There was no pity in his eyes as he surveyed the damages.
At least 40 people were before him moments ago, but now a measly dozen stood in their place. He had allowed Zion to test these members of Tal’hrus, and he was woefully disappointed.
He did not know how many people were still in the fort, but that did not matter to him anymore. They would be dealt with accordingly.
Countless body parts were flying about in the storm that is Zion—circulating around their position. Here and there, blood drizzled upon him and those of Tal’hrus who were still alive.
“Is this the proclaimed might of Tal’hrus? Blown to bits by a little storm?” Kaidus glared at Zavon as he taunted the man. “Well?”
Zavon quietly stared back at him. Kaidus could see the glint of fear in the man’s eyes, yet he knew the man was already planning something. Kaidus stepped forward. “You already know who I am. This time, I am not hiding. Let us see if I am destined to fail as you claimed I would.” He spoke using Zavon’s own words against him. A sudden tinge of agitation appeared on the man’s face.
A silent mutter could be heard coming from Zavon.
“Masssterrr.” Zion’s breeze whispered in his ears.
“You need not concern yourself with this. Eliminate any stragglers still in the fort and anyone who attempts to flee.” He ordered the tempest. Without another word, the breeze happily flew off to join its main body.
As soon as he finished, a ball of ice formed a few paces in front of him and exploded. Kaidus took two quick steps back and with a thought, shielded himself with a mana barrier. As soon as the ice shards stopped, he could see that the survivors were fanning out and surrounding him. A bolt of lightning shot at him from his left. With a timely sidestep, he avoided the magic. As soon as he evaded, the ground beneath his feet engulfed him, holding him in place and pulling him down into the ground. Three more magic spells came roaring at him.
Kaidus relaxed himself and pushed his body into the earth along with the pull of the other mage’s magic. Easily breaking the earth binding spell, he shot into the earth as Headmaster Nylen would have, dodging the three attacks.
He willed his mana to burst outward, and the earth gave in to his command. The ground rippled and in quick successions, the ripples erupted into spikes, impaling anyone who was unprepared.
With earth magic, he elevated himself back up above ground.
Two of the agents who were in his proximity had been penetrated by the earth spikes while the others retreated back a considerable distance.
“Formation 13! Use long range spells and wear him down!” He heard Zavon’s voice shout an order.
An ice chain whipped toward him as two more bolts of frayed lightning homed in on his position. With a thought, another mana barrier deflected the two bolts. With his right hand, a fiery dagger manifested and he quickly severed the icy whip.
‘Third form, Hing.’ In a blur—faster than the eyes can see—he vanished from his position and appeared alongside a woman. He was now holding onto two daggers. The woman held onto her stomach as a large cross burst into flame where she was touching. Amidst cries of agony, her guts fell out as the woman fell forward toward the ground, engulfed by the flames.
Without waiting, Kaidus threw one of the daggers at another man.
Seeing the sudden death of his companion, the man finished his spell he had been invoking. A wall of flame shot along a path straight at Kaidus. As the dagger and the fire spell passed through each other, the flaming dagger absorbed the man’s spell, burning even brighter as it pierced the man’s chest. The dagger burst into flames upon impact.
‘Sixth form, Sonis.’ Without looking to see if the first dagger landed, he threw the remaining dagger as a barrage of magic surged toward his position. In a flash, he emerged as the dagger was about to insert itself into the subtle flesh of another member of Tal’hrus.
Catching the dagger in a backhanded grip with his right hand, he jabbed the dagger down into the man’s left leg. As flames burst forth from the attack, the man bent forward in an attempt to pull out the weapon and to grab him. Turning with the backhanded jab, Kaidus steeled himself and his left fist flew forth, squaring the man’s side in an uppercut. A solid strike filled with mana, he blew the man off his feet as the force exited the man’s back. In the man’s side was a large hole penetrating from his lower right side all the way to an exit on the left-side of his back.
With a grunt and the sound of countless bones exploding, the man fell down and died. Blood began oozing out of the wound.
Kaidus stood his ground and turned to glare at Zavon. Waiting.
Zavon looked at the bloody boy a short distance away from him with eyes filled with horror.
Only moments after the earth spikes that had taken two of his subordinates, another three were already dead. As if to insult them even further, the boy was now looking at him, waiting for his team to make the first move.
‘This can’t be. This is impossible!’ His mind shouted. All his senses were running amok, whispering for him to preserve his life. Even his risky nature was now telling him to get away from the thing that was in front of him.
Yet, where could he possible run off to? They were trapped within the bloody whirlwind. He did not know how to counter such a phenomenon and would require time to figure out how to deal with the storm, not to mention the lengthy incantation that may be required.
As if alive, the storm intensified and pulled the five dead bodies outward, sucking them into the hurricane. Zavon could do nothing but erect a defense around himself, trying to keep from being sucked in. He watched helplessly as another three of his subordinates failed to root themselves on the ground and were swept up by the pull.
Drizzles of newly spilt blood rained down upon them.
“Are we done here?” The boy asked, standing in the same place where he had just taken Ladur’s life.
No one answered the boy.
Zavon looked toward his few remaining men, catching faces filled with fear and disbelief. Suddenly, the boy’s hair flashed and a bright light assaulted their eyes. His vision seared by the blinding light, all he could hear was the sound of bones and flesh being ripped apart.
Mauling his eyes—as if to gouge them out—he screamed out in pain. “What did you do?!” He angrily shouted at the boy as thick liquid and bits of what could only be flesh began bombarding him.
He received no answer, only the screams of agony from his men.
The hot searing pain eventually receded and his vision returned, revealing a crimson world filled with carnage.
He was covered in blood from head to toe. Besides himself, only four of his men remained. They too were covered in blood from head to toe. He noticed that the storm had vanished and the sun was shining down on the bloody scene before him. In the front yard of the devastated fort, all that remained was the boy, four of his men, and himself. All of them bloody from the shower that the storm had given them.
Seeing the destruction of his home and possibly everything he had worked for, Zavon lashed out in anger.
“Asiran! Devo Naagartian! Zu Vasur! Kalshin Mazons Galaos! Reanus VANU!” he shouted, and a portal tore open in front of him as water gushed forth.
“Drown him!” He pointed to the boy and his familiar obeyed as he began another incantation for advance water magic. The boy did not make any movements.
The water that poured out merged into a ball and the spirit bounded straight for the boy. Yet before it could engulf the child, something shot forth and cleaved his water familiar in half. Zavon quickly unleashed his spell and the ground opened up under the boy. A torrent of water blasted the child into the air.
His men saw his execution and followed suit with their own spells. Within the air, there was nowhere to run.
‘NO!’ His mind shouted. In his haste, he had forgotten the first thing he saw. Flying magic.
The boy flew ever higher, evading the four spells from his men. Suddenly, like a lightning bolt, the boy descended upon one of the four. “GUAH!!” a cry of pain, and one of the men was torn to pieces. Within seconds, the body pieces began freezing over. The boy was now holding a dagger of ice in his hands.
Zavon willed his water spirit to attack once more. Instead of moving this time, the boy threw the dagger into the familiar. His spirit’s body of water slowed instantly and began freezing up. Within seconds, it was a huge block of ice. Zavon quickly understood the overwhelming strength between them. “You… What are you?!” He shouted. His tone slightly off and revealing his fear.
“Youuuu Are Undesssservingggg Of Ssssuch Knowwwwledge!”
The voice struck fear into his very being as a bloody gust of wind struck him from behind, forcing him to kneel. Surprised by the sudden force, he looked around, but saw nothing corporeal. Staring back at the child, he could almost make out a figure in the bloody wind as it engulfed the child, slowly transforming into a blood red cloak once again.
‘Impossible…’ The distasteful word resurfaced again. “Ha… hahahha… this can’t be real… this is impossible.” Zavon could do nothing but laugh.
He was ‘Master Zavon’, one of the strongest Malgin within Tal’hrus. There were only 4 others he knew of who could claim to be his equal. All were masters of their own respective domains, as Darsus was his.
The only person he had ever considered as a threat to his life was the old master. It did not matter if they were a Malizur or another powerful Malgin, he was confident he could easily survive such people. The other 14 who had survived alongside him were also of Malgin rank, yet only 4 of them remained. It was fundamentally impossible for a single Malizur or Malgin to be giving them this much trouble. There was little doubt about it.
“Haha… to think that I would see the day! Kahah… haha!” Although not one for superstitions and the unknown, Zavon laughed again. He realize now, the error of his judgement.
Stories of incredible elementals that walked alongside mages of old, spirits filled with intelligence, garnering powers beyond the hopes of any mortals and able to speak the tongue of men. The world was too wide and full of surprises. He knew now that try as he might, he could never escape from what was to come.
He could do nothing but laugh at the unbelievable sight in front of him as his three remaining men saw what just happened and attempted to abandon their oaths to Tal’hrus.
“Haaaaahaaaaahaaaa!” The wind bellowed and gave an eerie laughter as the first of the escaping men was torn to pieces.
One of them attempted to summon a wind spirit.
Upon the spirit’s manifestation, instead of protecting his summoner, the wind spirit turned against his master and suffocated the man. The air sucked out of his lungs, the man wailed about fruitlessly before collapsing onto the ground. The spirit was then consumed by the tempest that manifested during the escape attempt.
The third man never made it anywhere before the wind shredded him to bits.
“Hahahaha!” Zavon laughed hysterically as tears rolled down his face. Everything that occurred within the explicit timeframe of realizing the boy’s identity just moments ago up to now had already become clear to him.
Zavon could do nothing, but await his demise as the boy walked toward him.
“Am I doomed to fail, Mr. Zavon?” The boy asked, standing in front of him.
He had no replies to counter that statement. His group of at least 60 was decimated in minutes. What could he say to reinforce his threats?
Staring at the boy’s glowing eyes, there was nothing in them. No emotion, no pity, no remorse, no hesitation, not even anger. The eyes bound him and within them, he saw his own death.
“I-I’ll do it.” He managed to eke out, forcing himself to not grovel before the boy and keeping what’s left of his pride.
“You’ll do what?”
“I-I’ll pull my men out of Ferrent! We’ll never set foot within its vicinity ever again! You have my words!” He yelled out.
“Not good enough.” The boy replied.
“What do you want?! Tell me! I’ll do anything!” The words escaped his mouth before he could even think about them.
He grimaced at what he had blurted out. His loyalty to Tal’hrus had been unquestionable since joining the organization, yet here he was, about to negotiate for his life. Within seconds of his regret, a calm washed over him.
The possibly that he was the only survivor here gave him peace of mind.
He knew Tal’hrus and how they operated. If he can get through this with his life, he could evade the organization. No one will ever know what happened here or that he had divulged information about the organization. He would just be another dead man, ripped to shreds and scattered about here like all the others.
“Who is your master? The leader of Tal’hrus?” Skipping any small talk, the boy went straight for the figurehead.
“We don’t know his real name. H-He is only known to us as ‘Master’.” Zavon quickly replied.
“What does he look like? Where does he operate from?” Kaidus queried.
“An old man, possibly in his eighties. None of us seven masters know about his daily lives.” Another quick reply.
“How do I reach him?”
“I-I don’t know. He contacts us by messengers.” Zavon answered.
Kaidus stepped forth and delivered a punch into the kneeling man’s chest, breaking a few bones. “You are lying.”
“GUH! *cough!* I don’t know!” Zavon replied. “AUGH!” He moaned, spitting out blood as another blow nailed him in the chest.
It was impossible. The boy knew he was lying.
In his mind, tens of scenarios played out but not a single one ended with his escape. He saw what happened to those who attempted to flee earlier. He remembered what happened when he first attempted to invoke a spell. The only reasons why he and the surviving members had been able to cast any spells at all, was because the boy had allowed them to. Zavon shivered in fear.
“G-give me your word that you would leave me with my life!” He shouted, trying to bargain.
“Your chances will depend on the information given and their honesty. Another lie, and you will join your friends.” Kaidus cautioned, glaring at the man.
“A m-mirror shard in a secret r-room within the fort…” Zavon relented.
“Hidden behind a magic wall…”
“What’s so special about the shard?”
“The shard is a fragment of a relic… *hah…* the master discovered its abilities in the early days of Tal’hrus. We masters have been using them to travel across the seven continents.” Zavon answered.
Passing through a long hallway filled with rubbles, they arrived at a wall.
With an incantation, the wall vanished, revealing a hidden room.
“It’s inside there.” Zavon motioned.
Kaidus stepped inside.
A small dank and almost empty room. The shard hung on a wall within. Traces of ancient magic could be sensed circulating within it. He stepped forth to grab the shard.
“Asiran. Gelnos Pleiss Vaynaras Toralg Zucet! Delovus Tretos Valatos!” Zavon quickly invoked, and the room was sealed once again.
“You can rot in there!” He shouted happily as relief returned to him. The room was made to withstand magic attacks, preventing any of his subordinates from getting in without the spell. It should hold the boy for a while as he made his escape.
Zavon turned to run.
*Shaaa* the walls sealing the boy disintegrated into sands before he could even take three steps.
Turning around, “That’s…” He wanted to say the words ‘impossible’, but as if being used too much had removed it from his vocabulary, all he could do was stare blankly at the silver haired boy who was now walking out of the room. It could not classify as a room anymore, as the whole top half of the stone fort had been blown to sand bits. The sun was now shining down on them, and in the sunlight, the boy’s hair was shimmering with an otherworldly luster.
“Thank you again.” Kaidus spoke. In his small hand was the mirror shard. An enormous amount of magic could be felt emanating from it. It truly was a relic from a bygone era.
“N-” Zavon attempted to reply, but he could not move nor make a sound.
“I have no more need of you. With this, I will be able to locate the other pieces.” Kaidus gave the frozen man a sinister grin. “Allow me to give you my utmost gratitude.” He expressed, with a curt bow.
With a thought, Zavon’s fingers exploded and three rings flew up to him. “I’ll also be taking these.” Kaidus grabbed and pocketed three metallic rings that were almost identical to the one he had taken off of Raleun.
“!!- GRUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!” Zavon shouted as the silence was lifted.
“Hahh… Ha….! If there’s no further need of me, then leave!” He shouted, fighting back the fear and the pain within him. Hoping against all hopes that the child would leave him be.
“True. I will leave you with your life.” Kaidus replied, walking toward Zavon.
“GYAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!” Zavon screamed out once more. Both his arms had been cleanly severed and fallen to the ground. His body immobilized; he could do nothing but scream in agony.
“How long you retain that pitiful life of yours, I do not know.” Kaidus walked past Zavon and the screaming stopped. Another silence spell had been implemented against the man. “I WILL Obliterate Tal’hrus, and you will die here knowing you brought about its ruin.”
Unlike that of a child, a man’s voice, imposing, filled with determination and hatred slither and coiled around Zavon’s throat, crushing it slowly. A sudden gust blew from behind him, and the presence of the boy vanished. On the verge of death, his name surfaced within his mind. Bleeding and unable to voice any spells, Zavon’s eyes teared as death overtook him.
The entity called Zion propelled its master gleefully through the air.
Its master’s parting words for the dead man echoed through its very being.
“I WILL Obliterate Tal’hrus, and you will die here knowing you brought about its ruin.”
It was not the message that was delivered, but the voice that delivered it.
After innumerable eons, its master’s true voice once again sounded through the winds. The unrelenting voice that had entrapped and bound Zion’s own indomitable will to this god of death.
Today was but a glimpse of the deaths and destructions that will undoubtedly follow.