Deja Vu

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Chapter 13

A middle-aged man with receding black hair stepped up to me. He seemed to be gaining a little weight around the middle and said, “All the vampires are waiting for you. Some don’t know what’s going on, but we told them that they’ll know soon enough.” I nodded. “Thanks.” The man bowed and walked out of the curtains and out into the audience. “Do you think they’ll listen to me?” I wondered. “I think we can make them see differently,” Ashlee said. I smiled at her with her squeezing my hand, we stepped out onto the stage. I saw all the vampires watching me.

Some looked bored, others looked curious, and a bunch looked mad as hell. Draven and Tom were right next to me and so was the council members. “Matt, you’re up,” Zeke told me. I nodded and calming my nerves, I stepped forward. “Okay, everyone. I know you don’t know who I am. And I wouldn’t expect you to. But, I want to let you know that the school is going to be released from council control. They have nominated someone who they think would be a beneficial replacement.” I said. Everyone just stopped and stared in shock. “Okay, so first things first. They have suggested a small council and I have agreed. They want me to be in charge.” I started.

I gave them a few moments before continuing and then said, “I know you probably disagree with that. I know you don’t know who I am or if I’m capable. But, I only ask you to give me a chance. Things are going to change around here. You haven’t been trained on how to use your magic effectively and you haven’t been taught how to fight. But, that’s all going to change as well. You’re going to get the training you need. The training you deserve. I only ask for you to give me a chance.” I waited for a while and I didn’t think anyone was going to say anything.

But, then an old teenager stood up in the back. “Who are you to think you can lead us?” He demanded. “If you have someone better in mind, please nominate him or her. If you would like someone better, or if you know someone who is stronger…” I let the request linger in the air. He ran and jumped on the stage. “What about me? I’ve been in this castle for almost ten years. I’m one of the oldest students. I know I can take you! You’re a new vampire. Who are you to think you can rule!?” Tom and Draven went to approach, but I waved them off. I saw Jaise from the front row go to make a move. But, I gestured for him to stop.

“You want a shot?” He gave me a cocky smile. “Well, what are you waiting for?” I asked. He charged me and I side stepped him. He came back around and I rolled out of the way. “Hold still!” He snapped. “Why would I stand still and let you hit me?” I asked him calmly. He came at me hard. I blocked and brought my left arm up to block and with my right, I swung and connected hard with his chest. I heard a rib crack and he went flying. He landed hard on the stage and skidded across it.

I just stood calmly waiting for him to make a move. He stood up holding his side. “Is that all you have?” I asked with a smile. He charged me like a bull and I waited for him. Then I spun to the right and quickly hooked my arms through his and spun him around. He went spinning with. I jumped in the air. Once airborne, I slammed him hard into the ground. He smashed through the wooden stage and it sounded like a cannon going off. Chunks of wood and dust rose in the air.

He climbed out of the hole and stood there gasping for breath. “I think your fight is over.” I said. “How?” He demanded. “You’re a new vampire. I’ve been one for a decade. I should be able to beat you. I should be stronger and quicker!” He shrieked at me. “I don’t think you give the newbies enough credit.” I said. “No, that’s not it. It’s just the way it works!” I turned to him and smiled nicely. “Well, you haven’t also heard the rumors? I’m not a normal vampire. I’m one of the royals. So, the rules don’t always apply.” I told him.

“Does anyone else want to try? Whoever can beat me may have my spot as leader.” I said. The council didn’t like me gambling it like this, I could sense it. But, truth be told. I was only doing it because they think I would be good at it. It doesn’t mean I want to do it. No one stepped forward. They all looked too scared or shocked. The boy stood up and then limped over to me. “You are strong. I’ll give you that. But, let’s see you stand up to this.” He said. A swirling jet black beam with purple, blue, yellow and green electric bolts shot out and surrounded me. I didn’t even flinch or move.

“Not so strong now are you!?” He shouted at me. I just crossed my arms and waited. Matt! I heard Ashlee shout my name. I’m fine. You know I can’t be harmed by magic. Keep Jaise in his seat will you? This is my fight. The beam increased in speed and then after a few minutes of listening to his insane laughter, I stepped out into the beam and towards the stage. He only froze in shock and fear. He collapsed on the ground in exhaustion and said, “How?” He gasped. “I told you. We have a different set of rules than the average vampire. But, there’s more of you than us.” I started to explain to them.

“Don’t let our slight advantages make it seem like you’re all not important. He was glaring at me. I walked up to him and spread my hand towards him. He took it hesitantly. I helped him to his feet and cast a healing spell at him. I just did what felt natural and he stopped panting and limping. He moved towards the stage with ease and then noticed that he was healed. “You healed me?” He asked me. “Yes, I don’t see a point in letting you suffer. You did what no one else would. You have a lot of courage. What’s your name?” I asked. “Skyler.” He said. I nodded. He smiled back and then dropped to the floor and took his seat.

“Okay, so now what?” A girl called from the crowd. “Now, I will set the Masters. Two you may not know. But, I want you to know, that I know them very well and will vouch for them. But, you have to be happy with your leaders as well.” I said. “Why?” A young boy asked. “Well, what good is a fully functional community if you’re not happy with leaders?” I asked. “Well, we’ve never been given a choice before. So, why to worry about it now?” I sighed. “Things have been handled badly here in the past. I’m looking to make a change. A fresh start. I trust you all to help.” I told them and everyone just looked at me.

I finished with, “But, we need you to have an open mind and to be willing to try and make it work. You have to be happy with who’s in charge. Otherwise, this is all going to fall apart. Now, how do we get food? Do you just go to the local market?” I asked. Some people snickered. “No, we actually grow it here.” A woman said standing up. She has short blond hair that barely covers her ears and a slim figure. Very pale. “So, you have a giant garden?” I asked. “Yes, I am or was the main gardener. I was in charge of making sure all the needed fruits and veggies were picked.” She said. “Alone?” I wondered. “Yes, no one else was trusted enough.”

“Would you be willing to continue the role?” Only her eyes showed any sign of pain and fear and frustration. “Of course.” She said. If she was ticked, it didn’t show. “Alright. Liam? Please step forward!” I called to him. Whispers and murmurs burst throughout the crowd. He jumped on the stage looking confused. “So, many of you know him very well, yes? What would you say are his greatest strengths?” I asked the group. Then I motioned for the blond woman to step on the stage.

“He’s kind and I’ve known him for a while. He’s always been good with plants and keeping them alive. He’s also good with animals!” Several people called out. He didn’t look comfortable with this. “So, who would object Liam to be in charge of gardening?!” I asked. No one raised their hands. “Very well then. Liam is now the Garden Master!” I shouted. Cheers rang up throughout the crowd. “Liam, I am going to let you be in charge of finding people and I think…What’s your name?” I asked the blond woman. “Claire.” She said. I nodded. “I think Claire is going to be your warden. She’s going to be in charge when you’re off. Kind of like you’re second in command.” I said.

“Alright. Man, thanks.” He said humbly. “Julie! Please step up.” She gave me a shocked look, but stepped onto the stage with her head held high and looked out at the crowd. “I have sensed her power of healing and protection. So, I am going to offer her position over the Medical District!” Thousands of people stood up. I saw that they all had a white streak in their hair. I smiled. “You serious?” She asked. I nodded and proclaimed, “Julie is now your Medical Master!” Cheers rang out. “Never thought you’d be able to get such a warm welcome did you?” I asked. She shook her head.

“You can choose someone to be your second and choose who you think will be good to be in your staff. I have a feeling we are going to need all the best-experienced healers we can get.” I told her quietly. She nodded and gave me a concerned look. “Jaise! Please, step forward.” I called over the cheering. He jumped onto the stage. “Okay, so I’m assuming this castle doesn’t have a furnace right? And there’s no way to install one?” I asked. A lot of people shook their heads. “So, how do we stay warm?” A lot of people gave me a confused look. “Normally we just wrap ourselves up in blankets. Of course, fire users can warm themselves up.” He said simply.

Glares rang out from the group. It looked like the ice wielders didn’t like that statement. “Well, that’s going to change. How many of you have old-fashioned furnaces or heaters in your rooms?” I asked. They all raised their hands. “Okay, then! Jaise will be in charge of keeping the castle warm! He will be your new Heater Master. He will choose some of the best to go around and heat up this school! Or find a way to keep the castle warm without difficulty or danger to others!”

A lot of people cheered and the fire users looked annoyed. “Remember that we all have to work together if we want this to work!” I said. “And what are you going to be doing?” Someone called out. “I am going to be helping everyone out as much as possible. I am also going to ask the best fighters magically and with weapons to train me every day. I have a feeling that I am going to be the one to lead the frontal assault in the final war and I may have to sacrifice myself to end it. But, that’s why I need to be at my best.” I said. A silence fell over the crowd. “Okay, Tom?” I said. He stepped forward giving me a nervous and hostile glare. I saw he had a black streak in his hair. “So, I have known him for almost my entire life! I know he’s good at being stealthy and sneaky!”

No one said a word. “So, how about we make him the Shadow Master!? He will find some of the best out there who can use shadow and use it for stealth and spying!” I said. A few people started to cheer nervously and then others joined in. Soon, we had the entire place roaring with cheers and applause. “What do you say, Tom?” I asked him. He only nodded and continued to give me a dark look. “You don’t want the position?” I asked him. “It has nothing to do with the position and you know it.” He hissed. I sighed. “Yes, well we can’t worry about that right now,” I told him. “Tom will go forth and choose from the best. And if some need training, that will not be an issue. Jaina didn’t train you very well, but your instructors will be now teaching you correctly. If they have issues with this or haven’t learned everything that they can, I’m sure the council will be more than willing to help out?” I suggested looking at them.

They all gave me a polite grin. “Oh, of course!” Raemi said. I winked at them. I wasn’t about to get rid of them just yet. “So, if any teachers or instructors feel they have been held back, please see a council member. Students will see the teachers. We have a lot of catching up to do. But, I know we’ll get this done and we will be stronger for it.” I said. I waited for a few minutes while everyone calmed down. “Draven?” I said motioning for him. He stepped forward and I said, “He’s another person I have known for the longest time. He’s also my best friend.” Then I caught the dark streak that looked like Egyptian Blue.

“I say we make him the Well Master. His and a few selected water users’ job will be to go around and keep the wells filled up. I know we have pumps that take the water from the wells and put them in the kitchens and showers. But, we are relying on the weather to keep them filled right? We are on a limited use. If we have some people in charge of keeping the wells fairly full, everyone will be able to shower more often and wouldn’t have to worry about consuming too much water.” I said.

Everyone really liked the idea. “Okay, So Draven is the Well Master. He will go around and finding the best water users. Or you can come to him. Now, we have two more positions to fill. Ashlee!” I called. She leaped onto the stage from the side. She went to the seats to keep Jaise calm when I was attacked and then she stepped forward towards me on the stage now that she wasn’t needed in the seats anymore since Jaise was on stage with the others. Now, she stood at the ready. “I have seen how strong your lightning is and I think you would be best as our electrician! You shall be the Electrician Master. You will choose some of the best lightning users and keep the generators fully charged and you’ll also be our mechanics.” If she was nervous about that role, she didn’t show it.

“Not a problem. My mother taught me everything about fixing engines and repairing machines.” She said. “Well, what say you about allowing her to be your Electrician and Mechanic Master?” I asked the crowd. They were all for it. “Okay, that’s set. Now, since we have someone for keeping the place heated. Does anyone think we need someone to keep the place cool?” I asked the crowd. Half the crowd seemed confused on why I would ask, but I think a few of the students and even staff knew what I meant.

“I know there’s a spot in the school that feels like it’s right over a volcano.” A female student stood up and into the center aisle. “Oh?” I asked. “I can’t be the only one who notices it? Others have to feel it too. Especially in the work and machine shops. We are sweating to death in there. I don’t expect it to feel like a refrigerator. But, I honestly think that it’s not safe conditions.” She said. I studied her and I could tell she was speaking the truth. “Very well. You have ice magic?” I asked. She nodded. “How come you haven’t cast a spell to keep you cool before?” I asked her. She gave me a blank look. “What makes you think I haven’t?” She asked coldly. “Easy girl,” Ashlee said glaring. “It’s okay,” I told her.

“Well, then do you have any suggestions that may work?” I asked her. “Well, I have some ideas, but I doubt that I could make it work alone. And I know it won’t work for long. Too much magic will seriously put a lot of strain on the body. I’m sure you already know that don’t you?” She asked me. I studied her. “How do you know that?” She only smiled. “Your face. There’s a haunted look in your eyes that say you’ve been in the exertion of your magic before.” I could only smirk at that. “What’s your name?” I asked her. “Courtney,” She told me.

“Well, would you like to be in charge of finding people to help you keep this place cool?” I asked her. “I would be honored,” She said. “Okay, so Courtney is now the Cooling Master, and we need someone in the meat house,” I said. “I’ve already done that. I used to be in the slaughterhouse before and I’ll gladly take up that role again. But, I want help. I can’t keep doing it alone.” A young boy said stepping up next to Courtney. “Who are you?” I asked him. “Sam,” He told me.

“You look so young.” He glared at me. “I don’t mean anything against it. I’m just shocked is all, but you’ll have help. Get some people you know have strong stomachs and let me know if you have anything that would help you.” I told him. He nodded and then they both went back to their seats. “Okay, so now that we have our Slaughterhouse Master. All the Masters have to go around and find people who are qualified and capable of working that field. We may need everyone involved or a good number of you. But, we also need to create a security group. Tom, since you’re in charge of stealth. How about you take on the role of security as well?” I asked him.

He only grinned at me. “I would totally be willing to do that,” He said. I saw someone step forward. “You know we already have a security team right?” The girl asked. “Yes, but will they be willing to follow orders from me? And I’m sure some of you remember they didn’t go through any hesitations before throwing me in the dungeons.”

“Are you going to blame us for that?” A large man stepped forward with his arms crossed. “No, I’m not going to hold it against you. But, I do have to know whether your loyalties are with any new leader, or the old one.” The man stepped forward and I saw a wicked grin on his face. “My loyalty comes with who’s in charge of me.” I only stared back with no emotion and we had a stare down. He looked away first. “Very well then.” He mumbled.

“So, you aren’t going to go on a revenge streak or anything?” I asked him. “No. I will follow any orders you have to give. We never wanted to do that anyways. We were just following orders. I’m sure you can understand that.” He told me. “Yes, of course. So, you’ll also follow Tom?” He nodded. Yes, but we do need more. I doubt the students will cause problems. But, we’ve been hearing news from the outside. Humans and other vampires are supposedly planning to attack. I don’t like what’s going on. We are going to need all the strength we have.” He told me. “Who are you?” I asked. “Jim. I was in charge of security.” He told me.

“Tom? I think we have found our warden.” I said. He nodded with a blank expression. I gave him a quizzical look. He only shook his head at me and stared blankly ahead. “Well, we have that taken care of. So, what’s next on the agenda?” I asked. “I think that’s everything. So, who’s going to train in magic?” Liam asked. “Well, we are going to have school. The people who are chosen for each of the groups will have to find a way to do their training while finding some spare time to do their jobs. But, I know the teachers and masters will find a workable schedule that will not be pushing the workers the point of breaking down.” I said. Everyone nodded. “Good. Who do we have that’s a weapons master?”

A woman with flaming red hair and pale skin stood up and walked towards the stage. I looked at her stunned. She has nice curves and a figure and a lot of boys were drooling as she walked by. She wore tight leather pants and a shirt that didn’t cover her stomach, which showed her cleavage. “Who are you?” I asked. “I’m Melinda. I’m the weapons master. I am the one who trained the security we have. The soldiers? I taught them.” Snickers ran around the crowd. I glared and soon they all fell silent.

“Oh?” I asked. “You don’t believe a woman could teach a male?” She asked. “No, that’s not what I think at all. I know for a fact that a woman can do everything that a male can. Possibly even better. I’m just shocked. What I don’t hear about too many weapons masters is all.” I said. “You’ve read too many books based on medieval times. I have been around long enough to know how to use swords, axes, spears, bows, clubs, morningstars, flails, and tons of more. You probably won’t find someone better than me in the world.” She said. But, she wasn’t bragging.

She was only stating a fact of what she believes. “Well, that is great. We are going to need an excellent teacher. Are you willing to teach large groups?” I asked. She nodded. “The old security members will be a great help in that. There’s two hundred and they know a lot of what I know. The only problem is they don’t know all the weapons. I have to see who’s good at what. Or who seems like they have some proficiency with what weapon.” She said. I nodded at her. “Would you like to go first?” She asked me.

“Seriously?” I asked. “Yes.” I got the feeling she didn’t joke much. Or at all in fact. “Very well. I am going to need to learn how to fight eventually.” I said. “Matt, you have more important roles to worry about.” Jaise told me. “No, I don’t. I have a lot of equal roles that I need to worry about. I can’t just be a diplomat. I have to be a warrior as well. So, I am not going to listen to complaints or arguments about this.” I said to them. They gave me concerned looks, but no one said anything.

Melinda led me out of the auditorium and down a dark hallway. “This isn’t some trick to try and get me killed is it?” I asked her with concern. She only gave me a blank look. “Why would I want to kill you? You’re the only one so far that seems to be strong enough. I just hope you don’t act like a little sissy bitch during training.” She said coldly. I didn’t respond to that. She entered a large room with mats on the floor. Large shelves and hooks on the wall held tons of weapons. “So, are you going to show me a hand to hand?” I asked. She only stared at me. “Why would you ask that?” She asked. “Well, normally that’s what happens. The people work on hand to hand before advancing.” I stated.

“Very well. You don’t seem like a very impatient young man.” She said. Then she started to circle me. I copied her movements. She gave me a weird look and I don’t know what to make of it. She then charged me and I spun out of the way. She saw it happen and came back at me. I charged backward away from her. “What was that?” She asked stopping. I didn’t know if this was another attack or not. “What was what?” I asked confused. “What you just did to avoid my attack.

“I don’t know really. I saw how you charged me. I just used that in reverse.” I told her. She only nodded and didn’t respond after that. We sparred for some time after and I brought my left arm up to block her right and then did a quick spin. She put one heel on the ground and spun herself around to block my attack. I sensed that and once she blocked me, I flipped in the air and sent her wheeling back with a kick to the back. She landed lightly on her feet and turned towards me. “Well, that proves that.” She said simply. “What?” I asked. “You learn by seeing. You learn by experience.” She told me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I said. “You don’t get it? You don’t know how to fight, right?” She asked. “Not like you. I don’t know Marshal Arts or anything.” I told her. “Well, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be taught it more than once. Somehow you have the ability or sense to learn when you see or face something. Think of it like you’re copying a move and remembering it. You also won’t forget it. So, whoever your ancient being is, you might want to have a conversation with him.” She said.

“Is this rare or common?” I asked. I swear I saw a small amount of pity behind her eyes. But, she returned to her blank expression. “I have known only one who had that power before. But, she didn’t last long enough when it got out.” She said. “She didn’t last because people feared what she would be able or capable of doing. She would have been able to learn everything in days or weeks, what it took others months to learn?” I asked. She nodded. “So, am I in danger?” I asked her with a stoic expression.

“No, I am not going to reveal your talent. I think it’s a good thing to have. It means you’ll be able to actually protect yourself in combat. Even from a superior foe. It won’t take you long to get to their level. But, some won’t see it that way.” I nodded. I really didn’t know what to think about everything was going on. Was I going to be in danger? Was I going to be feared? The only thing I could do is to try and keep fighting. Keep learning. She circled me. She focused on me. I didn’t know what she was trying to accomplish and I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.

I closed my eyes and calmed my breathing. Melinda didn’t make a sound, but I sensed where she was at all times. Then she came to me. Something in me was telling me where she was. I flipped in the air and avoided her rush. Then she came back at me hard and quick. I dodged, rolled out of the way, spun to either side. I ducked low and I flipped and spun in the air. Each time avoiding her by inches. She couldn’t touch me. I opened my eyes and then focused on her. She attacked me and I was ready for her.

Two hours later, and we both sat down, drenched in sweat, gasping for breath. “I think you’ve learned a lot. More than most of those I’ve trained in the past few hundred years. “You learned one form of my Martial Arts in a few hours. It took me almost two and a half weeks to master it. You still need some focus on it to tighten it up. But, you’ve gotten it down fairly well.” She said. I smiled. “We will keep working on it. Or I could work with some of the others.” I said. “Yes, but don’t let them know about what you can do.” She told me. I nodded and then we left. How many more forms do you think I need to learn?” I asked. “Well, that was my simplest form. Tomorrow, we should try the most complex one. You never know. It may come in handy.” I agreed.

“I think it will and I would like to learn as much as possible. We don’t have a lot of time.” She studied me for a moment. “What do you know?” She asked. I shook my head. “Nothing specific. But, I feel like there’s something coming and it’s coming soon.” She didn’t press me, but I got the feeling she was reeling with questions. “Well, I am sure you’ll let us know when you know something.” She said. I nodded and stood up. “I promise that I’ll let everyone know as soon as I know something or suspect something. Right now, it’s just a bad feeling. I don’t want to alarm people based on a hunch.” I told her.

She didn’t say anything as I left the training room and back down the hallway. I entered the main hall and everyone was waiting for me. “How’d it go?” Ashlee asked me. “I’ll tell you later.” I told her with a smile. Melinda stepped up behind me a little bit later. “He’s a quick study. I think he’ll make a good warrior. Now, I need to teach some others. Who’s going to be next?” She asked. No one seemed willing to volunteer. “Look, guys. We’re all going to have to learn and she’s the best teacher. Her skills are remarkable. Everyone is going to have to fight. So, you all better get over it now.”

I turned and walked up the steps then. I went to the throne room and teleported to the submarine. “Nexus?” I called. “Yes, Matt?” He asked appearing. “Do you have a cloaking device on this vessel?” His expression was unreadable. “Yes, you want to hide from someone in particular?” He asked. “Everyone.” I said simply. He nodded. “It’s done.” He told me. “Thanks and sorry I haven’t been around in a while. It’s been a hard week.” I told him. He didn’t say anything for a little while. “Matt, you don’t have to apologize to me. I know. I sensed your panic, anger and fear through your phone and I sensed your helplessness and hopelessness.”

I nodded at him. “Well, you’re secure now. No one is going to know you are here until you’re ready.” He told me. “Thanks. We have a lot to catch up on and discuss.” I told him. He only nodded. “Whenever you’re ready.” I walked towards my room and closed it and then I called for Gideon. He appeared in front of me. “So, how did it go?” He asked. “I think it went fine. It looks like everyone is okay with the new change in leadership. But, I do sense some bumpy roads ahead. However, we all need to work together.” I told him.

“Well, there’s only one way to make it happen. And that’s by trying and putting forth the effort.” He said. I nodded. “Yes, but there’s still a dark feeling lingering. I fear someone is going to try and destroy everything before it has a chance to begin. Not only that. But, I fear for my life yet again.” He gave me a confused look. “Why do you say that?” He asked. “Well, apparently to the weapons master, I now have the ability to memorize and copy the moves that are used to me or that I see. But, from what I learned about this ability, there’s only been one person before me who had it. She was killed out of fear. IS everything about me a flight risk?” I demanded.

“No, of course not. But, you’ve been giving some powerful skills. You could be one of the best fighters in the world because you could master moves that take others months or years to learn in only a few weeks or in a few hours.” He told me. “And that’s why the girl was slaughtered. I just… I don’t know. I have to be careful I guess.” He nodded with a look of concern on his face. “But, what else is bothering you? I sense there’s something else.” He said. “Yes, I also get the feeling that we are in the middle of a Final Fantasy eight moment.” He only blinked at me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He admitted. “I know, but let’s just say in the game, there’s a bunch of elite schools. Students go to learn combat, magic using and basic skills. The only problem in the game was the one garden or school known as Galbadia Garden was far more advanced than where the story takes place in Balamb garden. The students in Balamb fought ferociously, and with all their strength and heart. They ended up winning in that fight, but at a great cost. Most of them weren’t prepared for the fight that they were in. And the strongest SeeDs members were out on a mission. We are kind of in that same position. Everyone will fight with everything they have. But, they won’t be ready for the final fight.

“We are going to be outnumbered and outclassed.” I said. “Well, there’s got to be something you can do.” He told me. Then Nexus knocked on the door. “Yeah?” I called to him. He entered the room holding this giant book. “What is that?” I asked in shock. “An old tome from a witch. In some human myths, it’s a witch’s spell book. In others, it’s their book of shadows. Or some heritage passed down through the ages. But, some vampires have been able to learn some spells from this book. You, however, have all eight elements may find this entire book useful. And a lot of the spells are universal.” He told me.

“Meaning?” I asked. “Meaning that a fire shield being cast would be used the same way only with the other elements. A lot of spells are similar, but there’re some differences. You are going to find this useful.” He told me. He handed me the book. “Just don’t push yourself too hard.” I nodded. “Thank you.” He smiled and they both started to leave. “Oh, Nex?” He turned towards me. “There’s something that I need your help with.” He looked at me. “I have a feeling everything is going to fall apart. Is there a way to get several hundreds of thousands of vampires in here?”

He rolled his eyes at me. “Oh, please. I am a half machine and half magic. I can grow to the need of the people in of me. So, you get them to me, and there will be a room for everyone. I can assure you of that.” He told me. “What’s the matter? You seem a little mad.” I said. He just glared at me. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I just need to go to the engine room and sit under the energy core.” He said and then turned away. What was he talking about? Then I doubled over in pain and a brief vision came to me. Then I stood up straight and knew where I had to go.

I sprinted down the corridors and jumped down ladders. It took a while to find the engine room, but I got to the doors and found them sealed shut. “Hey, Nexus? Would be so kind as to open the doors? I would like to see everything on this magnificent vessel.” I said. “Access denied. No unauthorized person allowed. Area restricted.” He said. Well, it was worth a try. I started balling my fists and punching the doors. I sent kicks and used all the strength I could into the door.

I heard it start to groan. “Access denied. Lethal force will be used if you don’t cease your assault.” Well, you can’t expect me to listen to a voice through speakers can you? I kept kicking and ramming it. Then I opened my left palm up and molten blue and white flames shot out in a continuous sheet. The door only took a matter of minutes to start glowing. Then I switched to my right and spread out a crystal crackling white continuous sheet of ice right at it. The ice and heat combined together caused the door to explode and shatter. Shard of frozen metal shot everywhere. I rolled out of the way of the big shards and one went right through me when I came back up. I gasped and coughed up blood. I collapsed against the wall and then tried to breathe. I even think I zonked out for a while there.

I don’t know how much time passed before I woke up, but I was still in the same place. I gasped and sat up coughing. I patted my chest and stomach and looked down. The hole was gone and the only trace was my exhaustion and the pool of blood I was sitting in. I climbed to my feet and then walked through the now open door. I went over to the railing and looked down. A huge swirling gray misty vortex looking thing spun around really fast. “You shouldn’t be here.” I turned around to see Nex standing there with his arms crossed. “Oh? Are you going to kill me?” I asked.

“If you don’t leave now,” He told me. “I can’t leave. Something is seriously wrong with you. I need to help you.” I told him. “You can’t help me. If you don’t leave now. You’re going to die. I will rip your heart out.” He warned me. “What about allowing the others to come here if we need to?” I demanded. He shrugged. “It felt like the thing to say at the time. But, you’ve been on me for too long. You need to leave and find a way to survive on your own.” I looked around and in a small box in the middle of a computer terminal, there was this black swirling mist in the center of a white flowing light.

I think I know what I have to do, but how do I get to it? “You won’t make it,” He said confidently. “Well, you know me. I have to try.” He sighed. “Well, I tried to save you. But, now you’re going to die.” He said and came after me. I ducked and countered. Blocked and brought my arm around to punch him. For a while, we fought and punched. I blocked and he countered. Melinda taught me well. But, he knew how to fight a lot better and had more training or programming. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to win this fight. I spun around and punched him as hard as I could.

He flew backward and I rushed towards the box. I jumped towards it and then pain shot through me. I looked down and saw a fist through my chest. It retracted a little and I felt something wrap itself around my heart. “You know I have your heart. Your life is going to be over in just a few seconds.” He told me. I choked and gasped. “If I die…It will be to have saved…a friend.” I gasped. With all the strength I could, I pointed my right pointer finger and shot the most powerful holy bolt I could. It shot out and went straight for the black spot. He started to squeeze hard on my heart, and I fainted.

I woke up some time later in my bed on the sub. Nex was leaning against the wall in the doorway and he looked, relieved, pissed off and scared while looking at me. “Nex I…” He raised a hand to silence me. “You realize you almost died? You could have died. I almost fucking killed YOU!” He screamed in a blinding rage. I didn’t even flinch from his anger. I knew he wasn’t really angry with me. I walked over to him and he gestured for me to stay back. “I don’t want you to be here with me. I’m a danger to you. I almost…” He couldn’t finish and dropped to his knees.

I kneeled down next to him and said, “It wasn’t your fault. I should have been there for you. We should have planned a way to keep you safe. Somehow have security bots or something on you. How can we do that now?” I asked him. He looked at me. “You serious?” “Yes, of course,” I told him. He smiled and nodded at me. “Well, I actually know a way. But, I’m going to need your help.” He explained. “Anything. We need to make sure you’re protected in case I’m not around all the time. You know I wish I could be, but I can’t. The one thing I want to know for sure though is how they knew about you?”

I don’t know. I was doing patrols like I normally do and making sure all the systems were fully operational. But, then something happened and the alarms starting going off. By the time I found it in the engine room, there was nothing I could do. The magic was preventing me from stopping it. I couldn’t warn you about it either.” He explained. “Do you know who it was? Do you have any cameras or anything that may have gotten a photo of the intruder?” He nodded and then Nexus appeared and projected a couple photos on the wall. Ran and Jason. “These two?” I demanded in anger. “No, they came after. Sorry, I think I got the images mixed up.” He mumbled. “Oh, here we are.” He said. I noticed them going towards a young girl who was at the box in the engine room. “You don’t think you’re going to stop me do you?” The girl asked them. “We have to. We can’t let you destroy this vessel and stop Matt’s destiny and future from unfolding!” Ran snapped.

“You don’t have the power and you know it. Father.” Jason sneered the last word. The girl just shook her head and laughed hysterically. “You don’t know anything.” She said and she stomped on the ground. A blast of energy came out and caused them to disappear and then she pointed a finger at the box and the black aura shot out and clung to it and then she exploded. “Well, that’s nasty.” I commented. “Yeah, but I cleaned it up and now back to the idea and about you not always being around.” He started with a nod. “I know. And I don’t blame you. I wish you were here and when the attack happened, I was calling for you. But, I found out what happened to you when it was too late for you to help me.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that. I’m really sorry I wasn’t around when you needed me.” He shook his head. “No, it isn’t your fault. We were both overwhelmed. How about from now on, we do everything in our power to protect each other?” He suggested. “I couldn’t agree more.” I told him. “Alright, well then let’s go get me some defense.” He said with some enthusiasm. We walked together down a couple decks and into a large room with a big machine in the middle.

“Okay, if you enter the machine, it will copy you and make several different models of you, your strengths and powers. Each will be unique and different, but all will be based on you.” He told me. “They won’t be linked to me though right?” He shook his head with a grin. “Oh, no. They will be separated. But, I won’t blame you if you’re a little hesitant.” He told me. I rolled my eyes and entered the machine. The doors closed on me and I felt a little nervous. Not about Nex hurting me. But, it was a little scary in general. A small needle came out and pricked my skin. A medium size microwavable dish appeared and blood filled it up. Then this small thin green glowing machine came down. It kind of reminded me of a cross between those long thin overhead lights and a copying machine.

“Please spread your legs and spread your arms in the air.” A mechanical female voice told me. I looked out the machine and Nex nodded encouragingly at me. I did that and then the device began to glow. It started to scan me. A green light appeared and looked like a metal fence and scanned my front and then floated and moved to my back. I was feeling really awkward. The device went away and I had to play one hundred questions then. I was able to relax a little, though. Some of the questions were simple. Some were like the movies, and video games I liked.

The types of music I listened to. And my personality. How I would handle some situations and other things based on that. It kind of reminded me of when adults were taking assessment tests for jobs. But, other questions were really personal. But, finally the questions were over and I was able to leave the machine. I walked over to Nex. “So, now what?” I asked him. “Now, we wait for the machines to start their work. I can give them their own artificial intelligence and personalities. Each one will be unique and different. But, they’ll have your determination and willingness to help.” He explained.

“How many security droids can you make?” I asked. Nexus appeared then with a wide grin. “We can make a few dozen security droids. We have already built the frame. By this time tomorrow, they will be fully ready for programming. They will also be half humanoid and half machine. So, they’ll have some of your powers and strengths. But, won’t be as strong or powerful as you, though.” He said. “Hey, we don’t want machines to be super strong. Just in case, they go crazy.” I said with a wink. Nex gave me a hurt look and then realized I was joking with him. He smiled slightly. “Well, let me know when they’re done.” I told him. He nodded and vanished. “So, you want something to eat?” Nex asked. “Yes, please. Then we need to figure out an escape plan. But, we have to make sure that no one knows about it until it’s time.” I told him. “So, you want to create some teleportation devices that no one can find? Or only you can activate when the time is right?” He asked.

“Yes, exactly.” I said.” He nodded. “What did you have in mind?” I shrugged. “Well, we need to figure out the layout of the castle. I’m hoping we never have to worry about it. But, you never know.” He grinned. “You’re thinking a true tactician. How did they survive in the game you mentioned?” “Well, there was two moments. The one that I described during the fight. They were outmatched but somehow won by defeating the boss. The first scenario was when the garden was about to be destroyed by missiles and they had to go to the basement and activate the old bunker system. It allowed the garden to move. We are going to somewhat be in that situation. Where the school doesn’t move, but we all do to another location.” I explained.

“Well, I agree. It would be a lot better to have everyone at the school. But, there can be enough room on this vessel. But, feeding that many people won’t come easy.” He admitted. “What can we do to solve that situation?” I asked. “There are seeds in the greenhouse it’s on the top deck in the middle. You can’t miss it. We haven’t planted anything because we haven’t had anyone to feed and we didn’t want to waste the food. But, we can plant them now if you think we may need them. There’s plenty of room to grow enough fruits and vegetables for everyone.” He told me. “We are going to need meat and bread.” “We have plenty of that. It’s in the freezer. We stocked up on that a couple weeks ago. Fruits and such are more perishable and we can’t keep them fresh too long. So, it will take a few months to grow what you need.”

“I know. And I think we need to start now. If anything, I can always bring the food back and add them to the school supplies.” I told him. “Very well. That works. I will start growing them as soon as this meeting is over with. “Good, and now the transportation situation. What about symbols that I can paint in certain locations in the school and when the time is right, let some people know about it and then magic can be used to activate them and they’ll act like a portal to here.” He only gave me a blank look for a moment. “That’s really thought out.” He said. I just shrugged.

“Is that possible?” I asked. “In theory. I don’t know anything that could do that. But, maybe the book will help.” He told me. I lit up at that. “The book! I’m going to give it a try now.” I told him. “Just be careful.” He told me. I went to grab the book from my room and skimmed through it. Then I found the page about symbols. There’s a protection symbol, a trap symbol, and others that would be useful in certain situations. Others were confusing. One was labeled ‘cacti’ and I couldn’t figure out what good that one would do.

Then I found the one I needed. It looked like two yellow zigzagged twigs overlapping on an octagonal ruby gem. In the middle of the gem was a blue spot. “I wonder what this will do.” I said aloud. “Nexus? Do we have any water based paint?” “Yes, Nex will bring you some.” He told me. “I need certain colors.” I explained. “Don’t worry. I have a large supply. Each is also labeled. So, you’ll have no problem finding the ones you need.” He said. “Dang, you just have everything don’t you?” I asked. His laughing was the only response I got.

Then Nex entered the room carrying three large coffin long boxes. “You may have to look through all of them to get the ones you need. But, just make sure you use the right tones.” “What makes you say that?” I asked. “I don’t know. I guess I have heard rumors about people trying to use any color in a quick use of the spell. It backfired and…well, I won’t even go into details about that. It’s just a rumor, though.” He said. “Well, I’m not going to take any chances. I looked in each box and found the colors I needed. Nex helped me and after two hours we completed it and we even put some fans on it for it to dry.

“I think they’re ready.” He nodded. “You aren’t going to try it are you?” He asked me. I rolled my eyes. “No, of course not.” I said. I cast the enchantment and it sounded like selfish from lord of the rings to activate the symbol. Something appeared and it looked like a glass of a doorway. I went to touch it and Nex grabbed my hand. “I don’t think so.” He snapped. I looked at him in shock. “Not until you know it’s going to work.” He said. I nodded. I went over to the other symbol. It’s called the receiver. I used the enchantment from the book and it sounded like zombie moans with werewolf howls. Nex just stared at me. “What the hell?” He demanded. I shrugged feeling self-conscious.

That symbol activated and it looked like another doorway, only, this time, it took on a reddish glow. Each doorway was only two feet tall and a foot wide. “What do you think we should test on it?” I asked. He looked around and saw a small golf ball. I noticed it and grabbed it. I tossed it in the first door and then it shot out of the second. “Well, it looks like a success.” Nex commented. I nodded. I walked up to it and put my hand through it. “What the hell are you doing?”

My hand appeared through the other one and I waved. I had full feeling and function of my hand. I then pulled it back through. “I think it’s going to work. But, I’m going to have to make it a hell of a lot bigger.” I said. “Well, the symbol on the floor is only a couple feet wide. In order to make it big enough for people, it may have to be seven feet just to make sure there’s enough room for people. It’s going to take a lot of work and time to get it done. “You won’t be able to do it on your own.” He told me. I nodded. “I won’t. I’ll have the other masters help me. Or at least, a few of them. Some I’m not so sure about. Just like I’m not fully convinced about the others in the school or just a few select individuals.” He agreed.

“There’s always going to be people who you question. Don’t let it ruin it for everyone else. I can sense that there’s a lot of loyal people there. Those who would even die for you if need be.” Nex told me. “I know. I just have to keep an eye out for those who want to ruin it for everyone else is all. That’s all I’ saying.” He smiled. “Well, now that you have that figured out….” He started. “Yeah. I have to choose three locations here to receive everyone and how do I link them while keeping them separate?” I asked. Nex looked at the book and smiled. “Well, here’s the problem with what happened in the past.” He said pointing at a spot.

I read what he was referring to and smiled. “Oh, crap!” I said. It appeared that it doesn’t matter what colors you choose. As long as they match each other. The only difference in the entering and receiving symbol is the middle of the octagon. The entering is a white spot and the receiving is a black. As long as those two are the only differences and consistent, the symbols can be whatever calls you choose. They just have to match. “Well, that really helps.” I said. “Yeah, it doesn’t limit you quite as bad.” He said. “Okay, so now what do I do about these symbols staining up your deck?” I asked.

“You know I have paint remover.” He said with a condescending tone. I laughed. “Of course, you do.” I said. He left and came back a few minutes later. He sprayed the symbols and waited a few minutes. Then he handed me a scraper and I went to chisel at it. He did the same and half hour later, the surface was smooth and with no trace of anything ever being on them. “Well, this is good. Now we have those two things patched up. All I have to do is make the symbols and let everyone figure out where to put the entering ones in the castle. I’m not going to choose them on my own. I want the others in on it and I want them to know where they are located.”

“Yeah, you can’t lead everyone to each. You can’t be in every location and fight at the same time.” He said. “You know about that?” I asked. He grinned. “Of course, I know about that. You don’t think I noticed what you used against me when we were fighting?” He asked. I smirked. “A bit more training like that, and I won’t even want to cross you. Not including your copying instinct.” He commented. I laughed. “Well, I am still not going to be the one who crosses you,” I told him.

“Let’s get you something to eat now. It’s been a while since we talked about it. You have to be hungry by now.” He said to me. “Starved actually,” I admitted. We went to the dining area and I went to the machine and typed in what I wanted. He looked over my shoulders. “You know? It’s a good thing you have a fast metabolism.” I grinned. “I know right? I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to have the good foods.” I said. “I am aware and with everything that’s happened to you? You choose whatever you want. We can always get more.” I agreed. After a good meal and a little bit of blood, I went back to the room and tried practicing some other spells.

I found a couple that seemed to be interesting. A summoning spell and I tried it out. It didn’t work out too well, to say the least. A giant flaming fly buzzed around and ignited the bed, the curtains, and the carpets. Nex had to rush in with a fire extinguisher. “What the hell?!” He demanded. I flipped through the book and found an ice needle spell. I cast it all around the room and I heard a squeal and knew that I hit the fly. “I tried a summoning spell and got a pissed off fly,” I explained sheepishly. “Huh,” He said. That was all he had to say?

“A fly?” He asked. I nodded. “Wow, I knew those bugs were annoying pests. But, damn. This is ridiculous.” I chuckled. “I didn’t think there was anything dangerous about it. But, I know differently now.” I told him. “Is there anything in there about controlling what you summoned?” He asked. I looked at it and I felt the heat rise in my face. “Um…No?” I said uncertainly. He laughed. “Okay, so there is. I didn’t make a small trap for it to summon it in.” I got up off the bed and then drew four ice symbols from the book and used a crystal colored paint.

Then I summoned the fly again and it began to buzz around angrily. But, instantly it touched a wall between two symbols and hissed angrily do to the cold. It couldn’t get out. “Well, I really need to look at the instructions more carefully.” He only nodded. “Before you cause me to explode,” He said. I rolled my eyes. “I looked over the explosion spells and traps,” I told him. He gave me a wide-eyed look. “I thank you for that.” I nodded and then went back to the book. “There are a couple spells in here that I don’t see a point to. But, then there’s a few that may come in handy.”

He didn’t say anything for a while. I thought he had left. His voice scared me. “Just be careful. Don’t try to summon anything else, until you figure out how to control the crazy fly you have.” He said. I understood his concern. “Oh, and I think I saw something in there about summoning only a total of three creatures at the same time. But, only when you get to that level. You have to strengthen your magic before you can advance on the bigger creatures. Also, you don’t have to have an element summon.” He said and then he left.

I looked deeply into the book. He was right. Only truly advanced witches or warlocks have ever been able to summon three creatures at a single time. No one has ever been able to do more and nothing bigger than a lion or a wolf. I wonder how effective those animals were. I went over to the fly and tried to find a way to communicate with it. It buzzed angrily and used some bad language on me. I gave it a shocked look. “What do you mean I have a snot covered face?” I demanded. Was it laughing at me?! “What the heck? Did you just say my I have a cow nose?” The fly tried to escape from the back.

“Oh, I do not! My mother was not a cross-dressing streetwalker!” I snapped. “Are you seriously arguing with a fly?” Nexus asked. “His language is horrible.” I said. Nexus looked at it and then me. “So, you can understand what it’s saying?” He asked me. “Yeah, I can. And you don’t even want to know what it said about you.” I told him. “You think I care what a flying fire crotched winged hissing insect thinks?” He asked me. “Oh, so you don’t mind that he said you were only a squeaky-wheeled ghoul who if anatomically correct, couldn’t find a way to shoot inside a female crotch?” I asked Nexus. “Say what?!” Nex appeared.

“Oh, so now you care?” I asked with a laugh. “Well, no. Not really.” He told me. I chuckled. “Sure, you don’t.” Then I looked at the fly in shock. “Oh, you think he’s only pretending to not care as well? Well, we agree on that at least.” He was buzzing madly now. “What did the future pancake say this time?” I laughed. “He said he liked me and is willing to listen to me now, as long as I free him from this trap.” Nex and Nexus just glared at me. “You can’t be serious. You’re going to let him go!?” I raised one finger to silence him for a moment.

“If I let you go, you promise you’ll behave right?” I asked it. I gave him a sideways glance. I swear I even saw it raise a leg and cross his chest. I burst out laughing at that sight and then I used fire to melt away the symbols. “Okay, but you promised to behave.” I said to him. He bobbed his head up and down. Then the flames faded and he looked like a regular fly. He asked me a question. “Matt. Yours?” I asked her. “Sharla? I like it.” She buzzed at me and I asked, “So, what kind of abilities do you have?”

She buzzed like crazy. “You don’t know because you’ve never been used that much? That’s horrible.” I said appalled. “You can’t mean that. It’s a fly. They don’t have a lot of uses.” Nexus said to me. She buzzed angrily at him. “I don’t think she likes your attitude.” I told him. He rolled his eyes and left saying, “I’ll leave you alone with your new friend.” He closed the door behind him. “I’m sorry. I don’t know much about the summoning and magic from that book. How do you gain strength and power?” I asked her.

A shrill buzzing and I knew the answer then. The more she’s used and out and in the fights, the stronger she’ll become. I don’t know what kind of powers she’ll have. But, every summoned creature has the potential to be very powerful. The caller just has to give them a chance. And that’s what I planned on doing. Sharla flew around the room in excitement, and this time, we didn’t have another disaster like the last time. “I want to say that I’m sorry for the ice needle.” She waved me off like it wasn’t a big deal. I guess she realized that she acted wrong. She buzzed over my head. “No, I am not going to send you back. Does summoning take strength?” I asked her.

The buzzing got shrill and deep for a moment. “Oh, that’s good. Just a little concentration. I can deal with that.” She buzzed around quietly and then landed on the dresser. It looked like she went to sleep. I kept flipping through the book and I tried out some minor spells. There was an ice orb that you can shoot at people. But, you had to gain control over it in difficult situations. So, I cast the spell and holding it was easy. But, I had Nex try to attack me and Nexus scare me.

I lost control for quite a while. I shot the sphere everywhere and it even destroyed the small night stand and damaged the dresser. “Well, it’s a good thing you’re not trying to do this first time in a battle.” He said. “I know. That’s one of the reasons why I am trying to learn how to use them now. There’s so much I have to learn. After a couple hours, I finally managed to keep a grip on it. They tried other ways to make me lose concentration and it didn’t work. I then channeled energy into it and watched as it got bigger and sharper on the edges. I then started to toss it up and down. “Well, I think you have control now.” He said. I walked around the room for a little and then made it act like a yo-yo.

I even envisioned the sphere ‘walking the dog’ and it did exactly what I asked. I walked around the halls and corridors. “Well, you’ve mastered that spell.” Nexus said. “Yeah, all I have to do is use the same focus and spell to use the other elements. I focused hard and then I felt the ice sphere change into a swirling flaming pointed meteor. I was able to do the same tricks and have the same focus. “I think you know what to do here.” Nex said. I turned to him. “Yep.” I said and then held my other hand up. A lightning ball appeared. It looked like golden string. Except for it crackled and hissed with energy. As I watched it. The ball started to change and the threads took on a lightning bolt kind of shape.

“Two huh?” He asked. I began to juggle them and they went high in the air and I dropped to one knee catching one before it hit the ground by a couple of inches. Then I rolled forward and then backward, the whole time keeping my concentration. “Well, you seemed to have gotten a quick handle on these spells. You tamed the evil fly. You got the control over the missiles spell. You know how to cast one and keep calm. And I just watched you change it in a matter of seconds. Also, handling the second one at the same time.”

I didn’t say anything. “It wasn’t anything special. Others have done it before me.” I told him. “Yes, but not so quickly.” He stated. “Well, maybe these spells are lower leveled spells.” I suggested. He only shook his head. “You know they’re not lower leveled. Not the one you just used. The summoning one yes. I think you need to give yourself more credit.” He snapped. “Oh, I know. I am. I’m proud of what I did. But, I don’t want it to get to my head and I don’t want it to make me cocky so I screw up at some point.” I admitted to him. He sighed. “Matt, there’s nothing wrong with knowing you did something quickly over others. It’s not being cocky or arrogant. It’s just saying you are adept with something. Don’t doubt your skill or your abilities.” He said before walking away.

“Oh, I know. I won’t. I just don’t want to get cocky and think I am awesome at this and have something go horribly wrong.” He nodded and left. “I wonder what good some of these other spells are going to be useful for.” I said aloud. I shrugged and then teleported back to the castle and found Ashlee pacing the bedroom. “Where have you been?” She asked. I gave her an odd look. “I was on the sub. I wanted to check on something.” I told her. She wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tightly. “I see. Well, don’t leave me alone like that.” She scolded me. I smiled. “I’m sorry.”

She then noticed what was in my hands. “What’s the book?” She asked. “It’s a spell book. I’ve learned to do a couple of the spells already.” I said proudly. She gave it a quizzical look. “Like what?” She asked. Sharla flew around her head. “What the hell is that?!” She demanded. “Sharla.” I said simply. She gave me a glare. “Who?” She said coldly. “The fly’s name is Sharla.” I said. “Sharla?” Was that jealousy? “Are you jealous of a fly?” She gave me a shocked look. “I guess…No!” She said.

I chuckled. “She’s the first level summon. We had our issues at first, but we got over them. A deep buzzing and then I smiled. “What?” Ashlee asked skeptically. “She said that you’re very pretty and that I’m lucky to have someone who cares about me so much. She said your love is the strongest she’s seen in a…” I broke off and looked at the fly. “What? What is it?” Sharla just hovered in the air and stared at me. “You can sense loyalties can’t you?” I asked her. She clapped her two front legs together. “What’s so great about that?” Ashlee asked. “You don’t know? We can tell who’s loyal to us and who’s against us.” I said. Her eyes lit up. “Why do you look so shocked, though?”

“Well, all the other summons in the book have grown and gotten stronger. But, she hasn’t. But, I can’t understand why. The summons powers grow the longer they are being used. But, why wouldn’t her powers be fully advanced?” I asked. Sharla buzzed around my head angrily. “Oh? They only summoned you the one time and didn’t like you so banished you?” Ashlee looked shocked. “That’s horrible!” Sharla buzzed in agreement. “Why do you think her powers are this strong now?” Ashlee asked me. “It might be because my powers are growing and I have had her out for the past four hours and this is the first sign of advancement. It’s kind of like magic or abilities in games.” I started to explain and she nodded in agreement.

I completed the explanation with, “The first few levels, the characters advance quickly. It’s the later and stronger abilities that take the characters a while to get to, but they are always the best ones to get and the ones to wait for.” I explained. “Oh! I remember some of the games that my brother played. I never understood why he got so mad when he needed some amount of points and he got pissed and frustrated when it took thousands of points to get a move.” I just nodded and gave her a happy look. It did make an awful lot of sense, though. “They have to have patience with the summons.” She said. “Exactly, just like in any kind of game or when you make an order.”

Sharla made a shrill noise. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re not going anywhere. I’m not going to do that to you. I wouldn’t free you for so long and then banish you. I think that’s just cruel.” I told her. She went on telling me that every summoner had to start over with the summons. Only one gave her a chance and used her powers to help her. But, the others thought summoning a fly would be a waste of time. I actually thought that having the summons would be a great way and I actually had an idea. “Ashlee? Do you have a ring or something that I could have?” I asked her. She gave me a confused look but then walked over to her nightstand. She opened the drawer and reached inside.

She then tossed me a ring with a gemstone in it. “This is perfect!” I said excitedly. Ever since I summoned the fly, I felt something in the corner of my mind. I took that small part of my concentration and memories with a drop of blood onto the gemstone and I felt something flow into it. I still remembered everything that happened before, up to and now after summoning the fly. Sharla didn’t disappear or anything. I felt her through the ring. She was still connected to me and she would grow and it wouldn’t limit how many creatures I summoned. I would only need to repeat the process.

“Matt?” Ashlee asked. “I found a way around the three summon rule.” I said. She gave me a blank look. “The rule is that you can only have three summons called at one time. And only a powerful magic wielder could do that. But, I found a way to break that rule. By enhancing the ring, I was able to copy that part of my mind into it. It didn’t take anything away from me because it still exists. As long as I am wearing it, it’s still like she’s in my mind. So, now I can use my focus on three more summons and have Sharla which makes four!” I said excitedly.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” She countered. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Is it safe?” She asked. “I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. As long as no one destroys the items I enchant. I don’t see it as a problem. You’re not going to are you?” I asked with concern. She punched me hard then. I went flying across the room. “How could you even ask that?” She snapped and I crumbled to the floor. I looked up at her in shock. “Ashlee?” I asked. “You think I went through all of this just to watch you risk your life? No. I don’t think so. I don’t like you doing what you’re attempting.” She told me.

“I’m sorry you don’t approve.” I said quietly. She glared at me. “Approve?! It’s fucking foolish! You’re going to ruin everything you’ve been working at. Everything you told us during the assembly. You think you’re so strong that you don’t have a weakness. But, I can assure you, you’re not invincible. I don’t want anything to happen to you. But, if you’re going to endanger everything for the sake of power, then I’ll stop you any way I have to!” She screamed. I couldn’t believe what she was saying. “I’m not doing this for power. I’m doing this to protect everyone.” I said.

“That’s how it starts. Then they end up being controlled by it.” She hissed. “If that’s what you think will happen to me… Why are you still here?” I said coldly. She paused. “I don’t know.” She said losing all the fight she had. She turned away from me. I don’t know what she was waiting for. If she wanted to leave, I wasn’t going to stop her. As much as it hurt to see her turn from me, I couldn’t make her stay if she didn’t want to. “You know? I really thought you were different. I really wanted you to be different. But, I guess I can’t hope for that can I. I can’t expect you to be anything but a male. Typically seeking power.” She said with a calm cold tone.

“I am a male. I can’t help what I was born. But, I am not in this for power. I know what the limits are. I just want to be ready.” She turned on me in a cold fury. “Ready for what?!” She screamed. “Anything!” It was the only thing I could say to her at that moment. She turned back around and went to the door. “Well, I am not going to stick around. But, since you’re going to act like this. There’s only one thing I can do.” She said. I thought she was going to leave. But, in a flash I wasn’t ready for, she was back at me and pinned me against the wall.

Then I felt a piercing pain in my chest and when I looked down, I saw a sharp oak stake glowing with a silvery yellow. “Ashlee?” I asked gasping for air. She didn’t even seem to react to my surprise. “I’m sorry. But, I had to do it. You couldn’t be allowed to live like this. You had to be stopped.” She said and then she was gone. “Ashlee.” I said and fell to the ground. “What have you done?” I was in complete shock. Blood poured out of the wound. I felt poison flowing through my veins. I knew my body was trying to fight the infection. But, I also knew based on the stakes that I’ve seen in action, that there’s no fighting it. There’s only the inevitable death. “You won’t be found until it’s too late.” She said and then walked out of the room. I passed out then and it felt like I was swimming in a dark cloud.

I don’t know how much time passed before I woke up. But, when I did, I saw Jaise and Liam looking at me. I slowly sat up and they knelt next to me. “Matt! Are you okay?” My cousin asked me. “Yeah, I think…so.” I stammered. I coughed and wheezed for breath. They both helped me up and leaned me gently against the wall. “What happened?” Liam asked. “I don’t know,” I said. They gave me an off-setting look. “What do you mean you don’t know? Someone attacked you and tried to kill you!” I pushed off the wall and walked towards the bed. “I know. But, someone got the jump on me. I didn’t see who it was.” I told them. Jaise grabbed me and spun me around to face him.

“Tell me, looking into my eyes.” I steeled myself. “You know? That’s just creepy as heck. I didn’t know you liked me like that.” He rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers in front of my face. “Focus. Tell me now, that you didn’t see who attacked you.” I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I didn’t see who attacked me.” I forced myself to remain calm and then he sighed. “Fine.” Liam was pacing over in the corner. “Where’s Ashlee?” He asked. “I don’t know. She said she was going to meet me here, and then I was attacked. I don’t know who-“ An angry and loud buzzing drowned out what I was about to say. “What’s that?” Jaise asked. “Oh, that’s my summon, Sharla,” I told him.

“I see. What’s she do?” They both asked. “Tells me what the loyalties are from those around me. A shrill buzzing came from my shoulder. Liam and Jaise grew confused. “What?” Liam asked. “She says that one of you wants to kill me,” I said quietly. I backed away from them. “Matt?” Jaise asked. “Who?” I asked. She looked at me in confusion and then shrugged. She couldn’t tell what, though. Her powers weren’t that advanced. I guess that’s why she didn’t sense Ashlee’s betrayal. She gave me a look at that thought. Then she buzzed quietly. She said that she was sorry. She didn’t know why she couldn’t tell. Maybe the love she has or had for me blocked out her true intentions? I didn’t know. But, there’s only one thing we could do. Hopefully, find her and figure out what happened.

“Matt, you can’t think we mean to do you harm!” Jaise said in shock. I didn’t know what to think. Then Sharla buzzed loudly. “Oh, she didn’t sense you want to kill me. She sensed that you feared someone was trying to kill me. And that’s true. When doesn’t that happen to me?” I asked. Jaise sighed and then said, “Liam, call for security.” Jaise ordered. He nodded and walked off. A few minutes later, two large men in black with a long velvet black cloak appeared in the doorway. “What happened?” The taller one asked. He was thinner than his counterpart and looked the calmest. “Someone attacked Matt, and he says he doesn’t know who it is.” Liam answered. The shorter guard (really only by a couple inches) looked at me and then back at the others.

“So, is there someone you need us to find?” He asked. “Yes. Ashlee. She was supposed to meet him here. And he doesn’t know where she is.” The guards nodded. “Will do. If she’s in the castle still, we will find her.” The tall one said and they both left. I sighed. “Matt.” Jaise said looking at me. “I’m just tired. I want to shower, change and to bed.” I told him. He nodded. “Is there that was used in this room to protect him from anyone entering without his permission?” Jaise asked. “Yes, actually. Alayne gave him the magical code. She put it in here somewhere.” Liam said.

I walked over to the dresser and found a piece of parchment on it. “I think I found it.” I said. “There you go. Just say that and this room will be protected from even the gods. Only those with the right word and your blood will be able to enter.” Liam told me. I glanced at the puddle of blood on the floor and paled. “Oh, come on. You can’t think we are going to do that to you. We don’t even know the right words.” Liam snapped. Jaise just shook his head. “Matt, I’m not going to leave you alone tonight. I’ll be in that room.” He said. Liam waved and left the room. I closed and locked it. Then I glanced at the symbols on the paper. “What the hell?” I asked aloud. “What?” Jaise asked. I shook my head.

“I have no idea what the hell these symbols are.” I said. He looked at them and his face got all scrunched up. “Well, obviously this is for you. So, I’m going to go away now.” He said. I glared at him. He closed the door to the other room and then I looked back at the paper. The symbols changed into words. “Here these words, here this call. Magic and gods of protection and all. Come to me and shield this room. I ask you to protect me with a giant boom.” I read and then Jaise entered the room again.

“So, did you say it?” He asked. I blinked at him. A giant boom came and the room shook a little. We all dropped to our knees. “What the fuck was that?” He demanded. I burst out laughing. “Oh, just the warning. We are shielded.” I told him. I looked back at the paper and found the symbols back instead of the words. He gave me a blank look. “You sure?” He asked. “Yes, I’m positive.” I told him. He nodded and then went to his room and closed the door. I walked into the bathroom and got undressed. Then I turned the water on and waited for it to heat up before stepping in and washed up completely. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I finished and then walked back into the room and got dressed and then combed out my hair. I went to bed then and passed out really quick.

I don’t know how much time passed before someone was shaking me and then I sat up quickly. “Who? What?” I asked groggily. “Please, don’t say anything.” I heard a voice of a female. But, it wasn’t one I recognized. “Who are you?” I whispered. “Sharla,” She said. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know how to respond to that. Sharla? That’s the name of the fly. What the hell!? I wondered. “You’re the fly? How are you in human form?” I asked. I could sense that she was smiling and then she walked over and clicked on the lamp next to the bed. She had on a tight leather skirt and a dark strapless tank top that didn’t cover her stomach with high heeled open toed shoes. Her long dark red hair fanned her face and fell to her waist and she looked really slender, but nice curves.

“I was granted human form for a small time. I need to warn you. So, please just listen?” She said in a pleading tone. I nodded and refused to speak. “Okay, there’s something dark at work. But, it has nothing to do with the school. I can assure you of that. My power of sense has proved that much. No one here is against you. You can trust them. But, there’s something else at stake. Some other group is going to try and finish this school off. I don’t know why and I don’t know with what. But, I can feel a dark power coming and it’s not going to be pleasant. You have to be ready. You have to get everyone prepared or you’re all going to die.” She said.

I nodded. “I know. That’s why I am trying to learn all the magic I can. That’s why I want everyone to go through all the training they can get with magic and weapons and martial arts. But, Ashlee…That’s why she.” She gave me a warning look. I knew what that was for. “I don’t know why you…Well, you know. I don’t understand it. But, I know you must have a good reason.” She said. “I do. I don’t know what it is. But, I feel it. There’s a reason why I didn’t say the truth about that. I know they suspect me though for holding back information. I know they think I’m protecting someone. I just can’t say anything until I know for sure.” I told her. She nodded.

“I get it. I do. I just want you to be safe. But, my time is up. Just remember this. You’re not alone here. But, you are going to face your most powerful foe yet. There’s a vampire who’s coming. It’s not going to be easy. But, no matter what, you can’t give up!” Then she faded away and then she turned back into her fly form. Well, isn’t that something to ponder? I thought. Someone was always trying to kill me. I looked back at her. She was sitting up on her back legs and looking at me. “Are you sure this school is completely on my side?” I asked her.

She nodded enthusiastically. I took a deep breath. “Very well. I’m sure some of the people here don’t like me. And don’t want to follow me. But, what choice do they have? They didn’t want to take the job.” I said and then looked at my phone. The cool thing about that is I don’t have to charge the darn thing. It was only five in the morning and I crawled back under the covers and tried to calm my mind. I finally went to sleep again. I knew it wasn’t long before someone was shaking me awake again. I turned over to see Jaise looking down at me. “What’s up?” I asked. My voice raspy. “I’ve been thinking.” He started. I sat up. “Oh?” I asked him. “You shouldn’t have lied to me. You should have told me the truth about the other night.” I groaned. “Jaise! Come on! I already told you-“

“You told me a damn lie! What’s the truth?” He hissed. I just stared for a moment. “How do you know that it’s not the truth?” I countered. “I know you. I know. I could tell something was being left out and I heard Ashlee’s name being mentioned this morning.” He said. “Look, I always tell you. So, why would that change now?” I asked him. “I don’t know. Maybe you’re trying to protect someone?” He suggested. I shook my head. “Okay. Fine. The truth is that I am not being completely honest with you. But, trust me! I will tell you when you need to know. I just need to figure something out right now and I don’t want everyone thinking or getting the wrong impression when we don’t know all the facts.” I told him.

He nodded thinking about what I just said. “Very well. I think I can handle that. But, can you?” He asked. “I’m sorry for not being honest with you. I just don’t know how you’d respond.” I said. “That’s not what I meant,” He said and then smiled. “What are you talk-“ I began but a flash of movement and then pain exploded in my chest. I looked down to see a stake through my heart and it the entire weapon had this violet purple swirling around it. “What did you? I began, but the pain was too much. I dropped and convulsed on the bed.

“I’m sorry. But, I can’t handle liars anymore. I can’t deal with it. I don’t know what you were thinking about not letting me know everything. I just can’t handle being with a liar. I can’t handle following one. And I think Ashlee had the right idea. You’ve changed. “How do you?” I tried but the pain was too much again and I screamed. He only gave me a sad smile. “It’s simple. But, you’re too naïve to figure it out. “She never wanted you. She wanted someone who’s more experienced in the bedroom. You would never be able to please her. So, I am putting you out of your misery now. It’s for the best.” He said.

Then I sat up in bed gasping for breath. I could feel my heart pounding and was drenched in sweat. “Matt?” I turned to see Jaise opening up the door and looking at me in concern. “Y-yeah.” I stammered. “Something on your mind?” He asked. “If I tell you, are you going to run a stake through my heart?” I snapped. He gave me a confused and concerned look. “What?” He asked coming into the room. He only had on a pair of boxers and I never knew how toned he really was. He came in and sat on the edge of the bed. “Why would I stake you? You’re my cousin and I love you.” He said with an edge in his tone.

“I don’t know,” I said clutching my chest. “I’m sorry. I just… bad dream.” He patted me on the shoulder. “Matt, if there’s something you need to discuss. You know you can trust me, right?” He asked. “Y-yeah. But, I don’t know how you’re going to react.” I admitted. “I will probably over react. But, I won’t hurt you!” He said. I took a deep breath to steady and calm my nerves. “Okay, I wasn’t completely honest with you about who attacked me. But, I don’t know the full story about that and I don’t want you to overreact.” I told him.

“Ashlee attacked you didn’t she?” He asked. I was taken aback by that. “What makes you say that?” I asked. “Well, you’ve never been shy about telling us who attacked you before. But, now all of the sudden you’re holding back information? It wasn’t too hard to figure it out.” He told me. “Oh, well please don’t be mad at her until we know what’s really going on and please don’t do anything to her.” He shook his head. “Oh, I’m going to kick her ass! But, I’ll do it calmly.” He promised. “NO!” I screamed at the top of my lungs and for some reason, it caused the room to shake violently.

“What the hell?” Jaise asked. “I don’t think the room likes your answer to my request,” I told him. He laughed and then stopped abruptly. “Wait, you’re serious?” He asked. I nodded, completely straight-faced. He groaned. “Well, fine. But, I won’t be completely nice to her if I see her. But, I promise I won’t attack her unless what she says makes me mad or she proves to be your enemy. I don’t want you to be with someone who’s going to hurt you.” I didn’t answer that. “What now?” He asked me. I knew he wasn’t going to let it go.

“You…You didn’t or don’t want her to do you?” I asked in a quiet voice. He only stared at me for a while. “No! Of course not! She’s your girlfriend. I…I don’t need help finding a girlfriend. Besides, stealing another’s guys’ girl is just wrong. And besides. Not only that, but you’re my cousin. My blood and that’s your first girlfriend, right? Your first love? I would never do that to you!” He said. I smiled at that. “I know, and thanks for reassuring me. The dream… It wasn’t pleasant.” I admitted. He hugged me then.

“You don’t have to worry about it, though.” When he grabbed me, I stiffened a bit. If he noticed, he didn’t react. So, I figured it wasn’t a big deal. “You should try to get some more sleep. We can get you to training later. You run this place now. They have to wait for you.” He said with a laugh. I smiled at that and nodded. I think I fell asleep then for a few hours. I didn’t have any more dreams and I was really thankful about that. I don’t know if I could handle anymore.

When I woke up and looked at the clock, I found it past ten. Well, I guess this was the time to get up finally. I showered and changed into khakis and a sleeveless shirt. I put on my sneakers and then walked down into the throne room. A large group of people had gathered at this point and were looking really ticked off. “What’s going on?” I asked. “Something happened with the protection of this castle. We have people searching the grounds, thinking that there’s some supernatural crap here.” Someone said. “Who?” I asked.

“Reporters. They are in the courtyard. We made sure everyone came back into the castle and have security at every entrance. But, we don’t know how long we can pretend that we are just a group of people living here away from the others. And we are worried that someone is going to get in.” I turned to Tom. “Are all the entrances secure?” I asked. He nodded. I have talked to Marcus. He’s the guy I chose as my warden. He knows the ins and outs of the castle. He has men at every entrance and secret passage. He’s sent others to seal them off. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t have intruders here soon enough.” He said, his tone worried.

“Well, I will go talk to them. How many of you did they see?” I asked. No one said anything for a while. “Oh, god!” I groaned. “Actually? It was only three. A male and two female students. The boy two years younger than you. A girl your age and the other group three years older than you.” A middle-aged woman commented. “Where are they?” I asked. No one spoke up. I sighed. “My god people. They aren’t in trouble. I just want to know. I may need their help with a plan to get rid of the humans.”

The three people stepped forward. The boy and the older girl I could claim as my younger brother and older sister. The other girl could be my twin. She almost looked exactly like me. Was this one of those doppelganger moments? I turned towards the woman who told me who was seen. “Excuse me, ma’am?” I said looking at her. “Yes?” She asked warily. “I have an idea. But, I’m going to need your help. All of you.” I said. The three stepped forward. I looked at the girl who was the same age as me. “You are my twin sister,” I told her. We may be able to pull it off. She nodded looking confused. I turned to the boy. You’re my younger brother. And then turned towards the older girl. “I’m your older sister?” She asked catching on.

I nodded. Then the woman spoke up. “Oh, and you want me to play the mother?” She asked. “Yes. It’s going to be a long shot. But, I think I may know how to make it work.” I said. I started out of the room and the others followed me. I took a deep breath and walked down the steps. “What’s our names?” I asked. “I’m Sasha.” The woman said. “Virginia.” The older girl told me. “Joy.” My ‘twin’ said. “Frank.” I nodded at all of them. Sasha took the lead. We walked out through the front doors and reporters began to record us and take our photos.

“So, what are you all doing here? We’ve never been able to get through the cave before. So, why all of a sudden?” A man asked. Sasha didn’t waste any time. “My family and I have come here on a family business. My children are doing a project for school and college on ‘haunted’ castles and we did some research. Turns out an ancestor of ours actually owned this castle. So, they are doing history on family and the supernatural. We actually have permission to be here. So, you all can leave. You’re actually trespassing.” She said coldly. We all crossed our arms. I couldn’t have thought of a better response to that.

“Actually, we don’t have to. We have been granted permission to be here. And we have a right to check inside the castle. It’s been abandoned for a long time. We noticed you have security at the five main doors here. Why is that?” A woman asked with a wicked gleam in her eyes. “To keep people from barging in on private property.” I snapped. “Watch your tone you scrawny looking bastard child.” The man hissed back. I only glared. “Hey, I think I have found something!”

A young looking man with greasy looking hair said running over carrying a box of something. He dropped it on the ground and gasped for breath. The woman knelt down and opened it up. We all took a deep breath. Stakes! How could we have not known about that!? “What are these things?” The older man asked. “Stakes. I’ve seen them in vampire movies.” The young man said with excitement. “So, just going to tell us it’s a project for school?” The woman demanded cruelly. “Yes, and that’s all you need to know. Now, get off our property.” Sasha snapped.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” She said and then she dug through the box. She pulled out a stake that swirled with gray. “Why are you playing with sticks?” Veronica asked. Joy laughed and Frank looked scared. “Oh, I have a theory. There’s something here, you don’t want us to see. So, you want us to leave and lie to us about a project. But, see? I have a theory that there’s more of you in there beside you and the security at the doors. I bet there’s hundreds if not thousands of you in there. I mean it’s a big castle. There’s no way you live here alone.” She went on circling us.

“So, maybe we like our space?” I suggested. “No, I doubt that. I’m going to find out what is going on. And I think the secret starts with these weapons and you.” She said. “What about them? They are pointed sticks. We use them for fire.” Sasha tried. “You make them look like this, just to throw them in a fire pit?” She countered. “We found them.” Joy said. They were here when we came here. We don’t have a lot of need for a lot of firewood.” She tried. “That’s almost conceivable, but then how do you explain their glow?” “What glow?” Frank asked, his voice sounding a little higher than normal. The woman sneered.

“You seem scared son. Why is that?” She asked with mock concern. “Well, you’re twirling a pointed stick around that can hurt someone. Why wouldn’t he be scared?” Veronica snapped. “Oh, is that the only reason?” She asked. She was behind Frank and before any of us knew what was happening, she jammed it into his chest. We rushed towards him and got her on the ground. How did we not be able to stop that!? I wanted to scream. Frank lay screaming and crying on the ground. “I think it’s time to confess what you really are.” She demanded. “What the fuck is wrong with you!? You just jammed that into his heart. I want to do that to you and see if you will survive it!” Joy screamed.

Tears running down her face. “Frank.” She sobbed. Veronica looked like she was on the verge of tears, but she wasn’t broken down. She looked like she was ready to rip out throats. “You. Killed. Him.” She said slowly. “Yes, it looks like it. “I’m very sorry for your loss dear.” Veronica shook her head. “You killed my brother.” She said with tears falling down her face. “You will fucking pay you to skank!” She screamed. Her voice echoed all around us. “You can give up the charade bitch.” The man said. “He is our brother. She and I are sisters. You just killed our baby brother. You’re going to die for that.” Joy threatened.

“Oh, see I don’t think so.” The woman said. She wiped her hands through her gnarled brown hair and then people came running from the spot where the tunnel is located. They wore armor and carried guns. “Shoot!” Frank lay screaming on the ground. His skin turning flaky and falling off. “Well, he’s not human and I am going to bet neither are you.” She said began walking behind the others. We all rushed to stop her, but something struck us in the chest.

I saw the others drop like flies. They fell to the ground and couldn’t move and I could feel a poison spread through my body. But, seeing the others on the ground helpless, and watching Frank die a painful death enraged me. “You will ALL FUCKING PAY!” I screamed. I charged towards them and smashed through. Several went flying and I snapped the next ones neck. I punched straight through another’s heart and set one on fire. I launched a lightning bolt through the stomach of one coming up behind me and I punched and kicked my way through their lines.

I could feel the adrenaline wearing off. I wasn’t about to give up, though! I couldn’t let them win this time! I wasn’t going to lose! I told myself. I kept pushing myself forward and fighting through the cops and soldiers they sent. Several shot at me with pistols and small shotguns. But, I wasn’t feeling them. I got through five more before the blood loss weakened me to the point where I couldn’t go on anymore. I dropped to my stomach and tried to crawl towards them, but couldn’t move more than a couple inches. I gasped for breath and someone kicked me and turned me over onto my back.

I stared through blurred eyes and saw the woman who Staked Frank. “You obviously aren’t human. You would have died a long time ago. But, you’re at your end now. I can see it. I found this one stake in the box and its glowing and matching your streak. I noticed that you all have them. I think since I staked the boy with a gray one and he’s dying, by jamming this into your heart, it will kill you as well.” She said. “You won’t…win.” I said coughing up blood.

“No? We will find out soon enough.” She said. She knelt down next to me and went to jam the stake into my heart. I closed my eyes and waited for the strike. But, it never came. I reopened them and saw Jaise holding the woman’s wrist. “You aren’t killing any more of us today.” He said calmly. She only sneered. “You think you are going to-“ She didn’t finish before Jaise snapped her wrist like a twig. The sickening snap of her bones in her wrist and then he tossed her several feet away.

The security soldiers were all around the humans and other vampires joined into the fight. The woman was seen running away and pushing the others forward. I lost sight of her and could barely sit up. Pain shot through me as my body fought to remove the bullets and fight the poison. I heard the battle all around me and it didn’t last long. A few vampires were down, but I felt like they would be okay. Julie was right next to me then and using her magic on me. “Matt, hold on. You’re going to be fine. I’m just speeding up the healing power of your body.

I nodded weakly. “How is he?” I heard Liam ask. “Weak, but with some food, blood and rest I think he’ll be fine.” She said. “Should we get him to the medical ward?” He asked her. “No, I’ll be fine. I have to worry about the others.” I said. They shook their head. “No, you put me in charge of the healing. So, let me do my job.” She said firmly. “But, it’s my job to be in charge of everything.” I said being stubborn. “Well, you are the School Master.” She said. She helped me sit up and then they both got me to my feet. Jaise came back and walked next to me as I limped along.

The humans were dead and littered the ground. “What are we going to do with their bodies?” I asked. “We all have some ideas. But, I don’t know if they are going to be good enough.” Someone said. “I think we should just burn the bodies.” Liam said. I only stared at him. “Well, you don’t have to like the idea.” He muttered. “Actually, I like it. With the fire users altogether, we can burn them and the bones and there wouldn’t have any proof that anyone ever came here.” I said. “Matt, we need to talk about what you did.” I turned to face Jaise. “What? I was protecting us.”

“Oh, I know and you fought amazingly. But, I’m concerned with how it’s going to affect you. You took someone’s life.” He said. “Why are you making him think of it?” Liam demanded. “He’s got to face it at some point.” Jaise said defensively. “He’s right.” I said to Liam when I saw him about to argue more. “There might be some issues with guilt down the road. But, right now I am fine. When the time comes I will go to someone to talk about it and deal with it. I will not let it control me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was protecting us and that’s now my job. They had no right to come here and no right to trespass and definitely no right to attack us! I’m only concerned about that woman getting away.” I said.

“You don’t think she’s going to come back do you?” Julie asked. “I do. I have a feeling.” Everyone sighed. “Well, your feelings haven’t been wrong so far. I just wished they weren’t right all the time.” She commented. “I do too.” I said to them. We all went out and got the bodies and piled them up in the back. We cleared a section of grass and then dug a one-foot trench around the area we chose for a burning pit. Then we used magic to create giant boulders and placed them in the trench. Then we pushed dirt around it and between them.

“I think it’s ready for use now.” I said. “Yeah, but we need logs.” Liam said. He didn’t look right. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Yeah, I just don’t like this. I know we have to do it. But, I don’t like it.” He said. I nodded. Then a random thought came to me. “Liam? I have a question about something.” He looked at me expectantly. “How come you can eat animals and cut down trees if your element is nature?” He sighed and then chuckled darkly.

“It isn’t that I am immune to the feelings of animals and plants. But, after a while, you can learn to tune them out. Or at least, numb them. A lot of earth users end up going vegetarian because the pain of cutting up plants isn’t as bad. But, when they don’t learn to control the pain from the animals and the fear, it ends up controlling them. I won’t let myself get to that. So, I am used to eating meat, plants, and cutting down trees and such.” He explained. “So, basically, the cries of living plants and animals don’t bother you much.” I said. “Nope, sorry that was kind of winded wasn’t it?” He asked. “Yeah, but that’s okay. That’s just who you are. You explain things and you use a lot of words behind it.” He laughed.

“So, I am going to take a group into the woods and gather wood. You and Jaise should gather as many fire users as possible and prepare to start the fire.” He suggested. I nodded. The two guards appeared and walked up to me. “Yes?” I asked. “We couldn’t find Ashlee anywhere in the castle. If she’s still in the area, she is somewhere we can’t find her.” The tall man said. “I didn’t think she would still be around here. Wherever she is, I hope she’s okay and she’ll just have to fend for herself.” I said. “Thanks for looking, though.” The short one nodded and looked stunned.

They left and I shouted for Tom to approach. He walked over looking confused. “What’s up?” He asked. “We are going to have to shield this area from human interference. Do you have any suggestions?” I asked him. He only shook his head. I felt light headed and then dropped to my knees. “What’s wrong?” Tom asked me and his voice sounded like it came from a good distance away. I couldn’t focus on that. Something else took my focus. “You think you’re going to win? You think you have the power to protect your people? You don’t have the strength or the power to survive against me. You don’t have the strength to best me. You’re weak. The humans are going to destroy you!”

I looked up at the sky and stared at the sun sinking on the horizon. “What’s the matter?” Jaise asked coming up to me. “I don’t know.” I heard Tom said. “We have to seal off that area.” I said. They all looked at where I was pointing. “How do you expect us to close the sky?!” Shouts rang up all around me and all asking questions and all at once. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think. All I know is if we didn’t seal it off, we were going to die! “I don’t know!” I screamed.

Everyone fell silent then. “For all I know or care, use magic! Combine ice, earth, and fire magic to create an icy stone ceiling. Use earth magic on the surrounding trees to create a larger and thicker wall! I don’t care how you do it! If we don’t, we will all die!” I shouted and then walked away from the group. I heard them say that I finally lost it and they didn’t think I was qualified for leading them. I didn’t care. I walked into the castle and went to where I heard the humans were and fed a little from them.

I walked around the grounds and felt vampires on me everywhere I went. Tom was right next to me one instant. “I don’t blame you for freaking out. But, you can’t lose it like that.” He said and then I looked at him. He flinched away like he feared I would bite his head off. I sighed. “I know, but someone got into my head. It felt like I was Harry Potter for a moment there. He said that the humans were going to destroy us. We have to do something to prevent them from getting the upper hand. If an army comes in, it won’t matter how many we take out.”

I continued my reasoning, “They will win in the end. Especially since a lot of the vampires aren’t good with magic. We have to do something to prevent them from gaining the upper hand.” I told him. He nodded in agreement. “Do you think creating the wall and ceiling you suggested will work?” I took a deep breath. “Not for long. But, I think it may give us some time.” I admitted. “Time to what?” He asked sounded scared for the answer. “Time enough to fight and die or flee and get slaughtered.” I said and walked away. I went into the woods around the castle but soon came to the end with the moon high in the sky.

I didn’t notice at first that the castle was completely surrounded by mountains on all sides. I didn’t even realize that. The ceiling might actually work. We just have to work together. But, I don’t think I will have enough people to do it. So, I guess I am on my own. Well, whatever. I’m used to doing things on my own and this is the time to prove that I can.

It was near sunrise when I entered into the courtyard. I looked at the mountains and then closed my eyes. I felt the fire, ice, and earth magic rise inside me and then I spread my palms out wide. The air magic circled around me lifting me into the air and the other elements burst forth. I opened my eyes and saw green, red and crystal blue sparkling and swirling colors hit the mountains around the tips and it took a while. I slowly started to notice a change. A thin frame of the stone wall I was creating slowly formed and stretched down and then up. It actually took on the form of the mountain and even the color. I don’t know how long I was standing there casting the spell. It felt like minutes, and I managed to get several feet created.

“Matt!” Someone shouted. I don’t know who it was. I couldn’t tell male or female. I kept the spell up and got a couple more feet before someone tackled me to the ground. “What the hell is wrong with-“ I couldn’t finish. My head spun and I dropped to my knees. I noticed my shirt stuck to me and I was covered in sweat. I gasped for breath. I couldn’t move for a while and then I slowly climbed to my feet. I looked at the one who stopped me and froze. Ashlee was staring at me with a smile. She wore a mini skirt and a silk tank top that doesn’t cover her completely and sandals.

She had her long dark hair in two braids in the front of her face. “Ashlee?” I asked stunned. “Yeah, it’s good to see you too. I’m glad you’re okay.” She said. I wanted to believe her. But, I couldn’t understand why she was here. “Why are you here?” I demanded. She only gave me a sad smile. “I came back to you. I couldn’t be without you. I want to help you and protect our friends. I want to protect you! You’re the only person who matters to me. Even my own family hasn’t met as much to me as you.” She laughed slightly at that.

“I don’t understand what’s going on.” I admitted to her. She gave me a sad smile. “I know and for what I did, there’s no apologizing for that. But, I needed you to think that I betrayed you and killed you off. That way the King of the vampires wouldn’t come after you now that the gateway is open.” “Nergal?” I choked out. She looked at me in concern. “No. Not him. He’s not awakened yet. But, there’s a vampire. He’s really powerful and he has powers no other vampire has. Not even Ran or Jason. I don’t know how or why. But, he’s stronger than either of them.” I only gave me a look of disbelief.

“How is that possible?” I asked. She shrugged. “They are royal vampires and have been around for thousands of years. Even if this guy is old, he won’t be able to beat them. They are immune to magic, just like I am unless from another royal! You’re just trying to trick me!” I shouted and started to walk away. “Matt, please!” Her voice broke with emotion and I couldn’t leave her. “Why should I believe you?” I demanded.

“I guess I deserve that. But, you have to know the truth about how I feel about you. I wouldn’t actually kill you. Just make it look like it. I almost died coming here. I had to warn you. If you turn me out, I will be killed. Please, don’t banish me to death! I did everything to protect you.” She told me. “I don’t know how to believe that,” I told her. “Typical guy. Get beat by a girl and you turn against us.” I glared at her and then I was right on her face. “I am not turning from you because you ‘beat’ me. I’m not sure how to trust you after you tried to kill me!” I screamed. She didn’t flinch from me and just gave me a steady stare. “Because I am a girl?” She asked quietly.

“No! Because you’re my girlfriend! We are supposed to protect each other! Not kill each other!” She only shook her head in frustration. “Matt, please let me make it up to you. I know it’s going to take some time. But, please. I still and always have loved you! Nothing has changed. I did that to save you. I know it’s wrong of me. But, I can’t do this without knowing that you and I are still together and that you still love me.” She said.

“What? Of course, I still love you! But, that…It’s…” I couldn’t finish. “I know. Let me help.” She said. She then wrapped me in a tight hug. “If you would have kept the spell going, it would have killed you. You know that?” She asked me. Security came pouring out of the castle then. They surrounded us. “Sir, are you okay?” They demanded while glaring at Ashlee. “Yes, I’m okay. Thank you.” They nodded. A female asked, “You want us to take her to the dungeons?” Ashlee gave me a feared filled look. “No, I think I can handle her,” I said with a blank face. Ashlee looked at me in confusion.

“Very well. Three of us are going to be trained especially for your personal protection.” The woman said. “Yes, Melinda thinks you’re going to need bodyguards. Elite guards and she feels that with your approval some of us may qualify for that role.” I looked at them. “Why?” I asked. “People are always trying to kill you. That’s why.” She said. I glared at her. Ashlee cringed. “How do we know you’re not the one who attacked him in his room. “She is.” “I am,” She said at the same time.

No one moved for a long time. Then they all charged in at her even though I told them not to. They hit a solid ice wall and bounced back. “I told you, I have this.” I said and then almost collapsed from exhaustion. “You’ve used too much magic,” She said. “He needs blood and something to eat,” Ashlee commanded. No one moved. “You want him to die?” She snapped. The woman was the first to react. She sprinted off at full speed into the castle. “How did he get so weak?” The male guard asked suspiciously. She pointed at the sky. He looked up and gasped.

“You mean, he did all that?” She nodded. I laughed. “It’s not that impressive.” I mumbled. “How long is it?” He asked. “I don’t know. I want to guess about fifty feet. Roughly.” I said. “How many elements?” Ashlee asked. I glared at them all. “What’s with the twenty questions?” She sighed. “How many spells. “Four. Fire, ice, earth to create the ceiling. Air to lift me up.” She didn’t say anything for a while. “What?” I asked. “I didn’t tackle you from the air. You were on the ground.” She said to me.

“You mean you cast three massive spells all the way from down here to up there and got that much effect?” The guard asked impressed. “You make it sound like a miracle.” I grumbled. “It is! I have seen some powerful spell casters and none of them have been able to do that!” He said. “He’s right Matt. No other vampire or witch has been able to do anything like this before. I-“

The woman was coming back running. She stopped in front of me holding out a cup to me. I took it and nodded thanks. I gulped it down. Then Jaise, Julie, and Liam were all around us. “So, you have decided to come back and finish him off?” Jaise asked. She sighed. “Yes, exactly! I came back begging for his help and to offer him an apology. Risked getting killed and to ask for his forgiveness and to win him back only to slice off his nuts and shove them down his throat and then cut off his head.” She snapped.

“Enough with the dramatics there damn.” Liam said grabbing himself. I flinched at the tone. I could feel the strength coming back. “I have to complete the ceiling.” I said standing up. “Oh, no. You’ve been casting that spell for hours. You’re still weak. Let someone else do it.” Ashlee said. “They don’t know the right amount of power. Besides, I’m the only one here who has all the elements we need.” I told them. “Yes, but there’s other vampires with the elements. You will just need a few of them. And if it’s the right amount of power, I think there’s a channel energy spell that some of the teachers know. You can get a large group of vampires together and channel their magic through you and then create the ceiling. It will work a lot faster and it won’t kill you.”

Everyone agreed with her so I thought what the heck. What could go wrong? Unless she wanted all of us to be linked and then she could kill one which would kill me. “I know what you’re thinking. I don’t want you dead. Otherwise, I would have used the stake he gave me instead of switching it out with the one I used on you.” Well, I guess that would make any romantic topic about someone’s love try to kill them better. So, I should feel grateful and happy yes?

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