Chance - Should Have Learned Parkour
A couple of days later, Jaden was back to his usual self. Apparently, Abraxas caused the commotion outside the school to corner us. Everything would have gone smoothly for him if it wasn’t for Ven’s protection. And it’s just frustrating to know that there were two groups out there who were after my butt.
“They’re moving too fast.” Ven solemnly said. Then he placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. Both of us were contemplating what to do next inside their living room. “I hate to admit it, but we don’t have the luxury of time, Chance.”
Someone else came into the room. None other than Estelle Stastra, the mage who posed as his mother here on this dimension. And I won’t forget how she used an advanced dark magic spell on Jaden to save our careless butts. But that would only mean one thing.
She was about to use it on me, too.
“No way.” I groaned. For some reason, I knew what was coming. And it was going to be painful if she was going to do it. “Are you serious? Ven, I thought I could trust you.”
“I’m sorry.” Ven apologized. His voice was somber and sad. Surely, Rei had forced his hand again. He always did it for the benefit of the mission more than the benefit of the person. “Time is running out, and Veronica will be freed from the other dimension if Israfil remains sealed inside you.”
The hair on my back stood up, and I braced myself for a fight. I knew I had to run for it. There was no other choice. My mind roared, and my heart punched hard in my ribcage. I had to flit away the moment I saw fit. Based on what I had seen, Estelle didn’t use Gravity Magic, but I was not sure. On the other hand, Ventus moved too fast for me.
I needed a distraction first.
“Don’t make this hard, Chance.” Ven said. “I don’t really want to do this, but don’t make it look like I don’t have a choice.”
“But you do have a choice! If you don’t want to, then don’t do it!” I shot back at him. My hands instinctively raised themselves to my chest level, and the shadow beneath me expanded. Tendrils of darkness started to creep out from the floor. And I felt more energized than ever. “He’s putting you up with this again, doesn’t he? The crazy bastard is trying to ruin my life!”
“No, Chance.” Ven stated. His a bit smaller. “I really don’t have a choice.”
“Yes, Ven. You do have a choice.” I retorted. More firmly than before. My voice pressed on despite having doubts if I could take them both on. They were both powerful mages, and I was simply a trainee. “Use your own head. I know you’re one of the most intelligent guys out there. You’re not supposed to force things on your friends. And you don’t make them do things they don’t want to do.”
“A desire is different from a necessity.” Ven’s reply was cryptic. He looked at me with sad eyes. “Desires can be dangerous if left unchecked.”
“And you call this necessary?” I sneered.
My voice sounded hurt more than before. I started to step back slowly towards the window. Estelle already took notice of it, and she also started brewing spells under her feet.
“If everybody gets what they want, then this world would have ended a long, long time ago. If only people had focused on letting go of all those selfish desires than fulfill them, then there would be less evil around.” Ven argued. His short monologue was eerily cryptic. “And yes, I’m afraid it’s necessary.”
Then we all fell silent. Neither of us moved. And I kept thinking of the best way to utilize my abilities to get out. The only thing I would take advantage of was Gravity Magic. But I had to catch Ven off guard.
“Please, don’t move.” Ven pleaded. His voice was soft. There was no bravado that he would usually show. Not a drop of confidence. “Please.”
He made a step forward. And that was the final straw.
I summoned a throwing knife with my left and accessed the gravity magic with the other hand, with most of my focus. My eyes immediately took note of the details that were happening. Estelle was not moving, but I was pretty sure she was cooking up something. On the other hand, Ven had both arms ready with a pulse of lightning wrapped around them.
I threw the blade outside the window and surged the anti-gravity spell that caused all of us to tumble upwards. And as soon as I was on the same height level as the window, I activated the gravity lock magic on the knife outside. I flawlessly jolted outside of the window, with both of my captors still inside the house.
Thankfully, we were in the backyard, and no one would be snooping around to check what was happening. Both of them wouldn’t risk using any spells that could cause mayhem in the neighborhood. They needed to take me down as silently as possible.
As I rolled on the ground and stood up, a bright flash of lightning blasted me backward. I landed on my back a couple of feet away. My chest felt like it was pounded with heavy rock, and I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. My focus over the anti-gravity spell inside the house no longer exists.
The next thing I saw was Ven’s foot next to my face. And I looked up to see him staring down. I would’ve cast a shadow-bind spell, but I couldn’t even feel my body. But during a split second of a moment, he suddenly winked at me and nudged at the door that just swung open.
Estelle came out with black chains in her hands. It was then I understood what Ven planned. He suddenly grabbed me by the neck, and a slight shock erupted throughout my body. The stunning spell he had cast on me was undone. He pulled me up to my feet then pushed me towards the woman.
As soon as I stepped in the actual middle of them, I summoned another throwing dagger and threw it at Estelle. It was a stupid decision, but it still caught her off guard. She caught the blade, and as soon as she did, I immediately cast the gravity lock spell on myself. Both of them were jolted towards me with such speed, and Ven’s arm was already loaded with another stun spell.
At the moment they were near enough, I dispelled my magic and jumped out of the way. Both of them crashed with each other. Ven got ahold of Estelle in midair and accidentally stunned her. But he was also grabbing her arm, which served as the bridge for the lightning current to strike him, too.
Both of them got stunned. And I was easily able to run away the moment they landed on the ground. I cast an anti-gravity spell on myself to give myself a bit of a jumping power over the fence. With a solid kick away from the ground, I momentarily flew over the wooden wall.
Thankfully, it was a vacant lot on the other side. And it gave me a perfect getaway from them.
Run. Ven’s voice echoed in my head. Then I felt a small black stone inside my left pocket. It was remarkable that I never even noticed him slipping it in. It would have been dangerous if he was truly trying to capture me. This should give you enough time to run away from here.
Why? I asked back.
I didn’t like Rei’s plan. Totally stupid. Ven replied. His voice was a bit cocky. It was too drastic. I never said yes to hurting you.
But what about you? I questioned him. It made me feel bad. I was pretty sure that Estelle wasn’t stupid enough to think that it was an accident. You mentioned that he can be quite a jerk. Not that it needs to be reiterated.
Just run. He stated in a commanding tone. I’ll hold them off as much as I can.
But- I objected.
Don’t. You said to use my head, right? Ven argued back. My anxiety suddenly transformed into pride after that statement. Be glad I’m using it for your sake.
After waiting for a few minutes of walking southwards, they didn’t show up. No quick lightning-based attacks or flitting shadows appeared. There was no way I would be quick enough for them. Ven would have had me be a play-thing if he really wanted to keep up with the pursuit.
I found myself in the old construction site downtown. The area was pretty large, and there was old stuff all over the place. Jaden said that it was one of the most secluded parts of the town. So, it became a secret hiding place for Jaden and me a couple of years before, and we had the best conversations there. We eventually grew up and stopped coming at the spot. That’s because we found friends. The sacred spot for us was no longer sacred.
When in doubt, calling Jaden would always be a great idea. It worked every time. After a few more seconds of deciding, I went ahead and gave him a call.
[Sup Valentine.] He greeted me with the usual happy voice. Based on the background noises, he wasn’t at home. Most likely, he would be at the local arcade or at the mall. [I was wondering if you got lost or something. Normally, you would meet up with me on a Saturday.]
[Well, that’s why I called you.] I lied. He wouldn’t buy it, but it was too late. I already said it. [I’m trying to know where you are. But before that. Guess where I am right now.]
[You’re on the toilet, taking a dump. Duh.] He suggested. Then we both laughed after remembering how many times he did that to me. Every instance he would try to have me guess, he would be the one taking the dump. It was a uniquely gross way of starting a conversation. [It’s good you’re taking notes of the good things I do for the world.]
[No, dumb-ass.] I chuckled. [I’ll give you a clue. It’s an old place.]
[You’re in your grandma’s house?] He asked. [You never mentioned that you’re going to Boston over the weekend. That’s not dope, man. What if we were preparing a surprise for you right now? Then you didn’t even tell us where you were going. That would be a big waste.]
[No. I’m not at my grandma’s house. We just visited her a couple of months ago. It’s too soon to make another visit.] I replied with a hint of confusion in my voice. [Wait. You guys are preparing a surprise for me?]
[Why on earth would we do that? That was just a what if.] Jaden chuckled. I could imagine him shaking his head on the other line. [We’re your friends, not your fans club.]
[Whatever.] I groaned. [You can be such a jerk.]
[Anyway, where are you?] He asked. [You’re said you’re somewhere old. But there are a lot of old places in Saintsville. The clue was too vague. That’s not really a fair giveaway. Give me another one.]
[Clues are supposed to be vague and confusing. It won’t be much of a clue if it’s too obvious.] I argued back. Jaden was about to insist, but I cut him off. [But fine, Jenkins. I’ll give you another one.]
Then I scrunched my nose thinking of what to give him. Jaden waited silently on the other line. I scanned the area to check what clue I could give him. The place wasn’t really that colorful, to begin with. An abandoned site was dead and dry.
[Let’s see.] I chirped. My tone tried to make the conversation more lively. His energy was contagious, after all. [I’m somewhere downtown.]
[But that’s another vague clue!] He grumbled. I couldn’t help myself again but sneer at his frustration. [That’s not fair!]
[It’s not my fault you’re too stupid to get it.] I snapped.
[I give up.] Jaden groaned. But I wasn’t able to manage a witty comeback for that. [Wait. You’re in that old construction place!]
[So maybe you’re not that stupid.] I replied. [Congrats.]
[Haven’t been there for quite a while.] His voice got a bit mellow. [Do you want me to come over? That place has a lot of memories.]
[Sounds great.] I agreed. [I’ll wait here.]
[Are you okay?] He suddenly asked. [That’s not like you to suddenly visit that old place. As far as I could remember, the last few times you did make a visit, you were pretty upset with Celine. And that one girl in class who turned you down.]
[Shut up, Jenkins.] I chuckled. The memory flitted quickly in my mind’s eye. I remembered those disastrous moments too well. Totally infuriating. [I’m glad Chesca and I didn’t end up dating. That would have been a big catastrophe.]
[That’s true. Chesca is quite something else. Anya and Caitlyn gave you all the warning signs, but you didn’t listen. Quite stupid.] Jaden pointed out. For a person who loved to act stupid, he could be quite observant. And it had annoyed me more than a couple of times. [But you still didn’t answer my question. What’s bothering you?]
[I honestly don’t know. Everything just seemed crazy these days. And I’m scared I wouldn’t be able to fulfill what I’m supposed to do. I’m scared that I’ll put more people in danger.] My mouth suddenly confessed. I was surprised I blurted it out before I could even stop myself, but Jaden seemed to take it well. [I just ran away from something big and important. Is it okay to run from what you need to do because you don’t want it?]
Jaden went mute. But I could hear his calm breathing on the other side.
[I want to punch you right now for keeping all these from me.] Jaden sounded rejected. [You’re supposed to be my best friend, Valentine.]
[Because you might not be able to understand.] I snapped back.
[Try me!] Jaden taunted. His voice raised a notch. [You’re a brother to me and I can take that crap if I have to.]
[I don’t want to put you in danger.] I groaned. Another confession. My voice went soft, and I wasn’t sure if I could say any further than that. [It’s really hard to understand. Trust me. Please.]
[Whatever. I’ll be there in 20 minutes.] Jaden quipped. His voice got a bit cold and firm. [Don’t run away this time.]
Then he hung up.
When my conversation with Jaden ended, there was a message from mom to call her right away. So immediately went ahead to give her a call.
[Hey, mom. What’s up?] I asked.
[I was just wondering where you are right now.] She replied. I could feel the goofy grin of hers on the other side. Her voice was tremendously cheeky. It felt so suspicious. [I got home, and you weren’t around. What time are you planning to get here?]
[I’ll just meet with Jaden in a few, and then I’ll come home for dinner.] I said.
[Okay.] She responded. [Just don’t be out too late. I have to go, love you!]
[Love you too, mom.] I mumbled.
As soon as I slid my phone into my pocket, I heard some rustling noise behind me. My heart jumped at the sudden intrusion in our no-longer-sacred place.
Morsus stepped into the view. And the first thing I did was summon a couple of dark blades in each of my hands. Over time, I noticed that I need less concentration, energy, and focus on performing feats like these. Weeks before that, it took everything out of me to produce one blade.
“Are you going to take me back there?” I asked. My unsure voice tried to be tough and strong. But there was no question that this kid could take me down.
“No.” Morsus answered. Then he leaned on one of the old pillars that were never finished. “But someone needs to talk to you. Scratch that. Rather, that something wants to make a deal.”
I was a bit perplexed when Morsus switched from the usage of ‘someone’ to ‘something.’ It was kind of a weird shift of words.
“You brought someone else?” I glared at him. The kid was a versatile mage, and his magic was different from all the others I have met. “He might want to show himself.”
“He will.” The boy quipped. “And he’s here.”
One of my eyebrows were raised at the last statement. The vibe in the area suddenly dropped, and I felt an immense amount of avroi. It even felt heavy on my shoulders like someone gave me a spine-braking backpack behind me.
Then when I looked at the boy, his skin turned gray. His skin got dry and dead as if he was a corpse. Cracks randomly appeared on his jaw and neck area, and his sclera went totally black. Yet the deep blue of his eyes remained the same and gave off a faint glow.
“What’s just happened?” I asked further.
The avroi that he gave off was even more sinister than Rei’s. It was as if the darkness of the Vladimir couldn’t hold a candle against him.
“Hello, Chance Valentine.” Morsus greeted. But a different voice came from his mouth. The high-pitched and childish voice was totally gone. It was replaced with dozens of different voices fused into one. A chilling echo racked the hair on my skin and had me raised my blades for battle. “It’s good to finally talk to you. I’ve waited for this for quite a while.”
“Morsus?” I exclaimed.
It was a dumb rhetorical question, I thought to myself.
“No. The boy is asleep.” The voice replied. His eyes gazed on me as if he was sizing me up. But there was no intense desire in it for a fight. “He won’t be able to remember what we will talk about. Your secrets are safe with me.”
“Morsus said you wanted to talk.” I said.
“Indeed.” It quipped. Then the boy slowly raised his hand with the palm facing me. Then some sort of eerie symbol appeared at the center of it. The engraved symbol was black as if it was inked on the skin. Then the vibes around us just got more intense. “I’d like to propose a deal.”
I fell silent. But the thing inside the boy simply waited for an answer.
“I have nothing to offer.” I dismissed. But there was a smirk on the side of the boy’s lips. “I don’t think I have anything that you want so badly to even call it a deal.”
“You don’t even know what I want yet.” The voice replied. The tone taunted me deeply. And I couldn’t help it but grit my teeth. “That’s quite bold of you to assume.”
Silent fell between us again. It was eerie and severe.
“I can make you stronger than all of those mages who are after you. Morsus has been tapping into my power for quite a while, and he can kill them all. He just chooses not to.” The voice stated. Its echoes gripped my eardrums, and pain had rung from within my head. “And you can make them kneel at your every whim.”
Its tone went completely seductive. The screeching of the different voices had made me nauseous, but I held myself and stood my ground. I didn’t have any idea yet what was inside the boy. But it was something truly evil.
“I can offer you greater powers than the Black Sorceress.” It suggested. But it perked my interest. She was mentioned all the time, but I had no idea what the deal was with her. And it spoke through my eyes. “She is nothing but a misunderstood hero. That woman realized the futility of everything that was permitted. And now that she had seen the true light, she did everything she can to bring the world this light that she found. Sadly, she lost her way in the process.”
I gripped my hand tightly. The offer was tempting, but I had to pull myself together before this thing. It was like the devil in the flesh. And the poor boy was just a vessel for it. “I don’t need power. And I don’t care what the Black Sorceress really is.”
“Yes. You do.” The voice affirmed. “You just don’t know it yet.”
Then it restrained itself for a few moments. The quietness was incoherently astounding. I gulped at what it was about to say next. Because the words used to draw me was getting more personal.
An impish smile appeared momentarily on the boy’s face.
“Because I can give you all the power you need to protect everyone you love.”