Star Cursed

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Part 2 Chapter 4: Sapphire

Part 2 Chapter 4: Sapphire

Tensions were rising quickly on the rooftop of the temple pool complex of the Golden Palace. I was looking between Hraken and Sabir, barely believing my luck that they were both alive at this time. However, they weren’t the only overwhelming subjects. Now, I am also getting used to all the new faces. However, Jasmine was captivating everyone’s attention in this moment and I wasn’t sure why, since she finally seemed to be accepting what all this meant. Even if she didn’t understand it, nor the dangers of seeking out Traegr - if he was indeed, still alive.

“I need a quick word,” Jasmine reaches over as she addresses me and she oddly grabs my hand, pulling me closer to her, “I need to tell you a bit about myself if we’re going to get to know each other.”

“That can wait until later,” Sabir harnesses a clear cut warning tone and as I glance back at him awkwardly, misunderstanding his suspicion, Jasmine scoffs and makes her move.

Before I know it, she’s scooped me up in her arms as a blast of fire leaves her feet.

Flying upwards, I don’t push away from her but I curl into her instead, scared I’ll die, either from the fall to my death or a heart attack.

"What the hell?!" I scream at her as Jasmine laughs like she’s a little bit evil as she flies higher and faster, the wind causing my hair to flick all over my face.

“You’re coming with me, princess,” Jasmine explains, “Don’t look down, also I need to speed up... argh - damn, you’re heavy!”

Huh? Excuse me? I have a smaller frame than her! I peek at Jasmine to see she looks proud of her subtle insult.

Bitch! Jasmine Madeira Citrine was not just loud. She was mean and very impulsive, apparently.

I wait another minute while my heart races and my head feels light from the fast travel and the thousands of years with no food or water. My body had been somewhat spelled into a frozen state where time couldn’t change my cells. However, my energy was fading fast regardless.

By the time we’re descending and we hit the ground, I feel woozy and dizzy as adrenaline pumps through me.

Jasmine lightly shoves me away and as I turn around to glance at the street we’re in, I recognise the crystalline structures of Quartz Zone. While the bottom facades look the same from my memory, now the structures of the city are stretching far higher into the air like skyscrapers.

As I turn back to Jasmine, I see her already walking away, fast.

I quickly turn to run after her as she strides ahead.

“Hey! Was your plan to abandon me?” I snap as I grab her arm.

Jasmine halts her long confident strides and swings into me, her eyes alight with a clear passion for whatever she has planned.

“No, I saved you. Us,” Jasmine snaps back down to me, while her lips curl up into a smile, “...I may have kidnapped you.”

“Sabir and Hraken will be furious. They may plan things we can not counter while we are gone. You should be more sly about how to make counter moves,” I suggest while Jasmine nods her head to the street.

“Follow me closely then, Sapphire. I may not understand what the hell is going on,” Jasmine speaks as we now walk, a little calmer and slower, “However, I know trouble. I can smell it. I’m trying to get a head start on life before I get fucked over by it again. I have a bad track record with luck, you understand?” Jasmine rambles as she seems drawn inward towards some painful memories, “I want to be in control of the next steps. Something we can achieve is bargaining power... so, let’s find Traegr the Tragic!” she holds up her hands and passes me a questioning gaze, “What do you say? But don’t say no.”

“Well - that doesn’t give me much choice, does it?” I roll my eyes.

“Traegr the Tragic!” Jasmine yells out the name at the top of her lungs before I can open my mouth again to negotiate her intentions. It’s so disrespectful of the pedestrians and people on their lunch breaks. It’s so rude and obnoxious, it shocks me even now. Especially when she starts repetitively screaming it out, “Hello? Can anyone point me towards the Tragic Traegr? I’m looking for the Tragic Traegr! Emalee better not have made this shit up,” Jasmine halts on the other side of the road while I cringe at all the glares we receive, “This is an emergency! People! We need your help!”

“That way, just shut up!” a stranger walking past yells back at her and she grins from ear to ear.

“Fuck you too,” Jasmine flips him the bird - still, a universal insult. Jasmine runs and I have to follow before the offended helper decides to fight back.

With confusion and misunderstanding, I just watch Jasmine as she proudly strolls around a corner and then halts dramatically as she sucks in a breath.

“No,” I murmur as her eyes light up at the figure she has been searching for, “That’s not him,” I let out a sigh of relief at the slouching, limping man walking down the street. He does have scars on his body but his face is not the same.

“What do you mean, it’s not him?” Jasmine turns to me, “You’re just saying that so I don’t approach him!”

“I’m actually not lying to you, plus, I would remember him. Maybe he’s just dead, or Star Cursed somewhere else - but that isn’t him. That’s just a costume on a look alike,” I explain.

“A costume with the tag Axel Technologies,” Jasmine points out dryly, “Clearly that company sponsored him with some clothes. The top and bottom suit is the same label. Even his backpack. He’s paid,” Jasmine guesses, “Perhaps... to do this? Let’s go find Axel Technologies HQ,” I see the look in Jasmine’s eyes, like she’s about to start yelling until someone tells her the answer again.

I quickly take charge.

“Excuse me?” I ask politely as I intercept a business woman passing by, “Do you have directions to Axel Technologies?”

“Are you kidding me?” she asks, stopping briefly to add, “It’s the old Stadium, where else?”

The woman keeps walking and Jasmine glares after her.

“Pssh, the old Stadium,” Jasmine scoffs, “Talk about clear directions.”

“The Scouting Stadium is my guess,” I shrug, “Why do you want to go there anyway?”

“Well, obviously, they’re clearly interested in Traegr’s story. Perhaps they know his Star Cursed form,” Jasmine suggests.

“Even if they did, why are you so keen on tracking down someone you don’t even know?” I ask, “Especially if they’re Star Cursed and have no memory of Sabir or Hraken? He won’t be an advantage to you or us in anyway.”

“But if we do find him and he’s Royal Gem blood, then that is some form of advantage,” Jasmine suggests weakly, unsure of her own musings. She hums to herself as she considers all her options, but then she turns to me and purses her lips while looking me over, “If you think Alex and John have really been taken over by their former souls, or they merged into Sabir and Hraken... why do you think they’ll try to change everything? Why can’t they just be happy with how things are? Even if John - Hraken, believes he is a King. And Sabir... what is he again?”

“A Punisher,” I explain, “A good one. He’ll manipulate the both of us especially if you’re in love with him.”

“Huh,” Jasmine looks uncomfortable while looking me up and down, “You really are Magicbonded to him...” she gulps, “Aren’t you?”

“To both of them,” I explain, “They were twins long ago although they have been born separately this time. Two bonds now exist for both of them. Sabir and Hraken are bonded to my water as always because I never died and managed to survive this long in a spelled coma. If Sabir is mated to you... who is mated to Hraken?”

“Asha,” Jasmine explains, “She also eerily looks like you. We all look like each other. Not identical but... Asha could definitely be a form of yourself, Star Cursed... she looks like a younger you, honestly. This is getting weird,” Jasmine shrugs and tries to laugh it off, “Let’s get back on track to what’s really important. I assume Sabir and Hraken are posing a threat to the stability of the Gem council and current King and Queen, Alexander and Sara. They’re Alex’s parents... so, they gave birth to a Star Cursed Sabir. Let’s assume they have the upper hand. You say Traegr is a rival. Now, if we find him... tell me... what should I know? I’m a fighter, Sapphire, I can handle every kind of dumb brute.”

“I agree he could be an asset,” I sigh, “He only has one weakness, which is his mate, Celeste. Because she died, he may be bonded to someone new entirely. Just like Sabir was bonded with you.”

“Was? He still is,” Jasmine snaps and I roll my eyes for the thousandth time.

“Before we go, I need some fuel,” I snap back, “I haven’t eaten for a couple of millennia, forgive me for requesting some assistance.”

“Okay, but you have to eat as we fly,” Jasmine turns from me and walks into a cafe, leaving me on the footpath.

I look down at my cream dusty dress and wonder... just how old it is. Then I look up and I’m proud to see how advanced the Gems are that fill the streets on their lunch breaks. I remember a time any eyes that fell upon me would cause crowds to gather around.

I had been a loved princess, even if I had been a toy in the Dark Gem’s selfish games of desire.

Even though I had Sabir and Hraken known to me, I couldn’t help but feel that strong sense of longing for my best friend.

I missed Celeste like I lost her yesterday.

One moment, she was there.

The next, Val’s fire which was Jasmine’s fire - had incinerated her from the malfunctioning portal when Traegr knocked into the controls.

Celeste had been glued to my side since I met her. We had been best friends, lovers at times, but most of all - the greatest support for one another when times were rough.

Now, my closest female companion seemed to be... well... the exact opposite of sweet, gentle, quiet Celeste.

I watch through the glass front as Jasmine demands whatever she is getting for me over the counter. It’s curious to see the staff run to do her bidding. When she takes the smoothie, she doesn’t pay but she still looks angry.

As she storms out and basically throws it at me, I barely grab it half way through the air before it splatters all over me.

She was testing my reflexes.

“Sip up, princess,” Jasmine tries to rush me.

“Why is everyone scared of you?” I ask, raising a brow as I taste the green concoction of heaven. I close my eyes and savour the feeling of drinking after so damn long, “Damn, this is exactly what I needed.”

“Good,” Jasmine seems reluctant to answer me but eventually she finds the right words, “People aren’t scared of me... they’re scared of my mother. We look alike. She’s a murderer. A mass murderer. Multiple times over, to be honest. Cold heart. Killer thoughts, etc, etc. Long story short she lost all her power a few days ago. Every Madeira Citrine female is dead and I inherited the entire magic pool. Except it’s not just the fire that’s the issue... it’s the experimentation from Jared, the supposed man who killed me when you said Val died. Well, he apparently lived another few thousands of years to be a thorn in the side of Central Universe. He creates monsters by experimenting on people. I’m one of them,” Jasmine smiles, “Let’s go, my fire needs some damn release!” she holds out her arms as if to welcome me into a hug but at the last minute she picks me up and throws me over her shoulder, “Gosh darn it!” she hisses as she takes off and I keep a hold of my smoothie, “Which way?!”

I point her in the right direction and just enjoy the ride this time round.

The Stadium is not as far off from Quartz Zone so the journey is a lot quicker.

“Land in the middle!” I call out as I see the old structure of the Scouting Stadium, still in tact, still maintained and yet again, larger than ever in the middle of streets rather than a forest. We land in the empty grassy field and Jasmine sets me down while she looks around the large stadium, which was well kept but also very modern.

“Why the field?” Jasmine asks, “What’s here?”

“That,” I murmur as my eyes rest on a square room seemingly placed over the exact portal structure that had been built to connect to CU all that time ago, “That’s where Celeste died, it’s where the first portal to CU is located. Your fire runs through that portal.”

“Hell, let’s check it out, I want to see where I died,” Jasmine ignores my mention of Celeste and she skips off towards it.

I follow while my heart sinks.

This was surreal but it was happening.

When we reach the security door, it’s locked.

“Oh, no,” Jasmine mutters, “Whatever shall we do?”

“Perhaps we should talk to someone -” my only reply is Jasmine grinning as her eyes flash a dark colour and the fire that leaves her hand turns a crimson red.

As the Shadow Fire incases the door... it doesn’t melt, crack or burn... it simply incinerates to nothing.

“Um,” I hold my breath as Jasmine turns to me, her eyes still red, “Shall we enter?” I ask cautiously. I am aware that Shadow magic of any kind can dramatically increase the violent tendencies of the user.

“Would it make a difference if you didn’t exist?” Jasmine asks in a drawl, “Do you want to di-”

“Kill me then, but that doesn’t mean Alex won’t die with me,” I snarl this quickly, hoping it shuts her up.

It’s not true, it’s a lie... but it shocks her enough into snapping out of it.

Her eyes flicker from red to blue.

Jasmine lets out a long exhale.

“Shit,” she whispers, “Sorry, princess... I got a bit excited... I shouldn’t have harnessed it... um...”

“Just move,” fully aware I nearly died, this time I take charge and stalk forward, heading into the room first.

I enter into a shiny metal space which holds the centre piece which is the portal. The portal is still active and pulses with the power of red and white energy.

“Celeste’s magic is still in that portal after all these years,” I speak in awe, while Jasmine strolls in from behind, now more quiet because she feels guilty.

“Um... so?” Jasmine asks tentatively, “That’s some fancy old tech...”

“Well -” I can’t continue as we hear a door open from the left corner of the metal surrounds.

A grinning blonde headed man comes running out in a suit, looking right past me to Jasmine.

“I can’t believe it,” even as the melodic drawl leaves his lips, I can barely believe my eyes.

Another Star Cursed form so suddenly.

Traegr - face unscarred, manner polite and young.

“Huh and what now?” Jasmine awkwardly extends her hand as he does, shaking her hand with a grin that won’t drop.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, I was just about to head towards the Palace to intercept you for a deal,” he inhales a breath and turns to glance at me briefly.

I wait for any acknowledgement.

Nothing.

He looks back to Jasmine.

Traegr had no memory of me, which was expected.

“What’s your name?” I ask for Jasmine, who just looks stunned by the sudden appearance of this giant young man.

“Axel,” he answers with a slight scoff at my ignorance, “Jasmine Madeira Citrine,” he turns back to Jasmine with light beaming out of his eyes, “How would you like one million dollars for a favour?”

“Oh... if this is something weird... or... you know, kinky, no thanks,” Jasmine half jokes while putting up her hands, “A-ah, so... what is the favour?”

“No catches,” Axel puts a hand to his heart, “I swear, I just need you to do one thing. It concerns the portal. I need you to shut it down by taking your magic back.”

“For one million dollars?” Jasmine asks, unbelieving, “Um... sure, but may I ask why? It’s not going to mysteriously give you access to an evil technology that can threaten all our lives?”

“No,” Axel laughs it off and I step closer to Jasmine as my shock wears off.

“Axel,” I interrupt the proceedings, “Do you have a Magicbonded partner?”

Axel opens his mouth and closes it, shocked by my question. Eventually he takes a step back and clears his throat, shoving his hands into his pockets, he assesses me with confusion.

“...that is an odd question,” Axel responds, “Why are you two here in the first place?”

“To find Traegr,” Jasmine answers.

“You found me,” Axel narrows his eyes, “I am Star Cursed, I am aware... I am just confused by your friend’s previous question. Why do you look familiar to me?” Axel asks me this.

“I’m Sapphire the dead corpse or whatever I was called. I’m not so dead anymore,” I explain, watching his mouth turn to an O.

“Wow,” Axel shakes his head, “You’re not lying.”

“So, regarding this million dollars?” Jasmine interrupts to bring the conversation back to her, “How about we drop the million and instead make a seperate deal.”

Axel looks confused by her change in demeanour now that she is aware that he is also Traegr.

“What do you propose?” he asks, slowly raising a brow.

“Loyalty,” Jasmine smiles, “You’re a Royal... so am I... but, I want your fealty. I want you to swear you’ll do as I say.”

“This is getting awfully complex... why do you want such a thing?” Axel asks, losing trust quickly.

Neither do I trust his quick words, nor the guarded look in his gaze.

He was hiding something.

“Um -” Jasmine is unsure of what to say, so I speak for her.

“We’ll tell you exactly why,” I add in, “If you tell us why you want Jasmine to shut off that portal.”

“Deal,” Axel shrugs, “I am King Traegr, Star Cursed five times. Every time, there is no record in my history of another recurring Magicbond,” Axel explains, “So I went back to the last record. Some maid called Celeste died - opening that portal. I need to shut it off. Her magic still runs within it. No one worked this out until I started a technology enterprise and did my research. Unfortunately I could never get a hold of a Madeira Citrine female as most have been murdered. Miranda, Jasmine’s mother, was not reachable. Jasmine now holds all the power. It’s the latest news. So, I need Jasmine’s help. She’s my last hope.”

“Interesting,” Jasmine answers, but Axel doesn’t let her change the subject.

“Now tell me why you want my fealty?” Axel snaps this, almost bordering on a snarl.

He is not appreciative of this power play.

“I will answer,” I speak up, grabbing Axel’s attention, “I am not the only one back from the dead. The Traegr you have researched had close companions with Sabir and Hraken. Well, since Sabir’s Star Cursed form touched me this morning, Sabir’s memories came back. Trouble is brewing. Hraken is also back. Power plays will be made soon. We need an Ametrine on our side.”

“I am loyal to Ametrines only,” Axel explains, “I can give you two million?”

“Nope, no thank you. Well, I guess our services aren’t needed,” Jasmine turns to me, “Let’s go, princess?”

“Ten million?” Axel yells out, exasperated, “How much damn money do I need to offer?”

“You wouldn’t care so much about this portal unless you were sure of something,” Jasmine hisses, “Tell us what you’re leaving out. The crucial details.”

“Only if you do it, Jasmine. After you do, I’ll tell you and I’ll give you ten million,” Axel explains, “Come on, you can buy whatever service you want. You can hire power. You don’t need me. Fealty is bound by law. You could take away everything from me with fealty.”

“That portal means everything to you... isn’t that worth everything?” I ask Axel.

“Alright, listen, this deal is off,” Axel starts to give in to the pressure, or at least we think so.

Until, of course, Axel reaches out a hand and casually grabs my elbow before dragging me in front of him.

It’s so random, neither of us understand what’s happening until Axel is in control. He starts to back up, while I’m in a headlock, I feel a cold device pressed to my head.

“One shot and her brain liquifies,” Axel explains, while Jasmine clenches her fists.

She hesitates as if she almost doesn’t care.

I glare at her for even thinking for a moment that I would be better off dead.

“I should have taken the ten million,” Jasmine growls, swearing under her breath as she reaches up a hand and starts manipulating the portal, “This will be easy, buddy, so when I’m done - you release her or I incinerate you to nothing.”

“Ten seconds,” Axel starts to count down and Jasmine hisses as she tries to hurry up the process.

“It’s...” Jasmine growls while sucking in a breath, “It’s fucking Shadow Fire!”

“Five seconds,” Axel waits and as he does, Jasmine starts to glow with the power of the magic she is pulling from the portal.

"Fuck,” Jasmine swears on the last second and I’m pulled down as Axel ducks from the stream of magic being pulled from the portal.

In one huge burst, everything is transferred into her body.

In the midst of the new silence, something cold seeps through my skin near my head and I feel stunned.

I fall to the ground as Axel walks forward and flings a second device at Jasmine as she’s kneeling, gritting her teeth as she tries to hold in the surge of Shadow Fire.

The device opens and surrounds her like a static blue electrical box, containing and quietening her power.

I have limited movement as I kneel, glancing to see what Axel is focused on now.

I turn to the portal to see the white magic remaining, settling together piece by piece like a printer creating a being on the floor - about the exact same spot my best friend had died.

A young woman with white to silver hair, silver eyes and a typical slender frame.

Celeste solidifies piece by piece as the magic weaves her form back together.

However, my joy is temporarily overshadowed by the moment Axel approaches her.

I knew that the moment they made contact - Traegr’s memories would all return into a new, polished, unscarred body.

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