The Guardian Demon

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My Hero

There’s a young man in a hoodie sitting on the corner of a building with his feet dangling off the side. His eyes are closed. It seems as if he is enjoying the sunshine but his spirit runes are on and the triangular pendant on his chest is glowing. He is listening to the emotional orchestra of the city where every living being is an instrument playing its own unique note.

He opens his eyes, the light jumps from the pendant to the scarf and it starts rising. He rises off the building and turns around and zooms off to a place behind him.

He approaches a column of smoke. The air is rent with screams as he arrives overhead. He takes a look around and then he plunges headfirst into the flames below. The people in the area notice.

“What was that?”

“It’s like something fell into the fire.”

Abruptly, a strong wind blows from inside the inferno blowing ash into the air but also putting out the fire.

Matthew has his scarf wrapped around his arms to direct the wind around which puts out the flames.

He stops and looks around.

*My work here is done.

His scarf unwraps from his arms and as he is about to fly away, he notices the presence of a person. He looks in their direction.

Gold.

He first thinks it’s a fire that didn’t go out but since when does fire have a soul? The ash obscuring his vision thins from the air revealing the head of a lion. It is brilliant gold suspended in grey air staring at him with the cold hungry eyes of tyrannical royalty. He stares back. What is it? What does it want? The golden lion and the white-faced demon stand across each other sizing each other up.

“You are kind of fascinating to look at,” The lion growls without moving its lips.

The ash in the air thins slightly. The head is attached to a man’s body; black t-shirt, black trousers, well built. Matthew puts two and two together and he realises who he is having the honour of meeting. He is fascinated, not because of the grandiose of his chosen vizard but because of his demeanour. The golden mask might be making him confident or he might just be stupid but this man standing in front of him does not betray even an ounce of fear.

“Are you the one who set this place on fire?” Matthew asks.

“I am, what are you going to do about it?”

Matthew squints and peers at the strange man. He knows that he knows who he is, but he still has the audacity to talk like that? Yep, he is probably just stupid.

“The same thing I did to your men.”

Matthew draws a quill and takes a step forward but before he can attack, he perceives a child underneath some rickety structure attached to a wall that’s already collapsing.

He re-absorbs the quill and shoots off towards her and covers both of them in a tortoiseshell just before they are buried underneath the falling rubble.

The King walks backwards, having gotten what he came for, and disappears into the smoke and ash.

As Matthew holds up the debris using the shell trying to figure out a way out, he notices the young girl staring at him from where she is seated on the ground.

Sema (Swahili, Hello),” he greets trying to put her at ease.

No answer, the girl just stares at him, her face still wet with tears.

He looks around.

*I can’t blow this debris away, they might injure someone.

She is holding her right leg, her fingers are bloody.

*She’s hurt.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Am I that ugly?”

She still doesn’t answer.

“Do you like magic?”

Only the sound of distant wailing can be heard.

“I’m a magician that’s why I look like this. Look.”

He removes one of his hands from the shell and uses his finger to draw a pattern in the dust on the ground.

*Using two spells at once is exhausting but a simple spell like this won’t tire me by much.

He hovers his hand over the pattern he just drew. It glows briefly and then a flower grows almost instantly at its centre. The girl’s eyes widen in astonishment.

“Are you in pain?”

The girl reluctantly nods her head.

“Hold my hand, I want to show you something.”

*I hope lizards are strong.

The girl slowly lifts her hand towards him.

He holds her hand, the green glow from the shift to lizard causes the enclosed space they are in to become illuminated, the girl looks around fascinated by the light. But then the debris overhead overpowers him and pushes him down to his knees. Worry creeps up on the girl’s face.

“Don’t worry. I’m a magician. Nothing can hurt me.”

Bent and rusty nails tear at the skin of his back.

“Look, it’s healing.”

The girl nods her head.

“Is it done?”

“Mmh,” she hums.

“Okay, now I want you to help me do some magic so that we can get out of here, okay?”

“O...okay.”

His body glows and the shell returns, he winces as the nails are pulled out of his back.

“You see this green thing that looks like glass, I want you to hold it up with all of your strength.”

She reaches up and holds up the shield.

“Wow, you are so strong!”

*This will probably exhaust her since it is using up her limited spiritual energy but I can’t do this alone.

He squats to a lower position and reaches up to hold the shell in place

“Now let go and climb on my back.”

She climbs up to his shoulders.

“I will count to three and then we will push upwards as hard as we can, okay?”

“Okay.”

*I’m going to sleep until tomorrow after this.

“One, Two, Three!”

*Ndovu.

With their hands on the shell, they push against the debris above them and the wall that had been lying on top of them becomes overturned.

The crash catches the attention of bystanders, but there is still a lot of dust and ash limiting visibility.

He lifts the girl off his shoulders and puts her on the ground. He takes a knee in front of her.

“I have to go now, go to your mom, she’s over there.”

“Where are you going?”

“To help other people just like you helped me.”

“Will you come back?”

He stands up.

“I don’t know but I will always be there when you need me, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Bye,” he says, translucent turning invisible.

“Bye,” she answers, curiously watching his transformation until she can’t see him anymore.

“Sue! Sue!”

A woman emerges from the ashy fog, lifts the girl and hugs her.

“Do you know how much you scared me, are you hurt? How do you feel?”

“I feel sleepy.”

The woman looks around and notices that the debris seem as if it were once piled on top of the spot that they are standing on.

“Did you… did you lift that wall and these other things?”

“Mmh,” the little girl hums drowsily, “me and the magician. His face glowed white.”

“Glowed white?”

Sue’s nose starts blowing a bubble as she sleeps on her mom’s shoulder.

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