|Ancient Prophecy IV: Reunited
by Vipers ©
was split into 7 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
Maya was trying to observe her surroundings, but she couldn't. Everything was dark. She was in the middle of nowhere. No sound reached her ears; no light shone upon her eyes. She could only sense one thing... the coldness around her. The chill embraced her body like a blanket. Her clothes served her little protection. Alone in the dark, she began to grow panic.
"Mistress Anna...! Master Atrus...! Anybody... please answer me...!"
Her voice echoed in the darkness, but no answer came. The darkness swallowed her fading call almost instantly. Then everything was silent once more. She couldn't even hear her breathing.
"Is this underworld...? Am I dead...? Where am I...?"
She tried to recall what had happened. The last thing she could remember was Atrus' concerned gaze. Falagor had shut down her nerve system, knocking her out of her own consciousness. Now she was alone in the dark, cold and frightened.
"Master Atrus...! Please answer me...! I... I'm scared..."
She began to weep, but she knew it was useless. Nobody would hear her. She felt lonely. For the first time after her liberty from the slavery, she was reunited with loneliness.
"Maya Murdock... the brave and loyal warrior... now just a puny crying little girl..."
Maya was shocked at the incoming voice. It came from nowhere, but it rang inside her head. The tone was firm and strong, making her even more frightened.
"Who... who are you?!"
"I'm very disappointed... I'm expecting a fair fight... but YOU are my opponent? Hah!"
Opponent?! What was he talking about?!
"What do you want...? Show yourself!"
"I'm here to fight you, Miss Murdock... You have been dreaming for this opportunity for many years... Now you have the chance... You'd better not miss it..."
"Who are you?! Are you the Lord of Darkness?!"
The answer was her ultimate nightmare. "Why, Miss Murdock... I'm Knight Murdock... John Murdock... or also known as John the Plunderer... your father..."
Anna loosed another firebolt that quickly roasted the nearby bat. More vampire bats swooped down, but were unable to penetrate her magical barrier. Atrus kept his body inside the barrier as Anna shot the bats down again and again.
"We can't stay here too long! There are too many of them!"
"They're coming from that hole!" Anna pointed at the huge hole on the cave ceiling above them. They were in the cave inside the Mystic Mountain when a group of vampire bats jumped them. "If I can get a clear shot at it, we could seal their lair!"
"I will distract them! Don't miss!"
Atrus dashed out of the barrier and hurled several stones at the evading bats. He scored no hit, but the bats were pissed off and started tailing him. He distracted the bats to the other end of the cave.
With most of the bats at the other side of the cave, Anna could get a clear shot at the hole. She created the biggest fireball she ever made, and loosed it. A spectacular explosion occurred and the ceiling was collapsing.
"Anna! OVER HERE!!!"
Anna ran toward his voice. Atrus had found another path, and was keeping the bats away. Behind her, numerous boulders fell on the ground, burying anything beneath it. The ground beneath her began to rock, tripping her feet. She cried as her body fell on the ground, and the thunderous roar of the cave in behind her was getting close.
Suddenly a pair of powerful arms grasped her shoulders and dragged her along the rocky ground. The dust blinded her eyes, but she tried to push herself forward. Then she felt her body being pinned on the ground, and the final roar of the collapsed cave was heard.
"Anna... are you okay?"
She sat down and rubbed her eyes. The cave was completely blocked by huge boulders, but before them was another long path deeper into the mountain. She was basically unhurt except the scratches on her knees that were made when Atrus dragged her away from the cave in. Atrus, on the other hand, had a lot of bite marks on his skin. His back was totally covered with dust when he protected her from the blast.
"Thanks... I... I owe you one..." Anna said while trying to regain her breath.
"One?! You owe me MANY!!! How many times have I saved your ass?!"
"Come on! We don't have much time!"
"WHY?! ANSWER ME?! WHY DO I HAVE TO ENDURE ALL THIS?!"
Maya's cry echoed in the darkness. She was crying, but she still stood defiantly, waiting for a response. The answer was not the one she expected to hear.
"So this is my brave daughter and student... crying helplessly at her state of being..."
"YOU'RE NOT MY FATHER!!!"
"AND I'M ASHAMED TO CALL YOU MY DAUGHTER!!!" The voice answered angrily. "The daughter of John the Plunderer is not a meek little girl!!"
"But you made me into it! You made me endure all that slavery!" Maya countered.
"Maya... Until when will you keep yourself enslaved?!"
"I'm not enslaved! I serve master Atrus under my own will!"
"But you are still enslaved... by your own destiny..."
"What are you talking about?!" Maya was getting confused.
"The grief caused by your slavery... it is still inside your heart... Your hatred for me still exists as well... Your body was facing the future, but your self is still trapped in your past..."
"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!!"
Then the memory flashed in her mind. The man in the bar... His words rang in her ears. She could remember how he had said that she looked exactly like her father. She could remember how Master Atrus had asked her about her father. In both occasions, she had refused to recall who he was.
"Who are you actually?!" she asked again.
"Maya... your innocence has been protecting you until now, but it also prevents you from seeing the truth... You must arise, Maya... You must not be enslaved by your past... You must be free from the bondage of your emotion... You must face the destiny and control it..."
"But how can I do that?! Humans cannot change his destiny! Only the Guardian can!"
"No... you're wrong... You're very wrong..."
A view came out in front of her eyes. It was... the brothel... She could recognize it well. That was where she had been enslaved for a full year. That was where she had been brutally violated by many men. That was the first place she wanted to forget.
She could remember how Atrus had come and set her free. To repay his kindness, she had been his slave willingly, although he hadn't treated her like one. She could remember the creepy feeling when the thick leather collar was placed back around her neck... by her own hands...! At that time, she had made a choice... a choice that would affect her future...
Then the vision changed into a large room with expensive furniture. She quickly recognized it as the brothel-master's bedroom, where she had been punished for her poor service. The hated man was there, sitting on his large bed. Another man, wearing dark clothes and purple cape entered and spoke.
"We cannot get the girl, sir. The man took off immediately with her."
"I thought I told you to use any means necessary, mister...?" The brothel-master said.
"We later know the man as Atrus White Lion, the son of Captain White Lion and the hero in Labrador incident. A careless attempt to kill him might spell doom for all of us..."
Kill him?! Her old master wanted to kill master Atrus?! Why...? Of course! He could have abducted her and put her back to slavery! But that didn't happen... because she had chosen to follow Atrus. Had she not chosen it, she would have been in the brothel, serving men's lust unwillingly.
She wanted it... And her choice had changed her destiny...
"Despite his divine authority, Lord Guardian is no dictator." The voice said again. "He doesn't want to control you. He gives you rights to choose your own path. But you have to master your path, not to be enslaved by it. Be who you want to be."
They arrived at another huge room inside the mountain. The air was incredibly hot. They had to be somewhere near the center of the buried lava pool. Despite the unfriendly environment, the cave walls were decorated with beautiful and colorful mineral rocks. The rocks seemed to be illuminated elegantly by unknown light source behind the walls, giving little light to the otherwise-dark room.
Halfway through the cave, Anna suddenly shuddered violently. She fell on her knees, only to be held by Atrus.
"Anna?! What's wrong?!"
"I... I don't know... My... my power... It's gone...! I can't cast any spells...!"
She could feel it. Something in this room was usurping her spell power. She tried to resist it, but she kept on losing power. Her magic barrier and eagle eye spell seemed to use more power than before.
"Dispel them! Anna, dispel them! Shut it down!" Atrus commanded.
Anna dispelled all her active spells. She could feel her power returning, but an invisible field was enveloping her body, waiting for her to use her spell again. Every time she prepared to channel her power, the cave absorbed it again. Her magic ability had been rendered useless!
"Don't use any spells! We can do it without them. Just keep your eyes open..."
Atrus' words were cut off by a strange roar from the other end of the room. Strange force lifted rocks and pebbles from the ground and mashed them into forms... of humans! The rocks slowly formed the legs, bodies, arms, and round heads. The creatures stood erect about nine feet tall. Many more materialized from all corners of the room, surrounding and pinning them in the center of the cave.
"Anna...? Do you see them or those were just illusion...?" Atrus asked.
"Earth elementals... They were creatures created from rocks and earth, bound by strong magical force, enabling them to form up when they sense danger and disperse to conceal their existence. Ancient tribe shamans usually use them to guard precious mines or quarries in their territories. The knowledge to cast this complicated spell had been lost in time."
The detailed information served them no help as several elementals raised their rocky arms. Atrus grabbed Anna's little body in his arms and pinned her down on the ground as sharp pebbles propelled from the elementals' arms. The rocks found their marks after being bounced back and forth by the walls, but Anna was fully protected by Atrus' body. Even he didn't groan, she knew he was hurt.
"Atrus... Are you okay?!"
Atrus stood up and faced the front group. "Cover my rear. This is my fight."
Atrus unsheathed his sword for the first time that day. That sword...! She could recognize the deep blue glow. It was the demonic sword wielded by the demon king Lucius, back in Gideon. It was the same sword that had claimed Jenna's life, the beautiful young maid from Gideon.
Then the air around Atrus grew hot. Anna quickly moved away as bright flame engulfed his body. His eyes were blazing with fire. The only thing that was not burned was the deep blue sword in his hand. The scene was exactly the same as the one in Gideon, inciting fear inside her.
A group of elementals shot numerous pebbles at the petrified Anna, but Atrus stood between her and the creatures. The fire around his body quickly incinerated the incoming missiles.
"ANNA! ON YOUR FEET!" He talked to her! His voice was heavy and sore.
Atrus dashed toward a group of elementals and began to slice and dice them with his mighty sword. The demonic sword glowed brightly as it sent frost spells to all creatures unlucky enough to be on its way. The sword slashed through the rocky figures, freezing the creatures from inside, crumbling the rocks and dispelling the magical bonds. Atrus expertly played his sword, and one by one the creatures perished into pebbles and dust.
The elementals from the other side shot more pebbles at Anna, but she required no second command. She wielded her metal mace and deflected the flying rocks. Despite their huge forms and incredible strength, earth elementals were awfully slow and sluggish in their movement. Anna dashed toward them and began her hit-and-run attack, bashing their body and evading their attempts to grab her. Slowly, their ranks began to diminish as her mace turned them back into dust.
Several bigger remains could group together to form new creatures, forcing Anna to crush them to crumbs. Atrus, however, had no trouble in doing that. With his fireballs, he could incinerate the elementals in one shot. He fought fiercely to secure the other path and quickly cleared it from any hostile creatures. Then he dashed to the other side and helped Anna with the remaining enemies.
After half an hour of intense battle, the cave was cleared. Anna just lay on the ground, panting from exhaustion. Brute fighting was not her specialty since she relied heavily on her magical skill. Atrus' flame also subsided, returning his old form. He looked unhurt except the wounds on his back.
She had to admit that he had killed far more foes than she had. "Well fought, Ranger..."
He just smiled. "Now you've seen what I've learnt from Master Falagor."
"You seem to be able to control your power by now..."
He nodded. "In Gideon, my power was controlled by my anger and anguish. That's why I couldn't control it. Now I can control it and put it into good use." He looked at his glowing sword. "This cursed sword has been put into good use as well.... Jenna... I will use it in her memory..."
She could feel his sadness. He still felt responsible for Jenna's death. "I'm sure she will be very proud..."
"I know... But you fought well. I'm pretty impressed."
"Now you know that mocking me is your biggest mistake!" Anna sneered.
"Well... not good enough to beat my superior skill... but it's okay..." Then he walked away.
"You... you... JERK!!!"
"But why...? Why did I have to be a criminal's daughter? I didn't wish for that destiny!"
"You must learn to accept reality, for you cannot run from it. Reality comes from the past, and you cannot change it. However, reality must have served you something."
She thought for a while. He was right. Her fighting style... her trap disarming skill... she got that from her father... and they had for many occasions saved many lives, including hers.
"But why do I have to become a slave?! Why do I have to live in disgrace?!"
Another vision came before her eyes. She recalled it as the trading town of Tiras in southern Aragon, where she had been enslaved. The view revealed three people, Atrus, Anna, and herself. It was the time before she pledged allegiance to Atrus.
"I went to the brothel house to look for a slave so we can grant her
independence." She heard Atrus saying to her in the vision. "But most of the
whores I found enjoyed their slavery. You didn't enjoy your slavery. Therefore I decided
that you didn't belong there."
This story was split into 7 parts. Jump to any of the segments from
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
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