Author Comments: Yay, yay, I finally uploaded~! A quick thank you to all the reviewers and readers, I'm disappearing for a happy dance~!
"We don't have time now, Lynn-chan! Stay with Letitia-chan, we'll be back soon!"
"What… what do you mean—?"
"Oi, stay with the girl! Don't move out of the house!"
"Wait! Elias-san, Luka-san…"
Lynn's eyes hovered to the main door once more, her small smile drooping. She shook her head vigorously though, and shifted her gaze back to Letitia. Seeing the girl making a troubled expression, Lynn took the towel off Letitia's forehead, dipping it in ice water once more and wringing it before placing it on the hot brow.
She had to stop thinking about her friends. Or she probably might chase after them, she thought. And Lynn knew perfectly well that they would be troubled if she were to do that.
Her clothes were gently tugged, snapping her out of her thoughts.
"Lynn-san… R-run…" the girl muttered between ragged breaths, tugging her clothes more strongly.
"Run? Where to, Letitia-chan?"
"The ceremony… They'll come…"
The wooden door burst open. Two black figures, dark as the night stood outside.
"Demons…?" Lynn whispered her grip on Letitia's hand tightening unconsciously as she stood up. Despite her trembling legs, she let go of the sweaty palm of her friend, and extended her arms so as to protect Letitia. "Please… leave us alone."
Inhuman sneers were the only replies to her statement. The demons barged in, their revealed white fangs contrasting against the blackness.
Lynn blinked her eyes. A crystal clear, high pitched voice.
Run out of here.
A blinding white light exploded from within the house. Lynn and Letitia squeezed their eyes shut due to the intensity, as strangled cries reached their ears.
Hurry up. Run.
Upon reopening her eyes, she saw no trace of the demons, and wasting no time, took Letitia onto her back and ran out of the house.
"Tell me… Where should I go?" she asked, looking at the night stars above.
"Did you put the spell up?" Lukas asked. Walking towards his partner, he wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. He let out an exhausted sigh as his eyes darted to the bloody mess beside him, before going back to the flames crackling in the middle of the ash pile.
Elias opened his eyes. He smiled seeing the flames disappear from sight. "Yes, it's up all right. Did you find the name?"
The black knight scratched his head, flashing a half-hearted smile. "I can't handle this stuff. You should have done it, you know."
"The name was?" Elias repeated.
Luka shook his head before replying. "It's not him. It's," he glanced at the dead carcass beside him once again, "Hyde."
Elias sighed. It was one of frustration and yet his face depicted relief. "Anything else?"
"Do the job yourself, next time."
"I will, but Luka-chan has to learn to socialize~" the white knight replied, the bunny ears atop his head twitching. Ignoring the glare he was receiving, his face turned serious once more. "…Is that all?"
"The people in this town are weird."
"There are no children to begin with," seeing Elias's questioning eyes, he corrected himself, "At least, from what I've seen. And, the villagers are acting weird. It's as if… I don't know, they're like blank." His brow furrowed as he remembered their mechanical gazes, and their delayed responses.
"That makes Letitia-chan the only child we've seen? She seemed normal enough to top that. But, continue."
"Right. There is some ceremony going at night it seems."
Both knights glanced in the direction of the ash pile, before surveying the area around. And they both came to the same conclusion.
"A demonic ritual."
Lynn followed the instructions of the voice. She wasn't fond running, and adding to that was the fact that Letitia was on her back. But the younger girl's heavy pants and the figures chasing them gave her enough determination to continue running.
'The P.E. coach always said, "Never breathe from the mouth while running!"' Availing herself of that piece of advice, she tried her best to keep her mouth shut. What she feared right now though, was her innate clumsiness. Stealing a glance at the demons closing in on her, she quickened her pace… and as expected, fell down.
Letitia rolled away from her; the girl's ragged breathing got louder with the sudden fall. Lynn could not keep back her tears as she struggled to crawl towards the girl, and away from the inhuman growls.
"Where are you, Voice-san?!" she yelled to the skies.
Grab the staff.
"What staff?!" Lynn's voice cracked with desperation as she frantically looked about.
Grab the staff.
Calming her sobs and wiping her tears hastily, Lynn got up despite the pain in her bruised knees. And she staggered forward, continuously wiping her eyes. And then, she saw it.
It wasn't a staff. It was just a branch of some tree. Was it the staff the Voice talked about? Lynn cared no more. She fell to her knees, and grasped the fragile twig. Something clicked; her hands moved on her own then, drawing before her a small but intricate scribble in the sand, finally encircling it with a perfect circle.
Her face looked up, and her determined, albeit strangely lifeless eyes met the beasts. Her hand brought the stick once more to the ground, right in the center of her drawing. It lit up with reddened glow, and powerful gusts of air arose from it.
She snapped back to her oblivious self then, and just as the wind flung them backwards, she caught Letitia's hand. All Lynn saw, before she shut her eyes due to extreme wind, was… a dragon made of air.
The bonfire in the middle of the plaza lit up the dark night and caused long shadows to dance on the hard cobblestone ground. The people surrounding it were impassive, staring at the magnificent fire as if they were waiting for something.
Hidden a safe distance away on the roof a building, the two knights studied the scene before them with narrowed eyes.
"Isn't it starting yet—?"
Luka's grumble was interrupted by the sudden motion – the citizens threw their hands up in the air, and fell before the fire, all simultaneously chanting a hollow ode. The fire flared up with each sentence uttered, changing slowly but surely, to a blood crimson hue.
Elias's warning made the black knight focus on the ground, where blackish circular outlines formed around the bonfire. From each of the participants formed a pool of red liquid, which joined, through a perfectly straight line, the black magic circles. On the completion of the outlines, the runes appeared in between the lines. The fire flared for one last time, before dividing itself into what, ironically, reminded the knights of a blooming flower. One black silhouette stood in the middle.
The two knights jumped off the roof simultaneously. Luka unsheathed his blade midair while Elias tore off his childish headgear, which truth be told, was actually a restraint device to hide his magic aura, and keep his magic under control.
"The game's up," Luka growled as he pointed his sword, "Demon General Hyde."
The demon in the middle bared his twisted smile, his blood red eyes narrowing evilly. "My, if it isn't the Order of the Knights. How so?"
Elias stepped close to one of the black circles. "Erasing even a part of the circle will nullify your ritual. Give up already." The white knight raised his foot, leaving it centimeters above the marking.
The Demon General chuckled. "Go ahead, you'll kill the civilians, no," he laughed once more, "They're dead already."
"What the hell are you talking about?!" Luka questioned, taking a step forward menacingly.
"Exactly what I meant—"
A sudden outburst of strong magic aura had them all freeze. Eyes wide, they turned to its source, in time to witness gusts of air rise upwards and then take the appearance of a dragon. A dragon they knew all too well.
"A Holy Dragon Spell?!" the Demon General, who had till now retained his calm, staggered a step back in surprise.
Luka's eyes briefly shifted to Hyde, and quickly shouted, "Don't move from—"
The warning came to naught as the demon stepped further back in his panic, his foot right on the smallest circle. The runes abruptly disappeared, the people rose to their feet.
"…Well, they're certainly dead," Elias commented.
The humans, no, the creatures had already surrounded him. With white foam frothing at their mouths and eyes nearly bulging out, they extended their arms and limbs in attempts to touch him. What was most horrifying though was not how they trampled each other in their quest, and neither was it how they gave out creepy noises, but how their limbs tended to dissolve randomly and fall to the ground.
The two knights found them easy to slay, but they were in for another surprise, as the Demon General laughed heartily and commented on the new intruders.
"You're here, Letitia."
With a small groan, Lynn forced her eyes open. Her brain reminded her of what had happened though, and she instantly forced herself up. Looking around, she saw no sight of the demons and heaved a sigh of relief.
"Letitia-chan, we're safe…?" Lynn blinked her eyes several times, for she couldn't see the girl by her side. It must have been her luck or something, because right in the moment she crawled forward, a trident flew past her, impaling the ground where she had been sitting just then. Her eyes widened a moment too late, and she slowly looked up.
Standing before her, with the long violet hair swaying in the night breeze, was Letitia, and she was gripping quite tightly a certain white trident.
"Please die for me, Lynn-san."
"Wh-what are you joking—"
"I'm not joking." With ease impossible for a girl her size and age, Letitia pulled the white trident out of the ground, and pointed it back at Lynn. "Please die."
"Wh-why?" Lynn stared at Letitia, trying hard not to avert her eyes to the bulky weapon.
"You disarmed my barrier, did you not?"
"…Your barrier? Letitia-chan, it was you?"
"It was. Now then," Letitia swung her trident backwards aiming for the strike, but once more missed. She narrowed her eyes at Lynn, who had dived out at the last second. "If you won't heed my request, I won't have any choice but to do it the hard way."
Pursing her lips, Lynn stood up. "I don't want to die!" With those words, she wheeled around and ran down the road. Letitia clicked her tongue, and quickly chased after her.
'Voice-san? Voice-san?!' Her thoughts weren't answered as she had hoped though. Upon hearing no footsteps behind her though, she glanced behind her shoulder. Letitia had stopped a good deal away, her head craned in some other direction. Lynn barely saw the grimace on her face as the younger girl darted off in the direction she had been staring at.
Left alone in the middle of the road, with no knowledge of wherever she was, Lynn, rather stupidly, decided to follow Letitia. Her mind after all, did not believe and did not want to believe that her friend wanted her dead.
"You're here, Letitia."
The two knights simply stared as they saw Letitia walk towards the Demon General, and kept on staring as soon after that, Lynn appeared behind her, huffing and panting. The sixteen year old girl's eyes met with those of her friends and widened.
Under normal instances, this would have been followed by Luka's usual grumbles, but right now, seeing Letitia stand beside the Demon General Hyde was the bigger question.
"You're with the demons?" Luka asked bluntly.
"The Lord is my master–"
"Letitia-chan is not with the demons! It… it has to be a mistake… It's…"
Lynn's interruption only made her 'friend' laugh. "Mistake? Are you saying this is all a dream?"
"That's enough, Lynn-chan," Elias said with a sad smile, landing right before her. He extended a hand before her protectively before facing Letitia. His position was such that Lynn could not see his expression–it had turned to something even Luka could have not achieved. "You'll pay for this."
The black knight joined him briefly, wielding his sword before him.
"Oh, I'd love to fight, but right now, I wouldn't want to go against a Level Five Mage," Hyde replied coolly. He shifted his gaze to Letitia, ignoring the surprised faces of the knights. "Was it her?"
"Yes, My Lord. She disintegrated the barrier and summoned the Holy Air Dragon."
"The Holy Dragon Spell…?!"
The knights shifted their gaze from Lynn to the demon repeatedly in disbelief.
"Trying to act surprised? That won't work. But I should commend you, managing to sneak in with such enormous auras… Letitia, we're moving."
"Yes, My Lord–"
"No, you won't!" Elias yelled as he aimed his hand at them. Five flames–one on each finger–lit up and were followed by a fire vortex from the middle of his palm. He quickly uttered a phrase, before calling out Luka's name.
"Got it!" Luka was quick to follow, no, he was quicker than the vortex. With impossible speed, he presented himself before the Demon General. Right as the two figures flickered, the fire vortex met with Luka's blade as it landed on Hyde's body.
'Did I get him–?!'
Author Comments: O_O Did Luka get him~?