Hope's Bright!

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Knockbacks and Promises

Kaela hated how they had to run and leave Master Isaac and Blaze behind, and she wasn’t the only one. They had hidden in an old bunker in the forest that was used during the Eighty-Year Civil War.

The room was very tense. Lynx who was unusually quiet was leaning against the wall next to her. In fact, most of the people in the bunker kept quiet, only a select few whispered about the events that had occurred. Pennie, whose uncle had led the attack, was sitting in the corner and holding back tears. It was evident that she blamed herself for what happened. Her uncle had overtaken an entire city and illegalised Twilight Heart’s existence. He believed that Pennie joining the guild was a sign for him to get rid of the guild who had been a thorn in the side of the CSOG for years. Kaela wanted to confront Pennie, but she had no idea how to do it. She looked to Brayden. When they arrived at the bunker; which Brittany and Noah had led them to, Brayden yelled at them angrily.

“We should go back and fight them!” he yelled, “let’s get everyone together and launch a full on attack!”

Although Kaela wholeheartedly agreed with Brayden, she had to turn him down. They had no idea what they were up against. Master Ackerman had to be strong, and there was no telling how powerful Regal Night’s Elemental was. Not to mention Blaze was forced into joining the ranks of their enemies. The Air elemental had formerly belonged to the Aliené family, one of the strongest Elementals known to Oviri. Blaze was so strong that the MLC often hired him to work as an assassin so there was no telling what Master Ackerman would force him to do. If he thought it was hopeless, Kaela didn’t see any way they could defeat Regal Night. The odds were even high that Blaze would perish under the control of Master Ackerman. However, Kaela thought that the biggest mystery and possibly the greatest issue was Pennie’s uncle. As a CSOG politician, it was possible that he was also an Oviri. When she had told Brayden this he turned around and said;

“Threat or no threat, Oviri or not, Mr Raynhart and Regal Night have taken our home and hurt our friends. We have to fight for them no matter what the danger is!”

Kaela sighed. The man who was so eager to fight and rush into saving everyone was asleep on the couch. Kaela couldn’t help but be jealous of Brayden. Not only was he a remarkably skilled warrior, but he was also so easy going that he had the confidence to fight any foe and was able to relax in any tense situation. She was a coward. When she thought one thing, she always backed down and did another. She wished she had agreed with Brayden and stayed to fight if she had Master Isaac probably wouldn’t have been captured.

Damn it all!” one of the older members shouted as he slammed his fists on the table. “This is all that damn Blaze’s fault. That delinquent has been nothing but a nuisance since the moment he arrived.”

“You can’t blame him for siding with Regal Night. He did do it for our sake,” Benny claimed with a sigh, “I’m sure any one of us would have done the same thing. This time there was a lot to lose, not only have we lost our home but we are now nothing more than wanted criminals.”

“No point defending that monster. Ever since his damn mother just abandoned him and left him with us, Blaze Aliené has brought nothing but trouble to Twilight Heart.” The man growled again.

“Perhaps if you weren’t so pathetic we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Lynx stated, breaking his silence. “You are quick to blame Blaze but the way I see it is that it is just as much your fault for abandoning the fight.”

“Do you want to say that again?!” The man yelled.

In an instant, a fight broke out. Everyone began tossing around the blames. Kaela sighed. She knew deep in her heart that it was her fault. It was her inactiveness that had led them down that path.

Ray was a mess. There was just so much going on, and there were just too many thoughts going through his head. He felt guilty for leaving behind Master Isaac and Blaze, desperate to save them and angry at Regal Night for taking their home. Everyone thought that he just went with the flow, but the unfolding events stressed him out. Unable to hold up to his easy-going tough guy persona, he fell into a deep sleep. He was just exhausted. It was tiring pretending to be strong and resilient all the time.

His dreams were dark and empty. It was as if he was floating in a void of nothingness. At times he found that he felt this way. That although friends surrounded him, he often felt alone. Eventually, a bright light appeared and he was standing in a field of flowers under the bright violet sky. There was a girl in front of him. She seemed to be around the age of eight, dressed in a pink frilly dress and he could also see himself around the same age. They sat amongst the flowers talking to each other.

“Hey Ray, don’t you think this place is beautiful?” the little girl asked.

Ray immediately remembered the voice as the one from his past. He quickly realised that he was witnessing one of his memories, the one that he had been hoping he would one day recall.

“I suppose…” the younger Brayden agreed.

“To think it could grow even though tons of bad things happen in this area every day. I’d like to believe that we are like that too. Although we live in this horrible world of despair, we still find a way to smile and stand firm in what we believe in,” The girl said with a big smile on her face.

“You think so?” Ray asked.

“Yep,” she replied looking at him with her sparkling green eyes. “Some people are like flowers of hope. They bloom even when there’s trouble and helps everyone they can.”

“Then how about we make a pack,” the young Brayden suggested.

“You mean like a promise?” the girl asked. “Sure, what were you thinking of promising?”

“That we’ll always thank the people who have helped us,” he replied. “and a promise to destroy all evil.”

“I like that idea,” she smiled as they linked their pinkie fingers together. “Let’s keep fighting the darkness until the light shines again.”

“and that we’ll stay true to ourselves,” Ray continued.

“and help anyone who needs us,” she smiled.

The image began to fade, leaving the image of Ray and the girl facing each other with big smiles and their fingers linked for the promise. A final gust of wind blew through the beautiful flower field. Ray opened his eyes and returned to reality. The last words of his dreams echoed in his head.

“And promise always to be,” they had said together, “the flower that blooms.”

As the fighting continued, tears fell down Pennie’s cheeks. She couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was all her fault. It was her uncle who took down Twilight Heart. It was her fault that Regal Night attacked them and it was her fault that they had become criminals.

“I’m sorry guys… It’s all my fault,” she cried. She turned to them with eyes filled with tears.

They all turned to her as Ray sat up and yawned.

“You seem to have a bad history with your uncle.” Lynx pointed out, “judging by your reaction to all this, I guess you weren’t close.”

Pennie nodded her head, “You see my parents; the Raynharts, were rich aristocrats who owned the Royal Hospital in Acqua Stellata. Back then Acqua Stellata was very wealthy as my parents often used their wealth to help others around the city. About seven years ago my parents died in a car crash. When they died, their will stated that my uncle; my dad’s brother would take over. As a CSOG politician, he took all the money from the hospital and fundraisers to fund CSOG activities throughout the city. He was very cruel to me and never gave me a smidge of the fortune that my parents had left me. A year later he kicked me out, and I was left to fend for myself on the dangerous streets.”

“It seems that you’ve had a rough time,” Lynx stated. “You were actually forced to leave everything behind like that?”

“Yep,” Pennie said before clasping her hands over her face as she cried, “he probably hoped that I would die on the streets. My life has been so miserable. So when I joined Twilight Heart, I thought everything was going to change, but I ended up destroying the guild instead. It’s all my fault, being a niece of a CSOG politician I should have known the destruction would have followed me where ever I went. I should never have joined Twilight Heart.”

As she cried, she looked through the gaps between her fingers. She saw Ray walking up to her. She thought he’d be angry, but he seemed calm and thoughtful. He crouched in front of her.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “You can’t control who you’re related to, even the prettiest of flowers can be born in a place of darkness. Every human and Oviri have the chance of being born into horrible circumstances.”

Pennie looked up at Ray, who smiled softly at her.

“Really?” she sniffed.

“Yep, you’re a nice person no matter what anyone says. You are here because you want to help others.” He stood up and reached out his hand to Pennie, “So let’s go and help those in need and remind them that even in the darkest of moments there is still hope. We’ll defeat your uncle and destroy Regal Night. Let’s bring the light back to Asteria.”

Pennie grabbed his hand and stood up. She smiled as she wiped the tears from her face.

“Yeah…” she laughed. “Let’s make them learn their place.”

The white marble hallways seemed to go on forever. Pennie studied the interior in amazement. In each pillar patterns consisting of swirls and stars were gracefully carved into the marble. The dark red carpet stretched out as far as the eye could see, Asteria Cathedral was a stunning piece of architecture. According to Noah was being used as a temporary base for Regal Night. Instead of bringing a huge army, a small group consisting of her, Ray, Noah, Kaela and Lynx would sneak in to launch a surprise attack. Pennie was surprised that it had been remarkably quiet since they entered the building. It was as if the cathedral was abandoned entirely.

They had split up into three groups. Brayden and Noah, Kaela and Lynx, and Pennie on her own. She had insisted that this would occur as she wished to see her uncle. She hoped for the possibility that she would be able to talk him out of his attack. As she ran down the halls, she came across a room called, ‘the Throne Room.’ She had a hunch that it was where her uncle was hiding. She took a deep breath and opened the doors. As she suspected, she found her uncle sitting on a large throne at the end of the room.

“Ah, Pennie, I knew you’d come for me.” Uncle John said, “Are you ready to surrender?”

“No, I came here to talk, Uncle” Pennie replied, “Claiming Asteria has no value for you. You should stop while you’re ahead.”

“And why would I do that?” he asked.

“You won’t gain anything; there’s no point if there’s no profit.”

“Ah, but there is. The agriculture and trade markets is a high investment here and would be a great advantage for the CSOG to claim. Not to mention exterminating Twilight Heart was my primary goal.” her uncle replied, “We’ll exploit this land of its beauty and make it a training ground with its large landscape. We’ll use this area until there’s nothing left!”

“But a lot of people would die!” Pennie yelled.

“Who cares, with Twilight Heart out of the way, we can do as we please!” Uncle John laughed manically, “The CSOG’s primary goal is total domination of Le Alba!”

“Then it’s my job to stop you. As on Oviri and a member of Twilight Heart,” Pennie shouted.

She wasn’t going to let her uncle have his way. She couldn’t give up like she did at Moonlight Stadium, she had to stay strong. She had prepared for this. She considered it her duty to take down her uncle.

“Are you sure about that?” her uncle asked.

Pennie said nothing as her uncle smiled evilly. Pennie prepared for the worse as her uncle was a summoner Oviri just like her. He began to chant the summoning spell.

’Come out from the Shadows to demolish the hope

to create the suffering of my desires

summon the one who is strong and bold.′

“I summon thee,” he yelled. “Shadow Buster!”

Pennie expected that to occur. Another case of great power falling into the wrong hands. The shadow creature known as Shadow Buster was a super strong shadow who had abilities such as super strength, super speed and invulnerability. He was a humanoid with red hair and blue eyes. He was fairly tall and wore a short black jacket with a red top underneath and grey pants.

“Do you still want to go through with this?” Uncle John said obnoxiously.

Pennie nodded. She had a tough battle ahead of her, but she had to stay strong and keep fighting. For the sake of the people of Asteria who were caught in the crossfire of her uncle’s greed. Twilight Heart was the place that gave her a home where she could finally be happy. She had to fight for it no matter what.

The building began to rumble as Ray and Noah ran down the endless hallways.

“Sounds like a fight has started,” Noah pointed out.

“Man… I wanna fight too!” Ray complained. “Running around aimlessly like this is beginning to get on my nerves.”

“All you think about is fighting,” the hamara rolled his eyes.

“Not true.” Ray interjected, “It’s just that the more time we waste, the more desperate the situation will become and these hallways never seem to end.”

It had seemed like they had been running for hours. Ever since they entered the cathedral, they have seen nothing but empty hallways. The fact that they hadn’t seen a single person since they arrived was concerning.

“It’s quite large isn’t it,” Noah pointed out. “Apparently it was rebuilt as a magic cathedral after the war, and can change its size for the user’s desires.”

“I recall hearing about that,” Ray commented. “It’s a kind of magic that you don’t really see anymore.”

The sense of danger that lurked in the air. Ray had felt a strange atmosphere since he entered the cathedral and the foreboding silence only made it worse as time went by.

“Noah, don’t you think something’s amiss?” Ray asked seriously, as Noah looked at him with a worried expression on his face. “Why would they need this much space with seamlessly empty rooms? And why haven’t we come across anyone during the entire time we’ve been here? Regal Night is not that big of a guild. Not to mention it’s been like a maze we cannot escape.”

“Yes. An endless maze to trap you inside.” a voice said evilly.

Ray stopped running and turned around to see Dimetrios the earth elemental standing behind him.

“Clearly, we do not need all this space.” Dimetrios smiled maliciously, “However, it is perfect for capturing all of you Twilight Heart bugs and crushing you once and for all!”

“Dimetrios…” Ray growled, cracking his knuckles, “about time you show up, I owe you a beating for that punch earlier.”

“I’ve heard of your recklessness and your power, Brayden Valero.” he chuckled, “However this is one battle you’ll never win.”

Ray narrowed his eyes. Usually, he would have made up some comeback and brag about never losing. However, this time he knew that the battle ahead would be his most difficult one yet. The enemy in front of him was strong. He hoped that the others weren’t in the same predicament. Ray sighed, it was not the time to doubt himself or the others,

“You’re quite the formidable foe I’d have to admit. I’m not surprised that you’re so confident in your victory,” Ray said scratching his head with a nervous smile.

“Ray…” Noah stuttered.

“However…” he said frowning and glaring down Dimetrios as flames circled his body. “This is one battle that I refuse to lose!”

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