The Neophyte

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The New Recruit

HEIDI

Tristan shut his eyes and chanted again. Nothing.

“I don’t get it,” he muttered. Dean was still standing at the doorway.

“What’s happening?” I asked, my voice two octaves higher than usual.

We stayed on the floor as if Dean couldn’t see us then.

“I-I think he’s blocking my spell,” he muttered to me, dumbfounded.

I looked up at the thick smoke that engulfed Dean’s human body. How the hell did I get myself into this?

“No, it’s not him,” I whispered, remembering my new accessory. Then I tugged his arm, “We need to get out of here.”

Tristan’s ruby eyes glowered as he stood up. He pulled out his wand from his coat pocket and readied his stance.

“Go. I’ll distract him.”

“Distract me?” The black smoke spoke in a disembodied voice. Only its yellow eyes were visible. “Thou art but an infant! Thy magic means nothing.”

I stared, wide-eyed. That was not Dean’s voice at all.

“Heidi, run,” Tristan said, almost a snarl.

His ruby eyes were the brightest I had ever seen them. He did not look away from Synto. I could feel the choker tighten.

“I’ll be fine,” I said, desperately looking for an excuse to stay. “I’ll stop the djinns from getting to you.”

Fortunately for me, grunt djinns did come and try to intervene. They lunged towards him but I managed to fight them off.

“Doth thou seeketh death, Sage?” Synto threatened. Its voice rumbled and quaked the floor but Tristan stood his ground.

“I’ve been waiting for round two,” Tristan shot back.

Synto laughed and it resonated through the deserted old town. It then moved, quick as lightning, towards Tristan. He swerved just in time and held up his defences. His precision and calculated movements were what made him a Duel Master, according to Jessie. It seemed like not even Synto could overcome his quick-thinking. Synto got knocked back by the electricity that shot out of his wand. I, on the other hand, was busy fighting off the other djinns.

Each time Synto made a move, Tristan blocked immediately. He had put up a magic shield, but no offences were made. He hardly attacked.

Tristan! I wanted to yell while pushing a djinn off of me, Cast a fire spell! Freeze him! Do something!

Tristan didn’t even lift his wand. What was going through his mind?

Out of nowhere, a djinn lunged towards me and we crashed through the window of the second storey.

Upon instinct, I grabbed onto the rainwater pipe that I was about to climb down from before. The djinn wasn’t as lucky, but djinns were djinns after all—it dematerialised before it crashed onto the ground. I hung onto the pipe and quickly grabbed onto the window ledge. More djinns were coming from the forest, a whole scenery of a raided deserted town. The night seemed to go on forever at that point.

I scanned around me to look for a ledge to put my feet on to steady myself. The djinns had found me and they were making their way up the side of the building where I was. The choker got tighter too—Synto wasn’t too happy, which meant that there was a chance of my survival.

Chaos was heard from the bedroom window. Tristan and Synto were starting their actual duel, fairly somehow. I heard Tristan yelling his spell chants and Synto roaring. Soon its voice became Dean’s again, while the djinns were reaching me. I found my way to the other window where another bedroom was. I inched my way along the side of the building to get to it.

“Heidi!”

I looked up to this other window. Vicky reached out a hand, her red eyes bright and fiery. I took her hand and she pulled me in, almost easily.

“You okay?” She asked.

I panted, “I’m fine. That was a workout.”

Vicky shook her head, “What in the hell are you doing here?”

I knew that question would come up. “I’ll explain later. We need to get Tristan out of here now.”

“Okay, wait here and I’ll go get—”

“Go get whom?” A voice asked from the doorway.

We both turned to see a tall man, as tall as Vicky, with dark hair and red eyes leaning against the door frame. I had never seen him before.

“Marcus,” Vicky’s face lit up for a second, and then looked puzzled. “What are you doing here?”

Marcus walked in with his tall stature and muscular arms, all confident with a smug smile. “Join us, Victoria. We’d make a great team.”

She tilted her head. “What? Are you...are you working for Synto?”

His grin got wider, teeth barred. “I work with him. You know, after all these decades, you’re the only Vampire I trust. I don’t even trust that spineless ignorant you call King.”

“Vick,” I said, my eyes glancing out the window where the djinns were coming towards. “Leave him, we really have to go now.”

“Marcus,” her voice sounded pained. “You...I’d never expected you to betray us. You and I worked together so well. What made you switch sides?”

“A few weeks ago,” he said casually, unhindered by her shaky voice. “In fact, that was when I learned about dark magic and how...useful it is.”

I narrowed my eyes, “What are you, Synto’s new recruit? He will kill you, you know.”

“He’s taught me so much that Voltaire failed to do. The Vampires have always been selfish!”

“That’s because the nature of Vampires isn’t magic, Marcus,” Vicky raised her voice. “You can die from whatever power he’s feeding you!”

His red aura radiated black. His red eyes shone and held his palm towards us, fingers splayed.

Malleficus arcanum!” He yelled as we jumped away just in time.

A blue and orange bolt of energy shot out from his palm and obliterated all loose matter in its path. That included Vicky and me.

Upon instinct, I threw my hands over my face. Vicky, instead, threw herself in front of me and took the brunt of it. The energy from the spell was so strong that it flung us backwards.

I saw her face—half of it was torn out like she was chewed up by an animal. Ragged breathing came out of her, chest heaving up and down. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I looked up to the other Vampire, overcoming with rage. Then he raised his palm again and chanted his spell. In between those seconds, I either wanted to kill him or let him kill me.

Malleficus arcanum!” The energy projected towards us.

With one hand cradling Vicky and the other in front of my face, I didn’t get to see what happened exactly. Somehow, the spell bounced back towards him and obliterated the Vampire. I stared at his body being annihilated by the dark energy, befuddled.

“Now that’s how you return to sender,” Wynona said, walking through the threshold. Her purple coat like a cape, she strode in clean and untouched by chaos.

“Vicky,” I muttered, my voice breaking. “You can’t leave me, you’re all I have.”

“The spell did a number on her,” Wynona knelt down and felt for her pulse on her pale, skinny wrist. “Her aura is fading away too.”

I shut her eyelids. Her ragged breathing slowly calmed into one, long breath. And then she was gone.

Wynona straightened herself. “Let’s go, Heidi, while Synto is distracted.”

I stood up but whatever she was saying fell on deaf ears. All I felt was rage.

I passed the threshold of the room and out to the hallway. I had made up my mind—it needed to be done. I could feel Wynona following me but I ignored her. I stood by the door of the room where Synto was.

His back was facing me. He had Tristan cornered to the window with a graze above his eyebrow and a busted lip. Tristan was trying his best to fight back but none of his magic worked. The djinns were being held back by Lord Voltaire and Jessie, who fiercely fought their way to us.

“Let him go!” I cried. My knees were shaking.

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