You, Me, and the Demon, Part 2
Jaco and Quil traveled to the village of Bilocki, which was the village furthest south of the royal castle. The people were happy to see Jaco and Quil grace their humble home. They waved at them cheerfully and the Heroes returned the gesture in kind. Children ran up to Quil and offered him flowers. Quil smiled and graciously accepted them.
On the outside, Quil appeared to be gleeful and in good spirits, but on the inside, Quil was battling feelings of rage and violence. Images of hurting everyone he saw flooded his mind. He fought against being drawn into those feelings and thoughts he suspected were not his. He didn’t know why this was happening, but Jaco promised he would get answers.
Jaco led Quil to the end of the village where a large black hut sat. The yard was full of brown, dead grass, an extreme contrast to the rest of the huts in the village. There was a scarecrow resting on the ground, limbs akimbo, face etched in dark charcoal which gave it a haunting appearance. Quil tried his best not to look at it as they passed into the yard.
“This is Mama Kaina’s place,” Jaco said, approaching the front door, which was painted black with a red X in the middle. “She uses strange magic that I’m not really familiar with; you might be surprised by her powers.” Quil just shrugged his shoulders.
Before Jaco could knock on the door, he heard the call, “Come in, dear ones. The door’s unlocked.”
Jaco gripped the handle and pushed the door open. In the center of the living room sat a large black woman wearing a red, gold, and green dress. She had her black and white hair up being held by what looked to be a bone. Quil saw this and gave Jaco a concerned look. Jaco gave him a reassuring smile that begged Quil to trust him.
The two of them entered and closed the door behind them. Mama Kaina invited them to sit on the black mat on the floor in front of her. As they did so, she tossed some dust at them, which settled nicely in their hair. Quil wanted to say something about it, but Jaco touched his hand and quelled any desire to complain.
“So, you come to me on the day of the harvest moon. Something serious must be going on,” she said, giving the two of them a once over. She looked at Quil and instantly homed in on him. “Hmm, yes. I see. Something wrong with this one here.” She leaned in close to examine his eyes. “You’ve been touched by the darkness.”
“Darkness?” Quil repeated. He didn’t like the way she said ‘darkness’. It was deep and full of warning. “What kind of darkness?”
Mama Kaina blinked a few times before she answered. “The demonic kind.” She sat back and grabbed a fistful of dust from a pottery bowl. She promptly tossed it in Quil’s face. “You need to be relieved of the demon spirit inside of you.”
“How are we going to do that?” Jaco asked. He knew the answer and hoped she would say what she said.
“We need to exorcise it.”
“Boom! I told you!” Jaco punched Quil on the arm. “Sorry.” He watched Quil rub his now sore arm.
“I will need you to lie down on the bed that I have in the back room.” Mama Kaina grunted as she stood up from her mat. She bade Jaco and Quil to rise as well. She led them through a beaded curtain to a room that was dark, lit only by dozens of candles. “You will remove your clothes.”
“I most certainly will not!” Quil clutched his uniform and shook his head. “What kind of witch doctor are you? You’re all spooky and have a bone in your hair. How can anyone take you seriously?”
Mama Kaina reached up and took the bone out of her hair, allowing it to flow down to her waist. “People love the kitsch of witch doctors. They only know what they’ve read in stories. It really sells. But as you wish.” She motioned Quil toward the bed. “I’m not joking about the clothes though. They create a barrier and locks in the evil spirit. They will have to be removed.”
Jaco winked at Quil. Quil resented how much Jaco was enjoying this.
The prince reluctantly agreed to undress in front of the stranger. He ignored the smile on Mama Kaina’s face as she gazed upon his manhood. He supposed he should be happy she was impressed.
He laid down on the bed, which was covered in white silk linens. The pillow was really fluffy and invited him to rest and relax. Once again, he felt the sudden urge to sleep. His eyelids were droopy. He fought to keep his eyes open. He didn’t know what Mama Kaina intended to do and he wanted to be conscious for it. His eyes had different plans. He closed them and drifted off to sleep.
“Is that supposed to happen?” Jaco asked.
“Yes. The pillow has a sleeping spell on it.” She took out a feathered fan and some oils and set them on the table next to the bed. “It’s best that the possessed not be awake for the exorcism. It causes some mental scarring. Now stand back.”
Jaco did as he was commanded. He watched as Mama Kaina spilled a sweet smelling oil on Quil and rubbed it all over his body. A breeze from out of nowhere drifted in and caused the flames to flicker. The scent of coconut filled the room. Mama Kaina began mumbling ancient words from times past. Quil began to stir. Mama Kaina placed her hands on Quil’s forehead and urged his spirit to rest for now.
She continued to speak the words, only louder now. Her timbre resonated in the air as the magic swirled around her. She crescendoed and then finally became silent. She stepped back from the table and dried her hands on her dress. “We will have to wait a moment to see if it worked.”
Jaco took a step forward to further inspect Quil. “Quil, honey, are you in there?” There was no response. “How deep a sleep does that pillow cause?”
Mama Kaina turned to Jaco with a dramatically grave look on her face. “Deep.”
Quil moaned suddenly. Jaco rushed to his side and grabbed his hand. “Quil! I’m right here. Come on.”
Quil slowly opened his eyes. They were the same lovely brown Jaco had grown to love. He breathed a sigh of relief. He turned to Mama Kaina and smiled. “You did it.”
At first, she was smiling, but that smile quickly turned into a frown. “Get back!” she shouted, but it was too late. A warm gust of wind extinguished all of the candles and then there was a dim darkness.
Jaco whipped around to look at Quil and saw that his eyes were now red with glowing orange pupils. A devilish grin appeared on Quil’s face as he tightened his grip on Jaco’s hand.
“Hello, lover!” The demon said, flicking his tongue at Jaco. He twisted Jaco’s arm and tossed him across the room. Jaco landed against a shelf full of candles. The shelf collapsed on top of him.
Mama Kaina stepped back toward the beaded doorway. “Stay back, you foul thing!” She clasped her hands together and began to utter the words to a banishing spell. She thought she would start with a medium strength spell for the exorcism, but it appeared to be too weak against the likes of this demon. She hoped it wasn’t too late to try the harder spell.
Kendryl, now in control of Quil, raised his left hand and uttered a spell, which sent a force wave at the witch doctor. This sent her flying through the beaded curtain into the living room. He listened for any further movement and chanting, but all was silent. Perfect.
He examined the prince’s body and smiled. While it wasn’t the most fit and a little chubby, it was bounds better than his old body. He looked around for Quil’s clothes. He didn’t plan on walking out of here naked. He wanted to at least look dignified and afford the prince a little privacy. The world was not ready for what Quil was packing.
He got dressed once he found the ridiculous looking silver and blue costume and started to stride out of the room. He heard Jaco call out Quil’s name from underneath the heavy wooden shelf. He laughed and sent a force wave at Jaco, successfully knocking him out. He flexed his fingers and chuckled. The extra power provided by Quil was amazing. He was going to do so many bad things before he commenced with his mission. Taking down the prince’s reputation along with destroying the Heroes from within would be more fun than kicking small dogs!
He stepped into the living and saw Mama Kaina laying on the floor, out like a light. Who did she think she was trying to banish him? He made sure that she wouldn’t bother him again. After he charred her body from the inside, he left the hut. He was greeted with loving cheers from the people; they were greeted with fire.
Chrys sat in his study looking over some tax forms that needed to be approved by the end of the day. His father had just given them to him and told him that they needed to be done right away. When Chrys asked how long his father had been in possession of these forms. The answer was somewhere around a week. Chrys sighed and agreed to sign off on them.
He spent the rest of the afternoon signing tax forms since the incident with Quil. The whole encounter upset him greatly. Every time he thought about it, his body shook uncontrollably. He attempted to avert his thoughts by focusing on the forms, but his mind continued to drift to the confrontation. The image of Quil’s burning eyes would probably haunt him for several years from this point. He wondered if he would need to seek therapy for this.
Was it true what Quil said about Chrys being jealous? Chrys didn’t think so. He was going to be king, that was enough for him. He didn’t need to add having magical powers to the mix. While society deemed magic to be normal and perfectly natural, Chrys did not agree. He quietly regarded the magical community as a bunch of freaks, but no one cared about his opinions anyway, so he kept this to himself.
What he actively worried about was how magic was going to affect his brother. He was always on the lookout for the magic to cause Quil to go mad. Was today’s incident the tip of the iceberg? Was it beginning to happen? What was he supposed to do when it happened?
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a knock on the door. He set the form he was holding on the desk and turned toward the door. He called for the person to enter. The door creaked open to reveal a red faced messenger. It was evident that he had ran from somewhere in a hurry. Chrys instinctively grabbed the pitcher on his desk and poured a glass of water. He stood up and gave it to the messenger, who took it happily. He gulped it down in seconds. He held out the cup, requesting a refill. Chrys obliged. Once the glass was empty again, he took the glass from the messenger and set it back on the desk.
“What appears to be the trouble?”
“Terrible trouble in the Bilocki village,” the messenger replied in between gasps. He wiped his mouth clean of water that hadn’t made it into his mouth. His red shirt was spotted from the renegade water. “There was an attack.”
Chrys’ throat suddenly went dry. Was it another enemy kingdom coming to cause trouble? He should tell his father… then he second guessed that thought. His father would only call for the Heroes. He did not want to do that. He decided that he will deal with this on his own.
“I will dispatch my soldiers. Send the call to action,” Chrys commanded. The messenger eyed the pitcher of water one last time before he bowed and turned to leave. Chrys stopped him and asked, “Who is attacking Bilocki?”
The messenger stared Chrys right in the eyes and said, “It’s your brother, Your Grace.” With that, he spun around and zipped out the door before he could be called for questioning again.
Chrys clenched his fists as he thought, the time has finally come; the magic has driven Quil into madness. It wasn’t like him to harm people. The magic had finally warped his mind to the dark side. He knew that it was up to him to save his brother and whatever was left of Bilocki.
He poured himself a glass of water to soothe his dry throat and drank it down. He set the glass on top of one of the numerous forms. They would have to wait.
He put his game face on and strode down the halls to his room to get his battle armor. The Heroes would certainly be finished after this. This brought a smile to his face.
Jaco woke up to the smell of smoke. He coughed as he took account of where he was. He remembered that he was in Mama Kaina’s bedroom. He was still pinned down by the wooden shelf. He pushed himself up using his upper body strength, the shelf followed. Tapping into his wolf strength, he was able to get out from underneath it. He cracked his sore back as he stood up. It was not the good kind of sore.
He looked around for any sign of fire. Nothing was actively on fire in the bedroom. He stepped into the living room and found Mama Kaina’s crispy remains lying in the middle of the room. His felt his heart skip a beat and his stomach drop. He thought he was going to be sick. He knelt by her side and said a prayer. The smell of smoke reminded him of his quest.
He stood up and walked outside to find that most of the huts were on fire. People were standing in the streets watching their homes burn. The fire department was surely on their way, but just hadn’t arrived yet.
Jaco didn’t know how long he had been unconscious, but it looked like the demon wasted no time in causing trouble. It was no doubt tapping into Quil’s powers to become more powerful. This needed to be stopped. How could Quil be exorcised when the only person he knew of to do it was dead? He knew that he had to find Quil soon. He also knew that he couldn’t do it alone.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out his talkie. He pressed a button on speed dial and called all of the other Heroes. Twenty minutes later, Reese, Andrada, and Everett arrived at what was left of Bilocki. They were shocked and dismayed by the sight of the destroyed buildings. They found Jaco and approached him.
“Quil did all of this?” Andrada asked. She couldn’t imagine Quil going off on an entire village like this. He just wasn’t capable of this type of malice. He didn’t have a malicious bone in his body. How could he have done this?
“Yeah. That demon we were chasing possessed him and now he’s running amok.” Jaco folded his arms and sighed. “We have to find him and soon!”
“How can we even begin looking?” Everett asked. He wrung his hands nervously. “I fear by the time we find him, it’ll be too late.”
Reese cleared her throat. “I may have a way.” She closed her eyes and summoned the winds to her. A breeze swirled around her. She did not want to fly this time; she just wanted to see what the wind knew about her friend. The winds whispered in her ears everything they had observed in their travels across the land. When they had relayed their information, they drifted away. She opened her eyes and turned to her team. “Quil is back in Pantano. He is causing quite a stir.”
Andrada snapped her fingers. “Of course he would go back there. He has to finish what he started.” She slapped her forehead as punishment for not thinking of that earlier. “We must hurry. He can’t be allowed to summon the Lord of Darkness.”
Everett looked at the sky and determined the time. “The next bus isn’t coming for another twenty minutes. Quil could be summoning him as we speak, and we’ll be too late to stop him.”
Jaco rolled his eyes at Everett. “Don’t you ever have anything positive to say?”
“Sure, sometimes, and then I worry that I might be coming down with something.” Everett took out a silver flask and took a swig of its contents. When he was done, he replaced it into his pants pocket. “I just like to keep things real.”
“Sometimes it’s a little too real,” Andrada commented. “We should really invest in one of those new steam vehicles. They were fun to drive.”
“As long as you’re not driving.” Everett remembered what happened the last time Andrada got behind the wheel of a steam vehicle and shuddered. He counted himself lucky to be alive.
After the Heroes decided they had seen enough, they left for the bus stop. They hoped that it would come early.
Kendryl had his fun destroying the fuck out of people, places, and things. He hadn’t been on a wild rager in a long time. It felt good to release some of that pent up energy. It also helped that the wizard had ample amounts of magical energy at his disposal to give his own a boost. He wondered why he had never possessed anyone before. Yeah, it sucked that he had to kill himself before he decided to do it, but he was glad it worked out.
The village of Pantano was in utter shambles. Bodies littered the streets. Houses and shops alike were on fire. Kendryl stood on top of the abandoned hospital and took in the sight. He loved the smell of carnage in the afternoon. He went to look to his right and discovered the kink in the neck. He wondered if he had already killed the chiropractor.
Kendryl decided it was time to get back to his original purpose. He was sure his employers heard of last night’s failure and wanted a report. Maybe they heard that he had died in the line of duty. It would be a kick in the pants for him to call them up and report in alive and well.
He searched Quil’s costume for pockets. He was dismayed to find none, but there was a convenient place in the underwear for a talkie. That was where he found Quil’s. He dialed the number he knew to reach Mistress L and waited for her to pick up. He hoped that she would answer an unrecognizable number. Sure enough she did.
“Hello? Is this Prince Jonquil?” Mistress L asked.
“Kinda,” Kendryl said, chuckling. “It’s Kendryl, the guy you hired to summon the Lord of Darkness.”
Mistress L was heard saying,”Oooh! That explains everything. You’ve possessed him!”
“Yeah. The Heroes caught me, and I had to think fast.” Kendryl kicked a pebble off the roof of the hospital. “I’m about to try again. Anything you’d like me to tell The Dark Lord when he comes through?”
“Yes, that he owes me about 100 gold pieces.” Mistress L and Kendryl had a short laugh. “Beware, the other Heroes are on your tail. They are currently taking a bus from Bilocki to you right now.”
“It was only a matter of time,” Kendryl said. “I’ll end them for sure this time around.” He created a fireball in his right hand and then quickly crushed it. “I’ll make sure of it.”
“Be sure that you do.” She let out little giggle. “Oh, by the way, nice work with Bilocki.”
Kendryl felt his chest fill with pride and excitement. “Thank you, ma’am!”
With that, the call ended. Kendryl felt a tear come to his left eye. It was an honor to receive a compliment from the illustrious Mistress L. He had always been under the impression that she was hard to impress, but he had managed to do it. This was a proud day to be a demon.
Kendryl was about to leave when he saw a crowd of people approaching the hospital. He looked closely and saw that there were all on horseback and dressed in silver and black military uniforms. Their spears and artillery were all focused on him. He was honored to have drawn such a crowd.
The leader of the army grabbed a megaphone and shouted up to him. “Quil, by order of the king, please give yourself up! You’re under arrest!” Chrys didn’t think he would ever have to say those words to his own brother, but it felt strangely good. While it was awkward to have to arrest Quil, he knew it was the right thing to do. He was now a wanted criminal, guilty of the deaths of people in two villages. There was no way that he was going to get out of this one. Consequences would be had.
Kendryl gazed down at the army and likened them to ants. They were beneath him, figuratively and literally. He could crush them like the bugs they were. He created a large fire ball comparable to the size of a man sized beach ball and threw it at them.
“Take cover!” Chrys commanded to his troops. The troops all took out their shields and placed them above their heads. The fireball hit them and knocked them all over. Some of them did not survive the blast. Their bodies were cooked from inside their armor. Horses were not spared either. The smell of their flesh permeated the air.
Chrys come out from underneath his shield and surveyed the damage. “Troops report!” Slowly, people began to check in, letting him know that they were still alive. He lamented the fact that he had lost about twenty-five percent of his crew. “Damn you, Quil,” he said under his breath.
“Would you like some more?” Kendryl shouted from above. “I’ve got more where that came from!” He let out a deep and maniacal laugh. “Please, ask for more! I want to give it to you so badly.”
“Troops advance!” Chrys and his remaining troops prepared their weapons and marched toward the hospital. “Fire!” On his command, the troops aimed and launched their spears at Kendryl.
The demon watched as the shiny, pointy sticks flew at him. They appeared to be augmented with magic so that they would hit their intended target. The magic was weak in comparison to his own. He simply held up his right hand and waved it to his right. The spears followed and clattered on the roof beside him.
“You puny fools are no match for me, Prince Jon of Lunde!” Kendryl gave another little laugh before he issued another fireball.
Chrys gave the order for everyone to scatter. They all made it out of the way just as the fireball hit where they had just been standing.
He looked up at the roof of the hospital to see that his brother was no longer there. There was something about the last thing he said that wasn’t right. He said Prince Jon. Quil never addressed himself as Jon, in fact, he hated that part of his name. Why would he suddenly refer to himself as Jon? Had the magic warped his sense of self? There had to be a reasonable explanation for how he was acting.
When he thought about this whole day, Quil hadn’t been acting like himself. It was as if he was somebody else. It was as if he had been… possessed. He slapped his forehead as the realization struck him. Quil is not himself because he’s not himself.
“Troops, stand down,” Chrys said. “I’m going to go after him myself.”
“But sir, we are required to protect you,” his second in command, Commander Pendrell said.
“I am your sovereign and you will do as I say.” Chrys slid off his horse and took off his helmet. “I will deal with my brother on my own.” He approached the gate to the hospital and then turned around to say, “If you encounter the Heroes, do not let them interfere.” Pendrell saluted him. Chrys continued his journey into the dark hospital.
Kendryl ran down the stairs as fast as he could. He thought that he should have wiped out the entire army, but time was running out. The sun was beginning to set, and night prepared to fall. This was the perfect time to summon the Dark Lord. The hard part was finding a new spot to cast the summoning circle. He couldn’t use the basement because that ground had already been sullied. He needed fresh ground.
He arrived on the first floor and was about to run across the lobby when he saw Chrys enter. It was too late to hide because Chrys spotted him immediately. Kendryl smirked as he lit up his hands. The soldier drew his sword.
“Release my brother, you foul thing!” Chrys demanded.
“Oh, so you figured it out, eh? Too bad,” Kendryl said. “It’s not a big deal. You’ll be dead in a few moments anyway.” He launched his fireballs at Chrys. The prince dove to his right to avoid them. The balls struck the front desk and caught it on fire. “Quit being so nimble and accept your death!”
Chrys stood up and took a battle ready stance, his sword ready to pierce skin. “You should fight me without your fancy magic.”
“But what fun would that be?” Kendryl searched through the card catalog of spells in Quil’s mind until he found the one he wanted. His eyes glowed bright red with orange pupils as he muttered the words of the spell under his breath.
Chrys didn’t like what was happening. He couldn’t hear what Kendryl was saying, but he didn’t want him to finish whatever it was he was doing. He raced forward, his blade pointed directly at Kendryl’s heart, but he stopped short when he remembered that it was his brother’s body he would be injuring. He dropped his sword at the last minute.
Kendryl’s eyes flashed as he finished the spell. Chrys’ body suddenly felt heavy. His legs were weighted to the floor and unmovable. He felt something appear behind him. He turned to see a giant black hole stood before him. “What the devil is this?”
“Your new home!” Kendryl gave Chrys a force push and watched as the prince flew into the dark void. The hole shrank until it popped out of existence. “There, all done.” He clapped his hands in celebration of a job well done.
He waited to see if anyone else planned on coming in. No one arrived after a minute, so he assumed that he was in the clear.
He ran through the lobby and ended up in the pediatric ward around the corner. He searched for rooms that had adequate space for his needs. He grinned when he finally found the play room. Despite there being toys littered everywhere, the room was big enough to create the summoning circle. He had to act fast because he anticipated the Heroes to arrive at any moment.
The Heroes sat on the bus, which is a fancy word for a really long horse drawn buggy, anxiously wishing that the driver would get the horses to actually run instead of calmly clip clopping along. Jaco had the idea of hijacking the buggy and do what needed to be done, but Andrada forced him to sit down and wait like the rest of them.
“This is terrible!” Jaco commented. “We should already be there! Who knows what that demon is making Quil do!”
“We will just have to be patient,” Reese said calmly. “We will be able to do what we can once we get there and nothing more.”
“How can you say that?” Jaco knew that she was right, but he didn’t want to accept it. There had to be something that could be done to get this bus moving faster.
Reese looked at Jaco and saw the determined look on his face. She knew that he was scheming something. She didn’t like this at all. She shook her head to dissuade whatever he was planning. He returned the gesture with a wink. Oh, this is going to be bad, she thought. Should she warn the others?
Before Reese could do anything, Jaco stood up and approached the driver. He sat down next to him and whispered something in his ear. The driver shook his head in disagreement with what he heard.
It was then that Jaco’s arms began to bulge. A low growl was uttered by him as fangs began to emerge from his gums. The driver saw and heard this and gave a slight yelp. He nodded his head frantically and grabbed the whip that sat next to him.
In an instant, he whipped the horses into submission. The sound of the crack startled the horses enough to go from a slow clip clop to full on running. All Reese heard was, “Thank you,” before Jaco returned to his seat. He gave her another wink. She merely rolled her eyes.
“Now we’re moving!” Andrada said cheerfully. “We should get there in no time now.”
Everett was tempted to say something about them being too late, but he didn’t want to sound like a broken record and saved it for another time.
Fifteen minutes sooner than they should have arrived, the bus pulled up to the Pantano spot. The driver stopped the horses and whistled sadly when he saw the damage to the village. The Heroes stood up from their seats and leaned into the windows to get a good look. There were buildings that were burnt to a crisp, their black exterior showing all of the signs of a fire. They were sure that the rest of the village had suffered the same fate. Was there anyone left alive?
The Heroes exited the bus and waved as the driver drove away from the sad sight. Andrada suggested that they get through the village as quickly as possible. They tried to do that much, but they couldn’t ignore the damage. The bodies hadn’t been cleared away by the medical teams yet. The images of the charred bodies of children brought them despair and hopelessness. They felt guilt for not getting here sooner. They could have saved so many lives.
Jaco’s heart beat faster as he traveled through the village. He knew that Quil was still here somewhere. He just wished that he had the power to locate anyone. Then he remembered that he was part wolf. If he could pick up Quil’s scent, he could lead the others right to him. He didn’t feel like transforming all the way, so he only transformed his nose. His olfactory senses went into overdrive. He could smell the ash in the air, the burnt flesh of the bodies, the destroyed buildings, everything.
“He’s this way,” Jaco said. His voice was a mix of human and guttural growl. The others pretended not to be unnerved by it.
Jaco led them back to the hospital where they were met by Chrys’ troops. The troops all turned to face them and prepared for a fight. Jaco put his hands up as he transformed his nose back. “Whoa! It’s okay! It’s just us, the Heroes of Lunde.” He saw that this did not make them feel any better. “What’s going on?”
“We’ve been commanded to keep you away from the scene,” Commander Pendrell said. “We will not let you pass.”
Everett sighed and said, “Well, we tried.” He turned to walk away, but Reese grabbed him by his collar. “I was afraid you’d do that.”
Jaco felt heat come to his face. He didn’t have to ask who gave the troops the order to keep them away. “Chrys put you up to this. That bastard!”
“The prince’s orders will be obeyed,” Pendrell informed. “You will leave now, or we will be forced to engage you in battle.”
“That’s not really necessary, is it?” Andrada asked. “We have a mission from the king. The king’s orders supercede the prince’s. So, if you really want to explain to the king why his orders were not followed through, then, fine, fight us.” She placed her hands on her hips and watched as the soldier contemplated her words. “I’m waiting.” She saw the frustration on his face as he tried to come to a decision.
Pendrell sighed and lowered his head. “Fine. You may pass. But if anything goes wrong, the prince is going to hold you all personally responsible.” He stepped out of the way, which prompted the others to do the same.
“Thank you,” Andrada said. She led the Heroes through the divide. As she approached the abandoned hospital, she realized that Chrys wasn’t among them. She turned around and asked, “Just where is the darling prince?”
“After the second prince attacked us, he followed him into the building. He hasn’t come out since. It’s been twenty minutes.” Pendrell looked ashamed. If he was asked why he hadn’t issued the order to go look for his commanding officer, his answer would have been that Chrys’ word was absolute and was not to be argued with.
“He’s probably dead,” Everett said drolly.
“Don’t get my hopes up like that,” Jaco joked.
“Come on, let’s go.” Andrada and the others made their way into the hospital.
The Heroes felt the chill of the darkness when they entered the lobby. It was strange to think that they had just been there last night. It was weird how things could change in less than twenty four hours.
“Jaco,” Andrada called. Jaco already knew what she wanted.
Jaco transformed his nose into his wolf nose. He loudly sniffed the air and walked in a circle to get a clear scent. He could smell that Chrys had been there, but couldn’t tell where he went. It was as if he had disappeared into thin air. He would have to worry about him later. He homed in on Quil’s scent. He could pick up the demon’s presence mixed in with Quil’s. He turned in the direction to the right of the lobby and pointed to the double doors leading to the pediatric ward.
Andrada and Reese took lead as they approached the doors. Everett and Jaco brought up the rear. They all stepped cautiously into the ward prepared for an ambush. When there was no one behind the door, they continued down the hallway. They listened intently for any sounds of anyone present. There was only silence. This did not make them feel better.
The further down the hall they went, the more anxious they became. They knew the demon was around here somewhere, but where. The answer came when they hit a wall of negative energy, the same kind they had encountered last night just before they found the demon in the basement. They knew that they were in the right place. Andrada signaled to the others to prepare their weapons. Everett prepared his crossbow. Reese materialized her earthen hammer. Andrada drew her sword.
They turned the corner and found the childrens’ play room. In the center was Kendryl creating the summoning circle. It appeared that he was putting the finishing touches on it when they came in. He looked up at them and smirked.
“You’re too late, Heroes! The new Age of Darkness is just about to begin,” Kendryl gloated. He stepped into the center of the circle. The purple light lit up his face as it pulsed in rhythm with the power surges.
Andrada knew that she needed to get him out of that circle. She ran toward the circle in an attempt to tackle him like she did last night. She found this to be difficult because she ran into a wall. She stumbled backward and rubbed her sore right shoulder. She placed her hand up at the light of the summoning circle and felt a solid surface. She kicked it in frustration. “He put up a barrier!”
Everett took a chance and shot an arrow from his crossbow. It was a special arrow that was supposed to dispel magic. The arrow hit the wall and stuck there in mid air. He sighed and said, “Son of a bitch! That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“That shit’s weak, Ev,” Jaco joked. Everett ignored him.
Reese swung her massive hammer at the wall only to have it repelled. She stumbled backward and had to be caught by Jaco to keep from falling to the floor. She was tempted to give it another swing, but her hands were still tingling from the vibrations of hitting the wall.
Jaco knew that there wasn’t anything he could do against the wall. He could use his wolf strength all he wanted, but there didn’t appear to be anything that could penetrate it. Well, there was one thing that could break through. He just hoped that it would work.
“Quil! I know you’re in there!” Jaco called out. “You have to fight the demon! You can do it, baby!” He placed a hand on the wall and prayed that Quil could see him. All he could see was the demon’s face staring back at him. “Quil! Snap out of it!”
Kendryl chuckled. “Your boyfriend is gone. He is in the abyss, too weak to fight me.”
“I don’t believe it!” Jaco knew that Quil could fight anything and wouldn’t be satisfied to be beaten by a low level demon. “He’s in there! I can feel it!” The connection that he and Quil had was strong, but he felt it weakening at this moment. “Jonquil Marie Theophilous, you better kick his ass!” The others looked at him strangely, but Jaco ignored it.
The light from the summoning circle began to pulse more quickly. Time was running out. There had to be something they could do. It was apparent that the demon was using Quil’s powers to place the shield up. Unfortunately, the only one who could bring it down was Quil. They couldn’t just stand there and let Kendryl summon evil into their world, but what else could they do?
“God, we suck,” Everett said. He lowered his crossbow and ran his fingers through his red hair. “I told you we would be too late.”
“Shut up, Everett. You’re not helping!” Andrada said. “Unless you’ve got a plan, nothing should be coming out of your mouth.” Everett puffed out his cheeks.
“It is done,” Kendryl said. He raised his hands to the ceiling and let out a loud cry. The light brightened to the point it was almost blinding. The Heroes shielded their eyes until it finally died down.
The light of the summoning circle had burned a hole in the floor with purple embers still burning in it. Inside the circle was a black void. In the center stood Kendryl, his hands still stretched upward. He was speaking magical words in a language time forgot. A moment later, something black rose from the void. As it emerged, the black figure took the shape of a person. They stood to be about seven feet tall. They were covered in black muck. Smoke rose from their body as if they had risen from the depths of Hell.
The Heroes watched in horror as the person materialized before them. Andrada placed her hand out in front of her to see if the shield was still there. Alas, it was. She growled as she watched the personification of evil become real. There was nothing she could do.
The last of the muck dripped free from the Lord of Darkness’s body to reveal a thin, lithe man with pale translucent skin and dark soulless eyes that he used to gaze at the Heroes. He exhaled, and smoke escaped his mouth. He inhaled deeply and let out a loud yell. When he had expended his air, he laughed. “I have been made flesh!”
Kendryl hesitated for a moment before he finally reached out and touched the Lord’s right shoulder. “That shield won’t last for long. We should probably go.”
The Lord of Darkness looked at his shoulder and Kendryl quickly withdrew his hand. “Agreed.” He waved his hand in front of him and a black portal appeared. He and Kendryl walked into it and everything disappeared; the shield, the summoning circle, and the portal.
“Shit!” Jaco shouted. “We let them get away!”
“Like I said, we suck at this!” Everett took a swing from his flask. “Now what?”
The others didn’t have an answer to the question. They stood in the empty play room staring at where Quil has just been. It would take a miracle to remedy this situation now.
To be continued…
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