Part III: Hell-Bent Protector
I was drowning in darkness, the crude pain filling every inch of my lungs. I coughed and coughed, unable to speak, breath or feel anything. I was numb, a shell of a person. Just as I was about to give up hope, I woke up.
Bolting upwards, I winced as a sharp-shooting pain vibrated through my head. Closing my eyes in a weak attempt to block out the pain, I waited a few moments before I reopened them. Then I realized a couple things:
1 .I was in my room, lying beneath the sheets scattered over my bed.
2. It was still really hard to breath.
3. There were no voices coming from out of the door.
I frowned, recalling what had happened. The trauma I had faced earlier that day had finally caught up to me, and hit me like a strong tidal wave. I had blacked out, in front of everyone. I blinked before sighing, depressed. How did my life turn so...awkward in the matter of a few minutes? So broken?
"Baby-sis?" A soft voice came from the door. Turning my head over, I saw Melissa leaning against the door-frame, gazing at me with soft, loving eyes. I nodded, giving her a wary smile. Taking that as an invitation to coming in, Melissa came in and sat down on the edge of my bed.
"Maria is fighting with Mom and Dad," she informed me quietly, her eyes holding mine from under her bangs. I winced, and asked the inevitable.
"Well, Maria is really mad about how long it took them to tell you," Melissa explained. I nodded, and slowly felt the anger coming back. How could they hide something so big from me? How could they hide who I was?
A fire burning in my eyes, I stood and strode out the door, leaving Melissa stunned and, after realizing what I was going to do, worried.
"Brooks! Wait!" she called frantically. I heard her scramble after me, falling into the hallway. HA! You're too late, I hear them! I thought in victory, a small smirk playing my lips.
"Maria, we couldn't TELL her! She had to be told at the right t-"
"THE RIGHT TIME WAS THE DAY SHE COULD COMPREHEND THE SITUATION, AND YOU IGNORED THAT. SHE COULDN'T TAKE IT, SHE FAINTED IN THE HALLWAY! HOW DO YOU THINK SHE'S GOING TO TAKE THE LOCKET?!"
I felt my eyes widened; Maria was always the calm and collected one. Taking a deep breath, I stepped into the living room. Everybody's eyes turned on me; Lila, Maria, Dad and Mom...all of them slightly relieved if not upset.
"Maria..." I whispered softly, gazing at her with gratitude and love. She smiled at me sadly, before walking over and throwing her arms around me protectively. Instantly, I wrapped my own arms around her.
"Tell. Her. About. The. Locket." Maria demanded, glaring at our parents. Confused, I glanced between my parents are her, literally feeling the tension. My dad sighed, before turning to Mom.
"Go get the locket, Veronica, I'll start explaining."
My mom nodded warily, before brushing passed us. I frowned at her coldness; what was so important about this locket?
"Sorry girls, your mother is really sore about this topic," Dad explained, glancing at me with warm eyes. I smiled back, struggling to hold it. He noticed, and looked away. It was hard to hold a facade, especially as fake as me being okay. I sighed inwardly, as my dad started talking.
"Alliaster ruined our family, girls. Your mother detests that. This locket is important for a sole reason; it contains something special. The heartbreaking catch is that it takes someone special to open the locket. We haven't found out who it was yet, and your mother strongly believes it's YOU, Brooklyn. That's why she...she hid it because she didn't want you growing...KNOWING of what you must accomplish. She feared that the 'specialty' would vanish. Maria, here, believe your mother was being silly an-"
"EDWARD!" We all heard mom scream. "EDWARD, IT'S GONE!" She flew into the room, looking disheveled.
Her hair was out of place, and a look of crazed fear was stuck on her face. Dad stood up, stumbling against the table.
"No...not the locket!" he asked, clutching mom's shoulders. She nodded and pressed her head into his chest, sobbing. I stood, thoroughly confused.
"Why the hell is the damn locket so important?!" I shouted over their wails and cries of horror.
Lila stood, staring at me with wide eyes, before answering the question,
"You know how we're from a set of triplets? The last triplet's soul was in the locket."
I stared in shock at Lila. My sister's SOUL was in a locket?!
"Girls." Dad cut in with a tight voice, "What exactly happened before we came home?"
Lila and I glanced at each other, unsure of what to tell them.
"Well...," I started, since Lila made no move to speak, "We came home, and we went to change. Then, I don't know...it was weird. I felt some kind of...aura? Yeah, an evil aura coming from your room. So, we walked in and saw the Shadow Demon throwing stuff around in your room...and we then...well, ran out screaming. Then, we found out that the front door was locked-"
"Did you lock it when you came in?" Mom interrupted. I blinked, now realizing we hadn't locked it. So who had?!
"No..." I said with uncertainty.
She began to say something, when she stopped. She gasped, staring wide-eyed at something over my head. Confused, I turned around, and jumped when I saw a GHOST behind me.
"WHAT THE HECK!?" I screamed.
The ghost, who appeared to be male, scowled at my choice of language. Instead of dwelling on me, he turned towards my parents, vibrating with anger.
"My poor baby," he whispered softly. My mother took a hesitant step forward, before replying just as softly,
I blinked, before staring at the man in shock. This man, who I have never met before, was my grandfather? The man smiled sadly, if not warily, before nodding once. There was no noise for a minute, before I got the courage to ask,
"My grandfather's a ghost?"
Mom and dad glanced at me, glanced at each other, before bursting out laughing. The man chuckled as well, amused. I blinked, before whining,
"Whattttt? It's a fair question!"
Maria chuckled, but decided to answer my question.
"It's a form of communication for vampires and hunters, sweet-heart," she glanced at me, wondering if I understood. I nodded slowly, my brain slowly understanding what she meant.
"I'm guessing these are two of the triplets?" Grandfather asked, glancing at Lila. My mother nodded, smiling with pride. I smirked in Lila's direction, who smiled and winked back at me. Good to know she was starting to act like herself again.
"Right, well..." Grandfather said. "Down to why I am here. It has came to the council's attention that you..erm...lost our locket?" My mother looked stricken, and unsure of what to say, what to do. She looked trapped, scared even.
"It wasn't her fault!" I jumped in, eager to protect her from the shame and humility that was clearly coming. Grandfather turned to stare at me in curiosity. I took in a deep breath, before doing something totally stupid and reckless. Of course, I always act on impulse; I never think it through.
"It was my fault," I told him, loudly and clearly.
My mom's head whipped around so she could stare at me in shock, pure shock. My grandfather's eyes widened, but a few seconds later he regained his composure. "Well, then...we have a problem, don't we?"
I blinked, staring at my grandfather with defiance. "Apparently we do," I replied with coldness, "since you seem to have taken a liking towards the locket"
My grandfather blinked, before turning to my mother,
"This one has a backbone, like Maria. I like that," he chuckled. Maria glared at him, before smiling sweetly at me. I raised an eyebrow; the conversation had certainly taken a turn.
"I'm not a pushover, I think we established that," I retorted, crossing my arms and staring at the wall.
"Oh? So, do you know what you have gotten into, accepting the charges of your actions?" I blinked, not understanding a word. Was my grandpa able to speak English?
"NO!" Mother cut in, desperately. "Brooklyn does NOT acce-"
"I accept" I responded calmly, ignoring the wild eyes of my mother. The sharp intakes of air were unmistakably taken, though.
Grandfather smiled arrogantly, before glancing at my mother.
"Brooklyn has accepted the charges therefore she will travel to the Underworld and rescue the pendant from Alliaster."
"What did you just say?" I spluttered. My grandfather smirked, clearly enjoying my shock. "You heard me right. Shadow Demons reside in the Underworld."
I glared at him, a slow, but sure, hate for him beginning to form, deep inside, from my very core. My mother decided to step in, offended.
"Are you forgetting who you are talking to, father? Brooklyn's my own daughter!"
I glanced at Lila, and she seemed pissed too. Thank you! I'm not getting stuck with this stupid, use-
"Too bad!," he snapped at her. "She has taken responsibility for the misplacement of the locket, and we, as in the council and I, expect your daughter to get it back for us!"
"THE LOCKET, FATHER, WAS NEVER YOURS. IT WAS MOTHER'S!" Mother screamed in response. I don't know how, but I knew my mother had crossed a line. Several, in fact. My grandfather's ghostly figure rose, soon to be towering over us all. His form shook with suppressed anger, as he stared at my mother.
"Don't. You. DARE. Bring. Your. Mother. Into. This," he snarled through clenched teeth.
My mother's eyes sparked with defiance, coming to life. Stepping forward in an intimidating way, she snarled back.
"What, father? Can't take it that she had a BRAIN and left you?"
He roared, the calm facade broken. He came forward threateningly, but Melissa chose that moment to step in.
"RIDICORAK!" she cried, waving her hands at our grandfather.
I squinted as a bright, white light filled the room. I heard people screaming out names in worried tones, but I couldn't open my mouth in fear that my head would be ripped off. Seconds later, however, the light vanished.
Opening my eyes, I watched as spots and blotches danced in my vision. I blinked, causing the spots to disappear. I then realized that grandfather's ghostly image was now gone, nowhere in sight. Did Melissa do that?!
"Are you alright?!" I heard my mother cry out.
I nodded, still unable to speak. Melissa sighed in relief, and glanced around the room, surveying our faces.
"Where were you?" Maria questioned, having recovered quicker than I.
"Dimitri called us," Melissa answered, her voice tight. I raised an eyebrow, feeling my usual personality returning to me.
"You got a boyfriend?" I asked, playfully.
Melissa turned to me, her expression amused, yet still disturbed. An unfathomable expression churned in her rosy-pink irises. With a jolt, I realized they were identical to Lila's eyes. Why hadn't I noticed it before?
"Yeah, sure!," she laughed, plopping down onto a sofa.
I grinned back at her, before maneuvering around my parents and heading towards Lila.
"You alright?," she asked me in a low voice. I nodded, before grabbing her hand and sitting down, dragging her down as well. My father sighed, before standing in front of us.
"Well, thank you Melissa. You bought Brooklyn some time." He started. "However, we still need to figure out how we're handling this situation."
"Well", Maria jumped in. "I'm going with Brookie. I really don't care if anyone doesn't like the idea." Her eyes were on mom. I blinked, before beaming at her.
"Thank you, Maria!"
She smiled and nodded, before looking back at dad.
"Well, I have the obligation of having to come because I am your best friend." Lila joked, punching my arm lightly. I smirked at her, before slinging my arm around her shoulders. Then, something hit me.
"WAIT. HOLD UP!" I spluttered, standing up. All eyes turned on me.
"Melissa. You're a witch?!" I asked, shocked.
She chuckled, before nodding and smiling at me.
"SO. ALL THOSE TIMES YOU MADE ME GET STUFF FOR YOU...YOU COULD HAVE JUST POOFED IT UP!?" I was now enraged. More so offended, really. Everyone stared at me for a moment, before bursting into intense fits of laughter. I stomped my foot and huffed, still annoyed.
"Yes...but...using...you...was...big sister...thing...to..do!" Mellisa choked out, between the tears of laughter.
"ARGH!" I growled, before falling back into the comfort of the sofa. My mother smiled at me softly, before speaking to us seriously.
"Your father and I cannot join you."
I felt my jaw slack. I was having to risk my life for them, and they weren't even coming?!
"Why?" I asked, blunt coldness sharpening my tone. My mother glanced at me, sadness etched onto her face.
"We have to stay and await the arrival of the battle."
I stopped fuming; battle?
"Mother. For the last time, I DEMAND you call on the council for help!" Maria cut in, angry. My mother glanced at her, before shaking her head.
"No. They will simply destroy the city. For the sake of our beloved home, I shall call on old family friends. That is probably why Dimitri called, am I correct?"
The last question was directed towards Melissa. She nodded, her blond curls tumbling around her head. My mother nodded, a finality falling over the conversation.
"So..." I ventured. "What awesome weapons do I get?"
My mother smiled, before getting up and motioning for me to follow suit. I got up and walked with her out of the room. She led us to the attic staircase, before pausing. She smiled warmly, before kissing my forehead and climbing up the stairs. She walked up to a secluded corner, and opened up her palm.
Instantly, a black pulse of energy gathered in her hand, and she threw it in the direction of the corner. Suddenly, the attic was bursting with light. Squinting, I realized my mom had blown up items surrounding a sleek, black box. She walked forward, cautious of the debris, before opening the box. Bending over, she brought out something. She turned, her eyes glistening.
"This was my sword, sweetheart. Treat it with love." She whispered softly, fingering the hilt.
My eyes widened in amazement as I basked in the glory of the beautiful sword my mother was holding. The hilt was clearly gold, as it gleamed in the dull light of the single light-bulb. The actually blade itself had intricate words carved into it, in a language I could not decipher.
"The words give you protection." My mother explained. "It's magic."
I nodded, unable to speak. Was this all true? Magic, demons and the Underworld? Apparently. Stepping forward, I destroyed the doubt by accepting the sword into my hands. My mother smiled, content.
"Come. Let's go get you some more weapons," she smiled mischievously. I grinned, before following her around the attic, picking up some more items.
I watched mom and Brooklyn walk out, most likely heading towards the attic. Sighing, I winced as a felt a strong wave of pain hit my mind, again, for what seemed like the millionth time that night. Someone was in pain, nearby. Someone from the council, to be specific. I stood, heading towards the door.
"Where are you going?" Melissa questioned, raising an eyebrow. I threw a glance her way, before informing her of the situation.
"Telepathic powers kicking in, someones in pain nearby. I'll be back."
She nodded curtly, knowing I needed to ease their pain soon, and I was out the door. Taking three stairs at a time, I ran down to the lobby. I felt another shock of pain pulse through me, and I growled inwardly. Whoever needed me was in a load of trouble, that was for sure. Walking onto the street, I paused. It was dangerous to be walking through New York this late at night. You never know who would be around, or more specifically what would be around. Taking a deep breath, I ignored my protesting inner-voice and walked in the direction of the pain.
The cold air hit my face hard, whipping my hair back and forth. Stuffing my hands into the front pockets of my jeans, I couldn't help but think back to Brooklyn. I could literally see the emotional impact this was taking on her. All these secrets suddenly coming into the light was dangerous. Yet, did anyone see it from my eyes? I was hell-bent on protecting Brook, because she was my little sister, but everybody else decided it was time to bring Lila and her into the light on their identities. Sighing, I raked a hand through my wild, tangled hair, ineffectively trying to tame the chocolate-coloured locks. I was a little surprised she didn't see the physical similarities between Melissa and Lila almost immediately.
Soon enough, I was standing in front of an old, abandoned building. I could feel the pain and torment vibrating off of me, making me weaker and weaker by the second. I narrowed my eyes, knowing this was more than what it appeared to be. Cautiously, I stepped into the building, to be met by complete darkness.
"Ah..." A voice projected. "So nice of you to join me, Maria, m'dear."
I snarled, preparing myself, knowing I had been tricked.
"Who the hell are you?" I called out coldly, my eyes starting to adjust to the pitch-black surrounding me. It was a barren warehouse, nothing out of the ordinary; the obvious choice for an ambush.
"You don't know the sound of your enemy's voice? Sad." It, he, chuckled.
My eyes widened in realization, and I barely had enough time to pull out Artemis and Apollo, my twin swords, from their sheaths before I felt the cool metal of a dagger pressed against my neck, a hand holding my hair and I in place.
"Alliaster." I seethed, gripping my swords in my hands.
Knowing I had a few seconds before the formalities were over, I threw myself into action. Swinging Artemis back, I opened a gash along his arm, causing him to scream and let go of me. Flipping through the air, I landed a good few feet away from him.
My swords were...different than what normal sword looks like. Artemis was a single-bladed sword, yes, but the blade was curved, ending with the blade splitting into two different ends. Apollo, on the other hand, had 2; one straight one surrounded by a golden blade, slivers of dangerous metal curving around the first blade. The only person in the world who knew how to effectively use them as a set, or even separately, was me; I took pride in that fact.
Bringing Apollo to my side, I dashed forward. Consciously aware of how much time I had, I was acting fast. Hooking Apollo's 1st blade around his leg, I swiftly spun the blade around, causing the 2nd blade to create an even deeper gash then what the first blade was creating. Before he could grab me or my swords, I sprinted back. Suddenly, I felt a searing pain flying up my leg.
Crying out, I fell to my hands and knees, and shifted around so my leg was in view. The dagger. He'd thrown the dagger at my leg, and it was stuck in. Yet that didn't explain the searing flames of pain that ignited from my core, spreading outwards and throughout my body.
"Poison on the dagger." I muttered through clenched my teeth, realizing what the scumbag pulled.
I couldn't stay down unless I wanted to die. Knowing the fight was far from over, I picked myself off the ground with difficulty, my breathing ragged and broken. I launched myself at him once more. Slicing down with Artemis, I hooked Apollo around the wrist holding yet another dagger, causing him to drop it. He growled, but before he could do anything, I launched a perfectly aimed kick at his ribs. I repeatedly kicked, not backing out of the close combat war until I heard, with satisfaction, a loud crack.
"You bitch!" He screamed, before launching himself, at his prime.
I knew at that moment I was going to die. Not only because I knew I had poison in my system, but I also knew that I was mentally drained. He'd had somehow gotten into the telepathic connections, and had drained me completely that way. I prepared to fall to my knees, when I saw Brooklyn's face flash before my eyes. What would she say, seeing me giving up like this?
I knew the answer, she wouldn't approve. In one last hope of dying knowing I tried, I shoved Apollo and Artemis upwards, leaving two, long gashes running the length of his torso. He stopped, his eyes showing the pain he was feeling, before he whispered words of bitterness and anger.
"You won this fight, Maria. Next time you won't be so lucky. Remember that."
With that, he vanished. I felt my legs shake as I stood, my body hurting all over from exhaustion and over-use. Tucking my faithful swords back into their sheaths, I walked out of the building, my only hope being hoping that I didn't faint on the way back. Fainting meant dying.
I walked back into the room where the others sat, beaming. Hell, I've never been trusted with even a butter knife, yet here I am, loaded with all kinds of dangerous projectiles; daggers, my new-found sword and a few things I couldn't even name. I was entering the room, when I heard an ear-splitting scream, making my heart freeze over.
"MARIA!" Melissa screamed, racing to the entrance hall. I followed her, my mind blank. What was wrong? When did Maria leave?
"Hi..." I heard her weak response. Weak. Maria's voice was weak. I quickened my pace, making it to the hall in a couple seconds. What I saw broke me completely.
My loving, caring sister stood amid the others who were tending to her, bloodied and broken. Her favourite shirt, the one that said 'Hero' across the front in white block letters, hung to her torso in tattered remains. My eyes traveled down her bent body, to find a sickly sight, one that made me gasp. A dagger, sticking out of her calf, covering the nearby skin with a green liquid. I gasped again, realizing the green substance was poison.
"Hi sweetheart." Maria whispered, sounding tired. I felt a burning sensation in my nose, signalling the nearby tears.
"Maria!" I hear my mother scream behind me. "What happened?!"
Maria glanced at Melissa, nodding at something she had said. Of course, I was too shocked to say anything. The strongest person I knew, my idol, was standing in front of me, broken. Battered. On the verge of- I stopped myself from going there, even in my mind.
"Attacked...Ambushed...pick a good word for a lie...Alliaster," she managed to say, before wincing and clutching dad's hand as Melissa eased the knife out. She let out a cry of pain, before sinking to the floor. That got me moving. Dashing forward, I gripped Maria's arms and hugged her, sobbing.
"No! NO NO NO!" I heard Melissa scream.
"What!?" My mom cut in, concerned.
"Too much poison in her system...she may not make it..." Melissa whispered dejectedly. I whipped my head in her direction, before screaming out in denial. "NO! SHE HAS TO MAKE IT!"
"Brook" I heard Maria whisper. "Look at me. If these really are my last moments, I need to die seeing your face..." I shook my head fiercely, before whispered sharply at her.
"You. Are. Not. Dying." I glared at the people around me, daring them to disagree.
"Okay. So, let's try something..." Melissa suggested, glancing at Maria. She nodded, closing her eyes in anticipation. Melissa whispered something, probably some more magic, before a lavender aura fell around Maria. Her eyes drooped, but before I could shake her, I felt my dad grab my forearms and pull me back.
"No," he warned. "Melissa's working her magic."
I nodded meekly, before I wiped my tears away. No Maria in my life was like the world with no sun; it would dampen and destroy my way of life. Suddenly, I was blinded by a bright flash of light (If my eyesight wasn't gone completely soon, I will declare that I have fake eyes). I cried out, as I felt something burning on my arm. It stung, badly.
"W-What is that?!" Maria cried out. Right at that moment, I knew she felt the pain too. Abruptly, the light vanished, leaving me in confusion. Then I heard a loud thump; the sure sound of something, or someone, hitting the floor. Turning around in confusion, I gasped when I saw Melissa on the floor, out cold.
"She'll be fine," Mother informed me. Had she read my mind? I nodded slowly, before turning my eyes onto Maria. She was out cold too, but I sighed in relief when I realized that her wounds were closed.
"Thank god" I whispered raggedly. With that, I shifted closer to Maria and pulled her into my lap, hugging her close.
A/N: Decided to get the boring information out of the way with a touch of ass-kickery. (: Leave a review with your thoughts?