Chapter 2

Shade brought him back to his own home a few houses down and sat him on the floor in the living room. He sat in silence, staring down at the floor and tracing the grooves in the wood with his finger.

'You have to find it Hunter' His dad had said, where was he going to find it, where would someone take it?

He had so many questions running through his head, he couldn't think straight.

"Hunter?" He didn't hear. Too busy lost in his thoughts. "Hunter." This time he heard his name being called and looked up. Shade was stood there with a large leaf in his hand.

"Here, my dad makes it for me sometimes, makes me feel happier." He passed the shallow bowl to him and Hunter took it, he held the warm bowl in his hands and stared at the blue-coloured liquid inside, contemplating its ingredients.

"What is it?" Hunter questioned. Shade just shrugged his shoulders. Closing his eyes, Hunter poured the blue-tinted, slimy, liquid into his mouth and swallowed it. "Well, that was certainly odd." He managed a small smile and his friend smiled back.

Shade's dad – Ospar – came into the room to look in on them.

"You alright, boys?" He asked. Both boys nodded in agreement. Though Hunter wasn't alright at all and Ospar had notices that the light in Hunter's eyes wasn't there

He walked over to Hunter and crouched down beside him, putting a hand on his shoulder, the teen spoke quietly to Ospar, "The sword. The men who killed my father took the sword... I don't know what to do," A tear fell over the edge of his eye and rolled slowly down his cheek. Dripping off his chin, the tear drop landed in a cut on his arm. Hunter hissed as it stung the wound and he clasped his arm as blood started to seep out of the injury.

"Let's get you cleaned up before we decide anything, eh?"

Hunter nodded and got up, following Ospar to the kitchen. Ospar quickly made up some sort of herbal potion, he was one of the city's best potion masters. He knew pretty much all of the potions he needed every day for his jobs off by heart, something that came with the job he'd always say.

He watched as he put a wide range of herbs into a small dish hovering over some boiling water. He added some sort of sticky liquid to it and then took it off of the boiling water.

"Pass me your arm," Ospar said. Hunter put his arm straight out in front of him, slightly hesitant of what the potion would do to him.

Ospar started to seal the bloody would with the thick paste. He hissed with the pain, but Ospar took no notice. It didn't take long for the paste to dissolve into his skin and the wound to completely heal up, leaving only a red line where the wound had originally been. He looked amazedly at it, running his finger over the red line, which eventually faded to his normal tanned skin colour.

That night Hunter stayed with Shade, he slept on a mat in the living room; the concrete floor had been cold.

At five-thirty he got up, he put on his training clothes. Consisting of a thin, red cotton t-shirt, with a small leather lace up at the top and a pair of loose fitting trousers. On top of his t-shirt, he wore his leather body armour. Around his waist he put on his sword belt, to which his sheath was attached, the sheath was mainly made of black leather with a reinforced end, to stop the sword penetrating through the leather.

Once he had tightened his sword belt around his waist he picked up his sword, he had named it Shadow; it had been a present to him on his fifth birthday from his mother, before she died a year later, though he hadn't been able to use it at that age. He still wore her silver necklace, a small flame on a chain, which flickered slightly, his mother's magic still burning on inside it. He crept silently through the door.

The training arena was on the other side of the city, a trip he made almost daily, there was no hope of moving closer as the houses of the Element Swords were to stay put. So he ran past his village, Actova, then past the main city in Escanya towards Alderberry Wood.

Alderberry Wood was eerie, especially at this time in the morning, the silent mist lingered just above the ground, so Hunter didn't know what lurked beneath it. He treaded carefully and watched his step, there would be jinkera holes everywhere – jinkera were the creatures of Alderberry Wood. They were ugly, with very sharp teeth that were a disgusting yellowy-brown colour; a tail with a single spike on the end made them very dangerous. Their coat was brown, with their body being slightly striped with black, the fur was sticky from the sap in the trees when it leaks out sometimes; leaving puddles of it on the floor, the jinkera love the stuff.

Several people had died in the hands, or more likely, paws of the jinkera. He stayed close to the trees as the jinkera weren't able to burrow in the roots. The coldness and the wet of the mist seeped through his thin layers making him shiver violently every now and again; he wondered exactly how many people had died in this forest never to be seen again.

The woods seemed to go on forever, but finally Hunter was out of Alderberry Wood, feeling very relieve and a lot less cold, he picked up his pace to a slow run and carried on his way to the training arena. He passed the village of Corwill, where Mystie lived, his girlfriend.

At seventeen, he had plans to marry her, with the permission of her father and they would be able to have a little house somewhere, perhaps by Marble Beach, where the waves crashed against the rocks and where the sand on the beach shined with red pieces of marble.

He ran on shaking the future plans from his head, instead he replayed what his father had told him. 'Someone has stolen it. You have to find it Hunter. Find it for me...'

How do I do that dad? He asked himself.

He reached the town of Blue Dell. He saw the large training school rise in front of him and he walked around the edge of the training arena until he got to the entrance. He walked in. The place was deserted, the arena had a watch tower, placed in the centre, and there were also plenty of places for the audience to sit around the edge, on the hard slabs of stone. The training area had lots of scarecrow like training dummies, different ones for different levels, as Hunter was nearly at the highest level possible – level twenty-eight out of a possible level 30 – he was determine to gain the highest level and make his mother and father proud, it had been a goal of his since he started the training school with Taiven. But three years later his mother had died, after being poisoned by an enemy of another world, the poison hadn't been curable, so she had died in pain, the poison had left her unable to walk, drink or eat. So she had most probably dehydrated and starved to death, all the while the poison itself was causing havoc in her body.

The light in Hunter's sparkling eyes had switched off for months after his mother's death. He hadn't been able to control his emotions, most of his friend who he had before her death walked away from him thinking he was a 'cry-baby'. Only Shade and Mystie stayed by his side, they helped him through and eventually the little light in his eyes switched back on.

His father's death had been a shock, but this time he had controlled his emotions, like he'd been taught by Taiven.

Now was a time to let them loose. He brought out one of the training dummies, placed it in front of him and focused.

Once he was concentrating and focused, the tears streamed down his young-looking face, from his dim, wood-brown eyes. His sword glowed a crimson red colour and as he hit the dummy again and again, the metallic red sparks flew from his sword, settling on the ground and disappearing.

"Interum!" He shouted, and another dummy popped up. Each time he defeated a dummy he would shout "Interum!" and another one would pop up.

Soon enough there was enough power welling up in his that his sword was defeating them in one go; something he had never done before.

"Prohibeant!" A deep voice called from behind Hunter; the dummies stopped as commanded and Hunter stumbled backwards from the sudden loss of power. "You're going to hurt yourself, if you're not careful." Hunter could certainly feel the numerous beads of sweat on his skin.

Hunter looked down at the floor. "Sorry. I... I..."

"Don't worry about it Hunter, I heard what happened, you are allowed to be upset." Taiven interrupted. "Interum!" He called, drawing his own sword. Taiven's eyes glowed yellow as he focused on the magic. Hunter had never noticed that before. He wondered if his eyes did that, or whether it was just something that came with increasing power.