The Empress of Flames

The Empress of Flames

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

The Empress of Flames is a somewhat short story inspired by the anime Fairy Tail. The story is based off of an opposite universe that abducts people from a world similar to ours and withholds the beauty of magic. This fantasy universe revolves around a girl who finds herself when someone shows up at her door, opening a whole new purpose.
I understand if there are some bits and bobs in this story that are not exactly worded the best or misspelled. I may come back and fix some things up, but at this moment... I'm too lazy to. I've been struggling to keep the wording consistent. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy!
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Summary

The Empress of Flames is a somewhat short story inspired by the anime Fairy Tail. The story is based off of an opposite universe that abducts people from a world similar to ours and withholds the beauty of magic. This fantasy universe revolves around a girl who finds herself when someone shows up at her door, opening a whole new purpose.
I understand if there are some bits and bobs in this story that are not exactly worded the best or misspelled. I may come back and fix some things up, but at this moment... I'm too lazy to. I've been struggling to keep the wording consistent. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy!

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Empress of Flames

Author Chapter Note

So I never really seperated my story into chapters... so here's the full thing!

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 23, 2017

Reads: 81

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 23, 2017

A A A

A A A

 

I walked down the stone path to the spring of water, where I dipped my foot in the clear blue liquid, feeling it’s warmth. I began to take off my clothes, one by one, dropping them on the grass. I walked into the water and embraced the warmth whilst gazing at the baby blue sky and admired the alluring pink cherry blossoms that surrounded me. I sat into the water and began to contemplate. Why was I here? Why did this happen to me?

 

Hey! The name is Asuka Yanaihara! I’m a second year here at Yamagata High School in Japan, where I fit in with the nerds. I’m just your typical teenage girl who has a passion for games and anime. I’m currently in Language class, my favorite class.

“Asuka!” Cried my friend, Aiko, causing me to jump out of surprise.

“Yeah? What’s up?” I asked.

Her eyes began to glow like a night light. She pulled out her phone.

“Look at this!” She said, her voice enthusiastic. “This is Tomomi, my new puppy!” She showed me a picture on her phone of an Akita puppy. I almost cried as I gawked at it’s cute little fuzzy head.

“That is the cutest thing I have ever seen!” I exclaimed. She pushed her hair behind her and sat in the desk in front of me.

“Yeah, and he was really expensive too!”

“Oh? I never knew Akita puppies were so expensive.” I professed.

My day went on as boring as always. Learn this, learn that, learn, learn, learn. And in the end, I had learned nothing. I eventually walked home after a day of hard work, skipping along the sidewalks and admiring the cherry blossoms on either sides of me. Their petals gracefully fell around me, as I picked a flower and put it in my hair, twirling. Although it was spring, today was prettier than normal. The sun had been shining the whole day and not one threatening cloud hovered above me. Once I got home, I immediately slipped into comfy clothes and pulled out my pigtails, as well as taking off my small bit of makeup. I began to prepare some crepes. I needed some chocolate after such a long day. I finished up my homework, took a nice steamy shower, and locked myself in my room for the rest of the night. I ended up falling asleep quickly.

I began to have a dream about a place. I don’t know where it was, nor have I ever been to it before. It was a forest. A forest with tall and proud standing trees, the colors of red, orange, and yellow, as if it was autumn. Leaves slowly drifted to the ground before my face while the sun was gleaming. I remembered trying to walk, stumbling, and in awe as I gazed upon the sight in front of me. Flowers grew from the ground in a variety of colors. I reached down and picked one, smelling it. Tranquility filled me while vines hung down from the trees here and there, as I began to walk through the majestic land. I looked up at the sweet blue sky, frozen in astonishment, as I watched a flock of beautiful white birds soar above my head. I detected a large pond of beautiful clear water ahead of me. I began to walk towards it, but I then woke up to the sound of my alarm clock.

What a stunning dream, I thought to myself, turning off my alarm clock. How did I remember it so vividly?

I threw on my school uniform and continued my morning routine for school. I began walking to school with Aiko and my other friend, Moana. I stopped, unable to move, as the houses and cherry blossoms around me began to spin. Aiko turned around.

“Asuka? Are you okay?” I began to feel dizzy, walking but stumbling.

“I think so…” I responded, having a hard time hearing myself.

“You’re starting to turn pale Asu, you might want to go home.” Moana said, her voice distressed. I began to think whether or not I should turn around and walk back home, but I was too disoriented to make a decision.

“No, no.” I responded, my voice clammy. “I’ll be-” After that, all I remembered was hard concrete against my back and the color black.

I woke up to find myself in the nurse’s at school, lying on an uncomfortable bed. I looked at my hands; they were pale and clammy, trembling before my very eyes. What was going on here? I sat up while glancing at the posters promoting vegetables beside the bed and opened the curtain to my section.

“Mrs. Maebara?” I asked, walking into the nurse’s office.

She picked up her glasses off of her desk and put them on. “Asuka, you’re awake.” She said, her sweet soft voice ringing throughout the office. “Moana and Aiko brought you over to the school and said you passed out on the sidewalk. How do you feel?” She asked, pulling out a thermometer and putting it under the base of my tongue.

“I feel okay… but I don’t remember what happened at all.” She looked at me anxiously, scratching her head.

“You still look very pale, sweetheart. Is anyone at your house? I think you need to be sent home.” She looked down at the thermometer. “You do have a bit of a fever.”

I began to feel dizzy once more, putting my cold hand on my head as I sweat. “Yes, my mother is.” Mrs. Maebara picked up her phone and dialed my mom. I got a little bit worried; I knew if my mom heard that something was wrong, she would freak out and ask me every few seconds if I was feeling okay.

My mother picked me up and took me home, where I lied in my bed and studied. She brought me a fresh cup of hot tea that I took small sips of, accompanied by toast. After all the chaos, I fell asleep quite quickly that afternoon.

I dreamt of the same place I had the night before. But this time, it wasn’t a dream. I felt alive in my dream--was I lucid dreaming? I could roam freely wherever I desired through the forest that I was familiar with. I began to walk forward, hearing and feeling each and everyone of my steps as my bare feet touched the ground. The grass was soft as it rustled under my toes gently. I came out of the forest to a large town with markets that filled the street.

“Hello?” I asked, walking toward one of the markets on the side of the road.

“Hi sweetie, would you like to buy some freshly picked apples?” Asked a woman who was standing at one of the markets, her short gray hair sparkling in the sun. Her rosy cheeks puffed as she straightened out her apron.

“Oh… no thank you.” I stuttered, my heart racing. Although I was freaking out and I had no idea where I was nor what was going on, the town was very beautiful. The stone townhouses on either side of me were majestic and everything seemed so lively. I looked back at the lady who had talked to me a moment ago.

“Would you be so kind as to help me?” I asked.

“Sure sweetheart.” She said, looking up at me with her bright gray eyes.

“Where am I?” I asked. She hesitated and looked surprised as her big cheeks flushed.

“You must be a newcomer!” She said, her voice thrilled. She came out from behind her stand, running towards me on her stubby legs and grabbing both of my hands. “Are you new here? Have you ever been here?”

“No!” I whimpered.

“We need to go to My Lord. Follow me!” She squealed.

My Lord? Who was that? I had no other option but to follow her; she was the only hope I had to finding out where I was. I followed her down the stone roads, dodging people who were in my way and pushing through crowds. After many minutes of running, we approached a big white and gold palace guarded by men, where she then proceeded to walk me inside. Paintings filled the red walls and large crystal chandeliers hung over our heads. The room was long and big, and I could almost make out a man in the distance, sitting on a large chair. Two men stood in front of us wearing silver armor.

“Mrs. Satou, how can our Lord assist you today?” One of the men asked.

“I have a newcomer!” She said, bringing me forward.

“You may proceed.” The man said. She walked me down the hall until we approached a large golden and white chair where a man sat. Many guards surrounded him, as he was being fanned by stunningly beautiful asian women. He had gray sideburns and wore a fez and a robe. His wrinkles curved as he gave me a big smile.

He got up out of his throne and turned stood up, creating eye contact. He had wise blue eyes that I could tell had hidden memories no other had.

“What do we have here?” He asked, stroking his little beard.

“A newcomer. She approached me by my market and begged for help.” Mrs. Satou said.

“Thank you. You may dismiss.” He said, his deep and tranquilizing voice filling the hall. I was on the verge of crying as I looked behind me and watched Mrs. Satou leave the room.

“What is your name? My name is–oh, nevermind.” The man began to chuckle loud. “Well that’s embarrassing, I almost forgot. You’re Asuka Yanaihara. Nice to meet you; call me Your Lord.”

“What? How did you know that? What’s going on here?” I cried. He cleared his throat.

“Mrs. Yanaihara. I know you're afraid, but please, don’t be.” He extended his hand to me as I hesitated, but took it. He walked me over to a large arched window, showing me the outside world. There was a large fountain with a statue of a woman in the middle. Water sprouted from a bucket she held as the sun made the fountain sparkle. “Welcome to Athega. Where you are at this moment in time is an opposite universe from where you have come from. Almost like a completely different world, nothing like where you came from. I have called you. I have called you to enter my world.”

I stared at him in awe, as my mind began to race. “What? What do you mean? I don’t understand, I…”

“Right now, if anyone would be to find you in your universe, you would be in an eternal sleep. Not perished, but a sleep that you cannot be woken up from. You can return to your world with a pendant I will provide you, but let me explain things.” He grabbed a pendant out of his pocket and put it in my hand, closing my fingers shut so I held it. “Asuka, your body, in your universe, will randomly fall asleep. Once that happens, you will be teleported to this world.”

I can’t even begin to explain how I felt at this moment.

“So you’re telling me I’ll be randomly falling asleep in my world? Like, for no reason? And then be here? And my body will be in my world asleep, and no one can wake me up?”

“Yes.”

“So I could even fall asleep in the middle of the road?!”
“Unfortunately… yes.”

“And I can only come back with this stupid pendant?!”

“Asuka, I understand this is sudden, and you have every right to be upset. You have one month to say goodbye to everyone and everything you love. After one month, you will stop losing your body, and be permanently brought to this universe and will never return to your old one.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I started to hit my hand on my head. This had to be a dream. It was no use.

I began to stutter. “Y-you… you can’t just do that! That’s so selfish! Taking me from my home, my family, everything I love… just so I can join your world?” I opened my hand and threw down the pendent, the room beginning to spin as I sweat. “No! I’m-”

“Asuka, I understand where you’re coming from, but please, accept your fate. And do not make any mention of Athega to anyone in your home universe. All it will do is make you look like a fool.”

I began to cry. His butler brought me a box of high-quality tissues. I picked up the pendant off the marble floor and admired the silver chains and a beautiful emerald, as my tears dripped on the green stone.

“Put your finger on the base of the emerald.” The man said. I did so, and I immediately woke from my nap, seeing tea spilled all over my bed. I cried.

And that is how I got to where I am now. But I am no longer Asuka Yanaihara.

I am Red.

That happened three years ago. It was one long painful month of me depressed until I finally disappeared from sight. From the way I had been expressing my love to those who meant a lot to me before I left, my mother began to think I was going to commit suicide. Lost posters about me were put up everywhere, at least from what I had heard from fellow newcomers. The first few months of my life here at Athega were painful. I hid in the small hut My Lord had provided me with and rarely ever came out. I spent months sobbing, not getting the newsletters thrown at my front door and not talking to anyone, until I learned the true beauty of Athega that changed everything. Magic.

When I started to look into Magic, I joined a guild, called the Alliance. I eventually left, though, due to things that had happened. Guilds and I don’t get along.

When in Athega, everyone has magic. They just need to express it. You can go to a Magic Teller, similar to a fortune teller, who is someone who reads your palms, and tells you what magic power you have. I got the magic of fire that I practiced on for ages nonstop until I got to the point of satisfaction with my spells. Magic power can range to all sorts of elements. My Lord told me that there are over 50,000 elements, all of which the first master of Athega possessed. After practicing, I was able to master a second magic, which is something extremely rare we wizards will do. This magic was weaponry. I could summon a weapon, specifically a sword, from another dimension easily, as well as the same deal for armor. It was quite amazing.

Now, I am in a mansion, where I am the fourth most powerful wizard in the universe of Athega. I have many servants, butlers, and maids, that I consider my family, since I lost my old one. My manor is back in the woods, accompanied by a large hot spring in the back with a waterfall and natural herbs, where I relax every single day.

Some people think I’m a legend because I don’t come out much, and some even refer to me as “Goddess Of Fire”, or “Goddess of Flames”, or even “My Lady”.

Jobs, however, were something I haven’t done in a while. Jobs are exactly what you think they are. If you’re a powerful wizard, people often will show up asking for your assistance or guidance, and then pay you in advance. I used to accept all jobs offered to me, but I now only accept ones that involve people's lives being at risk. Not foolish things like asking me to come over to your humble home in the city and start your fire for you (yes, I have gotten those requests before).

You’re probably also wondering why my name is Red. When coming to Athega, we start a new life, meaning we can choose new names. Of course it’s optional, but whatever we choose is our permanent name.

I lied my back in my hot spring and relaxed. There are so many more things about Athega that I still don’t know. I was interrupted from my daily relaxation methods with the sound of my back doors opening.

“My lady. Someone at the door awaits your assistance.” Said one of my butler's, Shon.

I stepped out of the clear warm water, naked.

“Please grab me my robe if you would, Shon”

“Of course, my lady.” He returned with a light pink robe with cherry blossoms on it. He put my arms in it and tied it around my front. I began to walk towards the entrance of my manor, where my massive chandelier sat above my head. One of my guards opened the doors.

I saw a girl. A girl who was on her knees, crying. She had ginger hair that was somewhat short. She looked up to me, with her deep green eyes as blood covered her face, her arms bruised. She began to cough.

“My… my lady… Red, is it? I request your service… please!” She cried.

“As to what difficulties do you need assistance?” I asked, sipping a bit of tea that Shon had brought me.

“One of my comrades, he needs help. We were both trying to kill one of the demon gods, Yakunan, but… I was able to escape, although my comrade is still left there. I don’t know what Yakunan is doing to him, but I know he has other people trapped there too! Please, my lady!” She cried, putting her head down.

I hesitated, staring at the top of her petite head as it faced the grass beneath her. “The only jobs I undertake are jobs that involve one’s life being taken.” I said, transforming into my basic armor. “Show me where your comrade is located.” Her eyes lit up. I rented out a carriage as she guided our unicorn to where Yakunan supposedly was. Once we got there, all I saw was a small crack in the ground, that I figured they had used to squeeze in.

“An underground headquarters?” I asked.

“Yes.” She replied, biting her lip anxiously.

“Stay back.” I commanded, summoning one of my well known swords, my ranpi sword. I slashed my sword into an “x” onto the ground, where everything rumbled. The ground open up into a big hole where I jumped in and switched into my flight armor, an armor causing me to glide.

Once I floated to the bottom, I admired the obscure residence. I was in a long, steel hallway that continued on either sides of me. I began to the right direction. I had never seen such a weird and necessitous base. I saw a large door with bars over it and kicked it down.

I found myself in a lab where I saw a very abnormal man, who turned around and faced me with eyes the color of warm blood and fists giving off a green smoke. He threw some sort of nature magic at me, but I dodged it, running towards him, and impaling his throat with my sword. That girl who showed up at my front door must have been weak; killing these guys are simple. I looked around the lab, where I saw many glass boxes with things inside of them that I had no idea what they were. I continued to walk towards a door in the laboratory where I heard voices. I opened it.

I was in a rustic corridor with cellars. I walked down the lane where I looked in each and every door where I saw small children who squealed at the sight of my face. I once again asked them to move back as far as they could, and outlined an “x” into the bars, freeing them. They were just little children; maybe ranging from seven to thirteen years old. They thanked me many times and stumbled towards me, hugging my legs.

“Where is the mastermind of this?” I asked.

“We don’t know, but you forgot the cellar all the way at the end! There’s a weird guy in there!” Said a sweet little girl as she tugged on my dress sleeves. I walked towards the end of the corridor and looked in the cellar where I saw a man. A man with a light short beard and a mustache, as well as brown hair, wearing black boots and red pants. He… he was sleeping. I was perturbed.

“Hello?” I asked, knocking on the cellar bars. He immediately woke up. “Are you the comrade of a girl with short ginger hair?” I asked. He instantly opened his eyes, revealing the beautiful brown and elongated eyelashes that stood before me. His eyes were dreary and tired, as he gave me a look of disorientation. His face turned to a look of awe as he stared at me, getting up with bruised arms.

“Yeah, I am.” He scratched his head, moving back his messy hair. “Did she ask you to come and get me?” He asked, his rusty and scratchy voice mesmerizing.

“Yes.” I slashed the cellar opened once again. He was tall and muscular with very hairy arms. He walked out, his boots stomping against the concrete ground. Everything was going as planned, but that was until I heard running. I felt a magic presence; but not one that I appreciated.

“Freeing my test subjects? You think you can just walk in here and fuck up my systems?” I heard a man with a peculiar voice asking. I turned around.

“Jesus christ, old man.” The muscular man whined. Before I could say anything, Yakunan came running at me. The children I had freed screamed in fear. I agreed with the children; his appearance and charge was terrifying. His hair was spiked and black, his face was tan, and he wore a long purple cape. He had a delirious smile that spread from cheek to cheek and curved his dimples. I slashed his side with my sword, turned around, and ran. The muscular, bearded man, followed me.

“So what’s your name?” He asked. I just met him and I already wanted to punch him.

“We’ll play meet and greet later. Get the children out of here immediately.” I said.

“And leave you here to fight this hideous potbellied asshole? I think not.”

“I can take care of him. I’ve dealt with worse. Please, I freed you and the children; leave before they’re dead.” He rolled his eyes and took a different route as me. I stopped and turned around, holding my swords in front of me. Their blades shined so perfectly under the saucer light above me, as their sharp tips were prepared to stab.

“What is your goal? Why are you trapping children?” I asked Yakunan.

“Children are more vulnerable to coming to the side of wizards like me. They’re just my little slaves that I’m trying to manipulate, in a sense.” He chuckled. I couldn’t stand to hear anymore of his nonsense. I slashed at him with my swords left and right, small bits of blood spewing from his sides. Not much use. I began to use my fire magic on him, igniting him and burning him. He screamed and fell as his cape burned to a pile of black ash and his body turned to charcoal. Done. I giggled a little bit; this guy was pathetic.

I went down the halls and looked around for an exit. I eventually gave up and took the lazy route, slashing my ranpi sword into the ceiling. I hopped out onto the surface, where I saw the muscular man, the ginger haired girl, and all the children just a few yards away. I walked towards them where the ginger haired girl hugged him and cried.

“Thank you!” She cried, giving me a soft smile.

“What’s the point?” I asked.

“Eh? What do you mean?” Retorted the muscular man.

“What was the point coming here and killing Yakunan?”

The man cleared his throat and scratched his stubble, pointing to the ginger haired girl. “Me, Lucy, and a few other pals of mine work in the Magic Forces.”

“What’s the Magic Forces?” Asked one of the children.

I got down on my knees to their height and began to explain. “The Magic Forces is kind of like a military. Our Lord has a group of wizards who go off to save people who have been captured or just to kill or find bad guys.” I said. They ooed and awed, their big eyes and fluffy cheeks looking up at me in awe. Our little group traveled back to the heart of Athega and went into our Lord’s palace. We were taken to his throne room where he turned around and looked surprised.

“Red. How nice to see you.” His wise, old voice said as he stroked his beard. He looked as calm and happy as ever as his blue eyes twinkled under the crystal chandeliers above us. “Oh, would you look at that. Axel and Lucy. And children! I believe the mission was successful, yes?”

“Yes! And Red helped us. A lot!” Cheered Lucy. I rolled my eyes, honestly not really even flattered at all. That guy was so easy that I honestly had a hard time believing they struggled with him. The children were escorted out of the room to an agency to help them find where their homes in Athega were before Yakunan took them as they all squealed at me, thanking me whilst being taken out. My Lord granted Lucy and Axel with money, as well as offering me some, but I refused. We walked out of his palace.

“So I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Axel,” Said the muscular man who I found sleeping earlier. “And this is Lucy.” He said, pointing at the girl with the ginger hair who showed up at my door. “Do you want to meet my gang? They’re good people.” Said Axel.

I sneered. “I’m not a people person. I helped with wishes and I’d rather return home.”

“Aww, Red! Don’t be like that!” Said Lucy, her voice filled with joy and charisma. As much as I refused, they dragged me along anyway.

“You know, Red, Gadiel, or should I say, “My Lord”, is a neat dude. He provides everyone in the magic forces with an apartment for free.”

“Oh? Does is it nice?”

“Definitely. I’ve never seen an apartment so nice, not even in the overworld.” He chuckled. We walked to the apartment building a few blocks down, where people were noticing me. I heard yelling, pointing, and even shouting, all at me.

“Wow flame brain, you’re pretty popular.” Said Axel.

“The hell did you just call me?!” I shouted angrily.

Lucy shrugged. “Well, she is one of the strongest wizards in Athega.”

I rolled my eyes at her remark as we walked into the apartment building and went up the elevator to the highest floor. Axel guided me to room 380 and unlocked the door. I saw people about my age who looked at me, almost terrified.

“No need to be worried, she’s a friend. I swear.” Said Axel. “One of the wizard Gods. Just helped us with killing Yakunan; she’s a real life saver.”

“Wha-? Which one are you? I’ve never read about you before!” Lucy cried. “I just thought you were really powerful!” I didn’t respond. There was a girl with short purple hair and black square-framed glasses, a boy with brown hair and a thin face, and a girl with dark skin and black wavy hair.

“She looks grumpy!” Giggled the girl with short purple hair. “I’m Lilac.” As soon as she said that, I heard something like an alarm go off. Axel pulled out his orb, a circular object that we use in Athega to communicate. A hologram of My Lord’s wise face appeared.

“What is it old geezer?” He asked. I heard my Lord’s voice.

“I would like to send all of you on another mission. But I do not need Lilac, unfortunately. Her magic will not be very useful in the mission I will send you on. Please, do come down to my humble abode once again. Oh, and call me old geezer one more time, and you will have to start paying rent!” He yelled.

“Well, I’ll see you later Red. You can stay here if you want. Whatever you want to do is cool with us. We gotta go, I’ll catch up with you later!” Axel, Lucy, and the two others ran out the door. I stared at Lilac.

“I guess you wouldn’t mind if I got going?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I would rather you stay here with me. I’d like to get to know you. I mean after all, you are a Goddess.” I winced. Did she really just say that?

“I’m nothing more than a wizard. I’m no Goddess.” I said angrily. She patted the stool next to her. “Sit.” She demanded. I walked towards her and sat on the blue plush bottomed chair. She was looking through an old magic book with tender pages and dust scattered on the cover.

“How long have you been in Athega?” She asked.

“Three going on four years.” I said.

“Yeah? Are you a popular wizard? Like, socially?”

“I don’t really know to be quite honest. I don’t come out of my manor often, so many aren’t aware of my existence. Most people just think I’m a myth, I guess.”

“Come out more.” She suggested. I shrugged. “Don’t get the wrong idea about our little group--we’re not a guild or anything. We just enjoy hanging out together in Axel’s apartment.” She continued to banter.

“I see.”

“I can tell you don’t come around people very much. How do you feel about Axel and Lucy?” She questioned.

“I’m not sure what to think of anyone anymore, but I believe they are okay.”

“You know, Axel is kind of a scary guy. I probably shouldn’t be saying anything, really. Do me a favor and be careful around him.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Have you heard of the God of Slain, Thanatos?” Lilac asked.

“Yes. I have heard of him. I never knew him, but I knew some people who knew other people he had slayed. Is he somehow connected with him? I thought he died off, but who knows.”

She looked me straight in the eyes. “Axel is Thanatos.” I felt my heart skip a beat.

Thanatos, The God of Slain. He was one of Athega’s most powerful dark wizards; one who participated in killing sprees more than any other dark wizard. Once I first came to Athega, he was active, and I was terrified of the sound of his name. He eventually disappeared; his killing sprees stopped and no one knew what had happened to him.

“Axel is Thanatos? Axel was that monster who slain thousands of innocent wizards and declared war on the good? I refuse to believe such a statement!” I managed through a panic stricken voice.

“Please, Red! Keep it down. Promise me not to mention anything to him.” She cleared her throat. “Axel’s power is dark fire. As you know, dark magic mostly leads to dark wizards, which is what happened to him. After years upon years of slaughter, he began to feel shame. Regret. Hatred towards himself. He took a visit to our Lord and apologized, asking for any punishment.”

“And then what?” I asked, eager to hear more. I thought back to when Thanatos was a notorious criminal and I personally always had an interest of what happened to him.

“He was in Morana Blood, one of the scariest and worst guilds out there. Our Lord sent all of his men to the location and all of Axel’s guildmates died.” Lilac looked over at the window beside us, propping her head on her hand. “He didn’t expect My Lord to kill them all. Everyone he was accompanied by on a daily basis were all gone because of him. As his punishment, they took away loads of his power, and he’s trying to work his way back up again so he can kill evil wizards who will make others face the same pain he went through. You can’t say anything, Red. He’s finally gotten over this milestone after ages of wanting to die. Brought up again, and we could put him back down in the same position he was at before.” She sighed. “Although he’s over it, it still worries me. He still scares me.” She said, pushing up her glasses. I shook my head.

“Lilac, I think it’s time for me to begin leaving.” I was infuriated. Why didn’t my Lord just kill Axel? What was he thinking? Thousands- no, millions of lives were taken because of what he did. I wanted to talk to my Lord, but I thought it would be wise to keep it silent. I made my way back home, taking the backway to my manor, hoping no one would see me. I really hated people, especially when they knew who I was.

I returned home where my butlers welcomed me back and offered me tea and some dinner. I refused right before jumping into my hot spring where I could relax.

I don’t know how I feel about being around these people, especially Axel. I spend most of my time alone at my manor with my butlers; I’m not used to company. I relaxed for a while, until I bathed and curled up into bed.

“My lady, some few people are here. A man and two women.” Said one of my butlers, Talvi, causing me to wake up. I undressed from my robe and put on a lovely red, short dress. I walked to my front doors, where Shon opened them. There they were. Axel, Lilac, and Lucy stood in front of my presence, smiling.

“Hey fire-face, want to help us with a mission? Our lord said you could help.” Said Axel. I looked him straight into his brown, bright eyes. An unsettling feeling spread throughout my body as he smiled at me, his bright white teeth shining under the sun. My heart swiftly pounded to the point I thought it was going to tear out of my chest. Lilac looked at me uneasily.

“No.” I said, my voice stubborn, as I tried to close my doors. He grabbed them and pulled them apart. He reached his hand through my doors and grabbed me, dragging me out.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I yelled in frustration. He continued to hold on my hand, running, and dragging me up to town, followed by Lucy and Lilac. He looked at me and beamed.

“Let’s go!” He said happily. I had an urge to smack him, but I pulled myself away from the urge as I couldn’t help but giggle. We go to the center of town where people stared and pointed at me, almost as if they were scared.

“You know, Red, you have a really big manor. You should invite us over some time! We could have a sleepover!” Lucy yelled, her voice enthusiastic as she giggled and squealed. My face flushed.

We got into town and boarded a carriage being pulled by a unicorn. We got into the carriage, and I gave Axel an intense glare.

“What exactly is this mission?” I asked.

“Killing bad dudes. The usual stuff. Old geezer said he would pay you if you want.”

I rolled my eyes as I looked out the window of the carriage. There were so many people in Athega; they filled the streets. Market huts were all along the roads, accompanied by the cute stone townhouses I had always admired. I began to feel motion sick.

“Are you okay? You look a bit pale.” Said Lilac.

“I think I’m gonna hurl.” I said, covering my mouth. Lucy giggled.

“Just a little longer Red.” Said Lucy. It was silent for a little until I spoke up.

I spoke in a sickly voice, clenching my stomach. “Hey, I know this isn’t polite to ask.. what were all of your names in the overworld? How long have you guys been here?”

Axel chuckled. “My name used to be Chizuma, and I’ve been in Athega for a little over seven years. My life in the overworld, from what I somewhat vaguely remember, was shit.”

I smiled slightly, still feeling like I was going to spew chunks. “I’ve met lots of people throughout Athega who had a terrible life in the overworld. From what I remember, my life wasn’t bad at all. I lived in a decent sized home, a single child, with lots of friends. My name used to be Asuka and I’ve been in Athega for 4 years.”

“I’d rather not talk about the overworld, but I’ve been here for a bit over four years.” Lilac said, scratching her head. Lucy’s face grew pale.

“How have you all been here so long?!” She whimpered. “Today marks my sixth month in Athega! I still don’t know hardly anything about here!” Her voice was panicked as I giggled faintly.

We eventually got to the area where our mission was located. I crawled my way out of the carriage, lying on my back, trying to soothe my stomach. I admired the big blue sky above me and the dead trees surrounding us, as well as a big dirty pond behind us. I got up and walked over to the unicorn, petting her soft, golden mane.

“We’ll be back in a little. Hang tight.” I said. We began to walk down a little dirt path.

“Red, we’re trying to get this guy back to Athega. He has a really small guild and he’s planning to attack Our Lord or something. His name was… er… Ab… Abthin…” Axel struggled.

“Absinthe.” Said Lilac. Lucy danced and hopped around as we walked. She pulled out a journal.

“This is my third adventure!” She yelled happily.

“Quiet.” I said. We snuck up to a place that looked like a church, but it was all black. The building was nerve-racking as black fencing surrounded it and an ancient graveyard sat beside it.

“How are we going about doing this?” Asked Lilac, concentrated. Axel was quiet. Fire immediately sprung out of his hands. It was dark and hot.

“Let’s smash through the place!” He said, laughing maniacally.

“Wha-? Red! Tell him to stop!” Yelled Lilac. I shrugged, as my fire sprung out too. He looked my fire, adoring my fluffy red flames.

“Cool flames, but mine are way hotter.” He said, smirking.

“Oh? Doubt they're as powerful, though.” A large amount of flame arose from my hands and smashed into the wall of the church, resulting in the ground rumbling and the walls exploding, leaving a big amount of smoke. All three of them looked astonished.

“For christ’s sake Red! We’re supposed to bring him back, not kill him!” Said Lilac enraged. Axel ran into the guild, Lucy, Lilac, and I following behind. We were beginning to get attacked, but I stood behind and let them mess with him. If anything, these kids needed way more training then I did. I saw a large petrifying buff man walk towards Axel. His eyes were the color of rubies and his boots rumbled against the floorboards. His black hair fell in front of his eyes.

“What the hell are a couple of kids doing here?” He asked, his voice deep and rusty.

“Here to kick your ass and take you to the old geezer!” Axel chuckled, throwing black flames at him, whilst Lilac and Lucy attacked the others. They were quite amusing, but their coordination was a little off. Lilac used weaponry magic, much more abundant than mine. Rather than using special types of swords, she used different types of weapons. She switched them particularly quickly. I was impressed. Lucy used wind magic that she used to carry people aggressively and throw them into the wall. I laughed a little. I really didn’t want to fight, as much as they wanted to, unless things got too hard on them. I could take out the guild in one shot, and I wanted to let them have a chance instead of stealing the victory for myself.

“Want to help us?” Asked a winded Axel, his voice cocky and annoyed.

“That would mean I would do all the work. Is that what you want?” I snapped back. He rolled his eyes stubbornly. He continued to fight the master, punching him while his hands were on fire. Lucy and Lilac finally finished with the other members, leaving them passed out and bruised on the dark wooden floor. They joined Axel into fighting Absinthe. Lilac shot me a look, as if she wanted me to help. I summoned one of my best swords and walked up to Absinthe.

“Move, Axel.” I said.

“Forget it, this is my fight, flame brain.” He snarled.

“Stop being a stubborn child and let me take care of it. It’ll save you the magic energy. Absinthe laughed.

“I do not care as to which of you fight me. Neither of you will be qualified to put my face in the ground.” He said.

“Oh really? Let’s see about that.” I retorted. I walked up to him as he began throwing clouds of dark magic at me. My sword absorbed his magic, turning it back. I was about to use his spells against him. He gritted his teeth as I slashed my sword across his chest, causing a loud explosion of dark mist. The mist quickly faded, revealing him lying on the ground, passed out. I checked to make sure he was breathing.

“Let’s haul this buddy back to the carriage. We might as well camp out here during the night as well.” I said, picking up Absinthe.

“Red, did you not hear me? I said I could take care of the asshole myself.” Growled Axel. I ignored him and threw Absinthe in the carriage, tying him up. I looked at the unicorn who had been driving the carriage. I pet her mane.

“Are you tired?” I looked behind me at Lilac, Axel, and Lucy. “I think we should camp here for the night; she’s looking worn out.” I said.

“I’d rather camp out here than have her stop in the middle of the night and fall asleep. Let the little baby get her rest!” Lucy said, her voice overly enthusiastic, as she ran up to the majestic creature, petting her mane. “Who’s a good girl? You’re a good girl! You’re such a pretty baby, I just want you all for myself!” She squealed. “Do you think our Lord would let me keep her?” She asked, her eyes sparkling.

“If he did, that would cost a ton of money. Unicorns are magical and smart, making them expensive.” Said Axel, setting up a blanket on the ground that he had taken from the carriage. I grabbed a few logs and sat them together, then shot fire at them to start a strong, hot fire. Lucy came over and sat down by the fluffy flames, holding her hands above it.

“Reddie? I’m really confused about your power. Do you do fire or swords?” Lucy asked.

“Both.”

“Wha-? I thought wizards only had one power!” She yelled in surprise.

“Most do. However, if you’re as strong as Red, you can master two powers. It’s extremely rare though.” Said Lilac, curling up near the fire.

Axel shot a little bit of his black fire out of his hand onto the logs, mixing it with mine. “Would you look at that!” He said, smiling wide. I smiled back, as I admired the mixture of red and black flames admitting from the logs. They danced together as one and shot sparks from the logs. We all began to fall asleep, one by one, accompanied by the unicorn, who cuddled with Lucy.

I woke up to the sounds of birds soaring above my head. I looked to my right, where I nearly jumped. Axel was extremely close to me, breathing heavy on my face and drooling. I nearly smacked him, moving over about a foot, and realized that he was snoring incredibly loud, too. I gritted my teeth in vexation and tried to ignore it by pulling out an apple from the picnic basket we had in the carriage. Absinthe was still knocked out in the back. I guess that blast took him out good. I heard the sound of a few beeps, until Axel woke up and pulled his orb out of his pocket. A hologram appeared above it with my Lord’s face on it.

Axel began, his voice somnolent. He scratched his head. “What is it pal?” He asked.

“Axel, how has the mission been? Were you successful?” He asked.

“Red nearly killed the dude, but yeah, we’re good. We’re coming back in a little… and why the hell did you have to call so early, dammit! I thought we talked about calling me so early-” Axel whined, until My Lord cut him off with a sheepish smile.

“Very well. I will see you when you get here.” The hologram disappeared back into the orb. Axel looked at me, his hair a mess and his eyes dark.

“Wake up everyone. We have to head out.” He got up, stretched, cracked his back, and pulled a load of food out of the basket. I woke up everyone, and in about an hour or two, we began to head out. While on the carriage, I looked at Lucy, who was aggressively writing in her journal.

“Did you enjoy your third job?” I asked. She ignored me as she continued to write in her notebook, grinning. Axel was dead asleep next to me, and Lilac stared out her window. Once we arrived to the heart of Athega, I once again, crawled out of the carriage, nearly hurling. Lucy was squealing and giggling happily, but the rest of us were silent. Axel picked up Absinthe, threw him over his back, and headed for the castle. The doors were opened by guards, and we walked to My Lord’s throne.

“Here he is.” Axel said, patting the unconscious man’s back and handing him to a guard who headed for the basement of cellars.

“Well done, Axel. What an improvement.” Said My Lord, smiling from ear to ear.

“Lord?” Asked Lucy, her voice sweet and innocent.

“Yes, Lucy? What appears to be the problem?”
“I really want the unicorn who took us to Dahlia! Pretty please? She cuddled with me all night-” He cut her off and chuckled.

“Her name is Toki, and yes, you can take her. That will be your reward for this quest.” He said. Her eyes lit up, as Axel’s face was in disbelief.

“Red, would you like a reward?” Asked my Lord. I refused.

“I don’t need it.”
“Red, I insist.” I rolled my eyes and took the cash. We began to leave, Lucy riding her newest friend, Toki. I walked home, not making much conversation with anyone.

I arrived home, took a steaming hot shower, and went to bed. My butlers could tell I was worn out and upset, and continued to offer me snacks and drinks. I refused anything.

I woke up in the morning, feeling fresh and rejuvenated. I walked down my steps as the plush carpeting soothed my worn feet. I strolled into my living room and nearly screamed. I saw someone. Someone was lying on my leather couch, their back faced towards the ceiling. They were wearing pajamas… that were pink. I began to feel infuriated.

“Axel?!” I yelled. He turned over and looked at me.

“Oh, hey Red. You’ve got a nice place.” He said, his eyes dark and tired. A life-drained smile spread across his face as I punched him, causing him to fall on the ground as he put his hand on his face in pain.

“Hey? What was that for? I’m not allowed to camp out here?” He asked, pouting. One of my butlers interrupted him, a troubled expression on his face.

“My lady… he refused to leave, and when we told him to, he threatened to burn down the manor… and then he concluded with the fact that you two are best friends.” He said. I sighed, anger running through my veins. I looked at Axel, as he lay on my white plush rug, smiling at me devilishly.

“Did you really just wanted to camp here for the night? Or did you just want me to help you with a job?” I asked. He looked a little scared as he continued to lay on my floor.

“You know Red, you look really scary from this angle.”

“Stop stalling!” I yelled. “At this rate, I don’t want to help you ever again!” I roared angrily. I stomped into my kitchen as I heard his giggling behind me. He walked towards me while holding a bottle of wine and began to drink it straight out of the bottle.

“Our old man has another job, but he wants it just for you and me.” He said, sipping his wine. I turned around and faced him.

“Why just you and me?” I asked. He smiled.

“He thinks we make a good team. And I agree with ‘em.” I glared at him as he gulped the grape liquid.

“Aren’t you just using me for money? You want me to assist you in jobs so I do all the work and you get the money? And why so many jobs in a row?!” I retorted, fondling with my robe ties.

He smirked. “Oh come on Red. I want to work with you because you’re nice.” He said. I began to feel flattered and angry at the same time. Did he really mean it? “But you’re just so hot-headed.” I twitched my eye in anger, as he closed his eyes. I took my fist and gave him a solid punch in the face, knocking him out cold on my floor. I heard walking in the hallway towards my kitchen, where Lucy and Lilac appeared fully prepared.

“Hey Reddie! Do you-” She paused to see Axel on my floor. He began to murmur in pain.

“I don’t think she wants to go...”

“Tell me, what exactly is this job?” I asked.

Lucy began. “Well… our Lord is sending us all on it, but in separate groups. Although you aren’t in the Magic Forces, he still wants you to tag along…” She began to put up her glossy ginger hair into a ponytail as she talked. “Other than that, all I know is we’re going to a dungeon and kill bad monster guys and stuff!” She said, twirling happily.

I eventually accepted and tagged along. We rode in a carriage a few hours away into the town Appleby. The carriage ride was awkward; it was just me and Axel, and he slept the entire time. This job consisted of many groups from the Magic Forces in many different spots, but all in the same general area. My Lord said the demons we were going after were in underground temples that had been built by evil wizards with creation magic. Our temple was the hardest of them all. My Lord wasn’t sure what this would achieve, but he sensed the temples held something important, or they would be opened to unleash the demons into Athega.

“Axel, we’re here. Get up.” I said, shaking him. He wiped the drool off his face and sat up. He began to step out, admiring where we were. We were in the woods that had a little village a few yards away. Axel scratched his head.

“How are we gonna find this temple thing?” I summoned my ranpi sword. He gawked at me with an uneasy stare. “Red, we can’t just start slicing through the ground everywhere.” I shrugged.

“It’s our best bet.” I began slicing through the ground, hoping something would turn up, until a found a dark hole that we both jumped into, using our special flight armor so we wouldn’t fall to our death. We stood up to find ourselves in an underground village, where we hid out of sight.

“This is so cool!” Axel squealed. The underground village was extremely dark, so dark that I had to light a dim flame to see a bit better. All the homes were overgrown and candles filled the little walkways. It had such an ominous but tranquilizing feel to it. It was like love at first sight.

“Now what?” Axel whispered. I ignored his question and began sneaking through the village behind houses, until I spotted a cream colored temple.

“Jackpot.” I said, summoning a different sword.

“Do we really need to keep sneaking? The place is completely empty Red; I think everything’s abandoned.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.” We made our way to the temple, continuing to stay out of sight. We approached the right side as I slowly opened an old, rustic door, where orange glowing eyes were seen.

“Well that’s scary.” Axel whimpered. They began to jump out of the temple, stampeding towards us one by one. They looked like giant alligators with spikes and had amusingly swift speed, so fast that I couldn’t keep up with them. They threw some sort of magic at us, a kind of magic that caused explosions.

Axel had a dumbfounded look on his face for a second, a face of disorientation. After a second of realizing what was going on, he jumped into action and helped me kill the bastards. I punched them with fists of fire and screamed at them, breathing fire out of my mouth. Axel looked terrified. That is, until I heard a high-pitched squeal.

“Axie, watch out!” It was the voice of Lucy, jumping down on the beasts and slashing them with her wind. Lilac followed, smashing them with her hammers.

“What are you guys doing here? This was a job just for me and Red!” Axel whined,stomping his boots on the cold ground.

“Sorry Axie! Our Lord called us on the orb thingy and said the job he gave you two was actually kinda hard, so he sent us to help.” As Lucy finished, one of the monsters threw an explosion at her, until she hopped up, dodging the explosion. We continued to fight for a little over half an hour until we had slain all the cocky monsters. We sighed in relief. That is, until we heard a large roar coming from somewhere in the village. One of the monsters appeared, but much larger and scarier.

“I think we angered the momma.” Said Axel, his maniacal laugh accompanying his words.

“This is why Our Lord sent us. This isn’t just any momma.” Said Lilac, her face determined and ready. I sprinted at the monster, not giving any warning to the others, and threw one of my best spells, the “Flaming Freeze”. It stopped her, making her unable to move, and burning her.

“I thought we were done! Agh! Red, you really pissed her off!” Axel yelled as she threw a huge explosion, wrecking all of the village. I groaned as I looked behind me at the once peaceful village that was now falling to a pile of ash and rubble. I began to slide back as the blast hit me, the gravel under my feet sliding. Axel ran over, slashing hundreds of dark fire spells on the monster. I helped him and switched to my swords, slashing. He eventually fell. Axel looked at me, a grin spreading across his face as his black fire coming out of his palm lit out. He laughed maniacally like he always did.

“Good job, flame brain.” I looked back at Lilac and Lucy. Lilac was struggling to get up while Lucy was knocked out cold. Axel ran over to the both of them, almost tripping. I walked over to see them badly injured from the blast. We carried them to the carriage together, lied them down, and got going. Axel stared at me in the carriage, but I tried avoiding his eyes.

“You think they’ll be okay?” He asked.

“Yeah, they’ll be okay. I’ve seen people survive worst blasts. How did you not get knocked out?” I asked. He lied down on the ottoman.

“Dunno. How did you?”

“I guess because I’m… “strong”, I suppose.” I said, biting my lip. Axel lied on his back, a faint black flame arising from his hand as he stared at it, admiring it. The dark fluffy fire reflected off of his beautiful brown eyes as they shined. He looked at me.

“Do you miss the overworld?”

“I suppose not.” I fiddled with the sleeves on my dress. He sighed.

“I do.” I hesitated, but decided to say something risky.

“Thanatos, correct?” He looked at me and sat up, a dark intimidating look in his eyes.

“What about him?” He asked.

“I know all about it, Axel.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, flame face.” Axel looked out the window of the carriage, resting his chin on his hand and losing eye contact with me.

“Axel, I’m not stupid.”

“Are you sure about that?” I wanted to hit him at this point.

“You’re Thanatos.” I said.

“Red, stop. I’m not that monster.” He said angrily, gritting his teeth.

“It’s in the past, Axel. I just wanted to talk you about it. I find it neat that you reverted to being a good person, you know?” I said, crossing my legs. He sighed.

“Drop it.” He glared at me, his deep brown eyes staring into mine. I rolled my eyes and looked away. “How do you know anyways?”

“Lilac told me.”

“Damnit!” An angry expression came across his face as he began to slightly burn through the ottoman.

“I’d rather not be paying for that. Knock it off.” I said. He stopped and scratched his head. We got back to Athega and reported successful, although Lilac and Lucy were injured. Our Lord brought out Tofuku, an old woman with blonde-gray hair that was in a bun. She was the strongest healing wizard in all of Athega and used her magic on the girls.

“That’s all I can do. Give them time to rest.” She said in her old, rustic voice. We had taken them to the hospital near by, where they were taken in onto the beds. I began to walk home until Axel called for me.

“Red, mind if I come over? I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts.” He asked. I turned around and gave him a look of sympathy.

“Sure, Axel.” We began to walk back to my manor, where Shon welcomed us in. He sat in my living room, contemplating, while we were brought tea.

“You should join the Magic Forces.” Axel said, his eyes bright and happy. He sure was moody.

“No.”

“Why not? You get money. I mean not that much, but a good bit.”

“I don’t want money.”

“Why?”

“I’m happy with how much I have now. I already made enough from a huge job I took on years ago.”

“Neato.” He sipped his tea. “What job was it?”

“Killing a dragon. It took us two weeks of hiding and such.” His face was astonished.

“Dragons?! I thought those things were extinct; tell me everything Red!” His voice went excited, as he smashed his mug of tea on my coffee table.

“Yeah, dragons. They’re not all extinct. There are a few left out there. I killed one; I forget what kind, but I did it with a few friends.” I sighed and looked at my ceiling. He chuckled.

“I didn’t think you had friends.” I gave him a harsh glare.

“They’re dead.” His face went blank as he sat up.

“Oh god, Red. Red I didn’t know I-”

“It’s okay. They were good people and they went peacefully.” I smiled softly. “So, want to tell me about this Thanatos stuff?” He lost eye contact with me and stared at one of my paintings on my wall, blushing.

“Yeah, I used to be Thanatos. I just don’t like talking about it, Red. Is that good enough?”

“What exactly happened?”

He shrugged. “Just do me a favor and don’t tell anyone. For some reason, I feel like I can trust you, though.” He brushed back his hair as he fiddled with the straps on his boots. “I was evil. I used to go through villages, burn the houses, and slaughter the people. My guild helped me, too. I still remember the screams.”

“What was your guild like?” I asked.

“Evil. But nice. Once I first came to Athega, they took me in.” He now began fiddling with his fingers as his mouth curved into a smile. “They promised me power and a family to lean on. And they were right. I was happy, you know? The happiest I’d been in a while. Everyone was like family to me. I was the strongest one there, I was the most popular; the life of the party… do you think any different of me?”

I cleared my throat and sipped my warm tea. “No, Axel. That was all in the past, it doesn’t matter anymore. You’re a good person.”
He began again. “After a while, I realized I had killed… someone… in one of the villages. Someone I knew. And then I regretted everything. I turned myself into Our Lord and well, he promised my freedom if I gave away my guild’s location and a ton of my power. And I did it.” He exhaled a long breath. “If I could go back, I wouldn’t have. I was a selfish asshole for saving my life in exchange for hundreds.” He closed his eyes and took some deep breaths. He then opened them and gave me a big smile. “But hey, that doesn’t matter. What about those dragons?”

We continued to talk for a long while about the dragon I had slain and what he was like. We discussed how powerful they were and about how they lended their powers to wizards thousands of years ago, as well as how they became extinct because of humans wanting them for their body and fame. After a while of conversing, I walked him home, continuing to assure him that Lilac and Lucy were going to be okay. I returned home to my hot spring, where I slept.

The next few weeks went by fairly quickly. During those few weeks, I just sat at home, like I always did before I met Axel and everyone else. I never really visited the girls, I suppose because I was too scared to know their condition. I figured they were going to be okay, but it’s just that anxiety that still haunts me. That is, until I decided to give Axel a visit. I hadn’t heard from him in a while, and I began to grow worried. I left my manor and headed to the large apartment buildings. I went to the 3rd floor and knocked on the door. It was opened, where there was a cute unfamiliar girl standing in front of me. She had brown hair, a little bit longer than her shoulders, green eyes, and a pink bow in her hair.

“Huh? Red?” She asked, her beautiful eyes glistening.

“Hello, I just came to visit Axel. What are you doing here? And how do you know my name?” She giggled.

“Ax talks about you all the time.”

“Oh really? I’m flattered.” I said.

“Well anyways, we all sort of share this apartment. Like, we have loads of separate bedrooms, but we share the kitchen, dining, and living room. And I live here, too.” She walked me down the hall to Axel’s room, knocking on his door.

“By the way, my name is Bow.” She smiled. I returned a smile as she blushed, adjusting the bow in her hair nervously. The door opened, Axel appearing in front of it.

“Oh, hey Red!”

“Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. How’s things going?” He came out, shutting his door behind him. He wore his pajamas and held a bag of chips, scooping out a handful here and there and shoving them in his mouth. Bow groaned at the sight of the crumbs falling to the floorboards.

“Eh. The girls are still in the hospital but they are going to come out in a day or two. They’re awake though.” He threw the bag of chips behind him and put his hands in the pockets of his blue pajama pants, looking towards the wall. “And sorry for not staying in contact with you. I guess I figured you needed space, you know? And I’ve been doing jobs and-”

“It’s okay, Axel. I was just wondering.” He smiled at me.

“So you met Bow?” A surprised look showed up on her face, for she wasn’t expecting to be mentioned. She blushed a little and looked at me, smiling, her cheeks puffy and pink.

“Yes I did.” I looked at her. “What magic do you use?”

“Well… I use ice magic.” She blushed again, her eyes glistening. I chuckled.

“So we’re opposites?” Just as she began to speak, the front door bursted open.

“Seems we didn’t need you anyways, Axel! We slaughtered that hellbeast ourselves!” Yelled a hyper, dark skinned and black haired girl that I had seen before. Axel made a pouty face. The girl held the hand of a tall, thin man with light brown hair who was also familiar. They looked at me, almost intimidated.

“Who… is this… is this Red?” Asked the girl. Axel wrapped his arm around me.

“Yep, here she is! In skin and flesh, here is the famous, and not so mythological, Red!” My face flushed as I hit Axel’s hand off my shoulder.

“This is too much of a crowd for me. I should get-”

“No no no! Don’t you dare go anywhere Red! Remember me? I saw you just a few days ago when Axel dragged you here!” Yelled the girl. “My name is Max, nice to meet your acquaintance. And this,” She pointed to the man she was holding hands with. “This is Rai. He’s my boyfriend!” She squealed happily. I felt more heat than usual run through my body.

“Well, nice to meet you, like I said, I should be going.”

“Tell us about yourself! We know you use fire-” Rai cut her off, an annoyed look on his face. His high, clear toned voice began to speak.

“Please, Max, let her go.” She looked at him, then looked back at me, her mouth closed. I thought for a second.

“No, I’ll gladly stay. I’d like to formally meet all of you.” She smiled wide, her cheeks turning rose as she jumped up and down. “Yay, yay, yay!” Rai rolled his eyes, annoyed. I sat down at their dark-wooden table, where Bow made me some hot chocolate.

“So you use fire magic?” Asked Max. I chuckled.

“Not just fire magic. I use weaponry magic as well. Not as complex as Lilac’s, though. I only use swords.” Her eyes lit up like a nightlight.

“How the frick do you have two thingies?! Two magic things?! How?!” She said, jumping up and leaning towards me.

“Well, my original magic was just fire. After becoming, well, not to brag, but the fourth most powerful wizard in Athega, I began to open my second origin. It’s a thing only very powerful wizards can do. It’s quite neat really. What magic do you use, Max?” She gave me a ambiguous look.

“I use… I use water magic.”

“I don’t know much about water magic. Tell me about it.” She smiled big. I could tell she was enthusiastic about magic.

“I can basically do anything I want with water! I can make it come up from oceans and move in the air,” She began to use gestures, her hands moving gracefully above her head. “I can summon water--well, I can basically do everything you can, Red. Just with clear, blue, and beautiful liquid!” She beamed.

“What about Rai?” I asked. Rai, standing in the kitchen and ravaging through the fridge, turned around, his hands stuffed with food and drinks. He gave me a deep glare.

“I use lightning magic.” He murmured as he was holding a bag of chips in his mouth. I winced as his threatening personality.

“Impressive. I don’t know much about lightning either, but I guess it’s the same old sort of thing.” He gave me a cold glare and began to walk down the hall to his room. I looked at Max, where she stared at him in awe as he walked away. She propped her elbow on the table, rested her head on her hand, and began to daydream.

“What’s his problem?” Axel asked. Max shrugged.

“Dunno. I guess he doesn’t like company.” Bow came over to the table with piles of sandwiches she had made. She blushed, bringing us over some hot chocolate with it.

“Do you like hot chocolate, Red?”

“Yes, it’s one of my favorites, actually.” She sat down the glasses and made ice cubes with her ice. All it did was come out of her hand in a cubed shape. I was amazed.

“Your magic is beautiful.” I said, giving her a thoughtful smile. She blushed even harder, not sure how to respond besides a smile. She put some homemade cubes in our hot chocolate to cool down the heat.

“Is Bow the cook here?” I asked. Axel shook his head.

“Give me some props, Red. She isn’t the only cook here! I make some damn good tacos!” He said, drooling over the sandwich that was lying in front of him. We ate up, and I surprisingly fell in love with the food. I normally wasn’t one for sandwiches or homemade fare, but I enjoyed the food she had made. While eating, I looked outside of the window next to the table and admired the beautiful view. We were on the third floor, so I was able to see the doves fly by and the city of Athega around us. Bow walked over and pulled down the curtains in front of the windows. She looked at me, almost scared.

“Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t know you were admiring the view! I just… I’m just really scared of looking out this window! Heights aren’t my thing-”
“It’s not a problem, Bow. You guys do have a beautiful view here though, don’t you?” We began to talk about how amazing the view was, and not having to pay rent made it more beautiful. I found it so congenial that My Lord offered them a spacious and homey apartment for free just because they worked with the Magic Forces. I eventually left, saying goodbye to the youngsters and headed home.

After a few days, Lilac and Lucy were out of the hospital and were ready to go on new adventures. No permanent damage had been done to them, and there were going to be okay, just as I expected. I was happy, that is, until my orb began to go off.

It was a bright and early morning as I opened my orb, My Lord appearing.

“Red, come to the palace. It’s an emergency.” I threw on my long, red dress, and headed to the palace as soon as he used the word ‘emergency’. I walked into his Throne room, where he looked anxious.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Red, do you know of, Ravana, king of the Underworld?”

“I’m sorry My Lord, but I haven’t heard of him.” My Lord got up, and began to walk towards me, his eyes worried and his tone deep.

“Ravana is just one of the darkest wizards.” He let out a deep sigh, tears swelling in his eyes. “He’s kidnapped our people. People of the village of Alger. These people in this village are weak wizards, ones whose power isn’t very strong. The people there tend to not focus on their power, but to focus on daily life. Ravana took out the whole village.”

“The whole village? Why?” I cried.

“We believe he’s invented something to revert them into demons; something along those lines.” He looked at me straight in the eyes, his intimidating face beginning to scare me. “Those people have been here longer than you, Red. I remember bringing each and every one of them into this world. And I believe, only you, have the right power to not only bring him back, but kill him.” My eyes grew wide and my heart beat fast.

“A mission to kill someone? My Lord I-”

“Red, I’m begging you. Take Axel if you want to, too. This is too big of a job for the Magic Forces to handle.” He sighed. “I’m sorry you’re always going on these jobs, Red. It was never my intent.”
“Apologies aren’t needed. Axel, Lucy, and Lilac are the reason I’m always on jobs. They drag me along. It has nothing to do with you.” He smiled at me, many tears in his eyes.

“Please, Red, this people mean so much to me.”

“I’ll do whatever it takes, My Lord.”

I returned home, where I pulled out my orb to contact Axel and tell him what was going on. He seemed really excited, more excited than usual. I suppose it was because I was asking for his help this time, instead of him asking for mine.

“Call it a deal! I’ll gather up everyone!”

“Axel, that’s not necessary. The girls just got out of the hospital and-” Before I could finish, Axel hung up the orb. I sighed, a long irritated sigh. I began to contemplate. Why was My Lord so upset about these people being gone? I wondered if he had some sort of connection with the people or with Ravana. I did a little digging and found the “King of the Underworld” title had to do with myths about him actually being “satan”. It made me laugh, though. It sounded like the things I’ve read about myself. He used ice magic, which made me immediately think of Bow. I supposed that’s why My Lord wanted me, specifically, to remove him. I didn’t understand why he didn’t just ask for Axel, though.

We were going to start this job bright and early the next morning, beginning by going to Alger. My Lord had no idea where Ravana was, but he figured visiting the village might lead us somewhere. I was scared for some odd reason. I guess I was worried because I was the specific one for this task, and I suppose because I had to kill the man too. Axel eventually showed up five minutes late with everyone. And by everyone I mean not just Lilac and Lucy, but Max and Rai too. They were astonished as they stood in front of my manor. I opened up my front doors and appeared in front, giving Axel a cold glare.

“Did you really need to bring everyone, Axel?!” I asked, my voice angry and hard. He chuckled.

“Why not? Extra help won’t hurt.” He smirked at me. We all walked to the carriage rent in Athega and got on. I hung my head out the window and heard Max giggle.

“Red, what are you doing? You look like a dog!”

“She has some really bad motion sickness.” Axel said, scratching his head as he was curled up with pillows and blankets. I heard Rai let out a snarl, as if he thought I was pathetic, but I ignored it.

“Why were you so excited for this job anyways?” I asked. Axel shrugged.

“Dunno. The name Ravana just kinda rung a bell, I think.”

“One of your old colleges?”

“I don’t think so.” He scratched his head in concern.

We eventually got to Alger, a large and quaint village. Homes filled the streets and a few people filed outside to see us. They cried and begged for help, and we reassured and promised them that everything would be okay. We weren’t sure where to go at first, until witnesses had told us where they saw him go with their people. We continued our merry way to the left of the village through the trees. We continued to stay in an awkward and tired silence, until we reached a small, old, worn down town. It was the old town of Alger; the one that had been destroyed by dragons before they rebuilt the new one. A town that had dilapidated brick homes with roofs sunken in and overgrown paths and walls. We explored the homes, splitting up into groups of two. Axel and I, Lilac and Lucy, and Rai and Max. We explored the homes, hoping to find some clues that would lead us to Ravana.

“Hey, Axel?” I asked, as he picked up a moldy loaf of bread off the table in the house.

“Eh?”

“Why didn’t Bow come with us?” I asked, grabbing the bread out of his hands, afraid he would eat it. He hesitated for a second, gathering his thoughts.

“She doesn’t like fighting. She’s normally just a stay-at-home sort of person, I guess.” He shrugged. “That’s all she told us though; she just said she didn’t like to fight.”

“But I thought she was in the Magic Forces?” Axel began to laugh, a loud delirious laugh.

“No, she isn’t. Long story short, Lucy found her on the streets. I dunno what happened- Lucy won’t tell me. Anyways, the old geezer left us a spare bedroom in the apartment. But we just let her in our apartment and now she stays with us. Don’t tell the old man though.” I shook my head.

“If he finds out-” Axel cut me off.

“I know, Red.” He chuckled.

The homes were so homey and worn down; it was almost beautiful. Everything was beautifully overgrown, the ovens and counters dirty and overgrown, the couches and beds moldy. A small bit of light peaked through the ceiling where the roof had a large crack. The small abode was silent until we heard the sound of bushes rustling from outside. Axel became extremely alert, his head immediately rising at the sounds. He gave me an ambivalent look, a look that was a mix between concern and confusion, and maybe even a little bit of excitement. He leaned over the old sink, looking out the window in front of us. We saw a black, dark figure, that was moving, just a little over five feet from the window. It looked up, where we saw a young, scared face. He began to run, until Axel smashed straight through the already somewhat broken window, beginning to run after the boy.

“Axel!” I yelled as I watched him chase the boy down in the woods. I gathered up everyone and told them what had happened, and we all ran back into the woods, where we saw a long path of rocks, where Axel had the boy’s back to a tree, their noses almost touching. I heard him beginning to yell.

“Who are you?!” He yelled, gripping onto his collar. The boy swallowed hard, a terrified expression on his face. He just stood there, unable to speak or move.

“Easy, Axel.” I said, beginning to walk towards them. I moved Axel out of my way and grabbed the boy by the throat, not too hard, but just enough to hold him in the air where I stared straight into his eyes.

“Red, he’s just a little boy!” Screamed Max. I shook my head in disagreement.

“If I were you, it would be smart to tell me who you are.” I gave him an intimidating look, my eyebrows angled and my face resting in an angry expression. He began to shake.

“I’m Kane. Please, don’t hurt me I just-” I cut him off.

“Kane? Do you work for Ravana? I would suggest you answer this, too.”

“Why? I mean… I… yes I work for him, but please, don’t hurt the people there! They’re good people, I love everyone there! I would hate to see them-” I once again cut him off, loosening my grip and putting him down, where Lilac used her magic and put chains around his hands that she positioned behind his back.

“We don’t want your people. We only need Ravana. But if we need to hurt some people, then we will.” A few tears slipped out of his eyes.

“Please, just don’t hurt a little girl with blonde pigtails! Whatever you do!”

“Relax, Kane.” I said.

“Are we using him as a hostage?” Lilac asked.

“Yeah, let’s try that. See if we can use him just to get Ravana out.” Axel said, his eyes determined and full of courage. Kane told us to continue to follow the path and that it would lead us to the guild’s palace. We continued to walk down the path.

“Why were you in the village anyways?” Max asked.

“I… I don’t know, okay? Stop asking questions! Please!” Kane whined.

“Man, this kid is a real whiner.” Axel said, chuckling. Kane sighed.

“Look, I just came down here because my Master wanted me to see if I saw anything new… like if I saw people from the Magic Forces or something.” Kane said, his blonde curly hair swaying in the wind and his face clearly filled with anxiety. We continued to walk down the path where we reached a building. It looked like a victorian home, but it was completely black and fenced by a large gray fence. Kane looked at us, and we looked back with intense faces that said to open the gate. He walked up to the magic keypad, where he held his hand in front of it, the large gate opening.

“Let’s take a subtle approach.” Lilac said, walking up to the black door, knocking on it. The balconies above us had doors that opened, as many men walked out, pointing magic guns at us.

Axel walked forward and tilted his head, looking up at the men. He pulled forward Kane. “Let’s have a little trade. Give us your buddy Ravana and we’ll give you good old Kane here.” The men began to laugh wickedly, as the one took a sip of his beer.

“That is the worst trade I’ve ever heard in my life. That would be like trading our master for a pile of dogshit.” One of the men said. “You kids don’t get it; we only use Kane. We put his life on the line all the time because no one cares about ‘em. He does our dangerous work, you know?” He continued to laugh, where Kane stood next to me, beginning to cry and whale. Axel began to get fired up, his black and dark fire surrounding him.

“I’ve heard enough of you assholes!” He yelled, boosting himself up with his fire to the balcony and beginning to take them out.

“So much for the subtle approach.” Lucy giggled. I kicked down the front door, where Max raced in.

“Where is your master?!” Max screeched at the top of her lungs, water springing from her dark hands.

Everyone gawked at her in confusion, completely dumbfounded. The room was so silent that I could hear the sounds of the men being knocked out by Axel above us. Max began to run in, using her water magic, that I thought was quite beautiful. Her water was clear blue and sparkled. It whirled around her and hit the guild members, not too hard, but enough to knock them out. Rai began to yell at her, telling her to knock it off, that violence wasn’t necessary, but good old Max ignored him. Max continuously grabbed different members of the guilds, asking them where Ravana was. If they didn’t respond, they were knocked out with her spinning water.

“So this is what it’s like to go on jobs with her, huh?” I asked Rai, nudging him. A wicked smile spread across his face as he nodded, lighting a cigarette.

They eventually told us, after many hits and screams, about a hidden passageway behind their bookshelves by the walls on the second floor. We started towards the second floor, and just as we reached the top, we found Axel, scratched up, standing right in front of a large, ominous looking man.

“Here he is. Here’s Ravana.” Axel said, giving us a big smile. He gave Axel a deep glare.

“Damn you, Thanatos.” The man snarled.

My heart pumped at the sound of that name.

“Thanatos, do you remember this guild?” Ravana began to pace back and forth, his hands behind his back. “We’re the Golden Bloodshed. We were former friends with… oh… what was your guild’s name? I suppose I’ve forgotten.” He paused. “It’s been such a long time, since they’re now all dead, I can hardly remember them!” He growled, throwing ice spikes at Axel that he managed to dodge. “And rumor has it that’s it’s Thanatos’ fault, yes? It’s all your fault that your guild is dead. Selfish bastard.”

Axel’s teeth gritted and his eyebrows came together. “You’ve got it, asshole. I’m the reason they’re all dead.” He gave him an intense glare.

“So it is your fault, is it? You’re the reason the people I had closest to me are dead?” His right eye twitched in anger as he began to run towards Axel, until a large lightning bolt shot down from the ceiling and hit Ravana. A bolt that shined a bright yellow and made the room turn white. Once the air cleared, Axel gave Rai a big smile.

“Thanks for that, buddy!” Rai gave him a glare.

“That wasn’t me, you idiot.” Axel’s eyebrows furrowed, until he heard yelling. A voice of an adolescent girl.

“Thanatos! Thanatos, it’s really you! I thought you were dead!” A little girl ran in, probably about twelve or so years old. She wore a little black dress with cut off shoulders and black flats with bows. He hair was long and black, and sat behind her. Axel hesitated, his mouth opened, not sure what to say. He closed his eyes and clenched his fist.

“Thanatos! Hi!” She yelled, running towards him.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking to, but my name isn’t Thanatos, my name is Axel.” He said, opening his eyes. A look of disappointment spread across her face.

“But you have to be! Maybe you don’t remember me? You look just-” Ravana cut her off, his voice angered.

“Maya, get out. Now!” He yelled.

“But I swear that’s him! I know it! He looks exactly like Thanatos, just without the big black cape and black eyes and mohawk and-”

“Maya, you have five seconds to leave!” She didn’t move, continuing to try to get Axel to “remember” her. Ravana yelled, saying he had enough, and threw a long stream of magic at her, causing a small explosion as she disappeared. Tears began to fall from Axel’s eyes.

“Did you just kill her?” Screamed Lucy, heartbroken. Ravana snarled.

“I wouldn’t kill my own daughter, you know. I just simply teleported her.” Ravana chuckled and looked back over at Axel with a devilish grin. “Did you really just lie to your own childhood friend? You’re even more pathetic than I thought you were, boy.”

Axel, now very angry, charged at him, punching him with fists giving off black fire. We all joined in. Max used her water slayer spell, throwing water that sliced him. Rai, threw some thunderbolts that caused small explosions, while Lilac shot him with her magic guns and Lucy spun her wind magic at him. I, on the other hand, stayed behind for a second, watching their coordination.

“Are you that pathetic?” Rai yelled while looking back at me, his voice angry and winded as sweat fell from his forehead. “This was your job anyways, dammit!” He threw his cigarette on the ground and stomped on it.

I began to walk towards Ravana, pushing Axel out of the way.

“So now you’re doing the dirty work?” Ravana asked, his face clearly bruised and scratched.

“The dirty work? You’re nothing more than a novice.” I gave him a soft and wicked smile as his eyebrows furrowed and his intense face looked offended. He threw ice bolts at me, and they all fell as soon as they hit me. Not one touched me. I yelled “Fire Empress Flaming Farrow”, as I smashed the ground with both of my fists, causing a major explosion that knocked down the entire guild to rubble. We all fell, clinging onto stones being broken apart from the guild. Ravana lied in front of us, knocked out cold, but still conscious. I summoned one of my best swords, one I rarely used, but I specifically used for killing. I walked over to him.

“Red! Stop!” Axel yelled. “What about Maya?” I shrugged.

“Orders are orders, Axel.” I looked down at Ravana. “Where is the people of Alger?” I asked, the tip of my sword inches away from his throat. He began to talk, his voice quivering and his face uneasy in pain.

“The basement. There are… corridors…” He groaned in pain.

“Thank you for cooperating so nicely.” Without further ado, I stuck my sword into him, ignoring Axel’s screams of “don’t do it”. Right before I pulled the sword out, all Ravana’s last words were had been ‘Maya’. I pulled out my sword, blood spewing from his chest, making a small pool underneath him. Team Red stood behind me in shock, unable to process what I had done.

“Red… Red, why?” Max said, clearly torn.

“Orders are orders.” Just before Axel was about to open his mouth and say something, Maya ran out into the rubble, her little flats clicking against the stones.

“What happened? Thanatos? Thanatos, it’s me!” Axel let out a big sigh in vexation as he groaned.

“You’re right, kid. That’s Thanatos.” Lilac said, causing Axel’s mouth to drop. Maya put her hand on the right side of Axel’s face, as she stared at him in awe. She began to cry tears of joy, continuing to look at him.

“After I heard about what happened with your guild, I thought you were dead, big brother. I really did. But you’re here!” She pulled him close, hugging him tight.

“I’m here, Maya. I never died. I’ve always been here and I always will be here.” He pet her head as I picked up Ravana’s dead body, a look of sorrow across Maya’s face. I looked at her with sympathy.

“I’m sorry, Maya.” I said. She let out a sigh.

“It’s okay. I mean, he was never really my biological father anyways. And after all, he never let me leave the guild or anything, and he was mean to me.” We all let out a long sigh of relief, happy that she wasn’t upset. She showed us to the basement where they held the people of Alger. There was probably over fifty people there, held in rusty cells, crying tears of joy once they saw us. They thanked us nonstop and we walked with them back to their village, Maya following us, too. Once returning them to their homes, we began to head back to Athega. When we told My Lord all about the job, he began to happily cry.

“Red, those people mean so much to me. Thank you.”

“But My Lord, why do they mean so much to you?” I asked, twisting the gold and red ring on my finger. He gave me a soft smile and tilted his head slightly, stroking his small goatee.

“My cousin, Kigiku, lives there.” I was shocked.

“I thought it was almost close to impossible to find someone in Athega that you are related to or recognize!” He smiled at me again, his cheeks rosy and pink.

“I guess I lucked out.” He turned and looked out his stained glass window. He gave us our reward, although I refused, but he became pushy and forced me to take it. A little over two hundred crowns. Not that much, not that I needed it, but it made me think that the Magic Forces deserved more. I let it go, though. I returned home and got a nice hot shower, then took a nap with my cats. I began to have a miserable headache as Shon brought me a hot cup of tea and some medicine. I lit my fireplace in front of me with my magic, and curled up in a warm, soft blanket, eventually falling asleep.

I woke up the following morning in my bed, as I figured one of my butler’s brought me upstairs to my bedroom once he found me on the couch. I looked to my left out the arched, white window, as the sun peaked in, shining on my bright red hair. I stretched, my arm hitting something hard. I nearly screamed in panic, until I looked over to see a body-shaped figure under my few layers of sheets. I jumped back, slowly pulling off the blankets, where I saw Axel. Not just any wild Axel, but an Axel in his pajamas. I felt my eye twitch in anger. He lied on his stomach, his face half in the pillow, drooling on my bed.

“Axel!” I yelled. “What are you doing in my bedroom?!” His eyes slightly opened, as he gave me a sleepy smile.

“Morning, Red.” I felt my body flush with anger as I kicked him off the bed, causing him to roll on the carpet. He got up, his hair in complete chaos, his eyes sleepy, and wearing a white t-shirt and blue pajama pants. He scratched his head.

“Sorry, they kicked me out of the apartment… well, scratch that, Rai actually kicked me out.”

“For good?”
“No, just for last night. He got sick of me making loads of tacos, and eventually setting the stove on fire… I guess I’m not that good of a cook.” He chuckled. I shoved him out of my room, changing into a small red dress. He sat on my staircase.

“What are you still doing here?!”

“I guess I just want company.”
“Well why aren’t you with Maya? After all, she thought you were dead for three or so years. Aren’t you in love with her anyways?” I asked. Axel’s eyes widened, almost in disgust.

“No, Red! I don’t like her at all; she was just a childhood friend. She’s like a sister to me, I guess. And that’s how I’ve always treated her.” As soon as I opened my mouth to begin speaking, Shon came up to me.

“Red, I don’t mean to interrupt your conversation, but-” He paused for a second, looking at Axel. “How did you get in here?” Just before Axel was about to speak, he continued. “Nevermind, it doesn’t matter. My lady, there is someone at the door. I believe it’s one of Our Lord’s servants.” I cocked my head slightly, confused. Why wasn’t I just contacted on my magic orb?

I walked down my grand stairs and approached my door, opening it. There was a man in a tie and jacket, as well as some khakis. He had ginger hair and circular black glasses.

“Good morning, Red. I hope you’re doing just fine.”

“I am. Why are you here?” I asked. His face almost looked slightly offended from my question, although I didn’t mean to sound rude, but he continued on.

“Our Lord is in his personal hospital at the moment.” My heart began to race. “He’ll be out in a month, at the most. He wanted to know if you would take his shift for that month.” I heard whispers of “do it” coming behind me from Axel. I stared, in complete shock, almost dumbfounded.

“What about his daughter? After all, she’s the second best in Athega--why doesn’t she do it?” I argued. He gave me a slight smile.

“He only wanted you, no one else. He doesn’t want to assign any other very powerful wizards the role, either. He says his connection with you is best and he trusts you most.”

I didn’t know what to do. What to say. I just stood there like an idiot, my body sweating and my heart thumping to the point I thought it was going to fall out. My Lord, sent one of his men, to come and ask me to watch over a million and maybe even more, people? I couldn’t do it. That would be such a load on me. I gave the man a half-hearted smile.

“I do apologize, but I refuse your offer.” His face went cold, then returned to normal. He gave me a quick nod.

“That is fine; I’ll return the news to him at once.” The man whistled as a beautiful pure white owl flew to him, perching on his shoulder. He pulled out a formal envelope, grabbed his pen, and began to write on it. He gave it to the owl, patting him on the head.

“Pipi, take it to The Lord.” The bird, with the scroll in his mouth, flew off into town. The man looked back at me, taking his pen lid of of his mouth and twirling it into his pocket. “Red, I ask of one more request. A job.”

“A job? I’m interested; tell me all about it.” I leaned up against the frame of my door.

“Our Lord is in the hospital because of a man with the name of Diabolos. You see, Diabolos is one of the most powerful dark wizards throughout Athega. Not the most powerful, but very powerful. Our Lord went out in hopes to kill him, but was unable to.”

“How? He’s the strongest in Athega!” I retorted. He nodded.

“Oh yes, he is the strongest in Athega, but he went by himself. His age isn’t serving him well, especially going out on his own without any aid. Red, I ask of you and the other wizards in Athega to defeat this man. We will even provide you two very strong healing wizards on your journey, and a carriage for no fee.” I sighed.

“Just me and the some other wizards, huh?” I asked.

“I guess assistance could-” Axel cut him off with a big cheer.

“Well sign me up, I’m helping!” The man’s face went pale for a second, but returned. “Do we really need all these wizards? Is he really that hard?” I asked. He nodded.

“It’s probably impossible to take out ones above his power, but yes, it’s necessary, Red. Please understand that this is extremely vital. Not to mention, these other wizards will be gods, just like you.”

I hesitated, unable to speak. Other gods. Those two words always made me anxious.

“Red?” He asked, pushing up his glasses.

“Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“You’re fine; I don’t want to rush you into such a decision.”

I felt Axel nudge my back with his arm, his little mad giggle ringing in my ears. “Okay, I’ll do it.” I sighed, my stomach in a twist.

“Great! Thank you for your cooperation, Red. The carriage will stop by Thursday morning. Have a great day.” He gave me a big, bright smile with his shining chalky teeth. He snapped his fingers, and just like that, he disappeared into thin air. I turned around to look at Axel, giving him a cold and strict look. His face was so enthusiastic; more excited than I’ve ever seen him before.

“So we’re going to go on a job with super powerful wizards?” He asked, his face nervously smiling.

“Yes.”

“Are you scared?” He asked.

“A little. But Axel, if you do join me,” I paused, giving him a threatening scowl. I gripped him by the shirt, putting my face so close to his that our noses almost touched. “If you do join me, you need to be on your best behavior.” I began to pace. “By that, I mean not acting like a fool, and not going against what we say. For example, if we decide to choose a stealthy course, that does not mean you can barge into the place. Understood?” He chuckled, his insane laugh that got me every time.

“I understand, Red.”

“Why are you still here again?!”

“You’re right, I should get going.” And just like that, he threw on his slippers and began to walk out of the woods in his pajamas. I was frustrated and embarrassed seeing him walk out of my home like that. He turned around for a second and shouted.

“Hey, Red? By the way, let your guy in there know I got in through the window.” He laughed maniacally again, turned around, and continued to leave. I snarled.

The next few days consisted of me not doing much, besides practicing my magic. There wasn’t much to be done with my magic, for I had almost all of the fire and sword spells figured out. To practice, I normally looked through a few books and did a little research. I recently decided that I did somewhat want to figure out a new sword spell called “Warrior’sRage”. It summons all of my swords at once and attacks my victim with them. It’s not too powerful, but it’s one I want to master. My goal, for the rest of my thousands of years in Athega, was to master every single sword and fire spell there was. Powerful or not, I wanted to know them all. Just on Wednesday, I was in my backyard, doing just that.

“Red, whatchya doing?” I heard. I looked to my left, where I saw Lucy skipping towards me, her face as happy as always, with her ginger hair pulled back in a ponytail. Axel, Lilac, Rai, and Max followed behind, just not skipping. She came up to me and grabbed both of my hands.

“I was just practicing things… why are you here?” Before Lucy was going to speak, Rai interrupted.

“Nice place you have here.” He said, as Max stared at it in awe, her mouth opened in surprise. I nodded.

“Thank you, Rai.”

Anyways, Axie told me you guys have a super big day tomorrow! He’s been bragging to everyone about it.” Lucy’s face was disgusted, as I twitched my eye at Axel in anger.

“I did not! I’m not bragging, I’m just telling people.” Axel retorted. I let go of Lucy’s hands, walked towards Axel, and grabbed his arm with a tight grip.

“Who have you told, Axel? Jobs like this one isn’t suppose to be shared with everyone in Athega!” I snarled.

“Red, cool off. The only people who know are the people who are in my apartment.” He said, smiling. I didn’t really believe him, but Lucy came over and separated us.

Anyways, like I was saying, we got a job! Not a big one, but a relaxing one! One to relax all of us, especially you two, before tomorrow!” She squealed and twirled happily. “And hey, it might be good to grow your relationship before such a big job! Trust is important!” I didn’t know if I wanted to, but seeing Lucy so happy about it made my heart break. I had to say yes.

“I’d be happy to.” Her face lit up like my fire.

“Let’s go!”

We went to the heart of Athega and walked through the city into the outskirts to a more secluded, cute town. There was still loads of people, though. Although it wasn’t really my scene, it was very peaceful and present.

“I just realized I never asked what this job was about.” I groaned.

“Oh, yeah! We’re all going to help with this local restaurant just down this street. They get lots of people and their store is super cute! I don’t know what they’ll have us doing though, but it’s going to be laid back, I promise.” Lucy said, walking backwards in the middle of the road. “And we’ll even make some money, too!” I heard Rai snarl from behind us and Max whispering to him. We approached the restaurant. It had all white exterior and beautifully carved pillars, as well as a big sign that read, “Mage’s”. We began to walk inside, where we saw Bow working at the front desk.

“Actually, this is more like a diner. Maybe a café. I don’t know, really. Oh, and Bow works here too.” Max said. We walked towards her, where she blushed and gave us a big, sweet smile. She adjusted the bow in her hair.

“Hi guys! Are you ready for your job?” She let out a sweet soft giggle. Another beautiful girl with red, short hair came out from the cooking room.

“Hey, kids. Thanks for the help.” She winked at us and smiled. “This job is really simple; we just need you guys to be waitresses.”

“What about waiters?” Axel professed, clearly offended. She giggled.

“Nope. Just waitresses.’

“So then why are we here?”

“I just told you. You’re all going to be waitresses.” The girl pulled out some wigs from under the counter. “By the way, my name is Devyn.” Rai and Axel’s jaws dropped.

“You want us to dress up as females?!” Rai snarled. Devyn nodded.

“Trust me, females in sweet dresses attracts consumers.” Max began giggling uncontrollably and Lucy was smiling big. I guess their happy faces were enough to convince the boys. We were put in baby blue and white maid-styled outfits, with the maid-styled headband. Axel was put in a long, brown wig, and Rai was put in a short pink one. We even stuffed their dresses to give them breasts. I could tell they were clearly unamused, as they stood in front of us at the counter, their faces gawking at the poofy dresses and little heels. And that was that. We served food to the customers. I did it swiftly, but a little aggressively. A few customers actually hid in the booth because I was so intimidating, but a lot of men had been drooling over me. I supposed it was my bust size.

Everyone else, on the other hand, was a bit of everywhere. Everyone was in awe of Bow’s looks as she served food, her beautiful face convincing them into buying more. Axel and Rai were attempting to talk in high-pitched voices, and it freaked some people out. Bad. They were slamming the trays of food on people’s tables, unaware of the spillage. But if I was a man and had to dress as a female, I would be angry too, I guess. Lilac was just your typical weird and normal waitress, and Lucy was striking everyone with her beautiful smile and cheerful attitude. After an hour or two of serving nonstop to an overcrowded restaurant, we left with two-hundred crowns.

It was scary though, when we began to leave. Axel and Rai literally and physically ripped off the wigs and dresses. They were told they needed to pay for them next week. We left happy, saying goodbye to Devyn, full of joy and laughter. And maybe even a little relaxed. I suppose serving food to people and seeing the smile appearing on their face from our service was emotionally rewarding. We parted our ways to our humble abodes, until I heard the man that had visited me a while ago yell my name.

“Red, can I have you come in the palace? We’ve been looking everywhere for you, I didn’t expect you to be on a job. You should be saving your magic power for tomorrow.” I turned around and gave him a small smile.

“I didn’t use any, it was just a little job for the restaurant down the road. Why do you need me in the palace?”

“All of the gods are there; we’re just going over the job for tomorrow and as well as giving a formal introduction to each of you.” He smiled. My heart began to race and my cheeks flushed. I wasn’t ready to formally meet some of the most powerful wizards in Athega.

“Red, you seem to look a bit pale. Are you nervous?”

“No, not at all.” I said, my voice attempting to be confident. I could tell he didn’t believe me as he escorted me to the palace.

“Just be yourself. I’m sure you’ll be just fine. And that little friend of yours who plans to come will just have to meet them tomorrow.” I understood and walked into the palace, my red hair falling in front of my face as I brushed it behind with my fingers. “By the way, my name is Mishuka.” He said, patting my back. I gave him an uneasy smile as I tried to speak but was too paralyzed to do so.

I straightened my dress a little, even pulling it up a small bit to make sure there wasn’t as much cleavage as there normally was. The giant doors opened to the conference room, where many people sat around a large table. First, there was a girl. She sat all the way at the front, her fingers laced together as her head rested on them. She was My Lord’s flawless daughter. She had very, very long bleach blonde hair, beautiful long eyelashes, and a long, white dress. She gave me a small glare mixed with a smile. Next to her, there was another girl with short pink hair and a cute chubby face who wore a white blouse and a pink skirt. Next to her was a very buff man who wore a robe in white and red and had sideburns but was completely bald. Finally, there was a younger man who sat next to him with blonde spiked up hair and scars on his face, who wore dark trousers and a black formal jacket. I stared in awe.

“Red. It’s nice you could finally join us.” My Lord’s daughter, Azalea said, giving me a glare. I hesitated for a second.

“I apologize, I had a bit of a job on a very short notice.”

“Have a seat.” She said. I sat down next to the man with scars and crossed my leg over the other.

“Red, I believe you are somewhat familiar with everyone in this room, yes?”
“Yes. I don’t know names, but I do know faces.”

She pointed to the pink haired girl. “This is Rosemary. Rose uses nature magic. Her magic is incredibly beautiful and powerful.” Rosemary giggled.

“Quit it, I’m not that great.” Her voice was very high and sweet. Azalea pointed to the buff man, who introduced himself.

“Nice to meet you, Red. I’ve heard many great things about you; my name is Iakovos.” My hands began to tremble a little, but I stayed confident. Iakovos was almost as strong as My Lord, but not quite there yet. His earth magic was amazing. I gave him a small nod, as they moved down the line. The boy with scars on his face gave me an intimidating smile.

“Hey, Red. I’ve heard so much about you too. You’re magic is incredible.”

“Tell her your name!” Azalea said angrily. He rolled his eyes.

“My name is Blade.”

“And what magic do you use, Blade?” I asked. He gave me a half smile.

“I use Steel magic.” He twirled a pocketknife around his finger. I smiled, nervous to introduce myself.

“Well,” I paused for a second. “My name is Red. I use fire magic, and well, quite a bit of sword magic.”

“You use two elements? Red, that is amazing. That really shows how much potential you have.” Iakovos said. Blade jumped out of his seat.

Two elements? Jesus christ, I didn’t think that was even a thing!”

“Blade, sit down. Having two elements is a “thing” and it takes quite a bit of work and dedication to get into.” Azalea said. I looked at her, straight into her bright green angel-like eyes.

“Don’t you have two elements too?”
“Yes, I do. I use light and fairy magic.” She gave me a smile and continued with our meeting. She went over where we were going and what exactly was going on. She told us this ominous man, Diabolos, knew that we knew his location, and he didn’t care. He thought he was the most powerful force in Athega and could never be stopped. He was insane, mad, and had an obsession with the dead. She told us he uses dark magic, meaning he can use any dark spell there is. I was amazed by the sounds of his power and almost scared. Azalea told us that we had nothing to fear. Each one of us was to bring a colleague, like how I was bringing Axel, and we could all take him down in no time. It was so intriguing to me that dark wizards were so strong. I began to wonder if there were ones stronger than the good wizards.

We were going to travel to the city Walton. She said that his mansion was there, out in the open, for everyone to see. She mentioned that he might have many guards surrounding the area, and if there were, most of them would be dark illusions, but some may be real monsters he had created. She knew all of this because when My Lord was still conscious, he told Azalea everything. I could tell she was disappointed in her father’s actions, as now she was the one controlling Athega.

Once we got everything cleared up and all questions answered, we said our goodbyes and returned home. As I began to walk out the palace doors, I heard Azalea yell for me.

“Red, come here for a second, I would like to speak to you.” I turned around immediately, my body on fire.

“What is it?” She glared at me, slightly gritting her teeth as she talked.

“Why couldn’t you fulfill my father’s demands?”
“What do you mean?”

“He asked for you to take over Athega, and you said no?”

“It was my choice.”

“Why didn’t you, Red?” I gave her a threatening glare. I didn’t care if she was My Lord’s daughter; she was foolish and immature. She invaded everyone’s privacy and tried to act like the best of them all.

“Azalea, I don’t think you understand.” I began to walk towards her. “I have no experience with ruling a world, while you somewhat did. I didn’t want to take over Athega; it would be too much for me. Please, stop being so naive… have a nice night.” I turned around and walked out the doors, not hearing a peep from her. I didn’t care if she was angry, she didn’t have the right to interrogate a personal decision. Either ways, now she temporarily can rule Athega like she always wanted to. I didn’t understand what the problem here was.

I returned home, where I found everyone in my manor. Axel, Lilac, Lucy, Bow, Rai, Max, and even Devyn and Maya. They sat on my couch watching my television and eating my popcorn.

“What are all of you doing in my house?” I yelled, my head on fire.

“We’re throwing a good luck party for tomorrow!” Lucy yelled enthusiastically, her eyes full of joy. I gritted my teeth, definitely unhappy, but I figured I should just go with it. Max squealed with excitement. Everyone was actually dressed nicely; Axel no longer in his typical outfit, but in a shirt and tie, as well as Rai, and everyone else in a small dress or blouse. I let out a long, aggravated sigh, as my eye twitched a little.

“So how did your little conference go?” Axel asked.

“How did you know about it?” He chuckled.

“I’ve got some good ears, Red.” I rolled my eyes.

“I suppose it went okay. Our Lord’s daughter gave me hell, though.”

“Oh no, Reddie! Are you gonna be okay? Are you upset?” Lucy whimpered, her voice sympathetic for me.

“No, I’m fine. I don’t care, really.”

“Does that mean she’s going to kick us out of the job?” Axel asked, his voice a nervous wreck.

“Who knows? Who cares?” I asked, laughing a little.

“I care, Red!” Axel yelled, throwing a temper tantrum. “I gotta meet these gods! They sound so cool!” I felt emotionally stabbed and offended, as I was one of the gods too. I might have been the 4th, but I was still on the chart.

“She just whined about me not taking My Lord’s place. That shouldn’t be any reason to remove us from helping with the job; there’s nothing to worry about, Ax.” I said, plucking some bits of popcorn from Axel’s bag as he whimpered and hit my hand away from his snack.

 

We ate and watched shows all night and conversed with one another. I learned that Devyn used magic that I have never heard of in my entire life in Athega. Animal magic. She had the ability to turn herself into any animal and strike her opponents. She even showed me a little bit of it. I thought it was quite incredible and beautiful, and she thought so too. We even did a little training during this “good luck” party, and I got to show of my magic. Once everyone left, I fell straight asleep, and woke up to the carriage at my front door.

I walked out, looking my best, in my long, red and gold dress. I hopped in the carriage, where I saw Axel running down my driveway yelling my name and telling the driver to wait for him. I remember my eye twitching in anger and embarrassment, as he gave me a bright big smile and hopped in the carriage. This carriage was not the same as the other ones; the seats were incredibly comfortable and we had tea and snacks. It felt like a home. Everyone was there in the carriage from the other night, but there was also new faces. A girl with black pulled up hair began to talk to me.

“Red, is it?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Hi, Red. I’m Elle, and I’m the healer for this job.” She gave me a big smile. “I heard you have motion sickness?” My face flushed and my jaw dropped. Everyone in the carriage, even Azalea looked at me. I began to stutter.

“Y… yes I do.” She giggled.

“Our Lord said you did. I have magic to cure you.” She faced both of her palms towards me, green spiraling waves of magic coming out of her hands.

“How do you feel?”
“Excellent. Thank you.” I said. Iakovos looked at me, his face almost worried.

“Who’s your colleague there, Red?” He asked. Before I could speak, Axel began to talk.

“Hey, my name’s Axel. Nice to meet you!” Iakovos was clearly suspicious of Axel, his face tense and gloomy.

“Where are your colleagues?” I asked.

“We told them to meet us at Walton.” Azalea said. I nodded. We sat in the carriage for a little over an hour, where Axel entertained himself with magic magazines. So far he was doing pretty good. We all sat in an awkward silence as I sipped tea, Azalea still glaring at me. Rosemary was asleep, drooling gracefully with a soft blanket over top of her. Axel nudged me on the arm and began to whisper to me, pointing at things in the magazine and asking what they were and if I would buy them for him.

We eventually arrived to Walton, a place with autumn colored trees and beautiful grass.

“Are you sure you brought us to the right place?” Azalea asked the driver. “According to my father, the land here was supposed to be dead and everything should be bare.” The driver nodded, telling her he knew where he was and that we were in the right spot.

We began to walk down in the forest, where Azalea pulled out a map.

“All of our colleagues should be meeting us in the square of the old run down town.” We began to walk forward, where we thought, the square would be.

“Red, are you part of a guild?” Iakovos asked me, catching up and walking besides me. I chuckled.

“No, I’m not, actually.”

“Why not? You seem like you would make an amazing guild master.” I flushed.

“I’m flattered to hear that, Iakovos, but I have bad memories from guilds.” I sighed.

“So you used to be in one, yes?” I gave him a soft smile.

“Yes.” His sandals clopped against the ground as we walked over the muddy, mushy ground.

“You know, Red, I’m the master of a guild, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.” He smiled at me wide.

“Why are you so intent on me making a guild?” I asked, laughing. He made a face of worry for a second, as he thought he had been too pushy.

“Red, Athega doesn’t have many guilds. We have newcomers who are welcomed to Athega, but have nowhere to go.” He stared up at the sky as he put his hands in the opposite sleeves of his baggy top. He admired the blue and slightly red sky, his face filled with tranquility. “They don’t know how to start making allies and have people to support them. Do you understand what I mean?”
“Yes, Iakovos, I completely understand.” Axel walked behind me still, being good and quiet. I was so happy he was actually cooperating.

While continuing to walk in the forest, the trees faded beautifully from red and orange to a green. We eventually got to the square, where there were a few carriages. There was a large fountain in the square that was broken down. I saw many new faces.

First, I saw a large, muscular man, with brown hair pulled back in a bun with a stubble. He held a lit cigarette in his mouth, pulled it out, and blew smoke. He belonged to Rosemary. Next to him, there was another girl with long, dark brown hair, who had a few scars over her eyebrows. She looked angry, and she wore a cut off long-sleeved top in pitch black with brown pants and large black boots. She belonged to Iakovos. And finally, next to her, was a girl. A girl who looked about twelve to thirteen years old with short teal hair. She wore a small dress and ran up to Blade, hugging him tight.

“A little girl, Blade? What the hell is wrong with you?” Azalea yelled. He laughed.

“She isn’t just any girl; this pumpkin’s a tough one.”

We introduced our colleagues and “masters” to one another and began to walk a few yards to Diabolos’ manor. It was dark and run down with a victorian feel to it. The roof of it was pointed and the windows were broken and arched. It looked like a house you would see in a horror movie. It really didn’t match the beautiful scenery that surrounded it, which quite frankly bugged me.

“We’re going to approach with stealth. That is, unless he sends his guards.” Azalea said, her face prepared and confident, with a hint of anxiety. Iakovos’ colleague, Ailith, summoned two swords at once and held them, prepared for whatever what happen next. I was excited to see someone who had the same power as I did.

We began to sneakily go up to the manor, splitting in groups. Axel and I were together, and as soon as we got further away from the others, he began to talk to me, his voice excited and full of awe.

“Red, these dudes are so fucking cool!” He said. I covered my hand over his mouth, reminding him that this was a stealthy mission. He gave me wicked smile, his brows drawing together.

We went around back of the manor, trying to find a stealthy entrance. That is, until things began to flash and monsters appear out of thin air. Azalea began to communicate with her telepathy magic.

“Forget the stealthy approach.”

We began to slaughter the monsters that looked like small dragons one by one, our fire burning them to ashes. The monsters screamed and groaned in pain, the only sounds that filled the area. Axel laughed maniacally while killing them in excitement, as I threw them up against the manor walls. They began to continue showing back up, and me and Axel gunned it. We ran towards the front of the manor, going in, where everyone else was following. We shut the doors behind us, the monsters banging on them and screaming with shrilling cries.

“For christ’s sake!” Rosemary’s colleague, Andric, yelled, throwing down his cigarette. We held our backs against the doors until the roaring and pushing stop. Iakovos began to step forward, admiring the manor.

“Was is really necessary to hurt my friends?” I heard a sad, rustic voice. A man walked out from the top of the grand staircase with long hair pulled back in a dark blue ponytail and a black robe. He was tall and had black eyes.

“Are you Diabolos?” Azalea asked.

“Indeed I am. Did that old man send you and your little, “group”, here?”

“Yes. That old man is my father. And you’re the reason he’s in the hospital.”

“Oh how pathetic. How sad.” Diabolos made a pouty face, holding onto his railings as he began to walk down his staircase. Out of nowhere, Blade threw steel blades at Diabolos, as they simply just reflected him, hitting Blade back. Blade slid back, but stayed on his feet, pulling the steel blades out his arms. Elle ran over and began to heal Blade, until Diabolos hit her with dark waves of magic. She fell to the ground, unconscious. I heard Azalea gasp as she fell to the concrete ground, running over to Elle and checking her pulse.

“Nuh, uh, uh.” Diabolos waved his finger back and forth. “Let’s play nice, now.”

“This guy is going to be a real pain in the ass.” Axel whispered to me and everyone else. Diabolos looked at me, his dark eyes staring into my soul.

“Is this the Goddess of Fire?” His mouth opened, in a sarcastic, surprised look. “Oh my, oh my! How exciting!” He let out a mad and insane laugh. I scowled at him in anger as I faced my palms towards him, a tornado of fluffy fire shooting at him. He slid back, his feet carving into the ground. Until I knew it, we all began to attack him. Iakovos summoned rocks from the ground that Diabolos somehow dodged, as Azalea threw spells of light at him. Her spells came out of her hands in a pure white, piercing him every now and then when he was unable to dodge it. I could tell it really hurt him, I supposed because he was dark and she was light. He laughed, laughing to the point of screaming, and threw a large blast of dark black and purple spells at us, making us dizzy and out of place. He began to use a slicing black spell and slice up Azalea, until she hit him back, making him fall to the ground. She yelled in pain, bleeding out of her chest.

Diabolos began to come after me, until I blocked one of his spells with one hand, lighting his arm on fire. Axel threw an amazingly powerful dark spell at him, although not hurting him as much as mine. I summoned a sword and began to attack him, slicing him here and there. He threw dark slicers once again, and let me tell you, that hurt. It felt like someone taking knives to my stomach. But I gained up the courage and did not hesitate for a second. All of our colleagues did an amazing job helping me, as Iakovos summoned giant rocks from the ground that hurt Diabolos, but he somehow was okay. This fight went on for a little over twenty minutes, that is, until Rosemary wandered by and giggled as her cheeks flushed. She faced her palm at Diabolos, as a long laser of glowing pink shot out at him, causing an explosion so large that even I struggled to handle. This Goddess of Destruction wasn’t messing around.

Diabolos fell, screaming in pain.

“Damn you all to hell!” He yelled. Axel chuckled in irony, as he already knew he was. As Diabolos fell, a large, tornado-shaped gust of black and deep purple magic came heading straight for me. I switched to a blast armor and held my shield in front of me swiftly. How could this guy give off such a spell while he was down? I held my shield in front of me, blocking my face. I was afraid of what would happen next, but it didn’t matter in that very moment.

I felt nothing. My shield was there, waiting to be shattered, as I heard the gusts of wind stop. I didn’t feel my shield break or feel the wind. I slowly pulled my golden shield down in confusion as I heard gasps coming from our fellow colleagues. I saw was Diabolos laying a few yards away from me, dead. What happened? Did his final spell fail? I switched my armor, making my shield disappear, as I finally had a full view. I winced, jumping back, as I saw a body lying in front of me. It was Iakovos, lying in front of me with a hole in his chest, dead.

I screamed in terror as everyone stood around in shock.

“Master! Master… master no! Please!” Ailith yelled, running over to him and shaking him as if she was trying to wake him up from his death. Azalea looked at me, her eyes fierce.

“Red, this is all your fault.”

“I didn’t even see him coming or hear him! How was I supposed to know?” I began to feel angry rather than sad. Azalea snarled.

“Red the Goddess. I should strip you of that title.” Her eyebrows were together as she gritted her teeth. Everyone gave us our space as Ailith cried and was attempting to give Iakovos CPR when he was obviously gone. Azalea’s body became surrounded with white air; she wanted to fight me.

“Azalea, it’s not her fault, please, stop!” Ailith screamed. She ignored her screams and was about to blast me, until I heard the saving voice of My Lord.

“Azalea.” She quickly stopped and turned around, her face in fear of My Lord’s voice.

“Father!” He sat in a wheelchair being pushed by one of his men, surrounded by a few buff guards. I realized that Blade had disappeared; I figured he was too upset to be around all of this. And Rosemary, on the other hand, was beside me trying to comfort Ailith.

“Azalea, I thought I could have trusted you. Are so nonsensical as to hurt your ally? Not only that, but to blame them for a death that they could not have prevented?” Her face was in surprise, speechless. “Azalea, I expect some answers later.” My Lord’s men came over and escorted her to My Lord’s carriage, as she screamed and cried.

“Hey old man, shouldn’t you still be in the hospital or what?” Axel asked.

“Nice to see you, Axel. As soon as I heard that Mishuka had sent all of you on this job…” He sighed. “I rushed to make sure you were all okay. The orbs have been down recently due to some technical problems, I suppose.” He looked at everyone, feeling sympathy for the sadness in everyone’s eyes. His men wheeled My Lord over to me and then grabbed Iakovos, taking him to a carriage.

“Please return to your carriages.” My Lord said, looking at all of my colleagues. Once everyone left, he looked at me, his face clearly upset.

“Red, tell me what happened.” I began to stutter, as I felt Axel come over and rub my back, attempting to comfort me.

“I… I was there and then we killed Diabolos and then he let off this spell. I don’t know how, but he did, My Lord! And I pulled out my shield and switched my armor to my blast armor and then I felt nothing! I felt nothing happen to my magic or my shield break. And next thing I knew, Iakovos was right there in front of me, dead.” I felt frustrated, but he nodded and understood me.

“Where is Diabolos, Red?” My Lord asked. I pointed to a pile of rocks and rubble where he was. My Lord began to walk over towards the rocks, and looked back at me.

“Is he under them?” My heart skipped a beat.

“No, old man, your eyesight must really be getting to you.” Axel chuckled. My Lord’s face went cold, almost angry.

“Axel, there is no one here.” He snarled. Axel’s eyes widened, and I stood there, speechless. He ran over to the rocks and looked down where Diabolos once was.

“What the hell? The cocky bastard was here!” Axel yelled, his voice frustrated. My Lord shook his head in confusion and sent his men to look around for anything that would give us a lead. They came back unsuccessful, until My Lord ushered us to leave, saying he would send more people back to the demonic manor soon to check everything out.

“We brought along a private carriage just in case for the both of you. I think you need some time to cool off with Axel.” He was wheeled out of the home that now was more like a dungeon. I began to walk out with Axel behind me, telling me everything would be okay. We jumped in the carriage together and began to leave.

“This is why I don’t come around people very much, Axel.” I said.

“What do you mean?” I chuckled a little.

“I swear, I’m cursed with back luck.” He laughed, his little mad laugh.

“I don’t think so. At least your not a killer.” He leaned back on the couch in the carriage and propped his feet on the coffee table in between us.

“I suppose you’re right.” We got to Athega where we saw My Lord and Azalea. My Lord’s men were directing her face away from mine so she couldn’t give me a gnarly glare like she planned to. Axel walked back to his apartment, asking if it was fine if everyone stopped by. I said I’d rather not have company at the moment, but it’s okay if they should need to. I walked home into the woods and entered my house, where my butlers vividly saw right through me and knew what was going on. I told them everything, and they brought me tea and shrimp.

I slept away the next few days easily, as I was oversleeping from depression. I was even invited to Iakovos’ funeral, but I refused. I was in no emotional or somewhat physical shape to go, and I knew if I did, I would be scared of being blamed.

Despite the fact Iakovos was dead, everyone else was okay. Hardly any scratches here and there, but Elle was in the hospital. According to My Lord, her combat skills are very weak and her defence is also very weak, although they plan to improve that. She would be okay, but she needed a month, at most, to recover.

Every night those past few days involved me constantly replaying his death. Constantly thinking if I could have had the opportunity to prevent it. I even began to wonder if there was a “Time Reverse” spell or something, although in Athega, a world of magic, it was apparently impossible. I was sure I could have blocked that spell with my armor, so he risked his life for nothing. These thoughts just made me even more upset. Axel called me a few times, and even Lucy did, too. I ignored them all though, but they didn’t give up.

They showed up at my manor because they were worried, threatening my butlers to let them in. My response to when my butlers came upstairs to my room to ask if they could come in was, “Whatever.” They barged in my house and came upstairs to me and offered me some small jobs, constantly bugging me. Lucy had brought me some homemade peanut butter and chocolate shaped heart snacks, that I thankfully took and chomped away on.

They told me how they desperately needed me to come over sometime and try Bow’s new soup, and they also even said how Rai has become more happier than normal. Axel bragged to me about learning a new spell called the “Dark Dismal”, a spell that restrained his opponents from moving and then lit them on fire. Of course while he bragged, I told him I had the same spell but in fire form, and it didn’t work too great. He was disappointed to hear that, but made the mood brighter by telling me it would make it easier to go fishing.

After they left and a few more days of healing, I was back on track. I heard my phone go off, but this time not from Lucy or Axel. It was Devyn. I answered it, in fear of something bad that had happened. Was she dead too?

“Devyn?”
“Hey, Red. You’re the closest person I know to where I am so… can you come down to the bar?”

“Of course. Is everything okay?”

“Not really, but I don’t have much time to explain; please, come quick.”

I jumped out of my bed and slipped on my heels and my long, red dress. I ran out the door, my butlers yelling for me, asking where I was going, but also happy I was getting out of the house. I ran to the bar, where I saw it in a pile of rubble. Devyn stood in front of the rubble, her face distressed. I ran towards her, her red short hair in a mess of frustration.

“Devyn, what the hell happened?” I shouted, trying to get my voice loud enough for her to hear me, as there was many people surrounding the pile of ash and bricks. She shook her head.

“I don’t know, Red. I was coming to work and out of nowhere, the place just started to burn. And they couldn’t… they couldn’t put it out.” Her face was covered in sadness, a tear streaming from her beautiful green eyes.

“Why did you call me over?”

“You’re a fire wizard. I thought maybe you could help. And also, you’re the strongest wizard that is closest to the middle of Athega.”

“I see.” I began to walk around, inspecting the pile of rubble.

“Do you think this is, like, connected to Diabolos?” She asked. My eyes widened in annoyance and anger just by the sound of his name. I let out a deep breath, now concerned.

“Who knows. You might be right, though, Devyn. There could be more than just Diabolos behind all this shit.” I sighed.

“You did kill him, right?”

“I think so.”

“Red, what the hell do you mean, you ‘think so’?” Devyn retorted. I continued to examine the rubble of stone.

“I think this was a fire wizard.”

“Red, stop stalling!” Devyn yelled. I gave her a slight glare.

“We thought we killed the guy, I mean, he looked pretty dead to me. The he just… disappeared.”

“What do you mean disappeared?”

“I mean what I mean, Devyn!” She let out a long breath, trying to soothe her anxiety. I was sure the bar got burned down by a fire wizard. I’m not getting any dark energy around the place, and the formation of the fallen stone proved that it had to have been a fire wizard.

“A fire wizard did this. Not dark fire, but fire like mine…” I kneeled down for a closer inspection.

“Are you positive?” Devyn asked as cars with investigators and such pulled up. I nodded.

“One-hundred percent positive.”

We began to walk to Axel’s apartment together to discuss the problems that had been happening with Diabolos.

“Devyn’s right. This has to be part of something bigger.” Axel professed, fiddling with his beard. Expressions of worry filled everyone’s faces, as Bow brought over bowls of her soup, which tasted absolutely amazing. She was quiet the whole time, clearly upset about what had happened with Mage’s. I felt so much sympathy for her, as it was obvious that she had a passion for cooking and working there. She gave me a half smile, and I smiled back.

“Hey!” Max jumped out of her chair, putting her hands on the table and leaning over everyone, her cheeks bright red.

“Hi.” Axel said sarcastically, crossing his arms and leaning back.

“We should all go to the festival tomorrow!” She squealed.

“I’m nevergoing to that thing ever again, Max!” Axel snarled.

“What festival?” I asked.

“Wow, Red.” Max began. “You really don’t get out much. The festival is in the middle of Athega and it happens once every year. They set up big canopies in all different bright colors, and then they attach fairy lights to each of the canopies. We dance, and sing, and dress up…” She stood up at the ceiling, daydreaming in awe.

“What exactly is it celebrating?” I asked. She snapped out of her daydreaming and shifted back to reality, jumping up again.

“I have no idea!”

“Well, it sounds quite nice. I do enjoy festivals; let’s give it a go.” Everyone but Max looked at me, their faces dumbfounded. They were either annoyed, because now that mean that everyone had to go, or they were shocked that I actually wanted to do something with lots of people. Max’s eyes lit up as she twirled around and jumped, squealing in excitement.

The festival was going to be three days from today, and I was excited. I looked into it more and asked My Lord about it, simply because I was curious. While stroking his goatee and giving me a smile because I was going, he told me it was to celebrate Athega. People at the festival would dress like our first descendants in Athega and dance to some music. There would be tons of food and My Lord even said the sight of people rejoicing in Athega under fairy lights would be a beautiful experience for me.

On the other hand, he began to talk to me about Diabolos. He told me they found nothing back at the manor that is now a pile of ash. No leads, no people; nothing. He believed there is more people behind all of this, but he doesn’t know who. He’s sending out more men to try and find something, possibly even Diabolos, that can help our case. I could tell he was worried, almost sickly about the topic. He promised me that we would find the roots to all of this and pluck them.

I was worried about not just my safety, but My Lord’s safety. I really should have had mentioned this earlier, but if My Lord dies, everyone dies, except for one of us. And that single one left will be someone chosen at random who will be the new Lord, pulling in more people from the overworld. It was scary to simply just think about.

After many days of preparing and making my own outfits and accessories for the festival, which I was actually excited for, the day came. I showed up at the apartment, where everyone was wearing insane and colorful outfits, all but Rai. He stood behind everyone, his face in disgust and annoyance. I wore a headpiece that had red and orange flowers, almost blending in with my hair, and a cropped white shirt and a red and orange ombre long skirt. I could tell everyone was impressed with me as I modeled my looks. They all wore crazy colors and beautifully designed shirts, Bow and Max wearing skirts. Lilac and Lucy went all out; Lilac, black and purple, and Lucy went all rainbow. Axel, on the other hand, just wore a pink shirt with a black tie.

We went down the elevator that consisted of awkwardly played classical music and walked to the square, where things were just getting set up. Beautiful canopies with bright colors and bohemian designs were put in the ground, as well as a long table with all assortments of food that I haven’t seen before.

“Axel, remember not to eat seafood this time, okay? And I’m serious!” Lilac said.

“I’m eating everything! That’s the only reason I’m here! Free food? Sounds like a party to me!” Axel ran over to the table and started to fill his face with the food they had just put down. My eye twitched in a mixture of embarrassment and anger as I screamed at him to stop being a pig. Once more people had shown up, beautiful instrumental music was played and we danced. It was an awestrucking mixture of mexican and classical that rung through the speakers set up in town. I had no idea how to dance, but I just went along with it. The whole time, Rai leaned up against the buildings around us, Lilac next to him, smoking a cigarette. I let out a sigh as I walked over to grab some tropical mixtures of drinks from the table, as the dancing had worn me out.

“Red?” I heard a whisper from a high-pitched voice coming from somewhere. I stopped, setting down my tropical mango, my body on fire. I looked to my right.

“Left.” I heard, once again, the same voice. I looked to my left, where I saw someone standing in the tight alleyway that separated two apartment buildings. They wore a black cloak and black sandals. I couldn’t make out a face, but I could tell it was a woman by the voice. I sat down my drink and began to slowly walk towards the person. She pulled down her hood, making me freeze in astonishment. It was Crystal.

Crystal was a friend from my old guild, the first one I joined, in fact. She had long, pastel pink and blue hair that curled at the ends and a white pale face. Her eyes were bright blue and she had freckles. She was one of my best friends throughout my life, that is, until the dragon, Hopi, killed her. She used crystal magic.

“Crystal? Is that you?” I asked. A small tear flooded down her cheeks.

“Yes, Asuka. It’s me.” I stood in shock, walking closer to her.

“I thought you were dead!” My heart began to pound as I fell in love with her beauty.

“No, Asu, Hopi never killed me.” She looked down at the ground for a second, then looked back up at me. “Look, I know you’re having a hard time handling all this, but I need you to come with me.” She extended her hand, giving me a frightened look. I began to feel a little suspicious, until I heard Axel.

“Red, come back and join the party! Max-” He stopped mid-sentence as he saw Crystal. She looked terrified, stepping back a little.

“Who the hell is this?”
“Axel, it’s just an old friend. Leave us be.” He snarled, in fear of my safety, as he ran up to Crystal, setting her cloak on fire. Tears streamed down her face as she tried to hide herself. His black flames spread across her cloak, burning it to ash.

“Axel, what is wrong with you?” I yelled.

“There’s magic cloaks out there, Red. She could’ve been someone in disguise.”

Her body was naked as she covered herself with her hands. Her arms were purple all the way to her fingertips, and her nails were blade sharp. Her breasts had a purple scale-like covering on them and her legs were trembling. Axel’s eyes went wide, ashamed of what he had done. He took off his coat and put it around her, as it barely covered her lower half.

“What happened to you?” I asked in astonishment.

“Please, Red, just follow me.” I grabbed her one hand that wasn’t purple, and she began to run with me, taking me somewhere I didn’t know. Axel followed, in fear of something happening to me.

“Can I have an explanation, please?” I asked.

“I never died from Hopi! I really don’t remember anything or know anything, but all I know is people took me, and I was held hostage in this… room.” She continued to run, slightly breathing hard.

“Where are you taking me?”
“The base I’ve been at! I just need help, Red! I’ve been captured and tormented by these people for years and I finally busted out! I think you might want to know who they are.” She said.

“Who are they?”
“Gorespawn. Their master is Chernobog Kobayashi, and the assistant master is Diabolos Tanaka!” My eyes went wide. Diabolos. I continued to run with her, passing the train stops nearby and the parks. We had to take a break for a second, then continued to run. We arrived to stone ruins, ones that made a castle shape.

“This looks really empty.” I said. She shook her head, catching her breath.

“Trust me, it’s not. This is where they are. All I heard the other day was you. I heard them talk about you, Red. And as soon as I heard that, I had to I break out. I knew you were trying to find them.” I smiled at her, thanking her.
I was going to head back to Athega and tell My Lord where Diabolos was, until Crystal told me she needed to stay at the ruins. She said staying there would be best for all of us; if her guild saw she wasn’t there, they would throw a tantrum, in a sense. Although I begged her to stay with us, she refused. We continued back to Athega, nearly out of breath. Once everyone saw us, their faces was shocked and concerned.

“Red, Axie! We didn’t know where you guys went! What’s going on?” Lucy whaled.

“They were probably off fucking.” Rai said, blowing the smoke from his cigarette. Axel gave him a cold, hard glare.

“I don’t have time to explain; we need to get to the geezer. We found Diabolos.” Before anyone could respond, we ran a few feet to the palace, where Axel busted open the doors. The guards screamed at him and chased him, until they saw his face, and let him go. We ran up the stairs, screaming “My Lord” and “Old Geezer”. I saw the large doors on the loft opened, as My Lord walked out with a red robe with gold patterns and designs.

“I thought you two we re enjoying the party.” He said, stroking his goatee.

“We found Diabolos!” Axel yelled. My Lord’s face went pale, and then his eyebrows angled to give him an angry expression. He called his men, as we gave them the location. My Lord looked at me in distress, wiping his old, wrinkled forehead. He asked me and Axel to join them, as well as everyone else in our little group.

I headed outside to find everyone and explained everything. They were willing to help, and Devyn, who was there too, wanted too as well. We took carriages to the ancient ruins, where we all sat in distressed. I was most of all worried about Crystal.

I haven’t seen her in years upon years. All of that time of heartache from her “death” wasn’t even worth it. I don’t want to lose her again. What even happened to her? Why did she look so purple? Axel gave me a look of confusion, fiddling with his beard.

“Why does that purple girl call you Asuka?”

“Well, when I first came to Athega, I immediately joined a guild. I still hadn’t picked a name for myself, so I just introduced myself as Asuka, my overworld name.” I sighed, more heat than usual running through my veins.

We arrived at the ruins, stealthily looking around for an entrance, until the head of My Lord’s men had a destruction sword and swung through the ruins, revealing a hole. One of the men went first, looked up, and told us the coast was clear. We all jumped down, even My Lord.

We were in a room. A long one, in fact, with a dim neon blue lighting. Around us were big glass cylinders that held some sort of fluid in them. The walls and ground were white and the ceiling was high. All of the cylinders were empty, but one. Diabolos was in it. My Lord’s face grew pale, his intense face filled with indignance.

“I don’t know if we’re prepared for this!” He exclaimed in fear.

“What? Why not, sir?” Asked one of the men. My Lord swallowed hard.

“These are resuscitation tubes.”

“What the hell is that?” Axel asked.

“Resuscitation is the act of bringing one back to life.” He paced through the tubes, lying his hand on them and feeling the glass. “These tubes are used to bring the people in this guild or cult or whatever it is, back to life.”

I began to walk towards one, placing my hand on the giant tube. The blue liquid floated around with bubbles as it shined under the saucer lights. The tube was cold to the touch.
“So they’ll never die?” Lilac asked, pulling out her magic pistols.

“I don’t know, Lilac. I’ve never encountered them before. But I believe the best thing to do is to destroy them; even the one with Diabolos in it. He looks passed out, so he’ll be easy to dispose of, I suppose.”

We went along with it and began to throw spells non stop at the tubes, each one taking seven to ten minutes to break. It was a real pain, though. Once it had been destroyed, the liquid traveled quickly over the slate floor, it’s frigid temperature radiating throughout the room. The men had told us it’s nothing to worry about. The liquid wasn’t harmful, and if anything, was good. My Lord was right; Diabolos was completely passed out in his tube, making it easy for us to slaughter him. I took care of that, though. I set his body on fire and burnt it to ash as he was in a deep slumber. After the tubes were taken care of, we filed out of a big hospital-like door that led us into a corridor with many doors. We were checking through the doors, revealing that they were cells that we could not open. We had no idea what they were for, until we heard a familiar voice.

“Hello?” Crystal’s face peaked through the bars at the top of one of the rusty doors, her face more happy than ever to see us. “You made it!” She whispered in excitement. We continued down the corridor, checking for extra people, whilst Axel was trying to pry open Crystal’s door, which he eventually did. She followed us down the corridor and told us the different directions and where things were located. She pointed to the right in the hallway.

“That leads to the guild hall. That’s where lots of people should be right now. You are looking for everyone, right?” My Lord nodded and lead us to the loft that looked down on a room with five men and three women, who had ominous faces and had the same purple scale-like designs on their bodies, similar to Crystal’s. We hid away from the top of the loft near the fence, watching where they were going next. Without warning, My Lord stood up, walked towardsthe railings, and smacked the end of his cane on the ground, causing a large light. All I could see was white, as I hid my face, unable to see.

“What the hell, old man?!” Axel yelled.

Once the light left, we saw nothing. No one was down in the guild hall. My Lord stroked his beard as I heard a very nasally, maddening voice coming from where we were. I looked to my right where I saw a man with blonde long dreaded hair, who held out his hand, as fire sprung up.

“What do we have here, eh? Crystal, did you lead these losers in?” He chuckled a little, loosening the tie around his neck. His fire became larger, as he attempted to throw it as us. I stood, not wincing nor moving an inch, and radiated a ton of my fire, eating up his fire. I looked behind me at Team Kill Diabolos.

“Leave him to me.” I gave them a grin, as I was excited to challenge another wizard of my own. He jumped up, faced his palms to the ground, and threw out fire that ran through the floor and came up my legs. Although it didn’t hurt bad, it was annoying.

“Ever learned this spell?” He asked me, grinning like a maniac.

“No, I haven’t. What one is this?” I asked sarcastically, slightly interested.

“Fire Paralyzation. Name doesn’t have a ring like the others. It paralyzes your opponents, slowly burning their skin.” He chuckled.

“I see. Too bad for you, though, I’m a fire wizard too.” I smiled, my body temperature slowly increasing as fire wisped around my legs, burning his spell. He laughed, vividly impressed by my intelligence.

“Are you that fire goddess?” He asked.

“I sure am. The name’s Red, how about you?”
“My friends call me Satan.” He laughed like a maniac, his body lighting on fire as he threw a tornado of fire at me, throwing me against the wall. Okay, that one did hurt. But it didn’t stop me from killing the man. I ran towards him, summoning swords and hitting him.

“Two powers? What the hell?” His face was concerned and confused.

“If you’re an extremely powerful wizard, you’ll have the courage to be able to master not only one element, but two.” He looked offended, gritting his teeth.

“Well, too bad.” He blocked my sword at one point, melting the top of it. “I’m a demon of fire; I don’t need a second fucking spell!” He laughed again, throwing me across the room, until I resisted it, ran forward, and used one of my most powerful spells. It combined my fire and my swords, giving me red wings. I began to call upon my swords, one by one, as they all surrounded me and lit on fire. Satan’s eyes twitched in fear, as my swords were all thrown at him at once, knocking him down, unconscious. I decided to spare his life; he seemed like a neat guy. I walked away, following the sounds of screams and spells being shot.

I came across Axel who was leaning over, his hands on his knees, breathing hard. Blood spewed out of his arm, as he gave me a wicked smile.

“Red, you must’ve got the easy fella.” All of the freaks were down in the ground, bleeding and either unconscious or dead. They all had the same purple scales on them.

“What’s up with the purple?” I asked. Max walked towards me, holding Rai’s hand, a few bruises on their faces.

“Nessa, over here,” Rai pointed to a girl who lied on the floor with horns coming out of either sides of her head, her body pale. She had deep purple hair and wore a robe, her eyes rolled back. “She said those tube things can also be used to turn people into demons.”

“What does that mean?” Lilac asked. Crystal, behind me, trembling, began.
“The tubes don’t only resurrect, but they also turn people to demons.” I tear slipped from her eye. “That’s why we all have the purple. It really messes with your body. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not a demon! Not a full one, at least.”

“So you’re telling me, they can throw a dead person in there, and they’ll resurrect, and become a demon?” Axel asked. She nodded.

“I really hope that when you guys kill the master of this hellhole, it’ll all go away.” She smiled, and I smiled back, promising her it would happen.

“Let’s go get him!” Axel cheered. We ran down the slate hallways and grand staircases to where Crystal said was his throne room. She said they didn’t worship Our Lord; they worshipped the master of this guild. Almost all of My Lord’s men were gone; either dead or injured. We entered a room, where there was a huge, and I mean huge black and red chandelier in front of us. There was a long runway that lead to a big chair, where I saw a man. Candles sat along the sides of the runway, as guards stood near the man.

“This looks like a sex dungeon!” Lilac whined, wiping her forehead. The man just sat there, even as we approached him. He just looked at us, not saying anything. He looked at Crystal, no expression or anything. He let out a small sigh in disappointment. He had hair that was in a bun and midnight black and wore a long fancy black robe and had a face of mischief. We looked at him, dumbfounded, as he said nothing. He got up and smiled at me.

“Hello, Asuka. Nice to see you; it’s been awhile.” I fell in confusion and disgust as he knew my name and who I was. It’s been a while? Since when have I seen this maniac?
“How do you know my name? I would’ve remembered if I’ve seen a maniac like you.” I asked. He laced his fingers together and extended his arms, resting his hands on his legs.

“Oh, I’m so foolish.” He let out a small chuckle. “I was the one who took Crystal during your fight with my dragon, yes?”

Your dragon?” I asked, my face in anger.

“Yes, Hopi was my dragon, actually. He’s dead now. How unfortunate.” He made a fake sulken face, staring me straight at me, his eyes pitch black. “It doesn’t matter though; he was a stubborn one anyways.”

“How do you not care about the death of a pet?!” Max yelled in anger. The master grinned.

“You see, children, I have no emotion. Everyone I grew up with could die, and I wouldn’t weep. I, myself, could be in pain, and I would not care.” He stared up at his ceiling, looking at the dome-shaped window above him.

“Alright, enough talking!” Axel roared, cracking his knuckles. “It’s time to kill you.”

“You all are quite uneducated, if I do say so myself.” Chernobog, the master, said, sighing a fake sigh of disappointment. “Kill me,” He gestured towards Crystal, giving her a wicked smile. “And you’re little friend here will die too. Everyone who is in this guild will be dead if you kill me.”

“What?” I cried, looking at Crystal, where she had her cloak wrapped around her, smiling.

“How is that possible?” My Lord asked. Chernobog paced back and forth in front of his black and golden throne.

“Everyone in this guild is my creations. I am the one who created the resurrection tubes, as well as the one who uses my magic to provide them invinsible lives. It’s almost like they’re… “connected” with me.”

I looked at Crystal in fear. “No, we can’t.”
“Red, we need to; this is mandatory! Killing him and ending many lives, even Crystal’s, can save so many more from being tortured and enslaved-” I cut him off.

“No! I’m not going through the heartbreak of losing her ever again!”

“Red, please!” Axel screamed. “Just let her go!” I felt my eye twitch and anger and my teeth grit. I looked back at her where she smiled, grabbing my hand.

“Do it, Red. It’ll be worth the sacrifice.” She said, giving me a half-hearted smile. I heard the master laugh, for a straight ten seconds, laughing loud and maniacally, as it rung throughout the whole building. His chalky teeth gritted for a second, and then smiled. He was enjoying our little show. I gave him a threatening glare as he chuckled at me.

“Red, if you’re not going to help, then-” Axel began, but was unable to finish his sentence as I ran up to Chernobog and threw a fire tornado at him. Once the air cleaned up, I found him sitting in his throne, filing his nails, unscathed. I ignored his arrogance and continued to throw an abundant of spells at him, but nothing happened. Axel began to join in, and everyone else, but My Lord stayed back, watching our coordination. Because of his age, he couldn’t do many helpful spells, but his magic energy was amazingly large.

Rai and Max stood behind us, holding hands, and making the water and lightning spring from their hands. This spell was truly beautiful; Rai’s spells and Max’s spell mixed, creating a large spiral of lightning and water. It disappeared for a second, until a huge tornado came up, blasting at the master. He was bruised a little, but not that much. We began to lose hope.

Axel ran forward, his black fire coming from his hands. He went to punch Chernobog, until the master simply just held up two fingers horizontally, throwing Axel all the way across the room.
“Axel!” I yelled. He was engraved into the wall but busted out, his body shape still carved. He had many bruises, but continued to run forward. I even joined him. Devyn, who came out from behind, transformed into a full wolf, scratching at Chernobog. My Lord even smashed his cane down, causing a large amount of light and sounds of blasts filling the room. Once we could see Chernobog, we saw his throne was ruined as he had a few bruises, standing up and gritting his teeth.

“Okay, let’s play.” He said, laughing maniacally. His body began to turn pitch black as wings spread from his back. His eyes turned fully red, his nails growing sharp, and his teeth turning to fangs. He even grew horns and a tail, and his size doubled. He laughed, his voice now deep and more insane than it was before. “This… is the power of a demon!” I heard Max cry in fear as Crystal clung her hands to my dress, weeping.

“I’m not scared of you, asshole!” Axel yelled. He ran up to him, throwing fire slicers at him, and then a blast of black fire from his hands.

“There!” My Lord yelled, pointing to the master’s eyes. “That’s where we need to aim for; it’ll hurt him the most!”

“How are you sure?” Lilac yelled, blowing the tip of her pistol.

“It looks so exposed… let’s give it a try, my children!”

Chernobog roared at the top of his lungs, so loud that we were almost paralyzed. It hurt. I saw nothing, though. There was no magic in the air, no colors; all I saw was him in front of me. I was in pain, but I blasted fire into his eye, like My Lord told me, as Chernobog screamed in pain. We continued to aim for the eyes as his spell lifted off. I switched to my empress armor with two swords in hand, climbing up the beast’s back. He tried to grasp ahold of me, but I was able to escape his grip. I ran towards his head and began to penetrate his eyes with my swords, and then switched to my poison swords. He screamed in fear, once again, hurting us, as Lilac used her magic guns to shoot him in the eyes.

From across the room, I heard Lucy yelled “Wind Twister” as a large tornado of wind and gust came through knocking down the master. His form began to shrink, as he turned back to “human”, his body and face beaten and his eyes rolled back. He wasn’t breathing and his body was torn in half from the right side. He was dead.

We all cheered as Chernobog lied on the cold flooring, blood gushing from his stomach and arms. I heard the sweet voice of Crystal.

“Red…” I turned around, forgetting what was going to happen. I saw her body beginning to wither away, very slowly, into beautiful pastel sparkles. I ran over to her and grabbed her.

“Crystal!” I looked at her, my face in panic, as she smiled at me, her eyes twinkling.

“Asuka, I’m so sorry I never came to find you after we got separated.” A tear fell down her face, as she continued to smile. “I remember the day I first welcomed you to Athega. It was the best day of my existance.” I stood in front of her, holding her hands, speechless. “Asu, every day I was in this place, I thought about you. I love you, Asuka. I love you a lot.” She smiled, as she began to wither away, all that was left was her breasts and above.

“I love you too, Crystal! I love you, please don’t go! I won’t let you go anywhere; I promise!” I felt myself cry harder than I ever have, as my tears evaporated against my burning hot skin. She smiled, completely disappearing, sparkles floating into the air. Her necklace fell to the ground; it was a chain with a crystal on it that sparkled. I looked at My Lord.

“Bring her back, please!”

“Red, you know I cannot resurrect the dead.” He said, his face sympathetic.

I cried so hard, grabbing her necklace and holding it towards my heart.

“Red, we have to go-” Axel began, until I cut him off. “No!”

“Red, we really need to!” Axel yelled. I heard Rai puff smoke from his cigarette.

“Axel, let her be. She needs time to herself; let’s go.” Rai said to Axel. I heard Axel try to speak up, until he immediately stopped, as Rai gestured him to shut up. They walked out, glancing back at me, as I sat on the floor, my back against the wall and my head resting on my legs.

“Hey, welcome to our guild! We’re called The Alliance; we treat each other like family! My name is Crystal, what’s yours? Are you new?”

“My… my… name is Asu-asuka. I am new to Agtha, yes.”

“It’s Athega, silly! Oh, I shouldn’t pick on you though, you’re new. I’ll show you around! Grab my hand, let’s walk together!”

 

“Asuka, let’s go on this quest to kill this dragon! I think his name is… Hopi?”
“I told you, I changed my name to Red! And sure, let’s go!

 

“Crystal? Crystal, where did you go?! We killed the dragon… you better not be playing hide and go seek with me, you dork!

 

After sobbing, it turned night, and my butlers came to get me. Of course I was stubborn and I was refusing to go anywhere, but Shon used his command magic on me, that I could never seem to wiggle my way out of. He forced me to get up and go to the carriage, as I clenched my fist with Crystal’s necklace in it.

I sat in the red and gold plush-seated carriage in silence, as one of my other butler's handed me some hot tea. I sipped it and looked at my reflection in the dark brown liquid. Once we arrived to my home, I went straight to bed and curled up in a ball, covering myself with sheets.

Crystal was the only person I knew the longest in Athega. She’s the one who introduced me to the guild I first joined, and she made me feel welcomed. She was one of the longest residents of Athega and she was the wisest and happiest person I had met. After My Lord gave me a small cabin, I stayed there for many months, until she had me move into her home. We spent everyday together, until we went on the job to slaughter Hopi. She wasn’t the only one who died; one of my former guildmates had died too. I didn’t know him well, but I knew he was dead. I vividly saw him lying on the ground, pool of blood surrounding his corpse. Crystal, on the other hand, just disappeared. I figured the dragon ate her or something stupid.

But to see her after years of despair and sadness, I saw her again. But this time, I lost her for real.

I fell asleep, and eventually woke up to the feeling of my face being poked. I immediately opened my eyes, seeing Axel in front of me, sitting on my rug, his legs crossed, poking my face with furrowed brows. I snarled, making him jump.

“Axel, why are you here?”

“I was just making sure you got home, I dunno.” He let out a sigh and removed his hand from poking my face, giving me a look of sympathy.

“Red, I know you’re struggling right now…”

“No, Axel, I’m not.” I said sarcastically. I got up and sat on the edge of my bed. I looked up to see his face red and blushing. He was speechless for a second, until I looked down and realized that I was in an extremely small night dress. He immediately turned around, whimpering about not being unable to unsee what had been seen. After recovering from his traumatization, I covered myself with a blanket.

“So anyways, the old geezer wanted me to make sure you were okay, too. He could tell you were really upset.”

“I’m okay. I just need time to comprehend what’s happened.” I fiddled with my blanket, pulling a thread and tearing it off. Axel went downstairs to grab some food and left, wishing me the best.

The next few weeks or so, I stayed in my home. It was like before I met Axel and Lucy. I just stayed in bed or curled up in my hot spring. I kept wondering what would have happened if I didn’t kill Chernobog. It was too late now, though. I can’t go back and change anything. I began to accept Crystal’s death and the inability to change time. I decided to finally get out of the house and go to a restaurant just a little bits away.

After finishing some greatly made waffles with maple syrup, I headed over to the apartment just to see how things were going, since I hadn’t seen everyone in a while. While walking across the street, I heard my name being called by a deep, angry voice.

“Red!” I turned around to see someone I had never seen. She had short blonde hair and wore a black suit that was cut off in the middle so her stomach was exposed.

“I know you don’t know me, but do you know an Axel? His former name was Thanatos.”

I felt my heart race.

“Why?”

“Just tell me goddamnit-I don’t have all day!”
“Yes, I do know Axel.” I felt my fear turn to anger as she walked more towards me, summoning two magic wips.

“Where does he live? I’ll pay you to tell me.”
“I’m sorry, but that is none of your business.” Her teeth gritted in anger.

“It is my business!” I heard the voice of Axel as he walked towards us, squinting his eyes and trying to look at the girl. His began to panic.

“Eiko, I-” Axel began, until she cut him off, charging towards him.

“There you are!” She began to extend her whip to hit him, as he dodged it.

“Quit it already, okay?” Axel yelled. “I don’t want to fight you!”
“I want to put you through the same pain as my parents did!” She screamed. My Lord walked out, his face angered, causing the girl, Eiko, to freeze. She gritted her teeth at him.

“Stay out of this!” She screamed.

“Eiko, please, this is not necessary.” My Lord gave her a calm smile. His men came out to get her and drag her away, where she screamed, saying she’ll kill Axel. My Lord sighed and shook his head.

“Who was that?” I asked, puzzled.

“Her name is Eiko.” Axel said, sighing. “I slaughtered her whole family back when I was a douche and she’s still trying to kill me.” He chuckled a little. “Anyways, how have you been, flame brain?” I chuckled a little this time, rather than wanting to hit him. We walked to the apartment where I saw everyone as the suite was filled with cigarette smoke from Lilac. The first few minutes of me being there consisted of Axel screaming at Lilac to stop smoking in the place, although she just shook her head in rebuke.

Bow made me a sandwich and asked me how I was doing, telling me she was worried. She grabbed both of my hands and reassured me that everything would be okay. Max and Rai were showing me their new video games and Lucy was showing me her new clothes.

I felt relaxed and happy surrounded by people who I loved and who loved me. After Crystal’s death, every day I would wear her necklace, but hide it under my dress. I wasn’t fond of jewelry. Axel was stuffing his face with chips and sandwiches and I sat on the couch, watching the couple play games. I heard Axel’s orb beeping as he pulled it out. My Lord’s face came up in distress and tears. I had just seen him a second ago; how was he upset already?
“Axel, this is urgent.” He said, weeping.

“Old geezer? Why the hell are you crying--what happened?” Axel’s voice was in distress.

“I’m crying because of dragons, Axel. We did kill Chernobog, but his dragons didn’t go along with him. One was already killed by some other wizards, but another just raided a town and killed hundreds of people…” My Lord said, trying to calm himself, breathing hard. “Azalea slaughtered the other one, joined by Rosemary. I want you and Red to kill this other dragon. Axel, please, it’s urgent. Before more people are-” Axel cut him off.

“Don’t worry old man, we’re on it! Send me the location and time and we’ll be there!” Axel said, his voice full of courage. Without letting My Lord say another word, he turned off the orb and looked at me, smiling. I felt myself begin to sweat.

“Well, what do you say?”
“Axel I’d rather not. I-” Bow cut me off, her voice, for once, furious.

“Really, Axel? Red’s already had some bad experiences with dragons and you tell Our Lord that you will? You didn’t even ask for her input! What’s wrong with you?!” I saw Axel’s face turn pale, his mouth opened, as if he was about to defend himself. Everyone’s eyes shifted between him and Bow.

“It’s okay.” I began to get up from the couch. “I’ll do it.” My voice was full of confidence, although I was actually terrified. I didn’t want to ever lose Axel, even though he was a pain. He opened a whole new door for me. I saw him smiling, his bright white teeth shining.

“All right! It’s a date!” He chuckled as everyone looked at him, dumbfounded, their faces disappointed in him. Max sighed, getting up, and going to the kitchen. I saw Bow’s face enraged as she stomped to her room.

“Just be careful, okay kids?” Lilac said, giving us a small smile.

We got a message from our Lord stating where the dragon most likely was and said we should leave as soon as we could. I was of course annoyed by this, for I wanted to get some rest. Despite being annoyed, I found myself fully prepared into doing this. I didn’t want more innocent people to die from a dragon. After all my bad experiences with dragons, this one would be good. This is time for my revenge on Chernobog and Hopi. I ran home and got together necessities needed for this long adventure. The dragon was a little over two hours away.

My Lord said a healer probably wouldn’t be necessary, as Azalea and Rosemary did it without one. The carriage picked me and Axel up, and we slept during a long ride to the town of Daisy.

Thanks to not getting much sleep the night before, due to my anxieties, I was able to sleep the two hours of traveling in the carriage, avoiding my motion sickness. I woke up to Axel yelling and poking my face.

“Red, get up! Just when I thought I slept a lot! Have those flames finally turned your brain to ash?” I immediately opened my eyes, Axel wincing in surprise. He gave me a big smile. I began to sit up from the luxurious plush seating and gave him a stern expression.

“If anyone’s brain has turned to ash, it’s yours. Let’s go.” He snickered at me as we began to hop out of the carriage and thanked the unicorn that had brought us. We were in the woods that almost looked like a forest with a large destroyed town. There were dead corpses lying around and all of the houses were piles of stone. I heard Axel gasp behind me in fear.

“Jesus. No wonder the old geezer was so upset.” We continued to explore through the not-so-neat stone pathway, that now looked like dirty bricks scattered everywhere, and approached the middle of the town.

“Do you think anyone survived this thing?” Axel asked, his voice shaken and anxious.

“I doubt it.” I replied, continuing to walk, prepared for what was next. We heard a loud growl, one so loud, it nearly hurt.

“Was that the dragon?!” Axel yelled, attempting to make his voice heard over the beast’s.

“Yes.” I turned towards him and looked at him, slightly tilting my head and smiling. “Don’t die on me, okay?” I said. He chuckled, his maniacal laugh brightening the mood as he smiled with his bright white teeth.

“I don’t plan on it.” We began to run towards the now faint rumbles and growls from the dragon.

“Red?”

“What is it?”

“I thought dragons were extinct. Why the hell are they still here?”

“Not all of them are, Axel. There’s a few left in Athega, some tamed and some wild. I have no idea how the hell you can even tame them, though.” We saw a large black figure with bright red eyes in the distance, rummaging through trees and knocking them over. It had blood on it, although I wasn’t sure if it belonged to the dragon or to people. It screamed, it’s sharp fangs visible as dry blood sat on it’s teeth. Before I could say something, Axel, being the idiot he always was, ran in for the kill. He lit his hand on fire, black flames rising from his fists. He punched the dragon, not leaving a mark, as the dragon screamed a laser of red magic at Axel, throwing him to the ground.

“This fella is going to be a pain, I can tell you that right now.” Axel said, standing up and wiping the blood from his mouth. He laughed and stumbled a bit, as I used a blast of fire towards the dragon, knocking it against a tree. It screamed in pain and opened its mouth, revealing another laser, this time bigger. I dodged it, until the dragon threw another time. This time, I overpowered it with my fire, knocking him back. Axel ran forward, jumped up, and smashed the beast with both of his dark-fired fists.

I switched to my armor form, hoping that would possibly be better. I summoned my Wicked Warrior armor, an armor that showed an uncomfortable amount of cleavage, followed by a cut off top, so my stomach was exposed. It came with long, black armored pants and heels, as well as two amazingly large and powerful swords. I charged forward, as Axel stared in awe, slicing the dragon many times, and only leaving a slight mark in it’s side.

I exhaled a sigh of disappointment, eventually using my most powerful spell I had. Fire Fairy. Combining both of my elements and sacrificing a large amount of my magic energy, a wheel of swords that lit on fire surrounding me. I commanded them to go forward, as all of my hundreds of swords that gave off red and orange flames went towards the dragon, scarring him in pain. Although, he was still up for the count.

The beast bled from heel to toe but somehow still managed to stay on his feet. Axel charged forward with one of his best attacks, which in my book, was actually not that great. He slashed the dragon nonstop, overworking himself until he nearly passed out. I ultimately had to run and grab him, pulling him back from his uncontrollable spree.

After a half an hour of countless attacks, Axel and I stood in front of the dragon, trying to catch our breath. Axel was in much worse condition than I was; his whole body covered in bruises and bloody. Mine was bruised too, and I was beginning to run low on my energy. I felt disoriented as I could barely make out the dragon in front of us. Everything was a blur, as I looked down at my arm that had been bleeding. I put my hand over the wound as the blood poured between my fingers and down to my hands. Axel looked at me, his eyes hopeless.

“What do we do?” He asked, his voice panicked and nerve-racked. I swallowed hard.

“We keep going.”

“Red, we tried everything! We’re running out of magic energy; we need to leave!” I shook my head in rebuke.

“Axel, we can’t do that!” As I started to speak, I was interrupted by another beam the dragon had given off. We barely dodged it in exhaustion.

“We can’t just leave. We’d be leading the dragon into more towns of people and he’d have the advantage of us in a carriage and could easily kill us. A healer would take two hours to get here, and I’m sure we could kill him in less time than that.”

The dragon attempted to charge towards us until I gave it my strongest punch I could with flames arising from my hand, blasting him further back in the woods. The dragon was dumbfounded and began to charge around, trying to find us.

Axel wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.

“Red?” I looked at him, his face exhausted and in distress. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Axel, now isn’t the time!”

“Red, can you keep a secret?” He snarled, his eyes sinister and black. I gave him a stern and irritated look, puzzled about what he was trying to insist. I felt my leg throb in pain. He swallowed hard, his face anxious and his eyes watering.

“Red, what I’m about to do…” Black wisps of fire circled around his body. “I need you to keep what I’m about to do a secret, okay?”

I stood beside him, speechless. I had no idea what he was trying to say. His body began to change as his hair spiked into a pitch black mohawk, his eyes turning black, and a black cape surrounding his body. Even black boots appeared on his feet. Blood ran down his face as he looked at me, his eyes filled with tears as he was to the verge of crying. I stared at him in awe as I felt an enormous amount of dark energy come from him.

“Axel?” As soon as I said this, the dragon came charging forward, a large dome of black fire circling Axel’s body. He yelled as he charged forward, running so fast my eyes could barely keep up with his movements. He threw a large amount of dark black fire at the dragon, an amount possibly larger than I could manage. The dragon flew back, bleeding, and charged at Axel. Axel disappeared and teleported above the dragon, slashing him. The dragon grabbed him and threw him to the ground, although Axel fell on both of his feet, unscathed. Axel ran towards me, his black eyes paralyzing me in fear.

“Trust me.” Axel said, grabbing my hand. I stared down in awe as his now pale and hot hands were intertwined with mine. His black fire arose from his left hand, whilst my red fire arose from my right. It danced together to make a beautiful red and black combination of fire, both now extremely powerful and hot. We threw the blast at the dragon, killing him instantly. The blast was so large that it took out the entire forest of trees around us, making them fall to the ground. As the air cleared, I looked at Axel, hoping for an explanation. He smiled endearingly, his face weary, as he fell to the ground, out cold, his hair and clothes going back to his normal self.

“Axel!” I ran to him, checking to see if he was breathing, and he was. I looked over to where we had parked the carriage and realized it had been torn to shreds from the dragon. I pulled out my orb and got ahold of My Lord, saying we killed the dragon but needed a healer right away. My voice cracked as my eyes swelled with tears while My Lord tried to calm me and promised to send Elle. I lied in the now dirt that was once grass next to Axel. I stared up at the clouds above us, checking every now and then to make sure he was okay and breathing. At one point, I even put my hand on the right side of his face and began to cry nonstop, my tears dripping down on his pale face. The carriage showed up in a little more than an hour and a half of waiting, where Elle ran out, followed by Lilac and Lucy. Elle stopped mid-run.

“Red, where is all that dark energy coming from?” She asked, clinging to her satchel. I felt my heart race as I wasn’t sure how to reply, so I panicked with an answer.

“I guess from the dragon.”

“Dragon’s don’t give off dark energy. And if they did, it wouldn’t be this strong.”

I remembered Axel’s words of “can you keep a secret”, and I decided to do so. Lilac looked suspicious as they loaded Axel into the carriage whilst Lucy helped me to it. I could tell she had been worried about us. We took a long, silent ride back to Athega, where I once again sat next to Axel, falling asleep in exhaustion.

I woke up to feeling my face being poked.

“Red?”

I opened my eyes, finding my gaze looking at the ceiling of somewhere. It was brown and rustic. I looked towards my left more, and saw Axel hovered above me.

“Axel?” I asked, wincing.

“Red, is that you?”
“Yes it’s me, you idiot. Who else would it be?” I looked at Axel’s sweet face as a few tears ran down my cheeks. He looked at me, addled because of my expression. I gave him a half-hearted smile and threw my arms around him, giving him a slightly awkward hug.

After our awkward moment of advancing our friendship, I looked around where we were and found myself in a dim, rusty room with bars on the side that led to a corridor. We were in a cell. “What the hell?” I yelled angrily, trying to summon my fire, although nothing worked. Axel sighed and sat on the cold, hard floor, his back against the dirty wall.

“Elle told the geezer that there was a suspicious dark energy where we were and they threw us in here while we were sleeping.” Axel groaned in annoyance.

“Why am I in here then?” I grabbed onto the bars, trying to break them open.

“Quit it. You’re not going to get out.” A guard came by, his arms crossed in front of his chest. “There’s no point in trying to escape, kid. These cells remove your magic while you’re in them.”

I felt my eye twitch in anger as I snarled.

“Just shut up, kids.” He leaned his back against the empty cell across from us. I whined in annoyance. Axel began laughing at me, as I looked at him in disorientation, my face steaming with anger. I noticed that his hair was flopped down, rather than spiked up like usual, and he had no shirt on and wore black shorts. He looked different, almost more older.

“Why are you laughing?!”
“Do you really not know why? Red, look at your hair.”

I looked down at my hair where it covered my breasts. It was completely brown instead of bright red like it normally was. My skin had turned pale instead of tan and I was short. I realized that my voice had also grown high pitched, too. I screamed in fear of my overworld self that I hadn’t seen in almost four years.

“Calm down.” The guard groaned. He pulled out a scroll and began to read it in a monotone voice. “Being in Athega with magic, depending on how powerful you are, alters your appearance, as you already know. Since these cells gets rid of your magic while in them, you’ll turn back to your normal self.” The guard said, giving me a stern glare as I gawked at my little white legs and the little ugly white dress I was in. I whined as I hit my head against the wall. Axel laughed hard, this time his laugh wasn’t maniacal at all, though.

“You’re not even scary anymore! You look like a little girl!” Axel said, his chuckle ringing through the hall of cells. My eye twitched in anger as I punched him. We sat in the cell for a minute, whining and complaining.

“Can we at least have chess? Cards?” Axel asked the guard, dumbfounded. He slid in a chess board with a box of pieces, provoking Axel’s attitude to turn enthusiastic and causing his eyes to light up. After twenty or so minutes to focusing and making wise decisions, Axel had all of my pieces but two.

“This is impossible! I’ve never had someone beat me at chess!” I exclaimed, my voice panicked and upset.

“Check.” He chuckled, leaning his back against the wooden chair and crossing his arms in front of his muscular chest. I felt my eye twitch in anger as I punched the board, causing the pieces to fly all throughout the corridor and breaking the board into little pieces

“I expect you to pay for that, Red.” I heard the voice of My Lord coming from down in the corridor, the sound of his wooden sandals hitting the ground. I jumped up straight away and ran towards the bars, clinging onto them.

“My Lord!”
He stood in front of the bars of our cell, giving us a soft smile.

“You have some explaining to do, old man!” Axel yelled, standing up and charging towards My Lord.

“I should say the same for you, Axel. Elle, Lilac, and Lucy reported there was a suspicious dark energy coming from where you two were.” He began to pace in front of our cell. “Clearly it wasn’t from the dragon. Was another wizard near by? Axel, I believe you don’t only owe me an explanation, but you own Red one as well. Spill it, boy!” My Lord said, smashing his cane against the ground. Axel’s face filled with fear as he was speechless. He took a deep breath, hesitated, and began.

“I was immune to you taking away my magic those years ago.” Axel said, losing eye contact with My Lord and looking down at his bare feet as his eyes filled with soft tears. “I’ve just been hiding it all these years. I’m… I’m sorry.” My Lord’s eyes grew wide and his teeth gritted. “What the hell else was I supposed to do?! For christ’s sake, geezer, we killed the dragon! Is that not good enough? Is nothing ever good enough for you, dammit?!” Axel began to scream, grabbing the bars of the rustic cellar and shaking them. His face almost touch My Lord’s as both of their livid expressions faced on another. I pulled Axel back, trying to calm him. My Lord bit his lip, giving me a sympathetic look.

“I’ll be back later. For now, please, don’t make much ruckus.” He gave us a smile and began to walk out of the corridor of cells, Axel screaming for him to come back.

We sat in our cell, as Axel exhaled a deep breath, his eyes full of tears. “I’m sorry you’re in here.” He wailed, flopping back onto the hard cold ground, groaning once his back hit the frigid concrete. I gave him a sweet smile of reassurance.

“It’s okay.”

After a few minutes, our cell was unlocked by one of the guards with his key.

“Get out.” We got up and began to walk out. Never in my life have I felt so relieved as I felt a rush of magic run through my body, my hair slowly turning back to red. The brown faded so beautifully into an ombre and then disappeared. My dress began to slowly appear, the bright red color making my eyes shine and my heart race. I smiled to myself as I heard Axel chuckle happily, now looking as normal as ever. The guard took us up the stairs to the throne room, where my l saw My Lord sitting in his throne with beautifully and very openly clothed women around him, fanning him. It was like when I first met him all over again. He sat in his throne, his face in distress. He sighed as his face went from disappointment to satisfaction. He gave us a smile.

“What do you plan to do with us?” Axel gritted his teeth.

“After thinking, I’ve come to a decision.” He stroked his little ash-gray beard, smiling. “You both are free. Red, I apologize for trapping you in that cell… I suppose I was just angry at you for not telling Elle the truth.” He giggled as my eye twitched in anger. “Axel, I’m unhappy with you, but I’m willing to let it go.” Axel sighed in relief, giving My Lord an uneasy smile.

“Thanks old man. I mean it.”

“I hereby hope you use your power you have had all this time with the magic forces. And I hope you use it well.” Axel’s eyes lit up like the nighttime sky hovered above us. “But you’re not getting your reward of crowns for killing the dragon.” Axel’s face went pale as he stared at My Lord, soulless and dumbfounded. My Lord tilted his head and smiled, his wrinkles visible and his eyes squinted. “You’re reward is your freedom, my boy.”

We began to leave as I received my money, Axel whining and whimpering as we walked out the grand doors. I looked behind me to see My Lord smiling at us still, his hands laced together, resting on his legs.

I went back to Axel’s apartment with him, walking behind him.

“Red?”

“Yeah?”
“Do you think I should tell the others? About… you know…” He sighed a cool breath and scratched his head. He looked back at me, yearning for my advice.

“They are your friends, aren’t they?” He smiled at me, his teeth shining in the sun.

“I guess you’re right, flame brain.”
We got to his apartment to find everyone standing around with a cake that said Well Done Red and Axie! in very sloppy handwriting of purple icing. Bow and Lucy were wearing little aprons and held tubes of icing, squirting them into their mouths, as everyone else sat around them, freezing as they saw us. Lucy ran up to us, hugging us so hard that we could barely breathe and squealed of joy.

We sat around and had some of the well-prepared cake, as Axel explained everything that had happened. Of course, I had to but in here and there to correct him on things he had gotten wrong, such as how I sucked and didn’t do anything (which was obviously him just being a selfish numskull). He explained to everyone about how he used to be Thanatos and how his magic was still all in that fried brain of his. I’ve never seen Rai so shocked and excited at the same time. I couldn’t help but stare at Axel in awe, knowing that he was almost or maybe even just as powerful as me, and not a novice like I had thought. He just hid it all away because he was so guilty. He tried to forget he even had those spells he had used to slaughter people. But that was in the past; he’s a new person. He’s no longer the God of Slain, he’s just a popular wizard in the magic forces.

While staring at him, he made eye contact with me. The whole suite felt colorful and vibrant, as his deep brown eyes stared at mine, scratching his beard. Is this is what they called “love”? I felt myself blush and look away immediately.

After a long night of excited wizards asking questions to Axel, I began to head home and rest up happily. Never have I been so proud that I was able to kill a dragon successfully without a death of my comrade. I fell asleep that night, comfy and joyful.

I took the next week or too off, still trying to recover my magic energy and my physical well-being from the dragon. I found out the dragon we fought was actually one of the toughest ones still left roaming in Athega, as well as one that had never been tamed. My Lord was impressed that me and Axel actually killed it and apologize many times for sending us out on such a complicated job.

I woke up the following morning to the sun peaking through my white arched windows that captured the scenery of trees surrounding me. My orb went off as I answered it, My Lord’s face appearing. As much as he bugged me, for some reason, I never got annoyed with him. He was like a pesky father to me, but a good one.

“Red, come to the palace as soon as you can. I’d like to discuss some things with you regarding guilds.”
“Are you kidding me? I’ve already told you I want no-”

“Red, please.” I sighed and closed my orb in distress. I had already told My Lord that I never ever wanted to start a guild of my own. My previous experience with being in guilds wasn’t too hot, never the less also traumatizing. I hoped this would be a useful chat, though.

I threw on a dress and ran outside, walking to Athega’s square. I walked in the palace, the guards giving me a smile and welcoming me. I saw My Lord standing up in front of his golden and white throne, smiling and his cheeks rosy.

“Red, I know you don’t want to talk about this…” He walked down the little steps that sat in front of his throne, coming towards me. “We’re extremely low on guilds. Many wizards are just sitting around, taking on jobs here and there; being a guild would increase the activity of our wizards! It would increase the amount of jobs-” I cut him off immediately.

“Are you insisting I should run a guild?” My Lord chuckled and scratched his head.

“Red, you know me so well. I want you to start a guild.” I gave him a glare of exasperation.

“I’d rather not.”
“You seem like you would make a great leader! Maybe this could be your chance for a new fate. A chance to change your feeling about guilds. Even your friends in the Magic Forces could join! Red, consider this idea!” I shook my head and scowled.

“I’m sorry but-” Before I could finish, I heard the doors blast open. A woman holding a baby in a sling. Her face was tense as the guards chased her.

“My Lord, help!” She cried. My Lord directed at his men immediately, causing them to stop chasing her. Their faces were annoyed by his orders, but obeyed.

“I’m sorry for passing through your men and barging in but-”

“Not a problem, Meredy. What brings you here?”
“There’s something in my house and I don’t know what it is!” Her baby whimpered as she held him close, humming to him and rocking from side to side. My Lord signaled his men to get prepared to follow him to the lady’s home.

“Describe to me what is in your home, Meredy.” She stuttered in fear.

“I don’t know! It’s a round stone arch with this… this green… green mist in it or something. It almost looks like green water and it’s giving off so much light!” My Lord’s face began to go pale and fearful, and then turned to a courageous and vexed expression.

“A portal.” He said, his voice deep. His men gathered up as the woman walked them to her home, I following as well. I never knew portals were such a thing that existed in Athega; I was curious.

We approached a little gray brick home with beautifully carved bushes in front of it. She led us in where what she exactly described stood in front of us. It was a large circle, but the bottom of it was flat, as if it were sitting. It was stone, and then went into a green color that shifted around in the circle. She whimpered in fear. Mishuka, My Lord’s main “sidekick” I suppose (also the one who had come to my front door and brought me to the conference for the job to kill Diabolos), stood in front of the portal, examining it, and pushing up his glasses. He looked at the woman, his face courageous.

“You know what a portal is, correct, Meredy?”

“I think so.

“Once stepped in, you’re teleported somewhere.” He looked back at the portal. “Who knows where this could go to. A dark guild’s trap, a dungeon; it could go anywhere. I ask of you to leave your home while we try to destroy it.” Meredy nodded and thanked the main military and left, her eyes flooding with tears. The men of the forces began to attack the portal, although nothing happened. No scratches or cracks.

My Lord looked at me, surprised to see that I had followed the men.

“We must resort to entering it.” My Lord announced, smashing down his cane.

“That’s extremely risky, Sir.” Mishuka said, pushing up his glasses. “I ask of you to let one of us enter it first, just to be safe. Although portals typically have never been known to hurt, a safety precaution is better than none.”
“Well said, Mishuka.” My Lord looked around. “Who volunteers?”

Many of the men raised their hands, until My Lord selected the leader of the main and most strongest part of the forces. My Lord wished him luck as the brave man stepped into the portal. He stood there for a second, his eyes closed, until he disappeared. We waited in distress until he appeared again, after many minutes, running out of the portal, tripping and falling.

“The overworld!”
“What did you say? Speak up!”
“The portal leads to the overworld!”

“Akihiko! Are you lying to me?” My Lord yelled, his face perturbed.

“No! I appeared in a big white room with many people who stared at me and then they were clapping!”

My Lord looked at the portal in rebuke, his face angry.

“Those humans tried to build a portal just so their scrummy people can get into my world?!” He shouted in anger, his voice filling the house. “I’m going in. Mishuka, you’re coming with me, as well as a few men just in case.”

Thoughts of fear raced through my mind as My Lord stepped through the portal with the others. I ran outside of the house and traced my steps back to the square, where I sprinted. I went to Axel’s apartment building, my heart racing. I went up to their suite and knocked on the door nonstop until Bow opened it, her face surprised by my arrival.

“We might die!” I screamed, panicking, as Bow pulled me in. Everyone came out as soon as Bow shouted for them.

“The hell happened? Why are you sweating?” Axel asked, scratching his head in confusion.

“There’s a portal that leads to the overworld and Our Lord went in it!”

“Calm down. Portals have never been a threat unless it lead to a trap.” Rai professed, lighting a cigarette and leaning up against the wall.

“But it’s to the overworld!” I cried.

`“Red, I’m sure it’s fine.” Lucy said, comforting me by slowly gliding her fingers against my back. I curled up on the floor, afraid of my life being ended, as well as everyone else’s. I loved Athega. Ever since I first fell in love with the sights of the magical land, I could never get enough. I used to hate it, but now it’s more than just a home to me. If I lost it and everyone who I loved, what would be the point? We sat in the living room of the suite as I curled up in unease, as everyone discussed things regarding portals and the overworld.

“Look!” Lilac said, looking out one of the windows. “There’s Our Lord!”

I sprung up and ran to the window, where I saw My Lord walking in the square with everyone else following him. I exhaled in relief, smiling to myself.

“See? You worried for nothing, kid.” Rai said.

I ran out of the building, everyone else following me, as I approached My Lord. He looked uncomfortable and slightly emotional as he gave me an uneasy smile.

“Hello, Red.”

“What happened?” My Lord wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“It is a portal to the overworld… Somehow they were able to create a device, a portal, that can bring their people to our world, and vice versa.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes in distress. “And they’re unable to cooperate with us when we asked if they would destroy it…”

“They won’t destroy it?!” Max cried. My Lord shook his head.

“Now isn’t the time. Please, go back home, I need time to think things through with Azalea.” My Lord began to walk away with his men.

“He’s really worried, but we’ll be okay, right?” Lucy whined.

“Yeah, we’ll be fine. We just need to find a way to keep those assholes out of Athega. I mean, the old man never said they would come into our world, but who knows.” Axel retorted, scratching his head. Rai pulled out a cigarette and lit it, smoking it in distress, whilst Max stared at him in awe.

In the distance, I saw Devyn running towards us with a big bright smile, as her red hair fell in front of her face. She ran towards me, breathing hard.

“We rebuilt Mage’s!” She squealed. I saw Bow’s eyes light up. “Want to come and get some breakfast? Food’s on me, kids!” We agreed to it and spent the rest of our morning in the newly built cafe. The outside was much more appealing and the insides had teal tables and little white booths. We ordered and ate, Axel chowing down as if someone was going to steal his food. I could tell everyone was in great distress, and the worst part was, we were the only ones who knew. My Lord, Azalea, The Magic Forces, and I, only knew. I suppose it would be better if we shared our distress with everyone in Athega, as well as getting more volunteers to come up with ideas. But My Lord was very private about situations regarding Athega’s well-being.

I began to head home until I saw Mishuka strolling outside of the palace, walking towards a large business building.

“Mishuka?” I yelled. He looked at me, his face alerted. He smiled.

“Nice to see you, Red.”

“Can I know what’s going on?” I asked, trudging towards him.

“I don’t see why not.” He pulled his pen from behind his ear and began to twirl it. “In the overworld, they are the only ones able to destroy the portal. The leader of their country refuses to break it and is ordering for his people back…” He looked up at the bright blue sky above us, watching the doves fly by peacefully. “If that happens… if everyone were to leave, I think that means Athega will be gone. Forever.”

“And he won’t cooperate?”

“No, not at all. He’s being a stubborn dunce. That also means his people can pass in here, and we could leave to their world. My Lord doesn’t want that, of course.” Mishuka put his pen in his mouth, bouncing it up and down. He looked at me, his attractive face in distress, as his green eyes sparkled in the sun. “We’ll be fine though, I’m sure of it. My Lord and Azelea know what to do.” He gave me an uneasy smile, patting me on the back.

I began to walk home, admiring the trees around my home, that I may never seen again. I sat in my long walkway with my manor a few yards in front of me, sitting in the dirt. I looked up at the sky that had trees along either side as I began to cry. Was I going to lose Athega? What about Axel and everyone else? I used to hate My Lord and everything about Athega, and now it means the world to me. If it’s gone, I’m gone. Physically and emotionally.

“My lady, what on Athega are you doing?!” Shon yelled, running out to get me. I smiled at him as tears went down my face, eventually evaporating. He grabbed my arm and pulled me up, his face in rebuke towards my actions of sitting in the dirt. He walked me back to my manor as I explained everything to him, crying hard. Shon was like a therapist to me; he always knew how to respond. And when he did, it made me feel so much better. I somehow fell asleep that following night, my body tense with anxiety.

I woke up the following morning with my butlers telling me to get up and serving me tea and french toast. My orb went off, where My Lord’s face came up, smiling with tears in his eyes.

“What’s up?” I asked eagerly, stuffing my face with food.

“We’re going to be okay, Red!” He said, crying happily. “The head-honcho of the overworld finally cooperated and said he respected Athega’s privacy and agreed to take down their portal.” His face turned from joyful to disappointed. “Although, many residents of Athega want it to stay up so they can return home and see their families.”

I felt a stream of excitement run through my flaming veins. I began to contemplate. Going back home? Seeing my mother and father that I hardly remembered, and all my friends, that I as well, hardly remembered? The idea was so appealing but I didn’t know if it was something I wanted to do.

“Red?”

“Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“It’s fine, I’ve been thinking about it, too. The only problem is, the idea of Athega’s people entering the portal might be dangerous. People might die if they stay there too long.”

“I would have them close it.” I said, sipping my tea.

“Me and Azalea are trying to come to a compromise with our people. Anyways, I thought maybe the news might be good for you, I suppose. Since it seems you are as stressed about the topic as I am.” He chuckled. I grinned and thanked him. He got off with me, and as soon as he did, I ran downstairs in a pile of happiness. I threw on clothes and ran out to find Axel, running in his apartment, busting in, and telling them the news. Of course, they all cheered with excited squeals, all except for Lilac, who stood behind everyone, gritting her teeth. I wasn’t sure why she was so angry, but I just let it go. I didn’t want to bug her.

We all went outside to the square, where we saw the whole magic forces cheering in happiness. Residents of Athega surrounded them in confusion, unsure of what we were celebrating. My Lord was there too, chuckling, with Azalea standing next to him, her hand on her hip. She smiled brightly, her pure white dress shimmering in the sunlight. She winced at the sight of me and gave me a light smile, walking towards the palace.

Out of the blue, that happiness ended fairly quickly. Time froze. Everyone around me fell to the concrete ground, screaming in pain. All except for me. I was standing, where I saw Axel, Bow, Rai, Max, Lilac, Lucy, Devyn, even My Lord, surrounding me, as they were on the ground, trying to get up, but unable to. The screams of hundreds of people that were around me were paralyzing. I saw My Lord look up at me, his face in agony, struggling to speak.

“Red… we’re dying!” He yelled. “And you’re the only one… the only one who isn’t; you’re destined to be Athega’s new ruler!”

I couldn’t breathe. My mind and heart raced at two different speeds, as my hands began to shake. Everyone was dying. All but me. If everyone was dying, I’d rather die with them, than be the only one not too. I felt tears stream down my face, but not evaporating like usual. My heart dropped as I felt myself uncontrollably scream, covering my face with both of my hands. I cried so loud that I could barely even hear myself or the screams of people dying, my head pounding. After that, everything went black.

I had a dream. Not a typical one when I rarely did dream, but a real one. I was back in the season of red and orange trees. Autumn. I saw everyone. Rai and Max held hands, skipping along the little stone path. Lilac and Lucy stuck behind them, picking flowers left and right. Bow using her ice magic to make slides for herself. And I saw Axel and I. He was wearing a flannel, and I was wearing a polka-dotted dress. We held hands, walking together, as he spun me and kissed me on the cheek. We arrived to a flat field of millions of flowers in all variety of colors that stood tall and proud before us, swaying to the wind’s blow.

I woke up to the sound of panicked voices. I tried to respond and open my eyes, but I couldn’t. I heard faint beeping.

“Red?!”

“Is she dying?!”

“Tsuru! We’re losing her!”

“Calm down, you ignorant children. She’s fine.”

“Then why is the thing beeping?!”

“Medical supplies are very different here in Athega than in the other world.”

I felt hands on my body, but for some reason, I couldn’t pinpoint where they were. I did feel a touch on my forehead, though. An old, dry and soft hand lied on my forehead, as I felt the cold feeling of a ring on one of the fingers pressing against me. After struggling, I felt my eyes open.

Axel and Max were hovered over me, but jumped back in surprise, as they hadn’t expected my eyes to open so swiftly.

“Red!” Axel yelled in excitement.

I sat up, looking out the large window to my left, then looked back in front of me, where all of my friends stood, exhaling a breath of relief. I began to sweat as Ellie and Tofoku, Athega’s two best healers, watched me with altered faces.

“Do you remember anything?” I looked over to see an old and tan woman who wore a stethoscope around her neck and a casual but long dress with a sweater. “I’m Tsuru Handimi, another one of Athega’s healers.”

“No… I mean, I don’t really-” I stopped, remembering everything that had happened. The intense headache, the burning of my skin, the screaming, and the blacking out. The flashbacks of everyone I love falling in front of me, screaming in pain, as their eyes struggled to open and look at me. “No, I remember!” I shouted, looking at my friends. “You’re all alive?”

Tsuru giggled, her wrinkles beaming. “Everyone is alive because of you, dear.”

“While the portal was being destroyed in the overworld, it started to kill our Old Man. But somehow… you saved everyone in Athega.” Axel said, scratching his head and ruffling his hair.

“I don’t understand…” I whimpered.

“We’re all on the same page, Red.” Rai said. “We don’t know what the hell is going on either.”

I couldn’t help but smile at the people who stood in front of me, my friends, who were alive and healthy. I felt a few tears run down my cheeks but disappearing, as always. Max ran towards me and hugged me, crying, as everyone joined.

“What was it like dying?” I asked.

“The most pain I’ve felt. It was like gravity coming down on you, and you were unable to stand. A rush of burning, stinging, and soreness would run through your whole body, accompanied by sharp pains like someone was stabbing you in the gut.” Rai said, using many hand gestures.

“And you’re all still not in pain?”

“Red, you’ve been in a coma for a little over a week.” Tsuru said.

I sat on the electric bed, frozen in shock. I inhaled a sharp, deep breath, trying to cool off and relax. Bow looked at me sympathetically, her eyes shining in the sun that was peaking through the window. She blushed, as always, and walked towards me, holding my hand.

I was let out of the hospital as soon as I had woken up. Tsuru said it was unnecessary to keep me in the hospital, as I was in satisfactory condition, and there was no need to stay. I walked out of the large white building, with Axel beside me and the rest behind me. I stumbled a little as Axel and Bow helped me along the way. As soon as we walked out, I saw My Lord with many men.

“Red!” My Lord cheered, sprinting towards me with his arms opened wide. He pulled me into a big hug, squeezing me tight. “Red, you saved everyone in Athega!” His eyes filled with tears as he grabbed my hands. “I don’t know how to repay you!”

I blushed in embarrassment as the whole Magic Forces, as well as random residents surrounded me, cheering and praising me.

“This really isn’t necessary. I mean after all-” My Lord cut me off.

“We need to take you to Athega’s curator! Come, Red!” He gestured me towards him, as we began to walk towards the carriages.

“What curator?” I asked.

“Do you have any idea of what happened last week? How you saved everyone?”
“No.”

“Then we will visit the curator.” We jumped into one of the nicer and more expensive carriages, beginning to leave. “He lives five or so minutes from here in a full out library; it’s neat if I do say so myself. He’s extremely knowledgable, so I’m hoping he’ll give us the answers we need.”

We arrived to a little road back in the woods that opened up to a big field. In the center sat a beautiful tower that was made of stone bricks with a purple roof. The exterior was extremely overgrown, but in a prepossessing manner. The sun shined down on it, almost making it sparkle. We got out of the carriage and walked towards the door, My Lord knocking on it. It opened almost immediately, where there stood a short gray-haired man with large round glasses. He wore a purple robe and looked up at us with his big, gray eyes.

“My Lord! How nice to see you; come on in!” He welcomed us into his home. The walls rose high, as the one side of the tower was a very small kitchen and the other side was filled with bookshelves. The shelves rose higher than I could barely see. He brought us towards some small chairs in front of the book shelves. “Can I get either of you anything? Tea, perhaps?”

“I think we’ll do just fine, but thank you. I have to ask about one of my dearest friends here.” My Lord looked at me, his mouth curving into a smile. “Her name is Red.”
“Red?” The curator asked, pushing up his glasses and staring at me. “That’s one of Athega’s strongest, am I right?”
“Yes; she’s quite the wizard. Last week when all of the havok with Athega happened, she’s the one who saved us all… but we don’t know how.”

The curator chuckled in excitement as he grabbed his cane, helping him navigate towards us. “How fascinating!” He squealed, pulling out a medical flashlight and pointing it in my eyes. “Can you explain to me the effects?”
“I began… uncontrollably screaming, I suppose. A miagrane like no other began and… I guess that was it. I don’t really remember, to be fair.” I said, scratching my head. “Has anything like this happened before? Or am I the first?”

The curator hesitated for a moment. “Not with humans. To explain things as simply as I can, this scenario has only been heard of rarely, but by demons. You haven’t participated in anything doing with demonic mutations, have you?”

“No, not at all. I’ve never been involved with any sort of dark things.”

“Well, you’ve stumped me. The only other reason would be you’re a demon, but-”

“What?” I shouted. “I am not a demon; there’s no way I can be. Demonic mutations take a little over a year. If that was the case, I would be a full demon! And if-”

“Red, keep your composure. This might just be a mystery that needs to be solved.” My Lord said, giving me a stern look.

“I’ll do more research as much as I can. This has me intrigued.” The curator said, taking off his glasses and cleaning the lenses with his robe. “It was nice meeting you, Red. Come back if either of you need anything; I’m always here.” His cheeks dimpled as he smiled, his wrinkles giving off a pleased expression. We began to leave, as millions of thoughts raced through my head with curiosity. I was worried, but inquisitive.

We returned back to Athega, My Lord continuing to reassure me things would be fine, and that I, in fact, was not any sort of demon. I walked towards the apartment building and up to room 380, where I busted open the unlocked door to see everyone in the suite giving me a rebuked look.

“You abandoned us out there!” Max whined. “You had just woken up, after we thought you were going to die, and you just left! Just like that! Agh, Red, I’m so-” Rai cut her off.

“Calm down. It’s nice to see you’ve come back, Red.” He gave me a big smile. Axel ran out from the kitchen and into the foyer with an apron.

“Flame brain! Nice to see you; we’re making food!”

“When aren’t you making food?”

“Well we have an exception today! Because we’re throwing a…” He looked at Lucy in confusion, as he had forgotten. She groaned.

“The Red-Is-Not-Dead party!” She squealed. I froze in vexation as my eye twitched a little. I was about to leave until Lilac ran over and grabbed me, pulling me into the kitchen. I’m not going to lie though; the food did smell alluring. Bow stood in front of the stove in a little pink apron and a small white dress, cooking up some sort of wraps. She looked at me and flushed, giving me a soft and genial smile. I sat down at the little table as Max threw streamers and ribbon at my face, cheering and squealing. I didn’t react, though. I just sat and stared at the ribbon that sat on top of my head, slightly covering my left eye.

Bow ran over to the table with trays of wraps and cups of tea.

“Sauteed chicken with mustard-cream sauce!” She squealed, serving them on plates. As soon as I took a bite, I fell in love. I saw Lucy twirl in joy as she fell in love with them, too. Axel started to cook up some tacos, decked out in a pink apron and even a chef’s hat.

“Bow, did you go to culinary school in the overworld?” I asked.

“No, I just took lots of cooking classes.” She said, blushing. “Do you like the wraps?”

“I love them! I wish you could cook for me everyday!” I said. Her expression went surprised as her face turned red. I could tell she had gotten the wrong idea. She attempted to brush it off and gave me a smile, her cheeks still rosy, as she made us some ice cubes for our drinks. Axel brought over the tacos, and those were amazing as well. I felt my orb go off, as I groaned in annoyance. What did My Lord want now? I opened it, where his face appeared, as happy as always.

“Red! I want you to come down to the palace sometime this week. Whenever you can, though. No rush.”

“Why?”

“I’ll save the explaining for some other time. Are you with Axel?” He asked.

“Yeah.” I said, stuffing my face with some more food. Behind me, Bow was standing in front of the oven, cleaning things up.

“Who’s that? Is that Bow?”

“Uh…” My face and mind went blank as I wasn’t sure how to respond.

“Yep, just a friend!” Axel said, peering over the orb’s camera. My Lord’s eyebrows furrowed as he shook his head and hung up. Axel exhaled in relief, wiping his forehead.

“Thought we were going to be dead!”

We continued our Red-Is-Not-Dead party with a little bit of store bought cake and sitting in the living room, watching Max and Rai battle all out with Magic Kombat. Axel gave me a look of solace, smiling lightly.

“I’m really glad you’re okay.” He said, fixing the position of his legs so they were now crossed. “I thought you were a real goner there.” I gave him a comforting smile and patted his leg.

I began to return home, where people along the streets stared at me in awe. I even heard whispers of “Is that the woman who saved our lives?” and things like that. I was scared of myself, though. I don’t know how I saved everyone, nor what was wrong with me. I guess it’s better to recognize the real matter at hand; I saved everyone’s lives in Athega. Neat. I spent the next few days sleeping in and taking relaxing baths outside in my spring, as well as attending a local wizard duel. Basically, the gist was two of Athega’s newer wizards being trained and competing. No one else watched but me, as I found it quite amusing.

Towards the end of the week, I remembered what My Lord had called me about, ashamed of myself for forgetting such a thing. I walked to the palace the following morning, wearing a soft red jacket and a dress. It had been spring, now, and the spruce trees surrounding my house sparkled. It was so gracefully beautiful, as it set a contrast from my manor. I arrived at the palace where the guards let me in right away, leading towards My Lord’s throne room.

“Red!” He jumped out of his seat and walked towards me, cane in hand, and his robe down to his feet. “It’s so nice to see you!”
“Hey, sorry I came so late in the week. I forgot.” I said, scratching my head, embarrassed.
“Not a problem. I want to get straight to my point.” He grabbed both of my hands with his soft, wrinkled ones, staring me straight into my eyes. “You’re the new leader of Athega.”

I hesitated. I felt frozen, paralyzed. I began to feel lightheaded, my hands tingling. My palms began to sweat as my hands were still interlocked with his. He grabbed me and pulled me up his grand staircase, leading me to his balcony. I stood in awe as I saw the beautiful sun shining down on us, stone pathways and large homes in front of us.

“No, I don’t want to be the new leader, My Lord. I-”

“Red. You save the lives of everyone here in Athega. You’re capable. I already have everything planned out and ready.”

“But why?”
“I’ve made up my mind, Red. I appoint you the new leader of Athega.” I couldn’t breathe. It was like being sent here permanently all over again. “It’s your fate. If anything, this is an honor.” His wrinkled smile convinced me. “If I would have died, you would have taken over Athega anyways. It just makes sense. I want you to take my place.” He cleared his throat and patted me on the back. “After what you did… saving everyone’s lives… it’s made me realize I don’t deserve the place of ruling this magnificent world. You do.”

“Don’t I need a speech or something? Shouldn’t I be prepared? This is so sudden, I-”

I stopped, mid-sentence, where I saw loads of residents of Athega crowding below us, looking up at me and My Lord. They stared in awe and cheered.

“What the hell is going on? My Lord, give me an explanation!”
“I’m appointing you the new master. When things like this happen, a “call” occurs; basically a natural instinct in all of our residents that someone new is coming into place. So they gather around to watch the appointing.”

I went into great distress, as people stood in front of me; even Axel, Lilac, Lucy; everyone I knew. I suddenly knew what to say. I stepped forward, took a deep breath, and faced my hand up towards the sun. How was I doing this? What was making me move my hand and knowing what to say?

“Gods of Athega, I hereby humbly implore you to approve me as the new leader of this world. I shall make the commitment to surveil the people of the era in which I plan to rule!” My hand lit on fire, the sun shining on it brighter than ever, as a brand appeared on my hand. I looked at it, shaky, as I saw a black outline of a flame. I looked back at My Lord, where Mishaku stood next to him.

“I really should’ve warned you that I was going to implant the speech into your brain with my magic. Sorry about that.” Mishaku said, chuckling nervously. My Lord’s mouth curved into a smile.

“You’re the new leader of Athega.”

I looked down at all the people who jumped up and down, some even yelling my name. Axel, out of them all, screamed at the top of his lungs. I had a hard time comprehending what had happened, as I felt lightheaded. I walked away from the balcony and into the lounge that connected to it, relaxing on a sofa, as my body was tense.

“What is the meaning of this?! Father?!” Azalea yelled, barging into the room, her face red and angry.

“I knew telling you ahead of time would make you want to constantly convince me to change my mind, Azalea. So I believed it would have been better if I said nothing.”

“But why Red?” She screamed in fury.

“Please, there is no need to get so upset, darling.” My Lord looked at me. “Red saved all of our lives. An accomplishment such as that deserves the title of Athega’s ruler.” He sighed, sitting next to me. “It was going to happen one day, anyways. I had planned for her to take over this world.”

“Oh? I thought you had to die to have a new leader!” She said, crossing her arms in front of her and gritting her teeth.

“No, you can appoint someone. It’s just risky for all the lives in Athega. It’s never been done before, so I suppose this is the first. We made Athega’s history!” He chuckled as Azalea growled in anger, storming out of the room. I sighed.

“Now, Red, it’s only traditional to have a ball when a new master is appointed.”

“But I thought you said this was the first time of an appointing…” I retorted. He patted my head and chuckled.

“I know, but it’s a tradition now.”

I curled up in a ball on the lounge chair in distress, contemplating. Now I had to handle everyone in Athega? I was responsible for bringing new people to this world, and even taking care of them? I was like a queen who had just been unexpectedly assigned the new heir of her country. I heard the sound of feet running up the staircase and squealing, similar to Lucy’s. Everyone, even Devyn, popped up in front of me, tackling me.

“Hey, we didn’t get a warning, flame brain. Since when were you going to take the old man’s place?” Axel asked, disappointed.

“Trust me, Ax, I didn’t have a warning either.” I said chuckling. He gave me a big smile, as Rai patted me on the back. Lucy wrapped her arms around me, hugging me, as Lilac sat next to me on her knees. I realized that Max wasn’t in the room, until she charged up the stairs with popout streamers, shooting them at my face, and making a mess all over the marble flooring. I sighed.

That following night, I slept in my manor, as they were still preparing the palace for me. My butlers were excited and welcomed me home with large dishes of food that was supremely made for me. They even made me some of Athega’s finest tea. I ranted to them, and they reassured me. I had trouble falling asleep, but I eventually did.

My Lord planned to hold the ball in two days, and I was not all prepared. I didn’t have a gown, nor was I prepared to be confronted with residents. I went to a tailor a few minutes away, as guards followed me. I told them they weren’t necessary, but it was apparently an extremely important policy. I picked out a dress design, as the little girl who made them stared at me in awe, nearly forgetting to write down the things I was asking for. After that, I went to Axel’s and visited everyone to see how things were going.

Once I opened the door to the suite, I peeked in politely and saw Rai and Max cuddling on the sofa. I sneaked past them and found Axel and Lucy in the kitchen, eating so much icing from a can, enough to make me queasy just looking at it. They looked at me, frozen, as icing covered their mouths, and began to laugh at my expression.

“Hey, Red, why are you here?” Axel asked, grabbing a paper towel for his mouth.

“Just checking up, I guess. I don’t know really. But I guess I should tell you; there’s a ball this Wednesday.”
“A ball?!” Lucy squealed, jumping up and down.

“Yeah, at the palace. I think it’s for my appointing.”

“Neato. So are you inviting us or what?” Axel asked.

“Everyone in Athega is invited.” I said, walking towards their drawers and grabbing a spoon, spooning out some icing for myself. I fell in love with the soft and rich texture. “I’m just letting you guys know.”

“Aren’t you excited?!” Lucy asked in zeal. “Do I need a date?”
“It’s not prom, you idiot!” Axel pronounced.

“No, you don’t need a date, Lucy. And if anything, no, I’m not excited. I’m not prepared to be the leader of Athega… it’s so sudden, you know? I wish I had a warning before hand or something…” I sighed, taking my stress out on spoons of icing. I closed my eyes as I embraced the sweet taste.

“Yeah, I get what you mean.” Lucy said, beginning to wash our spoons.

“Well, let’s quit sitting around and go shopping for clothes!” Axel yelled enthusiastically. Lucy rolled her eyes.

“There’s a tailor, you know.”

“But that’s so expensive!”
“It’s worth the pay, but whatever, suit yourself!”

“Your attempt of making a pun is concerning.” I retorted, walking towards their fridge. Bow walked in from their balcony, her hair winded, as she smiled at me.

“Good to see you, Red! Are you excited to be the new ruler?” I began to feel exasperated by the constant questions of, “Are you excited?” or “How does it feel?”. I rubbed my eyes.

“You know, Red, you can boss around whoever the hell you want. Now that I think about it, you could even raise our pay!” Axel said, his eyes sparkling.

“Axel, I want to take this seriously.” His face turned disappointed, as he began to fill out some rent bills that were stacked on the table. I sighed as I began to leave, saying my goodbyes, and reminding everyone about this “extremely important ball that My Lord wants everyone in Athega to know about”. I walked home, mentally exhausted. I passed Azelea in the square, trying to avoid contact, until I felt her threateningly grip my arm with her pale and cold hands. I stopped, only turning my head, and looked into her glistening green eyes.

“Red, can I talk to you?” I turned around.

“Sure.”
“I don’t completely know you’re stance on this appointing thing…” She brought her face to mine, almost so close that her petite little nose touched mine. Her eyebrows angled her face into an angry expression. “Whatever you do, don’t you dare mess up.”

“I don’t plan to, Azalea.” She gritted her teeth and began to walk away, leaving me out in the open, staring at her long blonde hair swaying behind her, as her white dress dragged along the ground. I shook my head in rebuke.

I walked home where I fell straight asleep without a word to my butlers, and woke up the next morning, revisiting the little duel that novice wizards were competing in.

I sat outside on the bleachers in a wizard stadium, watching two boys battle each other all out. The one possessed teleportation magic, whilst the other possessed dark lightning. They were a neat pair to be battling. Every time the one boy struck the other with pitch black lightning, the other dodged. A young girl with short black hair stood by them, screaming at them every now and then once they did something wrong. These three were different than the others I saw the other day. I giggled a little at a mistake they made, causing them to freeze, the instructor as well, as they looked at me in awe.

“Are you…” The girl said, her eyes sparkling. “My Lady?!”

“Soon to be, yeah. I enjoy watching your little spars.”

“Who are you?” Asked the one boy, his face puzzled.

“I’m the leader of Athega. The name’s Red. What guild are you three in?”
At that moment, the world changed for me. It was like when I met Crystal for the first time. Like when I acknowledged that magic existed. The little boy stared at me, wonderstruck, his green eyes shining. Once I would be living in that palace, everyone would admire me. And seeing this young boy stared at me, in love with my power, made me realize the load of responsibility I now had sitting on my shoulders. I had feelings of almost amazement, maybe even domination; I don’t know what it was. But it made me happy.

The next day was the arrival of the ball. I had went to the tailor’s early in the morning and picked up my dress, which was absolutely stunning. I was so obsessed that I payed her way over the original price. It was long, tight enough to show off my curves, and had gold patterns along the top. I even had golden shoes to go with it, that matched it’s colors perfectly. I jumped in my spring and washed up, resulting in a relaxed and fresh Red.

Once it was time, I went towards the palace in a carriage that stopped by to get me, many men inside of it for safety precautions. If being the head-honcho meant being constantly followed by guards, I would be extremely antagonized for the rest of my life. They dropped me off, where I walked in, My Lord standing inside, right in front of the doors.

The whole throne room was decked out. The three chandeliers that were in a straight line along the middle were set to their full brightness, rather than normally being dim. The whole room was a beautiful shiny white with off white marble flooring. A long, red runner went all the way along the floor up to the white and golden throne that belonged to me. Tables filled the sides of the room with chairs and red and white flower centerpieces. I stared in awe, as My Lord was satisfied with my expression.

“My Lord… I…”

“Please, My Lady, call me Gadiel.” He said, his mouth curving into a smile. He wore a long purple and gold cape that was extremely fancy and a white button-up top. I stared at him, dumbfounded, as I wasn’t prepared for such a change. I was escorted to the throne where I sat down on the plush seating, my back against the also plush head. I bit my lip anxiously, as I rested my head on my hand.

“Come on now! That’s no way to sit!” My Lord yelled from across the hall. I shook my head and smiled to myself.

Once the doors opened, people filled the throne room. Men with violins and saxaphones gathered into the corner, playing some splendid music. I saw Axel and Co. walk in the palace, their faces bright. Axel wore a black shirt with the sleeves rolled up, accompanied by black kakis and a blood red tie. His hair was actually down for once and not spiked, and his beard was trimmed. Behind him, Lucy, wore a long and strapless periwinkle dress with gems outlining the top. Her ginger hair was down and tucked behind her ear on the one side. Rai wore a full out suit with a bowtie and a top hat. I exhaled in embarrassment, as he strutted in. Max held his hand as she was in a long deep purple dress with a little flower crown on her head, skipping in. Lilac wore a green dress that was in an “x” shape along the top portion with dark make up. I even saw Devyn running in wearing a little red dress and beautifully done makeup.

I added on long sheer white gloves before the event started, and stood from my seat on the platform below me as people gathered inside. Once things began, I prepared a toast, my voice confident.

“Hello, fellow citizens of Athega…” Their eyes turned to me as I held a cup of wine. My heart pounded as many eyes were on me. “I am extremely glad to be here today…” I hesitated, finally building courage. “I’m more than happy to be responsible for each and every one of your lives, as well to accompany them. I am thrilled to get to know every single one of you on a personal level. This toast, doesn’t only belong to me and all of you, but to Athega! For being my true home and love!” I held up my glass as everyone tapped theirs together, the sounds of clinking and cheering becoming annoying.

I came down from the stand and began to talk to people. There were many familiar faces, but many of which I didn’t know. I talked about myself and introduced myself, eventually returning to my seat. I stood up, getting a great view of the room that sparkled under the crystal chandeliers. People came up to me as I stood, bowed, and talked to me or asked me questions from time to time. Eventually, I saw Axel walking towards me, giving me a sloppy bow and walking up the steps.

“What are you doing, you idiot? If you have to say something, say it from down there!” I said, my eye twitching slightly as he gave me a big smile. My guards on either of my sides began to step forward until I extended my arm, as if I was telling them to back off. He took his hands out of his pockets and handed me a bracelet that sparkled under the light.

“Old man wanted me to give it to you. I think he said it was the first master’s or something.” I took it, feeling it’s warmth from his pocket. The diamonds glowed under the light as I rubbed them, feeling the glossy texture.

I gave Axel a big smile and thanked him. I expected him to get off the podium, but he stepped closer to me, putting his face near mine, his lips nearly touching my red ones. His eyes were closed and his nose aligning with mine. I felt my body surge with heat as I began to sweat, my face turning red. I punched him, right in the stomach, as he flew across the hall and landed on the floor, whimpering in pain. I clenched my eyes closed for a second, my fist still sitting in the air. I levered it down and opened my eyes, giving everyone a big smile, as they looked at me, terrified.

The ball went on and ended with me sitting with all my friends. Rai was a drunk mess and Axel continued to whimper the whole time about how he hurt. At one point, Azalea came up to me, her face apprehensive.

“Red.” I gave her a sick glare.

“What?”
“I’m sorry.” She said, her hands clasped in front of her.

“For what?”
“You know what! Don’t act like you don’t know…” We both paused as she looked down at her heels. “I’m sorry I’ve always been so… I don’t know… discourteous to you.” She began to blush. “If anything, I’ve always envyed you, you know? I don’t know why-” I cut her off with a joyful tone, breaking the sad air.

“It’s fine! You have no reason to apologize.”

“Okay, well… I just wanted to know… can I assist you throughout your rein? I really enjoyed doing it with my father.” She looked at me eagerly as I smiled.

“Of course you can.” Her eyes lit up like a night light as she thanked me and threw her arms around me. After hours of being surrounded by humans and filled with stress, the ball was over. Everyone began to pile out as I thanked them for coming, Axel and all my other friends still there, though. They wanted me to come over for a sleepover. Until I could say yes, My Lord ran towards me, grabbing both of my hands.

“Red, I need to speak with you; it’s urgent.” He said.

“Is something wrong?” I felt anxiety beginning to build.

“No, Red, I just…” He lost eye contact with me and then looked back up at me, his face beaming. “I don’t know how to explain this to you properly.”

“What do you mean, father?” Azalea said, walking towards us. Her tall heels clicked on the marble while she walked.

“Azalea, this doesn’t concern you. I-”

“You’re my father. Of course it concerns me.”

All of a sudden, the air turned bright and fresh. Sparkles began to come from My Lord, his face shining. The moon’s light peaked through the large arched white windows, setting the beautiful mood.

“I’m going to die, Red.”

I froze as he let his hands out of mine, lacing them together in front of him. I couldn’t move, nor believe what I was hearing. He stepped back, as his body began to glow and his eyes beginning to shift between me and Azalea.

“The hell are you talking about?!” Axel cried, running over to him.

“You see, Red, once a new leader is appointed… the old master dies.” He smiled.

“What?! Why didn’t you tell me about this!?” Azalea screamed in horror.

“Red, I truly trust that you will accomodate to Athega’s needs and the residents who live here.” A small tear streamed down his eyes as they squinted, his mouth smiling. “Azalea, I love you, and Red… I’ve always thought of you as a daughter too.” I was paralyzed as my mouth was wide open, my face filling with dread.

“I’ve always thought of you as a father, My Lord! You’ve been so loving and caring to me! You’ve been there with me from the beginning to the end! Don’t leave me! You don’t deserve this!” I shouted. “I’m… I’m not good enough to take your place!” I screamed.

“No!” Azalea screamed, running towards him and hugging him as he began to disappear.

“Red, do you know why I brought you to this world?” I was unable to respond in shock. “Ever since I saw you, I always knew you had such potential. Thank you for accompanying me throughout my reign.” He looked down at Azalea who looked at him with teary eyes, unable to let go of him. “My dear daughter…” He brushed her hair behind her left ear as she whimpered. “Oh, how much you’ve grown. I love you, dear.” At this point his upper half of his body was only left, turning to sparkling dust that was being carried away. “Carry on, my children! Continue to live the life of your dreams in the beautiful world of Athega! Embrace the people you love and cherish every moment!” He smiled at me. “Good luck, Red.”

He disappeared out of sight, a light shining from where he once stood. Azalea dropped down to the floor and put her face in her hands, screaming and crying. I was paralyzed, millions of thoughts running through my head. I was hoping he could help me throughout this whole leader thing; but now he was gone. I had to be dependent. I had to remember for the rest of my living that I was the reason a best friend died. I slowly walked forward, as I saw that his cape had fallen to the ground. I picked it up and began to weep into it, clenching the soft white trim. Axel came towards me and put his hand on my shoulder, as I breathed heavy, struggling to comprehend what had happened. My Lord was gone and I was left for the reign.

I spent that night in my mannor crying. That night eventually lead to a month of sadness and pain. I began to grow stronger as the days went on, though.

Axel constantly came over to my manor and served me tacos, continuously telling me nothing was my fault and that My Lord’s death was intentional. It was his decision and there was nothing we could do. I began to come to the realization that My Lord didn’t appoint me to weep all the time over his death; he appointed me to rule these people. And so I did. I moved into the palace and brought new people to the world every now and then and managed everything. I gave up my mannor to Axel and everyone else, but my butlers stayed at the palace with me.

I made so many new friendships and acquaintances, and it was truly beautiful. I even learned more about Athega’s past! Our first master’s name was actually Athega and she was the most beautiful woman ever. I was the second woman out of the four other rulers to rule, and the longest one, too. And I lived on. I continued to go on adventures with everyone I loved and cherished, until the day I lied in my death bed. Never before did I ever think my life would come to such a stunning position. I wasn’t only Athega’s new ruler, but I was Athega’s best fire wizard. We never found out what was wrong with me when I saved everyone’s lives, but the only explanation we have is that I am full or part demon. Who knows?

These next thousands of years will be a journey, especially whilst I know that I’m not only the ruler of the place I love most, but The Empress of Flames.

 


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