Hope's Bright!

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Toivoa: The Flame of Hope!

Cormac laughed as Toivoa Destroyers fists crashed into the pavement. He laughed even harder as the people of Valo Village screamed and ran for their lives. The buildings of the village crumbled as the Destroyer shot it with its cannons. Cormac sat on its shoulder and looked like he had some control over the rampaging tin beast as barking simple orders. However, it also looked like he still couldn’t completely control it. Pennie watched as Ray stood in front of the weapon, forcing it to come to a stop.

“Well, what do we have here,” Cormac sneered. “Did you finish your business with that devilish friend of yours. Not that he must have lived for much longer considering he took a full blast of Toivoa’s magic.”

“That guy is tougher than you think. He won’t go down that easily,” Ray growled with a smile. “Blaze may be sly and conniving like a fox, but even he would never do the horrible things you are doing right now. So I’m going to focus on you.”

Cormac laughed again, “And you think you can stop me? All on your own?”

“If that’s what it takes,” Ray stated.

While Cormac’s focus was on Ray, Kaela launched herself at the Destroyer. She swung down her sword, but it broke upon impact. Ray then pounced towards Cormac, but the giant weapon moved out of the way.

“It’s faster than I thought,” Ray snarled.

“It’s useless, this is the end!” Cormac cackled. “Toivoa Destroyer will take all of your energy until there’s nothing left!”

Pennie could feel the energy around her vanish, and she could also see it sinking into the armour of the Toivoa Destroyer. Pennie looked towards Cianna, the small Light Elemental looked towards the catastrophe and shook her head before continuing to help out an old lady who was caught in the middle of it.

“What is the meaning of this?!” Cormac shouted. “How come it isn’t working?”

Pennie looked back towards the battle in time to see Ray land a punch on the Toivoa Destroyer. It used its cannons to block the attack, and it slid back slightly. When Ray landed back onto the ground, he slipped under the legs of the weapon. Faster than expected, the machine turned around and went to stomp its feet on top of Ray. He managed to dodge by performing a backflip and landing in front of Pennie.

“Damn, I just can’t land a decisive blow,” he snarled.

“Ray, why don’t you use magic?” Pennie asked when she realised he hadn’t used any of his flames since the battle began.

“Right now that weapon’s absorbing techniques aren’t working on me just like Visola predicted. However, I don’t know if it would be the same if I used flames,” Ray claimed, looking back at her for a brief moment before returning his focus on Cormac. “It is highly possible that he might not be able to absorb my energy but he could absorb any fire magic I produce, so it’s too risky.”

“But couldn’t that also mean that the Destroyer could also take out the Toivoa spell if you cast it?” Pennie asked.

“It is possible,” Ray nodded. “That’s why it is imperative that I assess its movement capabilities before Charlottea gives me that spell.”

“Is there anything you think I should do?” Pennie asked.

“Help Cianna evacuate as many people as possible,” Ray shouted as he ran away from her and back towards Cormac and the Toivoa Destroyer. “There’s something I want to try out, and I don’t want the risk of casualties if I screw up and go overboard.”

“Right!” Pennie replied.

As Ray had instructed, she began to help Cianna, who smiled and thanked her for the assistance. She wanted to watch Kaela and Ray fight, but she knew she had to keep her focus on her own task. As she looked around the rubble for any injured citizens, she could hear Lynx calling out to her.

“Pennie, what’s going on here?” he shouted as Pennie turned to see him appear out of nowhere and run towards her.

“Lynx where have you been? I thought you were with Kaela,” Pennie asked. “I thought something bad must have happened, but I was too afraid to ask.”

“Nothing much has happened,” Lynx replied with a slight growl. “A certain Earth Elemental got into trouble, so I ran to get Mrs Kaden for him. But I’m here now and ready to fight!”

Pennie sighed. “Well how about not talking to me and you go help Ray and Kaela?”

“They can wait, just tell me what I missed,” Lynx stated.

“Long story short, that is the Toivoa Destroyer, and that man is the last standing member of Dark Soul.” she sighed again pointing towards the battle. “If we take that down we succeed.”

“Alright, it looks like I missed all the good bits,” Lynx grumped as he walked away. “And once again that stupid hot head is in the middle of it.”

Pennie looked carefully at the fight. She couldn’t see Kaela anymore, but she noticed that Ray had switched a new fighting style. He used his fire magic to propel himself towards the Toivoa Destroyer to attack it. Although he was successful in landing a few hits, they didn’t do any damage.”

“Oy Brayden why do you always get all the fun? Give someone else a chance for once,” Lynx shouted at him.

“Seriously? Can’t you see that I’m…” Ray turned to Lynx to snarl at him. The moment he was distracted Cormac attacked him. Pennie watched as one swing of Toivoa Destroyer’s cannon sent the Ray flying into the building and crashing through the window. Cormac laughed maliciously, as he continued his attack on the village.

Ray walked through the crumbling remains of the building. It came as a shock when the Toivoa Destroyer’s arms came flying at him practically out of nowhere. What was even more surprising was that despite crashing through glass and solid walls, Ray wasn’t sore at all. If he had to guess, the pain he had experienced during his battle with Dimetrios had made him more resilient. However, every moment he was gone from the battlefield was dangerous. It was moments like that where he really wished he could fly.

“I better hurry back, or the others could be in trouble,” he muttered to himself.

As he reached the opening which he had crashed through, the little owl hamara who Visola had called Charlottea flew up to him.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah that was nothing,” he replied.

Upon closer inspection, Ray realised that her wings were made out of pages. In fact, Charlottea was almost like a tome, a magical book that had a personality. They weren’t as strong as a Grimoire, but they were convenient for handing down spells to younger generations. Ray flinched when she ripped out one of the pages.

“Here,” she said as she handed it to him. “This is all you need to know to cast the traditional Toivoa spell.”

“Doesn’t that hurt?” he asked.

“No, they grow right back anyway,” Charlottea stated.

Ray carefully studied the paper reading the words and making sure he memorised every requirement.

“Are you sure you can do this?” Charlottea said with a voice full of doubt. “It’s not too late to back out now.”

Ray shook his head. When he did, he noticed that the marks on his left hand glowed slightly, as he muttered the words of the spell under his breath.

“No, it looks like everything is going how we planned it to,” Ray smiled.

“How can you be so sure?” Charlottea asked.

“Just a hunch,” Ray replied walking away from the hamara.

“You’re acting on a whim? I already told you that performing this spell is practically impossible,” Charlottea stated, surprised by Ray’s comment. “Do you really think you could win just by taking this risk?”

“Well, perhaps not,” Ray turned to her and smiled as he jumped out of the building. “But you know what, my hunches are rarely ever wrong.”

Pennie was struggling to keep dodging Cormac’s attacks. The plan had gone out of the window when Ray was sent flying out of sight. However, they continued to fight as if the plan was still in motion. Things looked dire, but Pennie knew that it wouldn’t be long before Ray returned, or at least that was what she was hoping for anyway. Right on cue, Pennie saw Ray falling towards her. He landed on his feet and smiled at her.

“Sorry about that,” he said with an awkward laugh. “I should have paid a bit more attention to my surroundings.”

“That’s no laughing matter, stupid hot head!” Lynx growled, storming up to him. He grabbed onto Ray’s shoulders and began to shake him. “I seriously thought you were going to die being sent flying like that! You need to keep your focus on the enemy.”

“You were the one who distracted me though,” Ray stated bluntly with petulant expression.

“Err right, sorry,” Lynx muttered, letting go of Brayden.

“By the way Lynx, where’s Dimetrios?” Ray asked.

“That idiot got himself injured, so now he can’t walk.” Lynx sighed with a shrug. “I definitely prefer having you around then that meathead.”

Ray sighed with disappointment and turned away from Lynx.

“Damn,” he muttered with a sneer. “Looks like I’ll just have to settle for fighting with you.”

“That’s right, you’re just going to have to…” Lynx began with a sly smirk until he realised what Ray had said. “Wait, what’s that supposed to mean?!”

“Still alive Valero?” Cormac sneered with a chuckle. “You don’t know when to give up do you.”

Toivoa Destroyer’s cannons came hurtling towards them. Both Lynx and Ray jumped sideways to dodge. Pennie watched as the man kept his aim on them.

“Pennie, while he’s distracted get as many people as possible to evacuate the area,” Kaela ordered.

With a nod, Pennie ran towards a nearby child, grabbed his hand and led him to safety. She looked back at Ray and Lynx as they continued to dodge and fail to hit the Destroyer. Lynx did a quick turn and shot large bursts of water towards the machine. Of course Toivoa Destroyer completely absorbed his attack.

“Come on that’s not fair,” Lynx complained, as he nearly got hit by one of the cannon’s shots.

Pennie noticed that after attacking it, all of the Destroyers attacks were directed at Lynx. Each attack got closer and closer to hitting him while they completely missed Brayden who was still running nearby. Pennie was surprised that since Lynx appeared Ray was yet to make a move against the weapon. He just dodged and ran alongside Lynx.

“Come on Lynx is that all you got?” Ray teased. “I’ve seen you fight better than that.”

“Argh, fine! If you’re going to keep pulling my leg like that, I suppose I could help you,” Lynx snarled.

“Great, it’s nice to know you’ve got my back,” Ray said before a devilish smile appeared on his face. “Now keep running like that and try not to get killed.”

With that abrupt comment, Ray ran in the opposite direction. It was so discreet that Cormac didn’t notice and he continued to attack Lynx.

“Hey, don’t just leave me to fight this thing on my own!” Lynx shouted, but Ray had already disappeared. “That stupid hot head! How could he trick me like that?!”

Lynx barely managed to dodge as the dark energy from the cannons shot towards him. He didn’t have time to react before the guns fell towards him. Kaela just managed to make it in time to block the attack before it hit him.

“Now’s not the time to be mucking around Lynx, focus!” she shouted.

“It’s not my fault Brayden just ditched me!” he retaliated.

The other cannon arm shot towards them with such force it knocked them backwards.

“I’ve got it! The Destroyer just absorbed all your energy!” Cormac cackled.

“Crap…” Lynx exclaimed, realising he couldn’t stand.

“Now die Twilight Heart!” he shrieked.

Pennie went running towards them. If she could make it in time, she might have been able to summon Spiderbait to create a barrier made of webs to protect them. She stopped when the Destroyer stopped moving, and Cormac eyes went wide.

“Wait…” Cormac snarled, looking around anxiously. “Where did that Valero go?”

Pennie watched as Ray appeared in the air behind the Toivoa Destroyer. Using his flames, he hurtled himself towards Cormac. With the marks on his outreached hand glowing, he closed his eyes as he began to recite the words.

’Light the flame and let it be your guide

Bright like the sun let it diminish the darkness

and lead us to hope’

“Crap…” Cormac cursed, trying to move but he was stuck in place.

“I evoke,” Ray’s eyes flung open. They glowed as if they were filled with magic. “Toivoa.”

Once Ray’s hand touched the Destroyer a bright light formed, Pennie watched as it spread across the whole village and blinded her view. It then receded back towards the Destroyer before it exploded. White flames erupted filling the night sky with sparkling embers. After a few seconds the fire vanished. The Toivoa Destroyer was gone, leaving only the white dazzling cinders that danced its way to the ground. The entire village cheered, thankful that the awful weapon had been erased from existence.

“Wait a minute, where’s Ray?” Pennie said to herself.

Not only was the Destroyer gone, but so was Ray and Cormac. Pennie looked around for a while, concerned that Ray had gotten caught in the explosion. There was a loud crash behind her. Without thinking she turned around and ran towards the dust that was flung into the air. As it cleared, Pennie could clearly see Ray lying on the ground.

“Yep that hurt,” he groaned as he sat up and rubbed his head.

“Ray, you did it,” Pennie called as she ran up to him. She reached out her hand to help him stand. “Are you alright?”

“I’m all good,” he smiled, as he grabbed her hand.

Pennie watched as the marks on his hand faded again. After Ray defeated the Toivoa Destroyer, Pennie was more curious about what the symbols meant. The only conclusion she could come to was that it was some kind of rune that would help them overcome any adversity. Of course, she didn’t realise it then, but such an idea was too good to be true.

“What? Is something the matter?” Ray asked when he saw her staring at her.

“Nothing,” Pennie said quickly shaking her head.

“Ray!” Noah shouted as he flew towards them. “We won! We actually did it!”

“That’s right,” Ray smiled. “I told you we could if we tried.”

“Actually I’m more surprised you didn’t damage anything else.” Noah sniggered.

“Now that was uncalled for,” Ray growled.

“Brayden!” Lynx growled storming up to them. “How could you just ditch me like that?! I came all this way just to help you guys, and you thank me by dangling me around like bait? Talk about rude!”

“Sorry, I didn’t do it out of spite,” Ray replied. “Would you have kept Cormac distracted if I asked though?”

“No way I would have…” Lynx began to argue. “Oh great, I see what happened here. You didn’t think I could take him head on so you decided to hog all the glory.”

“You’re completely missing the point,” Ray sighed, shaking his head. “Your ego has inflated your head so much you can’t think properly it seems.”

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Lynx complained. “Well, I suppose it was the right call though.”

“Your tone of voice still sounds as if you think you could have done better,” Brayden claimed. “Not that your help wasn’t appreciated…”

Pennie began to laugh. “This conversation is going nowhere. This argument is so random I can’t help but laugh. Just congratulate each other like normal people.”

After a while, Ray and Lynx also began to laugh. The tension completely disappeared as the sense of victory began to sink in. Pennie then looked up at the sky and watched the stars and the fading embers drift in the cool winter breeze. Despite it all, it was quite beautiful. It had been a gamble and a risky battle. However, all thanks to Ray they managed to pull through. She was so mesmerised by it all, she didn’t even think about the consequences such a victory could have, consequences that would soon fill her with regret.

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