The Guardians of Rhea

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Chapter Twenty-Two

Ivee’s red eyes complemented her sinister smile. Her form-fitting black outfit exposed her midsection and from the shoulders up. She had black hair that was short and spiky, and like any Pelasgian, her skin was a light gray color. But it was her forearms that caught Leon’s attention. By most standards, they were abnormally large. The left had two rows of three openings, faintly glowing green, facing ahead of the hand. The right had just one large opening.

With his sword in one hand and its sheath in the other, Leon’s eyes turned jet black.

Giggling, Ivee pointed her left forearm at Leon, and from the small openings, glowing green projectiles shot out at a terrifying rate.

Leon ran headlong into the hailstorm of Ivee’s deadly seeds. Not bothering to evade, many of the seeds tore straight through him. His blood, black under the light of the Shadow Realm, splattered off his body. Moving at an unbelievable speed, he closed the distance between him and Ivee within seconds.

If Marduk proved anything, it’s that Myrmidons were just as fast as Leon. Using his sword to block Leon’s inches from Ivee’s face, he smirked, “It’s been a long time.”

Leon didn’t have to look to know what the Myrmidon looked like – similarly young, with short hair and a leather bodysuit.

Other Myrmidons began to emerge from, over, and around the buildings. Behind Ivee was Vela, a female with very short hair, clothing like Marduk’s, and a scar that ran from her lower jaw on one side to across her eyebrow on the other.

Behind Marduk was Xran, a tall hulking male with no hair and no shirt. His body was very angular and the entire front was scarred as if it had been badly burned. He grabbed a piece of wall and tore it from the building. In his hands, it became a much harder substance as it turned into a large hammer.

On the left was Cesni. Insect-like in appearance, he had an exoskeleton for a body. At his elbows and knees, razor sharp blades sprung towards the hands and feet.

“You know Vela and Xran,” Marduk said, “Ivee and Cesni are new to the team, and they’ve been dying to meet you.”

Just as Leon brought his sword to bear, Marduk and Ivee darted away in the blink of an eye.

Dashing in midair, Cesni molted, copying his elbow blades and shooting them forward.

Leon blocked the copied blades with his sword, shattering them, though a few large fragments slashed his arms halfway through. Immediately falling to the side, his useless arms rapidly healed just in time for him to block one of Cesni’s deadly leg kicks.

Cesni threw a rapid flurry of punches and kicks in succession. When Leon tried to counter, Xran was instantly on him, swinging his hammer that would shatter every bone in a normal person’s body should it hit. Leon flipped over, dodging and again tried to counter.

Marduk blocked Leon’s sword, “My, you’ve gotten sloppy. I remember when last we met you were quite the fighter.”

Leon was about to strike when Vela leaped through the air with him in her sights. Green energy crackled from her hands before firing in a burst. His only option was to dart away. The explosion, when it hit the ground was tremendous, and so close that smoke came off Leon’s body.

Outside, Caycee could see a brief glow from the explosion in the city.

“We’re almost there,” Nedim said to Sara, who was beginning to slip in and out of consciousness.

Kamala choked a bit on some blood and staggered. Gillan held her tight, desperately trying to reach the portal as fast as possible.

Appearing to glide through the air, Cesni threw a barrage of blades at Leon. The four blood glaives on Leon’s clothes seemingly came to life as they took off on their own, the blades extending and spinning so fast they could cut through skin and bone like a hot knife through butter.

Two of the glaives shattered some of Cesni’s copied blades before being broken by the real ones. The other two glaives went after Marduk and Xran, who smashed the projectiles with their weapons.

A vine whip shot out from Ivee’s right forearm, snaring one of Leon’s legs. With a quick tug, she threw him off balance. Xran swung his hammer and sent Leon flying through the air.

Leon managed to land on his feet but found himself instantly being attacked by Cesni. He dodged the first blade, but the second severed his right hand, his sword hand. Grunting in pain, Leon did what he could with his sheath, blocking many of Cesni’s attacks.

Marduk snuck in from behind and kicked the sheath out of Leon’s hand before quickly sweeping him off his feet and landing another hard kick to the midsection before Leon could even hit the ground, sending him sprawling across the street.

Ivee jumped in like she was possessed. She had Leon’s sword and brought it down with the intention of ending the fight once and for all.

Just before the moment Leon could be done in by his own sword, Ivee was abruptly stopped in midair as the blade met with another that instantly materialized into existence in a burst of black ‘ink’, held by a tall, slender man in a cape and black body armor made of leather. His long, straight black hair partially covered his face.

The Myrmidons froze in terror, “Nibiru!” Marduk said in shock.

With little effort, Nibiru flicked his sword, causing Ivee to twist in midair.

“No!” Ivee pleaded, as she barely blocked Nibiru’s next strike that sent her screaming through the air and landing with a thud.

“Leave,” Nibiru calmly said, with the Myrmidons doing just that. He turned to Leon, “Marduk’s right. You’ve gotten sloppy.”

Exhausted, Leon struggled back to his feet, cradling his wrist.

“How do you like the new team?” Nibiru asked.

Leon remained silent.

“You can’t win this, Leon,” Nibiru said as he walked away, “My offer still stands if you want to join me.”

After watching Nibiru vanish in a cloud of blackness, Leon staggered his way back to the portal. Emerging on the street of a city in the Netherworld, he found Sara and Kamala lying on the ground with the others around them.

Holding Kamala, Gillan looked up, “She’s gone.”

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