From Victory to Absolute Disaster
The lone CSOG soldier entered the politician’s quarters. In the dark room, the man with slicked back blonde hair sat with a straight back and crossed legs. The mere soldier bowed to him.
“The “Sweet Silence” plot has failed sir…” he muttered.
The politician showed no anger upon his face. “it was worth a shot, I never thought it would actually succeed. It was conducted by a madman after all. What happened to Cababa?”
“I heard they defeated him without a hitch. Your soldiers may need a bit of work,” said the man behind the politician, “When I made this offer with you I had hoped you had better warriors than that.”
The soldier attempted to see the man, but he was covered in shadows. All the soldier knew of this mysterious man was that he was the mastermind pulling strings. He came to the politician, offering to help him gain a monopoly over Le Alba. In exchange, the politician provided the man with the destruction he desired.
“Yes… that may be true. The MLC arrested Cababa. We’d be getting in trouble for this incident…” the soldier commented out of place.
“Steps have already been taken for that,” The politician claimed with a grin. “I’ll have one of my attendants come up with a kind of sob story. We won’t be facing any punishment.”
“Sir… I still don’t think…” the soldier began.
“I don’t pay you to think,” the politician growled with an obnoxious and patronizing tone. He paused to scowl, purposely causing a tense atmosphere to make the soldier tremble in terror. “I pay you to follow my orders.”
“Yes, sir!” The soldier bowed. “I apologise for messing up.”
The man placed his chin on the back of his right hand. “It matters not. That was nothing but a distraction, so I say you have done very well indeed. We needed certain individuals out of the picture. They may not be dead, but they won’t be interrupting my plans anytime soon.”
“A distraction? Had something else occurred in my absence?” the soldier asked.
“Not of yet, but my plans are about to unfold,” the man behind the politician said with a hollowing laugh.
“Yes… The aim was to distract Twilight Heart. Now our takeover of Asteria and the destruction of the MLC can begin!” The politician shouted as his horrid laugh echoed through the cold dark halls.
“I hope you four have learned a valuable lesson after all this,” Master Isaac lectured.
“Yes,” Lynx claimed. “Tie Brayden up, put him in the storage compartment and leave him on the train.”
“I didn’t see you taking down that monster!” Ray growled.
Pennie sighed. They were in a hover-car, driven by Master Isaac, back to Asteria after the ‘Sweet Silence’ incident. Because they were found at the scene, the MLC took them away for questioning. They explained everything, from Tony Cababa’s plan to the failure of the of the cursed song and Brayden’s destruction of Moonlight Stadium. As a result, Tony Cababa was arrested, and a huge peace revision meeting between the CSOG and the MLC was called. Lynx, Kaela, Brayden and Pennie, under the supervision of Master Isaac, were asked to be witnesses.
Of course, the CSOG had some lame excuse to cover up their involvement in the incident. According to them, Tony Cababa was recently fired as he was ‘slightly insane’, which Ray quite openly claimed it to be ‘bullshit’. The whole thing lasted for an entire week before Cababa was declared guilty and the CSOG was let off the hook.
Afterwards, they had to discuss Ray’s ‘destructiveness.’ Due to the damage, Pennie was afraid of what punishment was to come, and although he claimed he wasn’t, Pennie knew that Ray was worried about the same thing. However, Blaze managed to calm everyone down with some encouraging words. Blaze wanted to stay with them, but as he was in the middle of a mission, he had to leave early to send in the results of his investigation.
After it was all over, Pennie was surprised that they were simply sent home with a fine and a slap on the wrist. It annoyed her that it took two whole weeks to deal with two issues that ended up hardly having any influence on their everyday life.
“Honestly, you two are going to send me to an early grave,” Master Isaac groaned as Ray and Lynx continued to argue.
“I don’t understand, sir,” Kaela asked, who sat in the passenger seat next to the master, “Why weren’t we punished more? With all the trouble we’ve caused it surprised me that we haven’t been disbanded.”
“Perhaps they’re afraid of retaliation. One of our members is one of the top five Starlight Warriors, and you’ll never know how they’d respond,” Master Isaac sighed. “…Or they’ve just given up on us.”
“Or they don’t care as long as we keep putting those CSOG scum in their place,” Brayden grinned, cracking his knuckles.
“Yeah right! There’s probably a jail cell with your name on it,” Lynx teased.
Ray snarled. Pennie sighed again. She sat between the two boys so they wouldn’t fight, but her plan backfired. Ray began to mumble angrily, as he looked out the window.
“Wait a minute!” Pennie gasped, realising that Ray was in an abnormally energetic mood considering they were in a vehicle. “I thought you were afraid of vehicles, but I didn’t see you hesitate to get on or complain about feeling sick this whole time.”
“I’m not scared of all moving things!” Ray shouted. “Don’t make me seem so pathetic!”
“Yeah, it’s only trains and trams,” Noah mumbled with a mouth full of bread. The hamara sat on Pennie’s lap, getting breadcrumbs all over her new blue skirt.
“Gee, sorry!” Pennie snarled. “And would you kindly stop dropping crumbs all over me?!”
Noah merely shrugged and did nothing.
Pennie sighed, “By the way, we were with the council for nearly two weeks. Does it usually take that long for incidents like this?”
“Not usually,” Master Isaac explained. “It was probably a precaution as the Dark Oviri Darkyn created the original ‘Sweet Silence’”
“No way…” Pennie said fearfully, “That spell was that evil?”
“Who’s this Darkyn guy anyway?” Ray asked.
“Do you have a brain in that head?!” Lynx growled, “The Dark Oviri Darkyn was a man who decided to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Shadow and caused havoc across Le Alba. Everyone knows that! Do you even have the capacity to remember anything at all?”
“Uh, perhaps you forget!” Ray yelled back, “I only have six years of memories, so if I did learn that I wouldn’t know. Besides Aleron never said anything about it.”
“He probably did, but you wouldn’t have listened” Lynx stated. “If your so ‘smart’ then you should have read about it at least.”
“Well, I haven’t, what’s wrong with that?” Ray snarled.
They continued to fight which began to annoy Pennie. Kaela looked back at them. Pennie gave her a sign to ask her to get them to stop, and she replied with a nod.
“Come on guys; we are almost back at the guild; could you stop fighting for…” Kaela began.
“Do you smell that?” Brayden interrupted, who had stopped fighting with Lynx to roll down his window. “It smells like…rubble.”
He suddenly stuck his head out the window.
“Hey, that’s dangerous!” Pennie shouted in shock.
Brayden’s eyes went wide. “Stop the car!” he shouted.
As requested Master Isaac stopped the car, Brayden opened the door and bolted towards Asteria.
“What’s his problem?” Lynx asked.
Pennie shrugged as they continued to drive onwards. Even though they were in a car, Brayden seemed to run faster. So fast in fact that Pennie had lost sight of him. After a short while, the car stopped again.
“I see. That’s why…” Master Isaac said in a serious tone.
“What is it?” Pennie and Lynx asked.
“Something was wrong. Brayden probably saw it in the distance and ran off to investigate,” Kaela explained darkly. “Come have a look.”
They undid their seatbelts as Noah moved over to continue eating his bread. They moved closer to Kaela. What they saw was the most shocking thing Pennie had ever seen. The streets of Asteria were empty and cold. Black smoke filled the air, and the buildings were in tatters as if Asteria had been in some horrific battle in their two-week absence.
“Oh no…” Pennie exclaimed in fear. “Who could have done this?”
They stood in front of the ruins of the Twilight Heart base. All that remained was the wrecking ball that knocked it down. The rest of the town was no better. Something had happened while they were away, something that had led Asteria to its destruction.
“Whoever did this is going to pay!” Brayden snarled.
“You have to calm down,” Kaela ordered.
“How can I? Our home has been destroyed!” Ray yelled.
“I know you’re upset, believe me, we will get our revenge,” Master Isaac said. “But for now, we have to find the rest of the members and tend to the citizens.”
Although Ray was agitated, he nodded in agreement. Twilight Heart had been his only home for four years. He hated the fact that someone had come in and destroyed it.
“How does it feel,” a voice laughed. “To have your precious Twilight Heart in ruin?”
A man dressed in a dark grey blazer that had black leather pads on the elbow, a black buttonless shirt and loose black pants stood upon the rubble. He had dark blonde hair and hazel eyes that shifted from brown to golden in the sunlight stared down the members of Twilight Heart as if they were nothing but scum.
“As you can see, Asteria is now the property of Regal Night.”
“Who are you and why have you done this?” Master Isaac asked.
“We’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time. After all, Regal Night’s goal was to take Asteria from Twilight Heart; it is in a perfect location. So when a CSOG politician paid us to take hold of Asteria, as Master Ackerman of Regal Night, I couldn’t refuse.”
“You were paid by the CSOG?!” Pennie asked in shock.
“What have you done to the rest of our guild members?” Master Isaac shouted.
Master Ackerman laughed maliciously. “You call those pathetic people Shadow Warriors! They ran away with their tails between their legs!”
Filled with rage, Ray ran up to attack. Before he could hit the deranged man, something got in his way and hit him instead. He was sent flying backwards. He was able to land on his feet, but his balance was off, so he had to place his hands on the ground to steady himself. Ray looked up at the man who had hit him. He had light brown hair that fell messily to his shoulders. He wore a black leather jacket and long brown jeans, blocking the Master of Regal Night from Ray’s path. Brayden sensed that the man had great powers within him.
“Better watch where you’re going kid,” the man growled with a smirk.
“This is Dimetrios Tuff; the Earth Elemental,” Master Ackerman claimed. “Thanks to him, taking over Asteria was a breeze.”
“Another full Elemental?!” Pennie said in surprise.
“No way!” Ray and Master Isaac exclaimed.
“Is he as destructive as our Elementals?” Lynx sniggered.
“I heard that!” Brayden growled. He didn’t know why Lynx was always on his case, especially when the moment was dire like the situation they were about to face.
“Is that why you destroyed our base?!” Kaela yelled. “To prove how strong your guild is?!”
“Actually, it wasn’t us who destroyed it,” Master Ackerman explained. “It was arranged for demolition by the new mayor, Jonathan Raynhart.”
“Wait, did you just say…? Pennie asked fearfully.
“Hey isn’t that your last name Pennie?” Ray asked. He went to ask more questions, but when he saw the fear on Pennie’s face, he decided that he shouldn’t.
“That is right,” a new voice stated.
Everyone turned to see the man who walked out from behind them. His slicked back blonde hair and tight black suit suggested a sense of wealth and pride that agitated Ray.
“I am Pennie’s uncle and the new Mayor of Asteria,” Mr Raynhart bellowed. “I, at this moment forbid the existence of Twilight Heart. Asteria is now a CSOG and Regal Night town. As soon as my niece joined this horrid guild who have stopped the CSOG several times, I knew that I was destined to destroy it.”
“No…” tears swelled in Pennie’s eyes.
Ray was angered even further. He was appalled at how cruel Pennie’s uncle was to her.
“I don’t understand. How could everyone not see this coming?” Lynx asked. “They would have put up a fight. There’s no way they were outnumbered.”
“Ah you see, we had some inside help.” Master Ackerman said.
Another member of Regal Night walked towards them dragging someone behind them. Ray immediately recognised the person as Blaze Tooronga. They all watched in horror as the man threw Blaze to the ground.
“Blaze!” Pennie screamed.
“Oh don’t worry, he’s not dead.” Mr Raynhart stated. “Although I bet he wishes he was.”
“S-sorry…” Blaze stuttered as he struggled to get to his feet.
“How could you do this?” Lynx yelled. “Did you only join them so you could be on the winning side.”
“No, it’s not like that at all,” Blaze said, looking away from them. “They promised me, that they wouldn’t hurt anyone if I helped them. I didn’t have a choice.”
“I’m sorry… I didn’t know what would happen if I refused,” Blaze claimed, with a sad smile. “To save everyone else, I let them control me. And they promised that even if they wanted to kill anyone, they could kill me. Sacrificing myself was the only option I could think of, after all.”
Master Ackerman laughed as he kicked Blaze causing him to fall into a heap on the ground.
“My how the great Blaze Aliené has fallen. No wonder you were abandoned as a child,” Master Ackerman snarled, stomping his foot on Blaze’s back. “You take on a new name and become weak. You truly are pathetic.”
“You won’t get away with this!” Kaela yelled in retaliation.
“Ah but you see, I already have,” Mr Raynhart smirked. “Which reminds me, while you all wear that emblem, you are criminals by the laws of Asteria.”
A large number of Regal Night warriors appeared, so many that even Brayden himself doubted whether or not they could defeat them all.
“Everyone, you have to run,” Blaze said as he looked up at hem weakly.
“But…” Lynx began.
“Forget about me, just get out of here!”
Ray growled. Every bone in his body wanted nothing more than to punch every member of Regal Night in the face, but Master Isaac’s stern words kept him in his place.
“Brayden, there is no chance of winning here,” he said. “Our only option is to run.”
A wide grin spread across Mr Raynhart’s face. “Get them!” he snarled.
Knowing that there was no other choice, Ray grabbed Pennie’s hand and began to run. Lynx, Kaela and Master Isaac followed closely behind. However, so did the members of Regal Night.
“Ray!” Noah called out from a distance, who had gone to see if he could find the other members of Twilight Heart. As they got closer to him, Brayden saw Brittany standing with him and waving her arms in the air to get their attention.
“Come on! This way! Quickly!” she shouted.
They began to follow her and Noah but Regal Night was catching up quickly. Suddenly Master Isaac stopped to face their attackers.
“Go while you have the chance! I’ll distract them!” he shouted.
“No Master, you mustn’t!” Kaela yelled as the crew came to a stop to prevent their Master from sacrificing himself.
Ray let go of Pennie’s hand, “If you’re going to fight, then let us stay back and help you,” he shouted.
“No! Keep running and get to safety,” Master Isaac yelled.
“Come on. If that’s Master Isaac’s wish…” Lynx claimed, grabbing Kaela’s shoulder. She nodded as she began to run again.
Pennie, Lynx and Brittany also began to move once more. Only Ray did not move. He wanted to help. He didn’t want to lose Master Isaac; the man who had cared for him and gave him somewhere to call home.
“That’s an order, Brayden!” Master Isaac yelled.
Ray snarled. He reluctantly turned away and began to run again.
“Damn it!” he growled under his breath, knowing that Master Isaac had been captured. But he did not turn to save him. He had to honour his sacrifice to protect Brayden and the others.
They ran out of Asteria and into the forest, leaving behind the home that they had once treasured.