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"Work Hard, Live Well"

This article, Haunting Arrival: The Eight Demons, is the sole property of Phantom and cannot be used, edited, or referenced without his permission, with the exception of collaboration articles, whereas terms listed above are unserviceable.

Introduction

Back at the guild the group found Dark meditating in the back garden and Sakura along with Star having something to eat. "This ain't bad huh?" Said Sakura as she stripped the meat of a rack of ribs. "Much better than what Daimon gave us...."

"Yeah, I remember we had to steal food of trading convoys to get a decent meal.....I even stole some food from his private store-room." Said Star with a smile as he devoured an entire burger without a problem. "How come Dark isn't joining us?"

"He doesn't think he should eat the food here yet till he's accepted....." Said Sakura looking back to see Dark still meditating. "Once he gets some acceptance he'll start eating and acting as normal as he can."

Footsteps could be heard as they looked over to see Joo Dee carrying some drinks over to them and she held it out to have them grab it.

"Thanks Little Storm." Said Star downing the drink. "So where's Markus? I wanna talk to him."

"Thanks little one." Smiled Sakura putting the drink on the table and stretching her back out. "Hmmm this chairs are great!"

"Uncle went to take care of something and should be back later" She said going over to Dark and letting him grab the cup.

"Hmm ok....So have ya talked to Dark yet?" Said Star rubbing his unique right arm. "You'd be the only one.....Everyone else seems to avoid him."

"Yeah....We're the only ones who'll talk to him.....Guess it's the fact he's a copy of Markus that they avoid him." Said Sakura looking at Dark as he lifted himself from a cross legged mediation position into a hand stand.

Joo Dee walked in front of him, looking at Dark with a confused look, "What kind of training are you doing?" She asked with a curious tone.

"I'm trying to let go of my anger, my hate, my blood lust....." Said Dark as he brought his legs down and stood shifting into a fighting stance and preforming a kata from his fighting style showing it's wild and deadly techniques.

Joo Dee looked at him with a confused look, to her he didn't look like he was angry or hateful, to her, he looked like he was lonely and wanted someone to talk to. "You know, my uncle has started teaching me his magic..." She said hoping to strike up a conversation.

"Really? So you're the first 2nd generation Phoenix Slayer in over 500 years?.....Interesting." Said Dark stopping and sitting down looking at Joo Dee. "Show me...."

Joo Dee took a deep breath as she found herself getting electricity to generate all around her body as she focused it and made it reach up high.

"That is a simple trick....Anyone who uses lightning magic can do that." Smirked Dark as he stood up towering over the small girl like Markus does. "Show me the scream....Or the wings."

"Go ahead Joo Dee....Give him a demo of your power." Said Markus returning from his job. "Aim up though.....We don't wanna cause any damage to the gardens like last time."

Colt and Sakura decided to join Markus and watch what was happen. "I'm curious to see the kid's power." Said Colt holding a bottle of Mochina Sake. "I also wanna see her sister's skill but don't think that will happen any time soon."

"Yeah she's been avoiding us for awhile now." Said Sakura leaning against Colt.

Joo Dee nodded as she focused more, concentrating on the new trick her mother taught her as she was able to produce her own wings, and flapped upward to reach very high in the sky.

"Hehe nice work Little Storm." Said Markus looking back to his copy. "She's a talented kid don't ya think."

"She's got a long way to go but yeah she is...." Said Dark crossing his arms. "You taught her any of the other aspects our the magic?"

"Yeah, a few bits.....But she's learning fast and creating new spells already." Said Markus walking over to Dark. "What about you? Up for gaining some real training to gain full control of your magic?"

Dark looked at him and then to his hands and sighed. "I dunno yet....." He said before walking off towards the forest.

"Joo Dee keep an eye on him....Your allowed to talk to him if you want." Said Markus watching him walk off.

She nodded and went following Dark to make sure everything was alright for him.

"Why are you following me kid? Hell why are you so friendly to me? I'm the guy who tried to kill your uncle and has done so for years......I'm meant to be avoided." Said Dark walking through the forest. "I'm not even a true human I'm just some amped up faker made to replace and destroy Markus."

"I don't see you that way..." She said as he stopped and looked over to her, "Sure you may be different than uncle, but you're not meant to be uncle, you have to be you" Joo Dee said looking at her with an understanding look on her face. "Also, I feel like you're not a bad guy, you just seem sad and lonely".

"Someone like me should be alone....." Said Dark walking on into a dark area of the forest with strung up skulls hanging from branches. "You shouldn't look too much into me kid...."

Dark walked deeper into the dark parts of the forest eventually causing Joo Dee to lose him and get lost in the monster infested shadows.

She was shaking in fear and started wandering around trying to look for him with electricity in her hand to act as a sort of light for her, but stopped when she heard the sounds of heavy breathing and branches snapping as she looked around in fear, charging her magic in an attempt to scare whatever it was as it suddenly lept out, wanting to attack Joo Dee as she yelled in fear.

In front of Joo Dee was a large Dragon Bear a giant bear with llizard like scales and spines on their backs reaching to the tip fo their tail, they also boasted an impressive level of fire magic able to breath and manipulate fire. It walked towards Joo dee breath out licks of flame from it's mouth before leaping at her just missing her as she moved out of the way and backed into a corner. The monster seemed to smile before unleashing a massive stream of fire only to have it blocked by a large figure.

"I'd leave the kid alone...." Growled Dark standing in front of the monster with his Phoenix Slayer Magic jumping along his body. "Or I'll drag you to hell myself...."

The monster just roared at Dark lunging forward in an attempt to slash him with it's super-heated claws, Dark just stopped the attack with his own fire magic and kicked the beast away. The monster then hit Dark with a fireball that knocked him back, the mage landed in on all fours like a wild animal and lunged forward unleashing his own form of martial arts against the creature unleashing wild strikes mixed with disciplined strikes. The beats flesh and fur was tougher than he expected as was viciously clawed and mauled before begin thrown back towards Joo Dee. Despite his injuries he stood up as the wounds healed.

"You're a f*cking annoying runt ain't ya?" He growled charging his hands with lightning and forming it into a spear. "Try me now!"

The beast charged and was met with a wild flurry of spear attacks, the beast broke the spear into but Dark instantly formed the two halves into swords and slashed the monster to pieces, killing it and collapsing from the monster's hidden weapon deadly poison that even Phoenix Slayers have trouble recovering from.

Joo Dee quickly rushed towards him, lying him down as she focused her magic, using Gold Lightning to channel the healing properties through his entire body as she located the poison and managed to neturalize it, but exhausted her as he felt better.

Suddenly Markus, Cyn and Zero appeared through the trees. "What happened? And why are there peices of a Dragon Bear over there?!" Said Zero slightly nervous about being in their current location.

"Was cut up.....Judging by the residual lightning around the cuts....A Storm Phoenix spell...." Said Markus examining the remains. "I can't absorb the lightning and Joo Dee hasn't perfected the Armory spell yet.....Must've been Dark who did it."

"Joo Dee!!" Cynteria said with a scared tone as she went over to check on her daughter as she was still breathing, but was unconscious.

"Remind me to teach Joo Dee how to regulate he magic power output Zero....." Said Markus walking over to the two. "She's fine.....Use your phoenix eyes Cyn you can see her life is still strong."

"She got lost.....I came to help her...." Said Dark still recovering from the remnants fo the poison. "That thing came and i killed it to save her...."

"Nice work....But why did you enter here?" Asked Markus sitting next to Dark.

"I was depressed....Was trying to find somewhere to be alone....She followed me even though i told her she shouldn't." Said Dark trying to stand.

"Damn it Markus! I knew this would happen, you know Joo Dee is the caring type and yet you had her following him of all people?! I might forgive that sort of reckless, irritating, and all around stupid way of thinking when it's us on the line, but not when it comes to my own daughter!" She said with a fit of anger before carrying Joo Dee in her arms and walking back to the guild.

"And yet she allows me to teach her magic......" Said Markus helping Dark up. "Nice work Dark...Ya did good, you've begun to find your true path."

"Tao....My new name is Tao...." Said Dark weakly walking next to Markus and Zero as they made their way back to the guild.

"Fair enough...." Said Markus quickly glaring back and releasing a pulse of his magical power sending several predator running back into the bushes. "Stupid monsters...."

They eventually returned to the guild hall seeing Cyn still in a rage.

Cynteria was at the corner of the bar as she was drinking a heavy drink, something nobody ever saw before, which indicated she was pissed off.

Markus sighed and sat next to her. "Why are you so angry? She has to learn by experience.....Besides she did good today, she saved a life....." Said Markus moving the bottle away from her. "Granted it's one of the people you hate at the moment but still a life."

Dark sat outside the mansion not doing or saying anything, a talent he developed while in Daimon's service. Star and Sakura did the same listening in on the conversation.

"That's your problem Markus" She said looking over to him with an annoyed look, "I was reluctent to let her learn magic entirely, same as Chae Yi, and for a while I was a bit glad it helped change her attitude. However, she doesn't fully recognize the real dangers out there, and for you to recklessly let her journey into unknown territory, it makes me think of whether I made the right choice or not Markus" She replied.

"Thats the thing....This world is filled with danger! This region is at war with worse things than Daimon and his scum....We have worse monsters than Dragon Bear....Sheltering her won't help her." Said Markus standing up. "I let her experience things so she can learn the dangers of here....Reading them in a book won't let her learn!"

He then stepped back and look at Cyn. "Alice understands this...Why can't you?" Said Markus putting his hands in his pockets. "This is life...pure and simple we fight, we love, we hate, we live, we die and we survive......This is reality in it's simplest form."

"He is right my dear....." Said The Sensei walking out from the dining hall carrying his staff and walking with Joo Dee beside him. "She will get hurt in her life, trying to hide her from that won't help her grow into a strong woman....You've freed her from the past she was given, let her create her future....Let her forget it."

Joo Dee looked at her mother and held her hand, she glared at the two, and scoffed at them before picking her up, "Listen, regardless of what these two say, don't take risks like that, you have me, Chae Yi, and your mom to fall back on. My father left me to the wind, wanting me to live like an animal at times, but I am smarter than that and I know you are too baby girl, so please, get strong and live life the right way" She said kissing her on the cheek before putting her down as she looked over at the two. "Contrary to belief, the world isn't black and white, but I wouldn't expect you two to understand" She said giving Joo Dee a kiss before walking towards her room.

"Is mommy mad?" Joo Dee asked looking over to her uncle. 

"Not with you....Just me i can see why but you do need to learn the dangers of this place...." Said Markus rubbing his eyes. "But we'll deal with this when your older......For now we'll focus on your training....If she'll let you."

"I'd like to continue training Uncle!" Said Chae Yi running down the stair with Alice behind her. "I've learned alot and I want to be stronger so I can save people."

Markus smirked and picked up Chae Yi looking at Alice. "If Joo Dee wishes to learn more it would be wrong to stop her." He said poking Chae Yi making her laugh.

"i'll talk to Cyn...." Said Alice walking towards her room.

Cynteria was in her room with the window open as she was looking at the artifact in her hand, it was originally her father's attempt at a toy when she was younger so she would stop complaining. "Even when you tried to do something good, you always had to make it crappy" She said with anger before throwing it at her wall. 

"Ya know Bolterus told me your dad ended up like he is cos of the Demon Wars...." Said Alice leaning against the door frame. "You shouldn't be angry at him or Markus.....He means well it's just he hasn't had a conventional upbringing.....His way of teaching is more hands on....He prefers to teach by example and experience more than books or drills."

"So just throw our daughter to the wolfs and hope to survive? We're not barbarians, we're humans" She said glaring as she went over to the window. 

"No I don't mean it like that.....And barbarians are humans.....But what I mean is let them make mistakes let them get hurt and learn from what they did wrong.....That's how we learn....She saved Dark today becomes of that training.....And even if she was attacked again Markus, you, and Zero were seconds away she would've been fine." Said Alice walking over. "I know it's hard to understand the mindset of my clan and this island but we don't put people in harms way if it doesn't mean they can't grow.....Let her learn and she will grow into an amazing and beautiful woman."

Cynteria scoffed as Alice sat down and hugged her, "She already had to go through one hell, I'd rather she not go through a second one. I understand what you and Markus are trying to do, but there is a difference between letting them grow and letting them be unprepared. Maybe I won't ever fully accept it, but I rather she be prepared at least when she goes it alone" Cynteria said sighing as she let go of Alice and went to take in the night breeze.

"Markus said he's going to focus on training for now...When she's older he'll take her to do simple jobs and explore the island....You know he wouldn't let her get hurt and if she did he'd take it worse than you or me would....You know how he is about family." Said Alice kissing her on the cheek. "Remember when we hunted Vega couldn't you sense his anger?"

Suddenly there was a knock ont he wall. "May we come in?" Said Markus holding Chae Yi in his arm and Joo Dee on his shoulder holding onto his hair tight. "I wanted to say sorry Cyn...."

Joo Dee walked over to her mommies as she hugged them both, "Please don't be angry mommy, I won't do it again I promise, but please, please don't make me stop doing magic. I want to be able to get stronger...please mommy....." She said with tears dropping down her face as Cynteria sighed and picked her up.

"No, I'm not gonna make you stop Joo Dee, both you and your sister have the right to decide if you want to continue magic or not. Even if I may worry at times, I know you two will become strong, maybe even stronger than Uncle Markus, but always remember to be safe and think smart, not heart" She said as both Chae Yi and Joo Dee nodded. "I understand why you feel the way you do Markus, and I may not agree with it at times, but I trust you enough to train them".

"Don't worry....But I do need to train Dark or as he'd like to be called Tao now how to use his magic properly....." Said Markus leaning against the door frame. "But i'll do that seperatly until they're ready for sparring against someone his level."

"Awww i could take him!" Said Chae Yi proudly. "He's nothing!"

"He's basically me...." Said Markus smirking alittle.

"Ehhh maybe not then....." She said rubbing the back of her head in embarrisment.

"Ok you two, lets resume your training...I wanna show you two some new techniques." Said Markus.

Joo Dee and Chae Yi looked at Cynteria as she nodded and both went running to the training area, "Train them well Markus...." She said looking back at her brother-in-law.

"When don't i?" Smirked Markus as he led the two out to the training area.

At the training area they saw Dark shadow boxing alone, Markus watched his doppleganger training with a surprisising degree of focus. "This is new....I always assumed you trained with the same animalistic nature as you show when we fight." Said Markus walking up to Tao.

"I train until I can act without thought....That is the basis of my fighting style." Said Tao stopping preparing to walk away.

"Yes, but it is unrefined I could help you improve it alot." Said Markus stopping him. "Hang around I'll help you out."

Tao nodded and sat away from the three as MArkus readied his lesson. "Right now i'm going to show you two different techniques suited to your skills but you will both learn....first is the first form of the Art of Heaven style called Rise to Heaven and the second is a sword form called Blade Flow from the Crimson Dragon style." Said Markus summoning anew sword with a white and yellow blade, shorter than normal grip and no guard. "This type of blade is perfect for the Crimson Dragon style of sword combat....The grip doesn't get in the way, this is a Kotogawa blade from a anew destroyed clan that sided with the last dynasty during the Mochina Civil War....Despite this their blades were amazing rivaling the Hotaru Clan. Like my two other swords this has a enchantment based around lightning."

Joo Dee looked nervously at the blade, she wasn't the expect with weapons at all so it made her scared to think of how she was going to pull this off. 

"You'll get training weapons at first when you begin to leanr this form but first we'll start with the Rise ot Heaven form.....The style it's from focuses on kicks but this form creates the basis." Said Markus taking his trademark stance and beginning the form which starts off with simple punches and kicks that the three know well, the form progressivly gets slightly harder with double kicks and rapid fire techniques. "Ok give it ago....Tao i want you to do the form faster and repeat it more as you have experience in combat already."

Joo dee looked at her uncle, "So do we have to do it the same way?" She asked with a curious and scared tone in her voice.

"Too the best of your abilities." Said Markus watching Tao as he began the form and done full speed and power creating gusts of wind with each technique done and notice Chae Yi doing it very well with some brief moments of her loosing balance. "Good very good."

Joo Dee was able to do most of the stances, then when she was about to do a rapid fire move, she discharged by accident, making her hair stand up and be frizzy.

Markus chuckled and helped Joo Dee fix her hair. "Breath and focus....Don't panic about the techniques and they'll flow." He said poking Joo Dee on the nose smiling. "Tao mind shadowboxing till these two are done?"

"No it's fine..." Said Tao walking over to the edge of the training are and began to showbox incorperating the new form into his style.

Joo Dee followed Markus's advice as suddenly lightning started surrounding her and flared up after each strike, eventually causing another discharge after she finished.

"Hmmmm Trying putting those gauntlets on....They could help regulate your magic." Said Markus looking at Chae Yi who was breathing heavy. "Take a break Chae Yi....Once Joo Dee is done and had a break we'll move onto the the sword form."

Joo Dee put on her gauntlets as she sighed, "I was hoping I didn't have to wear these until I could win against you...." She said before doing the routine in perfect harmony.

"The gauntlets were made by my grandfather....He had trouble control his power when he exterted himself to a high degree..." Said Markus smiling. "They'll help you train like they helped him."

"Awww little sis is becoming like uncle already." Smirked Chae Yi sitting next to Tao who stopped to rest.

"if you have a way to improve take it kid...." Said Tao watching Joo Dee train.

Joo Dee concentrated and was easily able to better control her magic, "Wow, these really do help me focus it much better" She said looking at her uncle with joy.

"What will happen later is i'll train both of you how to manage your magic without any aids.....I will take a long time but you should be able to control abit better." Said Markus patting Joo Dee on the head. "Right shall we move onto the sword technique? It's not a hard technique but very effective."

She nodded as Chae Yi walked over to her. 

Markus picked up a training sword similar to his new blade. "Now watch carefully..." He said as he preformed the sword fighting form, the form used constant movement of the sword and body twirling the blade around the body and back behind the head between fast and rapid strikes using the movement to gain amazingly direct and accurate angles. "This is called Blade Flow it comes from the Crimson Dragon style....It's an old style from an island called Solar Dragon Island.....It's located far to the south of hear."

Markus continued the form as he talked repeating afew of the first mvoes while throwing in his own techniques based off the original manuevers. "The style is built around flexability so creating your own moves isn't uncommon in the style, masters of the style make you beleive they're using an entirely different style but if you look close enough you can see the roots." He said as he mixed in arocbatic techniques as well before swinging the training sword slow and again while rising up into the beginning stance. "Now give the original techniques ago.....Once you get a feel for them try creating your own techniques based off of those.....Each of you take one of these training swords."

"So what kinds of swords can we use for this?" Asked Chae Yi have developed a love for swords and weapons.

"Two handed swords are awkward to use and limit the style's effectiveness...But dual weilding blades is possible infact it makes the style twice as effective.....It allows you to create a stronger wall of mvoement which the constant sword motions create." Said Markus demostating with two swords made of lightning. "The only issue is you need to be aware of both blades while moving your feet in intricate patterns to keep your opponant off guessing."

Joo Dee looked at her uncle, "Are you sure I should be learning this? I wasn't exactly too good with a sword last time" She said with a worried tone.

"Can't hurt to learn other skills....I can't paint to save my life but i still know how to, i'm just terrible at it." He chuckled. "Many of the spells i teach you will involve creating weapons from lightning....So i want you to know how to swing them correctly."

Joo Dee nodded as she grabbed the other practice sword. 

"Ok now remember keep the sword moving even if you're standing still....The sword acts as a wall, each movement is to aid you in reaching a attack to defend against, and if you can deflect with your hand or forearm." Said MArkus as he watched Chae Yi and Tao go through the routine. "The style was designed to maintain a constant momentum with the sword and body.....If you keep the momentum up the final technique will end the fight."

Joo Dee looked over to the other two, trying to imitate what they were doing, but found herself messing up on some of the movements, and forced to start again.

"Don't force it Little Storm.....Just relax and let the movements flow.....Remember if you try i won't be disapointed with you ok?" Said Markus with a smile as he sat down in front of them.

Joo Dee realigned herself and started trying her best to keep up with them, often having difficulty with some of the techniques, but tried to improve along the way as the two stopped while she finished last.

MArkus smirked enjoying the progress that Joo Dee and not surprised at Chae Yi's progress. "Chae Yi put more strength into your steps and keep light.....You can move faster then." He said preparing himself a drink.

She tried it again, but accidentally ended up hitting herself in the head as she groaned, "Owie...".

"Try again Joo Dee....I done that when i first learnt this style. It's easy to trip up as well." Said Markus looking at Tao who had already begun to create his own version off to the side.

Chae Yi stopped out of breath. "Can we take a break now?" She said trying to catch her breath. "It's too hot for heavy training..."

"Yeah sure.....Find somewhere shady to chill out for abit." Said Markus standing up.

Joo Dee groaned as she shook her head and went back to work on trying to master the sword style so she could go and relax too. 

The two young maes relaxed while Tao and Markus sparred together, suddenly the alarm bells around the harbor started to ring. "You three stay here!" Said MArkus rushing off and requiping his armor and mask. "Drake!!"

Suddenly the entire guild rushed around grabbing these strange and brutal looking weapons as a large shadow flew over the estate and over the city. The shadow came from a Fire Drake though young still very dangerous. Afew moments later one flew out of the sea obvious to everyone it was a rare Sea Drake known for spitting boiling hot pressurised water. Whiel the citizens ran to cover the military and guilds moved to intercept the mosnters. As they fought the beats Tao, Colt and Sakura watched from the estate as the monsters fought back against the mages and soldiers.

"Sh*t i really want to help!" Said Sakura punching the door frame.

"Yeah well they still don't trust us remember...Can't blame them." Said Colt finishing his sake. "I'm gonna have a nap....Let me know how it turns out."

As Colt turned around he noticed another drake flying towards a farm near the estate. He quickly drew Tao and Sakura's attention only to see Tao dash past towards the beats.

"Now where the hell are you going?!" He shouted as Tao vanished from sight. "Awww sh*t!"

Sakura and Colt raced after him as he drew closer to the monster unleashing his Storm Phoenix Scream at it pushing it back afew feet. "Coemon fight me!!" Said Tao as the monster unleashed a blast of fire at him missing him by afew feet. He then noticed that the moster returned it's attention to the family that lived on the farm. "Time to save a life for once...." He used his magic to appear infront of the attack and used his lightning to make a half cone that deflected the attack around him and the family.

Just then Colt and Sakura arrived. "Next time wait for us...." Said Colt drawing his gun. "Nice work saving the day for once."

Tao smirked as the best lunged at them. Colt dived out of the way with Sakura as Dark warped the family to saftey and returned to kill the monster. "We need to get past that red plate on it's chest for a quick finish...Thats where the heart is." He said firing off some lightnign bolts at the chest. and charged with his friends.

Meanwhile back in the city Markus was fighting both the drakes with the help of his guild aand everyone else who can fight. "Aim for the chest!!!" He shouted launching a scream spell at both monsters as he entered his Storm Drive. "Cyn help create barriers to protect the civilians!!"

Cynteria nodded as she quickly created her wings and flew over to the town as she dove right into the rock, creating a large dome that blocked off the drake.

"Yoshi, Zero try and pin them down!" Said Markus as her gave orders to his guild members. "Aim for the wing!"

Markus looking around quickly noticing a balista was ready to fire. He used his wind magic to fire it at the wing of a drake shattering the bone in the arm of the main front wing. "Bring it down!!"

Yoshi and Zero quickly attacked the wing breaking it off and causing the mosnter to crash into the bay. The military and guilds quickly lept at it only to smack away by the tail. "Keep up the attack!!!" Shouted a general as he helped a wounded soldier up. "Don't let it attack the city!"

"Cyn hit him with some earth spikes and see if you can bind his claws to the ground!" Said Markus running to Cyn as he dodged the tail.

She swirled around, causing the earth to swirl around her as she started to harden it before sending down feather daggers that pierced the earth as it stabbed the drake's wings. She then sent the earth flying towards his claws as it got binded and fell down to the ground.

"Phoenix Gods' Secret Art: Heaven Fist!" Markus charged forward and landed powerful punch that released a massive blast of lightning into the Drake's chest and ripped through his body cutting through the way and out of the harbors entrance. As the drake began to turn to ash Markus looked back at a massive explosion from behind the Estate's location. "Shit....Yoshi you take the bulk fo the guild and finish up here.....Ellena, Cyn, Zero and Alice come with me!"

Cynteria followed Markus, "Where are the girls?!" She yelled at Markus.

"With Doc i'm guessing he's taking care of the wounded!" Said Markus leading them to the explosion. "Joo Dee can help out alot there....Will give her a chance to practise her Gold Lightning."

They arrived at the farm and found Tao, Sakura and Colt sitting on the rock with a giant red scale next to them and a massive pile of ash behind them. "You guys are late!!" Shouted Sakura covered in ash. "I mean come on how long does it take to kill those things?!"

"Why are you guys here?" Asked Ellena looking at the scale. "Nice work though..."

"We were saving the family here.....A third drake appeared from behind the mountain and Colt noticed it so we came to defend the rear......" Said Tao popping his shoulder back into place. "I assume this was a young one?"

"Probably......Nice work saving these people....Where are they?" Asked MArkus looking around.

"In that small cave up there.....all the animals ran away or were to scared to do anything....." Said Tao singling to the family they came come down with a bolt of lightning. "We'll head back to the estate now...."

The group got up and began to walk back to the estate with Tao dragging the scale behind him. Colt smiled at Cyn as he walked past. "Atleast we didn't blow something up!" He chuckled weakly before catching up with the others. "I need to work on my jokemanship...."

Cynteria looked at the trio as they went to go help some of the people as she looked to Markus, "I suppose they earned some points with them saving these families, little as they may be" Cynteria replied to Markus as she got herbs to heal them.

"Thats good....Too be honest, i had my own doubts but Tao seems to be letting go of his hate and anger or atleast not being fueled by it so much....Hmmmm i have an intresting and risky idea." Said MArkus with a mildly insane grin. "When you return to the estate tell him to meet me on the east side of the mountain."

"I need to help take care of these families for the time being, I'll head over to there as soon as I can" She said grabbing some herbs and began to mix them in a special potion she was brewing up. 

Markus smirked and vanished in a flash of lightning and waited by a large cave for Tao to arrive.

After mending to the wounded, she grew her wings and headed back to the estate as she arrived to find Tao helping some nearby people enter in order to recieve medical attention from the doc as Joo Dee was helping him heal them when she looked over and smiled before running to hug her mommy, "MOMMMY! I was so worried, where's uncle and the others?"

"They're all still helping to defend the city, listen I need to know where Tao is" She said as Joo Dee gulped a bit and pointed to a area where he was carrying an elderly man to an open bed as she told Joo Dee to keep up the good work before walking towards him and looking at him.

"Just rest here....Doc will show up in afew minutes, i need to go help the others.....Goodbye for now." Said Tao as he went to help a small boy with a broken arm. "Don't worry the Doc will help you as soon as he can.....Hi Miss Hotaru, how may i help you at the moment?"

Cynteria sighed as she rubbed her head, "Markus sent me to come get you, he requires your assistant with something over on the east side of the mountain "She said looking at him.

"Ok...Mind taking over here? More people need help....You daughter is very talented with her magic." He said before vanishing in a similar manner to Markus.

Tao arrived at the cave where MArkus was waiting. "Whats wrong?" He asked puzzled by the current situation.

"Well you want to be your own person right?" Asked MArkus to which Tao nodded in reply. "So i thought of something....In here is a spirit that has been known to change the appearence of people....She's been around since before the Mochina Civil War....She helped alot of rebel leaders escape to build up strength and military power for the revolt."

"So she can give me anew appearence?" Asked Tao looking at his hands. "I can look liek my own person?"

"Yep!" Said Markus. "Though from what i read it's very painful and takes several hours."

"I'll risk it...." Said Tao as he entered the cave walking deep within to find the spirit of a woman resting on a rock. "I assume your the one who can change appearence?"

"I am...." Whispered the spirit turning to face Tao showing her face missing. "Do you wish anew face?"

"Yes...i wish to look my own person..." Said Tao kneeling down infront fo the spirit. "Can you change me?"

"Yes...." Whispered the spiritas she floated towards him and placed her hands on each side of his face. "Visualise what you want to look like and i shall make it happen..."

Tao closed his eyes and his body began to glow a brilliant yellow. Markus could hear the magic he sat outside relaxing under the sun as the others killed the final drake. "Well this was an eventful day...." He said watching several hawks fly over his head.

After several hours Tao appeared with an entirely new look and tattoos. "Hmmm intresting....Well lets go show the others." Said Markus standing up. "Race ya to the estate!"

Markus vanished and was shortly followed by Tao who appeared at the estate just behind Markus.

"We're back! And Tao got anew look!" Shouted Markus pointing at Tao who's hair was alot shorter, he was missing the faint burn scars across his body and his tattoos had changed to cover the left side of his torso and left arm.

"Wow that's so cool! Mommy I wanna get a tattoo!" Joo Dee said as Cynteria glared at Joo Dee who shook in fear comedically as she looked over to Tao. 

"It looks decent" She said as she picked up Joo Dee to take her to the Doc in order to help him out.

"Hehe maybe when ya older Joo Dee." chuckled Markus. "Ok when everyone is done with helping the civilians i want everyone gathered in the great hall...I got an announcement."

The others rushed around helping the other doctors, nurses and military medics in healing or helping the wounded and burying the few who died in the attack. After which they gathered int he great hall where Tao, Colt and Sakura sat with Zero and Markus. The gathered mages lookin confusion chattering amoung themselves trying to figure out whats happening.

"Ok quiet! I said shush!" Shouted Markus over the voices of his guild. "Ok first i got a question who here trusts these three now? And i mean fully not just alittle."

Everyone raised their hands except Cyn.

Everyone looked at her as she just ignored them and continued drinking some water that the waitresses brought her something to drink.

"Why uncle?" Joo Dee asked sitting next to her mom as Alice came to carry Joo Dee with her to the table where she was with Chae Yi. 

"Ok two reasons....first being even if this was a trick they wouldn't do it....Colt or Star to the rest of you barely does any work and Tao or Dark as he was known doesn't do tricks anyway." Said Markus as he stood infront fot he crowd. "Secondly these three saved the Katamura's down in that farm they own behind the estate from a Drake...A young drake but a drake none the less....To me they've earned our trust."

"I agree!" Said Zero with a grin.

"So somewhat of a sub-question.....Cyn how come you still don't trust them? Tao saved Joo Dee and helped us kill the drakes.....Plus he's been a good guy not causing any trouble with anyone else and Joo Dee seems to like him." Said Markus looking at Cyn.

Cynteria sighed as she walked up to them and crossed her hands, "In my life, I had trouble with people, especially those who at one point followed someone as evil as Daimon" Markus was about to speak, "Be silent Markus, I couldn't give a crap about what you have to say to me, this needs to be said now. Maybe you are turning a new leaf, but there will always be tempations, and trust me I've seen a lot of people in your same shoes. I will congratulate you on helping us and beating the drakes, so that makes you okay in my book for now, but it will take a while for me to fully accept you all. However, until then I will say this, good work and thank you" She said bowing in respect before walking back to the bar as Joo Dee hugged her mommy.

"Ok thats good to know.....Onto my annoucement." Said MArkus taking a deepbreath. "I'm retiring as the Guild Ace!"

Markus was interrupted by by everyone shouting and complaining. Zero tried to calm them down but failed.

"But UNCLE! Who's going to be finishing my training?!" Joo Dee said as she started crying while Cynteria held her to comfort her. 

Markus released his magic power creating a roll of thunder. "I didn't finsh what i was saying......" He said with a slight growl. "I am become the co-guild master with Zero....If i was retiring as a mage i'd say it.....The new guild ace will be someone who matches my magical power, skill and raw talent.......That will be Tao!"

"WHAT?!??!?!" Shouted the guild members.

"Well it's simple....And i'm not going by the fact he's my doppleganger, no far form it.....I've always wanted him in the guild most of you know that.....So i'm naming him as the new guild ace because he's my equal in power and he's shown true strength of character in betraying the man who taught him from his creation....." Said Markus walking up to him. "I think he deserve the chance....But yeah the fact he's a copy of me does help....Technically i'm acting as both either way." Markus chuckled as the group calmed down.

Zero smirked and looked at Tao. "Welcome to the clan." He said with a smile. "It's basically the same job you had with Daimon's guild except no killing the members who screw up ok?"

"Yeah....I can do that." Said Tao looking over the guild members as they leave with a surprisingly small amount of annoyence. "Just hope this doesn't cause any problems...."

"Nah they'll be fine....Just gotta win them over abit more." Smiled Zero stretching out. "You can give us some intel on Daimon's territory."

"I did grab some maps on our way out...." Said Tao standing up and heading outside.

"Oh.... Sorry..." Joo Dee said rubbing her tears away as she was blushing which caused the guild to laugh in a uproar as Cynteria rubbed her head, but looked at Markus and Tao as she sighed and chuckled a bit. 

Next ChapterNew Arrival: Phoenix War Begins

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