In His Footsteps

The Bargain

The Lantern Corps Academy, Red Sector, Quarter 3…

Harold slowly got back up, after he lost his disguise as Beat Knuckles and now he's surrounded by dangerously furious Red Lanterns,

"It's Green Lantern Harold Jordan?" a male Lantern said,

"What's he doing here?" a female Lantern said,

"This sector for Red Lanterns only!" another male Lantern said. Then Harold saw Vaja approached him,

"You're a Green Lantern…?" Vaja asked to him,

"Well… yes, I am, but I-" Harold said until…

Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap!

Harold got slapped to the face by both of her four hands,

"And to think I liked you!" she said to him before she stormed off angry and upset, but mostly angry,

"But we just met," Harold rubbed both sides of his cheeks, then he saw another one of the female Lanterns came up to him,

"We dumped my boyfriends because of you," one of the two-head females said to him also angry,

"I never meant to lead you… well, both of you on-" he stuttered again, until he got cut off by a female spider Lantern,

"I almost wanted to cut off your head and add you to my collection," she said, who is also angry, Harold was silent for a moment after what he just heard,

"…I'm not gonna comment on that," he said,

"Ahem…" he heard someone, as he turned and…

Blast!

He got hit to the by a Red Energy Blast, and slammed against the wall, which caused some cracks of the impact, and fell to the ground hurt,

"Consider that my comment," Antroy said after he blasted Harold with the use of his Power ring, his ring is much powerful than many Lanterns here. Most of the time he use his blast to knock his victims out cold, and sometimes he used his 'ultimate' blast to take his victims out, permanently.

After Harold got hit by his blast, he slowly lost consciousness and sees many angry Red Lanterns approaching him, his vision slowly became blurry, and looked over to Rayza who is staring at him with a frown face, and by the time she looked away, he finally blacked out.

The Black Lantern Ship…

Black Hand stood while Bleez tend to his busted nose Razer gave him earlier,

"I find it surprising he still have much strength in him," he said referring to Razer, considering he kept him in prison for the past 5 years,

"I'm not surprised where Rayza inherit her attitude from," Bleez said after she cleaned up the blood off his face,

"I can careless about that brat's traits, but rather that energy she possessed within her," he said, before he mumbled in pain after Bleez straighten his nose

"Which she inherited from her mother, who was reborn with that energy long ago," Bleez point out, and finish fixing his nose.

"I'm just glad she's completely unaware of it, otherwise it would be difficult to lure her to the Red Lantern Corps," he said while his nose is healing on it's own,

"And I attend to prevent her from discovering it…" Bleez turned to the window,

"Since I've been teaching her the ways of the Red Lantern, her mind and body will only be focus on rage and hate; and when the time comes when we take control of that energy, it will conjoin her Red energy and part of her artificial body, thus making her the perfect killing machine," she explained.

"I love it when you're so conniving," Black Hand said to her with an evil smirk,

"Years of practice, my most favorite is manipulating young lives… such as that little farm girl," she smiles evilly as she's referring to Rayza, as she recalls her first encounter with her…

(3 years ago, Volkreg…

Rayza, 12 years old, is alone in a training area over the mountains, far from her home, she comes here to train her skills and practice her technique while wearing her dark lavender long-bell sleeve top, short gray skirt, black-grey leggings, and black boots. Rayza and her father built this area years ago, where Razer trained her, teaching her the skills in combat, and techniques he learned back in his days; nothing more precious than a father teaching his daughter to fight in order to protect herself from danger. There was hard work and discipline, but in a way, it's more of a bonding and spending quality time together as father and daughter. Though, when the Black Lanterns came to take Razer away, she tried to save him by fighting against Black Hand head on, but wasn't strong enough to stop him and her father was taken from her. So over two years of her father's absence, she continued her training by herself to get stronger, and with any hope to find a way to rescue her father.

She inhaled and exhaled while positioning and centered herself in a mark, waiting for one of the traps to set, and…

Shoot!

An arrow was shot from behind, Rayza sensed it as she swiftly dodged it before it almost faced her cheek, then…

Shoot! Shoot!

Two shurikens appeared, from both sides, coming right at her, she quickly stepped and turned her body, dodge both of them at the same time before they almost touched her upper body. By then…

SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!

Three blades appeared from above, all coming right at her, she quickly jumped and flipped backwards and managed to dodge all of them as they plunged to the ground, when she landed on her feet…

Shot!

A dagger appeared on her blind spot, giving her no time to dodge it but instead… she caught it with her hand as she twirled it and threw it…

Stab!

The target plate, a few distances from her. Rayza analyzed her result as she observed the dagger is about a few inch closes to the bulls-eye, she sighed,

"Missed again," she said, as it was her fifty-seventh shot this year. When she was younger, she always hit the bulls-eye, which was also the time her father was with her, and he was always proud of her for that. But now, she can only hit the target of it but nowhere near the bulls-eye, her mind is a little distracted with the thought of her hatred towards the Black Lanterns, and to figure a way to go up to space to search for her father but don't know how. By the time she was about to retrieve her dagger to try again,

"Not bad," she heard a voice of a woman, as she quickly think fast, turned around, pulled out three shurikens and threw it to a figure standing in the shadows at the edge above her, the figure dodged the two shurikens and deflected the third as it plunged to the ground in front of Rayza. After what she just saw, she looked up to the figure,

"Who are you? What do you want?" she yelled, not sure whether it was an intruder or some thief trying to rob her, but instead saw the figure begin to move closer,

"Fear not young one, I'm a friend, who's just… passing by," she heard the voice again and watched the figure flew out of the shadow and off from the edge, then landed on the ground, revealing herself to Rayza, she analyzed her appearance; a long slender build body, with light blue skin, black eyes, wearing her Red Lantern uniform, still wearing her one piece revealing her top, red boots and gloves, a Viking shaped helmet, and black wings with shredded holes in them.

"You're a Red Lantern," Rayza stood back, as she recalled what her mother warned her about,

"How quick of you to realize that, my dear," the woman begin to approached her until she noticed Rayza is about to pull out another weapon from her pocket,

"Before you try to attack me with another weapon, at least allow me to introduce myself… I'm Lady Bleez, from Havania, currently serving under Red Lantern Corps, and what name might you be called?" Bleez asked, Rayza glared at her,

"That is none of your business, as if I identify myself to a Red Lantern," she said before she turned her back on her,

"Such attitude you possessed, it makes me wonder how a young child like you be doing in this area all alone," Bleez smirked.

"Look, whatever it is you're trying to sale me, I'm not interested, so take your business elsewhere, and leave!" Rayza demand as she began to leave, Bleez kept her smirk,

"Funny… you reminded me of this Red Lantern I use to know, he too has the same attitude… that Razer," Bleez said as she noticed Rayza stopped walking and turned to her with a shock on her face,

"You know… Razer?" she asked,

"As if I don't know my old comrade long ago, probably years before you were even born, and between us girls, he is so hard to get along with," Bleez said. Then she turned her back on her and began to flap her shredded wings,

"I was about to offer you an opportunity to fulfill your deepest desire, but since you're not interested, I'll be on my way and probably find someone else who would be interested," Bleez said, as she flew off the ground and pretending to leave knowing Rayza will call out to her, right about…

"No, wait… Lady Bleez," Rayza yelled, which brought her attention as she stopped and looked down at her,

"I also know Razer," Rayza said,

"Oh…" Bleez crooked her eye-brows,

"He's my father… I'm his daughter, Rayza," Rayza identified herself to her. Though, little did she know… Bleez used her Power ring to construct a Red Demonic Hand to reached and grabbed hold of her, then she lifted Rayza off the ground and pulled towards her, enough to take a closer look at her face. She used her hand to tip her chin up, looked side to side, and positioned her face back to her, Rayza can tell she's examining her, and at a brief moment,

"You do seem to bear a striking resemblance to him, especially those eyes of yours…" Bleez said, before she gently levitate back to the ground, and released Rayza from her Red Energy grasped, they both stood back on the ground.

"And judging by your performance I observed earlier, I take it Razer has been training you when you were young, correct?" Bleez asked,

"Yes, he did…when I was 5," Rayza answered,

"I see… and speaking of Razer, where is he? I thought I get to see an old friend after I last saw him," Bleez said, then noticed Rayza looked away from her, with a dishearten look on her face,

"…He's not here," she answered,

"Oh… I see, I never thought he would pass away so soon, I might expect he live longer, maybe about another 10 to 20 yea-" Bleez said, pretending to look all concern, until Rayza cut her off,

"HE'S NOT DEAD! HE WAS TAKEN HOSTAGE BY THOSE BLACK LANTERNS! THEY TOOK HIM AWAY FROM ME, AND I HATED THEM EVER SINCE! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I BEEN THROUGH ALL THOSE YEARS!" Rayza yelled with absolute anger, and refuse to believe her father is gone. Bleez glanced at her eruption, observing the angry expression on her face, much similar to her father's no doubt,

"My, do you have such rage in you, I sense so much hatred in your heart, much like Razer's indeed…" Rayza slowly calmed down as she continues,

"So what may I ask is your deepest desire?" Bleez asked,

"The return of my father… I wish to find him and save him from those monsters who took him from me," Rayza answered,

"Is that it, nothing more…? Not even to, say… take your revenge to the fiends who took your father away, make them pay for what they've done to you? Because that would be something I would do," Bleez asked, persuading her. Rayza stood silent when she asked her that, it never really occurred to her at first, but a moment of thought of it… she clutched her hands and made an angry expression on her face, now starting to think that way.

"I can make that happen… though a bargain will be made," Bleez said, Rayza looked at her,

"I'll help you track down your missing father, though there is something I want from you in return," Bleez held out her clutched hand, as she opened and reveal… the Red Lantern Power Ring. At that moment, it floated out of her hand and levitated towards Rayza as it stopped in front of her. Rayza glanced at it for a moment, before she asked,

"You… want me to become the new Red Lantern?" Then Bleez said,

"Not just that, but also my new apprentice…" Rayza looked back at her as she continues,

"I had pupils in my time, though each of them disappoints me at the end, but you, however… you have such strong rage that fits perfectly serving under Red Lantern Corps," Rayza looked back at the ring, sensing it's power filled with rage and hate,

"I… uh…" Rayza is unsure whether to accept it because… then she'll have to leave her home, along with dear mother and little brother. Then Bleez said,

"I assure you my dear, you have the skills that can overcome anything, your father possessed such power of hate and rage, and now he passed it down to you, he would wanted you to follow in his footsteps so you too shall control that power with the use of this ring." Rayza thought back about her father, of how much she misses him and how much she hated those Black Lanterns who took him from her, back then, even now.

"Join me, and you will have what you desire, all you need to do is give in to your emotions and pledge to the Red Lantern's oath," Bleez said, and activated her ring to display a Red Plate of the 'oath' written for Rayza to read,

Rayza kept her eyes on the ring, and slowly made up her mind, she lifted her right hand up and stuck it out, the ring floated towards her hand and slid on her finger, she tighten her hand and she turned her attention to the red plate, she reads it aloud,

"With blood and rage of crimson red, we fill men's souls with darkest dread and twist your mind with pair and hate, we'll burn you all-that is your fate!"

After that, the ring activated as the red energy appeared out of it and lunge right into Rayza's mouth, she screamed in pain as both her mouth and eyes glow red. She clenched herself, feeling the energy flowing within her, creating a Red Flaming glow all over her body, as she let out another scream, her outfit changed into her own Red Lantern uniform (somewhat the same transformation like her father when he first wore the ring).

After going through the pain, Rayza found herself glowing in Red, and looking at her ring still activated, she can feel the power and energy flowing within her, making her stronger than… this is her first time she ever felt like this. At the moment she turned to the target plate where she missed the bulls-eye, and out of thought…

Blast!

She used her Power ring to make her very first Red Energy blast at the target, she analyzed how she completely destroyed it with just one blast, she stood silent and stared at it for a short moment, until she felt Bleez's hand placed on her shoulder,

"Well done my child," she turned to Bleez,

"You now belong to the Red Lantern Corps," she turned to Bleez, as Rayza slowly stopped glowing red,

"From here on out, you shall address me as your mentor, I will teach you the ways of the Red Lantern, and train you to increase your skills for a mission I planned for you. You will follow every order, gather inside information, and complete your entire task without fail. As long as you remain your loyalty to me, I'll be sure to help you find your father, do I make myself clear?" Bleez said. Rayza looked at the ring once more, and thought a lot about what Bleez said to her, she finally have a chance to find her father, and avenge those Black Lanterns who took him from her, she turned to Bleez and answers,

"I'll do whatever you say… Lady Bleez,"

"Well said my pupil," Bleez said with a smile on her face, as everything is according to plan.)

"She's still in a process of gathering inside information of the Lantern Corps Academy, so that we can take full control of it," Bleez explained,

"What if she fails, or at least, discovers you've been using her?" Black Hand asked, Bleez turned to him,

"She won't… and even if she did, I'll take care of it personally," she said,

"Like you did to your other pupils?" Black Hand asked,

"…Only if she dares to cross me," she answered.

"Of course you would… other than that, I should head to the chamber to start the installment for the 'test subject'," Black Hand said,

"Wish I could stay, but I must return to my ship to keep checking in on my apprentice," Bleez said, then Black Hand took her hand and held it near his face,

"You sure have your way of dealing with your apprentices, like you 'took care of' the first one from Coahuox, or abandoned the fifth one who got sucked into a black hole…" he chuckled,

"I still favored how you left the fourteenth one get eaten by that giant creature from the Seventh sector," he said. Bleez made a small smile as she placed her hand on his cheek,

"I love it when you know me so well," Bleez said to him, though at a brief moment, they slowly part ways, as they continue to proceed according to plan. As Bleez reached to the door as it slid opened, she turned back to her husband,

"Before I leave, I thought by the time you see Razer, would you be sure to let him inform him, that in case he doesn't make it through the process, I'll take good care of his beloved daughter for him," she said,

"I'll be sure inform him that," Black Hand said as he and his wife made an evil smirk on their faces, and the door slid closed between the evil couple.

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