“Well, for one, I’m nearly naked.”
“Does it bother you that much?”
“Then I will fight naked as well!”
“How goes the plan? Are you all prepared on your side?”
“Not yet, I’ll need another year. What I’m doing is tricky and requires time. What about your side?”
“We’re ready to move out whenever you give the call.”
“Good, good. We make our move soon.”
Arkanon, Veld and Jetark were out on the training grounds, with Jetark and Veld sparring against Arkanon. Two years had passed since Mith’s death. Arkanon was now fifteen years old and his power was growing even higher due to his almost daily training.
“Ah! Damnit Arkanon, stop dodging around and fight me!” Veld complained loudly.
“Veld. Stop trying to chase him by yourself. We need to work together if we want to beat him.” Jetark said.
“You’re just standing back there, watching! Do you plan on staring at him until he dies or somethi-“. Veld was cut off as Arkanon came in and swept his legs out from under him.
Veld landed flat on his back and Arkanon looked down at him with a small smile on his face. “You need to pay more attention to your opponent than bickering with your partner, Veld.”
Veld grinned in response. “And you need to not fall for such simple traps.”
Three large rock walls formed around Arkanon, blocking him on most of his sides except for behind him. Jetark moved in on the opened part and trapped Arkanon between him and Veld.
Arkanon chuckled. “Nice, you guys managed to trap me, but can you prevent me from getting out?”
“Veld, now!” Jetark called out.
Almost synchronized, Veld and Jetark shot out a large burst of energy towards Arkanon.
Arkanon raised a hand towards the oncoming attacks, then shot out a burst of lightning towards the two of them. When the energy collided on both sides, it resulted in a large explosion, blowing apart the walls and sending Jetark and Veld flying back. Arkanon was caught in the center and had to endure the blasts from both sides. After the explosion, dust covered the area where Arkanon stood.
Jetark and Veld got up and looked towards where the explosion happened, seeing what became of Arkanon.
Veld couldn’t see any sign of Arkanon and started to worry. “Oh shit, did we go too far?”
A roar could be heard from inside the dust and a gust from inside blew it away. Standing there was Arkanon. His clothes were mostly burnt away and a large part of his flesh was burnt a light pink. The tips of his white hair were singed. Arkanon then fell to a knee and covered the left side of his face, which was contorted in pain.
Jetark and Veld both rushed towards him.
“Arkanon, what’s wrong? Tell us so we can heal you.” Jetark said.
“I’m… I’m fine.” Arkanon said through gritted teeth. “Can you do anything about the burns though? They hurt a little.”
Jetark looked at Veld, to which he nodded. They both placed a hand on Arkanon’s shoulders, and sent energy from their hands to run over Arkanon’s burns. A white sheen covered his body as the combined energy healed the burns.
Arkanon felt a chill go through his body, alleviating the stinging pain. He took a deep breath and stood up, removing his hand from his eye. “Thanks. But also, you two are complete assholes for doing that. Don’t you think that was a little overkill, even for me?”
Jetark spoke up first. “I apologize for that. I subconsciously put a lot of power behind that attack. I didn’t realize it until I shot it.”
Arkanon turned towards Veld and raised an eyebrow. “Veld?”
Veld shrugged his shoulders. “What? That was just a normal attack from me.”
“Veld.” Arkanon was frowning now.
“I don’t like to think that I nearly blew up my friend, so can we move on now?”
Arkanon punched Veld in the shoulder in response.
“Ow, ow! Okay, I’m sorry! Geez!”
“Okay, now we can move on. So what now?”
“I suggest you go back to your cabin to get some clothes first.” Jetark said.
“Some clothes?” Arkanon looked down and noticed that he was nearly naked, wearing only burnt rags. “I think I’ll follow that suggestion.”
“Which one of you is Arkanon Leyan?!” A loud voice called out from behind Jetark and Veld.
The three turned to look at the one talking and they saw a female draconic wearing grey clothes with a staff in her hand walking over to them.
A Val’Kikth was also following behind her trying to talk with her. “Mira, please stop picking fights with people we don’t know. It’s also extremely rude to walk up to people demanding to know which one is who.”
Mira snapped back at the Val’Kikth. “Quiet Cel, I don’t need you lecturing me. I also didn’t demand anything, I merely asked which one of them is Arkanon Leyan.” She looked towards the three and saw Jetark standing there. “Aren’t you the one named Jetark? Can you tell me which one of those two Arkanon is?”
“Can I ask why you wish to know?”
“That’s not your business. Now can you tell me?”
Arkanon stepped out from behind Jetark and Veld. “I’m Arkanon Leyan. What is it?”
The Val’Kikth, ‘Cel’, cried out upon seeing Arkanon nearly naked. “What is wrong with you?! Do you not have a shred of decency? Is it some kind of tradition for you humans to walk around nearly naked? Or are you some kind of pervert?! I should report you to the instructors for indece-“.
Mira grasped ‘Cel’s’ shoulder. “Cel’Mian, shut up now, or I’m going to turn you into scrap metal. Understand?”
Cel’Mian froze with fear and only nodded his head.
“Good. I’m curious though. Where are your clothes, Arkanon?”
“They were burned away in the sparring match we just had.”
“Hm. Now that I know, I challenge you to a duel!”
“I don’t particularly mind a duel, but can you give me a bit of time?”
Cel’Mian spoke up again. “Mira, that’s ridiculous! How could-“.
“Quiet Cel! Well Arkanon, does that satisfy you?”
“…You didn’t let me finish my reasons. My second reason I don’t wish to fight now is because I’m nearly out of strength. These two behind me nearly burnt me to a crisp, and I had to use a lot of strength to survive.”
“Hmm. Fair enough. Then you decide the time we fight.”
“Is early evening tomorrow good for you?”
“That is fine.”
“Alright, then we’ll meet here tomorrow.”
“Good, see you then.” Mira walked off with Cel’Mian following her.
Veld talked first. “Well, that… was an interesting conversation to watch.”
Jetark followed up. “It certainly was. Arkanon, I feel I must warn you about that draconic, Mira. She’s the strongest student here. I wouldn’t dare fight her because I know that I’d most likely lose. She’s also very good at wielding a staff, which I’m sure she’s beaten a good amount of students with.”
“What’s the point in telling me all this?”
“I’m only telling you because there’s a pretty high chance that you’re going to be beat. I’m only letting you know so you can prepare.”
“I appreciate it, Jetark, but I think I’ll be fine.”
“You say that, yet you also said that you used most of your strength to fend off our attacks. How do you plan on besting Mira if you can barely defend against us two?”
“I lied about using most of my strength. I only said it so that I wouldn’t have to fight naked.”
“You collapsed to a knee and you looked like you were in intense pain. Your appearance then doesn’t match with your words.”
“That was something else. I promise you Jetark, I’ll be fine.”
“Wait. What is it then, Arkanon?” Veld asked. “I’ve noticed that ever since we met Jetark and that fight happened, you’ve had these moments where you acted weird and you would always cover up your left eye. They’ve been happening more and more frequently. There’s something you’re hiding from us. What is it though? Some kind of medical condition or something?”
“I told you, it’s nothing. I’m fine. I’m going to head back and get dressed now.”
Arkanon rushed off, while trying to avoid people to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, he ran Areath along the way.
Areath looked at Arkanon, stupefied. “Arkanon… What the hell are you doing?”
“Can I explain later? I’d rather get some clothes on first.”
“Go. Just go.”
Arkanon continued on his way back. He made it to his cabin without running into anyone else. Now fully clothed, Arkanon sat at his desk while a voice was raging inside his head.
“Do you have some kind of mental deficiency? Our lives were in danger and you dare have the gall to deny me?!” Dark Arkanon cried out in anger.
‘But we came out just fine, didn’t we?’ Arkanon asked.
“Only because I was able to release some power before you managed to push me back in! Without me, you would’ve been seriously injured or maybe even dead!”
‘Without you, I would’ve been able to take the hits just fine. Have you forgotten that you are leeching a majority of my power?’
Dark Arkanon was silent.
‘If you have nothing more to say, then I’m going to sleep. Also, don’t you dare try to do anything tomorrow.’
“Do what you want. Just know I won’t try to help you again if you end up nearly dead by your own power.”
After the incident two years ago, when Dark Arkanon killed Mith, he and Arkanon were able to communicate inside Arkanon’s head.
Arkanon leaned his head back and sighed. He then leaned forward and rubbed his eyes. “I suppose I should get some rest. Berok would probably be interested to hear what’s going on.”
Arkanon got up, went over to his bed and laid down to sleep for a few hours.
Later that night, Arkanon was outside, sitting on the grass. He was watching Berok flit around, attacking multiple targets. Eventually, Berok stopped and landed in front of Arkanon.
“So, what do you think?” Berok asked.
“You’re definitely faster and also a lot harder to notice. The way you move about, it’s almost like you’re an illusion. It’s rather terrifying in a way.” Arkanon said. “I’m rather glad you’re a friend. It’d be a nightmare fighting someone that you have almost no ability to detect.”
“You’re just flattering me. A Spectre doesn’t achieve its true abilities until we’re adults.”
“Oh, and what abilities are those?”
“When we reach adulthood, we become one with the dark anywhere it is. So that means we can hide in shadows with ease, even if there’s light out.”
“That sounds pretty exaggerated.”
“But it’s not.”
“Then why don’t the guardians have more Spectres within their ranks? They’d make great scouts and assassins if they truly have those abilities”
“That, well, it’s because my race is really rare. We already had a low birth rate, then the demons nearly brought us to extinction. We’re a race of very few. In fact, I’m one of the only three children that were born. The fact that I’m a guardian makes me a one of a kind, at least for now.”
“How many exist in your race currently?”
“Thirty Spectres. That’s all that remains of us.”
“And the demons were the ones that drove your race that close to extinction?”
“Yeah. On our home planet, the demons and guardians fought a massive battle. The demons only slaughtered us while the guardians did everything they could to protect us and evacuate us.”
Arkanon hesitated for a moment before asking, “Were your parents killed in battle?”
“No, my father is a guardian captain that saved my mother from a sudden demon attack. Even though he nearly died, he lived and was able to get her and others out of the area. I guess the feeling formed from there.”
“Heh, interspecies breeding is rather strange, especially considering your race.”
Berok laughed a little. “Now that you mention it, it is rather absurd.”
“I want to thank you.”
“For being my only friend. When I arrived here as a child, I was always lonely. I tried walking out during the day sometimes, but people would always be scared of me, ignore me, or avoid me. You were the first person I talked to that didn’t react in any of those ways. Instead you talked with me as if it were normal. So thank you, Arkanon.”
Arkanon smiled slightly. “Why are you acting all sentimental, Berok? There’s no need to thank me.”
“You may not think so, but I felt the need to. Anyways, I’m tired, so I’m heading back now. I’ll see you later Arkanon. Also, good luck in your match against Mira.”
“Thanks. See you later, Berok.”
Arkanon sat there for a little while longer and just stared at the moon.
“Arkanon Leyan? Why are you out here so late?” A female voice asked from behind.
Arkanon turned and saw Mira standing there, wearing the same grey clothes from earlier.
Arkanon turned back around and continued to stare at the moon. “Was meeting with a friend.”
“Who would that be this late at night?”
“His name is Berok. You may know him as the Spectre that lives here.”
“So that’s why you wanted to have our fight later in the day.”
“Why are you still out here?”
“I guess it’s because I find it peaceful.”
“Peaceful, huh.” Mira came over and sat down next to Arkanon.
“Why are you out here, Mira?”
“I don’t know really.”
“So you’re just wandering around aimlessly?”
“No, it’s not that. I suppose it’s because it’s similar to what you said before. It’s peaceful. It lets me escape from the reality of what’s going to happen to us. How we’re all going to head into the war, how many of us will probably die in that war. I’m not scared because I know I am rather strong myself, but what about the friends we make? That’s what I’m scared of. Losing my friends and the people closest to me. My parents were killed while fighting against the demons. The pain I felt when I lost them was horrible. It felt as if my heart was ripped apart. I fear of feeling that pain again.”
“I know what it feels like. I lost my foster parents when I was ten. The guardian that picked me up even gave me a warning. Maybe if I wasn’t so stupid, I could’ve done something. Warned them or got them out of the house. But I disregarded his words and continued on like nothing happened. If I knew what was going to happen, I would’ve done my best to make that didn’t happen.”
Mira chuckled. “This must be weird, telling someone you just met not long ago about your fears and past.”
“Well, I do admit that you are acting rather strange compared to your earlier ‘battle maniac’ personality.”
“Heheh, you’re right, this isn’t very fitting of my personality.” Mira stood up and offered Arkanon a hand. “Let’s give our all in the fight tomorrow.”
Arkanon took Mira’s hand and she pulled him to his feet. “Of course.”
The next day, Arkanon was heading towards the training grounds, with Veld and Jetark following behind him. He wore a brown shirt with grey pants and had his short sword strapped to his side.
“Why do you seem so confident?” Veld asked Arkanon.
“Is it wrong to have confidence?” Arkanon responded with a question.
“No, but you do know you’re about to fight the strongest student here. Even Jetark wouldn’t dare fight her.”
“Your lack of faith in me is disturbing.”
“But for good reason. You can barely take strong attacks from Jetark and I, so what makes you think that you can take an attack Mira?”
Arkanon turned around to face the two of them. “Well, to be honest with you two, the majority of the power from the blasts came from me.”
Jetark and Veld looked at Arkanon, speechless.
“So you’re saying that you nearly blew yourself up?” Veld asked.
Arkanon grinned sheepishly. “Yeah, I kind of nearly did.”
“I’m not sure if I should be impressed by your strength or by your stupidity.” Jetark said.
“Well, let’s forget that, and keep going.” Arkanon said and continued walking.
Veld looked at Jetark, to which he just shook his head, and kept walking.
They continued on their way and reached the dueling grounds.
Arkanon looked around for Mira and found her with ease. She stood with her staff planted into the ground while a large group of students stood around, watching.
Arkanon made his way over and called out to Mira “Hey!”
Mira noticed Arkanon and waved at him. “Glad to see you didn’t chicken out!” She said jokingly.
“What do you take me for? A coward?”
“Not at all. You already proved you weren’t when you showed up here.”
“You seem to be pretty sure of yourself here.”
“I hold the title of the academy’s strongest. I think I have the right to be sure of myself.”
Arkanon drew his sword. “Prove it to me then. Show me the strength of the strongest student here.”
Mira smiled, picked up her staff, twirled it, and then held it at her side. “Only if you show me your strength as well, Arkanon.”
“None, except for the obvious. No killing and no permanent injuries. Other than that, no holding back, Arkanon, because I’m not going to.”
Arkanon grinned. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Then let’s begin!” Mira took the initiative and charged forwards.
Arkanon was only able to take a step back before Mira arrived in front of him. He leaned his body back as a staff whizzed past where his head was just a second ago. He then felt the staff slam into the side of his left knee, making him lose his balance and nearly fall flat on the ground. Grunting in pain, Arkanon leapt back on his right foot and regained his balance. He looked back towards Mira just in time to move his head to the side as a jab from the staff brushed past his face.
Arkanon attempted to slash at Mira with a horizontal swing, but was deflected by the staff right before it hit her. Arkanon then struck out with his left fist, aiming for Mira’s head. His punched connected and hit her in the jaw, but then a heavy blow smashed into Arkanon’s stomach, knocking the air out of him and forcing him back a few steps.
The two took a moment's respite. Arkanon clutched at his stomach, breathing heavily, while Mira rubbed at her jaw, dazed from the punch. After a few seconds, the two of looked at each other and grinned.
Arkanon took the initiative this time and charged towards Mira. He then unleashed a flurry of sword swings, forcing Mira to be defensive. Mira waited patiently until an opening appeared, parried an attack from Arkanon, then brought her staff down towards Arkanon’s head. Unable to dodge the attack, Arkanon blocked it with his left forearm, only for a crack to be heard as the bone fractured.
Arkanon gritted his teeth in pain, but used the opportunity to strike back and stabbed Mira in her left shoulder. He was then forced back and both of them retreated slightly. They then started exchanging blows, Mira’s attacks only causing Arkanon to badly bruse and possibly fracture some smaller bones, while Arkanon’s attacks only nicked Mira. They fought like this, Arkanon only managing to hold his ground. This went on for a while until Arkanon was caught off and Mira’s staff slammed into his head.
Arkanon’s vision nearly blacked out and he could feel warm liquid start running down his head. ‘Ah, I can’t continue much longer, not after that attack. I suppose I should put everything I have left behind this attack.’
Arkanon rushed forward and brought his sword down towards Mira. Mira raised her staff to block it. Arkanon infused his sword with energy at the last second, causing it to slice straight through Mira’s staff. Arkanon’s sword shattered right after it passed through the staff and he dropped it the remnants of it. Mira was wide open and Arkanon put all the energy he could into his right hand and punched Mira straight in her chest. The force from the punch went through her body and destroyed the ground behind her.
Mira spat up blood and fell to her knees, breathing roughly. “I give, you win.” She said hoarsely.
Arkanon smiled a little then covered his mouth as he coughed roughly. Once he stopped coughing, he looked at his hand and noticed quite a bit of blood. Dazed, he only muttered, “Oh,” before falling on his back and passing out.
Within his mind, Dark Arkanon watched Arkanon’s whole fight. “Stupid. Reckless. He doesn’t have a clue on how to fight people more skilled, stronger, and experienced than him. Taking chances when he doesn’t need to. Heh. I can only hope that you become smarter over the upcoming years, or our lives are forfeit when we eventually fight them.”
Arkanon woke up in a hospital room, same as last time. He rubbed his eyes and sat up.
“Finally awake, huh?” An angry voice came from Arkanon’s left.
Arkanon turned and looked to see who it was and saw Areath standing there, with an irritated look on his face. “Hi, Areath.”
“Do you know why I’m angry?”
“I can guess.”
“Because of you two idiots.”
“Was it that bad?”
“You had internal bleeding, a fractured skull and some fractured bones. Mira had heavy internal bleeding and a lot of cuts on her body. If Veld hadn’t gotten me immediately after you fainted, you would’ve probably been in critical condition.”
“It wasn’t that bad Instructor Areath!” Arkanon heard Mira’s voice come from his right.
He looked to his right and saw Mira sitting in a chair against the wall. “Hey!” She said cheerily.
Areath crossed his arms over his chest. “Now you listen here you two, we don’t mind if students fight against each other to get stronger and learn, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. You two clearly crossed that line and one of you may have actually died. I don’t mind if you two continue to skirmish, but should this happen again, I will forbid you two from fighting each other. Understood?”
Arkanon said “Yes.”
“Yeah.” Mira replied.
“Good. Arkanon, you’re all healed, you can leave whenever you want. I’ll take my leave now.” Areath left the room.
There was silence in the room for a short time.
“Hey Arkanon.” Mira spoke out.
“Yeah?” Arkanon turned and looked at her.
“Can I call you my friend?”
“If you want to. How come?”
“Cel is my only friend, since we’ve known each other since we were younger. I guess I’d just like another friend, especially if it’s someone that I can actually spar with.”
“You’re not going to ask me to fight with you every day, are you?”
“That’s up to you.”
“Do you suppose you could train with me, Jetark, and Veld?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Alright. I’m going to head out now. See you later, Mira.”
“See you Arkanon.”
Arkanon got up and left the room. He then noticed that he was in the maze like corridors of the large building. “Great.” He muttered before winding his way around, eventually finding his way out and making it back to his cabin. After that day, he went and got another sword from Krik, who was annoyed that Arkanon broke another sword. Arkanon then started training together with Mira, Jetark, Veld, and sometimes Cel’Mian would join in. This was now his daily life, until it was suddenly ripped away.
‘What kind ofdarkness?’
Dark Arkanon snorted. “The ones who carry it, the bringersof destruction.”
Another year passed since Arkanon met and dueled Mira. Now sixteen years old, his height was 1.8 meters tall, his body constantly growing from training nearly every day. His figure was slim and defined, with muscle present but not overly muscular. However, traces from the past could still be seen on his body, from the light bit of scarring on his left forearm to the scar on his neck and across his chest.
It was midday and he was heading out to meet up with Jetark, Mira, Veld, and Cel’Mian, whom Arkanon trained with.
As he was walking, Dark Arkanon spoke up out of nowhere. “Hey, keep your guard up today. Something doesn’t feel right.”
Arkanon stopped walking and checked his immediate surroundings. ‘Why? What’s wrong?’
“I don’t know. I can’t explain it, but keep an eye out for anything strange.”
‘You’re telling me to be careful when you don’t even know what I need to be careful of. Any way you can elaborate on that feeling you have?’
“There’s an approaching darkness.”
‘What kind of darkness?’
Dark Arkanon snorted. “The ones who carry it, the bringers of destruction.”
Only one thought came to Arkanon’s mind. ‘Demons. But how?’
“I don’t know. Just do as I said and keep your guard up.”
Arkanon was startled, but continued on his way. He went on to meet his friends and trained with them for most of the day, but was constantly unsettled by what Dark Arkanon said earlier. He then went back to his cabin and slept for a while.
Arkanon woke up later that night, got up and clipped on his sword before heading out to meet Berok. He still felt worried about what Dark Arkanon said earlier, but he still decided to head out.
As Arkanon walked, he felt like something was watching him. He hand was twitching slightly, ready to grab his sword should something happen. He reached the training grounds, where Berok usually was.
Arkanon looked around for Berok, seeing if he was out tonight.
“Berok, are you here?” Arkanon called out.
At this point, a pair of dark red eyes appeared from the dark and glared at Arkanon, then disappeared.
Arkanon stood there for a while longer, waiting. All the while, he had a feeling in his gut something was off. He was alert, keeping an eye on his surroundings. When he felt that Berok wasn’t going to show up today, Arkanon sighed and was about to head back, until he felt a tap on his shoulder.
Without any hesitation, Arkanon drew his sword, turned around and swung.
Berok, who snuck up on Arkanon, was about to giggle until he saw a sword coming at him. Quickly ducking and rolling back, he held his hands up immediately said, “Arkanon, it’s me! It’s me!”
Arkanon saw it was Berok was frozen for a second. He then relaxed his body and sighed.
“You nearly sliced right through my head there. What has you so jumpy?”
“Why are you sneaking up on me?”
“You never even noticed I was here. So I thought it’d be funny to poke you and scare you.”
“Well you certainly made me jump, but nearly lost your head in the process.”
“Just be happy it was me, since I’m fast enough to dodge. If it had been anyone else, they would’ve been decapitated. What has you so jumpy, Arkanon?”
Arkanon glanced around quickly before speaking. “Doesn’t something feel off, Berok?
“Feel off? Like what?”
“I can’t explain it, but something is wrong.”
“Are you okay?”
“No, no I’m not okay. My gut is knotted, my body is shivering and my instincts are telling me to run. Truthfully, I’m scared. I don’t know why, but I am.”
“Arkanon, I think you need to head back and lay down.”
“I…” Arkanon sighed and rubbed his eyes. “You’re right. I’m probably worried over nothing.”
“Hey, I’ll head back with you, in case that ‘something’ that’s bothering you shows itself.”
“I appreciate it, Berok.”
“Don’t worry about, we’re friends after all, aren’t we?”
Arkanon smiled slightly. “Of course. Let’s go.”
Arkanon started walking back to his cabin with Berok following right behind him. They walked in silence.
Arkanon’s mind was in disarray. ‘He said be warned of an approaching darkness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything could happen right now, he may have meant in the future. But if so, why am I so scared of facing demons again? I’m stronger now, I shouldn’t have any reason to be afraid. Arkanon thought back to when he encountered the three demons. Their merciless red eyes. Their cruel smile. That feeling of complete evil coming from them. He shivered as he remembered the encounter that haunted him still.
As Arkanon was thinking about such things, he heard a dull thump come from behind him. Arkanon turned around and noticed that Berok’s outline wasn’t there anymore. “Berok?” Arkanon drew his sword and started to look around. “Hey, Berok, don’t mess around.”
“On your right!” Dark Arkanon yelled.
Arkanon stepped back as a dark clawed hand passed in front of him. Arkanon could only glimpse at what he saw. It looked just like Berok, except Arkanon could actually see more than just the outline on his assailant. A pitch black figure with dark red eyes. A Spectre.
“Who are you?! What have you done with Berok?!” Arkanon gritted his teeth. ‘A Demon! How?!’
The Spectre only narrowed it’s eyes and charged towards Arkanon.
Arkanon was at a disadvantage since his opponent blended in with the surrounding darkness. The only way he could tell where it was, was by it’s red eyes, which shined in the dark. He could only dodge as the Spectre continued to strike at him with it’s claws. Sometimes it’s claws would hit him and leave a row of light wounds on his body.
Arkanon kept attempting to dodge it’s attacks. Once an opportune moment showed itself, he gathered energy in his left hand, formed a small ball and threw it at the Spectre.
The Spectre sidestepped the small ball, but was still close to it. Arkanon then sent a large amount of energy to the ball and exploded it. A large boom could be heard as an explosion shook the surrounding area.
Arkanon stood there, covering his face and his body with his arms. Once the dust started to settle, Arkanon looked around for the Spectre. He eventually found it, with it’s right arm blown away and heavy burns covered the right side of it’s body.
Upon seeing Arkanon approach it, it attempted to get up. Arkanon swapped his grip with his sword and kicked the demon in the head. The Spectre’s head weakly flopped to the ground. Arkanon then brought his sword down and struck right into it’s head. Without a single noise, the demon Spectre had died.
Arkanon pulled his sword out it’s head and yelled, “Berok! Where are you?!”
“I’m right here, Arkanon.” A voice came from a rooftop to Arkanon’s left.
Arkanon looked to where the voice came from, and saw Berok’s blue eyes shining in the dark.
“Berok! What happened?”
“Same thing that seems to have happened to you. A demon Spectre tackled me and tried to kill me. Unfortunately for him, my Spectre blood is more pure and I was able to turn on him rather quickly.” Berok sighed. “We have to let the instructors know about this.”
“You two, what happened?!” Arkanon and Berok heard a frantic voice coming towards them. They turned and saw Areath running up. At this point students started to come out of their cabins and were seeing what happened.
“Areath, they’re demons here!” Arkanon said immediately.
“What? Demons? Show me, quickly.”
“Check that body there.”
Arkanon walked over to the dead Spectre. “Right here. This one attacked me. Berok, where’s the one that attacked you?”
“He’s bled out back here.”
Areath walked over and checked the body next to Arkanon. “No need to show me. Just what the hell is happening?”
A large explosion suddenly shook the ground underneath the three as a large black flame reached towards the sky somewhere else on the academy grounds.
“Shit! We’re under attack! All students head immediately for the large building! Instructors will lead you to evacuation ships!” A terrifyingly powerful aura emanated from where the explosion just happened, which caused Areath’s face to blanch. “All of you, go! Now! NOW!”
The students that had come out were frozen with fear, but recognized Areath’s words and started to bolt for the building.
“Areath, let me help!” Arkanon said without hesitation.
Areath turned to Arkanon and said in a low voice, “Arkanon, you listen to me. Your life is extremely important, we can’t lose you here. There’s no hope of beating the monster that just showed itself, us instructors can only hope to hold it off while you students escape. Now go.”
“Damnit.” Arkanon gritted his teeth. “Berok! Let’s go!”
“Y-yeah.” Berok dropped down from the roof.
Arkanon and Berok started to run for the building. They then ran into Veld, who looked around shocked and confused. When he noticed Arkanon, he immediately asked, “Arkanon, what the hell is going on? Where’s everyone going?”
“We’re under attack, we need to head for the building!”
“Attack? But how?”
“I don’t know and it doesn’t matter, we need to go!”
“Shouldn’t we try and help the instructors fight off the invasion?”
“Areath told us to go.”
“I don’t like leaving them to fight without assistance, but okay, let’s go.” As the three of them continued on, they came upon a terrifying sight.
Multiple students were cut apart. Some in half, others in different pieces. There stood a draconic in pitch black armor wielding a blood-stained longsword. Noticing three more people, he turned towards them. His cruel, merciless red eyes chilled Arkanon to the bone.
“Oh, little guardians! Where do you think you’re running?” The demon said with a playfully malicious tone.
“He, he killed them all…” Veld muttered, shocked by the bloody scene in front of him.
“Shit… Veld, Berok, I’ll handle this guy, you two go.” Arkanon whispered to them.
“What? We aren’t leaving you.” Veld rejected the idea.
“I agree with him, Arkanon, we aren’t going to leave you behind.” Berok also rejected it.
“You two go! I can handle myself just fine!”
“Are you children done chatting yet?” The demon asked as he started to walk towards them.
Veld took out his claws. “Forget it. Ready yourself! He’s coming!”
“HAAAAAA!” A Trethian with silver hair and a two-handed sword dropped from a rooftop, aiming to cleave the demon in two.
The demon dodged to his left and the sword went past him slamming into the ground, causing a shockwave.
The Trethian, Areath, swung his sword in his right hand in a wide horizontal arc, giving the demon only enough time to bring his sword up to block the attack. As Areath’s two-handed sword collided with the demon’s longsword, the demon was blown back by the force of Areath’s sword.
As the demon hit a cabin, it’s body was blown through the wall, causing a gaping hole to appear.
Areath picked his sword up and rested it on his right shoulder, then turned and looked the three. “The three of you, go! I’ll handle this!”
The demon had gotten back up and was standing at the hole, absolutely livid. “You dare disrupt me?! I’ll force you to your knees and make you beg for-“
Areath gathered a large amount of wind energy and shot it at the demon, blowing him back into the cabin and out the other side. “GO!”
Arkanon, Veld, and Berok ran past Areath, who kept his sword in front of him, ready to strike.
“Areath, don’t you dare die to him.” Veld muttered quietly.
A furious roar could be heard as the demon blew away everything in his surroundings. A black flame covered his body and pure rage was in his red eyes. “Guardian, twice you have forced me back. Not only that, but you let my play things escape. You’ll pay for that.”
Areath snorted. “You sure talk a lot. Do you think you have the power to back up those words?”
“I, General Kal Medren, will be your death.”
Areath put both his hands on his sword and held it up in front of him. “If you really think so, bring it. I’ll rip your fucking spine out for hurting my family.”
Kal charged forward and swung his sword. Areath adjusted his sword and took the attack head on. When the swords clashed, the force from the collision shook the ground beneath them and thin cracks appeared.
Areath retaliated with a two-handed strike that passed through the air like blur. Kal dodged barely dodged the attack, startled at how fast Areath’s attack was. Kal then took a swing, which Areath blocked with ease. The fight continued with the Areath blocking and Kal dodging.
Areath and Kal seemed to be fighting evenly, but Kal started to lose his ground slowly. Areath’s attacks became faster and seemed to have more and more force behind them.
As Areath took another swing, Kal attempted to step back but Areath’s blade caught him on the waist and sliced halfway through. Kal’s face knotted up in pain. Areath then took a step forward and let go of his sword with his left hand. He punched Kal in the face and a crack could be heard as Kal’s jaw was shattered.
Kal fell back as he gripped at his jaw. Areath then kicked him in the face forcing Kal to flip over so his back was facing up. Areath planted a foot on Kal’s back, pinning him there.
“As I said, I’m going to tear your spine out.” Areath was about to reach down and do so, but a voice froze him in his tracks.
“You disappoint me Kal, even though I gave you some of my power.”
Areath turned towards the voice, ready to strike. As he turned, a black lightning bolt hit his right shoulder, blowing his arm off and sending it flying.
Areath’s face twisted up as blood started to flow out of what remained of his shoulder. He looked to see who attacked him. What met him was a red clawed hand that reached out and grabbed Areath’s head and lifted him up.
“This guardian has given you trouble, hm?”
Areath tried punching at the arm holding him up, but the creature just laughed.“You think you can break out of my grasp? Well since you seem so adamant in wanting to escape, I’ll let you know who ended your life. My name is Faldren the Corrupted, leader of the demons.”
Areath gave up his struggle after hearing that. His left arm dropped to his side and he weakly smiled. ‘It’s up to you kids now.’
Areath heard a blade unsheathed and silently, a blade sliced through his neck, separating his head from his body.
On a guardian HQ ship, Harei was in his room sitting at a table reading reports on recent demon movements. As he was doing so, a draconic guardian General quickly opened the door. His face was frantic and he was panting slightly. “Commander Harei, the academy is under demon attack!”
Harei turned when the door opened and his eyes widened in shock. “…What? Quickly, explain the situation.”
“We got a report from Jared Winesk saying that the academy was being attacked by demons. From what he described, the demons are struggling against the guardians, but the guardians are steadily losing ground.”
“How did they break past our defenses? This doesn’t makes any sense! Send nearby reinforcements to the academy and wherever they got through, block their route out!”
“But Commander, based on our soldiers positions, it’ll take half an hour for them to reach the planet.”
“What?! Why are they out so far?! Tell them to get their ASAP! Tell the HQ captain to head there as well!”
“Jared Winesk also asked for orders.”
“Tell him to evacuate. Let him know Arkanon should be under Areath’s protection, so he should be able to get out fine.”
“Yes, Commander. I’ll relay your orders now.”
Back at the academy, Arkanon, Berok, and Veld were cautiously making their way to the large building.
“Hey Arkanon, do you think Areath will be okay?” Veld asked.
“He seemed like he was able to handle that demon just fine. We should focus on ourselves right now though. Berok, any signs of demons blocking a path?”
Berok came up to Arkanon’s side, seemingly out of nowhere. “If we continue down this path, there’s one further ahead. There’s a few of them if we head to the left. To the right, there’s about three students fighting against a couple demons. So what’s the plan?”
Arkanon thought for a moment. “The left path is ruled out, that should be clear. We don’t want to risk an unnecessary confrontation with the demon ahead, incase he’s stronger than us, so that’s crossed out as well.”
“So we take the right path?”
“Yes, we can assist those students while we’re at it. Berok, stick to the roofs if possible. Let us know if there’s a demon approaching.”
“Got it.” Berok seemed to vanish from sight as he faded into the dark.
Arkanon looked at Veld and said, “Veld, stick close to me.”
“Okay.” Veld nodded his head.
Arkanon started moving, weaving his way in between cabins, moving to his right. With Berok scouting from the roofs, Arkanon and Veld continued along their way, always on the alert in case of a demon attack.
As they were walking, Berok made a slight tap on the roof to get Arkanon’s attention.
Arkanon looked up and vaguely saw Berok point towards Arkanon’s right. Arkanon nodded and motioned for Veld to follow him. When they got closer, Arkanon could hear clashing sounds coming from ahead. Looking around a corner, Arkanon saw Mira, Cel’Mian, and Jetark fighting against two demons, one a draconic and another a Trethian. From what Arkanon could tell at first glance was that although the three had an advantage in numbers , the two demons were steadily winning.
Arkanon signaled Berok and waved him to come down.
Berok dropped down, waiting for Arkanon to speak.
“I’m going to get straight to the point. Berok, you and Veld attack the one on the left. I’ll attack the one on the right.”
“Anything else?” Veld asked.
“Yeah. Try not to die.”
“Same to you.”
“Ready?” Arkanon drew his sword. “Go!”
Arkanon charged out with Berok and Veld in tow.
One of the demons, the draconic, noticed them coming out. “Gah! More of these brats?”
Jetark, wielding a giant battle axe, swung in a wide horizontal arc, forcing the demon to focus on him.
“Glad to see you’re okay, Arkanon and Veld!” Mira yelled out. She was fighting the Trethian demon by herself while Cel’Mian and Jetark were focusing on the draconic.
“Duck!” Arkanon gathered energy in his left hand and shot out a bolt of energy.
Mira ducked and the energy bolt hit the demon in the chest, knocking him off balance. Mira charged up and slammed her staff into the demon’s left knee, snapping it and forcing him to the ground. Arkanon then came up and stabbed the demon through the skull, killing him instantly.
Arkanon looked over to see how the others were doing. What he saw was the demon knocked to the ground with Jetark standing over him. Jetark then brought his axe down on the demon’s head, splitting it in half.
Jetark turned towards Arkanon, blood smeared on his body and face. “Good to see you, Arkanon and Veld. The three of us were looking for you two, but instead you came to us and helped on top of it. May I ask who the third person is?”
“Later, for now we need to get out of here.” Arkanon responded.
“I’m afraid you aren’t going anywhere.” A chilling voice froze everyone and an overbearing pressure pressed down on them.
Arkanon looked towards the voice and saw a red-scaled being, with large wings and tail. It’s overall appearance was similar to the Ancient’s, but this one made Arkanon shiver from fear.
“Shit, this isn’t good.” Dark Arkanon suddenly said.
‘That one there, could it possibly be..?’
“Yeah, that one’s a Corrupted. And he seems to be a strong one as well.”
Arkanon also saw a second figure walking with the Corrupted. It was the same demon Arkanon saw earlier that Areath fought.
“Oh, what a surprise to see you two again! Unfortunately for you, your pitiful ‘protector’ wasn’t able to win. I dare you to run now.”
“Did Areath… die?” Veld questioned quietly.
‘What are we going to do? What can we do?’ Arkanon asked his other self.
“Running is pointless. He’d just hunt us down.”
‘Shit, so do we have no choice but to make a stand?’
“No, tell your friends to run, that’ll keep them out of my way.”
‘What are you planning on doing?’
“I have a trick, just tell your friends to run and hand control over to me.”
‘Can you beat him?’
“Heh, there’s no chance of beating him, but if I can hold him off long enough until your guardians arrive, we’ll have lived through it.”
‘That sounds like a risky plan.’
“Would you rather be slaughtered?”
“Good, then do as I say.”
Arkanon frowned. “The five of you. Get out of here.”
“What?” Veld asked.
“What are you saying, Arkanon?” Mira also asked.
“I said for all of you to get out of here. Evacuate. Otherwise I can’t promise your safety.” Arkanon said.
“And your safety isn’t of any concern?” Jetark asked, annoyed.
“Go. Now.” Arkanon said through clenched teeth.
Arkanon stood there for a second, his body all tensed up. Then his body jerked forward and relaxed. His white hair started to turn black and a twisted smile could be seen on his face. He looked up towards the Corrupted, both of his eyes turned into a blood red color.
The Corrupted stared at Dark Arkanon, confused. “This is the first time I’ve seen something of this sort.”
Dark Arkanon stared back at the Corrupted, his mouth a twisted smile. “It’s quite a pleasure to meet you. It’s rare for a guardian to ever meet one of the Corrupted.”
“You seem rather well-mannered for someone that’s about to die.”
“Unfortunately for you, I don’t plan on dying.” Dark Arkanon said with a grin. He then closed his eyes and frowned as his body started to shake, but not out of fear. His body started to change, his forearms and lower legs skin was hardening into something leather-like with red scales emerging from it. His fingers twisted up as sharp claws started to form themselves. Red scales now covered his forearms and lower legs and continued on the backs of his arms and up the sides of his legs. Scales then covered his back as a bony tail forced itself out at the base of his spine. The scales continued up the back of his neck and barely touched the sides of his cheeks. When he opened his eyes, his pupils were slit vertically, like a dragons. His pants were ripped apart from below the knee as his clawed feet were bare on the ground. The back of his shirt was tattered, nearly ripped apart from the scales.
“Well now, it’s been a while since I’ve seen any kind of true-form. Aren’t you filled with surprises?” The Corrupted said calmly.
Arkanon’s friends stood behind him, speechless about his sudden change.
“Arkanon?” Veld asked, unsure of what was happening.
Dark Arkanon, now in control of the body, said, “Scram, I don’t need you here.”
“Hey, Arkanon-“ Mira started to say something, but Jetark put a hand on her shoulder.
“Let’s go. It’s clear we aren’t going to be of any use here.” Jetark said.
Veld, unwilling to go, said, “No, I’m not leaving Arkanon to fight that monster alone.”
A black flame wall erupted in front of them, startling them.
“I said leave.” Dark Arkanon scowled.
“I agree with the stone giant, we should back out.” Berok said.
Veld gritted his teeth. “Damnit… Arkanon, I promise I’ll ask them to send help.”
Dark Arkanon snorted and muttered, “That’s the only reason you’re of some worth right now.”
The group of five started to run towards the building.
“Kal, stop them.” The Corrupted ordered.
“Gladly.” Kal grinned and charged forward, trying to move past Dark Arkanon.
Dark Arkanon whipped his right arm out, hitting Kal in the side and sent him flying through a cabin, severely wounding him.
“You aren’t going anywhere.” Dark Arkanon said disdainfully.
The Corrupted looked at Dark Arkanon, seemingly interested, and said, “Your power isn’t bad. For one hit to have that much force behind it, it’s rather impressive for a guardian, but the difference between us is still too large.
“Don’t underestimate me, I can still kill you.”
“Hah, yes you can. But will you be able to?”
“Give me the chance, and I’m sure I’ll be able to.”
The Corrupted laughed. “I like you. You stand before someone much stronger, yet you don’t back down and banter with them instead. I’ll tell you what, I’ll beat you to near death then take you back with us. You’ll be a great test subject.”
“Go ahead and try.”
“There is no trying, it will happen. Enough talk. My name is Faldren, leader of the demons. Who might you be, little guardian?”
“My name is Arkanon. I’ll be the end of you, so don’t forget it.”
“Come Arkanon, come realize the fate that you picked.”
Dark Arkanon charged forward and drew his sword while Faldren simply stood there. Dark Arkanon swung his sword towards Faldren, which Faldren batted aside with his right hand. Dark Arkanon grinned and brought his left fist up and bashed Faldren under his upper arm. Faldren winced slightly in pain, but was more annoyed from Dark Arkanon’s incessant struggle. Faldren swiped his left hand towards Dark Arkanon, hitting him and sending him soaring towards a cabin wall.
Dark Arkanon flipped around mid-air and rebounded off the cabin wall, the force destroying the entire cabin. He charged towards Faldren once more, this time sending a large black flame swathe towards him, temporarily blinding him. Dark Arkanon then created a black flame clone beside him. Faldren couldn’t see anything outside the black flames. He unsheathed his sword and readied himself for anything. He felt a presence to his left and struck out with his left hand, completely destroying the black flame clone. Faldren then turned around and brought his sword down towards Dark Arkanon, who was trying to flank him.
Being caught by surprise, Dark Arkanon only had enough time to back step a little, but the tip of Faldren’s blade cut down the right side of Dark Arkanon’s face, destroying his eye and leaving a clean cut from right above his eye down his cheek.
Dark Arkanon retreated further, his left hand covering the right side of his face. Black flames flickered around his hand as he tried to heal his wound, but he found that he couldn’t heal it. No matter what he did, the wound was still there.
“Wha, What the hell? Why won’t it heal?” Dark Arkanon started to worry.
“You’re already appearing to be a good test subject. Let me tell you this though, so you don’t continue struggling needlessly. You can’t heal your wound, no matter what you try. You have permanently lost your right eye and that wound will forever scar your face.” Faldren explained.
“How the hell is that even possible?!” Dark Arkanon questioned through clenched teeth.
“Well, let’s just say this blade is special.” Faldren smirked as he ran a finger along the edge of his blade. “I’ll make you a deal, Arkanon. If you stay here, I’ll seal your energy and take you back as long as you don’t resist. So what choice will you make now?”
“We’re not going with him.” Arkanon said from inside.
‘What can we do to stop him? I can’t heal our body, so we’re extremely vulnerable here.’
“Going with him will mean certain death. Try getting away from him, wait for reinforcements.”
‘Ha! Getting away from him?’
“We’re likely to die from any decision we make anyways. Why not try to escape?”
Dark Arkanon sighed. ‘Anything is worth a shot now.’
“It seems you come to a decision, Arkanon. So what will be your choice?”
Dark Arkanon took a deep breath and closed his left eye. He gathered as much energy as he could from his body. He raised his left arm in front of him and opened his eye. He crossed his arm over to the right side of his body, and swept it across in front of him in a large arc, shooting out a massive amount of black flames.
“So this is your choice.” Faldren muttered as the black flames engulfed him.
The black flames completely devoured everything in front of Dark Arkanon, destroying all the cabins. He turned around and started to sprint away. After one step though, a hand grabbed his leg.
Faldren started speaking from behind Dark Arkanon. “I’m disappointed in you, young one. I offered you a chance where you wouldn’t suffer, yet you still declined it and boldly attacked me. While I’ll admit you that you are courageous for standing up to me when there’s such a difference between us, what’s the point if it ends in death? Fear not though, you’re still of some use. However, you need to be punished.”
Dark Arkanon was lifted into the air by his leg, causing him to drop his sword. Faldren then threw him with great force. Dark Arkanon couldn’t control his body at all and hit the ground hard, his body only rolling after contact. He ended up on his back and his body ached all over. He sluggishly attempted to get up, but a clawed foot was planted on his chest, preventing him from moving at all. Faldren then moved his foot to Dark Arkanon’s right arm and stomped down on it. Bones cracked and crunched, causing him to scream out in pain.
Faldren took his foot off Dark Arkanon’s arm and knelt down. He poked a claw in the middle of Dark Arkanon’s chest and a little bit of black lightning shot off from his claw. Dark Arkanon’s chest seized up as he felt all his strength leave his body. His body turned back to normal as his consciousness faded.
Faldren stood up and turned around to see a limping Kal coming towards him. “A well timed arrival, Kal. Watch over this child, make sure he doesn’t do anything. Don’t kill him either, we’re taking him as a prisoner.”
Kal had a furious look on his face when he heard Faldren’s orders. “This ‘child’ nearly killed me! Twice! And we’re keeping him alive and taking him prisoner?!”
Faldren had a cold glint in his eyes as he looked at Kal. “My orders are to be followed. Should you disobey, you know the fate that awaits you. Am I understood?”
Kal shivered under Faldren’s gaze and meekly answered. “Yes sir, understood.”
“But this child is dangerous. He doesn’t look that old, yet he holds a great deal of power. The energy blast nearly killed me.”
“If it hit me, it would have done a large amount of damage as well, because he used all the energy he had remaining in his body at once.”
“His hair also faded back into white.”
“So it did. This child, Arkanon, certainly is an anomaly. He used corrupted energy, even though his appearance changed back into that of a guardian, although when he fought it was a demons appearance.”
“Could he have a mutation?”
“It’s possible, but for it to be the exact opposites of a demons, that’s a rare mutation indeed.”
“So what do we do now, sir?”
“I’m going to hunt down the rest of the guardians, you go ahead and take him back to the ship and lock him up.”
At this point, Arkanon’s conscious started to come to. The first things he felt was an immense pain in his right arm, which was completely limp. His right eye was also hurting badly and he knew that it was gone. Another thing he felt was this his own power was now immense, much greater than what it had been before. He shakily opened his left eye and saw Faldren and Kal standing above him.
Faldren noticed this and said, “Oh? You awakened a lot earlier than expected, Arkanon.”
Arkanon only stared back.
“Nothing to say? Very well. Kal, go ahead and take him back now. I’m going to go hunt the rest of them.”
As Faldren turned and started walking towards the large building, three medium sized ships rose in the distance and were about ready to leave.
“Hm. Seems I don’t need to hunt them down, I’ll just blow them out of the sky.” Faldren raised his left arm towards the ships and corrupt energy started to gather around his hand.
Arkanon could see this and desperately tried to think of what to do. ‘My right arm is beyond immediate repair. My legs and left arm are fine though. Maybe…’
Kal reached down and grabbed Arkanon left arm, preparing to drag him away.
‘Now!’ Arkanon infused his left arm and ripped it out of Kal’s grasp. He then spun around, getting onto his knees and formed energy, like a blade, around his left hand. He sliced through Kal’s knees, cutting straight through and forcing Kal to fall flat on his back with no lower legs.
Kal cried out at the sudden dismemberment, causing Faldren to turn towards Arkanon.
By then, Arkanon had gotten up and rushed towards Faldren. Using all his strength, he stabbed towards Faldren with his hand. Faldren tried to grab Arkanon’s left hand with his own, but the energy cut through his clawed hand, not stopping Arkanon’s as it pierced through his chest, just below his heart.
Arkanon gave a short self-mocking snort at missing a big opportunity. A blade then cut his left arm off at the elbow. He felt a heavy kick land on his stomach, making him fly back.
Arkanon landed and coughed heavily, blood coming out of his mouth. The pain from his injuries made him pass out.
Faldren snarled in pain as he pulled Arkanon’s forearm out of his body and threw it on the ground.
“Kal, pull yourself together and take him!” Faldren yelled. Black lightning started to crackle inside the hole in his torso, quickly healing completely. “We don’t have time to sit around either. If they took the chance to flee in ships, then chances are reinforcements are here. Although we didn’t completely achieve what we came for, we’ve done enough. Let’s go.”