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

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Chapter Forty-Four

Where is Team Hero you readers might be asking right now at this very moment? Why weren’t they back in Lunar Star Academy trying to help everyone else? As a reminder, the last time they were seen was before the explosions activated and by one they all vanished. But where?

It was down below from the clouds that held Lunar Star Academy, where all the chaos taken place; down to the field of the lilies at the cover of night under the pearly white moon. If you were to look up to the night sky in the field, you’d know which cloud held Lunar Star Academy since there is no other cloud that was glowing a bright neon shade of red. Not a cricket chirped, the wind seemed to have been punished to silence as clouds began to hide the night sun with only the deafening claps of thunder to accompany them. Then in the middle of the whole darkness with lilies not dancing because of the still wind, a beam of blinding light suddenly appeared into this setting of night! The light then formed a strange shape but at closer sight, it was a form of four people!

The glowing then returned to the sanctuary of the jewel stone of a certain wand held by a familiar hybrid. The four were none other than Ozur, Hugo, Eathelyn, and Thuggort; all of them releasing their hold on each other as they collapsed on the softness of the grass that didn’t hold any lilies. They were catching their breaths that they didn’t realize that they held in, as Hugo got up to looked up at the crimson neon cloud that held what was once Lunar Star Academy. He looked around his surroundings, dumbfounded on how they got here in the first place so he turned to Ozur with the question freshly made in his mind to speak. “Ozur...How did you do that? Like how did you get us here?”

“I....I don’t know,” Ozur confessed in a low voice, feeling guilt and confusion build up in him as he looked down at his wand. “All I know was that one minute we were about to be toast, and the next thing I know....Something took control of me, making me use my wand to get us here.”

All Hugo did be nod, as he was about to pull his twin swords back out from his cape until he felt himself wince from unsuspecting pain! His left palm instantly slapped itself on to his right arm, trying to suppress the bleeding wound that he didn’t realize he was gotten! He looked down to see Ozur still on the ground as his wounded leg that was poorly bandaged twitched a bit. Eathelyn tried to hide her injuries but not long enough until her right hand ripped a piece of her shirt to bandage her left wrist to hold in the quick bleeding that wasn’t bad but still needed to be checked on!

Thuggort seemed to be in good shape, aside from small cuts and bruises he was still fine physically but not emotionally. His messy hair covered the tear stained face that looked at the grass until his rasped with obvious anger that was building up. “So you’re telling me that you could have used your magic to transport us this whole time?” Ozur turned his attention to the young boy, not even sure how to answer him.

“You had that power....You could have saved her..” Thuggort muttered in grief, making Ozur feel more guilt than he already was. “Why....How could you...”

Then Ozur had to get up, hissing in pain but standing still because once he did, Thuggort charged towards him with rage! The boy was crying out loud as he threw small unaffecting punches at Ozur while he cried. “WE COULD HAVE SAVED HER!! WHY DIDN’T YOU USE THAT SPELL EARLIER!? We could have....We could have brought Zeliah with us, and save her!! But you didn’t, you left her there to die!! You could have expanded that spell to get her out too!! You could have used your magic to heal her!!”

Hugo didn’t make a move to stop the broken boy for fear that he might make the situation worse so he just had his back turned with regret. Thuggort continued to throw hits until he started to shove and punch Ozur at the same time. “YOU KILLER!! You left my sister there to die!! YOU...YOU DIDN’T SAVE HER! YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HER!! Murderer! Killer!! Whatever other words they use for people who cause deaths!! You killed my sister!! Why didn’t you save her too!? WHY!?”

Eathelyn could see Ozur wince at every word the little boy threw but she also saw this situation unfair since she immediately got up from her spot as she walked slowly to the distraught boy. She tried tapping him for his attention but he ignored her, continuing his rant about how Ozur could have saved Zeliah. She tried holding his arms gently, he still went on. Even whispering, “It’s okay,” while stroking his head a bit didn’t have any affect on Thuggort at all.

“You left her with that woman! You didn’t bother to think about saving her the moment we were running away!!” Thuggort whimpered, now throwing a hit every five seconds without much force. “You promised us, you promised me that everyone will get out of here alive! But where’s Zeliah!? Huh? She’s dead because of you! You broke your promise, why!? Are you some heartless no good lying monster?! If you confess so you can save yourself time! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you for leaving her and for letting her die!”

Now Eathelyn decided to stop playing games with the whole calming him down choices and go with what her gut tells her to do what’s right. “Thuggort!” She addressed the boy with a bold voice, grabbing his shoulders to turn him around to face her serious, and disappointed face! Immediately without warning, her right hand flew back before bringing itself near Thuggort and without hesitation....

SLAP!!!

Right across his dirty soft cheek, Thuggort finally shut his mouth in shock to have received such a harsh action from Eathelyn’s hand, as the teen showed no sign of regret at all. Ozur looked down at her speechless, lost on what to say or even respond to what Eathelyn has done. Hugo turned around to see what happened with his eyes looking at her with eyes flooding with disbelief. “Eathelyn?! Why would you do that?!” He scolded with a bit of anger in his tone. “He just witnessed his own sister getting killed as we just took him and ran off! You can’t expect to just slap-”

“SHUT UP!” Eathelyn interrupted looking straight at Hugo with fury then focused back to Thuggort, who still stared at her in shock. “I know you’re hurting really bad Thuggort and I don’t blame you...After all, you just lost the last remaining piece of family you have but....But..” She swallowed the lump she didn’t notice she had in her throat but her hands tighten up a bit on his shoulders. “But you shouldn’t just take your anger out on the people who care about you! Sure I know we should have done better, that we should have been more prepared, then maybe Zeliah would still be here...Yes Ozur seemed to have some power to get us here...” Her eyes could still see rage and disbelief in Thuggort’s eyes so she continued on, ignoring Hugo and Ozur.

“But Ozur just told us that something controlled him to do the spell he didn’t know how to use so he couldn’t expand it to save Zeliah even if he wanted too! Besides it would have been too late anyway, the library exploded with her inside before we were magically transported away! I know anger is part of you emotion status but that’s no excuse to treat Ozur like he’s the villain!” She released her grip on Thuggort’s shoulders a little but still had her hands on them. “Look Zeliah’s last wish was to get you somewhere safe, andto a place where you can be free...She wanted you to have a better future and you’re going to disrespect her decision by complaining about ways we could have saved her.”

“Then it’s all my fault that she’s dead then...” Thuggort whispered loud enough for Eathelyn to hear, not entirely understanding what message she was trying to give him. From the sounds of his tone, it seems like he wasn’t listening to a single word she just spits out from her lips. “I was the stupid one to jump in to try to fight Olema...If I didn’t then maybe Zeliah wouldn’t have died to try to save me....Maybe she could have been still alive with me if I just listened to her for once...Maybe-”

“YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!” Eathelyn scolded, then softened her voice when she saw that she startled Thuggort. “Saying ‘maybe’ won’t undo what has happened, it’s done and over with. It’s not your fault alright! Zeliah chose to die to protect her brother! It was her decision and her decision alone! Losing someone very important can tear a person up; I know...I’ve been there..”

“You’ve watched someone you love die?” Thuggort asked, finding it hard to believe that Eathelyn could ever know the emotion he is experiencing now.

“No..” Eathelyn held her tears, knowing that she had moved on from her past but memories of her older sister Aggie kept overflowing in her mind. The times when the two sisters would just fool around at their backyard but then get scolded by their mom. The memory of being held by Aggie who helped her go to sleep at nights when she had nightmares when she was younger. All keep piling up but now wasn’t the time to feel sorry for herself again. “But I did lose someone that important to me, but I just heard the news in words. I never saw it happen but even my experience can’t top with what you’ve seen. However everyone lost someone they hold dear to and they could feel their heart break...Some never got their hearts fixed because of all the grief they bottle up and the countless years of thinking about the ‘if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’.” She knelt down at Thuggort’s height, her hand landing on top of his chest where his heart was beating. “But there are some who let go of their emotions, learn how to tame the frustration and allow others to help them put the pieces of their broken heart back together.”

“Are you trying to tell me the whole scenario about how the person you love is in my heart because I don’t buy that belief!” Thuggort frowned, having a feeling that Eathelyn was trying to tell him that message but she shook her head.

“No, I’m not trying to tell you that. Sure sometimes that scenario does work but other times that scenario doesn’t work for everyone because they’re too stubborn to believe in it. You can’t feel them in you just yet but you still have the memories of Zeliah, you have her legacy to complete, and you have her love. Her love for you, her instinct to protect you and her dying act of doing what she lived to do. Now she wants us to save this world so you and the next generation can live on with your legacies ready to be followed. You have to keep the fire that sparked Zeliah’s reason to live and protect the people you’ll hold dear to in the future. That is what I think you should remember, but don’t burden yourself too much with that legacy, you also have to follow your own path.” Without warning, she held Thuggort into a warm long embrace, her arms holding the boy protectively.

Thuggort was frozen for a moment before closing his eyes to return to hug, feeling himself shake, hearing himself whimpering again, and finally realizing that he was beginning to cry again.

“You’ll feel her life in you very soon Thuggort,” She assured, rubbing circled on his back to comfort him. “Zeliah died knowing that she did her job well even if she didn’t complete her dream but you’re more important to her than any dream. Don’t let her death be in vain so you have to live and keep marching on! Live on to pass her courage and sacrifice on! Before you do that though, let it out Thuggort. Let every sadness, grief and anger out with your tears. Remember that your anger will have to be tamed before your anger decides to take the wheel and lead you to the nasty path.” She felt Thuggort’s arms wrap themselves around her with a stronger grip, hearing him cry out loud as tears streamed down his face from before. But this time, he wasn’t aiming to say harmful things to anyone, especially to Ozur. Instead he just held on to Eathelyn, crying every tear out while he shaked and controlled the anger that slowly faded away from him as he saw more reason. More reason as to why Team Hero couldn’t save Zeliah on time. On why Zeliah chose to die for him. Also, on why Zeliah decided to devote her life to make sure he is safe.

“We’re here Thuggort...Me, Hugo, Ozur, and Rashika..” Eathelyn comforted, not even noticing the realization and shock on Hugo’s and Ozur’s faces. “We’re here for you okay. We’ll do our best to help you get through this. Let those tears stream down, you have to grieve over the person you know you can’t replace or even dream of replacing. We learn from our past, our mistakes, or loss; remember that Thuggort...But we’ll be here for you Thuggort, we’ll pick up every broken piece. We’ll try our best to fix you and your broken heart...I promise.”

After a long moment of crying, reassuring whispers and comfort, Thuggort’s tears finally stopped. He still held on to Eathelyn, still needing a little more comfort as she hummed a melody but making sure the other boys didn’t hear her. She was so busy holding Thuggort she didn’t notice the pale faces of the two teens who were frantically trying to get her attention without ruining the moment. Hugo and Ozur instantly ignored their injuries as they tensed at a mysterious figure who was approaching them step by step.

“Eathelyn!” Ozur finally found the guts to speak up, instantly catching the teen’s attention as he pointed to the figure. “Someone’s here!” At that time he bent down to a downward dog pose, turning into a wolf while Hugo tried to hold onto both his twin swords to stand protectively in front of the two on the ground. Thuggort slowly released his hold on Eathelyn, having full knowledge that he wasn’t ready to fight as she stood up with her lightning blade out and ready to fight.

“Stand down you three!” The figure ordered in a familiar voice that caught the teens off guard! “You are in no condition to get yourselves into another fight!”

“ULIN?!”

“That’s me,” Ulin mumbled, walking forward with Rashika limping from behind trying to catch up as the other lowered their weapons. “And I have brought your missing teammate and some horrible news.”

“Rashika?!” Eathelyn ran to the hybrid, taking her hand to get away from Ulin and to the spot, Thuggort sat. She saw Rashika’s wings in pretty bad shape as the hybrid breathed heavily but she made a defiant stand showing that she’ll be able to fight any battle that comes to them. How could I been so heartless!? Eathelyn scolded herself in her thoughts. I didn’t even realize that Rashika was missing until now!

“Don’t beat yourself down Eathelyn,” Rashika smiled as if she read her thoughts even though there was a high chance of doing so. “Even I didn’t realize you guys were missing until now...I see we all were beaten up pretty badly.”

“How can we be sure to trust you?” Hugo questioned Ulin, his hands ready to take out his sword again. “After you broken that trust a few times. One was by spilling some information we discovered to the Headmistress. Attack us after Eathelyn and Rashika investigated the Copper Building. Try to convince us how we can listen to you now.”

“If I were to kill you then why did I bring Rashika here to you?” Ulin shot back, making everyone stunned. “I could have just left her there to suffer the fate Alsha and Sundria would have given her. Broken wing lost ability to transform into a dragon allies badly harmed...Quite a situation she was in.” Everyone stared at her as she continued on her trial of convincing. “The Sun Gang are pretty much on the move, and already know I betrayed them. So why would I bother fighting you?”

“Alright we’re listening,” Hugo hissed, hoping to not regret his again. “But you better be serious about this, we don’t have time for games. We have a major catastrophe in our hands that we started. And we intend to start making our next move so something like that doesn’t happen again.”

“Don’t worry besides why would I joke about this conflict you gotten yourselves into?” Ulin acted so nonchalantly, like the first time Team Hero meet her. “Anyway, the ships the students were escaping in crash landed in the school stadium, some managed to get away safely. No student was harmed, but as for the injured well...Let’s just say they were going to be moved into this field but the fire stopped that arrangement.”

Team Hero didn’t need another hint to let them know that those injured students from the tournament are now dead, lilies for a brief moment before vanishing into the cruel ashes of the fire. They continued to listen, no one interrupted Ulin.

“The Sun Gang captured the rest of the students, packing them up in new ships that arrived so they’ll be handled in ways I can’t explain. Every Sun Gang member seemed to still be alive after such a night.” Ulin then walked to Thuggort, her hand reaching into her dress pockets. By the time she got to him, her hand pulled out a what seemed to like a stem. No, now they’re some petals. No, it’s a turquoise blue lily...Not just any lily, though, it was-

“Z-Zeliah?” Thuggort trembled, his eyes looking at his sister who was now a lily, indicating that she’s gone. He stretched his hand out to take the lily from Ulin’s hand, bringing it close to his chest as he embraced it gently; making sure he didn’t harm it. This time he kept his tears at bay, knowing that there’s no use in crying for what has happened.

“I managed to get that little lily out before the fires claimed it,” Ulin explained softly, but you couldn’t tell if she was talking to the wind or Thuggort from the looks at how unfocused her eyes were. “The girl was already like this when I got in so there was no way to save her.” Her eyes landed on Ozur, but still filled without an emotion at sight in those cold pupils. “I was the one who was controlling you at that moment Ozur, using my Demon Eyes to make you perform a spell to get yourselves out. I was too far away while controlling you so that magic couldn’t be expanded. I hope you boys understand that.” She ignored the anger and surprise that was in Ozur’s eyes as he growled aggressively at her until Thuggort stepped up to him to pat his head to calm him down.

All Thuggort did be give Ulin a nod after he finished patting Ozur, his right hand slid down to his chest where his heart is. He felt the same gnawing off his heart getting torn off to shreds. He remained in that still position until one tear slid down from his eyes, and on top of one of the blue petals, his conscious was clearing some anger out of the mists of his thoughts. The gnawing feeling suddenly flooded away when for a few seconds he could have sworn he saw Zeliah’s face smiling in the middle of the petals! This time, though, her face was clean from dirt, her hair was nicely layered without a mess, some scars from her face were gone except for the one across her sightless eye. Her other eye that can see sparkled back at him with confidence, and before he could blink the image was gone to just a plain lily.

“If those ships are destroyed then what happened to Eiloh, and Malisha?” Rashika asked, getting on her feet despite the pain her body felt and begged her to sit back down on the grass. “Last time I saw Malisha before you taken me was that she was fighting Alsha, and now probably Sundria. Was Eiloh the one who led those ships to crash land?” Her stomach turned upside down when she saw Ulin’s expression seem full of melancholy, even though she didn’t witness the incident happen first hand.

She remained silent for a long minute, driving Hugo’s patience as he raised one of his swords up with a threat written all over his face. “Well answer that Ulin! You know we’re not going to be good sports with you don’t fess up.”

“Hugo!” Eathelyn admonished with caution. “Ulin’s right about one thing, we’re not in any shape or form to fight her... Let her have her moment, we weren’t there for the aftermath so let her take her time.” Her eyes glared warning at Ulin, clearly giving the adult the message to not hold back or even try to do some mind playing game.

Ulin sighed, having no choice but to cut to the chase, “As for Eiloh and Malisha’s status, well I’ll make it easy for you five to understand in plain English...Malisha was killed in combat and Eiloh is held captive by the Sun Gang.” She didn’t speak about what were the Sun Gang’s intentions to Eiloh, nor did she show any sign that she was hiding that one detail. “Alsha and Sundria are still alive from this experience, they are ready to leave with Hellioh and Olema as we speak. I have no knowledge of how Malisha died or who killed her, I just know she died in battle.”

The piece of news tumbled down the eardrums of the teens, making themselves wish that Ulin was joking about this. Hugo, Ozur, Thuggort and Rashika stared at Ulin with disbelief with the news, they didn’t want to believe her but the woman swore not to lie to them. Ozur could feel his heart getting heavier with grief, he didn’t realize how much he hurting from all those deaths that not he caused but him and his friends together. We promised to get them all out safely...No I promised, I promised them, Ozur reminded himself, adding more to the heaviness he’s feeling. We did and yet we failed…

Hugo was angry at the Sun Gang, but mostly at himself. He saw himself as a poor leader, or worse someone not even meant to be a leader. Rashika looked down at the ground, feeling the guilt eat her up piece by piece in her body. This can’t be true...Malisha’s too strong to die but if she did then...It’s all my fault...I wasn’t strong enough to help her... I was too weak...It’s all my fault for being too weak... Rashika’s thoughts heavily accused herself..It’s all my fault then…

Eathelyn on the other hand took this way worse that she didn’t realize that her hands were shaking, even if she tried to restrain herself from doing so. Her mind raced to flashbacks of her dreams from previous nights, the ones that kept her guard up but unfortunately not very up. This has to be a lie...She tried to convince herself, then looked up at Ulin who was reaching into her pocket once again.

“Don’t believe me, well good thing I got proof than,” Ulin broke the silence, her hand pulling out another lily that looked like Zeliah’s but this one was slightly taller by a centimeter. “Hellioh intended to let her fall but thankfully I flew by to catch her before she got lost.” She held out Malisha’s lily right in front of their faces, making sure they were believing what her words told them. “I’ll leave Malisha with you as well.” she waited for someone to step up to take the lily from her hands until Hugo, Ozur, and Rashika began to walk forward to get it until Eathelyn blocked them.

She gave them this look to stand down that had this emotion that they couldn’t decipher so they stepped back. Eathelyn then walked forward towards to Ulin, her hand making a grab for the bottom stem of the flower as Ulin released her hold. Once Malisha’s lily was in her hands, she stepped back but now thought flood in her mind, memories even came. It’s true then, Malisha is dead...I’m holding her lily and the worst part is...I think I know what might had happened to her! Her memories traced back to her dreams again, to the moment she went to that corner to see whose blood was on the ground, to see who had died in her dream. It was Malisha...I saw Malisha’s body covered in wounds from daggers while blood spilled from them! The image was plastered in her mind, haunting her for having to see this vision before it happened! Why didn’t I say anything? Why did I just think that those dreams are nothing to worry about?! Why was I getting those dreams?! Were those dreams warning me about this? That we’d fail this mission? What does this mean?! Maybe if I told my friends about those vision dreams then maybe no one wouldn’t have to die... But I’m too late, I was such a coward to share this information! But it’s too late to think about the maybe’s and if’s...Eathelyn stepped away from Ulin furthermore, without any words to say until she began to walk forward with her friends not far behind her.

“And where do you think you’re going?” Ulin questioned in anger, seeing the direction Team Hero and Thuggort were taking was the opposite of escape. “You’re trying to get back to Lunar Star Academy aren’t you?!”

“It’s none of your business now! We’re still going no matter how dangerous this will be.” Ozur growled, still in his wolf form as he continued to follow his friends. “You can go run if you want to, we’re going back to save them all!”

“Really, look at yourselves then! You’re too injured to fight or even throw a punch!” Ulin protested, flying above then landing in front of them to block their way. Her arms were stretched out and they could see that her Demon Eyes were activated since they could feel an invisible wall block their way. “You couldn’t even defeat Alsha, Sundria, or any of those Sun Gang members without someone having to die helping you.”

“Are you calling us weak?!” Hugo demanded in sudden anger as his swords were both out to slice Ulin but he winced just by moving one of his arms. “You’ve seen us grown stronger, we held off the Sun Gang longer, and we got those slave out! We’ll keep fighting them until we win! I won’t let the Sun Gang take our comrades away! I don’t know how we’ll get back up there but we’ll try to!!”

“I don’t care if we do die!!” Rashika insisted, her tail smacking the hidden wall as Eathelyn finished off the statement. “I would rather risk my life saving those in danger, right now! Doesn’t matter if we’re dead, we caused lives to be taken away, people being held captive! We’re going to fix everything piece by piece even if we die along the way.”

“You’ll be dead by the time you get passed me and before the first two minutes of fighting,” Ulin argued, this time her voice was full of emotion. “I know you’ve grown strong but you’re not strong enough to fight them head on again! Broken wings, legs, arms... Cuts all over your body...No necklace to help you transform into your myth form. You really think you can fight in your condition! You’re practically begging to die right now! I know how much you four have grown but you’re still kids and you’re not strong enough to handle more than you already have!”

Ozur tried to run around her but her Demon Eyes created a force field to stop him from moving forward. He bumped his head against the field, landing on the ground as he tried to charged to break free over and over. Eathelyn and Hugo tried to activate their Demon Eyes but they didn’t have enough energy to do so! Rashika struggled to turn herself into her dragon form even though she didn’t have her necklace but that was hopeless. During that, Thuggort watched how hopelessly Team Hero tried to break free until he finally spoke up with force

“There are times when we can fight back! And then there are times when we have no choice but to fall back! This is the time to just fall back!” That grabbed a bit of Team Hero’s attention away from the force field, but their actions still had their hands, tail, or even laws try to punch the field to make it break. “Ulin has a point you four! She’s right once again! The Sun Gang will kill you if you go back right now! We need to fall back, make use of our mistakes we made today so that later we’ll make a better effort for victory. But now isn’t the time to do so, you can’t die on is now! You already freed the slaves in Lunar Star Academy, you at least have one victory at least...” Thuggort tried to keep his tears from falling as he continued. “So please don’t be so reckless now..Don’t let my sister’s and that blind girl’s deaths be in vain! Zeliah and Malisha wouldn’t want you to waste your life like this, please listen...”

“Remember what that prophecy that you found told you to do,” Ulin added, her teeth clenched together in fury with her guard way up to see Team Hero’s next move. Thuggort never seen Team Hero act without thinking it through, he didn’t want more people to die not tonight or ever. “You four have a journey you must take on now, whether you like it or not.”

Hugo, Eathelyn, Rashika, and Ozur listened to their words, banging into their minds like a hammer making sure the nails are fully in the wood. They stopped their efforts to break the force field, falling to ground helplessly as Ozur changed back to his hybrid form. Their heads were bowed down as Thuggort stood beside Ulin, the two still waiting for their responses.

“I don’t want them to win,” Hugo muttered under his breath, his mind having full knowledge that by them he meant the Sun Gang. “I don’t want to make those same mistakes again and I want us to make things right..”

“I guess we were acting like fools a few seconds ago weren’t we,” Eathelyn commented with mirth, but not a lot to cover her inner sadness. “I don’t want this night to repeat...Please, just..” Rashika and Ozur didn’t utter a single word, finding their actions pretty foolhardy but the traumatizing feeling knowing that they failed part of their mission won’t vanish, not in a long shot.

“You’ll get your chance to regain what you’ve lost!” Ulin explained in a harsh commander tone, but she could also see why would her former students do something like this. “For now you all have to run from this place, go find that Forets of Prophecies that box told you about. Find the other chosen ones to save this world.”

“That’s easier said than done,” Rashika broke her silence, her eyes looking up at the dark sky with only one moon to shine the light in it. “That place is somewhere in the Myth World, from those legends and stories my father told me...Usually takes months to get to past the borders to the Myth World on foot..”

“Then you’ll use that time to heal up then!” Ulin answered back, this time she released her Demon Eye spell and her arms went down. “Use that time to learn more, to train harder so that when the time has come for your next encounter with the Sun Gang, you’ll be ready. Recover the missing pieces of the prophecy you stumbled upon.” Her hands made a gesture for the teens to rise on their feet. Team Hero did so, with the caution that is, they stood as they waited for what else Ulin had to tell them.

They could still feel the shame of their failure still linger in their bodies, like a plaque...But hearing the pleas Thuggort made, and Ulin’s words, those two seemed to be helping that small spark that’s withering away find it’s energy, it’s strength to shine on, and try to grow larger like before. Funny really, just moments ago it was Thuggort who was angry, then he calmed down until Ulin came to share the dreadful new and now it was Team Hero who felt the need to make wrong decisions.Until Thuggort and Ulin made them see reason, the same way the teens helped them see hope for their futures.

“You’ll have hardships to endure, comrades that’ll fall in combat, and failure in your missions but you are Hugo, Eathelyn, Rashika, and Ozur,” Ulin continued, this time without her commander tone. “You were strong, then weak against your enemies but soon you’ll have the strength to defeat them. You are Team Hero, sure Team Same was stronger than you expected but you’ll just have to work harder. Remember that you are the Saviors chosen to help find the real leaders for our worlds.” She smiled a little when she saw that the vanquished light in their eyes was starting to find its fuel to burn bright again. “However, you each have your own paths to follow even though you’re part of some fortune telling oracle or not. You may not believe or even trust me yet but I know you’ll change this world, no matter who you are...But now you must fall back until the time is right. Don’t worry, if the Sun Gang knows better, they’ll refrain from doing any harm to those students for the time being.”

“So now we have no choice but to head on to the Myth World then,” Hugo stated, putting his swords back in his black hole of a cape. “Then find the Forest of Prophecies huh? Funny, that’s where the rest of the slaves are freed in right now. A pretty long journey for all of us to make.”

“I’d tell you the truth, I do have a way of getting there in a flash but there is only one problem,” Ulin offered, but then looked down at her shoes. “If you all can find a little bit a trust in me.”

“Just go on then,” Rashika sighed, shaking her head in disbelief that she and friends are giving the traitor another chance again while also finding it hard to believe that their minds have been changed just by listening! “You’re wanted by the Sun Gang already.”

“The problem is that this technique works for two people and since I’m using it, I can only take one person with me but after that, I can’t go back to bring the rest,” Ulin explained in the best description she could. “You see this technique only works for me only once a year so which one of you will come with me? It’s okay if none will come, I’ll understand.” Her hand was held out as if the offer was in her palms as she waited for their response. Team Hero didn’t need time to think, well maybe twenty seconds to think about Ulin’s trustworthiness. They thought about it until their eyes landed on Thuggort, as Eathelyn knelt down to him as she slowly handed him Malisha’s flower.

“Take good care of her alright, if you ever get into trouble just fight back and if you know you can’t...Well just remember what you told us.” Eathelyn requested, she found herself hugging the boy again, she didn’t need words to tell her that Thuggort and Ulin knew Team Hero’s decisions. She looked up at Ulin, glaring at her once again in a threatening way. “If you hurt Thuggort then Zeliah won’t be the only one who’ll teach you a lesson if she was alive.”

“You have my word Eathelyn, I swear that I will not harm or let any harm come to Thuggort. I’ll even make the Scar Oath if it’ll convince you, and if I fail to do so then may the ghost of my daughter haunt me until the end of my days,” Ulin promised, for once not having any affect when her daughter was mentioned, as she saw rest of Team Hero embrace Thuggort as their farewell until they reunite.

“We’ll see each other very soon okay Thuggort,” Rashika whispered to his ear in reassurance, “Remember that we’re here for you alright and thank you for stopping us from doing something stupid.”

“Stay alive will you,” Hugo sniffled, but he tried to act like he wasn’t getting emotional. “Don’t worry we’ll get stronger so we can someday defeat the Sun Gang so no one else will suffer the way you did.”

Ozur was the last to say his goodbye, gathering the courage he could muster while making sure he didn’t sound too tearful to the subject. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save Zeliah but if you need someone, my friends and I are happy enough to be your family but we won’t replace the love you got from your sister. I know you’ll do great things Thuggort, so don’t let anyone make you stray to the wrong path.” Once their goodbyes were done, they released their hold on the boy, standing tall and proud for their mentor as they made the same fist of determination they did on their first day. They all promised at the same time with confidence that finally refilled them, “We’ll win next time and make everyone proud!”

“I know you will,” Ulin smiled, at last, then closed her eyes, reopening them to reveal that the powers of the Demon Eye were now in place. She held her hand out for Thuggort, as the boy ran to her, holding on to her hand as if she was his parent! She didn’t let that detail bother her as a white glow surrounded them, then spun around them like a funnel! The light continued to circle around them until it stopped midway, then in an instant, expanded to cover the two of them! After that, the light got thinner and in a blink, it was gone, taking Ulin and Thuggort with it to their destination.

At that point, everything was owl hunting at the forest night quiet, the four friends stood where they were. Well until they sat back down to patch up their wounds before they make any other actions. Luckily, Hugo’s cape had the bandages and medications needed for their wounds. After what seemed like forever when it only has been twenty minutes, their wounds were patched up so it wouldn’t hurt that much. The path that gave them a chance to get to the academy by random chance was still calling to them, calling for them to run down that road. However, their instincts, their hearts, told them to turn to the path behind them; the path away from the academy.

“Should we just make a run for it then?” Hugo asked his team, breaking the uncomfortable silence, waiting for an answer. That answer was clearly given when Eathelyn turned around to start their journey as she shouted to them. “Might as well, we have a long way to go! Let’s get moving!”

“It’d be easier if I use my wand to make our transportation!” Ozur called out, but then he quickly shook his head when he saw the lilies. “Or on second thought, we’ll just walk! Can’t crush those fallen souls, can we? Yep, that’s what we’ll do...And also because I just remembered that I can’t do transportation magic just yet.”

“Of course you’d forget,” Rashika remarked, following Eathelyn’s path without any problem since her broken wing was patched up in a sling. “So stop forgetting and start moving!” With that they went from walking to speed walking, then finally they began to run with the wind! They suddenly had to fall down on the grass, since they heard the deafening sound of hover crafts retreating to the Light World, with prisoners trapped in those ships! Once those ships were gone without noticing Team Hero, they got right back to start running again. Many wonder how can this group of teens go from depressed to normally determined selves is a mystery that can solve for another tale to be told.

They ran out of the field of lilies, to just running in an open plain as the night fell and the sun slowly made it’s way to claim the sky. Team Hero knew that their running energy would die down soon to have them just walk but for now, they were running. They ran their way to the Myth World, to the Forest of Prophecies. Running without hesitation or regrets with this decision.

Sure running away from your problems isn’t the message most people would want to hear, most people would want their heroes to keep on fighting. The thing is, Team Hero aren’t like most heroes people read about, they are running right now.

Is it cowardly?

You could say that, even though it can also be courageous to know when it’s time to run. Not saying that running is the key answer, but for their journey, their fate of their future, they must run. This is not the end, oh no it’s most definitely not the end of Team Hero’s adventure. If anything, this is the beginning of their new adventure to find their answers and possibilities for a better future. Some might say they’re just a group of demons, and monsters but honestly ask you: “What makes someone a monster?” Of course maybe some of you will have the same answer as before but some might not. A monster, well in all honestly I can tell you but at the same time, I can’t tell you, readers, what defines one. That is just another question in life you’ll have to answer on your own.

For now, let’s leave this first chapter here. Where Team Hero are running down the horizon of the rising sun, on their way to the next step of their lives. Their next step to see for themselves what truly defines a monster, and what truly defines a person pure of the heart through and through. For the answer they seek, lays beyond the borders of the worlds, and into the legendary forests in the mysterious Myth World.

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