On the Evil Scale: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book Two

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๐’ž๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“…๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ

๐ธrik stood before the young Australian, covered in dirt and barefoot with blood dried along the hairline near his forehead. He looked tired with shadows under his eyes, dirt under his fingernails and messy hair. Shackles were bound around his wrists. He was practically unrecognizable, for everyone knew that he was always so immaculately clean and organized.

Shocked, Jon mumbled as he dropped the note and attempting to reach out, giving his friend a hug, his hands went through him as if he were a hologram. Glancing at his hands then raising his gaze looking into Erikโ€™s pale-tired gray eyes, he questioned,

โ€œWhat the f*ck is this? Erik, mate...are you astral-projecting?โ€ he watched as Erikโ€™s form faded in and out for the connection was weak.

โ€œYes, and I donโ€™t have long.โ€ Erik argued, โ€œYou have to warn Keeps and tell her that Leonus plans on killing her in the Boar-wolf cave.โ€ he paused sniffling quickly.

โ€œWait...where are you?โ€ Jon questioned, โ€œEveryoneโ€™s been looking for you, mate.โ€

โ€œI donโ€™t know where I am, but it looks like some sort ofโ€ฆโ€ he glanced around as if examining his surroundings, โ€œold cellar or prison. There are bloody rats down here, mate...and hungry ones.โ€ his figure jumped as if something nibbled on his bare toes, โ€œLook, I donโ€™t really remember what happened because itโ€™s all too much of a blur butโ€ฆโ€ then his image faded.

Erik sat on the cold damp ground, listening to distant water dripping and rats squeaking. He breathed heavily for the sigil that lay etched near the cageโ€™s door blocked all his magical capabilities and he barely managed the astral-projection. He stumbled to his feet kicking away the small rodent vermin then leaned against the bars feeling tired, cold and hungry.

โ€œErik!โ€ Jon called out, โ€œErik!โ€ but his figure was gone, โ€œF*ck me!โ€ he cursed then sped around his room in his supernatural Demonic swiftness, dressing in a black hoody and grabbing a flashlight, placing it in his pocket. Standing at his door, he reached to his wall, removing two daggers from their place, concealing them up his sleeves. He glanced around, then teleported to the mechanicโ€™s shop appearing behind the structure in a pale green swirling flame per the instructions from the note.

He enhanced his vision toward the wall, where Wraiths or Demons werenโ€™t currently positioned; all making their nightly rounds. Snow crushed beneath his feet, as he shuffled forward where he noticed two of the low wattage bulbs laying shattered in the snow. Examining the shards, he suddenly without a doubt, caught the scent of Lycynian. Removing the daggers from his sleeves, he swiftly turned around, watching as a figure stepped from the shadows along the building; their face blacked out and covered with a scarf.

โ€œEasy, kidโ€ฆโ€ the figure warned in a deep voice.

โ€œWho are you and why am I here!?โ€ Jon quietly barked; his red Demon eyes coming forth.

โ€œIโ€™m surprised you showed up, but relax Demon.โ€ the figure stepped forward.

โ€œDerek!? What is this...whatโ€™s going on!?โ€

โ€œFirst off, kid...put the blades away. If I wanted to hurt you, I wouldnโ€™t have to do it close range.โ€

โ€œWhereโ€™s Erik!?โ€ Jon ordered, โ€œHe astral-projected before I came hereโ€ฆโ€

โ€œHe did?โ€ Derek grew curious, โ€œHeโ€™s a strong kid. Stronger than...never mind. Please...put those away.โ€ he gestured at the young manโ€™s daggers.

Jon hesitated before sliding the daggers up his sleeves once more. Derek looked around and convinced Jon to step inside, so theyโ€™d be out of sight and away from potential prying ears. Jon watched as Derek entered the shop, then cautiously followed him inside, but on constant alert. Scanning the interior, Jon turned to Derek asking again firmly,

โ€œI wonโ€™t ask you again. Whereโ€™s Erik and how do you know where he is!?โ€

โ€œBefore I tell you...just know I have nothing against Wraiths or Demons. Absolutely nothing. Your races have done nothing to me, so when I found out what Leonus had planned for Erik...it sickened me.โ€ Derek answered bluntly, โ€œNow...what Iโ€™m about to tell you, was not my doing. I swear on my family and my honor as a warrior. I just wanted to see how far Leonus would go.โ€ he paused glancing down at his feet then explained it all. He watched as Jon turned away, leaning his hands against the wall, head held low in disgust. Jon placed his right hand to his mouth, feeling sick to his stomach. He shook his head as he turned to Derek; eyes closed in disbelief, โ€œAre you alright?โ€ Derek continued softly.

โ€œNo, Iโ€™m not alright!โ€ Jon snapped, โ€œTake me to him!โ€ he growled; his fists glowing a faint hue.

Derek stepped back as he nodded, walking toward the spare parts room with Jon close behind. Derek was well aware of Jonโ€™s fighting skills and wasnโ€™t about to start an argument right now. The Samoan unstacked the tires out of the way, pulling back the mat revealing the hidden door. Jon pushed Derek out of the way, reaching for the iron ring but Derek rushed forward, grabbing onto Jonโ€™s wrists.

โ€œWhoa...easy there, kid. That door and its ring are made of an older iron alloy and even though youโ€™re wearing gloves, it could still burn your hands through the fabric.โ€ Derek warned, โ€œDespite what I took part in, I donโ€™t want anyone else getting hurt here. Let meโ€ฆโ€

โ€œFine, but let go of my wrists.โ€ Jon threatened, pulling his arms away from Derekโ€™s grip, โ€œAnd why are you showing me? Why not go to Yza with this?โ€

โ€œAre you kidding?โ€ Derek argued as he knelt on his knees, looking up at Jon, โ€œIf she found out what happened, sheโ€™ll not only kill Leonus but sheโ€™ll also kill me or feed me to her hound or dragon.โ€ Derek smirked, โ€œOrโ€ฆโ€ he tilted his head, โ€œshe could just burn me to a crisp.โ€

โ€œNot a bad idea.โ€ Jon grunted, โ€œBut if this is a trap and Yza finds out Iโ€™m missing tooโ€ฆโ€ he knelt alongside Derek leering into the manโ€™s dark eyes, โ€œshe knows Leonus had something to do with all of this so it wouldnโ€™t take her very long to find out that you were also involved.โ€

โ€œFair enough.โ€ Derek nodded then grasping onto the ring, he yanked the door backwards with one strong pull. Standing to his feet alongside Jon, they stared into the pitch blackness looming below them. Glancing behind him out into the empty shop Derek instructed quickly, โ€œMake it quick. Leonus comes around every night, gloating about it. Itโ€™s disgusting.โ€ then he glanced down at his watch, โ€œYou have an hour. Iโ€™ll wait outside and cover you just in case.โ€ he turned away ready to leave when Jon said over his shoulder, looking at Derek in the corner of his eye,

โ€œThank you.โ€

โ€œNo problem. Thank YOU for the trust.โ€ Derek answered then exited the room, standing outside in the mechanicโ€™s shop, scampering around making it appear as if he were working late.

Jon removed the flashlight from his pocket, shining its light downward, taking in the sight of the set of rock steps leading down. He hesitated, listening for sounds then slowly and cautiously descended one step at a time. Reaching the bottom, lanterns with low bulbs barely lit the room.

He thought as he searched around shining his flashlight at the walls and floors, โ€œWHAT THE HELL KIND OF PLACE IS THIS, YOU SADISTIC BASTARD!โ€ then called out verbally in a soft whisper, โ€œErik? Where are you, mate?โ€

โ€œJonathan?โ€ Erikโ€™s voice answered in a cracked squeak, โ€œJonathan?โ€

Jon turned, quickly flashing the light toward cages behind him; Erik stood in the center cell shielding his eyes with his hands from the brightness of the light. Rushing toward the cage Jon stuttured in disbelief,

โ€œOh, my God, Erik...are you alright?โ€

โ€œNo...no Iโ€™m not.โ€ Erik complained leaning against the bars, cautious of their iron alloy.

Up close, Jon took notice that Erik had healed from a head wound; dried blood around the neckline of his white tank. Complete shock hit him as tears welled in his eyes as he carefully reached his arms through the bars, managing to grab hold of Erikโ€™s upper arms and shoulders, trying to give him a brotherly hug, which Erik returned. At this point, Erik was hungry for contact from another individual, especially a kinder one, even though he hated to be touched at times.

โ€œYou look like shit. What happened!?โ€ Jon inquired, eagerly wanting to hear his side of the story.

โ€œGee, thanks.โ€ Erik replied as he managed a chuckle. He rested his upper arms on the bars, patting Jon on his shoulders. Erik briefly explained what occurred and took place from his point-of-view. He frowned, playing the moment over in his mind, creating an ache on his thoughts, โ€œI barely managed the astral-projection.โ€ he sniffled once more, โ€œLooks like Leonus has done his homework.โ€ he glanced down at the ground; Jon followed his gaze and lowering the flashlight toward the ground, there it was...a sigil that blocks magic.

โ€œThat bastard thought things through pretty clear.โ€ Jon frowned.

โ€œHowโ€™s Keeps?โ€ Erik fretted, โ€œShe must be worried sick.โ€

โ€œYou have no idea. She thinks you left. At least thatโ€™s what she thought from the note you left.โ€

โ€œWhat note?โ€ Erik questioned, โ€œI didnโ€™t leave a note, because I never left!โ€ he pushed himself away from the bars beginning to pace, โ€œThat bloody pig did good.โ€ he nodded, โ€œAnd my father?โ€

โ€œHeโ€™s acting like a crazy man, screaming at everyone he meets, in Chinese. And everyone knows how he gets when heโ€™s angry.โ€ Jon revealed.

Erik chuckled, knowing thatโ€™s how his father acts when heโ€™s under stress.

โ€œWait a minuteโ€ฆโ€ Erik turned to his friend, โ€œhow did you find me? I didnโ€™t tell you.โ€

โ€œDerek told me.โ€ Jon answered bluntly.

โ€œWhat!? Jonathan, mateโ€ฆyou canโ€™t trust him!โ€ Erik argued, โ€œIf he had a hand in doing this to me, whoโ€™s to say what heโ€™ll do to you!? Heโ€™ll probably throw you in the cage next to me! Oh god...Yza will also be in more danger!โ€

โ€œErik...youโ€™ve explained what happened in your words, but you should hear Derekโ€™s side of it.โ€ Jon argued in return.

โ€œWhy!? I just told you everything that happened! Isnโ€™t that enough for you!?โ€

โ€œYes, but youโ€™re forgetting one person here!โ€ Jon complained, โ€œYza! Remember her!? She already knows Leonus has a part in this, but sheโ€™s waiting for him to slip up and believe me, with all of his gloating and macho bravado, heโ€™ll slip and Derek might be the only one who could help us nab him. I donโ€™t really think heโ€™ll do her any harm. But never mind all of that...wait until Yza finds out where you are! Sheโ€™ll probably set this entire island on fire.โ€

โ€œYou canโ€™t tell her!โ€ Erik objected, โ€œShe has enough to deal with right now.โ€

โ€œBut she has to know!โ€ Jon backed away from the cage. โ€œShe cares deeply for you, mate!โ€

โ€œPerhaps she does, but right now...you need to listen to me very carefully. Leonus is planning to kill her in the Boar-wolf cave. I overheard him when I was unconscious. I mean, come on...think about it. Telling her Iโ€™m here, wonโ€™t protect her because if she knew, it could get her killed and Iโ€™m trying to protect her the best way I know how.โ€

โ€œYeah? Well, staying here certainly isnโ€™t the best way of protecting her, mate!โ€ Jon frowned.

โ€œKnowing where I am, sheโ€™ll be too distracted in rescuing Lucy.โ€ Erik tried justifying his current predicament.

โ€œSheโ€™s already distracted!โ€ Jon waved his arms expressively, โ€œBut how am I going to keep this from her? Sheโ€™ll read me like a book and know somethingโ€™s wrong and this...this isnโ€™t something I can keep locked away in my thoughts. She wonโ€™t give up until I tell her, you know how persistent she is!โ€

โ€œDonโ€™t I ever.โ€ Erik mumbled.

โ€œJonathanโ€ฆโ€ Derekโ€™s voice shouted from above, โ€œLeonus is coming. Hurry it up!โ€

Jon turned to Erik, who reached through the bars pleading desperately grabbing onto Jonโ€™s arm,

โ€œPlease, mate...you canโ€™t trust him!โ€

โ€œWe donโ€™t have a choice.โ€ Jon objected, โ€œNow, look...Iโ€™ll be back, alright? Trust me.โ€ then he backed away, scampering up the stairs closing the door. Recovering it, he clapped his hands together in relief then stepped outside thanking Derek before portaling back to his room.

Once Leonus arrived, he gloated once more as he and Derek scampered around inside. Derek remained silent continuing to listen to the smug satisfaction in Leonusโ€™ voice before there was a moment where Derek leered at Leonusโ€™ back wanting to end his life then and there, making it appear as an accident in the shop during one of his drunken stupors. Theyโ€™ve been frequent so it would be believable. Quietly reaching for a large screwdriver on a nearby table, his grip tightened around the handle as he held it down alongside his thigh. Leonus turned observing Derekโ€™s threatening mannerisms.

โ€œWhat the bloody hell do you think youโ€™re doing!?โ€ Leonus roughly barked, โ€œPut that down!โ€

โ€œI could you know. End your life...โ€ Derek threatened in a low raspy voice, โ€œhere and now and itโ€™ll be so easy.โ€ he raised the tool held in hand, โ€œSo easy.โ€

Leonus stepped backwards; eyes searching for a tool to defend himself with but those displayed, were too far from his reach. He knew Derekโ€™s speed in throwing weapons so he couldnโ€™t, even if he tried. Derek smirked as he flipped the screwdriver; grip changing to the shaft of the tool. Without warning, he threw the tool toward Leonus, passing his left ear; tip grazed and cut. The tool reached its intended mark; a large rat scampering along the shelf behind Leonus, who heard a brief squeak. Turning around swiftly, he observed the lifeless rat laying in the shadows; the screwdriver plunged through its small furry body covered in oil and grease.

โ€œWhat can I say!? I never miss.โ€ Derek gloated.

Leonus cursed in his Gaelic Scottish tongue then continued in English,

โ€œWhat the f*ck do you think youโ€™re doing!? Are you f*cking crazy!?โ€

โ€œJust exterminating the vermin.โ€ Derek mocked with a shrug of his muscular shoulders, โ€œYou wouldnโ€™t want them drawing too much attention would you, because that rat in particular must have escaped from below in search of a change of scenery, Iโ€™m guessing.โ€

โ€œYou were going to kill me!โ€ Leonus ordered, pointing at the tool.

Derek smiled joyfully as he answered,

โ€œWeโ€™ll never know now, will we? But Iโ€™d get that ear looked at. Youโ€™re bleeding and wouldnโ€™t want an infection to set in. And if I wanted you deadโ€ฆyouโ€™d be dead. Itโ€™s a long time coming.โ€ then he turned; hands tucked in his pockets as he exited the shop.

Leonus held his left hand to his ear, feeling a sharp sting and lowering his hand, blood covered his fingertips. He raised his gaze watching as Derekโ€™s 6โ€™4 frame disappeared behind the door leading outside. Leonus snarled as he removed a bandanna from his pocket, dabbing the blood from his ear; wiping it away from his neck and jaw. Turning toward the shelf behind him, he reached for the screwdriver; roughly yanking it from the vermin before him. Blood and fur covered the shaft so with his blood stained bandanna, he wiped the tool clean. He groaned, having to grab the ratโ€™s tail, throwing the small body in a large trash bin set in the corner near the door. He watched as it fell, hidden among other garbage before tossing the bandanna in with it. Slamming the lid closed, Leonus huffed then turned away, exiting the shop as well.

Poor Erik sat on the stone ground, listening to the never ending water drips and rat squeaks as they scampered around in the darkness. He avoided them from biting his bare feet then leaned against the stone wall. Closing his eyes, he wondered what kept the half-breedโ€™s focus in this very moment. Many scenarios flashed through his mind before images of her and Anthony sparring clouded his thoughts. Innocent moments were mistaken for flirtation. He frowned trying not to dwell on something that held NO truth. He sighed opening his tired gray eyes, staring at the lanterns set on niches in the walls; little-to-no-light provided due to a draining battery. It was then though, he noticed a darkness within the lanterns dying light; a figure of some sort. Erik sped to his feet, unable to fully see a solid form.

โ€œHello?โ€ Erikโ€™s voice cracked but the presence remained silent as it stood there, โ€œWho are you? Answer me!โ€ he continued, feeling its eyes leering at him.

โ€œFor a Demonโ€ฆIโ€™m disappointed.โ€ the voice answered in a deep male tone, โ€œWith all your training, you allowed two Lycynians to do this to you!?โ€ the voice released low, slow TSKS.

โ€œWhat the bloody hell are you talking about!? Who are you!?โ€ Erik raged, โ€œShow me your face!โ€

โ€œYouโ€™re not worthy of looking upon my face. At least, not now.โ€

โ€œThen what do you want from me!?โ€ Erik paced his cell.

โ€œFrom you? Nothing. For you? Nothing. But I am here to give you some advice.โ€

โ€œAdvice? Wonderful. Thatโ€™s exactly what I need right now!โ€ Erik shouted.

โ€œYou need to wake up and realize what you have in front of you before itโ€™s lost. Power and love. Youโ€™re a pureblood Demon with great power. Use it! You have the love of a woman thatโ€™s too good for you. Cherish it, but wake up, Demonโ€ฆwake up!โ€ the voice grew agitated, โ€œBefore you lose it all.โ€

โ€œI canโ€™t.โ€ Erik stared at his feet.

โ€œHuman excuseโ€ฆyouโ€™re not human! Why canโ€™t you!?โ€ the figure questioned.

โ€œBecause I justโ€ฆcanโ€™t!โ€ Erik turned to the bars.

โ€œBy all the Sumerian gods, youโ€™re pathetic!โ€ the voice shouted in anger, โ€œI donโ€™t know what she sees in such a waste of an existence but she will some to realize who you really are in the end.โ€

โ€œWhat do you want from me!?โ€ Erik ordered as he stared into the blackness, watching as the lanterns were thrown from their places shattering against the stone ground; their shards of glass and metal fragments laid there as the rats investigated the disturbance in search of food.

Jon stared at his reflection in his bathroomโ€™s mirror, disgusted with himself knowing he knew of Erikโ€™s location and was going to keep that from the young Keeper.

โ€œWhat are you going to do, Jonathan?โ€ he whispered, โ€œAre you or arenโ€™t you going to tell her?โ€ he continued staring into his own eyes, โ€œYou are. Sheโ€™s our Keeper...sheโ€™s your friend...and she has the right to know. Right.โ€ and turning away, he disappeared with determination.

He reappeared inside the mechanicโ€™s shop where he heard loud voices coming from the parts room. Hearing feet shuffling about, he ran and hid quietly behind one of the large water barrels. He listened as the Scotsman and Samoan argued about his friendโ€™s imprisonment. He watched as Derek remained silent, reluctantly listening to everything Leonus said and in that moment, studying Derekโ€™s mannerisms and listening in on his thoughts, Jon knew Derek spoke the truth when he told him he didnโ€™t want any part in this. He withdrew his head when Derek sniffed around, catching the scent of Demon. He glanced around the shop then caught the glimpse of a disturbance along the ground where smudges in the dirt and oil led behind the barrels nearby.

โ€œJonathanโ€ฆโ€ he reached out telepathically, โ€œis that you, kid?โ€

โ€œYes.โ€ Jonโ€™s voice snapped, โ€œIโ€™m here to get Erik out!โ€

โ€œYouโ€™re stupidly brave, I give you that.โ€ Derek answered.

โ€œDerek?โ€ Lenous interrupted their conversation, โ€œAre you listening to me?โ€

โ€œYes, man...to every word.โ€ Derek argued, โ€œAnd now that you had your say and I made my point earlierโ€ฆโ€ he gestured at the Scotsman ear, โ€œare we done?โ€

Leonus frowned, scrunching his mouth then pushed past Derek roughly, bumping into his shoulder. Derek growled then followed after the man he loathed but before closing the door, making sure Leonus was out of sight, he called out in a shout knowing Jon was still inside,

โ€œMake it quick!โ€ as he locked the door behind them.

Jon waited, before coming out from his hiding place. He sighed, growing relieved that Leonus didnโ€™t catch his Demon scent but he was just too much into himself to notice anything. And if he did, he would probably think it was Erik. He scampered toward the room and standing outside, with fears of opening the door creating a loud creaking sound, he teleported underground. Appearing in the chamber at the bottom of the stone steps, once the swirling flames faded, he stumbled in place for he felt light headed and disoriented momentarily as heโ€™s never portaled or teleported through iron. Shaking his head and taking in a few deep breaths; the damp earth and muck filling his nostrils, he called out as he removed his flashlight from his pocket,


โ€œJonathan? What are you doing back here?โ€ Erik objected.

โ€œIโ€™m getting you out. Thatโ€™s what Iโ€™m doing here.โ€

โ€œNo...no you canโ€™t.โ€

Jon didnโ€™t answer as he placed his flashlight in his mouth, aiming its beam toward the cagesโ€™ lock. He knelt before it, removing metal lock picks from his boot. He frowned waiting to hear the picks fall into place and once they did, he smiled; flashlight falling from his mouth onto the ground. Jon slid the picks back in his boot then stood, swinging the door open with his foot.

โ€œCome on.โ€ Jon urged, โ€œIโ€™m getting you out of here and donโ€™t you argue with me.โ€ he helped Erik from the ground, kicking rats away from his bare feet. He stepped outside of the cage, avoiding the sigil and holding onto him, Jon struggled to teleport above ground but managed to appear inside the storage room. Erik took in a quick take of his surroundings before Jon took him back to his room. He walked Erik toward his chairs, gently sitting him down.

โ€œWhat are you doing?โ€ Erik questioned, watching as his friend picked the locks from the shackles bound around his wrist, dropping them at his feet.

โ€œJust...shut up!โ€ Jon snapped as he sped into the bathroom, grabbing a wet cloth, โ€œHere. Wipe your face. Iโ€™ll...be right back. You can use the sink to clean yourself off the best you can.โ€ then he disappeared before Erik could object.

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