“T-that mark…” Ray muttered, looking up at Sabra. “It’s the same as…”
“Oh, you recognise this huh,” Sabra smirked. “It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, but you probably don’t know what it really is.”
“What is that?! Just who are you?!” Dimetrios growled, recognising the mark as well.
“Don’t be so rude, Earth Elemental, I was talking to the Valero” Sabra turned his gaze away from Ray to face the others. “However, since you are all so interested, I’ll tell you. This is a spell known as Shadow Eye. It was an old rune developed by the Dark Shadow himself to enhance strength, speed and awareness.”
“From the Dark Shadow… no way…” Pennie muttered.
“Yes indeed. But I’m not the only one to possess it, am I, Mr Valero?” Sabra said with a grin, turning his attention back to Ray. “This rune also happens to be forced upon someone else, the person who is known as Azaliea the Phoenix Hunter.”
“Phoenix Hunter…” Ray muttered.
He wasn’t as surprised as he thought he would be finding out Azaliea was the Phoenix Hunter. If anything, he felt released that she was still alive as there were always rumours floating around about her.
“You are connected to her aren’t you Mr Valero?” Sabra asked. “She just happens to be one of the people in my way. I believe I have to use you somehow to kill her. Alas, I may not be able to keep you around to achieve that.”
Ray tried to yank at the chains again, but they still wouldn’t budge. The only way he could think of getting out was to use his flames to melt or even explode the restraints. However, as he attempted to summon them nothing happened. He couldn’t use any magic at all. Suddenly, the chain began to tug at his wrists, pulling his arms behind his back. He tried to fight against them, but the force was too strong.
“Don’t bother, you’ll never be able to use any type of offensive magic while wearing those,” Sabra sniggered. “These chains are enforced with Kohai energy and are near indestructible. Not even the strongest of elementals like yourself could escape these, in simple terms I say they are Valero proof.”
“That doesn’t matter, I’ll still…” Ray snarled, managing to walk forward slightly. It was difficult with the chains trying to stop him, but slowly he was able to take one step at a time.
“Now we can’t have that,” Sabra stated, clicking his fingers.
Once he did, the chains began to tug harder. It was so strong that Ray couldn’t move anymore unless he wanted to dislocate both of his shoulders. They continued to pull him towards the ground until Ray was forced to kneel on the ground.
“Brayden!” Kaela shouted as she, Dimetrios and Lynx ran towards Sabra.
However, before they could even prepare an attack, a wave of pure black energy erupted from behind Sabra and knocked them into the air. As they fell to the ground, Sabra frowned and kept his gaze on Ray.
“I thought I told you not to interrupt,” Sabra sighed.
“Just what do you want?!” Kaela yelled as she pushed herself to her feet again. “Tells us what your true scheme is.”
“Well, I have to say it’s several things,” Sabra replied, turning to them. “First things first though, I have to kill little miss Azaliea.”
“Kill her…. why?” Pennie asked, saying the exact same thing Ray was thinking.
“Why? Because that little wench has been a pain in my side from day one,” Sabra snarled. “Perhaps it’s more a personal vendetta, but until she rots in the ground, I will never have the war I desire nor will I control all of this country.”
“Like I’ll let you…” Ray growled as he lowered his gaze. He stopped talking when he noticed that Blaze’s hands twitched.
“Nnn… no…” he mumbled hoarsely, the sound barely escaping his lips. “A…e…”
“Well, what do we have here, he’s actually still alive,” Sabra sneered, turning around and looking down towards Blaze. “The filthy zombie doesn’t know when to kick the bucket.”
Sabra kicked Blaze so that he rolled onto his back. He then stomped on his chest, digging in his heel as he leaned in towards him with an evil grin. Despite the force of the blow, Blaze did not react and was still out cold.
“Time after time you manage to escape death, it’s absolutely amusing,” Sabra laughed. “You are no longer useful, or perhaps you never were. No wonder Elizabeth Aliené gave up on you. Killing your pathetic friends to convince you to join me may have been a complete waste of my time.”
“So, the whole reason Blaze was suffering was because of you?” Pennie said, clenching her hands into fists.
“Oops, did I say that, well it’s too late to take that back now,” Sabra chuckled. “It was by my order that those Twilight Heart members perished. I tried to get him to my side earlier, but he refused. He was being held back, so I had no other choice. Blaze Aliené is a weapon, nothing more nothing less, he has no need for friends.”
“You murderous maniac!” Lynx yelled. “He’s done so much for you! How could you treat him like that?!”
“I no longer need him so why should I care? Once you fully use a tissue, you just throw it out. This is the same, he’s absolutely worthless now, so it’s time to get rid of him,” Sabra said as he grabbed Blaze by his jacket and pulling his off the ground. He then let go and kicked him in the chest, sending him flying passed Ray and into the wall behind him. Ray watched as Blaze’s limp body crumpled to the ground, falling knees first then onto his stomach with his right hand out in front of him. “Besides, I have something even better now.”
Ray turned back around to see Sabra walking towards him. He stopped just in front of him and smiled.
“Let’s see,” Sabra said, talking a piece of paper out of his pocket. “‘Brayden Valero, the little genius whose intelligence would surpass A.V. if it wasn’t for a severe amnesic disorder. Even at the age of eleven, he possessed such raw power that after rigorous testing became the perfect candidate for the Starlight Knights. Despite his excellence and the desire for the MLC to train him into a soldier, he ended up in the care of the Shadow Beast Aleron. Since his body and mind was extremely frail from his accident, it was deemed acceptable, and the MLC decided they would wait to recruit him in the years to come once he made a complete recovery. Although this never came to pass, even after Aleron’s disappearance. As a compromise Brayden was allowed to join Twilight Heart provided he took yearly tests to examine his progress. He is considered a threat to the MLC due to having little to no memory and latent powers that may be beyond his control. In days of late, his condition has started to show signs of improvement, adding family connections to the list of concerns for the future.’”
“H-how do you know all that?” Ray asked. “And what do you mean by family connections?”
“Hmmm, I wonder,” Sabra smiled, looking away from the piece of paper. “This happens to be a document stolen from the MLC’s Vice President, it’s quite detailed, I have one for all of you. I bet there are things on here that you yourself don’t even know. What do you say about coming to my side? I could give you all the answers you like.”
“No thank you,” Ray said blatantly. “I’ve had better offers.”
“Oh well, it’s unfortunate, but I have no choice to accept that response since my Perfect Puppet spell won’t work on you,” Sabra shrugged. “Now, behave yourself and wait for the Dark Oviri to come and collect you while I deal with your friends.”
“Not if we deal with you first!” Lynx yelled, back on his feet and running towards Sabra with his water blade.
Sabra turned around and grabbed onto his sword, dispelling the magic with his hands. Not a second later he punched Lynx in the stomach and sent him into the air. Sabra then jumped up to him then dropkicked him back to the ground. Lynx cried out in pain as his back hit the tiles.
“Lynx!” Pennie shouted as she prepared her stance for summoning. “From the darkest part of life, we’ll bring some…”
Before she could finish, Sabra was behind her, grabbing onto her arm. She looked back at him in shock and fear as Sabra smiled.
“I thought I said I won’t let you summon anything,” he stated.
Chains similar to the ones around Ray’s wrists clasped around Pennie’s body, arms and legs. With an evil chuckle, Sabra let go of her arm, and the chains pulled her body towards one of the windows. They pulled her so fast and hard that the force of her body hitting the glass caused it to crack. A look of extreme pain shot across her face as she fell to her hands and knees.
“Stop!” Cianna yelled, running towards Pennie.
Before she could reach her, Sabra grabbed onto her and threw her to the ground. He then picked her up again and threw her towards Lynx, who had gotten back on his feet to attack again. Their bodies clashed and they both fell to the ground again.
“Okay, now you’ve done it!” Dimetrios yelled, creating a large bolder of rocks above his head.
He threw it at Sabra while his attention was still on Cianna and Lynx. Sabra turned around in time to smash it with his fists, but the flying rumble from Dimetrios’s attack hit him several places across his body.
“Oh, you actually managed to hit me,” Sabra said darkly. “But you never defeat me with a weak attack like that.”
“We’ll see about…” Dimetrios began as he started to bolt towards Sabra. However, with a click of Sabra’s fingers, his body suddenly froze. “What?! I can’t…move?!”
“Of course not, you are under my control now,” Sabra laughed, appearing behind Dimetrios.
He kicked him in the back, causing him to the fall to the ground and hit his forehead. Sabra then slammed his foot on Dimetrios back and held it there to stop him from getting up.
Kaela attempted to attack while Sabra was distracted, creating two handguns. Sabra noticed and removed two daggers from his pockets. Keeping his focus on Dimetrios, he threw them at Kaela, one slicing open her cheek and the other hitting her the stomach, causing her to fall to her knees.
“Well would you look at that, you’ve all gone down,” Sabra laughed, walking to the middle of them as they all attempted to get back on their feet. “Oh, that’s right. I forgot to tell you. It turns out Shadow Eye can predict your every move. Now, attack to your heart’s content! Let’s see how will be the first to die!”
Ray couldn’t do anything but watch in horror thanks to the chains keeping him bound to the ground. Sabra continued to beat each person one by one, laughing harder every minute. Ray looked back to Blaze, who was still lying motionless on the ground. He could still see that he was breathing, so he was still alive. However, he showed no signs of waking up, which meant there was no chance of him being able to help. Ray somehow had to find a way out of those chains if they were going to survive. If he couldn’t use offensive magic, his only option was to go on the defensive. However, defence type magic was something he still had no control over. In fact, he was quite bad at it which made it even more surprising that he was able to put up a flawless force field earlier. After thinking over it for a while, only one spell came to mind that he could possibly use. Toivoa. It was a risk because he didn’t know if he’d be able to cast it again and it could only free him from his restraints instead of giving the immediate help that everyone else needed.
“Oh my, are you all done already,” Sabra laughed as the others were unable to move. “Come on, get back on your feet, I haven’t begun to have my fun. If you don’t, I’ll have to use my puppet magic on you.”
Ray clicked his tongue, he didn’t have enough time as Sabra summoned pitch black magic into his hands. Even if he used Toivoa to free himself, he wouldn’t have enough time to stop Sabra from casting his spell. That was when an idea popped into his head. He could alter the Toivoa spell, all he had to do was alter some of the words. It was an even bigger risk because it may not have even worked, but he had no other options or ideas. Taking a deep breath, he started to chant the words.
’Ignite the flame and let it be your guide
Bright like the sun let it fill the world of light
and eliminate all darkness from sight,”
“I evoke, Toivoa!” Ray yelled, using all this strength to pull his arms in front of him and slam his hands on the ground.
A small pale orb of energy formed at his hands. It flickered for a while before it expanded, the pale light filled the room. As it did the chains around Ray’s wrist vanished, so did Blaze’s axe, Sabra’s magic and Sabra’s Shadow Eye.
“What was that?” Sabra growled, turning to face Ray. He tried to summon more of the dark energy, but it flickered at his hands and vanished. “What did you just do and why can’t I use any magic.”
Ray got to his feet. Under the circumstances he would have attacked Sabra immediately, using his flames to knock him out before he could cause harm to anyone else. However, he realised that he couldn’t use any of his magic either.
“I just altered the Toivoa spell,” Ray claimed, pretending that he knew what he was doing to make Sabra wary of him. “It covers the entire area I’m in and stops anyone from using any kind of magic. I call it Toiva Field.”
“You are annoying little shit,” Sabra snarled. “You are just as aggravatingly clever as that nuisance Azaliea, if I were allowed, I would kill you where you stand. But if no magic is going to work, how do you suppose you are going to defeat me.”
“Well, I admit the fact that I’m affected is a flaw I need to work on,” Ray said with a smile. “However, I don’t need any magic, I’ve been trained in all kinds of combat ever since I can remember. I may not be as talented as Azaliea, but I can still defeat you.”
If he was honest with himself, he was a little anxious to fight without magic. He had no choice but to power through. Without another second of hesitation, Ray began to run towards Sabra.
“Not a step closer,” Sabra barked, grabbing Pennie by the hair and pulling her to her feet. He then let go of her hair and slung his arm around her body to stop her from moving. He pulled an extremely sharp looking knife out of his pocket and placed it against her throat. “Move any further, and this summoner girl dies.”
Ray stopped, gritting his teeth in rage. He couldn’t believe that Sabra would stoop as low as to threaten Pennie’s life to get him to do whatever he wanted. It agitated him, even more, when he began to feel that he knew that feeling before. He couldn’t help but think that someone said something similar to him a long time ago. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.
“You…” Ray growled. “Let go of her.”
“Yes, that’s it, behave. Or there will be consequences,” Sabra claimed with a demonic, not letting go of Pennie.
“Ray…” Pennie looked up at Ray with fear in her eyes.
Ray’s heart stopped. He didn’t know what he was supposed to deal. He could leave Pennie like that, he somehow had to free her, but to do so, he had to get close. However, if he got closer, Ray had no doubt in his mind that Sabra would follow through with his threat.
“Calm down,” Ray whispered to himself. “Think it through, think carefully.”
“Wait a minute, I think I’ll kill her anyway. In fact, I kill all of them” Sabra laughed. “That way you’ll become so distraught that you fall victim to Perfect Puppet. Then I’ll make a deal with the Dark Oviri to free you if he does whatever I say. Now say goodbye to your precious little friend.”
At that point Ray lost control of his anger, his flames erupting into the air. They caused the roof to collapse into dozens of pieces. After that everything became a blur. All he could think of was saving Pennie. Eventually, that thought changed to force Sabra to let go and then to punish Sabra. By the time his flames died down and began to swirl ferociously around his body, only one thought remained in his mind.
“Let her go,” Ray snarled, glaring at Sabra with a dark expression. “Or die.”