July 18th 12:00pm
All of the captured Mages woke up at exactly noon simultaneously. They looked at their surroundings, only to find the group was scattered again! Everyone was in different locations: Sif and Eugene were in a gladitorial arena, Hayden was in a stone labyrinth, Ezra was in a field of death where not even the air was safe, Brianna, Alexander and Akabane were in a cave with lava, Brooke and Violet were in an ancient mausoleum, and Josh, Kai and Zuno were in a room filled with colourful yet somewhat creepy children's toys.
--- Sif and Eugene ---
The Swordswoman and the Dragon Slayer got to their feet. Both of them were rather dizzy, as it seemed their Magic Power had been drained, yet they were still conscious. Sif looked down and saw her slightly damaged outfit and, upon attempting to Requip, discovered nothing happened in the slightest. "What the hell is this place?", Sif said as she hobbled towards Eugene.
Where am I? Eugene thought to himself as he slowly regained awareness of his surroundings. The last thing I remember was taking that slash attack from that robot man. It wasn't as if my body sustained enough damage to knock me out but I fell unconscious. I can infer that Sensei did a forced soul switch and did something before we got into this predicament. I need to figure out where I am and what are my options. Out of habit, Eugene would have summoned a herb to chew on that would help wake him up and make him come back to his senses but unfortunately, he realized that the said plant could not be summoned. Well that's just great, I'm either drained of magic power or I can't use magic here. That really limits my options. He thought this with a twinge of annoyance. He then looked around, noting the coliseum-like area until his eyes landed on Sif who was hobbling towards him. "Sif are you okay?" Eugene asked with worry as he closed the remaining distance between them and picked her up and walked to somewhere she could sit and get whereever she was hurt checked on. "We can't use our magic here it seems but I have have some plants already that can help ease the pain and heal the wound a little."
"Just a little dizzy.", Sif said as she eventually managed to stand properly. "Where are we? It looks like some sort of arena.", Sif asked as she did a 360, looking at the colossal arena that surrounded them. "I'm a little bruised, nothing major.", she said in response to Eugene mentioning his healing plants.
"First, eat these herbs, one of them will help with the dizziness and the other will relieve the pain." Eugene said before forcing a few herbs into Sif's mouth. "As for where we are, I don't have a clue either. The design of this place bothers me though, I just get the feeling we're going to have to engage in combat soon. The enemy wouldn't throw us in here without a reason. Stay on your guard." As he said this, he already had his sword at the ready. "We can't use magic so we'll have to use a fighting style without it." He then looked towards Sif. "Relax and know I'll be the shadow to your light." Saying that he was a shadow to Sif's light was his way of saying that he had her back and would support her as much as he could.
Sif ate the herbs, and sighed with slight happiness. She listened to Eugene's response, and a smile formed on her expression when he mentioned his phrase about him being the shadow to her light.
"Welcome...!", a male voice suddenly boomed out of nowhere. It echoed around the arena as if the source were disembodied. "To my playground! My pride and joy...!!", the voice continued as crowds manifested from thin air on the stands. "AGER MORS!!" (Note to readers: Latin for 'The Field of Death'), he roared as at least five giant iron gates appeared on the walls out of nowhere and began to rise, with many predatory-looking creatures entering the arena.
"Eugene, what do we do? I don't have my sword on me, I use my Requip to bring it out.", Sif said as she walked to stand somewhat behind Eugene, considering she had no weapons at present.
"Sif, calm down we'll get through this just fine." Eugene said as he gave her a reassuring smile. He then gave his sword to Sif. "It's slightly heavier than what you're used to but I'm sure Yozora here will be able to keep you safe. As for me, I'll just go barehanded." He said that last part with a joking tone. "I'm kidding. Although I'm used to fighting barehanded in this sort of situation because of my childhood, I'd rather get this done quickly." He then took out another sword that was of a light blue color. This was a sword Sif hadn't seen before. He then faced the enemies in front of him and pointed his blade at them as a way to say "Bring it on."
Sif got to grips with the Yozora sword, and held the blade to face the enemy creatures. She took off into an incredible sprint, the sword held out to her side. Some of the creatures charged the swordswoman, with demonic-looking riders appearing on their backs, all with swords, axes, etc. of their own. Sif leaped over the first wave, landing behind them, swinging her sword around into one of the creatures, impaling it. It fell to the ground lifeless as she uppercutted it's rider into the air with her strength, and removed the wedged Yozora sword. Raising the sword up so that it impaled the rider, she swung it around using the body like a mace to knock away some of the other enemies. The defeated/killed enemies dispersed into molecules. They weren't alive, but they were dangerously real. Sif's actions managed to provide Eugene with a distraction to make his move.
Before she even knew it, a smokescreen had already surrounded Sif, creating a sort of ring around her. She could still see as she was not within it but it seemed that their enemies which were didn't have as much luck and were completely in the dark. This was caused by Eugene who had a few ninja tools on hand including smoke bombs and actual bombs, the latter of which could be heard by Sif coming from within the smoke. A few moments later, a few enemies who were quite weakened were hit into the ring that Sif was in the middle of. This was Eugene's strategy, to force the enemies to fight blind within the smokescreen he had made and deal with all of them at once, using his enhanced senses to find his foes even without his eyesight. Obviously, with this method, he clearly couldn't kill every single one of them as he had to rely more on a hit and run method while weaving around his foes. His aim though was to thin out their numbers and weaken them before hitting some to Sif to finish off, doing all of it in silence.
Sif sprung into the air and kicked some of the enemies Eugene launched at her into the ground. She simply slashed through the rest until none remained, and stood beside Eugene, panting the tiniest bit. They were about to have a conversation until the dong of a single, church-like bell rung around the arena repeatedly. A huge gate formed on the wall, at least four times the size of the first wave. It rattled itself open, and the ground began to shudder as a thudding approached the pair. A giant emerged from the tunnel. Sif and Eugene both readied their swords, and charged with a war cry as they leaped into the air, swinging at the giant..
--- Alexander, Brianna and Akabane ---
The cave was incredibly hot. Brianna and Akabane were almost overwhelmed, yet Alex was showing no distress at all. Explosions rattled around. Brianna climbed a wall to narrowly avoid a wave of lava. Akabane was pouncing from rock to rock. Alex was running along a ledge. The group were battling something. Something monstrous. A golem made entirely of lava! A beam of lava narrowly missed Alex, exploding the ledge he was on, thus sending him across the cave. He hit the ground with a tumble but quickly and nimbly got back to his feet with a twist of his body.
Spatial orbs enveloped Alex's hands, as Brianna's sword began to glow. "Ih Ragdal!!" (Translation: "Fall!!") Alex yelled as a beam of Territory fired from his engulfed hands towards the monster at the same time Brianna utilized her Sword Magic.
"Razor Wind!", the girl casted as a near-transparent wave of wind-like energy was projected out of her sword. Alex's beam and Brianna's spell impacted simultaneously, but did only minor damage. The lava golem bellowed and launched large globs of magma at each of the three teenagers, which they managed to avoid.
"Ice Chain!" Akabane shouted summoning a large chain of Ice to wrap around the golem and constrict it. Obviously, the lava melted the ice easily, creating steam/mist to come from it. "Lightning Chain!" He then summoned a chain of lightning from above striking the golem's head. The surrounding evaporated water particles around the golem also conducted the electricity, increasing power and range, it striking all over the golem's body. "Brianna, Alexander, have any ideas to take it down? It doesn't seem like we'll be able to brute force our way through this."
"I do. But you're gonna have to get your asses away from this giant bastard.", Alex said with confidence flowing so much that it was almost cockiness, earning looks of confusion and curiosity from teammates, considering they had only known Alex using a strict set of Magic and abilities.
After a few moments, Brianna and Akabane relocated to the other side of the cave, out of the golem's line of sight. Alex made sure the golem stayed focused on him by inducing explosions around it every now and then via his Territory Magic. The golem roared and fired an intense beam of a mixture of fire and magma at Alex as he ran along a path. He flipped and twirled like a ninja of some sort as he avoided the beam and its aftershocks. But eventually, he was caught. The beam hit like a ton of bricks. Alex let out a scream of pain as he was engulfed by the attack, hidden from sight entirely. "ALEX!!", Brianna shrieked in anguish as she went to attack, but was only halted by Akabane, who also had a slightly distraught expression. "He's...is Alex really..", she tried to say, but her sentence was halted by a shiver. A shiver. In a cave of lava. Something definitely wasn't right. "What on Earthland is happening?", she said as she and Akabane were baffled by the fact they were shivering.
The golem turned to the hole in the wall it had made when it attacked Alex. It peered towards it, so that one of its giant eyes could see inside, only to be blasted back by a punch from Alex, enhanced with some sort of red, fiery wind. Alex flew out and kicked the monster back with his feet engulfed with the same energy as his hands. The other two children, Brianna especially, grinned in joy as they saw their friend was unharmed.
Alex began inhaling deeply, and it got even colder. Alex's body began to shimmer with a red aura similar to his father's, except right now it was much, much darker. He threw his head back and yelled, "SCORCHING GALE DEVIL'S...", he threw his head forward, "RAAAGE!!!", he roared as a colossal beam of maroon fire and wind erupted from his mouth and straight into the golem. The beam consisting of dark fire and an eerie wind ripped through the air towards the golem, its power so great it engulfed the cave almost all the way to where Brianna and Akabane were standing, which is at least a good thirty feet away from Alex's current position. It blasted right through it, exploding it, as well as ripping through the foundation of the cave and creating a whole tunnel all the way to the surface. After that attack, Alex's aura faded like a cloud on a windy day and he dropped to his knees, seemingly a little worn out by that particular Magic. Alex was in fact a Devil Slayer, of all things. A Scorching Gale Devil Slayer no less.
Brianna and Akabane made their way over to Alex quickly, both still trying to grasp the event that just happened. Alex just ripped a hole in the earth, technically. Created a tunnel from this cave up to the surface, almost one hundred feet up. "There's not doubt about it..", Brianna and Akabane both seemed to think at the same time, "He is definitely the Emperor's son.", they both concluded with in their minds as they made their way to the blasted-out tunnel.
--- Brooke and Violet ---
Brooke stood strong with Violet hidden safe behind her. Strange, giant dragon-fly-like bugs were attacking them, but they were being easily dispatched by the purple-haired swordswoman without even needing her Magic. After a few dozen more bugs, they stopped coming, and Brooke had time to catch her breath and check on her little sister. Turning and crouching, she put her hand on Violet's shoulder. "You okay, Vi?", the girl said with a calming smile on her face.
"I'm fine Onee-chan." Violet replied with a smile as she summoned some plants. "Here, this will help relieve you of fatigue. Even if you're only a little tired, it's best to keep up your strength as much as you can." The flowers she summoned released a scent that gave strength back to Brooke. "So what should we do now? At the moment, I don't think we have to worry about the others. They should be fine, especially Mom, Dad, and Uncle Ezra." Alex-nii should have used the magic he had been hiding but I should wait until he tells her himself. She added as an afterthought. Just like her father, if she was around a person long enough, she could determine their abilities and sometimes magic. It also helped that Alex didn't notice that she was there when he practiced his Devil Slayer Magic on his own.
Their small conversation interrupted when the sky, visible through the top of the roof-less mausoleum, turned an eerie red. In the distance, the girls were able to witness a huge, red beam of flaming winds, and Violet, having seen it before, knew immediately who the source was. "Alex-nii...", she muttered quietly so that Brooke didn't notice, "You finally used it.".
"That beam...it looks huge and it has to be at least a mile away from us.", Brooke stated, "Think it's Uncle Ezra?", she said as she looked down at her younger sister.
"Who knows, maybe?" Violet said in response to hide her thoughts. While Brooke matched more of their father's skill set, Violet had more of his mindset and was able to easily keep on a poker face. "Do you think we should go there Onee-chan?"
"It's the only sign of people around, I think we should.", Brooke said with a firm voice as she pointed her sword at the wall. "I found our new exit." she said as she raised her sword at an angle. She flexed her arm back, and let it snap back like an elastic band. The force sent out a near-transparent wave of solid pressure that ripped through the wall and caused it to collapse entirely, providing the sisters with a way out. They took off through the hole and ran towards to where the beam was fired from.
--- Hayden / Ezra ---
Elsewhere. An explosion broke through a humongous wall at least sixty feet in height. Hayden soared through it, holding the face of a ghostly knight of some sort. He proceeded to "consume" the ghostly essence like food. He was a Spirit Slayer after all. It's what he does. "Tch, to think they pitched ghosts against a Spirit Slayer. Dumbasses.", he chastised whoever was causing all of this. Hayden sighed and looked around until a distant roar and boom in the distance caught his attention. Looking in that direction, he dulled his other senses and focused entirely on his hearing. That was when he heard it. That one voice he would do anything for. Sif's voice! She was clearly in pain, as it was a scream he heard from her. He took off in that direction at the speed of the wind, traversing over almost every single obstacle, other than the ones that required effort to eradicate, even if it was minimal. As Hayden sprinted towards the apparent arena, his breath was heavy and his eyes were dilated. His nails were unchanged in appearance, but at this point they could cut through solid Adamantine. Sif. His one. He would do anything for her if it meant she would be safe. Hayden roared in anger as he barreled across the land towards her location.
Meanwhile, a few miles West of the Wolf Boy of Sabertooth, Ezra was busy obliterating skeletal assailants. They were easy pickings, as if they were designed that way. Almost too easy. That was when Ezra released a potentially deadly mistake. They were distractions! For a brief moment, something snapped. And Ezra exerted his Magical Power with such great brilliance that it obliterated all the skeletons and the landscape around him for at least half a mile with pure power. Afterwards, he sat on the same spot as he was stood on. His blood red aura clouded around him like a graceful mist as he honed in on his special ability of Magic Identification. He could almost see the world around him, despite his eyes being closed, in a form of inverted colour. He was tracking someone. After a few seconds, he locked in on his targets. His sister, Sif. Hayden. And Eugene. He knew where the children were, but he also knew they would be fine as a group. It was Eugene and especially Sif he was worried about. He could barely detect her. A very bad sign. He immediately took off in a bound in her direction. As he ran, he Requipped a few cards into his hand and threw them out in front. "Winged Ace!", he casted as they merged and formed what looked like a dragon-like creature. He leaped onto its back and it took off into the sky at incredible speed.
--- Sif and Eugene / Hayden ---
Sif and Eugene were fighting for their lives with just their skills and the clothes on their backs. They ducked, twirled, flipped and dived out of the way of attacks they couldn't block, and struck numerous counterattacks against the monsters. These ones were different. It took, between the pair of them, at least ten attacks just to kill one. The two landed near each other after using the momentum of a monster's punches to get into the air. Another attack was swung at them and they avoided, but another wave of monsters spawned. They grabbed Eugene and slammed him into the wall and pinned him by his neck and limbs, causing him to lose his grasp on his weapon.
"Eugene!", Sif called out as she was about to charge. But instead she was smashed with a giant club at almost bone-breaking force right into the stone wall of the arena. "Aaagh!! Augh! Uggh!!", she cried out in agony as a she was beaten a few more times over and over with the giant rocky weapon. After the giant with the club stopped, she flopped to the ground, unresponsive.
This voice persisted in Eugene’s head as he saw Sif fall to the ground unconscious. He wanted to kill all of the monsters around him for hurting his friend like that. Even when he was pinned down, he began pressing against the wall. The moment his assailants loosened up even a little bit from being off guard from having both enemies supposedly defeated, Eugene took this opportunity to counterattack. In the next second, two craters appeared where Eugene’s hands were as he pushed off the wall and knocked away the giants previously pinning him there. Eugene used their bodies as a stepping stones to gain altitude. Once he was above one of their heads, he took his fist and smashed it through the giant's head with the same level of force he used to smash the wall, smashing in the creature's skull before moving on to the next. Because he knew it was going to be a prolonged fight, Eugene didn't use his full strength earlier. Now that he was pushed to this, he held nothing back as he continued to easily smash through his foes almost as if they were pieces of pottery, screaming in an angered almost beast-like manner all the while. In the process though, he almost forgot about Sif who lay a distance away with some of the monsters getting ready to finish her off. That was when he heard a loud crack. It wasn't one of his bones. It wasn't Sif. But he ignored it and kept on fighting. And then everything was black and white for a few seconds.
A massive explosion engulfed the solid roof of the arena, and Hayden burst through with his hand wrapped around the face of a cloaked man. Hayden's roar almost drowned out the noise of the spawned crowd and monsters present. It was deafeningly loud, especially to a Dragon Slayer like Eugene. Hayden's hand suddenly began to shimmer with Eclipse energy. "Eclipse Spirit's Striking Palm!", Hayden casted as an explosion rang from him right in the face of the cloaked man. The explosion had sent the man crashing into the ground heavily, earning a pained grunt from him, and another explosion. When the smoke settled, it was revealed that he was simply another construct! Hayden didn't care. He had spotted the grievously injured Sif lying on the ground about to have her life ended, and he was mad. Very mad. His eyes began to glow a sinister reddish color. He began to charge up into a run. He began to howl and bark. His body size started to grow. Grey fur made itself visible on his body and his clothing disappeared. His body shape shifted into a similar shape to that of a wolf. Except wolf-Hayden was at least fifteen feet tall! And that was when it became clear. Hayden is a Werewolf.
Compared to the speed he was at now, Hayden's human speed seemed almost infant. Hayden was blurring around the arena and diving onto monsters, killing dozens with one hit each. Biting and tearing, clawing and gashing. He was massacring them all.
And then both Eugene and the (unconscious) Sif began to feel a strange tingle. Their Magic was returning! Hayden destroying the entire upper area of the arena was well as the android seemingly controlling it must have eradicated whatever was blocking off the Magic of the Dragon Slayer and the Swordswoman.
In his rage, Eugene couldn't really tell it was Hayden especially since he changed form so he thought he was a new enemy to kill. Without any remaining enemies left anyway, Eugene just charged in and began combat with Hayden in Wolf form. All of a sudden, Eugene staggered and his body slumped downward before getting back up, his eyes glowing a certain yellow. "Cool your jets and rest for now." Eugene said in a slightly different voice as he picked up his swords that had been dropped and put them away. "You should calm down too Wolf. Sif is out of harms way for now" He said as he summoned plants that released an aroma that relaxes those who smell it. It should be especially effective on Hayden who has his keen sense of smell. Eugene then carefully picked up Sif who was thankfully still breathing. "You calm enough now Wolf?"
The huge wolf looked down at the golden-eyed Eugene. A casual growl resounded from Hayden's throat, and with a snort his form began to compress back into that of his human one, which still had the canine ears, tail and teeth. He grunted as a way of confirming Eugene's question, and immediately moved to help with the unconscious Sif, who seemed to be coming back around now that her Magic was returning. He took over carrying her, so that Eugene could get some rest as well.
Hayden carried her the way a groom would carry his bride, as it was the easiest way in regards to her condition. He rested his forehead on hers, with closed eyes, and muttered. "I've got you now..", he said with a hushed tone of voice that even Eugene probably had trouble hearing at first. Suddenly, a slow clapping began to sound around the arena. The arena itself then proceeded to completely disappear as if it were never there, and a cloaked man with a metal mask and glowing red eyes was walking towards the group, still clapping slowly, earning a glare from both men. Hayden took a step back as a precaution, but for Sif's sake rather than his own. "Eugene, feel that? The power coming from him?.", he said to his fellow Slayer. It wasn't exactly on Ezra's level, but it was still high enough to be noticed.
"Wolf, prepare for combat if necessary." Eugene said in response. "Me and Sif aren't in a condition for physical combat. Our bodies have taken more damage and Sif being unconscious is another reason. If it's magic, I can support you though." He took Sif from Hayden as he gave these instructions. Hayden should feel the same difference about Eugene from earlier. He sounded a bit more like a soldier now. Eugene then turned towards the man. "For starters, how about you tell us who you are? Are you the one behind all of this?" He asked calmly despite the situation.
Hayden took a step forward and made sure he was in between the stranger, and his allies.
The cloaked man laughed almost digitally through his metal mask. "If you really care that much..I suppose I can compensate. My name is Dean Granger, and I am a member of Serpent's Cross, and I am rank five.", he said to them with the same digital voice. "Behind the entire plan no, but the arena and everything in it was my very own creation! Neat, huh?", he chuckled in a cocky manner. "Arc of Embodiment is an epic Magic. I can make anything I can imagine.", he said with an almost-psychotic voice. "But then again...", his eyes started shimmering blue instead of red, "I have other Magic that I can use to rip you apart!", he said as he began cackling wildly. He threw his hands out in front of him and summoned a gale of air so cold that it instantly froze the ground it passed over.
"Eclipse Spirit's Rising Wall!", Hayden spoke as he casted his defense spell. A wave of Eclipse energy moved out in front of him, Sif and Eugene and formed a solid wall that blocked off the cold gale. After, what seemed like small pixels began to flitter around Hayden's eyes. He was using his Archive Magic. The cloaked man jerked from a sharp pain for a moment, before glaring back at Hayden. "Overload.", Hayden said sternly. That was when many digital 'screens' appeared in the air around the man and exploded, sending him flying backwards. "Eugene, take Sif and get moving. I'll hold this freak off.", Hayden said as his hands shimmered. "And if anything happens to her...", he turned to look over his shoulder, with his eyes outlined by a pale red energy. "You'll have me to answer to.", he warned the Dragon Slayer.
As the injured pair made their escape, Hayden focused back on Dean again. "Come at me!!", Hayden roared as he charged down the Serpent with glowing fists. His enemy also began charging, yelling wildly like a hyperactive Sheriff, his hands were also glowing, but with an icy aura. The two leaped at each other and swung their fists in front of them to meet in the middle...
--- Josh, Kai and Zuno ---
An explosion tremored somewhere in the distance. It went unnoticed as the two young boys and the little yellow rodent were ducking and diving around the room they were in, avoiding numerous quick bolts of Magic energy fired from all directions. Josh flipped and fired a stream of electricity at one of the firing cannons simultaneously with Zuno, destroying the weapon. Just a few dozen left. "How many of these things is there?!", Josh both yelled and whined as he took cover behind a toppled closet of some sort with Zuno.
"Looks like it's our turn. Kumatoru, I choose you!" Kai said confidently as he threw out a small box which opened and released a flash of light which then came together to form a large bear-like creature with cannons on its back. "Kumatoru, blast them away!" Following its orders Kumatoru started firing the cannons on its back, effectively shooting down several of the enemy cannons. Kai also joined in and started firing guns that channeled his fire magic. "Come on Josh, lightning mouse, it's not that hard if we're all blasting them together!" He said with a smile. "And besides, I still have Torikaze and Keromizu just in case!"
"Hold onto your hats.", Josh said with a cheeky smirk as he began to pulse vigorously with bright blue electricity. Soon enough, he had turned into an actual bolt of lightning that was ripping through the walls, inducing mini-explosion after mini-explosion as he destroyed each cannon and it's circuitry. Lightning Magic has its perks. After the task was done, he reformed back in the exact spot he was on beforehand. "Beat that.", he said gleefully as Zuno hopped onto Josh's head and got comfortable.
"Oh come on, yours might be flashy and cool looking but me and Kumatoru destroyed more of them!" Kai said in a cheerful and carefree tone. He then looked around. "So what do we do now? Should we try to look for the others?" He said as he returned Kumatoru back to its box. "We still have no clue where we are nor where the others are."
"I can detect someone moving this way, about 150 metres out.", Zuno said to the boys, "I can pick out sources of electricity and conductivity, and in this case it's the conductivity, of something metal.", he continued as his ears twitched and his cheeks sparked.
Both boys thought for a second, before simultaneously twigging on. "Brianna!", they said in unison.
"She wears metal armour, that's probably it.", Josh said to the little yellow critter on his shoulder. "Come on, let's go meet 'em!", he said as he dived out a broken window, since they weren't exactly high off the ground, and ran in the direction of his sister and her group, followed by Kai.
When the two groups met up, Brianna, despite finding her brother somewhat of an annoyance, pulled him into a hug, glad the young boy wasn't hurt, but such an action also embarassed the poor boy, earning teasing expressions from Alex, Kai and Akabane. "Shut up~!", Josh whined at the other boys even though no one said anything and he wriggled out of Brianna's grasp.
"Thank goodness you're all okay.", Brianna said to her younger brother, Zuno and Kai as they greeted the other two older boys. "Have you had any luck findin--", she spoke before being interrupted by something in the horizon.
"I guess we're headin' that-a-way.", Alex said as he looked at the huge explosion in the distance. It seemed to be a mix of colors, mostly a pale blue and white-outlined black.
Brianna's and Josh's faces went stoic for a moment. "Father...that's our Father's Magic! I'd know the feel of it anywhere!", the armored swordswoman exclaimed as she and her younger sibling took off in that direction, towards the location of the apparent battle.
"Hey-hey, Bree! Josh! Wait up!", Alex barked as he began tailing after them. "Dumbasses...", he muttered quietly under his breath.
Kai had already sent out his flying robot Torikaze, one that resembled a very large bird and started flying after them with Zuno in hand. Akabane went over to Alex who seemed to be sort of disoriented by the suddenness of the situation.
"Calm down Alexander." Akabane said to Alex. "For now, we cannot afford to be separated so we should trust them and follow after them." He then whispered to him. “Besides, if Brianna gets in trouble, you can be her knight in shining armor if you’re with her.” He said in a slightly teasing tone before following after the rest of the group while motioning for Alex to follow as well. While he did get most of his personality from his father, he did get his mother’s teasing side to some degree.
Alex's reaction basically confirmed the way he felt towards Brianna. His face was bright red, but his eyes had went white as he near enough barked at Akabane. "That's enough out of you, kid!!", and he and the rest of the kids continued their run, following the siblings.
--- Hayden, Sif and Eugene ---
Meanwhile, as the kids made their way over, another explosion occurred. The cloaked figure had punched Hayden a few metres backwards with a spell. Hayden leapt forward with his wolf claws emerged from his fingertips, slashing Dean rather painfully, judging by the other man's reaction. He yelled as he put his hand on where Hayden had just struck, and looked at the minor blood leakage. He lunged at Hayden in a rage, tackling the Werewolf to the ground, only to be blasted into the air by a Eclipse Spirit's Bluster straight into his face. Hayden's eyes darted to the weakened Eugene and the unconscious Sif not far off, trying to make their escape for now. "Just a little longer.", Hayden thought to himself as he made himself live bait for them to do so. A mistake was made by Hayden. He looked away for even just a second. When he turned his focus back to Dean, he was hit by a powerful blast of Ice that knocked him down and froze him to the ground by his body, leaving his head free.
Dean chuckled as he pressed a heavy foot on the wolf's chest, earning a cough. He repeatedly stomped on Hayden's chest, getting continuous grunts and winces of some pain in the process. He turned his focus to the Dragon Slayer and the Swordswoman as they attempted to escape. "Pathetic.", he spat as he raised his hand to them, and activated his Arc of Embodiment Magic and formed a cage around the duo out of thin air. "Now then. C'mere little doggy...~", Dean said with a sadistically joyful tone of voice as he grabbed Hayden's face rather forcefully. Dean began to shimmer with a pale blue aura, and pained yells were suddenly erupting from Hayden.
Sif, however, finally woke up, only to find herself and Eugene in a cage, and Hayden on the ground in pain. "Hayden!", she called in the hopes that her friend would hear her. He could only hear a wild buzzing in his head, and his own pained screams. Sif tried to barge the bars of the cage down, only to be blasted by electricity, causing a laugh to erupt from Dean.
"Don't try it, bitch. The more you try to break those bars, the more they PUNISH you!!", Dean snarled at the woman, as he continued to cause some sort of pain to Hayden. "How does it feel, dog?! How does it feel to go through Take Over as the target!! You're just a beast. A wolf. Dirt. Nothing more, now rest in pieces.", he snarled through his gritted teeth as Hayden writhed in pain...until Hayden saw the despaired look on Sif's face.
Hayden's eyes dilated, and he howled so deafeningly loud that, because he was so close, it ruptured one of Dean's eardrums, interrupting and stopping the Take Over, and also sending him reeling backwards, yelling in agony. Seeing that Sif was okay was more than enough for Hayden to get his mojo back. He simply flexed and the ice encasing his body shattered, freeing him. In one blurred motion, Hayden has reached Dean and uppercutted him into the sky. He leaped up above several metres above him and charged his body with Eclipse energy. "Spirit Slayer's Secret Art!", Hayden called out as the black light grew evermore brilliant. "Shining Darkness!!!", he continued as a colossal sphere of black light outlined with a white brilliance formed itself above Hayden and between his hands. He flipped and launched the sphere down upon the falling Dean Granger, sending him crashing to the ground with a mountain-shaking explosion force. Hayden landed right beside the cage containing his two friends. He was about to slash it apart, but it suddenly faded into thin air. Dean was beaten.
Hayden embraced Sif with a hug, which she returned. During the hug, Hayden looked at Eugene. But for the first time, it wasn't with anger or some form of jealousy. It was gratitude. As Hayden and Sif broke off, they looked at the huge castle in the distance. But a rustling bush startled all three and they whirled to face it, ready to fight. But it was not even close to an enemy. It was Brooke and Violet.
"We should head to the castle. The others might be there.", Sif said to the group that has gathered. "Plus it's...not like there is anywhere else to go...", she said in realization as she looked around at the emptiness that was the environment around them.
"Wait for a minute, I can sense another group approaching. It's more of the future kids. Let's wait for them to show up first before heading to the castle." Eugene said, having not returned to normal yet. "As for now Wolf, as of right now, you are our weakest link. You've expended too much magic energy thus far and you currently have the least amount of magic power remaining among all of us. Unfortunately, it seems that you severely lack control over how much magic power you use when it comes to Sif. It wouldn't be very funny when we're in a critical situation and you've used up all of your magic power to play the hero so at least for a little while, take a backseat to the fighting and let Sif and Eugene along with the others take over for a bit." It was then he closed his eyes and when he opened them again, he appeared to be back to normal.
"Hmm? What happened? Last thing I remember was me and Sif getting pinned down by those giants." Eugene said in a somewhat confused tone. He then saw Hayden. "And when did Wolf get here?" He then saw his future daughters. "Brooke and Violet too?"
Ah, Grandpa Zento came out again. Brooke and Violet thought in unison. They were already aware of Zento's soul within their father's body. Because Zento was like a father figure to Eugene besides Gardina, the girls thought of Zento as something akin to a grandfather. However, they decided to not explain unless Eugene or Zento was okay with it or if they said it themselves. Even without them saying anything, it was pretty obvious that something was going on from the personality changes.
Suddenly, constant, distant screams could be heard. The group looked up the mountain behind them, and saw what seemed to be a huge sphere of dust rolling down. And that was when they saw. Alexander, Brianna, Josh, Akabane, Kai and Zuno sliding down the mountain on rock slabs clinging to each other for dear life.
"What in the world...", Sif said quietly as the other kids got closer and closer down the mountain at alarming speed.
When they got to the bottom, they were all flung towards the group, with Sif, Brooke and Violet casually sidesteps the incoming human projectiles, and Hayden and Eugene simply caught their respective ones effortlessly.
"What the hell was that all about?", Hayden growled slightly in both annoyance and curiosity, as he looked at the one he had caught. It was his own future-son, Josh, of all people.
"Yeah, you were--", Eugene went to say but was interrupted by a shadow forming over him, Hayden and Josh. They looked up and all squawked in surprise when Kai's big robot ended up landing right on them and pinning them to the ground, but in a rather comedic fashion.
"THAT'S where it got to...", Kai said meekly, earning a glare from Hayden and Josh, while Eugene started to lift it up off of himself and the father-son duo, getting help from Hayden to do so, with Kai's comment causing Sif, Brooke and Violet to giggle amongst themselves.
"We're all here, let's move out.", Sif said, almost like a military commander. Most of the group started to move, but Hayden and Eugene remained by Sif's side, both looking inquisitive.
"What about Ezra? I can't even smell him or hear him right now.", Hayden said as the trio walked slowly.
"It's Ezra, Hayden. He'll be fine.", Sif said assertively to her Werewolf friend, "I'm sure he'll surprise us all.", she continued with a smile on her face and began to run to keep up with the kids, with Hayden and Eugene doing the same.
--- Ezra ---
At least twenty miles off, a winged beast similar to a Dragon flew through the air, with a redheaded rider on its back, safely. "Almost there...hang on, everyone.", Ezra thought to himself as he and his summon raced through the skies, with Ezra's hair and coat flicking vigourously in the wind.
--- Serpent's Cross ---
In the castle that everyone was heading for, four members of the Serpent's Cross guild were gathered in an atrium, with three of them sat around a huge round table. There was an empty chair. "Dean has been defeated, Milady.", a man with brown hair and blond bangs and wearing a burgundy trenchcoat said with a soothing, smooth voice. "He is a failure. He failed to kill both the Dragon Slayer and the Werewolf.", he continued with a slight hiss of irritation in his voice.
"Enough.", said a beautifully toned, sultry voice, at a level just about loud enough to echo slightly. "I don't need to be lectured by my own guild, Cyrus...King of the Tainted Heavens.", she said in a manner that was almost taunting towards the male, earning rather unpleasant thoughts from him. The figure that produced such a womanly voice made herself visible, walking away from a large stained-glass window and out of the shadows, revealing her pale yet flawless skin, gentle expression and elegant clothing with long silky black hair. "Jessica, dearest little Wild Shot. Go. Eradicate the Wolf pups.", she said with a sigh in her voice, "I could always do with a new fur coat too. Hmm, kill the Werewolf too if he intervenes.", she continued, as she flicked her hand as if shooing a servant.
"But--", Jessica tried to object, knowing how powerful they all are, only to be silenced by a simple stern glare from the raven-haired woman. In fact, an expression of fear had been plastered onto Jessica's face from just one look. "Understood...Master Leona.", she whimpered slightly as she made her way out of the atrium.
Leona turned back to look at the stained glass, and laughed triumphantly. "Soon enough...He will rise from the legacy of the Great Demon Queen herself!! And victory will be ours!", she said as her laugh turned into a sinister, echoing giggle.
--- END OF CHAPTER ---