The four of us stood on the sidewalk in front of the house where I had once lived and we steeled our hearts and nerves for anything that would happen next. Across the street, here to help us should we need it was my mother, Mr. Parker, and Dr. Holloway. I gripped Jax’s hand in mine and took in a deep breath.
“It’s noon,” I breathed. I gripped, Jax’s hand tighter before letting go. “Let’s do this.” The four of us had grim expressions as we walked up the walkway. It was still lined with the yellow flowers my adoptive mother had liked so much. I reached the front door and knocked. It opened by itself, no one was on the other side. “Poppy?” I yelled into the house, “Asher?”
There was no response. I looked over at Juni, she nodded. I breathed out and walked over the threshold into the house, Jax, Juni and Sam right behind me. The instant the four of us were in the entrance way, the entire house dissolved away and we were transported into a different dimension.
“Knew it,” Sam muttered, glancing around the new space. This new realm looked like it was the inside of a warehouse. There was a second story overhang but the inside of the building where we were was empty, dust flaring up from everywhere we stepped. The four of us took another step into the building. Shadows stepped out from under the awnings, forming underneath the light into the forms of men and women There were around fifteen humans and Tama users alike. Those fifteen people were all armed with weapons and their Tama.
“You have arrived,” the voice was rough, and familiar. From the far wall, Nergal stepped out, his arms crossed over his chest, a smirk on his face. He was in what looked like ancient battle armor, thick iron wrought breastplates and shin protectors. By his side he had a spear, the tip looked new and sharp. He uncrossed his arms and took the spear into his hand. “Come to me, son of Janus.”
The four of us took up fighting positions, Sam calling on his water and Juni calling her daggers to her hands. Jax took his black band off of his wrist and shoved it into his pocket. All three of their Tama’s flared from their skin, lighting the area around me in purple, gold and blue hues.
“You think you can fight me? Mere children?” He laughed a boisterous laugh, clutching his side. When he looked at us with those bright red eyes, I felt a shiver spread down my spine. Nergal waved a hand and the armed minions began to surround us further, forming a circle around us.
Juni’s silver eyes flared, his blades sparking gold in the light. Sam used his water to create a sharp blade of ice, he held it expertly. Jax’s violet power flared and then he was in his panther form, rage emitting off of him. I let my power flow to my palms, and got ready just as the three of them had taught me. One of the humans made the first move, she screamed as she ran towards us.
“Well,” Juni muttered, “isn’t that dramatic?” She darted forward, her feet a blur of motion as she collided her daggers against the sword the woman held. Juni parried, and skidded back just as another one of the human males struck with a sword above her head. She dodged, skidding back her fingertips brushing the floor. She rushed in, swept her foot out and knocked the man to his back side. He hit his head on the concrete floor and was knocked unconscious. Juni turned back to the woman, flipping her daggers in her hands.
Sam raised his sword, pointing it at the three Tama users before him. One rushed forward, a blur of darkness. Blocking the punch with his sword, he snapped his fingers, the water from below wrapping the foe in ice. The man struggled to escape. Sam turned as the other two men charged towards him, one transformed into a tiger and the other wielded a dagger made of steel.
“Oh, kitty wants to play,” Sam said cheerily. He ducked the blow from the daggers and swirled his fingers until the entire floor surrounding him was a sheet of ice. He extended the ice so he was on a platform above the two. He threw some of his own ice daggers at the tiger, they went through it’s paws, trapping it to the ground. Sam jumped down from the platform and swept the remaining mans feet from under him. Sam rushed forward, did a series of moves and knowed the man out cold. He glanced over at Juni, she had just knocked out the woman her daggers still in her grasp. Five of the men and women were down. That left the other ten and Nergal.
Jax faced off against three of his own foes. He teleported between them, confusing them. He made them get so close to each other that at when one of the humans struck out to try to hit Jax, he hit one of his fellows. The woman went down, I could not tell if she was breathing any longer. The other man went for Jax, but still in his panther form, he raked his claws along the man, disabling him from the shock. Before long, the third man went down as well. Two more foes went for Sam, their Tama’s strong. One went for Juni, her daggers spinning in her hands. Jax faced off with two more, his panther form growling fiercely. Two of the foes came near me. It was time to use everything I had learned.
The woman that came towards me was in control of a fire Tama. She wielded a sword of flames, embers sparking out from it’s center. I pulled out my own Tama and shielded every part of my body with a barrier. Her sword struck me but bounced off of my barrier. I smirked at her and with my other arm I hit the sword away from me, going near her. She reached out again, her sword coming closer, but this time I ducked and and grabbed her wrist. She struggled against me but I pulled her closer, laying my other hand on her forehead.
“Sleep,” I intoned. She eyes fluttered and she fell down, out cold. I heard the sound of feet rustling against the concrete. Without turning around I swept my leg out, coming in contact with the legs of the person behind me. I just tapped them before they jumped out of the way. I turned to face them, it was a man in all black. He had no weapons. That meant I was going to have to do hand to hand combat.
The man spread his legs slightly and raised his fists, I did the same. He dashed towards me, I held my ground and dodged a punch with my arm. He used his other hand to try to punch me again and threw out a leg at the same time. I jumped away, sliding to a stop but losing my balance and falling to my knee. I blew my hair out of my eyes and charged him. I sung my leg low intending to kick his feet from beneath him, however, he jumped and aimed a kick for me instead. Off balance, I took the hit to my face. It smacked me across the room. Rising to my feet, I tasted blood. The inside of my cheek was split open.
He rushed towards me, I waited until he was near me before I kicked out my leg, aiming for his head. He lifted his arm and blocked. That was when I realized what his Tama was. He had the ability to strengthen his skin to the point it was as hard as titanium. Using id other hand, he pushed out his hand, hitting me just beneath the solar plexus. I was able to place my barrier there, deflecting most of the force, but it still threw me back.
He snickered, a wide smile on his face. “You haven’t even seen my true Tama.” It flared from his, a metallic sheen of power. It smelled like rust. I watched as he centered all of his power into his palm and hundreds of tiny needles formed in his palm. I focused my power into the soles of my feets to help me move faster. The man began to throw the needled into the air at me. I dodged as much as I could, using my Tama.
“You think you’re movements make you harder to hit?” He chuckled, his face becoming a mask of laughter. He began to fire all of his needles at me. One after another, again and again. I ran closer to him through that barrage of his needle bullets. When I got close enough, I pushed my Tama into my hand and put it on his arm, it snapped the bone in half. He jumped away, pain etched into his features. “Impossible,” he breathed, “How did you manage to evade all of my needles?”
“I didn’t dodge them.” I looked down at my arms, my barriers had deflected most of them, but there were a few that had nicked me, ripping my shirt and pants. Blood was welling from several of the cuts along my arms. They stung like papercuts.
He stood across from me, holding his broken arm to him. His Tama wouldn’t help him now. I charged forward, placing my own Tama into the base of my palms. He tried to dodge, but when I got close to him, he slipped and I took that chance to place my hand on his uncovered skin. In a matter of seconds, my Tama had put him to sleep and he was falling to the floor in a heap. I breathed out, the needles cuts still stinging.
“You’ve gotten stronger,” I turned to look at the God behind me. No longer leaning against the wall, Nergal stood in front of me, his spear lightly in his hands. I spit out the blood that welled up in my mouth and glared at him. He grinned, and lifted the spear from the ground. I rushed towards him, my Tama flaring at the ready. I reached out for him but he blocked me with his spear. He went to stab me and I put out a hand, my barrier stopping it before it hit me. With my other hand I grasped the shaft of the spear, calling upon my erosion. The spear fell apart in his hands. He looked at his empty hand and tsked.
His Tama flared around him, bright red and angry. When I reached out to try to grab him, he swung out, hitting my in the side, throwing me to the ground several feet away. I gasped for breath, the air having been knocked out of me. I grabbed my side, Nergal’s Tama had burned through my clothes and I could feel my skin beginning to burn from his touch. I had not been fast enough in moving my barrier to that part of my body. My cuts all stung and the blood was still seeping in my mouth. Nergal took a step towards me, the look of victory all I could see. I struggled to get up but the pain left my muscles unresponsive.
The silver sunshine that was Juni, sparked and took over the area right in front of me. She stepped in between me and Nergal. Bright blue wings flowed from her back, I had not noticed when her powers had evolved. She stretched and those butterfly like wings spread out. Her wings were large, the brightest color of cerulean blue, all the outside edges the purest of gold. She looked behind her, her green hair flipping, her eyes that bright silver and she smiled at me, her daggers held tightly in her grasp.
“I’m so glad I met you.” She whispered to me. I was still struggling from where Nergal had thrown me to the ground. Every part of my body hurt. I could still taste the blood in my mouth. What was she spouting? This was not the end. Then I realized, she meant to sacrifice herself for me. To save me from Nergal.
“Juni, don’t do it.” I begged, gasping for breath as I struggled to sit upright. “Don’t go.”
“I’m doing this for you,” Juni whispered. She glanced at me, love on her face. Then sadness was all that was left. “For those I could not save before.” Nergal moved a step forward, every intent plain on his scarred face. Juni’s powers sparked and roared to life, those wings blocking everything from my view.
“Come back.” I pleaded, tears in my eyes, “we can do it together.” She was still close enough to me that I reached out for her hand and grasped tightly. She smiled at me and her wings beat once. It seemed she would not listen to me. Here eyes were the saddest I had ever seen.
“I have seen this, Echo.” She whispered. “I’ve seen it in my dreams.” No, I screamed in my head. At one point she had had a vision.
“Then I won’t let it end how you saw it.” I pledged, trying to pull myself up. If I didn’t do anything now, then this was all for naught.
Juni gave me a sad smile, telling me what I had most feared. “One of us will die here.”
(Only 2 chapters left of this novel and then I will be taking a break from writing for a while.)