The cruel heat of the day was beating down on our backs. I slid backward as I blocked one of my teammate’s punches. We were training for the upcoming battle. What battle you may ask? The one against the wicked Queen Rune. She killed my mother and turned my sister against me. I don’t care how long it takes me, she will be the one to perish. I take a quick look at the trees. Outside of the so-called queen’s kingdom, it was kill or be killed. They were the perfect targets in their preoccupied activity. That’s when I noticed a familiar silver-eyed girl.
“All right, that’s enough for today. Go get some rest. We’ll start again at the same time.” I ordered the rather large squad. I smiled as I watched them laugh and joke about their day. I then turned and walked over to the bottom of the tree that the girl was in.
“What do you think of them?” I asked her as she leaped gracefully down from the think branches.
“Why do you care about my opinion? You never needed it with the previous groups.” She answered. I sighed. Why doesn’t she care about this? Is she not my friend?
“I can’t ask for your opinion now and then?” I was careful not to anger her. She may be my friend, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a nasty side.
“That’s not what I was implying. What I meant was why are you still doing this?” The girl was not helping her case.
“Star, you know why I’m doing this. I can’t let her just think she can do this and get away with it!” I growled, knowing all too well that Stargazer will refuse to join me in my quest.
“Maybe you should wait a bit. The right group will come in time, but they aren’t the ones. The countless others that were here before them weren’t the right ones either.” I opened my mouth to speak, but she cut me off.
“What will you do when she’s dead? If you keep this up, once as she’s dead, you’ll be at a loss of what to do with yourself. You’d have driven everyone away from you by that time-”
“Are you saying I can’t do this?” I roared with outrage. How dare she say that I am incapable of performing such a feat.
“If you were to help, we’d be able to defeat her. Why won’t you help?” I asked through gritted teeth, I was trying my very best to remain calm.
“I am bound by the law. As are you. Why won’t you listen to me when I tell you it’s not her time?” I rolled my eyes and walked away. Like she understood what I was going through. She still had her parents, both of them. She still had all of her siblings. My father left me and went to that blasted witch of a queen. I was alone. Storming into my room, I slammed the door. It made a loud cracking sound. Just because I am the God of Life doesn’t mean I can’t be nefisian as well. I don’t understand why she has to be that way. I heard knocking on my door. Who’d want to see me at this hour is beyond me. I opened the door to find the last person I was expecting.
“Good evening, Lloyd.” I stared in shock at the god of war.
“Good evening, Vincent. What brings you to my quarters?” I was quite confused to see him here and not near Rune’s city. Vincent hated being a royal guard to her, but it kept her off of his children. She thought he was loyal to her only.
“Just checking on you. I heard rumors of a battle coming up, I’d get prepared for the worst if I were you. According to some of my Co-workers, Rune has found the location of our castle.” Fear froze my heart.
“How soon should we be expecting an attack?” I asked, my leadership tendencies getting the best of me.
“In a few days. What should we do?” Hold on, he was requesting me to come up with a plan?
“Why are you asking me? Shouldn’t it be the High Master you go to?” I glanced away nervously. I’m not exactly favored among the other gods and goddesses. They snickered and pointed as I walk by them. Occasionally, I’ve even heard them laugh at comments their ‘friends’ made about me. I hated it, but I followed Star’s council and ignored them.
“I would, but I know he would want us to hide the castle. I refuse to do that without even fighting her first! But alas, I can not even join the battle unless I want her to find out I am not loyal to her.” Vincent sighed heavily.
“I talked to most of the other gods and goddesses. They agreed that you’d be the best one to talk to for these types of plans.” Honestly, I was shocked when he said this. The others thought I’d be a better leader than the High Master? That’s a first.
“I’ll work on a plan right away.” I laughed at my sudden realization.
“How does she expect to beat a team of well-trained immortals?” Vincent shrugged.
“I wouldn’t get too cocky. She may seem less powerful, but she is cunning enough to know what makes her enemy tick.” My smile faded as I processed this information. It didn’t matter, though. She will have numbers on her side, that’s for sure, but she doesn’t have the powers we do. I have my Elite squad that could help as well. Maybe, just maybe, I could convince Star to join this. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until she returns. Which won’t be until late at night, knowing her. However, there is the chance that I might never get to talk to her because I’ll be drilling the immortals all day and possibly most of the night. They will need rest. Not even an immortal can properly function with sleep deprivation.
The next three days flew past. I spent most of my time drilling the immortals and the Elite. I just hoped that they would relay the message to Star. But, come to think of it, I haven’t seen Star nor her siblings over these past few days.
“Master Lloyd,” A voice shook me out of my thoughts. I turned around to find myself face to face with the goddess of love. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Amy. What are you doing here? It’s after hours.” Terrified, I remembered the goddess of love has a rather violent side when it came to her being tired.
“It’s Star, Demnea, and Cole. I haven't seen them. Especially not my dear Cole! He always told me when something was wrong or if he was leaving.” I had to admit she was right. Cole was the most rational of the triplets. He’d let everyone know what was going on, yet no one has seen him for three days. He wasn’t one to leave Amy either. He loved her almost as much as she loved him. I couldn’t have Amy fight, she never enjoyed fighting anyway. I could send her to find Cole. Then again, she wouldn’t have anyone to defend her. Her tears weren’t helping me decide either.
“Amy, I haven’t seen them since Tuesday. I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I-” Horns sounded in the distance. Shoot, I have to get Amy out of here. I grabbed her hand and quickly started going for a hidden door in the wall.
“Follow me and don’t slow down!” I ordered her. The wall opened up after I quickly tapped a rhythm on it. I led her down the passageway and took a sharp left. We ran through the seemingly endless maze, traveling down several stairs and taking many sharp turns. Until we heard some soldiers running behind us. I pulled my double-bladed sword, Solar Flare, off my back.
“Amy, when you reach the end of this hall, take the first right and keep running. Deep in a forest there is a smith shop. To get there all you have to do is tell the forest you are friends with Star and show them this.” I pulled out an eight-pointed star pendant out of my pocket.
“Go!” I yelled. I turned around and pushed a hidden button on the wall, revealing a hidden tournament room. The soldiers froze and looked in awe as the surrounding landscape changed. I could no longer hear Amy’s footsteps behind me. I spun Solar Flare in my hands. That’s when the first soldier recovered his senses and attacked. We were locked in combat, slashing, stabbing, and blocking. Hoping to get through the other’s defenses. It didn’t take long for the other soldiers that followed him joined. I didn’t care, though. I could easily take on these rookies. In a matter of minutes, they were on the ground in their own blood. I raced the way I’d come, hoping to get there in time to help.
What I saw when I opened the hidden door was horrific. Crimson liquid was splattered all over the walls. Bodies lay in positions that no nefisian could do on their own. They were twisted, dismembered, and mangled. It was like some sick person had played with them as they died. I felt sick to my stomach. Who would do such a thing? Then it hit me. How could one person possibly do this?
“There you are young Life.” I have only heard her cold and apathetic voice once before, but it wasn’t one I could forget.
“Rune,” I growled her name, voice oozing with spite. I turned around to face this foul angel.
“Oh, does the being of all that is living hate me? How funny. Here I thought you were supposed to be kind and forgiving.” I hissed as she took another step closer to me. Her unnatural magenta eyes peered into my very being. Her jagged smile and long purple hair were stained with scarlet.
“How… how could you be that inhumane? They did nothing but defend their home!” I shouted. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Terrified is probably a better way of describing what I felt. Here I was, face to face with a murderer. Not just any murderer, but one that could kill dozens in minutes.
“It’s just a game. They never play right, though. That gets them killed.” Her laugh, it sent shivers down my spine. It sounded so detached and just flat out creepy. There is no one on any world that could convince me that she was sane.
“I will play none of your stupid games. And if you think you will get the castle of the immortals, then you are mistaken.” I bolted down a nearby stairwell. I swerved through halls and pounded down steps. Until I found the core of the castle.
“Core of the ancients, hear me! A great foe has entered our walls. Let her be forced from these sacred grounds and the castle be buried until the next immortals arrive.” I commanded the glowing flower. The room filled with light and the castle was gone. A spiral scar now marked the grounds where the castle once lay. I sat there for a moment, taking in what had just occurred. Then I remembered something. Amy! Had she made it to Nuriye’s house all right? I stood up and ran into the forest to find her.
I ran deep into the forest to find them. Then I finally found them, well at least two of them. Demnea and Cole. I marched up to them, fury still blinding my actions.
“There you are!” I shouted, allowing the anger to reach my voice.
“Why do you care suddenly?” Demnea answered me.
“Are you kidding me? We were just attacked, by Rune no less. You guys were just standing here? If you had stayed to help us, then the rest of the immortals wouldn’t have been killed!”
“Wait, what? Did Amy-” I cut Cole off before he could continue.
“She’s fine! I sent her to Nuriye’s workshop. Your father is fine too. But why didn’t you help us?”
“Star was going to create a portal to help everyone escape, I-”
“You’re telling me that you were helping her make something that not even the other immortals could create? Are you that stupid?” I snarled. They flinched back, fear etched into their eyes.
“Excuse me? Who said you may treat my siblings like this?” A voice demanded from behind me.
“There you are, Star! Where were you when we needed you?” I started, but she quickly stopped me from taking any more.
“Needed me? You made it quite clear you didn’t need me for anything. As for where I was, that’s none of your gosh darn business! Now, answer my question!” The hybrid’s icy eyes glared as her strong voice commanded.
“…” I was silent. Star took this as a cue to continue.
“That’s what I expected. Will you listen to me this time?” I stayed quiet. I dropped my silver and green eyes to the ground. But when I looked into Star’s eyes, I could feel nothing but rage.
“You let the other immortals die, Star. Now you are asking me to listen to your excuses? You can’t be serious? I thought you were better than all the other immortals of death before you!” I immediately knew I had gone too far. I wanted to cover my mouth, to stop the words from falling out. But I couldn’t, I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to drive my only and best friend away like I did my sister. I was like a puppet being pulled by the strings, I could not control myself. Even though, I could see the hurt in Star’s eyes. Nothing could make me conclude my assault. It pained me to be unable to stop.
“Why in the world did you even help me when my sister betrayed me if you were just going to turn on me as well?” My voice continued despite my mental pleas. Tears sprung from the girl’s eyes.
“Was it actually your sister who betrayed you, or was it you who betrayed her? You should be more careful, you never know who you will drive away next.” She hissed before spinning on her heels and running into a blue portal, Nuriye right behind her. In a bright flash, the machine broke down. I felt the controls being returned to me, but I didn’t move.
“Good job, Lloyd. You drove our sister away.” Cole snarled, Demnea had begun to cry and buried her face into her brother’s chest. It didn’t take long for the trapdoor of heartache to open up from underneath me. I sunk to my knees. Why had I been so angry? I don’t understand. This wasn’t supposed to happen, I wanted to see if Amy was okay. Why did I yell at them? My heart twisted and stung as the realization of what I had just done weighed down on me. Why didn’t I let Rune kill me? This never would have happened.
“Lloyd?” A broken, distant voice called to me. I didn’t respond, why should I? How could I? I didn’t want to hurt them too.
“Lloyd!” Another voice called. I didn’t care, I just wanted Star back. But I know that I could never get her back, not anymore.
“LLOYD!” Both voices yelled as their owners shook me urgently. Slowly turning my head, I see the worried look on Demnea’s face. Why did she care? I just chased away the third triplet, their sister.
“You didn’t want this, did you? You came here with a different purpose.” I looked back down at the ground and watched as two drops fell onto my knees. I hadn’t even noticed I was crying until now.
“I came to make sure Amy was all right,” I choked, my voice was coated in anguish, “I didn’t mean for…” I couldn’t finish my sentence as a fresh flow of tears waterfall’d down my face. Demnea pulled me close to her as I sobbed, holding me like I would easily fade away.
“She’ll be back, we just need to be patient,” Cole whispered gently. I felt another pair of arms go around me. I was suddenly aware of Amy’s presence. Had she witnessed the whole thing?
“Come, let’s get you inside.” Her calm and loving voice allowed me to get a hold of myself. At least for the moment. They’re right, I’ll just have to wait. I don’t care how long that will take, I will wait for her. However long that may be. The only thing I didn’t realize, is that only when time stops will she return.
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