It had been nearly two months since Pennie Raynhart joined Twilight Heart. In that short time, she had experienced so many new things. After the death of her parents, Pennie decided to make a scrapbook so she could cherish every memory. She hadn’t had the time to do any since meeting Ray, but Twilight Heart finally saw some peaceful days, giving them plenty of time to celebrates Asteria’s Peace Festival. Pennie couldn’t wait for the event that was celebrated every year on the 7th of November that was later that night, but before she could celebrate, she decided to catch up on her latest scrapbook. With everything that had happened Pennie had a lot of work to do.
It took a long time before everything calmed down after the huge battle against Regal Night. Pennie’s uncle and Master Ackerman were arrested by the Magical Liberation Council immediately due to the overwhelming evidence against them. Blaze wasn’t charged for his crimes as there was an overwhelming lack of evidence. That wasn’t the only issue, Blaze’s whereabouts and exact location was a complete mystery. The MLC claimed that they were doing everything in their power to locate him, but Pennie believed that they gave up a long time ago. With so many questions left unanswered, Pennie asked Benny about Blaze’s behaviour.
According to him, Blaze was sent on a mission to a far-off town when the CSOG suddenly attacked and destroyed the entire town. He was gravely injured, while the friends who accompanied him were killed. When he returned, the trauma of the incident had severely affected him. After that Benny stated that Blaze changed, it wasn’t a dramatic change or anything like that, in fact, Benny claimed that no one even noticed that anything was different. Apparently, he would smile and behave the same way as he did before the incident but that it seemed a little forced. The major differences were that he kept to himself more, stopped hanging around the Twilight Heart base and would disappear for long periods of time. Benny also said if they had paid more attention, they would have noticed how much Blaze was suffering and might have been able to do something about it before it got as bad as it did. After hearing his story, Pennie began to feel sorry for Blaze. However, she still found that she was afraid of him.
A week after Master Ackerman’s arrest, the MLC announced that the survivors of Regal Night were forced to disband. To everyone’s surprise, it turned out that the entire guild was made out of criminals convicted of high-level crimes, leaving the MLC no choice but to shut down their activities. The only one who didn’t have a criminal record was Dimetrios. Much to everyone’s annoyance, the MLC ordered Dimetrios to join Twilight Heart and work for them until he could pay compensation for the damage he caused. Despite complaining about it for a week, Dimetrios began to fit in, Pennie thought it was almost like he was always a member, which was slightly frightening.
It took a while for everyone to recover, but they soon began rebuilding the Twilight Heart base. Brittany claimed that it wouldn’t take too much time as they could easily use magic to restore it. The building had only been completed for a week, so Pennie still managed to get lost from time to time.
The Twilight Heart base was so much bigger than before. The building was made of a tall wall created with beige marble stones and majestic purple roofs. The main body of the building was three stories tall. On the first floor, there was a café that anyone from Asteria could visit and enjoy. On the second floor was a bar and diner for Twilight Heart member with a lounge to hang and relax on the floor above. There was also a library on the two top levels. There were two spires on each side of the building that was several meters taller than the main building creating a castle-like structure. Each spire had a different purpose. One of the far left spires was an extension of the library that held over a hundred thousand books, and the second left spire held a large indoor pool and spa, a gym and dance studios. The two spires on the other side were joined together giving it the illusion that it was one big structure. Inside there was a gift and merchandise store on the bottom floor, small apartments for Twilight Heart members to rent when needed somewhere to stay temporarily on the middle two floors and an infirmary on the top two floors. Every floor apart from the first floor on that side of the building was joined together by a large staircase. The main reason why the Twilight heart base was so much bigger was because the base and the old Twilight Stadium had been combined, which was located in the back building, while the very front of the building, which was where the front hall was located was only two stories with quartz stair that winded up to the entrance. Each room was either tiled with pale white quartz with a glossy finish or carpeted with a crimson material that was so soft that Pennie could lay on the floor all day and be so comfortable that she’d fall asleep. The dark indigo walls were engraved with the most elaborate golden designs that Pennie had ever seen, not to mention the drapes and tapestries made from fine clothes. Everything about the base was beautiful, and it looked regal, almost like the fairy tale castles from the books that Pennie adored as a child.
Even the garden was larger and more beautiful than before. In the centre of the back garden, there was a pond as large as a small lake with a small waterfall, flowering lily pads and a wooden bridge that crossed through the middle. There was a perfect line of bonsai, cherry blossom and maple trees that were lined up against the edge of the lawn, which always seemed freshly mown. At the very back of the garden was a flower bed filled with pale white azaleas and pink and blue hydrangeas. Amongst the flowers was a gravestone, carved into the shape of a cross with dark green vines hugging the dark grey cobblestone. The old gravestone with no names had been the only thing that survived Regal Night’s attack, which was a good thing since it represented all the lives lost in the line of duty. In the front garden, Pennie loved the buttercups planted around the building. She especially loved they become after it rained. Pennie loved everything about the new base while Ray on the other hand often complained about wishing it hadn’t changed at all. Although, Pennie never heard him complain about the new giant library.
Thinking about Ray, Pennie sighed as she leaned back into her seat. She was shocked when it only took him a few days to recover from his injuries. She couldn’t explain the feeling when she thought she had lost him forever in that fight against Dimetrios Tuff. It was as if she could no longer breathe. After everything calmed down Ray told Pennie that he might have recalled some of his past. According to him, there was a girl he once knew and the promise they made together. That seemed to be all he remembered. However, Ray seemed to talk a lot about all the small details that he did remember.
Pennie frowned as she lay her head on her desk. She wondered why, why was it that when he talked about the girl from his past giving him courage made her stomach feel strange? Why was it that Ray’s eyes sparkled with the joy of the memory of that girl? Why was it that it hurt her heart so much?
“Hey, Pennie,” a voice called out to her.
Pennie, who had fallen asleep, opened her eyes and sat up in shock, noticing that she nearly hit heads with Ray.
“Don’t do that!” Ray growled. “I don’t need a concussion from your big ass head!”
“You don’t have the right to say that! You’re the one who startled me!” Pennie yelled. “And more importantly how and when did you get into my house!”
Pennie didn’t understand when she and Ray became so close that he could just show up at her doorstep unannounced. In fact, he had been doing it for the past few weeks.
“I’ve been here for hours, and you left your window open,” Ray replied jumping onto her bed. “And you were sleeping, so I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Don’t make yourself comfortable! I didn’t say you could come in here,” she yelled as Ray picked up the book he had apparently left on her bed. It was only a small book that could easily fit in someone’s pocket, but it had a lot of pages that Pennie assumed would take days to read.
“You told me to come and get you when it’s nearly time for the Peace Festival and its almost time,” Ray claimed, continuing to read.
Pennie sighed. Ray always did things full out or not at all. “I can’t believe you of all people could sit still long enough to read,” she said with a devilish smirk.
Pennie didn’t know when she started acting normally around Ray. She usually hid her cheeky side and kept quiet, but she couldn’t maintain that façade around him as for some reason she felt comfortable whenever he was around.
“Shut up!” Ray growled throwing his book at her, “Just hurry up and get ready!”
Somehow Pennie managed to catch the book, but as she did a small piece of paper fell out. Pennie looked at where it fell out and noticed that there were two pages stuck together, that must of loosened when Ray threw the book at her. She looked down at the photograph at her feet and picked it up. She smiled when she saw the picture of a younger Ray smiling happily at her. He stood in front of a large tree with his wild brown hair nearly covering his eyes, which were shut because of the size of the grin on his face. Pennie’s eyes darted to the girl who was next to Ray. She had short brown hair that was similar to Ray’s but was pulled back into two twin tails. Her smile was almost as big as Ray’s, but it was the S-shaped scar across her eye caught Pennie’s attention.
“Hey, Ray where did you get this book from?” Pennie asked.
“Aleron gave it to me,” Ray sighed, annoyed at her for continuing to take a long time. “Apparently I had it with me on the day he found me. Why?”
“I was just wondering about this photo I found,” Pennie said.
“What photo?” Ray asked.
She walked up to him and sat next to him, “It fell out of your book, I was wondering who the little girl next to you is?”
Ray’s eyes went wide as he snatched the photo from her hands. “This is…” he muttered, “This is the girl I was telling you about!”
Pennie moved closer to him to get a better view, placing his book back on the bed. “The one you said was special to you, but you can’t remember her name?” She asked as the pain in her chest began to start again.
He gave a slight nod staring deeply into to photo. Pennie sighed. She felt bad for Ray. When they first met, he had told her that he lost most of his memories when he was young, which made it difficult for him when he couldn’t even remember someone important to him. She watched him in silence before he shook his head, placed the photo back in his book and shut it.
“Come on; we’re going to be late. Noah’s still waiting for us,” he said as he grabbed her wrist. “It’s your first Peace festival, and I want you to enjoy it as much as possible!”
Pennie began to blush with a smile as the two ran out of her apartment together.
The lights of Asteria glittered beautifully. The purple night sky was decorated with fireworks that danced in the moonlight. The Annual Peace Festival celebrates how the founders of Twilight Heart rid the small city of evil and freeing them from oppression. It was a massive celebration that existed for fifty-seven years with small stores, games and the highlight of the night was the Parade for Peace. Laughter and music filled the air. Pennie watched in amazement as the parade floats came into view.
“I have never seen anything so spectacular in my life!” Pennie yelled excitedly.
“I know right!” Ray laughed cheerfully.
Pennie cheered as the Twilight Heart float came towards her. She didn’t mind that she wasn’t performing on the stage with them, she just watched in amazement as Kaela, Brittany and the ensemble danced and sang with bright smiles. It was there, under the dazzling lights, that Pennie was happy to be a member of Twilight Heart. But she could not stop the tender words that echoed through her head.
“Peaceful days never last…”
Blaze washed the blood off of his hands. The life he had taken was meaningless, just some other villain with murderous intentions. He felt no remorse for what he had done. The man was in his way of completing his perfect revenge. After flicking the water off his fingertips, he threw his bloodstained jacket into a hamper before he slumped back onto the couch. Blaze reached out his right arm and examined it carefully. He clicked his tongue in annoyance as he thought about his failed attack on Twilight Heart.
“What was wrong with me?” he snarled, “Why did I retreat like that?”
It was an abnormal occurrence. Usually, whenever Blaze was wounded, his injuries would heal in a few minutes. He had always been proud of his fast regeneration abilities, because of them he never received severe or life-threatening injuries. He was almost invulnerable. However, after the battle with Ray, he did not regain feeling in his right arm. Instead of feeling better as each moment past, Blaze began to feel numb. He didn’t know why is body began to ache more, but it was almost like a poison had been drifting through his body making him weaker. It was a feeling he had never felt before, or at least as far as he could remember. Despite what he had said, there was no way he could have continued fighting. It took almost a full week before he could move the way he wished once more. However, his condition wasn’t the only reason he felt the need to retreat. He didn’t know why and he hated to admit it, but he believed if he had stayed to fight Ray a little longer, he would not have survived the battle. Blaze had never fought seriously with Ray before when he thought about it some more, he began to think that it was Ray’s attacks which had left his body unable to perform as he wished. But that wasn’t the only thing, Ray’s cold glare gave him the chills. Blaze had been planning his betrayal for a long time, so he’d been keeping a close eye on everyone in Twilight Heart. Ever since he first met Ray, Blaze had never seen him pull such a dark expression. His phone began to ring, disrupting he thought.
“What now…?” he growled, guessing who was calling him. He hesitated to answer the phone but answered it after a few rings.
“Did you hear?” the gruff voice asked. “My resurrection plan is finally in motion.”
“Oh, is that so?” Blaze replied. “And I should care about this because…?”
The man on the other line began to yell at him. Blaze merely chuckled at his short temper.
“My bad. Are you sure you can trust this ‘puppet’ of yours?” Blaze pointed out. “As far as I can see it this so-called plan of yours is bound to fail.”
The man started becoming demanding and began to comment on his failed attack on Twilight Heart. Blaze growled in annoyance.
“That was not my fault!” he snarled. “If Brayden Valero hadn’t gotten in my way, I would have succeeded!”
“Did you say Valero…?” the man asked in a calmer tone.
“Yeah, why?” Blaze spat.
“Oh… It’s nothing. I think I might have found a way to achieve my goal.” The man said slyly. “You are to return to my side to continue your training.”
“What?” Blaze growled.
“You have not achieved the desire of destruction my boy. You still seem to be looking to bring a brighter tomorrow to Le Alba,” the man barked. “You still have the ideals of Twilight Heart swirling in your mind.”
“I don’t need your help!” Blaze snapped, jumping out of his seat.
The man began to argue once more, but Blaze spoke over him.
“I am done being one of your puppets. I have my own goal in mind,” Blaze claimed. “I will destroy Twilight Heart, and after that, I will come after you. I alone will bring peace to Le Abla.”
He hung up on the man and threw his phone on the couch and stormed away from it.
“What’s with that guy,” Blaze growled. “What gives him the right to boss me around. I don’t want anything more to do with a war-obsessed idiot like him.”
As the moon shone through the windows, he leant against the wall and sighed. He started to regret asking that man for help, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Blaze had done almost everything he said, yet he was no closer to getting what he truly desired, not that he could really remember what that was anymore. All he was left with were foolish plans that never worked.
“He’s just going to fail anyway,” Blaze muttered. “Resurrection magic doesn’t really work after all. If it did, then maybe I could have…”
Blaze trailed off. He knew if he finished his sentence he would only make himself feel more annoyed. With a click of his tongue, he looked out the window. He couldn’t look back; nothing was going to improve if he didn’t keep moving forward.
“I swear if destroying the world is the only way to get power, I will eliminate it all. I will destroy it and rebuild it, only then will we achieve peace,” he said with a deep growl. “There’s only one more piece I need, and I will have it. It’s only a matter of time.”
She stood on the edge of the cliff looking out to the starry sky above and her cloak floating in the late winter breeze. The hood of her cloak covered her eyes, so she was unrecognisable by one’s view. She sighed heavily. She watched the purple skies most evenings, and she noticed that the air slowly became colder. Dark clouds began to form on the horizon. The weather was growing worse by the minute. The cold and devastating winter was just around the corner.
“I can feel it,” she muttered. “The air is becoming restless.”
She watched the dark clouds cover the moon. Evil was stirring. Things were finally about to get interesting. As Autumn was coming to a close, a new era was about to begin. The days of peace were about to come to an end.