September 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm #97516Veraza Winterknight@kari-karast
Yes, I understand, I’d probably do the same, actually. I’m just saying that maybe you could add in some subtle hints to her changing emotions. Like maybe she tenses or her facial expression hardens or she clenches her fists at her sides or something. I know it’s harder since it’s from Nicholas’ POV instead of Chloe’s, but there’s still ways.
"You can dance with my henchman."September 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm #97519
@kari-karast: Okay! I will be working on adding more subtle hints and so forth to the characters.
And, thanks for the critique. Again.
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."September 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm #97520Veraza Winterknight@kari-karast
@andrew Sounds good!
No problem! I can’t wait to see what happens next!
"You can dance with my henchman."December 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm #102931
Okay, finally! Sorry if I kept you waiting for a while, but with school and all, I’ve been a little busy. But anyway, Chapter 8 is out!
Also, side note: I know somewhere on this thread where I had talked about the theme being on the lines of “don’t let yourself get carried away from reality/stand firm in reality” something like that, but I believe I may have to change the theme. As I was writing this story, for some reason, that theme just didn’t seem to fit for what I had in mind. Anyway, just telling you so you knew.
The Nameless Daughters strode into the arena. The wind blew, casting sand into the air. From atop the stone walls about the arena, crowds chatted. Chloe shuddered and bit her lip, crossing her arms.
She glanced over her shoulder at the several figures. The majority of her opponents she deemed strangers, but a few struck her as familiar. She squinted, confused.
That strange ‘Bull-Man’ at Creation’s Day was there. Her friend, Sarah Janson, was there as well―not to mention Zoe!!!
Before Chloe and her sister were separated, they were very close to each other. However, her sister, from mere glance, changed much. She couldn’t help but notice that cunning glint in her eyes. And that aura of mystery about her.
The Nameless Daughters smirked in unison.
She recalled the nicknames she gave them… the black-haired girl was Red Lips, the blonde-haired girl was Stormy Girl, the red-haired girl was Little Trouble, and the brown-haired girl was Drama Queen.
Red Lips smirked, how Nicholas and all his related psychos expressed their satisfaction. “May I present unto you the Tournaments of Nicholasia. If the Great Beast Massacre failed to intrigue you, allow me to interest you in several, perhaps, unusual displays.”
“As for the fighters in the tournaments,” Little Trouble paused between her words, grinning, “I shall introduce you to them. Let me start with Chloe. The girl of a tragic tale, her family ripped apart. Oh, how so sad.”
Chloe lowered her eyes, swallowing hard. She balled her hands into fists. She didn’t look any of them in the eyes. There were several laughs, and much murmuring.
Little Trouble grinned. “Zoe, Chloe’s sister, also will be competing. If I am correct, Zoe is, like, mere seconds younger that her twin. Nevertheless, this alone will make for an interesting source of entertainment. Oh, and have I to mention Chloe’s friend, Sarah Janson, another fighter in the tournaments… rather unpredictable and odd that one is, am I right?”
Chloe sucked in a deep breath. Her fingers trembled. She glanced over her shoulder at her friend.
Sarah was pale as a ghost; and silent, her brow furrowed in thought.
Little Trouble cleared her throat. “The Bull-Man, or Mario Deontae his ‘real’ name is, will be competing too. Prepare to watch this beastly and insane fighter, folks.”
Chloe narrowed her eyes, fidgeting with her dress. She glimpsed up at the Bull-Man. He stood eerily calm, his eyes blank and unreadable.
“Lochlain Meredith is quite a fighter as well.” Little Trouble gestured to a man wearing a dark cloak. His dark-skinned face was lined with bright red war paint. His black hair was long and wild, his eyes dark and menacing.
“Aurelio Jaspal was born off the streets of a little village. At a young age, he earned a reputation as a reckless scavenger in the Kingdom of Arizokaland.” Little Trouble smirked, laying eyes upon a young white-haired man in dark blue clothing. A deep scar descended from one of his amber-glinting eye down across his face.
Chloe glanced downward and shuddered. She met her twin’s gaze. Her sister glanced away abruptly.
“As for the several other fighters,” Little Trouble paused between her words, “their names are…”
The Nameless Daughter pointed to a dwarf-like, short warrior. “Halian.” She eyed a tall lady dressed in vibrant colors, her hair dark as night. “Lady Vega.” She smirked, gesturing to the last of the fighters, an old beggar in simple brown rags. “And Griffin. But let not his old age deceive you. He has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Now, there you have it; the fighters of this grand tournament!”
Chloe stared upward. The chain netting hung over the arena. The dark gate built into the stone wall. She shivered, blinking rapidly.
Stormy Girl smiled proudly. “The winner shall receive a grand prize: the privilege of leading Lord Nicholas’s army in battle. The rules are simple. Fight. Don’t die. Kill the beast. This little, violently entertaining, unique game is split up into a series of rounds. So, do be prepared. Oh and also, don’t lose your head while at it.”
Drama Queen giggled with a laugh. “The Tournaments of Nicholasia begin!”
And just like that, the Nameless Daughters paraded out of the arena. Chatting pleasantly all the while.
Chloe stiffened, tapping her foot. She swallowed hard, glancing about.
The stone gate opened.
A roar cracked the sky. But it was not a lion like before. No, not at all. Chloe straightened, craning her neck for a better view. Out of the shadows from within the gate, emerged a dragon.
She gasped. She narrowed her eyes, her brow scrunched up.
If she were correct, that was that same dragon on that card in The Monster King. It was slender and muscular, large enough to swallow one whole. Its eyes smoldered a cold blue, its scales blood red.
Lady Vega snorted and dashed to the weaponry box. “Well, imbeciles, don’t just stand there!”
She lifted a spear and a shield. Chloe gulped, rushing forth. She stumbled, but reached the weaponry box in no time. There were a lot of weapons… but no time was there to think about which one was her favorite, so she grabbed a random set of weapons: two swords, one gold and one silver.
Aurelio reached for a nicely polished, coppery dagger, but Zoe shoved him aside and snatched the possession for herself. The rest raced for the weaponry box, but Halian was not fast enough!
The dragon snarled, pinning the short man to the surface. A look of dread marked his face. With a burst of flames, Halian was nothing but a pile of ash.
The crowd chanted.
Chloe clapped a hand over her mouth. She gulped, her eyes darting back and forth. The crowd shouted “Death!” and “Fight!” and “Losers die, winners live!” and other horrible, awful words.
She looked up to the sky, her eyes damp and wide. She must do something. She must stop Nicholas.
The dragon roared, breathing flames through the air. Lady Vega guarded herself, raising her shield.
Griffin released an arrow as Lochlain snuck up on the beast with a morning star. Mario the Bull-Man approached, wielding a hammer. Aurelio and Sarah held swords and shields at the ready.
The crowd chanted. The dragon charged, yanking Lady Vega’s shield out of her grasp. It grabbed her and tossed her; she was flung helplessly through the air with an utterly shrill scream. Her body crashed against a stone wall, collapsing lifeless to the arena surface.
The dragon’s stare flickered to a stop, locking eyes with Chloe. She blinked, clenching shaking hands. The dragon inspected her, quite strangely.
But with a blow of his mighty hammer, Mario struck the dragon; resulting in permanent blindness in one of its eyes. The dragon roared and shoved the Bull-Man off his feet. Lochlain swung his morning star and whacked the vicious creature on its back.
The dragon let out a screech and flicked its tail, sending Lochlain headfirst into the sand. The beast snarled, fixing its gaze on Mario. He charged and swung his hammer.
The dragon dodged the blow, and clamped its mouth shut on the Bull-Man. Viciously, mercilessly, and callously.
The crowd chanted louder.
The dragon craned its neck and sniffed. It eyes gleamed, glancing Sarah Janson in the distance. She screamed, raising her shield as fire exploded in the air.
Chloe gasped, clutching the wall of the arena. It was cold and stony. A tear bounced off her cheek. She glanced downward. It was too much. The darkness. The bloodshed. The torture and pain.
Suddenly and once more, the dragon peered closely at Chloe, as if challenging her to a staring contest. She raised her swords and… well, dashed across the surface full speed! She rushed forth with all her might.
The dragon swirled through the air, its gigantic claws reaching out to her. Her heart raced. She darted to the side, escaping the monster’s evil grasp. It hissed, casting her a hateful glare.
Griffin sent an arrow whistling into the beast’s raised wings. The dragon snarled at Griffin, licking its teeth. He released another arrow, and another arrow. The dragon roared, charging the old beggar.
“Now, who do you think you are you? You disgusting pile of living flesh!”
The dragon staggered to a stop, craning around its long, slender neck. Venom glittered in its eyes.
Zoe admired the dagger in her hand. “Yeah, I’m talking to you, ugly thing.”
The dragon snarled.
“That’s right,” Zoe spoke, without a hint of fear. “You are very, very, very ugly.”
Chloe crossed her arms. She struggled recalling a moment when Zoe ever displayed such behavior. She changed so much over the years.
Griffin grumbled angrily, shooting the last arrow in his quiver. The dragon growled, casting a streak of fire at its enemy. The old beggar screamed as he was consumed in flames.
The roaring dragon leapt forth.
Chloe dug her fingernails into her palms, biting her lips.
Zoe snorted, a coppery dagger glinting in her grasp. The dragon lunged downward.
She sidestepped the reptilian foe, with her dagger piercing the dragon’s snout. The legendary enemy roared, breathing crimson flames. She drove a dagger to the roof of its mouth.
The dragon froze, sneering. Hatred and pain flashed in its contemptuous gaze.
Aurelio charged, slashing his blade through the air and striking the dragon. Lochlain whammed his morning star into its neck. Zoe flung a dagger into the center of its face. Blood sprinkled the ground. The dragon released an earsplitting cry, and collapsed.
Chloe breathed heavily, her palms sweaty.
The crowd cheered. Zoe bowed to the audience. But Aurelio and Lochlain glowered sullenly, likely because Zoe was the actual slayer of the dragon.
Red Lips smirked, staring down upon Zoe from the arena wall. “Ah, such a beautiful surprise. I always knew you were the right one. Nicholas will be so pleased. You slew this frightening beast and―”
The dragon’s eyes blazed wide open.
In a single motion, the furious dragon smacked Zoe, Aurelio, and Lochlain aside with a blow of its ginormous wings.
“I apologize for this wrong assumption of mine.” Red Lips smirked coldly, completely indifferently. “The tournament is not over.”
The dragon roared. Suddenly, its gaze snapped toward Chloe. Looming over her, the dragon bared its wicked teeth, smoke swirling out of its nostrils.
Chloe glanced upon the swords in her hands. She gulped and sunk back. The dragon eyed her like a cat would a mouse. A peculiar mouse.
The monster lunged forward. Chloe scrambled to the side, dodging the fatal strike by mere inches. Adrenaline rushed through her veins. She swung her swords.
The dragon echoed a strange gurgling sound, mimicking mockery and laughter. It snapped its tail under her feet. She collapsed. The golden sword descended to the ground.
She raised the silver sword in a final defense. The dragon ripped the blade from her grasp. Pinning her into the sand, it met her stare unblinkingly. Its eyes flashed salty and blue, overflowing in mockery, contempt and… surprise, as if she were some lost prize to be claimed. She glimpsed the golden sword buried in the sand.
The dragon’s mouth hissed open, revealing rows and rows of sharp teeth. Fiery light illuminated the dragon’s throat. Heat and smoke clung to her like death. She gasped for breath, drowning in panic.
Chloe closed her eyes once more, a tear rolling down her cheeks. She was trapped. Horribly and miserably trapped. She would smolder in flames. Never to be seen again.
But Sarah Janson saved her life…
After all, as Little Trouble declared, she was rather unpredictable.
“Leave my friend alone!” Sarah shouted, driving the tip of her blade in the eye of the dragon.
The dragon roared in pain. Chloe rolled out of the beast’s grasp, lunging for the golden sword. But the dragon, sensing the loss of its prey, growled and charged her blindly. It bared needle-sharp teeth, flickering its forked tongue.
Chloe screamed, with her golden blade piercing the dragon between the eyes. The blind creature shoved her carelessly into the sand. But her sword remained sunken in its skull. The dragon moaned. And collapsed to the ground… dead. For real this time.
The crowd hushed to silence.
Chloe lowered her sword. She put a hand to her forehead, narrowing her eyes. One normal day, she was simply a normal girl. And, another day, she was fighting a dragon that shouldn’t even exist? What nightmare was this?
Her mind sank in an ocean of utter fear and confusion.
Aurelio and Lochlain glared. Zoe crossed her arms, scowling. Sarah breathed deeply, grasping her weapons firmly.
Red Lips smirked.
She clapped her hands. The other Nameless Daughters smirked, joining in, clapping their hands as well. Suddenly, the whole crowd was clapping their hands and cheering so dreadfully loud.
Chloe lowered her gaze, staring at the blood glinting on her blade. She sucked in a deep breath, and lifted her eyes to meet the sadistic crowd of twisted-minded people. She raised an eyebrow, her lips forming a thin line.
A spark of fury pricked her soul.
Sarah clutched the dungeon bars. She swallowed hard, shoving a wisp of hair out of her wide eyes. The dungeon was cold and dark. Despite the fiery light of the freaky, skull-shaped lanterns cast against the walls.
The moment Old Nicholas’s animals paraded into Eldymartt, her life changed from normal to horrific to downright bizarre.
She was baking apple pies, rearranging books at the library, socializing with random strangers. When out of nowhere, a stupid monkey messing around with explosive devices of some kind, sent the whole town to the ground in flames! And once the town was overrun, armed men searched the remains of Eldymartt… taking captive any survivors.
Sarah hugged herself tightly, shivering. She snuffled, her eyes puffy and red. She remembered well and distinctly the knight leading the men. A knight in dark armor. The one, in fact, who cast her into this very dungeon!
She clenched her fists. Sooner or later, she would escape this rotten cage.
She rubbed the grime off her face, sighing. Anyway, she was competing those dreaded tournaments!
However, when she realized that Chloe was to be in the tournaments, she was shocked… if she wasn’t already shocked enough. That dragon would have killed her friend!
That moment in time she would cease to forget.
She pinched herself, pushing the dreadful thoughts to the farthest, uttermost dark corners of her mind. She put a hand to her forehead. It had all happened so fast. Peace a moment, but then violence. Screams etched her mind in horror.
She sucked in a deep breath, blinking.
So much innocent souls lost. All as a result of her annoying neighbor, Nicholas. When she first laid eyes upon him, she came to a conclusion that Nicholas was a terrible, ugly person at heart. But what she did not know was that her neighbor was indeed a murderous, bloodthirsty tyrant.
Last time she was with Chloe before the tournaments, they were playing The Monster King at Eric Diego’s birthday party.
She laughed loudly. How she loved that game. However, there was something a little suspicious about it. She could not put her finger on why she felt that way, though. Also, the fact that a mythical fire-breathing dragon even existed was extremely confusing… She desperately hoped she never visited the mental asylum.
A voice thundered in the distance, “Get moving, you brainless imbecile! We’re about to miss the tournaments!”
“Really, Ichabod? Haw oblivious are you? The first tournament is over!” spoke another voice.
Sarah fingered her dress, listening silently. She peered through the dungeon bars, her brow crinkling. Sighing, she wiped at her eyes.
“You stinking rats! I, in my entire life, have never encountered anyone slower!” bellowed the voice belonging to Ichabod. “Now, get moving!”
A door slammed open. Several figures marched in, followed by a prisoner. They stomped forth, grim.
“Here we are,” grumbled a man with tattooed arms and long, wild hair… whom she recognized quite easily as Ichabod by his distinct voice.
Though the prisoner, she was startled to discover, was Eric Diego. She tilted her head, chewing her lips.
Ichabod rolled his eyes, snapping a threating finger at one of his men. “Throw this prisoner with the others. I’ve had enough of these rats for a day!”
“Fine, Ichabod.” The man rolled his eyes.
He stomped to an empty cell near Sarah’s. Yanking the door open, he shoved Eric into the dark cage. With a slam of the door, and a clink of the keys, he spat at the ground. Sarah craned her neck. Her nose crinkled in disgust.
Ichabod bowed mockingly. “Enjoy the luxury, rats.”
Without yet another word, the men stomped out of the room like little angry, unpredictable brats.
Sarah glanced at Eric, and glanced sourly at the dungeon bars. She breathed deeply, her brow crinkling. Clasping her palms together, she closed her eyes.
Suddenly, she grinned broadly.
A clever idea ignited her imagination.
Zoe entered the glass aquarium hall. Pretty fish darted around. Eels and sting rays sliced through the waters above. She trod past, head held high.
She eyed a yellow tang swimming about in the water of the glass ceiling. Below the glass floor swam dozens of bright orange goldfish. She strode to her room, clenching her fists. She hit the wall, startling a clownfish.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, her thoughts raced through her mind.
She was supposed to win that tournament. Not her inferior twin! And not just that tournament, but all the tournaments! Her nostrils flared. She gnashed her teeth, glancing down at her dagger, Vampire. Her cheeks flushed red.
Despite her anger and disappointment, she was determined to be crowned winner of the Tournaments of Nicholasia. Nothing would stop her. Not even her ignorant sister.
She trod forth, blowing a wild tendril of hair out of her eyes. Interacting with her twin at Creation’s Day was strangely interesting. All she was required to do was smile, chat, hiding her true identity behind a fake, cheery mask.
In fact, it was ages since she and her sister actually interacted with each other… after all these many years. Not like she really cared, anyway.
She glanced down upon the glass floor. A dolphin and porpoise swum beneath her feet. She snorted in contempt, stomping forth. However, as she was arriving to her room, she staggered to an abrupt stop. A voice, without doubt that of Nicholas’s, spoke to another.
The voices were, she noticed quite clearly, echoing off the walls of another nearby glass hall.
Silently, she crept down the hall. Everywhere she looked, giant, pink jellyfish floated about the aquarium. She peered around a corner.
Nicholas stood upon a glass surface, entranced, as he gazed down upon dozens of pink jellyfish in a pool below. He scratched his chin, smirking.
She was planning on leaving, until she glimpsed the other figure standing in the room.
He was a stranger possessing a rather odd appearance, Zoe noticed, and wearing a golden crown. He also wore a great cloak, dark spikes protruding all over his scarlet armor. He was tall and strong, his eyes an unnatural green. His hair was so dark, but his skin was so pale. An aura of ancient magic surrounded him.
Suspiciously, she chose to eavesdrop on their secret conversation.
Nicholas crossed his arms, nice and cozy in his colorful polka dot robe. “We do have an agreement, do we not?”
The strange figure smiled. “Indeed, Lord Nicholas. Once the tournaments have ended, we shall have the answer to this mystery. One of the daughters shall be gifted with power and magic, choose the darkness, and wreck great destruction upon the land.” He paused, his expression darkening. “However, I would be more careful if I were you. Though Stephany is dead, she received a blessing that one of her daughters would fulfill the destiny she so desperately attempted.”
Zoe paused and narrowed her eyes.
“Nonsense!” Nicholas laughed. “I heard of this destiny. Despite that I have no idea what it is about. To be honest, I don’t even care. If you are wondering, yes, I spoke of this ‘destiny’ to Chloe, so…”
She frowned in silence. What destiny was this that was so important?
“You spoke to Chloe of this matter?” the strange figure questioned.
“Well, yes.” Nicholas smirked cruelly. “She deserves some clarity, doesn’t she, now? It’s only right that Chloe has knowledge that I, Nicholas, am indeed the slayer of her mother.”
Zoe glanced sharply at Nicholas. What? Just a minute! What was it that crafty serpent said? Did he really just say what I thought he said?
She blinked, confused. Her jaw tensed. She crossed her arms, pressing her lips into a thin line.
Nicholas murdered her mother?
The strange figure raised a curly eyebrow. “I see, Nicholas. Once you are sure whether it is Chloe or Zoe, take advantage of this opportunity. The time has come. You are of an important figure in this game of chess. For nations will bow to you, and your master, the Deceiver, shall indeed be proud of your success.”
“Your service shall be most valued. I look forward to meeting you again, Merubalos,” Nicholas paused between his words, “Merubalos de Albiro, the great and powerful Monster King.”
Zoe sneered. All this time―and she never knew Nicholas slew her mother? Besides, who was this freaky-looking ‘Monster King’ anyway?
“I look forward as well, Lord Nicholas Goldstone,” Merubalos replied. “Farewell.”
He disappeared in a swirl of crimson smoke. Nicholas smirked, whistling as he trod about the aquarium. Zoe tensed, raising an eyebrow.
She glared murderously, and glided down the hall.
She clawed at her hair. She shouted in rage, stomping on the glass floor. The salmon swimming about her darted away. She grew deadly silent, glowering at a sea turtle swimming peacefully about. Oh, how she wished to strangle that aquatic reptile! Her mind lay captured amidst a destructive web of thoughts.
Nicholas murdered her mother. She trusted him, befriended him, and served him. But how could he withhold such secrets from her? Even Grandpa Phoenix never would have been so dishonest.
“I can’t believe this,” her voice quivered in mild shock.
She grasped her dagger violently. Anger surged forth. She clasped a hand to her heart, burning in fury.
Nicholas betrayed her…
Chloe rubbed her temples. She buried her head in her pillow, sobbing. The dark of night swarmed her vision. Her dreams morphed into nightmares. Bizarre images fluttered through her sleepy mind. Images of dragons, of mythical figures, of realms beyond imagination…
She lay stranded amidst a lone scarlet hill. A musical sound blared. The Monster King formed out of thin air.
He smiled, spreading wide his palms to reveal an ancient stone. It was beautiful and perfectly round. And glinted in every single shade and color there was in the world.
“Chloe, do you know what this is?” spoke the Monster King. “It is a source of power, so named the Monster Stone. Come, child, look.”
He extended his hand. Chloe cleared her throat, inching a little forward. The Monster King smiled kindly, the stone sparkling in his palm. Its beauty whispered out to her, calling to her. She craned her neck, and reached forth a hand.
The Monster King clenched his fingers tight around the stone and pulled away. “Chloe, you may have this stone.” His eyes were stern. “But not quite yet. You have important choices to make… You must stand up for yourself. Stand up against Nicholas. Like your mother.”
“Like my mother?” she questioned, tilting her head.
“Yes,” he replied. “She sought to claim the Monster Stone. That she might use it for the good of the people and point them to their Creator. To fulfill a destiny. But she hadn’t the chance. Nicholas destroyed her.
“But it doesn’t end there. Ever since learning of you and your twin sister, Nicholas has been attempting to figure out which of you shall be blessed with glorious power and to be given the Monster Stone. He only plans on twisting that power to his will. He plots to take over the world, building armies and ginormous numbers of terrible beasts. He is quite an evil Shadow Reaper.”
Chloe glanced up at the clouds above, red as blood. The crimson sun glared down upon her.
Her brow furrowed. “Why are you telling me this? I barely even know you… whatever you are.”
“Because, daughter of Stephany, this is important,” the Monster King spoke. “Nicholas believes that the twin to be crowned winner in the tournaments is the one that shall be gifted. And he will use that peculiar gifted child, whether it be you or Zoe, to his advantage. This is a warning.”
A chill spiraled down her spine. “I-I don’t know what to do. I feel as if m-my life has been shattered into a thousand pieces. And that I can’t put them back together.”
The Monster King heaved a sigh. “Well, a little advice. One, don’t be so reckless―even though certain situations may perhaps be rather chaotic. And two, if I were you, I’d be polite and free Nicholas’s head of his shoulders.”
Chloe bolted upright, eyes wide and big.
“What a strange dream,” she whispered.
She had odd dreams in the past, but this was the second yet of the suspicious nightmares. First, the dream with Nicholas amidst a burning village; like an imbecile as he played with a game of cards upon a stone table. Now this!
The Monster King’s words rang clear and loud in her mind, “You have important choices to make…”
Choices? What choices? She blinked in frustration and collapsed, sinking into her bed. Tears streaked down her cheeks.
Fatigued, she drifted off into a drowsy, wearisome sleep.
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."December 19, 2019 at 10:05 pm #102940
Also… I’m still working on the emotions. They aren’t perfect, but I did my best. So, feel free to critique! Thank you everyone!
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."December 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm #103000
Wow. Cool story.
@Andrew, can’t wait for the next part!
Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. PetersonDecember 20, 2019 at 6:02 pm #103003Naiya Dyani@naiya-dyani
@andrew Eeey, the next part’s out! 😁
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.December 20, 2019 at 6:44 pm #103007December 27, 2019 at 7:53 pm #103238
@Andrew Thanks for writing!
Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. PetersonDecember 27, 2019 at 8:05 pm #103239
@nuetrobolt, you’re welcome!
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."January 31, 2020 at 6:53 pm #104915
Okay, the next chapter is written! I hope the character aren’t too melodramatic…. Feel free to critique! Thanks everyone.
The lush grass shimmered in sunlight. The gentle breeze tugged at her hair. From her window, she gazed upon the colorful flowers.
The door crashed open. She glanced over her shoulder, and rolled her eyes. Grandpa Phoenix danced into her room, draped in expensive black velvet. A macaw perched on his shoulder.
“There you are!” he bellowed. “I have a present, sweetie!”
Zoe spun on her heel, a smirk on her lips.
She shook her head, raising a hand to her brow. “Grandpa, do knock. Or one of these days, perhaps quite unfortunately, a dagger is bound to, well, end your life.”
“A pitiful ending!” Grandpa Phoenix burst in laughter. “For were I to die, I’d have failed to deliver my beautiful princess this utterly extravagant dagger!”
She snorted. That man was an idiot.
Grandpa Phoenix placed a golden dagger, embedded in glistening gems, upon her oaken desk. Zoe paused, striding forth upon the green floor. She raised the dagger into the air, stroking its delicate hilt. A broad smile cracked across her face.
“Lovely.” Her eyes fluttered. “I thank you for this generous gift. You know what a dagger freak I am, right?”
“Yes, yes, Zoe, I do know! I admire your freakish qualities!” Grandpa Phoenix smirked. “Last time I’d laid eyes upon your delicate face, you were attempting to strike down a dragon… and with a dagger, weren’t you?”
Her shoulders tensed. She glanced at the walls, painted in poinsettias. Closing her eyes, she clenched her teeth.
“Yes, I suppose that is correct.” She jutted out her chin. “I would have killed the horrid thing. But that ridiculous, dimwitted sister of mine stole all the glory. It was quite selfish of her.”
Grandpa Phoenix shrugged, glancing at his macaw. “Well, mustn’t dwell on past mistakes, you know! This next tournament shall be much different, I must say… So, do prepare for this marvelous challenge.”
“Oh, I have prepared,” Zoe hissed, snarling her lips. “This time, I shall win. I swear. I don’t care what traps are in that stupid tournament.”
He smiled a little too cheerfully. Performing a random, clever dance out of her room, he bowed a ridiculous bow.
“Alright, then. Do make me proud,” he purred. “Good day, Zoe! Enjoy that dagger!”
“Good day,” she spoke rather dully, “and thanks.”
He smirked that infamous Nicholas-like smirk. A dramatic flourish of his fingers. A wicked glint in his eyes. He flung the door shut! Zoe cringed.
How dare he barge into her room like that.
But, despite her disgust, she was rather thankful for the exquisite gift. She snatched the dagger off her desk. Peering at it closely, her eyes twinkled in vengeance. She slid her drawer open, sunlight bouncing off glinting blades.
“Aaaah, my dagger collection.” She lay the dagger into her drawer. “I shall name that one Goldblood. A quite fitting name indeed.”
She paused and glanced upon a dagger of sparkling emeralds.
“Smokedeath.” She caressed its ancient blade. “Quite a hideous name. I do love it!”
She smirked smugly, taking notice of a sleek, wicked blade. The title she bestowed upon that dagger was Frostbite. That name suited well its blade of white, azure, and silver.
Rows upon rows of daggers gleamed beneath her eyes. But a peculiar, strange dagger in particular snatched her attention. Its dark blade was wickedly curved. Its vibrant hilt resembled the face of a thieving raven.
“Skyclown,” she whispered its bizarre, lovely name. “Oh, oh, so much lives have I slain with this blade. But I dare say, there is a blade I have slain more lives with…”
She chuckled and revealed her utmost favorite of daggers.
Its blade glinted like blood. Elegant and devilish. A chill rushed down her spine. She shuddered with a gulp. Her smile vanished.
That eerie night of blood…
It remained a terrible memory ingrained in her mind. That haunted night, she was utterly isolated. Her one valuable possession was a precious scarlet crystal―well, actually, a half of a crystal. Nevertheless, that single crystal suffocated her in painful memories of her past.
The crystal was no other than Chloe’s precious gift. A reminder of their dear relationship.
Each day, each night, each moment―in great hope, she rushed to her window. But her sister never returned. Days passed by and by. She even attempted running away, but, to escape such a place was impossible. However, one sunny morning she received an anonymous letter.
In the letter it spoke concerning her sister. If the message were true, Chloe’s perfect little life in Eldymartt, was fantastic and wonderful. Kind and loving foster parents, great friends, everything she lacked. In all her comfort, Chloe never thought once in visiting her.
Her sister forgot about her.
In rage and fury, Zoe disposed of that tiny, mocking crystal. Grandpa Phoenix, then, wrapped up another present for her: a splendid, scarlet-bladed dagger! Her favorite dagger!
Nonetheless, that horrid, unpredictable night terrified her. Shadows clung to her, whispering into her ears. She shivered. Nightmares. Malicious, cruel nightmares.
A pale, soulless face grinned in the darkness. He bared nasty fangs, eyes empty and black. He was dressed in a rich suit, his dark hair greasy and long. Blood coated his mouth and hands.
A lone vampire.
She screamed. With a devilish cackle, the vampire charged and gripped her neck. Unsheathing her dagger, she jammed it through the foul monster’s abdomen.
The vampire gnashed his teeth, thrashing to the floor. His eyes flashed murderous and hateful. He became eerie and silent.
Drawing a final breath, the vampire was motionless.
Zoe crashed into her chair and screamed. She blinked at the dreaded memories. Rising to her feet, she let out a shaky breath and jutted out her chin. She was much older. She mustn’t allow a silly nightmare to frighten her.
She firmly gripped her dagger’s hilt.
“Vampire,” she whispered. “Quite an odd name indeed. But I do admit, it is rather symbolic.”
She spun on her heel to stand by the castle’s window. Where she beheld the beautiful land once more. She smirked darkly, arching an eyebrow. Her twin might have arisen as the victor of the dragon tournament…
Zoe straightened and folded her arms. But that wouldn’t happen again. She’d make sure of it.
Once she was announced crown winner, she’d be proclaimed the general of a grand army. Thousands of soldiers, horrendous beasts, legendary monsters. She was fearless and wondrous; she was not the worthless orphan like in the past.
The world was a cruel place. But a cruel place to be conquered, of course. Those criminals, those demons, those responsible for the pain in her life―each one of those, she’d command punished. Chloe, a disgraceful twin. Grandpa Phoenix, a mere sycophant. Nicholas, a traitor.
Nicholas, a murderer.
She locked her jaw. Her mother, her graceful and kind mother, was the only one who loved her. Now, there was no one who loved her. Her nostrils flared. She caressed Vampire’s blade. Once she won the tournaments, once she was general―oh, a glorious thing that’d be!
Zoe smirked deviously. She licked her teeth, a glint of steely vengeance in her eyes. There were much daggers to choose from. Daggers encrusted in bones. Daggers majestic and beautiful. Daggers flashing in each color. Daggers, daggers, daggers…
She must choose a dagger. She knew not which one. But nonetheless, she must, must choose a dagger. A brilliant, marvelous, wondrous dagger.
A dagger to penetrate Nicholas’s heart.
Chloe lay on her bed, staring dully at the ceiling.
Her mind burned with hundreds of thoughts. Burned with longing. She wiped at the tears in her eyes, choking on her sobs. What became of her foster parents, Allison and Dominic, she could not say. Eric must be dead. She lost her mother and father, she dared lose no more.
But what action was she to take?
She mustn’t stand about while Nicholas plotted his destructive schemes. She sucked in a breath, squeezing her palms. Swallowing hard, she staggered to her feet.
“Nicholas wishes to summon you.”
Startled, she spun on her heel. At her door stood the knight in dark armor. Grim and silent as ever.
“Then he shalt.” Chloe straightened, tightening her jaw. “I am flattered to be summoned by the King of Idiots himself.”
“Do not insult a Shadow Reaper.” The dark knight glowered. “Now follow me. I don’t want to hear a word out of your mouth. Understand?”
Nicholas slouched in a throne of gold.
He wore rich azure silk. A ridiculous, overly pointy wizard’s hat lay atop his annoying, little head. His beard and hair were a dozen times much lengthier than before. Adorable little kittens purred and nuzzled his elbow. Chloe paused and narrowed her eyes.
Aaah, he has taken the form of a wizard, she thought, without much surprise.
Nicholas smirked down upon her. She scowled in return.
“You are particularly silent today. Last time I met you, you were quite talkative and a little… dramatic.” He stroked an orange kitten purring atop his lap.
She observed the golden room about her. Chewing on her lip, she ignored the sadistic imbecile.
“It seems you don’t wish to speak. Well, be that the case, then I shall speak. A little chitchat is completely necessary… This orange fuzzy critter here,” Nicholas spoke, smirking at the kitten he was stroking, “is Spark. He’s a cute devil, now, isn’t he?”
Chloe stiffened and wrinkled her nose.
Nicholas scratched his wild beard tauntingly. “The black kitten is Twilight and the white kitten is Blizzard. Utterly adorable, aren’t they? Don’t you agree, little―?”
A fluffy, brown kitten meowed.
“Oh, don’t whine. You are always hungry,” Nicholas snapped. “That kitten is Dustin, girl. He’s a little demanding.”
Chloe shook a strand of hair out of her eyes, scowling. “I believe, Nicholas, there was a purpose you have summoned me. If that purpose be to taunt me using kittens, I have underestimated your stupidity.”
He scratched a gray-furred kitten nonchalantly behind its fluffy, soft ears.
“Oh, she speaks! Bravo, bravo, bravo! But I am afraid, the words spoken are incorrect. That is not the purpose, foolish girl.” Nicholas chuckled. “But as to introduce this last kitten here, her name is Arabella. Such a sweet little thing, she is…”
She clenched impatient fists. I really want to strangle you, Nicholas.
“I detect anger within you.” He cackled in glee. “Ah, how so amusing. You are like your sister in numerous ways. You are both incredibly reckless, possess such brilliant tempers, traumatized and all. You are peculiar twins, I do admit.”
“You know nothing about my sister,” Chloe snapped.
“Oh, I don’t? Child, I have known her for at least, let’s say, eight years.” Nicholas stroked his little white kitten. “Zoe has become obsessed with daggers. She’s a clever, and perhaps rather sadistic, girl. She wishes to be either an actress or assassin one day… she is not sure which. She is fond of dressing in disguises, exploring the dangerous unknown and all. In fact, she was in a costume at Creation’s Day―”
“Do say no more,” Chloe interrupted, her voice trembling. “I don’t want to hear a word out of your mouth again! You have torn this life of mine to mere pieces. I do not appreciate it.”
“Pitiful. So pitiful. I feel your ever burning pain,” his voice drooled in sarcasm. “Does your heart drown in sorrow? Worry not about your beloved sister. Grandpa Phoenix is a wonderful teacher, I assure you.”
A wonderful teacher? She pressed her lips into a thin line. I doubt that.
The brown kitten meowed and tugged at Nicholas’s beard.
“Ouch!” the wizard bellowed. “Do that again, Dustin, I shall lock you in a machine and order you diced to bits. Then I shall proceed to feeding you to the other kittens.”
Chloe let out a bitter laugh. “You deserved that, foul being.”
Nicholas shot her a glare. She shrunk back.
He extended a gnarled, threatening finger. “Do hold your tongue. I could have you shredded to human cheese and fed to the animals―I’m an evil animal lover for your information. But I shall refrain from the morbid shredding process. I won’t kill you. Not yet. If only you join me, you have the chance of a new life.”
“An empty life,” Chloe corrected, unimpressed. She then added, “Imbecile.”
Nicholas’s eyes sharpened. “Look, I have summoned your presence for a purpose. Not simply to amuse myself. Now, let us discuss a random topic: your surname. Little girl, ‘Chase’ isn’t your surname. Rather, to clarify, that is your foster parent’s surname. Your true surname is Juancarlos. Chloe Juancarlos. Has an strangely nice ring to it.”
Chloe cocked her head. “Really, is that so?”
“Yes,” Nicholas replied. “The Juancarlos family. Unfortunate traits amongst that family are temper tantrums and excessive patterns of recklessness. It explains your behavior perfectly. Now, there are rumors concerning the Juancarlos family. If the rumors are correct, the Juancarlos family remains the only people in the entire world to control the Monster Stone’s magical powers. You’d make a fabulous warrior.”
Chloe crinkled her brow. The Monster Stone? Yeah, this is kinda all makin’ sense.
The Monster King’s warning was true. Nicholas plotted to manipulate her―that is, if she were the chosen one. A sudden idea struck her.
Were she to be granted such power and magic, she’d take advantage of it and bring an end to Nicholas’s schemes. She bowed to no other than the King. Her purest desire was to help others, and once the Monster Stone was in her hands, she’d use its magic to direct people to the King, their true Creator. She finally discovered her destiny.
A grand destiny Stephany Juancarlos hadn’t the chance to finish…
Nicholas smirked, cracking his knuckles. “Join me and all shall be set right. There shall be no more pain or torture. You shall be a knight of loyalty to the Dark One. You shall be treated with utmost respect.” He leaned forth, gripping his curved, wooden staff. “You shall be free to wander this castle. You shall have servants of your own. This is an opportunity to mold your horrible life into the most desirable of dreams. You shall be privileged with a little kitten as well.”
“I am flattered. Honestly, I am truly flattered. But the answer is no. I shan’t join you. I don’t want a kitten either. I am not an evil animal lover,” Chloe spoke, biting her lip, “for your information.”
Nicholas froze, frowning in silence.
He then sneered. “Alright, very well. Die in the tournaments. Perish as a worthless weed. I don’t care. I shall make a deal with your sister. I bet she’ll listen. In appearance, she looks identical. But her heart isn’t identical to her twin’s heart. She is powerful, not a weakling such as you.”
She swallowed at the malice in his voice. Clenching her fists, she tightened her jaw.
Dustin purred, drooling on Mr. Grumpy’s lap.
“Eww!” Nicholas bellowed in disgust. “You shall never once more rest upon the lap of your master!”
He gripped the kitten’s fluffy neck. Chloe gasped. Nicholas tossed Dustin to the air.
Dead, eerie silence.
She clapped a hand over her mouth. Nicholas pounded his staff. His gnashed his teeth, his eyes bulging.
The dark knight rushed forth. “What be this urgent request, Your Majesty?”
“Take this wretch to her room. Feed her nothing at all. I’d like to see her shrivel to bones,” Nicholas commanded. “It was quite unwise of me to waste such valuable time on this foolish girl!”
“The deed shall be done, Your Majesty.” The dark knight cast her a hostile glare.
He seized her with an iron grip. She gasped in shock. Yanking her across the throne room, she thrashed in his grip as she was forced up the stairs.
“Let go of me!” she cried out in rage. “Let go of me, you dull wolf!”
“Shut it, filthy piglet,” the dark knight hissed through clenched teeth.
Chloe shot darting glances about the artistic, paint-plastered walls. She froze, taking in the dreaded sight of her awful room.
“You have arrived at your destination.” The dark knight chuckled, breathing on her neck. “Have fun, piglet…”
He sent her tumbling into the room. She sprung to her feet. He sneered, slamming the door in her face.
“Nicholas!” she screamed, crazed. “I am going to kill you! Don’t forget that!”
She pounded and struck the door. Fury surged through her veins. Squeezing her eyes shut, she raised a trembling hand to her temple.
“Hello there, sister.”
She froze, and glanced over her shoulder. Zoe stood near the door, dressed in violet and silver. She held a golden object of some kind in her palm.
Chloe couldn’t make out if it were a dagger or a key.
“You mustn’t be so tearful,” her twin spoke. “Trust me, I am a professional eavesdropper. That conversation I found rather exasperating. Do admit it. You hate Nicholas as much as I do.”
Chloe narrowed confused eyes.
“What?” Zoe folded her arms. “He assassinated our mother. Who couldn’t hate such an animal-obsessed demon?”
“Uh, n-nothing… it’s just…” She sucked in a shaky breath. “You have changed much.”
“Yes, I believe so. Dagger collecting as a brilliant hobby and all.” Zoe forced a fake laugh. She straightened out her shoulders. “Well, thought I’d stop by and say hello real quick. But I must be on my way. It was nice meeting you again.”
She turned to leave. Her lips twisted into a sly grin.
Chloe gripped her arm. “Don’t leave, sister.”
Zoe merely glanced over her shoulder. “Why?”
“Please,” she begged, “can you only stay a little longer?”
Zoe pulled her arm firmly out of Chloe’s grasp.
“No,” she answered. “I must be on my way. You are lucky I even visited you. Eight years locked up in a mansion in Welmjadin―and never, ever have you visited me once. You are quite lucky I don’t treat you with such disrespect. Do you hear me?”
Chloe stuttered, “B-but…”
“No buts.” She stepped out of the room. “We shall meet once more in the tournaments. Now, I must be on my way. Good day.”
Zoe shut the door and, of course, locked it.
Just. Like. That.
She slumped in despair. Her brow furrowed into a frown, eyes simmering in anger. This must be Nicholas’s fault. He poisoned her sister’s mind. She was in utter silence, glancing blankly about the dull room. Shuddering, she crossed her arms.
Nicholas was correct.
Such unfortunate traits amongst her family. She let out a shaky breath. Allison scolded her afore concerning her awful temper. And she was terribly reckless. Her greatest flaw of all.
She clenched her fists. Much was to be done. Tournaments to be won. A broken relationship to be repaired. A grand destiny to be fulfilled…
A wicked wizard to be slain.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Andrew Schmidt.
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."February 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm #105001
Sorry. Yesterday, I realized a mistake in one of the scenes in need of correction. When Zoe stabbed the vampire, I just realized that wasn’t the proper way to kill a vampire; you have to pierce its heart with a wooden stick. So, if you noticed that mistake or not, I will definitely edit that scene… so, just letting you know. Thanks.
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."February 2, 2020 at 9:49 pm #105021
@andrew, wow, this story keeps having unexpected twists. Good job!
Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. PetersonFebruary 2, 2020 at 10:26 pm #105023
@nuetrobolt, thanks. 😀
I hope this story doesn’t take too much more time until it’s done. It’s getting to the end.
And it really doesn’t seem this long, but… I just realized I’ve been writing this story for about a year. I started it sometime in either January or February, 2019. And now it is 2020 already! I’ll try not drag the story out too long. Time passes fast when you’re busy, it seems.
I might also change the name, Chloe and Zoe, into a cooler title like… Twin Shadow or something else.
But anyway, thanks for reading!
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Andrew Schmidt.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Andrew Schmidt.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Andrew Schmidt.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Andrew Schmidt.
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."April 13, 2020 at 8:30 pm #110176
Alright, next chapter out!
Read on and critique if you wish. However, if for some reason any of these scenes you happen to find a little dark or violent (which I hope aren’t), please share your thoughts on them. Thanks and enjoy!
The maze was a grand, rather outrageous, stone tunnel with at least a hundred rooms and dead ends. Nevertheless, Chloe understood, she must prevail in the following tournament. Forcing down her fear, she raised her chin and clenched her fists.
The Nameless Daughters emerged from the shadows. The bright illumination of lanterns revealed smiles lingering on their lips.
Chloe stiffened and averted her gaze.
“We meet once again!” Drama Queen declared in a rather dramatic manner. “You dare enter the maze? Then endure to the end! Acts of cowardice are forbidden!”
“I was born a warrior and blessed with a lack of cowardice, imbecile,” Aurelio Jaspal spoke, an intense glint in his round amber eyes. “Your statement was rather… ludicrous.”
Drama Queen giggled at his unusual words, raising delicate fingers to her lips. “Aaah, such a repulsive insult! I love it! I love it!”
Chloe cringed at her laughter. You are so weird…
Lochlain Meredith frowned. “The Nameless Daughters are fond of teasing, Little Aurelio. Just accept that they’re idiots, alright?”
Aurelio straightened his azure coat and sneered.
“Yes, an unremarkable fact.” Zoe admired her dagger, the blade vibrant as blood. “But can’t we chitchat later? Each moment this game hasn’t begun I become more impatient.”
Chloe glanced at her sister, her voice rather tense as she spoke, “This is no game.”
“Please, don’t babble ridiculous words.” Zoe shrugged her shoulders, indifferent. She smirked at the Nameless Daughters. “Anyway, can the game begin now?”
Drama Queen smirked. “I don’t see why not. But I sense, however, that one of you are missing.” She paused, her gaze wandering in the distance. “Oh! I had forgotten. Sarah Janson remains absent at this moment.”
“Yes, she escaped. Along with a prisoner. I believe his name was Eric Diego.” Red Lips chuckled, murder and darkness reflecting in her toxic gaze. “Meanwhile, the escapees are free. But I dare state, those foolish humans shan’t remain in such wild freedom for long. I expect to find this night the imbeciles mourning in their cells.”
Chloe paused and narrowed her eyes.
Sarah Janson and Eric Diego, her ever awesome friends, escaped Nicholas’s dungeons? Fantastic! Those particular individuals deserved freedom. She bit her lip, cocking her head. B-but wasn’t Eric… dead? Well, apparently, he remained alive. All the more excellent!
She resisted a sudden mocking smile. Well, Red Lips, prepare for disappointment then. Sarah and Eric ain’t ever visitin’ the pretty little dungeons again.
Little Trouble curled a strand of vivid red hair in her bony fingers. “As a result of the escape, in his utter wrath, Nicholas sentenced Ichabod, the one responsible for the prisoners, to a cruel fate! The executioner was the Dark Knight. And Ichabod was the beheaded. Oh, dare I mention his beautiful and gorgeous blood.”
“Yes, the best part!” Stormy Girl clapped her hands in glee. “As our ancestors claimed, the loveliest sight on earth is blood. A famous quote I claim must be centuries old.”
Chloe blinked. Her lips curled in disgust.
“Quite morbid…,” Zoe’s dull voice indicated boredom. “But let us begin the tournament. Now.”
“Please, don’t be demanding,” Drama Queen snapped. “The rules must be explained. Alright?”
Zoe scoffed. “Whatever.”
Drama Queen ignored her entirely. “Rule Number One: Don’t die. Simple.”
“Wow.” Chloe clapped her palms, a bit sarcastic. “We are awed and impressed.”
“Oh thanks, darling.” Drama Queen giggled. “Alright, Rule Number Two: You shall each be separated. Failure to accept this rule shall result in immediate disqualification and execution.”
“Well, isn’t that a little extreme?” Zoe chuckled. “I mean, I don’t have a problem with executions, but… whatever.”
Chloe gaped at her sister. Don’t have a problem with executions? You’re a terrible person.
“Rule Number Three: Don’t be stupid.” Drama Queen smirked. “In the maze plenteous death traps abound. So, uh, do me a favor. Don’t be stupid! Human stupidity might very well result in death. This is Rule Number Three out of the Thirteen Rules―”
“Silence!” Zoe hollered, and clenched her teeth. “These rules are useless and, dare I proclaim, this babble is wasting our time. Don’t make me have a temper tantrum again… These daggers don’t have a pretty reputation! I ain’t frightened at coating ‘em in blood either!”
Her exclamation was met with blank stares.
Shaking her head, Chloe raised a hand to her brow.
What. Happened. To. Her. Sister?
Red Lips smirked. “Humans are creatures of impatience. Sister, proceed in explaining these rules. Please.”
Zoe directed her nose in the air.
Drama Queen smiled. “Yes, Rule Number Four: Don’t die.”
“But that was Rule Number One,” Chloe corrected, folding her arms.
“I don’t like these so-called rules. Are you makin’ ‘em up on purpose?” Zoe arched a brow. “I sense your deception.”
“Well…” Drama Queen hesitated. “Fine, fine, I admit that to be correct.”
Aurelio and Lochlain shared a glance, rolling their eyes.
Chloe clasped her palms together, standing hidden in the shadows. Forsaken stars! What sadists these Nameless Daughters are!
“Seriously? Whatever! You are idiots,” Zoe declared with a scoff. “The most idiotic of idiots, in fact.”
The Nameless Daughters smirked in unison.
“You share a closer resemblance with your mother than your twin,” Red Lips changed the topic. “Much too ambitious. Much too blind. You nickname us idiots, but fail to understand our true intentions?”
Chloe paused and frowned. Red Lips, watch your little red-lipped mouth.
“Hey, I understand your intentions. Oh, and those ‘rules,’ they aren’t even real rules! What is wrong with you?” Zoe exclaimed, her cheeks burning red. “Also, I might contradict your delusional mind, but my mother was a wise and loving woman. She never―”
“Alright, this argument is completely unnecessary.”
“Shut it, Aurelio!” She glared menacingly. “I shall stand firm in defending my mother’s reputation!”
An awkward silence followed her bellow of outrage.
Chloe withdrew farther in the shadows.
Little Trouble grinned, a glint of mischief sparkling in her devious eyes.
“That statement concerning your mother remains incorrect,” Little Trouble stated, emotionless. “The truth is rather unpleasant; she was infamous and repulsive as the ugliest Juancarlos.”
Chloe gaped at her disrespect. How dare that Nameless Daughter insult her mother.
“Nevertheless, in the grave she lies,” Little Trouble spoke with a dismissive wave of her hand.
Chloe clenched her fists at her sides, lips slid downward in a frown.
“Your mother was a parasite. Nicholas disposed of her.” Little Trouble chuckled. “And us, the Nameless Daughters, celebrated the incident. How does that make you feel?”
Crossly, Zoe averted her gaze with a frown. “If ya’ll don’t shut it… if ya’ll make it longer till the tournament… well, I’m gonna strangle ya’ll. That’s how I feel.”
A burst of laughter broke out.
Chloe raised a hand to her heart.
What? The Nameless Daughters celebrated her mother’s death? Her nostrils flared. She clenched her teeth, boiling in anger.
“And everyone lived happily ever after!” Drama Queen exclaimed. “The end!!!”
Each word spoken was toxic and poisonous. Agonizing. Like there was a tormented and roaring monster entrapped within her.
A tear slid down her cheek.
“I love it! I love it!” Drama Queen laughed. “Aaaah, I love the tale of Stephany Juancarlos’s downfall!”
Her heart cracked in shards of glass. A tear splattered at her feet. Anger and despair clutched her drooping shoulders. All her remaining saneness withered―and she flashed her teeth in a seething, violent, enraged smile.
“You dare utter those words! You shall be punished!” Chloe stormed from the shadows. “You shall each be punished!”
She twisted Drama Queen’s thick brown hair in her grasp and jerked. Drama Queen cried out as she was struck in the face and shoved against the wall.
Chloe spun and collided with Little Trouble. She planted a kick in her abdomen. Little Trouble gasped and tumbled to the ground.
Red Lips smirked pleased. “Well, well, behold the little brat.”
Chloe stood her ground. Her lips shriveled in contempt. A strange madness seared in her gaze, sour and crooked. She lurched at Red Lips, gnashing her teeth.
“Die!” a bloodcurdling scream pierced the air.
Flexible strong fingers wrapped around her neck and squeezed. Chloe thrashed, escaping the Nameless Daughter’s iron grip. She plunged downward. Her face collided with solid ground.
Stormy Girl folded jutted out her chin. “Yeah, take that!”
Chloe grimaced. Her skull throbbed and ached. Blotches obscured her vision. Images around her blurred…
And then all was dark.
“Chimp, fetch me a wine,” Nicholas commanded, fingers outstretched in a magical flourish. “Your master’s thirst must be quenched.”
The chimpanzee, then, offered a delightful goblet of deep red liquid. Blood wine. Nicholas slid gnarled fingers around smooth glass, raising the beauteous goblet to his wrinkled lips. He drank a little and arched an eyebrow.
“Excellent!” Nicholas bellowed, casting a slab of venison in the air. “Excellent! Excellent indeed!”
Seizing the prized meat, the unpredictable chimpanzee vanished. Scampering, as well as screaming, down the turquoise hall.
Nicholas scratched his wild beard and smirked at the strange animal.
Humans, recalling experiences in his past, possessed a strong dislike of instruction, pettiness, and illogical, unrealistic judgement. Animals proved to be much finer companions. One remarkable example was a peculiar fox.
Nicholas let the goblet dangle between his fingers. Indeed, Adrik was a wondrous companion.
That particular canine was a beast of adventure and intrigue and, well, sheer adorability. The fox loved Nicholas and he, in return, loved the fox. It might sound ridiculous, but no one ever favored Nicholas as much as that simple but delightful animal.
Nevertheless, before encountering the fox, an incident occurred.
All the Shadow Reapers loathed serving the King. Their desire for unlimited power and freedom resulted in rebellion. Therefore, the King cast out the “crooked-hearted” ones from His perfect kingdom.
Nicholas, descending from above, crashed against the earth. From then on he was unwelcome in the kingdom. He was cursed.
But that wasn’t the end…
It was not long until the first battle on earth began. The Shadow Reapers, enraged at the King’s rejection, sought vengeance and attempted disposing of His little beloved people. But the Golden Knights, servants―no, slaves―of the King, swore to protect the human race. The Shadow Reapers lost the battle, defeated, as a result.
Nicholas was rather disappointed. But his little companion, Adrik, brightened his sullen mood at all times.
A shimmer of moonlight in the night darkness revealed a beast roaming the woodlands. A distinct and crimson beast. He smirked and ambled forth.
Voices echoed in the distance. Nicholas paused, shaking dark hair from his brow.
The fox dashed around an oak and leapt over a stream of sparkling liquid.
His brow crinkled. I wonder where Adrik is venturing to…
He crept through the bushes. Thorns scraped his dark silk. He clenched his fists and dashed forth.
Adrik ascended an enormous hill. His crimson, white-tipped tail vanished from sight.
The peculiar sound of voices, as well as animals, became louder each passing moment.
Nicholas jerked to a halt atop the hill. A little farm spread out before him. Figures chatted around a fire. Smoke clawed at the sky, fading within the dark of night.
“Humans,” Nicholas muttered.
Silent, he crouched low, observing the fox wandering in a barn. Rushing down the hill, he crept forth and glanced in each direction. He forced the door open and snuck past the entrance of his destination.
“Hey, Adrik,” Nicholas spoke in a hushed tone. “What’re you doin’ here?”
The fox met his gaze. “Exploring the unknown.”
Nicholas rubbed his brow. Communicating―magically communicating―with animals remained utterly exhausting… Each time he spoke to an animal, and the animal spoke in return, it required magic. Forming words, unfortunately, wasn’t a natural talent for animals, so…
“Exploring the unknown, huh? Well, this is a human residence.” He chuckled softly. “Humans have been known to trap foxes and with their vibrant fur invent horrible creations.”
“I am aware,” the fox replied.
“Uh… alright…” Nicholas glanced a horse asleep in the distance. “But don’t make a racket. Humans, but fortunately not all, generally, have marvelous hearing.”
“Trust me, I am the cleverest of the beasts. The humans shan’t hear a thing.” The fox advanced, soundless, glancing at several white-and-black cows asleep in a pen. “I love adventures. But I never have been to a farm before. The domestic animals here are intriguing. The cats are quite agile and the chickens are, well, distinctly tasty. I have discovered pens full of sheep, goats, donkeys, llamas, alpacas… Are there hogs or geese here, somehow?”
“Perhaps.” Nicholas chuckled. “But do avoid the dog. The dog is, well, a little aggressive, I must claim.”
“I love aggressive.” Adrik nuzzled his master’s boots. “Shall we explore together, then? True friends explore… together.”
Nicholas chuckled and stroked Adrik’s brilliant crimson fur. His fox was quite peculiar.
“Of course, of course.” Nicholas smirked. “Let our adventure―”
“Excuse me, sir. You’re speaking to a fox. Are you insane?”
Nicholas froze, tense as steel. He arched an eyebrow.
He raised his chin. “Yes?”
The human, despite his poor appearance and ragged clothes, was rather muscular. His eyes glinted pale blue in the moonlight, his hair slick and black. He appeared quite commanding and stern.
Grasping a hatchet, the human questioned, suspicious, “You aren’t here to steal, are you?”
Nicholas smirked. “No. I was led here as a result of a beloved fox. I demand that you leave my presence at once.”
“Leave?” He stiffened. “How dare you speak to me like that! I am Templeton. Templeton Juancarlos.”
“Templeton Juancarlos?” Nicholas fluttered his eyes. “That’s quite an interesting title. But I must break this to you. You are simple and worthless―ain’t even royal blood. I have the higher authority here. Leave.”
Templeton scoffed. “Never. I serve the King. I don’t serve thieves vandalizing this property,” he paused between his words, glancing at the fox, “and for your information, I don’t appreciate pests either.”
Adrik bared his teeth.
Nicholas smirked, becoming calmer. “Oh, Templeton, don’t be ignorant and foolish. You believe foxes are pests… well, think about it like this. Perhaps humans are the pests.”
“The humans?” Templeton paused, lowering his hatchet. “What do you call yourself, then? A pest?”
“No, a Shadow Reaper.” Nicholas scratched his chin. “I demand that you leave this instant. Your absence is required.”
Templeton narrowed his eyes. “A Shadow Reaper?”
“Correct.” Nicholas winked. “You have fantastic hearing.”
Templeton jutted out his chin in contempt. “You cursed monster of fate and destruction. I might be filth and rags, but the King shall be forever with me. As long as I roam the earth, no demons shall lurk upon this land!”
He swung his hatchet.
The motion was sudden as lightning.
Adrik whimpered and crumbled to the barn floor. Stepping over the bloodied corpse, Templeton raised his hatchet. Nicholas bolted forth, wrapping his fingers around Templeton’s throat.
His eyes blazed crimson. He became ginormous, hideous, monstrous―a dark, dark shadow.
Nicholas glared. “You humans are arrogant, greedy, and selfish. You claim to be a superior kind, and treat other creatures of equal importance with excessive disregard!” He gestured to the fox. “You shall die for that!”
Templeton paled, the hatchet clattering to the surface. Nicholas tightened his powerful grip, meeting his victim’s fearful eyes.
“Templeton Juancarlos,” he purred, revealing slick fangs, “what a grave, grave, grave mistake…”
He released his grip. Templeton collapsed, gasping for breath.
“Choking is a wondrous death, I have to admit.” Nicholas chuckled. “But I have in mind an exceptionally splendorous execution.”
He smirked with a blurred flourish of dark fingers.
From the darkness emerged a horse and a bull. Chickens and ducks, as well as fat pigs and a lone sheep, marched forth. Various domestic animals followed.
Templeton gasped, scrambling to his feet. “What foul magic is this? Wizards alone possess this kind of power!”
Nicholas paused, raising a clenched fist. The animals silenced.
“Indeed, a Shadow Reaper am I.” Nicholas smirked ever calmer. “But I am also a shapeshifter. Therefore, I can take whatever form I wish. Including a wizard.”
He kneeled and pressed a palm against his little companion’s smooth fur. Blood stained his ink dark fingers. He flinched, releasing a breath.
“Rest in peace, beloved critter.” Nicholas rose to his feet.
Sharply, he glanced at his foe. His lips crinkled in contempt. That despicable human being! What a little, annoying, nasty, foul pest…
He snapped a finger. “Charge.”
To his delight, the animals demonstrated obedience to his command.
The air erupted in noise. Roaring and screeching… Shredding and tearing… The dreaded screaming… Nicholas smirked and raised a hand to his chin.
He glanced at his slaughtered companion and averted his gaze. A burning, sorrowful tear slid down from his blazing eyes.
Oh, how he hated nuisances! But the worst nuisances, well, that title belonged to the human race. The Prince of Darkness, his grand and marvelous mentor, properly educated the noble Shadow Reapers concerning parasitic beings.
Amidst the dark night, he beheld the animals and smirked. As a pest exterminator, he must be strict regarding human population. His core purpose in life was logical and concise: Preserve the earth, cast out vile humans polluting beautiful lands, be crowned king of a perfect kingdom.
He cast one last glance at his little beast. “Forever shall I remember this moment.”
From the barn window, he observed a bolt of lightning flashing across the clouds. A chill rushed down his spine.
The incident faded…
He drank his wine and smirked. “Aaah, millenniums and millenniums have I awaited. The war shall rage. The Juancarlos twins have I in a tournament―but the one that triumphs shall be mine, and the magical power of the Monster Stone therewith,” he spoke, chuckling to himself. “Yes indeed, yes indeed!”
“Your Majesty,” whispered an eerie voice, “Chloe has been punished, or disqualified, from the tournaments as a result of violent behavior directed toward your granddaughters.”
The words snatched Nicholas’s attention.
He glanced across the room at the Dark Knight. “Disqualified, huh? Her violent actions intrigue me. She is reckless, burning in rage. Is that not correct, Sir Deandre?”
“Correct,” the Dark Knight answered. “She remains locked in the foulest and darkest cell. She must be wishing she was in that room that, however boring and dull, I recall you chose specifically for her.”
“Hmmm, interesting.” Nicholas drummed his fingers against the turquoise table. “Without Chloe in the tournaments, Zoe remains bound to stand victorious.” He glowered. “How dare those Nameless Daughters spoil this plan. It was an intention of mine to have the twins compete against one another―compete against danger itself. Once one of the twins has won, I shall have knowledge about what sister the prophecy speaks concerning.”
“I don’t believe I am familiar with this prophecy,” Sir Deandre stated. “May I ask what it is about?”
“Well, allow me to explain.” Nicholas stroked his beard. “There once lived these entirely random twins, alright? Chloe and Zoe! As the prophecy claims, one shall be strangled in the corrupt nature of darkness. While the other shall receive extreme power, but upon the land create horrendous destruction.”
The Dark Knight flashed crooked teeth. “Interesting.”
Nicholas smirked. “I wholeheartedly agree.”
Her cell was built of stone and metal.
The flickering of torches vanished in the distance, abandoning her in utter darkness. She grimaced and clenched pale-knuckled fists.
Memories flooded her mind. Eric’s clever and little parties. Sarah’s amazing and wondrous pies. Allison and Dominic. But several moments in particular she treasured; frolicking in dazzling gardens―the exquisite flowers, sweet and delicate, sparkling in multiple varieties.
She collected the beauteous scarlet blossoms. Although, her twin proved less selective in her choices; gathering in her basket each flower she obtained. Once returning home, she and her sister created brilliant flower-decorated wreaths. Later their mother prepared a dinner, scrumptious and delightful.
Chloe blinked at the distant memories, massaging her temple.
What pleasant times, she mused. Oh, what pleasant, pleasant times…
She sighed and pursed her lips, taking in her pitch-dark surroundings.
A little rodent skulked past.
She froze, startled.
Dozens of squeaks rang in her ears. She crinkled her brow, making out bustling shapes in the dark. Grotesque tails and twinkling eyes.
I believe these critters are Nicholas’s minions, Chloe assumed. Aaah, how interesting.
She hissed and snarled her lips.
“Be gone! Be gone!” she shrieked. “Be gone, putrid scoundrels!”
The rats dispersed and vanished in the shadows. Their excessive scratching and squeaking, as well as their other bothersome noises, ceased. All was silent.
“Well, that was odd,” she stated. “I was expecting a startled reaction, of course, but how those rats all disappeared at once was… abnormal.”
“Yes, rather abnormal. I must agree.”
She spun at the thunderous voice, tendrils of wild, dark hair dangling over her blue eyes. A golden light blazed and vanished from sight. A distinct, rather pale figure emerged. Although, in the eerie darkness, he remained visible; his glow-in-the-dark appearance proved bright and glamorous. She recognized him at once.
“Hello.” The Monster King winked a sparkling emerald-colored eye. “Miss me?”
Chloe peered out her cell bars, inspecting his marvelous golden crown and scarlet cloak. “No. Should I?”
“Yes.” He chuckled. “I have arrived to strike a deal.”
Chloe studied his unreadable expression. He possessed a rather mysterious aura.
“You wanna make a deal with me?” She glared. “Who are you? I mean, what’s your name?”
“Merubalos de Albiro, the Monster King,” he replied in eloquence. “Monarch of a distant realm.”
“And what about this deal?” she demanded.
“Patience,” Merubalos spoke, arching a sarcastic eyebrow. “This deal I offer requires a simple choice. Should I grant you freedom, would you serve along with me in this war against Nicholas?”
Her lips curled in aggression. “Look, I don’t mean to sound like Zoe, but I’d cut out Nicholas’s heart. So, uh, yeah, this deal I accept…”
She grimaced in pain and clutched the cell bars for support.
Merubalos extended a hand. “Are you well?”
“No! Do I look well?” She met his blank gaze. “I have been starving, then beaten until I was unconscious, and here I awake in a freezing, dark cell! This castle has driven me insane!” She groaned. “Oh and, uh, no wonder Zoe became a dagger collecting, violent assassin! Nicholas, imprisoning and deceiving her, must have resulted in her misfortune. Oh, that wizard couldn’t be worse.”
She bit her lip.
“Well, Nicholas has proven rather callous with lives.” Merubalos stared into the distance. “He views humans as overpopulated parasites infesting an earth he swore to preserve.”
Chloe opened her mouth. The Monster King silenced her raising his hand.
“Ages in the past, the King privileged humankind with magic. Unfortunately, the Dark One stole their magic and twisted it. Nicholas received magical powers from his evil master, allowing him to manipulate and communicate with beasts, resulting in his obsession with animals. From then on, Nicholas viewed animals as unique and peculiar creatures, however, unlike humans,” Merubalos spoke with a sigh. “Now, little child, hear this ancient tale.
“Once upon a time in the woodlands, Nicholas declared an intriguing fox his most wondrous friend. But one dark night a human exterminated his little fox. Furious, he clung to a bitter and angry grudge against humankind. It might sound a little dramatic―”
“Please, I don’t want to hear more about Nicholas,” Chloe interrupted, waving her fingers dismissively. “That imbecile, I have noticed, is a sadistic, psychotic, cranky, foolish, obnoxious, animal-obsessed wizard of a freak! He’s downright sickening!” She sucked in a breath. “Just unlock this cell. Alright?”
“Well, that was rude,” Merubalos stated. “I sensed that in your distress you desired an explanation concerning the dark origin of Nicholas, so I was providing you an explanation in an attempt to deliver clarity to your mentally disturbed, fatigued mind. Nevertheless, I shall release you.”
At his words, the metal door creaked open. She blinked and staggered from her cell.
“Let us depart,” Merubalos spoke, “to a land of monsters.”
She frowned, inspecting his oddly blank, rather robotic, expression.
“Well…” She clasped her hands against each other. “Well, uh, about that Monster Stone… Uh, where is it?”
He raised his chin, his gaze, however blank and emotionless, sharp and perceptive. “You mean this?”
Chloe froze at the stone in his palm, glinting in multiple vibrant colors.
“Yes.” She straightened her shoulders. “Uh, can I have it?”
“Not quite yet. Not quite yet,” he spoke, his voice stern. “You must demonstrate self-control and pureness of heart. You must defeat Nicholas. Although, without the Monster Stone.”
“What? You’re weird.” She gaped. “I can’t defeat Nicholas without the Monster Stone.”
“Incorrect,” he replied. “I chose you, Chloe, rather than Zoe. Although, you must prove loyal and valorous should I grant you the Monster Stone, as well as pass a certain test: Ending Nicholas’s reign.” He frowned. “I lack information on whether you have knowledge of this, but a dangerous prophecy, or foretelling, doeth concern me.”
She cocked her head and folded her arms.
“Huh. You don’t trust me having the Monster Stone―uh, no offense, but don’t be delusional. Oh, and speaking of prophecies…” She raised a hand to her lips, wide eyed. “Oh.”
It struck her in the heart.
Images fluttered through her mind. Nicholas seated at a stone table. The cards in his palm. Eldymartt aflame, burning in ashes and smoke.
His each taunting little word, cruel and dark… “The most beautiful part is that one of two daughters, Chloe and Zoe, will be gifted with the gift of power! One of two daughters, Chloe and Zoe, will bring great destruction! And one of two daughters, Chloe and Zoe, will side with the darkness!”
She shuddered at Nicholas’s nightmarish cackling, clutching her temples.
Her dream. The prophecy. This was all making sense.
“Child, I believe you are experiencing extreme distress. Nevertheless, do be logical and sensible. Alright? Meanwhile, let us depart,” the Monster King continued, “and abandon this castle of rot.”
A swirling circular, transparent portal materialized in midair.
“An entrance to the land of monsters,” Merubalos declared. “A grand kingdom indeed!”
Chloe furrowed her brow. She glanced from the stone to the Monster King, and to the stone again. An irresistible urge, almost like a voice, screamed in her ears, “Steal the stone!”
Steal the stone? But stealing was wrong. Chewing on her lip, she shook her head.
What other choice was there? She was a mere girl. How else was she to defeat Nicholas, the magical wizard of animals, a powerful Shadow Reaper roaming the earth since the Beginning? She couldn’t! She couldn’t defeat Nicholas without the stone!
“You coming along?” Merubalos admired the magical stone in his palms. “Time is limited. At once we must transport ourselves through the portal.”
“Alright, alright, alright…” Chloe gritted her teeth. “I’m coming.”
She sucked in a breath as she approached the portal, her subtle fingers outstretched. Her lips curled in a mischievous smile.
“Uh, Merubalos, before we, uh, enter the portal…,” She delivered a punch to his nose and snatched the Monster Stone. “Before we enter the portal, uh, well, I must thank you for this magical, uh, gift.”
Stunned, Merubalos grasped her wrist. His original expression transformed to one of steely anger. She glared in return, and squeezed her fingers tight around the stone. A blue spark descended from her fingertips, striking the Monster King in the heart.
He gasped and stumbled. His golden crown clattered against the stone floor.
“You devious serpent!” he hissed, a venomous glint in his eyes. “This wasn’t the deal!”
“No, I’m afraid not.” She raised her chin. “But I must protect the kingdom―and that requires this.”
She grinned and gestured to the magical stone.
“Look, I don’t wish to inflict further pain upon you. However, should you be a hindrance, I won’t hesitate to obliterate you,” she spoke with a flourish of her fingers. “Farewell!”
Chloe clenched the stone in her grasp. Strands of gold illuminated the darkness and enveloped her. The stone sparked, and in a flash of glorious bluish-white flames, she disappeared.
She emerged within a garden.
Lush grass and fragrant flowers spread out before her. Looming over her in beautiful vastness, she beheld wondrous and azure sky.
“Oh, I love this!” she squealed, hands in the air. “Freedom at last!”
She froze and glanced at her dress. The velvet fabric, no longer vibrant as it once was, was dreadfully hideous.
“Whatever!” She laughed, clenching the stone as magic swirled between her fingers.
Magical sparkles of gold and crimson rose in the air and, once surrounding her, clung onto her. At once increasing in size, the sparkles connected to create one dazzling formation: Her extravagant dress, vivid as flames.
Chloe raised the stone in the air. “Well, a purse for this might be nice. But what color? Perhaps I should choose gold.”
She snapped her fingers. A golden purse materialized from thin air.
“Ta-da!” She snatched her magical creation. “Perfect! Flawless!”
Concealing the Monster Stone within her beauteous purse, she smiled and marched forth.
Thrilled, she spun about dozens of roses, daisies, sunflowers, and daffodils. Golden sunlight flowed over a stone fountain of glistening liquid and waterlilies. She gasped and leaned over, consuming the refreshing water. Sighing in relief, she wiped at the liquid trickling down her chin.
A disturbing croak interrupted the silence. She froze, observing a well-camouflaged frog splashing within the fountain.
The mere amphibian unnerved her. Was that another minion of Nicholas? Of course it was… What else might it be?
She shuddered in the castle’s immense, uninviting shadow. Raising her chin, she clenched her fists and tightened her jaw.
With the Monster Stone, Chloe intended on curing her sister of the wizard’s mind poison―and their relationship would then be restored. During the process, however, she might perhaps dispose of Nicholas.
She admitted the idea was strange. And she was rather temperamental and insane. But she was determined to rescue her sister from the Shadow Reaper regardless of her circumstances.
Chloe crossed her arms and trudged forth. “Sister, I’m coming.”
Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
Me: "Write every inch of your future."
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