Chapter Four – Team Effort
It was the next day. With two hands up, a gentle breeze fluttered the fabric of Eldrian’s clothes as well as his short brown hair, caused by the stirring magical forces conjured up by the focus of his mind. Faint black ribbons moved up his arms to dance around his fingertips, and a swirling sphere of chaotic power eventually formed between his grasp. It blasted outwards like a cannon ball and exploded with crackling destructive force against the wall of the cave, leaving a small crater behind. Shadow Ball!
Deena clapped her hands, though it didn’t sound overly enthusiastic. She moved up her own hands, and took a stance of strategic movements involving every last part of her form.
“That was good, but it’s more like this,” she said.
“I’ve barely dabbled in dark magic yet. I’ve mostly been focusing on practical spells, illusions, and elemental attacks. This is really powerful, though.”
“Yes. A concentrated amount of dark magic is destructive, because it’s chaotic. The power is hard to contain, so it explodes outwards as soon as it can.” She let out a quiet sigh. “But your magical skills are pretty impressive, I guess.”
Eldrian smiled bright and snickered. “Thanks! Does that mean you’ll get rid of that voodoo doll now?”
“It was worth a shot.”
“I wonder how your friend Kevin is doing. Lucy seemed confident that he could still help, but I’m uncertain. He’s just an ordinary boy, not a wizard.”
“If he wants to help, I think he deserves to try.”
“Perhaps. If he dies, however, it’ll be on those who encouraged it.”
“I know.” He pressed his lips together, pausing for a moment. “That’s why I want to practice my spellcasting. If you can’t use power to protect things, then what’s the point?”
“That sounds incredibly cheesy, but… I respect your attitude. Even though it sounds like you’re reading from a children’s book. You still need to live rationally, somewhat.”
“Well, why do you practice magic then, Deena?”
“That’s none of your business, but I simply want to grow in power. Then I can destroy anybody who dares to hurt me.”
“And you called me cheesy,” he whispered under his breath.
“Where did I put that voodoo doll?” she asked as she slowly stared her piercing red gaze towards his eyes.
“Hey!” Eldrian announced with a nervous chuckle as he tried to change the topic. “Let’s go give Kevin a call and see how he’s doing with Lucy, huh?”
He hustled from the large expanse and back into the living room with the witch following shortly behind him. From his pocket he pulled his phone, and he tapped a few times with a finger to call up his companion. It rang.
“Hi, Eldrian,” said Kevin’s voice from the other side.
“Hello! How’s it going? Ready to meet up and talk about tomorrow?”
“Yeah, actually. Lucy was just chatting to me about the Demon World and stuff. It’s pretty cool here. I’m ready to come back whenever. She had business to take care of.”
The wizard slid together his hands as he stepped casually up to the wall. Where there wasn’t one before, there was now a mahogany door present in the stone, and he twisted the knob to pull it open. On the other side was a fiendish sight of gigantic black stalagmites and flying winged beasts. Upon a seat was Kevin O’Brien, the orange-haired boy, and he was on his own.
“All right. C’mon,” said Eldrian, hanging up the call.
“Huh? Ah!” shouted Kevin. “Your doors freak me out.”
With a grunt and the door disappearing, all three now stood in the room with a day until they decided to act on a plan to stop the evil Rend Devilclaw.
“Sure. Let’s just all use my house for everything,” muttered Deena.
“Aw. Don’t worry about it,” Eldrian said reassuringly. “It’s a nice place, but I’m sure we won’t make a habit of it. So, what’d you get from Lucy, Kev? Anything good?”
“She trusted me with something powerful. I hope I’m worth that,” Kevin replied.
“Lucy is the daughter of the ruler of the Demon World, Kev. If she didn’t think you were worth it, she wouldn’t have even offered it to you. Come on. Let’s see it.”
Kevin raised up his right hand to show a decorated gold and blue ring around his middle finger. Both Deena and Eldrian looked it over with great interest. Who could have blame them? It was a magic ring. Eldrian tapped it curiously with his finger.
“What does it do?” asked Eldrian.
“If I say the command phrase, it transforms into a sword in my hand. A magic sword.”
“That’s so cool,” muttered Eldrian. “That really fits you.”
“Yeah! This works perfectly. We bought ourselves something that every wizard thrives with. Time. And Deena knows a ton about demons. We’re going to challenge this guy to a second round, and I know he’ll accept. We won’t be hunted like animals by even more things. Tomorrow, we’re going to take down Rend.”
All three of them were ready, whether they were nervous or not, and they made their way outside the city to avoid both collateral damage and to also avoid detection. But there was one creature they wanted to be detected by, and the chill down their spines suggested that was no issue. Rend was out there, hunting and lurking. It was only a matter of time before they were caught alone. That, however, is what they were counting on this time.
They came to a clearing. The air was still and there was hardly a noise by even an animal. It was warm, at least as warm as it gets in Alberta, which is actually not really that warm at all. By comparison, however, it was of a decent temperature. You’d freeze to death, but slightly slower than usual.
Eldrian cast a spell similar to when he first met back up with Kevin nights ago. Rings formed around his midsection and separated away, moving to his head and toes. As they moved, however, the outfit he wore changed gradually into something else. Instead of a simple pair of trousers and a t-shirt, he was wearing various shades of blue. A buttoned up cloak hung back from his body. It was now that he truly did look like a wizard someone might read about in books—ones Kevin thought were all fantastical, but things quickly have changed. The blue attire was finely made, and it made him emit an aura of confidence even stronger than before. He was a wizard. The cloak he wore blew in an oncoming breeze.
Strangely enough, at least to Kevin, Deena did the same. She transformed her clothes to one of black and white. She had a skirt over the top of a pair of striped leggings, and her elaborately fixed hair become held by black ribbons. Several tiny adornments reflected the crimson red of her eyes.
“You guys look awesome,” uttered Kevin from behind them. “I wish I could do that.”
Eldrian planted his hands on his hips. “We’ll get you something nice sometime. Hey. What about the sword? That counts, right?”
“I am curious to see what this magic ring is capable of,” spoke Deena.
A rustling in the grass turned everybody’s head. Eldrian entered a readied stance with his hands up—fingers twisted in various shapes and angles. He was ready to manipulate reality as seen fit. Although he seemed to be training still, he was no stranger to spellcasting.
It was Deena though that tossed the first stone, except instead of a stone, it was a column of pitch-black fire bursting up from the shrubs. Her fingernails pointed up in front of her like a demon’s claw, but her expression didn’t falter in the slightest. Hell Geyser!
Rend yelped and screamed as he shot into the air aflame. He landed with a thud beside them, smoking and cursing, but stood to his tiny feet and glared towards the three of them.
“Damn it!” he shouted. “The three of you are dead. You’re not getting away this time!”
Eldrian’s cape fluttered back as he shot forward his hand. From his palm came a barrage of tiny icicles like the fire from a machine gun. They peppered the ground behind the demon as he sprinted away, narrowly missing his feet at the end of it. Hail Storm!
They had a plan, however. It was Eldrian and Kevin’s job to distract him while Deena prepared a spell. When the demon came running at Eldrian once more, he vanished. It was too late by the time the demon noticed the wizard now behind him. It was skillfully quick, but less wise than he meant it to be, as Rend then began sprinting towards the preparing Deena.
His deadly claws were ready to slice the witch open. Eldrian knew he needed to act smart, and fast, so he breathed deeply and danced his hands in an intricate ritual of spellcasting. Both of his effects occurred subsequently in one swift action.
Both Deena and Eldrian swapped placed. Not only that, but a warding barrier came up between the wizard and the demon, clashing forces between the two of them. Rend bounced off and snarled, looking around momentarily confused at the swap.
Eldrian gave a nod to his witch companion.
“I’ve studied you,” Deena said bluntly. “The Demon World knows a lot about you. That’s what happens when you’re so foolishly persistent. Now drop to your knees!”
Her spell was ready, so she raised both her hands up in the air quickly, and then swiped them down. An invisible force collapsed the tiny demon to a crawl, and he clenched his razor-sharp teeth through painful grunting.
“What the hell?” Rend muttered in frustration.
“Witches are experts on dark magic,” she responded, and pushed him farther down. “You’re finished.”
Still, Rend boasted confidence. He grinned up at her as his eyes contorted. Alike a few days prior, his form trembled and transformed. His small, demonic face soon rose to rest on top a gigantic muscular body, like the world’s most evil fitness trainer. The spell collapsed as he stood to his legs. The ritual failed.
“No,” Deena whispered. “What happened? Whatever he used… It wasn’t a natural demonic ability. He did something else.”
“Drop to your knees,” the creature spoke with a booming deep voice.
Kevin finally said something. He held his hand out to the side as he focused intently on his magic ring. A phrase escaped his lips, causing the ring to brightly glow. His words were quiet and worried, this being the first time he needed to use such a weapon in practice.
“Summon sword, Drodias,” he said under his breath, but it still caught the attention of the towering demon.
The ring itself became a ring of light, but it shaped itself into a long blade in Kevin’s right grip. The light faded, and in its place was a blue blade protruding from a golden handle, and the weapon itself emitted a faint magic glow.
He ran towards the demon and swung the magic blade horizontally, but just barely missed the creature’s shadow flesh. Rend attacked immediately back with a powerful kick to the boy’s gut, causing him to fly back several meters to land on his back with a fit of coughing.
“Kev!” shouted Eldrian. He looked in that direction, worried for his friend’s safety.
Rend leapt high into the air, and slammed down his gigantic claws deep into the soil next to the dodging Deena. She nearly fell over. Her eyes looked up at the oncoming demon, and the claws now stretched back to drive into her instead.
Eldrian had both hands pointing with two fingers. At the end of each was a spark, and he brought them around in a full arching motion to open his hands at his side. The electricity crackled and shaped itself into a lengthy weapon, floating between his grip. Quickly, he hurled the spell forward. Lightning Lance!
It crashed into Rend’s back, causing him to roar out in pain as his body surged with electrical power. A large singed scar was now present over the middle of his spine. He could hardly react, however, as a ball of fire came from Deena’s hands to blast into his side. Rend lunged away and began to panic. He started to worry that perhaps three capable people were too much for him to handle. His power, however, was tempting. This new body was so much stronger than his last, and he didn’t want to give up yet.
“No!” he roared out. “Across the land of elves, demons, humans, and more. I will kill them all. Never again will I be trapped. All will fear—“
Rend, unfortunately, was interrupted yet again.
Kevin swung his sword, and the magic blade cut through his leg. It hit resistance, but Kevin was determined, and surprisingly fit. The weapon separated the leg completely from the demon’s body while he was distracted. A deafening roar escaped through his teeth, causing any and all birds to flee into the sky. He fell to the ground as a black blood began pooling up on the grass beneath him.
“No! No, no, no!” Rend shouted like an angry child.
In a violent burst of fluid, a new leg exploded from his stub to replace the old one. He stood immediately back to his feet and grabbed Kevin within both his hands to rise him to the demon’s face.
“This ass won’t give up,” snapped Deena. “I don’t know where this damn power is coming from. What do we do?”
“He’s been slowing down. His power isn’t infinite,” replied Eldrian.
“Do we keep hitting him spells?”
“I’m going to try something. I’ll thank you for the inspiration for this one.”
“Me?” Deena responded quietly.
In one hand, Eldrian conjured a swirling vortex of black energy. The chaotic power stirred, but it was small in size, as time was an issue. It was all he needed. The position of Kevin and Eldrian suddenly swapped, so the wizard was now trapped in Rend’s clawed grip.
“Huh?” Rend gasped at the switch, and didn’t have time to think further.
Eldrian slammed the ball of shadow into the demon’s face, causing it to detonate. Crackling, dark power exploded, causing him to both drop the wizard as well as soar backwards to land in the dirt. His face was damaged, as was the wizard’s hand. Eldrian gripped the hand. It was much too close to the point of detonation to not be hurt, but it was Rend who got the worst of it.
Various teeth on the demon were missing, and many others were chipped.
“These shadow attacks really get my creative juices flowing… I have an idea for next time,” Eldrian stated, trying to nurse his hand back to health.
“You’re talking ideas at a time like this?” Kev said as he nudged the wizard’s shoulder.
“Imagination is the key to being a good wizard!”
“All right, but is the demon out cold?”
They looked to Rend, still laying motionless on the grassy soil. By his vacant expression, he was mentally elsewhere after their barrage of attacks. He seemed to be unconscious.
“I think so,” Eldrian responded and looked to Kevin. “Nice moves back there. You cut his leg off!”
Kevin laughed awkwardly. “Yeah. It was nothing. Lucy’s the one who gave me the sword.”
“You’re the one who helped beat a demon, though, Kev. Good job. Same to you, Deena.”
The witch rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “Thanks. You both weren’t so bad.”
She tapped her toe as she looked to Rend for a lengthy moment. After the pause, she spoke up again, looking briefly to Eldrian before looking once again away.
“I’ve never met a wizard who could learn as fast as you. Now call Lucy already before he gets back up.”
The wizard smiled wide, and he nodded before lifting up his phone. Just as he started to call up Lucy, they noticed Rend’s body start to change. It thankfully didn’t awaken. It became what he once was—a tiny horned creature. No longer was he incredibly tall and intimidating.
“We did it,” said Eldrian into his phone.
Only a moment passed before a fissure opened up behind them. From the flames arose Lucy, and she skipped eagerly over to inspect Rend’s sleeping body.
“You all did awesome. Thanks so much. I’ll take him back and make sure he doesn’t escape, for real this time. And guess what? I was studying up, and I think I found out where he got that power of his that he definitely didn’t have last time I saw him.”
“Really? Good job, Lucy. How did he get it?” Eldrian spoke up excitedly.
“Actually, if you’re not busy, Eldrian, I’d like you to investigate this matter. You and your friends, preferably. I don’t know what exactly this will end up leading to.”
“We accept,” he replied.
Deena sighed. “You can’t decide that for us.”
“Great!” cheered Lucy. “That little bastard went far to steal that power. You guys are going to need to go to Machu Picchu.”
“That’s far!” Eldrian frowned. “I don’t have an anchor anywhere near there, so I can’t open a portal.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.” She gestured a thumb to the hole in the ground behind her. “Let’s go. We’ll travel from the Demon World. I can get you pretty close. I’ll explain everything once we’ve got Rend locked up.”
Eldrian looked to his companions. “What do you say, Deena? Kev? Fancy a trip to Peru?”
Kevin widened his eyes and nodded. “I’ve always wanted to travel! If we’re going to be gone long, though, I better tell my parents.”
“Fine,” said Deena with a shrug. “It sounds interesting, anyway. I want to see the origin of this strength he stole.”
“Then it’s settled,” Eldrian stated. “We’re right behind you, Lucy.”
Stay tuned for Chapter Five – Naturally Handsome!