It's been a day since the event known as "The Revalation" amoung the Twilight Phoenix Guild. The news of Markus' clone ripped through the city with almost everyone finding out quicker than Markus could guess. Luckly no bad press came out of it. Despite this event the Guild has carried on as if nothing happened, though Markus has began training with Zero to gain more strength.
"Lets do this old friend." Said the smiling Zero who as usual is not really taking this seriously. "Lets see if you can over come magic."
"We'll see...." Said Markus charging forward not using any magic. "I've learn the weakness of your magic all too well."
Zero smiled and Markus' attack passed through him like nothing happened. The Zero infront of him was a memory projected by Zero as a decoy. Zero then countered with his Burning Storm Pulse to knock Markus off balance, this failed as Markus warped to anew location and repeated the technique until he found a peice of solid footing.
"What up? I though you figured my magic out." Smiled Zero as he stood up looking at Markus. "I mean you did say that."
"I figured the magic out...Not you but i got a plan you won't like." Said Markus as he vanished and landed a pwoerful punch to Zero's stomach sending him into a rock. "That ain't a fake.....Your magic can't copy physical attacks....I win."
"Yep...First solid hit wins....." Said Zero as he got up from the rubble. "Man your not holding back much are ya?"
"Nope!" Said Markus sitting on the largest piece of rubble.
Ray, along with Adrian and Frejya had woken up early in the morning to see this match up with Markus and Zero, "So who do you think is the strongest in a match like this?"
"Well that depends, Markus has the power on his side, but Zero's magic is quite tricky to handle" He says continuing to see the fight.
"Markus uses a Slayer Magic but Zero uses Memory-Make meaning he can mimic the spells Markus and anyone else uses and mix them with other spells he's remembered making entirely new ones." Said Freyja as she chewed ona sweet. "It makes him a seriously annoying person to spar with at times....Kinda curious to what he could do with your Nova Magic you got Ray."
Ray nodded in response as he continued watching the fight.
"I would really like to see that too" Adrian replied as he took a bite of Frejya's sweet and giving her a kiss on the cheek, "A sweet for a sweet".
"Hey! No fair...." Freyja pouted looking at the bite mark in her sweet. "Anyway go on Ray have a go against Zero...I'd love to see what he makes with your magic."
"Ohhh sound like the hunter is gonna join our play time Markus!" Smiled Zero as he finished his sake.
"Don't talk like that...." Said Markus who was relaxing on his piece of rubble. "But go have some fun....I'm curious to see what you can make with his magic...."
Ray shrugged and walked up to the sparring ring, "Nice to meet you Zero" Ray said with a smile as he stood in a fighting stance, "Let's see what you got".
Zero smiled and gestured for Ray to attack him. "No let me see your power.....Go all out, try and kill me." He said with a confident tone.
"Go ahead kid....You'll be surprised what you get." Said Markus watching from his peice of rubble still lying down. "I'm the strongest in the guild in terms of pwoer and skill but Zero is a very close second."
"Ok bets on the winner!" Shouted Freyja to the crowd of guild members who've gathered to watch the sparring. "Odds are 100 to 1 in favor of Zero!"
"I feel bad for the guy" Adrian said putting his bet on Ray as he wanted to at least give his friend some confidence to try his best.
"If you insist, though you should be warned" Ray said before he instantly appeared right behind Zero, "My true strength can shine when I don't hold back" He said attempting to deal a powerful punch on him,
Zero smirked turning out of the way of the punch and gentle pushing it down into the ground. "True strength comes from control....A true swordsman knows when to keep his sword sheathed...." Said Zero back up giving some room to Markus who blocked the flying debris with his Storm Wing Shield. "Try it with magic....That'll be hard for me to block...."
Markus just sighed as Zero's last comment. "Don't make it to easy for him...." He said sitting up to get a better view of the sparring match. "Freyja give back teh money from the bets....Save that for the next Nomination!"
"Ok....." Said Freyja dejected in her hopes to gain some extra cash to by anew coat.
"Aw, don't worry babe, I'll buy it for you, I still got some cashed saved up from traveling days" Adrain said as he placed his hand on her shoulder and brought her closer to him,
"Very well then, if you insist, "Ray focuses his magic, summoing out an incredible fireball and sending it flying to Zero.
Zero smirked again as the fireball hit and left no effect. "Not bad...But not good enough." He said sending a blast that looked identical to Markus Burning Storm Phoenix Slayer Magic. "Try that!"
"Here we go....." Said Markus who erected a wall made of lightning infront of him. "Don't go overboard Zero...."
Ray focused his magic, creating a powerful wall of flames that blocked the attack, making Ray push back as he tried to bounce it back, but ended up breaking it apart as he was sent to the ground. Ray jumped back up, sending another flame blast at Zero, with more intensity than the last.
Zero does ther same as before somehow nulifying the spell and countering with a wind and fire based attack. "Inferno Vortex...." He said as the flame and wind began to spin violently creating a tornado of the two elements. "See how you match with that....Memory...."
Ray focused his light and fire magic together, creating a powerful Nova Magic blast that he sent flying towards Zero.
"Perfect just what i wanted...." Zero created a decoy like before and appeared at Ray's left flank. He then launched attack fusing Nova Magic with Ice Magic. "Frozen Nova Magic: Eternal Burn..." A sheat of ice raced towards Ray's feet.
In one instant, Ray jumped up on top of one of the rubble pieces as the attacked had iced the area, "Close, but not close enough" He said.
Zero appeared behind Ray using teleport magic holding an Ice-Make sword to his throat. "I win....Nice try though Ray you're really good easily S-Class level." Said Zero as he released his hold on Ray and walked back to Markus who gave him a bottle of Sake. "Memory-Make isn't an easy form of magic to counter....The onyl problem you ahve you need to watch your opponant more....Watch for patterns hitches and tells in his body."
"Lasted longer than i expect...." Said Freyja as she finished the last of her sweets while trying to keep them from Adrian. "Zero normally fights on par with Markus.....Until Markus decides to go pure-melee."
Ray nodded and jumped down as he decided to go check in with Becca and see what was going on with her.
Becca was at her usual spot by the waterfall working on her magic more. having finally mastered that spell and working on variations.
"Hey Becca" Ray said with a smile on his face as he ran over to her.
"Oh hey Ray!" She said as she sent a water dragon straight through a huge boulder. "Hows things?"
"Good, though I just had a sparring match with Zero, what kind of magic was he using? He literally copied my move and was able to make something else" Ray said as he sat down on a bolder and watched Becca use her magic.
"Memory-Make....Didn't he give you clues during the match?" Asked Becca as she took a drink of water from the stream. "He's a one man army of mages basically."
"I kind of figured that out, though still he was pretty quick, even my speed wasn't able to outmatch him, Frejya would've probably won the bet she tried to start" Ray told Becca.
"She always does that don't take it badly....Normally Zero get in and either bets on himself or who ever he's up againt...." Said Becca with a slight sigh. "So what combo did he make with your magic?"
Ray walked over to where Becca was and sat right next to her, "An ice-version of my Nova Magic, he almost got me trapped, then again he did teleport and use Ice-Make Sword on my neck" Ray replied grabbing a drink of water from the river.
"He's been waiting to make a combo out of your magic for ages now!" She giggled. "He copied a few of my spells even my newest spells after i made them."
"I guess I fell for that one" Ray said sighing as he laid back in the grass and looked up at the sky, seeing the clouds pass on by.
"We all have...Even Markus he's copied loads of his spells over the years they've known eachother." Smiled Becca joining him on the ground. "I'm not entirely sure on the details how they met and started the guild though....Apparently Zero is writing the history of the guild down, but he's taking ages...."
"Well it would be interesting to read all those stories" Ray said moving his hand down, feeling it brush up against Becca's.
"E-er yeah....." Becca went bright red and composed herself. "Well from what i know Markus used to be a vigilante hunting dark mages and criminals before any for of law got involved....Zero became a bounty hunter after leaving some kinda research group in Fiore."
She sat up and looked to the mansion. "Markus didn't even know about his past before he met Bolterus and was raised by him."
Ray looked over to Becca, "Kind of reminds me of myself to be honest, all I ever remembered was who to fight or kill, even now it still feels like it's part of me" He said looking over to her.
"Well i don't have anything liek that in my past....I was born into the Kishina Family....My family helped get the island's wealth." She said looking down. "Though it was borning till i decided to join the guild....Markus and Zero were hired to protect a shipment of goods my family was transporting....I was on the ship with my mother when Raiders attacked.....Most of the crew was killed and Markus wiped out the Raiders along with Zero."
She looked over to the forest and saw Markus running through on his afternoon run, he ran through the forest using the trees to leap over rocks and fellen logs. He also flipped over them as well or vaulted over them in various ways.
"He always exercises near here?" Ray wondered looking at Markus.
"Yeah he normally does that up to Mount Hi-nushi and back down....Roughtly 20 miles in total and he doesn't slow down much during it." She said nonchalantly watching Markus dash past. "Apparently he ran 200 miles without stopping once....But it was during a storm so he just attracted lightning bolts ot him to keep him going."
"I can see that, though it's not surprising, Markus is strong" Ray said looking back at Becca, "Listen, I need to tell you something. The last few missions were enough for me to have the funds needed to move on, it doesn't mean I don't care about you, it just means we won't be seeing each other as much as we like to" He said with a sad and guilty look on his face.
Becca smiled as hugged him. "It's fine! You've helped me get more confident and i'm happy for you but remember your always welcome here and if you decided to officially join your more than able. Hell with the work you've done you'd be put into the S-Class group straight away!" She smiled as got up. "I'll cya when you get back! I'm gonna find a job i need the edge cash to pay my rent this month."
she ran off to the main building in not too much of a hurry still remaing happy despite what would be expected.
Ray sighed as he decided to stay outside for a bit, thinking how bad he felt that he had to tell Becca that after the two finally started to connect with each other.
Zero then appeared. "Yo kid!" He said with a smile on his face and a bowl of noodles in his hands. "You ok?"
He sat down next to Ray and began to eat his noodles.
"I just told Becca that I'll have to be leaving soon, she was starting to get more confident in herself and I feel bad for having to break bad news like this" Ray replied with a sigh.
"Ok listen dude....Becca is fine with it, i jsut saw her and she was really happy." He said setting his bowl down. "We all know your edgy about staying here and that you like to travel."
He picked the bowl up and used a spell from his Memory-Make to create another bowl of noddles and he offered the copy to Ray. "Becca has her own team now and she's doing well we have the S-Class Nominations in afew weeks and she's a shoe in for making S-Class along with her team.....She come along way and proved how much talent we suspected she had....All because of you showing up." He said with a smile. "You should've seen her when she first got here she was alot worse than when you met her."
Ray took the bowl and nodded, even though he was glad, he still felt a bit bad for not being able to stay with the group, but simply kept it to himself and began to eat. "Well in any case, at least she's happy so that's something".
"She's a strange girl....She left her comfy life to join a buch of renegades and nut jobs." Said Zero with a bunch of noddles in his mouth showing great tlaent in talking clearing with his mouth fully. "We accepted her and she was slowly gaining confidence even protecting the odd new boot from some morons we made the mistake of letting join...."
Zero swolloed hard as he noticed Markus standing behind Ray. "Yo Markus....Care to join us?"
"Yeah might as well cool off after that run." Markus sat down steaming. "Did you know there was a Kettle Drake up on the mountain?"
"Nope!" Said Zero as he drank the brothe from the bowl. "We were just talking about Becca's progress and how our friendly nomad's arrival helped her massively!"
"Hmmm i see.....But yeah you helped alot Ray. She likes you alot and told me she hopes you join the guild so you can join her team." Said Markus laying back on the grass. "Though before you do join we would liek t oknow abit more about you....Ya know? We do a background check on everyone in the guild."
"Well what exactly do you want to know?" Ray wondered as he finished his bowl quickly and looked over to Markus.
"As much as you want to tell us....We're not gonna dig too much." Markus said looking at Ray. "I'm curious to know where you learnt that magic of yours."
"After I left home, I ran into several different people that got me back on the path that my father hoped I would take instead of the one my mother wanted from me" Ray said walking over to the river to see his reflection. "I'm from the Hunter Clan, a hidden group of warrior mages focused on getting stronger to survive and enjoy the battle. I'm the next in line to inherit the status of clan chief, well was."
"Hmmm sounds like The Michin Tribe....Those guys raid traders and merchants daily...We get alot of work around the Southern Dunes....." Said Zero as he stood up. "So what is your father's path?"
"Anything except my mother's, to him he wanted me to decide what I wanted to do in my life, not be some emotionless hunter that kills and kills for the thrill of it. Even so, the blood of the hunter still runs through my vains" He said looking back to Markus and Zero.
"We all have the capacity to kill and enjoy it....I enjoy killing Daimon's follwoers....Alot, but i don't enjoy killed anyone or anything else i understand it is needed to survive." Said Markus as he stood up and walked to the waterfall. "Your doing well in your father's path."
"Markus has a intresting view on death.....Normally someone like him would be dark and gloomy but he's cocky and well human.....He doesn't let whats happened effect his future." Said Zero smirked at Markus. "He does however pray for their souls....Unless they serve Daimon."
"I will fight, but I will only kill if I have not, not because I want to, though there is some part of me that wants to enjoy it" Ray said looking back at the water, "Other than that, I still have a lot to discover about myself" Ray said grabbing a drink.
"I enjoy fighting and when it comes to Daimon's followers i enjoy the kill alot." Said Markus as he began to shadowbox on the rock he was standing on. "I've made an oath to wipe out Daimon and all who follow him....One of the reason we made this guild to kill him."
"Other reasons include helping people, gathering rogues and renegades who have no path and helping them find one." Said Zero as he watched Markus. "Ya see before this i was a member of a Magic Council research team looking into the various legends about Zeref and the Dragon Wars to see what was fact and fiction....We also looked into lost styles of magic in hopes of reviving them.....After that i became a bounty hunter before meeting up with Markus and Void."
"Seems like you two have led interesting lives" Ray said as he looked back at them.
"We make our lives how they are.....Markus spent alot of his childhood as a pickpocket when not training to test his skills." Smirked Zero as he flicked a stone at Markus who deflected it sending it liek a bullet into a large rock next ro Ray. "He did spend alot of nights in prisons for that.....And always got out one way or another."
"Same mages are hard to lift....." Said Markus relaxing from the training. "Alot of the experience ones who spend alot of time helping the police stop pickpocketing and minor street crimes."
"I didn't exprience much myself, it's one of the reasons I became a wandering mage, to see what this world had for me, so far I've been making new friends" Ray said looking at them with a smile.
"Friends and family are always needed...." Said Markus walking back to them. "The entire guild is our family and in my eyes the new Hotaru Clan."
"Then why am i the leader of the guild?" Asked Zero confused.
"Figurehead...." Smirked Markus.
"Family may not be by my side, but friends like you are" Ray said smiling as he walked into the guild.
The three went back to the main house of the estate and saw Becca and one of her team mates Sting arguing about a job.
"No we need the money! This one will be easy!" Said Becca as she stomped her right foot pointing at the job poster.
"It's in the DMZ! We can't go in there without special permission! The job is a no go ever since the war started!!" Said Sting pointing at a noticed next to the job board.
A third member of the team showed up Rogue. "Look just grab another job.....Look here's one located on our side of the DMZ and has double the pay." He said pulling the notice off the board.
"Fine....But i really wanted that reward." Said Becca holding her head down.
"Looks like those guys are at it again...." Said Zero shrugging as he walked past the notice board.
"How come that job is still up there?" Said Markus pulling it off with his Wind Mover spell. "This is a Triple S job...."
"Maybe no one wanted to take that job?" Ray said with a curious look on his face, he had read up on what guilds did often, but he never actually saw a triple S-class mission before.
"Well we done a Triple-S job yesterday....We found Xander and took down that supply depo." Said Markus putting the job poster in his pocket. "They're jobs exclusivly for the S-Class Mages and are given by the military personally....Black ops kinda jobs, the stuff the regular people don't need to know about."
"They're called Triple-S jobs 'cos they border the are between a Double-S job and a 10 year job." Said Zero leading the group to the dining hall. "They're also highly secretive.....I mean not even the Mochina Special Forces will do them thats how bad they are."
"So why hand it to us?" Ray wondered looking at Markus and Zero.
"We're the only guild made enough to do them! The Royal Guard's Wolf Unit does them as well but we get the really fun ones." Smiled Zero as he sat down at the table. "I've been meaning to join Markus on one at somepont."
"Should be fun watching you copy everyone's spells." Smirked Markus as he grabbed a plate of noodles, a bowl of ramen, some chicken skewers and a large plate of ribs. "plus i wanna try a Unison Raid spell with you Zero it could be intresting to see the end result."
"Huh sounds like another interesting adventure, mind if I tag along?" Ray said looking over at them both with a small smile on his face.
"When ya get back...Sure!" Said Zero relaxing back in hi seat. "More the merrier!"
"We could always do with a meat shield." Smirked Markus as he shoveled ramen into his mouth.
Ray smiled as he heard laughter coming from behind him and saw both Adrian and Frejya sitting next to each other, talking about something and laughing. He decided to go see how they were.
"Hey Ray, that was an interesting match you had" He said putting his arms around Frejya's shoulder.
"True, didn't expect Zero to counter me with that form of magic" He said grabbing a drink and chugging it down.
"Well he's only lost to Markus and his team out of the entire guild." Said Freyja using her stretch magic to grab a bowl of her favirote noodles. "Should've focused on martial arts, thats the only kind of attack he can't mimc."
"Hey!" Shouted Zero glaring at Freyja. "We'll go a couple rounds later then runt-bucket!"
"Anytime nerd-master!" Smirked Freyja as she ate the bowl of noodles in one go.
"I've noticed something, you and Adrian are always with each other, I'm guessing you guys are what they call a couple?" Ray said with his eyebrow raised.
"Keep up Ray!" Chuckled Freyja picking up a drink. "Thats old news...Alot of people find love here for some reason....Got Ellena and Markus, Zero and his one sided crush on Liz Drake."
"Shut up!!" Shouted Zero throwing a bowl at Freyja only to have the bowl shot out of the air by Markus.
"Same goes for Becca." Smiled Freyja. "She's head over heels for you Ray."
"I know, though with me leaving to continue my journey made me feel sad, I don't want to leave her" Ray said looking over to Adrian.
"Hey man, if I learned anything about this place, it's that love here is strong, Frejya may be one unexpected girl, but that's what I care about. Becca understands why you have to go, I'm sure she knows that you'll come back to visit when you can" He said kissing Frejya on the cheek.
"Ài shì yī zhǒng bùkě shēnsuō de mí...." Said Markus in a weird language.
"Markus stop using the Bychan language....Your the only one in the guild who speaks it anyway." Said Zero glaring at Markus.
"Sorry to translate i said "Love is an unstretchable engima." Basically meaning no matter how far you go Becca will be waiting." Said Markus standing up taking the previous job notice. "I'm gonna investigate who posted this...Cya later."
Markus vanished in a flash of lightning only two slightly smouldering footprints.
Ray smiled then got up, "It's about time for me to get out of here as well, I still have much to learn" Ray said grabbing his gear as he looked over to Adrian and Frejya. "Thanks for everything you two" He said with a smile on his face.
"Anytime brother, come back soon" Adrian said extending his hand to shake Ray's as he did the same.
Zero let out a cheer and the rest of the guild followed in their usual tradition of saying good bye to friends they won't see for awhile.
"Good luck Runter!" Said Zero as he gave a lazy salute to Ray as he walked out the door.
Taking one last look, Ray smiled and for the first time felt good about having his corrupt blood in his body, as the wind blew in front of him, He disappeared in a flash as the rising sun could be seen crawling over the mansion.