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|| Shadow Realm | Chapter Four, Part Seven of Seven | Please Read and Comment! |

|| Shadow Realm | Chapter Four, Part Seven of Seven | Please Read and Comment! |

Posted June 30th, 2014 by saphiremoon

by Strawberry Swing {Nikki}
in the Shadow Realm

A/N: Hey guys! c: Final part– 'njoy! And, as always, please comment :)

 

 

 

My head spun with ideas of what could’ve happened– a demon raid? A Portal opening? Lumiere’s secret being revealed?– but I also felt a twinge of surprise that Benedict had made a friendly comment. Shaking my head to clear it, I sucked in a deep breath, trying to steady my racing heart and focus my twirling thoughts, and luckily Eiran asked the question I wanted the answer to. “What happened?”

         Rolling up the letter, the dark-eyed Shadower tucked it into a pocket in the inside of his cloak, face turning emotionless. “Demon raid party sighted,” he told us, voice steely and steady.

         I frowned, some of my senses returning, and inhaled another arid breath. “Near the Mages Retreat?” I queried, wondering why the other Mages would send Benedict a message about demons.

         To my surprise, he shook his head, dark hair falling into his face as he looked down at Skifter. “No. It was seen by one of the Mages just outside Westmeadow.” His cloak stirred slightly, the heavy, dark material noiseless in the gentle wind.

         Blinking, I glanced at Eiran, but he was frowning at Benedict, looking as confused as I felt. Hurriedly, I asked, “Why did they tell you, then? I mean– well, not to be rude or anything, but why would the Mages care?” I felt a stab in my stomach as I spoke the words, but my curiosity was too strong– Mages rarely interacted with other people, so why would they mind if a town were invaded?

         Benedict looked slightly offended. “We monitor demon activity,” he explained, nudging Skifter with his toe and nodding at the bird. It gave several quick, high-pitched screams, and then flapped its wings, suddenly aloft. I watched it, bewildered, as it circled above, emitting its strange call again before flying silently away.

         “Plus,” the Mage continued, making me turn back to him, “we do care about demon attacks.”

         I raised my eyebrows, fighting off the wryness in my tone, as I retorted skeptically, “Well, it certainly seems like it. What do you lot do to help us?”

         “Emmery,” Eiran hissed in my ear, tugging at my sleeve in reprimand. I winced, but refused to drop the Mage’s cold stare. Benedict shot me a sharp, almost rebuking glare, and snapped back, “More than you think, Emmery. The Mages monitor the demons, and whenever a raiding party like this is spotted, we alert the other nearby settlements.”

         Lowering my gaze, I asked carefully, voice cautiously even, “Why did the Mages tell you? We’re miles away from Westmeadow– what could we do to help?” Skifter’s distant shree echoed through the air, splitting through the wind like a blade and making me shiver.

         Benedict sighed, shaking his head again. Impatiently, he tugged his coat collar higher, eyes flaring as they scanned the dull, foggy horizon. “This raiding party is unique,” he informed us, giving first Eiran a hard look, then me. “It’s bigger, and has different demons in it– not just Demon Lords and Hell Hounds.”

         “What else does it have?” Eiran demanded, sounding fearful. My heart thudded in my chest, and I swallowed, feeling fear creep in on me like advancing fog.

         Running a hand through his hair, the Shadower exhaled a taunt breath again. “The letter didn’t say much,” he admitted, “but it did mention Revenants and Haunts.” I opened my mouth, nearly bursting with questions, but Benedict held up his hands, his eyes glowing rich gray. “I’m sorry, but I have to go,” he interrupted, cutting off my barrage of questions. “They want me to be there before the demons reach Westmeadow.” Shaking his head, Benedict grimaced, and nodded at Eiran and I in turn. “Thank you for the information,” he said, and though my sleep-deprived brain was probably imagining it, I thought I heard a note of real gratitude in his voice.

         Glancing sharply at Eiran, I nodded at Benedict, wondering why they needed him there but unwilling to ask. “Bye, Mag– Benedict.” I took a step back, nodding to him again, still trying to hold back a flood of questions. You’re as bad as Luana, I thought, a tiny smile tugging at my lips at the thought.

         Benedict nodded in return, casting Eiran a sparing glance as well. “I’m guessing I’ll be seeing you again soon,” he mused, a flicker of amusement crossing his eyes. “What with the trouble Laufeia’s stirring up.”

         Not knowing how to reply, I merely dipped my head hesitantly, while Eiran shifted uncomfortably behind me. Without him telling me, I knew that he wasn’t looking forward to our next meeting with the sharp-tongued Mage. I wasn’t counting the days to our next conversation either, but I didn’t dread it like I once would of.

         Turning, Benedict walked quickly away, his long, swift strides carrying him fleetly out of sight. The fog of the Gloom swallowed his dark, slim shape up in seconds, and soon Eiran and I were alone in the flat, wind-swept plains.

         Silence claimed the forest’s edge for a few seconds, even the moaning of the rattling trees subsiding as the wind died down. The pulling at my clothes from the breeze stopped, and my cloak hung limp around me. My breaths, always artificial, seemed especially fragile in the quiet, and I was suddenly reminded of my own mortality– Shadowers never grew old, but we could get killed in much less peaceful ways than old age. I shivered, though the air was thin and cool, and tried to slow my breathing– my breaths were too loud, too raucous in the open, and I felt as if I might disturb something.

         Eiran seemed disconcerted by the silence as well, and he had more reason than I did; his Gift was Sound, whereas mine was Silence. He hated and feared the quiet more than I did. But this silence was different than the one I conjured– I conjured quiet, a delicate balance between sound and emptiness, one filled by things other than noise– still quiet, but not empty. This silence, though, was different. It was an absence of noise, a chilling, hollow lack of echoes that prickled at my skin as if I were being watched. It made my head spin with fearful, confusing thoughts– there should be noise. Where’s the noise? Why is there no noise?

         Wanting to break the grip the Gloom had on us, I cleared my throat and began, “Do you think–” I broke off, realizing that Eiran had spoken at the exact same moment. His eyes widened, and he gestured for me to talk. Giving him a tight smile, I shook my head and offered, “You first.”

         “Thanks.” With a weary sigh that surprised me, Eiran crossed his arms, frowning, and glanced at the direction where Benedict had disappeared. Hesitating, he whispered in a hushed voice, as if the Mage could still hear us, “Can we trust him?” He jabbed his finger into the fog, and mouthed breathlessly, “Benedict.”

         I shook my head, laughing quietly, partly because of Eiran’s scared expression and partly because I was stalling, not certain how to reply. Finally, I managed to lift my head and meet my friend’s alarmed gray gaze long enough to murmur, “Judging by the way him and Laufeia were acting this morning, I think that if he had to choose sides, he wouldn’t go with her.” And he was asking for information from Laufeia’s weakest link, I added internally, remembering him questioning Lumiere earlier.

         Eiran nodded, looking a little more convinced than before but still not settled. Looking around, he hesitated again before saying in a falsely pleasant voice, “Your turn.”

         Pretending that I couldn’t see through his light, easy mask, I rubbed the back of my neck and recalled Lumiere’s information before speaking. “Do you think we should tell the other Shadowers about Lumiere and Laufeia?” The angel on my shoulder told me to tell the other Shadowers about the Portals, but I couldn’t imagine myself telling them about freedom– and, judging by his expression, neither could Eiran.

         “You mean the Portals?” Eiran asked, disbelief tainting his voice. “No way.” He shook his head forcefully, eyes livid.

         I was relieved that Eiran shared my views– as much as I couldn’t tell the other Shadowers about the Portals, I didn’t have the heart to argue against someone who wanted to. “It wouldn’t be fair for Lumiere, either,” I reasoned, trying to fight of the festering guilt squirming in my stomach. “I mean, think about what the Shadowers would do to him– chase him around, demanding him to make Portals. Benedict said there was something strange about Portals, too.” I hated using something I didn’t believe in an argument, but I would use any weapon to kill the shame inside of me.

         Eiran nodded, a little too enthusiastically. “Yeah,” he agreed loudly. “And if the Shadowers go into the Light Realm, they could get turned into an Absence.”

         I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe keeping them in the dark– I winced at my choice of words– would help them. “We’re protecting them,” I thought aloud, trying to ignore the doubt in my voice.

         Luckily, my friend either didn’t notice or decided not to address my wavering tone. Instead, he unsheathed his stiletto, a nervous habit, and held it tightly, frowning. “But what about Laufeia’s plans?” he pressed, voice quaking as he spoke. “She wants to control demons!”

         “But she’s failing,” I reminded him, Lumiere’s frightened words echoing in my mind. Blinking to clear my head, I tapped my dagger, feeling a cool wind start up again and tousle my hair, the breeze weaving through the trees’ boughs and making them sway. “All she wants to do is find Orion– I don’t think that it’ll affect either Realm that much,” I reasoned, trying to remember all the information I’d heard. She wanted to recover Orion from the Light Realm– the only person that could get hurt was her.

         And Lumiere, I thought, a jolt running through me. I quickly dismissed the guilt– if he didn’t want to work with her, he wouldn’t. The Shadow Realm was endless– if he had half a mind to flee, he would.

         Eiran still looked slightly doubtful, but before he could speak I spotted movement in the woods. Whipping around to face it, I drew out my dagger, narrowing my eyes to try to see through the dark tangle of trees and undergrowth. The bushes were still quivering from the earlier noisy thrash, but apart from that the forest was still– the wind had vanished again.

         “What? What is it?” The fear in Eiran’s voice made me more aware of my own, but I quickly pushed it away. I signaled to the trees with my unarmed hand but didn’t reply, eyes fixed on the shadowed gaps between the branches. Eiran, following my gaze, swore and pointed his thin-bladed knife at the forest, eyes bright with fear. “Hell Hounds?” he demanded, and through the corner of my eye I saw his stiletto shake. “Demon Lords? Spectres? Wraiths?”

         I wanted to hiss back a sharp reply that would have definitely included shut up, but suddenly a blur sped out of the woods, a person-sized mass of cinder that left a trail of blurred shadows in its wake. Gasping, I felt my grip on my dagger tighten and quickly relaxed it, so that if I had to throw it I could.

         Eiran let out a startled cry as the blur raced towards us, devouring the ground with unimaginable speed. I winced as it closed the gap between us, raising my weapon so that I could sink it into the demon’s heart–

         “You bastards!”

         I nearly dropped my dagger in shock as the blur stopped a few feet away from me, doubled up and glaring. My eyes widened, and I did drop the dagger– it landed with a dull thud on the ground behind me, but I barely noticed; I was staring in disbelief at the Shadower. Now that it was still, I could tell what it– or, rather, she– was.

         “Abbey!” I stared at my friend, unable to keep the disbelief from my voice. Her dark braid was flung over one shoulder and was bent over, hands on her knees. She wasn’t breathing, but I could tell from the exhaustion behind her furious eyes that she had run a long way– and certainly covered the ground fast.

         Swallowing, I struggled to regain my senses and managed to demand, breathless, “What’s wrong?”

         She glared back, expression fierce. “You, you bloody morons. I come asking for help, and you want to attack me?” She snorted, cutting me off before I could even start to speak, and snapped savagely, “Save it for the demons.”

         I froze, shocked, as her words sank in. “Demons? Where?” My eyes darted to the sword at her belt.

         Grimacing, Abbey straightened, shooting a speechless Eiran a keen glare as well. Her voice lacked its earlier rage, though, replaced by urgency and fear, when she answered. “Glass Town. The blacksmith spotted them ten minutes ago, and when I left to get help, they were nearly on us.” Her expression was grim, her voice was dead and flat– demon attacks might be common, but they were still dreaded by all.

         “Did you–” I began, but Abbey cut me off. “No time,” she said urgently, glancing between Eiran and I. “We have to go, now.” She turned, already starting to run, though luckily not with her Gift. Eiran and I followed, exchanging one apprehensive look before catching up with her.

         “Talk while you run if you have the breath to, breather,” she said, the taunt stinging despite the light tease in her voice. Her tone hardened, and when I glanced at her, her eyes were dark as she muttered, “You’ll sure as hell need it when we get there.”

         Grimacing, I quickened my pace, already feeling a tug of pain in my chest as I panted. Lifting my gaze from the ground racing below me, I felt a pang in my chest as I realized something. The Glass Town was within seven miles of Westmeadow; they would’ve called reinforcements from there. The population of Glass Town must’ve been halved– two dozen people there at the most now.

         Two dozen people versus forty Demon Lords, plus their Hell Hounds, I thought, heart slamming in my chest.

         We were heading to a hopeless battle.

 

 

 

 

Copyright Nichole Levesley, 2014 © All rights reserved.


See more stories by Strawberry Swing {Nikki}
Oh crap. EMMERY!!! Don't die

Oh crap. EMMERY!!! Don't die on me... ;.;
You won't make them all die and be like, "the end" will you???
Please don't! My fragile heart can't handle it!
MAKE. MORE.

Me: Bella, you're a wedge of cheese... Bri, You're a brownie
Bri: @.@... Where'd that come from
Bella: From the toilet that is her brain
Me: LOLOLOL So true
Bella/Bri: ...
GENERATION 9 ~ When you first see this, add one to the Generation and paste it

Posted by *Snow* on Mon, 06/30/2014 - 22:39
Oh damn you read my mind

Oh damn you read my mind :P

Aha, just kidding c: Well, I'm currently on chapter sixteen, and Emmery is the protagonist, and it will be a trilogy, so Emmery's safe. For now... c: (Can't promise anything about Eiran, though).

Thanks for commenting! :)

 

––––––––––––––––– http://www.kidpub.com/book-page-or-chapter/shadow-realm-prologue-well-no... – The shadows are alive...

Posted by Cemeteries Of L... on Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:03
*winces* this isn't going to

*winces*

this isn't going to end well. The demons are organizing!

Great Chapter.

 

What will happen when the Lost Souls discover the Lifestone? Find out by reading: http://www.kidpub.com/book-page-or-chapter/lifestone-chapter-one-2400147... Visit the blog of The Shifter Chronicles! Just follow the link --> http://theshifterchronicles.b

Posted by Ark on Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:47
Yess, demons are a little

Yess, demons are a little dangerous. c:

Thanks!

 

––––––––––––––––– http://www.kidpub.com/book-page-or-chapter/shadow-realm-prologue-well-no... – The shadows are alive...

Posted by Cemeteries Of L... on Tue, 07/01/2014 - 14:12

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