Ashes Magic

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Jake was hallucinating. He had a sort of remission in the small room where they kept a variety of mystical weapons. Could they be capable of such treachery? How much deceit and hypocrisy was there? He took his sword and went to the library. The Guardians noted that the mediator and the commander had talked about something funny. Everyone laughed at some joke that Mark had.

When sighting him entering the library with a sword in hand, they were surprised and confused. Jake, however, did not show any kind of emotion. The commander stared at the young man with wild eyes, anticipating what would come next. Before he could get up to react, Jake ran to where Igor was sitting and kicked and knocked him hard. The commander tried to get up but failed due to Jake knocking him back down. He got up and pinned Igor’s arms behind his back. Jake pressed the mystical sword against his neck.

The mediator and the other Guardians looked horrified at the inexplicable conclusion that unfolded in front of them. Mark and Nathan were the first to react.

“Jake, are you crazy? What do you think you’re doing?” Mark shouted.

Instead of answering, the Guardian tightened his grip on the sword which was against the neck of the commander. Nathan tried to approach him but Jake shook his head.

“You must tell us what’s going on ... How we will help you in this way?” Nathan asked quietly. “You know very well the sentence for a disrespectful attitude like this, threatening and defying an authority.”

While the girls looked at each other, the mediator tried to calm the Guardian. He said, “Calm down, my young boy. There is nothing we cannot solve without talking.”

“Enough! Speak now or you will be expelled from my congregation!” Mark yelled, losing patience.

Jake launched a scathing look at Mark and said, “Why not ask him?” Jake shouted in the ear of Igor, “Confess, you fucking traitor!” He pressed the sword harder and a risk of blood began to emerge from the neck of the commander, who gave a muffled grunt.

“For God’s sake! What did you do?” the mediator asked the commander desperately.

Mark approached the two. He faced Igor, speaking in authoritative tone, “If you do not begin to explain, I swear to you I’ll take care of even ripping your head off!” He took a dagger that was in the drawer of the cupboard. “Igor, do not mess with me! I’m a man of my word. I always keep my promises!”

Sweat began to sprout on Jake’s forehead. The commander was strong and difficult to immobilize. Upon hearing the threat of the conductor, Igor nodded. The Guardian loosened the pressure of the sword so he could speak. With a bruised throat and raspy voice, he said, “Okay, I will speak and reveal everything you want to know.

Mark nodded and gave a knowing look at Jake. He then motioned with his hand for him to let go. Still hesitant, Jake returned his gaze to the conductor, pulled the sword from Igor’s neck and pushed him forward.

“Come on! Start immediately! We do not have all night!” Mark demanded impatiently.

The commander cleared with his sleeve the blood that dripped down his neck. Looking at Jake, Igor asked scornfully, “Where do you want me to start? The murders? The underground passages through the portals?” Still staring at the boy, he continued, “Or would you have me explain what the true origin of the girl is?”

“You impostor!” Jake broke up with his sword in hand. Mark intercepted him.

Mark said, “Please keep calm! We need to hear what he has to say!”

Dropping a humorless laugh, the commander said in a squeaky voice, “I will reveal to you the true mystery that is behind this whole story and the reason there is so much interest in this girl to the point of all being mad in search of her ... the Creatures of Darkness ...” Igor signaled towards the destroyed and charred room. “As you’ve witnessed.” With a gesture, he added, pointing to himself, “and especially me.”

Mark held Jake using all his strength. He wanted to behead the commander. The boy had witnessed with his own eyes the scenes of barbaric killings and assassination attempts on Kate’s life. Olivia opened her mouth to say something but the conductor asked her and the others to remain silent. Jake shouted sternly to Igor, “We are waiting!”

Igor went quietly to a bookshelf and ran his hand over the spines of some books, leaving Mark’s patience by a thread. Looking at the regent, he replied calmly, “The girl, she is the illegitimate daughter of Lucius. She is the fruit of the betrayal between Sofia and the brother of her companion.”

Nobody said anything. Judging by the expression of surprise and astonishment of all, they were certainly in shock.

“It can’t be ... I even signed all the reports and took the depositions that proved the death of Sofia and the baby,” said the trembling mediator, remembering that even in the planet Orpheus bureaucracy existed.

“However, the true, tragic story about the death of the regent Guardian and the disappearance of her daughter, only Alex and I know.” Igor revealed the secret, sketching a smile, seemingly pleased with himself. “We’ve never told anyone else.”

Kate came crying in the library as she had heard all the talk by the doorway. With heavy breathing and a heart beating a mile, she accused the commander. “Liar! You’re just a filthy pig!” With eyes flooded with tears, she continued, “I am no bastard! I was dropped in an orphanage when I was a premature baby. I only survived because I was kept for a long time in an incubator!”

Grabbing the girl by the arm and away from the commander, Hector spoke, “Igor, she’s right. No pregnant woman or baby could have made the crossing, and the portal is protected by magic. This is an old law that predates even before the time the war occurred.” Without taking his eyes off the commander, he said, “You know better than anyone that the portals were intended to prevent the escape of deserters. Many families tried to smuggle out their children and pregnant women in order to protect them. They would later be trained and sent to the battlefields. By saying this, it only proves that his story is totally incoherent.”

Casting a wry smile to the mediator, Igor revealed, “My dear friend! Are you sure you’re not forgetting any detail?” Still laughing, he continued, “Do you think the witch aunt would not do anything about the murder?”

“Wilda? How?” the mediator remained skeptical. “To break the strong magic of the portal, much time and energy is needed. She couldn’t have done that in so short a time, even being one of the best.” He loosened his tie. “I believe that even the best wizard who is now exiled in Calistun would have been able to achieve such a feat.”

“Of course, she could not break the spell of a sudden. The case between Sofia and Lucius went on for a long time. When the Guardian got pregnant by the brother of her companion, they had to rely on treason from Wilda. They knew that the witch would need time to unlock the portal.” Still angry, he looked at everyone and went, “She was complicit in the sordid betrayal of those two acting against her real nephew, her legitimate blood.” Pointing towards Kate, he said, disgusted, “The damn witch raised the Sofia and regarded girl as her own daughter.”

Jake approached Kate. She was devastated and distraught from listening to everything Igor said. Hector feared the whole story that the commander claimed to be legitimate. He asked, “If Alex killed his wife upon learning of the betrayal, how did the baby survive?”

Igor said, “Actually, it was by pure deduction. After killing her, the brothers faced off in a bloody battle involving all the troops of Orpheus. After Lucius and his warriors passed through the portals, Alex returned to where he had killed the woman. He noted that the body of Sofia had vanished, leaving only her blood. The first thing that went through his mind was that Wilda was involved and would have been responsible for the disappearance. Desperate, he went to the house of his aunt. However, when he arrived, it was too late. The witch lay dead on the floor of the room. After checking his aunt’s body, he noticed that the dress she wore was covered with dirty clay and blood that belonged to someone else. Then, he realized the magnitude of the spell being so extreme and powerful that it caused her death. Alex ran to the backyard and noticed a shallow grave. He cupped his hands to palpate a body, already imagining that would be his wife. He dug into the grave and was astonished to realize that beyond her neck, the place where he had beheaded her deep using a poisoned blade to prevent healing, there was blood all over her belly. When he lifted Sofia’s blouse, he was shocked to see a huge cut in the abdomen. The baby was gone. It was no longer in the womb of his wife.

Everyone looked at each other in horror as the story was completely bizarre. Staring at Kate’s blue eyes, Igor said reproachfully, “Alex knew that his aunt had sacrificed her own life to save the baby. However, he could not imagine how she had done it. He had the knowledge that even the mother was dead, the baby was still strong with enough capacity to survive for a few hours living inside the womb. He went in search of any clues or evidence that would point to which location or place she could have hidden the child. He went to the room which was Sofia’s when she was a child and searched for any objects that Wilda could have used to complete the ritual. To make a powerful spell like that, in addition to hide the baby and keep it alive after being removed from the mother’s womb, the witch needed a personal item that linked the spell with the person. After much searching, he found the object that was missing in the small room. It was an old and inseparable teddy bear Sofia carried everywhere during her childhood, a gift from her deceased parents.”

Once Kate heard the mention of the bear, a wave of shock and sadness came over her, hitting her full in the heart, leaving a thousand pieces. Realizing her distress, Jake squeezed her between his strong arms. She looked at him with her face marked by tears and whispered, “This whole story, it’s true, isn’t it?” Dropping a sob, she concluded, “He is speaking of Chucky ... my teddy.”

Kate wiped the tears that streamed down her face. Even if she found it totally bizarre and hideous, deep down she knew all that Igor had said Igor was justified and fit accordingly to the reality of her life. This disgusting revelation which explained the persecutions, murders, her aura. Finally filled all the gaps, leaving no room for doubt. Now, she knew exactly who she was and what species she belonged to. Kate was a Guardian. Jake only questioned her nightmares. Did these have something to do with the death of her mother? What was the link between Kate and her terrible dreams towards Sofia’s death? Looking into Kate’s sad eyes, he said, “Kate ... You have not done anything wrong ... All that your parents did in the past only concerns themselves. They are even paying for mistakes they made.” Jake tried to reassure her and deduced that after committing this act of treason, probably Sofia’s soul had been sentenced and sent to Calistun just like Lucius who had to give up his own soul and nature. Jake could not imagine a worse way of being penalized.

Mark was now near the commander and asked, “How did you know that the baby had been sent to Earth?”

“Well, I did not know. The only likely way would have been tracking the object using magic to locate the child. When the bear was discovered would they have hope of finding the baby. Every witch carries a kind of signature and performs powerful spells. Wilda placed hers on Sofia. Wasting no time, Alex recruited several witches who lived in Orpheus. However, they were not as powerful as Wilda and only after many years of effort and dedication did they manage to locate the bear here on planet Earth.

Olivia was puzzled. She said, “That old bear? So it was him the creatures were looking for all these years!” Olivia bowed her head to the side. “Did they know that the bear was serving as a flag that Wilda sent along with the girl?”

Igor always wondered about that. Didn’t the witch realize the danger she was sending along with the baby? Did the bear carry something else? A plausible explanation would be that Wilda died before destroying the bear.

Still curious, Olivia added, “Could the creatures of darkness be behind it besides her?”

Igor sighed. Now, that would be the worst part to be revealed, at least for Kate. He said, “Everyone knows that there are three kinds of demons that inhabit the Kingdom of Darkness, better known as planet Zebheus. However, only two species are pursuing her.” He looked at Mark. “For one, I haven’t got the foggiest notion why they are seeking her. After all these years, I still can’t say how the Guardians of Darkness knew of the existence of the girl.”

The mediator had already suspected the answer would follow on the second kind. Terrified and feeling his body tingle as if it had rolled on nettles, he questioned, “Confess soon. Which of these demonic creatures have been hunting her since her birth?”

Kate went into Jake’s arms and cuddled close to his chest. Igor kept everyone in suspense. None of them could think of the real reason he and Alex were motivated in taking on this quest for years.

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