The Rise of Heroes Book 1: The Academy of Hidden Secrets

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Chapter Twenty-Two

“Are you sure that it was a good idea to make clones of yourselves so they can stall Ulin while we talk?”

“Of course Malisha. Besides Ozur is really getting the hang of his magic so the clones should last long enough for those sixty laps,” Hugo reassured the blind girl who was accompanied by her boyfriend Eiloh.

“Except for the small detail that once Eathelyn and Rashika finds out about this, they’ll come for our necks,” Ozur sighed, but quickly lighten the mood with a smile, “But don’t worry, I’ve been in worse cases with their wrath so it’s really nothing to worry about. So what’s this suddenly important talk you want to have with us after we just began to trust each other a few hours ago?”

“It’s more like a favor we want you to do for us,” Eiloh began, his fingers getting tangled up with each other. “Malisha and I know that our relationship is very dangerous, especially since it’s outlawed and well..”

“If you’re worried about the headmistress or any other instructor finding out don’t worry,” Ozur promised, “We won’t tell them your little secret, I swear.”

“It’s not the secret we’re worried about Ozur,” Malisha whispered, her fingers playing with strings of her hair. “I know you wouldn’t tell anyone...You guys did risk your lives to save that boy.”

“That was months ago,” Hugo remarked, knowing that she was talking about the avalanche incident, trying to be as modest as he can. “We just did what we thought was right, besides... No life is not worth saving even at the cost of our own.” He could see Malisha repeating the same quote in a small voice while her lips seemed to quiver. “No life is not worth saving...Even at the cost of our own.”

They got quiet for a moment before Eiloh took a deep breath and soon was on his knees as he pleaded while he tried to keep himself together from the fear bottled up inside him. “Please, Ozur...Hugo..Please, I beg you...If we go against each other, then make sure your team defeats our team at the Battle Tournament!” His pleads echoed through Hugo’s and Ozur’s ears, like a pebble falling in an endless well! Eiloh, a member of the number one Team Same asks Team Hero to defeat them at the exams! As in risk their future and lives!

“Wait, why would you want us to defeat you if we go against each other? Wouldn’t you fail and possibly get two of you kicked out of the academy for good?” Ozur demanded, never hearing such a foolish request, sure he wants to win but not if someone is going to somehow cheat!

“Malisha and I will cheat, we’ll make sure our team doesn’t work well as a true team and that you win!” Eiloh explained as he got up on his knees and faced Ozur with his eyes filled with no regret. “All I want is for me and Malisha to stay together no matter what! Even if we get kicked out of the school, at least we’ll be with each other with some low ranking job somewhere in the Dark World!”

“Are you even listening to yourself Eiloh!” Ozur scolded, he couldn’t stand hearing this since he knew what happened to expelled students. “You’re saying that you would rather risk your whole entire life, your destiny, your future for what? To stay together with your girlfriend?! Did you even ask her for her opinion?!”

“Yes, he did Ozur,” Malisha interrupted, “We would rather live a life as our families disappointment if it’s the only way to be with each other! Look I don’t care if I’m considered a demon, a traitor, or a disgrace! I want to be with Eiloh, the one who loves me for being me, not with some random guy who just wants me for my family’s wealth! I might be sounding a little spoiled right now but...I don’t want to be away from him! I rather die than not be with him! I would have never been here right now without him!”

“What do you mean?” Hugo gently tried to calm Malisha down, who seemed to be on the verge of beating Ozur right now! “Does it have something to do with why you two fell in love in the first place?”

The young couple nodded slowly, as they sat down on the ground along with Hugo and Ozur, waiting patiently for the untold tale to be told by Malisha.

Now where can I start...Maybe at the beginning; the very beginning. I mentioned that my family was wealthy, well not as wealthy as Sundria’s family but close. Anyway, since I was born blind, well let’s just say that my parents had no faith in my ability to defend myself. After all, how many people can believe that a blind girl can fight? In my early life, my parents decided to bring in boys who are supposedly supposed to my future husband later. The problem was, even though I was blind and that I couldn’t see if those suitors were handsome, tall, buff, skinny, or small, all I could do was hear them try to enchant me with their charms so it seems pretty hard to choose the right guy.

For some reason, that wasn’t the case for me. Without my sight, they think they could just fool me with their words, but it’s their words that give them away. Like if some guy claims that he will do anything in his power to protect me, I can hear his knuckles crack but not loud enough for anyone, but me, to hear. After the interview that we have with every boy, I would find my way with the spear I have today, and then spy on the conversation each boy would foolishly have with their agent. Like always, I would record their conversation, give it to my parents and send that suitor on his merry way. At that rate, I was beginning to get more anxious to come of age to go to Lunar Star Academy and at last the day came.

At first, I thought that the whole train ride was going to be a piece of cake, the last thing I needed was my parents to worry their pants off just because of my disability. However, I never knew that the driver will pull off a very crazy stunt that almost killed me!

I remember holding on to the seats with my spear planted on the floor to increase my chances of staying alive, but I was in for a surprise. While everyone else was busy worrying about how Rashika jumped off the train to save that serpent boy and the train was spinning, I lost my grip.

The windows behind me were ripped off so I knew that my fate was sealed the moment I fell through. But before I did, I felt someone’s hand wrap around in record time, as I could feel that person’s arm held me tightly. I was confused, shocked at the fact that someone actually noticed me and saved me.

That person who saved me....It was Eiloh.

I didn’t realize that he was a demon until he muttered under his breath about embarrassing it was for a demon to rescue an Ethical At first he didn’t tell me his name, but after I sorta threatened to slice him with my spear, he gave in. After that, we just decided to talk, get to know each other once the train ride calmed down, and throughout the whole time, every word he spoke, was the truth. For some reason, he wasn’t like any other person I’ve met, and the crazy thing was, he was from the Dark World. Unlike any other boy I’ve met, he listened to me, he didn’t talk about being the richest guy in the universe, and he didn’t believe that I was worthless. He treated me like I was just a regular girl from the Light World who can see everything, even if he wasn’t my kind.

Even though he acts all tough and ridiculously stubborn at times, he was fun to train, and just hang out with. Until like a month ago, we started to go out together as we knew the risks of this.

And the craziest thing was....We didn’t care what world we came from as long as we love the company we give each other.

“So that’s what happened.We started out as friends first, then developed a good relationship step by step ..” Malisha concluded, her head bowed down for a moment before lifting her head back up. “That’s why...That’s why......That’s why Eiloh and I have to do this! We have to be the weaker members of our team, and let yours win! There isn’t going to be any other person who’ll see me the way he does or is ever like him.”

“And there isn’t going to be any girl like Malisha, she didn’t judge me or was afraid of me when I first told her that I was a demon. She treated me just as human as you treat your friends.” Eiloh confessed, looking straight at Ozur’s eyes, face to face. “Look I know this request might be beyond your power but I don’t care how you beat us but win okay! Just win! This might be repetitive but please, do it for us. Look I would rather lose my wings, my powers, and even my life, to be with Malisha.”

“Would you two rather become slaves then?!” Ozur suddenly slapped his hand over his mouth the moment those words came spilling out! Hugo glared at Ozur, suddenly seeing the change in expression from the couple’s faces.

“Slaves?” Eiloh gasped, taking a step back as he tried to register what he just heard and pretty much trying his best to panic. “W-What are you saying? We don’t become slaves, we just low-ranking jobs somewhere if we get kicked out. I-I mean, we don’t even know how to become a slave? ”

“S-Slave? Uh, um...Who talked about slaves? I-I mean, what is a slave for crying out loud?” Unfortunately, Ozur was very terrible

at hiding, this lie since his ears began to twitch.

“Don’t act dumb Ozur.” Eiloh warned, “You know perfectly well what you just shouted! So stop trying to sugar coat this one, I’m sure whatever truth you are hiding in that big mouth of yours is not that bad! Besides, I’m a demon, I can handle anything.”

“Just because you say you’re a demon doesn’t mean that whatever comes your way, you can easily ignore it and go on with your heartless life like every other demon!” Ozur yelled in protest, holding a strong grip on Eiloh’s shirt collar. “Don’t take this situation so lightly, and it’s for your own good that-”

“OZUR!” Hugo glared at him once more, his eyes making it clear to him that there was no way they can try to get out of this small situation they were in. “Just tell them, you already spoke too much than what has to be told.”

“But are you-”

“Just do it! If they are desperate to know then they should know, no matter how horrendous this is!”

“Alright,” he sighed in defeat, knowing that there was no use arguing with his team leader, besides even if he won this argument, Eiloh and Malisha might fight him to know what he was talking about. Besides, he already got a taste of Eiloh’s fists months ago! “But there is one thing I need to know about you two..” he began with suspicion in his voice, just because they made friends with the couple, it doesn’t mean that they are actually trustworthy to get into any secrets. They’re on the same team with Alsha and Sundria after all.

Malisha didn’t need to have true sight to see that Ozur was having difficulty putting his trust on her and Eiloh, so she brought the blade of her spear close towards her, causing instant panic!

“Malisha what do you think you’re doing?!” Ozur cried out with worry, “Okay just because I have some trust issues with you doesn’t mean for you to kill yourself!”

“Who told you I was going to kill myself?” Without hesitation, she used her spear blade to create a small but visible scar on her right hand. “This is something I used to do with my parents, in order to earn their trust, we make a small scar on ourselves and swear an oath. But don’t worry, after that promise is fulfilled then the scar will heal and disappear. This is called the Scar Oath, and it can only be done with my spear or any other weapon used in my family. So if Eiloh and I wear the scar I made, then we swore to never tell a soul and if we do, the scar will torture us until we go insane.”

“How do I know you’re not lying about this?” Ozur interrogated, even though he wanted to believe her, his gut is telling him that he’s going to need more proof to believe either of them.

“You would have known about the Scar Oath if you paid attention to that inside lesson we had with Ulin on that field trip we went to several months ago, and not get distracted by trying to turn the shampoo green with your magic,” Hugo smirked a bit when Ozur’s eyes widen along with his face getting a red with embarrassment while Eiloh made his Scar Oath.

Ozur sighed deeply in defeat, pulling his wand out once more. He waved the magical item three times before whispering the spell. “Shield naked to one’s eyes, appear and cover what words we are going to speak!”

Nothing seemed to have happened until Ozur knocked on the air to prove that the shield was surrounding which was since they could hear a loud noticeable bump when he knocked. “In case any of you wonder what I just did....

He paused for dramatic effect. “I made a force field!” No one seemed very interested in the name, causing Ozur to cough in awkwardness. “Yeah, I use fancy wording to make my spells now...Pretty cool huh?” The crowd in front of him were so quiet that even though they are covered by a shield that keeps any sounds they make inside, and keeps the outside noises outside, they happen to hear crickets chirping about.

Once again he let out a heavy sigh, only to then clear his throat to tell some of the truths he has come to discover with his team that night. “You become a slave when you fail your final exams, there is no low ranking job. Once you’re a slave, there is no guarantee that you’ll be together, not by a long shot. You see, slaves get sold and separated from their families to spend the rest of their lives serving the master who bought them. They live a life of doing whatever their master wishes, from hard work in the fields to carrying heavy loads up the highest mountains, and one little mistake will result in a very harsh beating from the master until he or she feels like you’ve been punished enough.”

“But what if a slave woman has a child, that child will still go to Lunar Star Academy like everyone else right? And besides, if slaves get sold then why doesn’t my parents own some?”

Ozur shook his head slowly to Eiloh’s question, leaving Hugo to explain that proportion.

“No, if you’re parents are slaves then you’re considered a slave the moment you are born, no exceptions. It was basically their past generations doing since they failed these exams, and once you’re a slave....You’re going to wish you never existed. As for your other question, it is true that slaves get sold but only to members of the Sun Gang, along with their families, and their top Demon officers who are in charge of executions.”

“But how hard are those beatings?”

“Hard enough to make you get knocked out for three weeks,” Hugo answered, ignoring the gasp from Malisha, who asked that question. “Some slaves who got beaten up, often die that very day. We know a slave friend who took her brother’s place for the punishments, it ended up getting her wings torn and becoming half blind.”

“But then...” Eiloh tried to carefully choose his next set of words for his question so he wouldn’t start something up. “But then how come we don’t know about this? I mean the Sun Gang always tells the three worlds the truth.”

“Probably because keeping slaves is disrupting the balance they supposedly created,” Ozur responded, keeping his eyes around the surrounding to see if anyone was spying. “Besides, if all three worlds found out about this, chaos will erupt since the balance and trust will be broken between them and the Sun Gang. Now we don’t have every last detail of a slave’s life but I do know one thing....A life as a slave is a life in hell, and it doesn’t matter if you’re black, or white, from the Light World or the Dark World. If you get kicked out the school, your life is over!”

Malisha and Eiloh suddenly grew silent, unsure of what to respond to what they just heard since their main goal was to stay together!

“Now let me ask you this you two,” Ozur continued, his back facing their pupils full of bewilderment. “Do you want to end up as slave where the chances of you two getting separated and even possibly getting killed?”

“No, we don’t...” Malisha whispered, but she soon made Ozur turn around to face her pale eyes. “But there has to be a way to get out of this school without getting killed or separated! If there isn’t then...Then...”

“Look for now just train yourselves for the tournament, and take this.” Hugo handed Malisha a folded piece of paper that she wrote something on it in less than ten seconds! “Read it when your other teammates aren’t looking, but until then...” He paused, lost in words to say until taking a little breath to calm down. “Just be careful alright.” He turned to Ozur in a commanding tone, “Let’s go Ozur.” With that, Ozur released the spell, the shield was gone and off they went back to where they were supposed to be training, leaving the couple behind.

Malisha’s head turned towards the direction where Eiloh stood, handing him the folded paper. “Open it and read it Eiloh.” The teen did as he was told, reading what Hugo has written in a soft low whisper.

“I know you’re scared, it’s not every day you find out a horrible piece of information you never knew about. Give me and my team until the week before the tournament, by then we’ll have the plan to keep you and everyone else who has been or will be harmed by the Sun Gang.”

Eiloh looked up at Malisha, she was clearly not looking at anyone particular as he shoved the message in his pocket. Then wrapped his fingers around her soft hand as he led her back to their team, leaving the spot where a promise has been read, and where the spark of doubt towards the Sun Gang has begun to light up.

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