Chapter Forty-Nine – Looming Shadow
There was an eerie silence around Deena and Eldrian after the two brothers departed. It was just them, an empty chamber, and a grand set of doors ahead of them. This was something Deena had been looking forward to ever since she learned of its existence—her mother’s secret hideout. Although she’s long since passed on, secrets may lie within.
Her gloved hand swept over the chilling metal front. It looked as if it would take the strength of many men to move such hefty doors, but when she pushed forward, the crack between them widened. Creaking echoed almost deafeningly off the walls, and draft beckoned them inside.
“What should we expect to find in here?” Eldrian asked.
“I’m not sure. For years, my father has tried to convince me that my mother wished me away from family dealings, and I’ve never known why. Perhaps I don’t care the reason. But if it isn’t true, I need to prove it. I just want to know what my mother truly felt,” replied Deena.
Chapter Forty-Eight – Streetlight People
Seven heads devoid of light coiled up from a misty shroud around Alumir’s feet. He didn’t spare a single moment, so each of the heads snapped closed shadowy jaws as they made their way to their prey. Each appendage loomed over them, blocking the torchlight from above. They crashed down where Eldrian and Deena stood, but an instant before, the two of them blinked a few meters backwards to dodge the attack and stand before the entrance.
Taking a firm stance, Deena raised a single hand up above her, and faced her brother with a determined stare. A plume of black appeared above said hand, and in a moment, it swirled into a ball of chaotic power. She tossed it towards the multitude of heads with all of her strength. Shadow Ball!
Eldrian acted at the same time as the witch beside him. He brought two fingers up on both his hands, and as sparks appeared above them, he brought his hands around in circles before leading them to his side. The electric power grew, and when he hurled it forwards, it fired off in a streak. Lightning Lance!
Both of the attacks collided with Alumir’s Black Hydra. Three of the heads burst into smoke, though the four remaining seemed unaffected, and just as determined to devour them whole.
Chapter Forty-Seven – Don’t Stop Believin’
Eldrian stepped up beside the girl kneeling on the ground, and he took a long gaze over the carved stone chamber his portal door brought him into. Before him were Alumir and Barston, but they didn’t catch his attention for long. He looked down towards Deena instead.
“I know about Zayna. How you helped her,” he spoke.
Deena turned away. “Then why did you come? I did something bad, and I left everybody with no explanation. Nobody should trust me,” she whispered.
“You might have messed up, but that doesn’t matter. Friends don’t stop being friends because of a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. And if you really are just evil, I sure as hell ain’t leaving it at that without hearing it for myself.”
The witch slid her phone away and pulled herself up into a sitting position. She wiped tears from her face, and exhaled a stuttering breath before momentarily pausing. Eventually she shot a ruby glare upwards to the wizard.
Chapter Forty-Six – The White Rabbit
It was an unusually warm afternoon compared to the norm, though a chilly breeze still made itself present on occasion, and the ground was covered in snow. Daveon, cornered between an infatuated girl, her muscle-head boyfriend, and a brick wall, thought moreso about his existential dilemmas than the matter at hand. They were problems beyond the situation.
“What do you have to say for yourself, huh?” barked the man looming over him.
In one of his hands he gripped the small remains of a chocolate bar still its wrapper. He bit down into the treat, and swallowed it down as he tossed the trash to the ground.
“Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention just now,” Daveon replied.
“Oh that’s it. You’re dea—“
As he lunged at Daveon, the man’s foot caught on a root that he swore wasn’t there a moment before. He slammed his cheek against the snow as the druid backed away.
Chapter Forty-Five – Family Feud
Eldrian stood his ground as the only thing between the life of the man behind him and a brutal demise. He knew he was a criminal, and that he did terrible things and perhaps even deserved such a fate, but he couldn’t sit idly by while his friend slit a man’s throat. There was something off about her demeanour during the whole thing.
“Do you know how long I’ve had my dearest daughter train for a moment like this?” her mother spoke. “How skilled she’s become, just so she can cut the man down? He’ll pay. Know that, and get out of our way. Renatta has grown strong because of me.”
Eldrian swallowed. “I can’t do that. My conscience won’t let it happen.”
“Your conscience? What do you even know of the situation at hand?”
“Only a bit, but I have a feeling… There’s something bothering me. Is that really why you trained Renatta, to help her?”
“What do you mean?”
“I think you only meant to turn her into a weapon of vengeance.”
Chapter Forty-Four – How I Met Your Mother
A couple times over, the sun rose up and fell back beneath the winter horizon. Renatta was still cloaked, both to keep her unique appearance on the down-low, but also to shield herself somewhat from the frigid breeze of the night—not to mention that, even if she wasn’t used to it, it was in fact illegal to carry around two big, bladed weapons in most places in Canada.
She had learned a lot since meeting her friends. Recently, she was set up with a phone, and while she was completely baffled still by how it functioned, she was learning. She had recently been playing a frustrating game where she had to navigate a bird through a series of pipes. Not even her magic could help her get even remotely far. But it wasn’t the time for gaming. She had work to do, for her mother, her late father, and for herself.
Both her and her mother had been looking into the whereabouts of the men responsible for her father’s demise. It was recently that Renatta was confident she knew the location of the final man—the one who committed the murder. She could finally rest her hunt.
Chapter Forty-Three – Secrets
Eldrian’s bleeding, trembling hand continued to grip onto the blade of the sword as he struggled to pull himself to his feet, and when he saw that Daveon was too shocked to drive the weapon forward once more, he released his grip, and slowly lowered it to his side. The druid, once mentally recovered, handed Drodias back over to Kevin and took a step back.
“What do you mean you’re not controlling him?” uttered Daveon.
“Don’t kill her. Wait,” Eldrian said with a groan.
Arlandria hustled over to the injured wizard and consoled him. She looked to his wounds, and with her hands at the ready, she began her healing ritual. A soothing light started the process of closing the gashing in his flesh, and for that, he gave her a thankful albeit exhausted smile.
“What do you mean, don’t kill her? She’s a demon. Isn’t that what you came here to do? And she tried to control your mind,” Daveon barked.
Eldrian nodded. “I know, but—“