A group of young mages had been left in the wild to survive on their own
âAfter two years, youâd think that you get used to the taste of this food, but life surprises you, âJenna said fondling with her food. She let out a sigh. She proved herself to be one of the few children who became aware of her situation very quickly. She was abducted after an exhausting series of Mana Control exercises. She took a nap, and everything after that was a black hole. It was two years after she was taken from her family to this facility. She wondered whether it was actually two years. She stopped counting after a while. The reason for keeping time vanished along with any hope that they will get out of this facility. She stared at the food wondering where it might came from. Everything in this facility was a mystery. From the food, the table, the guards stationed on every floor, everything in this facility was questionable.
No one knew how big the facility was. The facility seems to be magically sealed. There are those that say that the facility add and remove floors depending on the need of those who runs it. There were several floors that were known to the children. The dining room, the gymnasium, the library, the floor that houses the classrooms, and the dorm. There were no candles, lightbulbs or any light sources in sight on any floors. The floors were lighted by magic.
The dining floor had 5 long tables. Roughly 100 children could sit at one table. The tables were grown out of woods. The tables had roots that spanned all across the room. IT smelled like wet oak trees. The foods were conjured at specifics time during the day. If you were not there at the time the food were conjured, you would have miss a meal. There werenât many rules but the golden rule was no one was allowed on the floor above the dining floor.
The only rule that the children have to abide by is that under any circumstances the floor above the dining room was off-limits. Rumors were floating around that some children wondered upstairs, never to be seen or heard from again. These rumors are shallow; no children have been brave enough to break the rule.
âIs that how long itâs been?â Sharon asked, trying to gauge her sense of time. âI thought it was 3 years.â
Sharon had been taken from her family in her sleep. The experience was surreal to her; she couldnât make peace with the fact that she might never see her parents ever again. She preferred to not think of it as she canât hold back the tears. Sharon was the child of an officer of the Magistraâs Council. She was proud of her father; she aspired to be like him. She was scared that she would not meet his expectation. Sharon was quite knowledgeable about Magic Theory. Magic was interesting but very hard to implement.
âWhatâs the point of keeping time? Weâve been stuck here for quite a while and weâve never been allowed out.â James responded as he fought back the tears.â Who knows how long it has been outside these walls.â
James was a saxeus, race of mages whose affinity with fire and stone was unchallenged. The Saxeus were supposed to be some of the strongest warriors but James was an outlier. James hadnât started his training yet but he was eager to prove himself. Magic Theory was too advanced for James. He preferred physical training over the study of Theory of Magic.
âRemember that Q guy?â Jenna said, trying to hold back the laughter. âWeirdest name ever.â
âWho name their kids Q anyways?â Sharon replied, snickering. âThatâs so embarrassing.â
âHe was scary âJenna said, finally decided to give up on the food.â Had the meanest look on his face.â
âHeâs bad newsâ James said, trying to look brave. âMy mom taught me how to sense blood lust. She said the most important thing for a fighter is to know when a fight is pointless. No point in fighting a losing battle,â James replied, trying to imitate his momâs voice. He smiled at the memory followed by the dread feeling that he was never to see her again. He would never grow tired of her nagging, her constant lectures of what it means to be a warrior.
âThose cracks on his face look cool thoughâ Jenna said while her cheeks turn red. Q was the only guard to have spoken to the children. All of the other guards ignored the children. Q was the only contact that the children had with the ones who kidnapped.
Q wasnât much of a contact. He only bellowed commands at the children. The first few weeks were rough. Q radiated fears. Most of the children were too scared to approach him. Some looked at him as a role model. Q was a member of a species whose affinity with fire and rocks were superior to most. However Q was a hybrid which has led him with cracks over his face. Q rarely smile. He would assure the children that they werenât to be hurt but his assurance was doubtful.
âHe was petrifiedâ Sharon injected. âHeâs using a counter to slow it down.â
âI thought Medusa proved that you canât reverse the effects of petrificationâ Jenna replied.
âHeâs not reversing the effects. Heâs slowing it downâ Sharon explained.â Besides, Medusa prove that if youâre petrified, then there is no known counter. Petrification takes time, so you can stop it or slow it down while youâre being petrified. If the person who petrified you is more powerful than you, then you can only slow it down.â
âHow do you know so much about petrification?â asked Jenna.
âWell-âSharon started. James interrupted her.
âForget about this Q guy and petrification, Iâm more worried about Magic Theory classâ, James interrupted, while avoiding eye contact. It was a swift blow to his pride; it pains him to ask for help.
âWhat is so hard about magic theory? The fundamentals law of magic are laid out for you. Just memorize themâ Jenna said.
âCome on, Iâll help you. Iâm going to the library. Want to come?â Sharon said. Sharon wasnât confident is much but when it comes to magic theory. That was her forte.
âAll right. Letâs goâ James said.
Wake up, Sharon. A distant voice attempted to wake Sharon. It was barely audible. Sharon struggled to bring her focus back. IT was a wonder how could she sleeps in the midst of all this chaos
âSharon, you need to wake up, right nowâ, Jenna said, trying to wake Sharon.
Sharon briefly opened her eyes. She caught a glimpse of the forest but her mind barely registered it. The trees started forming and the forest came alive. It was wild and untamed. The stench of the evergreens reached Sharonâs nose. It was beautiful. Sharon had never been in the wild before her father would not allow it.
âWhat is this smell?â Sharon asked, with disgust.
âThatâs the smell of natureâ, Jenna replied while taking a long sniff.
âIt smells really badâ, Sharon said, gagging.
The forest breathed a new life that was unfamiliar to Sharon. It was unsettling.
âItâs so disgustingâ Sharon said, brushing away dirt from her clothes.
âGet over it. Go over by that tree and wake up Jamesâ, Jenna commanded.
James was sleeping by a nearby tree. It was a wonder that she and James had slept through the transport. Sharon hated inter-dimensional transportation. It somehow left her with a splitting headache. No one knew why she had that reaction to the transports. It gave her an important piece of information. She was not inside the facility.
James kept shuffling himself around trying to register his current location. Sharon noticed how scared he was but she admired his willingness to conquer it.
âWhere are we?â James asked, brushing off dirt off of him.
âI donât -â Sharon replied. A series of distant screams interrupted Sharon. The screams were unrecognizable. It was for the best. It was a relief to forgo adding names and faces to those screams. The feeling of fear was overwhelming.
âWe are going to dieâ James said, while tears flowed from his eyes. He had joked of staring at death in her face and smile. He couldnât fathom the idea. Shame prevented him from looking at the girls. He did not know what to do. He paced back and forth wondering what the next course of action should be.
âWeâll be fineâ Sharon replied while consoling James. Sharon had never see James cry. It was unsettling. James always bragged about his prowess and skill in combat. He was always gloating about his family.
âIâm fine,â James wiped his tears and looked away. âDonât you get it? They left us here to die. We donât have food, shelter. If we donât starve first, weâll get eaten by an animal.â He did not want to be treated like a child.
âArenât you supposed to be a warrior? A warrior wouldnât be scared of a forestâ Jenna said with a smile. âArenât you the one whoâs always boasting about how great of a warrior you are? Well, this is the time to show off. If thereâs no food, then weâll find some.â
âWhat do you know?â James remarked.
âI started my training before coming hereâ Jenna explained. Jenna quite enjoyed being in-charge. It was an unfortunate opportunity to prove herself.
Jennaâs boasting was interrupted by the sound of fallen branches breaking. Sharon wanted to runs away as fast as her legs could carry her. Her breathing was getting heavier and faster. Her heart rate increase exponentially. Sharon tried to move her body but fear had paralyzed her. Her body seems to be in control of itself because Sharon could not control her breathing and calm herself. She was trying to figure out what to do but her mind was drawing blanks.
âWhat do we do?â Sharon asked Jenna. Her voice trembled as she spoke.
Jenna ignored Sharon. She, too, was scared. Sharon watched as 2 red balls emerged from the darkness. The red balls were several meters above the children. An animal shape was forged through the darkness. It revealed an animal whose eyes glowed red. The beast had the figure of a lion but it was not a lion. It was much bigger. The animal walked slowly towards the trio.
Sharon was in awe. The beast was massive. Its red eyes bore through anyone who dare stare at it. Its eyes was unnatural. The majestic beast stood tall and pride. Its golden hair streaking down its back. Its stance radiated strength and fearlessness. It advanced slowly to scan the surrounding environments. The speed of its walk added to the fear. It hadnât taken notice of the three children. The animalâs eyes met with the children. Sharonâs eyes met with that of the beast. When their eyes met, the overwhelming sense of fear came down on Sharon. The danger became real.
âWhat do we do?â whispered Sharon. James was too frighten to pay heed to Sharon. Jenna was preoccupied with the beast. It was now visible that Jenna was just as scared as the rest. She was breathing heavily; her hand was trembling. Sharon did not know what to do. She was scared but she always knew that she could count on Jenna. Jenna was paralyzed by fear too.
Tears flowed from Jennaâs face. It was the first time that Sharon saw Jenna cried. Death seemed closer to Sharon than ever. Flashes and glimpse of memories of her family entered her head. She cried at the thought of never making more of these memories. Sharon tried to say something to Jenna but the words refused to come out. Her hand started to tremble. She wondered whether it was contagious.
Jenna ran as the beast came too close. Sharon and James followed as she did not know what else to do. Sharon remembered the physical training back in the facility. The irony of the thing she dreaded the most was saving her life. She was thankful for having trained her body. The forest ground was unforgiving; it was not stable. Sharon struggled to keep her balance. She was determined to keep her balance because falling meant certain death. Sharon trained her eyes on Jenna but she began to fade into the darkness. She was faster than Sharon and James. The beast howled before engaging in pursuit of the children. It was gaining on the children very quickly. The trees were obstructing its path. Its size shrank as it ran.
Sharon ran as far as she could. Her primary focus was to maintain balance and control her breathing. She struggled to keep Jenna in her line of sight. Jennaâs path was a not a straight line, she often changed direction. Jenna never looked back. Sharon heard James yelled followed by a thud. She wanted to look behind her but she resist the urge to do so. James screamed at the top of his lungs. Sharon stopped running.
Sharon saw the beast, whose size shrank, jaw mounted on Jamesâ left leg. âJenna, the animal got to Jamesâ Sharon screamed. âWe have to help him.â She turned back toward James. Sharon trekked slowly towards James. She was clueless on what to do. She began to question why she was trying to help James. James would soon to die. She couldnât fight the beast. What could she do?
The beast release his jaw from Jamesâs leg. James screamed at the pain. Sharon could see the hole left by the beastâs sharp teeth. Sharon wanted to look at Jamesâs leg but she knew it make her nausea. The beast turned away and faded into the darkness. It went in a hurry. Its eyes changed color.
James screamed in pain, and showed no sign of stopping. âWhat do I do?â Sharon asked.â I donât know what to do. Thereâs so much blood.â She tried to help but she did not know what to do. She was also distracted by Jamesâ screaming. Jenna emerge from the darkness. She was tired. Jamesâs wound shocked her. She boasted of having been tested in combat.
âDo you know what to do?â Sharon asked.
Jenna stood there still. No reaction from her. She was in shock. She gathered herself and brought herself back to focus. âWe need to stop the bleedingâ Jenna proceeded to tear a piece of clothes from Jamesâs pant. Sharon watched in awe as Jenna tried to help James. She had grown to think of Jenna as her best friend. It was closer than that. She aspired to be more like Jenna.
âYou need to shut up, Jamesâ Jenna said. âI canât help you while youâre screaming. You attract too much attention. You need to suck it up.â
âYouâre not the one with a hole in his legâ James said angrily. âYou have no idea how much this hurts.â
âHey, look at me, you are a saxeusâ Jenna pointed out. âYou can handle this.â
James stopped screaming but he could not control the tears. He sobbed and bawled. He was ashamed of it. He couldnât stop crying. He was taught from a very young age that he was meant to be a warrior. He was meant to be Sharonâs protector, instead he became a burden to her.
Jenna tried her best to stop the bleeding. There was little she could do about the wound on Jamesâ leg. She was relieved that she had stopped the bleeding. She looked defeated. She knew that James was okay and he wouldnât be okay. James had fainted due to the pain. Jenna made sure that he was breathing.
âJames was right. Weâre going to dieâ Jenna looked away.
âEverything will be fineâ Sharon said. She did not believed what she was saying.
âDonât you understand? Weâre in the middle of the woods with a bunch of wild animalsâ Jenna exclaimed. âI donât know what to do and neither do you. Do you know any healing spells?â
âYou havenât been paying attention, have you?â Sharon said. âHealing spells are too inefficient. They use too much Manaâ she added.
âIâm never going to see my family againâ Jenna said. âIâm going to die in some woods, mauled by some beast.â She turned to Sharon. âHow honorable.â
âQuit it, Jennaâ James managed to utter. His face has turned pale. He was struggling to hold on to whatever. âListen to me, When the beast comes back, and it will, you need to run. Run as faster than you have before.â
âIâm dead weightâ James continued.â That wasnât a normal beast. Did you see its eyes? It was using Mana Control. Which meansâ
Sharon did not pay attention to James. She couldnât shake the feelings that danger was approaching. She was out of her comfort zone. The helplessness drove her crazy. Her father used to tell her to always pay heed to her surroundings. The idea that she could die at any moment terrified her.
âAre you still with us?â Jenna asked. âSharon.â
Jennaâs words shocked Sharon. It was not visibly clear that Sharon was breathing. âIâm fineâ Sharon said. Her voice was trembling. She tried to hide it but her body betrayed her.
âAre we really going to die here?â Jenna asked. âWhy didnât they poisoned us or kill us in the facility.â
âMaybe we did something,â Jenna added. âNow, weâre just meat for some beast.â
Sharon waked at the sound of fallen branches. It still far away, too far away to pull James and Jenna from their sleep. She tried her hardest to pinpoint its location. The sound seemed to come from various location simultaneously. Sharon wondered about what might have caused the sound. Had the beast came back? Sharon shuddered as a cold wind flew past her. This forest was unforgivingly cold. Her envy of the insects grew more and more. She should not entertain her mind with such silly thoughts. Her job was to decide whether to wake James and Jenna.
âWake up, Jennaâ Jenna whispered. âI think thereâs something in the woods.â Sharon woke Jenna because she had an eerie feeling about these woods. The silence that the forest provided was treacherous. It lured Sharon into a false sense of security to the point where she decided that a quick nap was appropriate. It would only be a few minutes.
âLeave me alone,â Jenna said. Her voice was groggy. She rubbed her eyes in attempt to bring her focus back. She squinted her eyes and yawned. âIS it my turn already?â
âNo, I think I heard something,â Sharon muttered. She was keeping her voice low as to not disturb James.
Jenna was not that thoughtful. âWhere? â
âOver thereâ Sharon pointed out. She was unsure where exactly the noise came from.
âWhy did you wake me up for? Jeez,â Jenna sighed. She could hardly keep her eyes open. âIâll stand guard in while.â
A thundering roar rushed through the forest as Jenna closed her eyes for a nap. A low growling followed the roar. A stampede was approaching. A wave of dust flew past Sharon. With it, it carried the leaves of the fallen trees, and bits and pieces of those trees. The wave was enough to wake Jenna and James.
âWhatâs going on?â Jenna asked. Her voice was drowned out by the howling and growling of the beast. âWhat the..?â
The voice of the beasts grew closer and closer. Sharon and Jenna tried to move James. He was screaming from the pain of his injury. The girls couldnât carry James to a safe distance while outrunning a beast.
âListen to me, you need to leave me hereâ James said. He hid his sadness. He did not want to die but he would only be a burden to his friends. âI know a spell that can camouflage me. Iâll be fine.â
âCamouflage? Isnât that a high-le-?â Sharon asked.
âIâll be fine,â James insisted. âNow go before they come. Donât look back.â
Jenna ran first and Sharon followed. Sharon felt guilty about leaving James behind. Did he really know any camouflage spell? Werenât these spells high-level? It did not matter. She trusted Jamesâ strength. James was the most athletic among all the children. Physical training was a breeze to him. He enjoyed showcasing his prowess.
When youâre in trouble, I want you to recites these words. You mustnât forget these. James remembered those words spoken from his mother. She was quite unique. Rough and yet gentle. She knew what to say in times of need. How it pained him to think that he had disappoint him. Mauled by some beast. Not my son. James smiled as he pondered how his mother would react.
âIâm sorry momâ James uttered under his breath. He hadnât notice the tears streaming down his cheeks. He couldnât breathed. The more he thought about his mother, his brother and indirect family. The more it became harder to breathe.
James caught a glimpse of the beastâ eyes. It glowed a bright green. This animal was responsible for all his suffering. A rush of anger grew within him. It was not fair. Why should he, a saxeus, be killed by a wild animal? He came a line of great warrior. Saxeus warriors had fought Griffin, dragons, and immortals. They have numerous hunters, and high ranked officers. They have fought and died in the War of the Beasts. The idea that he would die by the hand of nameless and faceless captors and beast sicken him.
He stared straight its eyes. The beast seemed to look beyond James. A gesture that suggested that he was beyond James.
ââBe that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend,â I shrieked, upstarting-
âGe thee back into the tempest and the Night Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!â James recited. He never understood the meaning of those words. They were uttered by a troubled man. This manâs issues were not a concern for James. James remembered the severe punishment he endured for failing to remember these words. âTake thy beak from out my heart and take thy form from off my door! Quoth the Raven âNevermoreââ he continued.
Jamesâs eyes glowed as blue as the summer sky. He hadnât noticed yet. He felt a sudden rush of power almost like an adrenaline rush. It was more powerful than adrenaline. He felt in control for the first time in his life. Nothing was out of his reach. James was clueless as to what was happening to him. He stared into the beastâs eyes. He could take it.
His senses were heighten. He knew exactly where the beast was, how fast it was moving. James knew where Jenna and Sharon were. They were a great distance away. He knew what to do. He had to wait until the beast was close enough but not too close to put James in danger.
âWhat I seek is lightningâ James uttered. His mother always boast about the power of words. This is the reason why spells, chanting, and incantations are popular among mages. The right sequence of words can evoke wonderful things. âBeast of thunder.â
âWho are you?â Jenna asked. A boy stood before the girls. His eyes glowed red like that of the beast. âDid you come from the facility?â
âDid you hear the Thunder?â Sharon added in. Sharon did not like him. His eyes were emotionless. No sadness, anger, frustration. Sharon could not make eye contact with eyes. Those eyes send chills down her spine. It reminded her of the beast. What could a child have in common with a beast?
âAre you lost?â Jenna asked, approaching him.
Sharon felt a slight sharp pain in the back of her head. The blunt force gave the illusion that her eyes would fly out of her head. The pain lasted a few seconds. Sharon lost consciousness due to the pain. There was a brief moment where she was paralyzed but still conscious. She tried to look behind her or move her hand but it was a failure.
âWake up, you two.â
The pain resonated through Sharonâs head. It had evolved into a headache. She woke up to find a girl pointing a wand at her face.
âWe donât know where we are,â Jenna said. âWe were being chased by some wild animal.â
âI know about the beastâ The girl replied.â They wonât bother us. Tell me where the boy went.â
âWhat boy?â Sharon asked. It couldnât be James. He was in no position to go anywhere.
âThe boy, you know, the one with the red eyes you could get lost in,â She blushed. âI know for a fact that he pass here a second ago.â
âWe donât know what youâre talking aboutâ Sharon said, looking at Jenna. She began to slowly back away. The girl scared her. She asked question of an imaginary boy with red eyes.
âNot yetâ the girl said, pointing her wand at Sharon. Born at the breath of dragons, blessed by the Golden King. The wand was a gift from the girlâs father. The only gift.
Sharon found herself unable to move. The girl had casted a spell on her. She looked at the wand with awe and curiosity. A wand user was rare in her hometown. She had only seen one wand in her life and that was Merlinâs wand.
âNever seen a wand user before,â The girl added. âMust be from the Floating City.â
âThe Capitalâ Sharon answered.
âNow go to sleepâ The girl commanded. She casted a sleeping spell on Jenna and Sharon.