Well, it's been a while and honestly, I'm exhaustedly finishing this chapter and posting it right away because I feel you all deserve it and I have a lot to say so well, yeah!
First off, this chapter should have been out a lot quicker, but I had three things in my way. The first is school, which I can't help. The second is I got my copy of Pokémon Y over the week and have been playing it when I can. Just beat the third Gym and unlocked Mega Evolution! Not to mention I have a perfect team of six and a boxed Eevee to evolve into my favorite Pokémon after I beat the game!
Third one is of course band, which is keeping me busy and exhausted lately! I came home from a marching contest about two hours ago and am ready to fall over and sleep for the rest of the weekend. Sadly, no finals this time but the future is bright! We go to Area next Saturday which is a big contest because if we advance further, band history for my school which has never gone past area! Plus, if we don't make it to state, I owe a Senior quite a lot of Kit Kat bars. There goes my bank account.
And before I go, could you do me a favor? An Rping buddy who I have become rather close to just kind of disappeared on Tuesday. We said goodnight and see you on Monday as we always do and he never came back. He's struggling a lot with things like depression and stress and I couldn't handle if something happened to him. So if you could just keep him in your thoughts, maybe he really will be safe and come back soon! Miss you JAC (I'd use his real name, but I think he'd be mad if I did. BTW, He's Jac Bandit on Fanfiction if you want to look him up) and see you soon!
Anyways, I'm sure you are sick of my rambling so I'll go now, but please enjoy this new chapter! Love you all and thanks you for letting me continue to write your project!
As the resonating laugh of Xenolith echoed in her ears, Kimiko tried to keep herself from bursting into tears just from shock alone. "That's enough!" Everybody else in the alliance turning to look at the leader, not sure what to think anymore. Was she also under the spell? Were they going to have to fight her too?
The brunette was trying to keep herself from going into hysterics, looking at the orange spellbook under her arm and sniffling. "K-Kenja." God, she still couldn't do it. Turning to look at her friend with her teeth cutting into the thin skin of her lip.
Her hazel eyes fell onto the body of her sickly friend, seeing the burnt and eaten away legs and arms first before looking to his face. Cheeks stained with the dried remains of bloody tears that this shell was able to weap. His eyes, those eyes usually holding honest emotion, completely empty. God, he was probably in so much pain right now. Pain she had to cause him.
She couldn't do it.
'Oh, save your tears, my blossom.' The cold hands returned, running up her neck. 'The game is over.'
"W-What do you mean?" She cried, now finally able to burst into tears. "This isn't a game!"
She couldn't break from Kenja's blank stare, studying close before seeing something that was puzzling. His eyes, as if for a moment, held completely real emotion.
"Kenja?" Kimiko whispered.
"Yukio." Icarus studying the face of the broken teenager, he had seen the flicker as well. "You don't think that this might have just been to stall us, do you?"
"It's possible." He said. "I would not put it past him."
It was then that something shocking happened; Kenja blinked.
"Kesai?" Tsumi had been sitting on the chest of his friend, ready to quickly end him only to find true emotion seeming to fade in. "Is that you?"
The kitsune blinked, everything sinking in as he suddenly broke into tears. Tsumi gasping as he got off his usually unemotional friend. Was he hurting him?
"Kesai?" He whispered, looking over his wounds. "Are you okay?"
"I'm so sorry." He sobbed, hands covering his face. "I'm so sorry!"
Nobody knew where to look as the life began to return to Kenja's azure eyes. He gasped for air, finding his body unstable as he lost his balance.
"Kenja!" Kimiko catching her friend and helping him sit against the cold stone wall of the hallway. He was shaking like mad. "Are you okay?" She whispered, hoping he wasn't going into shock. "Please, say something!"
"It's so cold." The sickly blond shuddered, arms wrapped around his frail body. "So cold."
It was ten minutes of horrified silence before the fire duo was able to speak, the rest of the alliance crowded around them as Flynn looked over Kenja's legs. "Do they hurt?" His worst fear bring nerve damage.
"Yes." Azure eyes staring at the acidic burns on his body. "It's somewhat unbearable."
Flynn nodded, taking a step back only to bump into Setsuna, who seemed to be rather close to the blond. He had an on edge look to him that made Flynn wonder just how much his friend really cared about this Freshman.
And Kesai was no better, body garnished in wounds thanks to the fight. He was still aggressively wiping his eyes, rubbing the skin raw in an attempt to hide that he cried.
"There isn't much I can do." Flynn sighed. "Burns can't be fixed easy, but they should be looked at right away."
"Hold on, we can help."
Everybody looked to Kyo, instantly curious. "How?" Flynn asked with a raised brow.
"I was going to surprise you guys, but Amera and I have three spells now and the third is, well, a healing spell."
"No way!" Shura said.
"Impressive." Icarus nodded.
Amera slightly blushed, looking away. "It isn't too incredible, but it works well."
"Care to give it a try?" Flynn asked, taking a step away from Kenja.
"We'll do it."
The pair looked to one another with a slight nod, not having used this spell more than once before. Amera getting close to Kesai, the kitsune looking up at her with fragility and turmoil. "Hush now, this won't hurt, nor will it take long." She bent down.
Kesai nodded, his ears flat against his skull. "Okay." He shook with nervousness, watching her slowly take his chin so they could be closer.
Kyo opened his book. "Jioreido!"
Amera had a concentrated look in her eyes, slowly exhaling as a pink and glittery mist left her mouth, Kesai's sensitive nose picking up a sweetness he found himself fond of.
"That's what a healing spell looks like?" Micheal asked, cocking his head.
"Guess so." Kimiko replied, watching with her own eyes wide as the mist began to surround the kitsune who continued to breathe it in.
And then, it began to take effect.
The completely burned and pussy legs of Kesai Nensho suddenly seemed to react to the mist, the skin beginning to take proper shape once again as it began to heal before the very eyes of the alliance. The burns and bruises all over his body beginning to follow in the footsteps of his legs as everything began to patch itself up, Kesai's ears pricked with surprise as he studied his healing form.
And soon, it was done, Kesai smirking as he stood up. "Back to full strength!" He laughed, slightly flexing his body. "You'd never even know I was basically at death's door a moment ago."
"It seems that proved effective." Kesai's ears drooping right away when he remembered his partner, looking to Kenja who really did seem to be barely there now that he looked at him. "I'm glad."
"Can you do it again?" The fire demon asked, his joy now gone. "You can help Kenja, right?"
"Kesai, I'll be f-"
"Shut up." Everybody surprised by the growl that left Kesai's throat, turning to Amera and Kyo with a serious look in his eyes. "Can you use the spell again?"
"We have never needed to, but I am sure that we can." Amera insured, a peace giving look in her gentle grey eyes. "Kyo, would you be kind enough to read the spell once more?"
"Y-Yeah." Kyo said, opening their spellbook once more. "Of course."
Amera smiled, bending down beside Kenja with her gentle voice soothing. "You have nothing to worry about, there won't be any pain involved in this."
Once again, the gentle hands of Amera guided the chin of a fire user to her mouth so he could inhale the pink mist that left her throat. Kenja knowing what to do as he began to breathe in the spell with focus tightening his face muscles.
And just like it had with Kesai, the ravaged and burned body of Kenja began to repair itself before the many pairs of eyes watching this unfold before sickly blond biting hard into his lip at the feeling of his skin beginning to reattach itself to the flesh of his legs which began to heal while the burns once there disappeared. He had never felt anything like it before, not sure what he thought of it or even what to say, azure eyes watching this happen in a flurry of confused emotions.
And as soon as it was over, Kenja found himself gasping for a bit of breath. Looking up at the sound of footsteps getting closer to him and figuring he would see Yukio or Flynn going to make sure that he was going to be okay, almost gaping at the sight of none other than Setsuna approaching the blond.
"Is Setsuna feeling alright?" Kimiko whispered to Flynn in a bit of surprise.
"I wish I knew." Flynn sighed. "But he won't tell me anything."
Kenja tried to keep himself from appearing too weak as he looked up at the standing Sophomore, not sure what to say as he studied the ruby red eyes of Setuna Yuuki.
"You're okay, right?" Setsuna offering Kenja his hand so the fire bookreader could get used to his legs once more.
"Of course." Kenja looked away, but took the hand.
The older teen helped the blond up, but took a step forward so he could find Kenja's ear amongst the long blond locks. "Don't lie to me, I know you're not." His voice both concerned and cold, giving the Freshmen goose bumps. "Just, don't over work yourself. Okay?"
He swallowed, but brought himself to nod. "O-Okay. I won't."
All the while, Kyo turned to Kimiko and Kesai, nervously smiling. "I'm sure we can heal you guys too."
"It's fine." The poison demon waving off the boy with a reassuring grin of his own. "It's just a few scratches, right Kimi?"
"Yeah, we'll be fine." Kimiko nodded. "We've had a lot worse before."
Amera looked them both over with a slight frown of her own. "Are you sure you will be fine."
The poison duo nodded, not really thinking anything of the wounds they had. Or rather Kimiko wasn't.
Tsumi had his cloak on once more, so nobody could see the wound left on him from the plant Kesai had created. He could feel hot, stick blood pulsating from his peck, but couldn't bring himself to say anything about it. They didn't have time to waste, which meant that for now, he could live with a little wound dribbling blood.
He couldn't waste another moment in this castle where Xenolith could easily shatter his world with a flick of the wrist.
Kimiko drew in a breath as the group of fourteen began to head through the hallways and continue on through the castle of Xenolith. She wasn't sure how to feel at this point, going through this deep sinking with fear mixed in with it along with the gentle taste of optimism trying to stay on her lips. "Hey, Setsuna?" Her voice a bit meaker now that she was speaking to the one member of the alliance she didn't think of as a close friend since they had barely interacted.
"What?" He mumbled, hands jammed in his pockets as he walked alongside Flynn, eying Kenja from time to time.
"I know that you came here to watch Xenolith's destruction, but well, what did he do to you to get you to hate him so much?" Her voice wavering, not all too sure how his response would come and what emotions to expect with it.
Kenja's curious azure eyes glanced at Setsuna, unfamiliar eyes of men and women he didn't know well making him all the more irritable. "Doesn't matter."
"But what if it does?" Kimiko asked, continuing to walk but slowing her pace so she could get closer to the sophomore. "What if it contains important information that would help us take him down?"
"If it did, do you really think I'd keep it a secret?" Setsuna growled. "If it was crucial, I would have told you."
Kimiko bit into her lip. "I-I guess you're right." Voice growing softer with nervousness.
"Hey! Look at this!"
The poison bookreader turned at the sound of Michael calling out, turning to see the ending of the long hallway and cupping her hands over her mouth. "Is something wrong?"
"Not sure." The lightning bookreader replied, seeming to be studying whatever it was that was beyond the hallway.
By now Kyo was getting a proper look of whatever it was, lifting an eyebrow. "Some kind of game?" He asked, Micheal shrugging and saying something that Kimiko couldn't make out as she ran ahead to catch up with the boys, Tsumi doing the same as they got a glimpse of what lied ahead.
It was a large room, seeming to have three different stone barriers in the center of the room along with many hollowed out circles in the walls. It wasn't very clear on what exactly it was supposed to be, but that might have been the plan when it came to Xenolith's plans.
If anything, it probably didn't make sense because it didn't want to. It wanted to be ambiguous so they would struggle to understand what was going on until it was too late to make a good choice.
'Whatever is the matter blossom? I can feel you hesitating as I speak. Go on, it should be safe.'
Kimiko tried her hardest not to cry out or even give the slightest impression that somebody was speaking to her that nobody else could see, gritting her teeth down. "It's some kind of trap."
"Figures." Kyo sighed. "Guess nothing is going to be normal around here."
By now the others had caught up, Cheshire's silver eyes assessing the situation with a slight growl. "It's those circles."
"The circles?" Kimiko relayed, looking to the snow leopard in surprise.
"Yes, it's more than likely that these circles shoot projectiles at will." Cheshire said simply, thinking nothing of it. "Which would usually mean we should destroy them right away, but since they are in the wall unless we want the castle to collapse with us inside of it, that is not an option."
Tsumi nodded slowly. "If we can't take them out, what should we do?"
"I am not sure, but those walls might come in handy as barriers to protect us."
"Think it could be a trap?" Kyo asked, looking to the poison bookreader who seemed to be completely focused on the room. "Kimiko?"
She snapped out of her trance, turning to her fedora wearing friend and biting into her lip. "I-I wouldn't put it past him. But, something makes me wonder if the room itself is a trick."
"It may be." Icarus suddenly said, both of the teenagers turning to look at the holy demon who seemed to be studying the room as well. "This might be here to deceive us, or maybe as something to buy the Puppet Master some time."
Kincad took a step forward. "Icarus, would you care to test out your theory?"
"Naturally." The angel unfurling his wings, allowing them to spread to their natural length as he slipped through the other teenagers and stood before the door.
"Mister Kincad?" Kimiko's voice wavering. "Are you sure you should let Icarus do this? What if he gets hurt?"
"He will be fine, he's not the type to do something unless he knows he will succeed." Yukio said, but seemed to be holding his golden book just in case of a sudden situation. Even he knew on the inside that nothing could be properly predicted in this place.
Icarus then jumped, his wings filling with air as he entered the room airborne, eyes narrowed with focus as he began to fly through the room. And nothing seemed to change; the lighting was consistent and no loud alarms seemed to be going off when he entered.
The holy demon swallowed as he got closer to the hollowed out circles in the wall, looking at them carefully from a distance before forcing himself to feel enough boldness to get closer. "Over here!" He taunted, almost seeming like the little kid he was for a moment, nervously chuckling as he waved his arms.
But, nothing was happening as he did this.
"Is it nothing but a trick?" Yukio Kincad called.
"I believe so!" Icarus shouted back, flitting closer to the holes as he looked inside, or at least tried too thanks to the darkness cased inside the holes. "I don't see anything!" Sticking his arm in the hole to confirm it and finding that his hand touched nothing at all.
He turned around, a smile on his face. "All clear, we should be fine."
Kincad nodded to Kimiko, who released a sigh of relief. "Then we might as well keep going ahead, since he's not pulling anything."
The others seemed to hesitate for a moment, looking over one another before back to Icarus who seemed to be doing just fine as he continued to fly over the stones for a moment and motion to the others. His soft eyes seeming more than a little trustworthy, which of course made it all the easier to believe that this really was nothing but a trick room.
Tsumi and Kimiko were quick to take their position as leaders and at the front of the group, exchanging glances before nodding to one another and taking the first step into the room. Kimiko could practically hear her heart beating from anticipation and fear for what might come out of this, her foot hitting the stone ground.
Her hazel eyes met Tsumi's purple ones, the child giving her a wide smile before taking another step and then another. "It's safe." He called to the others. "Icarus was right, this was just meant to trip us up."
The others nodded slowly as the alliance began to file into the room, Aislinn beginning to look around with a slight smirk. "Pretty smart, isn't it? To make nothing seem frightening enough to make people worry like we did."
"Smart indeed." Kincad nodded, crossing his arms. "But, we'd best hurry. Wasting time isn't something we should be doing."
"Took the words out of my mouth." Kimiko smiled as she began walking, her eyes then falling onto the three walls and cocking her head. "Hey, what do you think those are for?"
"Another trick?" Flynn said, but wasn't too sure himself while Kimiko nodded with her own uncertainty. It made enough sense and she just wasn't in the mood to question anything at this point as that obviously wouldn't help when anything could happen at any moment.
Little to say, they simply began walking through the room without a thought. But, this being Xenolith's castle, nothing could remain normal for too long and this was no acception.
A sharp laughing started to fill the room, a laugh that both the poison and fire duo along with Flynn all knew too well. This being the laughing of Xenolith.
"N-No." Kimiko whispered, beginning to shake in her shoes. "It's a trap!"
"W-What!?" The others cried, looking to her as they realised they were all in between separate walls with only a companion or two beside them.
"A-A trap!" Kimiko shouted, looking around and trying to figure out what was going to happen before her very eyes as a cracking sound began to resonate through her ears.
"The floor!" Shura shouted.
Before anybody could react or even try to process what was just said, the floor under each of the walls began to fall, causing these different bookreaders and partners to begin tumbling through darkness.
The only problem?
Each wall was there to separate people, meaning that each collapsed floor led to a different part of the castle.
Kimiko and Tsumi along with Aislinn, Cheshire and Flynn in one group.
Kyo and Amera with Micheal and Shura in the second.
And Kincad, Icarus, Kenja, Kesai and Setsuna in the last.
A sharp laughing filled the ears of the alliance, nobody certian if this would be the fall that would bring them to their deaths or if this was just another thing that Xenolith did to keep himself amused.
'And now, my darlings, I would like you to meet my friends and play another game. This one has a simple objective; try to avoid being destroyed by those I have ordered to kill you. But beware, behind one of my doors lies my greatest creation, a beast unlike any other that is just dying to play with some new toys.'