Igor looked around the library and realized that everyone was upset and shocked with all those bizarre revelations. The atmosphere was tense. While Jake holding the girl, the Guardians remained on alert.
“Another fact that everyone knows is that only two portals of Orpheus are blocked by magic. To make a crossing, besides the leader, it is necessary that the regents also authorize. After the war, Alex was forbidden to come to Earth as the angels also knew of the existence of the child and took the news to our Creator. At that time, I was in charge of making clandestine crossings with the help of witches.” Igor arched an eyebrow. “Needless to mention, all spells used to locate the girl were made through dark magic. Everything was kept under great secrecy so that no one would suspect anything. They cast a spell on the portal and provided me with a mystical potion of invisibility. The creature that used this magic potion was exempted from any demonic feature. This was the reason why no Guardians, even the most sensitive ones, were able to sense the creatures after they passed through the portals. I gave them a potion so that you could not sense their presence or smell.”
“What about the girl? She could sense the creatures and smell them even if you gave them the potion. How do you explain that?” asked Hector.
“The only person who could explain that adversity is dead.Wilda did not know what effect her magic had on the girl. She just covered Kate with a magic protection called Ashes Magic.”
“What about the demons? How did you persuade the creatures to do their dirty work? Did you go to Zebheus?” Mark asked indignantly.
“Of course not! I was able to contact the Kingdom of Darkness through some human sects working for demons, most of which were located in Longaile. I bribed some mercenary creatures that had encountered the girl. I told them that Wilda’s signature was printed on the bear. Through this feature, they found her. However, they couldn’t see of her, because the protection that the girl carried was very strong. The demons could only trace her parents and the teddy. Ever since she was baby, she was always protected these creatures. These favors cost me dearly, yet everyone who helped me was well rewarded.”
“Ambrosia, was it not?” Jake accused him hard. “They needed it to prolong your life and strength. You damned impostor! Through these unholy acts, you left the increasingly strong enemy!”
Mark asked, “Why did it take so much time between discoveries? I mean, why did it take many years to track her even if she had the teddy?”
“As I’ve pointed out several times, Wilda was powerful and it was very hard to track her spells. To reveal each discovery, it was necessary to use several witches and many years of invocation. In the last decade, things became a bit complicated. The angels suspected that we were using dark magic again so we had to be cautious. Alex almost went crazy due to the incessant search for the girl. I had no time to train new warriors and as a result, it greatly reduced the transmission of Guardians to Earth. For a long period, some angels kept a careful watch on the outskirts of Orpheus and attempted to investigate us.” Igor paused and then clarified, “We had to stop these illegal search activities for a while so as not to raise further suspicions.”
“Igor, you know you will be duly sentenced by these gruesome acts. The punishment for associating with those demons is death!” Hector told the traitor. Pointing his finger accusingly, he added, “I do not understand ... Why not quit it? Look at how much killing you’ve caused!”
“Alex never lost hope. He continued to recruit powerful witches. These nineteen years of waiting meant nothing to him.” Igor was referring to their leader, full of pride.
Lana, Olivia, and Nathan were quiet, disgusted, and whispered among themselves. Lana asked, “Why did you hire demons? You do not belong to the darkness. You are a Guardian of Orpheus. Why did you not kill her personally? Was it not you who said that you crossed the portal clandestinely for several times?”
“My goodness! Why would I that? What for? I’m already getting fed up with so many questions ... Listen my dear, I do not belong exclusively to the Light. Amidst so many years of work and dedication, I had to appeal to the dark magic. I could not see her, could not remain here on Earth for long, and my tickets were illegal. In fact, for anyone who handles the dark magic, they can’t see her or sense her. I can because I made a pact. Although the price was high, I believe it was worth it.” He arched an eyebrow at the Guardian. “Who said that I came to kill her?” the commander crossed his arms and looked triumphantly at everyone.
Kate wrenched Jake’s arms, took the kettle with coffee sitting on the table and hurled it towards the commander. “You are a filthy creature! All my adoptive families died because of you!” she screamed and went to him. Mark tried to prevent her. With the immense difficulty to hold her, Mark shouted to Jake for help. She had an abnormal force. The two had to press her against the wall to hold her steady.
“Sorry my angel, but it was not I who ordered the killing of your parents. I never had the power to interfere in the way these creatures had. They acted brutally to get the information, making use of torture. Your parents were faithful to you and Orpheus and sacrificed to keep you alive, according to the will of Wilda.”
“What do you mean by that? There are humans who know about the Guardians, or about Orpheus?” Nathan asked, intrigued.
“Yes, there are institutions which house humans who give up their lives in the name of humanity. They are hidden in the neighborhoods of the world.” Igor looked at Kate who was staring at him angrily. “Don’t worry Kate, your parents knew what they were doing. They died in the name of Orpheus for you and were well rewarded after their death.”
“You make me sick ... You’re a dirty rat! How can you betray your own kind? You can’t imagine what I had to go through all those years because of you!” Kate shouted angrily to the commander.
“Pay attention, girl! The blame for all this bloodshed and revolt was the bitch that was your mother! Besides betraying Alex, she betrayed all of Orpheus. As a result of her betrayal, many warriors died and half of them definitely went to the planet Zebheus! She managed to screw with the heads of the two best Guardians ever. If it were not enough, she had an affair with his brother!” Still full of fury, Igor added, “I had to abandon my own children while Orpheus entered into decay. I needed to help rebuild it and maintain order again.” He paused and continued, “Commander Lucius, with all his experience of more than five centuries and Alex, the best leader that the Kingdom had gave up everything. What do you think happened?”
While the mediator and the Guardians remained interested in the story, Kate stopped fighting and felt shame and remorse. Perhaps Igor was right that her mother was a treacherous cow whom he hated so much, and she was the illegitimate daughter that was being disputed by the Guardians of Orpheus and also by the Guardians of darkness.
“You can just imagine the attitude that our superior took to be aware of this entire hubbub ...” The commander sketched a sinister smile. “He sent one of his scariest angels to send a single message and you know what he said?” Sweeping the room and staring at each person, he said in a dramatic tone, “A week! There were only two words in that message but it represented the entire future of our species. The meaning of that warning was that we only had seven days to establish chaos and put the planet in order! Otherwise ... You know ... It happened exactly at the time of our predecessor, the leading regent of Orpheus. There’s no need to tell more; everyone should already know the sad story!”
Hector, who remained in shock from all the infamous revelations, asked the commander, “What I do not understand is why the angels dropped the investigation. Obviously, nothing goes unnoticed in the eyes of God. Why did he not take action? He himself exiled and sentenced all of those who were dishonest and manipulated the dark magic centuries ago. What happened?”
The commander replied, “After we redeemed Orpheus, God offered us a confidence vote. He granted us forgiveness and allowed us to continue with our work of protecting the Earth. We ceased with the vigils as we realized that the Guardians on Earth were doing their jobs perfectly. I believe that for this reason, he remained neutral. Even if Alex and I kept trying to find the girl, we still had our obligations, training and sending the younger warriors to Earth and keeping the human race safe.”
Hector replied, “With a few experienced Guardians left after the revolt, we inevitably had to violate standards in training and send younger Guardians to Earth like you, for example ...” Hector looked at the boys, feeling remorse. “When the kingdom was established thousands of centuries ago, a law was enacted prohibiting the training and sending of young Guardians with less than a century of life to Earth, ensuring them a healthy childhood and youth alongside their families, away from guerrillas and demons. Only later when they reached adulthood would they be duly forwarded to their required purpose, with a few exceptions.”
“I do not remember the revolt in Orpheus,” Nathan argued.
“You’re right. Most young Guardians did not get to witness the conﬂict during the uprising. This was a preemptive decision to protect them from the war,” explained the mediator. “This was the time the young were emigrated in order to preserve them. We told them that the laws had changed and that the training would be on the planet Earth itself.”
“Yeah, I remember this lie very well,” vented Lana, who always dreamt of a life of an underling. “What I never understood was why the young warriors who were less than a century old could not have access to the Kingdom. We lived in isolated villages and were totally forbidden to speak or meet the rulers. We could only speak to the intermediary but I managed to circumvent the rules. Before being sent to Earth, I asked the responsible leader if I could remain in Orpheus. I did not want to be a protective guardian.”
“This is another story that does not matter now, young lady,” clarified the commander and added, “What I can tell you is that this decision was made many centuries ago as a precaution due to bad leadership of the predecessor regent. As a result of his indiscretions, we had to start rigorously blocking the portals to Earth, rebuild the kingdom, and keeping the villages isolated. Yes, besides the sordid story of Sofia, Orpheus was experiencing other misfortunes.”
Kate, feeling ashamed for being the daughter of a woman who was responsible for so much misery and anger, spoke quietly to Igor, “It was my mother who caused all this evil, not me! I am not guilty for her actions, so why does Alex persist in killing me?”
“Who said he wants to kill you, my little Guardian? Have not I told you before, that’s not our goal?” He cast a friendly glance towards the girl. “That lack of education, my ... Did I not mention the fact that Alex repented bitterly in having killed his own wife? Since her death, he became obsessed with you. My child, have you not learned the meaning of all this? Do you know why I am here?”
Kate felt a sudden chill and hugged her body. Jake and Mark looked at each other and communicated through a sign. The other Guardians looked around searching for a weapon. The mediator predicted what was coming next.
Igor, smiling and opening his arms, said to Kate, “You are welcome in Orpheus, being the legitimate companion of Alex. It is precisely for this reason that I’m here. I came to find you and put an end once and for all to this misunderstanding. No more death and suffering ... Someone has to pay and be responsible for what your traitorous mother did and that someone is you, assuming the regency alongside Alex, your future husband.”
“You and Alex are totally sick! How dare you want to take this girl to be his companion ... For God’s sake, Igor! She is the daughter of his brother!” Mark was unhappy with such spite.
“Mark, you really are a fool! How dare you speak such nonsense? Do you really think I would agree to this monstrosity?” the commander said angrily. “Alex and Lucius did not share the same blood. They were just stepbrothers. When Lucius was a baby, his family was killed in battle. Along with Alex, Wilda adopted him. The witch and the mother of Lucius had always been great friends. Wilda promised his mother that she would take care of Lucius if something bad happened to her. We had to keep that a secret because, unlike Sofia who had no living relatives at the time, Lucius could not have been adopted. He had an aunt who was a Guardian here on Earth and by law, the child’s custody would be hers.”
“Did Lucius know?” Mark asked.
“No, only Alex knew of it. Once Wilda brought the baby home, she had to tell him everything. The boy was great and she could not omit the truth. Alex openly accepted his brother because he was also an orphan and felt lonely. For Alex, it was a great joy as he was descending the Kingdom. Eventually, he needed a right arm in regency and command everything. ” Tired of explaining, Igor turned to the girl and ordered, “Let’s go, Kate. Alex is waiting.”
Kate gasped. For a brief moment, she thought that her lungs had stopped working. She was not prepared for a surprise like that and she took in too much information for a single day. Panting, she said the commander, “You will have to kill me first!”
After Igor’s threat, Olivia and Kate, together with Lana and Nathan, generated a protective shield. While Jake and Mark were united in launching fire, the mediator ran under the table.
Igor laughed and stretched both arms creating a protective barrier around himself, taken from a red light. Smiling, he said, “Sorry to disappoint you again ... This is another detail that I forgot to mention. After dealing with many wizards and dark magic, I’ve managed to learn a few tricks. Don’t take it personally, but the daughter of Sofia comes with me.”
Jake ran toward Kate and pulled her from the shell. The Guardians already imagined that the protection would be useless. Jake took her hand and they ran towards the door. As they approached the exit, it closed up. Jake tried to open it but the same red light that protected the commander blocked the door.
Igor said, “Don’t be ridiculous! Did you think that after so many years I would fail, after all that I had to endure?”
Mark rubbed his hands on his pants as they remained hot from using his power. Demonstrating fury and contempt, he spoke to Igor, “You pretended to be my friend for all these centuries. You entered my house playing the victim. You let Jake catch you on purpose as you wanted to tell us everything in detail.”
Igor replied, “You must understand that I had to tell the truth so that everyone would know! Alex is not the culprit and the assassin many say he is. He just did it for justice!” he said with a shrug. “It is best to be done with this drama. I’m running out of patience!”
Kate was being dragged by a supernatural force, forcing Jake to let go of her. He even tried to pull her back but couldn’t. Kate tried to hold on to the furniture but her efforts were in vain. The magic that was generated was very strong. Igor, still protected by the magic wall, created a small cyclone in the middle of the library. The phenomenon sucked everything around it. With the violence of the winds, the Guardians and the mediator were thrown away, bumping against the walls and furniture. While books, furniture, and paintings, ﬂew from all sides of the library, Kate was dragged against her will towards Igor.
“Come, my child. Do not be afraid! Alex will be a great companion. He will be delighted even more to see that you are almost a copy of Sofia. There’s no need to be afraid. He is also a very beautiful Guardian.” Igor pointed to himself and to the others who were pressed against the wall due to the violent gusts of the cyclone. “I believe you may have noticed this trait in our species, including yourself. Our beauty is not simply random.” He winked at the girl. “We have been created and generated from perfect genes. However, do not be fooled. These attractions only serve as a subterfuge to facilitate our infiltration and interaction with the human race. Most humans prioritize beauty. Living all this time as a human, you must have realized how much they give importance to this factor.” With a tone of disapproval, he added, “They do not realize that true beauty comes from the soul.”
“Get off me, you maggot!” Kate screamed as she tried to get rid of the strong hands of the commander.
“Be quiet and do not be rude!” Igor shouted.
Struggling to get rid of his arms, with all her strength she threw a kick in the nether parts of the commander which left him on all fours and cry out in pain. Owned by fury, Igor retaliated by giving her a hard punch in the face, striking her mouth and knocking her down violently.
Jake was mad to see her being attacked and cried angrily to the commander, “When I put my hands on you, you bastard, I swear I’ll kill you!”
Kate was still on the ﬂoor. She wiped away the blood trickling from her mouth. Looking at the Guardian, sadly she whispered, “Jake ... I’m sorry ...”
Igor did not let her speak. He kicked her sideways and blocked her with the wind. He then walked to the mediator and grabbed his tie. He gagged the girl with it. Anticipating that she would not follow him willingly, he created a kind of handcuffs in her pulses, generated by magic. Igor lifted her by the arm and motioned to leave.
“Please do not take her,” Jake pleaded. “I cannot live without her.”
When Kate listened to the confession of the Guardian, she let out a sob. She then felt a sharp pain in her chest as if it was on fire. It was she who could not live without Jake...
“Don’t be stubborn! She belongs rightfully to Alex and Orpheus.” The commander sighed and started pushing her towards the door and he said, “Goodbye to all and sorry for the mess.” He looked at Mark and gestured toward the small cyclone that still swayed with force to destroy the whole environment. “And Jake?” Igor called out to him, “Do not try to come after her or invade Orpheus. I suggest that you forget her. Kate is unique and belongs only to one person ...”
In the next instant, a sudden earthquake began to shake the entire house, causing several cracks. Igor and Kate were immediately toppled by the strong tremors. The cyclone began to weaken and the Guardians plummeted to the ground along with the furniture and other objects. The roof the whole house began to tremble and with a deafening crack, imploded into a huge black gate where the ceiling was. The dark portal stretched over the entire congregation.
“Igor! What the hell are you doing?” Mark shouted.
“Sorry to disappoint you, my friend. This time, it wasn’t me!” replied the commander.
“What’s going on?” Lana questioned, looking up.
The mediator thought that this was not a good day. He should have just requested for a certificate and stayed home. He pointed to the black gate and said, “Now I am screwed!”
Alight breeze invaded the environment. From the top of the portal, within the nucleus where the energy was concentrated, small black sparks and a thick fog began to envelope the whole environment, creating a stormy atmosphere. After the sparks dissipated in the air, a tall, burly man came through the fog. He seemed very angry and dissatisfied with his rigid jaw and carried a strained expression on his face. He had black hair and his eyes were dark blue. His skin was pale and he wore his old combat armor, consisting of dark pants and a steel vest, leaving only his arms to show. He also wore a black hood that was clipped through metal jambs. On his forearm, he had a steel bracelet made which extended from the wrist to the elbow and was composed of a row of small sharp blades. A huge sword hung from his back.
Everyone stood stunned, staring at the man. The commander, who was still lying face down on the ﬂoor, looked at him and stammered, “Lucius ... How long ...”
The Guardian of Darkness stared at him with an icy stare and with a rough voice, he asked, “Where’s the girl?”
Igor pointed with a trembling hand to where Kate was lying. Lucius stared at her, completely bewildered. With an altered expression and watery eyes, he walked hesitantly towards her. Turning to Igor, the Guardian shook his head.
“This is not my daughter!” He crouched down abruptly and removed the gag that was covering her mouth. Kate carried a scared expression on her face as if she had just seen a ghost. Lucius took away the bonds made by magic and lifted the girl. Then, he took her face between his hands, and staring into her blue eyes, he said, “No. It cannot be. I watched you die ... You died in my arms ...” With tears rolling down his cheeks, he said without looking at the commander, “This is not my daughter. She is my wife.”