotion outside the school in order to corner us. Everything would have went smoothly for him if it wasn’t for Ven’s protection. And it’s just frustrating to know that there were two groups out there who were after my butt. “They’re moving too fast.” Ven solemnly said. Then he placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. Both of us were contemplating what to do next inside their living room. “I hate to admit it, but we don’t have the luxury of time, Chance.” Someone else came into the room. It was none other than Estelle Stastra, the mage who posed as his mother here on this dimension. And I won’t forget how she used an advanced dark magic spell on Jaden to save our careless butts. But that would only mean one thing. She was about to use it on me, too. “No way.” I groaned. For some reason, I knew what was coming. And it was going to be painful if she was going to do it. “Are you serious? Ven, I thought I could trust you.” “I’m sorry.” Ven apologized. His voice was somber and sad. Surely, Rei had forced his hand again. He always did it, for the benefit of the mission more than the benefit of the person. “Time is running out and Veronica will be freed from the other dimension if Israfil remains sealed inside you.” The hair on my back stood up and I braced myself for a fight. I knew I had to run for it. There was no other choice. My mind roared and my heart punched hard in my ribcage. I had to flit away the moment I saw fit. Based on what I had seen, Estelle didn’t use Gravity Magic but I was not sure. On the other hand, Ventus moved too fast for me. I needed a distraction first. “Don’t make this hard, Chance.” Ven said. “I don’t really want to do this but don’t make it look like I don’t have a choice.” “But you do have a choice! If you don’t want to then don’t do it!” I shot back at him. My hands instinctively raised themselves to my chest level and the shadow beneath me expanded. Tendrils of darkness started to creep out from floor. And I felt more energized than ever. “He’s putting you up with this again, doesn’t he? The crazy bastard is trying to ruin my life!” “No, Chance.” Ven stated. His a bit smaller. “I really don’t have a choice.” “Yes, Ven. You do have a choice.” I retorted. More firmly than before. My voice pressed on despite having doubts if I could take them both on. They were both powerful mages and I was simply a trainee. “Use your own head. I know you’re one of the most intelligent guys out there. You’re not supposed to force things on your friends. And you don’t make them do things they don’t want to do.” “A desire is different from a necessity.” Ven’s reply was cryptic. He looked at me with sad eyes. “Desires can be dangerous if left unchecked.” “And you call this necessary?” I sneered. My voice sounded hurt more than before. I started to step back slowly towards the window. Estelle already took notice of it and she also started brewing spells under her feet. “If everybody gets what they want then this world would have ended a long, long time ago. If only people had focused to let go of all those selfish desires than fulfill them then there would be less evil around.” Ven argued. His short monologue was eerily cryptic. “And yes, I’m afraid it’s necessary.” Then we all fell silent. Neither of us moved. And I kept thinking of the best way to utilize my abilities to get out. The only thing I would take advantage of was Gravity Magic. But I had to catch Ven off guard. “Please, don’t move.” Ven pleaded. His voice was soft. There was no bravado that he would usually show. Not a drop of confidence. “Please.” He made a step forward. And that was the finally straw. With the most of my focus, I summoned a throwing knife with my left and accessed the gravity magic with the other hand. My eyes immediately took note of the details that were happening. Estelle was not moving but I was pretty sure she was cooking up something. Ven on the other hand had both arms ready with a pulse of lightning wrapped around them. I threw the blade outside the window and surged the anti-gravity spell that caused all of us to tumble upwards. And as soon as I was on the same height-level as the window, I activated the gravity lock magic on the knife outside. I flawlessly jolted outside of the window with both of my captors still inside the house. Thankfully, we were in the backyard and no one would be snooping around to check what was happening. Both of them wouldn’t risk using any spells that could cause mayhem in the neighborhood. They needed to take me down as silently as possible. As I rolled on the ground and stood up, a bright flash of lightning blasted me backwards. I landed on my back a couple of feet away. My chest felt like it was pounded with heavy rock and I couldn’t feel my arms nor my legs. My focus over the anti-gravity spell inside the house were no longer existing. Then next thing I saw was Ven’s foot next to my face. And I looked up to see him staring down. I would’ve cast a shadow-bind spell but I couldn’t even feel my body. But during a split second of a moment, he suddenly winked at me and nudged at the door that just swung open. Estelle came out with black chains in her hands. It was then I understood what Ven planned. He suddenly grabbed me by the neck and a slight shock erupted throughout my body. The stunning spell he had cast on me was undone. He pulled me up to my feet then pushed me towards the woman. As soon as I stepped in the actual middle of them, I summoned another throwing dagger and threw it at Estelle. It was a stupid decision but it still caught her off guard. She caught the blade and as soon as she did, I immediately cast the gravity lock spell on myself. Both of them were jolted towards me with such speed and Ven’s arm was already loaded with another stun spell. At the moment they were near enough, I dispelled my magic and jumped out of the way. Both of them crashed with each other. Ven got ahold of Estelle in midair and accidentally stunned her. But he was also grabbing her arm and that gave the bridge for the lightning current to strike him, too. Both of them got stunned. And I was easily able to run away the moment they landed on the ground. I cast an anti-gravity spell on myself to give myself a bit of a jumping power over the fence. With a solid kick away from the ground, I momentarily flew over the wooden wall. Thankfully, it was a vacant lot on the other side. And it gave me a perfect getaway from them. Run. Ven’s voice echoed in my head. Then I felt a small black stone inside my left pocket. It was remarkable that I never even noticed him slipping it in. It would have been dangerous if he was truly trying to capture me. This should give you enough to time to run away from here. Why? I asked back. I didn’t like Rei’s plan. Totally stupid. Ven replied. His voice was a bit cocky. It was too drastic. I never said yes to hurting you. But what about you? I questioned him. It made me feel bad. I was pretty sure that Estelle wasn’t stupid enough to think that it was an accident. You mentioned that he can be quite a jerk. Not that it needs to be reiterated. Just run. He stated in a commanding tone. I’ll hold them off as much as I can. But- I objected. Don’t. You said to use my head, right? Ven argued back. My anxiety suddenly transformed into pride after that statement. Be glad I’m using it for your sake. After waiting for a few minutes of walking southwards, they didn’t show up. No quick lightning-based attacks or flitting shadows appeared. There was no way I would be quick enough for them. Ven would have had me be a play-thing if he really wanted to keep up with the pursuit. I found myself in the old construction site downtown. The area was pretty large and there were old stuff all over the place. Jaden said that it was one of the most secluded parts of the town. So, it became a secret hiding place for Jaden and I a couple of years before and we had the best conversations there. We eventually grew up and stopped coming at the spot. That’s because we found friends. The sacred spot for us was no longer sacred. When in doubt, calling Jaden would always be a great idea. At worst, he would always sound overbearing. Yet I knew he cared. But it just simply worked every time. After a few more seconds of deciding, I went ahead and gave him a call. [Sup Valentine.] He greeted me with the usual happy voice. Based from the background noises, he wasn’t at home. Most likely, he would be at the local arcade or at the mall. [I was wondering if you got lost or something. Normally, you would meet up with me on a Saturday.] [Well, that’s why I called you.] I lied. He wouldn't buy it but it was too late. I already said it. [I'm trying to know where you are. But before that. Guess where I am right now.] [You’re on the toilet, taking a dump. Duh. Or maybe jerking off.] He suggested with that sheepish naught in his voice. Then we both laughed after remembering how many times he did that to me. Every instance he would try to have me guess, he would be the one taking the dump. Or jerking off for that matter. It was a uniquely gross way of starting a conversation. [It’s good you’re taking notes of the good things I do for the world.] [No, dumb-ass.] I chuckled. [I’ll give you a clue. It’s an old place.] [You’re in your grandma’s house?] He asked. [You never mentioned that you’re going to Boston over the weekend. That’s not dope, man. What if we were preparing a surprise for you right now? Then you didn't even tell us where you were going. Not cool.] [No. I’m not in my grandma’s house. We just visited her a couple of months ago. It's too soon to make another visit.] I replied with the hint of confusion on my voice. [Wait. You guys are preparing a surprise for me?] [Why on earth would we do that? That was just a what if.] Jaden chuckled. I could imagine him shaking his head on the other line. [We're your friends, not your fan club. Only I have that.] [Whatever.] I groaned. [You can be such a dick wad.] [Anyway, where are you?] He asked. [You're said you're somewhere old. But there are a lot of old places in Saintsville. The clue is too vague. That's not really a fair giveaway. Give me another one.] [Clues are supposed to be vague and confusing. It won't be much of a clue if it's too obvious.] I argued back. Jaden was about to insist but I cut him off. [But fine, Parker. I'll give you another one.] Then I scrunched my nose thinking of what to give him. Jaden waited silently on the other line. I scanned the area what clue I could give him. The place weren't really that colorful to begin with. An abandoned site was dead and dry. [Let's see.] I chirped. My tone tried to make the conversation more lively. His energy was contagious, after all. [I'm somewhere downtown.] [But that's another vague clue!] He grumbled. I couldn't help myself again but to sneer at his frustration. [That's not fair!] [It's not my fault you're too stupid to get it.] I snapped. He would always sound cute whenever he was getting frustrated. Jaden loved to mess with people but he was just as bad as them when we bite back. [I give up.] Jaden groaned. But I wasn't able to manage a witty comeback for that. It wasn’t like him. [Wait. You're in that old construction place!] [So maybe you're not that stupid.] I replied. [Congrats.] [Haven't been there for quite a while.] His voice got a bit mellow. [That place has a lot of memories.] [Yeah.] I uttered. Then I couldn’t help but chuckle at the fond memories we had in the old construction place. [It’s not easy to forget that this place is where you proudly showed me you could make your peepee hard when we were kids.] [Do you want me to come over?] He asked. [Maybe I can show it to you again.] [Sounds great. Except the showing me part.] I agreed. [I'll wait here.] [Are you okay?] He suddenly asked. [That's not like you to suddenly visit that old place. As far as I could remember, the last few times you did make a visit, you were pretty upset with Celine. And that one girl in class who turned you down.] [Shut up, Parker.] I chuckled. The memory flitted quickly in my mind's eye. I remembered those disastrous moments too well. Totally infuriating. [I'm glad Chesca and I didn't end up dating. That would have been a big catastrophe.] [That's true. Chesca is quite something else. Anya and Caitlyn gave you all the warning signs but you didn't listen. Quite stupid.] Jaden pointed out. For a person who loved to act stupid, he could be quite observant. And it had annoyed me more than a couple of times. [But you still didn't answer my question. What's bothering you?] [I honestly don't know. Everything just seemed crazy these days. And I'm scared I wouldn't be able to fulfill what I'm supposed to do. I'm scared that I'll put more people in danger.] My mouth suddenly confessed. I was surprised I blurted it out before I could even stop myself but Jaden seemed to take it well. [I just ran away from something big and important. Is it okay to run from what you need to do because you don't want it?] Jaden went mute. But I could hear his calm breathing on the other side. [I want to punch you right now for keeping all these from me. What the hell is wrong with you?] Jaden sounded rejected. His voice was snappy. And I couldn’t reply anything back right away. [You're supposed to be my best friend, Valentine. We tell each other everything that bothers us. Everything.] [Because you might not be able to understand.] I snapped back. [Try me!] Jaden taunted. His voice raised a notch. [I love you and I can take that crap if I have to.] [I don't want to put you in danger.] I groaned. Another confession. My voice went soft and I wasn't sure if I could say any further than that. [It's really hard to understand. Trust me. Please.] [Whatever. I'll be there in 20 minutes.] Jaden quipped. His voice got a bit cold and firm. [Don't run away this time.] Then he hung up. When my conversation with Jaden ended, there was a message from mom to call her right away. So immediately went ahead to give her call. [Hey, mom. What’s up?] I asked. [I was just wondering where you are right now.] She replied. I could feel the goofy grin of hers on the other side. Her voice was tremendously cheeky. It felt so suspicious. [I got home and you weren’t around. What time are you planning to get here?] [I’ll just meet with Jaden in a few and then I’ll come home for dinner.] I said. [Okay.] She responded. [Just don’t be out too late. I have to go, love you!] [Love you too, mom.] I mumbled. As soon as I slid my phone into my pocket, I heard some rustling noise behind me. My heart jumped at the sudden intrusion in our no-longer-sacred place. Morsus stepped into the view. And the first thing I did was to summon a couple of dark blades in each of my hands. I noticed that over time, I need less concentration, energy and focus to perform feats like these. Weeks before that, it took everything out of me to produce one blade. “Are you going to take me back there?” I asked. My unsure voice tried to be tough and strong. But there was no question that this kid could take me down. “No.” Morsus answered. Then he leaned on one of the old pillars that were never finished. “But someone needs to talk you. Scratch that. Rather, that something wants to make a deal.” I was a bit perplexed when Morsus switched from the usage of ‘someone’ to ‘something.’ It was kind of a weird shift of words. “You brought someone else?” I glared at him. The kid was a versatile mage and his magic was different from all the others I have met. “He might want to show himself.” “He will.” The boy quipped. “And he’s here.” One of my eyebrows were raised at the last statement. The vibe in the area suddenly dropped and I felt an immense amount of avroi in the area. It even felt heavy on my shoulders like someone gave me a spine-braking backpack behind me. Then when I looked at the boy, his skin turned gray. His skin got dry and dead as if he was a corpse. Cracks randomly appeared on his jaw and neck area and his sclera went totally black. Yet the deep blue of his eyes remained the same and gave off a faint glow. “What’s just happened?” I asked further. The avroi that he gave off was even more sinister than Rei’s. It was as if the darkness of the Vladimir couldn’t hold a candle against him. “Hello, Chance Valentine.” Morsus greeted. But a different voice came from his mouth. The high-pitched and childish voice was totally gone. It was replaced with dozens of different voices fused into one. A chilling echo racked the hair on my skin, and had me raised my blades for battle. “It’s good to finally talk to you. I’ve waited for this for quite a while.” “Morsus?” I exclaimed. It was a dumb rhetorical question, I thought to myself. “No. The boy is asleep.” The voice replied. His eyes gazed on me as if he was sizing me up. But there was no intense desire in it for a fight. “He won’t be able to remember what we will talk about. Your secrets are safe with me.” It was weird. But with all the weirder things I’ve seen, I shouldn’t be surprised. I stared at Morsus who simply stared back with utter ambiguity. “Morsus said you wanted to talk.” I said. “Indeed.” It quipped. Then the boy slowly raised his hand with the palm facing me. Then some sort of eerie symbol appeared at the center of it. The engraved symbol was black as if it was inked on the skin. Then the vibes around us just got more intense. “I’d like to propose a deal.” I fell silent. But the thing inside the boy simply waited for an answer. “I have nothing to offer.” I dismissed. But there was a smirk on the side of the boy’s lips. “I don’t think I have anything that you want so badly to even call it a deal.” “You don’t even know what I want yet.” The voice replied. The tone taunted me deeply. And I couldn’t help it but to grit my teeth. “That’s quite bold of you to assume.” Silence fell between us again. It was eerie and severe. “I can make you stronger than all of those mages who are after you. Morsus has been tapping into my power for quite a while and he can kill them all. He just chooses not to.” The voice stated. Its echoes gripped my eardrums and pain had rung from within my head. “And you can make them kneel at your very whim.” Its tone went completely seductive. The screeching of the different voices had made me nauseous but I held myself and stood my ground. I didn’t have any idea yet what was inside the boy. But it was something truly evil. “I can offer you greater powers than the Black Sorceress.” It suggested. But it perked my interest. She was mentioned all the time but I had no idea what the deal was with her. And it spoke through my eyes. “She is nothing but a misunderstood hero. That woman realized the futility of everything that was permitted. And now that she had seen the true light, she did everything she can to bring the world this light that she found. Sadly, she lost her way in the process.” I gripped my hand tightly. The offer was tempting but I had to pull myself together before this thing. It was like the devil in the flesh. And the poor boy was just a vessel for it. “I don’t need power. And I don't care what the Black Sorceress really is.” “Yes. You do.” The voice affirmed. And the ambience went thicker. “You just don’t know it yet. But I know you want what I can offer you. Very badly.” Then it restrained itself for a few moments. The quietness was incoherently astounding. I gulped at what it was about to say next. Because the words used to draw me was getting more personal. An impish smile appeared momentarily on the boy’s face. “Because I can give you all the power you need to protect everyone you love.”
  12. The battle drums in my ear roared after Ventus said that. We were in school and for us to be watched meant that there were enemies in the vicinity. And that means that there were a lot of potential victims, too. On top of that list would probably be my friends. I was sure Ven knew about that and urged me. His eyes alone went to battle mode but we had to carry on with our day like normal teenagers. After all, there was no convincing reason that those who were watching us would attack right away. “Meet me behind the gymnasium after class.” Ven whispered to me. The others went to their respective classes and left us with a nod. “We need a plan. Samael is getting more aggressive.” “How did you know we’re being watched?” I whispered back. My lips quivered in nervousness. I secretly hoped that it was just a sick joke. But Ven isn’t the kind of person who would. “Isn’t it too risky for them?” “Chance, they’re just toying with us.” He admitted. His face was serious so I couldn’t help but be distracted during class. “Honestly, I don’t why they have not yet abducted you. They could literally take you away even if Rei was around. And we haven’t figured out yet why.” I fell silent after that. The statements of our teacher went from completely interesting to completely gibberish in my ears. Ven seemed to be thinking of some sort of plan at my side. If ever that these watchers would move, I was sure that he would protect me. I could try to fight them off but I was still pretty useless in a battle. My stomach made a nasty turn when I thought of it. The rest of the day dragged on quickly. I hated that it did because we might suddenly get a confrontation on the schoolgrounds. That would be a pretty careless move on their part. But if they were able to abduct me and find a way to extract Israfil then it’s over. The war would be lost and it was my fault because I was too careless. It was our Geometry class and we were put in pairs. Jaden and Caitlyn were in our class as well so they got paired off right away. Ven and I were paired together since the teacher noticed that the new boy in class was most comfortable with me. That was pretty much the case anyway. “Ven?” I said. “They only wanted Israfil because Israfil knows how to defeat the Black Sorceress, right?” “Yeah.” Ven responded. “Why did you ask that?” “Nothing.” I mumbled. Hesitation was on my voice. He noticed and waited for what I was about to say next. “I was just wondering. Why not just kill me right off the bat? That would save them a lot of time.” “Rei and I were also wondering the same thing. We could try making contact with their father but Necromancy is forbidden magic. And all of the necromancers are hiding. You need another necromancer to sniff them out.” He replied. “So we started thinking of possible scenarios why they’re not trying to kill you.” “They need me.” I stated grimly. “It’s the only possible answer.” “Yes, I’m afraid so.” He agreed. But the way he looked at me just made me feel worse. “Israfil knows the secret to the Black Sorceress’ immortality. And it’s also possible that only only he knows how to undo the seal that his father placed on her soul. Israfil’s knowledge could be used to resurrect the Black Sorceress or eradicate her once and for all.” “And that made me the perfect target.” I muttered. Ven couldn’t help it but take pity on me. I couldn’t blame him either. “I’m so screwed up.” “Correct.” He quipped back. “I also think that they’re just taking their time to regroup themselves and try to re-establish their allies all over Altimeraea. That would take some time. But we’re talking about a year after the physical body has been destroyed. I could only assume that they need to prepare a few things. Israfil’s knowledge is just the final trigger to finish the while plan.” “You lost me after Altimeraea.” I grumbled. Then the bell rang and everyone started to leave. Jaden and Caitlyn followed Ven and I outside the classroom. Both of us were silent because we were planning to get away as soon as possible. Meanwhile, everyone was running towards the front of the school for some reason. There was so much noise and chaos. Worse than the usual battlefield called dismissal. Dylan and Anya were in the crowd that passed by our classroom. “What on earth is going on?” Jaden exclaimed. His blue eyes sparkled with his boyish curiosity. I really hated it whenever he would look so damn cute. But of course, I’m expert in keep my composure. I still couldn’t believe it that he got to suck my cock and I never got to return the favor. “JJ is beating up someone again on the front yard.” Dylan replied. Then Anya just shrugged and motioned us to see it together. “And I heard the other kid is black belt in karate. That’s why everyone is so psyched about it.” “They’re probably expecting a Hollywood level bully fight scene.” Caitlyn said, rolling her eyes. “Have you ever seen an actual karate sparring match? They’re just making a bluff or a feint more than half the time. It’s not as cool as the ones on TV.” “Whatever. Let’s just all go.” Jaden interrupted with a devious smile. For someone with a penchant for being troublesome, we should’ve expected that. “Don’t deny we never wanted a bully ever get beaten up. This is a chance of lifetime.” With all his effort, he started pushing our other three friends towards the front of the school. I followed them but Ven tugged my sleeve and shook his head. He motioned me to go with the plan. “Chance!” Jaden called out. He stopped for us while the other three kept walking away. “What are you waiting for? Let’s go before the show is over. I wanna see everything before that kid throw JJ in the trashcan!” “We’ll be right behind you guys.” Ven replied cheerily. But I was the only one who knows how fake it was. Then he pulled me towards a different direction. The others went on and didn’t notice us due to the excitement. That seemed to convince Jaden and left. “Where are we going?” I asked. “I prepared a ritual circle like the one at home a while ago at the back of the bleachers. It’s covered by a cart of basketballs.” He explained. We walked fast before someone could notice us. “We need to get go back to Altimeraea to regroup and sort this out with Rei. The fight in front of the school was a good distraction for us to get away.” “I’m not ready for a roller coaster ride.” I whined. “As much as I like to see the wonders of your world, the only way to get there involves my stomach getting turned inside out.” “We don’t have a choice.” Ven pointed out. His voice was tense which made me more nauseous than I already were. “I can’t even sense who we are up against.” “When were you able to prepare this?” I questioned. But we just kept walking towards the gymnasium. “We were together the whole time. I don’t remember you getting away at all.” “That circle was prepared before you even knew me.” He replied dryly. It was a matter of facts for him at times. And this was one of those instances. But I just felt amazed that everything was just so planned out for my safety. “Rei wanted me to prepare a quick getaway for emergencies like today. But that circle is a quick cast and it’s only for a single use. Think of it as a Fire Exit.” “Well, we’re not under fire.” I scoffed. “Not yet.” Ven groaned. “Hopefully it stays that way.” We kept walking towards a gymnasium. But our walking never stopped. The hallway just kept expanding endlessly like we were in some sort of maze. Ven stopped midway and looked around. He waved his arms and cast a spell. Lightning sparked on his hands then with a whip of his right, a bolt of lightning jolted outwards but vanished as soon as it hit the wall. Suddenly, a loud grunt was heard from inside the wall as if a person was hit by the spell. A body of a man phased out of the wall and fell on the floor. It caused me cast my own spell and ready a couple of gravity-lock spells on both my forearms just in case someone came in too close. “Crap.” Ven winced. Men started coming out of the walls as if they were non-existent. Blood was drained from my face as soon as I realized we were already surrounded. “We’re too late.” “I didn’t think you would get to strike down one of my men right away.” A voice stated from the far end of the hallway. “If there is any consolation, you have some sharp instincts there. It’s such a waste if this ends up into a small skirmish. There’s only two of you.” The walls soon vanished into thin air and we found ourselves in the middle of the gymnasium. They were just a bunch of illusions. We went into the middle of the basketball court of the gym and we still thought that we were inside the hallway. A man soon stepped forward that was distinct from the other people that had surrounded us. There were seven of them, excluding this unknown person that spoke to us. All of them were wearing hooded cloaks that covered their heads. It was bright in the huge room yet a veil of darkness hid their faces from us. “You know what we want.” He said and removed the hood. It was a man in his mid thirties with a strong and sturdy build. His beard was trimmed and gray hair were just starting to grow on their roots. “I don’t want to kill a kid. It’s against my personal convictions. But if there’s no choice then I will.” “It can’t be.” Ven gasped. “I thought you went hiding.” “Are you going to introduce me to your friend?” I asked. The man didn’t look impressed at my comment. “I’m getting presented to a lot of mages lately.” “He’s no friend.” My friend quipped back. “And he’s no mage either.” “Ouch.” I replied nervously. For some reason I didn’t find the will to be quiet. I felt so compelled so break the intimidation the man was trying to show. “You don’t have to be so cold.” “Shut up!” The man barked. He took out a huge tobacco and lit one. The principal would have went nuts if he saw someone smoking in the middle of this building. “Just come with us. And everything will go peacefully.” “No thanks.” I said. “You’re no friend of the Black Sorceress, Abraxas. In fact, Samael attacked some of your men a year ago. Were you able to forgive him right away? That does not uphold the honor your people take pride of.” Ven taunted. I could feel his avroi charging his body like a battery. The temperature near him was slowly rising. “You don’t have any good reason to take this person away.” “Samael has what we need.” Abraxas admitted. His eyes were fierce red and when he looked at me, I was further drained of color. Terror could only come from those with red eyes. “Your friend is a good bargaining chip, don’t you think so?” “The Supreme Qirian Council will have your head if you do take him.” Ven objected. It just made the conversation more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but step back. “You’ll not only be taking someone from a noble family of Vladimir, but also the son of a former Praegis. Xanxus-kyvernil will hunt you down.” “Spare me the political lecture.” The man whined and scratched his beard. He looked like he was enjoying the exchange. But I was aching to run away. “It just makes things worse just because you’re also from a noble family.” “And I’ll show you what it means to be against a noble family.” Ven glowed bright and blasted him with a bold of lightning. But the man suddenly teleported to a different spot in a blink of an eye. “Chance! Get out of here now!" Before I could make a move, Abraxas was suddenly in front of me. He grabbed me by the throat and I tried to summon a blade from my shadow. I swung my weapon that dispersed back into shadow form before I could even stab him. Ven charged at him but his arm was too fast and struck him quickly in the neck. It was so fast. The hand sliced deep through my friend’s neck cleanly. His head was thrown away from his body and landed a few meters from our spot. I could only stare in horror how he was able to behead someone who could move as fast as lightning. My stomach turned inside out as the blood splattered everywhere. “Ven!” I cried out. His body dropped to his knees without resistance. Tears started to flow. “Ven!” I wanted to puke but his hand was firmly planted on my neck. My guts couldn’t take the fact that a friend was killed just like that. Blood was on the wooden floor and Ven’s head was turned away from me. I couldn’t even look at it. My knees gave in and my neck hung on the whim of his hand. “Now, we can enjoy a good conversation.” Abraxas whispered. “Fuck you!” I roared. But the last of my strength drained away. My voice faded away. Yet the enemy before me had a proud smug on his face. “You murdered my friend! I’ll fucking kill you!” Then suddenly, there was a zap. And it stung like hell. In an instant, I saw Ven holding my arm and Abraxas was in front of us a few meters away. There was only three of us. My friend’s neck was still intact and he looked to be well and breathing. “Sorry.” Ven apologized. “I had to shock you to disable his illusion magic. It looked like it work.” “What the fuck happened?” I gasped. A weak pulsed coursed through my forehead. “I saw you get killed! You attacked him head on!” “It was what he wanted you to see.” Ven admonished. The man’s grimace just became more evident. He was but a clever deceiver. “I never attacked him.” “Relax.” The man grinned with malice. His eyes had turned red and a strong wave of avroi emerged from both of it. “I’m not going to kill a kid. I was just playing rough with you guys.” “You’re not going to get what you want.” Ven taunted the man. He raised his hand and ball of lightning was on the center of his palms. It was more concentrated compared to the previous attacks he used. “We can take you on here and now!” “Well,” the man sighed and shook his head. “I didn’t know jokes were allowed in your ranks these days.” I took a deep breathe and sent more of my avroi downwards into my own shadow. Then I summoned a couple of dark orbs controlled by each of my hand. My focus was thin but seeing how dangerous the enemy was gave me the boost to mentally prepare myself. I willed the orbs to be shaped into a couple of claymore-sized swords and held them. “Even the little puppy is willing to die for a useless cause.” Abraxas pointed out. For some reason, he looked sad when I met his gaze. “That’s just pitiful.” With a snap of the man’s finger, his arms turned into a flock of bats that charged towards us. Ven summoned winds that circled around his vicinity while I stabbed on if my huge swords into the ground and cast a gravity spell that would cause everything around me to be dragged into the ground. It was a tricky move that I haven’t mastered yet so I could only use it in a small diameter. Probably a 2 feet radius or so. Yet when the bats got near us, none of it were affected by our magic. The bats just pass through us. It was none but a display of his illusion magic. “Chance!” Ven called out and blasted me with a gust of wind that threw me backwards by a few feet. I landed on my backside and grunted when I saw the man landing from my previous spot with a well placed slash that was guided by my own magic. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine!” I bellowed. With a bit of magic and raw physical strength from my average body build, I threw the sword at the enemy. He effectively dodged it by stepping aside and was hurled straight at Ven. “Watch out!” But my friend guided the flow of the sword by augmenting it with his wind magic and redirected it around. The sword made a huge u-turn midway as Ven elevated its position upwards. Its trajectory looked like a roller coaster that was about to do a loop. With the tip was facing up, Ven threw it back as if it was a tidal wave about to crash land on the enemy. Abraxas smiled as the sword stabbed through him into the ground. But he made no grunt nor shrieked in pain. The attack set on me was an illusion and we played through his trap. His illusion simply faded into thin air and we looked around to check where he was. An arm suddenly appeared behind Ven and wrapped it around his neck. A dagger was then placed by his throat. “Wrong move!” Ven declared and released a jolt of lightning throughout his body. It threw Abraxas back and his body slowed down from the aftershock of the spell. But then he was able to recover in the second and threw the knife at Ven. He was able to dodge it with ease. “That’s not going to work.” Abraxas raised both his arms and black sand started pouring out of them in a massive amount. In a matter of seconds, the whole gymnasium was covered in his illusion and greatly reduced our ability to see. Ven rushed towards my side and then to my back. That way, we could see each other’s blindspots. Even the sound of the gushing sand was an illusion for our ears. It looked like his magic directly affects our mind and not just the eyes. I felt it crawling inside my skull. Ven charged both his palms and released a weak pulse of lightning that scattered around us. It kept dispersing into the wide open space then Ven followed it by taking out daggers in his hand and throwing them at random directions. All the daggers hit some sort of ritual seals that I never noticed before. They were drawn on small pieces of paper that were scattered in different locations. There was total of eight of them. With a wave of his hand, the illusion vanished and everything was back to normal. Abraxas was all but gone and we were alone in the gymnasium. A deafening silence followed. Ven and I didn’t move for the next few seconds. “He got away.” I groaned, still looking around. But I couldn’t sense anything at all. “Don’t forget to teach me the science behind that magic. I don’t know how I would survive without you.” “Chance?” A voice came from the door. It was a very familiar voice. Then a chill ran up my spine. My lips quivered and my heart wanted to quit. “What’s going on here?” We looked around to see who it was. His deep blue eyes were screaming in shock and awe. Then confusion crashed over the whole of his humanity. The way he looked at me was priceless and fearful at the same time. It was none other than Jaden. And it just had to be Jaden, of all people. “You’re not supposed to be here.” It was all I could say. My guts fell to the bottom of my body. “Why didn’t you leave? I told you to go ahead!” His eyes darted to Ven then back to me. Jaden couldn’t even move from his spot. His jaw just dropped and the three of us stared each other in silence. And the quiet was eerie and loud. We could even hear the cheer coming from the front side of the school. The door on the other end of the opened. Rei and a woman came out. Both of them were followed by Nisroc. It was already too late when I saw Rei move behind Jaden. It was too fast. My reflexes kicked in and summoned a couple of blades from my shadows that erupted from the ground. I commanded both of it to fly towards Rei but Ventus outmatched my speed. He struck me with his palm on the center of my chest and my whole body went numb. I could barely roar when Rei struck Jaden behind him. My best friend was knocked out cold in front of me. Rei knocked out my best friend for the second time! And I couldn’t even do anything to help him. Ven caught me before I fell to the ground. “What are you doing?” I groaned weakly. Even my tongue was having a hard time forming the words I wanted to spit at him. “I knew could never trust you.” “I’m very sorry, Chance.” Ven apologized, His eyes were sad and caressed my cheek. Rei just looked at me coldly. Nisroc and the other woman had blank stares on their faces. “Please understand that we’re doing this for Jaden’s protection.” “How is this protection?” I objected. “You almost killed him.” “We only knocked him out before all this event gets ingrained deep into his mind. He will only think it was a weird dream.” Rei explained. Then he turned to Ven with a stern look. “This falls under your accountability. You were being too careless. I already taught you how to counter Abraxas’ magic.” Rei gently laid Jaden down on his back and the woman stepped forward to inspect him. She placed her palm on the wooden floor and a ritual circle appeared underneath their bodies. The seal drew itself on its own from her shadow. Then a faint glow emanated from it. The woman then placed on of her palms on Jaden’s stomach area and the other on his forehead. “Who is she?” I hissed. “And what is she doing with Jaden?” “Her name is Estelle Stastra.” Rei replied. The way he looked at me was a bit of a smug and pity. “She’s a specialist and can help us immensely. Her magic focuses on binding and she will bind Jaden’s memory so he won’t remember any of this. It’s easier to protect your friend this way.” I fell silent. Rei made sense. Making sure of Jaden's ignorance would make him less of a target by Samael. Estelle proceeded and cast the spell quickly before someone else could come in. That would have been a bigger problem. Suddenly, Jaden’s eyes opened but his pupils were rolled back to his head. It had caused my knees to buckle. His mouth open and he was trying to shout but no noise came out of. My best friend’s face was filled with anguish and agony. I, too, was filled with anguish and agony. “What’s happening with him?” I cried out. Then I stepped forward but Ven grabbed me by the arm and shook head. “Stop it! Please, stop it!” “Jaden’s fighting back.” Ven pointed out. His frown was a mix of pity and urgency. It didn't make me comfortable at the very least. “It would help him a lot if you can make him feel that you’re also at peace with it.” I nodded at him and Rei motioned me to get closer to Jaden. So I knelt beside him and held his hand. Tears fell to my cheeks as I watched him suffer from the consequences of our carelessness. If only I was more powerful then I could have protected all of them. His body stopped convulsing as I grasped his hand tighter. Then I leaned in to kiss him on the forehead. I lowered my head and whispered to his ear, “I swear, I won’t let anything happen to you ever again. I promise! You don’t fucking deserve this!”
  13. November 18, Saturday The most awaited event finally came. And it was from being horny to being chaotic real quick. It was the day of the Astronomy camp and I think that it was the first time for me to wake up before my alarm clock even rang. Even my mom was surprised to the sudden life that was ablaze in my eyes. However, we didn't meet until late in the afternoon. For the time being, I snuggled close to Max. I went to his room and laid next to him before giving him a big brother hug. He just woke up and looked at me funny. Then it was followed by an irritated look before slumping his head back to his pillow. But I am not the kind of person who back down easily. With a quick poke to his side, I tickled my little brother and he squirmed like worm that was sprinkled with salt. We laughed together before settling down on his bed. It was my moment to ask about him and Clyne. I did and he somehow managed to reply calmly. Max was very detailed about his fight with Clyne. I was actually betting that someone fell in love with the other. Much to my surprise, they fought over a girl and there was a bunch of disappointment. It felt like a stab. I thought my brother was more like me. Nevertheless, I was still happy for him. I just ruffled his hair before we went down for an early lunch with our parents. After we ate, Vlad dropped by. He said that he just wanted to check up on me before I go to the camp. Of course, I told him all about the excitement. Minus the part that I was actually gonna take a taste of Tristan's meat. Not really sure if he was swinging that way. Anyway, he just talked to me about how chaotic their house was. He said that it was really getting worse. Then he went straight for my bed and rolled over it before I followed through beside him. Vlad was so animated when his was pouring out his frustrations and I can't help but laugh at his boyish sarcasm. His face was so close. We were almost kissing and I was probably blushing from my boy crush being so damn close. Vlad smiled and hugged me. He said that he was so thankful to have me in his life. Talk about being sweet. We both cuddled each other on my bed. To my surprise, there was not a hint of lust. Normally, my other head would have taken charge but not this time. Vlad was a very precious someone. We cuddled for almost half an hour before he decided he needed to go. I asked him to stay a little longer as I took a bath so we can leave together. Then off I went to school. He left our house and I went to meet with the rest of the Astronomy Club. The way there was filled with so much thoughts. Vlad and I cuddled and it was another milestone for the both of us. Caleb would never do something like that with me. He would often act like a tough brick. But I knew his weaknesses. And when I arrived at the school, Tristan was the first person I saw. The ride was quick and smooth. One moment, I was seeing the suburban landscape then I am suddenly seeing hundreds of trees in the distance. Based on my sense of direction, it was somewhere north of our fairly big town. Tristan sat beside me and we already decided that we were going to stay in the same tent. When we arrived, everyone managed to set everything. The campsite was really close to the main road. I was expecting that we were really gonna go deep into the woods. But I guess Mr. Rogers won't really risk it. So far, there were at least fifteen of us there, including our teach and his assistant. Since I was more daring than the rest of the bunch, I pitched our tent farther than the rest of the students. That way, we would be able to moan while we have our private fun, assuming that Tristan will play along. Meanwhile, he was busy setting up the monocular telescope so that we would be able to take a good view. The night was pretty filled with fun. I can go all out with my geekiness. The squad was not really able to appreciate that side of mine. Except for Layla, I think. She's kinda brainy as well. Even our jokes were nerdy. Horror stories were passed from left to right and the younger ones were radiating with fear. The bonfire part was fun because someone brought a guitar and we started singing songs from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran. I can't believe I was also singing along. It was something I wouldn't really do, trust me. We ate and made the usual burnt mallows. I haven't had this much fun lately, with all the occult thing idea going around. Then we went to the main event. Tristan and I went for our tent and started looking at the stars. Astronomy was something that really interest me and I managed to pick off the constellations one by one. However, Tristan was better than me. He was able to check out some of the constellations that I was not able to recognize. We were in the latter half of the year. The only constellation I recognized that he didn't was the Phoenix constellation. After that, it was time of the big meal. Mr. Rogers called it a night around 1am since we were gonna go back home before lunch. I wouldn't really have much rest since we needed to visit our relatives a couple of cities away. It was really gonna be disheartening to see Isaiah tomorrow. When we got into the tent, we slid inside our sleeping bags next to each other and we talked about random things as we faced each other. His eyes seemed to spark even from the limited light from the lamps outside our tent. Our conversation went from astronomy to blackholes to physics to random science stuff to biology. And finally to a sexual conversation. Then I made a brave move to ask if the two of us could join in one sleeping bag since it was pretty cold. It was already November after all. Just a few more weeks and snow will finally fall. He agreed and I slid in. Then his hands lingered into mine and guided it to his throbbing cock. Much to my surprise, his shorts and boxers were already pulled down and I was slowly playing with it. He leaned it and made a quick kiss to my lips. I was just stunned at his bold move. He confessed that he was crushing on me longer than I have ever known him. My heart suddenly erupted into a million pieces as he guided my hands to jack off his big tool. I opened the sleeping bag and got to take a good look at his dick. Even in the limited amount of light, I managed to take in the details. The size was just as I expected. It must have been at least seven inches long and was really fat. For a fourteen year old, it was really big. Tristan was on the scrawny side and it didn't look proportional to his body. I slid downwards to take a closer inspection. A drop of cum was already on the tip and more was coming out. A slight fuzz was on the base and it was just starting to grow. Then guess what, Dee. I dove right there and took a lick at it. Then I tried to put it in my mouth. But since it was my first time, I could only take in almost the half of it. It was just too big. My head bobbed as Tristan started moaning with my hands jacking off the rest of his dick that I couldn't take in. But then I bright light came from the outside. Loud sounds erupted. And Tristan scrambled to raise his boxers up. It was funny though because there was really huge tent in his pants. Good thing, his worry of being caught crashed down on him and it deflated quickly. When we check outside, Mr. Rogers rang the alarm and that meant we need to pack up. When we got out, we saw a forest fire starting at a close distance. That was when it crashed on me that it was really close and everyone was in danger. We quickly went back inside and pack as quickly as we could. I almost kicked the tent in frustration because I was just getting fired up with our sexual play. Under 15 minutes, everything was packed up in the bus and everyone was in a complete disarray. Thankfully, everyone was safe and Mr. Rogers started calling our parents so we can be picked up. I was really hoping that Tristan would be allowed to sleep over at my place. But after an exchange of conversation, his mom was too paranoid to even consider the idea. As we quickly went back towards the town, I saw the creepy stalker guy at the side of the road. It was 2am and when I shook my head, it was gone. Hopefully, it was just my paranoia. Otherwise, that's a really big problem. Tristan rested his head on my shoulder. Since we were at the back, he guided my hand again to the throbbing cock in his shorts. But we were too afraid to risk it. So it was the only sex play that was for us. Both of us had blue balls and we can't do anything about it. When we got to the school, there were a bunch of cars waiting for us. Both my parents were there and they took me home. It was silent trip and they were just thankful that I was okay. Tristan said his goodbye as his mother took him home. I thought I was gonna sleep next to Tristan. At least I get to see that giant cock of his and hold it in my hands. Taste it. Lick it. There was surely gonna be a part two. And I am sure he was also looking forward to it. Today was tiring and a bit disappointing. I just finished jacking off before writing this, Dee. I can't wait to taste him again. Goodnight, Lee
  14. Solus Magus

    Chapter 29

    I have not read this awesome piece of work since 2012. And now I'm swamped with so much chapters. More than 800k words is literally longer than the Bible. Time to re-read the whole thing! 🤪
  15. Solus Magus

    Chapter 52

    I'm just terribly happy we'll get to see Richie again! I am curious to see a Justin-Richie dynamic.
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