Chapter 17 Crushing the Fire
“Damn it!” I swore in frustration and punched the wooden table in anger. The other guardians watched me with troubled looks and worry on their faces.
We were all back at North’s place after what happened in Mexico and gathered in the hall room, trying to figure out another plan to get Lantern back and also rescue Abby.
“I can’t believe I let those damn nightmares slip through me and took Lantern away!” I shouted to myself in frustration.
“Just calm down, mate. It wasn’t your fault,” Bunny tried to assure me.
“He’s right, Jack. We were all there, but we couldn’t prevent what happened,” agreed Tooth. “You shouldn’t blame yourself.”
Even though they were trying so hard to calm me down, I still couldn’t stop thinking what could be happening to Lantern right now. “How can I calm down?! Who knows what Pitch is doing to him right about now! He could be torturing him! Abusing him! Or even turning him against us! We have to do something now!” I hit the floor with my staff in frustration and accidentally blasting the room with an ice cold wind.
“Jack! Calm down!” Ordered North in a serious tone. “Panicking von’t get us anyvhere. Ve have to stay calm and plan out carefully for next time. For now, ve know zhat he is using Lantern to create fear and help make him get stronger. His nightmares vas good proof zhat since ve could barely fight zhem off now.”
“Then what do you suggest we do?” I demanded.
“Like I said, ve need to be prepared,” said North. “I’ll get zhe yetis and elves ready vhen somezhing happens.”
“Good idea. I’ll get the Sentinels ready on call as well,” agreed Bunny.
Even though what North said was true, I can’t get rid of this horrible feeling inside of me. It was like every minute gone was another minute Lantern have to be under Pitch’s control.
Suddenly, I felt something on my shoulder and I turned around to see Sandy’s hand. Sandy was trying to give me an assuring smile, but even I can see the worry in his eyes.
“I know, Sandy,” I sighed. “But I just can’t stop worrying.”
Sandy nodded that he understood what I was feeling. He made several sand figures over his head really quickly as if he was explaining in a fast pace. Knowing Sandy, he was probably trying to calm me down.
“Alright, I get it. Thanks, Sandy,” I smiled at him in appreciation.
Sandy smiled back as his reply.
Just when the atmosphere was getting calmer and under control, something came flying towards Tooth. It was the mini fairies. The small group of mini tooth fairies seemed to be reporting something to Tooth in chirps and squeaks in an alarmed tone. From the look on Tooth’s face that was getting paler, it wasn’t good news.
“What?! Oh no! Is this true?” Tooth cried out in shock.
The mini fairies squeaked and nodded.
“The fairies said that some Nightmares invaded the Tooth Palace!” Announced Tooth, quickly.
“The Tooth Palace? Again?” Cried Bunny, in disbelief. “What does that bloke have against teeth?”
Sandy also made a sand figures of teeth and a question mark over his head.
“Ve must get to zhe Tooth Palace immediately if ve vant to find out,” said North with a grim tone.
We arrived at the Tooth Palace not long after we found out there was trouble. We all came on the sleigh, except for Tooth, who came flying before us. She was the owner of the place, so of course she would be more worried than us.
We all immediately jumped out before the sleigh even made a proper stop when we spotted Tooth talking to her fairies. I also spotted Baby Tooth among the mini fairies reporting to her. When she spotted me, she immediately zoomed towards me with high pitch chirps and squeaks. I can see the panic in her eyes that whatever happened here freaked her out. I guess the memory of the time when the Tooth Palace was attacked by the army of Nightmares was still fresh in her mind.
Baby Tooth came flying into my chest, shaking. I placed my hand on her, hoping that it would calm her down.
“It’s alright, Baby Tooth. We’re here now,” I told her, hoping that would help her feel better. “So where’re the Nightmares?” I turned to Tooth.
“They’re already gone,” she reported.
“Gone? Did zhey take anyzhing?” Wondered North.
All the fairies in the palace were chirping loudly around us in distress. It was so loud that I swore that the racket was echoing throughout the palace. It was like they were all trying to talk all at once.
Tooth’s face didn’t look any better than her helpers. “It’s Lantern’s teeth. They took Lantern’s teeth,” she said with an ominous tone.
This definitely didn’t sound good.
“IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOU THAT I DIED!”
Jack pointed at me with a burning rage in his eyes. His whole body was on fire and the flames were burning fiercely.
I was taken aback, confused. Died? What was he talking about?
“You died... because of me? What are you talking about?” I demanded.
“More than ten years ago, me and my friends were at the mine and you messed around with the ouji board! If you didn’t freak out my friends, then the mine wouldn’t have collapse from the explosion!” He screamed at me, angrily.
Ouji board? Mine? Explosion? Something inside my memory started remember an event like this. Yes, it was several years ago. A group of curious boys came to an abandoned mine to play around with some wooden board, hoping to have a conversation with the dead. I thought it would be interesting to communicate with them since I haven’t talked with anyone for so long and not to mention, no one can see me besides those that weren’t human.
So I scared them for the fun of it, but what I didn’t expect was the explosion. One of the boys became so frightened that he ran into a cart of dynamite and clumsily dropped a match stick when he lit it. The explosion caused the mine to cave in and a life was lost. Remembering that event sent guilt into my conscience. I never meant for anyone to die. That was never my intention when I scared those boys. I only scared them out of amusement.
“So you were that boy,” I realized. My memory started to recall one of the boys’ face. He was the only one that stood up and spoke to me that night. He was the bravest amongst the group, so he made quite an impression on me.
“So you remembered, you monster!” He shouted in anger. Then he sent a wave of fire at me. I immediately conjured up a wall of black sand, blocking the fire from hitting me.
“I assure you that it wasn’t my attention to hurt anyone that night,” I tried to explain. “Much less, kill.”
This was getting out of hand. The look in his eyes was filled with anger and hatred. This was not part of the plan. The boy already didn’t like me already. Now, he apparently hated my guts. Why was convincing him to come to my side so complicated? Where were those Nightmares that I sent to get what I needed?
“Yeah, right! You tried to get rid of Sandy! Don’t think that I don’t know what you did to him when you tried to get rid of the Guardians last time! I heard everything already, you murderer!” Jack continued to glare at me with hatred. Flames began to lit up around the boy’s body. I know for a fact that the fire can’t hurt the boy since this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen him like this. The boy’s anger was burning dangerously.
Jack conjured up a large amount of fire around him. Then he massed the flames together before shooting it in my direction.
I dodged out of the way in time, so the cannon ball-sized fire ended up blowing the globe behind me. Dust scattered all over the place. When the dust dispersed, the giant globe was still standing. Good thing that the globe was made with very tough metal and powerful magic or it would’ve been blown up into scrap.
“Calm down right now!” I ordered him but it didn’t look like he wasn’t going to do just that.
“Like hell I would!” He shouted and shot another wave of fire at me.
I conjured up a large scythe with my black sand and swiped the flames with the blade. Then I summoned more black sand around me like a mist and sent them towards the furious fire spirit. The black sand tried to wrapped themselves around him, but the boy kept shooting waves of fire at them to keep them away.
“Nightmares! Come!” I called upon my dark minions.
Immediately, the black beasts appeared from the shadows and dashed towards the young fire spirit. They swarmed around him like a black wall to trap him like a rat. Jack continued to fight them off with his fire like some kind of out of control fire storm. He blasted many of my nightmares to smithereens, but no matter how many nightmares were destroyed, I still called out more. Jack easily got outnumbered and since he just battled with the guardians, it wasn’t long for him to get exhausted. His flames were getting weaker, but he still put up a tough fight.
“Rargh!” Jack cried out as he sent his last fireball before my nightmares finally got to him and wrapped him with a thick blanket of black sand. The lantern pole was dropped from his hand when the sand squeezed it out of his grip. He was now caught, immobile, and defenseless.
Jack kept trying to squirm himself out, but the sand only got tighter and tighter the more he struggled. I floated up to face him with the use of my black sand around my feet.
“Let me go, you freakin’ bastard! Murderer!” He shouted at me with eyes wanting to burn me to crisp.
“You better listen to me and calm your flames down or I won’t guarantee your sister’s well being,” I warned him.
“Not only are you a murderer, but a kidnapper too! Son of a b...!” The boy started to swear like mad. He was calling me in so many very rude names that even my eye twitched at some of them. Do I have to reeducate him about foul languages again?
I stared at him, wondering what to do now. The boy won’t listen to me anymore with hatred this strong. I worked so hard to make the boy mine, I won’t have my plans ruin at this stage. Oh the frustration!
Then I heard a Nightmare calling behind me, so I turned around to see what it wanted. “What is it?!” I snapped in irritation. That’s when I saw what it had in its jaws. I felt my chest lighting up and a smile growing on my face. Finally, I have what I needed. “Finally! Talk about good timing,” I cried in relief. “Now give it to me.” I reached out my hand for it.
The nightmare stepped forward and placed a golden container in my hand. The container was almost a cylinder shape except for this one side that was flat. There were diamond shape designs on the flat surface of the container. At the end of the cylinder, there was also a picture of a boy with wavy red-orange hair and hazel brown eyes, smiling playfully. The image was none other than the fire spirit himself, but the only difference was that this image belonged to him when he was still alive.
“Do you know what this is, Jack?” I turned around and showed the container to the fire spirit.
Jack stopped cursing and glared at me before staring at the container.
“It’s a tube, so what?” He growled.
“Oh, but not just any tube. Do you know what the Tooth Fairy does?” I asked.
“Yeah, she collects teeth. Even a kindergarten knows that!” He retorted.
“And do you know why?” I asked again.
“Something about the teeth holding memories of the kids or something, so Tooth keeps the memories in a safe place until they are needed,” Jack said while trying to remember what he could remember. “So what does this have anything to do with that tube?” He demanded.
“Well, Jack, this here is a container that holds the teeth,” I explained. “And do you know whose teeth these belong to?”
Jack stared at the container and noticed the image at the end. His face started to show shock and even... fear.
“What do you want with my teeth?” He demanded nervously.
“Like what you said, the teeth holds the memories,” I reminded him. “So what would happen if I mess around with it?”
Jack’s face turned pale. “You aren’t serious,” Jack said in almost in a whisper.
“Oh, Jack, since when was I not?” I sneered at him in victory.
“No way! Don’t you dare mess with my memories!” He cried out in anger and fear. He started to struggle again, but he was too weak to break free.
I began to wrapped the container with black sand, slowly seeping my powers into his memories. There were flashes of light sparking from the container as it tried to resist my powers.
“Aaargh!” The boy screamed in pain as he felt my powers trying to break into his mind. He began to struggle even more. “Stop! STOP IT!”
I ignored his pleas and cries as I continued to try to break into his memories.
The boy kept screaming and struggling. He kept pushing back my powers to prevent them from touching his mind. His will was very strong. It wasn’t going to be easy to break him.
I pushed harder and harder. The barrier around his mind was almost breaking. Just a little bit more.
Dood doo doo do doooo!
What the blazes was that?!!
Out of nowhere, a swarm of fire balls came charging and attacked me like angry bees. Their flaming bodies were biting at me like bee stings. I can’t believe I forgot about the boy’s wisps! They must’ve been hiding in that damn lantern! I should’ve notice their absence!
I tried to swing my arms around to chase away these pests, but they kept attacking me. They must be trying to protect the fire spirit. Such annoyance!
“Nightmares! Get rid of these pests!” I ordered loudly in frustration.
The Nightmares immediately attacked the wisps, who were now flying away from my black horses in fear.
“NO!” Jack screamed in horror. He was already sweating and breathing in exhaustion from the pain earlier, but he still had energy to try and struggle again. “Don’t you DARE touch my wisps!”
I ignored the boy and let the Nightmares do their job. The black horses chased the screaming wisps and with a swift blow, the Nightmares crushed the wisps one by one with their strong jaws.
The wisps screamed in fear as each one of them were extinguished. One by one, the little flaming pests were being exterminated.
“NOOOOOO!!! STOOOOOPPPPP!!!” Jack screamed in devastation. His eyes were wide in horror as we watched his wisps being taken out. He fought even harder to free himself, but he no longer had any strength left. He was helpless and could only watch his little flames die before his eyes. “PLEASE!!! STOP IT!! I promise I’ll listen to whatever you say! Don’t hurt my wisps! PLEASE!!!”
Little by little, the number of the wisps were dwindling rapidly. Tears were streaming down from the boy’s horrified eyes. He continued to scream and cry out in pleas, but I only treated as nothing but air to my ears.
Finally, the last of the wisps were gone. Not one survived. The Nightmares completed their job swiftly.
Now that the extermination was over, there was an eerie silence.
The boy was completely dead silent from the shock. Tears were still running down his face, but his eyes became blank from overwhelming despair. I can see it in his eyes that his spirit was completely shattered. His heart was completely broken.
It almost pained me to see such misery in his eyes, but what’s done was done. I had no choice but to play this card since the boy wouldn’t listen to me with that temper of his. Even though I never expect to have to go this far, but it had done what I needed. The boy’s will was now broken.
I tried to break into the boy’s memories again. The black sand seeped into the golden container like water. It was now easier since the barrier that was protecting the boy’s mind was now gone.
“This is what happens to those who disobey me,” I said to the boy. I wasn’t sure if he heard me or not since his eyes already looked dead. “But rest assured, this will be quick. Your memories and your pain will be gone. You will remember nothing from before but you will be reborn with new ones. No wisps, no pain nor despair.”
As my powers slowly took control of Jack’s mind, the black sand that was holding him captive was slowly shifting and growing in size. More black sand started to swarm around the boy and add to the mass..
I watched as the black sand slowly engulfed him completely and wrapped around him like a cocoon. I will have to wait patiently as my dark powers seeped into the boy’s body and change him to be what I always wanted.
My perfect henchman.
Abby was walking through some strange unfamiliar forest with the black stallion and wisp beside her. They just recently came out of a crack at the side of a cliff after walking through some very long tunnels inside. It took them awhile to get out from the dark underground city, but somehow, the black stallion was able to lead them out without getting lost once.
The sky was already night and filled with billions of tiny twinkling stars in the dark sky. There were some clouds hovering above and covering some part of the moon.
As they were walking, the black stallion suddenly made a stop and stared at the sky with its ears twitching around as if it was hearing something.
Sensing that something was strange, Abby asked the black stallion curiously, “Is something de matter?”
The black stallion didn’t show any sign of replying to the little girl. It just continued to stare at the sky. Its ears kept turning from side to front to back and then to the side again. They kept flipping around like that for awhile. Did it hear something? Was something the matter?
Abby stared at the stallion curiously until she heard a cry from behind her. She quickly turned around and saw that the wisp was twitching and flickering as if it was in pain. It was squeaking and crying out like it was suffering.
“Wights? What de matter?” Abby cried out in shock. She grabbed the wisp out of the air and examined it in her palms with worry. “Are you hurt? Are you havin’ tummy ache?”
The wisps was still squeaking and twitching in her palms. The flame was starting to slowly shrink as if the wisp was going out like a dying candle light.
“Wights? Wights! Don’ go owt!” Abby stared to cry out in shock. She can tell that something was wrong with the wisp, but she didn’t know what to do. She can only watch helplessly as the wisp was dying in her hands. “Pwease don’ go away! Stay with Abby!”
But nothing she said can stop the tiny flame from slowly going out before her teary eyes.
Without noticing, the black stallion appeared beside her and lowered its head as if examining the tiny wisp in her hand. Abby stared at the stallion in surprise, wondering what it was doing.
Suddenly, its usual white eyes started to glow orange and a burst of fire lit up in its eyes. Its eyes were literally burning with fire! But for some reason, it wasn’t harming the stallion whatsoever.
Of course, Abby didn’t expect this, so she squeaked and jumped a few feet backwards in shock. It wasn’t everyday she finds a horse with fire literally burning in its eyes like this.
The stallion didn’t seemed bothered by Abby’s reaction and walked up closer to her again.
Abby didn’t know what to do or expect from a horse with fire burning in its eyes, so she just froze in place and waited to see what the stallion wanted to do.
Once the stallion got close enough, it dipped its head towards her hands. Its muzzle was only a few inches away from the tiny wisp, who was now the size of a dime. Then with a slight soft breathing, fire came flowing out of its nostrils and wrapped around the wisp.
The flames didn’t harm Abby’s hand nor did she feel any burning. Abby stared in shock as she watched the horse breathed fire into her hands. The flames was warm and comfortable. Almost similar to her brother’s except... something that was slightly different. Her brother’s were gentle and soft, but this fire felt wild and powerful.
Then right before her eyes, the stallion’s fire slowly restore the wisp’s energy. The stallion’s energy was being transferred into the wisp’s body, preventing it from going out. Now the wisp was growing and returning to its normal size. The stallion was saving the wisp’s life.
Inside Abby’s thoughts, she can only wonder,
‘Can all horsey do that?”