Hope's Bright!

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His body ached slightly when he got to his feet, but the pain did not bother him. All the pain faded in mere seconds leaving nothing but a twinge of numbness. Ray’s eyes darted around the secluded area. Not much had changed, or at least as far as he could remember. Although the dream he had under the Akumu spell seemed to go on for hours, it looked life only a couple of minutes had passed in real life. Ray looked towards Pennie and Kaela. He sighed with relief when he noticed that neither of them had been severely injured. He then looked towards Visola who stared at him with shock, her dark brown eyes wide with disbelief.

“Impossible! How could you be awake?” She muttered, in shock that her spell had failed to keep Ray down. “That spell should have placed you in an eternal slumber!”

Ray began to walk forward with a devilish smile on his face. Intimidating the enemy wasn’t exactly Ray’s strong suit. However, since Visola was so surprised by the turn of events, Ray believed it be worth giving it a go.

“It turns out manipulation magic doesn’t work on me,” he stated. “In fact, I’s have to say that spell has had the complete opposite effect. It gave me time to clear my head. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not pissed off.”

His flames circled around him as he stepped closer to Visola, who stepped away with fear. Ray glared her down as his flames became larger and brighter.

“No way… what kind of monster are you?!” she yelled with a shaken voice.

Ray’s horrid smile only became larger, “You should be thankful that you’re dealing with me. Azaliea is twice the monster I could ever hope to be. I can only imagine what horrible things she would do, but I’ll try my best to be nearly as terrifying.”

Ray no longer feared the possibility of losing. Azaliea had given him the strength to keep fighting. He swore that he would never lose again until he found her.

“No! I will still be victorious!” Visola yelled maniacally, “I will send you back your deepest fears and show you the despair of death!”

“That won’t work. Thanks to that little trick of yours I was able to talk to the person I wanted to meet,” he said clenching his fists.

“You little…” Visola growled.

“However, I’m going to make you pay for forcing me to lose it all over again! I’ll punish you for hurting my friends!” he said.

He ran towards Visola and began his fiery assault.

“For Pennie, Kaela and Azaliea! I’ll make you learn your place!”

Despite his injuries, Ray stood tall with a devilish glint in his eyes. Pennie was so thankful that he was back. With him on their side, they had no chance of losing. Even though the horrid smile on Ray’s face made her shake with fear, she felt so relieved that her racing heart calmed down. She listened to Ray talk when he mentioned someone’s name.

“Azaliea…?” she muttered to herself.

She looked up at Ray. She figured that the Akumu spell made him dream about the girl from his past. Pennie sighed. It was not the time to think about it. Their enemy remained undefeated, who was beginning to lose their temper.

With his flames circling him, Ray punched Visola with so much power that the ground beneath them began to crumble. One attack after another, Ray’s speed was too much for Visola to handle. The villainous woman became overwhelmed by Ray’s powerful flames.

Kaela got up, clenching her sword, “I’m not going to give in either!”

She ran towards Visola to assist Ray. As Brayden jumped backwards, Kaela jumped in and swung at Visola, who only just managed to block the attack with her own sword. Noticing that it was the first time Visola had pulled it out, Pennie began to believe that they had obtained the upper hand.

“I’m not just going to sit back and watch,” she called as she got to her feet. “I’m going to fight too.”

She summoned Spiderbait and ordered him to create a cage around the battlefield. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to fight her head on, so she made sure Visola couldn’t escape and gave Ray something to jump off of to boost his attacks.

The battle was back and forth, one minute Ray and Kaela overpowered Visola, and then the next Visola knocked Kaela to the ground.

“Enough of this!” she yelled, creating the same black ball of energy. “Just fall into endless darkness!”

The spell hit Ray once more and knocked him into the air. However, it did not affect him. He used the momentum of the attack to push himself off of the wall of the cage.

“I already told you that wouldn’t work anymore!” he yelled as he used his flames to hurtle towards Visola.

As Visola prepared the impact, Ray threw a small ball of fire. It narrowly missed and landed just behind Visola.

“You missed!” she laughed maniacally creating another ball of black energy. “Is that all you’ve got?! Pathetic!”

Ray smiled, “I wasn’t aiming for you!”

A flower of fire formed underneath Visola. It had hibiscus-like features and glowed with deep orange and red colours. The flaming five oval-shaped petals with a pointed end spread across the floor so that no matter how fast Visola moved she would not be able to escape the attack.

“This nightmare ends here!” Ray said landing on his feet and swinging out his right arm forcefully to his side, “Flower Flame Burst!”

The flames intensified, and the blazing flower closed, locking Visola in its clutches. It exploded creating a massive release of magical power that caused an immense tremor. Once the smoke and ashes cleared, Pennie found Visola knocked out cold on the ground.

Pennie, Kaela and Ray looked at each other in silence for a while, unsure whether or not it was over. A huge smile spread across Pennie’s face.

“We did it!” she yelled running up to Ray and hugging him from behind.

“Hey careful that hurts!” he yelled giving her a strange look from the corner of his eye.

“Sorry…” she said blushing slightly and letting go of him.

He turned to her and smiled, “Though that was totally awesome!”

They laughed at each other.

“You were amazing as always Ray!” She said with a smile.

Ray placed his arm on her shoulder and leaned against her, “You were pretty good too! It was an excellent idea to set up that cage!”

“Oh that, that was nothing…” Pennie blushed.

Kaela walked up to them, “Well Brayden, you never fail to impress me.”

Ray chuckled, “Yeah… Remember this next time I accidentally destroy something…”

“You guys! Over here,” a voice yelled.

Pennie, Kaela and Ray turned to find Lynx, Noah and Dimetrios running up to them.

“What are you guys doing here? You were supposed to stay at the base,” Kaela barked.

“Surely you didn’t expect us to miss out on all the fun,” Dimetrios stated with a wicked smile. “It’s not every day that something this interesting happens, so we set out in secret not long after you left.”

Kaela sighed, “Well you’re a bit late for that. You could help us clean up at least.”

“Seriously but that’s so…” Dimetrios began to complain.

“Now’s not the time for that,” Noah yelled over him. “Yeah, that’s what we wanted but now there something more important!”

“Why what’s wrong?” Pennie asked.

“We need to get out of here, we only have five minutes!” Lynx explained. “They are about to fire the Stellatrium weapon.”

While Pennie and Kaela talked to Lynx and Dimetrios. Ray thought back to the battle. Something about it was bothering him. He didn’t feel as if Visola had fought to the best of her ability. He couldn’t explain it, but it was as if Visola was hesitating or rather her Ikiru energy wasn’t functioning like usual. Ray looked down at his hands. He began to think that he may have gone a little rough. He closed his fingers into a fist. He knew that as soon as he got home, he had to train harder. Not just to improve his physical strength, but his control his temper as well. Ray took a deep breath. With the threat all over and done with he could finally go home and work on keeping his promise with Azaliea. The first thing he was going to do when he got back was to find out everything, he could about the town he saw when he was under the Akumu spell. He was so close to finding out about the life he once had. However, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was not going to like what he found.

“Brayden. Earth to the idiot called Brayden,” Lynx growled as he attempted to get Ray’s attention. “Did you hear anything I was just saying?”

“Sorry, I was lost in thought,” Ray stated as he turned to Lynx.

That was when he noticed the worried expressions on everyone’s face. He didn’t have to hear what Lynx had said to know something was wrong. Pennie, in particular, looked extremely pale.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Exactly what I said before!” Lynx yelled. “We have five minutes to get out of here, or the Stellatrium will hit us!”

“What is the meaning of this?!” Kaela yelled.

“It was just announced over a radio report telling people to stay out of the area,” Dimetrios stated.

“Look we don’t have time for this!” Lynx snarled. “I told you we only have five minutes; we need to get moving.”

Ray looked up at the sky. Dark clouds began to form, and lightning sparked above their heads.

“I don’t think we even have that,” Ray claimed. “We may only have a few seconds.”

Pennie began to shake with fear, “Oh no…”

“It’s going to be alright. I’ve got a plan.” Kaela assured placing her hand on Pennie’s shoulder, “All we have to do is combine the energy of our Light Shoes to create a large platform. Then Brayden will use his flames to give us a huge boost. That should be able to get us out of here fast enough to avoid the Stellatrium Blast. Do you think you could manage that speed?”

“Can we really trust that something won’t go wrong by relying on him,” Lynx growled.

“Lynx’s nasty comment aside, I don’t know if I can,” Ray said honestly. “I’ve never had to carry other people before and using fire to move is difficult as it is.”

“Then perhaps I could be of some assistance?” a voice called from behind.

Ray turned around to see Visola stumbling towards them. Ray sighed, he had hoped that the last attack would have knocked her out for longer. They had completely let their guard down thinking that just because Visola was unconscious that the battle was over. If it had been any other battle, they’d probably already be dead. However, Ray noticed that the woman seemed completely different. The menacing aura she gave off, and the strange look in her eyes had disappeared entirely.

“Don’t you dare come near us!” Pennie snapped, walking towards Visola like she was going to slap her.

Ray grabbed her arm, “Wait don’t. Her aura is completely different from before.”

“You could help us…?” Kaela asked with a raised eyebrow.

Visola nodded, “Firstly I want to apologise for my actions. It seems I had no control over my behaviour.”

“Oh really, then why did you do it in the first place?” Lynx asked, sceptical whether to trust Visola or not.

“Possession… I believe,” Ray nodded, thinking it to be the only reasonable explanation. “I thought something was off from the moment I saw you, judging by our fight I believe that you have so much more potential than the abilities you used. You seemed to use more power than physical abilities, which is odd for any kind of skilled Oviri, especially an ex-assassin. It also explains why your aura feels so different than before.”

“Though it’s no excuse it seems to be the case…” Visola sighed. “I have done terrible things to you guys, especially you Brayden Valero. I forced you to see things that no one should ever see, and for that, I’m truly sorry...”

Ray looked away, “I’m not a merciless person, it would be rude of me to be too heartless…”

Pennie rolled her eyes at him, “I recall you saying you’d try your best to be a terrifying monster…”

“I don’t remember saying that…” Ray lied.

“Well, that’s Ray for you,” Noah sighed.

The clouds became more menacing. They had spent too much time talking, and they were out of time. A massive beam of light and flames came down upon them. Visola used a spell to block the attack. However, the magic was so strong it began to push her backwards.

“I’m going to cast a spell that will transport you away from here!” she yelled struggling to keep the blast at bay. “The only spell that can transfer us away fast enough is ‘Beginner’”

Ray had heard of the spell Beginner before. It was a transportation spell created by A.V, the same person who created Stellatrium. However, though convenient for quickly getting out of a bad situation, if not mastered the spell could only transfer a few people and often leaving out the caster, not to mention it required a large amount of magic.

“What about you?!” Kaela yelled.

“That doesn’t matter now! I knew this was possibly going to happen! So it’s my job to correct my mistakes! Even if it means giving my own life!”

Visola didn’t give them time to argue as she began to chant the spell.

’Take us to the place before mistakes were made

away from the danger and to somewhere safe

so that we may start again.’

“I invoke... Beginner!” Visola yelled.

Light filled Ray’s vision. As everything disappeared into the light, he heard a loud bang as Stellatrium hit the ground.

She watched as Stellatrium hit the ground. The impact made her black cloak fly behind her. She sighed as the hard winds died down. The fiery light disappeared and the clouds faded into the night sky. She had hoped for something entertaining to occur. However, it would seem that the MLC still lacked the courage to do anything other than hiding under their desks and wait for someone or something else to solve the problem.

She turned away from the cliff from where she stood. She considered the possibility that there was someone there, fighting against Visola Marino, to return justice to the world. There was probably even captives or innocent bystanders caught in the explosion. But that didn’t matter. Whoever was there when the Stellatrium weapon descended upon the land was nothing more than dust.

She didn’t care about the countless of deaths that occurred that night. However, she did feel a kind of anger that she hadn’t known in a long time.

Disappointment and aggravation, hatred for the stupidity of the MLC and their reckless abandonment of life.

“Such a disappointment...” she growled with a click of her tongue. “Humans really are pathetic...”

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