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  1. Chapter 111 – The Keys Victor’s POV When Chris ordered us to leave, I barely had the opportunity to protest as he put me, August, and Nomir in an energy bubble and blasted us out of the area. I wanted to help Chris fight the demon general but if I were to be honest, I was already reaching my limit and I think August and Nomir weren’t far behind. We stood strong, and valiantly fought the demon general as a trio but I doubt that we would have lasted 5 or 10 more minutes if I were to be generous. The energy bubble flew above the torn and heavily damaged city and from above it’s clear that the previous encounter with the US Army, FRUSI, and the on-going battle between the demons and the alliance has taken a heavy toll on the landscape and infrastructure around us. We crossed out of the demon veil and landed on our feet about 50 meters from the threshold. Not a minute later, members of the standby forces came to our aid. “Are you all okay?” Asked a worried vampire officer, he did not wait for our reply and continued, “Get me an elf healer here! We need healing and recovery spells.” “Any news from the others?” August asked as the three of us were being tended to by several elves. “None so far, no radio signals could get through the barrier, communication spells couldn’t get through either,” replied the vampire officer whom I later learn is named, Emilio. “How is it inside?” Asked a curious Akros member that stood beside Emilio. “Not good, it’s hard to explain but the place is totally gutted, and the air, god the air is filled with emotions I couldn’t even begin to describe,” replied a tired Nomir. The elvish healers were a great help, for 5 minutes they tirelessly cast healing and recovery spells one after another, I mean, I still felt tired, sore, and pain all over me but things have become more bearable. Not a moment after the last healing spell was cast, we noticed a vibration in the demon barrier and dozens of bright energy bubbles shot out of it. “The others are back,” Emilio noted as he indulged himself with a small smile at the thought that it wasn’t only our group that survived the encounter against the demon horde. Looking at the rest of the returnees, I saw tired and grim expressions on their faces, combat suits were tattered and most of our soldiers had cuts, bruises and were covered in either dust, blood or both. “We need more healers and medics!” ordered a werewolf agent not far from us. For the next few minutes, it was a flurry of action as elf healers and vampire and werewolf medics tended to the injured. Several elves were also restraining several of our peers that have been infected with the demon taint and were slowly turning into Anami. “There you are!” Said a relieved Rehanmir as he approached my group. The Crown Prince had a bandage on his head but he looked to be in better shape than most of us. Looking around he noticed the absence of his nephew, with a concerned expression, he asked, “Where’s Chris?” “He sent the three of us away when Azarahel became too much.” “Azarahel?” “The demon general, she’s powerful, more powerful than Yonthar,” I grimly replied, the tone of my disappointment at my inability, not being strong enough to help Chris was not easily missed. “Azarahel, she split her body in two, that’s how powerful she is, the three of us fought her other half while Chris fought the other one, when they merged, it became too much, Chris sent us away,” August chimed in, sitting a few feet away from where Rehanmir and I were talking. “We have to go back and help him,” I pleaded to the crown prince. “Chris sent us all away too. He initiated a large scale broadcast spell and told… no, ordered us to leave as soon as possible, he was very serious when he said it and there was no room to challenge his assessment of the situation. I’m just glad all other teams heeded his call, as you can see the rest of our soldiers are tired as well, but don’t worry, we will send a team back inside to help my nephew.” I was restless, and multiple thoughts buzzed through my head as I grew more anxious by the minute, I was worried for Chris, if Rehanmir doesn’t send an expeditionary team soon, I will take things into my own hands, I will not let Chris stay alone inside the demon territory, the thought of leaving him behind, the thought of losing him was too much for me to bear. Just as I was about to charge back into the demon zone, I felt a shift in the air, looking around, I noticed everyone else felt it too, then as I set my gaze upon the demon veil, its illusion of normalcy dissipated. The scorched remains of Fort Smith greeted us. I was surprised to see what stood in front of us, what was previously beyond the veil is completely desolate. The area that we left not more than half an hour ago is beyond recognition, yes, we left it in bad condition, but what remained of the city and its suburbs is a lot worse. All we could see where left damaged houses and buildings, is now ash and desolation inside where the barrier stood. “What the hell happened there?” Emilio gasped as he stared at the destruction in front of him. “It’s like a nuclear bomb exploded, there’s barely anything left!” Nomir said in awe. It took me several seconds to gather my wits, then I said, “We have to find Chris!” “Secondary teams 1 and 2, Follow me!” Prince Rehanmir shouted, and not a moment later, two teams of elves appeared in front of us, “We have one mission, and that is to find Prince Christopher,” the elves nodded in the affirmative. As the rescue teams set off, I said, “Wait, I have to come with you.” Rehanmir looked at me as if I was out of my mind, the recovery spells helped but I was in no fighting condition, however the crown prince saw the look of desperation in my eyes, and he relented, “fine, but if it comes to a fight, you leave it to us.” I only gestured to indicate I understood him. Scanning the area, it’s clear, whatever happened between our escape and the veil’s disappearance, was a major release of magical energy, the entire place is barren, and almost nothing remained. “Are you receiving a signal from Chris’ device?” I softly asked. “Yes, he should not be far away, and don’t worry, we’re receiving his vitals too, he’s alive.” Rehanmir smiled at me. I released a deep sigh of relief as confirmation of Chris’ life was announced. If there were any demons to stand between me and Chris, I sure as hell won’t let them get in the way, I have to see Chris now! We could have used a transport spell to fly towards Chris’ location but we couldn’t risk exposing ourselves in case any demons remained, So we trudged and made our way through the rubble of the once busy town center, and then I heard it, “Here! He’s here!” Said an elf as he pointed towards my boyfriend who seemed to be lying on his back. I mustered all that remained of my strength and ran towards my boyfriend but Prince Rehanmir beat me to Chris. Rehanmir softly touched Chris’ face and inspected his body as I took a position beside my sleeping prince, “how is he?” I asked. “He’s sleeping, tired I suppose, but as you can see, he’s not severely injured, well the scans show he only has light cuts and bruises, but the amount of energy he released must have been tremendous, don’t worry, we’ll get him to the realm and have our best see that he’s treated well. Sarad and Zenfar will not let anything bad happen to our precious prince.” I kissed Chris’ forehead and that’s all it took for me to start bawling, I cried, the emotional and mental strain at the thought of losing him was too much. Chris’ uncle comforted me by giving me a half hug from the side and patting my back, “don’t worry, he’ll be fine, I promise,” he said. The trip back to Greensburg was swift, and a few hours later, we were in the realm and a team of healers immediately whisked Chris away. William, Chris’ father joined me, the guy was worried sick for his son, I could only imagine how he was feeling. “Don’t worry, we have the best people looking after him now,” King ZoHal said to us. -- Chris’ POV I yawned and stretched as I regained consciousness, I half expected to wake in the middle of Fort Smith, the other half, well, I expected to wake up in Victor’s arms just like when I defeated Yonthar. However, looking around, I notice that I was in the middle of a field, and I apparently slept on a bed of flowers. The air was filled with the fragrance of flowers unknown to man, elf, or any other creature, the atmosphere hummed with energy, and the colors of every petal, leaf, actually, everything was as vibrant as they could possibly be, I don’t think there are even words to describe the colors I was seeing. Taking a deep breathe, in the silence, I could even hear the sky singing, it was dusk, or dawn, not sure but the stars were barely visible in the purple segments of the sky, looking into space I could feel even the stars singing to me, the music, barely audible, filled my heart and soul with comfort and peace, ‘am I dead?’ I thought to myself, ‘is this the afterlife?’ “You’re not dead, far from it actually,” announced a soft girl’s voice. I immediately stood and searched for whoever was talking to me. “Relax, you’re safe,” the girl added. Not a moment later, four figures appeared in front of me, a man, woman, boy, and girl. Then it hit me, “You were in my dreams, we’ve met before!” “Yes, we have, but during that time you were not ready, now you are,” replied the woman, her voice was serene and her face beautiful. “Who are you?” I asked, then I added, “Am I going to forget this again?” The older man chuckled, “We are emissaries of the flow, and no, you will not forget this time.” “Emissaries?” I curiously asked. “Dear child, you are in the Plane of Ascension, welcome!” added the girl. “The what? Is this the same place we’ve been meeting each other?” “No, this is different, previously we’ve visited you in your mind, this time, you are in a higher dimension,” replied the young boy. “So, I’m dead? This is heaven?” “No, it is not heaven, nor is this the afterlife, it is a place only beings, third ascended and above can visit,” said the woman. “What are you? And what’s a third ascended?” “We are emissaries of the flow, and that’s all you need to know,” answered the young boy. “You have recently reached the third level of ascension, that’s why you are here.” “Third level? I didn’t know Ascensions had levels,” I remarked in confusion. The four of them giggled at my state, then the older man clarified, “Ascension has seven levels, you possess three keys to full ascension, that’s why you are a third ascended.” “No one told me anything about this,” I replied. “Even the first and second ascended do not know, only the ones that reach third ascension receive a revelation.” “So, every royal is a first ascended?” I asked, recalling that every member of the royal family had an ascension ceremony. “No,” the girl tersely replied. “The ascension ceremony is merely that, a ceremony,” added the young boy. “What of these keys you mentioned?” I asked. “There are seven keys to full ascension, you’ve unlocked three,” the older man replied matter of factly. “And those keys are?” I asked to clarify. “There is no certain order to reach Ascension, except for the first step, the first is to be touched by the flow, and that’s something you have had since your ceremonial ascension, the second one is to be a wielder of magical vessels, the third, is to be the keeper of songs.” “So, I’m right, the ascension ceremony is the first ascension,” I said. “Not all elves receive the touch of the flow during their ascension,” the woman grinned at me. “What about the magical vessels and being keeper of songs?” “You just used four vessels, don’t you remember using The Shield of Maktar, The Sword of Tarud, The Ring of Eyaha, and Haldruin’s chains?” asked the boy. “Usually, one has to make their own vessel, but you instead used that of others, and that’s enough to be a second ascended, though I wouldn’t be surprised if later on you will craft a vessel for yourself,” explained the woman. “What are your names?” I asked. “We have none, we are mere creations of the flow to send messages,” said the girl. “Oh, okay,” I replied slightly confused, then I asked again, “And the keeper of songs? “You just used the Book of Songs, didn’t you?” Asked the man. Then memories of the tremendous amount of power I wielded in my battle against Azarahel, the book! “Evalta par Shazag,” I muttered, remembering the title of the once unreadable book. “The Book of Songs, holds tremendous power directly from the flow, use it well,” said the boy. “What are the other keys of Ascension?” I asked. “That we cannot answer, it is up to you to discover them,” the man replied. “However, what we can say is that you are at the cusp of unlocking two other keys,” added the woman. “You’re the first being to ever reach third ascension is thousands of years, and the first one so close to reaching fifth ascension so soon,” added the older man. “What about Patri and Gramps? Are they ascended too? They’re pretty powerful.” “Both are Second Ascended,” The woman replied. “Both are touched by the flow, and both have magic vessels of their own,” added the young girl. “Really?” I asked with a hint of excitement and joy at the thought of not being the only one in this ascension thing these people were spouting about, then I furrowed my brows, “what happens when I reach full ascension?” “You become one of the higher beings,” the boy tersely replied. “Did I defeat Yonthar because I was first ascended at that point? I remember not being myself at that time, I don’t think even a first ascended should be that powerful.” I remarked, then I added, “I don’t even feel like I was truly myself during the fight with Azarahel either.” “That’s not for us to answer,” the woman replied. “What now?” I asked, “Do I see you all again? Will I ever see this place again?” “We will see each other again if the flow permits, and yes, you will see this place again, as third ascended you have the right to be here,” the older man explained. Then just like that, everything started to blur, my body tingled, then everything disappeared. -- Regaining consciousness, I realize that I was lying on a very comfortable bed, the air smelled familiar and then it hit me, I was in the realm! My eyes shot open and I immediately tried to scoot up. “Chris!” Exclaimed my boyfriend who was sitting on a couch not far away from me. “Where am I?” I asked. “You’re in the palace’s medical bay,” he replied as he sat beside me, and placed a soft kiss on my cheek, “You had me worried, I thought I lost you,” he added misty eyed. I softly touched his face, then smiled at him, “I’m glad to be back, and I’m glad to see you, I love you Victor.” My words were met by my boyfriend’s soft lips as we gently kissed each other. “So, how long was I asleep?” I asked. Victor’s expression became serious, then he replied, “two and half days,” “What?!” “Yes, Sarad and Zenfar were sure you were alright and just tired, that battle must have taken a lot from you.” “You can say that again,” I muttered. I could see from the look on Victor’s face that he wanted to ask more questions, but he instead said, “You must be hungry, I’ll have the servants prepare food for you. I’ll also tell everyone that you’re awake, despite Sarad and Zenfar’s assurances, we couldn’t help but be worried for you,” he smiled at me. “Food sounds great,” was my only reply. -- Not even 15 minutes after waking, Dad, Patri, Matra, my uncles, Yal, and Etalos were all over me. Little was mentioned about my clash against Azarahel, instead, most asked about how I felt and if I had any pain and stuff like that, half the time I thought they were asking for their own peace of mind rather than just out of curiosity. I assured them that I felt fine as I ate my snack, but all of them needed to hear me tell them I felt fine several times for them to believe me. “My father is on his way, he’s worried sick about you,” Patri said as he touched my right arm in a soothing manner. “I am fine, really,” I replied. “We’ll have to wait for Sarad to give you the all clear before you can return to Greensburg,” Patri said. “But,” I started to protest, however, Patri’s stern look made me think twice about pushing my luck. “Your grandfather is right son, it’s better if you take is slow for now,” Dad said. “Fine…” I grumbled as I crossed my arms like a whiny teenager. Gosh, maybe Etalos was right, I do whine! I was left alone with dad and Victor, as my visitors left a few minutes later to give me some more time to rest. “How’s everyone else? I mean, how are our troops?” I asked Victor, as I suddenly remembered the joint effort of the three races to stamp out Azarahel’s machinations. Dad and Victor exchanged worried and grim looks, but both seemed to have come to an understanding, to tell me. It was Victor that first spoke, “Well, we won, you made that possible,” he gave a nervous chuckle, “but we lost quite a few of our own, and we barely rescued that many humans, it appears the demons pretty much snuffed the place out, the one’s we rescued are lucky to be alive, given another day or two I’m sure Azarahel would have drained them as well.” “How many did we lose?” I asked. “47, we lost 18 vampires, 16 werewolves, and 13 elves,” Victor somberly replied, he took a deep breathe, then continued, “More than 50 are seriously injured, the rest escaped with at least some minor injuries. Healers were able to contain the demon taint amongst 19 soldiers that were turning into Anami,” Victor sighed. “What about the humans?” “Aside from the ones at Phoenix Center, other teams were also able to rescue several hundred more, but in total, we only rescued 1,594 people.” “That city and its surrounding areas should have had at least 100,000 people,” I muttered. “Yes, seems like Azarahel did not hold back in harvesting souls.” “She called herself the soul demon, even the other generals don’t know about it. That’s why she’s so strong and split herself in two. She doesn’t only use human souls to make demons, she feeds off it as well. She could even use them to store energy, when I sent a large scale communication spell to tell the others to leave, Azarahel consumed a stone that had at least 10,000 souls in it. It turned her into an even more powerful beast,” I explained to dad and Victor, both of whom were awestruck by the gravity of the ordeal I went through. “Is that how she destroyed the entirety of Fort Smith? I mean I wasn’t there but the pictures and videos I’ve seen after the battle, well, the area is completely decimated, the government is working hand in hand with the VHC and WCC to cover up the entire thing but they can only do so much,” dad replied. “She didn’t destroy the city,” I tersely replied, remembering the destruction I rained upon the area. “What do you mean, Chris?” Victor asked. “I did that, I destroyed the place, I rained destruction upon it and snuffed all the life in it.” “Huh? You what? Sorry, I don’t understand,” Victor replied, puzzled at my statement. “Azarahel might have had her fair share in destroying the place, and so did the battles, but most of it, was because of me,” I said matter of factly, not sure how my dad and boyfriend will react to such news. “So, uhm, that’s how you defeated her? You had to destroy the place to destroy her too right?” Dad asked, almost in a stutter to clarify. “No, I did it to kill the remaining demons, and also to cleanse the place, I know there should be a better way to exorcise the darkness in the area but I’m not powerful enough to do it yet, I did the next best thing, and as to how I beat her? Well, just like Yonthar, I consumed her.” “Chris…” Dad said worried at the repercussions of me consuming another general. “Chris, you said so yourself, she was a powerful demon, and you consumed her when she was all powered up?” Victor exclaimed almost in a panic. “Don’t worry about me, you guys said so yourself, the test came out clean aside from a slightly heavier demon taint in me, I’m still within acceptable margins, right?” “Yes, you are but Chris, there are 7 more demons remaining, if you consume them all…“ Victor stammered, “I don’t think consuming the entire band of demon generals is a wise thing.” “Do we have another choice?” I shrugged my shoulders at the prospect of doing such a thing, “I’ll try to find a way around it, don’t worry it’s not as if I have to do it tomorrow right?” I nervously chuckled. After several more minutes, I told dad and Victor that I was tired and wanted to sleep, they nodded in understanding. Victor stayed on the couch to watch over me while dad returned to the house to tell everyone else that I was better. -- My nap was more than an hour and half long, and I felt even more refreshed when I woke up. I looked around the room, it seems Victor has gone out to do something. I turned on the TV and settled on a news channel. The female news anchor was on air with three “experts,” they were discussing the war against the demons. “It’s been more than two days since the Battle of Fort Smith, and we’ve barely had any news about his highness Prince Christopher,” complained a male contributor. “The palace did say he’s recovering,” added a female guest. “I really don’t think we should be meddling with the affairs of Earth, I say we leave them all be, we left Earth for a reason. We’re fine as it is, here in the realm,” opined another female guest. “Setyara, we all know that we can’t leave earth to its own devices, if the demons take over Earth, who is to say they won’t set their eyes on our realm,” the anchor said. “We lost several of our soldiers in that battle, and we nearly lost the Platinum Prince. How much more blood should our kind shed for a planet we no longer live in,” Setyara said, standing her ground. “The people are divided, we all want what’s best for the realm, but it seems we can’t decide on how to deal with this threat,” added another male guest. “To be fair, we thought the demons were long gone, and we haven’t faced this large of a threat since our people’s exodus into the realm, this is certainly a once in a lifetime event,” the anchor said. I put the TV on mute when I heard the door open, and in came a smiling Patri and Gramps just behind him. “How are you doing?” King Ethnar asked, he then glanced at what I was watching and let out a slightly annoyed huff. “Don’t let the news get to you,” he added. “I’m fine, and yeah, I figured I’d just let the people vent for now,” I smiled at them. “It is good to see, you are alright, goodness Chris, two demon generals, I don’t know how you do it but I am glad you are on our side,” King Ethnar teased. Then for the next 15 minutes, I talked to them about what transpired in Fort Smith, not every detail but enough for them to know about Azarahel’s skills and the destruction I rained upon the city. Then I decided to broach the topic of a true ascension to Patri and gramps, the emissaries might not have made themselves known to them, but I wasn’t forbidden to discuss this with them. I gave out a nervous laugh, then asked, “Do both of you have a magic vessel?” Patri and Gramps exchanged looks, then Patri asked, “What are you talking about?” “You know, an item of yours that holds a large amount of power, something only you know about?” I asked. “How did you know about…” Patri softly replied. Gramps gave me an inquisitive look then asked, “Does this have anything to do with how you defeated the generals?” “Yes, to some extent,” I replied. “I don’t know how you knew about it but actually, I do have an item, I have this trident that increases my strength by maybe 20 or 30%,” Gramps said, while Patri gaped at him, seems like even the son knew nothing about it. “Oh, ZoHal don’t tell me Chris is wrong, I assume you have an item of your own as well.” Patri took a moment to himself then still slightly surprised, he replied, “Yes, actually I have this circlet which also increases my powers.” “So, both of you have been holding back on me?” I lightly laughed. King Ethnar huffed, “I doubt using my trident would change the power asymmetry between the both of us, maybe before your ascension it would have made the difference, but now, without a handicap, I doubt I’ll ever beat you.” “Same, what dad just said,” King ZoHal meekly replied. “So, what’s this talk about these items? I swear I never told anyone about it.” King Ethnar said. “Those items are special, you’re both second ascended beings,” I tersely replied. “Second what?” Patri asked, confused. For the next 15 minutes, I discussed at length with Patri and Gramps everything I remembered from my conversation with the emissaries. To say they were shocked at the prospect of there being a seven step ascension process is an understatement. “I never knew, no records of such a thing exist,” Patri said in disbelief. “So, they say you’re a third ascended and at the cusp of being a fifth ascended?” King Ethnar asked. “Yes, but I really don’t know what the two other keys I almost have are.” “Goodness, I have lived this long and still you find ways to surprise me,” King Ethnar said in an amused tone. “So, what’s your vessel?” Patri curiously asked. “Actually, unlike the both of you, I didn’t craft one, but I do have access to some,” “Some?” Patri asked. “Yeah,” then as if it were second nature to me, I willed the Bracelet of Maktar and Ring of Eyaha to my left hand and wrist. “What are those?” King Ethnar asked. “It’s the Shield of Maktar and Ring of Eyaha, I have two more, the Blade or Sword of Tarud and the Chains of Haldruin.” “Four?!” Patri gaped at the thought of having 4 magical vessels. “And each one from the founders of each royal house,” King Ethnar shook his head in fascination, then he paused, then spoke again, “Chains of Haldruin?” “Yes, the very same chains that retrain my powers,” I replied. “So, you have full access to your powers now?” Patri asked. “I don’t think so, the chains pretty much still control them but it does sort of listen to me,” I shrugged. “When you recover, I think you should visit the tower again, this is a major development Chris, maybe now that you’re aware of this ascension process, the tower will give you access to information about it,” King Ethnar suggested. “I agree with my father, you should really look into this Chris,” Patri added. After several more minutes discussing the process of true ascension, the conversation became more lighthearted and it was decided, when Master Healer Sarad gives me the signal, I will return to Greensburg. -- I spent the night in the medical bay but was given the all clear to return home the following morning. Victor slept in the room as well, he refused to let me sleep alone. Seems like Victor’s still worried about me, but I really can’t blame him. When morning arrived, Patri, Matra and Uncle Selvenus checked on me, then after breakfast, Victor and I made our way to the portal and just like that I was back in good old Greensburg. Since we already ate in the realm, we only had dessert as everyone else ate dinner at home. Leo was present, so was Henry, both were relieved to see me in good shape. “Chris, you won’t believe how much better I feel to see you awake. I mean I visited you in the realm too, but now that you’re awake and back to your old self, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” Leo said as he hugged me from behind, while I was eating my chocolate sundae. Then Leo kissed me on my cheek, “You know I love you,” Victor gave us a smile and so did everyone else, then Leo realized what he just did, then clarified, “eww, not like that you pervs, he’s like a brother to me, that’s like incest or something,” “Actually, I wouldn’t mind,” Victor teased. I shot Victor my best glare, but he only winked at me. Hmm, maybe Victor was onto something, I mean, Leo’s hot, but so is everybody else in the house, oh no, this is a slippery slope, okay, change your train of thoughts Chris, think numbers, let’s do some math! I was taken out of my reverie, by Etalos nudging me, “We’re really happy you’re back,” he said. “So am I, so am I,” I warmly replied as I gave him a hug. -- “There will be a conference meeting between the alliance in a few hours,” Etalos said to me, he then paused, adding, “But I’m sure they will understand if you’re still unavailable.” “Don’t be silly Etalos, of course I will join. Who’s attending?” “Juan, Luigi, August, Olaf, and three proxies by other WCC members, then for the VHC, Reza, Luca, Victor, Victoria, and Jeppe. Prince Rehanmir, Yal, and Kalron will join you to represent the elves. While you were recovering, the alliance has had three meetings, I can give you a copy of what has been previously discussed.” “Please do Etalos. Seems like I have some reading to do.” “I can stay here with you as you read, I was in the meetings as well, you can ask me if you have any questions.” “Oh, I’d appreciate that,” Then for the next two hours Etalos and I went over the discussions of the alliance. It seems like the efforts to cover up the events in Fort Smith aren’t going as smooth as planned, but I mean, how can they hide such a thing, a hundred thousand people missing, more than a thousand American soldiers dead, and let’s not forget about an entire city being wiped off the map. The government thanked the alliance for rescuing whatever remained of Fort Smith’s civilian population, and it appears the alliance has blamed most of the damage in the place on the demon army, good thing the government accepted that with almost no question. The alliance has also discussed bolstering the group’s defenses and ability to respond to threats, a joint training facility will be opened in Seattle and Houston here in the United States, another one will be established in London and Rome as well. A possible base in Guangzhou and Bangkok is also up for discussion. With FRUSI utterly wiped out, the alliance will be directly dealing with US Military for the time being, as well as the Department of Homeland Security. The WCC and VHC have both reached out to their contacts in Canada and the EU and it appears, Canada’s Triton Command and the EU’s Centurion Force, are on board with closer cooperation with the Alliance, however, the news of the return of the elves is still something to be discussed with them. Discussion with China’s Jade Brigade, Japan’s Raijin Corps and Australia’s Paladin Council are in the works as well. I couldn’t help but snigger at the thought that FRUSI sounded so bad compared to its foreign counterparts. If the government’s going to re-establish FRUSI, I seriously hope they change its name.
  2. gabz2000

    Chapter 3

    Okay... First, Damien is now Michael... I hope he doesn’t get lost in that identity and forget who he really is. Second, Keith and Verina?! Okay, fine, I guess, but I was really hoping for that 3some between Marc, Damien, and Keith... okay maybe 4some... let’s add Alan into the mix ... compromise? Make Keith bi?
  3. gabz2000

    Songs of Magic

    Oh wow. I’m glad you all enjoyed this chapter. 😉 I’m excited for what’s yet to come. I mean ... 2 generals down, 7 more to go? And goodness gracious me let’s not forget the Blood Army, the Syndicates, and possibly Havar as well?! And oh my could there be another enemy lurking in the shadows?! Let’s hope not!!!
  4. gabz2000

    Chapter 7

    This got me teary eyed 😢😢 I hope Damien physically recovers soon! I hope those buggers pay for whatever they did to him!!!
  5. gabz2000

    Chapter 5

    Hmm too bad Keith is straight. I would not have minded a threesome. Hehe though I think it’s still too early to have a 3some at this point in their relationship 😂
  6. gabz2000

    Chapter 4

    Oh wow. I like how things are building up. Looking forward to where this is all headed.
  7. Chapter 110 – Songs of Magic It was early evening and information on the events transpiring in Fort Smith were trickling in by the minute. My household, together with Yal and Uncle Rehanmir gathered in my study, on video feed were Victor, Henry, Konrad, Reza, Luca, Victoria, and Jeppe for the VHC. Luigi, Juan, Olaf, and August were live as well, representing the WCC. “What’s happening in Arkansas?” Olaf said in a huff, he took an exasperated breath. “We can’t reach any of our agents in Fort Smith.” “Same goes for the vampires we had in the area, it appears communications are down inside that zone. The Governor of District 17 can’t reach any of his people there either,” Victor added “Same goes for us, we have several packs in the area, and none can be reached,” August reported. “We know so little about what’s really happening,” Victoria said, she clearly was worried for what was yet to come. “Any movements from the humans?” Reza asked. “It appears they’ve evacuated people from the immediate area around the affected zone. They’re telling the media that it’s a gas leak issue. Good thing the national media hasn’t noticed yet and the local news seems to have bought it, for now,” Kalron replied. “What do the scans say?” I asked Kalron for everyone’s benefit. “My team has confirmed that it is indeed demonic in nature. However, the energy bubble surrounding the affected area is not letting any signal in or out,” he replied. “So another general then?” Yal asked. “Most likely, there’s no other explanation for it. This could also be related to the waves of dark emotions I felt earlier, it happened almost at the same time we noticed the aberration in the energy scans,” I replied. “Damn, this one seems to be going all out eh? Whoever this demon is, has basically taken over an entire city,” Henry remarked. “Quite brazen if you ask me, I’m sure the humans won’t stand for it but I really don’t think they would stand a chance against such a powerful enemy,” Reza commented. “What do we do now?” Luigi asked. “We gather as much information as we can. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and heedlessly rush into things blind,” Uncle Rehanmir answered. “The humans should be warned,” Victor offhandedly said. “I agree, if they send FRUSI or the National Guard, I’m not sure that would do good,” Juan replied. “I will touch base with my contacts in FRUSI,” August volunteered as he started to scan his phone for contacts. “We have to mobilize our agents and prepare for the worst. The local alphas and vampire officers near the concerned area should be warned as well, we should evacuate them if necessary,” Victoria suggested. “I agree, the entire VHC will be on full alert,” Reza replied. “And so will the WCC,” Juan retorted. “Damn it, I can’t believe the second general would just show up like this,” I growled as I flopped on the couch in my study. “It can’t be helped, we knew they were out there somewhere and now another one has shown itself,” Etalos said as he joined me on the couch. My assistant was obviously afraid of what was to come, he was trying his best to calm himself, as but the light shaking in his hands told me of his struggle. I took a deep breath to clear my mind and calm myself, “Etalos…” I said, looking at the near panic stricken elf beside me, “I know you’re afraid, and so am I, but you’re right it can’t be helped. We just have to do what we have to do. We will deal with this, just like how we dealt with Yonthar,” I said as I tried to comfort my friend as I rubbed his back. “I sure hope so Chris, but I have this nagging feeling that this enemy is worse than Yonthar. Kalron said the spatial distortion in Arkansas is 30 kilometers across, that’s huge and must mean whoever is behind this is one powerful demon.” “Yeah, it’s a large area indeed, some of the energy bubble crossed into Oklahoma as well.” I said, thinking back to Kalron’s explanation about how the demon behind this has distorted the energy fields around the city. Several hours after the meeting, my phone rang. “What is it August?” I asked as I answered my phone. “The leaders of FRUSI are as stubborn as ever. They won’t listen to me.” “What do you mean?” “They’re moving forward, with a large expedition into the affected zone after midnight.” “So soon? But wait, do they even have the resources to do so? Last time I checked Yonthar dealt them a heavy blow.” “They’re putting everything into this and the new director of FRUSI is not budging, they are hell bent on resolving this matter as soon as possible. It appears, the organization sees this as an opportunity to redeem themselves from the Yonthar fiasco.” “What do they intend to do?” “They’ll be sending at least 300 agents to Fort Smith, the National Guard will be sending 200 of their own as well. If this mission fails, the army and air force have already been put on standby to intervene.” “That bad huh?” I huffed, “I don’t like this August, it’s going to be a total bloodbath.” “I know, and I have made the threat very clear to them but they refused to listen. Reza even directly contacted the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security but no, they are hell bent on seeing this through.” “How are they going to explain the sudden military buildup?” I curiously asked. “Maybe some sort of training exercise, you know them and their cover-ups.” I sighed, “August, they will regret this decision, hundreds of lives will be lost.” “I know, but we can’t force them to back down, they might see it as a threat coming from us.” “I understand August, thanks for letting me know. Let’s just hope that we’re just being overly pessimistic and they do indeed succeed.” “I hope you are right Chris.” To say that I had a sleepless night, would be an understatement. “So any updates from the FRUSI mission?” Victor asked as he set his mug down on the kitchen table. “No, nothing, Kalron said that the mission proceeded as planned, FRUSI agents and National Guard troops entered the demon zone at 1:30 local time, the central command hasn’t heard back from them since.” “Let’s just hope it’s a communications issue.” Victor replied. “I don’t think so Victor, I mean, if they succeeded, then the veil surrounding Fort Smith should have vanished.” “You’re right. What now?” “It appears that the army and air force will be involved, Kalron and August informed me that a thousand troops have been mobilized, several air squadrons will be involved too.” “They’re really hell bent on finishing this as soon as possible eh?” “That appears to be the case. Kalron also informed me that an hour ago, missiles were launched into Fort Smith and as expected, they just disappeared, ground sensors did not indicate any explosions to have occurred inside.” “This isn’t good Chris.” “I know, if this new mission fails, I’m sure the government will relent and maybe listen to our advice.” I gave out an amused huff, “Your advice I mean, they still don’t know of our return.” “How’s the elvish preparation so far?” “Patri and Uncle Rehanmir have put the realm on high alert. More Akros agents and maybe a thousand or so Royal Guards are ready to cross via the New York Portal at any moment’s notice.” Looking at Victor, I asked, “How about on your end?” “Konrad is flying more Stratos agents into the country as we speak, capable vampires from across the country and even Canada and Mexico are also being recruited as well. Our existing pool from the New York joint training facility is too small for such a large threat.” “I agree.” “Kalron, any updates?” I asked as I went into Kalron’s office. Yal’s deputy was busy on his laptop typing and swiping away as he coordinated the intelligence gathering effort of the elves, vampires, and werewolves. “Yes, and it’s not good,” he replied as he shot me a foreboding look. “What is it?” I asked as I sat on the chair across him. “The demon bubble is expanding or rather, it expanded, yesterday it was 30 kilometers across, now it’s 35.” “Is it still spreading out?” “Not as of this moment but it could resume at any time, but I can’t say for sure, as we know so little about what powers its expansion.” “I have a theory. I think whoever is behind this has started to tap into the souls of the tens of thousands of people inside, we already know how demons multiply using human souls, and maybe they’re harnessing it in some way to power this bubble too.” “That could certainly be a possibility.” “Have the others been informed of this expansion? We should do something about it before it gets out of control. If we let this go, we don’t know how big this zone will become.” “I already sent word to the VHC and WCC.” “The US Military failed,” August bluntly said, as everyone was coming into the video feed a few minutes later. “What? Uh what do you mean?” I stumbled to ask. “The joint army and air force mission that was supposed to be their second line of defense after FRUSI, it failed. At least a thousand soldiers, lost. The air force lost several attack helicopters and fighter jets as well. I honestly don’t know how they will explain this to congress, let alone the public, this could be America’s largest military blunder since the Vietnam War. “Just like that? A thousand wiped out?” Konrad asked. “Yes,” August grimly replied. “What now?” Reza asked. “I guess now it’s time we intervene. I doubt the US Government will have any qualms with that, especially with the mess of this military failure, August retorted, with a high level of certainty. “Any updates on the demon zone Kalron?” Konrad asked. “No sir, it has remained stable at 35 kilometers across for the past few hours.” “Let’s hope it remains that way for the time being,” Konrad replied. “The humans should evacuate more people away from the area, we don’t want any more civilians put at risk, especially now that we know the bubble may further expand,” Uncle Rehanmir said. “I will reach out to the Governors of Oklahoma and Arkansas to widen the civilian buffer zone, I will suggest a 10 kilometer mandatory evacuation perimeter,” Reza remarked. “Our guards will help your agents with the mind manipulation to ensure there’s minimal resistance from the human populace.” Uncle Rehanmir said. “That’s certainly appreciated, we only have so many vampires with the skill to influence.” Reza retorted. “Let’s convene again in 6 hours so that we can plan our next move. Let’s use the next few hours wisely,” Uncle Rehanmir suggested. “Agreed.” The next few hours were hectic, people were coming in and out of the portal to fix and organize stuff for the elvish plan of action. In the meeting earlier, it was decided that each race will shore up their troops and prepare a detailed audit of what they could offer to the three-way alliance. To say that my uncles, and Yal were busy would have been an understatement. Patri even mobilized the realm’s High Circle to bolster the barriers, we didn’t want any negative energy to leak into the realm. We did not want to take any chances, having such a large amount of demon energy accumulate around Fort Smith might lead to unwanted effects in the realm. In the middle of the night, the representatives of the alliance convened again. Joining me to represent the elves was uncle Rehanmir and Yal. For the VHC, Reza, Konrad, and Victor while Luigi, Juan, and August stood for the WCC. Kalron was also present to provide intelligence as necessary. “We have to address this issue as soon as possible,” Reza intoned with a steely expression. “I agree, this will just get worse if we let things be,” Luigi replied. “How soon can we mobilize our forces?” August asked. “I have discussed matters with several clan and pack alphas, the most optimistic timeline for us is 24 hours,” Juan replied. “Same goes for the vampires, 24 hours would be best timeframe we could offer,” Konrad retorted. He sighed, then went on, “as it is our existing number of people from the joint training facility is not enough, we have to gather people from across the country.” “We can mobilize our forces within 24 hours as well, as of now, we are limited by the number of people that can simultaneously crossover using the New York portal.” My uncle replied. “Kalron, any results from the drones we sent into the demon zone?” Yal asked. “No sir, we immediately lost contact the moment the drones crossed the threshold into demon territory.” “I see,” Yal tersely replied, as he crossed his arms. “How do we go about this?” Reza asked. “I suggest we work just like last time, a coordinated three pronged attack against the enemy,” Luigi replied. “The logistics of mobilizing such a large amount of people on short notice will be a nightmare, but we will make it work. I’m sure we can borrow some resources from the US Government as well, I don’t think they’re in any position to refuse us at this point,” Konrad said. For the next hour or so, the group discussed the details of the alliance’s attack into Fort Smith. We gave ourselves a little bit more than 24 hours to launch the assault. It was decided that the attack will be at daybreak, the day after tomorrow. Konrad, Luigi, and my uncle will each lead a contingent. Konrad’s contingent will be mainly composed of vampires, with elves in supporting roles. Luigi will lead a group of werewolves, with elves in supporting roles as well, while my uncle will lead an entirely elvish contingent. Each contingent will be composed of 3 groups, with each group having 12 teams, each having 8 members. For the vampires and werewolves their teams will each have 6 from their own kind with 2 elves to help with magical attacks and defense. In total there will be 108 teams involved. In total there will be 864 people involved, 432 elves, 216 vampires, and 216 werewolves. These figures exclude the people we will put on standby that number into the low hundreds. It also excludes the members of a special attack team, whose primary goal is to find and kill the demon general involved. The special team is composed of myself, Victor, August, and Nomir. Konrad’s contingent will attack from the west, Luigi’s from the east, while my uncle’s from the south. I honestly found it quite amusing that at least half the force will be composed of elves, but I guess it can’t be helped, despite their enhanced strength and speed, and occasional special skills with vampires, the other two races are weak when it comes to magical abilities, and demons are very much in tune with dark magic. The following day, we flew to Little Rock, using the city as the alliance’s staging area, along with Tulsa in Oklahoma. Before leaving, Greensburg, I enhanced the house’s defensive spells and made sure Dad and Leo stayed put. I asked Henry, Troy, and Mark to stay there as well, just in case a surprise attack was launched in Greensburg. You can never be too careful. I was restless the entire day, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about what was to come. I mean this surely will be the largest magical battle in at least the last few centuries. “Chris, you’re fidgeting,” Victor said, as he pulled me in closer to his side. “Yes, I guess I am, but I can’t help but be nervous Victor,” I whispered to him. “I am too.” “Promise me you will be careful,” he said as he put his hands on my head to make me look straight into his eyes. “I can say the same thing to you. Victor, I don’t want you to get hurt,” I said, eyes misting. “I definitely will be careful.” “Remember, the moment I ask you to retreat, you retreat okay? When I tell you to leave, you leave,” I said with finality. The look on my face told him that subject was not up for debate. Victor nodded, and sighed, “Yes, but don’t be rash okay?” he said as he slowly caressed my face, the look in his eyes screaming love and devotion. “Kalron, what is it?” I asked as I answered a call from Kalron. “Chris, the demon bubble expanded again, it’s now 37 kilometers across.” “When did this happen?” “Just a few minutes ago.” “Were any civilians affected?” “Yes, maybe 30 or 40, they are some of the people that refused the evacuation orders, and were not reached in time by our agents for mind suggestion.” I sighed and clicked my tongue, “I see, it can’t be helped, make sure the others know, I’m sure this change will affect how the teams will position themselves prior to entry into the zone.” “Yes, of course Chris.” “Let’s just hope it doesn’t get any bigger.” “I agree with you.” With the continued efforts of the VHC, WCC and several agents from the civil guard, we were able to make sure the national media did not take notice of the recent events in Fort Smith. Whatever news has leaked out has been contained at the local level and the recent buildup of military hardware in the area has been made to appear as part of a military drill. However, I am sure the deaths of the more than a thousand troops from the military and FRUSI will be harder to deal will later on. Questions will certainly be asked by their families. Let’s also not forget, the likely physical damage the upcoming battle in Fort Smith will result in. I’m sure such a clash among strong opposing forces will leave scars and lasting damage. I can only hope that this battle will end in our favor. I tried my best to rest and sleep that night, but I could only muster 2 hours of sleep. I was on edge and so were the rest of the people around me. We left Little Rock several hours before dawn in a convoy of armored cars and trucks. Most elves in this mission were dressed in black or white magically enhanced battle suits, made of the finest and strongest fabrics from the realm. Each elf had with them a 5 feet long combat staff, used by elves to enhance spell casting strength and precision. Vampires and Werewolves were dressed in dark composite material uniforms, all wielding a semi-automatic rifle supplied by vampire and werewolf companies involved in the arms industry. Each vampire and werewolf had knifes for close quarter combat as well. Despite having superhuman strength and speed, the other races, unlike the elves, couldn’t afford to leave themselves defenseless when it came to modern weaponry. Just before sunrise, we found ourselves at the edge of the demon territory. As the sun rose in the sky, it’s easy to be fooled by the illusion of the demon barrier, looking into the other side, all we were able to see empty buildings and houses. Nothing out of the ordinary except its eerie emptiness. However, if you look close enough, you can see a slight distortion in the light, a faint clue, that hinted that something was indeed amiss. At around 7:15 a.m. engines revved up and our respective groups made a beeline towards the demon inhabited area. Crossing the threshold, the changes were immediately felt, a dark foreboding presence made itself known, the air was awash in a malevolent aura that is hard to describe. Looking out the windows of our armored vehicle, the illusion of normalcy was gone, what we saw were damaged buildings and cars, broken windows, burnt houses, bent metal, and cracked concrete. The driver made a conscious effort to navigate the nearly unnavigable road. Not even two kilometers into enemy territory, we had to get out of our vehicle, the road was choked by the remains of dozens of military trucks and armored vehicles. It was obvious, the army stood no chance against what attacked them, not even a single body was visible from the wreckage we saw in front of us, all that remained were the tousled remnants of what would have been a valiant military effort. Getting out of the car, the acrid smell of burnt rubber, metal, and maybe even flesh wafted through the air. The miasma of a hidden dark aura lingered in our senses. Looking up into the sky, all we could see were dark and ominous clouds, markedly different from the clear skies of beyond the veil. Thunder roared through what would otherwise be a silent domain. The contingents entered from the same direction but entered separately as a group, meaning 12 teams entered together, being on a team of our own, and not part of a group, we directly reported to my uncle. “Uncle, can you hear me?” I asked via a communication spell. “Yes, I can. How are you guys doing?” “We had to leave the vehicle, the roads are blocked.” “Same here, we did not get even a mile into the barrier before we ran into obstruction.” “Okay, I’ll let you know if we find or bump into anything significant. Stay safe uncle.” We walked deeper into demon territory and the silence was unnerving, add on top of that, the eerie atmosphere just made it even worse. “Damn, what did they do to this place,” August remarked as he looked around the damaged buildings around us. “They completely wrecked the area.” Nomir replied as he looked on. 15 or 20 minutes later, making a bit of progress, we hear loud explosions from the distance. “W1 has made contact, enhanced humans and Anami” we hear, via a spell from an elf member of the werewolf’s first group. Not a moment later, several more explosions. “V1 has made contact, enhanced humans and Anami” “E2 has made contact, Anami and demons.” “E3 contact, Enhanced humans.” The communication spells continued as more and more groups made contact with the enemy. Our team made an active effort to hide from view, a powerful cloaking spell by me enhanced our chances of minimizing contact until we were much deeper into enemy territory. “It seems like all groups have been engaged, except us.” Victor remarked as the last group confirmed contact with the enemy. “None have even made it more than 5 kilometers into the zone,” Nomir replied. “Yeah, seems like we’re the ones deepest. How far in are we?” I asked. “7.7 kilometers,” Nomir replied as he continued to cautiously eye our surroundings. The explosions from the distance continued as the opposing forces engaged each other in battle. “How do we find the general?” August asked. “The darkness seems to get stronger the farther in we go. I believe that’s where the general is. I will cast a tracing spell to help us have an easier time,” I replied. “If you cast that, won’t there be a chance for the general to be able to trace you back,” Victor replied, concerned at the prospect of being caught off guard by a powerful demon general. “If he or she comes to us, even better,” I grinned. I cast a powerful tracing spell to locate the source of the dark aura, and the effects were immediate, in my eyes I could see a faint purple line guiding us towards our goal. “Uncle, any updates?” I asked, concerned for the rest of our troops. “E1 and E2 have defeated the first wave, E3 is still engaged but Yaznal has informed me that he is sure they will win.” “That’s good, how are the others doing?” “V2 and W3 have made it through, the rest are still in active battle. How are you four doing?” “Seems like my cloaking spell is working, the Anamis we’ve seen flying above have ignored us.” “Good, keep at it, stay hidden as long as possible.” “Will do.” “How are the others doing?” Victor asked as I ended my conversation with my uncle. “E1, E2, V2, and W3 are through the first wave, the rest are still engaging the enemy.” “Hmm, at least we’re faring better than the humans.” Victor retorted, as he pointed toward the remains of a crashed military helicopter not far from us. We were approximately 9 kilometers into the demon zone, when I felt my cloaking spell break. “What the hell?!” I said. “What is it Chris?” Nomir asked. “Someone broke through my cloaking spell. We’ve been found.” “Shit. Who could have possibly done that?” Victor asked. It wasn’t long for us to realize who did, about 500 or 600 feet away from us on top of a three story building stood a group of 7 demons. I’m sure they were acting as scouts and if they worked together, it would not have been impossible for them to break through any type of cloaking magic. “Demons.” I said as I pointed towards the group of demons eagerly making their way towards us, and boy were they fast. They jump across the roofs of buildings with incredible speed and ease, which made them appear to blur. “They’re strong,” Nomir remarked as he observed our incoming opponents. “Alpha-1, contact, demons,” I said through a communication spell. “Be careful,” was my uncle’s only reply. “They should be at least high silver level or low gold level by the looks of it.” I said as I watched our enemies. “Leave them to us Chris,” Victor said with a smirk, “They’re strong, but we’re stronger and you, well, you’re way stronger.” “They outnumber you though. Be careful.” “We will be.” Several seconds later, the 7 demons dropped to the ground from the top of the buildings not more than a few dozen feet from us. “Oh my, what do we have here?” a female demon smirked as she shot us a sinister glare. “Props to them for making it this far,” chuckled a male demon. “I sense an elf amongst them, they used a powerful cloaking spell.” Added another female demon. “Enough chit chat, let’s kill them. Maybe we can make them into new Anami, the master wants us to make more.” Chimed in another demon. And not a second later, they all launched themselves at us. August met them with equal strength and speed while Victor worked on weakening them through mental attacks. Nomir on the other hand launched a litany of earth spells at the enemy. It did not take long for the entire thing to devolve into a 7 – 3 battle as I watched. August took three demons together, Victor fought two and Nomir the last two. Watching them fight the demons and keep up with them was a sight to marvel, I knew they were strong but oh boy, they have certainly improved, my team mates are certainly not people you should trifle with. The demons launched multiple attacks of dark energy balls and beams but August and Victor were able to easily dodge them, Nomir on the other hand used earth walls to protect himself. While the fight went on, Victor’s constant mental attacks took their toll on our opponents, they started growing slower and weaker by the second. After the demons started to show signs of weakness, it did not take long for my friends to finish the job. That’s seven demons out of action and dead. “Good job guys,” I said proudly grinning at my friends. “Like I said, they were strong, but we’re stronger,” Victor replied as he winked at me. “Show off,” I blurted. “Hmm, I’m sure you’ll do better later on,” he quipped. “Did you get anything from them?” I asked Victor. “Yes, but not much, their master is general, Azarahel. They have already harvested the souls of thousands of humans, there should be more than 300 or 400 demons around here, but with the losses they’ve incurred since the battle began, I’m not sure how many remain.” “Fuck, thousands already harvested?” “Yes.” “But there should be at least a hundred thousand people in this area, where are they keeping the rest?” I asked. “From what I’ve gathered they’re keeping several hundred at the Phoenix Center west of town. Not sure where they are keeping the rest.” “Konrad’s contingent is nearest that place, I’ll let them know,” I replied. I then cast a communication spell towards Konrad and said, “We have information, there are several hundred civilians being kept at the Phoenix Center, your contingent is the closest.” “Copy that Chris, we’ll get there as soon as we can. We’re just about a kilometer and a half away.” “Thanks Konrad, be careful.” “You too.” I recast my cloaking spell and continued to follow the trace towards the demon general, however it did not take long for the general or generals rather to find us. Fuck, I thought there was only 1 general but how come there are two powerful beings flying towards us. “Victor, August, Nomir, get behind me, Azarahel has found us.” I said. The waves of darkness emanating from the creatures closing in on us, was like no other. The closer they were the more sinister the air became. “Fuck, they’re powerful,” Nomir remarked as streaks of purple light flew towards us. The generals did not even wait to reach the ground, they both launched a barrage of dark spells at us. I immediately conjured an energy barrier around us. The shield vibrated and hummed as powerful energy balls made contact and exploded near us. “I’ll take on one, you guys handle the other one.” I said. My friends only nodded in recognition of my command. As the dust settled, what stood in front of us were two beautiful ladies of what appeared to be Middle Eastern descent. Both were dressed in tight fitting combat uniforms. “My my, what a powerful shield you have there,” the lady on the right remarked. “Not an ordinary shield if you ask me,” replied the one from the left. “Who are you?” I asked. They both sniveled and sneered at that, “I am Azar,” replied the one on the left, “I am Ahel,” added the one on the right. They looked similar however Azar was slightly taller and had shorter hair. “I thought generals didn’t work together,” August whispered to me. “I thought so too.” I replied. “Congratulations on making it this far. However, we can’t let this continue, what we have here is just the beginning. This world is filled with so much negative energy, it’s basically begging for us to rule over it,” Ahel said with a lecherous leer. In almost an instant both demons appeared in at the cusp of my barrier, and with a coordinated attack they punched right through it. My three friends took on Azar while I took on Ahel. On my peripheral vision, I can see Victor, August, and Nomir work hand in hand to match Azar’s blows. “Eyes on me, young one.” Ahel said as my momentary distraction gave her an opening. It happened so fast I did not even realize what hit me, until I was groaning as my back hit the cracked wall of a building. “You’re quite the sturdy man aren’t you?” She sneered, “Stupid too for taking me alone.” I grinned at her, “You don’t know what you’re talking about lady,” I said as I launched fire and water based attacks one after another. I even used earth magic to protect myself from Ahel’s counterattacks. “Mutliple elements?!” She said in shock. “That’s not all,” I retorted as I released an 18-layered Magnus Spell against her. Ahel’s barrier broke instantly and my spell sent her flying into a building. The building crumbled as my spell released a powerful explosion. I reached out with my senses through the wreckage, and Ahel’s presence was undiminished. The rubble moved and a second later, Ahel stood almost undamaged aside from a scratch here and there. “You’re strong,” she remarked, “but I am way stronger, I am a general of the demon race, boy!” She screamed as she flew towards me. I caught her punch with my right hand but her fist burst into a powerful blast. I was thrown to the ground and before I knew it, Ahel was launching beam after beam towards me. I conjured a shield around me, and took the brief moment to see how my friends were doing, they were still fighting Azar but the strain was obvious on their faces, I had to help them. I conjured 3 earth and 2 ice golems to help them. The golems were barely silver level but the extra help will be certainly welcomed by my friends. “You should think first about yourself before you think of your comrades, you’re barely holding your own,” Ahel said to me as the barrage of attacks continued against my shield. “Let’s see about that.” I teased. I closed my eyes and reached into the depths of my power, and deep inside I could feel the ocean of energy within me, I took a deep breath and implored the chains to give way and lend me more strength. The chains listened and immediately I was flooded with a large amount of energy, my skin tingled and I was glowing bright silver at this point. “What…” Ahel said in shock. “You were saying,” I teased. I opened my right hand and directed a 25-layer Magnus Spell towards her. The general barely had the time to react as the beam of energy hit her, driving her into a building almost a hundred feet away. Looking at the road, I can see the damage my beam has left, the heat and pressure coming off the beam that flew not more than 5 feet above the ground, shredded the road and left a deep smoking gash. “Ahel!” Azar screamed as she saw the other general fall, “You will pay for this, now you’ve done it.” She sneered. Azar approached the rubble of the building where Ahel fell, and to my surprise, Ahel was still conscious, and quite mobile. Ahel shot me a teasing smile, then before hugging Azar, she said, “Now you die.” As the generals hugged, a blinding red and purple light consumed them. I held my hands in front of me to protect my eyes and what came after was even more surprising. What stood in front of us was a single lady, that bore the features of Azar and Ahel. “Azarahel, pleased to meet you,” the woman coldly said. She shot my three companions a look and with a psionic attack sent them flying towards a truck. “I believe this fight is between you and me, elf!” she added. “So you were just a single demon after all.” I commented. “Yes, I am too powerful to be contained in a single body for long periods of time. However, I recognize you as someone worthy of witnessing my true strength,” the demon said to me. The road buckled and rocks started floating in the air as the demon approached me. I realized the gravity of the situation, and didn’t even hesitate to cast two 15-layered Magnus spells from each of my hands. The beams of energy converged on Azarahel as she created a barrier around herself. The street was enveloped in bright light as my beams tried to break through her protection. I breathed a sigh of relief as her shields broke, after which I heard a loud explosion. My double attack left a large crater in the street and the buildings shook and teetered on the verge of collapse around us. As the dust started to settle, I was aghast to see the shadow of a standing woman. “That hurt!” Azarahel snarled, as she flew towards me, she formed a dark ball of energy on her hands and released a dark beam of red and purple energy towards me. My barrier instantly broke and I was sent more than a hundred feet into the air, before I realized I was falling, I was hit by a bombardment of attacks. I barely had time to recover and think, fuck! The onslaught was unrelenting and I honestly felt that I was about to die. Seconds later, I fell to the ground, groaning and whimpering. Azarahel approached me and I could see that my previous attack has at least injured her. I felt my chains give way more and another surge of energy flooded me, and with that I found the strength to jump away from the demon in front of me. “I see you’re still alive,” she smiled at me, “not for long.” I launched a powerful 12-layered fire-based Magnus Spell towards her, she didn’t have the time to escape. The fire consumed her in a pillar of flames as she screamed in pain. “You will pay for this! I will not take any more insult from a mere elf!” she said, as she broke free from my fire spell and attacked me. The attacks coming from Azarahel did not stop as I kept up with her punches and kicks in lightning speed. While we were trading blows, something happened inside me, I felt the chains continue to give way and then I felt my first tattoo tingle. The tattoo of the House of Maktar shined and then the bracelet that triggered the tattoo appeared on my left wrist. Then my second tattoo did the same, and not a moment later, The Blade of Tarud was in my right hand. With a powerful burst of energy I sent Azarahel flying away from me. I pumped energy into the bracelet and was surprised to see it transform into a circular shield, I did the same to the blade, and it turned into a long sword. As Azarahel recovered from my attack, she was surprised to see the things I had in hand, “Where did you get those?!” “Why? Recognize any of these?” I teased. She groaned in anger as she conjured a dozen hell hounds in front of her. The hounds were the size of large bulls and were covered in black and purple flames. The hell hounds did not waste time, attacking me, but I slashed through them with ease. “You will pay for that!” She said. Azarahel then started chanting and the clouds above us rumbled and swirled. In the middle of the spinning clouds, came a large black serpentine dragon made of dark energy. The dragon roared and its scream shook the earth. “Guys! Get out of here!” I said to my three companions, “It’s not safe.” “But…” Victor complained as he was helping Nomir on his feet. “I will be okay, just go!” I formed an energy bubble around them and sent them flying away. The demon dragon launched itself towards me as I heard Azarahel laugh from the distance, “This will be your end!” she said with certainty. But before the dragon made contact with Maktar’s shield, My third tattoo tingle and shined and the ring of Eyaha appeared on my left ring finger, and from it came another surge of energy. Feeling rejuvenated, I hurled myself towards the dragon, I slashed it multiple times much to Azarahel’s horror. “How?” she asked in disbelief, as her beloved dragon disintegrated right before her eyes. Her expression of surprise turned sour and she lunched a powerful beam of dark energy towards me. However, Maktar’s shield held on and it redirected the beam towards the structures nearby. Azarahel was more than angry now, she gave me a vile look as I felt her pull more energy to the surface. She transformed into her demon form, now slightly more muscular, with three horns, red eyes, and a long thin tail with a sharp edge. With a loud roar, the demon flung herself towards me, but the relics from the three houses helped me keep her at bay. I found an opening, and was able to throw the demon several feet away from me. The three relic’s disappeared to my alarm but my fourth tattoo activated itself, and I felt the chains rustling and moving inside me, then on the palm of my right hand shot out a long golden and silver chain. The chains of Haldruin, the chains flew through the air and coiled around the whimpering demon. “I think, this is where you end.” I said to her. With the demon immobilized, I took a moment to concentrate on a 30-layered Magnus Spell. I sent my Magnus spell rushing through the chains and Azarahel was consumed by a bright white flame. Azarahel dropped to the ground and then the chains returned inside my body. I was surprised to find the demon still breathing, she was weak, but still alive, damn, she’s tough. Azarahel gave me a weak smile then said, “out of tricks young elf?” “Huh?” “You might be wondering why I’m so strong, well the secret is not only have I used countless human souls to create my army, I have also consumed them myself. Throughout our fight, I must have burned through more than a thousand, if it weren’t for them, I would have surely been defeated by now.” “What?” I asked, in equal disbelief and revulsion at the idea of her using souls as a source of power. “They don’t call me the soul demon for nothing, that is my secret, a secret I have never shared with my fellow generals.” “Then why are you telling me this?” “Because, you’re going to die anyway,” she said as the staggered to her feet. “I don’t think you’re in any position to say that,” I quipped. “Oh believe me young boy, you haven’t seen the last of me.” Then she pulled put a dark stone out of nowhere and out of it I felt waves upon waves of pain and despair. I jolted back as the dark presence made itself known, “can you feel their pain?” she teased, “I have ripped out the souls of maybe ten thousand humans for this, I have distilled their pain into this stone of despair.” Azarahel slowly caressed the dark stone on her hand, then she shot me a knowing grin, “Thanks for the fight, but this is where you die.” I watched in fascination as the demon pushed the stone into her chest. For several seconds Azarahel squirmed and writhed in discomfort, then the effects of the stone kicked in, Azarahel grew larger, and now stood maybe 25 or 30 feet tall, her skin scaly, and her eyes crimson red, her tongue now forked like a serpent, and her tail now larger than before, she even grew large bat like wings. “Tell your people to get away from here” I hear from a voice in my head. “There’s no time to ask, she is dangerous, get your people away, now!” added another. I did not question the intention of the voices, I cast a large scale communication spell, “Get away from the zone now! Elves, use transportation bubbles to get your teams back to the edge of the veil, this is an order, do it now!” I screamed into their heads. Azarahel looked around as if to get used to her new form, the air was heavier now, and even more vile. Looking through the distance, I see streaks of bright white light flying away. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realize everyone heeded my call. Azarahel let out a loud roar and the buildings around us crumbled from the sheer power of her scream. The demon opened her mouth and breathed purple flames across the area, “This is my final form, you stand no chance,” she said. Her voice was deep, and demonic at the same time. I launched a 20-layered fire based Magnus Spell from my right hand and another 20-layered water based Magnus Spell from my left. My attack pushed Azarahel several feet back but it was evident that the damage was barely enough to slow her down. The demon clapped both her hands in the air, then a large ball of dark energy formed on her hands. She started a demonic incantation, which only sent shivers down my spine. It was as if she was calling a greater darker power from beyond, the accumulation of negative energy in the air was palpable, and if it weren’t for the adrenaline, I’m sure I would be heaving my guts up in sickness right now. From the dark energy mass, a large dark reptilian eye appeared, “Eye of Darkness!” She screamed, as a powerful beam of light flew toward me. I barely escaped, but good thing I did, coz a powerful explosion destroyed several blocks not more than a mile away from me, where the attack hit as it missed me. Azarahel redirected her gaze towards my new position, the reptilian eyes, still looked straight at me, “Peer into the darkness beyond!” she teased. The eyes squinted a bit and then I felt a dark energy take possession of my being. I couldn’t move and my muscles refused to budge. All my energy suppressed. I floated helplessly in the air as a large amount of malevolent energy burrowed deeper into me. My four tattoos were brilliantly shining, but whatever magic Azarahel, or the eye has cast upon me, is successfully restraining my power. I heard wails, cries, and screams of agony as I stood unmoving in the air. ‘So this is the power of despair huh?’ I thought to myself as I considered the inevitability of my death. As the darkness continued to consume me, I couldn’t help but embrace the pain of hundreds if not thousands of hopeless souls. At some point I caved in, and even came to relish the very nature of the pain. As I accepted my fate, something else awakened in me. “So how does it feel to be consumed by the pain of lost souls,” Azarahel teased. The eye in the dark ball continued to observe me as it poured more and more of the darkness into me. “I feel nothing,” I coldly replied. I was surprised to find myself being able to reply, but I was also hit with the sudden realization that the voice was not mine and that it appears that my consciousness has distanced itself from whoever was wrapped under Azarahel’s spell. Azarahel gasps in surprise, and the eye showed surprise as well. I broke free from the spell with a burst of black energy of my own. “How… how, impossible!” Azarahel said, alarm clear in her voice, the eye in the dark ball she was holding stared, surprised as well. “How dare you lay a hand on me.” I replied, my voice cold and distant and still not my own, “creatures like you could only hope to match me. You need to remember your place.” Azarahel growled then breathed purple flames on my body. However, the flames did nothing to me. “Is that all?” I asked. Azarahel held tighter to the dark ball she had in hand and said, “Eye of Darkness!” Dark energy started to engulf my body again, but not more than a few seconds later, they were extinguished by my very presence. “Foolish!” I said. Azarahel stood surprised and gaped at me. “My turn,” I coldly remarked. I pointed my right index finger towards the sky, a small dark ball of energy formed on its tip, “I cannot offer salvation, all I have for you is destruction.” A dark beam of energy shot towards the clouds from my finger and the clouds rumbled and glowed red and orange. Not more than a second later, hundreds of bright energy beams rained down on the entire territory, and deep inside I knew those beams were making their way towards every single one of the 309 demons that remained in Azarahel’s territory. It was as if it rained fire, but it was way worse than that, what I called upon was the rain of divine retribution. Loud explosions could be heard across the land, as each of the beams hit and killed all of Azarahel’s demons without fail. “Impossible,” Azarahel stood in shock and awe. Then in front of me, I conjured the unreadable book that I have tirelessly attempted to decipher. I knew I was supposed to be surprised but then again I felt detached from the entire situation. “This place is tainted, it is beyond redemption,” I said, the scripts on book were now shining bright silver. “Third Song of Destruction, verse 1 to 7,” I flatly said. Then almost instantly a duet of foreboding music from a violin and cello echoed through the air. Each note sending a powerful vibration throughout the land. “What are you doing?” Azarahel said as the events unfolding in front of her, kept her from moving. “What is the point of telling you? You will never comprehend the magnificence of what you are witnessing.” I callously and distantly replied. As the song reached its peak, the buildings and structures shook, the grass and trees wilted, it did not take long for everything to catch fire. By the end of the song, we stood in a desolate land. Ashes floating in the air, buildings burnt beyond recognition, vegetation nonexistent. Azarahel snapped out of reverie, but the eye she was holding looked at me with much trepidation. The demon general conjured dozens of black energy balls in front of her and threw them at me. Not even a single attack made it close, as they all disintegrated into thin air. I gave her a disinterested look, then flipped towards another page of the book, “Second Song of Death, Verse 1 to 12.” Then ominous music from horns and drums filled the air. “What are you doing to me?” Azarahel said in a panic, her dark ball now extinguished and her body shaking from the magic of the song. I ignored her question as I allowed the music to reach its peak. As the song continued, the entire area was engulfed in a sea of black flames while Azarahel started to break apart into fragments of dark energy. I watched in cold blood as the demon general died in front of me, ripped apart into shreds similar to how she has ripped apart the souls of thousands of innocent lives. “Fourth Song of Death Verse 1 to 8,” I said as I floated alone in the empty expanse of the now destroyed city. A slow yet powerful song emerged, with a piano playing at its very core began. As the song continued, the fragments of Azarahel that yearned for their return to the flow were instead sucked into my body. As the song ended, I fully absorbed Azarahel just like I did with Yonthar. Moments later I was knocked out of my trance like state, and fell to the ground. I landed with my back on the ground, Looking straight up as I witnessed the clouds part, letting sunshine through. I felt the veil surrounding the city disappear, as I breathed a sigh of relief and fell asleep.
  8. gabz2000

    In the public eye

    Next chapter will be posted in 2 hours! 😘😘😘
  9. gabz2000

    In the public eye

    That’s a lot of reading 😂
  10. gabz2000

    In the public eye

    All will be revealed in the next chapter... oops scratch that actually just a tad of info and more questions and even more action in the next chapter! I hope you’re as excited about it as I am! 110 will be wam bam ka pow! Haha 😉 And also yeah, I’m worried about what Havar is planning but he hasn’t done anything that bad yet right? He’s just a deluded Royal with no means to make his dreams come true... or am I wrong? Hehe Sorry I just love teasing.
  11. Chapter 109 – In the public eye. Etalos, Nomir and I had breakfast with Dad, and Kalron before going to the realm. I must say dad is becoming good with elvish ingredients himself. The food dad prepared is almost as good as an elf’s cooking. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of how cool my father is, I mean he has basically taken everything thrown at us in stride. From me being gay to dating an old vampire, to the magic and not to mention me being a prince! I couldn’t wish for a better dad, thinking about how much I love him gets me all misty eyed. “Hey, Chris, what’s with that look?” Dad asked, slightly concerned as he noticed my emotional state. I smiled at dad, and just replied, “just thinking about how cool and amazing you are dad, I mean it, thanks for everything, and never forget, I love you.” “Aww… buddy, I love you too!” Dad replied as he gave me a very heartwarming smile from across the table. — The media interview was to be held in my study in the residential palace. For my first TV appearance, I wore pastel blue and white robes that clung to my skin, and had a gold and silver circlet on my head. “Are you ready, Chris?” Etalos asked. “If I say no, does that mean this is cancelled?” Nomir snorted at my reply, I gave him a playful glare but it seems even Nomir has warmed up enough with me to not back down, my bodyguard met my stare and said, “Oh come on Chris, one way or another you’ll have to do this. Better get this over with don’t you think?” I smirked at Nomir then replied, “you’re right.” “Remember the notes from Kalsina?” Etalos asked reminding me of the things I should expect from the interview. “Yeah, I’ve read it thrice geez.” I complained. “Attitude mister.” Etalos said as he patted both my shoulders, “The whole realm will be watching so you better behave.” He grinned. *groan* “I DO NOT HAVE AN ATTITUDE”, I glared at him. “Uh huh. We all know you’re nice and all but you do get a little bit testy sometimes.” Etalos smiled back at me. He then paused then continued, “but you’re the best boss ever, so since you are just that, the best boss ever, why don’t you make my job easier by doing this interview as planned?” “Fine… let’s just hope they have a good editing team.” I groused. — Walking into my study, I noticed the couches have already been rearranged for me and Nithor. Far from what I expected, there were just three other people in the room when we stepped in. Two men and one lady. All three seemed to be in a serious conversation, they didn’t even notice us walk in. Etalos cleared his throat to catch their attention. “Your highness!” They faltered in shock then bowed as they saw me. “Please, none of that. Chris would be fine.” I replied as I reached out to shake their hands. “Nithor at your service, your highness.” Said the handsome middle aged elf who first shook my hand. “Nice to finally meet you.” I replied. “This is my team, Seleya our camerawoman and Yanjir the production assistant,” he said, as he directed his hand towards the late twenties looking woman and younger looking man behind him. Looking around, I noticed the camera is more compact than expected and the lights for the interview were actually made of magic. It seems, light based spells were used to illuminate the room to match whatever lighting level the camera required. I approached the other two and shook their hands, “a pleasure to meet you as well.” I said to them. “So how do we go about this?” I asked Nithor. “Uhm, basically we’re pegging it as a get to know you type of interview. The realm wants to know the man behind the power and mystery.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about but I’ll do my best to answer your questions.” I warmly smiled at Nithor. “Oh please your highness, we all know of your strength.” I gave out a nervous chuckle, much to Etalos and Nomir’s amusement. “So, shall we begin?” Nithor asked. “Of course,” I replied as I allowed Nithor to sit on the couch to the left of the camera, I followed a second later sitting on the couch positioned diagonal to him. “Ready when you are,” I said. Nithor drew in a deep breath and gave a signal to Seleya to start the camera. “Dear elven brothers and sisters…” Nithor said looking straight at the camera, “It is my great honor to have with me, the newly ascended prince of the realm, his highness, Prince Christopher Rogers beyn Haldruin.” I smiled at the camera, looked at Nithor, then said, “The pleasure is mine, Nithor.” Nithor set his gaze on me, “First, I’d like to congratulate you on a truly magnificent ascension. I am sure my fellow citizens agree, it was unforgettable.” “Thank you.” I tersely replied with a subtle nod in my head. “Also, congratulations on your victory against the demon general. Based on what we have heard, it was you that delivered the final blow against the demon, Yonthar.” I tried to calm myself and collect my thoughts on the matter, “again, thank you Nithor. It was certainly a tough battle but with the aid of the brave soldiers from Akros and the Royal Guard, and our partners from the vampire and werewolf communities, we were able to emerge victorious.” “Speaking of vampires and werewolves, I hear you are ambassador of the realm to earth, am I correct?” “Yes, His Majesty King ZoHal has kindly entrusted me with the responsibility to manage our relations with those of Earth.” “Must be a tough job. So early into your life as a royal and already very deep in the thick of things,” Nithor remarked. “You’re right,” I gave out a nervous chuckle, “I would be lying if I told you it’s an easy job. But have you tried thinking of saying no to King ZoHal?” I joked. Nithor gave out an amused smile, “Of course not.” “So, how do you find life here in the realm. From what we know, you’re the first from our kind to grow up in earth in two centuries.” “It’s different, in a good way, of course, let’s be honest here, a few months ago I never knew of this world, but here I am, and here we are, every day is a process of learning and adjusting, but it’s a process that I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world.” I looked beyond the camera and saw Etalos smiling at me and giving me a brief nod. “So your highness, please tell us more about yourself, who is this powerful prince that has taken the realm’s breath away?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if you’re asking about who I really am, well I’m this boy who not long ago thought he only had his dad for a family, and here I am now, surrounded by a larger family, and more friends than one could imagine and if I may be so candid, I think I have also found the love of my life.” I wistfully sighed. “So the prince is not single?” “Oh no. Not at all. I am taken,” I gave a brief chuckle. “Am I correct to assume that it is this handsome vampire you’re dancing with?” Nithor asked as he pulled out a picture from the dance after my ascension. “You are correct, that’s Victor, and he means the world to me.” “I guess you just broke the hearts of millions of men and ladies across the realm,” Nithor kidded. “Well, I hope not,” I giggled a bit, “I mean it though, I may be romantically taken but believe me when I tell you, I aim to be every citizen’s friend and protector. Please, and I’m speaking directly to anyone that’s watching, if you see me, please feel free to approach me, I would be more than happy to talk and get to know you.” “There you heard it, right from the prince’s mouth, you can go talk to him!” “Yes, you’re right about that.” I retorted. “Your highness, with all this power and influence you’ve accumulated in such a short period of time, is there anything else a person of your caliber yearns for?” I took my time to answer that question, and with a slight misting in my eyes, I replied, “I just wish my mom was here. Nothing else would make me happier, than to see her be proud of me.” Nithor let the emotion of my reply sink in, and then he added, “Your mother was loved by the people, she is certainly missed by us, who have witnessed her love for her people.” “Yeah, she was a kind and generous lady. I could only hope to be as good of a servant of the realm as her.” “That is something that your people will certainly look forward to.” Then for the next fifteen minutes or so, Nithor and I talked back and forth about my life on earth, and my love life even. Little was mentioned of my elemental and magical abilities, much to my delight, I guess Kalsina told him to avoid that topic. — “That was certainly a great interview Chris, I’m sure people will love it.” Etalos said as the media team left my study. “Phew, I sure hope so.” “Don’t worry about it Chris, believe us, we’re citizens of the realm too remember? It was heartfelt and genuine.” Nomir said from behind Etalos. “This PR blitz is certainly an adventure.” I thought out loud. Etalos grinned at me, then said, “You still have the public appearance. Has the King given you the go signal to visit Katar?” “Oh fudge, yeah, I have to ask him that.” Etalos and I continued to discuss the interview as we made our way toward Patri’s office to report on how it went. — “I gather your interview went well.” Patri said as he hugged me. “I sure hope so. Etalos and Nomir seem to think it did.” “Well, I’m sure your chief of staff, wouldn’t allow it to have gone otherwise.” “Yeah, he’s very protective of me.” “As he should. I am glad you have surrounded yourself with loyal people. I can see it, they’re not just servants, they’re friends to you. Your uncles have said as much regarding how you interact with them.” “Yes, Patri, they’re really good friends of mine.” “As it should be. Now, I assume you are here for something else, aside from reporting on how your interview went?” Patri asked with a raised eyebrow. “Oh Patri, couldn’t I just visit my grandfather?” “Of course you can,” he smirked at me, “but I sense there is something else.” “Yeah, you are right,” I paused. I looked away, then peeked at Patri, the just above a whisper asked, “Katar?” “What of Katar?” Patri asked amused. “First public appearance, remember?” Patri gave out a light grunt, “I remember, and yes, I agree, Katar is acceptable. However, you have to be careful around Havar. I do not trust him.” “I do not trust him either, I will be careful Patri.” “Chris,” my grandfather said in almost a warning tone, “Katar, is Havar’s turf, stay vigilant. I’d rather you be overly cautious than otherwise.” “Yes Patri, I understand.” I was able to relax and visit with Patri after I go his answer about Katar. —- Thinking of my impending visit to Katar, I stared at Etalos, then asked, “So, when will this visit to Katar be?” “I have already reached out to Prince Havar’s office, and to say his team is ecstatic to have you is an understatement. Given how much he wants your attention and company, I believe they will do their best to make this happen as fast as possible.” “Don’t they need to make arrangements for the entire public event and stuff?” “Yes, but do not underestimate a desperate royal. I am sure it will be fairly soon and we have to prepare for it. Kalron and I will prepare notes for you regarding the city and its people. Talking points and stuff.” “Hmm… You and Kalron huh?” I shot my cute friend a teasing smile. Etalos immediately blushed, “Uh yes, why… anything wrong with that? It’s just work,” He stammered. “Oh nothing,” I winked at him. — Victor and Henry joined us at the house for dinner. “So, Konrad’s operation in Phoenix is tonight right?” I asked. “Yes, it should start in a few hours.” Victor replied. “The red pyramid huh?” Dad thought out loud. “Yes, quite a nasty group back in the 80’s,” Henry replied. “I helped with the planning, Chris, there’s nothing to worry about. They are as prepared as they can be,” Kalron said. “I wish I was there to help out.” “Oh Chris, if you were there then what would the rest of the team do? Watch you trample on the enemy?” Henry huffed and laughed, he was joined by everyone else at the table. Victor gripped my shoulder, smiled, then said, “let them do their jobs, trust them, this is Konrad we’re talking about. Head of Stratos remember?” — “Fine, but I wanna be the first one to know of their success, okay?” To my delight, Victor decided to sleep in my place. “So, how was your day?” Victor asked me as he spooned me from behind. “Hectic, but I’m fine.” “Uh huh..” Victor replied as he kissed the nape of my neck and breathed in my scent. Oh boy Victor was horny. I could sense it and so was I! I reached out for Victor’s hardon pressing against my butt, I reached it with pinpoint accuracy and slowly groped his 7 and a half inch cock. “That’s it.” Victor added is a husky voice. I pulled down my pajamas and pulled down Victor’s as well without looking at him. I spat on my hand and lubed his throbbing cock. As soon as it was slick, I spat some more and smeared it across my puckered hole and without much ceremony, I impaled myself on Victor’s cock in one swift action. Victor let out a moan as he bottomed out in me and I could only sigh in equal pleasure. “Fuck… baby” Victor whispered. I moved my hips as Victor gripped them, he took over and slowly built up a fast tempo as he fucked me. “Bite me.” I whispered, and being the obedient boyfriend that Victor is, he did. I moaned and moaned in ecstasy as Victor’s bite sent shivers and tingles throughout my body. The tingles didn’t stop as his cock massaged my prostate, I could only writhe in pure pleasure with Victor’s simultaneous bite and fucking. Victor slurped on my neck as he continued to pummel me from behind. “Harder…” I commanded. He obliged. Minutes later we came at almost the same time, relishing the amazing lovemaking that just happened. — It was barely sunrise when Victor and I went to my study to join Kalron and Etalos for a briefing on Konrad’s mission. “So how did it go?” I asked. “It was a success. Konrad’s team was able to get hold of the captured demons, and Red Pyramid’s operations in Phoenix has been extinguished.” Victor gave me a look, and said, “Told you Konrad could handle it.” I ignored Victor’s remark, then further asked, “So any injuries or losses on our side? Where are the demons now?” “Several were injured, no deaths, the demons are already being held in our joint facility in New York. Konrad confirmed that the demons are indeed in a weakened state. His team were also able to capture several vampires and even werewolves and humans from the syndicate. They are already gathering intel from them as we speak.” “That’s good.” I then shot Victor a smile, “I guess you’re right, I’m indeed a worrier.” “Yes, you are.” “So, what’s next?” I asked. “We deal with the other two syndicates, but I’m assuming Reza and Konrad will want to finish the intel gathering before moving on, I’m sure Konrad will report the events of the night to the VHC within the day.” “Well, that’s one less thing to worry about.” Etalos mused. “You’re right,” I retorted, then thought of something, “What do we do with the demons?” “Hmm, I’m guessing try to get as much information from them as possible. If our mind readers or your agents couldn’t handle them, I’m sure they’ll reach out for your help,” Victor replied. “It’s important we know what the syndicate has done to these demons. I’m not comfortable with the idea of demonic powers being used by more people around here,” I grumbled in frustration. “I’m still nervous about the other general though, I just hope not all the remaining eight are out there planning their next move against the world,” I added. “Yeah, the prospect of eight more demon generals is a concerning thought. Good thing it appears they’re not really into cooperating with one another,” Kalron mused. “You’re right about that. King Ethnar once told me, and I’ve read about it too, demon generals barely work together, they operate as separate armies, good thing they’re not centralized and all, coz the thought of them being more organized is something I wouldn’t want to think about,” I replied as I shuddered a little. “Any news on human disappearances?” Victor asked, “that’s how we noticed Yonthar was on the move right?” “The rate of missing persons is higher than average but not as high as it was during Yonthar’s time,” Kalron replied. “Any missing vampires?” I asked Victor. “There are always missing vampires but nothing suspicious as of now.” Victor replied. “However, if the other generals have become more cautious, they might be biding their time and actively avoiding any action that would direct attention towards them,” Etalos remarked. “In the end, we should bolster our forces. The stronger we are, the better we will be in dealing with them regardless of whether or not we find them first,” I said. “Yonthar was one of the stronger generals but he is not the strongest, and to date we only know three names, that’s what worries me.” “It seems like they’re really good at hiding their true identities,” Kalron pensively retorted. We ended the conversation after we resolved to be take more precautions. — After breakfast, I spent most part of the morning honing my earth magic skills. I read several earth magic scrolls and books, then asked Nomir to train with me. My gold level bodyguard was surprised that I asked him to spar with me, I guess he was nervous to fight with me, but after giving him a cute pout, he relented. “Chris, are you sure you just learned Earth Magic?” That was incredible, Nomir commented after our half hour long bout. “Yeah, but I had some help learning, so I should be thankful for that.” “But this level of progress is just amazing, you are certainly special.” “Oh please Nomir, stop it.” “I think you’re the one that should be teaching me stuff,” Nomir suggested. “Like what?” “I dunno, some spells that would be useful in battle. A spell or two that would help me protect you would be nice.” I took Nomir’s suggestion to heart and spent the better half of the hour teaching him how to craft and control earth golems. Though, I could grow my golems up to maybe 15 or 20 feet tall, Nomir’s 4 and 5 feet tall golems were a good start. He even learned to infuse them with some of his energy to make them stronger and enable them to cast low level attack and defensive spells of their own. — Etalos wore a serious expression as he walked into my study. “What is it Etalos? You look stressed.” “Well, you can say that again and I think you will be too the moment you hear what I’m about to tell you.” “What’s the matter? Is something wrong?” I asked, concerned about what news my assistant will fling upon me. “It’s about Katar.” Etalos tersely replied. “What about it? “Remember how I told you Prince Havar will most likely rush things the moment you show interest in a public appearance in his city?” “Yes.” “Well, I think we underestimated how invested he is with meeting you.” “What do you mean? Just say it Etalos…” “It’s tomorrow. You have to be in Katar tomorrow.” “What?! That soon?!” I gasped in surprise. “Yes.” “Is there any other way for us to delay this? I mean, it was my idea but this is too soon!” “The Prince has basically outmaneuvered us. He has already announced your visit. Changing the schedule will be a blow to your image.” “Fuuuck” I groaned as I slapped both my heads on my face, “damn it.” “We will make this work Chris. It might be sooner than expected but at least we can get this out of the way.” Etalos said, trying to soothe my exasperated demeanor. “Fine. You take care of the logistics.” “Of course, Chris. I will spend the rest of the day in the realm coordinating with Prince Havar’s team.” “Thanks Etalos.” — That night, I decided to rest and not visit the Tower. I needed to be in my A-game for my first public appearance after all. It’s also good that I didn’t wake up feeling that I’ve forgotten a very important dream. “Ready for your big day?” Etalos asked over breakfast. He looked tired but still cute. “Yeah, but you look like you could use some sleep.” I said. “I can sleep on the train on the way to Katar,” Etalos yawned. “It’s 400 kilometers from the capital, right?” “Yeah, should take us less than two hours to get there from the capital via the high speed train.” “What time are we leaving for the realm?” Just before sunset, by then it would be early morning there and we would be in Katar just before noon. “Okay sure.” I spent most of the morning reading about the City and its people. I already knew that Katar is an autonomous city, and is the second most populous city in the realm after the capital. Apparently, it is the center of commerce and trade in the Northwestern reaches of the realm. With the city being Prince Havar’s stronghold, a majority of its people are of Elurdeyan descent, however due to it bordering the Western Province, a quarter of its people are from the Hegodeya Tribe. Yal and my uncles visited for lunch, they just wanted to wish me well in my first public appearance. “Just be your usual charming self,” Uncle Selvenus said to me. “Yeah, and don’t let Havar get all the attention, Uncle Rehanmir added. “We already know that you’re a good person, it’s about time the people see you as the kind person that you are,” Yal said. “Thanks, I’m really nervous about this though.” “Nothing wrong with being nervous Chris, just don’t let it control you,” Uncle Rehanmir replied as he reached out for both my hands and gave them a reassuring grip. “Thanks guys for coming over,” I smiled back at them. “Of course, we’re always here to support you,” Yal smiled at me as he pulled me in for a hug. — Etalos, Nomir, and I along with the carriage attendant and 4 other royal guards were the only ones present in the first carriage. I calmed myself down with some tea as I looked at the wide expanse of the flat lands of the Western Province. The vegetation seemed sparser, and the climate appeared to be drier, however what I saw was of equal beauty to the scenes I’ve witnessed in the Northern Province. Grass and trees had earthier colors, yellow, brown, light green, and gray. Etalos slept for most of the trip, while Nomir did his best to make friends with the guards Patri sent to join us. The train whizzed through the landscape and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the beautiful scenery in front of me. Looking into the distance, I saw something that’s almost too majestic to believe. My jaws dropped and I was speechless. When the brief said, ‘Walls of Wood’ I did not expect the city to be surrounded by a two hundred foot wall of trees! I mean I read that part but I honestly thought it was a figure of speech! As the train drew closer to the walls, my eyes could make out the details of the gargantuan wall. What appeared from afar as a solid block of wood for a wall is actually made out of thousands if not tens of thousands of large trees, branches, wrapped and woven with each other in such an intricate manner that the its texture appeared to be that of one perfectly woven basket. The wall stood tall, and the canopy of the trees don’t even begin maybe until above 150 feet. If the wall of trees was breathtaking, the canopy was even more so, rainbow colored leaves decorated the wall, as if a kaleidoscope of colors burst on top of it. A rainbow foliage served as the crown of the alluring Walls of Katar. The train continued to approach the wall, and I can see that there is a hole in the middle of the wall to make way for the train and expressway viaduct into the city. Etalos groaned behind me as he started to wake up. “Etalos, this is amazing! Pictures don’t do it justice.” I rasped. Etalos looked out the window, he was as speechless as I was a few seconds ago, “wow” he muttered, the moment he recovered, “I’ve only seen it on tv, it’s way better in real life, wow, just wow.” A sudden darkness engulfed the carriage for a brief moment as we entered the tunnel as light returned the view opened into a birds-eye view of the city. The city is lush and filled with vegetation. Most buildings and houses, not more than two stories tall. Structures mainly built out of yellow or brown stone, with facades decorated by colorful vines or moss. “This is so different from the capital.” I remarked. “Yeah, so different from any other city in the realm,” Etalos retorted. It ended too soon for my liking, and before I knew it, the train came into a stop in the large wooden train station of Katar. Its architecture gothic yet everything was made out of wood. On the platform, what awaited us was a throng of civil guards in brown and gray uniforms. They were all lined to trace my path out of the carriage, and at the end of the line was an old man in red and gold robe, Prince Havar. Even with the distance, I can see the shit eating grin he had. Two of the Royal guards exited first, followed by Nomir, then me, Etalos followed suit, then the remaining two guards. Horns and string instruments were played as we made our way towards the awaiting Prince. It did not take long for me to fall into the embrace of my Patri’s cousin, “I am so glad, you are here young one.” He whispered to me, “come come, your people await.” He smiled as we exited the platform area. The moment the doors of the train station were opened onto the streets of Katar, what welcomed me was the thunderous roar of thousands, no, tens of thousands of people. All waving gold and black flags, that apparently have become my symbol in the realm. I smiled and waved and the cheers went on and on as Prince Havar and I made our way to the car waiting for us. “Phew” I sighed as I sat in the car, still waiving at the energetic people that have gathered to welcome me. “Amazing, isn’t it.” Prince Havar noted as he sat beside me. “Yeah, wow. Can’t believe they gathered just for me.” “Hmm, as they should. You are the most powerful elf in more than a millennia, you deserve all of this Prince Christopher.” Prince Havar said as he lightly squeezed my left shoulder, he paused, then continued, “more will come for your public address later.” As the car made its way through the crowd filled streets of Katar, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed, the spectacle of it all reminded me of my Ascension. It did not take long for us to reach the Palace of Katar, it had an expansive courtyard, and garden, and its structure was akin to a cake, circular and layered. Its façade was of smooth gray stone, with the occasional pop of color from the carefully curated moss and vines that wrapped around it. “I see, you’re really into nature,” I grinned at Prince Havar. “As all elves should be,” he tersely replied. Lunch was spent with Prince Havar’s family, Princess Yasa, his wife, and Prince Dozko, his son. I have met them before at the banquet after my ascension, it’s nice to be re-acquainted with them. Princess Yasa was cheerful while Prince Dozko more reserved. After lunch, Prince Havar and I went to his study for a quick chat. “I really am glad you decided to have your first appearance in Katar,” he beamed at me, his eyes twinkled with pride. “Well, your team did reach out to my office, and I thought why not,” I replied. “You don’t know how much this means to my people, your people, the Katari will never forget this gesture from the Platinum Prince.” Prince Havar took a moment to smile, then carried on, “Though I assume there is more to this?” “What do you mean?” “The Platinum Prince does not merely grant you audience,” he teased. “I don’t think our previous meetings were any more difficult to arrange,” I retorted. Prince Havar let out a small chuckle, “Of course, you have been most accommodating, but I feel there is more to this. A question that I may answer perhaps?” He asked as he raised an eyebrow. How the hell does this guy know things, can he read minds? I don’t think so, I’m very well shielded. “Don’t worry, I don’t read minds,” he smirked at my surprised expression, “I however, read situations, and body language, and you my boy are itching to ask a question.” “The Tower…” “Ah… The Tower, So I assume you have been informed of our shared experience with it?” “Yes…” “What do you want to know?” “Did you discover the Astra Spell there?” “Yes, what of it? Have you finally decided to use it as intended?” “No!” I quickly replied in surprise, “Sorry, but no, I can’t do that.” He smirked at me, “Only time will tell, but what I can say to you is, we are running out of precious time, the earth is dying. It won’t be long before those filthy humans destroy it beyond recognition, if not them then the demons will.” “Not if I stop them.” “The demons, I’m sure you can, you have the strength to do it, hell, you are more powerful than Ethnar. But 7 billion humans? How will you convince them to change their ways?” He cocked his head at that remark, “The Astra Spell is the most humane way to end it all.” “I can never…” “Maybe you’ll see how I see things the moment things worsen on Earth.” “I can’t believe the Tower would hold knowledge to such a powerful and destructive spell.” “Oh child, you have already bore witness to the miracles of the Tower more times than any other elf out there, you have been blessed, and I assure you, there is more to learn and discover in the Tower. Tens of thousands of books and scrolls for our race to use. Think of the possibilities! And think about it, only elves have been granted audience to it, we are the chosen race! The chosen people! We are the stewards of the world we left behind, it is such a shame that we as guardians have relinquished that mantle to those humans,” Prince Havar said, with so much vitriol in his voice. “Let’s not talk about this any further, please. I hate talking about earth and humans in such a way.” “As you wish.” For the next 15 minutes or so, Prince Havar and I discussed the city and its machinations. He was the proud leader of a prosperous city of a million. “As you can see, this city, is a testament to what we can achieve, none of that human-like pretense in most other cities in the realm,” Prince Havar replied after I commented on the beauty and sheer grandeur of Katar. “I have heard other cities across the realm have incorporated magic in their architecture as well, I have heard Bishgor, the capital of the Eastern Province is almost like a city carved into the mountains.” “Ahh, Bishgor, what a sight that city is, beautiful in its own right, but let me assure you young prince, this city, is the pinnacle and crowning jewel of what our people can build and live in.” I let that thread of our conversation end, and shifted it to something else. “You are thinking of something,” Prince Havar said as he noticed my introspective demeanor. “Yes, it’s the Tower again.” “Ahh, any lingering questions you have not asked from earlier?” he grinned at me. “I suppose.” “What do you have in mind? I would not be able to help if you keep it all in.” “During the time you visited the tower, were there any scripts or books that you couldn’t read?” The older prince gave me a knowing smile, “Of course, the Tower chooses what to let you know. I spent maybe 5 or 6 hours there and goodness, I have lost count of the books and scrolls that stood empty in front of me. It is what it is young prince, though I assume you are learning more and more every time you visit it?” “Yes, every time I actually do, and it just keeps going on and on, however, there’s this book, a book that has been with me for days now, it refuses to reveal itself.” “Ahh, such things must not bother you, I am sure you will understand when the time comes.” Prince Havar took his moment to sigh, smile at me, he reached out to my left hand and gave it a squeeze, “Has the Tower ever failed you?” “No” I meekly replied. “It is never wrong, time is all you have in this world young prince, sooner or later, what you seek, you shall find, if not, I am sure it will come to you. That has always been the way of the Tower and always will be.” “Can you tell me more about the flow? From what I know there is very little we know about it.” “Ahh.. the flow” Prince Havar’s eyes lit up at the mention of those words, “Where do I even begin?” “What do you mean?” “To put it simply, it is everything, it is life, death, creation, and destruction.” “But I thought that it is magic, energy, life, and death,” I interjected, remembering King Ethnar’s explanation of it. “Depends on who you ask,” Prince Havar smirked at me, “The truth of its nature, eludes us, all we have are hints and pieces of it, you my child, are our best chance to uncover the true nature of the flow. If you’d let me be so bold as to say, you are the closest anyone has been to what we have always sought.” ‘Damn. What a burden to put on the shoulders of a teenager huh.’ I thought to myself. “That can’t be,” I protested, “What of the previous Kings and Queens! Surely the flow has made itself known to them as well!” “Some might have been touched by it, but never as close as to your affinity with it,” Prince Havar said with finality in his tone. — Midafternoon, Prince Havar and I made our way to the central plaza of the city. It’s a large square approximately the size of four football fields, and tens of thousands of people gathered to see us. Prince Havar’s family joined us in the elevated platform as well. “Dear Citizens of Katar, I share with you the excitement and joy of hosting the realm’s newly ascended prince. It is my pleasure to introduce, his highness, Prince Christopher Haldruin,” Prince Havar roared as the people screamed cheers and well wishes. I waved towards the crowd, and couldn’t help but be overwhelmed, gosh, the sights, smells, and sounds of the crowd served as a sensory overload, I did my best to get a hold of myself. As the cheers died down, I cleared my throat for my speech. “My fellow citizens of the realm, I am humbled by your warm welcome. It is truly a pleasure to share this moment with you. I honestly believe I do not deserve your praise, but I promise, that I will do my very best to earn all the love and support you have shown me this day,” I paused to the loud cheer of the crowd. “This may be my first visit to the wonderful city of Katar, but it surely won’t be the last,” another thunderous cheer. “To the people of Katar, and to every citizen of the realm, I tell you this, we are all stronger together, the things that bind us, are stronger than the things that separate us. We as a people have entered a new era, we have started to open ourselves back to Earth, and I as ambassador to our true homeland, will do my very best to foster a great relationship with its people,” another thunderous applause. “In this new era, begins a new chapter for all of us as a people, and new challenges as well, I know you’ve all heard of the demon threat across the veil,” the crowd booed against the demons and I couldn’t help but chuckle, “but I assure you, the crown, is working very hard and doing its very best to protect this beloved realm of ours.” “With the strength bestowed upon us by the powers above, we will prevail!” I said, as I raised my right fist into the air. “Let me be clear, the threat is real, and strong, that I will not deny, and with this in mind, I implore for your unwavering support for the crown and our troops, we have already lost some of our very best in the first encounter with the demon scourge, let us not let allow their sacrifices be for naught, this realm needs you, not just your cheers, or applause, but your belief and trust, belief that we will overcome this, and trust that we will be more united, after our eventual triumph.” “Light shall overcome darkness, and if you will allow me, let me light the path through these trying times.” And with that I ended my speech. The crowd cheered and cheered, as I waved my hands, I decided to give them a treat. Something for them to hold onto. I pulled from my pool of energy and allowed some of it to seep to the surface. The crowd went silent as they felt the buzz of energy come off me. The air vibrated and hummed as waves upon waves of warm energy filled the entire city center. Without warning, I let my eyes shine bright gold, I tingled as streaks of gold and silver decorated my skin. The crowd stood in awe at my power demonstration. I did not let it end there, I shot a long serpentine fire dragon into the air, and made it dance, seconds later, I added a water dragon. Fuck, I think I just overdid it, the people are in a daze now. Whoopsie. Okay, fuck, distract them, uhm, I then shouted, “Hold onto the light even in the darkest moments,” and with that I let the dragons crash into each other, forming a large cloud of mist above the crowd. I shot multiple light spells into it, and a kaleidoscope of colors bursts into the air. The crowd cheered. After spending several minutes with eager reporters and fans, my contingent and I made our way back to the capital. — “Amazing as always grandson,” I hear Patri’s voice from my phone while we were on our way back to the capital. “I hope I didn’t overdo it,” I nervously chuckled. “No, not at all, just what your people need,” “I’m glad you approve Patri.” “Now your people know who you are, and this is just the beginning.” “I know Patri, I know.” “I hope Havar did not give you a hard time,” Patri laughed. “He did try, but I think I handled it well.” “Glad to hear that. Now get back here, we want to hear all about it!” “I’ll be there in an hour Patri.” — It was already mid-morning the following day when we returned to Greensburg, as I spent several hours having dinner with Patri, Matra, and my uncles. “Hey there champ. How was your big event yesterday?” Dad asked as he joined me in the living room. “Was good, I guess.” “Oh, why that look, tell me more.” For the next hour or so, I narrated to dad the events of the previous day. I described to him the beauty of Katar and some of what I’ve learned from Prince Havar. I told him of my speech and even recounted the events after the public rally, where I was inundated by reporters from all over the realm. I was in the middle of discussing a funny interaction with a reporter, when I suddenly felt ill. “Chris, are you okay?” Dad asked, the concern showing on his face. I couldn’t even reply, I felt a stabbing pain on my chest and my head felt like it was about to burst. I couldn’t describe what was happening to me. Dad called for Etalos and the rest to help me but the pain continued, the worried voices from friends faded into the background. Then I realized what it was, I was being consumed by wave upon wave of anguish, pain, resentment, and misery. It was as if the souls of thousands of people were calling out to me, seeking for release, seeking for liberation from their torment. My tattoos tingled and shined brilliantly for a moment as I gradually recovered. “What the hell was that?” I thought out loud as I relaxed into the warm embrace of my father. Still reeling from the reverberation of my earlier episode, I barely had any appetite during lunch. “Chris, please eat,” dad encouraged me from across the table. “I don’t feel like eating,” I replied in a sulky mood. “Please try.” After lunch, Kalron whisked me, Etalos, and Nomir into my study, alarm and fear showing all over him. “What’s the matter Kalron? Did you find something out, does this have anything to do with what happened to me earlier?” “I’m not sure Chris, but this is not good.” “What?” “Our scanners, well they found something. It appears like there is this distortion in the magical field.” “What do you mean?” Nomir curiously asked. “Look at this,” Kalron said as he pulled out his tablet and showed a map of the United States, “See this, this is how the magical fields are usually like, see mostly green and blue?” “Yes,” we replied, understanding what Kalron has pointed out. “Then look at this, our scan from half an hour ago showed this,” Kalron replied as he flipped across the screen and showed a still mostly green and blue map but a small red dot has appeared in the western edges of Arkansas. “Where is that? And what the hell does this mean?” I asked. “The scan results are still preliminary but it seems the distortion field is demon in nature,” Kalron grimly replied. He took a deep breath then continued, “Satellite images show nothing out of the ordinary, but look at this.” Kalron said. “What are we looking at?” Etalos asked for Nomir and myself. “It’s one of the cctv cameras my team was able to hack in the area. This is one of the closest cameras available near the city. We tried hacking into the surveillance systems of the city and even commercial and private cameras but none were working.” The camera was directed towards the street, and we saw cars whiz by, however at the far right edge of the screen, we see cars disappearing in plain sight. “What the hell!” Nomir gasped. “It appears this camera sits at the border of the distortion, whatever goes in is consumed by it. We got this feed from a roadside grocery store,” Kalron replied. “But it still looks so normal, the buildings on the other side are still there, even the trash bin, and benches, if it weren’t for the passing car, you wouldn’t realize that something was lying beyond,” Nomir remarked. “There’s more,” Kalron continued as he showed us more of the video stream and for the next 5 minutes we watched in horror and fascination as more than a dozen cars disappear into something. It was as if there was this curtain of illusion, hiding whatever was behind it. “Kalron, alert the VHC and WCC,” I commanded. I was almost panting in worry and confusion at that point. “We already have, and they are already coordinating with their agents in the area.” “Chris, did you notice?” Etalos asked. “What?” “Cars were disappearing into that thing but none came out, even people disappeared into it but nothing, no one got out,” Etalos further explained, his face mirroring whatever grim and anxious expression I had at that moment. “Fuck, what now?” I thought out loud as I swept my hair with both my hands in exasperation, “We have to do something about this.”
  12. Wow! Glad to have found this! I was reading the story on nifty and you mentioned that you were also in GA so I just had to see! Wow. Thanks for this. So lighthearted and fun! Much love!
  13. @Buz I wish I could have thought of the short story competition. You totally need to be part of Chris’ PR team! And you’re right along with the others that have voiced their concerns. Havar is sneaky but how sneaky? 🙄🧐
  14. Awww go Randy! So happy for him! Finally! The turmoil he felt inside felt so real. Happy that he can breathe easier now.
  15. @centexhairysub and @chris191070 😅🙄 I mean how bad can Havar be? I mean he’s Patri’s cousin! 🙃😂😂 City of Katar here we come!!!
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