Chapter 32 - What a Screw Up
“This ends now…”
“Rugh!” Agathon closed the hole in the wall.
Persephonai stepped back and opened his arms, generating healing magic over the twins.
“It’s too late,” Shinyaki told the ceiling to the sound of loud voices arriving from the entrance, far away though noticeable. Shinyaki’s eyes were now the ones growing into one color as his patience had shattered under the limit. “Let loose!”
Agathon jumped and span in the air. When he landed, he punched the ground so that rock spikes would loudly rupture off the ground, behind the trio and towards them.
Sanpu and Fuun’na hopped forward to clash with Shinyaki who yelled out with a wave of his Scythes, to overwhelm them with power.
They swung their own blades in return, and clashed, and held the clash. Shinyaki bit his lip in frustration, Sanpu and Fuun’na smiling at him all cocky, managing to hold his force evenly this time.
“Really? Brute force? With us?”
“You’re blind and stupid, is what you are.”
Just as he finished the sentence, Sanpu and Fuun’na felt their hands being pulled. The stone was out of their grasp before they could even see Danatcia, who had slid through Shinyaki’s legs, belly down, to then push herself upwards, legs first to kick and push the stone out of the twin’s grasp.
They tried to grab her but failed: she was in the air, spinning and flipping to grab the sphere with her hands. Alas, Persephonai beat her to it.
He grabbed the stone without thinking and then, startled, stood there in shock staring at it.
Danatcia grabbed the stone just as Persephonai fully realized he had it. As soon as she felt it, she pulled and bent her lower body, sinking her two feet deep into his stomach.
Weakly, he let go of the stone, allowing his body to be pushed away. She fell on her back and instantly rolled back into a stance to see Sanpu and Fuun’na dashing towards her. A wall of stone rose up to cover her, however.
The twins stopped, and one second later, saw two Danatcias running back from each side of the wall, and a third jumping above them.
“YES!” Shinyaki stepped inside their reach and waved his scythes. They waved their blades back to meet the two blades, but this time, they didn’t have the stone.
The wall of stone had to explode outward, such was the force with which the twins crashed into it. They were expelled past Persephonai to tumble violently through many of the mirrors.
“Run!” Shinyaki yelled, knowing full well they were out of time.
And he was right, it was too late.
The wall behind Fiahra literally disintegrated in a loud and almost explosive flash of smoke and dust, taking whatever darkness it had with it. It startled her considerably as it flood their room with light from outside.
She turned around to see roughly ten Juns, looking mean and insulted, illuminated by all the light in the street. A few more Juns and a couple of Pans were also running past the twins, ignoring their grunting attempts to breathe. These were no helpful city guards, these were disgruntled citizens, all fully and completely aware of what was going on.
Persephonai pushed himself up, and stood, to look at the four.
“We will give you this one chance…” one of the Jun said, pointing. He was holding a box under his arm, and he was big, and bare-chested, wearing the emblem of Spellgate’s special militia, their version of royal guards, on a long cape instead of on a uniform, like the rest of them. The cape, as was the uniform, was black with dark red patterns. He had dark red hair and yellow eyes and dark gray skin. “This one chance…not to die.”
Fiahra nervously looked at Shinyaki who had Danatcia right beside him. Agathon was looking around, his fists hidden inside his cloak’s sleeves. He had already focused a spell, he would be able to cast it immediately.
“Is this what counts for hospitality in my dear ol’ city?” Shinyaki asked with an easy smile.
“The fact you’re a Jun just makes this matter graver,” the man quickly shot the argument, “how dare you lead a force against us? Of all people!” He threw the box at the ground, offended. In response to the box, the ground vibrated and shook as if threatening with an earthquake. “Make your choice, Shinyaki.”
“Always a straightforward man, eh, Laevicus? What do they call you? The quiet before the storm?”
“The Awakened Storm,” he corrected. “Ruthless reaper,” he added.
Shinyaki smirked, accepting the title.
“Ah, such an old-fashioned name. Maybe we ought to—“
“Enough,” a Pan yelled from the back, “if he weren’t a Jun, you’d have killed him already!”
“He’s got a point,” Laevicus said. “Choose.”
“That’s the difference between us, Laevicus,” Shinyaki shrugged, “unlike you…I’ve always been aware I do> have a choice!”
Agathon pushed his hands out, blowing a wide torrent of fire. Shinyaki and Danatcia jumped next to him just as silver smoke materialized Fiahra next to them.
Persephonai saw Danatcia looking back at him, apologetically, and in a puff of smoke, they disappeared along with the fire.
“Dammit, Laevicus! You had to talk to them, didn’t you?!” the Pan complained before turning around to bark at his allies, “send a search and alert everyone, they’re on the loo--”
“Shut up, Kijei,” Laevicus barked back, “and nobody move!”
Everyone stayed put as Laevicus stepped forward a couple of steps, leaving the box behind him. “Shinyaki. Whoever the hell you other three are. You have made your choice. My hands are clean on your deaths!” He slapped his hands and waved them away.
And then, he jumped back to land on the box. From the emptiness that was Fiahra’s last seen position, came Shinyaki’s shout.
“Don’t let him touch the box!”
A powerful column of wind shot out, pushing Laevicus and the box out of the room, along with the two guards near him.
“They’re just hidden,” Kijei yelled, “GEDDEM!”
The guards ran, some pulling weapons, others glowing different parts of their bodies, activating or readying spells.
Meanwhile, the invisibility wore off. Fiahra spun her staff, materializing a thick mist around her while Agathon fired off a few fireballs at the oncoming guards.
Persephonai saw that Shinyaki was angry, and Danatcia was looking around at her surroundings as the smoke filled them.
Why? Why didn’t you quit while you still had time?!
Guards jumped into the mist to fight. Colorful Magic went on inside, screams and yells and grunts of effort sounded out and slowly, but surely, guards started being expelled out of the mist. Also slowly, blood started streaming out of it.
Persephonai then remembered the twins, found them and headed back to meet them. The four now had three stones…it would be hard to defeat them in direct combat.
And apparently, Laevicus agreed.
“BACK OFF, YOU FOOLS!” One of the guards was about to go inside the mist. He stopped, startled, just at the edge.
Immediately, a scythe pushed out of the smoke and went around him and closed on his back, pulling him into the mist with a short gushing of blood.
Laevicus spat on the ground and placed the box in front of him with his left hand, then he rose his right hand and focused. It glowed with some kind of dark energy before he punched the box.
The box bulged, and from one of its side, a vertical plane exited, like a shadow of that side, and shot out to the other side of the mist, connected to the size by a volume of transparent darkness. Then it grew to be as wide as the mist, and as tall as to reach the ceiling, encompassing everything between it and its actual box’s side.
The transparent darkness flickered and the mist, along with everything in it, suddenly vaporized. In the a blink of Persephonai’s eyes.
“DANATCIIIAAAAA!” He ran, abandoning the healing of the twins in his desperation, all while the transparent darkness that marked the interior of the vaporized area receded back to the box, being swallowed.
Persephonai fell on his knees where he had last seen her. He looked around, his eyes tearing up in disbelief. Not even the guards who had been pulled into the area could be seen.
“What did you do, you freaking maniac?!?!?”
But Laevicus just turned aside to another of the guards.
“Now they have truly escaped! Bastards and all their illusions.”
“Wha?” Persephonai asked, again ignored.
“What? But the column of wind,” his second in command pointed out.
“No that was real, but her spell wasn’t that stupid mist.”
“So…the rest of our men… weren’t dead already?”
“They are now,” Laevicus said, harshly.
“You reckless idiot,” Kijei yelled from the other side, walking towards him with the full support of his men, “you killed them! You killed them all!”
“And who sent them into a mist with the reaper inside?!”
“He wasn’t inside!”
“Well we didn’t know that, did we?!” Laevicus picked up his box. “This is HIS doing. Shinyaki will pay for this, and he will pay hard. I want them found!”
“Yes sir!” His second in command saluted and then ran off, barking orders at other people. Kijei growled and did the same.
Persephonai watched Laevicus, confused and shocked. He looked around and saw no trace of the body of Danatcia, but neither of the rest of them. The guards, though, he now noticed, had left behind dust trails…though all the blood he had seen before was nowhere to be seen. It seemed Fiahra had made an illusion where they were fighting, when in actuality, they were running.
The guards thought they were dying so they just stood there while, what Persephonai would henceforth call the doom box, killed them all.
“Who’re you, kid?” A voice asked from above him. Persephonai turned his gaze upwards to find Laevicus looking down on him, the box hanging under his arm, right in front of his face.
That startled him. He fell on his butt and crawled away from it.
“You don’t need to worry, it’s not active. Who are you? What were you doing here?”
“I’m…” Persephonai tried to think, gave his best attempt at gaining composure. Eventually, he focused on the fact Danatcia was still alive. With that in mind, he stood up. “I’m Persephonai, I’m helping a group of adventurers to track down your thieves. By the way, they have all the stones now.”
“What do you mean? They have ours?”
“That’s impossible. My very men are guarding it right now, there has been no theft.”
“Apparently, there has. They had it,” Persephonai told him, deciding to leave out the part where the twins had it first. He didn’t know why, he really didn’t like them.
“This…” Laevicus made fists, which trembled… “we’ll be a laughing stock if we let them get away with our stone, after what we told the others…you handle yourself, kid. I have to find these bastards right now.”
“And you’re going to kill them?”
“I’ll sure friggin’ try,” he said, full of deep-seethed anger.
He ran off.
Persephonai looked back at the twins. They were up, Fuun’na leaning on Sanpu. They were no longer smiling, nor cracking jokes, nor anything. They knew they had screwed up badly.
Because of their recklessness, Shinyaki and the rest now had all the stones and could simply run away. They had stones and they had an extremely stealthy ranger plus a skilled illusionist with them. The two had probably cost everyone their opportunity to stave off disaster.
“Are you okay?” Persephonai asked, to quiet down his conscience.
“We’ll live,” Sanpu said, toneless.
“We could use some healing,” Fuun’na pointed out, moving Sanpu towards him.
“I understand that, but they’re going to kill her if I’m not there.”
“What? Why’d you care? We might die if you don’t stay here,” Fuun’na said angrily, “the-there’s nothing you can do if they find her anyways. So c’mon, start with Sanpu.”
Persephonai found himself frowning. Even though he was mostly afraid. They were right however, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.
He looked out through the pulverized wall, coming to terms with his helplessness. But still considering to go. A simple voice of clarity might save her. A simple light in the darkness of battle might make a difference. That is what his parents always told him.
He could make a difference, no matter how much he thought he couldn’t.
“Persephonai…please,” Fuun’na begged, and for the first time, she sounded sincere. And worried. That pleading tone plucked at Persephonai and, in reaction, he just made a fist, cursing his healer’s heart.
“Fine, I’ll heal you two screw-ups.”