[SSF] Pirates II

Chapter 2: Light

Being exposed to that much natural light all at once was quite disorienting, which was weird, because natural light shouldn’t be that much of a problem with my Adept eyes activated. It took me a minute to realize, but it wasn’t natural light I was seeing. The whole southern side of the building was on fire. There were several gaping holes in the building, and flames protruded from the area around the blasts. Debris was everywhere. Bodies we re scattered along the walls, some were limp, and others writhed in agony. I only saw one small group of people standing in the distance.

Yian carried both Charles and I to the group. There were a few clerics, and about three warriors, all working together to lift a burning steel girder off of a trainee. We touched down and rushed over to help. With the aid of my shadow I lifted the beam onto my shoulder and staggered over to the edge of the island, dropping it into the abyss. On my way here it looked like we were surrounded by water, but in this thick smoke I couldn’t tell. I saw Jin out of the corner of my eye. He was busily drawing fire away from the building and shooting it off in powerful bursts toward the edge of the island. Charles and I ran up to him, coughing in the smoke. Jin looked a bit too comfortable.

“Jin!” I screamed, waving my arms around. What the hell happened here?” He smiled his sadistic grin when he saw me through the smoke.

“Look who decided to sh–” I interrupted him.

“Damn it Jin, there’s no time for this. Tell me what happened, now!” He blinked in surprise, but soon recomposed himself and answered.

“There’s a ship, about 100 meters up. It’s firing its cannon at the school.” As soon as Jin finished his sentence, another explosion went off, directly next to us. Jin quickly burst into action, moving the fire before it had a chance to spread. Seemingly out of no where, two shadowy figures burst from the smoke. One carried a bow, and the other a long staff. The bowman snatched an arrow from his quiver and fit it into the bow. As he did so, the arrow burst into flame. The light from the flame revealed the wielder, Fye. He let the arrow go, and it lodged into something. Along the path, flaming shards of rock fell from the sky, making the sound of an explosion as they hit the ground. The mage, who I didn’t recognize, lifted his staff. Almost immediately, the fire on the ground froze in it’s place, traveling up and making the outline of a person. Under closer inspection, it turns out it was a person, in a Navy uniform.

“Fye!” I waved over to him. He had a weird, tired look in his eye, but as soon as he saw me, he brightened up. Somehow he saw through my changed appearance and knew it was me.

“Echo! When did you-” He was cut off by one of the soldiers. The mage shot off a quick bolt of ice that impaled him through the chest. He fell to the floor, writhing in agony.

“Keep your guard up man.” scolded the mage. He looked over at me. “So you’re the Echo he’s been talking about.” He looked me up and down, then smiled. “Welcome back mate.”

Another soldier shuffled out of the smoke and jumped on the mage’s back. Jin stuck out his hand and shot a bolt of fire at the soldier’s head. He fell off and flailed about, before Fye shot off an arrow in its heart.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be admiring other men and focus on the task at hand, Raeken.” I held up my hands in protest.

“Guy’s stop. We don’t have time for this. Fye, Charles, Raeken, can you take care of things down here?” They all nodded. “Good. Jin come with me. We’ll take care of the ship.” Jin and I hopped onto Yian’s back and we launched upward towards the ship.

It was nearly impossible to find in all of the smoke. I tried to reach out and find it with my mind. When I thought I was getting a lock on a portion of the ship I focused all of my attention over there. As it crept around the bow, I suddenly touched something very bright. As I crept around the object, the light got brighter and brighter, until it was blinding me, in my mind. It was so bright, my mind instinctively shrunk away from it. Instead of following the ship, I followed the dark spot around the object my mind was avoiding. Soon, the ship came into view.

“Jin! Can you clear up some of this smoke?” I had to yell over the sound of the engines on the ship. It must have been a much older model than the one I rode into school on.

“No problem.” He lifted his arms and chanted something, and all the smoke within a forty foot radius immediately dissipated. Yian charged toward the exposed ship. It kept darting around, moving out of reach just as we got close. As we pursued, they started moving faster and faster. Soon, they were firing cannonballs at us. Jin shot a stream of fire at it.

“Idiot. What is fire, going to do to a speeding projectile?” As it neared us, I launched myself off Yian’s back and at the cannonball. I charged my knuckles, and punched at it with all my might. The cannon ball went flying back towards the ship, but, predictably, it dodged out of the way before it made contact. Yian ducked around and met me in midair as I was falling. That gave us enough of a distraction to get slightly closer to the ship.

“This isn’t going to work.”

“What exactly?” inquired Jin. His confused look provided me with a brief moment of levity, before turning back on my gravitas.

“We have to split up. I’ll take care of the guys on the ship, and you take care of the cannon.”

“Why can’t I take care of the guys on the ship?” Whined Jin.

“Because you and Yian are the only ones with ranged attacks, while I, on the other hand, need to be in close quarters.” He sighed in defeat.

“Okay, but if we finish before you, there better be some left for me.” His bloodlust disturbed me for a moment, before I realized it was a joke. Leave it to an intense moment concerning the lives of hundreds of people to change the attitude of a person. Go figure.

Yian maneuvered close enough for me to latch onto the side of the ship with the aid of a makeshift grappling hook of shadow.

“Wish me luck.”

“No thanks.” He grinned. I don’t think I liked Jin’s friendly side too much. It was remarkably close to his unfriendly side. I pulled myself onto the railing of the ship. The scene I partook of was much to my amazement. On deck, there were about seven men, all walking around the mast with pinpoint precision. They were all wearing the naval uniforms, and had a very dead look in their eye. However, it wasn’t just that. Something about their eyes bothered me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Their captain was slouching over the steering column, staring intensely off into space. I wonder how he could possibly be piloting the ship with such mastery with posture that atrocious.

Quickly I leaped down onto the deck. As soon as my feet touched the wood, all seven of the men’s eyes snapped over to me. Without warning, they all rushed me, four pinned my limbs against the woodwork, and the other three clawed at my clothing. I realized what was bothering me about their eyes. Each of them had no irises. Their eye was only white, with a large, extremely dilated black pupil in the direct center, never moving, no matter which way their heads turned.

“Not to be rude, but I believe it would be better for your state of well being to cut off direct contact with my body . . . immediately.” The zombie like soldiers continued. One scratched me so deeply the blood began to gush onto one of the heads of the ones restraining my legs.

“No? Okay, then if we can’t work this out like gentlemen . . .” I closed my eyes and focused deeply on the seal between Yian and me’s power. Demitri had forbidden me from using this technique, but at the moment, outnumbered 7 – 1, I think I could justify breaking the rules.

I could feel the excess energy gushing into my body. I knew it was time. My eyes involuntarily burst open. Without realizing what I was doing, my mouth formed the word, “Transform!” Without warning, my consciousness was swept aside with the wave of energy that inundated my body. My muscles pushed themselves to the limit, rapidly growing in size. My canines slowly elongated into fangs. My once human pupils narrowed into the narrow slits of a cat. I was no longer in control, I couldn’t hang on. Yian’s animal instincts guided my actions.

With a bellow of rage, I lifted my arms, sliding the two soldiers who were restraining them into my palms. Their bodies were like rag dolls to my now bulging muscles. I threw them, with little effort, to the opposite side of the ship. Their bodies buckled under the force, but they were soon on their feet, heading back over to me. As if ignoring the five other people attached to my body, I pushed passed them and grabbed Necros from its resting place. I aimed at one of the advancing soldiers and fired, splattering his duodenum, jejunum, and ileum all over the deck behind him. For an instant, he stared at the gaping hole in his chest, before collapsing into a pool of blood and pancreatic juices.

The soldiers halted their activities for a moment. They craned their necks to look at their fallen comrade. The pause gave me enough time to spin my body around, flinging the soldiers from my body. One unlucky victim was thrown over the rail and into the smoky abyss. If he survived, I’m sure the party down below would take care of it.

Crouching on all fours, I dashed toward the hesitant group. I leapt into the air and crashed into one terrified looking zombie. I slammed my head into his, splattering blood everywhere. As he slumped against the railing on the opposite side of the ship, I rushed at him again, smashing his face through the wood with one swift punch. His body slumped, and I grabbed him by his legs and tossed him off the side of the ship. I turned, and pounced at my next victim. As I neared him, I leapt into the air, and kneed him in the face. The sickening crunch of bone accompanied my motion. Caught up in the moment, I followed through with my leg, kicking him powerfully in the chest. The body soared helplessly into the mast, still twitching in agony. I charged a copious amount of energy into Necros, and fired off a devastating bullet. On contact, the bullet exploded into a shadowy mass of energy, completely incinerating the body, and dissolving a significant chunk of the mast. The wooden gigantean let out one last agonizing groan before toppling to the deck, covering the gory mass with the solar sails. The three remaining soldiers barely had time to jump out of the way.

The captain bellowed in anger. I could hear the slight cracking of wood as he gripped the steering column tighter than I thought possible. His posture was now rigid, but he had the same dead, yet focused look in his eye that lead to no where in particular. The roar seemed to give the soldiers a second wind, because their stance recovered as they regrouped. Before they had time to attack me as a group, I rushed forward so quickly I seemed to disappear. I slowed as I reached the middle soldier, and quickly shoved my gun into his mouth. The nozzle tickled his uvula during entry, as I could tell by his muffled gag. I looked into his dead eyes once before I pulled the trigger. Blood spewed out behind him as he collapsed to the floor, decorating the sails in a fractal like pattern.

I wasted no time with the two remaining ones. One grabbed my arm to try and pull me away from the dying body of his comrade. Before the other one could get me, I turned and slapped my captor with the barrel of the gun, causing him to reel back in pain. Following through with my stroke, I pushed him down to the floor and dove on top of him. I punched his face into the deck, and wouldn’t let up until all of his twitching ceased. Instead of getting up, I pushed myself onto my hands and wrapped my legs around the last soldier’s neck. He knew what was coming next, he didn’t even resist. I flipped him over and slammed his body through the deck, head first. His body never moved again.

The captain roared in response to the defeat of his crew, a roar that threatened to deafen me. But I couldn’t cover my ears, my body wouldn’t let me. It was too intent on the murder of the man who started the attack.

I stared down the captain from behind, crouching on all fours, muscles tense, ready to pounce. Slowly, his head span around, demonically, a full 180 degrees. Of course, I was horrified, but my body ignored me. Within a flash, the body disappeared and reappeared in front of me, in striking position. The blow sent me sprawling into the rail, cracking it in two. I jumped up and lunged at the captain. He disappeared, and I felt another blow on my back. I sprawled forward, but as soon as all fours were back on the floor I shuffled backwards at lightning speeds, knocking him off his feet. He jumped back up in an instant, but I had already turned around, slamming him in the face with all my strength. He screamed out in pain. As his body flew away from my knuckled fist, the energy flow was diverted. A beam of energy followed the captain as he flew onto the railing, causing him to roar in agony. He hopped over the edge.

I ran over to see what had happened. I caught a glimpse of something that looked like a foot pulling under the bottom of the boat, but I wasn’t sure. Before I could further investigate, I heard a screech that resembled that of a gryphon. I spun around and held up my hand in defense. The energy was diverted again, and I have another powerful looking shock to the captain. He fell to the floor in pain, crouching over in the fetal position. As soon as I closed my fist, he was up on his feet again, on the offensive. It rushed over, but before it got a grip on me I kicked it in the chest, flinging it into the mast. He got up, un-phased and attacked again. This time I shot him in the chest several times with Necros. He roared in pain, but as soon as he pulled out the bullets he lunged again. He slammed into my chest, sending me flying off the edge of the ship. I was panicking, but my body remained collected. I punched into the hull of the ship and grabbed onto a piece of shrapnel. I pulled myself into the hull with one hand, clearing out a path on the way through. I was in the very bottom of the ship. There was a smoking structure of metal sticking out of the bow. I assumed that it was the cannon of the ship.

Quickly I searched out with my mind for the captain. Something above me was producing such a blinding light that my mind instantaneously receded. Although I didn’t get anything from that, my body did, and it jumped through the rafters where the light was strongest. I appeared right behind the captain. I spun around in the air with my arm extended, punching him in the face on my second revolution. He skidded across the floor and smashed into the doors that lead to the cabins.

The only think that seemed to hurt him was direct contact with my shadow. Before he could get up, I rushed over and gripped his head in my hands. The energy diverted from the knuckles and directly into his body. This was the first time I got close enough to look at his face. He was drooling a light-red liquid from the corners of his mouth. It also dripped from his eyes, and his nose. It looked a lot like diluted water. His eyes were bare; there was no pupil or iris. The whites of his eyes were laced with a spider web of red lines, as if he were sleep deprived. The lines bunched together into knots, not necessarily located in the center of his eyes.

His body squirmed in my hands. He rained blows upon my body, but I didn’t care. The only thing I wanted was to see him dead. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of déjà vu. I knew where it was coming from. The first time I felt this kind of blood lust. The first time I lost control, when I first fought Soren. My consciousness slowly slipped back into greater influence over my body. I contemplated letting him live, but I knew in the back of my head that wasn’t the right thing to do. If he lived, there would be more attacks on the school. More people would die; and I couldn’t let that happen. I let loose, channeling all the energy pouring into me from Yian into the captain. When my body couldn’t take anymore, I gave as much of it from myself as I could. My teeth receded back to normalcy, and my pupil filled out to their normal shape. As I increased the amount of energy that flew into him, his body started to self destruct. His skin flaked and fell off, dissolving before it hit the floor. Next came the muscles and nervous system; then the organs inside of his bony frame. At the end, all that remained in my hand was his polished, ivory skull. I gave the last of the energy I had, and the skull started to oxidize. At least that’s what it looked like at first. By the end, what remained in my hand was a black swirling mass that gave off a golden light. The mass swarmed around my arm and behind my back. I didn’t have time to wonder however, because one by one, my body systems began to shut down.

My muscles were the first. I collapsed into a heap, shaking violently. My senses began to fade. I could no longer feel my body against the cool, rough wooden floor. My vision blurred into a swirling white canvas. My thoughts were clouded over. The last thing I remember was hearing the frantic voice of Yian in my head, before I drifted off into the light . . .

I took in one last gulp of air and swung my legs over the side of the hospital bed. I had no idea how I had gotten here. I shoved the blankets onto the floor and jumped up, arching upward and reaching for the sky. My body was kind of stiff, nothing a few minutes of stretching couldn’t fix. As I stretched, I increased the energy flow throughout my bodies, which sped up the healing process slightly. When I regained full muscle function I walked over to the one window. It was open, and looked out over a beautiful garden landscape.

I had been in this room for who knows long. I couldn’t contact Yian; he was probably flying somewhere off school grounds or maybe he was with Fye. I walked to the door and giggled the handle. Oddly, it was locked. Suddenly, a gigantic sword burst through the door, right above my head. I jumped back in surprise. The sword retracted, and a gigantic foot plowed it down with little effort. A cloud of dust exploded into the air as the door feel. When it cleared, I was met with Kiel’s frowning face.

“What the hell, why did you break the door down?”

“I told you, we would finish this later. You defiled my honour, I can’t let you get away with that unpunished.”

“That doesn’t answer my question, why the hell did you break the door down?” He scowled and charged at me.

“Tiger style!” He yelled at no one in particular. He jumped around the room in a random pattern, building momentum. At the crown of one of his jumps he extended the sword above his head, posed to swing it down on me. I didn’t have the time, nor was I equipped for this. I didn’t have my Shadow Piece, and Yian wasn’t available for an energy transfer. I had to get out.

He swung downwards with all his might. I simply slid backwards, and he went careening into the floor, getting his sword stuck in the tiles. He happened to land directly between me and the exit, so I used his head as a spring board and vaulted over him, making haste toward the exit. He may be stronger, but I’m definitely faster. I could hear his frantic yelling from the hallway as he barreled after me, sword waving wildly. I tried to reach out with my mind to see if I could get a bearing of where I was, but the exertion began to give me a headache, so I was forced to give up the effort. I blindly turned corners and stumbled a few times. Being inactive for that time in the hospital ward had taken a toll on my coordination.

Kiel followed, right on my heels. As I ran, I would pass an occasional student. They became more and more frequent sightings as I continued through the mazelike building. They usually stared, but that was understandable; I was wearing a hospital gown after all.

“Can’t . . . we . . . talk . . . this out?” I panted, we had been running like this for 20 minutes.

“HONOUR!” He yelled. Unfortunately, as I turned the corner, I slammed head first into a brick wall.

“Damn . . . dead end.” I scrunched up in the corner off the wall, sadly awaiting my fate. I couldn’t run anymore anyway, I was too tired.

“You put up a good fight knave, but I must have my revenge. It’s nothing personal.”

“Isn’t revenge a perfect example of a personal conflict?”

“Annoying to the very end eh? Oh well, no matter. Tiger style!” He ran up with the blade over his head, and swung with all his might. I held up my hand so I wouldn’t have to see my death, but it never came. Intercepting his strike was the strangely golden ball of dark mass. I didn’t spend time questioning it. I pulled my hand back then swung it towards the wall. The mass mimicked my movement, smashing Kiel’s unsuspecting body into the brick wall. I took off out into the hallway. The mass was following me, spinning around my body protectively.

<Echo!> Yian’s voice was frantic.

{Yian? What what’s wrong?}

<Why weren’t you answering me, I’ve been calling you for hours.>

{I . . . I couldn’t hear you. That’s not important, where the hell are you?}

<I’m all the way on the other side of the building, I couldn’t find you. It’s like you disappeared.>

{Well can you get over here, I need some help.} I felt that strange tingle around my temples. I looked behind me. Kiel was only thirty feet back, swinging the sword around his head.

<Why didn’t you tell me you were being attacked?>

{ . . . Hurry up!}

I stretched out my arm behind me. The glowing mass shot out and grabbed Kiel’s leg, tripping him. The sword barely missed his head. As I came to the next corner I jumped up on the wall and launched myself off with my legs, gaining about thirty feet. I tried to reach out with my mind again. This time it barely took any effort. I was in an unfamiliar part of the school. Yian was still over a mile away. I just had to keep him away till I met up with Yian.
Kiel was right down the hall. The lifted the sword above his head yelled something about tigers, and threw the blade down the hall at me. The mass deflected the blade, and it went soaring over my head and fell right in front of me. Without thinking it through I picked it up and ran with it. I was heavy, but I managed. Kiel was yelling and waving his arms around, I ignored him.

Yian burst around the corner, with Fye on his back. Fye jumped off in midair and fired off three arrows behind me. There was some clanking, then a loud swear. In my mind I could see the arrow got Kiel in the only cloth part of his leg armour. Fye ran over to me.

“Thanks . . . Fye.” I was panting with my hands on my knees. Stupid adrenalin rush.

“Are you alright? You look like crap.” He was smiling his trademark grin.

“No, I’m fine.” I choked out between breaths. I fell backwards and stretched out. I felt too tired to move.

“Well . . . whenever you’re ready, Demitri wanted to talk to you.” I sat up again.

“Wow right to business. Not even a hello, how are you?” He smiled.
“There’ll be plenty of time for catching up later. But for now I suggest you just go along with the program. We’re still trying to rebuild.”

“Rebuild . . .” It was then that I remembered the events that lead up to my unconsciousness. I sat back down in a huff. “How long have I been out?”

“Only two days. Come on, lets go.” He said in an encouraging tone. I gripped his hand and struggled to my feet. He seemed much more . . . authoritative than I remembered. I jumped onto Yian’s back and he slowly floated upwards.

“So, you’re still in Leaf Guild I see.” I looked him up and down. His clothing was all green, an overall.

“In it?” He laughed. “I run it.” With that, Yian took off to bring me to Demitri.

Demitri was waiting for us in our sparring room. He looked grave, definitely bothered by something. He didn’t try and cover it up when we walked inside either.

“Hello you two.”

“Hi Demitri.” I walked over to him. He extended his arm to stop me.

“You know we were attacked, correct?”

“Yes.” I didn’t think it was time to use humor, so I didn’t mention how I was the one who stopped it.

“And you fought off the enemies in the boat, correct?”

“Yes.” I didn’t know where this was going,

“And how exactly did you do that?” Oh.

“I . . .”


“I used Transform.” I could feel several emotions inside of him right now. The most prominent was anger.

“How many times have I told you not to use that?”

“Only one.”

“Exactly, because I should only have to tell you once.”

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t see any other choice. Those rebels were acting beyond reason . . . if I didn’t transform, then I would be dead!”

“Those weren’t rebels, Echo. They were Naval officers. You killed eight members of the royal Navy, single handedly.” That took me aback, but I couldn’t back down. I wasn’t wrong.

“I don’t know who they were, sir. All I know was that they weren’t normal. They acted like . . . like zombies.” He obviously wasn’t amused.

“Zombies. Really? Zombies that can fly government issue warships expertly?”

“Look, I know it sounds weird, but you would think twice if you had been there. Look.” I pulled the golden mass to my hand.

“What is that?”

“I’m not sure, but I can control it like shadow. I found it after I killed their captain.”

“Let me see it.” I gestured over to him, and the mass followed. Demitri caught it in his hands. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

The golden aura intensified, almost blinding me. Yian roared and crashed to the floor. Demitri bellowed in pain. His closed eyes began to water. The tears got deeper, and deeper, until they began to run red. His mouth began drooling in the same fashion. His pupils began to shrink until I could no longer see them.

“O sh . . .” I rushed over to Demitri and kicked him in the chest, pulling the mass with me and away from him. The aura calmed itself as I distanced it from Demitri. His body was still twitching violently. I rushed over and placed one hand on his head. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to try. I diverted the flow of his energy into my body. I acted like a filter, extracting the bits of golden mass from the energy flow. Demitri’s eyes gradually returned to normal, and the red liquid stopped flowing from his eyes and mouth. Simultaneously, I lost mental contact with Yian and my mind snapped back into its natural confines. I stumbled a bit, but soon stabilized. Demitri held his hands on his knees panting.

“What the hell just happened.”

“I’m not sure. You started to transform when you touched this thing.” I gestured to the part of the mass that hadn’t entered his body. It was trying to seep into my body. With some effort, I expelled all of it from my system. It was weird; I could control it easily when it was outside of my body, but inside it clung to my energy flow.

“Come on. I think I know who can help.”

“Who?” I shook Yian’s shoulder and he popped up.

<What happened?>

{Not sure, we’re going to find out.} Demitri was already out the door. I hopped on Yian’s back and flew after him.

“I asked you a question.” He was silent. “Must you end everything on a cliché note? Goodness.”

Demitri lead me to a large office. It had a desk, and several mats on the floor for sitting. There were some fancy paintings scattered around the room, nothing too breathtaking. The room gave off an air of importance, but not arrogance. We took seats on the closest mats to the desk. Soon, a man walked in. I recognized him as the man who presented Necros to me. He sat at the desk and immediately looked down, working on some paperwork.

Demitri cleared his throat. The man looked up.

“Can I help you?”

“Hans, don’t be a jerk.”

“Oooh, Demitri. Hello.”

“Awkward . . .” I interrupted.

“Like I asked, what do you want?”

“I can’t talk to you like that, can you please change back?” Hans sighed. A green light surrounded his body, and when it receded, the mature form of Hans Heal took his place.

“Hans? As in Hans Heal?” He looked at me.

“Do I know you?”

“It’s Echo.” He squinted over his glasses, and his eyes brightened with recognition.

“Oooh, the healing kid.” He paused. “Anyway, Demitri what did you want?”

“Right. You know the naval ship that attacked us two days ago?” Hans glared over his glasses. “Right, you do run the school. Anyway, Echo has some new information.” Hans looked at me. “Go ahead Echo.”

I relayed everything I knew about the events that occurred two days ago, leaving out the transformation bit.

“Interesting . . . and you have the mass with you now?” I nodded. “Let me see.”

I waved my arm and the black mass with the golden aura appeared in my hand. I started to hand it to him, but he stopped me.

“That . . . how did you get that?”

“I told you, it was all that was left of the captain after I flooded his body with shadow energy.” He blinked a few times.

“That’s Refined Light!”


“Refined Light. I’ve only seen this once before, in the First Great war. The captain you described, he shows the symptoms of light poisoning.


“There are three main energies in all of the Earths. You know about the theory right? What am I saying, of course you do. The first is Shadow energy, which has two forms. One is just Shadow Energy, which is used as the standard of energy for combat in any normal warrior on First Earth. The second is Refined Shadow. The shadow you use for combat its Refined Shadow. It is extremely volatile and it is the hardest of all energies to control, but, it is extremely powerful when used by a skilled master. The second would be Light energy. Of course you know Light Energy is the common energy is Second Earth. Refined Light however is like the opposite of Refined Shadow. It is extremely easy to control, but much weaker than Shadow. When it’s not being manipulated however, if it get’s in your energy stream, it can have those disastrous effects you saw on the ship. If the infected human is a natural commander of lesser beings, the flow travels across the chain between them, changing their followers into vessels to carry out the hosts bidding.

“During the Great War, occasionally we would find a platoon of enemy soldiers in this zombified state. Their commander behaved in the same manner, wild and uncontrollable. While that was usually the case, the victims of the poisoning also gained highly enhanced abilities, speed and strength. The only way to kill them would be to physically rip them a part and burn the pieces with magical black fire. Of course, we didn’t have a Shadow Master back then, so we didn’t know shadow could do it too. One of our platoons captured one of the leaders directly infected by the poison. After multiple tests, we discovered everything I’ve told you. After we were done, we put the body in a decomposing chamber, and forgot about it. In a few years we came back, and all that was left was a mass of Refined Light, slightly smaller than the one you have there.”

“Okay . . . so what of it?”

“Well I’m not sure. I’m trying to understand why you weren’t affected by it being in your energy stream . . .”

“You said there were three main energies, what’s the third?” I tried to change the subject. I didn’t feel like being scrutinized.

“Well, the third is only theoretical. We call it, Essence. Supposedly it’s the result of the combination of Refined Light and Shadow. All matter is made of Essence. The Great Spirit is the only person who can control Essence.”

“Hmmm.” Demitri interrupted. “So what are we planning to do about this?”

“Well, I can’t let you go running around with Refined Light. Here.” He handed me a golden box. “I should be safe from poisoning if you put it in here.” I maneuvered the light into the box and shut the lid. Hans grabbed it from me immediately.

“Well, we should get going. You have things to do tomorrow Echo.” I nodded to Demitri.

“Okay, lets go.” Hans stood up to usher us out. Demitri whispered something in his ear, and then pushed me out of the room.

I was woken up in the middle of the night by a loud beeping from my locker. I opened the door and looked at the screen. I had a message from Demitri to meet him in the sparring room right away. Yian was fast asleep under my hammock. I groggily pulled myself out of bed and headed to the sparring room. I got to the door and walked inside.


“No.” The door closed behind me in the most cliché way possible. I swung around, only to find Kiel staring back at me. He had a dead expression on his face. His iris’ and pupils were gone. Tears of blood dripped from his eyes. His hair was wild, it seemed to float in a nonexistent wind.


“You were lucky the first time, Echo. You won’t escape from here with you’re life.”

He seemed to teleport forward. Kiel pierced his gigantic blade through my chest. Fye’s necklace clattered to the floor, followed by a crimson pool of blood.

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