Chapter 7: Blood, Sweat And Tears
It’s been a month since my entire life has changed, I’m now sixteen years and one month old and my parents are dead. My home is still being rebuilt and my parent’s bodies are still human instead of crystals. Once the house is finally finished then they will be turned into beautiful, inspirational, house decorations. My brothers and I are going to the lab where they’re being kept to mourn, Troy is grieving silently and privately; I don’t think he’s even letting Des see him cry. I really don’t want to see my parents, I’m not ready to see their dead bodies yet, and I never will be. A few tears begin to make their way down my cheeks and Cerberus flops onto my lap at the sight of them. His soft fur tickling my legs, I pet him, and he nibbles on my fingers. Maybe I should come up with some sort of excuse so I can get out of it. No, they’re my parents and my brothers want me there, they’ll probably think I hate our parents if I don’t.
I lazily lug myself off my couch, turning dizzy and my vision becoming foggy from low iron, and put Cerberus on his leash, dreading every moment of it. Des and Troy will be outside my door any second now, I hope they’re not in too bad of a mood today. I’m dressed in my casual wear, a black, glittery dress, with a black and red blouse and a biker jacket over top. Should I change? Should I look more like I’m going to a funeral? Should I be smiling when they knock on my door? Should I even be bringing Cerberus with us? Do I still need to be sensitive since Troy just began grieving? Will everyone hate me if I smile even once today? Maybe I shouldn’t bring Cerberus, just to make sure that I don’t smile.
I go to take off his leash when Des comes bursting through my door, full of energy and joy, “Who’s ready for a family time out?”
I’m frozen for a second, trying to remember how to breathe, not sure how to react, is this a test? Maybe he’s just putting on a happy face because he knew I would overthink everything. I stutter, “U-um, m-me. I guess.”
Des bolts over to Cerberus, the burst shocks Cerberus and he growls as Des picks him up, “After this let’s go get some bubble tea and little something for this cute little guy as well.”
I glance over and notice Troy standing ghostly at the door, with a half-smile half-frown, it appears that he’s doing a little better. I bet he couldn’t help but laugh at the clownish stupidity of Des. I pull Des close to me and whisper to him, “What’s with all the energy?”
He stares at me with a confused look then smiles, “This will be the first time that we will be all together again in a month.” He then pulls me closer and whispers so softly that I barely even heard him, “I heard Troy laugh yesterday, it was really quiet, and it was only once, but I heard it. So, I want to help him smile.”
We both peer over to Troy who’s studying an oil painting on my wall and turn back to each other, “Yeah but we’re going to be seeing our parents today,” I speak in a more hushed tone, “Don’t you think that we shouldn’t be smiling and laughing? They literally died exactly a month ago!”
The light, uplifting smile disappears and Des turns serious, “We don’t have time to mourn over the loss of loved ones, especially you, everything is moving by too fast for you to slow down and worry about how others feel.” His serious look turns into a slight but genuine smile, “You can leave the emotions to us, besides everyone needs you to focus on the world destroying problems currently going on.” Des breaks the huddle we were in and joyfully speaks aloud, “Now let’s go see our parents and have an amazing day, all of us, together.”
We all set off to the facility where our parents are being kept, a limo shows up to give us a ride. The majority of the ride Cerberus was sticking his head out the window and barking at literally anything that came into sight, even if there was nothing, Troy spent the ride staring out the window or at his phone and Des was smiling and terribly singing along to whatever song was playing on the radio. I know he’s trying to keep the positive energies up as much as possible but seriously, he’s going to tire himself out before we even get to the facility. We’ll have to carry him everywhere, that does not sound enjoyable, crying and carrying a boy who’s nearly twice my weight, I’d rather spend an entire day catering to Rebexca Diamondship and Carol Simmons. Wait no, that sounds like absolute hell, I’m perfectly fine with carrying Des everywhere, just don’t make me ever have to cater to those two bitches. The rest of the ride Des was telling us what we’ll be doing afterwards and how much fun we’re going to have, Cerberus was sleeping in my lap, somehow, he tired himself out before Des, and Troy is sitting with his head back and eyes closed, he either has a headache or he’s trying to hide his tears, I guess he might be trying to get in a quick nap as well but I doubt it.
We arrive at the Death Preservation Facility and Des jumps right out of the limo, Cerberus goes through the window and manages to land on his shoulders. He’s lucky he’s still small, otherwise several people would’ve been hurt. Although, it feels like he’s nearly three times larger than what he was a month ago, I know he’s supposed to grow bigger than entire buildings, but still the growing pains must be a nightmare. Do dogs even get growing pains? They grow so quickly, and it never seems to look like they’re in pain, probably because they’re always sleeping it off. Eventually he won’t even be able to fit in a car, at the rate he’s growing I’d say he has about four or five months until then, eight at most.
We all pile out of the limo and head inside of the skyscraper of a building. It’s very futuristic, I think it’s the tenth tallest building in the magic lands, nearly reaching the moon. The massive glass and gemstone doors slide open and we make our way inside. There’s a small reception area surrounded by elevators and staircases, one of the women at the front desk looks really overwhelmed but she’s smiling through it.
“Good morning,” she greets us with a singsong, upbeat voice. “Names?”
“Des, Troy and Lexus Deathchill,” Des lists. “Here to see Mercedes and Richard Deathchill.”
The lady taps away on her computer for a few minutes then looks back to us, handing Des a piece of paper with a signature on it, “Floor 30567, holders a1,000,978 and a1,000,979.”
“Thank you very much,” Des thanks her and leads us to the elevators. He peers over his shoulders and yells back to her, “Have an amazing day!” The girl looks shocked for a second then smiles gratefully, this dude just made a girl’s day with only four words and he still doesn’t have a girlfriend. I chuckle at the thought of it, Des looks at me with confusion, “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” I shake my head. “You need a girlfriend.” Troy looks depressed at the sound of that, looks like he still hasn’t gotten over her yet, I can’t blame him, up until she cheated on him, she was really nice.
Des types the floor number into the elevator and a scanner pops out, he scans the signature and the elevator begins to descend. He turns to me and says, “It’s difficult finding a girl who doesn’t love me only for my appearance, I guess you can call me a hopeless romantic.”
I laugh, “Emphasis on the hopeless.”
He gasps dramatically, “Now that is no way to speak to your elders, young lady,” he jokes and the elevator doors open.
We ride the elevator in silence, well almost silence, Des is rocking to the elevator music and Cerberus is jumping and dancing with him. There are over sixty-thousand floors in this building, we’re just lucky that we’re not on the top floor, it would take nearly ten minutes to get all the way there. How is Des not tired yet and when did Cerberus get so much energy? How is Troy so nonchalant with all of this? He’s just watching the numbers go up and looking at the design of the elevator. It feels like he wants to point something out but still doesn’t want to talk. I place my hand on his shoulder and Des flops over, oh no, this is exactly what I thought would happen, we have to carry him now.
“I knew this would happen,” I let out a complaining groan. “Now we have to carry him everywhere.” Troy shakes his head and kneels next to Des, he hovers his hand over Des’s chest and a dark gray light shines from his fingertips. The light slowly descends onto Des and begins to wrap itself around his body. His breathing becomes calm and controlled, his chest steadily rises and falls, his breaths are deep. Cerberus timidly crawls over to Troy and smells the light.
Troy removes his hand and Des springs to life, “What’s up guys?” He’s so full of energy and his smile appears even bigger. Cerberus leaps onto Des and Des looks at Troy with a worried gaze, “You’re using your powers without me now?” Troy doesn’t respond and goes stand in his corner. Des looks upset, “We’re supposed to work together, why are you trying to use your powers on your own?”
“What’s going on?” I ask him, confused.
“We’re strongest together,” Des growls. “Why are you trying to separate from our partnership?” It looks like he’s about to cry, “First you stop talking completely and now you’re trying to separate the Yin and the Yang?”
“Des calm down,” I place my hand on his shoulder and Cerberus starts licking his hand.
Des looks up at my scared face and forces a smile, “Sorry about that, let’s have an amazing day!” He springs up to his feet with a smile as bright as the sun, “Let’s get milkshakes and stuff our faces with junk food!” For the rest of the elevator ride, Des is bobbing his head from side to side, Cerberus is snoring in my arms and Troy is staring at the ground with his arms crossed.
The elevator doors slide open and we enter the floor where our parents are being kept. There are twenty-seven different hallways, twenty-six are labeled alphabetically and one has the symbol omega, I’m assuming that’s the people who asked to be tested on after death. I can’t believe that there’s probably millions of bodies in one floor and thousands of floors, I can’t believe that there’s this many people who haven’t gotten what they wanted after death yet.
Des puts on a serious face as we walk to sector A, I guess that it’s best to not be smiling when you’re surrounded by millions of dead bodies. Especially when there’s people crying over their dead loved ones. Des walks steps onto an electric transportation cart, types in our parent’s container numbers and scans the signature, Troy and I get on after him. “Let’s go see our parents,” Des smiles as we all take our seats.
The cart rises several meters into the air and floats through the rows of containers holding bodies. I catch sight of one guy with a bullet hole in his chest. I wonder what he wanted to happen to him after his death. What I would like to happen to me after I die, I don’t think I would want to be turned into a crystal that sounds way too positive for me. Maybe, have my blood bless a sword, then turn my body to ashes and scatter them off the first floating island. Nah, that sounds like way too much work for someone like me, I would probably just get put into a box and buried underground, nothing special.
The cart comes to a halt and hovers next to two pods with our parents’ names written on them. Des presses an eyeball button next to their names and all of the ice-cold fog inside of the tubes disappears, giving us a clear view of them. My mother’s lips start to flow with colour, but her skin is still a dead pale gray, her long hair looks disastrous and still covered in dirt and blood. My father’s smile looks weak, his skin a grayish brown and his patches of his hair are missing. They could’ve at least tried to not make my parents look so beat up, like for open casket funerals, they make the body look presentable. Troy taps me on the shoulder and hands me a pillow, all three of us sit on the edge of the cart, wrapping our arms around the pillows and staring at our parents. My eyes begin to water, and Cerberus nuzzles his snout under my armpit.
Des is sitting between Troy and I; he wraps his arms around our shoulders and pulls us in, “We miss you guys.” I catch a tear rolling down his cheek, I look over to Troy but he’s hiding his face. It seems that he doesn’t want anyone to see him cry, I understand, I won’t confront him about it.
After a few minutes of us all sitting there and crying we stand up and place our hands on their containers, the prints of our palms warming the glass. Des presses on the eye symbols again and a huge wave of frost covers up our view of our parents, slowly freezing away the warmth of our prints. Des sets the coordinates on the hovering cart back to the elevator and we take our seats, “Let’s go get ice cream,” he mumbles.
The cart drops us off and we enter the elevator, typing in the code for the ground floor and sitting back as we wait to reach the floor. I look over to Troy, he’s perched up against the wall, staring at the ground. I shift my gaze to Des, he’s glaring at Troy with a serious look on his face, the tension in here is suffocating. Cerberus senses my stress and wakes up, his adorable squeak of a yawn is so uplifting, Des notices Cerberus wake up and smiles. “Want to check out my training area?” I ask, breaking the straining silence.
Fyre appears, immediately hyped up, ‘Let’s kick some ass!’
“Sure,” Des shrugs, walks over and starts petting Cerberus. “How big is the place anyways?”
Fyre becomes even more energetic, ‘It’s huge, you’ll definitely get lost.’
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” I smirk. “I can ask CAASS to give you guys a tour.”
“Who’s Cass?” Des asks, confused.
“A robot made to serve me,” I answer. “There’s also a few others but CAASS is the main one.”
Both Troy and Des gasp in amazement, “You got a robot?”
“Several,” I brag. “Just wait and see how many rooms the gym has.”
“There’s got to be some sort of catch,” Des worries.
I shake my head, “Not really, they just want me to be able to defeat Anthony.” I stare at the ceiling and contemplate for a second, “Though, they did also tell me that I pretty much run my own army now and that I can recruit other people as well and they can train at the gym.”
The elevator doors open, and we walk into the lobby, the population is no different than before we went upstairs. The lady at the front desk sees Des and smiles, she waves him goodbye, but he doesn’t notice. Instead, Cerberus barks and wags his tail at her and I wave goodbye, I hope she has a great day.
“Let’s go get ice cream and then check out the huge gym,” Des jumps into the limo and we follow. “I’m going to get a scoop of cookies and cream, a scoop of rocky road inside of a chocolate dipped waffle cone and a cookies and cream milkshake,” he squeals in excitement.
“I’m going to get two scoops of banana ice cream in a sugar cone and a banana milkshake,” I follow along in the energy. Troy stays quiet, staring out the window.
‘I’m going to get fire inside of fire with a mixture of fire and fire,’ Fyre jokes.
“What are you going to get for Cerberus?” Des asks me.
Cerberus wiggles his way from my shoulder to my lap, his entire body is wagging in joy, “Probably something involving beef and bones, or maybe plain vanilla.”
“You can do better than that,” Des rolls his eyes. “I say a huge five-star meal, topped with gold everything and drizzled with broth from every meat ever.”
Cerberus starts to drool, “I can easily have one of the robots make that for him.”
Des goes wide-eyed, “Seriously?”
I smirk, “Just wait and see.”
We get to the ice cream shop, it has a big floating wooden sign that has the symbols from Tongimigde, it translates to ‘Luxurious Creams.’ Meanwhile, they really only call themselves luxurious so then they can overprice their food, all they do is make the food look pretty. The actual taste is only subpar. We all walk up to an ordering tablet and order our food when I notice all my friends sitting at a table. Anne immediately notices me and waves me over. I finish putting my order in first and leave my brothers to decide what they’re going to get.
“I promise we’re not hanging out without you,” Lukas panics upon seeing me.
“She knows,” Anne rolls her eyes and turns back to me. “We knew you were going to see your parents today, so we didn’t invite you.”
“How was it?” Hakai asks me, moving to the side to give me some room.
I take a seat, “Pretty good, we cried for a bit.” I smile, “Also Des managed to make a girl fall in love with him.”
“What can I say?” Des pulls up two chairs and joins the rest of us, he gives me my food then forces a double chin, “I’m irresistible.”
I set Cerberus next to me and give him his bowl of vanilla ice cream, Shi speaks through his sips of his chocolate milkshake, “What are you guys doing after this?”
“Going to my training gym,” I answer.
Samuel pops up at the sound of that, “Can we come?”
I laugh at his burst of energy, “Of course, we all can go.”
Everyone promptly finishes their ice cream and milkshakes and gets ready to go to check out my gym. We recycle our garbage and pile inside the limo, Lukas is in awe at the interior design and all the expensive stuff riddled throughout the car.
“So, what’s your estimate on how much your gym must cost?” Shi asks me as we set off towards FUWPT training center.
I make a toothy smile, “There’s not enough zeros in the world that could answer that question.”
“I’m starting to get worried,” Hakai looks concerned.
“You’ll understand when you see it,” I respond.
“Everyone cover your eyes,” I order as we get to the center. They all cover their eyes and feel their way out of the limo, Fyre and Cerberus help me make sure no one bumps into each other. I line them all up side-by-side in front of the building and stand in front of them, “Okay, open them.”
They all do as I say and simultaneously gasp in shock, a roar of questions come from everyone and I can’t make out a single word. Samuel roars over the chatter, “Let’s party!”
I laugh and go to unlock the door, the key changes material and the door slides open. Everyone follows behind me, glancing at everything their eyes can see, I call for my robot, “CAASS!”
CAASS comes rolling up to us, Lukas jumps into Anne’s arms, “Yes, Lexus Deathchill?”
“Is it fine if you please give everyone here a tour and explain what this building and organization is for, for me please?” I ask CAASS.
The robotic hologram eyes and mouth smile and CAASS accepts, “Of course, everybody please follow me, and I will give you the rundown of everything.” CAASS rolls off, everyone glances at me and then follows her.
I make my way to my bedroom, I can hear the roaring amazement and squealing from everyone throughout the entire tour. Fyre jumps off my shoulder and goes to relax in his room while Cerberus and I go into my room. I set Cerberus on my bed and walk over to the non-fiction side of my bookshelf. I’ve seen a few biographies of my ancestors, a few of them were serious fighters, meanwhile others were clowns that only became serious when someone’s life was on the line. My favourite ancestor is still Guy Seen Deathchill, the way he died was absolutely priceless; I love reading about his life. I pull out a book on healing spells that use my fire power and sit on my bed next to Cerberus who’s currently chewing on a bone. He’s been hiding his toys and treats around my room ever since I’ve started letting him run around freely. It doesn’t bother me that much, but it does send a wave of shock through my spine whenever I find a random bone under my pillow. I peer through the table of contents of the spell book,
1 Disinfecting Wounds 1
2 Killing Cancer Cells 34
3 Fire Gods 52
4 Fire Goddesses 62
5 Fire Demons 71
6 Pronouncing Properly 87
7 When Not To Use Fire 90
8 Quick Spells 99
9 Long Spells 105
10 Not Harming The Patient 136
11 Power Improving Dances 142
12 Heroes With Fire 176
Continue To Book Two
I look back up to my bookshelf and notice that there’s over twenty books on just fire alone. Why is there so much? There are probably a few thousand spells in all of the books combined and I have no doubt in my mind that there’s more than what’s written in these books. I start flipping through the pages and after a few seconds a spell catches my eye. It’s called Pulsating Shield; it sends out pulse waves of fire up to one hundred meters away and anyone inside of the shield will be completely healed. It says that it can even bring people back to life, but the castor will fall unconscious after using it to that extent.
I mutter its pronunciation, making sure to not send any power towards it, or else the spell would be cast and burn everything around me, “Yeeps-ac-wonge-co ac-dorp-dorp ac-zak-ple-kai-de-ri, morth-mig-dorp-dorp ac-dorp-dorp ac-tongi-ac-qiot, Xite-kai-dorp-ri!” The spell translates to, ‘Save all around, kill all away, Puld!’ I’ll keep this one in mind, it could prove to be very helpful later on.
I hear the crowd of my friends start to make their way near my room, I shut the book and place it back in my bookshelf. When I turn around, I see all of them idling inside my room, silently staring at me. Samuel pops up in front of everyone, full of energy and excitement, “Can I join your army?” He asks me. “This place is so cool!”
CAASS comes rolling past everyone, Cerberus perks up at the moving spheres, “I have concluded the tour and a few of your friends wish to join, is there anything else you would like me to do?”
“Which ones?” I ask her.
“Samuel Starsprinkle, Des Deathchill, Troy Deathchill, Anne Aubrey, Shi Hakaitit, Hakai Shinit, and Lukas Blue,” CAASS lists. “Would you like me to retrieve the paperwork?”
I shrug, “Sure, we’ll be in the combat training room when you’re done. Also, would you please look into other people who you think would make a good addition.”
“I will retrieve the papers and look into others to recruit,” CAASS rolls off. I call Cerberus to my side and yell to Fyre to join me, then we all make our way to the combat room. I don’t really know how I feel about my friends joining me. I don’t really have a reason for them not to, it’s not like they will be easily distracted and not do as they’re told. I just don’t feel right about them joining, I feel like it’s not a good idea and I’m not sure why. I’ll ask CAASS about its opinion later. Maybe I’ll be more confident in this decision after I see what it will be like.
We enter the room, and everyone starts running everywhere, like a bunch of kindergartens being let out for recess. Samuel and Anne check out the curtains, Lukas is amazed by the floor and everyone else is checking out the weapon wall. I’m curious as to how Troy wanted to join, I doubt that he actually said anything. Maybe CAASS asked them to raise their hands if they’d like to join and that’s what he did.
“Everyone pick out a weapon and a partner,” I order. Everyone looks up at the sound of my voice and does as I say. Des and Troy pick each other. Shi and Hakai pick each other. Lukas and Samuel are partners. So that makes Anne and I partners. All of our pets are perched by our sides, looking ready for anything, Cerberus of course looks the most prepared. I start telling everyone what we’ll be doing, “With your chosen weapons you, your partner and your pets will be competing in a test of endurance. Block and attack until one of you gets tired, the winner moves on to the next round.” Everyone becomes excited after hearing that they’ll be allowed to use their pets, high fiving and celebrating among themselves. “Pick an area of the room and begin on my signal.”
Everyone does as I say, and they all get into a combat position, since I also need to fight with Anne, I won’t be able to observe everyone. So, this tournament will just be for fun. I raise a fist up in the air, everyone watches. I swing my arm towards the ground, and everyone flies towards each other. I use the momentum from the swing to pull myself towards the ground and roll towards Anne, I punch her in the gut and while she reaches down in pain, I reach one of my arms right under her collar bone and the other behind her knees and I flip her onto her back. After she loses mobility, I quickly jerk myself to my feet and wait for her next move. It takes her a second to register what had just happened, in the corner of my eye I spot Cerberus holding down Orthrus. Anne pulls herself to her feet and starts swinging her wooden sword at me, I block all the hits with my arms, these are definitely going to leave a mark. In a split-second Anne leaves herself an opening, I spin around to her back, push on her middle trapezius and squeeze her upper trapezius. She loses her balance and falls to the ground. I know this isn’t endurance fighting but I mainly know how to do tactical fighting. She gets up, weakly gripping her sword and breathing heavily. It hasn’t even been two minutes yet, how is she already tired? I guess the heavy attacks must’ve taken a huge hit on her, or maybe she winded herself after her fall.
“You good?” I ask her.
She struggles with a nod, “I’ll train harder, and I will be the second-best fighter here.” She smiles, “Because I’ll never be able to be better than the sergeant commander.”
I laugh and pull her into a hug, “Go take a rest, then go do some cardio and strength training.” She nods, pulls Orthrus out from under Cerberus and goes sit down. I look around the room Des and Troy are balanced against each other; it looks like Des is saying something, but I can’t hear him. Shi and Hakai are blocking and attacking each other with order and a beautiful balance, like a dance of warriors, Lernaean is flying around Hakai’s head like a bothersome fly. I look around for Lukas and Samuel and see that they’ve just finished, by the looks of it, Samuel won. Lukas is breathing heavily and stumbling from side to side towards the corner of the room, leaving a path of sweat behind him. I look down to Cerberus at my side and notice him licking something red up, I glance at my arms and see that they’re bleeding in major amounts.
CAASS comes rolling into the room holding a stack of papers, everyone stops what they’re doing and walks over, Samuel carries Lukas over. CAASS hands everyone a few papers and pens then shifts its attention over to me, “You are badly injured, please go to the nurse’s office and one of the bots will look after you.” Everyone looks over and their faces flow with shock at the sight of all my blood that’s not in my body. I do as CAASS says and she leads me to the nurse’s office. “I have found six people and animals that I believe would make a good addition to the organization.”
“Tell me about them,” I request.
“There are two that have pets, two without pets and two that are animals without owners,” CAASS explains.
I nod, “So two for my group, two for Fyre’s group and two for Cerberus’s group?”
“Affirmative,” CAASS agrees. “I will explain the two for your group and give you the documents for all six of them once you are no longer bleeding.” CAASS stops, rotates right, unlocks a door and rolls inside, I follow. The room is pure white with eight beds on each side of the room and black curtains in between each bed that are pulled back, the blankets for the beds are gold with a dark red lining. I sit on one of the beds and the small black robot with diamond eyes rises out of the floor. Diamond begins to tend to my wounds while CAASS continues to explain the recruit. “One is a boy named Tadaaki Atsuo, his powers are super speed, light, purification and limb growth.”
“What’s purification and limb growth?” I ask CAASS.
“Purification, he can purge anything negative out of something and turn it pure,” CAASS explains. “Limb growth, he can make any sort of body part grow on any part of his body. He can even grow wings on his back and horns on his head.”
“How old is he?” I ask.
“He is currently sixteen years old, he will be turning seventeen in exactly thirty-two days,” CAASS exclaims. “Have you made a decision, or do you wish to know more?”
“Make an interview with him for next week on Saturday,” I demand. “How about the next one?”
“The other one is also a boy,” CAASS adds. “His name is Hunter Lifeburn and he is seventeen years old.”
“Put him in the same interview,” I order. “Is that all for my group?”
“Yes,” CAASS answers, then sets a pile of documents next to me. “I believe that there is another person you may know that is also in that list. His name is Stef Gungold, him and Hunter are best friends.”
I flip through the pages, “Put them all in the interview.”
“They all have been notified,” CAASS informs me. “They all have agreed to the meeting, date and time has been set.”
“Thank you,” I nod and CAASS sets off. I wonder what Hunter and Stef have been up to.