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"If you sully my divine work, I will have to do the same to mine own hands by wringing your neck, mortal!"

This article, "ToTT: Mile and Error (Ch. 7)", is property of Mrs Sting Eucliffe, so please, hands off this file unless given explicit permission to edit. Thank you.

Alakitacia Arc

Chapter 7

July 17th X791. 06:00am

Ezra was sitting on a rock, basking in the low morning sun, waiting for the remaining people who hadn't went home, to wake up. He looked at the tents and sighed. "Okay, that's enough.", he muttered as he stood up and turned to the tents. His eyes shimmered in the low light of the morning, amidst the dew in the air. The ground beneath the tent set ups tremored. Ezra's version of an alarm clock. A very effective one at that, considering his sister Sif, friend Hayden and future son Alexander immediately dived out of their tents in fright, meanwhile everyone else was still arising.

“Was there really a need to do that?” Eugene called from above as he was flying using plant/wooden wings. Violet was right next to him with her own pair of wings. It seemed that Eugene was teaching Violet how to fly with wings. “It doesn’t really affect us up here since we’re not on the ground but it’s pretty noisy by itself.” He then looked towards the tents, wondering whether the remaining people would wake up. Eugene was actually surprised that there were still people who were asleep because of that. He remembered that practically every future kid from Unchained Soul decided to be with their parents with the exception of Shana’s son and Ren’s son Kai who decided to sleep in the same tent as Hayden’s son Josh. It seemed the two of them were best friends who were a prankster duo together. As Shana’s son woke up and got out of his tent, that left Kai, Josh, Brianna, and Brooke still asleep.

Violet flew over to the tent Brooke was sleeping in. “Onee-chan, it’s time to wake up! Hurry up!” She said as she shook her older sister in an attempt to wake her. Kai and Josh were sleeping in and found one of their prank devices. It was a small stink bomb. With a bit of mischief in his face he set the timer on it and set it inbetween them before leaving the tent. At this point in time, the other future kids had arrived at the camp via Dokodemo Door. Akabane noticed the sleeping situation as well and walked into Brianna’s tent, finding her still asleep.

“Brianna wake up.” He said in a rather blunt tone. Seeing that it did no good, he walked off and came back with Erina who used a Sound Magic amplified voice to tell her to wake up. It seems that he knows Brianna and Alex at least. Eugene thought to himself as he remembered how he couldn’t recognize Violet. Because of this, he could infer that Akabane only talked with those who fought on the front lines of whatever was going on in the future.

"You have no idea how stubborn Hayden can be in the mornings, Eugene." Ezra said with a slight joking tone as he moved down to the lake to give himself a quick splash.

Brooke stumbled out of her tent, stretching and yawning simultaneously. "Moooorning." she said groggily. Before she could say anything else, she was interrupted by the screams of two young boys. Josh and Kai fled their tent yelping and groaning in disgust at the smell of the burst stink bomb, earning a giggle from the Woodland sisters.

Meanwhile, Erina and Akabane may as well have just signed a death warrant. In the snap of a finger, Brianna woke up and punched both children with enough power to send them all the way down the hill and into the lake. She is not someone you want to be the one you have to wake up in the mornings. Brianna ran her hands through her long silky hair, Requipping her armour back onto her body, replacing her pajamas.

Fortunately, Akabane was able to shield Erina in time for the hit and his Fortification Magic activated to lessen the blow and stabilize his position. Unfortunately though, just knowing that Brianna, one of the girls she thought of as an older sister of sorts, threw a punch at her made tears well up in Erina's eyes. Pretty soon, Erina began to cry which was amplified by her uncontrolled Sound Magic. Around them as well, parts of the ground were beginning to dangerously heat up or freeze due to her uncontrolled Temperature Magic. "Augh, Brianna, do something! This is sort of caused by you, you know?" Eugene said as sound attacks like this were especially effective on those with enhanced senses like himself and possibly Hayden. Everyone else was also covering their ears.

Brianna sighed and walked over to the crying child. Crouching down in front of her, she smiled and proceeded to bring her into a gentle hug, patting the back of her head as a way of calming the young girl down. She held her until her crying stopped.

Over the next twenty minutes the chaos had subsided and eventually everyone had gotten ready and had a quick breakfast, now ready to set off, with final preparations being made. Hayden had finished packing the tents, which Ezra, Sif and Brianna used their respective Requips to store, and they began their trek towards the Western coast of Fiore.

Everything was normal until they reached a strange, abandoned mine on a mountain. Rusty skeletons of buildings, shattered mine carts and so on were scattered all over the place. The drop down below must have been at least a mile or two. Kai and Josh, despite being good friends, were having another of their daily squabbles, yapping, pulling each other's cheeks, punching each other and so on. All of a sudden, a strange, yet strong gale with an eerie chill raced across the land. It must have been strong because out of nowhere, a boulder fell from a higher-up cliff right onto an old support beam. The beam fell backwards, knocking over a half-destroyed wall that fell into a boulder. This boulder rolled into a structure that also toppled and landed just above the group...cracking the cliff-edge they were walking on. It shattered and they were all sent in different directions with landslides following them all.

Akabane, Brianna, and Alex.

Brooke, Josh and Kai.

Eugene, Sif and Hayden.

Ezra and Violet.

--- Akabane, Alex and Brianna ---

Alex, Akabane and Brianna were sliding down one path of the huge mountain on top of a sheet of metal from an old wall, clinging to each other for dear life. Various yells and screams were coming from all over the landscape from each group. Alex's group were nearing a cliff. "Hang on!", Brianna yelled as she Requipped a large sword into her hands and tried to use it as an anchor, dragging it into the ground. All it did was divert their course. Their make-shift bobsled flew right into the entrance of an old tunnel, and sent them hurdling into the mine. They tumbled for what must have been a whole minute, before the stacked up railway for minecarts collapsed and sent them into a pile of dirt and dust in a heap. Akabane's head ended up buried in mud, while Alex's was buried in something else. Brianna's chest! Once the boy realised, he flung himself back so far he tumbled off the mound and faceplanted another, more safer railway a few feet away. His face was bright red from embarassment, as was Brianna's. Akabane pulled his head out of the mud and flew onto his back, causing a grunt from the boy. Brianna got to her feet with Alex still sat there enjoying the memory of where his face just was, while Akabane sat up and brushed dust from his clothes.

"Dammit...God fucking DAMMIT!!! What do we do now?", Alex said when he broke from his trance and looked up to where they fell from. He adjusted his beanie hat back to the way it was sitting before, and wiped his hand along his magic headphones to get mud off them.

"It's far to fragile to climb back up. We'll have to navigate our way through the tunnels somehow." Brianna said with a glum tone to her voice. She sighed and Requipped into warmer, comfortable clothes.

"I can't even use my magic to stabilize it since I can't clearly see the full structure with the lack of light." Akabane said confirming that climbing was impossible at this point. "As for how we proceed with this Alexander, we must first calm ourselves. We won't make any progress if we remain angry or depressed." He was one of the few people that called Alex by his full name. Akabane's calm and somewhat stern demeanor hadn't changed a bit, a trait he got from his father but thanks to his mother's influence it didn't look so intimidating or cold and it had a hint of kindness. The red haired boy attached something to his tonfas. "Brianna, I'll be placing my trust in your senses." He said to the female of the group, knowing about her superior sense of hearing and smell. Akabane even felt that her eyesight was only slightly below in level to his own. "I'll be using this device to use Sound Magic in a manner similar to echolocation. I'll be counting on you to use this to find us a way out of here." Akabane then activated the device that was based off the present day replicards but to a more specific extent and activated Sound Magic, causing sound waves to come out from it and echo around the cave. Akabane nodded at Brianna as a signal for her to start.

Brianna picked a tunnel and began walking into it, followed by Alex and Akabane. Alex was usually on his favourite skateboard, but even he wouldn't be able to ride it down here. It was almost pitch black in the tunnel, save for a few dying Lacrima Lamps flickering on and off like a horror movie. Brianna's ears were perked up like spikes almost, and her tail swung around as she focused on her senses of smell and hearing.

Click.

Brianna's ears twitched but she dismissed it as her imagination as the group continued through the mine.

Klak.

Her ears flicked again as she looked around her.

Click-klak.

She muttered to herself as she began getting suspiscious. And then...

She didn't even have time to warn the boys before a mine cart came racing down the track from behind them at incredible speed. Too fast for even Alex to avoid. The mine cart scooped up the trio, with Akabane in the corner, Alex upside down and Brianna hanging over the edge. She was about to fall out until Alex managed to grab her tail -- accidentally, in his manouvere to flip himself -- pulling both her back into the cart (albeit causing a flustered squeal from the girl) and getting himself back upright.

The cart must have travelled for a full five minutes before it flew off the end of the rail into a small body of water, almost like a lake of some sort. It was freezing. The group hauled themselves onto the shore after an initial recovery from surprise and shock. They all just lay there, panting and catching their breath.

"Okay..what the hell is with this damn mine? It's as if it is out to get us!", Alex groaned as he squeezed water out of his white sweater and his beanie hat.

"That is a possibility." Akabane said calmly as he dried himself using chains made of fire before doing the same for Brianna and then Alex. "There is a chance that the enemy is controlling things behind the scenes in order to hinder or perhaps even dispose of us. Being from the future is reason enough for the enemy to kill us as we have information from our time that would put them at a disadvantage. Even if they haven't found out that we're from the future, the idea that their enemy has gained in numbers would be enough to cause some anxiety. I remember that some of us, myself included, caused a bit of a ruckus yesterday so they know of our strength, giving them a reason to get rid of us." He said as he began to think about it. He then turned towards Brianna. "Brianna, I know that you felt something from how your ears were twitching earlier but I'm assuming you dismissed it as part of your imagination. This time, don't do that. If you feel something suspicious, notify us. We can't let our guard down." He then activated Sound Magic again for echolocation. "Okay, let's get moving again."

For about half an hour, the trio walked through tunnel after tunnel after tunnel, with seemingly no end to the system. That was until they found a path lit by at least twelve pairs of torches. The walls were designed with intricate and beautiful designs, multi-millennia old by the looks of it. On one side, humanoids covered in tattoos, wearing leather straps, loincloths and so on. Beneath it were two words unfamiliar to two of the group...but not the third. "Jihah Baaran Yakuma Harrehn Boh...", Alex muttered. "The Tribe of Yakuma will rise again...", he said in realisaton as he translated it. On the right wall. "Izihaih Reah Ih Hara Klaein Covern.", he said as he read the other transcript. "...to stop the rise of Death's Coven." he said with a somewhat nervous tone behind his voice. Alex turned to look at Brianna and Akabane, both staring at him with baffled looks on their faces.

"Since when do you speak Yakuma so fluently, Alex?", the wolf-featured girl asked her friend in disbelief.

"I dunno, I didn't even realise I was speaking in the first place...it just..happened.", he said, equally as baffled as the others. "This cave is freeeeaaky..", he crooned as he took in the appearances of the two walls and their designs.

"I had an inkling that you were capable of doing so but nonetheless, I'm still quite surprised." Akabane said as he wrote down in a notebook what Alex just said for possible future use. He then used a photography-type lacryma to take pictures of the two walls for the same reason. "Let's keep going then. We have to regroup with the others as soon as possible."

The group walked down the path lit up by many, many pairs of standing torches for another twenty minutes or so before things began getting weirder. A rising staircase made entirely of what seemed to be bones was in front of them. The group looked at each other in both curiosity and anxiety. Just before Brianna took the first step onto the staircase, her ears twitched. "Stop!!", she yelled, startling the boys. She glared up to the top of the staircase at least 70 feet up. Darkness was almost slithering down the stairs towards them. It sped up before they could do anything ane engulfed the entire tunnel in pitch black nothingness. Only Akabane's torch gave the trio sight. A sinister giggle echoed down through the darkness. A pair of glowing red eyes appeared at the top of the staircase, and the laughter increased. And then everything...became nothing.

--- Brooke, Josh and Kai ---

This group's luck was a little better. They had only landed in the pond of an estate belonging to what must've been a stinking rich family, judging by the size of the garden and the house. "Holy crap!!", all three exclaimed at once. The back garden alone was almost half the size of Crocus!

After a few minutes of gawking at the environment, the group was focused on the humongous mansion at the end of the garden. "Maybe there's someone there who can help us get back on track.", Brooke deduced as she began pacing towards the mansion, tailed by the two younger boys.

"Hey look, there are people over there having some sort of party! Maybe we can ask them." Kai said pointing at the said people as they got more close to the mansion. At the same time though, he felt on guard. This was due to him seeing so many movies where a party was a trap. He kept at the ready his magic.

When the trio got close enough, the party crowd became like a herd of Gazelles when they hear a rustle. Jumpy and incredibly skittish. The trio received stares with hidden emotions from up and down the scale. "Leave, young ones..", a elderly man whispered to the group, his voice trembling from both old age and fear. "Leave...before the Master sees you.", he continued, "He entices you in with his looks and charm..and once you eat his food....you cannot leave the premises!", he croaked out.

Bang! A door slammed, startling every guest in sight.

"He is here! You must leave, now!" said a young woman who looked about twice Brooke's age, as she began shooing them -- or attempting to -- away to make them flee.

"Got it, thank you Jii-san, Oba-san." Kai said, thanking the two who were wanting to help the three of them before activating his magic, making himself and his two companions suddenly disappear. To Brooke and Josh, it would have seemed that the first moment, they were in front of the party and the next they were all of a sudden at least 100 meters away from the mansion's premises and Kai was panting a little. "I want to help those people. We can't just leave them trapped like that!" he said with a pant

"Yeah, we have to help 'em, Brooke!", Josh said like a yappy puppy, with thin blue ribbons of electricity fizzing around his clenched fists in anticipation.

"I know we do. But we don't know what this 'Master' guy is like. He could be a dragon for all we know." Brooke said with a tensed body as she stared towards the mansion at the other end of the garden. She was silent for five seconds. "Although I have to admit, that'd be kinda cool.", she giggled almost mischievously beofre snapping back to reality.

Kai and Josh just had sweat drops at how Brooke was acting about this. She was acting quite carefree despite the current situation. "Oy, think about this seriously." Kai said. "How do we set them free? According to the Jii-san, they not being able to leave had something to do with the food after being lured in. The luring in part must have had something to do with Charm magic or something so it'd be easy to stop that, but what about the food? How do we get rid of the effect from there? Burn it all?"

"They've already eaten it, burning the rest wouldn't do anything. Worst case scenario, we may have to take down that Master guy, no matter how powerful he is.", Brooke said with a gentle sigh, clenching her fists. She turned to face the mansion. "Let's go.", Brooke almost commanded rather than said, with a complete change in personality. Hers was now a basic mirror of Brianna's, or even Erza Scarlet's. She marched forth towards the party again, her long purple hair flowing to the side with the direction of the wind. As she got closer, a cloaked figure emerged from the back door, causing the crowd to scatter, and Brooke to stop about 100 feet away.

"You dare trespass on my property?! Mingle with my cattle?!? I should kill you, you little brats!", the figure yelled in a booming voice that made the prisoners cover their ears in fright. "Maybe I shall...you're just a girl. I'd have kept you as my own if you were a woman.", he chortled as his tongue ran along his long canine teeth.

"You're so rude, you jackass!", Brooke snapped in a comedic manner, breaking her warrior persona for a few seconds.

"I like you the way you are, Brooke-chan~", Josh chimed with a lovey-dovey expression as he put his arm around her waist - a little too low for Brooke's liking. He got a punch on top of the head for it, stunning the boy as he fell on his behind.

In the next moment, the man was all of a sudden tied up with Kai on top of him. The ropes ensnaring the man were extremely tight and Kai had already threatened the man with burning his face off if he tried to escape. "Oy, would you mind helping me interrogate him? We need to figure out how to get rid of whatever happened to those people!" He said in an annoyed expression as he was the only one doing anything at the moment and it was difficult on his own to some extent.

The tied up figure suddenly began cackling. In an instant, wave upon wave of bright red, pure red, fire erupted from his body, obliterating the ropes restraining him and engulfing everyone present. The mansion was almost entirely disintegrated, virtually every prisoner was turned to piles of bones, but no sign of the trio.

They reappeared a few dozen metres away in a crack of blue lightning. Josh had used his Magic to save them.

"You bastard!", Brooke growled in anger as she saw the bones of the prisoners scatted around the garden from the force and lava-like intensity of the fire. A long purple light construct appeared in her hand. It formed itself quickly into a sword: her Requip.

Kai couldn't really contain his anger and disgust either but as he didn't have as much offensive power, he decided to make sure that Brooke would be able to get a clean hit. "Specific Targeting!" He shouted before activating his Time Perception Magic. However, unlike normal where it affected an area around him, he focused it on one person. "Brooke, now's your chance! Take him down!"

Brooke immediately ran at the slowed-down man, her sword glowing bright purple in colour. She leaped into the air, about to strike him down with a Sword Magic spell, yelling in anger as the energy built up. But for some reason she hesitated, her body visibly flinching. The man's lower face was visible. He was grinning. Widely. "It's not possible...there's no way!", Brooke said in fear just before she was kicked into the bodies of the two young boys.

It seemed as if reality itself rippled for a moment, and then the man was gone. A second later, all three children felt incredible pain. They all had claw gashes on their bodies in different spots, coming from seemingly nothing. Josh and Kai suddenly dropped, alive but unconscious. Brooke, due to her higher experience and prowess, was a little more resilient. The man appeared in front of her and smashed his boot into her gut, sending her down into the ground as she too became unconscious. And then they all disappeared from the area as the fire crept closer, engulfing the entire estate.

--- Eugene, Sif and Hayden ---

Eugene was helping Sif out of a hole she managed to end up in after their recent fall. Hayden, meanwhile was focused on trying to get his tail out from underneath a rock. When he did free it, he did a few comedic tumbles towards Sif and Eugene, but luckily stopped before hitting them. "My head...ugh, that really hurt.", Sif moaned as she rubbed her hand on where she was bleeding gently from her forehead.

"Let me stop the bleeding first." Eugene said as he wiped the blood off of Sif's forehead with a handkerchief and applied a little bit of pressure to stop the bleeding. He then took out a type of herbal paste he made with his plants earlier and applied it to where Sif got hurt before putting on a medium sized bandage over it. "There we go, with that, the pain should go away and it'll heal pretty quickly. Any other injuries that need tending to?" He then glanced over at Hayden. "The same goes for you Wolf." He himself had some cuts and bruises on his body, mainly his back, arms, and legs as he didn't have enough time to deploy his combat suit. However, he always had the mentality of treating other people's injuries before his own.

"Thank you. And, just a few bruises and scratches but nothing major.", Sif said as she tied her hair back into a ponytail, bangs included, to keep it off of the herbal paste and bandage.

As for Hayden, "I heal naturally. I don't need no herbal crap.", he said in a non-rude way as he got to his feet and inspected his tail, fixing the fur so it was neat again, while all his own scratches and bruises disappeared in a matter of seconds. "So what's the plan of action now?", Hayden said as he looked around him at the huge, yet stunningly beautiful valley that he, Sif and Eugene had fallen into.

"Well, our first objective would be to regroup with the others. I'd like to get in contact with everyone else but there are only two of us in the group that have communication devices and both of them are right here. As for my Dokodemo Door unit, it's malfunctioning now because of the fall and Sif didn't get hers back so that's not really an option either." As he began to think hard on it, he looked around where they were and started to take in the view so he could analyze and attempt to figure out where they were. At the same time, he felt how awkward this group was due to the members here, all of which were involved with some sort of drama two nights ago. It's amazing how they're still acting relatively normal. For some reason, it gives me the feeling of the calm before the storm.

"In the meantime, why don't we look around and see what's around? Maybe we can find a clue we can use to find the others." He suggested. Around this time, he felt more blood on his skin and he knew he had to deal with the light injuries at some point so he started taking off his coat and then the shirt underneath. Despite how he normally looked skinny and somewhat weak with his clothes on, he was quite muscular. There was more blood on him than Sif but compared to the blood he was covered in when he used to mercilessly kill enemies as a child, this didn't bother Eugene as much as he started tending to his own small wounds in the same manner as he did with Sif's wound, using his plants for the areas he couldn't reach with his own arms. He then looked at his own coat which was now torn in some parts. "Maybe I should get a new coat or something. Even if Eriko got it sewed up again, it'll be likely to tear easily again." He said sort of to himself. He then set it down for the moment before turning towards his two companions. "For now, how about we get some reconnaissance done so we can get an idea as to where we are and possibly find the others? Me and Sif can go into the air, Wolf can use his sense of smell and hearing to search for people." As he said this, he used his magic to make wings made of plants come out of his back.

"Yeah, we should find them, but look at the height of this Valley.", Sif began, "It's huge!!", she yelled with echo behind it, as she looked up to the top of the Valley's walls. She was right, they were colossal. They made the Royal Palace and the Edolas castle look tiny. She looked around her at the stunning landscape, not being entirely bothered by a shirtless Eugene as much as Hayden is thinking she is. He is mumbling to himself bitterly as his imagination turns sparks into something that makes Juvia Lockser seem sane.

He randomly breaks the silence, barking in annoyance and jealousy, confusing the Swordswoman and the Dragon Slayer. After the initial awkwardness passes, Sif looked back at Eugene as he was talking about his messed up coat. She decided to help, and Requipped another coat into her hands. It was white and red, and looked like a more masculine version of Sif's own dress-like coat. It was clearly her backup, even if it was a size or two too big. "It's the best I can give you right now. We'll have to find a store after this or something, because white and red is my colour.", she giggled.

"I'll be sure to remember to switch back to my normal color scheme." Eugene said with a smile as he took the white colored coat from Sif. He did wonder though why she had a masculine oversized version of her normal clothes when she could have just gotten another set of the same thing or something similar if the purpose was for a backup. He then felt a ferocious aura coming from Hayden who looked irritated and obviously jealous, making Eugene softly laugh nervously. I know I told him to do what he wanted for this matter but I think the jealousy and anger coming from him is a bit too fierce. Eugene thought to himself as he deactivated his wings and put the clothes on. "Indeed, this isn't really my color." Eugene said as he looked himself over. In some ways, it was like his normal clothes except it was in Sif's color scheme.

"Sorry if its a little big, I hadn't had the chance to alter it yet, what with me joining U.S, getting summoned to another continent by a job, and whatnot." Sif said as Eugene put on the coat she had loaned him.

All of a sudden, they heard the sound of lightning near them and the sound of an explosion followed soon afterward. In Eugene's vision, he saw a small little creature fall down into the valley that they were in. What's going on? Eugene thought to himself wondering what happened up there. He stopped thinking to focus on saving the little creature. He used several soft plants to cushion the creature's fall before bringing it to himself. After picking up the little mouse creature which had sparks coming from it, he turned to Sif and Hayden. "I've caught an electric mouse." He said before getting to work on the burns on the mouse's body.

"What the hell?", barked Hayden as he looked in the direction of the explosion, focusing more on that than the little flying rodent Eugene had just caught. "Stay on your guard.", Hayden growled as he glared in the direction of the explosion, with the fur along his tail visibly jagged in anticipation, and his ears flattened back against his head, an aggressive gesture done by most canines and felines.

While Eugene was tending to the creature, Hayden's ears perked up, this eyes thinned and his tail went straight. He growled viciously, and took off into a sprint that made Racer of the Oracion Seis seem old and tired. Hayden had clearly detected something, as he was like a hunting wolf that had locked onto its prey. He was taking bounding runs up the side of the valley by the time Sif even had the chance to say a word. "Hayden, what are you doing?!", she yelled as loud as she could, to get his attention. He didn't even stop to take notice of her voice. When he reached the top of the mountainous hill, he roared and another explosion occurred, but nothing was sent flying, like how the creature was.

"Come on, we should get going as well and see what it is." Eugene said as he put the electric mouse into a makeshift sling that was slung on his shoulder before beginning to run after Hayden. Seeing that Sif still wasn't really moving due to the suddenness of the situation, Eugene grabbed her by the hand to get her to at least start running. Because Eugene didn't have Hayden's running speed, he wouldn't be able to clear the extremely steep slope using physical ability alone. He had to use a slightly more complicated usage of Fortification Magic which allowed him to run up walls and such. This made it easier to run up to where Hayden was. With the explosion, should I use Ice Magic? Eugene thought to himself with some hesitation. This was something he had been hiding for a while. Within the guild, only Sif didn't know about it because she was new and Eugene didn't want to show all of his cards to the enemy if they were watching him.

When Eugene and Sif reached the top of the mountain, they saw Hayden locked in a physical struggle with a man who looked as if he was half-human and half-machine. His arms were seemingly made of near pitch-black steel for the most part, the whites of his eyes were black, and his chest had a few areas that looked rather robotic. The strength of the two men seemed to equal the other's, as neither of them were budging, only their feet were digging into the earth. The android-like man's eyes were shining bright red in his pupils, which gave off an eerie feeling to all three members of the group.

Hayden shoved the man off of him and bludgeoned him with a fist engulfed in black light. "Eclipse Spirit's Celestial Fist!!", Hayden barked as his attack collided with the other man's chest, sending him flying back into a wall of rock, shattering it with the force.

The man leaped from where he landed. "Pitch Black Slicer!", he responded with as he sliced Hayden numerous times with large claws made of solid darkness. Darkness Magic.

"What the crap is that thing?" Eugene said as he drew out his black sword and dropped something into the floor. "Forest Dragon's Acid Shooter!" He summoned plants that shot acid at the robot thing and at the same time, he pulled Hayden back so he wouldn't get hit by it. Based on the reflexes of this thing, I'm not expecting the acid to hit but my sneak attack should work at least! Eugene thought as he used his plants under the ground to carry what he had dropped earlier to nearby the enemy. "Activate!" Eugene shouted to activate the device via voice control. Immediately afterwords, it released a small field that would cause most machinery to malfunction. This was an emergency device given by Ren. "Stay on your guard!"

The man brought his arms up when he saw the acid coming for him. The attack impacted with a direct hit, but when the steam cleared...he wasn't damaged at all! The man hadn't even flinched. He lunged across the ground towards Eugene, his metal fingers turning into razor sharp blades. Getting in range with incredible speed, he brought his claws down across Eugene's chest, leaving him with an agonising burning feeling. Hayden moved to attack, but was caught off-guard by the man's increased speed, getting punched down another, smaller hill. Then there was Sif. He flew at her, with both hands turned into actual swords, with the same speed as before. But his sword-hands were parried by Sif's own famous sword, the legendary Bloodsword.

They made numerous swipes at each other with their respective weapons, but the man eventually got a good hit in, and knocked Sif onto her back. Pinning her with his foot on her stomach, he raised his left sword-arm, which began to move like a chainsaw. He was prepared to end the girl's life there and then. He flexed his arm back, as he was building strength to only need one hit to do it.

The chainsaw-like arm was literally half a foot from striking Sif's neck, but that was before the man was hit by an incredible force. Hayden had tackled him with enough force to actually dent his arm. "Don't you dare..", he growled, "DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH HER!!", he continued, almost howling. He roared in bloodthirsty anger as he landed many, many hits on the man in the space of just ten seconds before knocking him into the air. Hayden leaped up and headbutted him even higher, using the momentum to get above the man in the process. Hayden's eyes gleamed a bright gold as he flip-kicked him flying down into the ground. "FUCK YOU, BASTARD!!", he snarled as went berzerk. He placed his left hand on the ground. A bright Magic Circle for Hayden's Eclipse Spirit Slayer Magic appeared on the ground beneath and around him as two separate trails of light and darkness made their way over to the man. "Spirit Slayer's Secret Art...", he began, "YIN-YANG RISING COLUMN!!!", he bellowed as a colossal explosion in the form of a pillar, entirely made from Hayden's Eclipse energy, erupted from beneath the man, engulfing him. Obliterating him. He was sent into the sky, before falling with a trail of smoke coming from him, landing hard on the ground, making a small crater.

The mechanical man still showed signs of life albeit barely and began to attempt to crawl out of the small crater to continue its attack. It wasn’t long before a blade, more specifically a kunai that was larger and longer than normal, pierced through his head to end his life. “That was pretty good Wolf. It’s clear to me that you’re powerful. It’s a pity you can’t pay attention to your surroundings and keep your emotions in check.” Eugene’s voice said to Hayden. At the same time, Sif and Hayden could feel that this was not Eugene. As the two of them turned around, they would see Eugene sitting on top of a medium sized rock nearby where he had been knocked back to from the earlier slash attack that he received from the mechanical man. The way he was sitting though looked slightly different and his sword was sheathed at his left hip unlike how he normally had it sheathed on his back. He still wore the same clothes that Sif gave him earlier but the expression on his face felt as if it belonged to a different person. “It’s good for a person to want to protect a person with such passion but there were smarter ways of going about it. The way you went about it actually had a more likely chance of putting Sif in danger and you alerted our presence to the enemy.” He said as he motioned towards a small group of mechanical men which were most likely at the same level of power and durability as the one Hayden just defeated coming towards them. “And since the enemy has seen your secret art, they’ll be sure to come up with a countermeasure for it in time.” Eugene then stood up and walked towards Hayden. “For now though, you’ve used up too much energy from that last fight. Sit down and rest for a bit.” He lightly tapped on Hayden’s shoulder and the wolfish young man fell onto his butt. Eugene also motioned to Sif to stay where she was as he walked past her and towards the mechanical enemies. Seeing their new target, the mechanical men surrounded Eugene to which he just smiled. “Kofuna Shizen Ryu: Lightning Cyclone.” He calmly said before drawing his sword Iaido style and delivered several rapid slashes, many of which couldn’t be seen by the blind eye and the enemies around him were soon falling over from heavy injuries if not fatal injuries and it seemed that they wouldn’t be getting back up. Afterwards he slowly walked back towards Sif and Hayden.

Out of nowhere, another of the mecha men landed amongst the group, but looked more human and the others. The group barely had a chance to move as they were all hit with Sleep Spores. A spell originating from Sleep Magic. They all dropped like sacks of bricks to the ground, at the mercy of this new entity.

--- Ezra and Violet ---

A large sphere of rock was bouncing and rolling down a dusty slope. It hit a rock sticking up from the ground and was sent into the air, falling through the air the rest of the way down to the base of the mountain. After the dust settled, the rock sphere crumbled away, revealing Ezra and Violet, with tattered clothes and covered in dust and dirt. "Well, that was unpleasant.", the male said as he stood up and looked at his surroundings, seeing nothing but barren lands and a few desert animals. "Looks like we've got a long way to go to find the others. Would you rather find a path, or try to climb back up the mountain, Violet?", the redhead said as he turned his gaze down to his young future-niece by his side.

"Whichever you think is fastest Uncle Ezra." Violet said cheerfully. "Despite how I look, I can climb or fly up mountains easily. Dad trained me and a few of the other in this sort of thing. I actually found it a lot of fun!" She said this with confidence. In her past, she remembered several times when her father took her and her sister out to explore nature.

Glowing constructs appeared in Ezra's hand, his Requip summoning cards into this dimension. Ezra threw a total of seven cards on the ground in a V formation. "Card Summon: Swift Ambush.", he spoke as he cast his Card Magic spell. From each card, one human-sized raptor-like dinosaur was summoned, big enough to use as transportation. The seven raptors chirped at each other, their way of communication, as Ezra saddled the alpha of the pack, the blue one. "Feel free to climb on one, Violet, or would you prefer to fly yourself?", Ezra said to the young girl as he secured himself on his reptilian steed.

Violet happily got onto one of the raptors at the invitation. "You know, in the future, you taught me how to ride them. It was fun for land travel." She looked perfectly natural and comfortable sitting on the raptor she chose and already got it to listen to her and begin moving. "Come on Uncle Ezra!"

Ezra, Violet, and the raptor pack were moving quite quick, even without the use of speed-based Magic. "Really? Was it just you I taught or was it all of--", his sentence was cut off by the ground shifting. Needles of light pierced through all of the raptors, dispersing them into light and thus back into cards, while also sending Ezra and Violet to the ground. Ezra looked to see what it was. A single blue orb was nesting in the centre of where the pack was attacked. A lacrima trap, usually used for hunting game.

"Who's there?", Ezra said sternly. No response. "Show yourself!!", he commanded rather powerfully as his blood red Magical Aura appeared around his body, cracking the ground when it isn't even at peak exertion. A cloaked figure emerged from behind a rock, laughing with a feminine tone of hate behind it. It was clearly a woman beneath the cloak.

"Seems my trap missed you. If it were successful, you would be riddled with holes right now.", she giggled as she spoke with a sadistic tone in her voice.

Violet was very wary of this foe. She didn't know how to deal with her completely as she only had some information that was told to her by her parents and uncle about the guild this person was from. As her uncle's magic aura was much more stronger than hers, the enemy would pay more attention to him so she decided to use this to her advantage as she silently prepared a spell to get away or to support her uncle. There was no need to fight an unknown enemy if there was no need to.

"I'm only supposed to bring you in...", she said as her fists began shimmer, "But Master never said I couldn't have fun with the both of you first--" BANG!! She was interrupted by a gunshot. A small slice along her barely visible cheek. In just that short matter of seconds, a thin-pupilled Ezra had Requipped one of his Magic Pistols and fired a shot.

"You keep your hands away from Violet. You get one warning, Miss.", Ezra growled through gritted teeth as the barrel of his pistol glimmered on the inside, a sign it was charging something up.

Now! Violet thought to herself as she pricked herself with a needle and did the same with her Uncle before clapping her hands together, releasing something that looked like a thick black smokescreen. "Uncle Ezra, I've disabled her senses as well as the senses of any other possible enemies around us. They won't be able to see, hear, or even smell us. We're fine though since I injected in us the antidote. Should we take her down here or escape?"

"I have a better idea. Stay still.", Ezra said as he used his Requip, summoning two, small Lacrima into his hands. He pressed one of them against Violet's forehead, and one against his own. "Go hide.", he said, with Violet doing just that. Ezra threw the lacrimi down at the feet of the Serpent woman, and they exploded silently, creating one clone of Ezra and one clone of Violet. Ezra proceeded to duck behind the same hiding place as Violet, as the sense-scattering smoke wore off of the enemy. The clones of Ezra and Violet looked as if they were unconscious.

"Aw, how sweet.", she said with bitter sarcasm, "They gave themselves up for me.", she chuckled as she went towards the clones. When she got close, the clones beeped and inflated. "What the--?!", she yelped in surprise as the clones exploded and engulfed the Serpent member's body with a strange, strait jacket-like item. She attempted to use her Magic, but nothing even budged. "What the hell is this?! Release me!!", she yelled in anger as Ezra and Violet emerged from behind the rock, with Ezra keeping Violet behind him just in case.

"Hey Uncle Ezra, how does that thing work?" Violet asked out of curiosity as she watched the lady struggle with her restraints. She got this curious nature from her father. She then thought of something and then began to use her magic to summon a plant that would paralyze a person through their pollens. Summoning them next to the struggling woman, she had the plants release their pollens to make it less likely for this lady to get away. "So what do we with her?"

"It is the same basic technology as the Eclipse. It employs thousands of tiny micro-lacrimi hidden amongst the material that instantly drain the trapped target's Magic Power, without the consequence of Magic Deficiency Disease. In other words, it nullifies it.", Ezra said to the young Mage with him. He then turned his attention to the Serpent. "Where were you planning on taking us?", he said calmly to them. No answer. "Speak.", he said, exerting his aura again, slightly.

"You really think you'll scare answers out of me, you stupid cat?", she said, insulting him with a reference to his guild, Sabertooth. "Now, listen to me. If I were you, I would let me go, and give yourselves in. We already have the Dragon Slayer, the Spirit Slayer, and that little redhead boy...and your sister--", she didn't even get a chance before in one simple blur, she was smashed clean through a boulder with a single throw. "Augh!", she exclaimed in some pain.

Ezra walked across the rubble, his aura emerging to the point that the loose rocks floated into the air. His eyes were gleaming bright red. He picked up the woman by her neck, and ripped the scarf off of her. Her long purple ponytail draped down her back, and her dark-skinned complexion was revealed. She was quite pretty, for a villain. Ezra proceeded to hold her in the air by her throat, tightening his grip. He spoke with the most monstrous tone of voice he has ever used. "Where...is...my...sister?!", he snarled as his grip got tighter.

The woman coughed and hacked as Ezra's hand continued to squeeze around her neck. "As if I'd tell you, bastard.", she spat out. Ezra proceeded to throw the woman against another boulder. He raised his other hand, which had numerous cards in it. He threw them on the ground behind them, and what happened next made the woman's composure change to fear entirely.

From the cards appeared a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, two gigantic Amphicoeliases, seven Deinonychus, and a large draconic creature. They all roared, all of them glowing with colours respective to their linked elements. "I won't ask again.", Ezra said as he bashed the woman against the rock behind her again.

"Fine, fine I'll tell you!", she said with a slight whimper of fright in her voice as she eyed all the creatures Ezra had just summoned.

"No. I've changed my mind.", Ezra said as he sent all his creatures back into their cards. "You will lead us there.", he continued as he lifted another card that sucked the woman inside. Card Dimension. "If you pull any funny business, I will not hesitate to rip this card to pieces.", Ezra warned the woman as he kept a tight hold of the card prison she was in.

The woman sighed. "Ugh...head South East for five miles.", she grumbled in defeat as she sat in her new lodgings.

This side of Ezra was something that was all too familiar with the Ezra of Violet's time.

Now this is the Uncle Ezra I'm more familiar with. Violet thought to herself as she was more used to seeing this more than the kinder side. It's not that he never showed a kind side in the future, it was just that he more often didn't. The two of then began to head in the direction that the lady mentioned. "So is it around here or are there more directions?" Violet asked after they had traveled the distance and she began to look around.

"Only members of our guild can access the location.", the trapped woman said spitefully to the young girl. "Y'know, you'll need me out of here if you want to get in when we arrive, handsome.", she said to the redhead carrying her card.

"Then I'll release you from the card when we get there. And if you do try to escape, I'll gladly use other, less humane ways to stop you.", he said, with a hint of a warning tone in his voice.

--- 1 and a half hours later ---

"Stop. We're at the spot.", the woman said, but there was nothing in sight for miles around. A barren landscape.

"This better not be a joke, woman.", Ezra said sternly as he threw the woman's card on the ground in front of him.

"It isn't. Do you really think I'm stupid enough to trick you when you could end my life with the flick of your wrist right now?", she yelled at him as if it were obvious.

Ezra deactivated Card Dimension and the woman flopped out of the card, landing on her face. The straitjacket had been removed for now. She got to her feet, coughing as she brushed dust off of her outfit. She proceeded to raise her arms up as her body shimmered with light for a few moments, and she uttered a short, imcomprehensible phrase. Clearly a password, as the ground began to shudder. About fifty feet away, the ground dipped, turning into a slope of some sort. It had revealed an underground passage. Ezra quickly returned the woman to a card again when it was open.

Ezra, Violet, and the card-trapped Serpent woman progressed into the tunnel which lead to a wide, circular room made of ancient stone. There were transcriptions on the walls about the Dark Mage Zeref. "Which way do we go?", Ezra asked the woman, but he got a laugh in response.

"I said I would lead you to where we have your friends, but I never said I would lead you to your friends specifically.", she cackled. "You should really listen more.", she finished with a giggle.

"You son--", Ezra was about to curse, but he was interrupted by a scream of pain. That scream was familiar. It was Sif's! The sound was faint, but it was just loud enough for Ezra to hear it. "Sif..", Ezra said with a whispery tone. "I'm coming.", he said as if he were reassuring himself rather than his sister. He turned to look at Violet, and gave her a small smile. And then he proceeded to send his niece into his Card Dimension as well. "I'm sorry Violet but what I am about to do could be dangerous for you.", Ezra explained as he sent the two cards holding the Serpent and his niece to his pocket dimension via Requip.

Ezra looked at the ground, and inhaled deeply. He pulsed out his Magical Power into his environment. He raised a clenched fist above his head, and after a few more breaths, he slammed it into the floor. For a moment, all was silent. Until a crack echoed out. And then another, and another. The entire floor proceeded to crack and drop Ezra towards the next one below. Ezra crashed through ten more floors barehanded, before arriving in a strange room. Up on a raised platform, Sif, Alexander and Brooke were chained to pillars, all of them groaning and wincing in agony. At the back of the room, Eugene, Hayden, Brianna, Josh, Kai and Zuno were unconscious and in steel cages. Ezra was furious. He leaped up onto the platform first of all, in order to free his relatives. "No...Dad!", Alex mumbled out breathlessly, as if he were worried. Ezra suddenly could not move. He felt himself being drawn back against a pillar, and eventually he himself was also strapped to it, and felt his Magic Power being abused. The pain was excrutiating. A sudden sharp spike of pain. A man in a burgundy trenchcoat walked up the platform. He was chuckling darkly, and opened his hand, revealing the two cards containing Violet, and the other Serpent! The man threw Violet's card at the remaining pillar, which forced her out of it, and also strapped her to it, causing her to feel the same effects as everyone else.

"As for you, you little bitch.", he said bitterly while looking at his ally in her card prison. "You couldn't even bring them down successfully, tch.", he said in annoyance as he put her card down the front of his trousers into the groinal area.

"It's time!", he said gleefully as he raised his hands and chanted an ancient language. On the circle between the five relatives, a glowing blue line moved in different directions, before eventually forming a pentagram star on the floor. "Open, Gates of the Netherworld, and take us to our kingdom!", he yelled as the floor turned into an abyss of raw Ethernano. The vortex sucked everyone present, including the Serpents and the caged Mages, into it, sending them into the unknown...

--- CHAPTER END ---

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