Airy howling reverberated from the shadows surrounding us and in the next second Derrek was engulfed in furious red flames as he transformed himself into a Fire-being. Red flames highlighted with streaks of orange covered his entire molten lava body and yet his eyes swirled with a deep thick gold as they darted from shadow to shadow.
He knew we were depending on him and the pressure and stress of it were all on his shoulders. I scuttled a little further away from him when I felt his own heat evaporating all the water molecules around me, not that I was even sure I could do anything, and for a moment no one moved. The birds had stopped singing and not even the wind dared to disturb us, though that could have something to do with Bree.
Despite knowing that his abilities had no effect on the shadows Blake clenched his muscles and icy blue-white flames shot up from every pore in his body. His appearance remained the same except for the flames and he lowered himself into a defensive position as he glared at every shadow. Cameron cracked his knuckles and smirked. He may not be able to physically touch this shadow (we were all assuming) but I smiled faintly at his eagerness to try anyway.
Sophia’s body shook and her image blurred before she fell forward to all fours. From the top of her head and down her spine black fur sprouted out and grew to form a tail. As the fur travelled down her body the colour lightened from a dark to pale grey. Soft padded paws bent low so her furry stomach crouched close to the ground and her snout wrinkled as she bared her sharp white teeth in a growl. Sophia had morphed into a ferocious grey wolf and looked every part of the dangerous canine.
Bree stood beside me and her delicate hands clenched and unclenched ready to try to use her ability, even though we already found out it was also useless against the shadow. I collected the moist molecules hanging around in the air and pushed them together, forcing them into liquid form before freezing it almost instantly into a katana.
The hard handle was laced with intricate frosted designs and the slightly curved blade was thin but sharp even to the eye. I sliced it through the air, hearing the faint ringing it caused, and held it across my body as the point of the katana glistened in the sunlight. In no time at all everyone had fallen into their positions, whether defensive or offensive, and we waited while the seconds slowly ticked past to see who would make the first move.
Us or the shadows.
To my surprise, Helena made the first move when she swung her arm around above her head with a grunt and swerved her body along with the movement. As she swirled her arm the trees around us bent and bowed forcing them to bend against each other in a ring.
The wood of the trunks groaned with the heavy movements and the branches crashed against the other while their leaves rustled heavily like cymbals clashing together. The birds and other animals sheltering in those closest trees flew and scrambled out and quickly disappeared to have no part in this soon-to-be fight.
As the trees folded away the sunlight beamed down brightly leaving no hiding places for the shadows to sink into. The midday sun had become our ally and it surprised me to see there were about 20 or so shadows lurking around. When the sun made contact with them they out an airy growl and surged forward, several heading towards each person.
I watched as we all stepped forward to attempt to use our abilities, yet stayed close enough to protect Cara. Three shadows flew towards me and I noticed how their bodies didn’t seem quite... stable. They looked solid yet in the sunlight their bodies flickered as though they were a hologram. The middle shadow raised its hand and reached out for me but I spun and ducked then turned to swing my arm, slicing it through the back of the shadow and noticed how the slice had taken part of its back away.
Like wiping away a smudge from paper, the shadow became less solid. The other two shadows fell over me and I was covered in blackness. My eyes were useless to me as I sliced and swung my ice katana around. With every stroke, part of their shadowy body vanished and in the back of my mind I wondered how this was working.
Sweat dripped down the back of my neck and down my temples as I slashed my katana through them over and over again. The blackness was finally removed from my sight as my attackers disappeared and I noticed everyone else seemed to be able to use their ability against the attacking shadows, even Blake’s ice flames were destroying the shadows, which I was found odd.
Derrek had become a living flame thrower. He blew out angry flames in every direction and slight steam would fill the air as his flames hit Blake’s fire every once in a while. Gusts of wind were blowing the leaves everywhere and my hair whipped across my face. I turned to see Bree with her arms held up high as she swirled two shadows in a miniature tornado. The shadows spun around and around until the tornado turned a murky grey and they disappeared.
Helena was snapping vines like whips at the shadows and, like my katana, each whip would erase part of the shadow away until it disappeared. “Bree!” Cara shouted. Shadows were surrounding Cara and Cameron was useless to help as the shadows covered him. I remembered the darkness that they could create over you and shuddered. Bree threw her tornadoes around Cara and Cameron and helped them as much as she could.
It seemed endless though.
Everytime a shadow disappeared another two would pop up! Something wasn’t right. Our abilities shouldn’t even be able to work on these shadows. Blake hadn’t been able to even touch it before and yet now his ice flames were just as effective as Derrek’s. A dark silhouette caught my eye and I looked farther past the bent trees where the forest stood straight up and noticed another shadow standing.
“It’s the real one” I whispered to myself. These shadows were only the duplicates and the shadow at the back was the original. I ran forward, ignoring the moments of darkness that briefly blinded me as I ran through and around shadows. “Sparky!” I shouted as I passed him, “You need to torch the real one! Follow me!”
He nodded once and together we ran towards the circle of trees that surrounded us and into the shadows of the forest. The shadow had seen us and flew into a hole of a thick tree trunk. “Where did it go?!” Derrek shouted.
Like a dark ghost, the shadow fluttered from one tree shadow and appeared in the shadow of another, teleporting itself to confuse us. I briefly looked down and screamed as the shadow held my shadow and flew up. Branches cut into my cheeks and arms as it flew us up into the canopy above. I could hear Derrek’s shouting and fireballs and streams of fire flew in my direction.
At the moment, I didn’t care if I was hit. I didn’t know what this shadow wanted from me and where it planned to take me but I didn’t want to find out. I swung my katana around trying to hit it but it was as useless as hitting my own shadow. One of Derrek’s streams of fire surged up and burnt my leg but managed to hit the shadow.
The shadow released my ankle and I struck my katana into the trunk of the tree. I flipped around and dragged the samurai sword along the tree until my feet touched the ground only to see Derrek trapping the shadow in a cocoon of flames. I shooed away at the katana that was still stuck in the trunk and it burst out in a spray of water.
“Val!” Helena called out to me. I looked for her, ignoring the searing pain in my leg, and saw the shadows the others fighting disappear. Helena and the Elementals ran towards us and we all looked at the shadow Derrek had trapped.
He’d smoothed the cocoon down and caged the shadow in a dome of fire. “What the hell...?” Cameron whispered behind me.
We all watched as the real shadow began to flicker and become solid. “Sparky... stop”
He looked at me as if I was crazy, but I encouraged him to let his fire down with a small nod. He breathed out slowly and the flame dome withered and died out. He stayed as a Fire-being, ready to cage it again if it decided to attack us, but the shadow stood up and faced us.
“Who are you? What do you want?” I called out in a surprisingly firm voice. “And don’t bother trying to attack... it won’t work”
The shadow seemed calm. Almost indecisive in what its next move would be, and my eyes widened at what happened next. The shadow began to split, from its head and down its body, into two. It wasn’t like before where it would duplicate, but instead was dividing itself. As it separated, it began to lighten, and within seconds the shadow had changed into two people.Two women.
“What the hell?!”
Everyone exclaimed in shock and surprise.
I was speechless. The shadow we’d all thought was a man was in fact two women. Two beautiful women. These women looked like goddesses that had simply stepped out of the Heavens just to grace humans with their looks and I, along with everyone else, was stunned into silence.
Both were equally majestic in beauty yet they were complete opposites in looks. The woman on the left had hair that flowed past her shoulders in red and violet waves, like dark red roses and deep violets had been moulded together just for her strands of hair. Her calculating eyes were a mixture of hazelnut brown and forest green while her skin was a flawless sun kissed porcelain.
The woman on the right looked exotic with her waist length, raven black hair that shone with brown highlights. Her eyes swirled with light and dark shades of chocolate brown while her skin was a flawless caramel. Both women had the curves made to make any woman envious and both had the perfect bow shaped lips.
“Chimera? Evanesce?” Cara whispered.
“You know them?” I asked in shock and eyes wide in surprise.
Cara nodded and kept her eyes on the two goddess-like women, “We were all in the same cell when Malum was experimenting on us. They’re best friends, as close as sisters, and Malum was interested in them because of their determination to fight him...” Tears welled up in her big, baby blue eyes, “I guess this is what he made of them. They’re like his puppet now”
I could tell this was affecting Cara and suspected she was as close to them as they were with each to other. During this time the two women, Chimera and Evanesce, stood watching us. I couldn’t help but feel like something was wrong. Or something wrong was going to happen.
“Chimera? Evanesce? It’s me... C-Chaos” Cara spoke quietly and winced when she used the name Malum had given her, “I go by Cara now, though. Are you okay? What are you doing here?”
Chimera and Evanesce’s eyes swept over every one of us, completely unaware of Cara speaking, before their faces and bodies darkened again and they morphed back together back into the shadow. “Sparky! Stop them!” I shouted pointing at the shadow. They were flying towards the closest shadow, ready to disappear once again, but Derrek threw his arm out and orange flames danced their way around the shadow, wrapping around it and once again it was trapped.
Airy howls filled the air and I saw hurt tear across Cara’s face now that she knew the shadow was her friends. “What are we going to do?” Blake asked as we stared at the shadow. “We can hardly let it go because we can’t hold onto it. I knew them as well... they were the sweetest girls. But it’s so obvious to see that Malum has brain washed them”
“We need to find Mr Obsidian, he’ll know what to do” Helena piped. I nodded and agreed.
“She’s right. Sparky, you keep it... them... uh, whatever it is, in that fire dome. Helena and I will run over and see if Mr Obsidian has gone back to his office yet. Your fire seems to be the only thing that can affect it so keep it going okay?”
“Sure... it’s not like I have anything better to do” he joked but I could see the longer he held the fire there the weaker he seemed to get. The flames covering his body had simmered down to just his hands and he kept his eyes trained on the howling shadow that had been beautiful women just moments before.
“Helena, come on quick!” I grabbed her wrist and we were sprinting through the trees like we were on fire. “There has to be a faster way to get to the campus!” I gasped when I realised we were further in the forest than I had originally thought.
“There could be...” Helena thought out loud. Suddenly she stopped and grabbed my arm to stop me too. “Brace yourself! The rest is up to you” she pulled both her arms back and clenched her hands. Thick trees wound around my and her waists and before I could ask what she was doing she threw her arms forward and the trees threw us up into the air towards the campus.
“HO-LY CRAHHH!!!” I screamed as gushing winds flew through my hair and whipped at my face. My stomach was left back on the ground and my heart flew into my throat as I watched the trees grow smaller and the campus grow larger. My eyes watered as the wind dried them out and I could barely make out Helena’s shouts to me through the loud whistling in my ears.
“SLIDE! SLIDE!” Helena was screaming at me while pointing at the incoming building.
If I had free access to my voice I would’ve been screaming, but instead I swiped my arm in a curve and a spiralling slide of ice appeared in front of us. We both thudded against the ice and quickly slid down as the coldness seeped into our clothes. We landed on the ground and I took a few seconds to find my voice.
Once I did I turned to Helena, “Warn a woman before you throw her into the air with a tree!!!” I yelped. She bit her lip and gave me an apologetic face before we both realised we needed to find Mr Obsidian before Derrek couldn’t hold the fire anymore.
We ran past curious students who wondered why we were flying through the air and headed straight to the stairs that would bring us to the dean’s office. We didn’t talk as we ran. We simply didn’t have enough energy to do both.
As we rounded a corner I crashed into another body. The air was knocked out of me and my back met the ground with a hard smack. The room spun around a little and when everything decided to stand still I looked up at Mr Obsidian’s concerned face.
“Valerie? Are you alright?” he asked curiously.
“Mr Obsidian! We really need to talk to you!” I gasped as he helped me up. It was only when I was standing up straight did I realise there were four people standing behind Mr Obsidian. He cleared his throat and motioned for both Helena and I to stand next to him while facing the four people.
“Valerie, Helena I believe that that will have to wait... We have visitors. Ladies, these four are The Control”
I know... you all must HATE me right?
BUT! On the positive side, I actually updated twice within a week this time haha.
This chapter is dedicated to my two best friends who helped me move my story in the right direction <3