Kayla wakes up on the large courtyard next to her sister, Amy, whom was already awake. "Good morning, sis" said Amy, as Kayla wakes up, then continues "it's been very quiet, and I haven't see Etherin yet." Kayla looks at her sister puzzled then hesitantly asks "you- you saw Leena then?" Amy nodded and frowned. He expression changes to that of confusion and fear and says "it was... as if she was in a complete trance. Her eyes, sis, were so empty. As if she wasn't even in there. It was scary, but what's worse...". As her sister spoke, Kayla got up and tried walking toward the castle, but a shield that felt as though it was made out of glass prevented her to get close to the castle, or the new stairs leading down. "...There's that invisible shield there. I couldn't reach her. Sis... I think I'm getting scared." Kayla immediately ran back to her sister and knelt next to her hugging her tightly "sis, don't say that. Courage, little sister, that is what we need now" said Kayla to her sister. Amy lifts her head and ears up and smiles again, looks at her sister thanking her.
In the dimly lit room, Etherin wakes up, his arm still reaching for Leena's. He squeezes his hand and terror fills his hears as he feels something was missing. He lifts his head with much struggle and opens his eyes. He thought he saw Leena for a second, but as soon as his sight cleared, he noticed she was gone. Struggling, he gets up as fast as he could, but he was still so dazed and he still didn't have full control of his limbs. His heart raced as he looked around and still no sign of Leena anywhere, and what was worse was the entrance was completely gone. As hard as he tried, every time he called for her, a feeble sound came from his voice. His heart and body were now filled with so much fear; fear for her loss. What if she was hurt, or worse, killed and consumed by a monster. He started to cry, but he would comfort himself thinking that she was well, but probably had been captured and she needed him. His fear turned to courage, and with this, he could control his limbs better. He started to run to what seemed to him was forward, but the room looked the same, any way he looked at it, and it was so dark inside, it made it even harder. He keeps running, but was still lost. His heartbeats quickened, his thoughts were becoming maddening, where was he, where was he going, where should he go? All these thought came rushing through his head as he continued running in a straight line in that room. He slipped and fell on the ground, his body spinning as he kept on sliding, then crashed against one of the marble pillars. Now he was truly lost. "Where the heck AM I!!?" he screamed as despair once more consumed his heart and mind. As he stood up, all his thought were on Leena, whom was probably lost and alone somewhere in that crazy place, but then, a light grabbed his attention. He moved toward one of the pillars with a torch. As he got closer, he could see a brighter light next to the torch, and then, after going through two pillars that were very close to each other, he entered the same room, only it was well lit, and there was a white set of stairs leading up. He smiled when saw Leena's energy leading up. "She's ok" he said, as he took a deep breath of relief. As he reached the stairs, he started calling out of Leena, and would call for her as loudly as he could every few seconds or so. He finally reaches the courtyard with the white castle in the middle. He saw the statues of the men with weapons for hands, immediately unsheathing his sword. As he got closer skeleton warriors were silently rising from behind. Amy and Kayla would scream at him, but the shield that held them back was preventing him from hearing or seeing them.
"Kayla, he can't hear us, what do we do!?" Kayla placed her hand on the ground and place a red energy ball on it, then grabs Amy and runs away from it. The ball sunk into the ground then it exploded with great force. The vibration alerted Etherin of the creatures behind him. "Phew, you did it sis" but Kayla did not answer and just stood in front of the shield, wondering if they would ever be able to get out of there, but then Amy yelled in alarm "Sis, behind us!" Three of those skeleton warriors were right behind them. Kayla prepared her magic, pushing Amy behind her first, but Amy got beside her. "Amy, I know you can fight, but I doubt your kicks and punches will do much against these creatures. They are made of magic and you need steel to harm them." Amy did not reply and simple pulled two short swords from her tail then smirked at her sister. "AMY!? where did you get those? You could have hurt yourself!" "Don't worry, Kayla, I brought these from Etherin's house. He said it was ok" she giggled then prepared herself to attack. Meanwhile Etherin had already begun to battle the undead creatures. He took care of them in a single slash from his sword, but as soon as he killed on, three more would pop up from the ground. He would slash the air and a beam of light would fly toward the enemies, turning them to dust. Those touched by light did not return, so Etherin smiles as he continues to slay the skeletons. Amy and Kayla, not having actual battle experience, had a lot of trouble with the skeletons. Amy would cut off their arms and heads, but they would just put them back on, and Kayla would blast them with her flame spells, but they only singed the creatures. "Amy, any ideas?" Amy went back to her sister's side in a flash and shook her head saying "Nu-uh, I though you would have figured something out by now." Amy spots Etherin and sees how he killed the creatures. "Kayla, I want you to shoot your fireballs at my swords" Kayla was shocked but then saw Etherin and understood and said "alright, just careful you don't get burned, ok?" And with that, Kayla sends two fireballs to her sister's swords, and Amy would slash the air, creating that light blade Etherin was creating with his sword, turning the first skeleton to dust. "YEAH!" yelled Amy as she jumped excitedly at the defeat of the skeleton, but Kayla said "umm, sis? There's still those two" Amy stopped bouncing, look at them and said "oh yeah" and immediately she had to block the skeleton's sword then back away. Etherin had just finished his last skeleton when he started to climb the stairs to the castle, but in front of him, four undead warriors, rose from under the stairs. Only two wore helmets, but each had a different weapon, their eyes red, their decaying skins purple and their bare teeth crawling with insects. The four warriors spread. The one with helmet and sword was in front, to the left was one with a spiked club, farther to the left, the other ghoul with helmet and bow and arrows, and to his right the ghoul with a staff.
Etherin began to battle with the warrior with the sword, but rapidly had to block the spiked club, avoiding a dangerously well shot arrow, then a blast of dark magic hit him. Etherin decided to run away from the stairs, but as he did, the sword wielding warrior jumped in front, so Etherin jumped to the left side and kept running as fast as he could, reaching the bow and arrow warrior and killing him immediately with a well placed fire blast. The spiked club and sword warriors had caught up, and Etherin jumped high in the air to avoid their attacks, but a dark blast hit him, sending him flying down the stairs, landing on the ground just next to the stairs going up to the castle. Meanwhile, Kayla and Amy had just beaten the second skeleton. The third skeleton ran back to where the first one had fallen and Amy was already celebrating again, but then the skeleton pulled a bone from the ashes and it turned into a shield on it's hands. Amy lowered her ears yelling "that's not fair!" They tried the magic slash, but the shield protected the skeleton flawlessly. It laughed as the girls regrouped out of options. Etherin got up from the ground and was going at it against both spiked club and sword warriors. He managed to blast the sword warrior with a ball of white light inside it's eye, turning it into flowers the moment it fell, then dashes toward the magic wielding warrior. Amy was dashing back and forth, landing a few hits on the skeleton's back, and while it swung its sword at Amy, Kayla would blast him with small fireballs right where Amy had landed her attacks. The skeleton was getting weaker, so Amy pushes her luck and slashes the monster's shield arm clean off, barely missed by the monster's own sword. "NOW!" yells Amy, and Kayla immediately shot two fireballs, Amy slashes them with her swords, sending the shock wave at the skeleton. the monster looked pathetically at the shock waves heading his way, and just before they hit, he loudly said "oh shi-" then turns to dust. Exhausted, Amy drops on the ground panting, and Kayla kneels breathing heavily, and almost out of breath she said "we did it, sis", and Amy laughed as she lies on the ground catching her breath. Meanwhile, Etherin had received some wounds on the face from the spikes on that club, now fighting both magic and club warriors at the same time. The magic warrior prepared a heavy magic attack, and the club warrior swung at Etherin, hitting him on his torso on the left. Etherin took advantage of this and grabbed the monster's arm and slammed him against the magic warrior, whom at the same time had just released the magic blast, but the impact from the other warrior made the magic bounce back, blasting both undead monsters to dust. Etherin was exhausted, but he kept going up the stairs.
He was about to open the door when the ground under him started rumbling. He leaps back, sword at the ready and in a second, a large knight in thick black armor with golden outline in each of the pieces, a large dark helmet, heavy iron boot and a massive axe sprung from under the ground. It bowed at Etherin, then prepared himself in a battle stance. Ehterin was tired, but he could not turn back now. He ran, screaming at the knight, but it moved just as Etherin's sword landed, then Etherin tried a magic spell, but the knight dispelled the magic, then used it's forearm on Etherin's face to send him flying back. Etherin got back up but the knight was already on top of him, grabs him by the shirt then throws him against the castle doors. Etherin was losing consciousness, so the knight took this opportunity to finish him. He raises the large axe all the way behind him, looking at Etherin, ready to cut Etherin in half, but then it stopped, then drops the axe. The torso part of the armor flew off, revealing a scythe that had gone through the knight's ribs, then back out. As the monster turns to ashes, Xato was standing behind it, smiling at Etherin. "I never thought I would see the day when it was I who saved your butt, huh Etherin?" Etherin could not believe his eyes, but before he knew it, Xato was offering Etherin a small bottle with a blue liquid inside. Etherin grabbed the bottle weakly, then struggles a bit to open it, and as he does, blue magic sparks come flying from inside. Etherin drinks it, magically recovering his strength and all his wounds healed in just a second. "So much better" sighed Etherin. "Xato, why'd you...?" but before he could continue Xato said "I am sorry, Etherin. For everything. I should have known better than to doubt your judgment. I guess I was so blinded by these myths and rumors. Please forgive me. Allow me the honor of..." Etherin raised his hand to calm Xato down "don't worry, old friend, just snap out of it and let's go find her" Hope had filled Etherin's heart now that Xato was helping him. They enter the castle together. Inside, the castle was made of white and light gray stones and adorned with many different depiction and statues of gods and goddesses. Immediately inside on the first floor the stairs leading to the second floor stood there, but once they reached the second floor, they realized Xato was the only one that could go on ahead. "Xato, we're gonna have to split up. If either one finds that source of evil oozing from here, let's regroup on the first floor, got it?" Xato nodded and was about to jump up when Etherin places his hand on Xato's shoulder and says "don't risk your life, got it?" Xato smiled and said "I'm part fox and part wolf. My instincts wouldn't allow it anyway", then he jumped to the wall and used to to climb up, then continued on. Etherin explores the second floor, going though many doors until he reached a large round room. The floor was adorned in light brown, the center a lighter brown ball of light that would send rays of the same color of the ball to the walls, and at the end of each ray there were murals. Some depicted his parents' own adventure in Lumia so many years ago, and there he saw the picture of his uncle Merkob right before his death, his silvery shining ever so brightly, but then he noticed his own story with Leena. There she was, the pictures of her birth, of both her own and her mother's light joining, and how he came to meet her and then a very terrible picture of Leena, her hair waving like snakes, bight yellow in color, her eyes crimson colored, wearing a dress as black as the night, destroying the entire world. Besides the one it was him with Leena, just as he remembered her, but he had a golden chain around her neck, and she was bowing to him and the other lumians. "This... this isn't right" he whispered to himself, then he noticed something funny on the wall, like a small crack, but before he could investigate he turns around, unsheathing his sword.
After he turned around the room filled with light from outside, his eyes widened when he saw Leena standing in the very center of the room, looking down, her tears falling on the ground. Etherin lowered his sword almost immediately "Leena" he happily called, but did not move from his spot next to the mural he was just looking at. He saw her tears, and noticed how he hair was no longer wavy, but smoothed, and it was bright yellow instead of the usual golden brown. He remembered the other picture of her destroying the land, then fear once again claimed his heart. "Leena?", she softly asked. "Shut up!" she yelled, still not lifting her head she continued "why? Why did you continued to lie to me?" Etherin tried to talk but she continued "you know, I loved you, I really did. But the evidence is so clear to me now; as clear as those pictures you're standing next to" and without lifting her head, she points at the two pictures of her outcome then continued "you were going to use me. But what if I refused? What if I do go mad and kill all?" She started to sob, then turned her sobbing into maniacal laughter. Etherin tried to get closer, but something held him in place. "Leena, these pictures, I swear, I did not know. There is no way I would do this to you. Yes, it's true, at first I was sent to find you, to save Lumia; to save the world, but I swear..." "LIES!!!" Leena screamed at the top of her lungs, sending an intense shock wave that threw Etherin off balance then she continues "you're treachery knows no bounds. You're going to use my love for you for your own, disgusting, and selfish reasons, but now..." She raised her head revealing crimson colored eyes, an evil smile on her face, her tears dried up, her hair started to wave on it's own, looking just like serpents, just like the picture depicting her evil self. A dark red aura now surrounded her. When Etherin saw this, his eyes filled with terror as he realizes the power she possessed. Not only did she have just powerful light, she also possessed great darkness, and could use both auras at the same time. Leena continued "...now, dear Etherin, we will fight. The winner will keep his, or her life, and the loser... Well, the loser will die. On her left hand she summons a small sword made of light, on her right, a large hammer made of darkness. Etherin's mind was going crazy. He knew he couldn't kill her, but he couldn't let her kill him just like that. And so, they stand looking at each other, waiting for the first one to make their move.
Meanwhile, outside on the courtyard, Amy and Kayla had just recovered their breathes and were looking for ways to get out of there. Amy ran as fast as she could, banging on the crystal shield at great speeds, but there were no openings anywhere. When she returned to her sister to deliver the news, they both sighed, but then Kayla noticed something from the skeleton's ashes. It was their supplies, and sleeping bags. "Wow, who would have thought...?" said Amy in surprise and as she prepares some tea, she then realizes "wait a minute, sis... if these skeletons had part of out things, do you think the one's Etherin killed were...?" Kayla opened her eyes wide and went close to the shield to see, and to their horror, their extra set of clothes were on the other side of the shield, some had been shred to pieces, other singed by fire, and some extra supplies of food just lying there out of reach. Amy was wailing and screaming "WAAAAAH!!! That was my most FAVORITE SHIRT!!!! Oh no, all that FOOD!!!! NOOOOO!!!" She lowered her ears and knelt on the ground, softly howling, then Kayla came to her and said, "don't worry sis, we'll get you a new shirt, besides, we have enough food here to last us until Etherin and Leena return" then smiled at Amy. Amy still pouting, pointed a little to the right of her shredded shirt and said "well, isn't that the new bikini you had bought just a week ago?" "WHAT!?" yelped Kayla, turning red like a tomato. "Oh, no!, No, no, no ,no. Amy, Amy, we got to get that back, what if Etherin saw that, OH MY GOSH, I'll be so embarrassed. Amy, Amy, please we have to hide that, COME ON!!!"
To be Continued
FEB. 24 2009
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