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

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Chapter Twenty-Five

“If one of us falls before we get to the stronger parts of the floor, we’re done for,” Eathelyn reminded as she held on to Rashika’s neck as she flew over the stairs trying to make sure she didn’t drop anything.

“Gee thanks, no pressure then,” Rashika remarked, carefully trying to spot the pebble she threw but with a demon trying not to fall but failing, it was quite difficult. “It would be easier if you would stop moving!”

“I would if I could but it’s not easy if you’re trying to not let your sword fall at any moment!” Eathelyn’s eyes scanned the area until the small rock caught her attention faster than the speed of light! “Right there! Rashika land now!”

However, before Rashika could make a completely landing, one touch of her legs and the floor instantly shook, beginning to fall apart! She jerked back from the floor in alarm, the wood fell in the hole as the teens held their breaths hoping that the building doesn’t fall on them. Luckily, the building stood its ground but the endless pit where the floor fell through showed a sparkle of light from the glowing that continued to shine!

“Of course!” Rashika suddenly realized, hovering over the hole of darkness that taunted them. “The floor could hold the pebble’s weight but we didn’t stop to think that maybe the floor wouldn’t hold our weight!” She slapped herself with her tail in frustration. “How could we have been so stupid!”

“Never mind that Rashika.” Eathelyn inspected the spark of light in the pit, she would use her Demon Eye but she couldn’t even if she wanted to. According to Ulin, for some reason, none of the demons assigned to fix the building weren’t able to use their Demon Eyes, and for those who have tried ended up getting unconscious. “Looks like we’ll have to find that key in that pit of broken floor pieces, fly us down!”

On cue, Rashika swooped down but she paused midway, discovering that the hole seemed to have enormous sharp deadly stone spikes the size of an iceberg, sticking out! From the looks of it, it seems to have led towards a tunnel! This time without rush, she flies down carefully, going through the spikes carefully so she and Eathelyn don’t get hit by them. Since the small hole that now seems like a huge tunnel was too dark to even see your hand, Rashika used her fire to light their way through until Eathelyn finally caught a glimpse of ground at last!

“Now this time you can land!” Eathelyn instructed until she saw Rashika’s necklace begin to glow again! “But don’t get out of dragon form now!”

“It’s my necklace, not me!” Rashika explained, trying to maintain control of the necklaces’ power! “Somehow my time in this form has run out! Prepare for a bumpy landing!”

They weren’t prepared sadly, Rashika was back to her hybrid form, and they two found themselves plummeting down to the ground! Thankfully Rashika’s transformation timing ended just when they were several feet away from the ground so their landing wasn’t deadly, but it was painful.

The two fell into a pile of broken wood so the only damage they could have was a splinter. Eathelyn got up first, looking up to see that they have flown a long way down from where the Copper Building stood! The hole they flew in seemed like a small speck of light and the rest was just spikes of stone.

“Okay, aside from the rough landing and the unusual setting we’re in. Let’s start looking.” Eathelyn helped Rashika up from the pile, mumbling under her breath. “This would have been easier if the boys agreed to help.”

“We knocked them out, remember?” Rashika answered, clearly hearing what Eathelyn mumbled until her eyes spun at the sight they were in! The tunnel they fell from seemed more like a hidden ruin filled with broken pieces of wood and bricks! “And we a lot of work ahead of us...Just great.”

They split up, looking through pile after pile to find any sign of the key Eathelyn dreamed about but no luck so far.

Pretty soon new piles of debris were formed, Rashika used her wings to make the fragments fly in the wind to scatter someplace else while Eathelyn used her sword to slice through the pieces. After an hour of searching without a signal ounce of luck, Eathelyn seemed to have lost her nerve.

“Urgh!! I can’t take it anymore!” Eathelyn placed her sword in its holder strapped around her back, her eyes focusing on one spot of the mysterious place. “I’m going to have to take some desperate measures!”

“If you use your Demon Eye, you’ll get knocked out for sure, or even worse!” Rashika warned. “You heard what happened to the people who were reconstructing the building and tried to use their Demon Eyes, half of them almost got killed!”

“I’ll take my chances then,” Eathelyn retorted, her right eye turned pale but no one can tell because of her front hair covering it even if she had a ski mask on. “Better doing this than just looking with our hands.” Part of her hair lifted up a bit from the sudden wind she created with her power and soon all the debris was floating in the air! She whispered as her eyes closed but the Demon Eye’s powers still on. “Find the key..”

The floating objects spun around the girls, Rashika looked at the sight in astonishment, seeing every bit of dust, wood, and brick move around to find the requested object. At long last, her eyes narrowed to a small bronze object in front of her in a shape of-

“THE KEY!” Rashika made a grab for it, then signaled Eathelyn to release her power and soon it was raining construction debris. They should be celebrating but somehow they looked around the area skeptically.

“Is it just me, or does this seem too easy for some reason,” Rashika muttered in suspicion. “Something is way up, stay on guard.”

Eathelyn didn’t need to be a genius to realize what Rashika was talking about, they scanned around the place, for some reason the darkness seemed to have begun to move by itself. However, the most funniest thing is that darkness doesn’t move unless someone followed. Their head spun the opposite direction when a door creaked open from the darkness as an evil figure called out, “Who’s there!? If you grabbed the key then show yourself!”

Right off the bat, they recognized that voice. “Hellioh?!” They quietly realized, suddenly knowing that someone like him would be more than likely to hide the key in a place like this! They quickly run to hide inside a nearby pile, away from his eyes as the room lit up with fire from the torches that suddenly appeared.

“If you don’t turn yourself in then I’ll have no choice but to use my power to trap you in your worst nightmares,” Hellioh threatened. “And once I hear your cries then I’ll know who you are!” He raised his right hand, snapping his fingers only to begin lifting the pile up! “Or I’ll just find you from this little game of hiding and seek!”

The teens held their breaths, they didn’t know if he was close to their pile or not but they knew that they would be dead if he found them! Suddenly, they felt the pile around them shaking, and soon lifted up as they crouched down to hide but they knew that it was useless!

“Ah ha! Found you snooping rats!” Hellioh laughed, lifting Rashika and Eathelyn up from where they were as he took the key from Rashika’s tight grip and placed it in his pocket! “And thank you for retrieving the key for me, so nice of you!”

Eathelyn felt like shouting something but if she does that then their identity will surely be noticed in no time! She just hoped Rashika has an idea to get out of this but even if she did, how will she do it if they can’t even move a muscle from this strange power Hellioh possess!

Meanwhile, for Rashika, she struggled to move her hand to reach out to her pocket but with a tight grip Hellioh’s power had on them, it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. Reach for it Rashika! Come on you’re not weak, you’re not weak! She thought to herself, her teeth clenched together as the force her hand made was creating a painful effect from the power she was trapped in! From what seemed like forever, her fingers were greeted by the warmth of her packet and the coolness of a weapon she had for cases like this.

“You know, I was planning on removing those masks of your to reveal your beautiful faces but I think it’s more fun to get rid of you and find out who’s missing later, don’t you think?” Hellioh smirked, tightening his force until he heard something hit the ground that came from Rashika’s direction! “And what’s this?” He looked down at the object only to gasp in fear and BOOM!

“Smoke bomb?!”

Hellioh was too busy trying to clear the smoke that he didn’t realize that he released his hold on the Eathelyn and Rashika as they quickly made a run for it but he was several steps ahead of them! “Oh no, you don’t!” He ran out of the smoke and then past them towards the exit, grabbing hold of the door, stepping out as he sneered. “Good luck trying to find you way out of this new hell you’ll go through.” With that, he slammed the door shut, before the two teens could run to break it down, it disappeared, leaving nothing but a stone wall trapping them!

Eathelyn was about to use her fists to punch her way out but before she could do anything, her mind was invaded by a strong high sound-wave that was so agonizing that she fell to her knees trying to contain herself! She felt her hands tremble as her body shook like a leaf, the energy she contained was wiped out of her system! She never felt so useless and helpless as she felt fat warm tears spill from her closed eyes as the agony continued to go to a higher level! Whatever this sound was, she found this very painful but for some reason, Rashika wasn’t affected by the sound-wave at all.

“Hey snap out it!” Rashika shook Eathelyn’s shoulder in panic, but that didn’t make any improvement. The girl stayed on her knees, her arms trembled their way around her waist to try to protect herself from the terrors of the world. Rashika’s breath shorten, her eyes began to scan the area once more to find another exit before Eathelyn goes completely insane!

She saw nothing but walls blocking any spark of hope of escape, and she knew calling for help will rescue them but at the same time, it would doom them. While Eathelyn cried from the pain she was experiencing, Rashika raced around the ruins, trying to see if she could turn into her dragon form with her necklace but the gem wouldn’t glow to do the magic! “No, no, no..” Rashika gasped, concentrating as hard as she could on getting her necklace to work. “Come on, transform me into my dragon form so we can get out of here! Come on!”

The necklace did nothing, so with a heavy sigh, Rashika ran back to Eathelyn to see if she could carry her while she tried to fly to nearest spike. Even though her dragons wings are still can help her fly, they’re not as strong as they are when she’s in her dragon form!

“We have to go, now!” She tried to pull Eathelyn up, but she remained in the position she was, continuing to tremble from the sound they could hear. “Okay, carrying you won’t be an option.” Rashika sighed, then she began to push Eathelyn to the other side, away from where Hellioh exited through. “It would be easier if you would just snap out of your trance!”

Eathelyn didn’t respond, she was still in her state, not even noticing herself getting hauled along the floor! The high pitch sound-wave soon turned to tiny voices that only she alone could hear, and from the looks of it those voices seemed to be very horrendous! From silently crying to whimpering, Eathelyn’s hand laid on the ground, stopping Rashika from doing the pushing! Rashika meanwhile looked like she was about to have a heart attack if her mind didn’t pop an idea out soon, and unfortunately, it wasn’t!

Out of frustration, Rashika let out a shout as her fist greeted the smooth wall with a mighty punch, of course only causing a small crack to appear and nothing more. Or so she thought.

The moment the small crack was made, that portion of the wall suddenly began to wave like the ocean until the stone melted into a formation of a door! Rashika’s eyes lit up in shock, a little hesitant to go through but she really didn’t have the choice. Eathelyn was in a lot of pain that she thought she would never experience seeing, and as her friend, Rashika knew that first things first, they had to get out of this room!

Her hands were just as shaky as Eathelyn’s as she reached for the doorknob, but with her eyes shut tight, Rashika opened the door! She didn’t bother to look in for a quick glimpse, she took her chance and pulled Eathelyn with all her might as they both began to walk through. The doorway felt like going into the water but they weren’t wet, just a little shaken. However, before Rashika could make her third step, out of nowhere her right foot meet a large stone, causing her trip, sending Eathelyn out first before she fell through to follow! Rashika could hear the echoing sound of the door shut behind her and Eathelyn’s whimpering disappearing, leaving her to hear nothing but eerie ringing.

For what seemed like an eternity, Rashika at last got into contact to solid ground but she couldn’t see it, in fact, all she was surrounded with was white. Not a color or object in sight, except for her. She didn’t see or even hear Eathelyn from any direction, so Rashika began to walk wherever her own two feet can take her at that moment.

Rashika wandered around the empty world she managed to be trapped in, no sign of any life but herself. Each step she took, she can hear it echo around from miles away. Her own two eyes wandered around the blankness until they began to burn and look down at her clothing to see other colors besides white. A sudden cold gust of wind blew through her hair as she began to shiver. Her fingers went up to where her necklace hung from her neck, but all she felt was air! “My necklace!?” She looked down to see that her neck was empty without any decoration of the gem that controlled every dragon’s powers.

“Okay, I’m in this strange world without absolutely nothing in it. My necklace mysteriously disappeared and I’m alone,” Rashika shook her head, as she continued to walk around to see anything to tell her otherwise. Nothing but endless blinding white, if this continued on then Rashika felt more than certain to go insane!

Just before she could collapse in exhaustion, she suddenly heard distant cries of a newborn child and someone humming so sweet and gentle! As if those cries gave her more energy, Rashika began to run to the sound, hoping against hope that she found someone to help her. The cries and humming soon began to get louder and clearer until the point she saw a shadow of an adult-like figure holding something! Rashika continued to run towards the shadow, realizing that she was running passed a corner.

She was ready to shout something like ‘Can you help me?’ or ‘I thought I was the only one around here.’ However not a single word or letter spilled from her lips the moment she saw the identities of the shadows. Her eyes widen with disbelief as her lips quivered, her feet suddenly felt too heavy to make a step forward.

Impossible, she thought to herself in shock. There’s no way that this...this thing made those sounds.

Right in front of her wasn’t any adult or a crying baby, but someone who almost looked exactly like her but so many things were off!

The creature’s wings were as white as snow each feather looking more devilish than the other! The tail and wings were just the same as the wings, but this person wore a crimson dress that was up to her knees with high heeled boots covering her feet and knees. Her auburn hair was now a darker shade of brown and wasn’t even passed her neck, all spiky with crimson highlights on the very tips, almost like blood. Her smile could break any glass mirror she could come across with, as for her eyes, now that was what made Rashika stand still in shock. The girl’s eyes were the same as hers but more dark jade with pupils thinner than the Demon Eyes!

“Why are you standing there staring at me like that?” The devilish girl chuckled in sweet delight. “Don’t you like your new look? Rashika?”

“My...My new look?” Rashika gasped, but quickly shook her head. “No way! Who are you!?”

The girl smirked, instantly flew right next to Rashika within a second as her sharp nails tracing a line along her cheek. “I feel insulted..“she smiled with venom dripping from the tips of her voice. “How could you not recognize yourself...I’m you Rashika... " She paused before she made her grand statement with a grim smile.

"Your demon side of you.”

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