Chapter Thirty-Nine – The Moose
The fight had commenced a few minutes prior. They were already exhausting themselves, but given that it was still a four against two, the heroes didn’t worry too much. Kevin’s Drodias and Aegis of Light were out, and the three wizards were conjuring spells.
“Where’s Eldrian?” shouted Kevin.
“Not here,” Poppet said with a snicker. “Not even close.”
“Then why are you fighting us?”
“Just following orders. No hard feelings, right?”
Alchia fired a tiny version of her acid arrow from a single palm and yelled, “Yep! We’re just doing what he said. All we gotta do is keep you busy for some reason.”
“Dang it,” muttered Daveon. “What do we do? Finish them?”
Suddenly, the two “sisters” looked at one another, and both of them nodded. Then, Alchia rolled her eyes and groaned reluctantly. Whatever they were planning, the taller one didn’t seem overly pleased. She knelt down where she stood and dug out a briefcase from the snow.
“What’s she doing over there?” Kevin asked.
Alchia popped it open, and from inside, she pulled a pair of handcuffs out and scowled at them. They seemed to make her uncomfortable. Then, Poppet slapped her hands against her back, and took a stance to face her towards the group.
“Those are…” Deena started. “Don’t touch those handcuffs!”
Since Alchia was unable to cast spells while in contact with the metal, Poppet covered her companion in a shrouding, icy mist. It only lasted a moment, however, as the magic propelled Alchia through space to appear instantaneously behind Renatta and Daveon. She spun, and a click was heard as she locked the two of them together by their wrists.
“Hah! I did it!” she shouted from behind.
Renatta spun as well, yanking on Daveon’s poor arm. She slapped forwards her hand to send out a flame, but nothing occurred, and she did so repeatedly to no avail.
“They’re anti-magic,” Deena added. “If a wizard touches them, they can’t use spells.”
Poppet cheered. “That evens the odds a little, huh?”
“I’ve had enough,” said Deena. “Enough of your annoying little mouth. Renatta, Daveon, try to get yourselves free and stay back. Kevin, keep one of them busy. It’s up to us.”
Kevin gulped, nodding.
From Poppet’s hands came her weaving bands of silvery wires, her Puppet Strings, and they snaked towards the witch. However, she was ready. Deena dragged the back of her hand over her other palm, and as she did, her fingers started to glow with a purple and black energy that crackled to life. She leapt forward, and as she did, she swung across her fingers in a swipe through the strings, and launching out a couple meters in front of her came four gigantic black slices through the air. Shadow Claw!
While those two fought, Kevin did his job. He jumped at Alchia and swiped his sword, but in a blink, Alchia was to his right and a decent distance away. She rolled her eyes.
“You think someone who isn’t a wizard can fight me?” Alchia scoffed. “Come on, weirdo. You’re just a normal guy. Nothing special.”
“Yeah? Well, Deena is over there pushing your friend, so what then? We’re stronger than you.”
“Even if she does beat Poppet, which I admit is possible, we already did our job. We’re keeping you busy, and after all of that, you won’t kill us. We’ll run away free and get our reward. See what I mean? Your fight is pointless. We already won.”
A mysterious voice boomed over the rest. “Run away free?”
The entire group turned, even in the middle of their struggle. They saw a handsome, blonde-haired man with a black umbrella resting casually over his shoulder. It was Noah Jackson.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he added. “You’re all under arrest, and luckily for me, two of you are already cuffed. That saves time.”
“I’ll ask you again, scum. Tell me why you know about the Blade!” Tyreth yelled, swiping the knife this time across Eldrian’s face, drawing a quick red line over his left cheek.
“Fine! All I know is that Arlandria wanted to know about it. I’ve never even seen it before,” Eldrian mumbled under his painful breaths.
Tyreth lifted a cloth from the table and began wiping the blade of the knife. He let out a deep sigh, and stepped slowly around the chair Eldrian was bound upon. The poor wizard could do nothing but frantically look for a means of escape, but he didn’t even know where his friends were sent to.
“Arlandria,” the elf said. “I guess she decided to get in my way after all. I don’t believe you’re lying to me. That’s a shame. My quest will continue then, but I’m sure everything I seek will show up given enough patience.”
“Where are we?” Eldrian groaned.
“One of my tool’s magical laboratory. She’s some kind of wizard alchemist. A mess, it truly is, and I apologize. I’d rather keep you in a kempt environment while I cut you, but this will have to do.”
“It’s a mess. It fits you.”
“… What did you just say to me?”
“I don’t know what your plan is exactly, or why you’re here, but you speak of chaos like it’s something the elves don’t have. Everyone is a little chaotic. You struck me when you were mad, and Arlandria is a cool girl that seems completely content with humans. You talk bad on humans because they’re chaotic, but it’s you that’s bringing chaos to us. But if you want to see true chaos, I’ll show you first hand!”
“Shut your mouth this instant!” Tyreth screamed, swinging his knife downwards.
The blade jabbed straight through the wizard’s left shoulder. Eldrian clenched his teeth and yelled, but only for a second. He used the adrenaline to lash out and clamp down a bite around Tyreth’s arm as hard as he could. Then, he kicked his shoe into the elf’s gut, causing him to stumble backwards into one of the nearby tables.
Eldrian growled. With all his strength, he lifted both himself and the chair up as he stood. He kept his word. Chaotically, he began rolling over the tables, bashing the chair legs into everything, and generally flailing around the entire room. Vials shattered and papers flew everywhere.
“Stop right now!” the elf yelled, but it was too late.
The room burst into a serious of fiery explosions. The alchemical mixtures reacted with one another. A rainbow of sparkles lit up the room as creations, magical or not, threatened to bring the entire building down on both of them.
“No way. That’s the famous investigator that moved here. That threat… It really was to us,” Kevin said beneath his breath.
“I knew I’d find the lot of you,” said Noah. “I always do. But even I surprised myself this time. Look at all of you, and why are you of you already handcuffed with anti-magic? Is one of you a spellbreaker and they just didn’t tell me? How interesting you’ve made this. I’m excited.”
Daveon’s heart sunk. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? The government. You found us.”
“I did indeed. All of you are coming back with me, whether you like it or not.”
Alchia screamed. “Wait. Us too? This isn’t right! And he’s so cute, too.”
She sprinted at the hatted stranger. Alchia managed to get about halfway to his position before he vanished into thin air. Her shoes kicked up snow as she skidded to a halt, and before she could turn, Noah was behind her with an elbow to her spine. She crumbled to the ground.
With his umbrella, he pounded her head, and in that swift motion, she went unconscious.
“Alchia!” Poppet yelled a the top of her lungs.
“Are you next, mademoiselle?” Noah asked.
He swung his umbrella forwards. A warm yellow light flowed around his form, but all glowing bands conversed around the top of his umbrella in a swirling mass. He thrust it forwards, and from it, a golden bolt of magic. Sparkling Arrow!
Poppet panicked and brought a ward in front of her. However, as the arrow neared her, it swerved upwards into the sky. It then exploded, and several bolts of light rained down around her. One hit her directly in the head, causing the already-exhausted witch to fall to her knees.
“You’re dead,” Poppet growled. “Just wait until I—Wait. Where did he go?”
From behind, he did as he did previously. The jab to her head knocked her unconscious. He did this as if it was second nature to him, as this was simply his job.
“That leaves two,” Noah hummed. “And by what I’ve seen from a distance, only one of you is a wizard. I’m afraid I still have to take both of you in. Memory wipe and all that. Or maybe they’ll contain you. It isn’t my business. The hunt is my business.”
Deena looked to the two unconscious in the snow. She breathed quickly. Never before had she been this truly afraid. Not only was he skilled, but worst of all, they’d all be taken to the government for who knows what. It could be a fate worse than death. Only at that moment did she wish she was back with her family.
Noah appeared in front of her, and she quickly warded against a blow from his elbow. But as she tried to retaliate, he was too fast, and she was too winded from the earlier battling. His foot knocked the air out of her lungs and she fell to her knees.
He looked over to see Renatta and Daveon hopping around, trying to help, but they were helpless while bound.
“You renegades were pretty foolish to stick together like this. That’s how you get found out, you know.”
“But you’re a wizard too. Right?” Kevin asked.
“Of course. But I’m allowed to be, because I keep magic away from the rest of the world. It’s a job, and it’s one I’m good at. So now that we’re done here, I’ll be bringing you all in. Let me open my portal door. Sit still now.”
Then, Kevin’s phone rang.
Slowly, he pulled it from his pocket, and saw it was from Eldrian. He immediately answered. Much to his relief, it was his voice on the other side, but exhausted and quiet. He barely said a word before a mahogany door appeared beside them, and the blue-garbed wizard flopped out.
Eldrian was burned, cut, and much of his outfit was missing. He was nearly naked on his knees in the snow. Dazed and confused, he looked up to Kevin and Deena with a trickle of blood rolling over one of his eyes.
“More?” Noah asked. “You just keep bringing them to me, I guess. That saves time, even if it’s boring.”
“Eldrian, no!” Kevin screamed. “Go back through the door. Go somewhere else. It isn’t safe here. He’ll get you next.”
“Wh-What?” Eldrian stuttered, still dizzied.
“He’s coming. Get back, Eldrian, you dummy. He’s going to knock you out. Or stab you. Or something. Please, just teleport away. I don’t know what to do against this guy. I’m not a wizard, Eldrian! He’s going to kill both of us if you stay!”
Noah approached and held up his palm. Inside, a star manifested—a sparkle that spun in place as it charged. It glowed bright enough to signify it was ready to blast a hole straight through Eldrian’s body, at least Kevin assumed. Dazzling Beam!
“Eldrian, run! Please!” Kevin repeated, tears welling up in his eyes.
His friend was beaten and broken, and now in front of him, he was going to be killed, or at the very least, taken away forever. Noah, the man he scowled at on the television, was before them with that intent, and there was nothing he could do to stop him. All his friends were down.
“If this kills you, I’m sure my superiors will be pleased already with just how many wizards I’m about to bring back at one time. New record,” Noah muttered.
In a flash of light, a blast of magic came from the hatted man’s hand. Kevin screamed. It seemed like, for a moment, time slowed down. His heart beat quickly, and hard. Sweat poured down his forehead, and eventually, he couldn’t tell the difference between that and his tears.
He reached out in desperation as the light approached. It felt as if he was trying to tear Eldrian back away from the gates of Heaven. He didn’t want it to take him. Not now. A wave of emotion consumed him, but it was like nothing he had ever felt before.
Noah’s spell shattered like glass.
Come back next week for Chapter Forty – Merry Christmas!