The rights to Beyblade do not belong to me
Power of Darkness
For many centuries, the Circle of Priests has ruled with an iron fist, but with the desertion of one of their own, the Circle finds themselves involved in a war. To protect the land of the Gods from harm, a Wall was erected but for how much longer will it stand? In amidst of all this chaos, Kai, the grandson of the Head Priest, is given a gift that will determine the outcome of this battle. His thirst for knowledge and power leads him down a dark and dangerous road, as he attempts to find a way to break down the barrier keeping the Gods in their prison. Little does he know, his actions will impact the lives of everyone around him.
Song for the Chapter
"Ominous Desert" by West One Music
Thanks to moonlightvita and SgtPeppersLHCB for reviewing the previous one! I apologize for the three month wait – I got caught up in my other fandoms and almost forgot about this shamefully.
Chapter Sixteen: Something Greater?
For days they had ridden through the valley of the mountain range, and still there was no sign of the grand kingdom of Khakpour. Tyson felt a bubble of fear develop in the back of his head. Were they even heading in the right direction? He shook his head, cursing himself for his lack of confidence. Of course they were heading in the right direction. There was only one way to reach Khakpour from Aduri and they were on that very road now.
Daichi was holding the reigns of the horse now as Tyson had been in control for the past three days. His legs were sore from sitting in the same position, but he was confident they were close to their destination. The first thing he wanted to do when he arrived was sleep in a nice comfortable bed. After that, he was going to eat all he could stomach. A broad smile appeared on his face. Not much longer now.
"Do you think Judy will agree to send forces to the Wall?" Daichi asked, casting a sideways glance in Tyson's direction. His brows were furrowed as if he had been giving the question a great deal of thought.
Tyson shrugged. He wasn't sure if Judy would agree to send half her army to aid Robert and his men. Khakpour had failed to send any soldiers in the past few months, claiming they were low on numbers. Tyson was sure that was just a lousy excuse to avoid death, but if she failed to send any men, they were all going to die anyway. "I… don't think she'll agree. Robert has asked for help before but Judy refused. She doesn't understand how bad the situation is at the Wall."
"If she says no, what will your next move be? Will you return to a life on the Wall?" Daichi said, eyes still locked on Tyson's face.
Tyson gazed down at his hands, and sighed. "I don't think I'd be welcomed back. I'm sure this is just a way to remove me from their lives… I would like to find my brother and grandfather, you know? I'd like to know why they wanted me out of their lives for good." He snorted lightly. "All I ever wanted to do was make them proud of me, but I couldn't even do that right. I was supposed to be a soldier like them."
"There's more to life than being a soldier, Tyson. My father was just a merchant, but he played an important role. He supplied the Wall with supplies. He was responsible for keeping the men alive so they were able to defend from the forces of Jabaq," Daichi explained. "Maybe your family got it wrong. Not everyone can be a soldier."
Tyson laid his hands on his knees and squeezed. "I wanted to be a soldier though, or at least I did at the time. Don't tell me you've never thought about it."
"Thought about what? Holding a sword and killing other people? It's never crossed my mind once. I never had a reason to." He kicked the horse gently, prompting it to move faster. "I'm not a soldier, Tyson. I never wanted to be one either. You should think about doing something else. Surely, you must have other talents?"
He thought hard about the question but his mind came up with a blank. There was absolutely nothing else he was good at aside from making a big mess of things. His grandfather and brother were ashamed of him. Robert thought he was a fool. The other soldiers thought he was incapable of doing anything right. He couldn't hold a sword properly. He knew nothing about tracking. He couldn't cook or clean, nor did he know anything about the art of healing. His only use was reading and writing, but most of the population already had those skills. "I'm not good at anything," he mumbled.
Daichi frowned. "I used to think like that too but then I found I had a natural ability in climbing mountains. My father taught me well, what did yours teach you before he died?" Tyson didn't reply, instead choosing to examine his surroundings. It was a question he didn't like answering. Everyone else's fathers had taught their children how to do something practical – how to hold a blade, how to kill a man, how to cook, heal injuries – but Tyson's father taught him no such things. He thought back to a time his father was alive.
"Don't ever think for a second that you have no purpose. There's a role for everyone in this world, Tyson. Some of us grow up to be leaders, while others prefer to serve. Some people choose to do evil and others wish to do good," his father said one afternoon when the sun was setting behind Mount Dojim. "The moment you begin to doubt yourself is a sign that you have given up on living."
"What if some of us aren't meant to be successful?" a young Tyson asked his father, a puzzled expression on his face.
His father laid a comforting hand on Tyson's left shoulder. "Some talents are recognizable immediately, while some remain hidden until the time is right. Your future is a bright one Tyson, even if you feel it isn't." He pointed to the horizon. "There's a war beyond our kingdom. Brave men are placing their lives on the line to ensure we remain safe. You can stop it. You can bring to the lands again and end this violence."
Tyson lifted a questioning brow. "I'm not a warrior, father."
"You do not have to be a warrior to win a battle."
"I want to fight though. I want to be like my brother and grandfather," he whined.
His father grimly smiled. "I know you do Tyson, and I will support you, but the Gods have other plans."
He remembered the conversation as if it had happened yesterday. How he wished his father was there beside him now guiding him on the correct path. What was this destiny Tyson was supposed to have? His father never directly told him, but always subtlety hinted that it would change the way of life forever. Perhaps his father knew he was a failure. Perhaps that's why he tried to convince Tyson there was another reason why he was alive because he didn't want to seem like a poor father.
"Tyson? You've been quiet for awhile. I didn't mean to bring up past hurts," Daichi said gently, looking a little hurt.
Tyson shook his head. "No, you didn't. I just wish he was here now showing me the way. He would know what to do, he always did." He forced a dry bitter laugh from his throat. "He always believed that I could change the world. He said I had something that not many people had. I could dream of a better tomorrow."
"I don't understand."
"Neither do I, but he said it would make sense to me one day. He said I was brave. Daring. A risk-taker. If he could see me now I'm sure he'd be disappointed."
"You are here now though, aren't you? You've left the Wall. You're on a quest to save the Wall from falling," Daichi said. "How many people would be willing to risk that? You said it yourself earlier – there's a high chance Judy is going to say no. That would turn most people off."
"I suppose…" He sighed. "Shall we change the topic? I wish to speak of other matters." He couldn't forget the past, but sometimes he wished he could. Silence fell in between the two boys. Daichi focused on steering the horse in the right direction, while Tyson kept his eyes peeled for danger. The desert was full of hidden dangers. Predictions could not be made. Attacks were random.
"Do you know if there is a place to stop? I think we could do with a good rest. My legs are aching, and my back yearns for a good bed," Daichi suddenly asked, bringing Tyson out of his thoughts.
Tyson gave his new friend an apologetic look. "Sorry, Khakpour is the closest place to us now. I've never heard of any other villages on the long road. And if there were, they're probably prone to random bandit attacks. It wouldn't be wise to stop and search." He stifled a yawn. "I know how you feel though, but we have to press on."
Daichi scratched the back of his neck, and yawned himself. "Yeah, you're right."
They continued their journey once again in silence. They were far from the mountains now; Tyson could only see them faintly in the distance. Now they were out in the open desert with nothing to hide behind to protect them from danger. The path was long. Tyson wondered how many kilometres the road covered, and how long it had taken to mark. Little white flags lined the ground directing merchants where to go.
Suddenly, Daichi pulled the horse to a stop. Surprised by the sudden movement, Tyson almost fell off, but he clung onto Daichi to keep him in place. "What's going on?" Tyson demanded.
Daichi lifted a finger and directed Tyson's attention to the right. He couldn't see anything at first but a few seconds later he spotted a woman kneeling down on the ground besides a broken trade cart a couple of feet away. Daichi climbed off the horse and Tyson followed. Together, the two males walked towards the girl. "Hey!" Daichi yelled out.
The girl's head jerked in their direction. Immediately, she stood up. "Thank the Gods you've arrived!" She ran over to them, her short purple bangs bouncing around her head. "I need your help to bring my friend to my village for help."
Tyson and Daichi exchanged worried glances. Neither of them recognized the girl, but she seemed harmless enough. "Sure, why not? What happened here anyway?" Tyson said, following the girl to the trade cart.
"We were attacked by bandits!"
As they drew closer, Tyson noticed there was something terribly wrong. The girl claimed they had been attacked, yet there was nothing to suggest they were overrun by bandits. For starters, there were no signs of weapon damage, nor was there any blood visible. It seemed the cart had gone off the road because someone had lost control of the horse.
The horse in question was now long gone. The ropes that tied the horse to the cart had snapped off and the horse had broken free. Something did not feel right. "We should be cautious," Tyson whispered to Daichi, "This does not feel like a bandit attack."
If Daichi had heeded Tyson's warning, he did not show it. He walked to the girl cautiously, arms stretched to his sides to show he had no weapons on him. Tyson did the same. "Where is your friend?" Daichi asked.
The girl pointed to the broken cart. "He's inside. Please, help me take him to Iusism. The healer there can save him."
Iusism? Tyson had never heard of the name before. This was becoming stranger by the minute. "Alright, we'll help." He knelt down besides the overturned cart, and spotted two legs sticking out from underneath. "We'll lift the cart, and you pull out your friend from beneath." The girl nodded, and she hurried to carry out the task. She grabbed her friend's legs, and waited for Tyson and Daichi to lift.
It was harder than he thought. His legs ached and his fingers burned, but with Daichi's assistance they lifted the cart high enough to allow the girl to assist her friend. As soon as the body was removed, Tyson and Daichi released their grip. The cart fell to the ground. Panting, Tyson turned to the body. There was no evidence of weapons used, nor any signs of bruising. An accident?
"My village is not far from here. It's just behind that dune over there," the girl said, pushing back a strand of purple hair from her face. She pointed to a rather tall dune causing Tyson to inwardly cringe. That seemed tiring. "We can use your horse to cart my friend over." Had she read his mind? Tyson felt uncomfortable, but he nodded anyway. "Lead the way."
Silence fell between them as they travelled through the desert towards their destination. With each step, the village became clearer and soon Tyson was able to make out walls made out of mud. As they drew closer to the village entrance gate, Tyson noticed a tall, slender pale woman walk out. Her hair was as black as the night, a complete contrast to her white robes. She turned her head around from side to side before resting on Tyson and his companions.
With dark hungry eyes, she scanned her visitors intently. Her mouth curved into a smile, her eyes resting on Daichi's face. "You shouldn't be travelling the desert when you should be keeping a woman's bedroll warm," she said, smirking at the surprised look on Daichi's face.
Daichi stuck out his chest and cleared his throat. "Well... I'd gladly take that over travelling anytime!" he remarked, cleaning off imaginary sand off his shoulders.
"I guess an introduction is necessary. I'm Frankie, and this is Doctor K," the purple hair girl said, jerking her head at the Doctor. "She runs this village."
"Welcome to our village of Iusism," Doctor K said, turning her attention on Tyson. Tyson couldn't stop himself from blushing. Tyson had been the only girl who had even bothered to communicate with him, but that had been a very long time ago when they were both children. She probably wouldn't bother looking his way nowadays. Doctor K started to make her way into the heart of the village and motioned for her visitors to follow. "Come."
As they passed the gates of the village, Tyson paid attention to his surroundings. He noticed about seven houses made of animal hide and wondered how many people lived within them. A bitter scent filled his nostrils as they continued to walk to the middle of the village. "What is that smell?" he heard Daichi complain.
Doctor K laughed in response. "That is the smell of healing potions, my dear."
"Do you have magic?" Daichi asked.
Doctor K simply shrugged her shoulders with disinterest, curling a lock of hair around her finger. "I can slow down the aging process and I can cure a fatal illness with one potion," she said, arms crossed over her chest. "Why have you come? We're not accustomed to… tourists."
"I thought you could help my friend," Frankie remarked, glancing down at the body Tyson and Daichi were holding, "Can you help him?"
Doctor K gave Frankie a hard stare then nodded. "I will do what I can. Bring your friend to my tent then you must leave," she said, looking at Daichi. "You fascinate me. Frankie, take the other boy to the resting place." Frankie nodded. Daichi's eyes met Tyson's. The red head shrugged. "Come inside," she said, pointing to a large tent. "Bring the boy in."
Tyson sighed, bored. Daichi was with Ming Ming discussing who knows what, and here he was waiting outside feeling a little foolish. Was this his destiny? To be cast out of everything? What would his father say now? He paced back and forth, kicking up sand into the air with the tips of his feet. Frankie had left him alone saying she had someplace else to be. Abandoned again.
"You need to leave this place immediately," a timid, meek female voice said, bringing Tyson's pacing to an abrupt halt.
He spun around and glanced at the speaker. A girl with messy auburn hair with chocolate coloured eyes stared back at him. Her eyes were full of pain and despair and Tyson wondered if the girl was a slave. Her clothes, tattered and torn scraps of animal hide, only strengthened his suspicion. He cleared her throat and spoke, "Excuse me?"
Despite her frail appearance and fearful look in her eyes, her tone was steady. "This village is dangerous."
Tyson wasn't sure what to think, but decided to play it safe. After all, he didn't want to anger the locals. Who knew what they were capable of? "My name is Tyson. What is yours?" She cautiously moved backwards in case the girl decided to attack.
"What makes you say this village is dangerous?"
Her bottom lip trembled, and the girl darted a quick look over her shoulder. "Foul magic fuels this place," she whispered, turning her attention back to Tyson," she replied, her voice shaking. "You should not be here."
Tyson's heart quickened its pace. "What do you mean?"
"In the middle of the sinking sands there is a crypt." Once again the girl looked around nervously, as if expecting an ambush. Breathing in deeply, she closed her eyes and spoke, "Slaves... used for experiments. She feeds on them, drains them of life." Her eyes widened and tears started to flow down her pallid bruised cheeks.
Curious to know more, Tyson stepped forward. Placing a comforting hand on the girl's shoulder, she urged her to speak more. "Who feeds on them?"
Salima opened her eyes and gazed fearfully into Tyson's dark orbs. "Doctor K."
Her words were chilling and Tyson felt a shudder of uneasiness race down his spine. Her youthful eyes were filled with despair and fear when they should've been shining with exuberant joy. Tears spilled out of her eyes and travelled down her cheeks. Tyson did his best to comfort her then spoke, "I'm here with you now."
Salima pulled her hands away from her face and glanced at Tyson. A small glimmer of hope shone within her eyes, but it faded as quickly as it appeared. "Come and see for yourself. I will take you down into the chamber."
She was persistent and her face set with determination. Tyson glanced over his shoulder looking for a sign of Daichi, but found nothing. He turned his attention back to Salima and nodded. "Lead the way." Salima nodded and led Tyson towards the sinking sands. As they walked through the village, Tyson felt a sense of nervousness swell up within him. Was he doing the right thing? He didn't know Salima. Could this simply be a trap?
She examined Salima again. The girl was a physical and mental wreck; her walk was unsteady. She jumped at every noise and snapped her head in various directions as if she were expecting an ambush. If the girl were to harm her, Tyson knew he had the stamina and endurance to fight him off. He might not be a warrior, but even he could defend himself if necessary. Fortunately, no trouble came to them.
Within a few short metres, Tyson could see the sinking sands before them. He could not see an opening in the sands. Turning his head to Salima, he raised an eyebrow waiting for an explanation. "You said there was an opening?" There it was again. The feeling of being led into a trap. Salima had to be lying... right?
Salima raised a finger and pointed at the centre of the sinking sands. "We must walk onto the sands and let it take us underneath." She took a few steps forward, but stopped. Tyson remained still, transfixed by the sands. "There is no reason to fear. We will not come to harm within the chamber." She extended her hand towards Tyson prompting him to take it.
Swallowing a mouthful of air, Tyson grabbed Salima's hand with his own. "Then let us waste no more time," he said, feigning confidence.
A brief smile crossed Salima's face as she walked towards the sands. "Let the sands take us under." She came to a sudden halt, closed her eyes and pinned her arms close to her sides. Tyson followed, grasping Salima's hand tightly as he felt her feet disappear underneath the sands. The ground shook gently, increasing his speed downwards. His knees were no longer visible.
A sudden thought occurred to him. "What about oxygen?"
Salima smiled. "It is not as deep as you think."
Salima's words were true. The sand was no longer surrounding his legs. He felt freedom. A bizarre sensation. Now he was waist deep in the sand and rapidly descending. He kicked his legs to rid them of the feeling of being temporarily paralysed. His feet came into contact with hard stone causing him to yelp. "There's a chamber made out of stone beneath us?" he asked. How on earth did that work?
Salima didn't reply as both their heads went under the sand. It wasn't as bad as he expected, but it still made him feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, the sinking was over quickly. He fell to the ground and landed on sandy surface with a thud. Salima landed gracefully and glanced upwards, while Tyson picked himself up from the ground. "It's a magical gateway," she said. "You will find no sand on you," she added, noticing Tyson looking for sand on her clothing.
Tyson stopped and raised an eyebrow. "It's official; this is the weirdest thing I have ever seen." And he had seen many strange creatures during his time at the Wall. "Where do we go now?" he asked, glancing around him. The walls were made out of quartz and the ground covered in light yellow brown sand. He wondered if this place was fuelled by magic as well, but decided not to ask.
Raising a hand, Salima pointed before them. There were three identical pathways leading into pitch black. "We choose a path." She took a step forward, angled her body to the left and walked towards the far left path.
"Where does this take us? Why are there three pathways?" Tyson questioned, chasing after Salima. He did not want to lose her in this place.
"They are called the Paths of the Voices. The one we walk down now is the Path of the Voices of the Past. The one in the middle is the Path of the Voices of the Present and the one on the far right is the Path of the Voices of the Future. The voices will not be heard by everyone however."
Tyson narrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Those that have committed an immoral act will hear the voices of the people they hurt if they walk down the path we have chosen. If this same person walked down the Path of the Voices of the Present, they will hear what would happen if the person they hurt was there with them. And if they chose the Path of the Voices of the Future, they would hear what would come to be," Salima explained.
"But what if you have not committed an immoral act?"
"If that person is righteous and noble, they will only hear good things no matter what path they choose."
Tyson frowned. The evil people saw something. The good people saw something as well. What about the in-betweens? People like himself? The ones confused of their place in the world. "What of the people who are unsure of their role in the world? What will they see?"
"Then that person will hear what will come to be."
Tyson swallowed. Would he finally see the path his father claimed to have seen? As they continued to walk in complete darkness, Tyson's thoughts drifted back to Doctor K and Daichi. "You told me Doctor K feeds on slaves and drains them of life," he asked.
"She chooses people that appeal to her. Once she has chosen, she separates that individual away from everyone else and cuts deeply into their wrists. She scoops up the blood into a flask then pours it into a goblet and uses her magic abilities to heal wounds," she said, eyes narrowing suddenly. "But she doesn't heal people. It may seem as though that person has recovered from whatever ails them, but the truth is they are dying."
Tyson's eyes widened. "She has the power to do that?" If that was the case then Daichi was in great trouble.
Salima nodded. "A connection is formed immediately upon making the cut. The victim doesn't know it, but he or she slowly dies while Doctor K grows in strength. The more vile the wound, the more energy Doctor K receives. Blood keeps her strong; without it she dies."
"What if she uses her own?"
"She only resorts to desperate measures if there is no one around... using her own blood will not harm her."
"How does one stop her?"
"Only someone not harmed by Doctor K can kill her."
"Why has no one tried to stop her then?"
A stifled sob escaped her. "They don't know. I was lucky enough to witness her performing her dark ritual while she explained how it worked. The man was then left to bleed to death in this chamber," Salima replied.
A shudder of indescribable emotion swept through Tyson as he tried to picture Doctor K draining a victim. That person could be Daichi next. It was certainly a horrific scene to visualize. "So, where exactly does this path lead us?" He needed to get out of this place so he could help Daichi.
"To the chamber of her victims."
Tyson raised an eyebrow. "Why are we heading there? We should turn back. I need to help my friend."
"I can't let you leave with this knowledge."
A fist connected with his face.
Is Daichi in trouble? Will Tyson escape? You'll find out his fate in the next Tyson chapter (which is quite a fair bit away). Kai is up next! Here's a question for you – who do you will walk the paths of the Voices? Here's a hint – there will be three. Three very different characters. Reviews are much appreciated, as always! I will try to update as quickly as possible.