The wind had ceased blowing as the children traversed the shadowy meadow, inching ever closer to the ominous mansion on a hill. But despite the absence of gales, coldness draped itself over the eight as the distance between the mansion and them dwindled. Each had their own levels of apprehension and courage, but most of their anxiety hinged on the one that was leading them. The newcomer to their group, the mysterious white-haired girl, could she really be trusted?
Some thought so and some didn't…
"Oh, thank you, Cole."
Kai glanced over at Sasha as Cole helped her into his black jacket. The girl's face was fraught with worry. No doubt her mind was engulfed with Roxanne's welfare as she stared straight ahead. However, the boy beside her held a different expression, one of doubt and distrust. He was frowning at their guide's back as if expecting her to betray them at any moment, despite her earlier words.
He knew they had a right to be suspicious. After all, the girl just materialized out of thin air it seemed. But in spite of her abrupt appearance, when Kai saw her…the only thing he had doubted was whether or not she was real. Her physical features were just so…otherworldly. She came to them like an onyx-garbed angel and informed them of the situation and what was happening. If she hadn't, most likely they'd all be standing around further back still twiddling their thumbs on what to do.
That was enough for him. She got them to move. Action. Her enlightening words had swayed him as did his instincts told him to trust her.
But like any society, trust can only be found from knowing a person. So perhaps if they asked her some questions, then maybe the others would accept her like he had.
"Excuse me…but what exactly is…a "schism"?" Zane suddenly inquired.
The girl's pace did not falter nor did she look to Zane when she responded.
"A schism is a tear in the plane of existence. It only occurs when supernatural forces are at their most potent."
"Which is Halloween night?" Put forth Ayane and the leading girl hummed her affirmation.
"Surely all of you have heard some form of superstition behind the origins of All Hallows Eve?"
"Well, yeah…" Jay shrugged. "Corpses rising from the dead to roam the streets at night, ghosts fluttering about looking for unsuspecting victims to possess, but that's all urban legend and folklore. That is…" he glanced around nervously, "until this freakish night happened…"
"Hey, we haven't seen any ghosts or anything yet, so let's not fear something that may not exist," Cole said then turned his narrowed green eyes to the girl's back. "And what do you believe? How do you know all this?"
The crunching of grass underfoot was all that was heard for a spell before the girl answered.
"I'm a firm advocate of the paranormal and have read many non-fiction books pertaining to the subject. As you can easily see… I'm different."
"There's nothing wrong with being different," Kai placated reflexively, the girl's tone didn't sound sad but it troubled him how…emotionless it was. "It's what gives us individuality. The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone was the same and believed in the same things."
"…Yes, your words have merit."
"Wait…so you mean you're not in costume?!" Jay suddenly screeched. "You actually dress like a necromancer on a regular basis?!"
Kai was just about to turn around and throw a welding tool at his friend when Ayane's peacekeeping voice stunted his temper.
"What I think Jay is trying to ask is, were you not part of the Trick-or-Treating event? Perhaps in another group?"
"No, I left my home when my amulet prompted me to."
"Your necklace talks to you?!" Jay again…
"Though my amulet is a treasured keepsake of mine, it doesn't have a voice."
"But you just said—"
Kai decided to intervene and get the conversation back on common ground before Jay fired off at the mouth again and said something demeaning or offensive.
"So, you live in Twilight then, right?"
Now they were getting somewhere in giving their guide an identity.
"So…what's your name?"
A momentary pause. The mansion was getting closer, larger and the climate ever so colder. The children were almost to their destination.
Kai tested the name on his tongue silently. He didn't know why he'd thought she'd have a more complex name. Ebony… The name was very common and from gazing at her, even from the back, she did have a rather dark allure. How befitting…
She intrigued him.
"Okay, cool. My name is—"
Ebony halted her steps and turned swiftly around to face him and Kai's words died on his lips at seeing that piercing russet garnet gem again, always challenging him. He and the others stopped too.
"There is no need for you to tell me your names. I am not here to befriend any of you…" Her eyes, for some reason, moved to Ayane before shifting back to Kai. "…just save the girl."
Hard, detached, and completely apathetic. Kai's mouth fell open, left temporarily dumbstruck at Ebony's blunt integrity, but quickly snapped it shut and bared his teeth angrily at the girl, his temper rekindled. His first impulse was to lay into her, so that's what he did.
"Hey! I was only being nice by helping you familiarize yourself with the group, so that you wouldn't feel like an outcast!" He roared. "I was doing you a favor!"
The dark gem narrowed and hardened. "Then it's your own fault for assuming that I wanted to familiarize myself with your group. If we survive this night, it's obvious we'll never see each other again. So what's the point of attachment and camaraderie? Truth be told, all of you are hindrances. The only one among you that I may need assistance from is that one over there."
Ebony had pointed directly at Ayane.
"Me?!" The blonde squeaked, her two-toned irises widening tremendously. "Why me?!"
But Ebony didn't answer, her gaze focused beyond the group. Pensive and calculating. The little hairs on the back of Kai's neck pricked up and he and the others slowly peered over their shoulders to the dark horizon from whence they came.
In the distance…the children heard guttural growls and the rattling of chains and the eerie terrain of shadowed grass and sallow fireflies was dissipating, being swallowed up by a dense black miasma. The grass crunched loudly and sharp claws dug deep into dirt and gravel with each terrifying step towards the group. Eight hearts thumped rapidly in fear as eight glowing poison-green eyes narrowed at them from within the abyss. All it took was the sight of bloodied yellow fangs from four beastly heads to emerge, for Ebony to face forward again.
"Run! Run now!" She screamed and took off for the mansion in a mad sprint with the others mere footfalls behind her. The manic roar of indignation from the beast or beasts fueled their horror as well as their speed and soon they found themselves at the start of the incline of the hill.
"Keep going!" Kai rallied, without missing a step and the others began their frantic ascent as well.
Halfway up the grassy mound, Ebony's bare feet slipped on a moist patch. She gave a startled gasp as she started to fall forward; her eyes wide in disbelief as the ground came hurtling towards her. But her face never met the still grass, for she was suddenly jerked upright and pulled by her hand to continue the trek upward.
The boy in blacksmith garb looked behind him at the wide-eyed girl, a cocky smirk playing on his lips despite the cold sweat gathered on his face.
"Just a hindrance, huh?!" He gasped hastily, his hand firmly grasping hers as he pulled her along. "I think I'm another person that you need! The name's Kai! Got it memorized!?" (A/N: Kai, Axel…had to do it!)
Ebony said nothing, only proceeded to stare unblinkingly at the boy who most likely just saved her life.
"Geez! You two can flirt terribly later! In case you haven't noticed, there's a giant hellhound barreling after us!" Jay hollered.
Finally making it to the flight of stone steps leading up to the spacious veranda, double wooden doors flung open instantaneously as if to offer safe haven to the fleeing children, and not one of them stopped to ponder the strange occurrence. Gasping and wheezing, all eight of them made it safely inside and just as the beast lunged, the doors slammed shut, barricading the monster out.
They backed away from the doors as the abomination raged on the other side. It scraped its claws and slammed its body mercilessly against the wooden accesses, and although the frames cried and creaked in protest, they miraculously didn't break. After several long moments of this constant thrashing and howling, and unadulterated fear gripping the hearts and minds of the huddled and frightened boys and girls… it suddenly stopped and the group was met with a chilly silence.
Not daring to breathe a sigh of relief just yet, Cole bravely detangled himself from Sasha and crept towards the silent doors.
"Cole, what are you doing?!" Jay hissed and stifled a wince as his hand was in the death-grip of the samurai who clung to his side.
Cole turned his head with warning eyes to the cluster of bodies and placed a finger to his lips to gesture for them to stay quiet. He gave an assuring nod to Sasha and she swallowed nervously before nodding back.
He then reached the doors and placed his ear against it.
Ayane buried her face in Zane's chest to muffle her whimpers and the pale boy responded by bringing her closer while keeping cautious eyes on the doors and Cole.
Ebony stared down at the tan hand that still entrapped hers in bewilderment. Her mind failing to register the likelihood of her death if it weren't for said hand.
Cole pulled back from the doors, releasing an audible breath.
He turned back to face the others and spread his arms. "It's gone."
The children breathed a collected sigh of relief.
Kai loosened his hold on Ebony's hand and the girl quickly took the opportunity to slip it out of his grasp.
She turned her back to the group.
"What…was that monstrosity?" Zane whispered, standing up and releasing Ayane. Green and blue optics peered at Zane more curiously now and she wrung her hands together in uncertainty, but decided to remain quiet…and close to him.
The seven turned to the eighth.
"We aren't supposed to be here, remember? And the evil spirit released it to come terminate us, not wanting us to interfere with its plans."
"So we're a threat!" Kai exclaimed and rammed his fist into his palm excitedly. He smirked. "That means we have a chance!"
"A threat!" Jay cried incredulously, eyeing Kai like he lost his mind. "We're not a threat
, Kai! We're Kibbles n' Bits! We're walkin', talkin' tenderloin to that thing! Or to be more accurate, runnin' n screamin'
"B-But the good spirit helped us just now!" Ayane reasoned boldly and all eyes centered on her, including Ebony's. "When the doors flew open and closed on their own, I…" She closed her eyes tight for a moment to try to recall the feeling that had washed over her. It had felt kind, but also desperate for aid. "I'm sure we're not alone here. With the good spirit's help, we can
rescue Roxanne. I'm sure of it!" She finished with a firm nod.
"As I suspected… You can also sense spirits," Ebony deduced as she stared the blonde down, and Ayane blushed and looked to the floor, unable to meet such a penetrating gaze.
"I g-guess so…" She admitted quietly with a small stutter.
A fog of contemplative silence fell over the children until it was broken by one.
"This place…" Sasha breathed, finally taking the time to survey her surroundings. "I didn't expect it to be so beautiful…in its own way…"
Cole rubbed the back of his neck and scanned the perimeter also, the others following suit.
"Yeah, now that you mentioned it… It doesn't look too bad on the inside."
Gothic and grand were just a few words to describe the mansion's interior. Caked in a surprisingly thin film of dust, the gothic architecture was still a sight to behold. The elaborate and spacious foyer had an intimidating structure, with its dark marble floors and ostentatious staircase leading to a second level, splitting two ways at a fork. Divans and other pieces of furniture littered the room here and there, some were even toppled over with cobwebs weaved between the legs. A decaying fireplace lounged in a secluded space and within, a mound of salt and pepper ash told the tale of once being used frequently long ago.
The youngsters noticed that upon entering the front doors that the foyer led to two hallways, one to the left, and the other to the right. The pathways were much too dark to navigate safely and even more ominous were that their archways were carved into menacing gargoyles, their ferocious visages just daring the children to venture in.
Sasha tilted her head skyward and noted that the core of the ceiling was crafted into scenic painted glass. The fluorescent colors fused together to form a depiction of a praying angel. Only…the picture left her very inquisitorial for half of the angel's figure was blonde and heavenly, but the other half was very much demonic and cruel. Could there be an underlining meaning…?
Jay strayed over to the fireplace and ran a finger across the mantle mount with a circumspective frown.
"Okay, I don't know what you guys are looking at, but this place is just creepy. And whoever runs the joint should really fire the undead housekeep because they are surely
not earning their keep."
Everyone knew that the boy's comment was meant to be a joke and it did warrant a few smiles despite the harrowing situation and the most appreciative grin came from behind a grotesque mask, and milk chocolate depths softened in further appeal for the youth.
Jay cocked a chestnut eyebrow as he reached out further to the wall and slid his hand across the dust-covered surface.
"Umm…Sasha? What's Roxanne's last name again?"
"Varatojo," she answered, looking over at him. "Why…?"
"Well…you all might want to come over and take a look at this…" he said cryptically.
When the other children joined Jay, their eyes widened at what they saw. An enlarged painting of a family hung precariously over the fireplace, though the top portion where the faces of the man and woman were too badly damaged to discern, they could easily make out the two children below. Two girls, obviously sisters…and one looked disturbingly similar to Roxanne, all the way down to the snarky grin that usually played upon the girl's lips. And below the painting, engraved on a plaque was "The Varatojo Family".
"So…could this place be an ancestral home?" Mused Ayane and Sasha nodded absently, still somewhat awestruck.
"Looks that way. Rox is actually part of a very noble lineage. She comes from a family of successful politicians and entrepreneurs, all of which originated in Poseidonia even as far back as the old days when it was nothing more than a fishermen's village. The Varatojo's always held power."
"What about now?" Zane asked.
"Yep, Rox's mother is the Attorney General and her father is a member of the parliament that advises the President of the South."
Kai whistled. "Didn't know we were hangin' around such a big shot. I'm surprised she didn't gloat more about her family's power."
Sasha shook her head ruefully. "Despite how aggravating Rox can be, she isn't one of those people who flaunt their names around to impress others. She's always just herself." A sudden smile uplifted at the corners of the red-head's mouth. "And she always told me that if people couldn't accept her for her, then that's their problem. It's one of the things I admire about her and one of the reasons why we're friends."
Cole placed a reassuring hand on Sasha's shoulder and gave her a soothing smile. "We'll save her," he said simply and the others resolutely agreed.
"So Ebony, where do you think we should start the search?" Kai asked, still looking at the portrait. When he received no reply, he turned around.
The girl in question was in the center of the foyer, under the dome of painted glass. Her head was bowed, her body, still. The area around her was blanketed in a reddish tint due to the crimson moon's rays shining through the overhead dome.
Russet garnet scruntinized the floor with certainty.
"Yes… Yes, this will help, but I will need a medium…" she muttered to herself. Unconsciously, her hand reached up and fingered the smooth surface of her amulet.
"Hey, what's going on?" Cole questioned suspiciously, a frown marring his features as he eyed the long white-haired girl.
He and the rest trotted back towards Ebony when she still refused to answer. They could see she was engrossed with the ground, completely fixated. Kai, sensing the growing apprehension from the others tried again and took a step closer to Ebony.
"Watch where you step!" The girl suddenly cautioned, snapping her head up to glare at the boy. Kai immediately put his foot down and balanced himself. "Everyone, look at the ground around me. Do you see the runes and glyphs? This is an octagram and it looks to be an elemental one…"
"What's an octagram?" Ayane asked perplexed, searching the floor and Zane came to stand beside her, his eyes scouring the intricate panels of glyphs and embroidered runes etched into the dusty marble tiles.
"Well traditionally, the octagram was created for the use of geometry and represented an eight-sided star polygon. However over the centuries, it has been used in a variety of ways and studies. But basically, it's just any self-intersecting octagon…much like this one."
"Yes, and one of the various studies it was used for was sorcery, the Dark Arts if you will…" Ebony deduced then mimicked Zane, "…much like this one."
Kai scratched his head, clueless. "Okay, and is this…octagram supposed to help us in some way?"
"Yeah, like give us super cool magical powers!?" Jay leaned forward ecstatically, his radiant blue eyes shining.
Cole crossed his arms and frowned. "Get real, Jay. Witches and black magic is just a bunch of stupid fairy tales. There's no such thing."
Jay countered with his own frown and logic. "Uh yeah, in case you haven't noticed Cole, we are in a fairy tale! A very eeeevil
fairy tale, with giant eight-eyed beasts and creepy old mansions with ghosts! Isn't this very occurrence concrete proof that the supernatural can
Cole kept his defensive posture, though he had to admit Jay had a point. After everything they've seen and experienced thus far, he knew he wasn't dreaming. His heart had pounded in terror at being chased by the roaring beast in the fog. He had felt Sasha's hand in his as he desperately pulled her along.This
was no fairy tale.
Cole chose to remain silent and Ebony took his reservation as her cue to continue.
"That was what I was trying to ascertain earlier. I am familiar with the incantation needed to activate the octagram, but a powerful medium catalyst must be established for the spell to occur successfully."
Not knowing what to say to that, a heavy silence settled over the children. That is, until Ayane began mutely walking towards Ebony, her steps tentative as she evaded the few panels and rune inscriptions on her way. Ebony's lips pursed in discontent as the girl neared her, but didn't comment on the fact. Ayane stopped when she was within an arm's length of her and bit her lower lip out of nervousness before speaking.
"What about your mother?" Ayane asked quietly, her voice barely above a whisper. "She wants to help, doesn't she? So why won't you let her?"
Ebony recoiled back as if slapped, her hand grasping her amulet protectively in a flash as she glared into kind sky blue and mint green.
"I-I-I…It's…" Ebony gritted her teeth, quickly becoming flustered at the situation. She lost her usual detachment at the mere mention of her mother. She had known Ayane possessed similar abilities to her own, but she didn't count on the possibility that her powers were developed enough to sense the origins of her precious amulet.
"Be…Because…it's too dangerous," she finally got out albeit her voice was strained. She looked fearfully at Ayane, her one visible eye wide and unsure. "What if something happened…?"
Ayane held her gaze for a spell before slowly lowering it to her side where her hands gingerly removed her mother's golden flute from its protective leather strap. She presented it to Ebony with tender hands, its lustrous hue glowing faintly under the red moon's glare.
"My mother…also wants to help, but she can't do it alone. Both of our mothers want to ensure our survival, Ebony. They protect us…even after they've passed on."
Ebony stared at the pulsing golden flute in amazement. So that's what she'd been sensing around Ayane's form, the loving spectral of her mother! She met Ayane's empathetic gaze again. This girl knew of her pain. She was a kindred spirit, a reflection of her soul. Her sights then traveled upward to the painted glass depiction of the praying angel. Half and half. A light side and a dark side. Similar yet different. One could not survive without the other.
With a resigned sigh, Ebony released her amulet and it responded to the unrestraint immediately. All the children watched in wonder as the two keepsakes detached themselves from their inheritors and levitated between them. At once, they erupted with color and power, the lithe instrument a stunning white gold and the necklace an enchanting crimson with black wisps.
Ayane felt her eyes glisten in unshed tears at seeing her mother's strength and feeling her love, but did not let them fall. Now was not the time for crying. Who knew how much time they had left before the lunar eclipse ended.
They had to hurry and find Roxanne…
With a confident smile, her gaze found and locked with the girl's in front of her once more.
"Let's do it, Ebony."
And Ebony dipped her head once before speaking up and calling out to the others.
"Everyone, listen to me! I will now begin the incantation! Close your eyes and open your minds and your hearts! Let your soul guide your body to its rightful destination and most of all…" The girl let one of the many barriers around her heart fall. "…trust me! I will not betray you!"
One by one, upon hearing the sincerity of Ebony's voice, the children let their faces alight into smiles. A bond of unbreakable friendship had unexpectedly been forged between the eight. They could feel it in the tempo of their hearts.
Zane was the last to close his eyes, wanting to absorb the aesthetically pleasing sight of Ayane amongst the subtle tint of red. Before all this, when he first sat down beside her on the bus, he had sensed something special about her. She was attuned with not only Mother Nature but spirituality as well. Being a loyal advocate of science, he had a hard time grasping the concept of otherworldly events, letting his sixth sense and Emotional Framework guide him through illogical scenarios.
But since meeting her, he had begun to feel strange. Yes, he wanted to protect her. He wanted to protect all of his newfound friends. However…his EF was sending his CPU abnormal feedback in regards to Ayane. At first he couldn't place the blissful warmth that careened through his system, only able to construe that it felt unmistakably good. But as the night trudged on, leading to this point in time, he finally figured it out.
He was attracted to the human girl…emotionally and physically.
Disturbing, right? Zane thought so. After all, what business did an android have being attracted to a human girl? It was preposterous! Regardless of his mind and body being diminished and altered, he was still a cyber-organic organism. There was no denying it. No escaping it.I must quell my emotions and only focus on protecting her and the others…
He thought as he too closed his eyes and heeded Ebony's advice just as she began her chant, her hands clasped in prayer.
"I am the Air that blows in the trees,
I am the Aqua that swirls in the sea,
With quivering spirits, the samurai and the water nymph started to walk as the aforementioned elements' respected glyph panels glowed. Sasha reached hers first and when her feet came in contact with the radiant aquamarine panel, her spirit soared. She felt submerged in purifying water, feeling blissfully at home while the gushing element literally swam through her. The path of rune inscriptions burst into color as well, traveling from the panel to the center where the two mother spirits channeled their power. As did Nobou's when he stood upon the bright royal purple panel, his heart and mind at ease once feeling a rush of wind course through his soul.
I am the Inferno that burns most bright,
I am the Terra, one too strong to fight,
Kai and Cole, both representing the strength of resolve and bravery, let their bodies move on their own. Naturally smirking in readiness, the son of a blacksmith felt the fire in his veins once the red-hot panel was beneath his feet. And Cole, always having a robust figure, felt solid as rock, indestructible, as he stood proudly on the shining bronze panel. The need to protect…stronger than ever.
I am the Frost that freezes your soul,
I am the Lightning that lacks control,
It was a calling like no other, an indescribable push and pull in the right direction. Zane felt his body move on its own volition, as did Jay with a jolt. Everlasting white seared his feet as the android found his destination. Calm, penetrating coldness… He always knew he had a strong kinship with the element of ice. Jay couldn't help but chuckle as deep blue raw power coiled and glinted around his body, the tickling sensation pleasing him immensely once he found his place on the sapphire panel. He was energy…in body, mind, heart, and spirit.
I am the Light that feeds the flowers in the meadow,
I am the Darkness that tempts wayward bedfellows,
Lastly, the two girls, the two kindred spirits, began their own trek. They both already knew where their souls were guiding them, for it was predestined for a child of light and a child of dark to assume their roles as Spirit Trackers. Ayane released a joyful sigh at feeling the warmth through her shoes and spread throughout her entire body immediately after stepping foot on the bright yellowish-gold panel. She was one with the sun and would forever remain so.This is who I am… This is who I was meant to be… A creature of shadow and night… Mother…are you proud of me?
Ebony relished the touch of coolness on the soles of her bare feet, the silvery panel below her gleaming brilliantly. Sensing that everyone was in place, she spread her arms wide and finished the incantation with valor.
Elements gather in this sacred place,
Around the 9th, which has no face,
Bring me your honor,
Bring me your grace,
Come now, I call you,
Come now in haste.
And as it is spoke, so shall it be!"
Simultaneously, all eyes snapped open to reveal glowing depths, each child's irises emitting their element's corresponding color. Supreme power surged and planted itself in the youngsters' bodies and what a glorious feeling it was! But just then…like a calamity from the sky…the painted glass dome of the praying angel shattered in crystal shards.
The beast…the one who was sent to erase the children…was back…smothering all vibrant color with its black miasma…
The force of the nightmarish creature's thunderous landing sent waves of dust and the children flying back in random directions. The four-headed hellhound roared furiously, its silver chains swinging every which way as the children quickly scrambled back up to their feet.
Ebony had no idea if the ritual had been completed or not, but she did know one thing…"MOTHER!"
She and Ayane both shouted in unison, their precious keepsakes trapped beneath the claws of their relentless pursuer.
"Arrghhh! That's it!" Kai yelled, standing firm and facing the beast. He turned his head fiercely to Cole. "We kill this thing, here and now!"
"What!?" Cole's green eyes narrowed disbelievingly. Sasha was beside him, still winded and disoriented as were Kai and Ebony to his right, but the others were scattered somewhere behind the flailing creature. "Kai, trying to fight now would be suicide! We don't even know how to activate our powers or even if we have any!"
"Then what do you suggest we do then!?"
Cole eyed the monster as it thrashed its heads around wildly. It seemed like it was trying to look behind it, but it seemed to be at war with itself. Too many heads, too many brains with different ideas…and only one body, but if it decided to focus on them…
The boy's green eyes widened. He had an idea…
"Takin' it on here will only lead to our disadvantage! We have limited mobility so we have to even the odds! If we split up, we can possibly trap it in one of the corridors! Then, we can finish it off!" Cole braced himself for what he had to say next. "We disperse in pairs, whoever it decides to follow…has to be the decoy!"
Kai didn't like the plan, not one bit, but before he could open his mouth to argue, a shout of his name made his blood run cold.
Kai immediately turned to the direction of his sibling's terrified voice. It came from behind the monstrosity to the right.
"NYA!" He screamed back and tried to see behind the beast but its constant whipping about was causing dust to fog the air and hinder his sight.
He thought quickly. No choice! Protecting my little sister comes first! With it facing our direction, it's a good chance it'll follow either me and Ebony or Cole and Sasha! Dammit!
"Nya, run!" He shouted. "We'll catch up later, I promise! Jay! If you're with her, take her and get out of here!"
On the other side, behind the swinging tail and chains, Jay barely registered the "her"
and the "Nya"
and the light distinctly feminine voice shouting Kai's namebefore grabbing the samurai's hand and fleeing down the darkened corridor behind them.No time to think, Jay! Just run!
"Zane! You and Ayane need to go!" yelled Cole, having caught a glimpse of the two near the opposite passageway of Jay and Nya.
Zane didn't need to be told twice. Seeing no alternative but to scoop the shell-shocked Ayane up in his arms, he turned and fled as well.
The Eraser's eight ears stood erect and flicked humorlessly, and the two outer head turned as one in the direction of the corridors. It must've sensed that four of its quarries were no longer in the room with it.
It growled in distaste.
"My—My amulet… Mother…" Ebony wept and attempted to approach the glaring beast but Kai quickly pulled her to him.
He framed his hands around her face and stared into her glassy dark gem. "We're going to get it back!" He declared fearlessly. "But first we have to leave, okay?!"
The wide eye simply blinked and the boy peered over Ebony's head to meet Cole's hard and ready emerald gaze.
"Later!" They both said. It was an agreement to meet up elsewhere, hopefully in a safe haven with the others…and Roxanne. Sasha reached for Cole's hand first and they nodded to each other before dashing up the staircase opposite of Kai and Ebony.
And Kai did the same with his partner, gripping her hand tight enough to ensure her of his resolve to not only protect her but fulfill his avowal as well.
The Eraser, sensing the growing distance between it and its prey, finally decided to act…and did the unthinkable. With a decisive roar, the four heads split from the main body, landing in a gruesome wet heap on the inactive octagram. But the horrid decapitations didn't last for long, for the sickly black miasma converged around the severed heads and when the large prone body dissipated into nothingness, four new smaller but agile bodies were reborn from the abyss and carried their grotesque mantles.
Tongues lolling out hungrily from their powerful jaws, the four Erasers leapt into action, each chasing after a pair, a boy and a girl, flesh that promised to be most sweet and succulent…