It wasn't that simple to slip away from the crowd that night, they later found out. There was always someone who wanted to be the first to introduce them to Leal.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡHpSEt8rd5v
“I didn’t know he was this well liked,” Aizen said. It’s harder to pin him if it’s like this.
“That doesn’t matter,” Akun said through the corner of his mouth. “We have to get away. I think I’ve located the portal.”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡpy6capeXC2
“That was fast.”
“Do you still think magic users as agents are a bad thing?”
“Yes,” Aizen said. “Well, most of the time. This is an exception.”
“Get us out of here,” Akun said through gritted teeth as a few people leaned over him to see something that was happening on the other side of the room.
Aizen snorted and pulled Akun from underneath the people and off the bench. Their spots were instantly claimed by three others.
“I felt it in here,” Akun said, stopping outside the cellar door.
Creepy, Aizen thought. “Let’s do this.” He pulled the handle and it creaked open. Cool air came through the doorway and made them shiver.
“Oooh yeah, it’s definitely here,” Akun said. He stepped through with Aizen right behind him. Both of them unsheathed the knives they brought with them. The knives were coated with a powerful spell that allowed them to destroy any spirits from the underworld with just one well-aimed thrust. But if the spirit had the chance to touch even their hair, they could be tracked down by other spirits on Halloween for the rest of their lives.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ5GINHbmXBc
“Larger, stronger, darker,709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6upEeXDnD7
Spirits appear, spirits appear,
Grow as one, as one you grow
Larger, stronger, darker…”
“What the heck is that?” Aizen whispered.
Akun closed his eyes for a moment. “It’s a relatively straightforward spell. It’s made of multiple verses. This one…it’s on the third verse; one is chanted per day. This started on Halloween.”
“I don’t understand.” Aizen whispered. He shook Akun’s shoulder. “What does it mean? These verses in particular, Akun.”
“The first line is of the portal. The ‘darker’ refers to the darkness of the portal. He’s calling up evil spirits. They could vary from ghosts to monsters the size of buildings. The next two are of the spirits. The last line of the spirits connects to the first verse, as how the previous day’s verse connects with the first verse of this day.”
Aizen stared at Akun, unable to grasp the pattern of the spell. This is the reason why I didn’t take Magical Theory. He was afraid to ask, “How many days are there?”
“Ten. We’ve come on the third, so it’s weak. But it still takes a lot of effort. Even the strongest magician working alone will be engulfed by the fifth day. We have a chance of shutting the portal tonight.”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPscfqZzVfe
“Then let’s do it,” Aizen said and took in a deep breath to steady himself. The two of them crept down the steps and into the open.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡEoXpdgW8JH
There was a small cauldron in the middle of the room. The cellar was empty of wine but the shelves were covered with flickering candles. The Vansons’ magician was in the centre of the cellar. He continued to chant and did not notice them. In front of the magician was a portal that was bigger than any Aizen had seen.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡL6QH4ioYD2
“If that’s how it looks on the third day, I’d hate to see the one on the tenth.”
“Which is why it’s a good thing we’re here now. There’s no monster. That’s good. We can close the portal peacefully and forget about fighting it. Don’t bother me.”
Aizen frowned as Akun crept up on the magician and began to chant the counter spell. Aizen looked from Akun to the magician. 709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ8mYDyFDUvO
“What are you doing?” Aizen hissed. He was watching both of them carefully while trying to pay attention to the cellar door. It wouldn’t be a good thing if someone suddenly came down here. But that wasn’t his main problem. His main problem was that his partner was going to kill himself.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡsCZHYgaeGj
The magician shuddered and stuttered. Akun took this chance to chant over the wizard’s weakening voice.
“If the actual spell’s wearing him out like that, then won’t it wear you out just the same with the counter?” Aizen demanded. He didn’t expect a reply. Aizen circled the magician carefully, with his blade deathly close to the magician.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡBSt90tUh6i
Aizen swore and placed himself in the mage's line fo sight. “Make one wrong move and I’ll take you down.”
The magician stared wide eyed at Aizen as Akun started on the second day’s counter spell.
Aizen quickly turned to look at the portal. Then he turned back to the magician, only to spin back to face the black portal. Was it just him, or did something move in there?709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ4gG5dIEttc
He continued to stare at it as Akun’s steady voice echoed in the room.
“There’s something coming out of there,” Aizen said slowly and got his knife ready in a throwing position. First came three bony, black and shadowed fingers. Each was about as long as his forearm.
“Oh, boy,” he muttered.
The head came through next. It was bald but he could feel the evil seeping out of it. He heard Akun’s voice quicken, becoming more urgent. Then the other hand came through.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡlcewQPXth5
Aizen got ready to throw, waiting for the weak point of the shadow ghoul to appear. It lifted its head and stared at Aizen with its hollowed eyes. Aizen felt his soul shudder and his body went cold. The shadow ghoul opened its black, bottomless mouth in a silent scream. Blackness came out in whispers of fog toward him.
Aizen backed away as the fog became black icicles. They shot out like arrows and he knocked the first two away easily with the blade. He threw himself to the side to avoid the dozen that came flying toward him.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ2GDeizU12o
“Blast it,” he said and turned around.
Aizen felt himself go pale and he lost his breath. Akun was frozen to the spot as he chanted. "Akun," Aizen said in a stunned voice.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡuJET6FNlFA
A shadowy hand was wrapped around Akun's neck.
“Akun!” Aizen shouted and ran to him. Akun was shaking his head furiously, raising one hand. His eyes were telling Aizen that he was almost done. He was on today’s counter spell. Helpless, Aizen looked at the magician. He was on the floor, exhausted from summoning the shadow ghoul.
Aizen turned back to the shadow ghoul and Akun. The hand was forming into a solid one and if he didn’t do something fast, he didn’t know what would happen. He threw the knife into the knot connecting the arm to the shadow ghoul’s shoulder. It let out a scream that existed only in Aizen's mind and he clutched his head in pain. The hand fell but the shadow ghoul remained. It reached for Akun again and Aizen shook his head to clear it. He leaped at it with his second knife. He spotted the sole white spot on its back: the weak spot of any shadow ghoul.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡo48AeyO6US
With a shout, he stabbed it with the knife.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡcYcG206oc6
The shadow ghoul made a frenzy attempt to escape and to grabbed for Aizen. Aizen was in the middle of free-fall and unable to manoeuvre out of the way.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiwaZFcspSu
“And disappear!”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ3hlbET9aw1
Akun’s last words of the counter spell were shouted right at the shadow ghoul. Akun winced and gripped his pounding head in one hand as the shadow ghoul turned to smoke. Its remains were pulled back into the portal even as the opening was shrinking. When it was finally gone, only a slither of a crack was left to mark where the portal had opened.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡEUcw9iH3zW
“You didn’t have to do that,” Akun said to Aizen. “I had it under control.”
“If that was under control, I’ve been using the wrong word for when I have things uncontrolled,” Aizen said. “If I didn’t help you, it could have sucked out all your energy. Then we would be doomed.”
Akun’s nose twitched. “That’s true. Thank you, Aizen.”
Aizen grunted and turned to the magician. He was awake and climbing the stairs to get away. “Oh, no you don’t. You are coming with us,” Aizen said.
The cellar doors creaked open. Akun glanced up and at the same moment, pressed a hand to Aizen’s face.
“What are you doing?” Aizen demanded and was about to shove Akun’s hand away when the younger boy uttered a word. Then Aizen felt a dark, thick piece of cloth fall snugly over his face like a mask. His clothing also became black. Aizen spotted the red band and recognised the Guard's symbol. A part of him noticed that the uniform wasn't quite the same as the one he wore for his regular job as the Guard's apprentice, but that wasn't important right now.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡR02KVApr6K
“Leal,” Akun whispered before he shifted into his rat form and made the clothes he wore disappear with him.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡy7iWG1vlh0
Just great, Aizen thought. He pulled out another knife and stepped into the light of the candles. Leal was half way down the steps.
“Stop!” Aizen shouted. Leal froze and stared at him.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡXZgLuCdGDY
“Who are you, and what have you done to the magician?” Leal demanded.
“The magician is under the arrest for treason! And you, Leal, are also under the same arrest!”
Leal spotted the red arm band on the stranger’s right arm and paled.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡpVC0d90n74
“What are you talking about? Me, committing treason? Preposterous! If you’re going to accuse someone, it would be the magician!”
“Stop!” Aizen shouted when Leal ran back up the stairs.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ2MsJenrvk2
“Forget him,” Rooster said from his shoulder. “We can find him later.”
“Then we take the magician and Murdia.”
“Yes. The Chief will be most interested in our findings. I think I know what the Icians have just tried.”
“And what is that?”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnAFcQCsUog
“To use the afterlife portals that only exist in Enzla to bring back a monster to destroy the Vanson family. They have a great deal of influence at times of war so it’s reasonable that they would become a target.”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡlhNITvCmHd
Aizen gave Rooster a look. "Calling monsters from the underworld? That's a nightmare."709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡw2bf4KanYj
The next day when they went to report to the Chief, the Chief was more astonished and enraged than happy about last night's events.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgihnV3ptuV
“Are you telling me that Leal has a part in this?”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡB2oGTLIpfX
“Yes, we are,” Rooster said. He was sitting on the Chief's desk in his mouse form. “He will be given the Eye starting this afternoon.” Rooster knew that the Chief's own magicians were competent enough to constantly search the kingdom for Leal.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡIr6lGYARpX
“And to think I’ve known him since he was a child,” the Chief said with a faraway look in his eyes. “Good job, you two.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” Rooster said. “I have to go now.”
“A moment, Rooster,” the Chief said. Rooster paused by the rat hole. “Will you continue to work with Aizen?”709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡZihrYGF4ff
Rooster and Aizen looked at each other. Aizen’s eyebrows were up. He wasn’t as whiny as when Rooster first met him. Rooster considered the errand they just finished together.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡaInPyE9Mpr
Aizen still had a lot to learn, but he certainly knew how to handle himself in abnormal (magical) situations. 709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡO32S3hMHZS
For someone who was known as a freak to most people and still held dangerous secrets, Rooster greatly valued Aizen's cool mind and loyalty.709Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡuuJyl56ftN
“I suppose we can work something out.”ns 126.96.36.199da2