Chapter Fifty-One – What Makes Us Closer
The view from where Daveon and Deena sat was breathtaking—a blanket of snow over what appeared to be a city that never ended, sprawled out before them in the distance. They rested on a fallen tree, up a hill, and enjoyed the refreshing, calm silence that nature brought. The weather was mild, and they were bundled up to be warm and comfortable.
“So I heard you were the one to summon that demon,” Daveon spoke finally, breaking the lengthy moment of naught but the sound of wind.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately,” he continued. “That was bad to do. But you did it for a reason, and nobody was seriously injured. We were lucky, though. I know you like demons, but—“
“You don’t need to lecture me.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“I know what I did was wrong.” She shook her head. “I’ll never do it again. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking.”
Chapter Fifty – Near End and Beginning
“I don’t know who you are, or how you did that, but thank you so much,” the man cried.
Eldrian, garbed in his hooded disguise, nodded to the gentleman he just rescued a moment ago from a pack of bat-wielding bullies. The man then ran off into the darkness of the city’s vacant streets. It was near the edge of town, so hardly anyone was out and about, and for good reason. The less people around, the more likely something shady would go down.
Another job well done. Eldrian was elated that he could use his gift to help people, even if he had to do so in a costume under an alias. It helped take his mind off things as well, such as Tyreth, Noah, and everything else that’d been happening lately.
He let out a sigh and leaned back on a brick wall of the alleyway. It was time to head home. He knew he shouldn’t burn out all his energy staying out all night, fighting crime and all that. His hand rest upon the wall beside him, but before he prepared a portal door home, he stopped to the sound of movement. His hood’s glowing yellow eyes shot left and right.
Chapter Thirty-Seven – Christmas Eve
Alchia gazed down at her wrist. “It just hit midnight. Let’s wrap this up. Face it, weirdo. There’s nothing you can do against two of us.”
In an instant, Eldrian was there no longer. He was at their right, and with the Staff of Lightning tightly squeezed within his grasp, he thrust out his free palm to emit a sparkling burst. Pure, crackling energy fired in the direction of the girls like a beam of lightning, illuminating the area in a flickering glow.
Poppet leapt forwards. She was hurt, but not at all out of energy. With two hands up, she created a ward of magic to absorb the bulk of Eldrian’s attack, but she knew it wouldn’t hold. She was thankfully only one half of a team, however, and Alchia immediately started a spell of her own. Two hands went up, and then thrust down against the frosted grass.
Coming from beneath the ward as well as Eldrian’s lightning strike was a small but growing wave of flames. It crawled along the ground, melting any snow and burning any grass in its wake, and as it neared the wizard, it burst up like an attacking shark. Bunsen Inferno!
Chapter Thirty-Six – Night Trap
Twas the night before Christmas Eve, when all through the city, criminals were stirring, and he showed them no pity. From roof he did leap by each chimney with care, and even by himself he did so with flare.
The Dark Mage. He thought it was goofy at first, but truthfully, it grew on him. Nobody knew who he was. He was free to help anybody in need without the worry of someone seeing his face, and taking him down. He wondered why he hadn’t done this in the past, at least to such an extent. Though, he knew he couldn’t let the rest know, especially Deena. She’d be furious.
“It’s the 23rd,” he thought to himself. “Almost Christmas. I got everyone a gift, I helped a bunch of people already tonight. It’s a good holiday. New city, new start. A better start.”
Eldrian glanced down from the rooftop. Just a moment ago, the man beneath his feet had another man at gunpoint. But now, he was wrapped up completely by an old rope taken from the nearby dumpster. The thug never even saw it coming. With a whip of his finger, Eldrian captured him from above, and he watched as the victim fled to freedom.
Chapter Thirty-Four – Learn to Adapt
Few can explain the intense feeling during a moment of indecisiveness in a simple and short description, especially when the light of attention is shining directly towards you. Your body feels hot, and your stomach uneasy. There feels as if a real weight is pushing down on your shoulders—one made of the impatience of others, whether it truly exists or is a figment of your own imagination.
“I-I just don’t know,” stuttered Arlandria. “I need more time.”
Eldrian patted her on the back. “Don’t worry. I’m here to help you.”
The two of them, along with Kevin, stared up at the menu board above the cash registers. Burgers, wraps, drinks, meals, sides, and more, filled the list of selections, and besides a few others sitting at tables, the place was basically empty.
“What’s a hamburger?” she asked.
“You don’t have hamburgers?” Kevin replied.
“No. It looks good, I guess, but why are there so many different kinds? Sorry… I’m making things difficult.”
Chapter Thirty-Three – Madness Unleashed
Poppet was frozen with fear. Around her neck, the unnaturally tight grip of finger bones squeezed as the tips began to pierce through her flesh. The smell—it was terrible. Rotting skin and ancient bones wafted a scent to burn her nostrils given her terrifyingly close proximity, and this was further scarring with the creature’s jet black eye-sockets somehow still staring directly into her eyes. His jaw pulled open, and despite the lack of a tongue, or flesh whatsoever, a course voice came as freely as a man still living.
“You’re tiny… like a baby,” he grumbled.
Her eyes stayed staring. This had never happened before, but there was something about him that struck her silent. All she could do was mumble in response. There, balanced on her toes, she remained grappled by a nightmare.
“It feels like it’s about midnight,” he continued. “The perfect time for a snack. And I don’t know about you, but,” he said as he lifted Poppet closer to his face. “I. Eat. Babies.”
“What are you doing?” shouted Renatta’s voice from afar.
Chapter Thirty-Two – Heaven and Hell
“No way,” Deena mumbled. “This is highly improbable.”
“That’s my speciality,” Eldrian replied.
Standing before the two of them, as well as Kevin, was a gorgeous figure almost divine in appearance. Her skin was pristine, she had a gaze like vibrant emeralds, and her hair was golden and lengthy. Unlike before, she was now garbed in traditional North American attire instead of torn fantastical garments—a lime coloured shirt beneath a thin white coat, and a pair of blue jeans. Through her hair was a ribbon to match her eyes as well. To a normal individual, she would look to simply be a lovely young lady, if it wasn’t for her long and pointed ears.
She smiled. It was a warm, subtle smile, and such an expression was commonly on her face. Perhaps it didn’t represent a concurrent joy, but instead an offering of friendliness to those around her.
Once again, they were in Deena’s living room.
“You actually ran into an elf?” Deena asked.