Chapter 8

Joanna

Shino Aphiry City

Owen had vanished, well, one of him, the normal him.

Chloe was occupied by one that seemed to have a crush on her. Johnithyn was occupied by two others that were trying to murder him, or at least that's what it sounded like. From my understanding one of them just wants to fight while the other kept throwing insults and teasing in childish phrases.

I had the company of two of the most passive but frustrating combination of Owen. One was quite the story-teller but only told sad or depressing stories that made you want to cry or hide in a dark corner with your arms around your legs. The other claimed to be bored all of the time, even when he was doing something. The idiot also calls the sad stories lame and boring causing the 'storyteller' to cry even more than he already does.

"Do you too know where Owen is?" I asked them out of the blue, without ever thinking about what they were going to say. Assuming they knew who I was talking about.

"I don't know," the storyteller said in between sobs. "Hunting the other two?"

"The other two?" There are more clones? Artimys, Sister of Nature and Mother of Darkness. Please help us.

Chloe

Playing with the Clones

The Owen that was clearly not the real Owen, that was busily occupying my time and trying my patience, finally just vanished. I was almost shocked at his sudden disappearance. One second he was trying to kiss me while I held him back, and the next, he was just gone.

Looking around I noticed other four had disappeared as well, leaving Johnithyn looking exhausted, and Joanna looking quite the same. They were looking in my direction, behind me. I spun around and there stood another Owen, but how can I be sure it is actually him?

"It's me, I'm back."

Hearing that I felt relief strike me like an actual blow, and without warning my body felt really heavy and as I collapsed he caught me.

"I guess five of me was too much for you guys," he helped me stand up. "You wouldn't have wanted to meet the one I caught."

"There were two, right, you only got one of them?" Joanna asked.

He nodded. "It would've taken me quite a while longer to get that one, he's got some of my most wicked powers... Besides, how much longer would you guys have lasted?"

Owen, thank you for coming back. I closed my eyes and leaned into him. He felt so warm.

Jasmine

Yami Aphiry City

"I can't believe he gave you a map," the whacky guy was following behind me. "I think I lost a little respect for him."

"He gave me a boundary and a set of rules. Also, this is just a piece of a map, he's not stupid. I like him." I turned another corner. It wasn't very well lit but I could make out where I was on the map and I kept that knowledge in my mind's eye.

"I think he respects you a little for trying to command him, even though he is your ma-"

"I am my own master!" I hissed at him before he could form the foul word. "He might get money for every time I fight but I choose to obey what commands me from now on."

"Wow, you must really like the name they gave you... hissing like a kitty, do you scratch like a kitten too?"

The whacky guy was getting on my nerves now.

"A cat! I'm 'Hell Cat', not 'Little Kitten', and I'm debating on how to enter my next fight..." I blushed at the thought of entering while lashing out at the air hissing at the crowd or entering on all fours again, but in a way that commanded respect. I quickly shook the thoughts away. "Why are you following me anyway?"

"I was curious to know what the rest of the place looked like, and as long as I'm with the person that has the map I can't get lost right?" he rationalized.

"We walked off the edge of the map three turns ago. We already broke one of his rules." I said brashly.

"What?!" he gulped and swiveled his head, looking around.

I laughed. "I'm just kidding, we're right here." I pointed where we were on the map.

"I suggest you get out of here kid," someone said from behind a cell door. The voice from nowhere surprised me, but not enough to have me jump. It was not a very friendly voice but there was a hint of concern behind it. "If an aphiry sees anyone out of a cell in this area they get tossed into one and whipped countless times."

"What if you resist?" Whacky asked, looking in the direction of a tightly sealed door.

"Punishment will be worse. Possibly d-"

"HEY! What are you doing out of your cell!" An aphiry guard that spotted us came running. He didn't look too tough, quite similar to the two guarding the jailer's shack.

Whacky turned to me. "Let me guess, you're going to ignore everything I say related to y-"

"Hold this," I handed the map to him and ran straight for the aphiry guard.

The guard stopped and stood his ground.

I leaped at him, he ducked out of the way. I landed into a roll and spun around as soon as I was upright again. I barely dodged a strike from a black and yellow spear weapon he had conjured.

This guy is quick. I smiled as I leaped up and over another strike of the spear, this time catching his left shoulder. I spun myself and landed sitting on his head, my one hand at his throat, my feet keeping me balanced and my other hand holding a card-thing in front of him. "Read it or I cut your throat open."

I let him read it.

"This cannot be true. I saw Raito put his sword right through her." The guard shivered as I loosen my grip on his throat. His spear vanished.

"Wow, the fact that you remembered me... was I that popular?"

"My brother was found dead near a combatant's cell with his throat was torn open with claws. The combatant in the cell was also killed in a similar matter but since you don't have claws you were ruled out. We think someone was trying to frame you so that you would be executed. That incident reminds me of everyone involved. Also, I admired how you stood up to Raito the day you fought him but…" he gulped, he seemed nervous to ask this next question. "How did you survi-?"

"Hey!" Three other aphiry guards showed up. Too many to battle in my current condition.

"I can't answer your question." I back-flipped off his shoulders and joined whacky. "We will go back to where we came from so that we don't cause too much trouble. Thanks for the story." We took off as I was handed the map.

"Don't worry, I'm fine," the guard said as he turned and stopped his friends from chasing us.

We turned a corner. "Now what?"

"Now we go back and eat something because I'm hungry. I also need to get back into shape. That much jumping around shouldn't tire me this much." I paced my hand over my wound. I should also test my limit.

Joanna

Shino Aphiry City

We were just walking around the city, showing Owen around and telling little stories about things we've seen and done in the areas we passed by. Since he hasn't had much experience outside of the castle we'd thought it would be a good idea to give him some.

"You four!"

All of us spun around to face the stranger. He was dressed in a cloak of the forest like most others wear. His hair was a dark translucent colour, not uncommon for an aphiry but he is not anyone we should know well enough to be confronted in this manner.

"Yes, you," he came too close too fast for a stranger, two others joined behind him, also wearing similar cloaks. "You're Owen and his friends' right?"

With the way they approached and the hostile vibe I was getting, I was ready to send one of them flying already.

"That battle with Elder Ed, how did you manage that?" he asked as he continued to move forward. "I couldn't even feel any power coming from either of you!"

They got way to close, my power flared to life, but then the air suddenly went cold. My will to fight fled. The three of them finally stopped and even backed off a bit, startled by the sudden change.

"I remember you three," Chloe said, her voice so cold and so different from her usual self. "Your surprise attack won't work this time." The ground froze under my feet, Chloe stepped out in front of all of us, blocking their way.

"You know us?" The aphiry seemed surprised but he also didn't seem to notice the ice spreading towards them. His friends did.

"I watched you surround a couple a year ago, you had completely destroyed them. I will not let you do that to uss," Chloe hissed, putting an icy chill down my spine. I did not know she was like this, had no clue that she could turn so cold.

The ice beneath us was dark, solid. I did not dare move for fear it might engulf me.

Unexpectedly, the three of them just collapsed.

The icy feeling and cold air subsided. Chloe looked around confused before looking over at Owen, who was smiling. "How?" She asked, unsure.

"They were trying to move the earth beneath us. I held it down causing them to drain their powers much faster than they normally would," He looked over at Johnithyn who was smiling also. "Johnithyn, thank you for the idea," Owen said to him before walking over to the three attackers.

Chloe

With Owen

"Owen?"

"Chloe."

"How did you know they would move earth, and how did you stop it? Wouldn't they have just moved some other earth?" I wanted him to explain how he knew what they were going to do and how he stopped them.

"Not if they couldn't." he said casually.

"What?" I was totally confused now.

"Moving and controlling anything is a lot harder than keeping it where it is. Johnithyn used it on me once, surprised me when I all of a sudden needed a lot more power to move the earth beneath him. So I held everything in place as soon as you said 'surprise attack'."

"Everything?" I asked doubtfully.

"Well, how many places could they have surprised us? A quick attack from the front we could block or dodge. So it was to be the ground and behind us, maybe even above us but I didn't think any of them could control air or somehow hover something above our heads without us noticing. Believe me, Johnthyn wouldn't have been able to move earth beneath him even if was fifty paces away."

"Why didn't I notice?" I should've noticed Owen's power in the ground, why didn't I?

"You were plenty focussed on the attackers," he said that as if it was obvious.

"I was only trying to protect… trying to-" my face started to heat up. He was smiling at me again like he did before.

Why can't I say it? Why does he make me feel so uneasy when he smiles at me like that? Maybe I should accept the fact Owen is powerful enough to be reckless, but some of the things he can do surprises me... how am I supposed to keep focused?

Jasmine

Yami Aphiry City

"What are you doing? Your first fight is in a couple of hours!"

"Are you going to ask about everything I do?" I put power in my fist. "I need to test how strong I am somehow." I threw my fist at the dirt wall but I wasn't expecting what came next. My fist kept going and I smashed through it, my face followed my fist through the wall and everything else collapsed at the same time in a heap of sand and dust.

"That was interesting," I heard Whacky's voice from where I had been standing moments before.

Ow, I rubbed my sore cheek and got up, brushing off the rubble. I tried looking around to see what I had just discovered but it was still too dark. No light at all came through the dust. "Get me fire!"

"Who needs fire?" Whacky walked in and a few seconds later he started to glow. "I make a good lamp don't I?"

"What kind of power is that?"

"The kind where hiding is impossible in total darkness." he muttered resentfully.

"Not much here is there, just a really big room," I pointed out.

There were small areas that looked beat up all over the place.

"This is a training room." He answered.

"In the dark?" I looked more closely and the beat up parts, dark spots revealed another fact. "He was a fire user."

"There's a door over there," he pointed to the far corner of the room.

I went over and tried to open it.

"I wouldn't," He backed away.

"Come on, it's not like we're going to get killed from opening a door."

"There could be something on the other side," he said sincerely worried.

"That is exactly why I want to check it out," I put power into my fist.

"Wait, you are not going to-"

I punched the door and it flew open. As soon as it did, the training area we stood in lit up with fire all along the walls. "That was cool, come on, I need your…'lamp'."

"I don't think so, you want me to- hey!"

I dragged him through the doorway and shi- we fell down a flight of stairs right into another door at the bottom that broke on impact.

"Ow ow ow ow, why'd you- oh shit."

"What?" I looked around and found two pairs of eyes staring at us. There was a bit of light so Whacky had stopped glowing preventing us from really looking at them. One of the pairs of eyes was not normal.

"Um... hi?" Whacky said and then turned into whatever he turns into to prevent from getting killed. I don't really think his 'ghost' ability helps at all but that's what I'm led to believe.

I put power into my fist.

Whoever it was wave his hand and the power from my fist vanished and Whacky turned back to normal. He waved us away and both sets of eyes turned away from us. Whacky turned and ran, I followed because I didn't really want to get left in the dark.


Once again in my fur armour I didn't really expect to be on the giant stage again. The aphiry guard that led me here was the same one that led me here the first time. I guess there is not much that changes in only a month.

The announcer began, I didn't care. I walked in, or tried to. The guard blocked me from entering. "Look, I don't want to stand here while he rambles on about stuff I can't even listen to," I told him. "Let me by."

"I'm supposed to keep you here until he calls your name." He didn't look the least bit afraid. He shifted his weight from leg to the other. "Your opponent is going to tear you apart you know that?"

"Who is it?" I asked to let him stall me.

"He is called Tank. He doesn't really have any real powers but he has a talent for ripping his opponents apart, but they're usually kids like you. He recently lost a match against another called-"

"I don't want to know his history with wins and losses, why is he called Tank?"

"He can withstand almost any attack from you little ones. When you guys run out of energy he grabs you and starts tearing you apart. It's very brutal to watch, but no one in this arena has seen it yet."

So he was a new guy, imported from elsewhere to try to kill me. He lost recently… so is it the guy the jailer mentioned? Or do others have a say in who fights?"I won't let them have a chance."

"You will, he always gets his chance."

I got ready as the announcer got close enough for me to hear what he was saying. He had already announced my opponent.

"...girl is back from the dead ready for revenge! She survived a deadly sword wound from a sword that has never failed to kill before! A feline by a name we all gave her! I give you the dangerously cute, HELL CAT!"

The guard stepped aside and I entered the giant arena for the second time. This time I'm going to… wait… Cute?!