Chapter 25: Red and Gray

x-x-x-x-x-X CHAPTER 25-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x- -

Hannah)

I grunted once more throwing hot flames onto the stone in an effort to melt through. I could hear Rex also reaching his limit as he went forward with blades of hardened ice to chip away at the molted rock as soon as I backed off.

"N-No good… S-sorry Rex..I-I've got nothing left.." I said hating the words as they passed my lips. I could not quit… I couldn't leave Arisa in the hands of these..creatures… Fates knew what they were going to do?

Rex shook his head, "Don't say that Hannah. You've never quit before.. Why the heck are you going to start now!"

Because I had thrown a lot of energy to busting down the door, because I was kidnapped and thrown out of an SUV earlier, and most of all the exhaustion had caught up to me.

I fell to my knees my legs buckling under me.

So close. I had come all this way only to….

Rex let out a frightening growl his own demon like attributes coming out full force he swept forward with a burst of energy and finally got through the former immovable wall.

The wall gave way to an empty room…With a stone sofa and a single strange cup half full of dark liquid.

I crawled forward getting to the wall's remains to pull myself up, "… W-Where is she?" The unique aura that I had felt coming from the room was growing cold and my demon powers seemed to wane after all my work to get this far. I closed my eyes feeling my head hurt.

Rex swept forward , his own breathing labored.

For a long moment there was a slice of silence then a hiss, " Up … Up ahead… Another wall of stone… I-I think I …smell her up ahead.." Rex said his low voice wavering in anger and a bit of his own fatigue.

"We can't break through another wall, Rex…. T-That one was hard enough.. I-I have nothing left… Nothing at all…" I leant against the wall hard panting and slowly opening my eyes to the sight of the gray wall ahead of me.

Gray. The color of indifference, steel, stone, all things cold and unfeeling.

Red. The color I was starting to see when I thought of how cruel a being could be to take my poor defenseless friend and drag her down to this strange kingdom.

Red, also the color of the blood I was sure to spill tonight of anyone that got in our way-

I slid down once more panting. I had overdone it. All my anger couldn't boost my body's ability to deal with this scenario.

"Hannah!" Rex cried out surprised to see me slide towards the floor he pulled me up and my eyes fluttered a little before focusing on his face. The pale skin, those dark blue eyes brought out even more by his dark hair all reminded me that I wasn't alone in this… that we both needed Arisa back.

"T-Think you can get through that wall alone, Rex?" I asked as he guided me to the stone couch and made me sit.

"…. Maybe…" He said after a moment and another glance to the wall.

"Yes or no, Rex. Arisa doesn't have time for maybes…." I snapped.

"Then yes…. Yes! I can get through this wall!" Rex avowed more steadily. He rolled back his shoulders heading forward conjuring more water and strengthening them to thick ice blades, he struck the wall and at first the stone happily remained unscratched and unaffected. But then… Rex got angrier.

I think he finally heard the quiet unspoken ticking of a clock to…what? To some event… that we wouldn't be able to reverse? To Arisa's death? I wasn't sure…. But… I didn't want to find out. I closed my eyes caught my breath even as Rex started punching the heck out of the wall with his demon strength.

Faint noises caught my attention as I closed my eyes and tried to gather my strength. Whisperings. Soft whispering in a language I could not understand.

The whisperings quieted even as Rex kept pounding at the wall.

Arisa's pov)

Today was getting worse and worse. I couldn't speak because of that potion and all the strange woman around me were..were.. well…

VERY INVASIVE! I had never been so humiliated in my life… T-They took my clothes and put me into a tub of water and then scrubbed at me like I was a dirty pan. Then they toweled me up rubbed me down and started buffing me with powder and a strange smelling oil.

Whenever I tried to squirm or escape from them they quite firm in pulling me back. I whimpered, cried and begged for them to stop to no avail. No sympathy was paid to me. More or less I was simply a package to be cleaned, and prepped and thrown out once more like fast food.

They made me sit down while the leader of the group went and took a strange well of ink and a paint brush to my arm. The leader in question was a slim willowy woman with long strange dark blue hair and silver eyes. She had long polished nails and wings on her back of a sooty black, she patiently painted symbol upon symbol along my arm starting from the top of my shoulder down to the crease of my elbow. As she did each symbol she paused and looked to the symbols which shuddered and glowed then vanished. The other females around all chatted excitedly at this and the leader held up a hand and issued what must've been a command to a group of them which scurried off leaving me alone with her and her paintbrush.

"…..You're quite lucky…" the winged woman spoke this time in perfect English, "I know you must be scared right now but you're going to be in good hands…"

I was quiet at that letting her attend to her work knowing it did no good to try to halt her. All the people here were monsters and delusional it'd be best to just.. ignore them for now.

I tried to not focus on how the brush tickled a little along my arm and glanced dully to the dark symbols that vanished along my arms.

"Marak is a kind person… I'm sure he's feeling quite guilty to have to rush into this but… well he's doing it not for himself you know.. but for the people… "

People? Is that what she called herself and the other creatures.

She put down the brush and slowly stood gathering the inkwell with her.

"…I suppose you'll see in time… The others before you were the same. " She gave a slight nod believing firmly in her words, "You'll come to realize this is what's best for everyone. "

Everyone? What about me? What about what was best for me? What about freedom? Hannah and Rex! Home. The stars? The beauty of the moon?

The females returned with what might've been the most strange garment I'd ever seen in my life. It was a gold bodice with strange wisp like material sweeping down to a skirt of a paler gold shade. There were no sleeves and that immediately made me uncomfortable.

I had never really liked tube tops… They showed the old scars my father had left on me. Even tank tops were something I struggled with. I liked having sleeves when I could.

Even now with the long towel they had given me I still felt uncomfortably exposed feeling the air touch my bare skin.

The group came towards me and bullied me into the strange outfit, others attacked my hair combing out the chestnut mane and weaving red ribbons into it and pulling it back leaving only a single curled strand close to my face.

When I tried to bring it to their attention feeling it tickle a little against my collar bone they simple shook their heads and pulled my hand away from it. After a few more adjustments they finally pulled away.

The leading winged woman came forward and fastened cold golden shackles on my feet and then on my wrists, "Marak is waiting for you just beyond those doors, " she gestured to two strong wood doors I hadn't seen before along with two guards waiting with poles.

"The poles will latch onto your shackles, it's just a precaution we take for everyone." She said taking my hand and pulling me to my feet then letting go of my hand, "Go. They're waiting-"

Suddenly the wall behind us shuttered and gave way.

"ARISA!" A familiar voice, a familiar face, but this time so …so different. The dark hair that was choppy and one I'd run my hands through multiple times was now standing up like he'd been shocked. Those dark blue eyes I'd get lost in were narrowed and almost glowing? His hands were also glowing with some strange light blue outline. He looked angry and I wanted to cry out his name but all I could manage was another small wail.

Rex!

A figure slowly appeared beside him tired and soot streaked with her own impressive dark blue eyes though hers were thankfully normal and not glowing strangely, "A-Arisa are you alright?"

Hannah!

The creatures in the room squeaked and growled at the sudden intruders. The winged woman at my side muttered something crossly under her breath and pushed me towards the guards and took a step towards my boyfriend.

She turned to the other girls present, "Get her to the ceremony now. I'll deal with these intruders."

She opened her wings and opened her hands toward them and started chanting what must've been a spell or sorts.

Either I was having the strangest dream in the history of dreams or my reality now bordered on the twilight zone.

I didn't get to see what Rex and Hannah did to scramble against the spell wielding winged girl I was pushed forward and latched onto the poles and dragged forward. Into a large cavernous room that reminds me of a roman coliseum.

More of them. More and more of the strangely shaped creatures were in what seemed to be stands. All clustered together they made me feel faint at the cruel misshapen sight of them. I felt myself trying to shy away, try to drag my feet but the guards pulled me forward to the only creature I knew in this room, to the fox eared scar faced Marak.

Hannah)

Ever have those days when you do all you can and you still run into something that just ruins it. Like you plan out a picnic and rain rolls in? Well that all pales in comparison to finally finding my sister/closest friend only to have a winged freak of a species standing in my way just as we found her.

A stronger fire demon might've roasted her alive, no more questions asked.

I tried to summon fire but all I got was sparks and smoke. "No good, " I muttered to Rex, "I-I'm still not recharged…."

Rex sighed shaking his head, "I-I don't know if I can keep up with-"

A flash of lightning cracked towards us and we both scrambled to avoid it. I hit the ground rolling to my right. He scrambled to the left.

I tried once more to summon some fire but once more smoke only answered my call. I growled to myself, smoke wouldn't do us any good in a fight!

Suddenly it clicked. Yes… Smoke wouldn't help us… in a fight… but it would help us.. get away from one!

Rex conjured some water and shot it at the woman who stumbled back caught off guard by the attack.

Before she could get back on her feet I turned to Rex, "Rex! Ninja style!"

"Ninja what-!" He said confused at my words.

I opened the palm of my hand once more conjuring the black soot like smoke took a deep breath and blew.

X-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

And finally an update *anime fall* . I am thankful to those of you who have reviewed honestly it amazes me that people have not given up on this, and just to let you know I haven't given up either! Just been having lots of writer blocks and schedule issues.

Here's to hopefully another update soon with a bit of action with the groups confronting each other. I plan to have the Elvin king make another entrance here soon but still figuring that out…

Thanks for reviews and please keep them coming!

~002fox

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx