Pumpkin King

Chapter 44

The room was pitch black except for a single pulsing lacrima in the center that gave off a faint light. There was a large number of people gathered around that light, though it was hard to make out who was who.

Three people stood close together. One was a taller man with a commanding presence. The two others stood on either side of him, their eyes warily keeping track of those around them. They were exactly the same height, though one was a boy with spiky hair while the other was a girl with her hair down to her shoulders.

The rest of the group watched them curiously, except for one. She kept far away from the others. The faint light barely reached her and the only indication she was there was the light reflecting off her many earrings. Her muscles were tensed, as if she were ready to pounce on any one of them at a moment's notice.

All the others in the room mingled with each other as they waited. Whispers could be heard, but no one took enough interest to strain their ears to hear what was being said. Near the pulsing lacrima, the lower half of a man could be seen sitting in a throne. His upper half was shrouded in darkness like everyone else, but it was this figure that everyone was tentatively watching. All of them were sure to keep this man within eyeshot.

Eventually, it was this man that broke the heavy silence and the quiet whispers. "The time is near." He intoned. All eyes went to him. "Even as we speak, our enemy has gathered more forces. More power."

The lone woman spoke up, much to the surprise of the others. "And whose fault is that?" She asked in an irritated voice. "You were the one that gathered us here and made us rot in this dismal place." She glared at him. "I don't take kindly to being recruited by a wizard, Hyde. I hate it even more when I get hired to do nothing."

There were both a warning and a threat in her voice. The others waited to see how Hyde would react. Some hoped that he would kill her or at least put her in her place. But their hopes would put down as Hyde merely smiled slightly. "Now, Ms. Emery Jackson, no need for hostility. Not only am I paying you a substantial amount for your services, but I'm also giving you the chance to destroy a guild of those wizards you claim to hate so much."

Emery's eyes narrowed at the man. "I do hate them." She hissed. Then she scanned the room. "And after I've killed them, I'm coming for the rest of you wizard scum."

The room hummed with movement at that. The glint of a knife was seen by one man, as well as the flash of light reflecting off someone's glasses as they were adjusted. The room began filling with magic as all but one prepared for a fight.

But Hyde slammed a fist against the arm of his throne. "There will be no fighting here." He thundered. His voice left no room for argument and everyone froze. The tension in the room teetered on the edge of breaking into a fight, but slowly people began to calm down.

Hyde nodded his approval once everything settled down. "Save your energy for the enemy." He said. Then he leaned forward, his face never leaving the shadows. "Wave. Alec."

Three of the shrouded people broke off from the rest of the group. The first was Alec Broodwith. He looked more sinister than he had when he'd fought Erk, Crest, and Charlotte. His hair was still greasy, and his scrawny muscles still didn't provoke much confidence, but there was something about him that was…off. His smile was fanatical, insane, enough to give even those others in the room a chill down their spine. He still wore his black jacket, but now he matched it with black pants and gloves, which contrasted with how pale his skin had become.

Next to him, Wave seemed much more normal. He was the one that had recruited Alec originally. His tan skin and beach blonde hair made him stick out compared to Alec. His dark blue shirt and brown pants had black lines running all around them. Around his neck was silver necklace that read 'WAVE'. The zigzag tattoo going across his nose stood out in the blue light.

And with her arms draped across Wave's shoulders lovingly was a girl with her brown hair done up in a high ponytail. Her green tube top and skin tight, white shorts hadn't changed since Alec had seen her and Wave the first time. She attracted more than one eye in the crowd. But she had eyes only for Wave.

"Your first mission." Hyde said to Alec and Wave. At his words, the woman draped around Wave detached herself unwillingly from him and stepped back into the shadows. Hyde smiled evilly. "Go and send the message." He stood up and laughed maniacally. "Go and tell them to ready themselves. Tell them that only surrendering what is ours will save their lives!" He pointed his outstretched hand dramatically and a door flew open at the opposite side of the room. "Go declare war on Pumpkin King!"

Pumpkin King was lively today. Reese and Azusa were fitting in perfectly. Charlotte and Azusa had become particularly good friends. Charlotte had even helped Azusa in making new blindfolds. She now had a rainbow of colors she could wear and she was always making more.

Reese had hit it off with about everyone he talked to. He was a people person. He always told stories to everyone about his travels. He was telling one such of those stories to Erk, Dante, and Julio, who were enraptured…particularly Julio. All three of them had their mouths wide open with slight blushes.

"That…has to be a lie." Julio said in awe. "An entire tribe of people who walks around shirtless…even the women?"

Reese nodded. "Even the women." The four boys started drooling at the image. "They're nomads, just like my tribe. So we would meet with them sometimes. The girls in that tribe…" he wiped some of the drool from his mouth, "they would be walking around. Shirtless. I always wanted to date one of them."

Dante snickered. "I'm sure your parents would have loved that." He slicked his hair back and tried talking like Reese. "Hey mom. Hey dad. This is my new girlfriend. Please don't mind her being topless, that's just the way she is." He started laughing at the thought. Erk couldn't help but join him.

Reese's blush deepened. But then he smirked. "Believe it or not, my folks didn't care. We're nomads. Things like that are normal to us." His face darkened a little and his eye twitched slightly. "Only problem was….they didn't like dating." His face darkened even more, mixed with a look close to fear. "If you dated a girl, you were expected to marry her."

The four boys shivered. But Julio couldn't help but think about it. "I don't know…marrying a girl who liked to stay topless." The blush returned to his cheeks. "I could do it."

The three other boys couldn't resist picturing it and nodding in agreement…until an evil presence appeared behind them. They froze, sweat appearing on their brow as they slowly turned to see Tamashi, Lorelai, and Lucinda staring at them with anger rolling off them in waves.

The three girls walked up behind the boys, Lorelai behind Dante, Tamashi behind Erk, and Lucinda behind Julio and Reese. They were all smiling evilly.

Lorelai was the first one to speak. She placed a hand on her boyfriend's shoulder. "Honey, why are you talking about marrying a topless woman?"

The sweat started pouring off Dante in buckets. He tried to think of some sort of excuse, but everything he thought of just would just make things worse. Eventually, he managed to make a small whimper and started shaking. There was no right answer to that question.

Tamashi was smiling sickly, which worried Erk because she never smiled, with her arms crossed. She was tapping one arm with her finger while she remained completely silent behind him. This unnerved Erk more than any threat could.

Eventually, he turned a yelled, "Why are you angry? We aren't even dating!"

Thus his doom was sealed. Tamashi gripped his head and squeezes as hard as she could, making the boy squirm and try not to scream from the pressure. "True." She eventually said, the smile never leaving her face. "But you've seen me naked. Multiple times. You shouldn't be thinking about other girls while that's in your head." She squeezed even harder. "Or you won't being seeing e naked ever again."

Erk was trying his best to pry her hand from his skull, but it was futile. It would take a crowbar to free him. "It's not like I saw you on purpose!" He yelled defiantly.

Reese couldn't help but laugh at Dante and Erk. "Sounds like you two are in the doghouse." He snickered. But then he turned to point it out to Julio, only to find the boy completely motionless. He was a still as a statue and Reese half wondered if Azusa had accidentally turned him to stone or something. He was about to yell out to the girl when he felt something poke his shoulder.

Turning his head, he found himself looking down the business end of a very sharp looking knife. He gulped as Lucinda pointed it directly between his eyes. "One wrong move and my hand might slip." She warned the green haired boy.

He started quivering and he tried looking at Julio for help…but then he saw Lucinda's other hand. While she was threatening him with one hand, she had a knife pressed against the small of Julio's back with the other. Which explained why he was doing his impersonation of a statue.

The four boys contemplated making a run for it. But the girls must have read their minds. Because the moment the thought crossed flashed through their heads, Lorelai said, "I wouldn't bother running."

"Or screaming." Tamashi added as an afterthought.

"The Master and Will are still away at their meeting." Lucinda picked up. "So there's no one to stop us from burying your asses in the patch as fertilizer."

The boys whimpered and scanned the room for anyone that would get them out of this mess. But everyone was either looking away with pained looks on their faces or watching earnestly. Rosemary was actually smiling at the scene. Even Becky looked amused. Crest had a pained look on his face and he shook his head, telling them he couldn't interfere. Charlotte, Azusa, and Sara were glancing between them and the girls nervously, but they didn't look like they were going to do anything. Bertrand just sipped his tea and ignored them all.

They were about to resign themselves to their fate when the front door of the guild was suddenly smashed open.

All eyes turned to the front of the guild where a single man stood on the remains of the shattered door.

"Hello, suckers!" The man announced. His beach blonde hair and tan skin stood out in the sunlight, his dark blue shirt and pants rippling in the wind. The zigzag tattoo across his nose and the silver 'WAVE' necklace caused a few eyebrows to be raised.

Wave jumped up on a table and scanned the crowd. "Tch." He looked annoyed. "I don't see anyone fitting its description." He smiled. "Guess that means I'm gonna have to get a bit rough to find it."

At that point, Bertrand hopped down from where he was sitting and crossed the room to the man. "Excuse me, sonny, but what business do you have here? And where did you learn your manners?" He yelled, pointing at the door.

He raised his cane to point at the man, but Wave just smiled evilly. With a yell, you lunged towards Bertrand and picked him up by the shirt. "Get outta my way, old man!" With that, he threw him into the nearest wall as hard as he could, causing splinters to break off from it.

Bertrand yelled out in pain and there wasn't a moment's pause before the guild sprang into action. With an enraged cry, Crest was the first to attack the man. He attempted to grab him and pin him to the ground, but Wave didn't even blink. He smiled and turned to Crest. A blue energy formed around his fist and he jabbed at the bigger man with all his force. "Wave!"

Crest sensed the danger in the punch. Bringing up his hands, he shouted, "Shield!" A glowing blue wall appeared between him and Wave, but the man didn't even slow down.

Crest watched it in slow motion. The blue enshrouded fist cut through his shield like a hot knife through butter, not slowing down even in the slightest, as it slammed into his stomach. The force of the punch made the guild wizard double over in pain as the air rippled around him from the blow. He coughed something up, probably blood, but before he could register that in his brain, his vision went blurry and he fell to the floor, unconscious.

The rest of the guild watched in shock as one of their strongest wizards was taken down with a single punch. But instead of causing them to back away in fear, that just made them angrier.

Wave didn't even stop after knocking out Crest. He jumped over to the nearest table and punched it so hard it collapsed into a pile of rubble. "Where is it?" He shouted at them. There was a gleeful look on his face as he ran to the nearest table and pulverized both it and the chairs. "Tell me where it is or I'll turn this place into a giant pile of-."

He didn't get to finish before Becky was upon him. "Serpent Soul: Amphithere!" With a flash of purple light, Becky transformed into a giant winged snaked. With a hiss, she lunged at Wave and coiled around him, constricting him and squeezing. She flapped her giant wings and flew them into the air to keep him from using any leverage against her.

Wave glared at Becky as he felt his breath being squeezed from his lungs. Too much longer and he'd lose consciousness. But he wouldn't let that happen. "Wave!" The blue energy appeared around his hands and he held them against Becky's scaly hide. A pulse shot out from where his hands were and Becky screamed as it felt like it was being ripped apart piece by piece.

She let him go quickly, changing back into her human form. She was holding her side, which looked like there were burn marks from where his hands had been. "What…was that?" She said between gasps of breath.

Wave fell to the ground and landed on his feet with a triumphant yell. Sara ran over to Becky to make sure she was okay, but Wave didn't pay her any notice because Erk and Julio tried piling onto the man, but he just smacked them aside before they could get far.

He started destroying everything he could reach. With a shout of, "Wave!" he punched holes through the floor, the walls, the tables, even the job board wasn't safe from his fists. Tamashi managed to get a kick in on him when he strayed to close and Lorelai singed him slightly with her 'Ember Rose' but other than that, he wrought destruction unimpeded. Everyone who got close was knocked aside as if they were rag dolls.

"Earth Make: Imps!" Dante shouted. Attacking the guy head on didn't seem like a wise decision. So he hoped that his creation magic would work. But the imps were turned to dust the moment Wave's fists touched them.

Then Wave turned his eyes on Dante in annoyance. "Those are annoying." He growled. He saw Dante bring his hands together in an attempt to make something else, but Wave jumped forward and caught him by the throat. "I said," he breathed into Dante's ear, "those were annoying. So don't make more! Wave!" He jabbed Dante in the stomach with his blue clad fist, causing the wizard to fall to the ground just as Crest had.

"Where is it?" He shouted again." He dropped Dante and picked up the broken job board, a few papers falling off in the process and threw it into the bonfire in the middle of the room. "Tell me where it is!" He continued to shout.

Then his eyes landed on Saraphina, who was staring at him in fear. "You!" He towered over her. "Tell me where it is!"

Sara could only stare at him wide eyed. "I-I-I don't k-know what you're talking about." She managed to say, tears streaming down her eyes from the fear. "What are you looking for?"

Wave glared at her in annoyance before smiling and looking at the rest of the guild. Crest and Dante were still out cold, and Becky couldn't even stand let alone fight. Tamashi's magic was slithering into the ground, looking for something to possess, but there weren't any dead bodies anywhere around them. Erk and Julio managed to get back on their feet, but the blow had seriously hurt. They were hesitant to approach the man without a plan. Rosemary was trying to wake up Bertrand, but the old man looked in bad shape. He was breathing heavily with blood trailing down his forehead. Reese was trying to work his magic on the man, but his emotions were so out of control it would be almost impossible to change them to anything other than rage. Lorelai was standing in the way of a scared looking Azusa while Charlotte was holding a key shakily in her hands. Lucinda looked ready to kill him for shouting at Sara.

Wave smiled before slowly reaching down and grabbing Saraphina by the throat and lifting her into the air. The girl tried to scream and claw at his hand, but he was squeezing too tightly. "This is how we're going to do this, then." He said to the others calmly. "I'm going to give you to the count of three to tell me where it is. If I don't get an answer…" he raised a hand and the blue energy sparked around it, "I'm going to rip a whole right through her chest. Any objections?" He laughed. "And I use Wave Magic. Which means I'll be able to rip through her like she was air. So don't think about trying anything." He brought his hand closer to Sara's chest. "Or I might slip." He chuckled as he saw the worry and anger and fear in the eyes of the Pumpkin King wizards. Then he raised his hand into the air. "One!"

"What are you even talking about, psycho?" Erk growled. "What are you looking for?"


"P-Please stop!" Azusa managed to squeak out. "Don't hurt her. We'll help you find what you want."

Wave was irritated for not getting what he wanted. But the thought of getting to kill someone cheered him up. "So sorry. But we're out of time and you haven't given me anything." He said with fake sorrow. "Three."

It all happened in slow motion. Everyone who could move dashed forward to try and stop Wave from killing Sara. But none of them were going to make it. He was too fast.

Blood splattered the floor.

But it wasn't Saraphina's. A rift had opened up mere centimeters in front of Sara's body. It wasn't Sara that was impaled by Wave's hand. With a cough of blood, the rift closed. She was in front of Sara, clutching Wave's arm in a vice grip, keeping his hand from ripping through her and into her friend.


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