The Hunter Series - Penelope

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Chapter 17

The clouds in the sky of Enukeador changed from a bright sunny blue sky to dark grey clouds with the sound of thunder rumbling. The balance of good and evil were imbalanced and the world began to reflect the threat of evil at play.

The demonic shadows, controlled by Eleanor, ripped through the world, killing hundreds of creatures in its wake. They were brutal, giving no mercy to the peaceful creatures living in this world. The demons sliced them, decimating with their long sharp fingers. Vampires, werewolves and other creatures tried to fight. However, those who fought against the demons were carved into pieces slowly. The demons tortured the poor souls until their suffering ended. The ones who surrendered were lucky to die quickly.

In the castle, the Knights of Enukeador fought hard to protect their King. The death count rising as Eleanor, strutting proudly through the castle, killing all who crossed her path. She abused her new powers by snapping the neck or ripping the heart out of their chest. The castle became a bloodied mess with dead bodies piling. All of their insides splattered up the walls.

The doors to the Royal Hall exploded open. The splintering wood punctured the heart of the vampires. They turned to grey veined corpses, dropping to the floor like flies. Unafraid, the King stood proud against the woman entering his Royal Hall. There was nothing he could do against these beasts slithering in the shadows and taking control of his Kingdom. He was helpless and shocked to admit he needed Penelope to save this world.

One of the demons bound the King’s hands behind him and pinned him to the floor to bow before Eleanor. Another dragged Isaac along the floor into the same position beside his father. Isaac tried to fight against them but it only caused him more pain until, reluctantly, he submitted.

Eleanor smirked, proud of herself to accomplish becoming the most powerful witch to rule the Kingdom. It was, after all, hers to do as she wished now.

“This world no longer belongs to you. It’s now under my control.” she said. “I’ve killed hundreds of creatures throughout this world. The castle is now mine to do as I wish. I will build a new Empire. An Empire to bow before me, obeying my commands…”

The King chuckled under his breath. Eleanor wasn’t sure what sort of reaction she had hoped to achieve from him. But, this certainly wasn’t what she wanted.

Where was the fear? Where was the horror to hear she killed his peasants?

“What’s so funny?” Eleanor said, frowning. “This world is being destroyed by demons and all you can do is laugh. What’s wrong with you?”

“This world doesn’t belong to me. So, you can’t take it.”

“That’s where you are mistaken. The rightful owner of Enukeador had incredible powers. The powers now running through my veins. This world belongs to me!”

Isaac’s head shot up. “What have you done to Penelope?”

Eleanor’s head spun towards Isaac. She sneered at him

“She’s going to die. The rest of this world, what’s left of it anyway, will watch Penelope die. Along with you by her side. How romantic, eh? Take him to the dungeon.”

The King held his head up high. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years of being King. There is a lot of things I wish I done differently. But do you want to know something I will never regret? Letting Penelope take her world back. Enukeador belongs to her!”

As the demons dragged Isaac, he witnessed Eleanor rip the heart from the King’s chest. Isaac, infuriated, failed to free himself from the unbreakable grip, in hope he could save his father. Sadly, there was nothing he could have done to save him. The demon, stronger than any vampire or supernatural creature dragged Isaac out of the door. He would never see his father again. The Prince let out an agonising scream.

Days later…

My head rolled from side to side. My eyes strained to open. My body, twisted in an awkward position on the dirty dungeon floor. It ached, pain stabbing through my body. My hand, through the bars of the next cell, holding Isaac’s hand. His eyes were closed but his mouth moving and whispering.

“Penelope… Please listen to me… I can’t let you die…Turn around… Penelope!” He said, slowly raising his voice. “Sorry, I almost forgot you’re not my Penelope. I mean, future you. Oh, I’m terrible at this…”

My mind, still bewildered, gradually remembering a dream I had. It seemed such a long time ago. Where Isaac tried to convince me to go home. Somehow, Isaac has the ability to travel back in time to warn me of these future events.

“You’re my soulmate. We have a special bond. We can talk telepathically. But that doesn’t matter right now. There’s something I need to tell you and I’m not sure how long this connection will last…You’re in danger…You have to get out of this realm, now! There’s a secret portal through the waterfall. It will take you back home. If you stay here any longer - I can’t save you…Wake up, darling. And when you get home - remember this, then you can do one thing. That’s all. One thing... Have a good life. Do that for me, darling. Have a fantastic life.”

“You’re trying to change the past.” I said, croaky.

Isaac’s eyes flew open. He squeezed my hand and half smiled. There was a glimpse of pain in his eyes.

“I’m trying to save you. Eleanor’s taken over the Kingdom. She killed the King. I can’t lose you too…”

“Isaac, I’m sorry. Eleanor has come and crapped on all the good plans I envisioned for Enukeador. I wanted peace.” I said, disorderly. “Oh, God! She’s going to kill my family! She was going to burn them alive! And Jeremy, he’s alive and a vampire! Oh, God! I can’t live without them! What are we going to do?”

“It’s going to be alright… We’ll think of something.” He said, in a soothing tone. She stroked my hand but I was far from being reassured.

“We need a plan.” said a voice in another cell. My head turned to see Alexia and Asher. They were in separate cells but held hands through the bars like us.

“There’s nothing I can do. I’ve got no powers.” I said, deflated.

“Bullshit!” She yelled. “You don’t need powers to stand up to this witch! Yes, those powers made you powerful. But from what I hear, you was a kick-arse hunter. You are a fighter! Powers or no powers. It’s in your blood. So, stop feeling sorry for yourself. You are the rightful Queen. This is your world. Take it back!”

It’s in my blood.

Alexia had a point. Magic ran through my blood, with or without the three powers. It came from the strongest line of witches, powerful enough to create every supernatural creature. Even before my awakening ceremony, I could control the wind with my mind. It was there, buried beneath me.

“Look, I have a plan.” Alexia grinned. “It might not work but…”

Two days later, we still sat in the dungeons. Two days with little food and water. My eyes, drooping now and again. Sometimes, I would close my eyes for a few minutes and jump myself awake. I couldn’t rest easy knowing what had happened to the people in Enukeador.

Later on…

In the dungeons, it was impossible to know the time of day or night. The hands on my watch had stopped moving. 04:01AM. That must have been the time when Eleanor stole my powers.

Suddenly, distracting me from my current thoughts, my stomach growled. I grumbled in a miserable tone, held my stomach and dreamed of a bacon sandwich. It made my mouth drool.

When was the last time I had a proper meal?

“Some plan this is, Alexia.” I said. My hunger giving me a bad attitude.

“Patience. They are going to execute us today.”

“Oh, great! Fantastic plan, Alexia. Let's just die!” I said, sarcastically. “Least then I won’t be hungry.”

“Can you just trust me on this, Penelope?”

The dungeon door opened. The demonic shadows slithered in and unlocked our cells. Each demon grabbed hold of one of us and pushed us until we reached outside. The dull light burning our eyes, taking a few minutes for our eyes to adjust. It sent shivers crawling up my spine at the demon’s presence. They were pure evil and I was scared to mess with them. There was a flash of lightning with thunder rumbling a few seconds later.

Here comes a massive storm. I thought.

The demons tied us to tall wooden stakes, logs surrounding the bottom. Ready to burn us like hundreds of innocents in the past. I gulped.

This really wasn’t how I wanted my life to end.

Eleanor stumbled forward. The surviving creatures of this world were few but they parted to let her through. Eleanor looked a little worse for wear. The dark circles under her eyes were now purple, her hair frazzled and messy. Her body looked thinner, weaker, as though a hug would snap her in two. Perhaps the demons were doing more than just serving her every whim. They were draining her life essence.

“Enukeador will bow before me!” Eleanor shouted. “You will accept me as your Queen otherwise I will let my demons tear you apart.”

The shadows prowled and slithered close to Eleanor. In the moments she spoke, there was something changing within them. Eleanor’s control over them seemed to be rapidly diminishing. They circled her, if she lost control, she would be their next prey. Eleanor pointed her finger towards us. The lightening flashed and sparked the wood beneath our feet alight. The fire spreading quickly, cracking the wood and spitting hot flames.

I concentrated on controlling the fire, not letting the flames touch us. We were safe… for now.

Remain Calm.

“Eleanor!” I shouted to her. It grabbed her attention like I wanted. She glared in my direction. “You are a disgrace to our beloved witches. You chose these demons to steal powers you believe will help rule a Kingdom. You seem to be forgetting the most basic rules of witchcraft. You chose to use your powers for your own personal gain and look what it has done to you!”

“It has made me Queen!”

“No, it hasn’t. You are not the Queen of Enukeador. A Queen has a willingness to learn, to listen and change when needs be. To value others and their ideas but to know which ones are true for herself. To carry with you, in your heart, what time has shown and taught you. To love and live with tolerance. And to understand that being loyal and true to yourself, loving yourself is the root of selflessness, not selfishness. A Queen has the ability to show no mercy but decides on mercy and giving blessings even though they might not fully deserve it. A Queen must not look at things from only one point of view. She must be able to make judgement calls without malice. She must not think she is the most important. As the rightful Queen to Enukeador, I can recognise that those who look up to me are far more important than they think they are!”

Eleanor glared up at me with sunken eyes. The demons, becoming out of control, began to transform into their demonic bodies. We didn’t have much time before they would slaughter us all.

“Those powers are mine.” I said, “I’d like them back now.”

“What? No! How are you doing that?” Eleanor yelled.

The white orbs of power burst from Eleanor with blood splattering. She fell to the ground. The second she dropped, the demons went for her, tearing at her flesh from the inside. They continued to slice and carve her insides until she became a bloodied mess. All the while, Eleanor screamed in agony. It was a sad sight but I never felt sorry for her. Jeremy died because of her. I became a vampire hunter and slaughtered many because of her. Why? So, one day she could steal my powers and become Queen of my world. My family could be dead from the demons she set on them. Jeremy could be dead, again. She slaughtered this world even though she wanted to rule it. Enukeador will need to mourn for the people we lost today.

It’s only right the demons have her. It wasn’t pleasant but she would no longer be able to hurt anyone else.

The orbs of power rushed over, hovering in front of me while they determined my identity. They shot into me but this time the pain was more bearable than last time. The ropes loosened as my mind willed it.

Alexia whistled, in a high-pitched tone. In the horizon, a flying figure with large green scaled wings flew to over. When it came into close proximity, I realised she had called a dragon. It breathed fire on the ropes imprisoning her and Asher. She climbed onto its back, guiding the dragon to burn the demons plaguing the world. Although they were the strongest creatures I had come across, so far, it seemed they were not immune to fire.

The thunder made the ground tremble. The heavens opened the floodgates of rain. It felt good against my skin. The rain would wash away all the blood of the innocents and purify Enukeador.

Isaac took hold of my hand as he helped me off the hot wood. The rain stopped the fire from spreading as the thick grey smoke engulfed the air. He carried me a safe distance away.

“Let us hear it for Queen Penelope!” a voice shouted. I turned to see who spoke but a crowd gathered around me fast. They all seemed thrilled to see me defeat Eleanor. Some shook my hand, others cheered or chanted my name.

The crowd went wild when Isaac planted a kiss on my lips. It was unexpected but I found myself reaching to hold his face.

He was perfect. He was good. He was 100% mine.

“Penelope, I love you. You’re my beautiful soulmate. My Queen.” He said. This time his kiss was softer, more addictive. My heart knew exactly what I wanted.

“I want you to know, even though our souls are linked and are destined to be together for the rest of our lives, I’m glad it's you I’m spending it with. Through good times and bad, as long as you’re there, I’m going to be just fine.” I said, then added. “I love you too.”

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.

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