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Thread Topic: Cuddlefish Corner
“Good,” Lumin encourages. “Now, use all of your senses to focus on your target.” Akina opens his eyes as they glow, filled entirely with white light.
I struggle in my chains, still suspended over the floor, trying to break free. The more I move around, the redder my eyes grow and the blacker my hair becomes. I work up a feeling of pure rage as I violently yank at the chains, growling and becoming engulfed in dark energy.
Lumin holds steady Akina’s wrist as Akina watches me. “Now, anticipate the movement of your opponent. Feel his life force as it moves around before he does. Predict where he will move, and lock on to it just before he reaches his point.” Akina slightly moves around his wrist in attempt to lock on to my future destination as I wriggle around in my chains.
In a sudden burst of energy, I break free from the chains, crying out in rage as I fall to the floor, surrounded in dark energy. “Rrrrrrrrrahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
Mei shrieks, seeing that I have broken out.
Akina gasps as I run towards him, left hand out and reaching for him with my energy focused to it.
Akina fires a blast of blinding light out from the sun-shape on his right hand just as I get close to him; but quicker than the eye can tell, I dodge to the right, so slightly that Akina believes that I am hit.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH,” Akina wails in pain as something sharp takes grasp of him by the heart area. Akina stands, trembling in fear while Mei and Master Lumin are in shock, unable to react at the sight. Akina frightfully glances down at his chest as my left hand still grips it; he finds black energy flowing out from between my fingers and into him.
I stand still in a crouch, panting and sweating. I bring myself back up and face Akina. I see Akina thunderstruck by the turn of events, and I can’t help but to give a dark smile. “Light Purge didn’t work so well, did it? Let’s see who the troublemaker is, now!”
Lumin calls to Mei as I throw wounded Akina aside and slowly close in on him. “Mei, apprehend him with Light—ooof!” he grunts as I blast him with dark energy.
“Nope, none of that today,” I say. I draw my sword and head towards the door to leave this—wherever I am. (Probably the Aura Warrior’s palace.)
Mei runs up to me and roundhouse kicks me from behind. I fall to the ground and slide across the floor. “You’re not going anywhere!”
I sit up and rub my head. “What are you—crazy?” These people really don’t understand that I don’t want anything to do with them, I think. “Leave me alone.”
Mei looks back and sees Lumin on the floor. She runs back to help him up. “Akina, get up! You have to stop Shiva so we can purge him!”
Akina sits up and uses a weaker version of Light Purge on himself, but the darkness still remains on the spot of impact. Despite this fact, he chooses to run after me, chasing me down the hallway out the room.
I reach a dead end and turn back to find Akina weakly behind me. “You don’t know when to stay down, do you,” I grit through my teeth.
“Come with me, and we will purge you. You don’t have to be a Shadow Warrior,” he says.
“I was born a Shadow Warrior, so live with it—I do!”
Akina sighs. “I didn’t want to have to do this the hard way, but you leave me no choice.” Akina glows again, lifting off the ground as he draws his scepter.
I pull back my sword, just about to attack when Akina drops to the floor and remains motionless.
“Hmm. I think…I win.” I sheathe my sword. “And that will be that.” I step over Akina and turn the corner of the hall only to be seized by another group of Akina’s people.
Lumin stands before the group with his steely grey eyes glaring into mine. “Take him back to the confinement room so that we may start the procedure.”
I am unable to move my head to gaze around, let alone the rest of my body. I sigh. “Crud.”
Mei rushes out from the group and finds her way over to Akina, who is covered in dark energy emanating from the wound again. “Master,” she cries out, “Akina—he’s been infected with Dark Aura Purge!”
Lumin gasps. “We must purge him at once. Gather the elders. We will need the strongest warriors to reverse the dark energy.”
Mei does that, not that I care, and I am carried off to another confinement room…
I was in the confinement room, waiting for some time while the other folks did whatever to Sho. I waited and waited for them to come, but they never did show. I wondered if they had forgotten about me, and I tried to recharge my energy to shadowshift and get the heck out of here, but I found that I was actually pretty tired…physically, so I went to sleep for a tick or two.
Now, I was sleeping good until a recent series of commotion woke me up, so now I’m just angrily thinking how I wish this whole palace would get wiped off the face of the planet with the people in it. (I’d do it if I weren’t locked up. I mean, I am a destroyer, after all. It’s kind of what I do.)
Clattering and overlapping shouts ring out in the air as I sit miserably in a room full of hot lights. I roll my eyes and switch off which hand I rest my cheek on.
“This is stupid,” I mutter.
I almost have a heart attack when something breaks through the wall of my cell. When the smoke and dust clears, I see them, dark-grey-blue-haired and red-eyed. Well, one eye is red, the other is blue.
“Shiva,” they call to me, “come.”
I hesitantly stand up and tilt my head, curiously eyeing the man. “Do I know you?”
He gets upset that I ask this, takes grasp of my hand, and pulls me along, snatching me here and there throughout the palace while the Aura Warriors chase us.
“Um, excuse you,” I begin in a sharp tone, “I don’t believe I’ve agreed to this, and you didn’t even introduce!”
“Shadowshift or die,” he rudely calls out.
(Again, I’m the bad guy, here?)
I shadowshift and we slip off from under the front door of the palace, rushing off into the night. As we escape, I can hear a faint shout from Mei, but I can’t make out whatever she’s whining about.
This insolent man and I happen to rest under a tree about fourty-five minutes from the palace. We both reshape and he throws me aside.
“Oof! Hey, what makes you think you can do that to me?!” I growl at him as he just stands and watches the moons. (Yes, my planet has two moons. Be jealous.) “Helllloooooo?! Do you not understand this language that I am speaking,” I ask, as if addressing an animal or a caveman.
He turns around in his tattered, grey and black cloak. “Time,” he simply states. “Time is all I needed.”
“Alright, well, good for you, buddy. Now, tell me who the heck—“
“You were right for what you did,” he goes on. “I couldn’t see it the way I was, but you have helped me see otherwise.”
“Okay, what are you rambling about,” I ask, standing up and facing him.
As the starlight reflects off his eyes, I can see his aura, feel his spirit—a familiar one clashing with dark energy. “Shiva,” he says to me in a calm voice, “you out of all people should know me.”
I step back and choke on my words. “A-akina?”
He gives an unsettling, lifeless smile, holding out his hand to me. “So then, you haven’t forgotten me. Comforting to know.”
“How are you still alive? Dark Aura Purge kills your kind!”
“It does indeed, but I am still alive. At a cost, however. I am influenced by your energy, but I still possess my own. One may overpower the other, or they may nullify each other. Sometimes it hurts to use one, sometimes not.”
“So, what, then? Why did you…help me escape,” I question in disgust.
“Because, I finally understand your people’s pain. We’ve purged them for thousands of years, killing them off for who they were…when they were only being what they were.” Akina sits down and gestures for me to sit next to him. I reluctantly sit down. “When Lumin and the others were trying to purge me, I felt the burns of a million suns, the bites of thousands of serpents. I understand your pain, now, and I’d hate for anyone else to feel that.” He pauses with a sigh. “I accept being this way, if I must, but I apologize on behalf of my people. As I am their prince, after all, I must say this. Please forgive us.”
“Forgiveness isn’t my thing, but I don’t care. I was only minding my business.”
“So then…” (This is actually rather awkward for me.)
“I am…like you—outlawed. I cannot stay here,” Akina states. (For the life of me, I know what this silently states. And I immediately regret Darkening him.)
I stand up and walk away; he follows me. I accept the fact that I am now going to be accompanied by a Half-a-Darkling for the time being, and as far as I can see…
The end. (Shiva Jimmu story 1 ending)
Waiting: (A Lonely Heart's Poem)
Waiting can be hard, yes, waiting can be tough
But you will not go far if you've always had enough.
Though waiting is not fun, it comes for everyone.
Though tired you may be, you wait so naturally.
Rewarding, you will see that you've done this happily
And once the waiting's done, you'll be proud for what you've won.
A happy heart there be for the waiters patiently.
Round Boxes (A Funny)
(Characters: Tim--a young man in his twenties. Limply structure. Worker at Boxes and Co.
Bob: Tim's manager. Bearded and bulky.)
At the office...
"We need ideas," Bob says, slamming his fist down on the conference table."
Tim raises his hand. "Oh, I-I have an idea, sir!"
Weeks later, Tim and Bob are at the back of a delivery truck, just having finished packing their round boxes.
Bob adjusts his hat. "Round boxes...Are you sure this is a good idea?"
Tim nods. "I'm positive, sir!"
On the truck during delivery...
*rumble, rumble rumble*
The round boxes topple of from their stacks and crash to the floor, breaking all the packages.
Bob and Tim stop the truck and get out, taking a look in the back.
Tim rubs the back of his head as Bob angrily grunts and looks at the packages.
Bob turns to Tim. "Tim, pack up your round boxes. You're fired."
The Lost Girl (A Dirge)
The world didn't need her
No one would believe her
Fake friends would deceive her
Dead ends would receive her
She was destined for more
But shunned at the door
Left cold at the core
And tossed into war
Nobody would see
All that she could be
To life's misery
When I was born, I was told I’d do great things; I’d take the world by storm, chasing dreams and following my heart. Well, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can change. When I was fourteen years old, my parents did something they never thought they’d regret—send me to a party…
Smells of the sizzling chicken floated through the air and tickled my nose as I sat on my bed watching TV. I was pretty hungry, but all the suspense from my show kept me occupied well enough that I barely remembered.
I pressed my cheeks down onto my hands as my golden eyes shimmered behind my lilac bangs. I was determined to find out just who had garlic-bombed Transylvania as Dracula crept about his dreaded tower. I leaned closer to the TV as he reached his hand out to turn a knob, and just as the knob began to click, my mom called, “Heckatee!”
“Awww!” I grumbled and turned off the TV, throwing the remote down onto my bed as I jumped up and ran downstairs to meet my mom. My feet clunked heavily on the red-carpeted wood staircase. I stopped at the kitchen door, brushing off my red and grey tee-shirt. “Yeah, Mom?” I impatiently pulled at my black-and-white-striped leggings under my shorts.
Her deep-brown hair grazed above her golden eyes as she turned to me and pulled chicken out the oven. “Your father should be home soon to take you to the party. Go ahead and get your costume on.”
I leaned up against the doorway and sighed, looking to my poorly-cut jack-o‘-lantern. “Mom, do I really have to go to the Halloween party? I’ll miss Transylvania Mysteries!”
“Now, now, Heckatee, I want you to socialize. Your friends from school worked so hard on putting this party together, and it’d be a shame if you didn’t go.”
“But Mom,” I argued, flinging my arms out, “I don’t HAVE friends from school!” I folded my arms. “I literally don’t know anybody.”
“Then, this is a good chance for you to make friends.” I opened my mouth to object yet again, but Mom continued. “You are going to that party and that’s final, Heckatee.”
I frowned and somberly walked away as I heard the front door open and Dad called, “I’m back!” I went upstairs and closed my room door, then I flopped down onto my bed, staring up at the ceiling as I could hear my parents’ muttered voices through the floor.
“It’s not fair that I never get to do what want. I never get a choice on anything, and nobody’s ever satisfied with me being me.” I turned over on my side and looked up at a picture of a vampire on my wall. “Heh. I bet if I were one of you, then I’d be my own boss. And if anyone tries to bother me then, I’d BITE ‘EM!” I was still feeling kind of down from having to go to the party, but at least I was somewhat in better spirits.
I put on my angel costume and went down for dinner, and after dinner, my dad took me to the school’s Halloween party and dropped me off. I was at the party for over thirty minutes before anyone noticed that I was there.
One of the principals came up to me dressed as a lumberjack. “Heckatee, what a nice surprise! I didn’t expect you to come, sweetie.”
I folded my arms and scoffed. “I didn’t want to come, but my parents made me.”
“Nevertheless, we treasure the time we’ll spend with you,” he said.
I stood in silence for a moment, then, after eyeing him up and down, I asked, “So, how many people have told you that your costume’s stupid? None? Well then, your costume’s stupid.” I spun around on my heels and walked away from him, snatching the halo off my head and tossing it aside.
I didn’t ask to be an angel, I wanted to be a vampire, but my parents said that I was too cute and child-like to be a vampire. I am cursed to look forever-twelve in the face.
I was minding my own business, hanging around the punchbowl when a group of girls dressed as witches approached me.
“Hello,” the tallest girl greeted—brown eyed and sandy-brown-haired. “Heckatee, right?”
I was shocked to see that someone remembered my name. “Yeah?”
“My name is Lilith. This is Delilah and Jade. We’re trying to cast spells; wanna help?”
Cast spells? The did know this was just a costume, and not a real thing, right? I mean, it’s not like Halloween granted people magical powers for one night.
I shrugged. “Yeh, sure.” I slid out my barstool chair and followed them to the girls’ bathroom.
Delilah dug around in her pocket and pulled out some small candles. She flicked her dark-blue eyes up between her dark-blue bangs and pitted them into Jade’s pink eyes.
Jade pulled out some matches from her pockets, then she flipped her pink bangs as she passed around matches and Delilah passed out candles to the group.
The stale air within the bathroom grew tense as we all lit our candles and held them close to our faces. Darkness cast over us as the only source of light was our little square of candles. The room chilled as a draft pulled through, and I think I was the only one to shiver.
Lilith looked up at me. “Heckatee, put your hand out into the middle of our spell circle.”
I hesitantly reached out my hand. “What are we doing,” I questioned, holding my candle in my left hand as I watched the three girls.
Lilith removed her school backpack from her back and reached into it, bringing up an old library book. “The girls and I found this book last week when we were trying to get ideas for Halloween costumes. I believe—this is an ancient spell book of the first witches.”
Jade eerily smiled. “We’re going to imitate the witches and see if we can cast spells by following their methods.”
Lilith passed the book off to Delilah, who sat on my left. Delilah held the book to my side where I could see it. “Pick one…or let fate decide.”
“Fate, fate, fate,” the other two girls quietly chanted, and I gave in.
“Fate it is, then.”
Delilah flipped through the book and yanked it open. “This spell shall be done, then.” I didn’t get to see what the spell was, because Delilah then told me to close my eyes as part of the procedure. Delilah gave the book over to Jade, and Jade—being the only one who could read the spells correctly—began to read as the others closed their eyes and focused on the incantation.
“Shelslic aufdon regnehfe, kaltos anya hyivehrne. Sincu maldon halvunus, zleetnah pheeno incubus!”
Clockwise around the group, starting with Lilith, the candles blew out, and smoke arose. We all opened our eyes at once and saw the smoke swirling around above our heads. I snatched my hand back in fright as the smoke began to glow like fog in the moonlight.
A face jumped out from the smoke, and the four of us screamed, dropping our candles and dashing towards the stalls.
I was the last one behind, and as I turned to go to the stall, I could feel a hand on my wrist! It held me tight and wouldn’t let me go. I tried to break free from the grasp, but I couldn’t. I was turned back to look into the face’s eyes, shrieking as the image horrified me.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaa! Help! Help me! It’s got me!” I cried out, but the three girls were too afraid to come help me.
The face grew a body before I knew it, and they stood before me. “You belong to me,” the body said grimly, then it released me and dispersed into the air.
A teacher slammed the door open and flipped the lights on as I fell to the floor up against a stall door. “Girls, are you alright?! I heard screaming in here.”
I was panting too heavily to answer, and Jade and Delilah were trying to calm me down, so Lilith replied, “We saw a ghost!” then the other girls jumped in.
“Yeah, it was smoky,” Jade started.
“And creepy,” Delilah added.
“And it touched Heckatee,” Lilith finished, pointing at me. “Heckatee’s been cursed!” she cried out, fearing the worst for me.
The teacher first thought we were just getting into the Halloween spirit, but when she saw that none of us would calm down, she called our parents. The other girls managed to calm down even though they were still worried about me, but I had to go home. I was having a panic attack after the séance.
The following day, I woke up feeling gro
The following day, I woke up feeling groggy. I ate breakfast, and my parents seriously babied me, fearing to take their eyes off me. The incident almost felt like a thing of the past, to me. Whenever I thought about it, it rarely made me cringe. I somehow felt that it was all just a nightmare, even though I very well knew it had happened just last night. I figured I was okay, shrugging it off…but that’s where I made a serious mistake.
Two years later, I was sixteen in high school and good friends with the three girls I met at the Halloween party. (To us, that party was a laugh.) I was in school one day when I walked past this cute boy. Like, he was REALLY cute. He looked at me, I bashfully turned away, and then he got to his locker, which was next to Delilah’s locker. Delilah came around the corner and bumped into him as he was reaching to open his locker. They introduced.
Okay, cool, my mind thought.
Delilah went on to tell him where she lived.
Alright, well, that’s a part of introducing, I guess.
The boy realized that he lived five minutes away from her.
Aaaaaand he asked if she wanted to go out Saturday.
He was MY boy. MINE! And Delilah knew that I liked him! She agreed to go out with him and it made me furious! I thought we were friends, and she went and did this, not even behind my back, but in my face! That treacherous woman!
I got so angry, I didn’t know what to do, but in my anger, I heard a voice so calm yet so frightening—he said, “Kill her.” I jumped and looked around. At this point, school was over, so no one was naturally standing around in the hall like I was. “Who said that,” I asked, and I waited for an answer. The voice said again, “Kill her.” “I—I—I—“
I was struggling with myself. I couldn’t stand the temptation to do it. It only seemed right, but I could never do it. Yet this voice in my head that was not my own kept saying, “Kill her!” “Kill her!” At some point, it started shouting, and his shouts would ring out in my head like this sound of scraping metal.
I ran down the hall screaming and crying, holding my hands over my ears and shouting “No!” as the voice continued to chant “Kill her!”
I found the school’s nurse, and I told her what was going on. She kept me in the medical office and called my parents. After much discussion over the matter, my parents decided to take me to the doctor’s office the next day. Basically, the doctor believed I was insane, and from there, my life went downhill.
My parents kept me home and refused to let me go anywhere anymore. They tried homeschooling me, but they didn’t know how to do it, so they gave up. They didn’t care to spend money on online classes or private teachers, so I now sit in my home as an uneducated seventeen-year-old.
Today, Mom and Dad are going to the store. I’m not usually allowed to go outside while they’re gone, but I’m really bored and could use the fresh air, so I’m going to kick a ball around out front since my mom has a garden in the back.
I go outside just after Mom and Dad leave. I figure it’s alright since the neighbors who usually watch me are on vacation. No one would know that I’m out right now, so I think I’ll have time to play. Playing outside is the only outdoor experience I am left with to enjoy since I am no longer able to see friends.
I kick the ball to the edge of the yard, then I go out and kick it back to the porch. I do this for a while, but after kicking the ball one of the times, it rolls out into the street. I cautiously go out to retrieve it.
Somehow, while I’m standing here bent over to pick up the ball, I become mesmerized. I see something in the middle of the street as I stare down at the asphalt. It’s some sort of heat wave rising up from the ground on a cool spring day. I’m rather curious on what’s causing heat to rise; it makes my hand sweat as I feel the heat meet my skin.
Suddenly, I hear a truck’s horn blare, and as I look up, I come to find that the truck is heading right for me! With no time to get up and move, I only breathe in my final breath, letting it out in a bloodcurdling scream…
“Heckatee. Heckatee,” a male calls to me.
I slowly open my eyes to find him sitting over me—white-haired and sooty-black-eyed. “Huh?”
“Heckatee, get up. You’ve got work to do,” he says.
“But, it’s Saturday,” I whine before realizing how much he’s glowing red-hot like burning coal. I gasp. “I thought I died! Are you—an angel?”
He laughs and brings me to my feet. “Funny you ask that. I’m nothing of the sort at all. As a matter of fact, try demon,” he says, wiping out his tail and tossing his hair to uncover his horns as he spread his bat-like wings.
“Aaaaaa!” I snatch away from him as I realize he’s the face from the smoke. “You! You were at my school on—
“Halloween night. Yes, you should know that because you summoned me, Heckatee, and I have been with you ever since. Although, you and I are not great friends; you hardly ever listen to me,” he scoffs.
“YOU told me to kill Delilah!”
“Guilty as charged,” he casually admits. “But, honestly, if you had killed her and let that be that, you wouldn’t be here right now.”
I panic, spinning about as I look around at the cave-like world. “How do I get out of here? Where am I anyway?”
The boy chuckles. “You don’t know where you are?” he questions, amused. “Heckatee, please, you DIED. You sure ain’t in the afterlife above.”
“Wh-what?” I feel my squishy face and grab my hair, only to be pricked by two horns as a black tail swings out in front of me. I also catch sight of my new apparel—a longsleeve midriff black and red shirt and a black and red loincloth to match. “I’m—a demon?!”
The boy rolls his black eyes. “Well, not entirely. That is, not until your soul’s turned in to the Boss.”
“So, I’m not dead yet?”
“No, but you may as well get comfy. You’re stuck here either way unless you can retrieve your soul,” he states, gazing down at his claw-like fingernails.
“And how do I do that?” I pushed on, hoping he’d tell me.
He looks up from his fingers. “Why would I tell you that?”
I try to make up a valid excuse. “Because you want to help me?”
“I’m a demon; I don’t help people—I influence them to do bad things so I can watch them get dragged to hades. That’s what I do. And my name is Nalchiorus.”
“Nalchiorus, I have to get home before my parents get back. They’ll be destroyed if they see I’m gone,” I wail.
“But, you wanted to die—I could sense it in your spirit. Consider all the perks of being here, at least,” he says persuasively.
“But, I want to go home. I know that I never should’ve hoped for this,” I cry.
Nalchiorus frowns. “Listen to me: I’m in charge of making sure your soul reaches the Boss. If I don’t take it to him, no one will ever know that you were here. Try out the demon lifestyle, and if it doesn’t suit you well, then I’ll…not care.”
“What?! No, you have to give me my soul back!”
“I already told you, ‘I don’t help people’!” Nalchiorus turns his back and walks away, but I don’t let him get too far.
I spring out, wrapping my arms around his legs as he drags me along the dry, cracked ground on my belly. “Please, Nalchiorus! I’ll do anything!”
Nalchiorus stops in his tracks. “Anything, you say?” he questions. A sense of darkness sheds from his question. He turns back to look at me as I release his legs. “Alright. Help me overthrow the Boss so I can rule hades and I’ll give you your soul back. Do we have a deal?” He reaches his hand out to me.
I grab his hand and shake it. “Deal,” I agree, although, I have to admit that making deals with demons is rather unsettling.
“Great, let’s go,” Nalchiorus says.
I jump in surprise. “Now?”
“Yes now. Right now. It’ll be a while. The Boss stays in the heart of hades. If you want to make it there before sunset, we have to leave now,” Nalchiorus states in a demanding manner.
I sigh. “Alright, then. Now.”
We walk along through the hot, dark, rocky terrain of hades in hopes to reach our destination soon.
It’s pretty hard for me to relax in knowing that Nalchiorus holds my life in the palm of his hand. So, even if I DO succeed in helping him overthrow his boss, I may still never return home in my own, regular body. This thought worries me as we climb a hill and stop at a cliff.
Nalchiorus sharply exhales. “The Cliff of Agony. This must be climbed up.”
I fold my arms, daring to be indifferent. “Why can’t we just fly?”
“Because, if we fly, the lava giants will rise up and rip our wings from our backs.”
“Why the heck is that?!”
“To stop us from flying,” Nalchiorus says.
“But, they belong here and you do too, so—“
“Everything must be done in some form of torment. Those are the rules,” he finishes.
“Sounds stupid to me,” I mutter as I reach for a jagged rock and scrape my palms trying to climb up.
“Yes, many of the rules here you’ll believe are stupid, then.” Nalchiorus looks down at me as he climbs up. “Oh, and by the way, this isn’t the only cliff to be climbed. It takes quite a few days.”
“What?! A few days?! You told me we could make it before sunset,” I fuss, grunting and pulling myself up; but I’m having trouble with my footing.
“Our time is different. You could get to your home before YOUR sun sets, but mine would have already set many times.”
Just then, I cry out loudly as my foot slips and I let go of the rock above me. “Waaaaaaah!”
“HECKATEE,” Nalchiorus calls out, reaching his hand out to me, but I’ve already fallen out of reach.
I unconsciously open my wings to break my fall, and the second I do, the ground begins to shake, and loud rumbling echoes about the endless cavern. A lava giant rises up from the lava next to the cliff wall.
“Yeeeeeeee!” I scream as I catch sight of the creature, then, something grabs hold of my wrist and brings me back up. I look up as I’m snatched skyward to find Nalchiorus skyrocketing up with his wings flapping hard against the tepid gusts from the lava giant’s movement.
Nalchiorus growls as he lugs me around, glancing back in alarm as the lava monster lashes out its long arm to smack us out the sky. “Iiihn!” he grunts, barrel rolling to the left and avoiding the monster’s blow.
The lava giant hits the cliff and sends out boulders of destroyed wall towards us.
I shriek and cover my eyes with my free arm as I dangle by Nalchiorus’ hand. “Aaagh!”
Right as two boulders head for us, ready to make us into a sandwich, Nalchiorus darts between them, flying through at a sideways angle to escape through the narrow passageway out; my feet scrape along the rock as we pass through.
The lava giant sees that we’re almost at the top of the cliff and slings burning sulfur our way.
“Nalchiorus!” I cringe as the wave heads towards us.
Only inches from the top of the cliff, and inches from being overtaken by sulfur, Nalchiorus flings me over the edge of the cliff, and I hit the ground rolling as the sulfur crashes against the cliff wall and rains back down.
I quickly run for cover from the lava-rain, hiding under a rock as the lava giant sinks back down into the depths of the lava. After the rain stops, I run back over to the cliff’s edge and call for Nalchiorus. “Nalchiorus!” I call and call, but I don’t get a reply from him. “No!”
“Quit your screaming,” a familiar voice calls, “I’m alright.”
I turn around and run to Nalchiorus as he dusts off his tattered black and red clothes. “You’re okay!”
“Demons can’t die, and torment is a way of life,” he reminds me. “Trust me: I’m used to it.”
I wrap my arms tight around his neck and hug him while he stands at a loss on how to take this.
Nalchiorus shudders. “But this torture is a new kind,” he states, trying to wriggle free of my grasp. Finally, after a few seconds more, he finds the hood of my shirt and snatches me off himself, pushing me away. “If you plan to live, you can’t go willy-nilly around here like that, otherwise you WILL die.”
I give a blank stare, startled out my wits. “Oh. I didn’t know.”
Nalchiorus shrugs it off. “Yeah? Well, there’s a lot you don’t know, it would seem. And if you ever hug me again, I will chain you up and throw you into the lava pit.” I laugh as I assume he’s joking, but he doesn’t laugh with me. He stares at me with a straight face. “I’m serious.”
I stop dead in my laughter. “Alright.”
Nalchiorus walks over to the rock I sheltered under, then he sits down and stretches. “We’ll rest here, for now.” He lies down under the rock with his hands behind his head.
I sit down next to him and pull at my loincloth in a fidgety manner. I glance rather often back down at Nalchiorus as his eyes are closed and he lies on the rock ground. I try not to stare as I observe him curiously. My mind races with thought, going from this to that, wondering about everything possibly open to wonder.
“Child, why do you stare at me? Continue it and I will put your eyes out,” Nalchiorus threatens.
I gasp and gulp. For a moment, I forgot his nature already, but I quickly remember now that he’s said this.
Nalchiorus opens an eye and gives a playful smile. “Just kidding,” he chuckles. “Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m just—curious, I guess.” I hesitate, wondering if I should go on and if he’d care to hear.
“Curious about what?” he asks.
“What’s it like always being—you know—hated, tortured, lonely?”
Nalchiorus sits up and looks me in the eyes. “Being hated doesn’t bother me, I guess. I mean, it’s my job. Somebody has to be the bad guy…even if…if they don’t want to.”
My eyes shoot open in shock. “You don’t want to be bad?”
“Well, I’ve never had the chance to consider NOT being bad; that’s not really an option for my kind.”
I huff and stick my lip out. “I hate it when you don’t get to decide things for yourself. My parents never let me choose anything, back at home.”
“Authority and oppression are universal struggles that cannot be avoided unless through mercy by the of the powerful,” Nalchiorus states. Nalchiorus gazes up and notices the glow on the stalactite-filled cave is slightly brighter. “Oh, morning.” He stands up and helps me to my feet.
“Already?” I shrug as we begin to walk again. “So, listen—I like your name, but it’s really tiring having to call you by it. I mean, it’s pretty long.”
“Yes, demon names can be rather long. ‘Nalchiorus’ is only my title—it means ‘dark deceiver’. My real name is actually Justin.”
I blush and direct my golden eyes to the ground. “That’s a nice name.”
Justin smiles his fanged smile. “Thank you. You can call me it, if you wish.”
Just then, the air rings out flaps of several wings. We stop in our tracks, glancing about, but we don’t see anything.
“Wah!” We both cry out as a tall, black-haired, green-eyed man lands in front of us, accompanied by several other demons.
“If it isn’t Nalchiorus leaving his post again,” the man says, certainly not amused.
Justin grits his teeth together. “Tormentious, leave me alone.”
“Sure thing…only, you must have forgotten: there are no rules saying I have to! That’s what I love about this place. I’ll take you down, and hades will be mine.” Tormentious flicks out his fist and sends fire streaming towards us.
Justin pulls me to his side and leaps into the air, hovering above the ground as the fire strikes and scorches the rock behind us, breaking it apart. Justin shoves me away and I nearly fall, catching myself with my wings. “Stay here!” he orders, and he flies back down to fight Tormentious.
Justin waves about his hands and summons a trident from the flames he created by movement. “Hrrrrahhhhh!” He rushes for Tormentious, who turns into a bull and clashes horns with Justin’s trident.
The other spectating demons cheer for their leader when Tormentious thrusts his horns into Justin and knocks him aside.
“Oof!” Justin is flung into a rock wall and hits the ground hard. Slowly, he stands back up, uneasy as he finds the bull charging at him full speed. “Hiiyuh!” He lifts his trident into the air and thrashes the ground, breaking apart the rocky terrain and sending Tormentious flying.
The other demons grow silent seeing their master’s been knocked away by such a powerful strike. “Get him!” one calls, and they all fly towards Justin, unexpectedly overpowering him in a matter of seconds.
Justin is buried faster than I can blink; meanwhile, Tormentious is rising back up, taking his natural form again and heading for Justin!
A metallic clatter catches my attention and I redirect my eyes back to Justin as I see his trident has hit the ground and his body is no longer visible for the seven demons pinning him down. I look again and I see that’s what Tormentious is after—the trident!
I, somehow managing to use my newly-found wings, zip down to the ground and snatch up the trident.
Tormentious comes to a screeching halt and looks up at me as I flutter up to the sky, unsure of what to do now that I have the trident. “Hey, you give that here or I’ll make you suffer a worse fate than death!”
“No, now leave Justin alone!” I swing the trident out, only meaning to make a fierce gesture, but my gesture becomes a sudden jolt of electricity from the tip of the trident to Tormentious and his demon friends.
The electricity zaps them all, flinging the pile of bodies off Nalchiorus as Tormentious cries out in agony.
I am appalled at the fact that I just did that. I slowly bring myself down to meet Justin’s side, and I hand him his trident back.
Nalchiours takes hold of the trident and walks up to Tormentious. “Let this be a lesson to you: don’t challenge me.” He thrusts the trident into Tormentious; Tormentious took short, choppy breaths, trembling after the trident mercilessly met his body, then he fell to the ground. Justin retracts his trident and it disappears in flames, just the way it appeared.
The rest of Tormentious’ demons flee after witnessing their fearless leader’s demise.
Justin nods to me. “You were amazing with handling the trident. You sure you haven’t been here before?”
I laugh. “Ha! Possitive.”
“Well, thanks to you, entering the tower will be a cinch,” Justin sighs, pointing to a tower on a hill just ahead.
“Wait, so, this is it?” I begin to shake with anticipation as we climb the hill.
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