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

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๐’ž๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“…๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐Ÿค

๐’ฏurning our heads, the High Priest Lord Ian and Priestess Lady Agatha approached; exiting the castleโ€™s rear doors. This is the first time my mom and I have seen them since our arrival, when they greeted everyone. Lady Agatha was an elderly woman in her 50s with graying hair flecked with white. Shadows framed her blue eyes with wrinkles and crowโ€™s feet. She looked tired; worn. A black dress hugged her thin figure while her cloak hung over her shoulders. Silver rings dressed her withered hands, while a Wiccan dagger hung from her belt.

Lord Ian Boyland, her brotherโ€™s son, was a pompous ass! Late 30s with dark red hair and green eyes. His six foot slender frame was dressed in a steampunk pant suit covered in chains and buckles. With a deep Irish brawl, he introduced himself in a sanctimonious manner. They stood before everyone, gazing into the crowd when Lady Agatha spoke in a loud raspy Irish voice,

โ€œThe Council of Witches would like to welcome you fellow practitioners, Shayds and covens here for our Quinquennial. For those of you who donโ€™t know what that means, we hold it every five years, during the full moon Harvest; sacrificing to the Fire Goddess as a devotion.โ€

Hearing those words, FIRE GODDESS worried my mom and I, for if these people found out I was a halfbreed, who knows how theyโ€™d react or what theyโ€™d do. My mom and I glanced at each other; worried expressions. As she continued to stare through the corner of her eye, I questioned softly so no one standing near would hear,

โ€œHave something to say, Mommy? If so, spit it out.โ€

โ€œI was just thinking thatโ€ฆif this was all a coincidence. Sacrificing to a fire Goddess of all damn things and here you areโ€ฆโ€ she answered then leaned in, โ€œa fire demon?โ€

โ€œDonโ€™t you think I know that?โ€ I snapped pulling up my hood then turned away slightly, โ€œF*ck me sideways.โ€ I whispered.

โ€œPlease everyone...gather together and prepare yourselves. Weโ€™ll be starting the sacrifice soon and some of you who have never been here before, what youโ€™re about to witness shall remain here and never spoken of again.โ€ Lord Ian said smoothly.

โ€œAnd those of you who have seen it, already know the preparations. We shall begin the ritual with a chant, which a lot of you already know.โ€ Lady Agatha added, โ€œThe ones who donโ€™t know it, can listen to the words. That will be just as powerful as if speaking the words themselves.โ€

โ€œSacrifice?โ€ I asked, โ€œThat doesnโ€™t sound good.โ€ I looked around, remembering the town with no name.

โ€œNo, no it doesnโ€™t.โ€ my mom replied, โ€œJust stay close to me.โ€

โ€œDonโ€™t have to tell me twice.โ€

We cautiously examined our surroundings, wondering what or who they were sacrificing. I just hope they donโ€™t sacrifice the newbies.

Waiting for the Priest and Priestess to return, we mingled trying to find out more information but everyone kept their mouths shut tight. A young man, another Ian was a Gothic guy with black dyed spiked hair, guy-liner, ear piercings, black nail polish, and Gothic attire, tried striking a conversation again, as heโ€™s tried so many times before since Iโ€™ve been here; always trying to hit on me. After a while, I grew impatient knowing he wouldnโ€™t go away. He was just 18, and way too young for my taste.

โ€œLook, kid. Youโ€™re sweet and all, but I uh...Iโ€™m interested in someone else.โ€

โ€œIs he here?โ€ Ian searched the crowd.

โ€œNo. Heโ€™s not. Heโ€™s a Wraith and I donโ€™t think heโ€™d be welcomed here.โ€ I rushed the words.

โ€œWraith? Geez, what the f*ck is wrong with you!?โ€ he shouted then backed away as if offended.

โ€œNice talking to you too!โ€ I waved.

The bell rang three more times signaling all to gather around as Lord Ian and Lady Agatha strolled through the large crowd, toward a bare, unlit bonfire. Kneeling on mats everyone brought, those around started the chant; no more than a few phrases, in a Latin tongue with the High Priest and Priestess right in front. My mom and I remained on our feet, listening as the chant came to an end; green and red streams of magic began swirling through the air. The magic came from the Shayds adding their touch to the ceremony. The lights hovered like the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) as Lord Ian and Lady Agatha stood before the large pile of wood stacked high against each other. The magic then swirled through the crowd as most took in the energy but for my mom and I, we felt its dark intent and it wasnโ€™t a pleasant experience as we both fought off the effects.

They raised their hands simultaneously igniting the fire and in a matter of minutes, the bonfire grew eight feet tall; loud crackling sounds, giving off massive heat pushing the practitioners closest to the flames back. Alongside the bonfire was a large wooden pole heavily secured and plunged deep into the snow. Six feet high from the ground, were two iron rings attached to a brace bolted around the wood. Holding her hands toward the flames feeling it had grown enough heat, Lady Agatha looked to her right, waving her hand as if gesturing someone to come forth. As she did, individuals moved aside making a clear path. We glanced through the crowd of turning heads catching a glimpse of four tall, muscular warlocks dragging two young people; a male and female shackled in chains around their wrists and ankles. They were barefoot and unkempt dressed in torn ragged clothing with dirt smudged on their faces, hands, feet and arms.

As they passed, we could see they were young; maybe 17 or 18 years old with red hair and green eyes. The chains and shackles were crafted in silver causing discomfort as it made contact with their skin. They were young Lycynians held captive, obviously for days or the two years during our residence. Bringing them toward the pole, the warlocks and Shayds slid silver chains through loops of their shackles. Taking the continuous chain, they slid them through the iron rings above their heads, locking them in place then added magic to the chains and shackles with a brief wave of their hands. The young Lycynians were too weak (obviously drugged with Wolfsbane) to put up a fight, giving into their unknown fate. Once chained, Lady Agatha turned announcing the ritual was about to begin. They performed this ritual on the night before the full moon as these young Lycynians were going through their half-transition tonight and these witches knew it.

As the moon rose in the sky, the young Lycynians held their heads up; eyes turning yellow, fangs protruding from their gums, and claws retracting from the sensitivity of the silver against their wrists. Their bodies attempted to transition but the doses of Wolfsbane apparently blocked the change but you could hear the cracking and breaking of their bones and their howls of pain and torment, broke our hearts as my mom and I stood there. Looking around, my mom and I noticed pleased expressions displayed on everyoneโ€™s faces displaying eager smiles. Scanning the massive crowd, my mom caught glimpses of Mary and Billy, as they stood toward the back to the left with solemn expressions and fear in their eyes. She knew they had no part in this sadistic ritual and seemed just as surprised and unaware as we were.

โ€œCome, everyone!โ€ Lady Agatha proclaimed, โ€œItโ€™s time for the delivery of power!โ€

โ€œPrepare yourselves!โ€ Lord Ian added, โ€œItโ€™s beginning!โ€ then he turned to the warlocks, โ€œAdd more wood to the fire! We need it strong, if theyโ€™re to be fed to the fire goddess!โ€

The Shayds held their arms upward releasing blasts of magic that blended with the lights that brightened as if absorbing the energy that was being offered.

A petite dark haired woman walked around the High Priest and Priestess, examining the sacrifice they prepared for her. This woman was Lilith; the first demon known to history. Her bare feet left melted steaming footprints in the snow and she felt no cold, as her demonic Aura kept her body temperature high. The shredded hem of her black figure-hugging dress trailed behind her as she mocked in an inaudible voice while she stood between them invisible to the eyes,

โ€œAre you kidding me you f*cking humans!? You call yourselves witches and warlocks? Ha! Youโ€™re nothing but Necromancers and Shayds knowing nothing about dark magic. Pathetic!โ€ she spat at the ground, โ€œAnd you think thisโ€ฆโ€ she gestured at the young Lycynians (though no one saw her), โ€œis what I, the original Demon Goddess wants in exchange for my power!?โ€ she laughed in mockery, โ€œF*ck that! There is only ONE that deserves and possesses my power!โ€ she laid her eyes upon her doppelganger within the crowd then turned to disappear; the bonfire flames erupted in height.

โ€œLookโ€ฆโ€ Lady Agatha shouted with a pleased grin, โ€œthe fire Goddess is pleased!โ€

Lilith rolled her eyes then raising her arms, she vanished in a burst of red flame causing the bonfire to erupt once more.

Again, everyone knelt on their mats chanting in Latin. Placing hoods over their heads, they swayed back and forth in vigorous motions; taking in the magic they thought they performed. All did this, except for my mom and I who remained on our feet; Billy and Mary too, although we paid no attention to them, taking in all this nonsense. These sadistic bastards practiced black magic, finding ourselves stuck right in the middle of it all. I whispered cautiously under my breath as I looked at my mom,

โ€œWe have to do something. We canโ€™t let them kill them.โ€ then I realized I took my sword, feeling the sheath against my back under my cloak. Now I know why I was meant to bring it.

โ€œLike what?โ€ my mom replied, โ€œThere are too many powerful witches, warlocks and Shayds here. We wonโ€™t stand a chance against them.โ€

โ€œBut they donโ€™t know about Abraxas and Iโ€™m sure theyโ€™ve never seen a dragon. Besides, maybe my demonic nature will come in handy. They want a fire Goddess, then theyโ€™ll have one. I learned a lot from Shung-Lee.โ€

โ€œI understand, but please be careful.โ€ my mom pleaded, โ€œIโ€™ll leave it up to youโ€ฆKeeper.โ€

I smiled lovingly then focused my attention ahead shouting out,

โ€œStop!โ€ as I pushed my way through, falling a few times due to the heavy snow. Managing my footing; mom following behind, I telepathically called for Abraxas.

Abraxas heard my call, changing from his rock form; into a dragon. Looking around the room seeing my absence, he realized his presence was needed elsewhere. Stretching out his wings, he flew around the room then crashed through the window; shards falling to the floor. Zanz ran over staring at the window avoiding the broken glass, and howled out. He ran toward the door, studying the obstacle in his path then began scratching the bottom. When that failed, he stood against the door, pounding his massive wolf paws against the wood forcefully, hoping it would give. After several attempts, the hinges loosened, weakening the doors stability. And mind you, these were heavy wooden doors! Seeing he accomplished this task, he continued until the door hung from its iron hinges. Squeezing through the door frame, he ran down the castleโ€™s corridors howling as he made his way outside.

Lady Agatha and Lord Ian raised their heads at the sound of my voice. Taking steps forward, Lady Agatha hollered as she stared in my direction,

โ€œHow dare you!? This is none of your concern, foolish girl! Get back in the crowd and rejoin the others! Youโ€™ve already disturbed part of the connection!โ€ she looked over my shoulder seeing my mom standing in support, โ€œYou, woman...is she your child!?โ€ she pointed toward her then at the young woman standing before her.

โ€œYes. Yes she is!โ€ my mom answered firmly, โ€œAnd I have a name, Lady Agatha. Itโ€™s Lady Dora and I agree with my daughter...this sacrifice is wrong! My God...theyโ€™re just children no older than my daughter or any of yours!โ€ she turned to everyone who remained kneeling on their mats, โ€œWhatโ€™s wrong with you!?โ€

โ€œYou foolish woman!โ€ Lord Ian shouted, โ€œYou dare interrupt our sacrifice with your foolish rants? Well, I hate to be the one to tell you but your words are pointless!โ€ he snapped his fingers of his right hand in a feminine gesture; two of the four men that dragged out the young beings grabbed my mom and I in firm grips, โ€œTake them away!โ€ he waved his hand, โ€œWeโ€™ll deal with them later or perhaps, even sacrifice them!โ€

โ€œNo!โ€ I hollered out as they dragged us away, โ€œYou canโ€™t do this! Let go of us!โ€ I tried breaking free but their grip was too strong and with all my pulling and struggling, I was surprised the men didnโ€™t feel the sword draped across my back.

Lord Ian and Lady Agatha turned their backs, shaking off the disruption ready to continue the sacrifice, when roars boomed from the night sky; followed by distant howls. Knowing it was Abraxas and somehow Zanz, I smiled as I watched all the witches and warlocks panic as they listened. The men holding our arms froze in place bewildered, allowing my mom and I the perfect opportunity to escape. My mom stepped on his foot then turned, punching him across his glass jaw; followed by a fierce kick to his groin. Once the man knelt to his knees in pain, my mom withdrew her dagger ready to use it if necessary. I too, stepped on both feet of the man holding onto me and momentarily, he released his grip allowing me to turn around, flipping the tall man to the ground. Quickly removing the sword from its sheath, I knocked the warlock unconscious with the pommel. As they laid there, we ran back through the chaotic crowd that jumped to their feet, mumbling for forgiveness as they continued listening to the roars.

The Isle of Castillionโ€™s Winter was like any other, bringing in the seasonal crowd of vendors from across the Irish Sea. Ravenstone Manor itself was magnificent as the snow capped the two front towers, offering a picturesque appearance. The manorโ€™s fountain was frozen over but the groundskeepers broke the iced surface providing oxygen for the fish and frogs.

The two young pureblood Demons Erik, Jonathan and Nathanโ€™s human sister Sarah, strolled through the village blanketed in snow. They walked with Wraiths Nick, Caleb and Justin viewing all the new items and trinkets the vendors displayed but the three Wraiths were called away for work up on the wall. They parted in friendly terms leaving the others to continue. Sadly Sarah and Jonathan couldnโ€™t purchase some of the pricey items. Erik on the other hand was fortunately your typical rich boy with money to spend; taken from a trust fund his father Hiromi, had set for him. Wanting to get his mind off everything thatโ€™s occurred involving Leonus, Erik spent time with his friends. However, time away didnโ€™t help because he knew Leonus was somewhere changing something to his liking without question only benefiting himself. Erik hoped the young woman that had been handed the legacy of the Isle, as well as catching his interest, would return soon to sort out all the bullsh*t for the only one who could put Leonus in his place was her and Erik knew it!

Erik skimmed through beautiful clothing for men and women; Sarah and Jonathan rummaged through printed scarves.

โ€œBloody hell...these are beautiful.โ€ Sarah joked; breath fogging in the Winter air, wrapping a pink and yellow scarf around her head, โ€œWhat do you think? Is it me?โ€ she turned facing them.

Jonathan and Erik turned; Jonathan joked as he walked over removing it from her head,

โ€œPink and yellow just arenโ€™t your colors. You look like an Easter marshmallow peep.โ€

Sarah frowned as she slapped Jonathanโ€™s arm then returned the scarf to its place, throwing it back onto the table.

โ€œHeโ€™s right, Sarah. To be truthfully honestโ€ฆit looks as if someone upchucked on it.โ€ Erik shook his head, turning to a cluttered rack of womenโ€™s jackets and coats, skimming through.

โ€œIโ€™m sure if Yza were here, you wouldnโ€™t think so.โ€ Sarah complained in a whisper.

โ€œGuys...what do you think of this one?โ€ Erik removed a jacket from its place, turning it in their direction for a better view; Sarah and Jonathan turned observing as Erik held a beautiful black and red faux leather jacket that zipped across the left side.

โ€œUm...โ€ Jonathan teased, โ€œitโ€™s nice mate, but donโ€™t you think itโ€™s a bit too small for you?โ€

โ€œHa-ha.โ€ Erik replied, โ€œVery funny.โ€ then he turned to the vendor, โ€œExcuse me? How much for this jacket?โ€

The vendor, an older gentleman, eyed Erik up and down taking notice he wore the Calvin Klein brand of clothing and knowing the young man standing before him obviously possessed a full wallet, he answered in a raspy accent Erik couldnโ€™t place,

โ€œItโ€™s pricey. Are you sure, kid?โ€

โ€œYes, Sir...I am.โ€ Erik nodded.

โ€œI like your kind of customers.โ€ the vendor smiled.

โ€œAnd what kind would that be?โ€ Erik grew arrogant, laying the jacket on the table.

Jonathan and Sarah stood to his left, remaining silent for they knew it would take all their savings just to afford a piece of clothing like that jacket he wanted so badly but for Erik, he didnโ€™t have a care in the world when it came to price tags.

โ€œHey, hey...look, just let him buy the jacket and youโ€™ll have a sale at FULL PRICE, alright?โ€ Jonathan stepped in, growing tired of the slight argument taking place between his friend and vendor.

โ€œEverything alright here?โ€ Thomasโ€™ voice interrupted the heated moment.

โ€œTheyโ€™re all arguing over that bloody jacket and that Erik can afford to pay it full price.โ€ Sarah placed her hands on her hips, โ€œItโ€™s bloody ridiculous, really.โ€

โ€œErikโ€ฆโ€ Thomas stepped forward, โ€œwhatโ€™s the issue?โ€

โ€œThere isnโ€™t one!โ€ Erik snapped, turning to the Italian, โ€œI just want to buy this jacket, thatโ€™s all and this bloke here is talking about my clothes and having money to spend. Thatโ€™s none of his business.โ€ the young Demon frowned laying his hand on the jacket.

โ€œHonestly, Thomas...there is no issue.โ€ the vendor muttered clasping his hands together before him, โ€œI just want to know if the young man is going to truly purchase it or stand around all day wasting my time and causing me to lose other customers. Get it now, kid...before someone else does. Thatโ€™s all Iโ€™m saying.โ€

โ€œNo pressure, but yes...Iโ€™m definitely buying it.โ€ Erik rushed his words arrogantly.

Thomas firmly placed his right hand on Erikโ€™s shoulder speaking affirmatively as he instructed,

โ€œWell, since youโ€™re at it, why donโ€™t Sarah and Jonathan pick something out for themselves and perhaps for the lovely Yzavela as well and as a good gesture, you can certainly add it to your bill. Isnโ€™t that right...Erik?โ€ he looked deep into the young mansโ€™ gray eyes that opened wide.

โ€œUm...yeah, sure.โ€ Erik nodded reluctantly.

โ€œWeโ€™re fine, Thomas...really.โ€ Jonathan added not wanting to become part of the issue.

โ€œThomas is right.โ€ Erik was put in a difficult situation, โ€œGo aheadโ€ฆโ€ he flashed a fake smile.

โ€œThatโ€™s a good generous boyโ€ฆโ€ Thomas patted Erikโ€™s back then walked away, feeling the situation was set right and that everyone involved was satisfied; especially the vendor. Walking through the village hearing voices calling out his name he thought, โ€œI HATE SPOILED RICH BOYS. THEY DONโ€™T KNOW WHAT ITโ€™S LIKE TO WORK FOR THEIR MONEY. THEY HAVE IT SO EASY.โ€ then shrugging the thought from his mind, he approached another vendor needing aid in his setup.

Sarah found a pair of black leather sized 6 feminine military ankle boots with riveted straps and buckles that wrapped around, with 2 inch heels, matching the jacket perfectly. Searching through the vendorโ€™s display for herself, she found a wide leather cinch-belt with studding and chains that fancied her taste perfectly. She smiled when wrapping it around her waist making sure it would fit then laid it atop the jacket carefully with the boots alongside. Jonathan on the other hand, picked out a pair of black leather gloves and a scarf that would also match then skimmed through a rack of vests of various steampunk designs. He favored two but knew only one could be chosen so he chose the black paisley print with silver buttons he knew he could wear with just about everything he wore. He too smiled laying his items on the table.

Erik stood to the side with arrogance written all over his face as he scrunched his mouth; his arms folded and feet apart. He watched as the young man and woman before him chose their personal items and gifts for their friend; thoughts ran through his mind and they werenโ€™t pleasant ones. He glanced away toward another vendorsโ€™ display in the next spot over; antique picture frames of various sizes stood. He stepped away examining them when his eyes landed upon a beautiful rectangular antique silver picture frame with black onyx stones set in the corners; extremely Gothic in design.

Once that was paid for he returned to the vendor where the man standing behind the table stood impatient, for customers were bypassing him seeing the time it took for him to serve his current customers. He frowned and remained silent as he calculated the total of the items laid before him and once the total was summed up in his currency of American dollars, he made it a point to rub it in Erikโ€™s face,

โ€œAlright, young man...thatโ€™ll be eight-hundred dollars plus fifteen percent tax.โ€

Eril leaned forward resting his hands on the tablesโ€™ ledge and muttered in a low voice,

โ€œThere are no taxes in England.โ€

โ€œBut Iโ€™m not from England.โ€ the vendor leaned forward answering bluntly, โ€œNow do you want these items or not!?โ€

โ€œYes, I do but Iโ€™m not paying the taxes.โ€ Erik stood straight.

โ€œVery well, thenโ€ฆโ€ the vendor removed the bags from the table placing them at his feet.

โ€œErik, mate come on...just pay the man and let it go.โ€ Jonathan argued.

โ€œThere are others waiting.โ€ Sarah observed a small crowd standing nearby waiting to skim through the vendorsโ€™ wares and clothing for sale.

โ€œHey, Erik...are you going to buy something or what?โ€ a young woman called out, โ€œWeโ€™re all waiting here! Piss off, mateโ€ฆโ€

Erik turned to the crowd then keeping words to himself he focused on the vendor, removing his wallet; nine hundred-twenty dollars in American currency was roughly laid on the table. The vendor grinned as he reached for the money beginning to count it slowly in mockery then once the count came to an end, he laid the bags on the table with a fake grin.

โ€œThank you for your purchase. Come again.โ€ he greeted sarcastically, โ€œNext?โ€ he glanced past Erikโ€™s shoulder who roughly removed the bags then stepped aside.

He turned walking in fast strides then paused, dropping the bags at his friends feet.

โ€œF*cking a**hole!โ€ he muttered then spoke loudly, โ€œThose are yours.โ€ he grunted.

โ€œWhatโ€™s your problem?โ€ Sarah picked up her bags.

โ€œMy problem?โ€ Erik raised his low tone, โ€œMy problem? Letโ€™s see...EVERYTHING IN THIS F*CKING PLACE IS MY PROBLEM AND EVERYONE IN IT!โ€ he waved his arms around.

โ€œGood to know, mate.โ€ Jonathan retrieved his bags, โ€œYou know what...I changed my mind.โ€ he dropped the bags at his feet, โ€œGet your money back, that is if the vendor will give you a refund.โ€ he walked away leaving Sarah standing there in an awkward moment.

She stuttered unsure what to say then glancing down at her bags, she made her decision.

โ€œI donโ€™t know what Yza sees in you. Youโ€™re nothing but an arrogant bastard!โ€ she muttered then dropped her bags at her feet, following after Jonathan.

Erik stood there feeling anger building inside as he too dropped his bags at his feet. He huffed and kicked the snow around him before realizing his mistakes and attitude. He grabbed the bags then opened a portal that took him to his room and once there, he meditated practicing his fatherโ€™s methods. Afterwards, a calmness flowed through him. He wrapped the gifts he had purchased for me and those that Sarah and Jonathan had chosen but kept their personal items unwrapped in their bags. After feeding his turtles and taking a hot shower, he searched for his friends who were sitting in the manorโ€™s lounge speaking softly between them. Erik stood in the doorway when he caught Sarahโ€™s glance over Jonathanโ€™s shoulder; the Australian turned, taking notice of her distraction.

โ€œWhat do you want?โ€ Jonathan turned away.

โ€œCan we talk about what happened, please?โ€ Erik approached sitting across from them.

โ€œWhy?โ€ Jonathan shrugged.

โ€œBecause I donโ€™t want to leave things that way. Youโ€™re my best friend, mate and...look, Iโ€™m sorry.โ€ Erik apologized.

Jonathan stared in Erikโ€™s eyes seeing his apology was genuine.

โ€œYouโ€™ve always been arrogant, Erik...and I donโ€™t know why this little thing like paying for clothes at full price bothered you so much, but...apology accepted. And weโ€™re sorry if maybe, Sarah and I had some hand in it.โ€

โ€œWhat?โ€ Sarahโ€™s voice squeaked.

โ€œNo...youโ€™re fine. It wasnโ€™t you. I take all the blame.โ€ Erik raised his hands in surrender.

โ€œYou should.โ€ Sarah added.

โ€œI think these are yours.โ€ he handed them their bags, โ€œRegardless of what happened, I want you to have them nonetheless.โ€

Jonathan and Sarah reluctantly accepted the bags but after Erik pleaded for them to do so, they did without argument. They each applied their new clothing piece to their current attire and they added something special. Erik could see the happiness on his friendsโ€™ faces and kicked himself in the a** for allowing his arrogance to take over.

โ€œYou do realize though, Erik that if Yza were here...she wouldnโ€™t have been so lentiant with you.โ€ Jonathan sat adjusting his vest.

โ€œBloody hellโ€ฆโ€ Sarah commented, โ€œyouโ€™d be...well? F*cked.โ€ she grinned.

โ€œDonโ€™t I know it.โ€ Erik chuckled, โ€œI miss her so much.โ€

โ€œMe too.โ€ Jonathan replied as he sat next to her.

โ€œMe three.โ€ Sarah muttered, โ€œI wonder what sheโ€™s doing right now.โ€

โ€œProbably mouthing off to someone who deserves it.โ€ Erik joked reminiscing about the things weโ€™ve all done together, โ€œI can hear her now.โ€ he grew a warm smile feeling a loneliness, โ€œAnd there she goes.โ€

โ€œYeah...tell them Yza and give them Hell!โ€ Jonathan joked.

They shared in a moment of laughter when Erik ceased his. Standing to his feet with a heavy sigh he complained as he adjusted his leather jacket,

โ€œWellโ€ฆI think Iโ€™ll go see what Leonus is up to and Iโ€™m pretty sure itโ€™s no good.โ€

โ€œDo you know where he is?โ€ Sarah leaned forward.

Before Erik could answer, an older woman came rushing down the stairs talking loudly on her phone complaining about Leonusโ€™ behavior and lack of knowledge on the situation she needed taken care of. She glanced toward the manorโ€™s lounger but felt no need to speak to the curious faces watching her. She stormed through the front doors; her voice faded outside.

โ€œGuess that answers your question.โ€ Erik gestured then turned, approaching the stairs and began his ascent; Sarah and Jonathan following after and once reaching the top, Erik noticed the door left open a crack. Slowly pushing it open, there Leonus sat behind the desk as if he were Keeper. The three of them stood in the doorway watching him then exchanged looks of disbelief. Folding his arms, Erik aimed his comment directly at Leonus, โ€œIf only the REAL Keeper could see you behind that desk.โ€

Erikโ€™s voice surprised Leonus, startling him momentarily. He raised his gaze then quickly replied as he focused his attention back to the stack of papers piled in front of him,

โ€œWhat do you want, hell-spawn? You and your friends donโ€™t belong here. None of you do...I told you that before.โ€

โ€œIโ€™m here to make sure everythingโ€™s in order...as promised.โ€ Erik affirmed elegantly, โ€œAnd as I told you before, Yzavela left certain people in charge of tasks which none of us have been able to do lately thanks to you. So the real question is...why are YOU here!? Because I donโ€™t remember Yza leaving you in charge of anything pertaining to Keeper business. Just keeping things in order at the harbor and making sure shipments arrive, so I wouldnโ€™t get too comfortable in that chair if I were you.โ€ Erik mocked, โ€œAnd us hell-spawns arenโ€™t going anywhere either. Weโ€™re all here to stay. And why do you still have keys to the study?โ€

Leonus bit his lower lip as he stood, ignoring Erikโ€™s question. Dropping the papers on the desk he then stomped heavily toward the door, standing in front of Erik, staring him in the eyes with hate and intimidation. He sneered as he thought knowing the young Demon could hear his thoughts telepathically, flashing his red Lycynian alpha eyes, โ€œONE OF THESE DAYS, ERIK, ONE OF THESE DAYS, Iโ€™LL KILL YOU AND ALL YOUR FELLOW HELL-SPAWNS AND THAT INCLUDES YOUR PRECIOUS KEEPER.โ€

โ€œLeonus...โ€ Erik threatened telepathically as he too changed his eyes in retaliation revealing his red Demonic eyes, โ€œitโ€™ll be my pleasure killing all your kind as well. And that includes your flea-infested a**.โ€ then spoke verbally, โ€œIf weโ€™re done here?โ€ he stepped aside.

Leonus clenched his fists tight then stormed out in fast strides, releasing deep growls as he made his way down the stairs and out the front doors, pushing past residents coming in from the cold evening air. His stench remained lingering in the air then passed.

โ€œNo matter how clean they might be, their stench still somehow manages to...stick to...ugh...they just f*cking stink.โ€ Jonathan commented pinching his nose then waving his right hand outward, he opened the patio doors that swung open gently while Erik searched for a room spray giving the room a quick refreshening then went to the bathroom retrieving a soapy washcloth, wiping down the chair.

โ€œIsnโ€™t that a bit extreme?โ€ Sarah raised her eyebrows.

โ€œI donโ€™t think so. His big sweaty a** sat here and Iโ€™m not sharing that.โ€ Erik mocked throwing the cloth in a trash can by the desk, and after a good laugh between them, he then took his seat examining the paperwork, having to re-edit information Leonus wrote incorrectly. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do when the young Keeper returned. Half of the notes written were too illegible to make out, for Leonusโ€™ penmanship was horrid, leaving Erik to rewrite a lot of them.

Jonathan and Sarah reorganized the misplaced books pertaining to business and architectural design involving secret passages and corridors. They grew curious as to the subjects. They knew there were tunnels but wondered why Leonus wanted access to them. Pushing the thought aside, they stacked them back in their place on the shelves among the others of their colored binding and titles.

After a while, the three of them left but made sure the study was secure. Erik, standing out in the hall, ran his hands along the surface of the door; he listened as locks bolted in place. Turning to Sarah and Jonathan he muttered sarcastically,

โ€œIโ€™d like to see him get in there now.โ€

โ€œHeโ€™ll probably just kick it down.โ€ Sarah answered truthfully as she descended the stairs ahead of her male companions.

โ€œProbably.โ€ Jonathan chuckled as he and Erik followed. โ€œBut I donโ€™t think my father and Leonard would like that too much! Doors and latches are difficult to craft.โ€

โ€œWhat was that?โ€ Lady Agatha cried out as she gazed toward the sky.

โ€œItโ€™s the Goddess...โ€ Lord Ian worried, โ€œsheโ€™s angry because the Harvest has been disturbed and sheโ€™s unleashed her demons to destroy us all!โ€

โ€œYou idiots!โ€ my mom shouted out once breaking free from her rough handlers, who laid on the ground moaning, โ€œThatโ€™s not your God or Goddess! You call yourselves witches and warlocks yet you donโ€™t know the signs from your deities you worship so highly? You f*cking a**holes!โ€

โ€œYou!โ€ the Priestess pointed toward the woman, โ€œYou and your daughter brought this misfortune upon us! Shayds...get them out of here immediately!โ€ and once her orders were given two other muscular warlocks dragged us away as everyone yet again, heard the loud roars.

Examining the night sky; eyes seeing nothing, Abraxas released powerful ear piercing roars, echoing in the stillness of the isolated grounds. All, except for myself, shielded their ears as he flew lower. Seeing his figure hovering above , Lord Ian screamed out,

โ€œDemon...Harpies...run! RUN!โ€

In sheer panic, all scattered about, covering their heads as Abraxas hovered, clawing at them with his sharp talons. Abruptly, the warlock dragging me away yelped in pain as Zanz pounced on him from the side; his teeth embedded deep into his arm pulling him to the ground. Once releasing his arm he lunged for the mansโ€™ throat. I ran over cutting the arteries in the legs of the man grasping onto my mom then without hesitation, I decapitated him. Blood splattered onto the snow from my blade; splotches of red among the neon white ground. My mom stood aside in shock watching as her daughter killed so effortlessly without a second thought. Blood had splattered on the lower part of her dress but nothing she couldnโ€™t manage to wash out. I turned listening as Lord Ian continued shouting out for the warlocks and Shayds to bring the flying creatures down and to kill us on the spot for we werenโ€™t worth the effort and time. Only possessing ritual daggers, they sheathed their small bladed weapons then held their hands in the air using their magics against the flying beast attempting to bring him down but it had no effect.

Abraxas grew extremely irritated, before telepathically hearing my words,

โ€œAbraxas...you need to grow larger!โ€

โ€œWhat form should I take, Mother?โ€ Abraxas replied as he landed on my shoulders and watching as I reached my left hand upward touching his snout, an image I had sent him appeared in his small mind; his form the size of Axeon and knowing he could transform into that size he continued, โ€œI can do it.โ€ Abraxas assured then flew in the air; the coven continued their blasts of their useless magic.

My mom had hid behind one of the nearest bushes watching as her daughter and dragon communicated in a way sheโ€™d never experienced. Occasionally sheโ€™d duck her head down as blasts of colored arcane magics swirled through the air like fireworks on the fourth of July leaving behind their crackling and snapping sounds.

I stood then glanced around me making sure no one came toward me before I focused my eyes toward the sky watching as Abraxasโ€™ changed; his scales glowed in a Ruby glow while his form grew to Axeonโ€™s size while keeping his own appearance. Roaring once more vibrations were felt beneath our feet. Foolishly, some of the magical practitioners fell to their knees praying to Abraxas, asking that heโ€™d spare their lives but leaning his head down above them, he bellowed blasts of fire so intense, the heat could be felt from 3 miles away, melting the snow covered ground. However, his flames were carried from the gust of wind given off by his massive wings as he hovered which began burning nearby trees, bushes and the top of the wooden pole the young Lycycnians were chained to. Holding my sword down to my side with Zanz, I turned searching for my mom and calling out to her, I spotted her head behind the tall bushes. Reaching down grabbing her cloak I ran toward her returning the Velvet cloth to her.

โ€œMommy...I want you to go back to our room and wait for me there!โ€ I urged.

โ€œBut what are you going to do?โ€ she questioned.

โ€œMommy!โ€ my Aura erupted.

โ€œAlright, but please be careful.โ€

โ€œI will now go!โ€ I pleaded.

She turned, running toward the castle while I ran toward the pole but taking a momentโ€™s pause she turned, watching as her daughter grew smaller in the distance between the castle and bonfire. She wrapped the cloak around her shoulders then stubbornly returned to her hiding place behind the bushes, wanting to see what her daughterโ€™s learned and the Hell sheโ€™d unleash. She pulled up her hood which blended her among the dark shadows that covered the bushes.

โ€œZanzabarr...I want you to attack anyone who comes near, understand?โ€ I ordered, receiving a bark in return, โ€œGood boy.โ€

Running toward the bonfire, I engaged in brief encounters with warlocks and Shayds who attempted to block my path with daggers in hand or their use of their magics. Feeling my rage come to the surface, I released my Aura either setting them ablaze, pushing them backwards with my energy which left a large burnt gaping hole in their upper torso or blocked their magical blasts. Iโ€™ll admit, that was my first encounter where I had actually engaged in a magical skirmish (unlike that encounter with the Hunters) and it was difficult for these warlocks and Shayds were purebloods showing their age and strengths. Standing there creating a barrier between me and them (something I had learned from Shung-Lee), it began shattering like glass creating sparks as each blast weakened it and once there was hardly anything left, I released the barrier; a force of energy mixed with fire pushed them backwards. As they blinked their eyes for embers had found their way into them, I lept through the lingering flames and I wasnโ€™t afraid to kill; something new and different was being released within and I could feel its powerful intoxicating effect. It felt natural and I was able to be myself. Once the bodies had fallen to the ground I shook my swordsโ€™ blade downward, flicking blood that splattered onto the snow covered ground then I glanced toward the bonfire where the flames burned lower down the length of the pole, leaving the young paranormal beings squirming in place trying to avoid the heat.

Turning their heads, they grew fearful as a young woman approached with sword in hand, covered in blood and engulfed in an Aura. They moaned in fear as she grew closer, thinking she was the fire Goddess coming to claim them but as her figure cleared through the flames, their eyes widened.

โ€œHey, hey...shh. Iโ€™m not going to hurt you.โ€ I insisted, holding my hands up then walking around behind them, I stood before the chains wrapped and locked tightly around the pole. Holding my sword over my right shoulder, I swung the blade downward in one hard swift strike, breaking the chains. Sparks flew briefly, then vanished. Walking back around, I aided them by quickly removing the shackles from their wrists and ankles, burning their skin in the process. Realizing I had saved their lives, they nodded. They couldnโ€™t speak in words but held my hands tightly in appreciation then scampered off, escaping into the woods. The young girl glanced back once more then turned, following her brother.

I smiled knowing I had saved their innocent lives but that smile faded when three more men; two warlocks and one injured Shayd charged toward me with their weapons in hand yelling out in anger. Engaging in a sword fight, Zanz pounced on the Shayd, tearing him to shreds while I fought the warlocks...the same two that originally held my mom and I.

My mom; hidden behind the large snow covered hedges, watched as her daughter used her new skill set. Always proud; she watched as her BABY GIRL became a full fledged warrior. She only observed the practice sessions on occasion between her and Shung-Lee, as well as on the Isle and couldnโ€™t believe how fast she learned. However, through the flames spread out everywhere, she observed through a breakโ€ฆher Aura for the very first time in full force. In her eyes, she was engulfed not only in steam, but a faint, red heatwave-like-glow.

โ€œMy, Godโ€ฆโ€ she mumbled, โ€œmy baby girlโ€ฆwow! Give them Hell, sweetheart!โ€ she quietly cheered without drawing attention to herself.

Once falling to the ground lifeless, I ran through the crowd toward the castle with Zanz close behind. Abraxas flew high into the night sky blending with the blackness then turned, diving nose first with closed wings. He glowed once more, changing into his smaller form and a few feet from the ground, he stretched his wings flying after me.

Shouting from the doors of the castle was Lady Agathaโ€™s voice,

โ€œThe fire Goddess...sheโ€™s angry for she didnโ€™t get her sacrifice! Sheโ€™s coming for us all!โ€ then she gasped pointing out toward the distance before her, โ€œThere she is! Everyone, run! Her demon and hound are destroying us all! Sheโ€™s out for blood!โ€ and before she could cry out further rants, Lord Ian pulled her inside, dragging her to safety.

Passing the hedges, it was then I sensed my mom nearby and reaching out, her thoughts were too close. My eyes scanned through the rush when I spotted her head and shoulders peeking above bushes. The panicked crowd continued scampering in fear as I pushed through.

โ€œMommy...I told you to go to your room.โ€ I shouted telepathically as I ran toward her, โ€œAre you alright?โ€ I continued verbally.

โ€œYes, Iโ€™m fine...โ€ she replied, โ€œbut I was worried about you and I wanted to make sure you were safe but clearly you are.โ€ she observed her daughterโ€™s form covered in spots of blood, โ€œThat was magnificent out there and how were you engulfed in flames? Is that what Shung-Lee taught you?โ€

โ€œIโ€™ll explain later. Letโ€™s go pack our things and get the f*ck out of here and leave with the others, yeah? Iโ€™ve had enough of this place to last me a lifetime. Almost two years of this sh*t? Iโ€™m done.โ€

My mom nodded as we returned to our rooms, throwing our clothes into our bags without a care if they wrinkled. Making our way outside toward the bus and climbing its steps, others had the same idea as they too, scampered onto the buses. Just then, I remembered I wanted to say goodbye to Shung-Lee before leaving.

โ€œIโ€™ll be right back! I forgot something. I still have time!โ€ I stated, handing my mom my bag, โ€œZanz, come with me and Abraxas...you stay here and protect the bus.โ€

โ€œBe careful!โ€ my mom hollered out watching as I ran into the woods behind the castle.

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