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

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Chapter Forty

No one knew how this happened, of course since they were down below in the tunnels how can they see with their own pair of eyes what Malisha just witnessed? Fear not for you readers who managed to have opened this book in the first place, you will get your answer.

It happened right after Hugo ran quickly back to assist his friends in fighting off the Sun Gang members from doing any harm to the slaves who were escaping to their freedom. Malisha knew that the end of his cape disappear into the dark depths of what seems like an endless pit until her attention turned to the tied prisoners she was tasked to escort to the ships. Even though she was blind, she can sense that their presence was still here, trapped and restrained in the ropes.

“I’m full of dismay Malisha,” Alsha sadly began, the tone of her voice was rich with raw emotion, it was almost as if she was going to cry that very moment. “You and Eiloh, but especially you...Would turn on your own teammates, your friends, over something those good for nothing demons claim to be able to obtain?” She saw that Malisha didn’t feel the slightest speck of sympathy since she banged the end of her spear on the ground roughly to indicate the girls to get on their feet.

“You would go so far as to harm us just to be with your love of your life?” Alsha continued, taking note at the sudden wince Malisha made at the mention of that. “With someone who you have no idea what he really is on the inside? Yes, I know about you and Eiloh. I saw you one night with him, having a nice time holding his hand as you two walked around the school but seeing the looks on his face.”

“I’d shut my mouth if I were you!” Malisha retorted back, trying as best she could to remain calm in this situation. She then banged her spear on the ground again, making the two tied up girls up on their feet. However, before they could begin to walk, they felt a soft, smooth, and yet a rough piece of cloth wrap around their ankles, connecting their legs to each other like the chains the slaves were burdened to wear on their ankles but tighter but not painful at the same time. They were surprised to see their blind comrade being able to bind their ankles without showing any signs of struggle or need for assistance.

“You say you’re my friends, but I can tell that you’re wondering how I can single-handedly tied your ankles,” Malisha continued, her expression remains the same as she finished the final knot before she got up to her feet and shoved the captives a little to let them know that it was time to move forward. “You two aren’t considered my friends if you don’t even remember that even if I’m blind, I can many things. You’re not considered my friends if your idea of a perfect world is nothing but lies and doing harm to others. And you can forget about trying to cut off this cloth that’s tying your ankles up, it’s made of the most indestructible threads my family and I created...Nothing can break this, not even if you’ve got the strength of a million muscled men.”

“So this is the thanks we get now isn’t it?” Alsha sniffled, her head hung low as she cautiously walked forward behind Sundria since their ankles were tied it was difficult walking without the fear of falling. “For being friends with you? For helping, you train even though you’re blind? Making sure you get stronger and stronger every day so you don’t look helpless? Letting everyone know to not mess with you? Is this the thanks we deserve for being your friends all this time? Did you forget that I was your first friend back at the Light World? Remember?!” Alsha head went up as she looked back to see Malisha stop at her trails while Sundria looked back looking pleased with the scene she is witnessing. Of course at the Light World, the children were allowed to go outside and make some friends, some even go to the same building to learn together with one adult teaching them.

Malisha held on to her spear tightly, not wanting Alsha to continue on with the guilt trip as the teen continued. “We were kids, seven years old to be exact. Remember? How did those big boys and girls use to sneak up on you in the streets just to ambush you and start beating you up just because you’re blind? I sure do remember, I can remember those big kids calling you a freak since they never seen a blind girl before! But who came along to save you from them, to defend you?!”

Alsha’s eyes were getting watery, seeing that Malisha was trying her best not to look up since her head was bowed down to see the ground of scattered dust and rock. Then she just continued to shove the two to keep walking, forcing herself to face the guilt without getting affected while Alsha continued on her memory.

“I DID! Remember, how I just stupidly jumped in front of you, yelling at them to quit picking on you! I had different glasses, actually, they were bigger and I had two pigtails while I wore just a simple gray dress with simple dress shoes! Your hair was in a ponytail, you had a nice red dress with flower petals as decoration and nice dress shoes! You were hurt badly but I jumped in, defending you, ended up getting beaten up by you, but we fought them off even with the kicks and punches we kept getting. Have you forgotten that on that day we were friends?! This is some way to repay me for everything I’ve done for you! Will you live on knowing that you’ve harmed on of your dearest friends?!”

Malisha stopped in her tracks again, remaining silent as her fingers traced the blade of her spear careful enough so she wouldn’t scratch herself. Such a guilt trip she was in right now, remembering that day Alsha described was the day the two became friends and fate were on their side when they ended up on the same team together. Is this really the right thing to do? She thought to herself, walking up to where Alsha stood but not showing any sign of releasing her. Can I really move on with my life knowing that I betrayed Alsha? Sundria?

Before she even realized what she was doing, Malisha felt her left hand lift her own spear up, attempting to cut the ropes that tied Alsha, just inches away from doing so. Can I trust Alsha, my best friend since childhood, with this right now? Even though she’s at the Sun Gang’s side? Her mind was full of unanswered questions, but her consciousness quickly kicked in to stop herself from slicing the ropes off of her friend. Her spear pulled away from the attempt to free the enemy, as she faced what was supposed to be the night sky but it was only darkness to her. She looked down, seeing the same darkness that she is cursed to see for the rest of her life.

Sundria was struggling so hard to restrain herself from yelling at Malisha to set her free but she knew Alsha had this all covered. They waited patiently standing for a response they are hoping for someone like Malisha to give them. However, Malisha gave them the exact opposite response of what they were expecting.

“Alsha...I do recall those times, and I’ll always be grateful to you but..” She paused for a moment to take a breath before she went on. “But now this is about the lies we let the Sun Gang plant in our heads. Their devious plans that could end us all, that’ll end our ways of living, to end our future.You are my friend, but I won’t let you go to take the wrong path or make me take that wrong path, I’m sorry.” She showed no sign of regret, she wasn’t looking down as she just banged her spear on the ground again making herself clear that no words were going to change her mind. “So don’t stand there thinking you can make me untie you, keep walking to the exit!”

Alsha didn’t make a move, her head hung low at the answer she received, as if she was going to break down right there because of the raw emotion she showed earlier. However, her eyes that were watery suddenly dried up, narrowing down at her shoes as her fingers began to sweat from being refrained by the ropes. Didn’t take long before Malisha shoved her and Sundria to make a move forward, shouting at them as if they were strangers. “Are you deaf?! I TOLD YOU TO MOVE FORWARD! Unless you want me to kill you, then start moving those legs of yours and make your way through the exit, that’s an order!”

All Alsha did be make a thin smile, almost certain that she was about to laugh out to the sky for no reason but the fact that Malisha is blind let her smile for another moment before she casually walked forward, slowly. “Okay then, I understand,” she sniffled as if that devilish smile Sundria witness wasn’t made at all! “You need to do what you think is right...” She felt her fingers squirm through the ropes, making their way towards her pocket while she marched forward, watching to see if Malisha took any notice of her actions. “... Even if treating your friend like some smelly piece of trash is an option you have to make. For the sake of the worlds.”

Her body relaxed for a moment, feeling her right hand enter the pocket of her skirt, wrapping her five cold sweaty fingers around a cool metal handle. “... I’d do the same if I were in your shoes..”

“You can keep talking on your ride,” Malisha commented in a harsh tone, but in the on her insides, she was fighting to let the guilt overflow and take control of her. “You and Sundria aren’t going anywhere.”

“You’re right, we’re not going anywhere...” Alsha sighed until she suddenly stopped on her trails yet again which now was driving the last ounces of Malisha’s patience.

“This isn’t the time to stop! Keep on moving, you know I’m capable of killing you right here and now!” Malisha threatened, lifting her spear close to her chest for defense, not aware that Alsha was smiling that same devilish smile.

“Are you sure you’re really capable of killing me like you claim you can? Without hesitation of any sort like you did during practice?” Alsha interrogated, hearing no answer from her blind friend, she began to chuckle in amusement. “Of course you can’t, why not prove yourself then? Fight me and Sundria and try to stop us from stopping those ships from flying. Or maybe let me start that challenge for you?!”

At that moment everything went out as a blur to Malisha but all she can remember was hearing the loud ripping off the ropes that surrounded Alsha! Thread by thread the rope scattered into pieces, freeing Alsha in one swoop of her daggers she held in her hand! Malisha was quick enough to react when she felt Alsha’s dagger swing at a close range towards her chest, dodging the blow only to see that the move was a big mistake!

She realized that Alsha was aiming for Sundria’s ropes but she was too much of fool to think straight from the guilt trip she felt! She heard the dagger slashing through the ropes as fast as lightning, releasing the strongest member and leader of Team Same! Malisha quickly leap a few feet away from the two girls, her mind working the wheels to patch up a new strategy and fast! All she did for that moment was scream out in terror and shout as loud as she could for Team Hero to hear her. “SUNDRIA AND ALSHA ESCAPED! I repeat, Sundria and Alsha escaped and are trying to stop the ships from flying off!”

Sundria pretended to yawn then stretched her arms out to get the feeling back, breathing in a breath of victory that she thought she had earned. “Ahh nothing like a good plan Alsha cooked up to set us both free, wouldn’t you agree on Malisha? Another well played and executed challenge for Team Same...Oh, I forgot,” She then held her right hand out, making her fallen double edged sword come to her palm as if she was performing some sort of act of magic! There was no sign of a magnet attached to her palm, is was as if she mentally summoned her weapon by will but of course everyone knew she could but that ability slipped right out of Malisha’s mind! However, even though she can summon her weapon, the process caused the double edged sword to make some kind of noise like the ocean waves so it was noticeable to hear.

Then how come she summoned her sword now and not earlier? Malisha thought in bewilderment. There aren’t any flaws in her technique, she could have still summoned it even if she was tied up against her will...Why didn’t she call for it then? Why wait for this time?

She had to leave her questioning thoughts when her instincts kicked in spring to the left, hearing the stone on the walls get penetrated by the blades, cracking at the same time! Malish just barely dodged that swing, her hands were on the ground feeling the thundering footsteps Alsha was making, running towards her, going for the kill! She dug in her pockets, pulling off five knives on each hand as she released all ten at the same time! With luck, Malisha swung her spear to divert the knives hearing the rhythm of the CLINGING and CLANGING the blade made when they hit the spear and getting tossed in a different direction! Only one knife managed to fly right across Malisha’s left cheek, causing a thin scratch that started to spill her blood. She then heard Sundria run forward towards her, making a loud battle cry to go for the kill herself. With quick thinking, Malisha grabbed four of the knives on the ground, shooting them at Sundria, successfully pinning her to the wall but she knew that will only last her a few moments.

Alsha was now running around her in circles, trying to catch her off guard however now it was Malisha’s turn to make her next move, She swung the spear across the ground meeting Alsha’s ankles but making sure the blade part didn’t harm her.

Caught by surprise, Alsha didn’t have time to react so once her legs were hit, she fell on her back but that didn’t mean she was going to just lay there and lose. She got right back but she suddenly pinned down, with Malisha right on top of her, holding one of the fallen knives above her chest! For some reason, Alsha didn’t struggle or try to beg to be released, instead, she just shrugged but smirked once again. “Go on then Malisha...Prove yourself that you’re not as weak as you act...Kill me.”

Malisha, without conscious, held the handle of the knife tighter until she brought it down but suddenly stopped just inches away from Alsha’s chest...Her conscious came back that moment, now she found herself shaking like an autumn leaf, her grip on the weapon was loosening second by second.

Kill her, stop being a coward! A bitter voice entered her mind, controlling her next actions. Just get that knife through that know-it-all’s chest and keep stabbing her until the floor is covered with her blood! Prove yourself that you’re not weak just because you’re blind. Malisha lifted the knife once more, shaking at the process while Alsha just stared back at her, her eyes expecting her to fail. She shut her eyes tight as well her teeth pressing down on each other roughly while that bitter conscious kept chanting for her to go on. Kill, kill, kill, kill! Show them that they messed with the wrong girl…SHOW THEM WHO THE REAL WEAKLING IS! She would have thought she was going to do the kill now but she just ended up stopping midway in air, the blade barely touching the still skin of her enemy.

She couldn’t see the satisfaction smeared on Alsha’s face when the knife couldn’t even make one drop of blood escape her body. Using this chance, Alsha used her legs to kick Malisha’s stomach, sending her flying to the other side, hitting the wall causing more cracks to form and send some of the wall’s stones tumbling to the side. She held her cries of pain while she struggled to recover from such a kick but she didn’t have the strength to get up yet.

“You really are weak,” Alsha remarked in bitterness. “You can’t even kill me for the sake of what you believe is right...” She walked passed Malisha, making her way towards Sundria as she pulled the knives out to yet again free her. “Must I do everything for you Sundria?”

“You do realize we’re taking on one of our teammates?” Sundria answered, looking over at Malisha with disappointment. “Only now I see that this one is not only a traitor, but she’s weak, useless, and nothing but dead weight.” She suddenly heard someone making their way up from the below, shaking her head before turning back to her partner. “Alsha, I’m going to need you to pay the control towers a visit and do whatever it takes to make sure those ships never get off the ground!”

“And you?” Alsha questioned, then pointed towards Malisha. “What are you going to do about her Sundria? You know reinforcements will come for her, even if the Sun Gang is slowing them down.”

“I’m staying here, and make sure to place those nuisances right where they belong so they can never interfere with our plans again,” Sundria answered, spinning her weapon before she stopped listening to the reinforcements coming in faster. “Besides, I think Malisha will be useful in this round.”

“If you say so, just make sure Eiloh can see her too,” Alsha then whispered to Sundria’s ear so Malisha wouldn’t hear. “We’ll see then who is really willing to die for each other for the sake of love.” With that Alsha ran off, knowing that there was less time before the school gets into total destruction so she had to act fast, leaving Sundria alone to deal with more than one opponent.

“You heard that Malisha!?” Sundria walked towards the struggling girl, pulling her hair before shoving her to the ground again. “Eiloh might be joining in this little fight of yours, let’s see who’s going to die tonight; you, Eiloh, or Team Hero?” Suddenly wolf cry echoed from the hole, while the flapping of dragon wings can be heard, making Sundria smile even more. “Well, well, looks like it’s time for round two.”

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