Chapter 9: Oberon and the Mark of the Unknown
“Anyone have a good idea?” Lily mumbled as she looked at the guards surrounding us. Every single one of them was armed to the teeth. Those that couldn’t use magic carried halberds, spears, swords and crossbows. Those that could use magic had their magic circle primed and ready to fire.
I could block one or two of them. Not a whole platoon of them.
“You scoundrels! Did you really think we would let you walk freely in this magnificent building?” The pompous voice echoed once more. I looked past the many people gathered in the main hall and saw a blonde man looking down on us.
He stood on a marble stage, with two women at each side. His green eyes gazed disapprovingly at me before a cocky smirk appeared on his overly handsome face. It sickened me. His armour gleamed in the dim light of the crystal chandeliers high above us.
A short sword hung from his hip, sheathed in the most luxurious wooden scabbard. A pair of exquisite leather boots fitted well with the dark green velvet pants and shirt he wore.
I didn’t like him.
That was the first thing that went through my mind when I glanced at him. His gaze rubbed me the wrong way. I assumed that guy was Oberon.
“I’ll admit that getting in was easier than I’d anticipated. So I guess we walked right into your trap.” I said while I looked around.
About a hundred soldiers, twenty Marshals and their boss. Not the best odds, I said to myself. There was no way we were going to be able to fight them all. However, we had those papers we found in his office.
But could we trust them? If they let us in, it only stood to reason that anything we found could be a lie.
“But your presence is of no matter. In fact, I want to see your faces when you are indicted for mass-murder and terrorism.” Oberon gloated. He turned around and faced the many reporters gathered to his left. Many of them held up magic circles. I recognized Norse, Devil and Angelic magic circle.
But it was all the same spell.
It was a spell that could be used by any Mark-holder and was a low-tier spell. However, it was unmissable for reporters as it directly projected sound and vision to a remote location. I assumed those locations were the offices the reporters were affiliated with.
“That’s right, dear ladies and gentlemen. For this night, these three will be finally revealed for the traitors they are! In fact, they are the perpetrators behind the gruesome attack on the Central Mall a couple of days ago.” The man revealed theatrically.
I scoffed; He was a good actor, if nothing else.
I saw how everyone in the room glared at us. Angelique whimpered and hid behind me to escape those gazes. Lily didn’t give a damn and proudly smiled to every single one of them.
" I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, Tanya Chaffendale, the woman who is going to put these ruffians in there place.” The man waved behind his back. A wooden door opened, half-hidden behind a set of deep-red velvet curtains.
A blonde figure stepped out. Tanya, our teacher.
However, something was off about her. She didn’t react to anything. Not our voices, nor the gazes that were directed at her. Her eyes stared vacantly at the floor in front of her. Nothing else.
Where we too late?
The woman walked towards Oberon, her face was expressionless. The man spread his arms and Tanya fell into his embrace.
“This woman is the teacher of these three wicked children. She will now reveal to all of you respectable people the truth about what devious terrorists these scoundrels are!” Oberon announced on a bombastic tone. I rolled my eyes; This guy was getting on my nerves!
And judging from Lily’s displeased grunts, she wasn’t either. Her face revealed her anger. Just what was going on in that scarlet-haired head of hers?
“Yes, I will reveal the truth.” Tanya repeated apathetically. So we were too late, I reasoned. The question is now how to turn this situation on its head.
“These three are my students. I’ve overheard them talking about attacking the mall two days prior the incident in an empty classroom.” Lily gasped. She quickly turned around. Many of the soldiers brandished their weapons when they saw her erratic movements.
“That’s a lie! She—” I quickly pulled her back and glared at her. She returned the favour with a confused gaze. Anything we said right now would only hurt us, I reasoned.
“They were talking about how they would attack the mall with a combined attack to block off any escape routes. They said they’ll do it alone, so that no one could stop them. They would kill off anyone who’d try and stop them.” I frowned. Something wasn’t right here.
Angelique and Lily looked at each other. They’d noticed it too. Now to turn this entire show on its head. I grabbed the stack of papers we stole from Oberon’s office behind my coat and stepped forwards.
Immediately, the guards stepped forwards. Their weapons looked razor-sharp. I held up my hands in defence. This reminded me of those police shows I always watched when I had nothing to do. Which was most of the time.
“No worries, I don’t have any weapons with me. Hey, you!” I yelled to the reporters at the side of the main hall. They reacted to my voice and aimed their Projection-spells at me. I took a deep breath to calm myself; Having so many eyes looking at me made me nauseous.
“Make sure you film all that is about to happen, alright?” I saw how the reporter nodded. When I turned my gaze back to Oberon, I saw how he frowned. I took another step towards him. The guards barricaded the rest of the way.
“I’m correct to assume she said ‘They handled alone’, yes?” I asked the entire audience. Multiple people nodded. So they heard it too, excellent.
“That’s strange because all the news talking about the event was centred around a peculiar group of people… Argh, what was their name? Ah! The acolytes of Yggdrasill they called themselves?” Oberon reacted to that name. His right eyebrow twitched.
“I recall people in the news talking about ten people dressed in the same clothes. The name ‘Acolytes of Yggdrasill’ came from an eye-witness. Tell me, why would that name suddenly pop up if we handled alone?” Oberon bit his lower lip. Luckily for him, his moustache hid it from everyone.
“There’s something else I’ve found strange. If this woman can only speak the truth, then why did she lie about that?” I continued and revealed the papers we stole from Oberon’s office to everyone. I took great care to show it to the Projection-spells as well.
“That wouldn’t make sense, now would it? Unless… She was made to say that? I’ve got here diagrams and instructions about a very peculiar spell. One that can manipulate people.” Oberon completely froze when he saw the papers in my hand.
“How did you--?! I’ve hid them in my –” He stopped himself from speaking any further. Some people picked up on his hesitation, however, and shot him some questioning glances.
“In your office, yes. However, we broke in. We found these diagrams there, along with a very handy set of maps… of the mall. The same mall where the attack took place.” I finished. Oberon scoffed as he found his confidence again.
“That doesn’t mean anything. Those maps were used to make predictions and calculations about the attack itself after the facts. We can’t cordon off the entire place every day.” The blonde man answered. I nodded and shrugged.
“Of course, I understand that. But back to the magic diagrams… Can I test something?” I asked. Before Oberon could answer, I walked towards him. The soldiers tried to stop me, but after Oberon commanded them to stand down, they created a path for me.
The blonde man had found his confidence again. His cocky smirk appeared on his face. I returned his smile with a confident glare of my own. I’m not going to jail for something I didn’t commit, thank you very much!
I stepped towards one of the reporters and dragged them along by their arm. I stopped when I stood in front of Tanya. She didn’t even react to my presence.
“Forgive me for this, Miss Chaffendale.” I murmured before I slapped her hard on both her cheeks. The sound echoed through the grand room. But still, no reaction.
Just what I thought.
“How strange. I’ve thought she would hit me back, or yell at me. Don’t you think this is strange?” I asked both Oberon and the reporter. The reporter had to admit it was a bit unsettling. I revealed the papers regarding that manipulation-spell again and placed them right in front of the Projection-spell the reporter was carrying.
“Anyone can see this line, right? The subject has a loss of sensations, aside from those allowed by its master.” I smirked when the realization hit Oberon. His face was priceless. It was a mixture of disgust and surprise.
Gradually, the realization travelled through the entire room. I saw how people started to talk to each other. Not the effect I was going for, but not bad nonetheless.
Now, for the finishing touch.
“Let’s end this farce, shall we?” Without waiting for Oberon’s answer, I let my powers flare to the surface and revealed the misty monster. I heard the blonde man take a deep breath.
He could see it?
That was a first. Normally, people were oblivious to its misty maw. Lily did say he was an exceptional Marked person. The only thing withholding him from absolutely murdering my ass, I assumed, were all the high-ranked officials staring at him.
“Here we go.” I mumbled before the misty beast sunk its jaws into Tanya’s head. At first, there was no reaction. But slowly, I saw it moving its jaws. Each time it pulled back, I saw shards of an incredibly dense magic circle dispersing into nothingness.
“H-Huh? Where… am I?” Tanya suddenly said. She shivered whenever my Mark sunk its teeth into her head. When the last shards of the spell dispersed into my Mark’s misty embraces, the being retreated into my body.
“Tanya Chaffendale, you dare to lie to us?!” Oberon bellowed. He was trying to save his face, I figured.
“Back off, old-timer! I only came with you because you threatened my students!” Tanya responded and kicked towards the blonde man. He simply parried the kick with his arm. Oberon was losing his patience.
“Silence! You dare defy me, your husband?!” That was a surprise! Tanya was Oberon’s--?!
“I’m not your wife, you egotistical psychopath! My Mark is Titania, yes, but that doesn’t make me your wife by default, you pervert!” Ah, so that’s how it was. In legends, Titania and Oberon were wife and husband.
“Hell yeah! Welcome back, Teach!” Lily rejoiced from the back of the room. She made her way to the front, closely followed by a shy Angelique.
“Silence! All of you, do you want me dead?! Did they tell you to silence me now that I’ve done my thing?! ” Oberon was starting to panic. What got up his ass?, I asked himself. His eyes frantically stared into the room. He seemed to look for something, but what?
Who were the people he talked about?
“That’s it! Everyone here needs to die!” My eyebrows shot up at hearing that. Overkill much? But Oberon seemed to completely lose it. What was his problem? He seemed to be afraid of something, but I couldn’t think of anything that should scare him. Him, the boss of the Fairy Court of all people!
But the other guests didn’t think twice when they heard that. They all started frantically running towards the exit. Even some reporters made good on their escape. But some stayed and recorded the entire thing.
“What are you talking about, old man? Are you getting delusional?” I said and stepped towards him. But from the moment my feet touched the ground in front of him, I felt a massive impact on my chest. It smashed me backwards into a marble pillar. I saw the remainders of a concrete fist retract into the earth.
Instantaneous casting?! This guy was on a whole different level!, I realized. I coughed up some blood while the guards organised themselves.
Lily and Angelique dashed towards me, followed by Tanya who immediately summoned some mud dolls with shields and swords to stop the advancing soldiers.
“Are you alright, Carnel?” Angelique asked with a worried voice. She quickly tapped my chest. Luckily, nothing seemed to be damaged. He didn’t strike any vitals.
“Yes, but… What’s gotten into him?” I responded while I pointed at Oberon. The blonde man started to mumble erratically, like he was possessed. His eyes were almost bouncing out of their sockets as he stared around the room.
“I dunno, but it isn’t safe here! Let’s go!” Lily said as she jumped up. When she turned around, she got greeted by a mass of armed soldiers and Marshals who were readying their spells.
No two ways about, we had to fight our way through.
“Okay, let’s bust out of here!” I yelled. Lily nodded and jumped forwards as she started kicking several soldiers with some lethal kicks. Those who could still move after that, she stared into their eyes and let her Original Magic do its work. She created her own private army quite quickly.
“I’m so sorry!” Angelique yelled before she unleashed a new spell. It were a collection of flaming orbs that burst into a massive inferno on contact. According to the research she had done,
Angelique called them ‘Righteous Bursts’. I assumed that was the name given by the predecessors of her Mark.
“Watch out!” I warned. I jumped into the path of a Gale burst and Fireball spell. I felt the two forces ravage my body; One part felt like it was going to melt, the other part felt uncomfortably light. I had my Mark push those spells back out and created a flaming vortex that tore through the soldiers.
“… Just what is your Mark?” Tanya asked me. Her mud dolls were busy fighting their human counterparts. Each time one of the muddy fighters got destroyed, a stronger one rose in its place. The teacher didn’t seem to have any issues sustaining her fighters. Just how much magical energy did she have?!
“Fight now, talk later!” I responded before I jumped out of the way of a row of spikes shooting out from the ground. However, a rain of sharp ice-knives drilled into my arms and pushed me back.
Both spells came from the crazed Oberon.
“Wait… He can use two elements?” I was shocked. Normally, high-tiered Marks specialized in only one element. That was the element they could grow the most in, after all. But he just fired high-tiered spells from both Aqua and Gaia elements.
“I told you he was strong!” Lily grunted as she kicked two soldiers to the ground. Strong was an understatement; Being able to use strong spells of two elements was a huge advance.
Oberon didn’t show any signs of stopping, though. He continued to wildly fire off any spells that came to his crazed mind without looking at the consequences.
“I’ll take him on.” I said. I was surprised at my own words. But he had pissed me off the entire night, I want to get my hands on this guy. The beast living inside me agreed as well. I could feel it. I had no idea what it was thinking, but I was starting to understand it a little bit more. I think.
It wanted to take this guy on. Maybe it was just hungry for strong spells, that was also an option.
“What?! You can’t take him on alone! That’s crazy…” Angelique said as she fired off another volley of flaming orbs. She took a deep breath; I saw she was getting tired.
“Sorry, but my Mark tells me to.” With those words, I charged forwards. I jumped out of the way of another volley of strong icicles and rolled behind a fallen pillar to dodge a hail of rocks.
“Get away from me! Get away!” Oberon yelled in a shrill voice before spikes shut out from underneath his feet. They made their way over to me, spiking through the marble floor. I thought I was fast enough to jump out of the way.
“Carnel!” Angelique screamed. I howled in pain when one of the spikes perforated my left knee. It hurt! It hurt so much. My Mark activated immediately and started devouring the spell. But since it was a higher-tiered spell, it took a little while.
While I was stuck, pinning on that rock, a lance of ice pierced through my right shoulder. I screamed while the hot blood trickled past my elbow.
Finally, my Mark managed to chew through the rock and made it disappear. I fell unto the ground and re-created the spell with my Unknown Magic woven straight into it. The spikes shooting out of the ground were made of pressured rock, instead of granite like Oberon’s spell.
I thought I hit him, but the spell fizzled out right in front of my eyes.
What was up with that?
“Ha! You think insects like you are capable of hurting me with my own spells?!” The deranged blonde man yelled.
Shit. I didn’t see this one coming. Was this another perk of his Mark? I realized his Mark was Oberon, but I didn’t know it safeguarded him against his own spells.
I yelled loudly when I threw the ice-spear my Mark chewed through. But it melted before it could hit its target.
Oberon cackled while he swayed on his feet. He started muttering about something. I barely heard the words ‘Revenge’ , ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Yggdrassil’.
I didn’t have the time to worry about that right now! I saw ice gathering in his right hand and granite in his other. A few seconds later, he had two swords in his hands.
Great. I was out of breath, heavily wounded, my friends were busy fighting the soldiers and Marshals and I had a crazed imbecile ready to cut my head off! Not how I thought this would go, I thought to myself.
“Die! Die! Die!” Oberon yelled that over and over. I looked around, but I couldn’t move more than a couple of feet with my incapacitated leg and wounded shoulder. What were my options?
I noticed the beast of my Mark lick its misty lips and look longingly at Oberon who swayed towards me.
Did it want to eat the swords? But that wouldn’t help me at all. It shook its head. I felt a shock rush through my veins.
It understood me?!
I thought it just acted on its own whims. Or the whims of its stomach, to be more precise. It seemed there was much more to this Mark than I anticipated.
Now that I took a closer look at where it was looking, it wasn’t looking at the swords. It was looking at Oberon himself.
Was it carnivorous too?
I gulped, but I realized I had no choice. I would follow its guidance, just this once. When Oberon jumped towards me, I heard Lily and Angelique scream behind me. All of their voices slowly drowned out as I focused on the person in front of me.
He yelled loudly while he reached back to deal the finishing blow. I took a deep breath before I leaned forwards.
One sword pierced my left hand while the other landed into my healthy leg. I screamed in pain before I put my teeth deep into Oberon’s arm. I didn’t have any other option; My arms were out-of-commission , my legs were completely wrecked so that was my only option.
My Mark reacted. The jaws grew before it sunk its misty teeth into Oberon’s chest. The man let out a shocked gasp. I didn’t even start to imagine how it would feel; Being bitten by a massive set of smoky jaws.
“Argh?!” An unexplainable feeling welled up inside me. It was like my body was being pumped full of air, and that air had no escape. I tried to calm myself, but the pressure kept building. I felt my body burning up one moment and freezing the next.
What was happening to me?!
Before I had any time to react, my Mark’s beast roared. It was the first time I heard it roar since I received my Mark a month ago. And somehow, it felt good. Its glowing red eyes flared up even more before mist spread from its body.
The black mist spread all over the floor around me. A second later, multiple magic circles appeared from the mist. I recognized them as the same spells Oberon used. Amplified by my own Unknown magic.
“No! No! Not yet!” Oberon pushed me away. I slid over my own blood. But the mist stayed. In fact, the magic circles continued to swell in power. I felt like a vacuum machine was sucking me dry.
First getting blown up, then sucked up. What the hell is my Mark doing?!, I panicked.
“Stop it! I don’t want to die yet!” Oberon screamed. But it was no use. The spells fired over and over. My Mark roared loudly. It sounded … excited? I tried to stop it, but it just continued to fire the spells over and over without mercy.
However, it seemed to miss Oberon’s vitals. I was happy about that. If I murdered somebody, my troubles would never end.
After twenty long seconds, the barrage of spells finally ended. I felt drained. Like, really drained. There wasn’t an ounce of power left in side of me. I dropped to the floor and faintly heard Angelique’s voice, followed by Tanya and Lily’s voices.
I didn’t care anymore.
Everything was going black. The beast residing in me licked its vicious misty teeth and retreated back into my body before everything went black. Finally, silence.
“… Did you see that?” Far away from the fight, a couple of people discussed the live feed in a dark room.
“We’re not blind. That boy… He’s dangerous.” Another voice responded. The others nodded and hummed their approval towards this statements.
“We need him to disappear. Otherwise, our plans—” The voice got cut off by a rough voice. This voice sounded even more annoyed than the others.
“We know very well what the consequences are, Horus. I’ll ask my associates to deal with him and those girls with him. Anyone who knows about him or his Mark are too dangerous.” A fourth voice said. They all nodded before they dispersed, off to do their own thing.
Only one person remained as they started at the screen that showed a passed-out bloodied boy, three girls, a heavily wounded old man and a whole slew of wounded soldiers.
“The serpent of the End… How annoying.”