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This story, Consort of Illusion I, is being written.

Consort of Illusion is a story written by Sonicfan919. It takes place modern day and it is about the conflict between the male group of telekinetic users called the PES led by a man named Juan Carlos and the female group of magic users simply known as Witches led by the mysterious woman who goes by Gaia. The story deals with the conflict and its effects on the planet as the PES and Witches collide in a bloody clash that could potentially change the face of the planet as we know it.


PrologueEdit

A man in a gray cloak stood on the edge of a cliff during morning. The sun had begun to crawl above the mountains in the east but the clouds in the sky were desperately fighting against it, forcing the man to tighten his cloak as he looked at the water below, waves crashing into the rocks creating a white, soapy foam. The man shivered and smiled.

Behind him, a young woman approached. She was wearing a black, leather skin-tight suit with yellow nodes on the backside, connected by yellow lines. The suit had a black zipper that was slightly unzipped showing a bit of cleavage which the local men had confirmed was "muy impresionante". She didn't care though for they were just words. Once a man touched her chest or her rump that would be when she snapped their sad necks. She had bown skin and brown eyes. Her black hair was arranged in a hime cut. Her face was devoid of any expression.

"Hola, Kola." greeted the man in a low voice that was hard to hear over the crashing waves.

"Hello father." she replied without a hint of warmth. She scanned the area dispassionately. "What are you doing here?"

The man chuckled and turned around. His daughter regarded him as he threw off his cloak, letting the winds take it away for him. Like her, he had brown eyes and a heavy tan. Unlike her, he was completely bald and sported a white goatee. He wore a black, cashmere trench coat over black dress pants, a white and gold dress shirt, and black elevator boots which made him slightly taller than Kola. "I'm simply waiting for sun to break over the mountains, that will be my signal to set out," he explained with a smile.

"Set out where?"she asked in deadpan.

The man threw out his hands. "To find the chosen boys. The boys that will have the power to combat the witches," he explained, turning around after his first sentence.

Kola's eyes widened, finally letting emotion: shock into her voice. "But father, it isn't time yet! We must wait until-" she began, frantically but still quietly.

Her father had cut her off by holding up a hand. "Kola dear, stay calm." he sighed the wind blew Kola's hair into her face and blew the man's trench coat against him. "We must act now. Gaia has made her move and she's as cunning as ever. The gathering has already begun." the man folded his arms.

Kola was still stricken with emotion as fear compelled her to put a hand on her father's shoulder. "Father, let me gather them." she pleaded.

Her father chuckled as he tugged on his goatee. "Yes, it does seem teenage boys would rather follow a beautiful young lady such as yourself than follow an ugly old man such as me but still," he waved his right hand in a circle " you don't know how to do this. You're inexperienced."

Kola put a hand on her heart and threw her other hand towards the mountains."Please father! Just give me two. Two boys to gather and you can get the rest. I will not fail you." she begged.

"Oh all right. Two, that's it," he caved, not wanting to see his daughter cry. He pondered for a bit, tapping his foot. "Get me Joshua and Carmelo," he demanded.

Kola nodded. "Understood father."

The man smiled again. "Go to the usual spot at 9:00 PM once you're done," he said.

Kola nodded again, her emotions draining once more. She would gather Joshua and Carmelo for her father at any cost. She would hate to disappoint the man she respected the most. She sighed, wondering if she finally might have to let a man get away with touching her chest and/or rump.

The man closed his eyes, knowing that once he felt the sun bathe him it would be time to depart. He was comfortable, being back to back with his pride-and-joy, his only child known as the beautiful Kola. The second he felt his cheek growing warmer he opened his eyes. 

"It's time!" him and Kola said in unison.

Without delay the man leapt off the cliff, heading headfirst towards the water.If the fall didn't kill him, the temperature might and if that didn't, the rocks would surely do the job. Just as the man was about to collide with the rocks he flew forward, leaving the cliff and Kola behind him as he rapidly began accelerating as he flew about ten feet above the water, smiling with cockiness. He had no doubts about defeating Gaia.

As her father was leaping off the cliff Kola began running in the direction she came at sixty-seven miles per hour. After ten seconds of running the nodes on her back glowed blue and she leapt ten thousand feet into the air. One of her nodes glowed green and she began flying forward at one-hundred miles per hour, hair hitting her face wildly as she bore a fierce, determined look on her face.

...

In a dark forest located somewhere deep in Britain, two eyelids opened, the first pair of eyes being that of a bird, then a lizard, then cat until finally becoming that of a human with yellow irises.

"Come my children. We must prepare....for battle."

Chapter One: The Gathering/ The PreparationEdit

A teenage girl with brown curly hair was running frantically through the English streets holding a large green suitcase in her left hand. Her strength was exceptional for being able to effortlessly swing the large suitcase so many times though the adrenaline could have been the culprit.

"Sorry! 'Scuse me!." she pardoned as she bumped into the morning cummuters who were tightly packed that day. She had woken up late and had just finished eating a scone when she turned the street. She didn't stop running for she feared that if she stopped running, she would surely pass out. 

She was not going to disappoint her mother again, she was determined to board the train to her new boarding school. Failure was not an option. She began to run faster as a fast-tempo rock song began to pound in her mind. She was now on the street that she needed to be on, causing her eyes to light up. There was hope yet!

Soon she burst into the train station, smiling as she closed in on her destination. She stopped to get her tickets from the automated machine and began running again, waving her ticket frantically in the air. 

To her horror the doors closed and the train began moving forward. She stopped, mouth agape, letting her ticket and suitcase fall to the ground with a flutter and thud. The gray area first filled her with hope but now their colors couldn't be more fitting to her despair. She fell weakly to the ground as she began crying softly, covering her face with one hand and pounding her fist on the ground with the other. "Bullocks, bullocks, bullocks!" she cried in time with her fist colliding with the ground.

She was utterly alone, no one there to console her.

"Do not cry my child." whispered a comforting voice. The girl looked up to see a woman with long, blue hair with green tips and yellow eyes. She only wore a long, blue dress that seemed to bear grass stains. Her sleeves looked much to big for her and as such, hid her hands from view. Though her voice was comforting she looked as if she was suffering from an eternal sadness.

The girl stood up. "Who are you?" she inquired.

The woman folded her arms. "I am you. I am the sky. The birds, the seas, the love, the hate, the essence of everything that was here." she explained. "I am Gaia."

The girl took a step back. "You're the earth?" she asked.

Out of nowhere, a wind began to pick up, blowing Gaia's dress, revealing that she had lacked shoes. "You fear the earth child?" she asked.

The girl shook her head as she was almost at the exit. "No, I don't but you're crazy. Y-you're not the earth. Y-you shouldn't be on the track." she stammered.

Gaia chuckled as the door leading outside turned to stone. "Get off the tracks that I created?" she asked with a devious smile. "That's quite strange, don't you think Lillian?" she asked.

Lillian turned her head slightly to see the door was not usable and gave out a shriek. "How do you know my name?" she questioned.

Gaia sighed. "You said I was the Earth Lillian." she sighed with an annoyed smile.

Lillian gave out a pained screamed as her flesh began to burn. She clutched her stomach and held her breath, successfully stopping herself from crying out in pain. Once the pain stopped she pulled up her shirt to investigate. In her stomach was a circle with a cross, the middle of the circle and cross being her belly button.
Earthsymbol-250x230

The symbol

Lillian's eyes widened. "What the blumming 'eck did you do to me?!" she cried.

Gaia smiled, seemingly cured of her sadness. "I gave you an outlet to channel your spiritual powers. Now come with me. There is much you must learn." she made clear.

Lillian shook her head. "There's no way I'm coming with you! I'm going home to-"

Gaia cut her off, closing her eyes as her smile widened. "To tell your mother? To ell her you failed her yet again? How will she react knowing that you missed the train? She'll be very disappointed in you Lillian." she stated.

Lillian looked down. "How long will I be gone?" she asked.

"How long were you suppose to be gone for school?"

Lillian scowled as she walked forward.

Gaia waved her left hand. "You'll need your suitcase child."

With a sigh Lillian used all her strength to lift it up but to her surprise, the bag went up so high it touched the ceiling of the train facility before falling back into her hands. She stared at her hands in awe.

Gaia smiled as she turned around, creating a path of fresh leaves that seemed to go down eternally and with reluctance, Lillian followed carrying her heavy suitcase that felt lightweight.

                                                                                        ...

Meanwhile in Japan, a youth was riding a motorcycle down a busy expressway high above the ground at 70 miles per hour, skillfully dodging the incoming cars with a twisted grin. He had removed the muffler so that his motorcycle would produce as much noise as possible. He wore a leather jacket with a picture of a dog's head on the back. Once he was done weaving through trafic and exited the highway several police cars were in pursuit of him.

"Damn!" he exclaimed.

He gained speed in an attempt to shake them then he saw more police cars in front of him. With a growl he gave a quick hand swipe, causing one of the cars to ram into the other one. With a snap they exploded. He leapt high into the air with his motorcycle to escape the explosion and landed unscathed onto the ground. 

He panted due to him exhausting his energy. He looked behind and saw the flames, convinced that the police would need to tend to that before they would begin hunting him again. He slowed down his bike and began walking it. He was pissed that he was the only member of the gang now. It it weren't for his powers he would have been toast. He walked his bike into an abandoned building and rested against the wall, his heart beating fast.

"Good afternoon." greeted a voice causing the boy to jump.

"I have been waiting here Mr. Hashizawa." the voice continued.

The boy lit a cigarette. "How did you know I was here old timer?" he panted.

The man chuckled and walked down the stairs so the boy could see him. "I have my ways boy."

"So, do you have any drugs? Cause if not..." he inhaled the smoke then exhaled. "Then piss off foreignor." 

The man threw out his arms. "But I'm in awe of you Gojo Hashizawa." he mockingly cried out. Gojo turned away and folded his arms in disgust. "You and your telekinetic powers."  Gojo's eyes opened wide at the mention of telekinetic powers. He quickly grabbed the man by the collar and pushed him against a wall. "What the hell do you know of my powers?!" he demanded.

The man grinned as he made Gojo fly upwards, crashing into the floor above him through the power of his mind alone. "I know that you had it all your life and after an accident about a year go some doctors began giving you pills which gives the illusion of your powers enchancing." he shouted so Gojo could hear him.

Gojo groaned as he rubbed his head. "My whole life? You're wrong and thos pills are the real deal."

The man laughed loudly. "You poor, poor thing. No they're not, you've had those powers all your life. Those pills simply make them easier to come out but relying on those pills will wreck your body." he saw a trickle of blood fall from the hole he created. "As they are now."

Gojo growled. "Then how am I gonna' survive huh? Tell me how to live in these streets without the pills!"

The man slowly floated upwards until he was above the hole he made. "You had these powers at birth. Even though you may not think so you are a genious. With my help I can help you use your powers without those pills, without the pain."

Gojo smiled. "Okay then old man. But if you cross me I'll put a cap in your ass then slice you up." he threated as he twirled a pistol connected to a yoroidōshi.

The man roared with laughter. "One day, I'd like to see you try." Gojo's eyes widened as him and the man began to ascend into the air quickly. "Come now. Let's go meet your comerades."

                                                                                    ...

The wind was howling as a girl with blonde hair, a blue scarf wrapped around her neck, obscuring her mouth and nose and a purple wool hat with a fluffy ball on top was desperately fighting against the strong, cold wind.

She kept pressing on until she was able to find a log cabin and rest. Once she went inside she let out a sigh, knowing that she was well off her course. She noticed a fireplace with fresh wood resting inside. She hesitated and looked left then right before pointing a finger causing a yellow trail to leave her fingertip then instantly ignite the fire. She looked satisfied in herself as she walked outside, broke off an icicle hanging form the roof, went back inside and sat down while sucking on the icicle.

The ice wasn't very cold to her, she was pretty used to it, she wasn't even wearing a coat, just a yellow cropped turtleneck top that exposed her midriff, a yellow mini-skirt and yellow boots along with the aforementioned scarf and hat. She was from the village of Oymyakon and as such was quite use to frigid temperatures but even compared to the other villagers she seemed especially immune to the cold. She chalked it up to the powers that her grandmother informed her that she possessed but she never was suppose to use.

Problem was she did use her powers, to hunt and hike and the more she used her powers, the harder it was becoming to stop using them. Once the icicle had dwindled down to a nub chewed it then she tucked her head into her knees and began rocking back and forth on the cold wooden floor.

"What's wrong my child?" said Gaia in russian, suddenly appearing in the threshold of the door that was open, allowing the biting wind and snow inside. Gaia's blue and green hair was frozen along with her dress what hid her barefeet but she didn't mind.

The fire went out as the girl remained in her position. "You wouldn't undertstand." dismissed the girl.

"But I do my dear Анфиса (pronounced Afisa (Ah-fee-sah)). You're backed into a wall because you want to use your powers, but society will not let you."

Анфиса turned her head, her blonde curls that ever so slightly came out the bottom of her hat jiggling. "What powers? How do you know me?" she asked.

"Child, I am the Earth. I know all. You are a witch." she walked over to Afisa and took her hand, studying her palm which had an "8". "With powers over the element of ice. You recieved these powers from your mother, who was murdered by your father who found out she was a witch. You're a grandmother was also a witch."

Afisa looked at Gaia in confusion and horror. "Was? She's still alive. What happened to her powers?"

Gaia looked at the ground and shook her head. "Her powers were beginning to run awry and she was tasked with taking care of you, my dear Afisa. She ripped out her left eye, knowing that it would weaken her powers. That is why she wears a glass eye and an eyepatch over her other eye which has weakened with disuse."

Afisa looked horrified. "Why?! Why did she have to do this? Why must I hide my powers?!" she cried, tears welling up. She knew her grandmother, Варвара had a false eye but she was led to believe she lost in in bear wrestling and she thought her mother died in a car-crash. She shook her head, the pain overwhelming her.

Gaia put a hand on Afisa's shoulder. "Because they are afraid child. They are afraid of the unknown but I have a plan that may change the world." she made Afisa stand up and embraced her. "But I need your help."

Afisa nodded. "I'll make my бабушка (grandmother) proud to be a witch." she whispered. 

With an smile from Gaia, Afisa screamed out in agony as she experianced the rare pain of burning on her stomach. She grew weak at the smell of burning human flesh, growing weak and letting Gaia catch her.

"Strong girl." Gaia coaxed.

Afisa looked down, not needed to modify her shirt unlike Lillian to see the Gaia symbol on her stomach.

Gaia had disappeared with a gentle gust of wind but in the fireplace was a seemingly endless trail of leaves. Afisa crouched  down and crawled along the trail.

                                                                      ...

The sun was beating viciously on the man and Gojo as they slowly descended. to the hot ground.They were behind a group of large bushes. The man signaled for Gojo to lie down.

"We are in Australia, not too far from Sydney. They speak English here so you'd best stay here until I'm done." he said in Japanese. With a grunt Gojo complied.

The man pushed through the bush and sighed as he entered a beach. He could go for a dip at least until the boy was looking for arrived.

He went into the water, sighing as he got deeper. He closed his eyes in relaxation feeling the utter joy of the combination of the cool water and the hot sun on his skin.

His eyes quickly opened and narrowed once he sensed danger. He just barely leapt out the way as a fat reptile tried to bite his feet. To his dismay he saw another one scuttling to him at an alarming speed.

He didn't notice the unassuming, quiet boy reading his reptilian encyclopedia. Once he heard the growl of the saltwater crocodile however, he instantly sprang into action, ripping off his white T-shirt, revealing his six-pack abs and pale skin. As he sprinted towards the water, his crocs made their signature sound, his caramel hair flopped around over his greenish-brown eyes and his bright yellow bandanna covered his mouth. He leapt into the water, punching the fat crocodile into the air much to the man's amazement. He moved both arms and threw the crocodile against the water, bouncing as if he was a stone being skipped. 

He shot water at the other one with such force that it tumbled on the beach. "Manic!" he shouted. The crocodile was barraged in all directions as a navy-blue streak enveloped him,hiding it from the view of the man.

Once the crocodile was in sight all that remained was a bloody mess. The man spotted a koala hanging on a tree with a knife in its mouth. The boy looked at the red liquid in horror and covered his wide eyes with a hand. "Manic..you didn't need to kill em'."

With a sigh, the boy moved to the man while in the water but he didn't swim, it was if he was flying through the water for he didn't move a single muscle.

"Crikey mate! You almost died."he cried.

The man scratched his head. "When did you get here?" he asked quizically.

"I was here all day. Readin' me book." he said quizically.

"If I may ask...who are you?"

The boy blinked."Me name's Andy." the koala leapt from the tree to Andy's shoulder. "And this here's Manic." he introduced.

The man folded his arms. "I know a lot about you Andy. Especially about your powers."

"Powers? What powers?" asked Andy.

"Your telekinetic powers that are water based?"

Andy and Manic looked at each other. He shook his head. "That's bungers. This is normal." he said.

The man laughed. "You're so alone. That dog is your best friend so of course you wouldn't know that what you have is definitely. Not normal." 

Andy folded his arms. "And what would you know about-" Andy suddenly sank below the water, unable to get free. Just as he was about to drown, the water parted and the man was floating above him, grinning.

With a hand, Andy got out of the water and picked up the remain's of his shirt and his book. "What do you want?"

The man clapped the boy's back, knocking him forward. "Your strength Andy. There are some very bad guys trying to take over the world and I need you to do what you did to those beasts."

Andy growled, growing red. "They ain't beasts you idiot! They're majestic creatures and I only did it to save your sorry butt before you carked it! I hate killin' animals!" he fumed. " 'Sides." he petted Manic. "Manic did it."

The man contemplated a bit. "If you come with me I can teach you the ways of this world. With that knowledge you can become one with the animals." he finally explained.

Andy looked at the man in slight annoyance. "I'm not sure I follow you. Why would I need to join you? I'm already in-tune with nature."

"Not as much as you can be Andy. I will be going across the world, with me you'll experiance habitats that you could only dream of."

Andy blinked and folded his arms. "So, I follow you and I get to see a buncha' foreign animals?"

The man smiled. "Sure can."

"There's a catch isn't it?"

"Not really. I'll need you to do a bit of work but that's a given."

Andy was silent a bit before looking at his koala companion with a slight smile. "Well, what am I waitin' for? Manic, we're packin ah bags." he said

The man shook his head. "Sorry. The dog has to stay."

Andy closed his eyes and folded his arms. "He's a koala and he goes!"

"I'm not feeding some mangy mutt!" he protested.

"You're an idiot! He's comin' with me! You said it yourself, he's my mate! He goes or I stay!" he defended.

The man sighed and pointed towards the nearest city. "All right, go! Pack your bags before I leave!"

Andy didn't budge. "What do I call you?" he asked.

The man smiled. "You can call me Mr. Carlos. However, I prefer you call me Master Juan." he answered with a smile.

...  

A girl walked through a park alone with a guitar-like instrument on her back. She was smiling and had long black hair and very dark brown irises. She also wore beige pants and a pink hoodie.  She took her đàn nguyệt  which was a two stringed lute. It had been a gift from her father which according to him it contained an incredible power. She began walking with it in her left hand until she was in front of a stone statue depicting a woman pumping a fist into the air with a fierce look of determination as she cradled her dead baby, below her was another determined woman helping a wounded man and near her was a man holding another wounded person.

She nodded at the air several times before singing an upbeat song with the đàn nguyệt. Her eyes were closed as she strummed the đàn nguyệt shaking her hips in time with her strums. Though she was the only one there she played the đàn nguyệt with such life and laughter you would swear she was playing for a packed stadium. It was obvious from her skill, speed and finesse that the girl had practiced with her đàn nguyệt for a long time indeed. Once she finished she bowed to the air. "Thank you for listening." she said as she jogged away in a rush.

She stopped again, this time in the middle of a group of headstones. She held her hands up as if in surrender then slowly went to a tombstone and sat on it. She reached out her hand and let it set their for a moment before she began playing her đàn nguyệt again. This time it was a soft and mournful song. The girl looked sad and sympathetic at the air as tears began to roll down her pale face. Once she finished, she shook hands with the air then trotted along the path further in the park.

She stopped, sensing a strong spiritual power. She smiled. "Are you here to hear me play as well?"

Gaia nodded her head. "I would love to hear you play, Hoài Mi...in my home." she said in Vietnamese.

Hoai Mi smiled widely. "So, the name of Hoài Mi has finally spread far and wide." she bragged.

Gaia smiled. "Yes, the earth is a huge fan of your work. So will you come?"

Hoai Mi turned around and gasped at Gaia's beauty. "Where are you taking me miss?" she asked in awe.

"I'm taking you to my forest in Britain so I can help you with your necromatic powers." she explained.

"Britain!?" she exclaimed gleefully. "And necro-whatic now?" she asked.

"Your powers to talk to the dead. It's impressive compared to what humans can do but with my help you can make the dead rise once again and so much more."

Hoai Mi's eyes widened. "What!? That's incredible! And what do you mean by human? I am a human."

Gaia shook her head. "No child. You are a witch."

Hoai Mi flicked her forehead. "Oooohhhhh! That explains it. Whelp, nothing left to do here. I'm sure my parents will understand. Send them a note as you take me and my đàn nguyệt away!" she said.

Gaia chuckled. "Hold your horses for a bit Hoai Mi." said Gaia. Hoai Mi looked curiously as she felt her stomach heat up. "You may leave now." Gaia smiled as the rest of the trail was suddenly instantly covered with leaves. Hoai Mi skipped happily along the trail with her đàn nguyệt.

...

Kola climbed through the air vents of a large mansion. She wrinkled her nose at the strange scent as she squeezed through the tight space, her suit making a low squeaking sound as she moved. She finally managed to navigate her way through the large house and after removing the covering for a vent, quietly dropped down head first into a luxurious white room. After touching the soft carpet with her hands she preformed a flip to land on her feet then looked around cautiously. 

She noticed a lanky teenager with ash blonde scraggly hair, white Air Maxs  dark gray jeans and a Hawaiian button up shirt. His head was resting peacefully on a pillow as he faced the wall, apparently asleep.

She tiptoed towards the boy and reached over him. He turned to face the ceiling causing Kola to jump back across the room due to being startled. The boy turned again to face her allowing Kola to see his pink skin and gray eyes.

"Hello, Kola." the boy introduced with a soft-smile looking half asleep.

"How the hell do you know my name!?" Kola asked as she began sweating.

"Because of my power. Isn't that what you're here for? Because your dad wants my power?" he asked smiling.  He cocked his hea slightly."Angel?"

Kola growled. "Are you a spy!? Are you following me?" she barked in anger and fear.

The boy face-palmed. "Ugh, slow on the uptake are we?" he groaned. He at up and smiled his little smile. "All right. I'm a mind reader. A telepathic."

Kola folded her arms over her chest, self conscious over the boy who called her "angel". "I don't believe you."

The boy rolled his eyes. "All right then." he sighed with a frown on his face as he put a fist on his chin and looked down towards the ground, his feet planted on the ground. He looked up quickly and saw Kola's arms over his chest. He gave a lone chuckle and closed his eyes while smiling. "Fine. You have a bra-size of triple-k. Saying that's astronomical is putting it mildly." he opened his eyes. "There, happy?"

Losing all restraint Kola rushed towards the smug boy who was staring at her. Once she was in range she gave a mighty punch at the boy's face, slamming him into a wall creating cracks in the white wall.

As the boy slid down Kola grabbed him by the collar growling. She cocked her fist ready for another slugging before she let it fall. "Why aren't you using your powers?" she asked.

The boy raised his eyebrows painfully, his jaw aching. "Of psychokinesis?" he shook his head. "I can only read minds. Sorry."

Kola looked confused. "But...my father is gathering people with vast psychokinetic potential." she stated in confusion.

The boy chuckled. "Sorry, just mind reading and it comes and goes. It's starting to fade right now."

Kola put the boy down in pity. "Maybe my father can help you."

The boy sighed. "Sure, why not? Let me just write a letter to my girlfriend then I'll pack my bags." he said. Kola nodded. The boy began went over to his mahogany desk and began writing down. When he was done he signed "Love, Joshua".

After about ten minutes he went to Kola who was in the dining room eating a taco she had warmed up in the microwave. She frowned at the taco which was not authentic at all. Once Joshua returned he had a large duffel bag. He took out a one-piece swimming suit and tossed it to Kola who looked at in in confusion. 

"A gift." he said. "Let's take a dip in the pool before leaving." he offered.

"Yeah, no."

"Oh come on. You're making me leave my beautiful Beverly Hills home and my faithful girlfriend for some scraggly old man?" he asked frowning.

Kola gritted her teeth. "Fine." she said, not wanting to beat Joshua bloody and drag him. She took the swimming suit and head to the bathroom to change out of her leather suit into the swimming one with great reluctance.

...

Somewhere far off in Bolivia stood a mansion in the heart of a foggy forest. Animals screeched as birds flapped their wings and monkeys screamed. The mansion was in a state of sad decrepitude, the windows were smashed, holes were in the roof, allowing the animals inside and there were no longer doors.

Gaia looked around the main hall in sadness. Such a beautiful house lain to waste but this is what simply happens each and every time man tried to take what was not his.

"Xaviera! Xaviera! Where are you!?" she called out, cupping her hands. Gaia looked towards the ground in sadness for she did not detect the young girl. She must have been killed long ago. She sighed as she was preparing a portal. 

Gaia quickly stopped preparing her portal and perked up as she sensed a quick movement behind her. She was about to dismiss it as an animal before she jumped at a high-pitched cackling. She spun around to see a young girl no older than eight in a pouncing position. Her mouth was bloody and she bore a wicked smile. Like Gaia, she was barefoot, she possessed a tattered nightgown that was growing too small for her, it had a hole that exposed her lower left ribcage and back and the white nightgown now bore blood and grass stains and was missing its right strap causing the right side of it to sag. Her eyes were bloodshot and her black hair was extremely long, touching the ground and still spreading out. She had a very like tan-ish complexion showing she was a Mestizo.

Gaia held out her left hand. "Come, Xaviera your mother is here."

Xaviera shot a blast of fire from her bloody mouth at Gaia who let it pass through her with shock. 

"I don't need no mama! I'll kill ya!" Gaia sensed her scream as she ran forward, creating an electric barrier.

Once again Gaia let the girl pass through her. The girl quickly spun around and moved her hair out of her face. She reached into her hair and took out a stick. "Tuta chakakuq!" she shouted as a large dark purple beam quickly fired from her stick towards Gaia.

Gaia gasped in horror but couldn't react due to the sheer speed of the beam and she stumbled back as it pierced her chest, leaving a large gaping hole in her chest which left no trace of blood.

She coughed on the ground trying to regain her bearings. She is dangerous, yes. Even to me so there's no telling what she can do to the other witches but I must stay strong. She will be a valuable asset in the fight. Before she knew it, Xaviera drooled her rancid saliva as she leered over the injured earth with an intense hunger. She snapped down to make a bite at the tall woman when Gaia gave a powerful kick at the girl, causing her to fly in the air and crash out the house.

Gaia teleported behind Xaviera and grabbed her by the neck. "You will obey me. You are powerful due to your isolation but you are weak in mind." she whispered fiercely. She slammed Xaviera on the ground while still holding her for she wasn't exactly sure what the growling, drooling girl was capable of. Xaviera cried out in pain, emitting a horrible shriek as her flesh was burned with the symbol of Gaia. 

Gaia picked up the girl and tossed her to the side. With a snap a cougar appeared out of the ground and ran down a path of leaves, prompting the feral girl to chase it.

Gaia sighed as she mended her wound, quickly closing at her touch. Xaviera was already so powerful Gaia wasn't sure her branding was needed. Her power was so immense she was able to mask the energy that all humans emit. To Gaia it was that of a kinkajou.

...

Juan, Gojo, Manic and Andy walked down a dirt road as pick-up trucks playing loud, strange sounding music passed them prompting Gojo to flip them off and Andy to leave the road, cautious of them hitting him.

"Where are we?" asked Andy.

Juan stretched as he walked. "We're in the deep south of the United States of America, not terribly long my homeland. We're in Alabama to be exact." he answered.

The quartet kept walking until they were at a wooden gate, behind it a lush grass field and a house with wood burning.

"Wait here." commanded Juan. Gojo answered with a grunt, Manic with a snorting sound not unlike that of a boar, and Andy simply confirmed with a quick nod. Without further delay Juan jumped over the fence and by the time he landed on the ground he was invisible. He kept walking through the beautiful, clean cut field until he came across a beat up brown pick-up truck. Inside he saw a boy with black spiky hair that went down to his neck. He was wearing a button-up yellow short-sleeved shirt and was loudly snoring away with a brown cowboy hat on his face.

Juan knocked quietly once on the door causing the boy to shout out "Who's there!?" and fumble around the seat before he calmed himself down and caught his hat. After scanning the area he closed his eyes, preparing for the sweet embrace of sleep to comfort him once more.

Juan growled. "Yeah, no." he snared before he blew the door off, sending it flying towards faraway cows, startling them. The boy tumbled out and looked up seeing Juan as he became visible once more right in fornt of his eyes.

"H-how did you do that?" asked the boy in shock.

"Because, I have trained long and hard for the power I posses today and you can posses this power too Zackari if you just follow me."

Zack made a dash for it, running towards his house, trying desperately to get as far away from Juan as quickly as possible. Juan gave a 'tsk' and tried to pull Zack back but to his shock the boy resisted it and continued to run forward.

Juan teleported in front of Zack. "What's the matter boy?" 

Zack stopped in his tracks. "You ain't kidnappin' me!"

Juan chuckled quietly. "I never kidnapped anyone before Zack."

Zack frowned. "I have the feeling that you have and that you will kidnap more people." 

This statement caused Juan to bend over and grin, face-to-face with Zack. "It's not kidnapping if you come What is there to lose?" he asked.

Zack clenched his fist. "I'll be leaving my mom and-"

"And what!?" Juan snapped, still keeping his smile which proved to be an eerie sight indeed. "And what? Your brother that disappeared!? Your sister that you love but for some reason are not attached to. You want to help everyone and you try your hardest but you never feel needed. Face it you know you were destined for greater. You can feel it in your very veins boy!"

Zack's eyebrows turned down as he scowled. "Stop actin' like you know me you old freak! I am needed! My family depends on me! I love my sisters and I am very attached to them so you can take that mess somewhere else! If you were tellin' the truth, leave and do what?! Abandon my family because I feel a little insecure? No one else will help them! God knows where my brother and father ran off to."

Juan put a hand on the boy's quivering shoulder. "It's all right child. With me you could help a lot of people, not just your family. You can help protect them from a great evil."

Zack looked up at Juan quizzically. "A great evil? What great evil?"

Juan put his hands behind his back. "In due time dear boy."

Zack folded his arms. "I'm fine helping my family. It may sound selfish but I have to worry bout them first."

Juan smiled. "You've got a heart boy. Riddle me this though, what if you could get sronger. I know you struggle with your family. So I was wrong about some other things but I am right about this. Some days, you indeed struggle. What if I told you with my help you could become stronger with your family and help them be comfortable for the rest of their lives?"

Zack looked down on the ground heart heavy.

Satisfied, Juan stepped away. "Say good bye to your mother if you want." he said as he was walking away. He then stopped. "I'm a god you say?"

"I never said that." stated Zack in confusion.

Juan smiled. "But I thought you said only god knows where your father and brother are."

Zack's eyes lit up but in a flash Juan was gone. He then jogged to his house to pack his bags

..

A bit later Zack (now with his book-bag) climbed over the fence and jumped down to the dirt ground. His eyes lit up instantly when he saw other people his age. He held out a friendly hand to Andy first.

"Howdy!? The name's Zack Smith. It's a pleasure to meet ya."

Andy looked at the boy;s hand with his eyelids half-closed. He finally decided to greet, "G'day,  the name's Andy." he introduced, muffled through his bandana, accepting the hand.

Zack's eyes widened so much Andy was a tad bit afraid they might pop out. "No way! You're Australian! That's awesome!" he exclaimed causing Andy to grow a bit embarrassed. Manic scuttled over form the trees to hop back on his companion's shoulder.

Zack walked over to Gojo and held out a hand. "Howdy! The name's Zack Smith. It's a pleasure to meet ya."

Gojo examined at him coldly. "What the hell do you think you're doing you stupid foreignor? Do you know who I am? God, I can't understand you but I can tell that what you're saying is stupid! You look stupid! I can tell that you're some country hick. Going around holding out your hand like you can hold a candle to me? Teh, please I am the great Gojo. Get the fuck out my way before I-" he ranted in Japanese

"Whoa! You're Japanese! That's sweet! Do you like godzilla!?" he asked.

Gojo's eyes lit up in recognition. "Gojira...?"

Juan, who's arms were folded and was turned away turned towards the boys. "If you are finished then let's go." he stomped the ground, causing the group to float in the air and Zack to look below him in amazement. He was happy, feeling that he had made the right choice.

...

The location was that of utter beauty the sky was the usual blue with large puffy clouds swimming in it tall evergreen trees surrounded the large field of yellow grass. In the field was a falun red wooden house on a slope and on the slope. 

Near the house cows were mooing and a beautiful maiden was milking a cow while sitting elegantly on a stool. Her young face looked like it bore perpetual sadness. She was bored out of her mind. If she had water she could just use her powers to poof up milk but she felt like a challenge today. She sighed, wishing silently to herself that someday someone might whisk her away from this dull land. To others it was absolutely beautiful but to her it bored her to a death.

"Moo." said the cow.

"Moo." she said cutely mimicking it teasingly. "You're such a big oaf." she said.

The girl looked like she was a beautiful actress plucked straight from the silent era of movies. Her light brown curls quivered as she half-heartedly laughed at the cows and birds around her. She wore an elegant white dress with a lot of ruffles that she created herself, a matching white gainsborough hat and bore no shoes thus allowing the world to see her cute and perfect pale feet.

She rubbed her eyes and yawned as she rose from her seat. She rubbed her eyes again and yes, that was a tall woman who was riding atop a black eight-legged horse towards her.

Once Gaia was above the girl she stopped to catch her breath. Gaia was in no means an ugly woman, in fact many who saw her claimed she was the most beautiful woman they had ever laid eyes on but in the face of this plain girl Gaia had to stop to catch her breath. She was beautiful, she was glad that she had such a lovely child.

"Hello my dear child. You've been chosen to assist me in battle." she said, in Swedish.

The girl motioned to her animals.

"Do not worry my child. I shall protect your animals."

The girl looked confusedly at Gaia.

"I am the earth. I protect all animals."

With a hmph the girl turned around and folded her arms.

Gaia sighed. "Please, I need your help."

"What does the earth need a boring girl like me for?" she asked.

Gaia smiled warmly "You are not boring. Please, I need your help to stop a great evil."

The girl turned around and looked very sadly at Gaia. "You can feel it too?" she asked.

Gaia's eyebrows raised. "Why yes. You can sense it?"

The girl nodded. "If you need my help then I won't refuse. I have nothing better to do you see." she picked up her dress and began walking towards the red house. "Can I bring Kajsa?" she asked.

"Sure, Felicia."

Felicia nodded and ran off while picking up the bottom of her white dress, Gaia looking at her majestic feet moving with such youthful grace.

Gaia looked to the sky. This certainly was an interesting bunch so far. What, with a feral girl that could kill her if she wasn't on her toes and a girl so beautiful she was in awe.

Felecia came back holding a meowing cat. Felicia briefly wondered why she existed, what purpose she served and why she was brought into this earth.

Gaia winced as Felecia screamed out in pain, beautiful tears flowing down her pale face. Gaia looked as if she herself might cry as Felecia fell to the ground and clutched her stomach which was being branded. 

Gaia slowly trotted away away on her black horse, not wanting to leave the crying girl alone. Felecia sobbed quietly as she crawled down a path of charred leaves with her trusted cat, Kajsa. While Gaia was the earth some may argue that Felecia was the heavens.

...

Master Juan walked with his three companians in a dusty desert. From what they had seen, the dessert had no vegetation and was very dry.. They hadn't any people while walking the desert and they weren't going to see very many.

Both Gojo and Zack were sweating profusely but Andy and Juan both seemed unfazed. Gojo looked around defensively, afraid that they might be conspiring against him since he couldn't speak language. He was happy now that the only one talking was that blasted blue dog of that beach fella'.

He gritted his teeth hearing the annoying Zakkusu speak in his foreign language which he wasn't able to understand.

"Where are we Master Juan?" asked Zack.

Master Juan put his hands in his pockets as he walked. "We are in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan." he explained.

"This next boy is very powerful, one of two fire users. Though he may not have as much potential as the other boy, he has already began to master his power." he continued.

The group kept walking until they began to smell the scent of sulfur. Gojo and Zack were now panting. "Stay back." warned Juan as he jogged ahead. 

He stopped once he saw a largre crater with orange flames and boiling fire. It was about sixty-six feet deep and two hundred feet wide. He cleared his throat and began to sing a song in Turkmen.

 Janym gurban saňa, erkana ýurdum Mert pederleň ruhy bardyr köňülde.

Bitarap, Garaşsyz topragyň nurdur Baýdagyň belentdir dünýäň öňünde.

Halkyň guran baky beýik binasy Berkarar döwletim, jigerim - janym.

Başlaryň täji sen, diller senasy Dünýä dursun, sen dur, Türkmenistanym!

Gardaşdyr tireler, amandyr iller Owal-ahyr birdir biziň ganymyz.

Harasatlar almaz, syndyrmaz siller Nesiller döş gerip gorar şanymyz.

Halkyň guran baky beýik binasy Berkarar döwletim, jigerim - janym.

Başlaryň täji sen, diller senasy, Dünýä dursun, sen dur, Türkmenistanym!

There was silence before Juan could faintly here a soothing voice say, "Though I cannot live among its people, the song of my beloved land still warms my heart."

Suddenly a young boy with long hair shot out from the center of the crater and flew eighty feet into the air. His skin was red from the flames and he had red irises. He wore nothing but black spandex circling shorts. His arms were folded and tears streaked his face. Concious of this he quickly wiped his face. "What do you want?" he inquired sternly.

Juan reached out a hand. "You're assistance is needed boy."

The boy growled. "What?! I am no mere boy! I am the great Eziz!"

Juan lowered his eyelids. "Small name big ego eh?" he sighed. "Do you want to return to the fiery depths!? If not then I suggest you come with me."

"I have no problem returning to which I came." Eziz chuckled before slowly beginning to descend back into the pit.

Juan bit his lip. Not my day. "No, I would like you to com with me."

Eziz cocked his head and regarded Juan. "First, let me test your might."

Out of nowhere a giant fireball errupted from the pit and hurdled towards Juan before exploding violently. Several hundred more came up from the pit and were hurdled towards Juan in quick succession where they violently exploded near him.

Once the barrage was completed Juan was simply standing there unfazed with his arms folded and a bored expression on his face. "Can we go now?" he asked.

Eziz floated down with a reverant expression. He and Juan walked back to the other boys but Eziz simply floated along Juan, not wanting to touch the ground.

...

A girl was sitting on a stool in a large bathroom that was brightly lit up. She was applying her red nail polish as a maid was styling her hair in ondango pigtails. She herself didn't care for the look too much but she did it because her boyfriend always talked about how he loved the hair so much. Another one of her maids was giving her a pedicure, another one applying red lipstick, another one adding her blush, another applying her mascara, another one added kohl, another one assisted her in her eyes by adding eye liner, and another one was putting on her heels.

She was getting gussied up for her date with her boyfriend, she hoped he wasn't snoozing again. Out of all the boys in Beverly Hills she felt he was the only one that truly understood her and clicked with her. They were both strange, felt as if they would be better if they were born five-hundred years into the past or five-hundred years into the future, just anywhere but where they were.

Suddenly all of her maids gave a yelp as they fell to the ground, unconcious. The girl's eyes widened as this happened. She looked like a mess for even though her hair was for the most part finished, both of her sets of nails were half finished and her face was half finished. Though her lipsitck was good eneough she'd probably have to add an artificial bang to cover her right eye. As she began to apply the bang and she finished applying her nail polish she finally heard the slow and quiet breathing behind her. She looked up in the mirror and saw a smiling woman behind her causing her to sweat. She refrained from screaming for she feared that the intruder might kill her for doing so.

"Do not fear Zoe Nernandes. I am here to whisk you away!"

Zoe jumped off of her stool and ran to the closed door and tried to open it but to her shock the lock had somehow switched sides on the door. She began frantically pounding on the door.

Gaia walked slowly to the fearful girl. "My, my...aren't we metrosexual." she observed, emphasizing on the "we".

Zoe stopped knocking for her knuckles were beginning to hurt. She pressed her body against the door, her fair skin shaking, not wearing anything but her pink bra and daisy dukes that she made the previous night by cutting her blue jeans to the point where they were about the same length as her underwear. 

"What do you want?!" she sputtered as she was about to wet her homemade shorts.

Gaia put her hand on Zoe's shoulder, which caused Zoe to flinch. "You may already know this but you are different from the others." she said with a smile.

Zoe clenched her teeth. "Yeah, so? Leave me alone!"

Gaia softly took the girl's left hand and moved it towards the mirror, causing it to violently shatter, sending shards into the maids who were on the ground.

Zoe turned away and bit her lip. "No one is suppose to know about that!"

Gaia put her left hand on Zoe's cheek and looked solemnly in the girl's eyes. "No my child, you no longer have to hide it. You can show everyone who you really are."

Zoe jerked away from Gaia and tripped over her maids, cutting herself as she fell to the ground. "What if I don't care!? What if I don't care if anyone knows!?" she cried.

Gaia walked slowly towards Zoe, her face into a stern frown. "You care if that girlish boy knows."

Zoe growled. "Don't you dare talk about Joshua! Yes, I care if he knows. He's like me so we need each other!"

Gaia laughed loudly, hinting slightly of madness. She put a hand on her forehead as her laughs died down to a chuckle and finally small spasms. "You poor, poor girl. You and Joshua are nothing alike. In fact you are worlds apart."

Zoe tried to swing at the witch but her arm simply went through her. "You're wrong! I've asked you this before; what do you want!?"

"You are a witch Zoe. I need your assistance in defeating a great evil that will destroy the planet. Among the culprits is Joshua." 

It was now Zoe's turn to laugh loudly. "Joshua would never do that!" she laughed.

Gaia shrugged as Zoe thrust her head back, banging it against the floor in pain as a symbol was burned into her flesh. Clutching her head, she rose and looked at her stomach to see the symbol of Gaia who was nowhere to be found.

I'm not leaving. I promised Joshua we'd go out into the city together today. It was suppose to be great before this bitch came.

Gaia spoke in Zoe's mind. Joshua betrayed you my dear. He shall help in destroying the planet and has run off with another girl."

Zoe shook her head vigoriously, not believing a word Gaia uttered. In the shards she saw Joshua acting flirtatiously with an unbelievably busty Mexican woman wearing a one piece swimming suit that was way too small. Joshua had the sleepy smile he always had and still had the look he had that appeared he was deep in thought. At first the woman was cold but she slowly but surely began to warm up to the boy, a smile sneaking on her face as she began to splash Joshua with water. Joshua had his Hawaiin swimming trunks on.

Zoe began to cry. She didn't want to believe what she was seeing but it looked so darn real. If she could just escape then she could have Joshua explain the entire thing. He was only a mansion down dammit! Zoe coughed, she was all cried out.

She head to the toilet to take care of her business, hating her tattoo's reflection in the shards. When she lifted the lid she saw that the toilet was filled with fresh leaves. She tried to flush it down but when she did so it sucked her into the toilet. She began falling down it rapidly, enveloped in total darkness and the scent of leaves.

...

Juan and his group used his telekinetic power to fly at an alarming speed west. They all landed except for Eziz who remained floating. Juan teleported away before Zack could ask him where they were. 

"I think we're somewhere in Africa." Andy said to Zack as the group observed the beautiful grassy mountains that they landed on. Andy pointing excitedly as a brownish-yellow falcon soared above them.

Juan had teleported to a ruined ancient city. There wasn't much left, just rubble and the pillars to some ancient structure. Juan had went down a stairway into an ancient tomb. Once he went down he saw a dark-skinned boy in a big long sleeved shirt made out of a white, soft fabric with white pants and intricate black shoes made out of straw. In the middle of the boy's shirt was a green diamond shape. He appeared to be in prayer.

Juan almost jumped once he heard the boy's voice in his head. "Hello, Juan Carlos."

It was now Juan's turn to be astonished. "You know me?" asked Juan telepathically.

The boy turned around allowing Juan to see his brown eyes and black hair. He did not move his lips, opting to talk in the language of mind. "Yes, my grandfather told me of your coming."

Juan scratched his goatee. "This should be easy then boy."

The boy nodded. "This journey will help me improve myself as a man. I will lead this country once this is all over."

Juan chuckled. "Yes, if you survive this you will possess the power of a great leader. Whether you'll want to or not, that's for you to decide. You will no doubt garner praise from everyone once they hear of your journey. Your grandfather, you mother, your friends, that girl you're smitten with....

The boy's eyes widened as he blushed. He then followed Juan out of the tomb.

Once he teleported himself and the boy back he introduced him, though primarily just to Zack. "This is Afwerki. He will be joining you."

Zack looked at Afwerki with a smile. "Cool name!" he exclaimed.

"I hope we will grow into great companions." said Afwerki through telepathy in Andy, Gojo, Eziz, and Zack's minds before Juan made them all fly off again. Gojo regarded Afwerki coldly.

...

A girl with light purple hair was huddled in a corner of a dark room lit by torches. She was crying softly. "I don't want to die. I don't want to die." she cried softly, repeating that sentence over and over again.

She wore a long black habit, a silver cross hung by black chord around her neck, a belt made out of black wool, circular large bifocal glasses, metal links hung from her belt with the aid of small hooks and at the end of those chains were rosary crosses, a white scapular, simple black shoes and a white coif.

She was crying, pleading for her life as she heard intense arguing above her, her fate being decided.

Gaia appeared from the shadows and put a loving hand on the frightened girl's shoulder.

The girl was about to scream when Gaia bent down and clamped her hand over her mouth.

"It will be all right sister Amalija." Gaia comforted in Lithuanian.

Amalija was still utterly terrified. "Y-you're not one of us! H-how did you g-get in here?!" she stammered.

Gaia shook her head in sadness. "Poor, poor child. You're not one of them either. How did you get in here?" she asked.

Amalija began to cry. "I've lived her all my life. They found me on the door step when I was just a baby."

Gaia leaned towards her. "Do you know why you were placed on those steps all those years ago?"

"Because it was god's will?" Amalija croaked.

"If anything, by the logic you use, it was the devil's will. You know what you are right?" Gaia asked, her face darkening.

Amalija began to grow hysterical at the mention of "devil". "I am god's child! I am a nun and I live here with all of my sisters!"

Gaia gripped Amalija's shoulder firmer as tears began to stream down both of their faces. "Maybe we truly are the children of god but society shuns us my child." she gave out a large sigh.

Amalija looked down towards the cold, cement ground. She knew what she was for as long as she could remember. This woman was obviously her savior, her second chance at life. There was no denying that Amalija was a monster any longer.

"Your mother left you here to give you a better chance in life. Before she took her own life away she left you here in hopes that the nuns here could purify you." she tenderly removed Amalija's coif, showing her light purple, short medium-length hair.

"But your hair is the proof that they were not successful." 

Amalija's voice was quiet. "Am I a demon?" she asked in fear.

"You are a witch..." answered Gaia. 

Amalija screamed out and covered her ears, causing the entire building to begin to shake. Gaia heard voices and approaching footsteps prompting Gaia to grab the girl and begin to shake her. "Amalija! Listen to me! Do you want to die?" she asked slowly.

Amalija vigoriously shook her head.

"Then stay quiet." commanded Gaia. Amalija bit her tongue causing it to bleed as her skin was burned below her habit. In the shadows, the sound of the forest could be head and Gaia motioned for the frightened nun to go there.

Amalija quickly rose and ran to the shadows where the sound of crunching leaves could be heard, Amalija trusting Gaia fully. "Ms...please don't hurt my sisters." she said.

Gaia nodded. "I promise I won't Amalija." 

Amalija continued to run, the sounds of the only home she knew fading away as she ran deeper and deeper into the bitter darkness.

...

A boy with a neutral expression walked briskly around an empty football field as he wiped his brow.

Today was a very good game. They decided to allow some extra players in an attempt to best him. Of course, they still lost but it provided a bit of a challenge. He knew that it was more than simply strong legs but no one else that it was something supernatural.

He sighed, he wanted a challenge in life. He wanted to make it to the big leagues, the world cup in hopes that he might finally be able to be challenged and he wouldn't be the only one pulling weight.

He sighed as he changed into his casual wear which consisted of blue sneakers, navy blue jogging pants, and a t-shirt with a picture of Sitora Farmonova, one of the actresses he adored. He had greased black hair and had light brown skin.

Akmal loved the movies and he absolutely adored every sport but no one else was as good as he was. He idolized Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. He would board The Tashkent to Samarkand high-speed rail line to get home.

Akmal saw an old timer who seemed to appear out of nowhere in the goal. He put his hands on his hips and smirked. "Sorry. This is too intense for you and I'm the best. You should probably just head home"

Juan kicked a soccer ball over to Akmal who rolled his eyes and decided with a smile that he would humor the old man. He gave a mighty kick at the ball so strong a normal human wouldn't be able to stop it, Juan however was definitely not a normal human. Juan expertly countered it with a kick of his own causing it to fly back towards Akmal double the speed.

Akmal smiled wildly. Yes, YES! He then countered the ball, sending it at double the speed of the last kick. Juan did the same. They kept doing this, creating a game of deadman's volley as they kept sending the ball back to each other until it finally hit Akmal's head, sending his head back into the ground. An impact at that speed would kill a human, but Akmal was definitely not a normal human.

Juan walked over to the boy and offered him a hand, helping him to his feet. "You want to meet others with your skill, yes?"

Akmal simply vigorioulsy nodded. "Want to go now?" asked Juan prompting Akmal to nod again he then gave Akmal a slap on the back causing him to stumble forward. "Pack your bags boy."

Akmal ran at an incredible speed towards his locker, eager to finally encounter a challenge in his life.

...

A naked girl with raggedy orange hair was standing at an area near a beach with her arms held out at her sides. She was making strange, pained gurgling noise and her skin appeared to be melting off. Suddenly she began screaming, wanting it to get over with, to finally be fed after going without a meal for weeks. Her body was starting to deteorate and she desperatly needed something to eat.

She began squawking wildl,y tongue out of her mouth then began screaming again. She then uncontrollably began to defecate liquid and began to urinate a torrent.

She looked up and smiled as her meal was about to arrive, causing her to make herself invisible. The New Zealand defense force dropped a powerful bomb in their testing range, Kaipara which was not too far away from the sea. Once the bomb detonating the girl glowed and she began making sucking sounds as she absorbed the residue from the blast which she used as nutrients. She allowed each of the bombs to explode on her, making her smile in sweet ecstasy licking her lips.

Once the smoke cleared she grew a loose fitting white body suit that concealed her hands and bare feet. Her green eyes turned purple and her unkept, orange hair turned lime green. She laughed loudly.

She floated over to the beach. She then grew a mermaids tail and began flopping around frantically. She then grew two large bird's feet. She then morphed into sand and then emerged in the water where she waved playfully at the dolphins who laughed with her. She was full now and couldn't dream of eating another bite. She growled as the water parted and a woman in blue descended from the sky.

"Why do you growl at me Isabella?" asked Gaia concerned.

Isabella's growling suddenly halted as her expression softened. "Isabella? It's been so long since anyone has called me that..."

"But that's your name isn't it, my child?" Gaia asked.

Isabella growled once more. "You're not my mother! I ate her I'll eat you too!" she barked.

Gaia shook her head filled with sadness. "No, you won't. Your parent forced you to eat her because you cannot survive on fruits or vegeatables or beans or milk or meat. Only evil energy such as humans and bombs." Gaia explained softly.

Isabella shook her head. "You don't know about me." she growled. "You don't know what I am..."

Gaia nodded. "I know you think that. I know why you roam the earth at supersonic speed trying to find nucleur waste to consume for you love these people too much."

Isabella looked away in shame. "I...I don't want to hurt anyone. I just..."

Gaia embraced Isabella. "Child, you can save everyone if you come with me. If you assist me we can save this planet and the beings you loved."

Isabella looked up at Gaia. "Are you serious miss? You won't take advantage of me?" Isabella asked with teary eyes.

Gaia smiled as she hugged Isabella harder. "No my lovely child. I shall supply you with the companionship you've longed for so long."

Isabella smiled. "Good." she cried. She didn't feel the emblem of Gaia burn into her white shirt. Gaia pushed her under water where she swam to a reef and walked down a trail of algae.

...

He sat patiently in his cell. It was quite lonely here. They said that Netherland had more prison guards that innmates, well it should be fun ticking off the guards if that was true. 

He was really getting ticked off that he was missing his country play in the big football game and for what? Serving his country?

It had been five days now since he saw that wench preforming in the street using her demonic powers. She was a witch through and through. She was wicked and he knew his role in life was to smite the wicked, to change the world by murdering all the corrupt people in the world.

Taking the witch down proved to be diffilcult, she was very skilled in her demonic work and managed to burn his right leg. He fought through his pain and used his power given to him by the heavens. Eventually he was able to snap the puny woman's neck, bringing justice.

When did his homeland get so soft anyways? He did everyone a favor and he was arrested for it. He flipped his long blond hair. Oh well. I know that something great is in store for me.

As if in answer the bars bent and an old man walked in. The boy smiled knowing that he could do so as well but he was just waiting for the right moment.

"Luuk?" Juan asked.

Luuk stood up and smiled with his blue eyes. "That would be me." he said in Dutch.

Juan bowed. "I know what you have done to that foul being and I ask you for your help."

Luuk folded his arms, impressed. "What is it?"

Juan looked helpless. "There are more witches!" he stammered nervously. Luuk frowned. "I need your help to defeat them. You and other warriors must stop them before they enslave the world!"

Luuk growled. "Alright! There's nothing for me here! I'll go!" he said as he threw off his prison clothes until he was only in his underwear, feeling that the prison clothes were not befitting of himself.

He followed Juan who led the way. He was going to finally live out his dream. He was finally going to be a knight and serve under a wise and just king.

...

A girl with long black hair  sat along a hill as she tenderly looked at her home town of Bitola with its beautiful reddish-brown roofs and delicious food and the green mountains. Night was beginning to fall and she yawned. Her hands and feet were covered in vines. It began to get pretty bad of as of late. She began to lose her appetite for food as she began to feel as sunlight was the only thing that could fill her. Vines began to grow everywhere on her body and she didn't know what to do. She asked the sky for help and hoped that it would reply.

The girl wore a long sleeved red sweater and a long red skirt that covered her feet that were green and bare since she found shoes uncomfortable now. It was terribly hot but she had didn't wear her clothes for modesty due to the fact that vines and leaves covered all of her taboo parts. She wore them just to feel normal. She wanted to cry, she didn't want to turn into a tree.

She sighed as she had a stick with a sack wrapped at the end over her shoulder, preparing to run away for she was now a freak and she didn't want to make her parents worry about her, nor did she want to be shunned.

Gaia, who rose from the ground behind the girl (who promptly turned around) spoke in Macedonian. "Come, Бисера (Bisera) my child."

Bisera raised her eyebrows while pointing at Gaia then looked up as she moved her left hand in a half arc. (Are you sky?)

Gaia shook her head slowly. "No, child. I am Earth. I can help you."

Bisera made arches with her hands them flipped them over while furrowing her eyebrows. (How?)

Gaia took her left hand. "In due time. I may even be able to fix your voice."

Bisera put her index finger to her mouth then moved it away several centimeters. She then put out her left hand in front of her then moved her other hand to her lips then moved that hand on top of the other hand. (Really? Good.)

Bisera silently yelped when some of her vines were charred by Gaia. She pulled up her sweater and to her amazement there were holes in her leaves where she could see her skin once more. Bisera then eagerly ran down the trail of leaves that appeared spontaneously, more leaves clinging to her body with each step.

...

Kola and Joshua walked down a sidewalk in Cleveland, Ohio searching for the next boy.

"So, do you travel much?" Joshua asked with curiosity.

Kola sighed as she drank some of the Coca-Cola she bought an hour ago. "Yes, me and my papa have been travelling the earth ever since I was just a little bebé."

Joshua looked at her in pity. "So you don't have a hometown?"

Kola took another sip of her cola. "Well I wouldn't say that. There's always Méjico." she said nonchalantly.

Joshua sighed as he took the cola and took a large swig of it. "Mexico's a country angel." 

Kola snatched it back and took the last swig. "But it's so small!"

Joshua sighed again. "Mexico is approximately 761,606 square miles. That's the fourteenth largest country." he explained. He looked around. "Who is this guy anyway?" he asked.

Kola folded her arms. "A boy by the name of Carmelo. Do you know of him?" 

Joshua gave a pft. "Beverly Hills is a very exclusive club. We don't really talk to people not in the L.A. area. Heck, most people act like that. This country is friggin' huge!"

Kola nodded trying to hide her smile. She was enjoying learning about the giant nation that was north of her home country and even though she would never admit it she was beginning to warm up to Joshua, he was shaping up to be a pretty cool kid. She wondered if this could be considered a date. She dismissed the thought, not wanting the boy to get to fresh and touch her. She regarded him again as she looked down without expression on her face. Although, I can just ask him to see if this is what people consider a date. If he tries to put a big mac on me or whatever they say then I can just break every bone in this talking shrimp's body.

Even though Kola had a good excuse for asking this time she still couldn't help but blush profusely and get hot and sweaty in her tight leather suit. She finally began to stammer, hating herself for her nervousness. "U-um...J-J-J-J-J-J-Joshua?"

Joshua snapped out of his thinking trance and looked up at the woman at his side. "Hmmmmmmm?" he said with his sly smile.

Kola looked away as she resumed her sad stuttering fit. "Is..Is...Is t-t-t-his? W-w-w-well could this be c-c-c-considered? W-w-well i-is this a...a..a...d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d" she said like a severly malfunctioning robot or a broken record player.

Her savior was in the form of a boy with large, jolly-roger headphones bumping into Joshua. "Watch it!" he barked before he closed his eyes again and put his hands on his headphones as he turned his head to the ground. Joshua gave a look at Kola. "The nerve of some people!" he mumbked prompting Kola to give a sheepish grin.

Kola began losing herself in thought once more. Joshua was so nice, so lame. Could he really be the cold-blooded warrior that her father recquired for his plans against Gaia?

She was so lost in thought she didn't notice the wandering boy walk into the street where cars honked. She and Joshua whipped around at the sound of horns to see the boy eyes closed bobbing his head to his loud muisc as he wandered the street.

"Mierda!" cried Kola, recognizing the boy's face.

She was about to leap into the street to help the suddenly important boy when she saw a car crash into an invisible wall in front of him, several other cars met the same fate as the first one once they drew close to the boy. Later cars would swerve to avoid the boy.

Joshua ran to the boy and with a bit of struggle managed to yank the boy'd headphones off of his ears. "Watch where you're going!" cried Joshua.

The boy annoyedly opened his eyes and saw the destruction around him. He growled. "The nerve of some people! These assholes need to watch where they're going! They'll fuck around and get somebody killed!"

Kola looked at the scene in amazement. It appeared the city needed more protecting then the boy in contrast to what she originally believed.

Joshua managed to give a quick spurt of words before the boy retracted back into his shell. "So you're Carmelo?" Joshua asked.

Carmelo tried to grab Joshua by the collar but to his dismay Joshua always left at least two buttons unbuttoned. Today he had three unbuttoned buttons so Carmelo decided to slug his exposed chest instead causing Joshua to reel backwards towards a building.

"How the hell do you know my name?" asked Carmelo quietly but harshly.

Kola walked towards the boy. "Because know you."

Carmelo gave a short gasp as he saw Kola's chest and turned slightly away as he blushed. "And how do you know me?"

Kola walked closer to him. "Because my father knows you."

Carmelo sighed then sharply barked, "And how does your father know me!?"

"Because of your powers." said Kola know above Carmelo and looking down on him with his hands on her hip.

Carmelo looked at his hand as he created a fireball. "Huh. I'm geussing your father's into little boy's huh?" he asked.

Kola smiled as she bent down to be face to face with Carmelo. "You aren't a little boy. In fact you look older than Joshua here. C'mon big boy. It'll be fun to come with me." she flirted finally deciding to use her womanly wiles to get out of Cleveland before the cops arrested Carmelo for his scene.

Carmelo blushed and turned away. "Zip up your damn shirt will you have some god damn modesty." he mumbled. He then mumbled even quieter. "I bet those boobs aren't even real."

It was still loud enough for Kola to give a punch to Carmelo causing him to fly into a building, causing him to fly into a couple's table. She grabbed Carmelo by the scarf and began dragging him down the street as Joshua followed closely behind. "Let's go Carmelo Baldovino Acerbi." she said in deadpan

Carmelo snarled." Don't call me by my full name!" Kola allowed Carmelo to walk closer once she stopped tugging his scarf then when she was in range she elbowed him in the face.

She turned and smiled. "I can call you whatever you want and for your information these tetas are very real. Don't be a little twerp just because you want them."

Carmelo looked away in shame causing Kola to smile, turn around and begin walking Carmelo again like a dog.

Joshua obsereved Carmelo. Contrasting with his sharp angular face and cool brown hair he wore a red plaid scarf a black sleeveless shirt and ripped blue jeans with black shoes. Joshua smiled and held up his hands. "Halt."

Kola stopped. "What is it Joshua?" she asked annoyed.

"Shouldn't we tell our friend where we're going?"

"I don't have to-"

Joshua held up his hands again and walked to Carmelo who glowered at him. "We're going to man to fight a war of sorts."

Carmelo spat at the ground. "I thought the draft was done! What's in it for me?"

Joshua deviously smiled as he shoved Carmelo into Kola, colliding face-first into her chest.

Joshua laughed.

Kola shoved him away, angry for being used as a tool.


Carmelo looked away. "Well at least I know they ain't fake." he mumbled angrily.

    ...

A girl teenage wearing a navy blue baret was engrossed in a self portrait of herself where she had a very snooty expression as her lips were puffed out and she looked at the viewer with her eyes half closed. 

The girl regarded it lovingly as she continued working on her tan skin. "Yes, yes. Very good!" she complimented herself.

She began laughing a loud regal woman's laugh. "J'ai tres artistique." she complimented again. Her parents worried about her often because she refused to play with other teenagers like a normal girl. Hmph! Normal? Screw being normal! 

The girl walked across her room to a dresser and looked at herself in the mirror. "Nous aimes belle moi? Oui j'adore moi!" she asked then answered to herself in a laugh.

"Nous aimons voyage! Nous ne aimons pas travailler! Blech!" she said.

It could get kind of lonely there but she didn't mind. What she really wanted to do was to go to a faraway place like les etats unis d'amerique to paint the foreign landscape but once she and her parents were boarding a plane when she was little she manically set the plane on fire in midflight. Somehow she had managed to cause her and her family to float safely down. The plane fiasco was one the best kept secrets in all of France if not Europe.

She saw a lady in blue and laughed, thinking that she was possibly trying to outdo her in beauty. "Je m'appelle Hélène (ay-len). Et toi?"

Gaia put her left hand to her clavicle and bowed. "I am Gaia o artistic one." she said with a smile.

Hélène laughed. "Why thank you! Not many compliment me."

"Many will my child. Once they see your power."

Hélène groaned. "I don't want to use that power!"

Gaia chuckled. "Do not fret. I can teach you how to encorperate it into your paintings." 

Hélène's brown eyes grew wide, seeming to compete with her large and messy smock-frock. She quickly painted a letter on the wall and gatheres her pain, pastels, crayons, pencils, brushes, water jugs, canvas and her paint pallete. She gave a big smile.

Gaia gave her a warning look. "Hold on to those tight." she warned as she snapped and Hélène's flesh was burned causing her to laugh. Hélène looked eagerly as a path of leaves appeared down the large spiral staircase in her mansion, causing her to walk elegantly down with glee.

...

A middle age woman held the door open for Juan who wore a long white labcoat with matching gloves and fake glasses. "God bless you Dr. Carlos." she said in danish.

Juan walked in the house, passing an anxious middle-aged man who he presumed was Mrs. Penderson's husband. Trailing in a single file line behind him in order were: Gojo, Eziz, Luuk, Zack, Andy, Akmal and Afwerki, all donning white labcoats with thick fake glasses. None of them spoke for none of them could speak a word of Danish. Well, Andy could say a simple "hello" and "goodbye".

Andy didn't like the cold temperature on bit neither did Eziz who was using every ounce of strength in his body not to begin floating. The group of eight went through the large house until they made it to a room that had a maid guarding it. She scooted away as soon as they grew near. Juan waited until the maid was long out of site before opening the door with the power of his mind. The boys flooded into the large room before he closed it.

"At ease." he said in Turkmen causing Eziz to float above the ground once more. He repeated the same thing in English causing Manic to scramble from Any's coat.

They saw legos floating around the room, originating from a large puddle of blocks in the middle of the room near the house constructed of red lego bricks.

Zack gulped as he felt an ominous presense in the room. Even Eziz and Gojo were jittery.

"Hello boys." they all heard a young voice say in their minds. The door to the lego house creaked open eerily as they saw eager glowing green eyes appear in the darkness of the single room of the house. "Wanna' play?"

Without anyone else noticing Manic had jumped into Eziz's arms who was now pressed against the relatively high ceiling.

"Watashi wa shitagi no yobun'na nashi o tsumete iru hitsuyō ga arimasu..." whispered Gojo.

Juan went over to the house with a sigh. He stomped on the ground, causing the lego house to shatter, lego blocks being sent every which way.

They saw the fair boy now who was quite young, no older than six. He had a round face, neat black hair and wore a neat suit with a red tie which virtually lacked any wrinkles. His shoes were tied by the mades.

He cocked his head and smiled, showing he was missing his too front teeth. Luuk, who had sharp eyes saw this. "D'aw he's just a kid." he whispered.

"It's not nice to smash other's toys." said the boy telepathically.

"And it's not nice to sit here all day and pretend you're deaf, mute and dumb when your parents check in on you Sebastion." he said in Danish.

The two stared at each other for two minutes before both bursting down in laughter.

Juan offered a hand. "C'mon kid. We're taking you out of this craphole!" Juan laughed.

Sebastion took Juan's kid and slammed the door off its hinges as the little boy brimmed with telekinetic energy. He and Juan left the room hand-in-hand like demented father and son. 

Eziz and Manic floated down and the boys trailed far behind them with caution. They were not convince that they could take on Juan Carlos let alone this Sebastion boy.

As they approached the back door Mrs. Penderson shouted, "Hey, where are you taking me bab-" she then flew backwards into a window as Sebastion shot her a glare. The boys then changed into then discarded their disguises and with the help of Juan and Sebastion, flew off.

...

At precisely nine o' clock PM Joshua, Kola and Carmelo landed on the dark and sandy beach of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Even dusk could not mask its utter beauty. Carmelo looked around angrily. "Where's your pops?"

Joshua closed his eyes and yawned. "Patience is key Carmelo."

Carmelo lowered his eyelids. "I didn't ask you sandy!" barked Carmelo.

Joshua sighed then began clapping with a half-hearted smile. "Making fun of my hair. Real manly of you."

Carmelo glowered at Joshua. "At least my voice doesn't sound like a girl's!"

"Hey!" shouted Kola, growing defensive of Joshua.

"My, my, my. You've taken quite a liking to these boys I see." said an old from above.

Juan and a group of eight boys descended from the skies. He folded his arms as he landed.

"Who's the geezer?" asked Carmelo, arms folded, mimicking Juan.

Zack ran to the two and held out his hand to Carmelo who simply shrank away. Joshua excepted it.

"Joshua." gave a tired Joshua.

"Zack Smith." gave a tired Zack "You don't know how glad I am to meet another English speaker. Well, there is Andy but he's dosin' off." he pointed to Andy who was desperately fighting sleep as he kept waking up after dosing off with the aid of his friend, Manic who loyally slapped him in the face.

Joshua raised his eyebrows, hearing the mumblings in foreign language. Ooh boy. What in the world have you gotten yourself into Joshua?

Gojo looked at the pseudo-tall Juan. "So, where we crashin'?" he asked in Japanese.

Almost in answer, a large castle rose from the water into the air where it kept soaring higher and higher into the heavens above with no sign of stopping. Everyone floated towards it. Everyone, even the nonchalant Carmelo, looked at it in awe, knowing that the moment signaled the point where there lives would be irreversably altered.

...

After those with bags returned from their rooms to the entrance, Juan herded them to the dining room where they were seated at a very long table with Kola and Juan at the opposite ends. The mustached cooks removed the metal coverings of the five trays causing everyone to gasp. There was pizza, Chalupas, Breaded fillet of plaice with fried potatoes and remoulade, there was sushi, swiss rolls and shashlik. 

Their stomachs the masters now, each and every male seemed to forget of their abilities and scrambled on the table, fighting each other for the food. The only ones who didn't join the brawl were Joshua who sat with his legs crossed and elbow on the table to rest his fist on his chin, lost in thought and Andy who sent Manic to fetch his grub for him. To his horror Gojo began choking the poor creature causing Andy to leap on the table and begin beating Gojo's head against the fine table. Afwerki noticed the mini-brawl and took advantage of it by taking the food near them which was the shashlik prompting Eziz to chase him around the room.

The father and daughter chuckled to each other.

"See Kola?" chucked Juan. "I told you they would be entertaining."  

Kola smirked. "Yes, they will indeed provide amusement. It may not be so bad after all..."       

                                                                  ...

Lillian finally emerged from the leafy path into a small grove, lit by a small flame which was flying above her head the ground was covered in fresh leaves. She plopped down dropping her suitcase, her feet feeling like lead she noticed a long table draped in beautiul white cloth with fruit. She sat herself in the chair after crawling over and sighed as she rested her head on the soft fabric.

Afisa emerged from a hole between some trees while crawling as soon as she got out she sprawled on the ground exhausted.

Lillian and Afisa both jerked their heads up like meercats at the sound of a girl with a beautiful voice playing an exotic instrument. Even though they couldn't understand her they're very souls were warmed by the music. Once she arrived in the grove she was skipping merrily around with a guitar-like instrument. Lillian noticed that her eyes were slanted and guessed that she was Chinese. Once Hoai Mi had finished her song Lillian and Afisa clapped for her causing her to bow her head.

No one paid to much attention to the sound of panting approached. Suddenly, Xaviera burst from the trees and pounced on the table where she visciously clawed and bit the unsuspecting Lillian.

"Help! Get her off me!" she screamed. Even though she didn't understand exactly what Lillian was saying Hoai Mi had rushed to her aid, trying desperately to get the feral girl off of her audience. She would go back to play her instrument but Xaviera had drew blood and was growing crazier.

With a snap Xaviera's rear caught on fire causing her to scream and scramble to the trees above. Lillian cried as she touched the scratch marks on her face. Hoai Mi whipped her head to Afisa who, with a burning index finger had shrugged cutely.

Everyone was more alert now as they heard the soft rustling of leaves and the smell of burnt nature. Felecia crawled meakly into the grove with her cat. Everyone grew silent as she stood up, showing everyone just how lovely she was. She sat down in a seat and looked boredly at Hoai Mi who looked away and began strumming and humming, then looked curiously at Lillian's wounds before she turned self-conciosly away. Not too long later they heard a meow signifying Kajsa's presence.

They saw leaves pour onto the table then saw Zoe fall from the sky onto the table with a thud and a moan. Lillian's face lit up when she heard an English "Ow, my head." The accemt was pretty hard to understand but she actually may be able to communicate with this girl. She leaned over to Zoe.

"What's your name?" Lillian asked.

"Zoe..."Zoe moaned, still lacking a shirt. Her mascara was ruined, now black streaks on her face due to her intense crying. 

The group then heard panting before a nun burst into the grove and fell to the ground, weak. They all gave her funny looks, they all knew what a nun was and she was not a witch. Amalija shrank in horror at the other, strange looking women from all across the world. Hoai Mi walked towards the nun to help her.

A leaf-covered monster staggered into the room causing everyone to scream except Xaviera who had fallen asleep in the trees. Zoe began punching the creature befor it ripped off the leaves from its eyes. The girls gave a sigh of relief once they saw that it was just a fellow girl. Bisera gave a hearty wave at her new comerades causing Zoe to shamefully shrink away.

To everyone's shock, water flooded the grove as Isabella walked in with her hands on her hips and fish flopped around as the water drained. "Sup?" she asked with a smile and her left hand on her hip.

"Nothin' much. Boyfriend apparently cheated on me with some chick with a huge bust." answered Zoe.

"Heh, well that sucks. Can't really help you though, I don't really know about stuff like that." replied Isabella with a smile.

Lillian geussed that the newcomer had asked how was she doing judging by Zoe's reply. "I'm not doing any better. Face was almost scratched off.." said Lillian.

"Owch, owch. That sucks." smiled Isabella. Lillian regarded Isabella warily due to her smile.

Felecia silently regarded the other witches. They sure are interesting.

Finally they saw a girl with her hands full descending from a stairway everyone had failed to notice. 

"Easy now!" said Hoai Mi as she helped the poofy haired Hélène with her things. Hélène's eyes lit up as soon as she saw Hoai Mi's instrument on her back. "You're an artist too!? Yay! High-class buddies!" she shrieked.

Hoai Mi looked around nervously, failing to understand Hélène but simply nodded with a smile.

Gaia rode into the grove o  her eight legged horse. Everyone rushed to her with questions but she held up her left hand and scooted everyone to a seat. She stomped causing Xaviera to fall down in the middle of the table. Gaia stroked her horse, turning it into a tortoise which sat on the table near her, eyeing the girls.

Gaia smiled. "Let's begin."

Chapter Two: BriefingEdit

Joshua sat on his bed deep in thought, his fist supporting his chin. He even wondered why exactly he was thinking. Admittedly, there was no reason to be this lost in thought for the briefing made everything clear but he still felt that there was something he was missing. He tried looking into Master Juan's mind the very second he felt his head get lighter but he was somehow able to block this. Joshua had very soft features and as such he was teased all his life for looking like a girl. He couldn't help the way he was born and he didn't look that feminine.

Joshua sighed to the sounds of the shower. He really had to use the bathroom but his roommate had occupied it ever since they were dismissed from the dining room about an hour or so earlier. He was no doubt using the five different shampoos, conditioners and gels he had practically begged for Kola to buy.

Joshua looked around the room. It was completely white, the lights, the walls, the bunk beds, everything. The room felt very cold, forcing the boy to tightly wrap himself in his soft blankets. He saw a deck of 1994 Uno cards on the small white coffee table.

Joshua climbed down the ladder until he was on his roommate's bed that served as temporary residence for his large jolly roger headphones. The music was still blaring from its speakers which were connected to a white iPod Classic with 160 gigabytes of storage. Joshua took the iPod in his hands and flipped it over where he saw an engraving. Stay cool, Carmelo.

"Hands off my jams..." commanded Carmelo. Joshua turned around and saw Carmelo standing in the doorway out of the bathroom and into the room. He had a white towel wrapped around his waist and another around his hair.

Joshua put down the iPod with a smile. "I see you finally exited the shower." He climbed onto his bed as Carmelo sat down on the bunk belonging to him.

Carmelo rolled his eyes. "No shit, Sherlock..."

Joshua chuckled as he climbed back up into his bed. "Do you always spend precisely four-thousand five hundred seconds in the shower?"

"What?" asked Carmelo flatly.

"Do you always spend an hour and fifteen minutes in the shower?"

"It takes me about two minutes to get clean, a little more just to relax, and most of it I'm just fixin' my hair."

"I figured."

"The hell that's supposed to mean?" asked Carmelo with a sigh.

Joshua chuckled and waved a hand. "Oh, nothing silly."

Carmelo stood up, now facing Joshua who was laying down sleepily on his bed with his arms at his side. Most people would say Carmelo's expression was neutral but Joshua knew that if he took this boy lightly he might end up dead in his sleep. "Don't call me that."

Joshua sighed and turned towards the wall. "Sure." he complied and began drumming his fingers to Carmelo's loud music.

"Stop that." commanded Carmelo. Joshua bit his tongue. His new roommate was growing into quite the pain and he knew very well that Carmelo felt the exact same way. This would never do, he had to find a way for the two could get close for he was not going to share a room with someone who hated him. He thought giving this tough guy a taste of Kola's breasts would do the trick but it was apparent that the boy still hadn't thawed.

"Hey, Carmelo..." began Joshua prompting the boy to give a 'hm?' as he pulled on his pants.

"How do you feel? About becoming a soldier, I mean." 

Carmelo shrugged. "Guess I don't really know how to feel." he said, stretching out the how. "I mean like, there's really nothing I can do about it. Sure as hell beats bumming around in Cleveland."

Joshua's voice was now concerned. "You know you might die right?"

"Nope, I'm not going to die. Let those witches just try." he boasted boredly. He grew uneasy at Joshua's silence, signifying that he was lost in thought. "What about you? Uh, Josh was it? How you feel about becoming a warrior?" he asked.

"I'd prefer you call me by the name I was given, Joshua and I think it shall be kind of fun."

Carmelo raised his eyebrows. "Hippocratic or whatever ain't we?"

"The word you're looking for is hypocritical Carmelo and no, well....maybe. I suppose a better way to phrase it...." Joshua rubbed his chin, hoping that it would aid him in which it did. "...is that it interests me. Learning in general interests me. And going across the world in this flying fortress and meeting beautiful women should prove a great learning experience."

Carmelo groaned. "You're too school for cool."

Joshua chuckled softly. "I suppose I am. I suppose I am."

Carmelo groaned, not liking the way Joshua spoke and found his voice irritating. Finally he latched to what Joshua said about the women. "I guess I might like the chicks too."

The two were silent for a bit, the only sounds of Carmelo's headphones, each boy thinking the other was asleep. Joshua then felt his head get lighter and knew Carmelo wasn't asleep, his thoughts not frantic.

"Hey, want to play Uno?" asked Carmelo. He lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up. 

Joshua was grateful for the bed blocking the smoke. "Sure. Did you know that Uno was created in 1971 by a barbershop owner by the name of Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, who-"

Carmelo groaned and turned. "Never mind. Not interested brainiac."

...

Sebastion smiled happily at something only he could see. He was given the only room that was carpeted and he took advantage of this by sitting on the ground, legs crisscrossed. 

Using the power of his mind, Sebastion made the two bunk beds, the chairs, the coffee table, the soap, the blankets and the towels whirl around him like a slow moving tornado. He wished he had his Legos but he was content simply playing with the furniture for the time being. Master Juan had promised to buy him his favorite toys as soon as possible. Sebastion figured he would send his busty assistant to fetch him the blocks that he craved. 

"Any time that girl so much as breathes it seems as if her breasts shake erratically for a minute." he thought with a laugh, uncontrollably sending it telepathically to everyone in that wing of the castle. 

"Poor creature, her back must be killing her. I wonder though, why does she gives off a very different aura from her father? They're obviously related, I made sure of that when I looked at their DNA codes." he thought.

He sighed. "Oh well. I suppose I've had enough sleuthing for today, I suppose I can pass the torch back to Scooby and his gang."

Sebastion sighed as he thought some more. "Pippi Langkous, Dora the Explorer, now those were women. They didn't need freakishly large breasts to be cute. Though I suppose maybe I'm just jealous that his daughter wasn't my mother..."

Sebastion was excited that due to the potentness of his abilities, his training would be delayed and he could read, watch various cartoons, play with his Legos and play make-believe as the others worked their butts off. He giggled at the idea of him finally being able to use his powers on actual openly people. He could see the fear in their eyes as he played a game of deadly tag. His smile widened as he decided that he could finally play hangman as it was meant to be played. He was curious about these witches due to Master Juan stressing that they used magic. He wanted to see it with his own eyes. He just hoped he could control himself and see the magic before he killed them.

Sebastion's eyes widened realizing that he left his cherished violin at home. "'Master Juaaan!'" he wailed both telekinetically and through his own words which were. "Meester Juaaaan!"

...

Gojo growled in annoyance at Sebastion's wailing who he simply regarded as "a brat". However, he was grateful that Sebastion had thrown a fit over having to share a room and thus got his own. Master Juan and Kola had to decide who else got to have their own room due to the opening. The decided fairly quickly that it had to be Gojo, Kola had just met the boy and already knew that he could not play well with others.

Kola was a tad bit hesitant leaving Gojo in his own room. He tried to make passes at her in a language she couldn't understand and his eyes seemed permanently locked on her chest. She didn't want the boy to think about her while alone and in the dark...

Luckily for her, Gojo was thinking about something else. He folded his arms, angry that the master had said that learning English would be a requirement of training. Master Juan gave a choice of Spanish or English and English had won the most votes. Gojo had insisted they learned Japanese but everyone seemed opposed to the idea when Master Juan had translated it. Kola had to restrain him from attacking the other boys and her against his skin seemed to cool him off pretty quickly.

Gojo growled again, feeling that America was disproportionately-represented when he felt everyone there should be Japanese. He didn't consider himself xenophobic, his justification being that he didn't care who gave him his hits or which women he fooled with but he thought foreigners were incompetent when it came to everything else. He lit a cigarette and smoked it.

He folded his arms, closed his eyes and smiled. If there was one good thing it was that he would be able to fool around with some "exotic hot babes" and get some enjoyment out of this whole ordeal. He laughed. What do I gotta' train for anyway!? They're just chicks!

He abruptly snapped out of his twisted fantasy when he heard Akmal "woop" and Luuk scream out in anger in the room next to him, them requesting the room with a television so they could catch the big game. They had the nerve to ask him to not take a shower so they could hear everything.

...

Zack and Andy had occupied the other room with a television. Kola promised Carmelo that the other televisions would be installed in the walls after the next day's training. 

Andy was sitting upside down on the top bunk waving his remote in the air watching Animal Planet. They had rock-paper-scissors a best four-out-of-seven for the position of top bunk.

Zack scratched his head as he rubbed Manic who had invaded his bed and took shelter under the cover. The minute Kola saw Manic she fell instantly in love with him and the second Manic saw Kola he fell in love with her, running over to her and putting his arms on her shoulders as he rested on her chest. At this point Andy gritted his teeth, feeling a rare jealousy towards his friend.

Zack laid back and looked at the puppies playing. "Uh, dude. Not a problem or anything but do you watch anything else?" he asked concerned.

"Not really. I don't use this retina burning screen that often. I besides Animal Planet, I watch the nature shows on National Geographic and the news I guess." replied Andy, with boredom.

"Aw man, we need to get you some shows!" laughed Zack.

"Did you consider that I don't want to "get" more shows?" hissed Andy. "I'm just here to be one with the animals." 

Zack raised his legs so he could hug them. "Well first to do that you're going to need to kill some people." he said dismally. He took out a portrait of him, his mother, and his two then baby sisters. 

"I don't care too much for primates, honestly. My least favorite of the Mirorder Primatomorpha, I much, much prefer Dermoptera." he explained.

Zack stood up and put his hands together in a horizontal "t" shape. "Okay, time out. So you like killing humans!?" he cried in concern.

Andy turned, now laying right-side up. "I never said I liked killing people. It's just that I won't particularly care if it comes to it." 

Zack and Andy sighed as Zack knelt on the ground. "Why does it have to be this way. Training starts tomorrow and I'm afraid I might fall behind."

Andy sighed. "Mate, could you take your mourning sounds outside if it's not too much of a problem?"

Kola opened the door holding a bag of pajamas. "Well, fuck a duck, Ms. Kola's back!" exclaimed Andy.

Andy ran to the door. "Kola!" he exclaimed.

"Koala!" Kola shouted throwing her hands out. Manic dashed off the bed into Kola's arms, the two embracing once they collided.

Andy groaned and smothered himself with his yellow bandanna. "Traitor." he mumbled.

Zack sighed as he took out a purple onesie that he took a liking two and walked to the bathroom, wondering how many snakes made up Gaia's hair.

....

The girls were eating quickly and wildly except for Hélène who ate her food very slowly and carefully. No need for a pig when you can be a lady as she always said. As their stomachs began to fill, their collective rate of consumption slowed significantly. Zoe had never eaten with particular haste that night, not trusting the food that was provided by Gaia. In contrast, despite her own weariness towards Gaia, Lillian ate her food with somewhat frightening swiftness.

The only ones who didn't eat were Bisera and Isabella, not receiving nutrients from human food. While Isabella had recently gorged herself, Bisera was not good at storing sunlight yet and was utterly famished, needing sunlight to quench her horrible hunger. Oh how she wished she could go back to being a normal girl once more! Everyone seemed to forget about their burn marks except for the ones who could readily see it due to their choice of clothing.

Gaia had conjured food native to each girl except for Bisera and Isabella. Lillian had Sunday Roast with a side of Fish And Chips which she happily consumed, Afisa ate Beluga Sturgeon Caviar, Blintz,Pelmini,Okroshka and Kvass to drink, Hoài Mi ate Bún bò Huế,Gỏi cuốn, Bánh bao, and Nước mía to drink, Xaviera simply chowed on the carcass of a cow and drank its blood, Felecia drank milk and ate Gravlax, Pitepalt,Christmas Ham,Zoe ate Apple Pie, a hamburger and french fries with a Pepsi, Amalija simply ate two pieces of bread with a cup of juice, Hélène ate croissants, escargot, some cheese and le chocolate chaud.  Kajsa sat at Felecia's feet eating the best cat food in the world.

Gaia had given the girls cuisine from their respective countries so they'd feel more at home.

"Now my children," Gaia began with her soft and motherly voice. "I will tell you what you need to know." she said, each person hearing it in their native tongue, only Zoe, Isabella and Lillian hearing the same language.

"What about what we want to know!?" shouted Lillian.

"Please be calm. I assure you everything will be cleared in but a moment." Gaia sighed then cleared her throat as she rose from her throne-like seat. "As most of you already know, I am a witch and all of you are witches as well. For those who do not understand, a witch is a being created from the souls of many deceased animals. In essence, you all contain an abundance of lives in you and are much closer related to me than any other beings. You would be human but the life inside of you is greater, more pure." At this revelation Zoe, Lillian, Felecia and Amalija grew squeamish. Others were indifferent in disbelief and the remaining were in awe.

"As our souls ascend into the sky it is morphed into the most prominent life form at the time or at least I think. You'll have to ask Ankur for more details since he knows all the scientific mumbo-jumbo." she smiled. Lillian scoffed at the word "scientific".

"When we first arose on this planet eons ago we took the form of dicydonts then the dinosaurs then much later into humans. Each of us witches..." purple lightning began to emit from everywhere on Gaia's body as she turned into a giant hairy ape with long arms and brown hair . "...can turn into any animal we desire as long as we master the spell code, far easier said than done mind you,"

Afisa pointed a quivering finger as she morphed back into her "human" form. "T-that animal went extinct." she stammered.

Gaia sighed. "Yes, unfortunately it can no longer assume physical form but it is among us. The soul simply gets recycled. As you are a witch, a human whose soul has been touched by the great Digirama, you can use your power or your mana as a means to transform into all that's ever been."

At the mention of the name "Digirama" the girls felt a celestial feeling of peace and wholeness. Though it was infinitely comforting it was underlined by a slight feeling of unease, magnified for Amalija.

Amalija began to scream causing everyone to look at her, fearing for her even though they couldn't understand her cries. "No! So, we're children of the devil and can turn into soulless beings! We're all going to hell! We've spit in the eyes of god! We're sinners! All of us if what you say is true!"

Gaia looked away. "No, child our queen Digirama is among the stars shining on us. She is not evil, in fact she's just the opposite, wishing that the creatures she created can thrive. Animals have souls as evidenced by your births. And if we are truly sent to hell like you say then wouldn't we need souls to do so? Or would we? I'm not sure child. I must admit, Christianity is a bit ahead of my time."

Lillian's eyes widened. "But you said you're The Earth."

Gaia sighed. "True, I am The Earth now but I wasn't always The Earth...in a sense. I was not always aware of my witch heritage. I was much like you girls in that I at first thought I was a simple human." she closed her eyes. "Now, as for the reason I brought you here, the world is in grave danger. An evil man by the name of Juan Carlos is forming an army of abominations to try and destroy me so he can take over the planet. There is only so much I can do and I am growing older by the day. I need young witches who will be able to fight him by my side and save the planet."

"How many of them are there?" asked Hoài Mi, concerned for the planet and her own well-being.

"Ten boys plus Juan." answered Gaia.

There are ten of us. They all thought.

Felicia raised her left hand. Gaia caught her breath and nodded as the beautiful began to speak in her soft, inoffensive voice that caught everyone's attention despite none of them except Gaia understanding her. "Ms. Gaia? How do we know we're witches?"

Gaia spoke. "Well, besides the fact that each of you know you're different..." this prompted to Lillian to shake her head. "...each of you has a seed waiting to hatch that no other being has. Wherever you desire, reach into your body at at night, the seed will gravitate to your hand. You will be able to feel the furry seed and pinching it will cause every opening in your bodies to emit a bright beam of light the color of your aura. That beam will signify that no more inhibitions shall be put on your magic."

Each of the girls looked skeptical at Gaia. "I have summoned each of you to help you awaken your inner potential in hopes you will help me defend our planet. I just ask of this: to allow me to train you and after we're absolutely done I'll give you the choices of trying to adjust back into the societies that shun you or defending the Earth. What you do after defending the Earth will be discussed at a later date."

Afisa spoke meekly. "If you're truly The Earth as you say then...you're asking us to be your bodyguards?" 

Gaia nodded. "Precisely. My grandmother would have told me that it was my duty to serve The Earth but I don't believe in forcing children to do things. I will guide you on your path to being a witch but that is all."

The girls looked at each other in silence. Gaia's eight-legged horse returned with towels, soap and shampoo on his head. To everyone's shock the horse transformed into a caramel-skinned man who lacked a shirt and wore a skirt-like bottom garment. He lacked shoes and as he transformed the items remained on his now human head.

"This is Ankur." Gaia introduced. "Follow him."

The girls complied and followed the silent man known as Ankur through the dark forest to a Japanese styled castle. They went through the empty red rooms and opened a sliding door in the back that led to an exquisite hot-spring outlined by rocks.  The area was steamy causing Amalija's glasses to fog and the only light was provided by a mysterious light source that emitted from under the water of the spring. The girls could hear wolves in the forest, prompting Xaviera to get on all fours and snarl.

"Strip." stated the man in the same language altering technique used by Gaia, though unlike her he had a noticeable accent that none of the girls could quite identify. 

Practically the entire group protested, even Xaviera who called his command perverted. 

"Pedophile!" shouted Hàoi Mi. Felecia was silent as her eyes widened as large as the moon, she put her hands on the side of her face and she turned red as a tomato.

The only ones who did so without protest were Bisera who was covered in her vines and leaves, Isabella who's suit melted into the water and didn't have a sense of modesty anyway, and Hélène who was happy that the "handsome man considered her enough of a work of art that he didn't want clothes to tarnish her".

With an irritated sigh Ankur shut the door, him inside the castle while the girls removed their clothes and entered the hot-springs, some quicker than other such as Felicia being quicker than Zoe but about the same speed as Amalija. Once all the girls had entered, the girls looked at the large trees. Everyone was in utter envy of Felecia who sensed this and turned away from everyone.  Everyone had fled to separate corners and sides of the spring to avoid Xaviera who was splashing playfully in the middle, scorching everyone that got near. Kajsa had taken a nap behind the rocks, shielded from the water.

They heard Ankur and Gaia laughing before Gaia had came out with an ancient stone tablet. She playfully threw off her blue dress causing everyone to gasp in admiration. She didn't even get in, she just sat cross legged on a rock as she read a story about a young girl who came to the planet via meteorite and traveled the world, giving its inhabitants pastries as she battled the evil shark Bittertooth. Even the oldest girls couldn't help but chuckle at the cute little story. It seemed as if Gaia had read the story millions of times.

She gave each of the girls black nightgown to slip into. Lillian was a bit uncomfortable about not wearing underwear or a bra.

After they were all cleansed and dressed, Gaia teleported them into a treehouse high in the trees, seeing most of the treetops in the dark forest. There was only one large room and a single huge black bed with one large cover.

"I'm sorry my children can't speak the same language but by the morning you should be able to communicate." Gaia apologized.

In a gust of wind she was gone, leaving the girls to themselves. They all got in the bed wearily, arranging themselves so the girls could be in a place where they felt the most safe. Amalija was in the middle with Lillian to her right and Zoe to her left. At the ends of the bed were Xaviera and Isabella. Kajsa simply walked around the room, meowing occasionally.

Late at night, the treehouse was filled with various colored brigh lights that lit up the forest for about five minutes, the girls deciding to see if they were truly witches around the same time as they screamed in pain, their insides burning.

Chapter Three: Let the Training CommenceEdit

A young boy was huddled with a group of children, laughing and joking with them. The day was sunny and hot, without a cloud in sight as the children stood near the center of the capital city of Turkmenistan that was surrounded by mountains. Most of the children were tired and thankful for the rest but due to the yet the boy felt incredibly energetic and happy. The group was a ways away from an intricate white palace with a golden dome, both which dazzled magnificently in the sunshine.  In front of the place was a set of steps and two bodies of water separated by a walkway. In front of the bodies of water, pressurized water was shooting out from a fountain.

Behind the children about thirty feet back was an anxious man next to another men with shades and a entirely black suit watching one of the boys intensely. The boy that he was staring at was laughing and joking with the kids, trying to ignore the set of eyes beaming on him.

"Hey, Zizzy?"

The boy turned to his friend. "What is it?"

"Do you like robots?"

"Yeah, sort of..."

"Yeah, I like them too. Androids in particular their like imitation humans."

Imitation humans....the boy clutched his head in pain and stumbled backward before screaming, startling the other children. A man with a concerned expression walked out of the entrance of the palace and ran towards the child writhing on the ground in pain as the other children frantically inquired about his condition.

The man in the suit pulled out a gun and ran towards the boy. "Sir, get b-"

As the boy's scream rose in pitch, a giant pink dome of destructive psychic energy formed which obliterated everything in a thirty mile radius. The boy awoke in a giant crater of destruction.

The image of the boy abruptly disappeared as Eziz woke up with a start, panting and sweating despite the fact that he opted to only take a pair of underwear form Kola's bag of pajamas to sleep. He sighed as he looked at the clock. It was 9:40 AM, time to head down to the dining room.

Meanwhile, his roommate, Afwerki was pressed against the wall next to the door on the outside of the room, running out when the pained mumblings and screaming had begun.

...

In the treehouse, the majestic light of dawn crept lovingly into the wooden structure, warming the girls who were all sleeping peacefully, almost all of them smiling. Hélène was the first to wake up as she yawned and stretched her arms, her hands in unknowingly deadly fists.

She laughed her shrill, aristocratic laugh, stirring the other girls awake, their peaceful smiles turning into angry frowns. Hélène didn't seem to notice the ruckus she was causing and continued laughing. "Another day that beautiful me is touched by that scandalous devil, Mister Sun!" she laughed.

Afisa groaned as she sat groggily up. "Would you shut up?! It's 4:45 you rude b-" Afisa cut her curse short as her eyes widened. "What did you just say?" she asked, sticking her finger in Hélène's large hair.

Hélène retracted growling, highly protective of her hair. "I said 'another day that beautiful me is touched by that scandalous devil, Mist-!" she closed her mouth as her eyes widened. "You can understand me?!" she asked in shock.

Afisa simply nodded as the other girls were sitting up rubbing their eyes as if to rub out the tiredness each of them slowly becoming shocked at the recent development.

"W-when did you learn to speak English?" asked Lillian, still have asleep.

"When did you learn to speak Vietnamese?!" asked Háoi Mi emphasizing on the "you".

"How can they speak Macedonian?" asked Bisera quietly. She gasped and cupped her mouth in her hands when she heard the words come out and when Háoi Mi darted her eyes in her direction. "How can they speak Macedonian?!" she yelled, causing more girls to look at her. She began crying a torrent of joyous tears saying the words "Yes" and "Thank you" finally free from having to speak in sign language.

Xaviera laughed. "You dumbies no even speak good!"

Lillian simply stared at the young feral girl.

Instead of verbally expressing her utter shock Felecia simply stared around the room with her giant eyes, regarding everyone with confusion at their sudden ability to speak Swedish.

Amalija shook her head. "It's a miracle. A miracle from the heav-" she cut herself off and began to cry silently, hiding her face with her hands. Isabella meanwhile, was still fast asleep along with Kajsa. Xaviera jumped out of the bed and sniffed the ground until she got to Isabella where she jumped back on the bed.

"No sleep stupid!" she cried out, causing Isabella to abruptly open her eyes which flashed purple and red rapidly until slowing down until they stayed purple. "Leave me alone." she growled.

Xaviera threw a fireball at Isabella who's skin reflected it with twice the speed and power, sending Xaviera tumbling back. She quickly recovered, getting on all fours and running out of the treehouse.

"Good riddance." said Amalija, looking out via an opening between her fingers.

"We can speak to each other." Zoe gawked.

"...yes..." whispered Felecia finally.

Gaia suddenly appeared in the entrance to the treehouse with her arms at her sides. "You're welcome." she smiled.

Lillian got out of the bed and walked forward with her left hand on her chest. "You? But how did you do this?" she inquired in disbelief. Slowly, one by one the other girls got out the bed too, Amalija last with Isabella still on the bed, snoring loudly.

Gaia folded her arms and the girls watched as her grin grew. "Even after touching your seeds you still are in disbelief of the ways of magic? Fine then." 

Gaia held out her arm and suddenly the entrance to the treehouse widened, the ceiling shot up and the room itself grew wider as a jet black giant bird flew into the treehouse, its wings large enough to wrap around all the girls if they stood close. It had red eyes and was slightly taller than the large Gaia. It wrapped its large talons around her arm, obscuring it from view but the witch did not flinch, still grinning at her girls as the bird transformed into Ankur who was crouched on Gaia's arm.

"You see," he began before he cleared his throat. "What you girls refer to language can be simply be explained as a part of your brain converting the mana which flows in you into a specific type of mana called ß-Mana that cannot easily commune with other types of ß-Mana. The fix is quite simple actually. We knew that each of you would test your seeds in a process called Body Cleansing as your seed ejects the foreign air that touches it rapidly in a painful burning cleansing process to make sure it is not corrupted by the elements of the outside world." he sighed. "I'm rambling aren't I? Okay, after the Body Cleansing your body essentially shuts down to return to homeostasis. It's more akin to a coma then your normal sleep, at least for the first hour or so. During this hour, me and Gaia operated on you for this could cause some serious brain damage if even in a semi-conscious state of being. We converted you ß-Mana into regular old Mana." he explained in length.

Amalija bit her thumb while twirling the cross she had refused to remove. She looked at Ankur, sweating profusely. "So, we speak Mana now?"

For the first time the girls saw Ankur smile. "That is correct. Since you all are witches we simply made it so that your memory of language or ß-Mana has been converted back into pure Mana now you can speak the same language."

Also for the first time, the other girls saw Hélène looked worried. "B-but w-what if we want to t-t-talk to humans?" she asked in a stammer, afraid she wouldn't be able to live her dream of rubbing her talent into other people's faces.

"Do not worry, as your knowledge of magic grows you will be able to manually convert your outgoing Mana into any type of ß-Gamma you need."

Zoe spoke up. "Wait. What will-" but before she could finish Ankur transformed into several large-eared bats who hurriedly flew out of the treehouse.

Gaia reached into her dress and pulled out a large, ancient dusty book and threw it in the middle of the treehouse which had begun to revert to its original size. "After breakfast your first task is to find me in a field of flowers and tell me the essentials of this book." 

Isabella had finally awakened and moved towards the book without a hint of grogginess. "Ah, ah, ah." said Gaia, wagging a finger. She reached into a her skirt and pulled out a large straw sack and tossed it on the bed. "Before leaving, you must put on your uniform. I'll deliver Xaviera hers." she said.

Afisa was the first one to inspect the sack. Inside were nine sets of their "uniform" which consisted of a black dress that would magically reach down to the user's ankles upon contact with their skin then revert when removed topped with a golden buckle on the waist, large black boots that morphed to fit the user, long black gloves made out of rubber that went up slightly past their elbows making some of the girls opt to roll the up to right before their elbows, and a large black pointy hat that had a golden buckle.

The girls looked uneasily at each other as the first girl, Hélène began to switch outfits, liking the way the uniform looked.

...

Akmal was with all of the other boys in a cold, lifeless metal lab that was closed by four titanium doors. He didn't like being caged in anyway unless he was in a sporting arena of some sorts, that's why he left his room door open for as long as Master Juan permitted.

He looked around; each of the boys were in the clothes they had worn the previous day. At breakfast The Master had promised them that they would go to a mall after training to pick up clothes for them to wear. He looked around and saw a tough looking kid with his arms folded, playing with his hair and saw a tougher looking kid with an unbelievably surly look on his face, he did not like this kid. He looked again and saw a feminine looking boy with curly hair with his fist on his chin, lost in thought. 

They were all in metal fold-up chairs with a chrome painting sitting in front of high-tech black computer monitors. Master Juan said this was a requirement.

"Holy shhhhhhhake!" Akmal yowled as the 3D head of Master Juan smiling maliciously popped on the screen without warning. He heard his yowl echo as he popped on the other boys' screens even hearing yowls from the feminine boy, the tough boy and the tougher boy.

"Greetings," said Juan's disembodied head. "Oh dear, I hope I didn't frighten you did I?" he teased with a chuckle, emphasizing on the word "frighten" causing Akmal to grit his teeth. "Well, this marks your beginning of training which will most likely begin with linguistics. You are the one of the first in world to use the technology named Juandos!" he explained causing Akmal to groan as he put a hand on his face.

"With this technology you will be sent to a virtual reality where you will hone your skills as they pertain to yourself and your comrades. After VR training is done you will eat lunch then comes time for field training. Remember; all work, no play."

Akmal looked absolutely dismal, this seemed like it would be a major drag. Though field training did have a nice ring to it he feared that it would end up breaking every bone in his body. Already he didn't like the gleam that Master Juan sometimes got in his eyes. He sighed, bracing for the worst.

"Now, you may be distracted by your peers and believe me, that will disappoint me greatly but our psychologists state that putting you alone would be a great hindrance to your development and we need you to develop very, very quickly." Akmal scratched his head. We? What we? 

Before he knew it, the room became black with green lines. As a schoolroom that was bathed in early morning light due to the multiple windows occupying the walls to his left manifested from the blackness his, computer disappeared and became a textbook and he was in a seat made out of fine wood.

...

He paid as much attention as he could to the middle aged teacher in a vest but Akmal kept finding himself dozing off. He did not want to be the idiot but the class was just too boring for his tastes. Make me stand up. Make me do something. Just anything that's not sitting!

In his native tongue of Uzbek, Mr. Hol was teaching the essentials of the English language. At the beginning of class he familiarized everyone. Akmal gave a low sigh as he looked around the room, Eziz was listening attentively like Afwerki, Luuk was listening as well but had a grating smug look on his face, Gojo had ripped out a page of his textbook, rolled it up and....spat it on the back of Akmal's head. Akmal gritted his teeth, not wanting to be the snitch. The creepy child was in the back of the room scanning the book. Akmal had noticed the "big girl" wasn't there, no doubt to make sure they didn't have any extra distraction in addition to each other and he noticed that Zack, Andy, the koala, Joshua and Carmelo were not in the classroom.

"Mr. Babayev?" asked Mr. Hol.

Akmal immediately snapped into attention. "Yes sir?"

"What location were we just discussing?"

"Um...England?"

Mr. Hol shook his head. "Damn moron." he said, making Akmal droop his head in shame. Akmal knew something was wrong the second Mr. Hol didn't resume teaching. He looked up to see Mr. Hol with his arms folded in annoyance. "Get up here Mr. Babayev. Time is precious, your education is too but you obviously do not think such."

Akmal sighed and reluctantly went to the front of the class.

"Turn around." Mr. Hol commanded.

With confusion Akmal did so.

"Pull down your pants." commanded Mr. Hol stoically.

"W-what?" asked Akmal while he blushed, happy that no one else could speak Uzbek.

"Pull down your pants before I rip them off!" Mr. Hol barked.

Akmal closed his eyes and complied, helping the class achieve a roar of laughter except for Afwerki and Eziz. He heard Sebastion's high-pitched laugh rise above the others.

He felt a sharp stinging on his buttocks as he heard a large crack he recognized Gojo's hoots and Sebastion's laughs, giggles and entertained clapping. He felt the stinging again as Sebastion's laughter grew louder and his claps harder. Akmal closed his eyes and thought of Sitora Farmonova to lend him her strength as he felt hit, after hit, after hit, after hit, after hit, after hit, after hit.....

...

Not to long earlier, Zack had appeared in a wet and dark area. He could hardly breathe so he decided to move and to his relief, he saw sunshine. He smiled and stood up, his head just poking out of a slightly narrow ditch. For as far as he could see, the ditch went on for miles. With a grunt he decided to climb over the ditch just to find out where the heck he was and before he knew it his body was out of his control as it was mercilessly pumped full of bullets by an unseen machine gun.

Zack woke up again in a wet and dark area. He could hardly breathe so he decide to move and to his relief he saw sunshine. At that moment he realized what had just happened. 

I...I died. Now where in the Sam Hill am I anyway? He checked his surroundings and noticed to his horror dead bodies on the ground. Before he had climbed the ditch he heard a voice shout "Amerikaner! Schießen!"

Zack knew he should now where he was but he just didn't care for history class. ...History class. Oh, my god!

Zack's eyes widened as he heard a stampede and the shout of "über die Spitze!"

Zack leapt up and ran in the direction he ran last time but before he could get very far, he felt a bullet penetrate his chest, sending him tumbling down. He wouldn't have to suffer long for about a minute later everything went black as he briefly heard a gunshot and a bullet collide with his sku-

...

Carmelo appeared in a dirt path, with a bit of grass and a thick jungle on either side. The sun was beating down and he heard the sounds of exotic insects and animals. He snapped his fingers almost immediately after manifesting. "Nam! That's where I am! Uncle JJ was here! He described this place so good I remember it as if I was here!" he said.

Carmelo sighed as he put his hands in his pockets after putting on his headphones. He bobbed his head as he walked forward, instantly flying into several pieces as a mine went off, sending dirt in every which way, Carmelo's life being a thing of the past.

Carmelo appeared in a dirt path, with a bit of grass and a thick jungle on either side. The sun was beating down and he heard the sounds of exotic insects and animals. He snapped his fingers almost immediately after manifesting. "Nam! That's-...ugh talk about major deja vu or whatever."

Carmelo considered walking again. Fuck that shi- He sat on the ground criss-cross and lit a cigarette that he put in his pants in the morning. Carmelo sensed something wrong in the air as he turned his head a tad bit too late for the Vietcong sniper had already pulled the trigger, obliterating Carmelo's young brain.

...

Joshua was scooted on to a podium by a man that appeared to be a pilgrim. Even though Joshua's hands were tied behind his head with rope he kept a calm mind. He analyzed the situation carefully. The sky was cloudy, people dressed in an ancient fashion were watching. There was a noose...

Oh god...

"There's been a mistake!" Joshua pleaded for his life. "There must be a mistake! I'm not a witch!"

"Shut up vile wench!" the man yelled as he kicked the now whimpering Joshua forward. "You bewitched innocent girls hag. Now you have to pay the price!" he said in a British accent.

Joshua sighed as he closed his eyes, remembering one of the only documents of the trials that he had seen.

"Whereas Sarah Good Wife of William Good of Salem Village Rebecka Nurse wife of Francis Nurse of Salem Village Susanna Martin of Amesbury Widow Elizabeth How wife of James How of Ipswich Sarah Wild wife of John Wild of Topsfield all of the County of Essex in thier Maj'ts Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Att A Court of Oyer & Terminer held by Adjournment for Our Sovereign Lord & Lady Kind Wiliam & Queen Mary for the said County of Essex at Salem in the s'd County onf the 29th day of June [torn] were Severaly arrigned on Several Indictments for the horrible Crime of Witchcraft by them practiced & Committed On Severall persons and pleading not guilty did for thier Tryall put themselves on God & Thier Countrey whereupon they were Each of them found & brought in Guilty by the Jury that passed On them according to their respective Indictments and Sentence of death did then pass upon them as the Law directs Execution whereof yet remains to be done: Those are Therefore in their Maj'ties name William & Mary now King & Queen over England &ca: to will & Command you that upon Tuesday next being the 19th day for [torn] Instant July between the houres of Eight & [torn] in [torn] forenoon the same day you Safely conduct the s'd Sarah Good Rebecka Nurse Susann Martin Elizabeth Howe & Sarah Wild From thier Maj'ties goal in Salem afores'd to the place of Execution & there Cause them & Every of them to be hanged by the Neck untill they be dead and of the doings herein make return to the Clerke of the said Court & this precept and hereof you are not to fail at your perill and this Shall be your sufficient Warrant given under my hand & seale at Boston th 12't day of July in the fourth year of Reign of our Soveraigne Lord & Layd Wm & Mary King and Queen"

Joshua sighed. He didn't care too much which woman he was. Not now. He felt it was very ironic that he was being hung for being a witch. Didn't he at least get the option of confessing before he was hanged? He sighed, feeling his mental joke wasn't in good taste. He was soon suspended from the board, trying to get free by moving as much as he could. Everything went black in thirty seconds.

Joshua was scooted on to a podium by a man that appeared to be a pilgrim. Even though Joshua's hands were tied behind his head with rope he kept a calm mind. He analyzed the situation carefully. The sky was cloudy, people dressed in an ancient fashion were watching. There was a noose...

Joshua sighed, remembering what had happened. He pondered without his hands how he was alive. He hoped this was only his second of nine lives...

...

Andy bit his fingers as he tightly gripped Manic who was shaking. He was at a boat at night. He shook uncontrollably, knowing something horrible was afoot when he heard a horrible ripping sound. He tried to ignore it.

Not too long afterward, Andy was falling helplessly down the deck which was now a steep hill as he fell. He decided to brace himself and jump in the icy waters below. He positioned Manic on his back as he swam and swam until his muscles got numb and he stopped. He floated there for a long time, eventually dying of Hypothermia along with Manic.

Once the boat tore in half again he did the same thing but head the opposite direction where he was torn limb from limb by viscous sea creatures. Unable to defend himself due to the frigid waters.

...

The girls trekked the forest in a scattered line, trying to find The Earth. They had a big breakfast that was similar to dinner in that they ate food from their countries of origin. The girls were annoyed as they walked in the forest, having been delayed considerably by Felecia who had to climb back up the treacherous tree to fetch Kajsa. It proved a very difficult climb without the aid of Gaia. As they walked, the girls passed around the book they were commanded to read, each of them slowly absorbing the knowledge they needed, even Xaviera who each of the girls thought was illiterate. Bisera was proving quite the chatterbox, not staying silent for more than thirty-seconds in excitement for her newfound voice which she honestly wished sounded sexier. In fairness, the other girls weren't really quiet either. Joyful that they were no longer alone, joyful that the wonderful Gaia had broken down the barriers.

They eventually reached the field of flowers that was filled with daisies. It was one of the only parts of the forest that wasn't dim-litted. In the air flew pterodactyls, eagles, and albatrosses. Gaia was in the middle of the field holding a large sunflower and sitting on a rocking chair. The girls ran out to her.

Xaviera smiled. "Hiii Gaia!" she gleefully greeted with her hands behind her back. "The meanie belly girl..." Afisa put her fists on her hips, leaned forward and stuck out her tongue causing Felecia to giggle. "...told me to apologize and give you a gift!" she stated before showing a squirrel with viscous teethmarks and a snapped neck, no doubt the work of Xaviera herself. 

Gaia dropped the sunflower, the hands of the chair supporting it as she clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. "Thank you! How thoughtful!" she touched the dead animal, changing it into a delicious piece of strawberry shortcake which she ate in one bite.

Everyone except Gaia jumped back when Xaviera suddenly screamed. She stomped her boot on the ground. "You meanie!I made you a gift but you changed it! "

Gaia smiled. "I simply converted the Mana...."

"Shut up!" Xaviera stomped to Isabella who she had taken a shine to, though the feeling was not mutual as Isabella cried "Ew" and moved away from Xaviera. She wore the hat, the boots and gloves over her body suit but the dress simply merged into the suit, causing it to turn black and grow a buckle on the waist.

"So children...what did you learn?" Gaia asked.

Lillian stepped forward. "Witches are composed of Mana."

Háoi Mi stepped forward."Mana is all around us but only The Witches can control Mana."

Bisera stepped forward and spoke in a strong, courageous voice albeit a somewhat squeaky one. "Witches can opt to gain a Jark to help their powers manifest and stay in control."

Zoe stepped forward."The easiest way to tap into the limitless supply of Mana is for a witch to use her soul to talk to the environment that she is most accustomed to."

Hélène stepped forward and laughed."To solidify the Mana after it enters her body, beginner witches are highly reccomended to use wands made out of natural materials."

Isabella stepped forward."The most basic spell a witch should learn is universally called the aether though it changes depending on the environment and the witch's inside Mana. There are ten forms aether can take: Fire, Stone, Water, Thunder, Ice, Catapo, Shadow, Aero, Leafo and Lighti."

"Stronger forms of these aether spells in ascending order are denoted with the suffixes: -ra, -ga, -ja and the most powerful and hardest to obtain, -za." Afisa stated.

Amalija stepped forward, looking towards the ground, practically choking her words out. "Once a witch becomes skilled in using Mana it will automatically bond with her blood in vast amounts and she will gain the ability to repair damaged cells, making it extremely difficult for her to die."

Xaviera folded her arms and puffed out her cheeks as she stepped forward. "Tapping into Mana  easy with the aid of wand and Jark, mastering Mana, using it as magic, and even getting one za form of magic very hard."

Felecia stepped forward last with a warm smile, prompting Gaia to tilt her head in wonder of her gorgeus child. "You should respect and honor the kind witch that decided she would devote her time to making sure you'll grow up to be a kind and powerful witch. Listen to her and lover her dearly, because for all intents and purposes, she is your mother now."

The girls all bowed down. "O, teach us Earth. Teach us about you and the Mana that flows from you, the energy that touches every living being. Teach us about the souls that make us up. Teach us about our seeds that will grow into a mighty flower." They were all sincere, wanting to know about the powers that they have had all their lives.

Gaia smiled. "Yes my children. I shall. It is time to give you your tools." she clapped and a mighty minotuar hurdled a giant redwood tree in the direction of the children. Gaia limply held up a hand. "....firaza..." she said calmly as the tree burst into flames, only leaving ten beautiful short sticks in the grass. 

Gaia closed her eyes and held out her hands and the girls scrambled for them, causing Gaia to chuckle. Everyone had received a wand, even Isabella who absorbed it through the sleeve of her body suit and Xaviera who decided to hold hers horizontally between her teeth. 

Hélène, however did not want her wand. "Um, Gaia?"

"Yes, child?"

"Well could I please my paintbrush!?"

"But child, you read the..."

Hélène fell to her knees. "Please Gaia! I'm begging you!" cried Hélène who would later regret this show of weakness. "May I pretty please use my paintbrush? I had it since I was two and it was made from an evergreen, I swear! Please, oh please, oh pleeaaaase!?"

"Oh, all right child but understand this." she looked Hélène sternly in the eye. "It will be much harder for you to preform spells due to the brush at the end of the stick but if you insist..."

Hélène hugged Gaia tightly and let go when she felt as if millions of insects had crawled inside of her body. "Oh thank you Gaia! I'll work extra, extra, extra hard, okay?!"

Gaia nodded with a soft smile. "Okay."

Gaia snapped her fingers, creating a dirt path, splitting the field in two with the road splitting off into multiple paths at the end. "Now, my children, I want you to go down this path. Go down the first path to come to mind."

"What will happen!?" asked Bisera in excitement.

Amalija hit her on the back of the head. "Don't speak out of turn, you rude girl!"

Gaia sighed. "Settle down. Your path will take you to where you need to go to obtain your Aether spell. Most of you girls will have at least one other person walking down the same path."

The girls merrily went down the path, all except for Amalija. They all were amazed at their ability to read the book, at first no one could make heads or tails about what it said but soon the words were just flowing into their minds as if it was meant to be there all of their lives. Lillian reluctantly felt as if she was finally apart of something great while Amalija could not keep from thinking that she had finally been kicked out of something great and was on the road of damnation while in her witch uniform, the heavens seeing her as who she really was, who she always was.

...

The boys entered the courtyard after a cheerless lunch. Most of them were tuckered out from a long session of class where, admittedly they learned quite a bit but still didn't give them the ability to make casual and natural conversation. The native English speakers were already shook up by dying gruesome deaths time after time again. Zack seemed the most shook up, trying everything to running along the ditch but eventually still being shot down anyway. Andy's arms were still weak as he laid limply on the cafeteria table, letting Manic put the food into his mouth, grateful for his friend's loyalty in the VR. Despite (or maybe because) everything that he did resulting in a brutally quick death (mainly because he pretty much did the same thing) Carmelo sat alone at his own table smoking a cigarette. Joshua seemed the most calm despite his deaths being the exact same without any hope of getting out. As he scooted closer to Carmelo he wondered to himself why were the boys subject to that torture. It was inhumane and it was bound to be illegal though he thought Juan was the type of guy to not to care.

Kola had come into the cafeteria which was seperate from the dining room to check on Joshua who had seemed to compliment her endlessly. She let it slide on account of she knew the torture he went through and hugged him for his toughness. Kola had told Carmelo he couldn't smoke indoors so he decided to just wrap his scarf around his mouth. He stared at his pack of Camel's. He wondered why exactly did he do this. He knew it would kill him. Or would it? He would have to ask Juan sometime, he wasn't sure about this sycanetwork or whatever the hell Joshua said it was.

Out of all the kids who had to attend class, Akmal hated it the most for obvious reasons. He had to eat his burrito standing up for he new his butt would hurt like hell if he had sat down on the hard lunch benches.

During lunch, Gojo had walked to Joshua and began laughing, prompting him to raise his eyebrows. "Can I help you?" asked Joshua.

"You...like...a girl." he laughed.

"Excuse me."

"I say...you...look...like...a...girl!" he laughed before walking off.

Joshua simply looked at Gojo in annoyance before sighing and biting into his taco. Great, the boy can a barely speak English and the first thing this fool decides he needs to express is that I look like a female. Marvel. Quite the original thought. I should help him and the other multi dozen people who have stated that, including my own father, start their own club.

Joshua looked at Carmelo who had scooted away from him.

That was about thirty minutes ago. Now they were in a courtyard, the quickly moving clouds helped brighten their moods though Andy was still suffering muscle cramps.

"Sensei, what do we do if the feds see this giant fucking giant ship flying in the air?" Gojo asked.

"It is currently invisible along with everyone and everything inside of it. The sound is also muted from the outside world." Juan explained in Japanese.

Juan spoke to them telepathically, each of them hearing it in their mother tongue. "The easiest way for your abilities to manifest is in the face of danger due to the two hormones that work best in activating your telekinetic abilities: adrenaline and testosterone. Seeing as one of the easiest ways for you teenage boys to get your testosterone pumping will literally kill you if you pull anything on her, I'm deciding to use the safer route...trying to kill you." he said with a smile.

Kola sneezed as she jogged to Sebastion's room carrying a white box with a red, decorative bow on top. As promised, he was not recieving training for his psychic abilities with the others. She entered the door to see Sebastion on his bed sucking his thumb. He regarded the young woman coldly. "What is it?"

"A surprise that I'm sure you'll love, cutie!" cooed Kola with a rare smile. Sebastion growled but Kola didn't seem to notice. She opened the box and Sebastion squeeled in joy once he saw Kola hand him his brand new violin. She hugged the young boy, slowly suffocating him before he was released.

"You're going to try to kill us!?" shouted Zack in disbelief.

Eziz cracked his knuckles. "If that's what you wish." he said lowly.

Akmal cracked his knuckles with a smirk. Now this is more like it! "This'll be fun!" his face darkened as an image of Mr. Hol filled his mind. "Do we get to fight back?" he asked morosely.

Juan put his hands behind his back. "Oh, yes! Try as you will to hurt me for it will help your abilities emerge. Come, you may begin. We'll be at it all day."

Carmelo gave a confused look, his mouth slightly muffled by his scarf. "Wait, you said...."

Juan smiled. "All of you VR performances today were pitiful. Maybe I'll let you have your fun....if you land a hit on me that is..."

Gojo ran forward and caused the bricks in the courtyard to fly as he charged with a fist at his master. Juan teleported directly to the boy's side with his hands still behind his back and gave a weak looking kick, sending Gojo spiraling towards a wall, making a small crack as he connected.

Eziz threw a fireball as Juan kicked Gojo. Juan quickly turned around and sent the fall flying towards Carmelo at twice the speed, causing everyone except Joshua to scatter away from him. Carmelo covered his face and grunted,causing the fireball to dwindle to nothing.

Interesting... Juan knew without turning around that Akmal had leapt in the air while behind him and was about to deliver a powerful axe-kick at Juan's bald head when the old man expertly grabbed him by the leg and slammed him to the ground. He pulled down Akmal's pants with his mind and was about to give him a telekinetic spanking when he had to teleport to avoid the telekinetic shockwave of the boy's raw anger.

"Now the part when I try to kill you..." Twenty feet away, Juan threw Luuk into the air where he fired a barrage of energy beams from his bands at the boy. Luuk was assaulted by all of them before falling to the ground, bleeding.

"Dirty bastard..." mumbled Carmelo who had put on his headphones. Juan had began running towards him when the boy snapped his fingers appearing to have teleported to the other side of the courtyard but in reality, warping the air around him to allow him to move through it at incredible speed.

Juan redirected his attacks to Afwerki as he slapped him with small but very painful bursts of wind. The boy stumbled a bit before leaping up and being engulfed in a white light. "Light!" he shouted before four pillars of light quickly spread out from his body as he fell to the ground. Juan chuckled as he easily stepped in a space between two pillars, the spaces widening as they grew farther. 

Everyone was forced to run away from the pillars. Unfortunately, Zack had not managed to avoid them and had been slammed against a wall, vibrating uncontrollably after he had been struck and the pillar had dissipated.

"Sorry my brother!" cried Afwerki as he saw Zack shaking.

Juan looked around curiously as he was engulfed in a nacy blue tornado. Without moving a muscle, he sent Manic flying into Zack who was beginning to recover but would be rendered unconscious as he was knocked into the stone wall by the koala-turned--projectile.

Andy screamed out in anger as he seemingly appeared out of nowhere, with translucent claws and dog ears made from electric-based psychic energy. He pounced at Juan at an unbelievable speed but the Master simply ducked, letting the boy's own speed do him in. 

Juan turned around curiously to see Carmelo wag a finger at Juan, taunting him to approach. Juan quickly began to teleport in rapid succession towards the pyscic teen, moving two feet closer each time. Carmelo put on his headphones and closed his eyes in concentration. He gauged the time he expected it to take Juan to collide and once he thought he was about to crash into him, Carmelo sent out a blast of purple psychic energy in front of his body with his right hand. Though the blast was small, it was powerful with Joshua having to roll out of the way as it cracked the far away wall. Unfortunately for Carmelo, Juan teleported behind Carmelo and gave a powerful kick to his back which caused him to fly forward, his hands outstretched behind him with a bit of blood flying out of his mouth.

"Tsk!" said a voice as three bullets came flying towards Juan who simply erected a barrier before sending the bullets opposite direction where they came. Gojo ran towards him and swung his yoroidõshi at Juan with admirable skill and precision but Juan simply did what he did with the others and blasted him away.

Akmal formed balls from the grass and dirt with his newfound rage and hurdled them at Juan. Juan laughed. "You must be kidding me!" he let them get close before he decided to disintegrate them with his mind. Luuk seized his chance and blew a small gust of wind in the direction the balls were flying, sending some dust in Juan's face, forcing him to close them.

Eziz ran and fired more fireballs at Juan but he still wasn't harmed though his movements were slower and he appeared to only be able to dodge attacks instaed of retaliating.

Joshua grinned as his head felt lighter at that convenient moment in time. He dodged all the blasts coming from the uncoordinated boys. His martial arts were finally going to pay off. He ran to Juan, dodging the fireballs sent by Eziz.

"Move! You are in my path!" shouted Eziz. Joshua simply ignored him and tried to deliver a chop at Juan who dodged it. Each time Juan would try to send a blast at Joshua, Joshua managed to deftly dodge. The two could simply dodge the other's attacks, looking like they were tangled in some kind of dance while dodging Eziz's fireballs. Joshua suddenly found himself flying backwards from a by a powerful blast of psychic energy. 

Juan smirked. I can't have the boy getting too cocky.

Joshua was caught by Afwerki. He took a bit of time to think of how to phrase his sentence in a way someone who was learning English would understand. "We will be here for long."

Afwerki nodded solemnly. "Indeed brother."  

                        ...

All the girls had made it to their respective enviroments made it to their environments. Zoe was in a sun-kissed beach with large waves crashing onto the shore, bringing and taking seashells and starfish as they tumbled down onto the sand. Zoe was with Isabella who began to whistle with her hands behind her back.

Zoe was unnerved by her fellow witch's whistling. Zoe was less annoyed by the act than its origin, to Isabella, nothing was out of the ordinary; this was all one big game to her.

"So, what do we need to do?" asked Zoe.

Isabella sighed. "Try to use the mana in your body to tap into the mana of an environment you;re accustomed to. It'll be easier if you focus the mana in your jark, letting it travel to your hand and out your wand."

Zoe sighed. "That seems easier said than done."

Isabella put her left hand on her hip then laughed. "Pu-leeze! I've been doing crap like this since I was a little kid!"

Zoe frowned. "Well maybe normal people have a harder time." she, emphasizing on normal.

Isabella winced as if slapped. "Put a cork in it Sailor Moon!" she growled. Her posture relaxed a bit as she glowered at the shorter Zoe. "I know the problem, you're mistaking the word "normal" with "loser", perfectly understandable." she stated. She stood for a bit in silence, her eyes trained on Zoe. Zoe shivered slightly as seconds passed, feeling unnerved as Isabella's odd, mystical eyes trained on her. Zoe felt a powerful surge in her blood and the fine hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Satisfied with Zoe's reaction, Isabella smield, turned and began to walk away.

Though they did not notice her, Felecia was a ways away from them. Although she was not noticed, she didn't mind.. She was laying down, petting Kajsa, happy that she was finally at a beach again like the ones her parents took her to when she was little. If there was any hint of the girl being a witch then Felecia supposed it was in her otherworldly appearance. She wasn't being vain, in fact she was being self-defeating, feeling everyone stared at her because they all thought she was ugly. She regarded her wand.

Isabella held out her hand. "Aether!" she yelled. Out of her long sleeve shot out a torrent of water. Isabella smiled in satisfaction.

Thirty feet away, Zoe looked at Isabella's display and growled. Yes, she was stuck here against her wishes but she would not be outdone by that lanky, lime haired twerp. Zoe closed her eyes and vividly recalled when Gaia told her that Joshua was evil. She gripped her wand tightly. "Aether!" she shouted. Nothing happened. "Aether!" she screamed with the same effect. "Aether! Aether! Aether!" she screamed.

"...um...maybe you should try to be happy..." suggested a quiet voice.

Zoe jumped then saw Felecia sitting on the ground behind. Zoe smiled sheepishly as she turned around, blushing. "Oh, I'm sorry. What did you say?" she asked.

Felecia stood up and brushed the backside of her dress. Zoe instantly felt inferior in her pres. "I said that um, maybe you could, like try to not be angry when trying?"

Zoe sighed. She had not thought of that. Granted, she did not consider herself a pyromaniac who would be able to conjure up fire while smiling. Nevertheless, Zoe thought of her and Joshua on the roof of his house, looking at the north star together. "Aether!" she shouted as she flicked her wand. A green, spiral energy emitted from her wand. "Huh? What did that do?"

Felecia walked in front of her. "...try again...."

Zoe's eyes widened in horror. "No, I couldn't."

"...please..."

Zoe sighed. "Aether!" she shouted, once the green beam hit Felecia she was sent back, flipping in the air before landing on the water with a painful slap before submerging. Zoe clasped her hands over her mouth. "Felecia!" she screamed, running.

After coughing, Felecia stood up. "I'm okay." she said. She took out her wand, admiring the sand and feeling it flow into her, everything, the starfish, the sand and the water flowing into her being and her jask giving off a warm, burning sensation. "...aether!" she cried before getting shocked as her wand emitted a powerful burst of electricity. As she collapsed Zoe, caught her in her arms. "Snap out of it Felicia!"

Isabella looked at the other two in worry.

...

Afisa was walking alone in a frozen tundra. She didn't want to wear this stupid outfit and she was tempted to take it off but wasn't sure how it would affect her ability to cast spells. It was just too hot for her tastes. She admitted she liked the hat and the only thing she would modify was the length of the dress.

Afisa closed her eyes and touched the buckle. She let out a breath when she felt a swirling mass of clean energy as the length of the dress shortened, coming just below her waist. She smiled at a job well done. 

She knew what her power had to be. Even though she could do a plethora of things with her powers, she was convinced due to the environment that her aether would take the form of ice.

She closed her eyes and held out her wand in front of her with both hands. She remembered when her grandmother would tell her stories of when she was a young girl. She felt her insides chill as the permafrost travelled within her body. "Aether!" she shouted as a giant sphere of ice shot out from the end of the wand, pushing her back, falling onto the ground.Afisa smiled. I told you so

...

Xaviera entered a misty jungle not unlike her own, hearing the sounds of monkeys and birds in the trees as she looked around. She spit her wand on the ground "Where the heck anybody!?" she shouted in the tress.

Gaia rose from the ground behind her. "Though you are my youngest child you are the strongest. However, you have much to learn. I want you to use your wand as an extension of you and throw away everything you thought you knew about magic."

Xaviera growled. "But I'm the best!"

Gaia shook her head. "Yes, but as you are now your mana is finite. You see, me and Ankur observed you and we have come to the conclusion that you simply use the mana inside your body. Even though it is quite vast compared to the other witches, there is a finite amount."

Xaviera gave a "hmph" before folding her arms.

"Please, try to use the mana in the environ-"

"Fine!" shouted Xaviera as she took off her boots and used her left foot to pick up the wand. She growled and grunted as Gaia's eyes widened, being able to see the mana in the environment flow into her body, making her glow bright green. Gaia gasped, was this girl stronger than even Isabella?

"Aether!" howled Xaviera as she jumped up and fired a beam of dark energy that pierced Gaia's chest, causing her to stumble backwards.

Shadow is disorienting. So even though I was behind her initially I ended up in front of her. Oh dear, I must retreat.

"Very good child." said Gaia, coughing before sinking back into the ground.

...

Amalija sighed as she kneeled before the head of a gravestone. She was with Háoi Mi who was humming and making beatbox noises with her mouth, annoying Amalija. They were on a hill overlooking a town and the wind was strong, forcing both the girls to clutch their hats.

Amalija still had a heavy heart as Háoi Mi skipped over to her. "What's wrong?"

Amalija growled as she stood up. "Just....leave me alone you witch!"

"But...you're a witch too..." stated Haoi Mi in confusion.

Amailija turned away. "I didn't ask for this!"

Háoi Mi giggled as she went to Amalija and pinched her face. "Oh, brighten up it'll be fun being a witch."

Amalija jerked away, her face bunched in anger as her eyes began to grow misty. "For you!" shouted Amalija. "I was led to believe I was a child of god!"

Háoi Mi clamped Amalija's mouth. "Shhh! You just woke up Burt!"

Amalija shrank away. "What are you going on about now?"

Háoi Mi trotted over to a grave as Amalija twirled her cross between her fingers. "I'm sorry Burt!" said Háoi Mi with a smile as she shook her hand in the air. "Yeah, it was that girl with the glasses. Hey, that was mean!" she snapped.

Amalija rolled her eyes. "Who are you talking to, you twit?"

Háoi Mi gasped. "Well, then! I was talking to Burt who you woke up. I told him it was mean but since you're mean too I guess I can tell you that he called you fat."

Amalija simply walked away and sat on a patch of grass, crying softly. She supposed she appeared in a cemetery because she would always go to cemeteries as a nun and look at the resting places of those that she knew would go up to heaven.

Háoi Mi walked over to Amalija and put her left hand on Amalija's shoulder. "Come on, you're not being fun..."

Amalija swatted Háoi Mi's hand away causing her to puff up her cheeks and stomp away with her fists on her hips.

Háoi Mi looked over the hill and thought about the warm fuzzy feeling she got when she was applauded. She felt the dead put comforting hands on her shoulder as she took out her wand and shouted, "Aether!" causing tiny pebbles to shoot out of her wand at high speed. She hung her head low for she wished she got a more flashy ability than just shooting pebbles.

Amalija sighed as she stood up and held her wand loosely between her fungers. She prayed before whispering, "...aether..." engulfing the entire area in a blindingly bright, white light.

...

Gojo panted as he stood up again to rush at Juan. Juan laughed as he sent icicles at the boy. Gojo sent them Juan's way causing him to erect a barrier that caused the icicles to pass through him and head toward Eziz who melted them once he coated his body in flames.

Joshua still ran around the courtyard, dodging stray attacks and calculating exactly what he needed to do to take down Juan. Zack was conscious again and followed Joshua who met with Afwerki in a corner.

Joshua looked at the two boys and nodded. Joshua ran towards Juan, his ability to read minds back as he kept throwing punches and kicks at the old man who dodged and sent his own psychic attacks at the boy who just barely managed to dodge them.

"I hope you boys know I'm taking it easy on you." said Juan, causing Joshua to gulp.

Afwerki ran behind Juan and created a dome of light, causing everyone inside to not see what was happening outside. Manic jumped into the fray once more, making Juan see white, navy blue and the occasional Joshua. They heard a large snap as sound inside the dome was eradicated. Juan dodged a bullet by ducking and swiftly moved out of the way of Joshua's kick then was hit by another dirt ball, blinding him again. Joshua felt his telepathic ability waning so he raised his hand, causing Zack to rush at Juan and Joshua at incredible speed. Joshua held out a fist as Zack ran into him which briefly brushed Juan's arm before he teleported right out of the way, sending Zack, Manic and Josh into a wall.

Afwerki dissolved the barrier. Almost everyone was bruised and the walls were horribly cracked, some having medium sized holes.

Juan was about to send more fireballs when Joshua shouted, "Stop!"

"Why?" asked Juan.

"Whadaya' mean why?!" Zack exclaimed in exasperation, panting as he was bent over.

Joshua staggered up. "We hit you, even though it was minor we still hit you!"

Everyone nodded. Juan sighed. "Oh, all right ,but remember, I was not even using half my st-"

All the children cheered as they exited the courtyard and head to their rooms, seemingly forgetting about their collective pain, preparing for their trip to the mall.

...

Lillian, Bisera and Hélène were all in a forest, identical the main one with the sounds of birds and scuttling creatures.

"All right guys! Here I go!" shouted Bisera. She held out her wand, feeling nature creep up her vines and leaves as she thought of speaking again. "Aether aether aether aether aether aether!" she cheered, each time sending out a torrent of leaves. Upon the last shout, her wand was covered in flowers as she suddenly felt healed.

"Do you best you guys!" Bisera cheered.

Hélène laughed as she thought about her paintings. "Aether!" she laughed. Nothing happened, she didn't even feel the mana in her body. 

She held out her paintbrush again. "Aether!" she shouted. She sighed in annoyance as she closed her eyes and felt the leaves this time. "Aether!" she shouted as she flicked her paintbrush.

Hélène tried something different this time. She held out her paintbrush, eyes open as she outlined the tree. "Aether!" she shouted and to her surpise the tree melted into a liquid. She tried again on another tree, outlining it. "Aether!" she shouted in glee as it burst into flames.

Hélène laughed, proud with herself as she walked down the trail she came, hips swaying as she walked.

Lillian smiled, determined. "Here we go!" she felt the mana flow into her body, smiling as she felt utter ectasy. "Aether!" she shouted. Nothing.

"That's odd...Aether!" she said again. Still nothing.

She was beginning to grow annoyed. "Aether!" she shouted again. This time a bit of soot fell from her wand.

...

Her wand was blackened now and her voice was hoarse. "Aether..." she moaned as nothing happened. Even Bisera grew bored and ran off, claiming that she had to pee an hour ago.

She sighed. Maybe I'm really am not a witch. 

She closed her eyes in concentration, feeling the mana flow within her as she did before. She thought another happy thought, finding her pet cat Chichi, as she tried to make the mana flow even more slowly. "Aether!" she shouted as he wand burst into flames. She shrieked and dropped it on the ground.

Chapter Three-point-Five: Under SiriusEdit

Zoe walked out of the treehouse and into the fresh night air, leaving her witch sisters behind on the large bed. The girls were in their nightgowns once again after eating a dinner similiar to the previous and bathing in the hotsprings once again. Zoe made sure to walk quietly and not trip on any of the uniforms lying around for she was one of the only girls awake. The others were Amalija who was slowly developing insomnia and Hélène and Háoi Mi who were giggling while discussing art.

Zoe's pigtails followed her head as she sighed. Even though she didn't like Xaviera or Isabella and she found Hélène very annoying, she didn't think these were the worst girls to spend a few weeks with. She flipped her pigtails.

Besides, I can just send them flying! she thought as she stroked her wand longlingly. She raised her head to the sky, searching for the hiding stars hiding behind the leaves. She didn't like Gaia though, not after what she said about Joshua.

She eventually found the star she was looking for, Sirius, shining brightly in the sky as she sent her heartfelt message.

...

Joshua had snuck out of the wing of the castle he was sleeping in. In the normal dorms, Juan's scientists had snuck in and hooked up the boys to cables, making them go back to where they were in the day, much to their dismay. Zack caught wind of this and sent a warning to Andy, Joshua, and Carmelo who fled the wing immediately. Through a pure stroke of luck, they found Kola entering her wing and begged her to let them sleep in her room. Although her esistance was fierce at first, the young woman eventually caved in and watched the boys uneasily fall asleep. She pitied them for she knew exactly what they were going through and didn't want them completely broken before they could be of use to her father. Zack had the hardest time falling asleep, opening his eyes abruptly each time he had dozed off.

Joshua, as usual, was fairly calm. Andy had fallen asleep with Manic in his arms, much to Kola's disappointment and Carmelo had fallen asleep leaning against the wall, occasionally murmuring names such as "Ronald and Penny" in his sleep.

Kola tried to make small talk with Joshua but he wasn't in the mood as he walked out of her room, out of the wing and into the night air, not noticing her frown. Everyone ate their food of choice at the mall and in surprisingly good English Sebastion had requested Joshua to take him to the toy store. Joshua couldn't help but smile as the creepy psychic juggernaut laughed with glee as he bought him a toy car, a toy dinosaur, Pokémon cards and a New Nintendo 3DS XL with Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby, Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, and Legend of Zelda: Link Between worlds. He also explained in surprisingly good English that he simply adored Pokémon, Legend of Zelda, rhythm games and Nintendo in general but his parents thought that video games would destroy his brilliant mind. Joshua couldn't help feeling bad for the boy.

The boys also bought clothes of their choosing with Joshua primarily buying an assortment of button-up shirts and jeans and Carmelo, for example buying an assortment of leather, jackets, and colorful scarves.

Joshua stood in the courtyard, the scene of the bloody battle earlier and looked up to the sky and saw a bright star. He heard a sweet, familiar voice in his head, shocking him before he smiled and put his hands in his pockets. "Hello...Zoe."

...

Sorry Joshua, yesterday was supposed to be wonderful but something came up. This woman kidnapped me. Worst of all she made up horrible lies about you, made me see things that couldn't have happened. Guess what? I'm a witch! There's finally a reason for me being different and now I can cast my first spell, catapo! It's really awesome and some of the girls here are really nice....of course not as smart or rad as you. I'm glad before we were separated I got to say "I love you" one last time. We're learning about the energy around us called mana and how a man's trying to destroy the Earth and the mana. The witch who kidnapped me, Gaia says that you're helping him. I know this isn't true and I just hope I get to see you again. I'm sorry for abandoning you but I promise I'll come back to you and we can use my powers to fly away from here. Zoe chuckled. Then again, when you see me, you'll probably just read my mind and know everything. That's what I love about you, I don't even have to talk because you really know what I'm going to say and listen to everything. Please, please wait for me. Zoe blew a kiss into the night sky before returning inside and plopping in between Amalija and Háoi Mi.

...

Joshua knew he was hearing her but couldn't make out the words. Alright, before I begin, do not be mad I got caught up in something and had to leave. I didn't mean to blow you off but something came up. I can finally learn about why I'm special, I can finally learn about myself. If I can do that then maybe I can be a better boyfriend too. I'm starting to regret coming though, I'm all alone because half of these people can't speak English yet and my roommate is kind of a jerk. I know you're doing all right Ms. Popular. Don't worry about me, I'll carry on, just don't cry for me okay? And do not dump me because when I come back I'll be able to do much more than you'll ever imagine. Joshua smiled slyly. Even I'm not sure just what this training will entail but I know it will be interesting to say the least. I wished that I could say goodbye but I was kind of half-forced to leave but you know me, they had to bargain. I'm wishing under this star because we promised that we'll both talk to Sirius if we're apart to communicate with one another. There's a girl here with a phenomenal...well, large bust. She's all right I suppose but she's no Zoe. I'll be going back to her, maybe to get some shut eye, maybe to talk but I'm afraid my teacher from hell might return. I kept dying and dying today and your face and my hunger for knowledge were what drove me to push forward as I was hanged again and again. Good night Zoe, I love you.

Joshua walked back inside, towards Kola's room.

Chapter Four: The ForestEdit

Afwerki woke up with a sweat, having a dream about the girl from his country that he had a crush on that Master Juan had alluded to two days prior. He could only remember the dream in fragments but whatever happened in full managed to make him drenched in sweat. He chuckled to himself, feeling like his skin was made out of slime as he tried to shake away just exactly what he was thinking about. Whatever it was, it was powerful. He slipped out of the last hour or so of AR class just to have that dream. He supposed positive emotions were stronger than the teachings of a questionable teacher who got an enjoyment out of hitting teenage boys on the rear.

He sighed as he slid out of his bed. Having one of the only rooms in the wing with a window, the light fought tooth-and-nail to get in but only managed to turn the red curtain into pink. He showed disdain towards darkness and as such, triumphantly moved the curtain to the side, unleashing the blinding dawn light into the dark room. 

At that moment Afwerki thought he heard a groan. "Oops! Sorry, sorry!" he apologized loudly in English. Afwerki abruptly stopped himself and checked the top bunk. His roommate, Eziz was gone, most likely to roam the halls alone like he would occassionally do in the wee hours.

After brushing his teeth he took a stroll down the wing, no one else apparently awake yet. He was satisfied in his role of gaining a hit on Juan during training the day prior for it showed that he was exceptional among his peers. He would have to be strong if he wanted to become the strong leader of Eritrea who would turn the country he viewed as a "desolate prison" into a free and happy nation that would treat its citizens much better. That's what his grandfather wanted and that's what Afwerki wanted.

Afwerki wondered to himself how he would be an open leader even though he was a holy man. Afwerki feared his religion that might prove to be a source of bias. He dismissed it, he hoped his travels around the world would introduce him into many cultures that he could assimilate into himself. He hoped that once he ran for leader, he would be viewed as a man of the people. His grandfather a Christian, Afwerki became one as well and luckily for him, that religion was the most popular in the country.

He knew his relationship with the Saho girl was nothing more than an infatuation. He closed his eyes, trying to imagine a girl that he'd seriously fall in love with. 

This won't be about work so we'd have similar interests. Proably the same religon, she'd have glasses and-  He bumped into Carmelo causing Afwerki to stumble backwards. "Watch where you're going dweeb." was all Carmelo offered as he headed to his room.

Afwerki knew he would't like that kid very much.

...

Sebastion woke up slowly yet angrily. He wanted to have another dream about gummi-bears viscously mauling gingerbread men, oozing red kool-aid as they snapped in half, Sebastion watching deviously as this all played out as he sat at the seat of a coliseum, watching the bloody scene pan out as women in roman outfits fanned him. He did not want to have another English lesson with Mr. Hol. It would have been interesting if that meathead, Akland or whatever would have been hurt more but no such thing happened.

He had to give Juan credit though, the man could make use of time, Sebastion already felt pretty darn comfortable with the English language, not that he particularly wanted to. He didn't want to hear the idiotic sputters of teenage boys. These dingbats are not even my peers! he thought, half in English.

He sighed as he floated out of the bed in total darkness. While still laying down, albeit levitating he thought about the light turning on and it did.

"Oops." he heard one of the natural English speakers say. He made his violin and bow float to him whilst still laying down. He sighed once more. Today is going to be a long day, might as well begin it correctly.

Without moving a single muscle, Sebastion played Prelude no. 1 by Bach on his violin.

...

Like she did many mornings, Zoe woke up groggily to the antagonistic sunshine. However, this was the first day that she had to deal with the giggling of Hélène and Háoi Mi.

Zoe slowly sat up and out the corner of her eye, saw Háoi Mi shaking with delight. "What is it?" Zoe sighed in annoyance.

Háoi Mi giggled and covered her mouth with her hands. Hélène's large afro jiggled as her body spasmed due to her giggles. "Well, me and Hélène were just wondering...what you were doing outside last night?"

Zoe sank back into a laying position and closed her eyes. "None of your business." she groaned.

Hélène peered over Zoe. "Were you thinking about your boyfriend!?"

Zoe grew red and on her side, away from Háoi Mi and Hélène. "N-no!" she said quickly How did they-

Hélène and Háoi Mi giggled before Hélène folded her arms with a confident smirk. "Told ya'!" said Hélène triumphantly.

"Ugh! Would you two just grow up!?" moaned Zoe as she turned face-down on the bed in an attempt to fall back asleep.

She would not be granted this luxury, however, as Bisera rose abruptly out of sleep with her arms out. "Good morning world!" she cried out.

Lillian woke up with a groan. She would be more annoyed if it were someone else but she allowed Bisera a free pass for she could only imagine the joy she'd feel due to being bestowed with a voice.

Bisera was so ecstatic to finally be able to speak, it was as if the gates that had been closed for so long had finally opened, allowing her to no longer be forced to be distant from people. Sure, talking wasn't necessary but Bisera felt that it made everything easier. She loved having a voice and just wanted to greet everything she encountered: people, animals, rocks, everything. She was so happy that she forgot all about her plant troubles but she didn't mind for the time being, as long as she got to speak she could push back her worries until another day. She felt like a popcorn kernel about to burst into a tasty treat for the entire world to enjoy. "La la la la la la la..." she began singing.

Zoe was envious of the girl's happiness. She was sure as heck not happy but Bisera was absolutely radiating with joy, contaminating those around her, poisoning them with smiles even when they wanted to cry. Zoe didn't particularly like this. She didn't like having a silly grin even though she felt like screaming and bashing her head against whatever solid was around. She dreamed about Joshua the previous night; dreamed about unsavory things and she hoped she didn't kick anyone in her sleep due to the nature of the dream. 

Zoe's eyes widened as she let out an ear-piercing, albeit muffled scream. No wonder Háoi Mi and Hélène were giggling like morons. They must have stayed up late and heard my moans in my sleep! Oh, god! Oh, god!

She pounded an angry fist on the bed, accidentally hitting Afisa in the head causing her left hand to instantly be bit with a piercing cold, causing Zoe to stick her left hand in her mouth out of habit.

As per usual, Felecia had risen without anyone taking notice, either due to her silent nature, or due to the other girls being fearful of their breaths being stolen once they looked her way. Felecia had held onto Amalija's glasses since she fell asleep, wanting to keep them safe for her.

She shook Amalija and spoke in the manner she was most comfortable, in whisper. "Wake up." she gently commanded

Amalija opened her eyes slowly, bags staring to form as she rose and took her glasses from her hands. Without warning she quickly and powerfully embraced the skinny Swedish girl.

"There, there." Felecia quietly choked out. Once she was freed she slipped out of bed and walked over to the grimoire, Gaia informing them that once they had awakened, someone would have to read it.

Felecia coughed and read the spell book in her soft, quiet voice prompting everyone to quiet down and lean forward. As she began reading, she grew red and her face grew hot, seeing the eyes on her. She wanted to stop and run back under the covers but she was afraid that would attract even more attention. Embarassed, she read the passage.

"One of a witch's most powerful allies is her potion. Potions are made from various elements in compounds but each are similar in that they are a liquid concentration of mana. Most potions have a spell equivalent. Potion making requires the spell agatha which involves heating up the end of your wand with a weaker version of the basic fire Aether spell, which will react with the Mana in the materials, separating them in a manner that can be mixed. Each potion differs in storage, potency and effect. There are several potions that witches are highly discouraged to use. Among these are The Potion of Immortality and The Love Potion."

Hélène's eyes brightened. "Love potion!? So I can make those foolish enough not to adore me adore me!?" she asked, brimming with excitement. 

Felecia's eyes widened and she put her left hand over her heart once Gaia spoke, appearing behind her. "It's forbidden for a reason my child. The Love Potion is one of the most potent potions known to witch and is nigh eternal, taking great lengths to be reversed. Evil witches have used The Love Potion to make slaves and even if a good witch uses it, more often than not she will become bored of her new lover and dispose of them, the victim spending the rest of their poor life loonging for their lost love in exponentially growing agony." she explained.

Amalija looked utterly horrified. "Is there any way to reverse it?" she asked, desperately wanting to know if there was a way to salvage the poor, tortured victims of a selfish witch.

"Well, if a hatred potion is taken in great enough volume, the victim has a chance of falling back into safe levels of neutrality but the nature of The Love Potion is extremely wily and to this day Ankur has had trouble with the specifics of it. It is extremely hard to make and the results are deadly, same with The Potion of Immortality."

"What's the matter with that one?" asked the perspiring Afisa.

"Well, it's extremely hard and long to make. An average of about thirty years among moderate level witches is needed Prior to that the witch will need to spend a great deal of time gathering the many ingredients and during its brewing a witch must watch it carefully. Once complete, it is very pesky to store and if not taken by a living being soon it leaks radioactive residue. I won't even get into the effects of an immortality potion that was not made properly and the emotional effects of a person that has to live with the effects of a proper immortality potion."

Hàoi Mi raised her hand. "Gaia, so far only one of us can create fire..." she turned to Lillian. "...kind of and our wands don't seem very strong. How will we make potions?"

Gaia smiled. "Patience my child. We will get to that at a later but soon date. For now we will test your magic in a training exercise. Please put on your uniforms, then meet me at the table for breakfast." Gaia disappeared in a flutter of angelic wings just as Xaviera and Isabella were beginning to stir.

...

For breakfast, Gaia announced that each day, they'd try a different cuisine from a country of one girl, switching each day. On the eleventh day, they would eat food from all of the countries of the witches like they did on the first night then the cycle would repeat the nect day. Today, the girls were having Russian cuisuine: oladushki with a side of porridge made with milk. Everyone loved the oladushki but only Felecia, Afisa and Amalija happily ate their porride, with most girls deciding to give it to Felecia's cat, Kajsa, who happily accepted.

All the other girls had finished brushing their teeth and were running into the trees to meet up with Gaia, all except for two: Lillian and Zoe.

Zoe spit out her one-hundred percent organic toothpaste and saw Lillian to her left. She laughed. "So just us, eh?"

Lillian raised her eyebrows. "Just us what?" she asked, turning to Zoe.

"Just us that aren't all hunky-dory with Gaia."

"Yeah, I suppose. Wait, I'm not the only one?!"

Zoe folded her arms as she filled her mouth with water, gargled, then spit. "No, I'm not happy for one. She borderline kidnapped me here after rendering my maids unconscious, telling me my boyfriend was evil and showing me images of him with some big-boobed bimbo! The thing that probably upsets me the most though is that I was totally about to go on a big date with him..."

"You have maids?" asked Lillian astonished.

"That's beside the point Lillian!" snapped Zoe, in annoyance

"No, I think that's pretty astonishing." said Lillian with her arms folded.

Zoe sighed. "Yes, I have maids. I've had them for as long as I can remember now can we get back to the point? Why do you dislike her?"

"Well, similar to you at the core. She borderline kidnapped me as she locked me inside a train station. She took advantage of me by blackmailing me. The only reason I came is because I didn't want to disappoint my mother again by not making to boarding school." Lillian revealed

Zoe nodded. "I see."

"How did you know I didn't like Gaia?" asked Lillian, suspicious.

"You just have a distrustful air about you." explained Zoe twirling an absent hand in the air.

"Like Amalija?"

Zoe shook her head and put her left hand to her mouth. "No, she's a bit....different. She doesn't seem so much distrustful as angry and scared at herself than anyone else. Though she has lashed out it's more due to herself than anything Gaia has done." she explained.

"Wow, you're pretty insightful." stated Lillian, impressed.

Zoe smiled. "Thanks, I learned it from my boyfriend, Joshua."

Lillian smiled slyly, trying her hardest to keep in the laughter and not explode like a colorful, British firework. "Really, the person who taught you was Joshua?" she asked, imitating Zoe's American accent when she said "Joshua".

Zoe nodded slowly and confusedly. "Yeah, it was J-"

Lillian giggled, trying to keep her laughter from bursting out like a powerful explosion. "Or was it...Joshua?" she moaned sultrily.

Zoe stood frozen in place as her eye twiched, crimson spread on her face and she begun to sweat. It seemed as if everyone was aware of the dream she had the previous night. She smiled nervously,feeling as if she might melt in her embarrassment, her heart was beginning to beat as much as it did in her dream. "Yes, that Joshua." she said, stressing the word "that".

Lillian laughed, trying to stop herself. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's just..."

Zoe rolled her eyes and was about to walk away when Lillian grabbed her shoulder. "You want to see your precious Joshua again? Well I want to see my mother and Britain again."

Zoe turned around and smiled slyly, feeling the pieces begin to gravitate towards each other. "Yeah, so?"

"I propose an alliance: me and you. Nobody else Zoe, at least for now. What do you say?" she held out her hand.

Zoe accepted and shook Lillian's hand. "I say you got yourself a deal girl." she said, triumphantly.

"Partners?" Lillian asked.

"Partners." Zoe answered with a smile.

...

Later, the boys were at lunch once again, now eating hamburgers and fries. The day's VR training was rigorous, them learning an unbelievable amount of proper English plus a brief overview of slang. No one wanted to use slang except for Gojo, who had already mastered "yo'" to an artform. As an effect of AR training, the lunchroom had much more chatter, the boys finally being to be able to communicate somewhat effectively.

For the English speakers, AR training was just as horrific as the last time with no one making any significant progress except for Zack who had managed to make it to the enemy's trench before being painfully gunned down. Though the training was still horrific, they were accustomed to it and as such were not as scared.

Joshua sighed as Gojo approached him. "Yo', why you look like a chick? This a place for men."

"Well, good thing that I'm male then. First and foremost, I thought this was a place for people with exceptional talent." smiled Joshua, seeing Gojo's glare. "To answer your question, my appearance is due to genetics. As for why I look like "a chick", that's due to unfair standards as to what a boy "looks like"." he answered.

Gojo snorted. "Unfair yo?! It's easy! Just don't have a girly face and a chick's voice and stop crossin' yo' legs loser! Sleep with your eyes open, yo' roommate might mistake you for a girl and try to give you da bizness!" he laughed as he walked away.

Carmelo sighed and flashed his gaze towards Joshua in annoyance. "Want me to clock that clown?" 

Joshua sighed and shook his head. "No, he's not worth the effort."

A little further off, Zack was drowning his poor murdered potatoes in a pool of sweet blood known as ketchup. "But I thought all you folks near the middle east were all muslim." he said, mouth full of burger.

Afwerki was silent for a bit. "Well, you're not too far off brother. Muslims make up a little less than half of my country so it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Muslim is the dominant religion over there. It is after all, near Mecca." Afwerki explained.

Zack gave a glance to Afwerki's bible which was on his lap. "So, how come you're not Muslim?"

"Because my grandfather wasn't. Besides, this way I might be able to appeal to powerful countries when the time is needed."

"Oh ho ho! Want to be dictator do we?" asked Zack with a chuckle.

Afwerki shot him an annoyed look. "That's president, brother. I hope to have my wife to be running mate."

"Sorry, I was only kiddin'." Zack smiled, awaiting the moment someone mentioned girls with growing impatience. To him, it seemed like the only girls Andy liked were ones with cold blood and forked tongues. He leaned closer towards Afwerki, causing him to nervously shift in his seat. "You have any girls in mind?"

Afwerki scratched his head. "Well, not really. I would want a religious girl I suppose." he blushed and turned away. "I do have a weird thing for nuns though." he said embarrassedly, him growing hotter as he emphasized the word "do".

"Huh." said Zack as he folded his arms. "Nuthin' wrong with likin' somethin' unique." he said before eating a ketchup drenched french fry. "Say, Afwerki?"

"Yes brother?"

"Why do you keep callin' me brother?" asked Zack.

Afwerki smiled. "Go back far enough and we all share a common ancestor. Despite our differences in appearances and parents, we are all related and because of that, I consider all of you my brothers."

Zack smiled.

"And I'm telling you dragons did not exist!" barked Andy as he angrily pounded on the table, growing angry at his new company. Manic sat on the table and growled.

"There were dragons. I read books as a young child about them. They soared the skies and terrorized the Norse. Knights in shining armor banded together to eradicate them from this planet!" argued Luuk feverently.

Andy groaned and put a hand to his face. "Those were fairy tales you dillusionist. Good lord, you'reu are representing your country really poorly right now!"

Luuk held up his hands. "Hear me out, okay? I went to a museum and saw the beastly skeletons of a d-"

"DI-NO-SAUR!" shouted Andy.

"But it was so fierce! It was a-"

"Say it with me Luuk! DI-NO-SAUR!" repeated Andy, this time with Manic gruntingwith him as he said the word by the individual syllables.

Luuk growled. "I shall be a knight like the days of old when dragons roamed The Earth and the knights of the round-"

Andy got up abruptly without finishing his food. "You're an idiot." he said calmly before he left the table, with Manic scurrying hurriedly after him.

Soon, Juan and Kola entered the room. 

"Consider yourselves lucky," Kola said with her arms folded, sporting a blank expression. "We're all going on a study trip."

Juan cleared his throat. "Lunch time is over. Now is the time for field training." 

The boys all groaned, their annoyance being amplified by the fact that before VR training and after breakfast they had to jog two laps around the castle grounds. Juan had confiscated Carmelo's headphones before the jog..

Juan held up a hand and smiled. "However, unlike yesterday we will be going to a place that was used in ancient times by telekinetics to train."

Joshua thought intently before Juan spoke again.

"We are going to Easter Island."

...

After meeting once again in the field of flowers, the girls were split up into two groups based on their magical prowess prior to arriving in the grove. Beyond the field was a forked path. Those with little to no magical prowess were told to go on the left path while the ones with moderate to exceptional magical prowess were advised to travel down the right path.

Zoe, Lillian, Felecia, Bisera and Amalija were walking down the left path in a dark part of the forest. They walked in a line, with Lillian in front, then Zoe, then Amalija, then Felecia, then Bisera with Kajsa trailing at Amalija's side.

Amalija was a bit unnerved by the cat. She thought the way cats walked was so unnatural, their eyes demon-like and grimaced at their faces which she thought looked like they were perpetually smiling. She wasn't particularly proud of her fear of cats but went out of her way to avoid them nontheless. She was snatched away from her thoughts at the sound of a growl.

"What was that!?" cried Amalija, instinctively holding out her wand, hitting Zoe. Everyone silenced their breathing, the line morphing into a circle, then into a target as Amalija entered in the circle in fear.

The girls heard a loud snarl as a large lion-like cat crept out of the trees. Its hind legs were larger than its front legs and it was about as big as a horse, dwarfing the girls as it assumed a pouncing position. The girls let the mana begin flowing into them.

The beast leapt into the air the girls all firing their spells at once at the beast. Despite this, only Zoe's spell connected. "Catapo!" she yelled, which caused the large cat to flip backwards in the air.

Amalija closed her eyes and began to shake. To everyone's horror, they were suddenly blinded by an intense light. They then heard a piercing cry from Bisera. Once the light dimmed two seconds later, they saw her leg in the beast's powerful jaws. 

"Thunder!" yelled Felicia as a trail of lightning erupted from the end of her wand, striking the beast yet simply causing it to grunt in annoyance.

"Felecia, not working!" Bisera cried as it bit down harder, tearing off her leg as it scuttled away. 

Felecia looked at the bloody mess that was Bisera leg and fainted.

Lillian clenched her fist. "Bastard!" she yelled. "Fire!" she screamed sending a puff of smoke in the animal's eyes, making it grow angrier and prompting it to lunge at Lillian.

It was blasted just in time by Zoe's catapo, sending it into the trees. Zoe had something to fight for, she wouldn't let her new partner become cat food on their first day working together. They heard the beast growl lowly. Zoe and Lillian were back to back.

"Well, it's just you and me Lily." said Zoe.

"Got that right Zoey..."

"What about me?" cried Amalija.

"No!" shouted Zoe in horror, remembering the last time Amalija used her magic.

"Leafo!" painfully sobbed Bisera as she pointed her wand to her leg. To her surprise, her leg grew back but it was covered with more vines than usually. She stood up, feeling shocked that her leg felt as if it were never attacked. 

She skipped with glee towards her companions as they shielded Felecia and the cowering Kajsa. "Ready?" Zoe asked.

"Ready!" Lillian and Bisera shouted as the cat lunged out of trees.

...

The rest of the girls were trekking through plains with no end in sight. The weather was foul with a complete overcast, the sky a dull white.

This group consisting of Háoi Mi, Hélène, Xaviera, Afisa and Isabella was a lot more talkative then its counterpart, laughing at each other's jokes, making observations and telling stories. There was a herd of elephants happily walking.

The laughing abruptly stopped when a black lightning bolt struck the ground a few feet in front of them causing them to grow hot. The thunderclap that followed almost immediately after violently shook the ground and knocked the five girls on their rears as wisps of black smoke collected in front of them.

"What the heck?" murmured Afisa.

The wisps, solidified into a giant, black sauropod dinosaur that utterly and completely dwarfed them. As it began to downpour, the beast let out a horrible cry that shook the fields around them.

"My god..." whispered Hélène in awe. She smiled, she simply had to paint it.

The creature stomped its right-front foot on the ground, crushing a poor elephant with ease. The stomp sent a shockwave, pushing the girls far back and toppling the other elephants over. The creature gathered blue fire in its mouth and fired it at the girls causing them to scatter before the ball touched the ground and exploded violently, creating a large crater. Rain began to beat down on the girls.

Xaviera laughed madly at the beast. She didn't care how large it was, she would take it down like she always did. 

"What is that thing?!" asked Afisa in horror.

"Don't know but we have to take it down!" said a confident Isabella with a twisted grin as thunder struck. "Water!" she screamed as a large torrent of water was fired from her wand to the beasts body. The beast simply roared again, out of hunger rather than at anger at Isabella'satack. 

"That won't work! We have to hit the head!" shouted Afisa over the rain.

"I can't reach its head." shouted Hélène in anger.

"Then allow me!" said Háoi Mi as she ran in between the beast's legs to everyone's horror. Xaviera gleefully ran on all fours to follow her.

"Me too! Me too!" Xaviera laughed. She stopped running, falling down in the middle of the shadow created by the dinosaur and fired a beam from her wand while laying down. "Shadowra!" she shouted as a large black beam hit the beast's stomach. It didn't even flinch as it began to emit electricity, shocking Háoi Mi who had managed to get on the tail, forcing her to let go.

"Ice!" shouted Afisa as a lone ice shard sped towards the monster's head. She figured that her spell would be more powerful if she fired a single shard. She was indeed correct as it made it to the huge creature's head which was fifty-six feet into the air. However, the creature's thick skin simply deflected the shard, causing Afisa to slump down in disappointment

"Don't give up yet! The creature doesn't look too bright! It will be even easier then to kill the poor sap and paint it!"  Hélène cried with glee.

Afisa gave her a blank stare. "There's something wrong with you." she stated coldly.

"Please, unearthly beauty is never a bad thing." Hélène stated with her eyes closed and her left hand flicked towards her face. Her hair drooped and her caramel skin glistened due to the rain. She drew an outline of the beast's head with her brush as it was gathering cold air in its mouth.

"Hèléne! Watch out!" cried Afisa.

Isabella grabbed Afisa's arm and jerked her out of the way. "She knows what she's doing!"

"Thunder!" shouted a confident Hélène as she erected an electrical barrier, protecting her from the blast while simeltaneously shocking the beast with electricity, causing it to stomp around in anger, forcing Xaviera to flee.

...

The girls were astonished at the different mana they could pick up when driven to the point of desperation by trying to protect Felecia. The more mana they collected, the less tired they seemed despite how long the battle was dragging on.

Felecia was just beginning to come to, causing Kajsa to happily lick her face.

"So, you decide to come back to the party eh?" asked Zoe annoyed.

Felecia nodded sheepishly, hating to be a burden "...yes..."

Lillian nodded in determination as the large cat pounced towards her. "Fire!" she yelled as a ball of flame shot out of her wand towards the creature, briefly brushing it before it switched targets to Felecia.

"Thunder." she said as a lightning bolt shot out from her wand before branching into two, causing the creature to leap out the way.

"No you don't!" shouted Bisera as she readied her wand. "Shadow!" she cried as a thin beam of darkness pierced the beasts skull.

The cat growled as its strength ebbed. It saw Amalija cowering and decided to attack her, sensing her fear.

To the girls' horror the large cat ran right through them, straight at Amalija. At the last second she erected a barrier of light that deflected the cat's pounce. The beast moved towards Amalija's side and pounced again, causing Amalija to erect another barrier that lasted a split second to her utter amazement The animal tried this six more times with the same result. 

The animal fell limply to the ground. Amalija panted for she wasn't used to utilizing this much mana in her entire body in such a short period of time. As she sighed and closed her eyes the animal's eyes opened and lunged at the witch's stomach, tearing it open as it pulled out an intestine, blood flying everywhere as it continued to attack Amalija.

The girls fired fire, lightning and leaves at the large cat while Amalija was screaming and crying for her life with to avail. After a minute, the beast finally stopped moving for it had died. Amalija's once pale flabby stomach was now a bloody mess; a grotesque mass of flesh.

With horror, Bisera and Zoe carried the hysterical Amalija who was quickly losing consciousness and Lillian carried Felecia who had once again fainted.

...

The other group had hardly made the behemoth budge-on their own accord anyway. The colossal dinosaur had begun to move at a rather alarming pace in an attempt to crush the young women. Luckily it failed but the girls were extremely tired.

Afisa had devised a plan to end the beast for good. "Alright, ready?"

"Ready!" everyone answered. 

Xaviera and Isabella leapt high into the air while charging their Mana into their body. Hélène had given them a boost with a powerful pressurized torrent of water, Afisa had given them an additional boost with an exceptionally icy wind then finally Hàoi Mi summoned a large boulder on the beast's back, crippling it and crushing its back, bringing its neck closer to the grounds.

Now at eye level with the beast, Xaviera and Isabella released a thick beam of dark energy and a mighty torrent of water respectively, utterly obliterating their wands in the process. Hàoi Mi grimaced while Hélène watched in glee as the creature's head was obliterated, turning into a fine red paste that sputtered everywhere. Xaviera licked it happily but was disappointed as it turned into a black steam, along with the rest of the creature, its footprints the only hint its prescence

Isabella slowed their fall by summoning a geyser from the ground which slowly receded. The clouds parted, the rain and thunder stopped as a beautiful rainbow touched the plains. 

"Well, that was entertaining."  Hélène stated.

Isabella nodded. "Hell yeah it was!" she said before she flew high into the air.

Afisa's eyes twitched. "Wait, you can fly?" she asked.

Isabella turned around. "Yeah, why?"

"Why didn't you do that when we were fighting the dinosaur!?" Afisa cried in exasperation.

"Aw, that wouldn't be fun would it?" teased Isabella.

...

Juan and the boys were in the air, in the air due to Juan's powers. They floated slowly towardsthe ground of Easter Island.

"Why are we here exactly?" asked Carmelo. He liked the scenery and hoped he would be able to catch a peek at some cute girls but the fact that he wasn't allowed to listen to his music did not sit well for him.

"Besides the fact that I said we were going here, I know that this place is brimming with telekinetic history and residue so I thought this would be the perfect place for us to visit."

"Telekinetic....residue?" asked Eziz confused.

"Yes child!" answered a loud, booming voice.

The group touched the soft grass prompting Zack to excitedly kiss the ground. Amal kicked the air, happy to be able to give his legs another work out. The sky was blue and the sun generously warmed the boys, clashing with the cold wind.

The group turned towards the voice they heard. The man was a big fellow, he lacked a shirt, showing his bulging muscles and brown skin. He wore a headdress and a straw skirt and like Juan, was bald as a bean. He spoke English though with a Spanish accent. "Sorry if my appearance startles you, I just wanted to dress traditionally!" he laughed.

Juan held out his arm towards the man. "This, my pupils, is a dear friend of mine, Pakomio."

The group was near the calm ocean that was moderately jostled by the wind. They were in front of an intricate black stone house. "You may hear that our fair island is one of mythology and religion. What people don't seem to know that many years ago, this island was also highly noetic. Records of the my ancestors telekinetic powers are scarce."

Joshua raised his hand.

"Yes ma'am?"

Kola tried to hide her smile as Joshua tried to hide his annoyed look. "If records are scarce how do you know?"

The man laughed. "That's an easy one! We don't need records when we can feel the history! Though we on this island have lost the power to move objects with our minds many years ago, our minds are still our strongest tools and using them, we will take back what's rightfully ours! If you stare into the eyes of the Moai heads they will reveal all you must know. As you are psychics, and friends of the good Juan Carlos at that, I give you permission to be on holy ground. They call me a lunatic but I am the rightful ruler of this island! Not the Chileans, Me!"

A young brown woman with a large, white headpiece, long black hair, a white skirt made out of fur and a small black shirt carrying a punet full of grapes, cut pineapples and bananas exited the large hole in the house serving as an entrance.

"Hubba hubba." said Carmelo quietly to himself upon seeing the woman.

"This is my daughter, Fernanda. Though she was born to an outsider woman, she  has more power than I."

At the mention of her mother, Fernanda's expression grew dark. Once she saw Kola, she teasingly stuck out ehr tongue, prompting Kola to angrily stick her own tongue out.

"Only a select view may have my dauhter as their guide." informed Pakomio.

"Okay then, I'll spilt you up into three groups." Juan decided. "The groups will be: Carmelo, Sebastion and Luuk, Joshua, Eziz and Andy, and Afwerki, Akmal and Zack."

There was a collective groan as everyone moved to their partners, Zack's group seemed to be the most content with one another.

"You will be with me and Kola, Gojo." Juan explained.

Gojo smiled lecherously at Kola. "Hello beautiful." he greeted as he strutted closer to Kola, repulsing her.

Kola felt like gagging at the boy. "Hello, dweeb." she greeted with a frown.

Gojo stroked Kola's arm. "Why you gotta' be like that bab-" Gojo was sent backwards as Kola kicked him in the shin.

"Father, I think I may have broken something." Kola said flatly.

Juan simply shrugged.

"Pick any one of these groups you want daughter." Pakomio said, holding out an arm towards the three groups.

Fernanda scanned the boys. "Mmmm. That one!" she said, pointing at Sebastion who saw this and was smiling smugly. Sebastion cared more about the fact that he was chosen by someone who would only accompany "a select few".

"Little one, blond one, one with the hair! My daughter has chosen you to accompany her!" Pakomio yelled.

Carmelo smiled to himself. All right!

The three went to Fernando who hugged Sebastion tightly. "You're so adorable and small. I can just eat you up!" she cooed. She walked west while carrying Sebastion like a baby with Luuk and Carmelo trailing behind, slightly disappointed. Carmelo watched as Fernanda walked, her buttocks swishing to and fro. I geuss it's not so bad...

Kola was annoyed at Fernanda. They were rivals ever since preschool, it didn't help that they were born on the exact same day. She felt that Fernanda always acted as if she owned everything she saw.

"Father," Kola began curiously. "There are two boys who have a room to themselves yet that doesn't affect any other of the boys spacing wise. How is that?"

Juan sighed as he stroked his beard. "Sebastion's roommate was originally supposed to be Valentinianus but he was still missing so I was going to fetch Myung-Dae despite the tremendous risks but I ended up running out of time."

Kola put a hand on her father's shoulder. "Please, let me fetch Myung-D-"

Gojo jumped once he finally heard his master lose his cool. "Absolutely not Maria Kola Inez de Hierra Carina y Gutierrez Luperculus Adora Carlos! It's too dangerous!"

Kola looked away in embarrassment, she hated when her father addressed her in her full name. "Father, I can do this."

"No, you can not! Kim Jong-un is insane! Myung-Dae is nothing more than North Korea's living weapon! It isn't worth it Kola!" Juan snapped.

Kola began walking away, not wanting her father to see her tears. Father, why won't you let me go? I'm not a baby. I just want to serve you, to make you happy. What can I do with myself otherwise?

...

"So, I punched her and took my sandwich back! And that's the time I took my sandwich back from Maria Kola-Inez in kindergarden!" Fernanda said pridefully as the group continued to walk.

Sebastion sighed. "Riveting. Now for the love of god or, Huitzilopochtli or whoever you believe in put me down!" He had enjoyed being carried by Fernanda at first for it meant that he had to do less work but he longed to be away from her once she began telling her stories which Sebastion simply saw as mindless drivel.

Fernanda chuckled. "Afraid not my cutey!" she began to tickle Sebastion before he blasted her away with a powerful blast of psychic energy. He floated safely to the ground as groggily Fernanda got up.

"That's much better." sighed Sebastion with a smile.

"Not cool." reprimanded Carmelo.

Sebastion gave a twisted smile. "And neither is smoking and wearing leather, Ponyboy."

Carmelo took his hand and wipedthe shoulder of the leather jacket that he was wearing over a white tanktop with black jeans. "You wouldn't know cool if it hit you in the face twerp!"

"Shush!" Fernanda snapped as she continued walking.

Carmelo gave a sigh. He was not liking this one bit. He didn't get the chance to talk to Fernanda since she was fawning over Sebastion who quickly grew to despise her. Carmelo turned to Luuk. And he's just got that stupid grin on his mug... Carmelo supposed he could talk to him, he was getting tired of seeing that hyena grin and the urge to punch him was growing greater by the second.

"Mind letting me in on the joke?" asked Carmelo annoyed.

Luuk laughed quietly. "Just your evilness." he chuckled.

Carmelo raised an eyebrow.

"Just that your evilness is so great. You're absolutely hellbound!" Luuk laughed out loud no longer containing it.

Carmelo stopped and clenched his fist.

Sebastion stopped and looked backwards. "What's the hold up?" he asked annoyed.

"Where the hell did that even come up? What the hell would you know about what I do?" growled Carmelo.

Luuk gave a smile. "I can see the evil of people. You're brimming with it and I can tell you why. I see the way you lust for that woman, I can see your envy towards Sebastion, I can see your wrath for me growing right now as I speak, I can see your sloth..."

Carmelo gave a punch towards Luuk's face. "How about you shut it!? If I'm so evil, the why the hell are you so giddy about it?"

Luuk didn't flinch despite Carmelo's force, he simply continued to chuckle. "I'm not afraid of evil because I know one day I'll eradicate it from this sinful Earth!"

Carmelo gave an uneasy glance at both Luuk and Sebastion. He'd have to deal with two creepy people.

Carmelo sighed as he began walking again. Too bad, you little blonde bitch, i've heard the shit before. I'm such a sinner, I'll go to hell. Blah, blah, blah. Well aw phooey, If I'm headed there anyway, I might as well have some fun before I go.... Carmelo sighed in annoyance. ...what am I saying? I hate when people say that shit, about  any and everything. And just to my luck this clown is telling me that I'm going to hell too! What a fucking loser.

Sebastion continued to follow Fernanda. He didn't get to see many women, only his mother which he found the most annoying person in the planet. There were his maids but he mostly tuned them out. He thought he wouldn't like these "women" very much if they didn't treat him as a serious threat. He would try to assert his dominance over the bumbling teens at lunch but it appeared that they all feared the Gojo character. Sebastion rubbed his hands together, he would change that.

...

Afwerki tuned out as Zack and Akmal discussed football with a burning passion. He never cared too much for sports, he cared more about Social Sciences and Economics. He would have interjected and asked them how they thought sports would effect a nation's people and if the money was being used properly but he was afraid they'd scream "nerd" and give them a nuggy. Afwerki felt like an outsider again, the only one not allowed in an exclusive club. His heart ached, even though Zack and Akmal were right next to him he felt one million miles away.

...

Carmelo's group was the first to make it to the Moai. 

Sebastion touched it smugly. "So, we'll learn something from these dusty things."

"Remain quiet and you'll learn brat!" growled Luuk. Carmelo had managed to get a beat going in his head and had tuned them out as effectively as he would with actual music.

Sebastion cocked his head to the side and smiled. "Do tell, I heard about you on the news. How you brutally beat that girl-what was her name again-oh right, Daina. How can you look down on me for being insolent and that Carmelo idiot for being wrathful when you yourself are a murderer. I've read some literature in my time and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that's bad." he tore into, with exceptionally good English.

"Simple, little one. She was a filthy witch. The servant of a devil in wench form. I simply did the world a favor and exterminated her. It was my duty. Me killing that witch briefly slaked my thirst for justice." Luuk explained

Sebastion scowled and looked away. "You make me sick. You kill because it's your percieved duty when you should kill because it's fun!"

Fernanda was beginning to get a little unnerved at the conversation. "Um, stare into their eyes please..." she said

At the sound of her voice, Carmelo snapped out of his trance and stared into the eyes of the Moai where he felt his mind leave his body and enter the statue as it travelled through the sky as clouds rapidly moved and the sun rapidly set and rose for what he thought was at least fifty-thousand times.

A dark, loud voice spoke to Carmelo's mind as it witnessed time pass over the island at a pace that cannot be explained. 

"This island is simply a fragment, the small remains of the legendary continent of Mu. Mu was created eons ago, by a meteorite that collided with the young Earth. The meteorites contained the substance known as Star Jelly which caused the continent to contantly radiate psychic energy. The energy slowly morphed the species that lived there into hyperintelligent beings. Resigned to their fate of dying out with their less intelligent bretheren, they transcribed all of their knowledge into stone tablets which could only be read by what they deemed would be the successor's of the planet. The king of the land you know as Easter Island arrived here a very long time ago in an attempt to find a new homeland. Once he made touchdown, on Mu, he found the tablets and was bestowed ultimate knowledge: telekinesis, telepathy and superintelligence. His fellow travelers settled on the island with him and he lived to the age of three-thousand, living as The King of Babymu. He fathered fifteen children, each child having a different subset of psychokinesis such as pyrokinesis and hydrokinesis. The king was assasinated and a civil war broke out as a result. Many lives and most of the continent were lost to the ocean. His children fled the island, fearful for their safety and their diaspora are the current psychics. After a meteor shower, the few remaining islanders with telekinetic powers decided to combine molten magma and Star jelly, also known telekinetic residue to create beacons in the shape of heads of their long departed royals. They made it to try and collect the mind of their dead king, but instead it stole the minds of its creators and sent them spiraling through time and space, never to be found again. After the residue weakened, the heads could be used to show projections.The heads now serve powerful source of telekinetic power. If a telekinetic user looks into the eyes of the Moai head, their full potential will slowly begin to awaken..."

Carmelo saw civil wars, volcanic eruptions and the cryptic heads being toppled as their eyes glowed. He saw strange, humanoid beings with horns that seemed to move in a blur. He saw image after image of history, flashing in his mind so quickly it drew him mad, yet he could process thems. As images continued to flash his head began to hurt and he felt as if his brain was melting. He wanted to scream but he didn't have the ability to as he was subject to countless years of Earth's history without a body.

Carmelo awakened, gasping for breath in front of the Moai.

"Took you long enough." Luuk said annoyed.

"Busy looking at cootie-ful girls?" asked Sebastion with a smile.

Fernanda folded her arms and closed her eyes. Usually it takes them quicker as evidenced by these two...unless.

She looked up at Carmelo who was biting his finger, a force of habit he did whenever he didn't have a cigarette in a significant amount of time.

No...he couldn't be the true king of Babymu...could he?

...

They all ate dinner in Fernanda's father's stone house, lit by torches giving the dinner table an ominous feeling as they all ate roasted fruit, meat and vegetables. Akmal and Carmelo felt it very unsatisfying.

"I got to spend my day with a babe!" bragged Gojo to Joshua who rolled his eyes. "Of course you wouldn't care. Unless you're a lesbian."

"I have had more than enough of you for one one day Gojo."sighed Joshua in annoyance as he closed his eyes. That little history lesson though, it seemed a bit...off. True, it seemed farfetched but it was something else that I found offputting, something I can't quite put my finger.

"So, are we going to take the Moai?" asked Akmal

Pakomio suddenly laughed thunderously, causing a few of the boys to flinch in fear. After a minute he stopped laughing and wiped a tear from his eye. "You're funny." he finally said.

Juan chuckled. "Pokomio would sooner eat his own daughter than part with his precious heads. We will however be hunting down kalar stones which will augment our powers greatly. They are fairly hard to acquire, so it will be a test of sorts. Some of them are found in museums."

So, we'll be stealing them. thought Luuk in dismay. He supposed it was for a good cause though.

Carmelo was clutching his head in pain. Ever since his exited the Moai he heard the voices of people in his head screaming in agony. He wanted it to stop. Dammit Juan! If only you would let me listen to my music you bastard! This shit woulda' never happened!

Joshua noticed this and looked at his room mate with concern.

..

While Hélène's group had a fun time at the dinner table, the other side was absolutely cheerless, their gaze going to the empty seat which would occasionally be occupied by Kajsa who would meow loudly.

Tears streaked Gaia's face as Ankur comforted her by patting her. He morphed into a scottish deerhound and passionately licked Gaia's cheek to no avail. "I'm sorry." she choked.

Bisera shook her head with a comforting smile. "It's not your fault!"

"Yes it is!" Gaia shouted, causing lightning to strike and rain to begin pouring. "If I hadn't sent you to train with such dangerous animals..."

Felecia gave a weak smile. "We grew stronger, mother." she breathed.

Gaia shook her head. "At the expense of poor Amalija." she cried.

"She's not dead milady..." comforted Ankor, still in canine form.

Zoe and Lillian felt bad for Gaia despite their differences. They never thought they'd see Gaia so upset and they realized that her calling them "children" wasn't just a ruse to gain their trust, she really considered each of them her daughter.

Háoi Mi tried to change the subject as quickly as possible. "Um, so what's the deal with this forest?"

Gaia would not speak as she hung her head in her hands.

"This is the sacred forest," began Ankur. "The sacred forest is on the other side of the the Earth's crust, in a pocket of space that I'll refrain from explaining how it is formed since I am still in the dark on that matter. On the other side, the side that you all have lived on, roots of Mana connect all living beings, their nutrients floating downwards to here, causing the trees to grow taller."

"But I saw the stars." began Zoe, worried.

"Aw yes, the sky itself is on the other side of the Earth. You are able to see the stars and the city that the heart of this forest is near, London. After beings have died on Earth a fragment on their soul comes here as a baby and grows, where it will never die of old age. This forest cannot be accessed by humans and only advanced witches can create a portal to here. Ancicent witches once attempted to create a civilization here but as this forest is so vast and potentially deadly, even I must be wary if I venture far into the trees. Here, evil cannot touch us but we also cannot venture into the human realm. In this forest you will be able to see everything on the Earth's crust through murky water. Gaia brought you here because this is one of the only places on the Earth that Juan cannot reach....he most likely knows of this place and even possibly knows that you're here but there is no way he can harm you. Gaia also brought you here because this is the easiest place to learn how to control your mana."

"Was Gaia raised here?" asked Isabella.

Ankur nodded. "As a budding witch, she was trained her, correct."

"Does she live here now?" asked Isabella.

Ankor paused. "Sort of. When not with you, her daughters, she resides in the center of this planet in her supreme throne which the center of this forest connects to. Only witches of the highest caliber can survive the drop down and the heat. This forest will be your friend, the only way to be harmed is by yourself or by-"

Gaia cried out in sadness, prompting Ankur to morph into his human form and begin giving her a back massage.

"Hidden in this sacred forest are three springs, you've been to one. The Spring of Light, The Spring of Darkness and The Spring of Twilight. You bathe in The Spring of Twilight."

...

Amalija awoke in snow, she slowly sat up and saw a rock roll in front of her, in front of that was a white pool. A white tiger nudged her. She slowly crawled towards the pool and slipped in, her clothes being dissolved by the water. In the pool she was greeted by a polar bear and an albino penguin. 

She looked up at the sound of a majestic roar. She saw a beautiful white lion sitting unobscured among the snow, sitting on top of the rock wall, thirty feet high. He leapt down into the pool with a mighty splash. The lion emerged with a bottle of warm milk in its mouth and swam over to Amilija. She unscrewed the lid as the majestic creature poured the warm milk down the teenage girl's throat, her eyes closed.

She opened her eyes when she heard a beluga emerge from the water. She hugged the beluga as it kissed her and the snow-covered Japanese macaques snickered while pointing at the scene.

...

The boys were asleep, Kola convincing her father not that their experiences today might hinder their training (though in truth she simply wanted a night alone with her father). Juan agreed, allowing everyone to have a good night's sleep though Carmelo's was filled with visions of war and pain.

Kola knocked thrice on a large door.

"Come in." said Juan. She opened the large door revealing a lavish, carpeted room with a king sized bed, a wall-mounted flatscreen TV over a stone fireplace and a large bookcase. Juan was at the table drinking Casa Dragones. 

"Father please."

"Kola, I thought I said-"

Kola fell to her knees, her hands clasped together. "Father I beg of you! I want to be of use to you! The boy won't be too strong! Please, just give me a chance please!" she pleaded.

Juan sighed as he closed his eyes and stroked his goatee.

Chapter Five: The First FlightEdit

It had been ten days since Amalija was injured, ten days since the boys found out about Easter Island's and the ancient race of dinosaurs, ten days since Carmelo's visions and headaches began, ten days since Kola was last seen...

Hands in his pockets, Carmelo walked down a street in Amsterdam, New York while stuffing a Little Debbie Swiss Roll into his mouth. Through, simple trial and error with the help of Joshua, Carmelo had discovered that sweets helped to halt his migraines and horrific visions. Though any thing sugary in nature would work, he found chocolate to work the best. He would have carried the box with him but he wasn't given that much money and he devoured as many as he could once he felt the migraine coming back.

"Come on girl. You don't gotta be like that." said a sleazy, rat-like voice.

Gojo...Thought Carmelo in annoyance. He wanted to stare at the girls but he decided that they deserved a break, after all the sleaze master himself had struck.

Girls tried to slap Gojo in vain once he smacked their butts while licking his dry lips. Once their hand got close however they lost control of their body as Gojo used his telekinesis to wrap the girls' arms around himself as he kissed them.

I suppose it's a good thing he's not near me. The loser thinks we're fr-

Carmelo had spoken to soon as Gojo pulled up next to him riding a motorcycle. "Wassup?"

Carmelo sighed as he scrolled through his iPod to get to the letter 'F' once he stopped in shock. He did not look up from his device once he spoke. "Gojo, where'd you get that bike?" he asked with a hint of shock as his eyes widened ever so slightly.

"I borrowed it from the auto shop a bit back." Gojo laughed.

"You mean you stole it." corrected Carmelo in annoyance.

Gojo frowned and gave Carmelo a shove, sending him stumbling a bit. "Ay, stop being a bitch a'ight? You sounding like your girlfriend more and more each day." Gojo said, sternly at first then laughing.

Carmelo sighed, he really wanted to clock Gojo more than ever but he was afraid a tussle might be the thing that gives him another giga-migraine. He was really getting tired of Gojo dissing Joshua who helped him quite a bit ever since the migraines started. "Whatever. Did you find the Kalar Stone?"

Gojo chuckled. "You sound like a bitch when you say whatever." said Gojo, speaking in the voice of a valley girl when he said "whatever".

"I'm not playing with you Gojo!" snapped Carmelo. "Ah!" he clutched his head. Great, just great. It's coming again. "Did you...or did you not get the Kalar Stone?" growled Carmelo.

"The K-whatzit?"

Carmelo was preparing to shout then calmed himself. "Kalar Stone. The teal stone Master Juan showed us...the reason he sent us to New York."

Gojo smiled. "Oh, that thing. Nope."

Carmelo growled. Great, just great. I wonder if the other moron I want to clobber found it.

Luuk dropped down from a building in front of Carmelo and Gojo.

"Did you find...the stone?" asked Carmelo in a voice that was almost a whisper.

"And yet you sin again."

Carmelo gave him an annoyed, puzzled look. "I'm sorry, what?"

"You're complaining and you want us looking for the stones to be easy.." Luuk explained.

Carmelo growled, his headache growing more severe. "I haven't complained yet and what's wrong with me hoping this will be over quickly!?"

"I can see the path you'll take that will lead to sin and sloth is a sin."

"Though I guess there's nothing wrong with you complaining...being a sinner and all."

Carmelo closed his eyes and let his music begin to play, loud enough to hear perfectly fine even though his headphones were around his neck. "You can kiss my ass Luuk." he stated quietly, barely audible over the music.

"Place these blessed lips on that evil rump? No thank you!"

Gojo grabbed Luuk's shoulder. "Hey, lay off my homie Barbie!"

Luuk laughed loudly. "You're making jabs at the color of my hair, blessed by the lord himself? Wow, didn't think it was possible but you grew even more pathetic worm. I don't even need to tell you your sin. The whole town knows it, though you embody all of them."

"Tell me what it is blondie!"

"Lust." answered Luuk as he turned away. Sebastion manifested in front of them, causing Luuk and Carmelo to jump slightly. 

"H-how did you do that?! Master says we can only teleport to places we know from the back of our hands. You've never been here before!" gasped Luuk

Sebastion smiled deviously. "Foolishness is a sin you know." he mocked. "I am the most powerful telekinetic observed! Do you think I honestly have to have extensive knowledge of place to teleport there? This world is my entire playground! I go wherever I please whenever I please."

Carmelo felt a chill go up his spine.

"Empty handed?" Sebastion took out a glowing teal rock from out of his black vest with a red dragon outline. "I found this in two minutes. Then I tried to make intelligent conversation with the cute five-year old I met. She decided to tattle on her mommy when I put gum in her hair for her inane babbling..." Sebastion cocked his head to the side and smiled, showing his pearly white teeth. "So I obliterated her."

Luuk and Carmelo were silent when Gojo spoke. "You think I'm afraid of you!?"

Sebastion shook his head. "I know you are not afraid of me."

Gojo's macho faltered. "Well doesn't that piss you the fuck off?!"

Sebastion laughed. "Not at all. Toys are so fun because they are ignorant of the peril they're in. The second a toy becomes aware of the danger they lost their charm and aren't fun to play with."

The group (Gojo with his motorcycle and all) suddenly found themselves in the dorm wing. "Farvel." called Sebastion as he walked off.

Carmelo hurried to his room and slammed the door as he went to his bed and closed his eyes. He was happy he was excused from VR training along with Sebastion, Luuk and Gojo to try and retrieve the stones Juan said was needed to weaken the witches while simultaneously empowering the PES. He chose them because he stated that they were currently the strongest. Carmelo took out a king sized KitKat from his pillow and gobbled it, causing the voices of pain to subside temporarily. Carmelo sighed as he tried to fall asleep.

          ...

Before the iceberg even hit Andy jumped off the ship and safely floated down towards the ice waters below, gripping his marsupial friend with his life. Once he touched the waters he didn't sink though. He used his telekinesis to float safely on top of the water at a standing position. He had noticed the ability to change the relationship between his feet and the water contacting it as early as his second day of VR training though it took his three days to perfect. Finally he spent the prior day during dinner conversing with Joshua and Afwerki (who he found out turned to be really good with geography, almost better than Joshua) in an attempt to find out the closest dry land. He now was going to put their findings to the test and he was not prepared to die once more.

Andy walked slowly, keeping his balance to make sure he didn't fall into the frigid water. He would conquer these waters and not let them conquer him again. He walked for what felt like an eternity until he reached a small island by the name of Saint Pierre et Miquelon. Once he reached the ground he shouted in triumph and fell to the ground. He was happy that through all of this horrible training Manic was completely fine.

"Congratulations Andy." said a cold, metallic voice as the world begun to melt into a green goo, leaving a black void which eventually faded as Andy found himself in his metallic seat once again with his peers.

    ...

Zack climbed out of the trench and walked slowly towards the enemy lines after he heard their footsteps. He walked slowly towards them, the bullets ricocheting off the invisible psychic barrier that he created. He had a look devoid of any emotion except a fierce determination to escape the hell he was put in. To the enemy's horror their bullets had no effect on the teen. They ran towards the boy with their bayonets. Once they grew near he waved a hand, causing them to stab each other. He raised his other hand, causing the machine gun to float in the air. His feelings were the same as they always had been, Zack still did not want to kill his fellow human beings but he had enough. 

Besides, these jokers aren't even real.

The machine gun emptied out into each of the combatants, Zack making sure each and every bullet made it into a body. Zack did not flinch, he just looked at everyone to make sure they had been hit. If a grenade drew near him he'd simply swat it away towards its thrower. 

Once everyone was dead, they dissolved into a mist of ones and zeroes.

"Impressive Zack." siad a cold, metallic voice. The world quickly changed into a black void causing Zack to jump, suddenly back into his metallic seat next to an exhausted Andy.

         ...

The townsfolk threw rocks at the dead witch. Some of them shrieked then grew silent once they heard what they thought was a woman's laugh. "I'm sorry. You were all gathered to see a death today weren't you?" the witch laughed, speaking once more.

"Well sorry to disappoint." announced Joshua as he appeared from behind the podium with a smile. He snapped and his copy exploded in a blast of psychic energy, knocking the citizens of Salem off their feet.

"Normally I'd be against killing bystanders but I suppose I should stop you knowing how brutal this little witch hunt turns out to be."

The man who was responsible for hanging the boy so many times pointed a finger at Joshua. "Witch! I told you she's a-" 

Joshua tilted his head to the side ever so slightly, snapping the man's neck. The man fell to the ground with a thud causing the townspeople to run. Joshua gave a sigh of relief.

"Impressive Joshua." complimented a cold, metallic voice.

"Thank you." Joshua absently thanked as the world faded to a black void. He blinked and once his eyes were open he was in his seat once more next to Zack.

Zack held up his hand causing Joshua to adopt a baffled expression. Zack chuckled "To surviving." Zack explained with a soft smile.

Joshua returned with his naturally soft smile. "To surviving," the two high-fived.

             ...

Carmelo clutched his head and breathed heavily as the visions of wars and declarations flowed through his mind. He saw the French decapitate their monarchs, he saw the death of Abraham Lincoln, he witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, these and many more. Carmelo screamed in pain as his psychic energy surged through the hall.

Sebastion was awoken from his nap with a start. What's this? This power...it feels almost as strong as mine. Just what is up with that infuriating Carmelo?! Sebastion couldn't help but shiver ever so slightly at the power.

             ...

Amalija sat on a wooden bench with her witch sisters. Ever since that dreadful day she felt her powers over the element of light grow. Though he the other girls' magic grew more diverse, Amalija strove to perfect her light magic. She was already on the verge of reaching lightga. The light baffled her. She was no longer a nun and she doubted this was holy light yet The Spring of Light seemed to be the most pure thing she ever experienced in her life.

Háoi Mi's powers were growing too, though in the opposite direction of Amalija, her powers over darkness were growing. It seemed that darkness was becoming light and light was becoming darkness. No longer would she stumble upon the souls of the dead, they would seek her out, making it had to sleep giving her matching bags with Amalija.

As usual, the forest was dark with only thin rays of light touching the ground. The occasional squirrel would run past the girls.

Gaia sat in front of a large cauldron with a soft smile. "The day you've been waiting for has arrived my children. The day I teach you how to summon animals and create potions."

"Hee hee hee." laughed Xaviera. Peeking out from her hat was a light blue bow that Afisa had given her to make her prettier.

"One of you ha already started making potions so I shall let you be taught by your sister, Lillian."

Lillian jumped.

"That's you." informed Hélène.

"I know." answered Lillian as she rose from her seat.

Zoe smiled. "Good luck." she said. She and Zoe were still plotting. They weren't exactly sure what they were going to do but they made up a list of things they could do to escape from/harm Gaia but they knew that they would have to fight the other witches. The six other witches were tough enough but Zoe shuddered when she turned towards Xaviera and Isabella. Isabella was looking at her nails boredly while Xaviera was biting her nails off her fingers.

Lillian bowed. "Hello, I'm Lillian." she said, butterflies fluttering wildly in her stomach.

Gaia chuckled. "I think they know your name child."

Lillian laughed nervously. "Oh right. Silly me." she cleared her throat. "So, the potion I think would be easiest to start out with is the level one antidote potion. You need to take a lot of greens of any kind though I believe leaves are the easiest to use. Bisera?"

Bisera nodded and rose with a smile. She walked over to the cauldron and pointed her wand downwards towards the center. "Ready?"

Lillian put on a phony smile. She nodded. "Ready..." she confirmed.

"Leafra!" shouted Bisera, causing a torrent of leaves to fill the cauldron. Once Lillian motioned her to stop, the leaves stopped firing from Bisera's wand and she bowed before jogging back to her seat.

"Now you add a bit of dirt." Lillian scooped two handfuls of dirt and added it to the cauldron. She walked over to the base of a tree and grabbed three mushrooms. "Cremini mushrooms." she then spit into the cauldron. "A bit of witch saliva." she then created a steady stream of water from her wand. "And a bit of water."

"Fire!" she yelled as the contents of the caldron burst into flames. She tapped her foot. "Then you wait about ten minutes..."

"Why do it to take long!?" Xaviera yelled.

Afisa was no longer scared of the girl as she put her left hand on Xaviera's shoulder. "Patience little on-" Xaviera bit Afisa's hand. "Ow! You-You bit me! Gaia! Xaviera bit me!" she yelled as her hand began to turn purple due to Xaviera's poisonous fangs.

"Oh dear..." Gaia gasped as she put her left hand to her mouth.

"Don't worry! Afisa will be the first to test it out!" shouted Lillian.

...

Felecia was walking aimlessly around the forest. "Kaaaajsaaaa! Where are yoooou?" she called, cupping her left hand over her mouth. Once she noticed Kajsa was gone, she slipped into the forest while the group was heading to the benches so she could look for him. She sighed, she was gone for an hour and she was growing hungry.

"Meow?" called a cat not too far from her current location.

"Kajsa!" Felecia cried out in glee. She ran towards the sound and saw an abandoned building. The girl cautiously went inside, the door being long gone. As she walked, the floor creaked as her boots made contact with it. She saw Kajsa and scooped him up. "Oh Kajsa! I'm never letting you out of my sight again! You hear me!?" she cried.

Felecia was grateful towards Gaia. Never in her life has she had such excitement and it was all thanks to mother Gaia. Felecia's eyes widened when she saw a dusty broom, its bristles a grayish-yellow. She held Kajsa in one hand as she walked slowly towards it. She swore the broom was beckoning her towards it. She grabbed it with her left hand, causing a gust of wind blow through the abandoned shed causing Felecia and Kajsa to sneeze softly.

Felecia took the broom outside and set it down. She walked briskly away from the cleaning supply into the woods for she knew it would cause nothing but trouble.

She returned back at twice the speed she left with a devious smile on her face. She sat on the broom leaning forward, shielding her cat. She slowly rose into the sky causing her to laugh with glee. She flew forward through the trees, it feeling so natural to her as she deftly dodged branches as she flew sixty-five miles on her enchanted broomstick.

   ...

With her heated stick Lillian mixed the heated ingredients together until it was a moderately thick green goo. "Hurry Afisa!"

Afisa ran towards the cauldron. "Please help!"

"That's what I intend to do." Lillian stated calmly as he wand morphed into a wooden spoon. She gathered a bit of the potion and dropped it into Afisa's open mouth who screamed in pain due to the heat. "Hold it!" Lillian commanded. She put two more spoonfuls in Afisa's mouth. "Now swallow."

Afisa did so as the poison faded and she felt brand new. "Whoa! That really did the trick Lillian." she smiled.

Everyone except Xaviera clapped as Lillian rubbed the back of her head and blushed. "This can be stored in any old glass con-"

The girls looked up as they saw the usually shy and meek Felecia laugh loudly while flying a broom, Kajsa dangling precariously for dear life.

Gaia's eyes widened at the girls' "oohs" and "ahs". "How'd she find my old broom?" Gaia wondered quietly. She sighed, summoning practice would have to wait another day.

            ...

The boys had finished eating dinner with a depressed and lonely Juan. They were ushered into the recreational chamber which was simply a ballroom where they could pick posters out of a basket.

Carmelo was feeling much better as he listened to his headphones prompting Joshua to take them off. "Come on, let's pick!" which caused Carmelo to groan, annoyed that Joshua had disturbed his listening once more.

Sebastion frowned. Ever since Carmelo emerged from his room two hours ago his power has been back to normal though any time the boy tried to peer into Carmelo's mind he was simply greeted by a roaring male lion. Sebastion figured it was some type of lock, hiding a much more intimidating amount of power that was detectable from the surface, a power possibly greater than his own.

After much debating, Zack and Andy decided to get a picture depicting a boxing kangaroo and another depicting five Australian girls with golden tans at a beach while splashing each other.

Gojo decided to get five playboy magazines and use the centerfolds as his posters.

Eziz looked at his roomate, Afwerki.

You can pick the poster brother." stated Afwerki with a smile.

"I don't care for pictures too much though I'll see if I can find a picture of my capital city..." Eziz floated over towards the basket. Afwerki smiled at his roommates patriotism.

Sebastion picked posters of a symphony orchestra, the picture being taken slightly above the back of the conductor, a large poster of clifford, one of Pippi Langkous, one of Ash and Pikachu, Mario and a painting of Mozart.

Luuk and Akmal got a picture of a football player kicking a football and a picture of Sitora Farmonova.

Finally it was Joshua and Carmelo's turn to choose.

"Go ahead knock yourself out." offered Carmelo.

Joshua's eyes widened. "But this is a big deal, you'll see it each time you wake up!"

Carmelo sighed. "Whatever." he walked with Joshua towards the baskets. Once Joshua bent over and reached inside Gojo ran over to Joshua and kicked him in the rear, sending him flying forward.

Gojo and Sebastion laughed loudly while Akmal tried to suppress his chuckle. Gojo reached into the basket as Joshua rose. 

"You had your pick now go!" Joshua snapped irritatedly.

Gojo laughed as he walked towards Joshua. "You were in da basket titled "Chicks" that's my bin."

"You don't own a bin Gojo!" snapped Joshua.

Gojo grabbed Joshua's green plaid shirt. "I own everything I say I own chump!" he growled. His face softened as he smiled. "Why are you here anyways? I like girls...cute ones. You should bounce."

"Strange you always make jabs at my appearance. Are you simply angry that mommy left you in the streets when she found out her son looked like an orc?" Joshua smiled, cocking his head. "It's the hair isn't it? You like my hair hm?"

Gojo spit on him. "I don't like you you ugly daughter of a bitch! After your done fooling around with your boyfriend tonight imma' kill y-!"

Gojo stopped abruptly once he felt a tap on the shoulder. He turned around, releasing his hold on Joshua only to be greeted with a strong punch from an angry Carmelo. 

"Piss off." commanded Carmelo.

Sebastion growled. That spike of energy was awe inspiring! Rather it would be if it came from someone who isn't an idiot!

Gojo stumpled back in pain, clutching his nose which was broken. He growled as he ran towards Joshua. Joshua closed his eyes an opened them, his eyes turning orange as he gained the ability to predict Gojo's movement.

Each time Gojo threw a punch at Joshua he would move out the way with little effort. Once he saw an opening he kicked Gojo in the scrotum.

Gojo froze in pain before falling to the ground, crying in utter pain that cannot be accurately described in words.

Carmelo and Joshua high-fived as their peers applauded. They decided to take the entire bin to their room.

Once their they decided on a large picture of a brunette wearing a bikini licking a lollipop while on a motorcycle at night.

Joshua smiled. "Do you like this?"

Carmelo opened one eye and smiled. "I honestly thought you wouldn't have the taste for that."

Joshua chuckled as he climbed to his bed. "What? I can't like attractive girls too? Anyways...why did you stick up for me?"

Carmelo was silent. "Because...I know you'd do the same."

Joshua blinked. "But you don't need sticking up for."

"Maybe not now but...I just think you're a good dude to hang around that's all." he said, turning and closing his eyes.

Joshua smiled. "Thanks."

Zack opened the door. "Juan wants you on the castle grounds."

                   ...

"I have gathered you here to decide if you're really as powerful as my scientists say. I'm not going to give you any instructions. If you fly, you fly and I'll assign you a mission to rescue my beautiful daughter. I'll go over the details later but whoever manages to rescue her..." Juan gave a pained smile. "...receives a kiss from her...if she's alive that is..."

The boys looked fearfully at the evening clouds clouds. Juan walked to Carmelo. "You're up first boy." he shoved Carmelo off the edge, plummeting towards the ground at an acceleration of nine-point-eight meters per second. He was horrified for he didn't want to die. He always wanted to fly but he knew that was impossible, humans couldn't fly on their own. Carmelo closed his eyes. He always wanted to fly and if he was meant to then this was sure the time to fly.

To Carmelo's amazement he felt his body turn and when he opened his eyes he was soaring in the sky. He held out his hands as he slowly turned. He gave out a laugh, smiling with his mouth open. "WOOOOHOOO!" The purple sky and sun setting over the water was a beautiful sight, amplified by Carmelo's particular view.

He turned around and saw some of his comrades: Joshua, Sebastion, Luuk, Afwerki and Zack. They were all ecstatic like him.

Juan quickly teleported in front of Carmelo smiling with his arms folded. "Good. Now for the briefing...."

                      ...

Afisa cautiously crept outside when she heard the sound of sobbing and vomiting. Outside the treehouse was a girl doubled over, clutching her stomach.

Afisa reached out a hand. "Isabella?"

Isabella turned around, her hair red again as she rose and grabbed Afisa. "Afisa, you've gotta help me! I'm begging you!"

Afisa, like everyone else was still weary of Isabella but she was significantly less scared than the others. She was always friendly towards Isabella to the point where they appeared to be friends. "Help you with what?"

"Food! I need food!"

Afisa shook her head as Isabella vomited on her, burning her skin ever so slightly. "Well maybe you should eat at dinn-"

"I can't eat human food! I need missiles, atomic bombs or..." Isabella drew nearer to the frightened Afisa. "...people." she whispered.

Afisa broke free, tears fighting to break out in utter fear. "I will not let you eat anyone!"

"Then get me some missiles or something! Just tell me where they are!" she cried.

"I don't know where..."

"Don't lie to me!" screamed Isabella. She staggered over to Afisa. "Please. You're a nice girl I've seen you. There are abandoned warehouses with them please just tell me."

Afisa sighed. True, she was nice maybe a bit too nice. Still, she couldn't bear to see the usually strong-as-a-bear Isabella like this.

"Al-alright...there's one...."

                      ...

Sebastion had excused himself from Juan's room to go the bathroom. This was simply a ruse however so he could teleport to Russia. He knew the location of a dangerous missile and the thought it would be fun to play missile tag with the United States. After being freed from his prison Sebastion thought he would be able to cause mayhem but Juan kept saying "soon". He was done with that old man and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Once he entered the warehouse, he heard a strange sucking sound and sensed a strange power. He fired an arrow of psychic energy causing a figure on top of a toppled missile to create a bright barrier of an unknown energy.

Sebastion snapped his fingers, causing all the lights to turn on.

Looking down on him was a girl with raggedy orange hair that glowed a ominous greenish tint and a torn white body suit.

Chapter Six: The First ClashEdit

Isabella looked down on the young child who looked at her curiously. He shouldn't be here! What if my power begins to leak?! He might get hurt! Isabella was shaking violently, she needed to feed soon lest she wanted to die but she didn't want to risk an innocent life.

Isabella charged energy in her body the best she could before firing a bolt of lightning with a cough that made her lungs feel like they were on fire. She tried to aim the bolt close enough to the boy that it would frighten him enough to leave but not close enough to actually harm the child.

Isabella's eyes widened as she realized that the boy had disappeared. She heard a quiet, shrill chuckle causing her to turn around and see the boy levitating behind her with a slight smile.

"What are you...?" She asked in horror. Speaking the language of Mana the boy could not understand her and as such, disregarded the horrified and weakened witch's question and fired a concentrated ball of psychic energy at her stomach, knocking her to the ground.

As she stood slowly up she panted intensely like a dehydrated dog. She was too weak to erect another barrier and the mysterious boy now stood imperially on the missile. Isabella didn't have much time to rest due to the boy firing a barrage of small psychic arrows at the girl causing her to run towards the exit, tears in her eyes, each step heavier then the last.

With a pained scream she tumbled face down on the concrete, a sharp arrow lodged in her back. She heard an evil sounding, quiet sound before she was brought to her feet by a force that wasn't her own. In front of her was the boy, reaching to her knees. She saw his eyes and mouth, twisted into an innocent yet savage smile.

There was no way Isabella could have known that the boy had said, "Don't quit now. I haven't been able to have fun playing with you yet, toy!"


Isabella was slammed against a metal wall, fifteen feet in the air while the life was being choked out of her by the boy. As everything began to go dark she realized to her horror that this boy was part of Juan Carlos' army of abominations.

...


Sebastion slammed the girl to the wall. He watched with disdain as the girl grew weaker by the second until she appeared to be unconscious. Sebastion sighed. That was no fun at all. I wanted to enjoy myself before going with those idiots. Sebastion grimaced as the unconscious young woman's feet began melting into a green liquid. What is this abomination?!

Sebastion looked towards the missile that the girl was standing on. 'She began growing weaker when I parted her from the missile. Maybe that's where she draws her power.' With a frown Sebastion roughly slammed the girl against the missile which slung green goo every which way. The girl wheezed loudly as she began emit a faint green glow.

Sebastion floated over to the girl and watched her intently from three feet above as her chest rise and fell with noticeable strain. The girl let out a final cough that rattled her entire body before she went limp, her eyes glazed and her weak glow died.

With a sigh Sebastion floated towards the ground and snapped his fingers, turning off the lights. As he walked towards the exit it shut violently. Sebastion smiled coolly as his hair blew wildly. He felt a warm glow behind him, illuminating the entire warehouse with an intense green light.

...

Isabella growled fiercely, her appearance back to normal. It was a mistake for the boy to let her live and she would prove it to the boy the hard way. She fired a ball of fire at the boy.

With a smirk the boy raised his hand causing a large orange metal crate to shield him from the fireball. It easily tore through the metal but by the time it reached the other side the boy was gone.

Isabella raised a shield as the boy appeared behind her with warning and fired a barrage of psychic darts at her. Isabella threw a punch at the boy that barely missed him then she gave a kick towards the boy causing him to blow her away with a psychic gust of wind.

Isabella gritted her teeth, firing to balls of dark energy at the boy before she harmlessly hit a wall.

The boy raised his eyebrows in alarm, the balls being faster than he anticipated. They slammed into him sending him flying backwards into a corridor full of guns. Before he hit the ground he teleported to the top of the tall metal shelf.

Isabella flew quickly towards him before she was swatted into the corridor by the boy.'a mind. He snapped his fingers, the guns loading themselves quickly then opening fire on the girl. A few bullets were pumped into her before she raised a shield. As the guns stopped the boy floated slowly towards the prone, bloody girl with a smile.

The girl's wounds closed themselves as she quickly raised herself and grabbed the cocky boy's leg, sending one-thousand volts of electricity through the boy's body. He let out a high-pitched scream of torture as his blood boiled, feeling as if it were evaporating, her muscles felt like they would pop and his brain and felt like they would fry.

The boy let out determined battle-cry as his face twisted into a scowl, tears in the boy's eyes as he focused all his psychic power on Isabella, ripping her arms off, electricity flowing out of the bloody sockets. He sent Isabella flying the opposite direction as he floated fearfully away from the blood, afraid it would shock him once more. He was on the ground his arms at his side and his feet in front of his body. He was panting quickly and shallowly.

...

Sebastion felt as if his entire body was burnt and each time he thought it felt as if someone struck the boy's head with an ax. The boy stood up with a struggle, eager to leave this place and that wretched woman.

The pained boy would have to wait however for the girl was at the end of the corridor now, both arms back as if they were never gone. She walked slowly down the narrow space, sending a highly pressurized torrent of water at Sebastion from her sleeve.

Sebastion screamed in agony as he erected a shield to block the water that would surely finish him. Now it felt as if a lumberjack was steadily splitting his head open again and again. The only thing keeping the boy going was his pride.

The girl slowly walked closer to Sebastion, forcing him to endure more pain as he strengthened his shield. Soon she was a mere three feet away from the boy and the water was flying in several directions due to the source being so close to the shield.

Sebastion let out a growl as he used his mind to send  the girl to the ground and using a considerable amount of effort to pin her hand to the ground, stifling the torrent. Sebastion screamed out in anger and pain as her cut the girl rapidly, her clothes quickly tearing and becoming bloody. As he was doing this Sebastion slowly rose in the air. Before she began to regenerate Sebastion began repeatedly slamming her against the ground, the thrill of torturing his new "toy" drowning out his pain.

The girl let out a yelling sound before the area was briefly enveloped in a white light.

Sensing the quickly approaching girl, Sebastion growled before slamming her through the metal shelf and into the ground. A crate landed on her as she let out a scream, bones finally cracking.

She tried to scream as she felt her lungs beginning to fill up with an unknown substance.

Sebastion petered over her with his hand on his head. "So, whatever you are you appear to have lungs. You're peculiar are all witches as monstrous as you?"

The girl shook wildly under the crate, only her head and neck visible. Her face slowly gained a purplish tint as she was stripped of oxygen.

Sebastion chuckled. "Doesn't matter does it? I'll find out eventually. I must say, you were fun to play with and if I were older I think your strength and tenacity would have "turned me on" as they say." Sebastion's eyes seemed to glow red with pure hatred. "Farewell, abominable maiden..."

...

Isabella's eyes widened as the boy's eyes glowed red. Isabella closed her eyes and focused intently. As her arms were disabled she'd needed a lot of mana to cast a spell and the mana she needed would be hard to acquire in large amounts in Russia.

Nevertheless as if in reply to the boy Isabella glowed bright red before she emitted Fira from her body, causing the crate's contents to explode, sending the boy tumbling back, his shield weak.

Isabella ran towards the boy, determined to make him pay. Although she couldn't understand him she thought his tone was a mocking one. As she ran towards him she fired an ice shard at the boy who erected a shield then sent out spikes composed on psychic energy. Isabella created a reflective barrier.

Before the spikes hit him, the boy teleported behind Isabella. She whirled around and grabbed him, causing him to kick in the air. Before he could retaliate, Isabella brought her leg up high, fiercely kicking the young boy's crotch.

Sebastion's eyes were wide, his mouth hung open before he began crying loudly in pain. Isabella dropped him with a smirk, hitting the concrete with a thud, the boy writhing in the fetal position in utter agony.

Isabella created a large icicle which floated independently over the boy, the sharp end pointed towards his head.

She was about to kill the boy when she was blasted into the wall behind her, her eyes filled with shock as the wind was knocked out of her. After the brief burst of sound the only thing Isabella could hear was her own thoughts. She had gone deaf.

She looked around and saw two boys about her age. One was very lanky with very soft features and messy sandy-blonde hair. The other boy had brown hair that stuck up, was tall, had more rough features and looked as if he had just snapped his fingers. Large headphones were around his neck. Isabella was very impressed by the second boy. What a hunk. His friend's pretty cute too...

Suddenly Isabella was thrown in the air where she was assaulted in all directions by highly pressurized air. She looked down and saw the young boy growling. Her eyes widened as he sent a large piece of sharp metal through her body. She fell to the ground and the last thing she saw was a bright light.

...

Afwerki, Joshua, Carmelo, Sebastion, Luuk and Zack regarded the girl who was lying against the wall, her hands tied behind her back with psychic energy.

"She's a witch. I'm sure of it." mused Joshua aloud.

Carmelo folded his arms. "Yeah, obviously but the question is what do we do with her?"

Luuk approached the girl with a twisted smile. "Isn't obvious? We kill the wench!" he answered.

Sebastion growled angrily as he shook. "No, wake her first! Make her suffer! Make her blood boil!" Sebastion screamed.

Afwerki ran in front of Luuk, his arms out. "No, have mercy on her! Don't be a monst-" he was interrupted as Luuk shoved him out of the way with a frown.

"Face your judgement o vile beast!" cried Luuk.

Before Luuk could harm the girl however, he grew weak and fell to his knees. Painful energy entered his body from the ground beneath him. As he looked around he saw his allies were on the ground as well.

The boys saw a tall, beautiful woman with long blue hair with green tips, a long blue dress and mesmerizing yellow eyes that looked slighly like a cat's. Her dress glowed as all life around her appeared to flow into it. Her hair floated as if she was underwater.

"Greetings, students of the evil Juan Carlos..." the woman lifted her arm towards the girl as she floated into the air, her arms freed as her shackles disintegrated. The girl floated slowly towards the woman who held out both her arms which the girl fell into.

With a pained expression, the woman cradled the girl as if she were a mere babe. "I'm sorry I let this happen to you my beautiful child. If only I paid attention to your stomach you would never have come here." She kissed the girl on her forehead. "I am proud you managed to find your way back to Earth."

A blinding rectangular portal opened behind the woman, illuminating her in a way that made her look like an elegant angel holding her sleeping child.

Before the woman turned around and entered the portal Afwerki spoke, amazed by this divine looking woman. "Who are you?"

The woman cocked her head and spoke triumphantly without smiling. "I am the source of all life here. I am the divine creator. I am this planet's protector. I am your mother. I am the end and beginning. I am your home, the beautiful Earth. I am Gaia, parent of all. Tonight you have harmed one of my children that I hold close to the heart I keep beneath my breast. Tonight I shall let you go for I pity your senseless violence. But, know this pupils of Juan Carlos: next time you hurt one of my own, I shall send you back into me from where you came..." She threatened before turning around and entering the portal.

As it quickly closed the group was enveloped by a stifling darkness.

Chapter Seven: In The Hermit KingdomEdit

The four boys zoomed through the night sky, quickly passing over the forests in a triangle formation. The air was cool on their faces as they quickly approached their target, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea. While all the boys were affected by their encounter with Gaia, Sebastion was noticeably the most shaken.

Sebastion flew a ways away from the rest of the group, forming the "top" of the triangle. he flew with a look of hatred mixed with confusion. How could that wench grow so close to besting me?! It's unacceptable! I believed that I was the most powerful being in the world and that none could hold a candle to me! It's obvious that I'll have to train now. Train hard. To make her pay!

Joshua turned to Afwerki, who was flying adjacent to him, with a disturbed expression on his face, faintly being able to read Sebastion's thoughts. 

Afwerki simply looked at Luuk and Sebastion grimly.

"Hey, what you guys were intending to do back there was not okay." Afwerki reprimanded sternly.

"Shut up!" snapped Luuk. "I did what we were supposed to do."

"But to be so uncaring, and for Sebastion to want to be so merciless-"

"Master Juan said it dozens of times now: We are in a war! This is no place for mercy or are you a coward who wants to run as soon as the actual shooting starts? Let us not forget what we are fighting!" said Luuk

Afwerki looked away.

"Look at you, worrying about one of the witches when Gaia, the grand witch herself attacked us." chastised Luuk.

"Yes, but she did have mercy on us. We are still here when she easily could have killed us."

"Can we just change the subject?" asked Zack as he swallowed. "How bout' taking bout' the mission? We'll be arriving soon."

Joshua nodded. "Alright, everyone listen!"

After Zack motioned for Carmelo to take his headphones off he did so, prompting Joshua to finish. "As you all should know, we are heading to North Korea to retrieve Kola who has been kidnapped. We are to go to the Hwasong prison camp where Kola is likely being held. The prison is of the utmost security so detection is almost a given but our main focus is to find Kola and not to engage the enemy, defend yourself if need be but do not provoke. According to Master Juan there is a secret army base not too far away from the prison and the base will be notified once they see what we're capable of." said Joshua grimly. "Master Juan states that a powerful psychic might reside there so worst case scenario, be prepared to hit him with all you've got." he continued darkly.

"This psychic, wasn't Kola supposed to retrieve him?" asked Afwerki.

"Yes, she was but that is not the focal point of this mission. Our top-priority is to secure Kola, only after we have her, may we attempt to secure him as well but we're better off just leaving him be. Any questions?"

"What's the terrain like?" asked Luuk.

"Rugged, very mountainous. There is also a large river bordering the prison." Joshua answered.

"Do ya reckon' we can use the water as a cover?" offered Zack.

Joshua pondered this for a bit. "Well, it's a possibility indeed. The problem is, we lack mastery over our flying and as a result, even though we'd lose speed before doing so, we'd still crash into the water so I think we should think of something else.

"Well whatever we think of, we better think of it fast. It can't be much farther." warned Carmelo.

Afwerki, Zack, Luuk and Joshua nodded in agreement.

And so the group began devising a strategy. One person offering a plan, another person rebutting said plan, another person tweaking the plan and so on with this game of give-and-take continuing until the group had what they believed to be a cohesive strategy for retrieving their teacher's daughter. As the group barreled towards their destination, every one of the boys took note of Sebastion's unsettling silence.

...

The six psychokinetic children slowly descended towards the ground while circling with their arms out akin to vultures. Sebastion landed first, then Luuk, then Afwerki, then Joshua, then Zack ,then finally Carmelo, each with a soft "thump" as they touched the ground. Although they all landed fairly softly there hearts were heavy with anxiety. This would most likely be their first real mission. While true, Juan had sent them on missions to retrieve Kalar Stones, this would be the first mission to put their lives in jeopardy. The stakes were higher and thus the boys were on edge. Carmelo found himself craving the cigarettes that he had left in his room due to his haste.

Joshua drew a deep and quiet before looking around with a small, nervous smile at his comrades. He wished at this moment that he could speak telepathically. 

The group could see the stars shimmering above their heads like glitter. The ground beneath their feet was hard and around them they could see in the darkness the beautiful mountainous terrain, covered in green. They could hear the sound of the running river. The scene would have been utterly amazing to behold if it weren't for the situation they were in, reminded to them by the large prison complex not too far away from their location, with its piercing searchlights and its intimidating barbed wire fences.

Joshua leaned in, prompting his comrades to do the same, barring Sebastion who was turned away with his arms folded. "All right team," began Joshua in a whisper. "Here we are. The Hwasong prison camp is right there as you all can see." Joshua chuckled. His smile grew as he shook his head and grew red. "I'm not sure if you can tell but I'm freaking out a bit here but I know that this'll go smooth if we all work together and stick to the plan." Please Sebastion, don't give cause us any trouble. I know you're upset but the worst thing you could do is have a fit and miss this crucial information. "As this is The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, we have little information about our location but we'll make inferences. We do know that the prison is heavily guarded so we'll first check to see if there are any land minds. After that, with the assistance of Luuk and Afwerki, we'll use lumokinesis to become invisible in the searchlight. We'll assume invisibility throughout the mission, only halting the lumokinesis in the shadows for Luuk and Afwerki to recharge. We'll either use Carmelo's lock-picking skills to break into doors or my luck with probability to enter electronically locked doors. We are to attempt avoiding prison guards at all times, if one of us brushes them or they are alerted to our presence by other means, we are to take them out quickly, effectively and silently. Throughout the mission we are to stick together at all costs, if enough time has past without finding Kola I may allow us to split into groups of three. If needed, Zack will serve as a scout. Once inside, we are not to speak and we are to have light feet. Are there any questions?"

The boys exchanged apprehensive glances, with Zack trying to hide his unease with a hearty smile.

After ten seconds without a response, Joshua sighed. "All right then, let's do this."

"I'll just be walking inside if you don't mind."

The nonchalant voice belonged to Sebastion and his revelation was met with scorn and horror to which he seemed to not notice.

Joshua blinked twice and spoke slowly and quietly. "What do you mean by that?"

Sebastion growled and the boys winced ever so slightly at his refusal to keep his voice low. "What is there to not understand or are you as stupid as your room mate? I mean that I'm not going to sneak around like some rat! I am Sebastion, the most powerful being in the universe and I can walk into any place I want to however I want to. Stealth is for the weak so go hide in the shadows if you want while I walk right in and have some fun!" shouted Sebastion in annoyance as he clenched his fist.

Luuk frowned, fuming while still keeping his voice low. "So you'll let your hubris-?!"

"Save me the sermon friar. I'll be on my way." barked Sebastion as he stomped towards the barbed-wire fence in the distance.

Joshua drew a fearful breath as he shook his head with his hand on his forehead.

"You know what? Fuck him. We're still gonna' go in and save Kola, let his psyco-ass get himself into a bloodbath. C'mon!" commanded Carmelo in a voice of normal volume. He began walking briskly towards the fence not too far away from where Sebastion was walking, with the other four following behind him in a single-file line.

Carmelo focused on the gate. He was scared but he had a mission to complete. Despite his craving for nicotine, despite his migraines that could resume at any instant he'd push on and find Kola. He briefly smiled, remembering that Juan promised a kiss from Kola to her rescuer.

"Do you sense any landmines Zack?" asked Joshua.

"Some but we should be all right, Carmelo, move to ya' left a bit....now to the left..." he suggested. The line moving like a snake in accordance to Zack's directions, its movements quick and jumpy due to everyone's fear of being blown to bits in this land far away from home.

Zack looked at Sebastion with wide eyes as two searchlights from high towers converged on him and a loud horn began to blare. 

Sebastion grew a wide, devilish smile before the two watchtowers suddenly violently blew up along with a large hole in the fence which Sebastion promptly walked through, laughing wickedly, happy to finally get his revenge on his humiliation earlier.

The explosions triggered the land-mines to blow one by one around the group. Afwerki quickly dropped and placed his hands on the ground, causing a yellow force-field to encircle him and his allies, shielding them front he explosions that kicked dirt in the air, generating a grown fog. Once he dispersed it thirty seconds after he heard the last mine blown, the group began coughing profusely.

Joshua made a wide-hand motion and blew the dirt away from the group with a small and brief gust of wind.

"So much for stealth." coughed Afwerki dismally.

Carmelo gritted his teeth with his fist clenched, hating Sebastion with every fiber of his being at that moment. "No, we still stickin' to the plan. Luuk, Afwerki, do your...luno-whatever-tesis. We'll use the little pint-sized-runt's commotion to our advantage, he'll take the attention away from us."

Luuk smiled and nodded at Carmelo's turnaround of the bleak situation before the light of the fire from Sebastion's explosion and the far off searchlights were refracted around the group.

The group walked briskly along the fence. Everyone made sure to maintain a steady pace for Afwerki and Luuk warned that they would have trouble manipulating light around a moving object that they couldn't infer the location of.

The group continued to walk along the fence, the cool night air against their faces as they heard Sebastion laughing and taunting in the distance.

The air near them was invaded by a sharp crack, causing them all to freeze like deer in the headlights and stand perfectly still as a prison guard with an assault rifle ran past them. Zack stood shakily, his eyes so wide that it appeared they might pop out, heart beating at a break-neck pace. The boys remained still and alert as a few more guards ran past them towards the psychokinetic juggernaut that was Sebastion, oblivious to his comrades' existence right next to them.

Afwerki put his hand over his heart and took silent, deep breaths to calm himself. He would need to stay focused for his friends' sake and he could not stay focused with his mind in turmoil.

Carmelo grinned smugly. Great job Sebastion you crazy sunovabitch, with all of these guards running towards you we'll be able to search the prison without a problem.

"Come on, let's go!" Luuk said harshly when the coast was clear of any nearby guards. His voice was raised slightly over a whisper in order for him to be heard over the distant roar of the barrage of gunfire.

With Luuk's command, the group began advancing again, this time at a steady jog. The survived close-call with the stream of guards left them happy and exhilarated. Zack ran with his arms held out at his sides, assuming a goofy grin. They could now feel the air rushing past their faces and enjoyed thrill.

Joshua frowned, faintly being able to sense the collective feeling of joy from his comrades. Let's not get cocky now hmmm?

Luuk and Afwerki concentrated hard to maintain the group's cloak, needing to drastically alter the amount of light bent around the group when a spotlight passed over them.

The group of boys eventually made it near a camp ground for the prisoners and slowed down to a turtle's pace. Zack cautiously jogged ahead at an impressive speed, with Luuk focusing to make sure he stayed invisible.

Zack returned to the group after a few seconds. "Two guardin' the openin'." he revealed quietly.

"In front of it?" asked Joshua.

Zack shook his head in vain. "No, at its sides."

"We lucked out. Come on. You two can cut off the invisibility once we get some shade." said Carmelo as he walked nimbly forward while crouching, with the others following.

The sector of the prison camp was surrounded by a tall barbed-wire fence. The area was dark and quiet, contrasting with the area near where the boys entered which was illuminated by searchlights and complimented with the loud pops of gunfire.

Joshua and Luuk could make out the faint sounds of people snoring coming from the small brick squares with holes in them. Even though they didn't see any people the group felt an unbearable sadness emanating from the buildings.

The group walked through the entrance and past the two guards with rifles held across their chests, mindful of their footsteps. They walked to a section of the fence that was shaded by one of the buildings, allowing Luuk and Afwerki to discard the group's invisibility.

"Thank you for using your lumokinesis you two," Joshua thanked. "I know it puts a strain on you."

Afwerki shook his head with a smile. "Think nothing of it brother, the strain is nearly nonexistent due to Luuk assisting me."

"Ay, what about not talking?' asked Carmelo in a whisper.

"Well," began Joshua, thoughtful. "Circumstances have changed, I think it appropriate for us to take note of this and modify our strategy of need be."

"Note taken." bit Carmelo in annoyance. "Now can we go on? Sebastion's distraction is good now but soon we'll have the army on our asses!"

"Hold on Carmelo, please. I know that and we need to make sure we cover as much ground as possible in the little time we have before they arrive." explained Joshua. He scanned the outside of the fence, he could faintly make out another camp ground in the darkness and far away he could see more searchlights. "So, any notes?"

"This certainly isn't what I expected the prison to look like." said Luuk, taking note of the openness,the cabins and the wide expanse of space between each camp ground. "I expected it to look..well, more like a prison." he finished in annoyance.

"Well, this is a labor camp, not your run-of-the-mill jailhouse." explained Joshua.

Zack's eyes widened. "You mean like with the Nazi's?" he quivered.

Joshua bit his lip. "Yes, it's similar."

Afwerki stepped forward. "There are a lot of individual buildings here my brother. I suggest that we split up into two groups to cover more ground, with Luuk in one group and myself in the other and the two groups will reconvene in ten minutes. We'll cover more distance this way." he offered with his voice low.

Joshua nodded thoughtfully and looked around for confirmation, everyone appeared in agreement. "Alright then. You all heard the new plan, courtesy of Afwerki. Afwerki, Zack and I will be in one group and Luuk and Carmelo will be in the other. We meet here again promptly in ten minutes then we're heading straight out of the entrance. Keep your movements swift and quiet." 

Joshua, Afwerki and Zack walked quickly towards the cabin immediately in front of them while Carmelo and Luuk jogged along the gate towards another nearby cabin.

Afwerki, Joshua and Zack entered the cabin, the only sounds being the chorus of snores. The room was large, hot and smelled of sweat. Joshua looked around for guards.

"We're safe. There aren't any guards and everyone's asleep."

Afwerki nodded and held out his open palm, where it suddenly became illuminated in a dim ball of light.

"Whoa, sweet!" exclaimed Zack in a normal voice causing Afwerki and Joshua to shoot him a glare causing him to hang his head low in embarrassment.

Joshua looked at each of the faces Afwerki illuminated and slightly shook his head each time. This was going to take a while, he knew it. Zack kept watch at the exit to warn of any approaching guards.

Joshua and Afwerki turned to leave the cabin when they heard the shuffling of a body and turned to see a man waking up from his position on the floor. He sat up and stretched, eyes widening as he saw the two boys but before he could make a sound, Zack zoomed across the cabin and clamped his hand over the man's mouth, muting him. He looked at Joshua and Afwerki with a look a panic. Joshua uneasily gave a swift jab at the back of the neck, causing the man to go limp. Zack easily placed the man on the floor.

Zack looked at Joshua in horror.

Joshua smiled slightly and shook his head. "Not dead." he mouthed before he began towards the exit.

Meanwhile, Luuk and Carmelo had just finished examining their cabin without finding Kola. After verifying that the last person in the cabin wasn't her, Carmelo let out a loud groan, prompting Luuk to shoot him a look hat conveyed, "you imbecile".     

The two exited the cabin and jogged towards the next one, about forty yards away from them. Carmelo was well aware of how much time they were losing and as such he did not put up any resistance when Joshua paired him with Luuk whom he despised, ignoring his own discomfort by thinking of Kola's.

..

After about eight minutes, the two groups converged at the designated spot. As neither had with them the busty young women, it was obvious that their mission was not fulfilled.

"Alright, let's head to the next cabin." said Joshua.

Afwerki positioned himself in front of everyone else and Luuk behind everyone else before they started sneaking along the fence towards the entrance, allowing the two to split the workload on maintaining invisibility more easily. 

The group approached the entrance and to their surprise, they didn't see the guards. Despite this, the group continued to walk forward, out of the cabin sector.

The group walked towards the next group of cabins while they noticed that the gunshots were a lot closer.

They continued to walk once they heard Sebastion's high-pitched cackle, sending a collective chill up their spines. 

Seconds after the laugh they saw a object land directly in front of them, causing them to halt and causing Afwerki to break his concentration, making the group slightly transparent.

In the dim light of the stars and the slightly closer searchlights, they could see the quivering object was a prison guard, who was bloody and whose right arm was twisted in a gruesome position, making Afwerki grow queasy.

As the man noticed the group of boys, who looked at him with pity and discomfort, his eyes widened, as if begging for help.

He began to painfully and quietly croak something when the group saw the man's left arm rip itself off, causing him to let out a blood-curdling scream and for Afwerki to cover his mouth his hands, eyes wide in horror. The boys looked at the man as his legs were violently crushed, the bones sounding a disheartening snap.

The group heard a chuckle and turned around to see Sebastion floating high in the air behind them twenty feet away with a devilish smile as he licked his lips. He boys turned again when they saw the man floating upside-down, crying before his head and neck popped off from his torso, causing the boy's faces to morph into ones of utter disgust and horror. Luuk shook his head angrily, Afwerki grew tearful and Zack's left eye twitched.

The man's head rolled on the ground, eyes wide with agony for four seconds before he was finally admitted release.

The man's floating body exploded with a squish, causing Afwerki and Zack to jump back to avoid being splattered with too much gore but never the less, small crimson splotches covered their shirts in pants, which would remind them of the horror of their cruel and young comrade's actions.

Afwerki quickly turned to face the torturer but he had already flew away, gone to find more toys.

Joshua looked to the ground and put his hand on his forehead as he  shook his head.

Carmelo clenched his teeth and fists while he scowled. "Damn bastard!" he growled under his breath.

Zack swallowed as he started wide-eyed at the spot where the guard had been killed. He pushed wiped the sweat off his forehead. The cool night had, in a matter of seconds become unbearably stuffy.

Afwerki turned towards where Sebastion was floating and began running, teary-eyed, his heart feeling as if it weighed five tons. Before he had gotten far at all, Zack quickly ran to him and held him, preventing him from going any farther.

"Let me go!" Afwerki cried.

"No! What do you think you're doing?!" he shouted in concern.

"He killed that man and he'll only kill more! I must stop him. He's a madman and he tortured that poor man!" cried Afwerki madly.

Carmelo frowned and walked towards Afwerki. "We need to stick to the missi-"

"You'll let atrocities go unpunished because it isn't part of "the mission"?! I'm going to talk some sense into him,and I'll stop this madness by force if need be!" he countered.

Carmelo shrank back, looked away and brushed his hair off of his forehead in shame.

"He's right!" Luuk stated as he stepped forward. "We must punish him for his pride and wrath!"

"And what if we die huh!?" cried Carmelo as he threw out his hands in exasperation. "No, scratch that. What happens when we die because we sure as hell will bite the bullet fuckin' around with THAT psycho!" he cried angrily. "What will be accomplished when we die fightin' em'? Kola'll still be locked up, Sebastion will go on rippin' people the fuck apart like action figures either way, not to mention the shit with Gaia. Goin' head-to-head with Sebastion right now will solve nothin'. No-thing! We don't know the limits of our powers but I think we all know without a doubt that even if we all give it all we got, that little squirt'll still wipe the floor with our asses. It's pointless to take him on tonight."

Joshua nodded. "Carmelo's right about this. As....heartless and it sounds our best course of action is to focus on the mission, rescue Kola."

Luuk frowned. "So we'll just be cowards."

Joshua shook his head solemnly. "We won't be cowards, we're being smart for not throwing our lives away."

The group was silent for a bit, perhaps trying to forcefully forget the experience thy had just received. Nevertheless, Joshua gave a, "let's move out" and the group marched to the next camp-ground which was unguarded. As the group split up and searched again, their movements were shaky, their thoughts foggy.

..

The group once again left a campgrounds empty-handed. Fortunately, they did not have to worry about being spotted by guards as most of them had left to deal with Sebastion and the boys had become skilled in blending into the shadows and light. Although the sight of the guard being brutally murdered by Sebastion was still fresh in their minds, for the sake of the mission the boys had been able to push it aside for the time being in order to overcome their restlessness.

Afwerki's mind however still was in a chaotic turmoil so as they walked towards the next campground the group erratically phased in and out of visibility, blinking as if they had just been hit in a video game.

Due to the chaos that was Sebastion's "playing" in the background, Carmelo decided to forgo the "no-talking" rule when roaming outside of a camp-ground.

"Afwerki? Are you okay? Do you need me to take full control of keeping us camouflaged." asked Luuk with concern in his voice, causing Carmelo to raise his eyebrows.

Afwerki shook his head with a look of determination. "No, I am fine." Despite this, he gritted his teeth once he heard and explosion behind him and Sebastion dementedly scream "Death to all who oppose me!". Afwerki lowered his eyelids. Keep your cool Afwerki, justice will be served. I will go to master and tell him about this incident once this is all over.

The next campground the group encountered was once again unguarded but Zack quickly grabbed Carmelo's shoulder, halting him.

"What is it?" asked Carmelo sharply in annoyance.

Zack was undeterred by his comrade's tone. "Well, I feel...a commotion inside the gate." he revealed darkly.

Carmelo raised his eyebrows. "What kind of commotion we talkin' here?" he asked quietly.

Zack shook his head. "I dunno'..." this response caused Carmelo to loudly sigh as he threw his head back.

Joshua raised an eyebrow as he shot Carmelo a warning look. "I feel it too. In addition to knowing that there's a commotion of some sort, I can feel that there is fear inside...and turmoil."

Luuk folded his arms. "Well this is a prison did you expect them to be happy and and at peace?" he asked mockingly.

Carmelo rolled his eyes. "Alright, whatever. Well, whatever it is, it's got spiky hear pretty shooken up." he stated as he pointed a thumb to Zack with his eyes closed in annoyance. "Well just remember, always be prepared for a fight if needed."

"Now, if we're done talkin', I'd like to get on with the mission. I need my beauty sleep." stated Carmelo in annoyance before the group began walking again.

The group could hear restlessness in the cabins as they heard people murmuring sleepily and fearfully in Korean. Joshua saw a man try to run out of the cabin they were passing only for the a guard to come out and bring him crashing to the steps of the cabin with a forceful swing of his nightstick.

Afwerki gulped as he worked to make sure that the invisibility would hold up.

Zack continued to walk angrily as he winced at the sounds of slapping, screaming and crying. "Always be prepared for a fight..." he repeated solemnly in his head.

So, the guards are in this area at least. I wonder if Kola is here. Joshua thought. No, it seems that they have arrived to quell a prisoner insurgency, brought upon by Sebastion's commotion which someone must have smartly thought to use to their advantage. Nevertheless, I should keep my eyes peeled for Ms. Carlos...

The boys stopped once they made it into an area lit by the moonlight where three cabins' entrances faced towards each other. A guard stood near each of the entrances with a fierce look. They swiveled their heads to every moment, like hungry hawks staking out their prey. They held onto their long guns tightly, like a security blanket. The people inside were insects buzzing and they were sardines due to how tightly they were packed and the guards were the ruthless birds of prey.

Even though some of the boys theorized that the guards wouldn't hear them near the fence due to the droning buzzing inside, they remained as statues, not moving not speaking, not puking not sneezing.

They all collectively jerked their heads once they saw a bony woman with scraggly jet black hair run out of the cabin towards the very gate they were standing. Joshua shifted uncomfortably while Zack was tempted to run out of the invisibility zone and assist the woman.

Unfortunately for him, he would get no such chance as the woman was shot in the head by a guard before she got too close. Another person ran out of the cabin, a man this time but was quickly suppressed by the guard who brutally brought his rifle down upon the short man's head, causing him to slump onto the ground with a sickening thud. The man bent down and continued to beat the man with his long gun, letting out screams of pain.

From another cabin ran out a young boy that was violently pinned onto the ground by a guard's boot before he was bashed in the head with the guards gun.

The boys continued to watch as the prisoners' bravery was met with swift and brutal suppression, that grew in violence as the numbers of attempted escapees grew in numbers. Their horror slowly continued to grow until it threatened to spill over.

Afwerki growled with tears in his eyes. He smiled as he turned to Carmelo, faintly visible due to his lack of concentration. "What about that Carmelo? Do we ignore that because it doesn't help us with our mission? These aren't the only cabins in this area, there are more, more people suffering. We can take these nasty guards on! Are we going to sit here and watch this horror unfold!?" he cried quietly, in a audibly restrained voice that sounded as if he might crack into a thousand pieces if he kept his voice quiet any longer.

Carmelo breathed hard as he shook his head. "No....no here's what we're gonna' do." he said darkly before cracking his knuckles and head.

..

A guard was about to shoot a crying man on the ground in the head when he Carmelo cried out in the distance, "Ay fuckface!", causing the guard to turn towards the gate, where five foreign boys materialized out of thin air, all with looks of unmasked anger on their faces. They all assumed battle stances except the boy in the middle with stylish brown hair, whose arms were folded.

Carmelo unfolded his arms and reached him far forward, setting the man instantly ablaze then flinging them into the air.

The other guards looked at their co-worker in shock and then saw the boys but before anyone was able to fire a single bullet, Zack had rushed forward in seemingly the blink-of-an-eye and punched a guard out cold. With lightning-fast reflexes he had picked up said guard and positioned him in the direction of  a bullet that had just been fired, using him as an effective human shield. Zack was in awe of his inhumanly fast reaction but he did not have time to marvel. He quickly ran towards the third guard carrying his wounded shield and hit the guard over the head with his comrade before tossing him away and zooming out of the vicinity.

More guards had quickly entered the area guns blazing. The boys had scattered from their original position. Joshua leaped from the shadows and gave a short but powerful two-finger jab at the back of a guard's neck, causing him to quickly fall to the ground, unconscious. Joshua then gracefully leapt into the air, deftly dodging a speeding bullet before landing on his hands and quickly jumping to the sides and twisting his body.

Carmelo had began brutally repeatedly bashing a guard against a cabin, with a smirk on his face. "How do you like it punk!?" he cried. He held his hand in front of him a few inches with it in a claw position. He relaxed his hand, causing the soldier to fall the the ground unconscious. He turned to see another guard run towards him with a gun. Carmelo held his hand out causing the gun to bend backwards then he gave a clap before bringing both hands to the ground, causing the man to fall onto the ground roughly, hitting his head.

Joshua turned to see that he was being approached bu four guards with guns. He dismissively waved his hand, causing them to all flew to the side as a strong and brief gust of wind manifested in the direction opposite of their advance. Joshua smiled as he stroked his chin thoughtfully.

Zack was chuckling as he stood near a guard who was punching himself in the face. Zack's fingers on his right hand was in spread out and in front of him. "Why are you hittin' yourself? Why are you hittin' yourself? Why are you hittin' yourself?..."

A guard shot at Afwerki who quickly creating a barrier that only lasted for a split second. The bullet reflected back at the guard, hitting him in the stomach, causing him to fall to the ground with a short scream of pain. Unlike his comrades, Afwerki was not enjoying himself in the least bit. He saw two other guards approach him from the corner of his eyes and saw that they had there guns readied. After one fired, he flicked his finger, causing the bullet to go back into the direction it came, hitting the guard then he did the same with the other man.

He did not see the third guard that was behind him. Nevertheless he moved out of the way in time that the bullet only grazed his soldier, tearing his skin and sending crimson blood flying, soaking the sleeve of his shirt. He gave a yelp of pain before clutching his shoulder with his left hand and slamming the guard through the fence.

Afwerki closed his eyes as his left hand glowed and his shoulder grew warm. He sighed before removing his hand, his shoulder appearing as if there was no wound. He began to walk stealthily along the fence and sent a telepathic message towards each of the cabins that would translate to Korean once it arrived to a prisoner's brain. "Please stay inside," it said. "We are dealing with your heathenish guards and I shall alert you when they are no longer are threat."

Luuk jumped off of the roof of the cabin with a wide smile, landing squarely on a guard's chest, pinning him to the ground.

"You will pay for your sins." he said quietly as he held his hand near the guard's angry face. "Prepare for your judgement." his hand glowed wind a blinding light for two seconds., forcing the others in the campground to close their eyes or look away. After the light was gone, the guard's retinas were completely fried.

"I won't kill you. I want you to live with the price of your sins." Luuk admitted before roughly picking them man up and putting his foot on his back while holding his arms. He pushed his foot for a few seconds until the man's arms broke with a satisfying snap.

Luuk turned to see another guard running towards him with a nightstick. Luuk smiled as he used his telekinetic powers to cause them nightstick to bash the man on the forehead, killing him instantly.

...

Sebastion was near the entrance, high in the air as he directed bullets back at his attackers and brutally slaughtered his opponents. Unlike his comrades, he did not need to move a single muscle to use his powers effectively.

He laughed with delight as the soldiers screamed in horror and other soldiers became a crimson mess in the dirt. Sebastion was sufficiently enjoying himself. He enjoyed the toys that he was playing with, reveling in their terror, reveling in the fact that they possessed no power to stop him. This was how toys were meant to be played with, they were meant to be dominated over. At that moment Sebastion was one-hundred-percent with his decision to join Juan. If he were back at home, he'd be dying of boredom, with hardly anyone to "play with", to kill. Sebastion wasn't worried about the witch earlier. She'd get hers. Soon.

Sebastion turned his head to a guard frantically fleeing the battlefield while screaming, blood gushing out of the socket where his arm had once been. Where do you think you're going fool!? Sebastion clapped with a laugh as the man instantly became confetti...

...

Carmelo looked around, guards were on the ground, unconscious everywhere he looked. Some were coming to but quickly ran away once they saw Carmelo. He was breathing deeply. His allies slowly walked towards him and looked around at the mostly bloodless carnage.

Zack looked around in awe. "D-did I do that?"

"Yep." answered Carmelo curtly.

All five boys were breathing heavily due to them using their powers rapidly for an extended period of time, draining them temporarily. Nevertheless, the boys were impressed with themselves, they had never used their powers for such a duration or such an extent before.

Afwerki nodded with a smile to the prisoners who tentatively poked their heads out of the cabins as if asking, "is it safe"?

Carmelo sighed with a fierce look. "C'mon gang. Let's find us a Kola."

...

She turned on the cold corner that served as her bed. Her neck was sore. She constantly thought of being rescued even though it was seeming less and less likely. She was disgusted that she had been reduced to a damsel in distress but she was sure her papa would save her. In the far distance she swore she heard gunfire, explosions and laughing but she waved it off as just being tired again and fantasizing about a scenario where she would be rescued.

She turned to the ceiling. It was pitch-black but she memorized her cell well. It was of a medium size, had a toilet and chains to restrict her movement. She shuddered, hoping that they wouldn't try anything with those. She sighed, she would need her rest for the morning. So she closed her eyes and mumbled the names that were always on her mind as she slept. 

"....Papa.....Joshua...."

...

A boy with long black hair was in a room lit by candles. He was sitting with his legs crossed on a cushion, his eyes closed 

The door at his back as he was facing the wall, causing him to open his eyes immediately. A man in a military uniform stepped into the room.

"Myung-Dae, quickly we must go now!" the man said in Korean.

"Why?" asked the boy in a soft voice that sounded as if a man and woman were speaking in unison.

"There has been an attack at the Hwasong Labor Camp."

The boy turned slightly. "And why does that require me?"

"Because it's Juan's dog! He'-" The man was interrupted by a person outside the room handing him a phone. The man nodded before he handed the phone back to the person outside the room, his face grim.

"We've just received word that there are six boys. All telekinetic users. They're Juan's dogs. We believe they're here to retrieve the girl that invaded this last week. Juan's daughter we believe."

The boy was motionless.

The man gritted his teeth. "Please, this is four our country. The revered one, Kim Jong-Un needs you to do this."

The boy rose with a slight smile and turned around. "Then I shall stop the foreign scum. I will make father Kim Jong-Un proud." he said before he began walking out the room, his red eyes gleaming dangerously.

Chapter Eight: Battle in The Hermit KingdomEdit

Sebastion continued to combat his enemies using the power of his mind. He was about to terminate a fleeing  guard when he heard the low rumble of machinery in the distance. Sebastion turned around and saw seven tanks roll smoothly up the hill.

The young psychic juggernaut softly gasped before his eyes widened in awe. He adored playing with toy tanks at home but he had never been able to see one in real life. Marching at the tanks' sides were two-hundred soldiers wearing light body armor who were each equipped with a machine gun. The tanks were unlike anything the boy had ever seen as they were blocky and made out of a brilliant silver colored metal. Though they were bulky-looking, the vehicles approached with graceful ease. Sebastion licked his lips in anticipation as he looked at the large guns at the front of the tanks, wondering how powerful they were. He watched in fascination as the elite army corps advanced towards the labor camp.

As the child giddily giggled with his hadd over his mouth, to the ignorant it might seem that this was simply a nomral child, if they ignored his levitating of course.

A guard who was facing Sebastion's back took advantage of the psychic's pause to and shot at his large head .

Without missing a beat the boy swiveled around with a grin and created a barrier that deflected the bullet before his assailant found his head turned to a lethal degree.

                  ..

Carmelo frowned as he and the team left another camp ground without a shadow of a trace of Kola. He folded his arms. Whatever, we'll find her.

The group could hear a faint sound in the distance, a bit like a very far and soft thunderclap. Zack however, could clearly hear the rythmic and ominous sound of hundreds of stamping feet. He held out his arm to halt his comerades who were visible due to the darkness. He turned to them with a grave look.

Carmelo frowned. What is it this time chicken?

Luuk whispered in annoyance. "Why have you-"

Joshua interrupted as he stepped forward. He closed his eyes and cleared his throat. "The army...has arrived." he revealed calmly. 

A collective feeling of dread loomed over the group. They had been drained after dealing with a simple group of guards, the prospect of taking on an entire army terrified them. Even though only Zack and Joshua had an accurate gauge of the military's advance, the boys could not stop their hearts from quickening like a race car that was warming up.

Carmelo growled. I shouldn't be scared! I ain't afraid of anything! He began walking once more in search of the next campgrounds. "The entire combined military of this friggin' continent can come at us for all I care! We have a mission to complete! Stop ya' shaking and come on!" he snapped in annoyance, trying his hardest to keep his legs from shaking.

Without much of a choice the rest of the boys followed, more alert than they were in anticipation of the military's arrival. 

Afwerki gritted his teeth. My brother Carmelo is correct. It is more productive to keep searching for lady Kola instead of standing around, drowning in our own collective fear.

Although Luuk was indeed visibly shaken by his comrade's revelation that the military would be arriving soon, he adopted a wicked smile. While true that there will be indeed a greater risk due to my enemy's higher numbers, that shall prove only more satisfying when I punish them for attempting to harm the righteous.

..

Sebastion continued to toy with the guards although with noticeably less fervor than before. He was beginning to grow antsy in anticipation for his more challenging prey. He was practical drooling with bloodlust as he sloppily tossed around the hapless guards. He was slumped over while still levitating high above the fearful armed guards.

In an instant Sebastion's body straightened as his eyes widened, his hands opened wide and an ear-to-ear grin spread across his young face. His back was to them but he could nevertheless sense their presence, hear their low breathing and hear the soft hum of the idle tanks, sounding quite similar to the sound of a bus.

"They're here." he mouthed before the front tank fired a powerful explosive at the psychic boy's back. Sebastion thought about the molecules in the air and was able to manifest a, translucent shield made out of telekinetic energy behind him. The explosive detonated with a deafening roar and created a pillar of fire and smoke. Although Sebastion saved himself from the lethal blast, the shock of the explosion hit his back after the shield had been dissolved, sending the boy spiraling forward.

The child harmless turned in the air and landed on his feet then quickly turned around to see a swarm of soldiers run towards him, guns blazing. With a gleeful smile, Sebastion held out his hands, creating a purple, dome shaped shield around him about six feet in diameter. This is going to be delicious!

Grunting briefly, Sebastion kept his arms held out sides for four seconds before he rested them at his sides and walked forward. The protective purple dome remained around him as he moved causing the bullets to ricochet off of it. The shield served as a psychokinetic dampener so Sebastion would need to put in more effort in order for his powers to have the same power as they would have if he was out of the shield. Sebastion laughed as he moved his hands in wide-sweeping motions which cause the soldiers to tumble like human pinwheels into each other. He snapped, causing the guns to harshly bash themselves against their wielders faces. Despite these setbacks, the hardened soldiers quickly shook off the pain and continued their onslaught of the pint-sized telekenetic powerhouse, their faces devoid of any emotion. Not passion, not hatred, not fear.

As the shield began to fade, signified by it flickering in and out of visibility. Sebastion barred his teeth, curled his small hands into fists, tilted his head towards the ground and gave a mighty sending out a powerful shock-wave around him, the ground shifting like a wave. The shock-wave traveled quickly, halting the deadly shower of metal as the men helplessly flew into the air, their arms flailing as Sebastion grave a toothy grin. Hmph, despite them bringing in the big guns they're still no match for the likes of-

Sebastion turned to see a small, metal spherical object roll near his feet. "What in the world is-" Sebastion's eyes widened as he registered danger and quickly leapt into the air. Despite his fast reaction time, he wasn't able to react to the grenade quite quick enough. The ground seemed to be sucked in then spat quickly out with a flash of light in seemingly a millisecond, Sebastion was blasted further into the air than he anticipated with a yelp. Due to how high he was, he was made an easy target for the soldiers who took aim at him.

Sebastion growled as he caused a soldier to explode into a confetti of blood and guts then he clapped, causing two other soldiers to quickly crash into each other. They then moved towards each other at a slower, more agonizing rate, their bones being quickly crushed against each other as their skulls began caving in.

With a swipe, Sebastion telekenetically ripped a man's spine out of his body.

Distracted, a soldier with a single-firing gun shot from behind the boy. The stray bullet sliced through the outer layer of the boy's soldier, causing him to clutch it as it began to bleed profusely.

He quickly turned around while still levitating. "That really stung you inferior peace of crap!" he shouted before he ripped a machine gun out of another soldier's hand and made the floating firearm empty its contents into his assailant. Sebastion then sensed one of the tanks firing a mortar and quickly preformed a nosedive as he redirected the explosive to the gaggle of soldiers in front of him, the parts of their bodies flying into the air like a deconstructed Mr. Potato Head.

Sebastion laid flat on the ground to avoid the gunfire. He was red with embarrassment as he took out the soldiers as he laid low. "Let's try something bigger..." he said to himself as he flipped over, his belly facing the night sky. The bullets created a demented and screaming chorus for a song. Sebastion stared at the upside down tanks and rolled them far away from their fellow tanks before crashing them into each other with extreme force, causing one to flip into the air and land upside-down. Much to his shock, they didn't appear damaged in the least bit and the tank quickly adjusted itself and fired at the boy, the explosive coming out of the barrel like a mini-sun. The boy didn't move for he knew as the explosive arced towards the ground that he was out of its range. He stared in fascination as it set the grass ablaze.

He quickly got up and used his psychokinetic powers to barrel himself into a mass of soldiers, knocking them out of his way like bowling pins. He was wearing a wicked and determined smile. I shan't lose against these fools. Although yes, it is indeed more of a challenge than before, I will just stay on my toes. I will grow stronger and soon this will be nothing to me.

Sebastion pushed five soldiers that were in front of him into the air and saw fifteen soldiers working to make the tank he toppled upright again. "Oh no you don't!" he growled but before he was able to push the soldiers away from the vehicle, out of the corner of his eye, he saw an older boy with long jet black hair and soft features power-walk in the distance. He was along the fence and walking as if he didn't notice the chaos around him. Sebastion could feel the latent power inside of the boy and as such, knew he was a psychic like himself. Sebastion smiled and was about to challenge the child when he turned ever so slightly, revealing a bit of his red-eyes to Sebastion. Sebastion shuddered, causing him to growl. Although he would not admit it, he had just caught a glimpse of a power that challenged and possibly surpassed his own.

                 ..

Myung-Dae walked, while swinging his arms and head. He would allow the soldiers to deal with the young and powerful psychic. He was the only one besides the general that was aware of the presence of the other psychics so he felt it was his duty to attend to them. Besides, in the unlikely chance that he needed assistance he knew that at least one soldier would see him strolling off.

             ...

The group had just exited another campground without finding Kola and were once again walking along the fence. They had heard the sounds of Sebastion and the military in the distance and were unnerved. This time it sounded more intense than before and somehow more ominous. Even though no one could explain it, each of the boys felt a chill in the air. Luuk had simply written it off as the mood that was set due to the searchlights being off in this area. The group was far inside the labor camp now with no signs of Kola.

Joshua was unfaltering in his resolve to find Kola as he walked, his heart heavy. He didn't doubt that they'd find Kola, they simply had to for she was his friend. He wondered who was giving who a run for their money in the skirmish far behind him.

With a buzz of electricity the lights returned to life and the group quickly turned around to see a Korean boy in a white jumpsuit with long black hair standing relaxedly behind him. His brown eyes were friendly. 

"Hello." he had greeted in a soft and inviting tone as he tilted his hand slightly in greeting.

Afwerki waved with a confused look and Zack smiled, about to respond "howdy".

"Hi." said Carmelo with his hands on his hips, his voice conveying annoyance. "Who the hell are you?"

"Oh!" the boy quickly exclaimed. "My sincerest apologies." he bowed and brought his right hand to his chest. "I am Myung-Dae." he introduced.

All air of ease and hospitality quickly evaporated at the revelation of the youth's name with all of the boys briefly going stiff as statues.

Zack stepped back ever-so-slightly, Joshua assumed a defensive karate pose, Luuk created a small orb of light in his hands, Afwerki stepped backwards and held his hands at his sides where they glowed faintly and Carmelo put his hands in front of his face defensively.

"So, you're the guy who kidnapped Kola." said Carmelo in a low voice.

Myung-Dae tilted his head slightly. "Kola?" he said as he raised his eyebrows slightly. "Ohhhh that large breasted tan woman with the weird hair that I took down the other day? Why do you seem so angry about it? She was intending to harm me so rightfully defended myself."

"Where is Lady Kola?" asked Afwerki sternly.

"We're only going to ask that once." Carmelo added. Despite the fact the boy who was able to take down the mighty Kola unnerved him, he still kept his cool for there was a mission to complete.

Myung-Dae gave a short and ugly snort. "I have no idea! Do I look like some prison rat?:

Luuk frowned. Do you really want me to answer that question?

Myung-Dae folded his arms. "And even if I did know do you think I'd tell you?"

Joshua looked at him warily as he stepped backwards.

Zack chuckled nervously. "Well, we'll just be on our way to fetch our friend now."

Myung-Dae gave a chuckle of his own. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that." he said as his voice became distorted and he held out his arm in front of him. His warm brown eyes quickly became inflamed as they glowed red and Joshua, who was slowly backing away was tossed into the air and crashed into the fence with a painful sounding thud before he fell down on the ground with a thud and a groan. He slowly rolled onto his back.

Carmelo snapped, hoping to send a burst of psychokinetic energy in the boy's direction and push him back but the boy quickly waved his hand right after Carmelo snapped, sending the brown-haired boy tumbling backwards onto his rear.

Before Luuk could blind him with his ball of light, Myung-Dae slammed him onto the ground with a very audible thud, causing the blonde psychic to grunt at his back pain.

Zack was in front of Myung-Dae's face in the blink of an eye, with his fist at the side of his face. Myung-Dae tilted his head as Zack began to float in front of him, the dirt below him floating upward as well. Without warning, Zack was sent barreling back twice the speed he came, right into Afwerki who had no idea what had hit him as the two boys were slammed into the pole of a searchlight, slumping over, Afwerki's eyes closed and teeth gritted in an attempt to fight the intense pain.

"You see, I'm going to kill all of you." he explained softly with a smile, his voice sounding once again as if two people were speaking at once.

Carmelo slowly rose, followed by Joshua with his eyebrows raised in annoyance, then Luuk with a scowl, then Zack assisted Afwerki up who was softly glowing, him working his healing power by creating new cells.

Carmelo cracked his head then fists. "If it's a fight you want, we'll be all too obliged to kick your ass." he said.

"No we won't..." groaned Zack.

Myung-Dae simply widened his catlike smile at Carmelo.

Carmelo growled as he ran forward, his left hand behind him and coated in fire. Don't you dare give me that look!

Myung-Dae simply smiled and placed his arms behind his back as Carmelo angrily charged at him, the flames on his arms growing hotter and larger the closer he got. Once he was about a three feet away from the boy, Carmelo brought his fist forward in preparation to punch Myung-Dae across the face. Carmelo's eyes widened in frustration as he found himself unable to move his arm and he began to float slowly in the air. He frantically tried to move his body but found himself completely immobilized. He began to sweat, his rage and frustration quickly morphing into utter fear as he continued to helplessly float slowly upwards.

Myung-Dae shook his head and gave a "tsk-tsk" as he watched his victim float into the air. "Again with the careless charging? Americans truly are buffoons." he mocked before he sensed Zack charging at him at a ludicrous speed behind him. He sighed with a smile as he turned around and caused Zack to tumble backwards in a ball. "You know, if you people are going to use the same strategies then this'll be no f-"

Myung-Dae gasp as he was slammed against the fence with a short but powerful gust of wind. He quickly stood up and growled as he saw Joshua in the distance, his hands in front of him.

"Face judgement o' vile one!" cried Luuk thunderously as he held his hands above his head as they glowed eerily red. In an instant Luuk felt his arms beginning to stretch involuntarily towards the sky. He closed his eyes as he focused on collecting energy around his hands and not the pain he felt as he felt his arms beginning to rip away from his upper torso. He focused on punishing Myung-Dae and not the pain that felt like streaks of lightning shooting through his lean body.

Carmelo continued to float away from the ground and his comrades, Myung-Dae's psychic grip over his body still tight despite his distractions. Carmelo felt that the sky was opening up, ready to swallow him. He gritted his teeth and furrowed his eyebrows as his eyes and body began to faintly grow red. He wouldn't let some smug punk be the one to best him. He'd teach the little runt some manners. He felt like his body would burst into a large flame in that instant.

Myung-Dae smiled, sensing the blonde boy's pain as his arms were slowly being ripped away from him. He could have done the job in a milisecond but he thought he ought to have some fun first. 

Tears streamed down Luuk's face and he was preparing to part with half of his limbs forever when a large, fiery meteor came crashing down from the heavens, exploding with a high-pitched screech not too far away from his opponent, knocking him high into the air where he flew three meters over his head and towards Joshua, who was a ways behind him now.

Where the meteor had impacted there was a large crater about seven feet in diameter. Around the crater, small flames danced jubiantly, joyful at their birth thanks to the the inexplicable meteor from above. Luuk was thankful too because the fiery pain in his arms signified that, yes, they were indeed still attached to him. Luuk squinted at the crater as a human-like figure groggily rose and clutched its head as if awakening from sleep. 

Luuk's eyes widened as the smoke cleared near the crater, revealing the figure's brown hair and hard angular face. That's no meteor! It's Carmelo!

Luuk was began to rush towards the teenager when he fell to the groan with a yelp of pain. 

"My brother!" cried Afwerki as he ran to Luuk and assisted him in sitting up. Luuk sighed as his body was filled with a pleasant warmness and Afwerki's arms that cradled him softly shone with a golden glow. "I could sense what Myung-Dae was doing to you. I must heal you." he explained in a soft and compassionate voice.

"You could sense that?" asked Luuk in an awed whisper.

Afwerki nodded as he looked at Carmelo who walked out of the crater clutching his head with a frown on his face, looking no worse for wear except for light smoke radiating from his body. "I could also sense that brother Carmelo was briefly engulfed in a horrible, searing pain." he added darkly.

Laying down, Myung-Dae rose into the air using his psychokinesis then tilted himself until he was on his feet. Once he was he saw a scrawny, feminine looking boy in a defensive stance, his open hands in front of his face in anticipation.

Joshua took a deep breath as he stared into Myung-Dae's playful yet horrifying red eyes. He had been feeling a bit light-headed since the psychic had appeared so he took this opportunity to get a clear reading of his mind, Joshua's eyes widened and he had to refrain himself from flinching as he got a brief glimpse at the inside of his head. It was horribly dark and numbers ran through it like a computer and it whirred like a machine. The only feature besides the numbers that Joshua could make out was an endless stream of reverable images of Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un.

Joshua was blasted into the air with a powerful psychic burst of energy. He believed he heard Myung-Dae think, "Let's see how she likes it". Joshua had landed onto the ground hands first with a roll in order to evenly distribute the force of impact. The ashy-blonde haired youth quickly whipped his head up and looked at Myung-Dae who was walking leisurely towards his prey. Joshua's eyes widened and mouth opened in shock as thoughts began to flow into his mind. I can read him. But how?

Joshua quickly put the question of "why" to the back of his mind for the time being as he got to work in deciphering the boy's thoughts. Joshua was amazed that he was able to understand Myung-Dae's Korean thoughts. Again, he would ponder this later.  The tricky part was separating the boy's actual thoughts from the low, insistent drone of "Kim Jong-Un is life..." but Joshua was still able to do this quickly. He was able to hear Myung-Dae think, "how was he able to break free of my control?" and "I'll kill this weak one first then deal with the rest". He was also able to hear how he planned to kill him, by swiftly crushing him to death.

Joshua briskly and gracefully rose to his feet and moved to the side while still facing his combatant. Joshua was able to hear of Myung-Dae's plan to send a painful burst of psychic energy at his midsection and was preparing to quickly dive to the side once he was knocked backwards by an agonizing psychic punch to the stomach, knocking the wind out of him with a cough. Joshua fell to the ground seven meters from where he was originally standing. Despite his pain, he tried to quickly spring to his feet but before he could do so, he felt another psychic blast to the stomach, causing him rolling on the dirt. Joshua groaned in pain as he curled into a ball and clutched his throbbing stomach. I can read his mind true but he's so darn fast that there's really nothing I can do about it! He knows that 

Myung-Dae smiled and continued to walk towards the vulnerable boy once. He turned around to see Carmelo running towards him, a sphere-shaped orange flame surrounding his hand. This caused Myung-Dae to chuckle. Oh, now I see. Attacking one will cause another to rush to their aid like a fool. Now I know how to defeat them.

"Carmelo...no!" groaned Joshua. Carmelo was going to die because he wasn't smart enough, not strong enough, not fast enough.

Though Carmelo kept his distance, stopping once he was still a significant distance away from Myung-Dae, only running so the air could feed his starving flame. He broke into a halt and threw his flame forward, hurdling at a break-neck-pace towards Myung-Dae.

Myung-Dae smiled as he cocked his head to the side and the fireball flew back at twice the speed it came. The flame hit Carmelo, setting the teenager ablaze with a scream towards the heavens. Myung-Dae chuckled.

Afwerki stared at Carmelo in shock, his eyes wide with horror. "No.." he whispered in horror. His eyes practically bulged out of his head in response to what he witnessed next.

Carmelo felt his body weaken and the pain turn into pleasure as the flames receded to the center of his body. "I don't know what's goin' on." he growled with his arms in front of him, his hands perpendicular to each other as the large ball of flame twice as large as his head engulfed them. "But I think I like it." he finished with a smile before he fired the in the blink-of-an eye, catching Myung-Dae off guard and setting him ablaze and he yelled in anguish towards the heavens.

Afwerki was amazed and horrified at the same time. There wasn't a single scorch on Carmelo. He shook his head, he'd have to think about that later. He sent a telepathic message to each of his comrades, said message containing a plan of attack.

Joshua winced at Myung-Dae's horrible, anguished thoughts but put it aside as he rapidly processed Afwerki's message. He uncurled himself  from his protective ball and turned his body towards his the flaming aggressor.

With a roar the now-red tinted Myung-Dae spread his limbs out, instantly dissolving the flame. Before he had a chance to attack he was thrown into the air. Afwerki fired a barrage of psychic energy, assaulting him from sixteen different directions while Joshua stood with his hand to his head, his middle and forefinger to his on his brow and his thumb on his cheek, working to keep the deadly North Korean psychic in the air.

Carmelo angrily snapped his fingers, sending Myung-Dae higher into the air with a burst of psychic energy.

Myung-Dae was angry due to the assault against him and due to the fact that his back was to the ground and away from his enemies. This is not fun! He was about to flip himself and fly through the air when he felt and hefty body tackle him, causing him to crash into the ground. He flipped around just in time for his face to kiss the ground.

"Now! While I got im'!" cried Zack while on top of Myung-Dae.

Myung-Dae threw Zack into the air away from him when he was blasted towards the ground by a hot energy. He sensed one of the boys in the air.

"Now you shall face judgement!" cried Luuk thunderously before he fired a rod of glowing psychic energy towards the prone boy.

Myung-Dae quickly leaped out of the way while pointing at the rod, splitting it into five bolts. The boys had all leapt towards him in response to him dodging the attack. Myung-Dae pointed a bolt towards Zack who took the bolt to the face, causing him to fall backwards in pain, then towards Carmelo who put his arms in front of this face in defense yet was still blasted backwards, tumbling in the dirt, Luuk was blasted backwards, hurdling towards the ground. He pointed towards Joshua who was running. Joshua timed his jump expertly, deftly avoiding the energy with his back towards it as he spun in the air then landed on the ground.

Myung-Dae however did not see this for as soon as he pointed at Joshua, he turned to Afwerki and pointed a bolt. Right before the bolt grew too close, Afwerki crossed his arms over his chest, creating a shield for a split second and in turn causing the bolt to spread, creating a large yellow "x" over the shield before harmlessly disintegrating with it.

Joshua ran quickly yet stealthily towards Myung-Dae whose back was turned to him. He held his right index and middle finger together at his side. He kept his feet steady and Myung-Dae in the center of his vision as he grew closer. He could end this right now. He aimed his fingers at the back of Myung-Dae's neck, hoping to knock him unconscious when he spun around and caught Joshua's wrist.

Myung-Dae gave a short snort. "Ah, just when I'm getting angry you go and do something stupid again. Did you really think it would be that easy to dispose of me?" he chuckled.

Myung-Dae was knocked forward on top of Joshua. Joshua squirmed to get free as he felt himself become crushed against Myung-Dae.

Carmelo growled while he slowly separated the two and slid Joshua far away from Myung-Dae. Afwerki ran towards Myung-Dae and stomped, creating a large dome of bright white light, where those inside could not see what was occurring outside and vice-versa.

Myung-Dae gave a snort. "What do you expect this to do? I can sense what's occurring regardless if I can see it or not. For example, I know your blonde haired comrade floating above this dome, charging energy." 

Afwerki simply frowned at him before the two heard a snap, eradicating all sound in the dome.

Myung-Dae shook his head with a smile. It's all the same. Even if I cannot see or hear them I can still sense them. Like that boy with spiky hair running towards here carrying electricity in his hands.

Zack felt his whole body electrified once he was hit with the bolt. As soon as he got up, charged with energy he ran with new-found speed at the dome, frowning. I won't let you hurt Afwerki.

Zack bursted into the dome and rammed into Myung-Dae who halted him inches away from his own face with his own psychokinetically generated electricity. Myung-Dae's eyes widened, surprised at just how powerful Zack's electricity was as it streaked around the two like a web.  Myung-Dae grunted as he was faltering, unable to contain the power. With a grunt, Zack pushed forward and filled Myung-Dae with a numbing pulse that shoved him out of the dome which was dissolved as soon as Myung-Dae left. While on the ground, Myung-Dae fired the excess electricity in his body at Joshua who was just rising.

Joshua screamed in pain as he involuntarily jerked, his brain feeling as if it was being fried. He then fell limply to the ground.

"Joshua!" cried Carmelo who was near Afwerki. He ran towards his injured friend.

Myung-Dae clenched his fist as he rose. "No you don't!" he growled before firing an ice shard ant Carmelo, impaling his stomach before quickly melting then evaporating as his stomach grew hot.

Carmelo shook off the searing pain and held his right hand over his stomach to slow the bleeding as he changed his path and ran towards Myung-Dae. You ain't gonna' motherfucking hurt em' ya' sunovabitch! 

Carmelo fired a small, red energy blast from his bloody hand. "Crimson Prison!" he called out. He wondered why he felt compelled to yell it. He had never heard it before yet it seemed so strangely familiar, like he had been saying it since he had been born. The energy morphed into a red web-like form while flying and wrapped around Myung-Dae, immobilization his amrs. When Carmelo grew close he growled as he began to float, the blood from his wound floating in front of his face.

"You damn foo! You should have never gotten in my way!" he growled from above before firing a stream of light at Myung-Dae, sending him and Carmelo flying in the air as he exploded. Myung-Dae flew into the air, his crimson webbing gone and threw a punch at Luuk causing the latter to block it and throw a punch of his own, dissolving into a full-blown air brawl.

Zack blinked in shock as he looked to the sky. That guy's insane! How'd he survive that? He shoulda' been blown up!

Afwerki to Carmelo was rolled on the ground, groaning, the blood of his wound flowing freely. His entire body ached with pain. 

Afwerki squatted down next to his pained comrade. "Brother! It shall be all right! I shall heal you with-!"

Carmelo quickly grabbed Afwerki's arm, causing the latter to slightly jump. "N-naw! You have to help Joshua first. He's...more hurt than I am! Please, you gotta' help em'." he whispered.

Afwerki turned to see Joshua who was a ways away, motionless. He was touched by Carmelo's concern. He nodded and jogged over towards Joshua. He was already growing fatigued so wondered what state he'd be in after healing Carmelo and Joshua. He knew the others were growing tired as well. He concluded that they'd just need to use their powers until they passed out.

He crouched near Joshua and placed his hands on the boy. His hands softly glowed as the boy's body began to warm. Joshua slowly began to pulse into consciousness hearing Afwerki ask "are you all right?".

Afwerki bit his lip for Joshua took longer than usual to heal. Nevertheless, Joshua sat up and held his head.

"How do you feel Joshua?" 

"I've had better nights..." he answered dryly.

The two turned their attention to Luuk who was punched towards the ground in the distance. Myung-Dae promptly landed on the ground.

Afwerki sighed as he briskly stood up and ran towards Carmelo.

Myung-Dae frowned as he sensed Zack running towards him from behind. "This agai-oof!" he was cut short by Zack who gained speed in a burst, knocking the psychic over. While on the ground Myung-Dae manipulated Zack, causing him to continue running in the same direction until Zack had ran straight through one side of the fence.

Carmelo sat up groggily before Afwerki jogged off towards Luuk. He rolled out of the way of a psychic blast courtesy of Myung-Dae. He stood up then clutched his head as a searing pain shot through it. Gah! Why the fuck now of all times! One night was all I was askin' for! The migraine had returned and there wasn't a piece of chocolate in sight.

Carmelo heard Myung-Dae laugh and held his arm in front of him before yelping in pain, halting the psychic energy he was about to use, He was thrown backwards. O the ground he threw a feeble ball of fire that didn't travel very far. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. His brain felt like it was melting.

Sebastion and Myung-Dae, two psychics who were beginning to grow slightly annoyed with their toys but would continue to heartily play anyway,

Joshua felt his windpipe being crushed as he rose slowly into the air while he tried to frantically claw at the invisible yet tangible force that was around his slender neck. Crap crap crap crap crap...! He watched as Luuk, Carmelo and Afwerki all fired psychic energy in different directions at Myung-Dae who simply reflected each attack back at its creator, knocking each of them to the ground. Joshua's vision was beginning to grow hazy, his eyes began to water and his face turned blue while he rose slowly into the air. Is this how it ends? I don't die in my sleep while in my giant library as a 98-year old man sitting in my rocking chair in front of a cozy fireplace with Zoe by my side? The teenager saw images of a young Joshua eating birthday cake and reading a book that he had received as a birthday gift.

Carmelo fired a weak ball of fire that was flung back at himself. Carmelo absorbed the flame and stood clutching his head. He saw Joshua and began to run towards him. Myung-Dae watched Carmelo and Luuk took this time to concentrate energy into a sphere then fire it at Myung-Dae, causing him to jerk forward, releasing his grip of Joshua's.

Joshua fell to the ground with a crash. He sat up panting and rubbing his neck. He turned to see Carmelo stand next to him with his arms folded.

"You alright?"

Joshua nodded. "I'm alive." he wheezed before he stood up. "Let me just regain my bearings first."

Carmelo pointed in the direction Zack had ran. "Uh, sorry to break it to ya' but we don't have that kinda' time on our hands." Joshua turned to see six soldiers running towards them with guns.

Joshua groaned as he got in a defensive stance. "Oh brother, another threat."

Carmelo clutched his head and grunted. "Yeah, just peachy." he wanted to crash onto the ground and go to sleep but he knew that in doing so, he might never wake up.

Joshua raised his eyebrows in concern. "They've started again haven't they?" 

Carmelo waved a hand in dismissal. "Yeah, yeah but what can ya' do? Now enough chitchat! Let's rock and roll."

Myung-Dae deftly dodged a psychic blast and noticed the approaching soldiers. He smiled and yanked the machine guns out of their hands and flew them towards Carmelo and Joshua.

Joshua's eyes widened slightly as he saw the approaching weapons. Dear lord what does he hope to do with tho- Joshua's question was answered as one of the machine guns began to empty itself near Joshua, prompting him to run away. The gun slowly tilted towards Joshua almost touching his back. Another gun began to shoot at Joshua, requiring him to slide below the line of fire.

A third machine gun fired near Carmelo, which caused a half dome of flame to protect him. Carmelo didn't even think about creating the shield, the fire manifesting involuntarily. Carmelo didn't care as he crouched on the ground and closed his eyes, a hammer banging regularly against his skull.

Luuk and Afwerki walked backwards until their backs touched, both creating a shield to protect them from the soldiers' gunfire.

"Allow me to warn you," began Luuk "I won't be able to hold this shield up long. I haven't been able generate a force-field longer than forty-five seconds. I'd say we're at about thirty." he revealed as bullets harmless bounced off the fourteen diameter force-field and towards the ground.

Afwerki nodded gravely. "I understand, Though, it should hold longer now that you're under pressure." he countered hopefully. The two were unable to counteract lest they risk dissolving the force-field and being riddled with bullets.

Thirty seconds later, the two were at their limits with the shield liable to give out any second. The two didn't dare speak in fear that it would break their concentration. They were about to be slaughtered once a whirlwind knocked the soldiers away, allowing the two to dissolve the shield then sigh in relief.

The whirlwind continued, each of the thirteen soldiers that had surrounded the two being punched into the face before the wind stopped, revealing itself to be a gasping Zack. "Hiya, made it in time didn'-" Zack fell to the ground.

Luuk and Afwerki sprinted to Zack.

"Zack!" cried Afwerki.

Luuk shook his head. "He's exerted his mind too much. He should be up in a min-" he was interrupted by a bullet slicing through the air, forcing to two to fall to their bellies.

Joshua panted as the last of the guns ran out of ammo and flew towards him which required him to give a chop in its direction, psychokinetically cutting it.

Carmelo turned to Joshua. He was ashamed that he had to hide behind a fire wall. "Joshua?"

"Hmmm?"

"I want you to go find Kola."

"Isn't that the mission?" asked Joshua in confusion.

"Yeah, it is but we've been too busy fighting that day punk! Look, you're the weakest here and he's been targeting you! The best thing for you to do is get the hell away from him and find Kola while we deal with em'!" Carmelo snapped in annoyance.

Joshua looked at Carmelo's head. He noticed that the veins glowed faintly. "Are you sure you'll be-"

"We'll be fine now go!" yelled Carmelo. Without wasting any time, Joshua ran along the fence in the direction they were headed before Myung-Dae showed up. As he ran, he remembered that Juan promised a kiss from Kola to the one that saved her. He chuckled and looked away nervously, he wondered just exactly how that would turn out.

Carmelo jogged towards the three and hurled fire and the soldiers, which spread among them like wildfire, forcing them to roll on the ground in attempt to smother the flames. He heard Afwerki ask telepathically for assistance in helping shield Zack. Carmelo nodded and dove near Zack, creating another protective flame shield.

Myung-Dae fired a blast that sent both Afwerki and Luuk flying.

Carmelo growled. Why the hell don't he just finish us off al- Carmelo's thoughts were interrupted by a large boom then the sound of his ears ringing. His shield had morphed into a full sized dome that protected both him and Zack. Zack groaned and slowly stood up. Carmelo took this as a sign to dissolve the shield and did so, revealing a huge crater around the spot around where the dome had stood. If not for it, the two would have been dead. Zack and Carmelo saw Myung-Dae flying along towards the gate.

Carmelo's eyes widened in horror. Oh no...

Myung-Dae's flight was halted by Luuk creating a psychic barrier for a split second in front of Myung-Dae, sending him falling back towards the ground with a scowl.

"We're your opponents!" growled Luuk. "Don't you dare run away!"

"Guys!" cried Carmelo. "We have to divert him away from here and not towards where Josh is going!"

Afwerki nodded. He jumped forcefully off of the ground, creating a loud boom, once he was high in the air, he flew towards the parallel side of the fence, prompting Luuk to jump into the air and do the same.  With his head aching , Carmelo jumped into the air although significantly lower than his comrades and flew towards the other side of the fence and although he was tired, Zack leaped over the crater and jogged towards the other side of the fence.

Myung-Dae tilted his head curiously to the side as he sat, legs crossed on the ground. Are they running away? I can sense they are tired but still, what hypocrites. Myung-Dae smiled deviously. Time to teach them a lesson. He propelled himself above the ground at two-hundred miles per hour using his telekinesis then as he grew near the group who were at the other side of the labor camp, he slammed Carmelo against the gate and slammed him against the gate then dragged him along the fence, scraping his face along the fence, tearing at some parts of his face and ripping his clothes. Myung-Dae finally slammed Carmelo against the ground.

"That's going to leave a mark in the morning..." groaned Carmelo as he picked himself up weakly, prompting Myung-Dae to laugh.

The group could hear the river on the other side of the fence.

Zack heard someone else laughing besides Myung-Dae then turned to see towards the shower of bullets nearby. He squinted. "Is that...?"

Sebastion telekinetically wield five machine guns, rotating them around himself as protection.

Zack waved his hand. "Hey Sebastion, can you help us out!? We're really in a pickle here!"

Sebastion turned around and growled. "Fool! Can't you see I'm busy playing!?"

"And can't you see we're busy dyin'?!" cried out Zack in horror.

Sebastion folded his arms. "Not my problem. I'll have Kola clean you up if she's ever freed."

Zack stepped back in shock. "Why you little-"

"Forget about him!" commanded Luuk. "Let's deal with one terror at a time!" he cried before Myung-Dae had ripped a large portion of the fence out of the ground then sent the water from the river towards Zack and Luuk who were trapped in once it receded by Myung-Dae's accord.

Zack and Luuk frantically fought to resurface but despite their pounding, the top of the water remained hard as a rock.

Luuk grimaced. Oh please don't let him use electricity right now.

Meanwhile, on land, Myung-Dae had manipulated the water to form into eight tentacles. The tentacles slapped Afwerki and Carmelo away from Myung-Dae. Carmelo was helpless as his fire was quickly doused by the water tentacles. Carmelo scowled as he looked at Afwerki who was helplessly raised into the air by Myung-Dae who had tightly wrapped a tentacle around his allies' neck.

...

Joshua had checked three campgrounds without finding Kola. He still wasn't discouraged however. He knew that both Kola and the others needed him so he would find the former so he could get back to the latter as quickly as possible. As he walked he pondered how he'd deal with the prospect of Kola's lips tenderly meeting his own. While Kola's lips do indeed seem quite phenomenal I am a taken man so ultimately I will just have to respectfully decline her.

Joshua froze as he saw a dark building looming int he distance. He smiled. Kola simply must be in there. This isn't a campground. A unique building for a unique girl. As he grew closer he saw that he building was surrounded b a barbed-wire fence, guard dogs and two heavily armed guards. He sighed. Often, Joshua would muse if he was really w character in a book and the author could simply find it in his heart to create a simpler task for him. Joshua often did this when he was presented with daunting tasks such as this one but in the end, he'd always tell himself that even if he was in a book, the author wouldn't make any money if he just wrote boring, simple tasks for the characters to partake in. With this in mind, Joshua stretched as he began to feel his head grow light.

Meanwhile, Zack was steering clear of the water due to the predicament that had been trapped in with Luuk once he first went near the river. I wonder though, since Joshua's gone, who was the smartest but the weakest, who will Myung-Dae go after next?

A few seconds later Zack was sprinting away from a myriad of tentacles that were closing in on him. Crap crap crap crap crap crap....!

..

Joshua dusted his hands on his pants as he walked near the entrance of the building. Well that wasn't too bad. But I fear I won't be able to sleep if I think about if the dogs are okay or not...

He shook his head as he slowly turned the handle of the door without it budging. Joshua looked to the side in annoyance. Why did I think anything other then it being locked?

Joshua put his hand on his chin and pondered. Locked door, doesn't look electronic, no key, no lock-picking skills. Joshua scratched his head and frowned. It certainly is possible that I can fly at extreme speed into the metal door but the problem is that I will mostly die as a result. Joshua sighed. Decisions, de- Joshua walked to one of the unconscious guards and rummaged through his closed, finding a set of keys. Oh, duh.

Joshua opened the door, guessing the right key on the first try. Well that was luck- Joshua silently slid to the wall, the shadows eagerly inviting him as he watched a guard pass before lunging at his neck with his index and middle finger, causing him to slump down but Joshua caught him before he could hit the ground with a loud thud.

Joshua continued to stealthily walk down the halls and knock out guards while peeking in cells. He only saw who he surmised to be high-influence political opposers. He sensed a familiar presence as he walked towards the end of the hall of the top floor. Although the feeling was familiar, it seemed weaker than usual. Joshua didn't care, he knew the presence without a doubt. As he approached the end of the hall he felt something stop him; a wooden door. Too excited to care about stealth, he blasted a sizable hole with psychic energy. He stepped through the hole and was met with complete darkness. It was unbearable cold and he heard an echo with each step he took.

Joshua heard a shuffle in front of him then a familiar cold and slightly rough voice ask "Who's there?". Joshua smiled as he felt along the cold metal wall until he felt a light-switch and flipped it upwards, admitting a pale yellow light in the hallway.

The voice softly gasped before moving quickly yet cautiously towards the end of the cell. "Joshua?"

Joshua held his hands out. "Surprise!" He felt his heart warm as he saw Kola give a beautiful smile. Her hair was slightly frizzy and she looked a bit bruised but she was the same Kola he knew and he was glad to see his friend again. Her bodysuit was zipped all the way up, most likely due to the frigidness of her containment. 

"You don't know how happy I am to see you!" she exclaimed quietly.

Joshua put his hands in his pockets. "Believe me, the feeling's mutual angel. I'm here to rescue you."

Kola tilted her head. "Oh really? I thought you were just dropping in to say hi before you had to attend your very important business meeting." she said as she folded her arms.

Joshua chuckled as he went to the door and tried to pull it towards him.

Kola frowned. and rolled her eyes. "That's your grand plan?" she asked. "Maybe I'll have to stay in here after all."

"No you won't." grunted Joshua. He stopped trying to pull the bars with a gasp then tried to blast the bars with his psychic energy which only caused them to ring. He then went to where Kola was and tried to pull the bars apart with all of his strength. "You know, I could use some help here." he grunted, prompting Kola to try the same. After about twenty seconds, the two quit with no avail.

"It's hopeless trying to get in like that. They've put me here because they know the bars are too strong for even me."

Joshua folded his arms. "So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to leave this hallway for a brief moment, find the man in charge of this particular building, beat him up and take his keys. Does that sound good."

Kola giggled. "Only if you can do it."

Joshua put his hands on his hips and said, "Do not doubt me angel." before running off.


Joshua returned seconds later with a set of keys. He licked his lips as he unlocked the prison door, prompting Kola to rush out and embrace him.

Joshua stood there in shock at this display of affection.

Kola held onto the boy tightly as if holding on to her most cherished stuffed animal. "I'm aware of your shock due to my display but it's only because I'm so cold." she explained softly.

Joshua was taken aback at this new gentle tone of voice. Has hour separation make her...realize something perhaps? He returned the hug, gingerly at first then securely.

He looked up at Kola who have a small smile and she stared into his gray eyes, seeming to be searching for the answers to the universe in them.

Joshua looked away as he broke the hug,. He smiled and scratched his head. "Well, we should get going angel."

Kola nodded, the two began to walk down the hall.

Joshua swallowed and scratched his head. "By the way Kola, Juan promised that you'd kiss your rescuer. You d-"

Kola laughed as she blushed. "My father said that eh? Looks like I don't have much of a choice then. Guess I'll have to fulfill the promise." she said in a low voice as she tugged at her zipper before capturing Joshua in an embrace, his head on her chest. She slowly took the boy's chin and tilted Joshua's head towards her own. Joshua grew hot as he looked at Kola with her slight, crooked smile and her half closed eyelids. 

"To my savior. I'm glad it's you." she said in a low voice before puckering her lips and meeting them with Joshua's. She closed her eyes and slowly tilted her head as she took the boy's head in her hands. Joshua didn't want to be rude and accepted the kiss, moving his head as well. After about thirty seconds Kola broke the kiss and looked at Joshua's face which she cupped. She turned away from him and began walking towards the exit, smiling.

"You know Joshua, I've never kissed a boy before." Kola said playfully.

Joshua blinked and smiled as he looked at her. "Oh? Well...me either."

..

Carmelo's  body stung due to Myung-Dae's deadly whip-like tentacles that had mercilessly assaulted him. Fortunately, him and the three other boys had ,managed to move him away from the water. Jeez Josh, what are you doing? Taking a piss?!

He looked at his comrades who were at his sides and panting. He then turned to Myung-Dae who was chuckling while levitating high in the air. Carmelo's migraine had petered out somewhat since Joshua had left. Ima'  knock some respect into that smug lil' snake!

Carmelo flung a small stream of fire in the boy's direction. The stream wrapped three diameters around Myung-Dae before forking and hitting Zack and attempting to hit Luuk before he erected a shield at the last second. Zack quickly got up and rubbed his badly bruised arm.

Myung-Dae tilted his head with a smile. "I'll take out the dark one since he seems to be serving as a doctor."  Before Afwerki could react a large pillar of rock shot up from beneath him, sending in spiraling in the air then a psychic force sent him hurdling head-first towards the ground at a high-speed.

Zack leapt into the air and caught his comrade despite his aching arm. He ran away from the levitating psychic. "Gotcha' pal!"

Myung-Dae frowned. "And he's just bothering me. I'll take out his legs."

Zack fell to the ground, feeling as if his legs were being slowly ripped off. "Not the legs! Not the legs!" he cried, the second time louder than the first. Zack's legs would have popped out two seconds after Myung-Dae had begun if not for Afwerki using his psychokinetic healing prowess to counter Myung-Dae.

Carmelo growled as he leapt high into the air. "Hey, leave the sunovabitch alone!" he cried as he snapped his fingers, disrupting Myung-Dae's concentration and thus freeing Zack. Carmelo was then knocked back to the ground at twice the speed he had leapt, hurting his back.

Goddammit. This guy's not screwing around at all anymore.

Sebastion was beginning to grow weary of the soldiers, beginning to grow steadily more annoyed as he killed the soldiers less and less fantastically.Despite his growing boredom, Sebastion had widdled the soldiers down to forty.

Carmelo turned and saw a tank on its side not too far away, with the cockpit open and blood splattered inside. I wonder... Carmelo ran towards the tank.

Luuk had reconvened with his fellow lumokinesis wielder Afwerki. 

"Let's create a missile made out of light energy that's extremely fast. We'll be able to hit the sinning squirt without him being able to block it in time." suggested Luuk sternly.

"Yes, that is good and all but we'll need some time to charge such an attack and I know for sure our enemy won't give us this chance." countered Afwerki softly.

"Well then let's use Zack as a distraction." suggested Luuk as he frowned at the aforementioned Zack.

Zack shook his head. "No way jose! I need a bit of rest first."

Luuk growled but he was halted when Afwerki tapped his shoulder and pointed to Myung-Dai, whose back was turned to them.

"Let us charge now, while he is preoccupied!" stated Afwerki.

Carmelo created brief shields of fire to block the screaming bullets that he ran through on his way to the tank.

Sebastion growled as the teenager ran through the soldiers he was combating. "Carmelo you insipid fool! What do you think you're doing!?" he cried as Carmelo made the tank upright with a swipe as it grew closer. Carmelo deftly jumped out of the way of Myung-Dae's blasts, allowing them to crush the soldiers. 

He jumped onto the tank, closed his eyes and placed his open palm on the cold metal, feeling the fire inside. His veins glowed as he fired a pyrokinetically enhanced mortar at thrice the speed the tank could fire, hitting Myung-Dae in the back, creating a horrible scar and sending him flying forward with a pained yell.

Before he could recover, he was blasted in the stomach with a lumokienetic missile, causing him to cough up a bit of blood as he fell backward, the wind knocked out of him as he obtained a bright red mark on his normally pale stomach.

Afwerki quickly created a shield as the last functional tank fired at him and Luuk as Zack had ran out of the way. Despite him creating the shield in time, he was still blasted backwards. "How is that possible!?" he cried.

Luuk shook his head and stood defiantly up before firing a barrage of psychic energy in the shape of arrows at the tank, failing to dent it. "I think we'll need to make a few smaller missiles to take this one out. It won't give us the time to create a bigger one."

Afwerki nodded and began charging energy in his hands as he moved them around slowly, feeling his hands begin to shake with raw power.

Carmelo had fell off the tank due to Sebastion deciding to use it as a bat to swat the soldiers away.

Carmelo saw five approaching solders and spun around, creating a ring of fire seven diameters around him, knocking the soldiers back. He clutched his head in pain as he migraines began to grow horribly again and more soldiers ran to surround him.

Zack was running when he saw a dad solider on the ground, with a lighter not too fa away from him. Zack decided to pick it up and ran over to Carmelo.

"Hey, Carmelo, I think this might help you."

Carmelo growled in frustration. "How the hell can a tiny lighter help-" makingWait, if I have a steady fire then I can focus on just manipulating it and not generating it. "You know what? Stand there and keep the fire going."

Zack's eyes widened. "You want me to just stand here?!" he cried.

"This'll be the first useful thing you've done in this fight!" barked Carmelo. "It seems you've just been running around gettin' your ass kicked!" Carmelo could have sworn that Zack's face was swapped with that of a sad puppy as he flicked the lighter, creating the fire.

Carmelo barred his teeth and smiled despite the pain of his head and morphed the flame into eight large tentacles, each swatting away a soldier as well as setting them ablaze. It stabbed through the stomachs of the next wave then swatted the guns out of the wave after that before wrapping around the soldiers, burning their skin. Carmelo turned to see Myung-Dae flying towards Luuk and Afwerki who had just finished destroying the final operational tank. "No you don't!" cried Carmelo as he converged the testicles into one large arm that flew towards Myung-Dae's scarred back. Myung-Dae quickly whipped around to face the tentacle. He attempted to swat it away in futile before it split into three, piercing his stomach and severely burning both of his hands to the point where they began to drip liquefied skin and flesh. Myung-Dae dove to the ground in pain.

Myung-Dae screamed and fired a red psychic bolt at Afwerki, sending the African psychic flying through the away, unconscious. Fortunately Zack had caught him and looked in horror at the pink streaks over his skin.

Luuk scowled at Myung-Dae who stood in front of him, his hands now completely gone, laughing maniacally, his eyes now completely red. Myung-Dae lunged at Luuk who simply caught his arms then let go right before he blasted him back with psychic energy, sending him skidding back, created tracks in the ground.

Zack looked at Luuk in hope. We've got him on the run.

Myung-Dae growled before the tentacles appeared out of the water and grabbed Zack, Luuk and Carmelo around the necks. 

Afwerki was beginning to awaken once he noticed his friends in peril. Although he was still too weak to move and could hardly see, hear, or smell, he worked at once to save their lives by sending a telepathic message to the only other person who could possible help them.

Sebastion blinked as he heard a voice say, "Aren't these small-fry boring you?"

Sebastion growled. "What is it to you?"

"How about you take on the other psychic?" 

Sebastion turned warily towards Myung-Dae, who was laughing and snorting loudly and crazily towards the sky. "I don't want to waste my time on him."

"He thinks you're afraid of him. Just hit him once to show him who's boss."

Sebastion blinked and turned away. "Just one hit?" he asked, shakily.

"Yes."

Sebastion sighed and flicked his hand towards the insane psychic, pushing him away from the other three and towards the water, his body flying through the air.

The force of the attack was enough to snap Myung-Dae back to his senses. The pain of that attack was enough to forget all other pain. He had felt that his face had just been hit by a bus. His jaw and skull felt broken. He fell into the water with a splash.

The three boys coughed and Afwerki smiled as he fell back into unconsciousness.

Zack looked at his friend with concern. "Afwerki!" he screamed.

"Forget about him for now. He's still alive, I can feel it. We need some way to finish this and fast." gasped Luuk. "We're all on our last legs."

Zack smiled. "I found out that I generate electricity in I focus on vibrating. Get em' on the fence."


The three walked side-by-side towards the water as Myung-Dae walked towards them tall and proud, this would be their last stand against each other.

Carmelo snapped, sending Myung-Dae flying in the air towards the gate. With all of his might, Luuk held his forefinger and index finger to his temple and his thumb on his cheek and pinned Myung-Dae to the gate, preventing him from escaping. Then with all the strength he could muster, Zack ran towards the fence and clutched onto it as he sparked with electricity, the entire fence glowing a bright white, causing Myung-Dae to scream in pain as he jerked against the fence, him feeling as if his blood was boiling

Zack staggered away from the fence panting as Myung-Dae fell into the water with a splash, red markings where the fence touched his skin.

"We.....did it..." panted Zack.

Luuk shook his head gravely. "No, there's still a bit of fight in him."

Carmelo raised his eyebrows. "He's not dead!? How many times do we have to-"

"There's fight in him but just barely. He should go down after one more hit." Luuk revealed as he sat down in fatigue and closed his eyes. They flashed open. "The water! Get to the water Zack."

Zack nodded as he stood up and ran far away from the water. I need to get revved up.

Myung-Dae leapt out of the water, his teeth now bloody fangs as he lunged towards Carmelo and Luuk. The water traveled with him like an expanding cloak. Right before he could reach Carmelo an electrically charged Zack had dove into the water, murdering any life in the river and electrocuting Myung-Dae once more, this time more severely than before.

Carmelo stepped back as Myung-Dae fell to the ground. A few seconds later, spewing up blood from his mouth, the steaming Myung-Dae rose once more. "I..have...failed...you..."

"Tsk. You just don't get it punk." said Carmelo, he gave a mighty fiery uppercut while spinning in the air like a top to Myung-Dae's chin, knocking him backwards and on the ground where he wheezed before going silent. "When I want you down you stay down!" he barked as he folded his arms.

Afwerki walked towards Carmelo and Myung-Dae while glowing a faint golden hue from his healing. He walked slowly over to Myung-Dae and checked his pulse.

Carmelo raised his sweaty eyebrows. "He dead?"

Afwerki shook his head.

"STUBBORN-ASS MOTHERFUCKER!"

"His pulse is very low. It seems that he can heal as well though I believe his method is much more inefficient to his well-being. If he does come to I'd say he'll be back in about a week."

"We won't give him that chance." growled Luuk.

Carmelo sighed as he used Myung-Dae's blood to bind his arms and legs as well as gag him. "Crimson Prison." he said tiredly. "We'll figure out what to do with him later." he said as he saw Zack and Sebastion slowly walk towards them.

Carmelo sighed. "Now all we need is-"

"Hiya." greeted Joshua as he walked towards the group in the distance while Kola held his hand. "Did I miss anything?"

Everyone except Sebastion shot him an exasperated expression.

"What?" asked Joshua in confusion, then he took a look around and saw the dead soldiers and the bound Myung-Dae. "Oh." he said sheepishly.

Afwerki held out his hand to Kola. "Well anyway, it is good to have you back "Lady Kola."

Kola shook Afwerki's hand. "Glad to be back." Lady Kola eh? I could get used to that.

Carmelo smiled as he put his hands in his pockets. "Eh, it's Kola. So maybe the dweeb won't bug me all the time?"

Joshua chuckled. "No, I'll still bug you all the same. It's just that I'll be bugging Kola as well."

Carmelo groaned while everyone else laughed.

Kola wavered a bit.

"Ms. Kola, are you alright!?" cried Luuk.

"Yes, I'm fine. I just need something to eat. I'm starving." Kola responded blankly.

"Then let's catch some grub." said Carmelo.

"In South Korea." sated Afwerki

"Not so fast!" challenged a voice.

The group turned to see an extremely muscular man with a handlebar mustache with a pistol in his hand. "I am general Gun. You have made a mess of my troops and have damaged my most prized weapon, Myung-Dai. Do you honestly think I will let you foreign scum just let you walk of of her al-"

Without moving a muscle, Sebastion yanked the gun out of General Gun's hands and shot him twice in each leg, causing him to fall to the ground.

"We're done here?" asked Sebastion in annoyance.

"We're done here." the rest of the group answered in unison.

Joshua wrapped his arms tightly around Kola as the boys jumped into the sky in unison, creating a large shock-wave that toppled various structures such as the search towers.

"Hey, aren't we going to bring Myung-Dae?" asked Kola in confusion.

"Why the heck would we do that?" asked Carmelo in anger.

"The entire reason I came was to capture him. I'm not leaving until we get him." Kola protested.

"It will be all right." remeasured Afwerki.

Carmelo sighed. "Fine. Somebody bring em' up."

Luuk did so begrudgingly, the inured boy quickly floating towards them.

"Now let's fly!" said Zack before the group bursted quickly through the air, with Myung-Dae's bound body lagging not too far behind thanks to Luuk tethering it to himself.

"There was this great restaurant me and my father went to. I have some extra cash." offered Kola.

"Wait, where in the sam hill do you-"

"Woman's secret." answered Kola curtly.

...

The group dined at a five-star restaurant in Seoul, the aroma pleasingly filling in their nostrils. At one table was Kola, Joshua and Sebastion and the others at another.

"Come join us." said Kola."Come on, we should all talk about our day and all that jazz! I'm in a good mood for conversation and that's pretty rare." Kola coaxed.

The boys looked warily at each other, not wanting to be too close to Sebastion. Granted, he seemed very childlike at that instant, talking about dinosaurs and trucks and whatnot but the boys thought it a ruse. Carmelo simply shrugged and walked over, followed by Zack, then Luuk, then finally Afwerki. The group eased as they talked about their homes and adventures throughout the week of Kola's absence. Almost all tension seemed to dissolve as the group gorged themselves with exotic food.

...

Everyone was asleep in the room of a motel. They had gone to a motel for Kola blew most of her money at the restaurant. Sleeping on the bed was Kola and Joshua,Kola holding Joshua protectively against her stomach. Her zipper was down more than usual, the side of her bosom very visible. The sheet covered everything but Joshua's head and only up to Kola's stomach. On the other bed was Sebastion, sleeping with his thumb in his mouth. Sleeping on the ground, sprawled out was Zack snoring loudly (though not as loudly as Joshua). On the chair was the peacefully snoozing Afwerki and curled up into a ball on the floor near Zack was Luuk. Myung-Dae was snugly secured under Sebastion's bed.

Outside the room, leaning protectively against the wall like a watch-dog was Carmelo who had stole a large amount of sweets from a convenience store (he stated that he  had spent the night working for them) and was wearing shades as he smoked a cigarette (both again, items he stole due to "working for them"). At the end of the day, he felt proud due to his role in the battle and due to the fact that everyone was still all right. He yawned as he looked at the beautiful sunset that he alone was watching. He wondered what was up with Joshua and Kola. He knew Joshua already had a girlfriend. Ah whatever. None of my business.

And so Carmelo fell asleep with his shades as he leaned against the wall and his cigarette fell to the ground, the beautiful sunset and his comrades on his mind.

Chapter Nine: The Bonds That TieEdit

The slow-climbing morning sun's magnificently warm rays penetrated through the treetops and into the young witches' tree house. The beams tickled the sleeping girls' faces, causing some to stir awake with groans and others with sighs of pleasure.

Two girls however had already been awake for hours: Amalija and Háoi Mi. Both girls were beginning to grow accustomed to not receiving a lot of sleep as both of them were starting to tire less and less during the day. At night, the forest became dark and silent except for the ceaseless chattering of its inhabitants, the hoots of the owls to the chirps of the crickets; the insistent hum of life itself. The two talked to each other sporadically throughout the night due to a mutual desire for companionship in the dark hours where there was no one to talk to. Although Amalija was first very averse to talking to anyone due to them being witches, she soon discovered she needed to talk to people lest she desired to go mad from her dark thoughts.

The two sat up in the bed and turned to each other, separated by three other girls just as Bisera was just beginning to awaken.

Amalija rubbed her eyes before she put on her large bifocal glasses and put her hand in front of mouth in modesty as she let out a large, silent yawn. Háoi Mi stretched her arms above her head before sighing and smiling.

"Good morning Amalija." greeted Háoi Mi.

"Good morning." replied Amalija before scratching her neck.

"Excited for today?" asked Háoi Mi with a grin.

"No, not particularly. Though of course, I'm not particularly excited for any day." Amalija answered, finishing in a sad mumble.

"Again with that Amalija?" sighed Háoi Mi in exasperation. She shook her head before smiling and pointing a finger towards the ceiling. "What did I tell you? Gloom and doom's no fun. You gotta' take a queue from Bisera and be vibrant and happy!" she exclaimed as she threw her arms up.

Amalija raised her eyebrow. "This coming from the girl who talks to dead people?" Amalija asked while folding her arms.

Háoi Mi frowned and puffed out her cheeks. "Hey, I'm still positive about it! The point is, you shouldn't be so ashamed of who you are."

Amalija turned away as if hit. When will any of you get that this isn't me? Although the two had grown closer since their first meeting, Amalija was still wary of Háoi Mi and the witches as a group due to her beliefs. She had three people she could possibly call friends but still maintained a bit of distance due to them being witches. This state of affairs did not help Amalija's melancholy.

"By the way, are you excited for today?" asked Amalija.

Háoi Mi nodded. "Mhm. Gaia said that today would have a lot of cool new things, remember?"

Oh wonderful, more witchcraft. Absolutely positively terrific. "So you had a lot of visitors last night?" asked Amalija with a slight smile, changing the topic.

Háoi Mi clapped her hands together. "Why yes! I talked with a man named Steve for a while. It was great, he had a lovely house and kids and lived a full life before dying peacefully in his sleep. He only came to me so he could share his story."

Amalija's smile grew. "Well that's good." He's probably left here now that his wish is fulfilled. She shifted slightly in the soft, large bed that they all shared.

Háoi Mi's eyes widened. "Ooh, I almost forgot!" she exclaimed before leaping out of bed, quickly grabbing her đàn nguyệt from the wall then running to the tree-house's large exit. Beyond the exit was a small walkway with a railing. Háoi Mi turned around. "Jefferson asked for a romantic song at sunrise." she explained before she began strumming her đàn nguyệt loudly and singing in her soft, dark and melodic voice. She strummed with passion and emotion as if she herself was the one waiting for her lover at the lake during sunset. Háoi Mi's song was rudely interrupted by a wand hitting her head forcefully, causing Háoi Mi to stop playing with the yelp of an "ow". Isabella retracted her arm from a throwing position with an irritated expression as she rubbed her right eye. "It's to early for that noise! Could you at least wait until we're dressed to start playing your....thing."

"Dan nguyet." Haoi Mi corrected irritably.

"Yeah whatever." responded Isabella flatly. Isabella climbed out of bed then smiled as she loosely put her left arm around Amalija's neck. "How's my favorite nun?"

"The same." replied Amalija with a slight smile.

"Bah, bor-ing! Remind me why I'm your friend again." Isabella whined jokingly.

"Because I'm the only person here who can bear listening to you?"

"Wrong!" stated Isabella before pointing to the gorgeous Felicia who had just got of out bed and leaned against the wooden wall in her black night-gown that reached her ankles. Felicia's eyes lit up slightly in recognition of her two friends then waved with a little smile. "I also have the mute."

Amalija pulled away from Isabella and raised her eyebrow. "Fine, I respond on a regular basis."

"Fair point." admitted Isabella in defeat as Felicia gingerly walked over towards the two.

Amalija bit her lip. These were the two girls she was closest two here and would even call them her friends, probably not to her sisters back home though. The three unlikely girls had been drawn together a few nights ago when they all revealed their lives to each other in the hot springs. The three were bound by their knowledge of the others' lives and by their need of friendship due to their pasts but Felicia's need was arguably less than her friends' and Amalija's need served as a double-edged sword but for now, she'd make do with the brash but secretly sweet Isabella and the quiet and dainty but secretly adventurous Felicia.

"So today's a big day?" asked Amalija to Isabella. 

"Oh yeah, Gaia said something about "learning day" or something." answered Isabella. Felicia nodded in agreement. Amalija could tell faintly that there was something the matter with her friend Isabella though she hid it well. Only Amalija, Gaia and Felicia would be able to tell but her voice had slightly less zing and energy than usual, like something had shook her and she was still suffering the aftershocks. Amalija was tempted to inquire about her friend but she knew that Isabella wouldn't talk about anything unless she wanted to and that Amalija would find out what was wrong if Isabella ever felt like it. If she never felt like telling, there wasn't really anything Amalija could do.

All of the girls had rose out of the bed, stretching, yawning, or in Xaviera's case, scratching her bottom. A small, spherical and dim green light appeared in the entrance of the tree house, slowly growing larger. The light brought a cool breeze with it and a feeling of peace along with the smell of mint. The light morphed into the shape of an exceptionally tall human female before the light disappeared, revealing Gaia who smiled warmly with her eyelids half closed. From under her long blue dress crawled out an echidna, Ankur. He stood with the back-half of his small body still under Gaia's beautiful blue dress.

Gaia gasped softly. "Most of you are still in your nightgowns!" she exclaimed. She then smiled. "Hurry up now, I told you last night that today would be a grand day of learning. You'll just have to retire later than usual today." she stated. "I'll return in seven minutes." Gaia said in her soft yet still strangely loud voice before she suddenly changed into a small glowing blue ball, with Ankur a small white ball that orbited her. The two spheres quickly flew off into the distance.

Amalija couldn't help but stare at the area where Gaia had been. Gaia, my apparent mother and the apparent Earth. Yes, I do feel a connection between us however much I regret it but-

"You heard the lady, get to movin'!" commanded Isabella with a smile as she playfully whacked her slightly chubby friend on the rump, causing her to jump forward.

...

The girls were eating their breakfast jauntily, almost everyone pleasantly chatting with one another. After they had dressed, Gaia had given each and every one of them their own personal grimoire that also contained a magical lexicon at the back of the book. Gaia had told them to not fret as this would not replace the teachings she would give them as she felt lessons from their mother were fun and effective and that the grimoire would simply go into the magical topics in a more in-depth manner as well as helping them grasp topics that she couldn't explain adequately.

As the book was fairly hefty and Gaia stated that they would need it everywhere they went, she instructed them to read the page that taught them how to conjure a portal to their own personal endless abyss to store items, simply dubbed, "mana space".  Using mana space, the girls could store any object then later pull it seemingly out of nowhere. The only stipulation to using mana space was not to send a sentient being there as the results "prove disastrous without fail".

As customary when eating, the girls had removed their hats and put them under their chairs. For breakfast the girls were eating eggs, kolbasi, buttered bread, feta, mekitsa with jam and fresh tomato. For drinks they had Turkish coffee which the girls tried and unanimously loved except for Bisera, Xaviera and Lillian.

Everyone ate the breakfast except for two people: Isabella and Bisera, the latter ironically hailing from the food's country of origin. 

Afisa smiled happily as she crunched on a sunny side up egg, her mouth being filled with a watering burst of delicious flavor. She turned to Bisera who was sitting next to her and smiled as her chin rested in her hand which was propped up by her elbow. Gaia didn't even bother giving her a plate of food. The group of girls were sitting at the large table that they ate their dinner. Rays of sun poked through the treetops, giving the scene of the girls eating a mystical feeling. Bisera strategically sat so that a ray of sun touched the top of her head.

Afisa swallowed her eggs then wiped her mouth with a napkin that was made from recycled leaves. 

"So Bisera, you don't need to eat at all?" asked Afisa as she glanced in front of Bisera where her plate would be.

"Well of course I need to eat." chuckled Bisera.

Afisa rolled her eyes with a slight smirk. "Yeah, yeah, I know and I know that since you're a plant...thing that you only eat sunlight. You can't eat human food at all? Not even for fun?" 

Bisera looked upwards for ten seconds in ponderance before finally answering, "It's kind of like you trying to eat sunglight. Sure, you can go to some sunlight, open and close your mouth but in the end you're no less hungry than when you began. I can put "normal" food in my mouth then swallow but it's really not eating, I get no energy and as more time passes, the harder it is for the actual food to go down. Nowadays it kind of feels like I'm swallowing rocks."

Afisa looked down in shame for her probing. "Oh, sorry to hear that." she apologized glumly.

Bisera quickly shook her head and waved her hand with a smile. "Heey! Don't be down about it! I don't mind, everything's cool as the winter! Look!" Bisera ponted to the beam of sunlight that touched her head. "I'm eating right with you guys."

Afisa smiled slightly. "Well that's reassuring."

Bisera nodded while smiling widely. "C'mon, ask me anything about being the way I am! I have no shame."

Afisa chuckled. "Okay then." she drummed her fingers on the table. "Let's see...do you feel any differently? Just like when you're chilling, is it harder to breathe or something?"

Bisera rubbed her chin. "Well now that you mention it, I guess me and the rest of you guys have opposite notions of "fresh air" since the air is "better" in a sense for me when I'm in a closed space with you guys. Besides that, I've noticed how easier it is to be still. Don't get me wrong, I can move just fine, it's just that standing still feels nice and I have no problem standing in one spot for long periods of time."

Afisa nodded as she gulped down the thick and strong coffee that caused her to flinch slightly due to the punch it had. "I'll tell you this though, you're missing out. This coffee is the blast!" she exclaimed gleefully.

"I'll take your word for it." Bisera laughed before she downed her large glass of water.

On the other side of the table were the two close friends, Lillian and Zoe.

Lillian hungrily stuffed mekitsa and tomatoes in her mouth causing Zoe to cover her mouth with her hand in order to stop herself from bursting into a fit of laughter. Lillian swallowed her mouthful of food and gave her friend a sideways glance.

"Is there a problem Ms. Nernandes?" asked Lillian with her eyebrows raised.

Zoe chuckled. "Only that you eat like a pig."

Lillian rolled her eyes and groaned. "Not this again! You sound like my mum!" Zoe drank her coffee then made a satisfied "mm" sound.

"So how do you like our new magical spell?" asked Zoe smiling.

"You know, it's actually pretty nifty." replied Lillian with food in her mouth. "And I actually did it on my first try!" she beamed.

Zoe clapped. "Nice! Now you just have to make sure you can get the book back from that mana place."

Lillian's face darkened.

Zoe chuckled as she sipped some more of the coffee. "Oh come on, I'm sure you can do it." the young blonde witch scooted her chair closer to her curly-haired friend. "You know, I think I know the real reason Gaia taught us this spell."

Lillian raised her eyebrows in curiosity. "Why?"

"We'll be in the heat of battle then suddenly pull out our books or something. The guys will be too busy wondering where in the heck we got them from to fight us back."

Lillian laughed. "Like I said, it's a pretty nifty spell."

"By the way..." Zoe stood up while holding her wand and reached in what appeared to be the back of her skirt then took out the grimoire and dropped it on the table with a heavy thud, causing Lillian's plate to jump slightly.

Lillian chuckled. "You're right. That will distract them." She looked at Zoe as she turned to a page and brought her face close to the book while her finger moved across the page. Lillian heard Zoe mumble something about "leaving my reading glasses and poor quality paper".

Lillian tilted her head. "How come you're reading Zoe?" she smiled. "Did "mother" get to you?"

"Oh hush." Zoe grumbled as she squinted. "You know as well as me and Amalija that Gaia isn't our real mother. I'm just reading because I have a love of reading and I picked up CRD from Joshua."

"CRD?"

"Compulsive reading disorder. Sometimes when I come over, Joshua would just be reading for a long stretch of time so to not bore myself I'd pick up a book and start reading too. That sometimes can go on for a while. He also has a habit of randomly picking up books and reading them, which I picked up." she explained as she darted her eyes to the next page.

"I have a feeling that'll nip you in the butt one day."

Zoe looked up at her friend's empty plate then at her full cup of coffee. "Hey, what gives!? You should drink it. It's great!"

Lillian sighed. "I don't drink coffee."

"C'mon, you'll like it."

Lillian folded her arms. "I won't give into peer pressure."

"Why don't you drink coffee anyway?"

"I won't grow tall if I drink it."

Zoe smiled wryly. "Ohhh, I see. I drink coffee all the time and I'm taller than you are so what's the harm?" she asked, causing Lillian to frown and grow red.

"Just this once?" asked Zoe with a smile. "Pleeeeeeeeeeaa-"

Lillian sighed. "Oh all right!" she took a sip then her eyes widened. "This is great."

Meanwhile, on the far end of the table, Isabella was playing with Kajsa (much to his disdain), holding his two front arms in the air, making him "dance". With a sad expression, Felicia scooped her cat away from her friend and rubbed him soothingly. 

"I'd prefer it if you didn't..." she stated softly.

"Aw come on!" exclaimed Isabella. "I was just havin' a bit of fun! Live a little Leesh!"

Felicia pouted.

Amalija sat next to her two friends and regarded them silently with a slight smile. She turned at the sound of footsteps and saw Háoi Mi approaching with a smile.

Háoi Mi plopped herself in the seat next to Amalija's. "Breakfast today was awesome wasn't it!?"

Amalija nodded as she patted her mouth with the green napkin. "It certainly was."

Háoi Mi looked around at all the other girls having fun and talking. "How come you're not talking Amalija?"

Amalija looked at Háoi Mi from the side of her glasses. "I don't have anything to talk about. Why are you here anyway Háoi Mi?" she asked lowly.

Háoi Mi gave her fellow witch a confused look. "Because I want to talk to you."

"About what?"

"About anything." Háoi Mi replied as she threw her hands up. "We're friends. Friends can just talk about whatever, whenever."

Amalija was silent for a bit. "I thought we were just friends at night."

Háoi Mi looked slightly sad as she shifted in her seat. "We can be friends anytime Amalija."

Amalija closed her eyes. She wasn't sure how she felt about this. Isabella, Felicia and Kajsa (though she was still unnerved by the latter) were already her friends and as far as she was concerned, they were enough. She already felt slightly guilty about them being her friends seeing as they were witches. Isabella groaned as she heard a high-pitched laugh signifying Hélène's approach.

"That coffee was simply divine!" Hélène laughed.

Háoi Mi turned to her and nodded. "It sure was art buddy!"

"Though not as lovely as me." Hélène laughed as she fluttered her eyelashes.

Háoi Mi chuckled as she rolled her eyes.

It was strange that Amalija was connecting so many people together despite the fact that she herself didn't want anything to do with them.

And she has friends too. Amalija quickly turned to Isabella who was drinking coffee, desperate to think about something else. "Isabella, I thought you told me you couldn't eat normal food." "No, I said I can consume your food, it just doesn't do anything for me. I can still taste things though. Since everyone was gushing over this coffee I decided I had to try some and man am I glad I did!"

As Gaia appeared and a path appeared in the trees, the girls quickly donned their hats.

...

The girls were now in the middle of their daily magic practice, with Lillian still struggling and Xaviera and Isabella still excelling.

Hélène jumped around the forest gleefully, pretending to dodge monsters as Gaia had instructed them. "Fira!" she called out gleefully after she drew a circle in the air with her paintbrush, causing a fireball to manifest and fly forward, setting a patch of dry leaves ablaze. Although not the strongest, Hélène was gifted in her unique use of magic that allowed her to easily create in any shape. It was easier for her to use all available types of magic, being only limited in her imagination. The problem for Hélène was mastering the magic since she was more focused on making sure she had a "wide and varied selection of colors" first.

"Watera!" she cried out shrilly after she drew a horizontal line in front of her, creating a horizontal torrent of water that put out the flame as well as making a small river of water that gently carried the leaves down the dirt trail that became mud.

Hélène scratched her chin before snapping her fingers. She felt the mana of the surrounding area flow into her body as she drew a circle. Her eyes widened and her body seemed to be taken over by the mana for a brief second before she said "Gate 12". She blinked as she stepped back. A black circle appeared in the air (though from behind, where Hélène was standing it appeared gray). The circle sucked up everything in its path that was not a tree with dirt, leaves, small animals and grass being sucked into its formidable maw. After twelve seconds, the circle disappeared in a flash of light.

Hélène laughed loudly with her hands on her hips. "The great Hélène can handle spells she doesn't even know exist!" she hooted.

"Hey, I could do without the bragging." stated Lillian in annoyance from another path not too far from Hélène's. Large trees separated the two from each other.

Lillian sighed as she yelled out "fire" while tightly gripping her wand and pointing it towards a tree. Nothing had happened. She sighed and closed her eyes in frustration. Each day at practice she was reminded why she did not belong with the other girls. Even though she knew she wasn't a witch, she couldn't help but feel embarrassed due to her gross ineptitude with magic compared to the other girls. She tried to remember what Zoe had taught her about being calm and thinking about pleasant memories. You've been able to work magic, it just takes a bit that's it.

She loosened her grip on her wand as she waited in an attempt for the mana to creep up her body. She remained as still as a rock as she felt a small amount of energy begin to trickle up her body, filling her with a growing feeling of pleasantness. She quickly yelled "fire" as she opened her eyes, causing a streak of red magic to erupt from the end of her wooden wand, instantly setting the tree ablaze, charred leaves soon beginning to fall. The flame failed to spread to the adjacent trees.

Lillian stepped back in awe. I didn't even wait for the energy to finish travelling to my wand...how could I do that with such little energy?

Meanwhile Zoe, spun around in the sand and called out, "lightning", firing a streak of lightning out of her wand. She was at least thankful for her practice location which was a beautiful beach with large waves. She looked at Isabella, who was thirty feet away, with curiosity. She's not humming like she normally does during practice. I wonder what's wrong.

Isabella moved with an intense ferocity and she leapt into the air and fired streaks of lightning from her long, concealing sleeves without saying the name of the spell.  She landed and rolled backwards. "Groundo!" she called out as she pointed towards the sand in front of her. Suddenly, a thick wall of sand that was ten feet tall erected in front of her. She created a torrent of high-pressured water from her sleeves, tearing through the sand and creating a large, circular hole. The stream continued forty feet into the distance before she halted it by covering her palms with her fingers. She leapt into the air and fired five fireballs towards the ground causing sand to shoot up once contact was made. She landed and cried "Leafo!" with a flick of her finger, causing a stream of leaves to fire in front of her before she darted to the side.

Isabella ducked then rolled. I have to be stronger....I have to be faster! If it weren't for Gaia, I'd be killed by that little monster!

From a distance, Felecia looked at her friend while holding Kajsa with a pained expression. 

...

The witches were walking with Gaia down a dirt path towards a building. The trees completely shaded them from the sun, yet they could still somehow see each other perfectly fine as if everything in the forest was unnoticeably glowing. Their exposed legs cool, the girls eagerly wondered what was in store for them next. 

At the back of the line were Zoe and Lillian who were vibrantly chatting among themselves, seeming to ignore their fellow witches' presence.

"...at least you didn't get leaves in your hair again, those are a pain to get out." offered Zoe.

"Well getting wood in it from a spell gone bad isn't much better!" fumed Lillian.

"Well, what would you rather get in it? Bark or leaves?" asked Zoe.

Lillian sighed. "I'd rather be back home right now."

Zoe crossed her arms and looked upwards as she thought. "Well...right about now your mom would be chewing you out and she'd be super disappointed. Would that be much better?"

Lilian bit her lip. "Well....no, no it wouldn't. That wouldn't feel good at all." 

Zoe smiled. "So that's at least one thing good about being here."

Lillian slumped. "I guess. Sure, my mom doesn't know that I blew it royally by sleeping in but this isn't exactly summer camp. We've all been abducted by some super-powered loon and soon we'll be fighting for our lives."

Zoe snapped. "So it is summer camp....with a twist!"

Lillian smiled and folded her arms. "Some twist. What about you Zoe? You told me that you were on your way to a hot date with your boyfriend Joshua. Given when you were abducted, how come you're not sad?"

Zoe folded her arms and smiled deviously. "Well sure, I'm not sad but I'm pissed. I just don't show it 24/7 but you know good and well by talking to me that I have a bone to pick with Gaia and that I-we'll get even soon enough. Until then I'm just going to try to have a bit of fun with this thing. I know Joshua understands that something big must of happened for me to miss our date and I know I'll see him again eventually so I won't brood over him." she explained.

"So once you get back you'll tell Joshua about Gaia and everything?" Lillian asked.

"Yeah. It'll no doubt interest him."

Lillian smiled. "He sounds like some guy."

Zoe rubbed her nose with her finger while smirking. "He is. He needs to be because I'm some girl."

The witches squinted in pain as they made it to an opening in the forest, yellow, a billow of yellow, brilliant light at the edge. As they approached the opening they saw that the forest opened to a large field with tall, yellow grass. The witches were pleasantly greeted into the field by the sun's warm rays. Bisera clapped her hands in delight as she began to drool slightly. Gaia was a now a considerable distance in front of the girls and she motioned her long arm towards a large building in the center of the field, a conservatory.

The witches entered the greenhouse and immediately grew hot as the sun's brilliant rays were intensified.

Bisera could hear faint whispers as she looked around the building filled with a plethora of different types of plants. The first area the girls entered was a room filled with cacti and other plants that did not require a lot of water. The girls walked along the concrete path between the plants as they looked at the tiny plants in awe, inexplicably mesmerized by the life. In here, all of the plants lived in harmony, no one fighting or arguing, each taking only what they needed to grow and prosper. The girls sniffed at the collective curious and delightful aroma of the flowering plants. Bisera smiled widely as she looked at each and every one of the plants.

The girls gawked as they followed Gaia into a large room at the back of the greenhouse. In the center of the room was a large tree that loomed over all of the tiny plants, dwarfing them and the witches. Even the tall Gaia was a mere babe in the great tree's presence. Next to the tree was a cauldron and an intricately carved wooden rocking chair.

Xaviera noticed Ankur in his human form with his lack of a shirt and skirt-like garment carefully watering the plants with a slight smile. He stopped watering a plant to look at Gaia and his smile grew.

Gaia saw Ankur and regarded him warmly.

Gaia stood next to the tree and spoke, not needing to shout despite the small waterfall at the back of the room. "Humans are truly without a doubt the most destructive creatures that I have ever met. They defile me, murder my children, scar me for their own selfish desires then brutally murder each other. Despite this, every once in a while, they create something truly beautiful. Take greenhouses for example, they serve as cradles for life and I feel at ease whenever I come here."

The girls too felt peace in the greenhouse surrounded by the wide variety of tiny people that ate sunlight.

Gaia put her hand on the trunk of the massive tree. "This lovely tree's name is Arbol. She serves as the protector of this cradle, watching over the little lives that call this glass house home." she turned to the brown man who walked towards her. "You can thank Ankur for creating this particular haven along with planting Arbol here."

Ankur sighed before speaking in his deep voice. "It seems like only yesterday when I was pulling my hair out trying to construct the very room that you're standing in." he stated nostalgically.

Hélène shuddered slightly at the sound of Ankur's voice as she looked at him What a fine specimen of a man. Clearly one whose beauty could rival my own. She admired his abs.

Afisa also caught herself staring at Ankur's figure.


"Why momma no help you?" asked Xaviera with a frown.

Ankur smiled. "It was supposed to be a surprise."

Gaia smiled. "And what a wonderful surprise it was." she replied. Ankur closed his eyes and leaned against Arbol. 

"Me and Arbol are alike in that she watches over the plants just as I watch over you." Gaia chuckled slightly as she spoke to the witches. "Though you aren't quite as small as the plants."

"And you smaller than Arbol." replied Xaviera.

Gaia laughed. "I am The Earth child, did you forget?" she asked. "I am twenty-four thousand eight-hundred-sixty miles tall. This is simply the avatar that I appear in and even so, if I want to I can make this form bigger." Gaia raised her arm towards the top of Arbol, causing  five glowing narrow leaves to float slowly to the ground.

"You are all my children thus you are all sisters. Since you are all sisters I want you to love each other and work with one another to solve problems. Even though I want all of you to love another equally there is no denying that at the moment there are stronger bonds between some of you than there are between you and your other sisters. That is okay however as this next lesson often requires you to start out slowly." Gaia bent over and picked up one of the long leaves. "This is a puopo leaf. To use a puopo leaf you snap it in half then wrap one half around your wrist and another around a close sister's wrist. The purpose of a puopo leaf is that it augments your power, combining your sister's power to your own. It is powered by unity, your magical power increasing the more "in sync" the two of you are. If the two wearing the puopo leaf are close to each other then their magic will be incredibly more powerful than it normally is. Conversely, if the two sharing the puopo leaf hate each other then their magic will be greatly weakened. The puopo knot will also alert the witch to when her partner is in trouble, weakening her when her partner is weak. The magic augmentation affects the arm that the puopo leaf is on....at least at the moment since I've noticed that none of you are used to using magic with your non-dominant hand."

Ankur interjected. "The belief is that eventually you'll form tight bonds with everyone, your magic becoming so powerful that you'll be virtually unstoppable."

Afisa's eyes widened. "That does sound powerful. There's no limit?"

Ankur shook his head. "In theory, no. The problem arises in that these bonds must be extremely strong for there to be a noticeable effect. It is rare for a witch to have more than one full powered puopo knot. The most a witch has been known to have is four." Ankur stated.

Gaia nodded. "Though I'm confident eventually each of you will have eleven knots on your arms." she said warmly.

"Eleven?" asked Bisera in confusion.

"Each of your sisters, Ankur and me." explained Gaia. "Now please my children, take a leaf and split it with one of your sisters."

The girls moved to the leaves and began sharing them.

Afisa tapped Bisera on the shoulder causing her to turn around. Afisa shrugged with a smile. "Wanna' share?" she asked.

Bisera nodded. "Sure." Afisa snapped the leaf and half and gave one half to Bisera. They tied it around their wrists and grew rigid as Afisa saw a scene of Bisera petting a wolf at night with crying in the distance and Bisera saw a scene of Afisa swinging on a swing alone in the middle of a raging snowstorm.

Amalija, Felicia and Isabella looked among each other, with Amalija and Felecia sporting nervous expressions.

Isabella shrugged. "Go ahead, you two share the knot."

Amalijaa's eyes widened. "Then who will you share with?" she asked in concern.

Isabella waved her hand dismissively. "I'll find someone. I already have a feeling I know who's left." she stated absently. She regarded the two who still looked at her in concern. "Don't worry about it. I'll be fine." she said before she walked away.

Afisa shared with Bisera, Hélène shared with Háoi Mi, Zoe shared with Lillian, Felicia shared with Amalija leaving Isabella and Xaviera knot-less.

Isabella approached Xaviera who had a flower in her mouth. "So, I guess we're sharing huh?"

Xaviera folded her arms with a "hmph" and turned defiantly away as she swallowed the flower. "Me no like mean green-haired lady."

Isabella smiled and bent down. "C'mon, don't be like that. We have something in common."

"Was that?"

Isabella smiled deviously. "We're the toughest ones here." This statement caused Xaviera to giggle evilly. "We're the toughest ones here and we both want to get stronger." she continued. She closed her eyes and frowned as she saw that boy laughing wickedly. She opened her eyes in determination. "So what do you say? Want to help make each other stronger?"

"I like offer. Fine, we share." Xaviera smiled as she bit off half of the knot then spat it out at Isabella's feet.

Isabella sighed. "Here, let me help you." said Isabella as she tied the knot around Xaviera's wrist then her own. Isabella blinked as she saw Xaviera eating the carcass of a large animal. Xaviera tilted her head as she briefly saw the face of a smiling young woman reading a book to her.

Gaia sank down in the rocking chair. "Do you feel the added mana coursing through your veins?" she asked, causing everyone to nod except Isabella and Xaviera. "Since we are surrounded by many plants, it is an excellent time to show you all some useful potions." The Earth sighed with a smile and closed her eyes. As she sat next to Arbol the tall woman looked as if she herself was a plant, radiating an aura of peace and simplicity. She motioned for the girls to gather around her by bringing her hand towards herself. "Gather around my children, I want you all to pay close attention."

The girls shuffled around Gaia and the cauldron, giving her four feet of space. Tired of standing bipedally, Xaviera dropped to the ground.

"Now, as I stated yesterday your dear sister Lillian has been independently experimenting with potions which is wonderful! After today I encourage you all to experiment with potions. Now, onto our lesson. As Afisa will tell you, your sister Lillian's potion brewing prowess was quite adequate." Gaia began as she turned towards Afisa, prompting the other girls to swivel their heads towards Afisa. Afisa rubbed her boot against the ground with her hands behind her back and Xaviera quickly turned away.

"However, there is room for improvement. Let's make a level two antidote potion shall we?" Gaia asked with a smile. She put both of her blue sleeves together, shrouding her delicate hands. She then slowly separated her sleeves, revealing an exceptionally long and black wand. The wand was so massively tall that it looked like it could serve as Gaia's walking stick. The Earth placed the wand in the cauldron with a metallic clang.

"Potions are often said to be spells in liquid or semi-liquid form. There is credence to this particular school of thought since the wide-majority of potions do indeed have a spell equivalent. Although most do, few do not such as the love potion and immortality potion. Even though most potions do have spell equivalents most witches find potions to be much easier to create than spells. Potions require much less mana to create. Furthermore, it is ludicrously rare for a witch to be able to manifest every spell in existence but all witches have the ability to brew every known potion. With the help of a potion you can use more than one magic at once." Gaia explained.

"So you mean by drinking more than one potion?" inquired Bisera, causing Ankur to raise his eyebrows slightly in concern.

Gaia's face darkened. "No Bisera. You shouldn't ever drink more than one potion at a time as the effects will be random and are more times harmful than they are helpful. What I meant by my statement is that you can cast spells while you are under the effect of a potion, giving you even more protection against the likes of Juan's soldiers and others who would wish to do you ill." Gaia cleared her throat. "Anyway, back to the lesson. First and foremost, level one potions are the only ones that do not require a lot of water, higher level potions, like the ones I shall make you today need mostly water to be successfully created. You can think of potion brewing kind of like tea brewing." Gaia slowly raised her wand as the cauldron was filled with fresh water from her wand.

Isabella observed Gaia. So she doesn't need to say a spell to cast it. Kind of like me for some spells...

"Lillian also stated any greenery would do. That is true for level one spells but for a stronger antidote we will need some specific plants. Ankur, if you will, please get the plants I say: wintersweet, poison ivy, poison oak, grass, four-leaf clovers, sakura blossom, and your choice of leaf, though I personally prefer a sugar maple leaf."

Ankur bowed and with a mass of red lightning, her morphed into an eagle and flew out of the room, eager to help out Gaia. Lillian grew hot as she looked at the cauldron. Yesterday she had felt so proud of herself for being able to do something right with magic but Gaia had just turned everything around and made her feel like an idiot. She glanced slightly upward to catch Gaia shoot her a smile.

Ankur returned a minute later with all the plants and dropped them at Gaia's bare feet before perching himself on Gaia's shoulder. 

"The spell that you will need to brew potions is hetilil. Hetilil heats up the water while simultaneously breaking down the spell components. It is a very low-mana spell. There are some variations of hetilil; those being arc-hetilil, tangent-hetilil and syn-hetilil but we'll just save those until later." The water began glowing as Gaia moved her wand in a circular motion, then added the ingredients slowly, one-by-one. "It's vital to make sure for antidotes that the non-poisonous ingredients greatly outnumber the poisonous ones. Ankur, I need you to fetch me four cremini mushrooms." her servant flew off in search of the fungus.

"Um, Gaia. Will I be able to drink potions?" asked Bisera in concern.

Gaia smiled softly. "Yes Bisera. You will be able to drink potions as well."

Bisera smiled widely, feeling warm due to being able to be closer with her sisters.

"I always like adding sweet ingredients if possible to make a potion's taste more pleasant..." Gaia went on as she stirred.


Amalija was the last one to dip her circular potion flash that Ankur had given them in the cauldron. The antidote was hot and sweet smelling.

"The great thing about antidotes," Gaia said "is that they never go bad. There are a myriad of useful potions such as the standard healing potion which quickly replenishes your health, the elixir which restores mana and replenishes your health and the potion of invisibility which, you guessed it, makes you invisible for a certain amount of time. Now which of those three potions do you want to learn how to-"

"Invisibility potion!" shouted Isabella.

The invisibility potion!" cried Zoe.

"The invisibility potion!" answered Lillian.

Most of the other girls requested the invisibility potion causing Gaia to laugh.

"My, my! Such demand for the invisibility potion! Are you girls planning on using these potions for naughty things?" Gaia heartily joked causing some girls to blush, others to laugh and the rest both.

...

The girls were sitting near an abandoned shed. The girls sat comfortably as Gaia leaned against the old building. The building looked as if it hadn't been used in decades. Although no plants grew on it, there were sizable holes in the wood and the windows were barred. The white paint was peeling off of the wood and the girls felt loneliness practically oozing from the door-less entrance. Felicia's chest tightened as she looked at the shed. She refused to look Gaia in the eye as she petted Kajsa.

Gaia clicked her tongue and sighed as she closed her eyes and folded her arms. She frowned and looked up to the sky as she opened her eyes. She began to speak then stopped herself before deciding to attempt it once more. "You are here so I could inform you about flying but I need to tell you all of something first."

Gaia swallowed and gripped her dress tightly.She didn't want to face them but she looked at the girls anyway. "Last night, due to my own..." Gaia sighed. "...due to my own foolishness and gross negligence I let one of my children....I let your sister in harm's way." she looked up at Isabella who frowned.

Gaia motioned towards Isabella who frowned before standing up and walking slowly towards her. As she grew near Gaia scooped the tall teenager up in her warm embrace and stroked her long green hair as hot tears streaked down Gaia's breasts. Isabella was grateful that her fellow witches couldn't see her face.

Gaia swallowed as she continued to hug Isabella. After a few seconds, she released her eldest daughter of the group and allowed her to stand next to her, after she had wiped the straggling tears away. "Isabella was the one who was attacked. As you know she tends to not eat like dinner and it is for essentially the same reason as Bisera; the food you eat fails to give her sustenance. She was attacked simply trying to eat because failed to provide her food." she choked. 

"May I ask, who attacked her?" asked Lillian, afraid of the answer.

Gaia's tone turned dark as her face twisted into a pained frown. Lillian was taken a back by all the woe and utter loathing that was conveyed on Gaia's face at that moment. "Juan's beasts. They were the ones who attacked your sister. They were merciless, planning on how to torture her. If not for my arrival Isabella would have been murdered, tortured, raped or whatever else those brutish monsters could think of!" she barked.

Felicia's and Amalija's eyes widened in fear as Gaia began to grow slightly red. They scooted close to each other.

"They dared to attack my child but I let them off with a warning. It's only fair and this allows them to fear me more which might convince them to quit." she explained darkly. She breathed deeply, the breath turning ragged as she began to sob. "But this would never happen if it weren't for me. Can you forgive me? Can you forgive me for putting one of your sisters in harms way."

Amalija looked as if she herself would cry. She hated the sight of suffering and wanted Gaia to return to the strong and calm woman that she knew. She didn't respond because she didn't forgive her for she wasn't resentful. It was a mistake that turned ugly, she couldn't have foreseen that.

Zoe bit her lip as she held her arm. For as much as she resented Gaia, each sobs wrecked her body and made her feel sick. It was like Gaia had been completely replaced.

Xaviera frowned. "Don't cry mama..."

"Gaia, all of us are angry at Juan's men for hurting Isabella. Everyone makes mistakes, even the Earth since we've discovered that it has a heart and brain. We aren't angry for you making a mistake since that would be completely wrong of us, we're upset at them for taking advantage of that mistake." Háoi Mi explained on behalf of all her sisters, shaking slightly.

Gaia nodded. "Thank you my child." Gaia closed her eyes, wiped her face then opened her eyes with a fierce look of determination. "Isabella was hurt pretty badly by the ordeal. She experienced first hand what Juan's soldiers are capable of and they'll only grow stronger. You must work hard to be the best witches you can be in order to stop Juan once he strikes."

"Once he strikes? So we'll just wait until he gets stronger?" Afisa cried out.

Gaia winced at this question. She didn't want to seem antagonistic and attack first although Juan's boy did attack Isabella first and although it would make more strategic sense to attack before Juan was prepared to fight her; Gaia wasn't sure she was ethically comfortable with mobilizing the witches before Juan had made his grand move.

"So, onto flying." Gaia began. She held out her hand a a broom flew out of the shed and into her open hand vertically. 

"Whoa!" Zoe and Háoi Mi cried out.

Gaia smiled slightly. "This as you all know is a broom. The western urban legend is true, we witches fly using brooms. A witch can imprint a particular broom to summon it from any time since enchanted brooms cannot go in mana-space. Any broom can be used for flying but the wooden brooms that I keep in this shed work the best. A broom used by an expert flyer at top speed goes about two-thousand-two-hundred-ninety-five miles per hour." Gaia raised her eyebrows as she looked at Felicia. "Although your sister was having quite the time flying a broom yesterday, it is very dangerous for beginner witches to fly broomsticks as it requires concentration to stay airbound and broken concentration can result in plummeting rapidly towards the ground or your broom combusting. Although some witches like Felicia have a natural aptitude towards flying, it wouldn't be fair for anyone to fly until you all can do so safely." she explained which caused Felicia to blush.

...

Carmelo sighed as he leaned against the white wall of his room. The room was quiet and cold with goosebumps quickly beginning to manifest on the teenage psychic's skin. In the far distance he could hear the sounds of his fellow psychics at the dinner table. He would be eating with them but they had annoyed him. His head was beginning to ring again so he took a Twix bar out of the pocket of his leather jacket and stuffed it savagely in his mouth, his teeth finely crushing the poor cookie with caramel-coated-in-chocolate-bar. He slowly slid to the ground and tightly tucked his head in his knees as he closed his eyes. His position served as an efficient shield from the bright white light that irritated him. 

Teamwork...great teamwork...you showed a lot of teamwork...I was told that you three combined your powers spectacularly to take down Myung-Dae...

It's not a good thing that I depended on others dammit! I shoulda' been able to beat him on my own. I can't rely on others, I have to do it on my own.

"I was really moved by your concern over Joshua. Such compassion-" complimented Afwerki

"Shut up okay!? Just mind your own damn business!" Carmelo snapped.

"Did I say something wrong?" 

And there he goes, making me out to look like a wuss. Like Josh's my best-friend or somethin'. It would be bad already but we're in a war goddammit! Why is he acting like me being a bitch is a good thing huh!? Carmelo sighed. But in the end I was angry that Josh was hurt...I was scared...I was compassionate..." Carmelo punched the ground forcefully, causing a streak of pain to shoot up his arm as if he had stabbed himself. Why the hell am I such a goddamn soft ass wuss!? With an angry sigh put on his headphones and began listening to Scatman John.

...

The girls had just returned from the hot springs, filling the cabin with drowsiness. The girls were all in their sleepwear and most were ready to be invited to the sweet realm of slumber. 

Hélène yawned and walked forward before seeing Gaia smiling in the darkness directly in front of the bed. Ankur sat on the bed with his arms folded.

"Oh, Gaia. What are you doing here?" asked Hélène. She squinted and determined that there was a long prism at Gaia's feet.

"I feel that it's time for everyone to choose their familiar: a mystical animal companion that will serve as an assistant as well as a cherished friend. If you treat them well, they will be able to become powerful mystics in their own right. A familiar will eventually gain the ability of speech. These animals are not to be treated as your magical slaves, they shall be your cherished friends and you will forge an inseparable bond that will transcend death itself." Gaia explained. She turned to Ankur. "Ankur, although a very special case, is my familiar."

"Can all familiars change shape like him?" asked Bisera.

Gaia scratched the side of her face. "Well...not exactly. Like I said, Ankur is a special case. Your familiars will only be able to assume the forms of inanimate objects and they can only transform into something and back twice a day." Gaia explained. She bent over and opened the wide chest at her feet, revealing hundreds of tiny translucent blue gel balls with objects inside that the girls couldn't make out from where they were standing. As the chest opened, a low hum could be felt. "Now please, choose. Grab the orb that calls out to you."

"Ooh, me first!" cried out Hélène as she ran forward and peered into the box. Once she heard one of the orbs call her name she dug her hand deep in, revealing that the box was a lot deeper than it appeared from the outside. Hélène soon took out an orb. She looked at the orb revealing an animal in its embryonic stage. 

"Don't worry, the animals will develop rapidly then stay in their prime form. Excellent choice, you chose Goldie's bird-of-paradise." Gaia explained.

Isabella went to the chest and took out an orb that called to her without much hassle.

"You chose the king cobra." announced Gaia.

"Wicked." Isabella complimented.

A bit excited, Háoi Mi briskly walked to the chest, got on her knees, and fished inside with her tongue out. She moved her hand towards the orb that she felt drawn to. "Gotcha'!" she exclaimed before she took out an orb.

"Your familiar is a great horned owl."

Bisera skipped happily towards the chest and picked an orb.

"Your familiar is the three-toed-sloth."

After Afisa had picked, Gaia stated that her familiar was the spectacled caiman.

Lillian had picked the extinct dwarf panda, much to her joy while Zoe had picked a cane toad much to her dismay. Amalija had picked a domed Galapagos tortoise which caused her to smile due to tortoises and turtles being her favorite animals.

The girls all were giddy from joy as they marveled at their squishy teal orbs.  All the girls were practically shaking with excitement as their imaginations ran rampant wit thoughts of their new friends...everyone except for Felicia.

Gaia smiled at Felicia. "Come child, choose your companion."

Felicia's face darkened as she gripped her skirt tightly and looked away. She bit her lip.

Gaia tilted her head. "What's wrong Felicia?" Gaia asked in concern.

"I don't want to have another animal as my familiar..." Felicia whispered.

Amalija smiled sadly at her friend.

"Felicia, what do you-?" 

"Kajsa," Felicia choked. "He's my friend. I don't want to choose another another."

"Oh Felicia." Gaia said comfortably. "These animals are magical. They will help you-"

"With all due respect Gaia, Kajsa is magical to me and he has already helped me and will continue to do so. If Kajsa cannot be my familiar, then I do not wish to receive one." Felicia stated resolutely.

Gaia blinked. From what she had observed, Felicia was always quiet and yielding, never seeming to have much edge but now her daughter whose beauty surpassed her own was hard as diamond. Gaia was thoroughly impressed.

With all of her will, Gaia managed to hide her smile. "Felicia, if Kajsa is to be your familiar then I will have to preform the magicking ritual." Gaia stated blankly.

"That is fine by me." stated Felecia. She squatted and made a ticking sound with her mouth as she motioned towards herself causing Kajsa to run into her arms mere seconds later. She lovingly stroked her friend's striped fur. "Though I'll be accompanying her." 

Gaia nodded and smiled slightly. "That is fine my child. Come with me." she stated before an ovular, shadowy portal appeared behind Gaia. Gaia picked up the chest and walked backwards into the portal, with Felicia and Kajsa strolling boldly inside. Amalija shivered as the portal disappared in a flicker, feeling that the portal radiated a demonic aura.

...

Most of the girls had drifted into sleep and Felicia still had not returned with Kajsa. Cards could be heard shifting in the bed.

Lillian stretched and drowsily turned her head.

"Pick a card." commanded Bisera sleepily with a smile.

Lillian sat up and squinted. "Are those...tarot cards?" asked Lillian.

"Yeah, I asked Gaia for some and I've just been dying for someone to try them." she yawned with her eyes half-closed.

"You know how to use tarot cards?" asked Lillian in slight awe. "They always seemed interesting but I never bothered to learn how to use them."

"Yeah." answered Bisera pridefully. "I've been playing with tarot cards since I was little now pick a card, I'm itching to tell you your past, present and future."

"Don't I already know my past and  present?" asked Lillian.

Bisera grinned. "Not as well as you think. Now draw." she commanded. "Don't worry about shuffling since I just shuffled them." The two sat up.

Lillian drew a card.

Bisera gave a sleepy, sheepish grin. "Heh, sorry. Pick five more cards then place them face down.

Lillian did so and then Bisera read her fortune.

"The thing you want the most right now is temperance which means you crave peace, harmony and a sense of control in your life. Take heart that peace will be restored- this is a time for you to be calm and patient as you wait for your life to achieve a sense of normality again. You are in fear of everything taking a turn for the worst, perhaps you are experiencing a run of bad luck? You have to trust that most of what we fear never happens. Your future holds-oooh! New love and commitment will enter your life-"

Lillian raised her eyebrows skeptically. The cards had been spot-on so far.

"-even if there's no one on the horizon- be prepared for a surprise. Throw caution to the wind and expect joyous and happy times ahead. As far as what's going against you: beware of impetious decisions, they could cost you dear. Draw on your knowledge and experience, perhaps there are naive and immature beliefs behind your current desires. Are you looking to move onwards and upwards or run away? Look before you leap, you don't want to appear the fool do you? As for the likely outcome: you will know what decision to make about who or what must be given up. This is a time of passage from one phase of your life to another. It may be a difficult choice, and self-sacrifice is never easy, but if you look for truth and integrity and don't be too materialistic or hang onto things or people for all the wrong reasons, everything will turn out in your favor."

Lillian smiled and nodded. "Thanks for that. That could be helpful." she laid down and closed her eyes as she turned away. "I'll keep those mystical words in mind." she sighed. Love, self-sacrifice and possibly appearing like a fool? Just what the bloody heck's cooking up for me?

"You're welcome." Bisera said sleepily as she reshuffled her cards.

"Hey," said Isabella who had climbed out of the bed then walked next to Bisera. "I'm having trouble hitting the sack and I'm bored. Humor me will ya'? Read my fortune."

"Okay Isabella. Pick six cards." Bisera instructed with a yawn she covered with her hand.

Isabella briskly and boredly picked six cards from her fellow witch's hand. "Read em'." she commanded flatly.

"Okay then. How you feel about yourself at this moment: you feel a little confused and perhaps fearful because you sense or know that there is something or someone that you need to give up in order to move on and continue growing. This self-sacrifice isn't clear- you may not even know quite what or whom you should give up- it could be something physical or an idea. This is a time of passage from one phase of your life to another. This next card suggests that what you want at this time is to find the strength and will power to see you through and achieve what you want. It is important that this strength comes from a place of love and tolerance however, not aggression. Put your fears to rest and develop a positive attitude and you'll reap richer rewards. Your fears: you are feeling insecure. Have no fear however as there are people around you who love and care for you and they will give you support. Try not to be over protective. What is going for you: you are instinctively taking time to relax and reflect, drawing on your inner strength and wisdom to guide through these difficult times. Time is a great healer, so if you don't know quite what to do now in time you will. The Hermit signals a warning not to make hasty decisions, and if you have been unwell this is a time for rest and recuperation. What is going against you:Watch out for being too arrogant or letting that ego of yours get over inflated, nobody likes a know it all. Watch that temper too, aggressive bullying behavior will only set you back. If this doesn't sound like you, beware of someone like this that could set you back. This is a time of movement and change, and conflicts ending in victory, so don't give up. As for the likely outcome of these two things:..."

Isabella tapped her foot.

Bisera smiled slightly. "This is a transformational time for you. However turbulent or perhaps distressing some of the events in your life may be, endings always leave room for brand new beginnings. This is a fresh start in life for you, embrace it and live every day as though it was your last, life is for living." she concluded.

Isabella nodded and leaned against the wall as she folded her arms. "Coolios. I'm gonna' try to get some shut-eye again. G'night."

"Good night."

I have to get stronger. To stop monsters like that boy and who better to do the job than a monster? Those words though...they were...they seemed so wise caring...kind of like you...

Isabella opened her eyes briefly before closing them tightly to stop the tears from falling. "...mommy..."

Chapter Ten: The Psychic OnesEdit

Juan's castle glided with the clouds unobtrusively, its flotation achieved by anti-gravity plates. Through light-refracturing techniques more advanced and effective than Luuk and Afwerki's at the time, the castle remained completely invisible to the world below and thus the populace of the planet were ignorant of the awesome power that it contained.

Andy had awoken at the first golden streams of the radiant dawn light with a a wide, yet silent yawn and stretching. Unlike most of his peers, he was quite alert at such an early hour. The shaggy, brunette haired youth justified his early waking by stating that a lot of animals tended to wake up at dawn.

Andy leapt out of bed, with his marsupial companion immediately following suit and landing on his partner's shoulder, garnering him a soft head-scratch. Andy walked towards the bathroom of his room before turning around to look at his roommate Zack who was on the bottom bunk. Zack was breathing quietly and had a look of peacefulness to him. Andy was glad for that since on the previous night, Zack dropped onto his bed like a stone due to Master Juan forcing the spiky-haired country boy to constantly run laps around the perimeter of the castle grounds. "Making him become used to his electromagnetic force." Juan had explained. Despite his look of rejuvination, Zack's hair still stood up slightly due to the intense electricity the teen was subject to the previous day.

Although Andy still found Zack annoying, he had begun to care about his well-being. This fact made him regard his companions' return the previous day with slight worry for they all seemed to be drained and aching. He was baffled as to why Zack was chosen as opposed to him. Sure, Zack did seem to show more physicality than Andy but the latter regarded himself as smarter. Surely Juan would want the brain over the brawn, right? Andy shook his head. It doesn't matter. If he wants us to get killed by making bad decisions then that will be his fault alone. Besides, it's better if I don't have to fight anyway. I'm just here for the flora and fauna... Andy switched on the light-switch to the bathroom before closing the door.

...

He was going to slug someone and hard. He didn't care who, any one of them since that old fart thought they were better than he was.

Gojo stalked down the wide corridor with his hands curled into fists at his sides. The morning light flooded in brilliantly from both sides of the hall, warming the boy who was already hot with rage. He remembered with wrath the conversation he had with Juan the previous day. He impassionately inquired as to why he wasn't selected to rescue Kola, arguing that he would have been able to do it himself.

"And that precisely Gojo, is why I did not even consider choosing you. You are in need of a serious attitude correction and reality check, the world does not revolve around you nor is this a war you can win alone. Although you are more powerful than Joshua and some others, power was not the only deciding factor in who was to partake in that risky mission, it was also state of mind. As you are, you would have been a great detriment to the mission."

Gojo gritted his teeth. I'll show that motherfucker who I am. I'll beat one of the lil' teacher pets without breakin' a sweat and show him that I'm the strongest, better than that lil' shit that he takes a fucking shine to so goddamn much! I thought me and Carmello was cool but that bitch left without me. He even learned to fly but I'll show that fucker that I can still stomp his ass to the ground! Then there's that little fuckboy Joshua who was all up on Juan's smokin' daughter when they all got back yesterday and that damn rumor that's been floatin' around...

Gojo stopped dead in his tracks and his wild eyes widened once he saw Joshua exit his room with a yawn, his eyes half closed. Joshua simply stood there looking off into the distance in that deep state of thought that never failed to vex Gojo.

Joshua had just noticed a sound akin to the feet of a charging bull approaching on the marble flooring and was about to react accordingly when he was greeted by Gojo with a painful slam against the stone wall.

Joshua grunted then glared at his assailant, causing the latter to smile with cruel satisfaction.

"Ay you lil' bitch!" spat Gojo.

Joshua's glare morphed into a face of intense annoyance. "Good morning to you as well, Gojo."

"That's Lord Gojo to you!" barked Gojo angrily.

"Yeah, no." stated Joshua flatly which prompted Gojo to jerk him into the wall. Joshua winced which caused Gojo to respond with a chuckle.

"You know I hate your guts right?!"

"Oh, you don't say?" asked Joshua with his eyebrows mockingly raised. "Please, excite me with more riveting and never-before-heard-of facts."

"Don't get smart with me punk!" shouted Gojo as he kicked the lanky boy in the shin, causing him to grit his teeth.

Well, considering that it is in fact you that I'm dealing with, relatively speaking, everything I say will be regarded as "smart".

Gojo sneered at the delicate looking Joshua, with his soft features and beauty mark on the right side of his face. "Did you have a fun time last night with your boyfriend, Carmelo?"

Joshua sighed and rolled his eyes.

"That's why he wants to screw you! Because you're the only bitch here!" howled Gojo.

"Are you going to just hold me against this wall here? Should I get comfort-"

"Shut up!" snapped Gojo. "I know the only reason that old fart let you go on the mission was because you probably seduced him!"

Joshua scrunched up his face causing Gojo to hoot with laughter. Would it be more hilarious or painful if I just vomitted in Gojo's face right now due to what he just said?

"I heard that master's babe for a daughter promised to kiss whoever busted her out. I heard she placed a long, wet one on one of you guys' lips."

Joshua looked away boredly. "So I've heard..."

"Word on the street is that she kissed your ass."

"Yes, I indeed received a kiss fr-" Joshua was stopped mid-sentence by a dreadful punch to the eye from Gojo which began to swell. Joshua saw stars as only his left eye became good to use. He feared that Gojo had fractured some of his skull.

"I was the one who deserved to kiss her!" spat Gojo angrily.

"Yet you weren't deserving of the mission. Still trying to wrap my head around that one." stated Joshua flatly.

Gojo chuckled. "I didn't know Juan's kid was a lesbo."

Joshua's eyelid lowered in annoyance. "Lesbian and she's not. From what we know she is heterosexual though if we speculate she could also be bisexual."

Gojo blinked.

Joshua sighed. "For I am male and she is female."

Gojo laughed. "You know you're a fucking chick and that's the truth!"

Joshua raised his eyebrows with a snarky smile. "Well, if you want so badly I can prov-" he was caught off by Gojo kicking him forcefully in the shin again causing him to bar his teeth to keep from screaming.

"Why the fuck ain't yo' ass screamin'?!" cried Gojo. He punched Joshua in the stomach causing him to scream in pain as a tiny trickle of blood spurted out of his mouth and onto Gojo's cheek, causing Gojo to howl loudly with satisfaction.

Joshua closed his mouth and closed his eyes to discourage tears. Gojo leaned in and whispered in Joshua's ear. "I'mma fuck you up."

Carmelo opened the door with an annoyed bang, the door swinging the side opposite where Joshua was being painfully pinned by the neck.

"Would you keep it the hell down!? Some of us are trying to sleep!" shouted Carmelo. He turned to see his friend Joshua.

"I see your woman's crying made you wake up ay bitch?" spat Gojo.

"How about you just walk away because I doubt you want my fist for breakfast punk!" growled Carmelo.

"Aw, bout to save your lil' Joshy-Woshy?" teased Gojo.

Carmelo's face darkened even further once he saw Afwerki jogging in the distance towards the three. Carmelo moved away from Gojo. "Just keep it down!" he snapped.

Joshua's eyes sunk once he saw Carmelo retreat into the room to change as if he didn't see him. Carmelo put on his headphones, turned on a Shakira song and slammed the door. Gojo sneered as Afwerki approached and dropped Joshua limply onto the ground, not wanting to have to deal with Afwerki and possibly Carmelo as well. As he stalked away he turned around and pointed two of his fingers to his eyes, then turned them around then pointed to Joshua.

...

Afwerki walked down the hall in the early morning with a glum expression. He recalled his conversation the previous day with Master Juan clearly.

The kind-hearted teenager knocked softly on the large door to Master Juan's study. "Come in." his teacher commanded in his old, hardened voice.

Afwerki walked shyly in and looked around, marveling at the rows of books and the warm fireplace off to the side. He barely noticed Juan Carlos siat his mahagoney desk, looking up from his book and tapping his fingers.

"Yes?" said Juan.

Afwerki's eyes widened as he saw a large map near the fireplace.

"You wanted an audience with me, Afwerki?" asked Juan, his voice carrying a slight tinge of annoyance.

Afwerki blinked and stood straight. "Oh, yes Master Juan!" Afwerki turned away. "It's..I would like to talk to you about something that occurred during the mission."

"Well? I'm all ears."

Afwerki swallowed. "Sebastion...there was a soldier, wait no it was a mere prison guard. There was a prison guard, already greatly wounded then Sebastion proceeded to kill him in the most inhuman way possible. It was not for survival or for anything similar, it was for sport. To him, it was simply a game." Afwerki stated, teeth clenched as he closed his eyes and began to sweat. "I saw the man's life toyed away from him in front of me. His arm was ripped off, his legs were crushed, his head was ripped off!" Afwerki shouted as his eyes grew wide and he covered his mouth. He slowly moved his hands away, shakily. "Then...he exploded. Poof, and I was stained as a token of what I had witnessed."

Juan tapped his chin with a look of slight disinterest.

"All of that. All of that accomplished with the power of Sebastion's mind. Sebastion's dark, twisted mind." Afwerki finished with a shudder. Afwerki could have sworn he heard Juan chuckle slightly.

"So, you are here because you are disgusted by your comrade's actions?"

Afwerki nodded. "Most definitely."

"You are aware that the guards were the enemy correct?"

Afwerki's heart sunk as his eyes widened. "Yes, but they didn't deser-"

"And that if Sebastion hadn't killed him then he would have killed Sebastion."

Afwerki shook his head. "No he wouldn't! Sebastion is extremely powerful! Even if he was hostile, that fact doesn't warrant such a gruesome death!"

Juan rubbed his forehead. "But they were the enemy. Are you showing mercy towards the enemy?"

"Yes! They are human!" cried Afwerki.

"I'm going to level with you a bit, student. In war, it is often necessary to forget that your enemy is human in order to get the job done. This way of thinking will be no doubt helped by the fact that the enemy you are training to fight is not human." explained Juan.

Afwerki frowned with resolve. "I'm sorry, I cannot forget that fact. I cannot forget the compassion that my family has instilled in me since birth. No matter what you say, I shall view the witches as humans. Even if I must put them down, I will ensure that they do not have to suffer. I don't think I can stay with you if you allow the torture of other human beings."

"So you'd allow the witches to torture others?" quickly replied Juan causing Afwerki to hang his head in shame. The elderly psychic sighed. "Listen, I'm aware of Sebastion's behavioral...anomalies and I shall correct them. What he did was unneeded and could possibly prove detrimental towards future missions. Take note however that Sebastion's behavior is already starting to alter."

Afwerki blinked in surprise. "It is?"

Juan nodded with a crooked smile. "Starting tomorrow, he shall train with you and the others."

Afwerki folded his arms and looked towards the ceiling of the hall. Sebastion training with us. That sounds...quite terrifying actually. 

Afwerki found it eerie that he was thinking about something terrifying as he heard one of his brothers give out a heart-wrenching scream, Joshua's. He immediately sprung to action and ran towards the owner. As he grew closer he saw Gojo and Carmelo near Joshua. Afwerki smiled slightly. Carmelo, Joshua's good friend. He'll help handle this. 

As Afwerki grew near, he and Carmelo locked eyes, causing Carmelo to retreat to his room. Afwerki looked at the closed door with dismay. He didn't know why but his compliment last night really seemed to rile Carmelo. Anyhow, that didn't matter at the moment, what mattered was his injured friend, Joshua. Luckily for him, Gojo had retreated, causing Joshua to weakly slide to the floor. Afwerki sighed. He had a bad feeling ever since he had first seen Gojo, always surly and wanting to pick fights. He tried his best to be brotherly with him but was always met with curses and threats. First Sebastion, then Gojo, Afwerki was beginning to realize that some of his brothers were not brotherly at all.

Afwerki put a hand near Joshua's face and the injured boy glowed. "I've mended your legs but unfortunately I won't be able to mend the bruise to your eye at the moment for it is early, I am a bit weak and my mind is jumbled."

Joshua nodded in understanding as he stood up, much to his shock feeling a lot better. "He broke my bones?"

Afwerki sighed. "Unfortunately, yes. I'll try to mend that black eye soon. My apologies brother."

Joshua smiled. "Don't worry about it. If you can't, it's fine. I'll wait it out until you're ready or nature takes its course."

Afwerki smiled before frowning with a sigh. "That boy, Gojo: he is deeply troubled as shown by his clearly dark and clouded soul. What did you do to him to invoke such wrath this beautiful morning?" asked Afwerki in concern.

Joshua smirked. "Oh nothing." he stroked his curly hair. "He's just jealous of my hair."

...

The boys were all lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder in the same courtyard that they had did battle against their mighty teacher over a week prior. The grass was cut low and it was a dashing light green color. Akmal squinted as he looked at it, believing it too perfect to be real. The boys had eaten a full breakfast, ensuring that hunger couldn't be used as an excuse for lackluster performance, not that Juan accepted excuses anyway.

With a devilish smile, Juan paced back and forth with his hands behind his back, looking into each of the boys' eyes. "The simulations and VR training have proved effective, as shown by some of your performances in North Korea but-" Juan began, his "but" loud and sharp. "-your training is far, far from over boys. The simulations are among the best in the world, true but I can guarantee you that no matter how far we advance into the future, computers will never be able to emulate the real battle, the pain, the fear of the finality of death, the brutal struggle." Juan stated, clenching his fist tightly. "Not to mention, the witches are sure to be a wily bunch, just like Gaia. Given their wiliness, the simulations alone won't cut it and you'll need to fight other people to be prepared, powerful people."

Juan stopped then turned to face his students, standing tall. "So as a result, you shall spar with each other. I want all of you to give it your all and to not hold back, understood?"

"Understood." they all answered, with varying levels of excitement.

"Good." chuckled Juan. He stroked his goatee with a crooked smile. "I understand that some of you are still aching but that is irrelevant. You don't get to wait until you're feeling all better to fight in battle, and I won't give you that luxury while you're with me. Get used to shrugging off pain." said Juan with a dark smile.

He snapped. "I shall partner you with an opponent that I feel will foster mutual growth." he explained. "Sebastion, you're up against Gojo and Akmal. Andy, you're up against Luuk. Eziz, you're up against Carmelo and Joshua will go up against Afwerki. Zack, I still want you to run around the castle grounds to get used to manifesting your electrokinesis." Juan held his hands out and walked slowly backwards as he said, "Let the sparring commence."

Zack sighed and walked away from his comrades.

Carmelo walked to a section of the courtyard where no one was walking towards with his arms folded. Likewise, his partner levitated to the section with his arms folded.

Carmelo took two jumbo Swiss rolls out of his pocket, quickly unwrapped them and popped them into his mouth where there were mercilessly ground then swallowed.

Eziz raised his eyebrows. "Do you think this is a game? You should take this seriously and not eat pastries when you should be preparing. Not giving it your all will undoubtedly prove disastrous." he stated in his deep voice.

Carmelo raised his eyebrows.. "You heard the man, I ain't holdin' back." he stated annoyedly.

"Truly?" asked Eziz before abruptly shaking his head. "Very well. I'm glad, for if I'm going to give it my all, you'll need to use every fiber of your being to counter it."

Carmelo frowned. "The hell is that 'spoused to mean."

"It's simple. I'm powerful." Eziz swallowed as his face darkened with sadness. "Terrifyingly powerful."

"Well news flash hot-shot! I have some power so crazy even don't know what the hecks it's about!" Carmelo growled.

"I fear you underestimate me." warned Eziz grimly.

Andy walked to a corner with a bored expression and Manic faithfully perched on his shoulder, Luuk following closely behind.

Andy turned around. "Let's get this over with." he droned.

Luuk grinned. "I thought Master Juan only told me and you to spar. He didn't say anything about the-"

Andy growled. "I swear to god Luuk, if you call Manic another completely idiotic thing like a dog, a raccoon, a rat or squirrel I'm going to punch you in the friggin' face!"

Luuk laughed loudly with his hands on his hips. "Oh, so wrath finally takes over the quiet, pompous boy! You will be judged accordingly."

Give me a friggin' breakAndy frowned as Manic stuck out his tongue in contempt.

"And excuse me if I don't know the name of your exotic lap-dog!"

"For the love of-!"

"And don't swear to the Lord. It's incredibly bad of you. Besides," Luuk smirked. "It is especially bad to swear him something that you cannot follow through with."

Andy cracked his in preparation for the sparring session. "Then I guess I won't be especially bad."

Joshua smiled at Afwerki with the latter returning the smile albeit sheepishly.

"I'm so sorry that I healed you, just to be fighting with me."

Joshua chuckled and waved a hand. "Don't worry about it, it's not the same as you just randomly blasting me with light energy. Teacher told us to do it."

Afwerki pouted sadly. "But he also said not to hold back. If I do that, it'll be awhile before I can heal your eye."

Joshua waved his hand again. "I told you not to worry about it. Besides, it could help us to get some training in. The witches are liable to strike any day now."

Afwerki bit the inside of his cheek before stepping away and getting in a defensive position. "I suppose you are correct brother."

Zack had begun jogging around the castle, about to break into a full-on sprint when he noticed Akmal keeping up easily with him despite his superhuman speed. 

Zack blinked in shock. "Hey, shouldn't you be training with Sebastion and Gojo?"

Akmal laughed. "Nah, I don't really feel like it. I thought it would be cool to run around with you for a bit. You're a pretty cool dude." I also get the creeps just thinking about Sebastion and Gojo's a grade-A jerk.

Zack frowned. "I don't think Master Juan'll be too happy about you not following orders."

Akmal smiled. "Oh relax. I'll worry about that when time comes. Besides, I can help you train."

"Oh really?" chuckled Zack.

Akmal smiled slyly. "Yes really. Back home, I'm one of the fastest people I know."

"Well we're not back home."

"Oh I know. I'll might actually have to give it my A-game."

Zack smiled deviously. "You're pretty cocky Akmal."

Akmal gave a devious smile of his own. "It's not bragging if you can back it up so give it your best shot. Let's see-Whoa!" he exclaimed as Zack zoomed forward in a burst of speed, feeling the particles in his body begin to charge.

"Back at home I left everyone in the dust!"

Akmal burst forward as well, catching up to Zack. "Well we're not back home!" he replied.

Sebastion regarded his opponent boredly. "Is this honestly the best they could do?"

Gojo growled. "You better shut up you lil' brat! I'm the strongest one here!"

Sebastion chuckled. "Maybe next to me-oh wait, no. My apologies. As infuriating as he is, that's probably Carmelo. In fact, I don't think you're strong at all. I think you're just full of testosterone and hot gas."

Gojo ran towards the boy, fist cocked. He was nowhere near Sebastion before he was thrown in the air and slammed forcefully against the stone wall, creating cracks.

Sebastion tilted his head with a devilish grin. "You're going to have to do far better than that my comically angry acquaintance."

Luuk deftly slid under the reach of Andy's hand which was psychokinetically enveloped in an opaque claw.  Luuk's eyes flashed a bright blue as Andy was flung high into the air, causing Manic to leap off.

Luuk winced as the koala bit his ankle. He tried kicking the blueish-gray marsupial off of him with his other foot, diverting his attention from his opponent who had landed safely not too far away. Luuk gasped as he felt the air grow colder around him, he felt as if he could feel the water vapor itself rapidly freezing. Luuk blew a small breath and yes, he could indeed see his breath. Manic scampered away as Luuk tried to move but felt himself growing slower. The koala landed on Andy's head and nibbled on his hair in anticipation

Andy regarded his opponent with a bored expression as Luuk's face turned into one of utter rage, his fingers growing numb and his hair freezing in place. Don't worry blondie-boy. I won't let you die...

Andy's eyes widened along with Manic's, his nibbling slowing considerably. Luuk appeared to exude a brilliant yellow light around him that appeared to be more like smoke as he rapidly began to thaw, his hair dripping. He squatted, his face being of utter lividness.

"How dare you!? I'll make you pay!" Luuk screamed before leaping and taking to the air.

Andy looked at his aerial opponent, slack-jawed. He knew that everyone that attended the mission had learned to fly but seeing it in person was absolutely mesmerizing. He can be one with the birds..and I can't. Andy didn't have much time to gawk for Luuk was performing a falcon-dive straight towards the bandanna-wearing youth. Andy braced himself, appearing to be preparing to take the attack head on before doing a dive-roll at the last possible second, feeling the dirt hit him as Luuk dove face first into the grass.

Andy quickly sprang to his feet as Luuk did the same albeit with a surprising amount of grace given his position eight feet away. Andy slowly walked backwards as he alternated between flicking his left hand and punching his right. As he did this, Luuk was pushed back slightly then hit in the face. Despite Luuk's pain, he made a commendable effort masking it but soon his pain and anger could be seen in the tilting of his eyebrows and the curving of his lips. Luuk closed his eyes and he bared through the pain and held out his hands at his sides as the began to glow red as if a flashlight was on the other side of them. He brought them together and instantly formed a ball of blinding white light. It flew forward in the blink of an eye, slamming Andy in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. He tumbled backwards and landed on his back, temporarily blinded.

He could hear his best friend growl next to his head. Andy leapt up, hearing Luuk run towards him. He deftly dodged his opponent's punches, kicks and swipes. Andy smirked. Oh you poor fool. You think you're fighting a human don't you? To cripple me, you'd need to take all of my senses.

Afwerki ducked to evade a high kick from Joshua then jabbed his right hand towards his partner, prompting Joshua to flip backwards three times before jumping and landing on his feet.

Joshua smiled. "You're pretty good."

Afwerki returned the smile. "You're pretty good yourself brother."

Joshua grinned. My head has been getting lighter more often lately. Joshua took a step forward and flicked his hand, causing Afwerki to be thrust into the air, his back towards the ground. Joshua prepared to assault him with a barrage of pressurized air in sphere from all sides. Afwerki anticipated an attack of this sort so he crossed his arms over his chest, creating a barrier to block the first sphere, disintegrating his barrier, anticipating when the next sphere would hit, then erecting his barrier again. Afwerki repeated this three times before the final three spheres hit him, knocking him far away in the air. The attacks left him aching but it was certainly better than if he had been hit by all the spheres.

Joshua gave chase to the falling boy before stopping to a halt and getting into a defensive position. I can still read his thoughts. He's planning on turning invisible. With this information in mind Joshua looked around him. He was able to pinpoint Afwerki's location by the sound of his thoughts. Joshua quickly did a half-split to dodge a right hook from Afwerki then jumped, tucking his knees near his chest to avoid a low sweep before he gave a mighty kick with both of his legs, connecting with the invisible Afwerki's face.

The kind-hearted African boy stumbled back. quickly phasing back into visibility. His chocolate face was noticeably red and he seemed to be pouting before breaking into a chuckle. "I seemed to forget about your uncanny ability to read minds."

Joshua smirked. "Try not to forget about that, hmm?"

Afwerki gave a shaky smile. "I won't." he then motioned for Joshua to approach him.

Joshua straightened his posture and folded his arms. Sorry, I know that' exactly what you want me to do.

Afwerki sighed. If I recall correctly, Joshua can only read minds temporarily. All I have to do is stall him.

Joshua smirked. Stalling, eh? 

Afwerki immediately broke out in a sprint seconds after Joshua had broken into his own sprint. Afwerki quickly realized that his sparring partner was in front of him and brought his hands together, firing a barrage of lumokinetic energy balls at Joshua..

Joshua manifested a gust of wind behind him, feeling the wind give him a burst of speed that allowed him to just barely dodge all of the projectiles.

Zack and Akmal were still running around the castle grounds at blistering speed, kicking of dirt and leaving trails of wind in their wake.

"Look, we can slow down. We wouldn't want you straining yourself." stated Akmal, trying to make his slight panting not apparent.

"Naw, I'm fine. How bout' you?" asked Zack whose hair now stuck up and whose body as surrounded by tiny electric charges as if he were a cloud exuding lightning.

"Psh, me!? Pick up the pace!" cried Akmal, prompting Zack to quickly burst forward with speed.

Akmal promptly did the same. Their movement was so fast even the sharpest of eyes would have trouble keeping track of them. Akmal gulped, his body growing dehydrated. Had Akmal Karimov finally met his match? Akmal smirked. Even if I do, I'll finally have a sporting rival.

Gojo shouted a battle cry as he thrust his arm froward and shot a large blast of visible psychic energy.

The energy was reflected at twice the speed once it neared Sebastion. Interesting. That blast was bigger than any I've seen from the lot of them. Still, it's mere poultry compared to what I, Sebastion am capable of. 

"Take your hit you lil' shit!" barked Gojo. Sebastion raised his eyebrows as the blast was reflected towards him at twice the speed.

Sebastion grit his teeth. Let's stop this foolishness. Without even thinking about moving a muscle the blast exploded in a large, fiery explosion, preventing the two combatants from seeing the other.

Sebastion created a gust of wind to disperse the smoke and saw, as he predicted, that Gojo was attempting to use the smoke to his advantage by running around the young child.

Sebastion chuckled dreadfully. But he hasn't gotten very far. That's what he gets for being so chubby!

Gojo was forcefully slammed against a wall, creating a crack in it. He growled irately at the sound of Sebastion's shrill laughter. "You shut the fuck up!" screamed Gojo before he slowly began walking towards Sebastion as if he was under high gravity. Sebastion's eyes bulged as his opponent slowly approached him.

Sebastion began to sweat. This is impossible. This is impossible! His horrified thoughts were cut short by the feeling of a meaty hand around his neck and his breathing becoming laborious despite the distance between him and Gojo. No...No!

Gojo was suddenly blasted to the ground, Sebastion being freed from his psychic choke. Sebastion floated in the air, his eyes crazed as he screamed, Gojo being hit in the stomach repeatedly with psychic energy, so powerful it made him cry out in pain and cough up blood each time. After thirteen hits, Sebastion floated down slowly to the ground, his breathing heavy, his eyes crazed and his hair messy.

I'll get stronger...then when I do I'll torture him and that damn wench witch!

Carmelo and Eziz slowly circled each other like birds of prey, or possibly dancers. The two had attacked each other with flames but each time the target had managed to avoid the attack. The two continued to circle, looking for an opening, for a sign of weakness.

Eziz fired a torrent of flame from his hand towards Carmelo, prompting him to leap in the air and fire a horizontal stream of flame at Eziz causing him to roll out of the way.  Eziz stomped, causing a line of flame to shoot up near where Carmelo was falling.

Carmelo's eyes widened. Crap. He grit his teeth trying to think of a way out. He snapped causing a patch of fire to disappear, allowing him a safe landing. He held out his open palm and created twenty spheres of flame that surrounded Eziz.

Before Eziz could react they closed in on him and exploded. Once the smoke was gone Carmelo saw Eziz standing with his arms folded, not a scratch on him. "You'll have to do better than that my friend."

Carmelo growled. "I ain't ya' friend!" He grabbed his right wrist tightly with his left hand. A small orange ball of flame appeared in his right hand, quickly growing bigger and redder. Once it was larger than Carmelo's head, he ran forward for a bit before throwing the ball of flame at Eziz.

Eziz cocked his head at the large ball of flame as it approached him. "This again? Have you not caught on that fire does noth-" Eziz was interrupted with a shout as his arms and legs were cut with psychokinetic energy, causing a bit of blood to spray out due to the force. Although not hurt by the flame, due to him being unprepared due to his gashes, he was pushed back three feet in the grass, his feet ruining the freshly trimmed grass.

A distraction huh? Very nice. Eziz burst forward at amazing speed, using flames at his feet to propel him. Now let's see if you can take this. In the blink of an eye Eziz was in front of Carmelo who was preparing to leap into the air. He grabbed Carmelo's arm and rapidly heated his hand, emitting steam and causing the skin on Carmelo's arm to become disfigured as Carmelo gave out a restrained yell. Carmelo's eyes widened in pain as Eziz gave a mighty headbutt, sending Carmelo hurdling through the air into the stone wall, creating large, web-like cracks around the point of impact.

Carmelo gave out a pained groan. Goddammit, I'm gonna have a bad back by twenty, I just know it! Carmelo's thoughts were cut short by Eziz suddenly being in front of him and giving a mighty punch surrounded in flame to Carmelo's gut, causing him to cough up blood then hang his forward limply, his breathing ragged.

Eziz cocked his head and folded his arms. "Did I win?"

"Not yet punk!" shouted Carmelo as he quickly raised his head to face his opponent then gave a high kick aimed at Eziz's head and becoming free from the wall.

Eziz leapt gracefully backwards, away from the angry teenager.

Carmelo panted and wiped some blood from his face as he looked at the boy wearing a tight, sleeveless black shirt and black pants. Well, if there was one thing that beat down told me, it's that this joke is a one-trick pony. Despite his pain, Carmelo gave a cocky smirk and wagged his hand, signifying for Eziz to approach him.

Eziz cocked his head, shrugged then did so, sprinting forward at an alarming speed thanks to the aid of his fire. Carmelo closed his eyes then once Eziz was a foot in front of him, he snapped and opened his eyes to see a dizzy and disoriented Eziz.

Carmelo smirked as he kicked Eziz forcefully in the stomach then punched him in the face with a left hook, then right. He punched Eziz forcefully in the chest, his opponent still dizzy before grabbing Eziz's head and headbutting him powerfully thrice in quick succession. Eziz broke free from the grab and Carmelo did likewise, his head throbbing.

Gah, friggin' hard-headed! Before Eziz could fully regain his bearings, Carmelo snapped, sending him high into the air.

Eziz flipped, facing the ground, due to the sudden movement he just barely avoided more psychokinetic cuts from Carmelo. He dove towards the ground in a burst of speed, kicking dirt every which way once he landed. He was then telekinetically slammed against the wall by Carmelo though not nearly as hard as Eziz slammed Carmelo earlier, with no cracks forming.

Eziz slid towards the ground, upside down before rolling over then kneeling right-side up. Eziz and Carmelo locked eyes for a moment, seeing something mysterious in the other's eyes. It was like recognition, like they had met a long time ago even though both knew that they had met little over a week ago. It seemed to them like the eyes belonged to a good friend that they trusted with their lives. In Carmelo's eyes Eziz saw a powerful leader and in Eziz's eyes Carmelo saw a knight.  

The two stood there, paralyzed by this queer bond. The two shook their heads rapidly, escaping the inexplicable trance then resumed their sparring.

Carmelo snapped again, this time causing Eziz to go deaf.

Eziz chuckled. Even if you manage to escape my line of sight, I'll still be able to track you down by sensing your heat.

Carmelo's eyes widened. Wait a sec... Carmelo viciously put his arm in his mouth and tore off a small chunk of skin, causing blood to spill from the wound. 

Eziz recoiled in horror. What in the world is he doing!? Eziz ran forward to try and help his sparring partner.

Carmelo held his arm forward, facing Eziz. "Crimson Prison!" he yelled out, causing red energy to fly forward from his wound towards Eziz, it morphed into a web-like shape before tightly wrapping over Eziz, completely immobilizing him as he wriggled around to try to free his arms.

"What in the world is this!?" shouted Eziz. While Eziz tried to wriggle free, he fired a barrage of fireballs at Carmelo, coming from above him.

Dammit! I thought he'd be too distracted trying to get free. Ah well, he won't be able to attack as much since he don't have full concentration. Carmelo crossed his arms over his face, smothering each of the fire balls before snapping, sending a volley of psychokinetic punches at Eziz's face.

"That's enough!" growled Eziz before throwing his arms out at his sides, ripping his prison.  Carmelo's eyes widened as Eziz did this. Eziz levitated high into the air, his hands up high before bringing them down, Carmelo being surrounded by a sea of raging flames.

Eziz raised his eyebrows. Oh no...I surely killed him. As he floated high in the air, the flames completely obscured Carmelo. He began sweating, forgetting the pain in his limbs due to his concern.

To Eziz's shock, he heard a sucking sound and saw the flames quickly receding. The flames formed a vortex, with Carmelo absorbing the fire with an air of tranquility about him, his arms out. 

Once Carmelo had finished absorbing all of the fire, he felt completely rejuvenated as if Eziz had never touched him the entire fight. Carmelo had leapt up high causing the wall around him to crumble. He was on the same level as Eziz. He raised his hands high over his head and creating a ball of flame similar to the one earlier, this one rapidly grew to become ten times larger than Carmelo's head. With a grunt he threw it toward Eziz. Carmelo sighed as he watched the result.

Eziz didn't expect the ball to do much to him due to being made of fire. He was shocked once he put his hands forward to stop the ball, only for the force of it to force him down to the ground where he sank down slowly to the dirt below. He grunted in pain as he tried to disperse the flame. His eyes turned red as his veins began to glow ominously. He felt as if he was cracking then he gave a feral, ear-piercing scream as he saw the face of a giant, emerald-eyed beast made of dripping lava before he was finally able to push the fire ball high into the air and far away from the castle where it violently disappeared in a fiery explosion, lighting up the sky for a brief moment. Eziz slumped to the ground, hands on the dirt and dripping sweat as his face was towards the ground.

Carmelo slowly floated down in place then walked towards the tired Eziz with his arms folded. "I think we're done here."

Zack and Akmal were running around at a ludicrous speed, both of them growing tired.

"How about we play a game?" breathed Akmal, still managing to smile.

"A game!?" asked Zack, fighting to be heard over his electricity which was beginning to cackle slightly.

"Yeah! Though we'll need to slow down a bit."

"Fine by me." Zack smiled with a sigh as he slowed his pace, with Akmal quickly following suit. "How do we play this game?" he asked.

Akmal stomped quickly, his running unhampered and creating a ball of dirt in front of them that quickly hardened. "It's just catch." He caught the ball and threw it to Zack.

Zack smiled as he caught the ball and threw it to Akmal. "This is easy."

Akmal threw the ball slightly behind Zack which caused Zack to move his arms behind him to catch the ball.

"Not when you switch it up a bit." said Akmal.

Zack smiled and threw the ball slightly behind Akmal, prompting him to to move his arms behind to catch the ball. He threw it back to Zack.

Zack quickly caught it and threw it more forcefully, causing Akmal to dive to catch it. "I got it!" he cried triumphantly with a smile. Akmal's eyes widened as he noticed he was not over the castle grounds any more and was beginning to plummet to the earth below. "What!? Aaaahhhhhh!" he screamed in utter terror as he dropped the dirt ball and flailed around in horror. He became wet as he rapidly passed through the clouds and could see the ocean that he was hurdling towards. 

"Shoot!" exclaimed Zack as he saw his friend fall. He licked his lips and failed to bend the corner then leapt to the earth below then circled the air, looking for his friend frantically. His eyes lit up once the saw the flailing and screaming Akmal. "There he is!" he cried with joy. 

Akmal looked in horror as he saw Zack falling in the distance. "Not you too!" he cried. He squinted as he saw Zack quickly approaching. Wait, is he-? His pondering was quickly answered as Zack scooped him in his arms then flew upwards then landed with a roll onto the castle grounds near the courtyard. They rolled again, their chests facing the air. 

Akmal turned to Zack in awe. "Did you-" he panted. "Did you fly?"

Zack nodded rapidly, panting as well. "Yeah."

Akmal smiled, with his mouth opened wide. "That was awesome!" he exclaimed.

Luuk was high in the air, charging a beam of light above his head. Below him was Andy with Manic flat on his back, a psychokinetic aura surrounding them. The aura appeared to be based on a clawed quadruped and lodged in the aura were several arrows made out of lumokinetic energy, courtesy of Luuk.

Andy and Manic leapt high into the air, inches away from clawing Luuk once he fired his beam of light energy, sending Andy plummeting back towards the ground and creating a large crater once he connected. Andy groaned in pain as the aura dispersed softly. Manic was too tired to make a fuss about his friend being on top of him.

Afwerki tried to elbow Joshua who was behind him but to no avail, Joshua had managed to create a circular dome of rapidly spinning air around him,  leaving Afwerki's elbow raw and burning.

Afwerki jumped back and smiled as he rubbed his elbow. "You manifested your aerokinesis defensively. That's great!."

Joshua smirked. "Thanks, I had the thought of how to do it the other day."

Afwerki ran forward with a battle cry, his fist raised high. Joshua simply smirked and allowed himself to be hit, shattering like glass on contact.

Afwerki din't have time to turn around before he fell forward, with a foot on his back. He landed on the ground, Joshua's foot on his back triumphantly. Afwerki quickly turned around to attack but Joshua simply stomped on his stomach, causing him to cough in pain before Joshua bent down and gave a swift karate chop to Afwerki's head. 

Joshua quickly stepped back as Afwerki clutched his head. With a smile, Joshua offered his hand which Afwerki graciously took. 

Afwerki smiled warmly. "I guess you've won brother."

"I suppose I did. Though I still feel you held back."

"If I did, then it wasn't intentional. If so, then my apologies brother. I liked that clone you made."

Joshua scratched his head. "Thanks. I made him dabbling around in lumokinesis among other things. Experimenting with kinetics is fun." he smiled. Joshua put his hand on his chin. "Now, I believe you should heal yourself if needed then heal the others." he looked around to see his bruised and groaning comrades.


Meanwhile, Kola pressed her back against a tree, her breathing shallow. The night was cold and the packing snow reached her booted ankles that shared boarding space with her throwing knives.

If not for the bodysuit her father had made her, she surely would have frozen to death. The nodes on her back glowed a faint orange, signifying that her suit was on heat mode.

Kola waited, listening intently to the environent around her, thankful that the howling Siberian winds had stopped. She sighed, she cracked her knuckles then sprinted out of the cover of the forest and into the vulnerable trail. Kola turned and saw five armed soldiers run towards her, shouting something in Siberian. She frowned and threw five knives at the soldiers, each knife lodging deeply into their necks.

As she continued to sprint down the trail, she saw another soldier jogging down a path that converged with he one she was on.

She dropped to the ground to evade his gunshot and as she did she threw another knife that landed neatly in the center of his forehead. Kola's ears picked up movement and as a result, she army crawled to nearby bushes.

In the bushes, she saw two soldiers enter the path she was on from another path that converged. They looked around, obviously looking for her.

She took her last two knives and threw them while laying down, one lodging itself in the soldier's chest and the other lodging itself in the other soldier's neck. They went down with a thud and Kola quickly sprang out of the bushes and dragged them to the forest.

"Let's see what you have for me boys." Kola said flatly, without any emotion on her face.She quickly and quietly frisked them, looking for anything that was of use. She blinked. No ID card I see and these guns.... She examined the pistols that they used. They lack silencers. Whatever.

Kola exited cover and stealthily walked down the path, her feet making only a slight squish sound due to the snow. It appeared that there were no more soldiers on the path. As she neared the end of trail, she saw a wide field of snow and a giant grey warehouse. Her destination.

Kola peeked her head from the trail and into the field, she turned to see a tank a mere nine meters away from her. She leapt in the air and dove towards the top of the armed vehicle, dodging the explosive the tank had fired from its muzzle. With her superhuman strength she put her hands on the top of the tank, and grunted. The top of the tank came cleanly off then she tossed it away like a mere frisby. She regarded the look of utter terror and shock on the driver's face blankly. She then put her hands on each side of his face then quickly snapped his neck. She leapt out of the tank and ran towards the building. She was completely open to enemy fire.

She saw men enter the field from the left of the building, guns blazing. She gritted her teeth, ran to the left side of the building then waited patiently for them to arrive.  Once the first one came around the corner, she ducked to avoid any possible gunfire, grabbed him then bashed him against the building. She quickly took his gun then fired it at the five other soldiers that came. She quickly frisked them. Let's see what we have here. She smiled a half-smile once she discovered one had a grenade. She quickly scooped it up and ran towards the entrance of the building.

The door was metallic. She wouldn't bother knocking or trying to unlock the door. She walked backwards then took the pin out of the grenade before tossing it towards the door. Kola braced herself with a determined look on her face as she waited for the explosive to detonate. Once it did she leapt forward through the rectangular hole where the door once was. The nodes on her back turned white as she slithered on the ground like a snake, appearing to not possess a spine. Doing this she managed to dodge the men's gunfire. He leapt up at a man, her nodes no longer white then grabbed him and headbutt him forcefully, causing him to slink down tot he cold concrete below. Kola flipped to dodge more gunfire then leapt on a burly man, her legs around his neck. She twisted her legs, snapping the man's neck and causing him to fall to the ground. Kola then jumped onto the wall and forcefully pushed herself off of it, causing her to fly across the large room, breaking a man's skull with an axe kick. Without turning around she grabbed the man who was behind her and flipped him, back first in front of her. Kola then rolled to another man and quickly punched him in the jaw, she then grabbed him and leapt into the air, using him as a meat shield as another man shot at her. She then knocked the man out by hitting him with her human shield.

Kola quickly took a gun near her and expertly shot  the two remaining men in the head. She dropped then gun and walked towards the end of the warehouse. Let's get this over with. 

At the end of the warehouse was a black suitcase. She quickly grabbed it by the handle then walked slowly towards a a mass of boxes that warned of being flammable and explosive. Kola unzipped her bodysuit, reached between her large cleavage and took a box of matches from inside. She lit a match before tossing the box and the match near the clear-plastic covered wooden boxes.

Kola sprinted frantically away from the boxes as she began to smell the smoke. She made it out into the field and was grazed by gunfire as she ran for dear life. Despite how fast she was running, she did not wear a face of terror. As the young woman made it to the path which she entered the field, she did not turn around as the building violently exploded.

She continued to run until she was far, far away from the warehouse and near a village. She dove into the cover of the forest, breathing heavily. She put her right index and middle fingers below her ear. "Father, I retrieved the suitcase. Permission to open?" Kola nodded before removing her fingers and opening the suitcase. Inside was a small slip of white paper that had the word "FIN" written on it in black ink.

The world around Kola began melting into black with green grid-lines.

"Impressive Kola." said a cold, metallic voice.

"Gracias." thanked Kola blankly.

Kola stood in a cold metallic room with a black screen. On the screen was the percent she got on her simulated mission. Kola tilted her head at the ninety-seven percent.

"I would like another mission."

"Kola, that was your third virtual reality mission in the last hour. Since you are not a psychic, it is ill-advised for you to do any more without a break." replied the feminine metallic voice.

Kola nodded. "Then I shall go to my personal gym for more training."

"Very well."

Kola began walking out of the room before she turned around towards the screen. "And may I be referred to as Lady Kola from now on?" she asked a bit tentatively.

"Very well, Lady Kola."

...

Kola threw her four throwing knives at the four moving targets, hitting two in the absolute center and the other two to the left and right of it .

Kola sighed at her failure as leaned on the wall with her eyes closed. She wanted to get stronger, she never wanted to be a damsel in distress again. Her weakness repulsed her.

Despite her angry feelings, her face adopted a warm smile as she thought about a lanky, sandy-blonde haired boy smiling at her with her eyes half closed. Joshua...

She felt her entire soul grow fuzzy with affection.

"Hello, Kola." the boy introduced with a soft-smile looking half asleep.

Kola's body shuddered slightly as she let their meeting replay in her mind.

Kola opened her eyes abruptly. "What...what is this?" she whispered. She stared blankly for a minute, looking at her treadmill, knives and punching bag before sighing and closing her eyes again. Sure enough, he was there in her thoughts again.

...

The young witches all sat in a large circle, each on a tree trunk with the top smoothed out. In the center of the circle was the smiling Gaia who sat upon a tree trunk a foot taller than the others. Accompanying the girls were their animal companions in their infant stages. Most were faithfully perched upon their respective witch's shoulder for security, less were happily observing the new world from their friend's lap and even less were milling about, never straying too far from their companion.

With a soft smile, Felicia gently petted Kajsa who purred softly. Next to her, Amalija's baby tortoise swiftly bit the toe of her boot while she was distracted, resulting in a short yelp and a quick slap to the head from Amalija. Amalija wanted to make sure her tortoise, which she had christened Albertas, got out of the habit on nipping her toes early to ensure he wouldn't do it once he was bigger and stronger.

Gaia sat silent for a moment with a smile of tranquility. She took a moment to soak in the abundance of life around her. It was times like these, looking at the mass of joyful, young life that she created, that had an entire future ahead of them, that made her proud to be the Earth.

Gaia seamlessly snapped out of her trance as she tilted her head slightly. "I see you are all taking a shining to your new friends, my daughters." Gaia closed her eyes as if not doing so would cause her to explode with glee. "It makes me so incredibly happy to see that."  Gaia carefully moved her hair out of her eyes. "Today is another exciting day where I'll teach you something that I'm certain all of you have been eager to learn. Today, I teach you all the art of summoning."

An air of wonder quickly surrounded the area of the forest. Lillian couldn't help her eyes from widening slightly in awe. Summoning?

"So we'll be able to summon animals?" asked Afisa.

"You certainly will." answered Gaia. "Any animal your heart desires. From the ones you've seen to ones that are extinct to ones you haven't even dreamed of!"

Amalija blinked, growing nervous as she tugged on a strand of her medium, light purple hair. "Creatures..we have never dreamed of?" she asked.

"Yes my child. Allow me to explain," Gaia closed her eyes. "As you all are well aware now, in this world we are constantly surrounded by mana and witches are able to control that mana by collecting it in their body. Mana can be used in many ways besides offensively such as using it in their blood to repair and prevent tissue damage. You also know that mana is never destroyed, simply recycled. A skilled which can take the mana around her to manifest animals though this tends to be challenging for beginner witches. The animals today have mana from extinct animals so an easy way to summon is using the energy from them. The more intricate the summon, the more drained the user becomes. Summoning must be precise in order for it to yield the desired results. A creature will always appear but...not necessarily one you'd want to appear." Gaia said, her voice growing stern.

"How do we know what mana to use for a summon?" asked Zoe.

"Excellent question. There's an entire section in your grimoire devoted to detailing what mana combinations yield what creature. It's a fairly lengthy portion of the book but it is highly beneficial."

Oooh, cool. More reading. Zoe thought unironically.

Gaia clapped her hands together giddily. "Now, time for some demonstrations. We'll start with the normal, though definitely not mundane." Gaia's wand slid from her sleeve as she twirled around with her eyes closed, thin streaks of green and brown light coming from the dirt, leaves and wood that surrounded them. Gaia stopped spinning and moved her wand as if it were a conductor's baton. The light swirled around each other before converging in a mass of white light that quickly grew to seven inches before the light suddenly faded and the animal was revealed to be a light brown squirrel.

Felicia softly smiled at the rodent.

The squirrel quickly scampered towards Isabella's baby cobra which had coiled around her arm lovingly. It flicked its tongue out at the rodent menacingly. Isabella kicked her foot warningly near the rodent. "Go on, shoo!" she said quietly yet sternly, causing the busy-tailed rodent to run away towards Hélène.

Hélène leered at the squirrel once it ran to her feet then looked eagerly at the defenseless and flightless bird that was perched on the artistic witch's shoulder. She took out her wand at pointed it at the squirrel. "Don't you dare..." she warned darkly. 

Feeling unwanted and hungry, the squirrel scampered off into the woods that surrounded the girls.

"Now for something a bit more fantastical." Gaia announced before she twirled around, streaks of colored light streaking towards her from the trees, dirt and wood but at higher numbers. She pointed her wand towards the ground and three black streaks came from deep within the ground. She waved her wand causing the lights to rapidly swirl around each other before converging into white then growing three feet. Standing where the light had been was a strange, brown, furry creature that looked like a cross between a squirrel and a cat. The creature had yellow, cat-like eyes, a bushy squirrel like tail, cat whiskers and a pouch that resembled that of a marsupial.

Háoi Mi squinted. "What's that?" she asked.

"This, my child, is a brownie. They are rare creatures that are talked about in English folktales." Gaia gently explained.

Lillian blinked in shock. My father told me bedtime stories about brownies but...I never thought I'd get to see one for real.

The brownie sniffed rapidly while standing in its original spot and looking around the girls. Its eyes trained on Zoe who waved at it with a smile before it bowed humbly at her and scampered off into the trees.

"Now for something that might frighten some of you." Gaia held out her hands as red, green and black  streaks of light flew towards her from the trees. She spun around, the light twirling with her before she pointed towards the ground, causing the lights to zoom towards the spot she pointed at which was two feet in front of her before converging into a white light that quickly grew six and a half feet tall before revealing itself to be a standing brown bear.

Despite the bear being docile, nearly all the girls jumped back in fear. The exceptions were Xaviera, who got on all fours, reared her behind and hissed, Felicia who simply widened her eyes slightly in and Afisa who merely smiled.

Gaia chuckled softly. "Run along now, I think you've spooked the girls." she patted the bear on its back, sending it running on all fours into the forest.

Gaia shifted her gaze upwards. "What to summon now?" she wondered aloud before smiling. "Now for something I believe you'l thoroughly enjoy." Gaia twirled around, causing many blue and white lights from the sky and green and dark blue lights from he depths of the forest to streak around her. She stopped twirling and waved her wand as if she was a conductor, clumping and separating the lights before they finally converged into a white light, growing into the shape of a horse before it revealed its form, causing the girls to gasp.

In the center of the circle near Gaia was a majestic white unicorn that swished its tail. It snorted and regarded the girls with disdain.

Zoe's mouth morphed into a large grin. "Holy crap..." she breathed out loud.

"Oh my God! I absolutely must paint it!" Hélène squealed.

The unicorn flipped its beautiful mane before majestically leaping into the sky and flying off.

Amalija couldn't help but smiling a goofy smile as the unicorn flied away.

"Now, for a summon that taxes even me." Gaia stated.

Bisera's eyes widened. "A summon that makes you tired?"

Gaia nodded. "Yes." she said gravely. "Guardian spirits of animated materials that are only summoned in times of great stress also known as Golems. It's highly likely that if things turn sour, they will also help you in the fight against Juan. I shall summon one now." Gaia dropped to her knees so suddenly that Bisera had sprung up in alarm before realizing Gaia was okay.

The area darkened as a glowing, bright blue rune circle manifested around Gaia. As she spoke, thunder-less green lightning struck around her. "O elements, I request your aid to protect me from harm, to make sure no ill intent against me goes realized. Wood, dependable, plentiful and abundant: stretch your branches to shield my valuable and vulnerable heart." she chanted. A myriad of green, brown, and yellow streaks of light rushed into the area and swirled around Gaia.

Háoi Mi watched, growing dizzy due to the sheer number of lights and their incredible speed.

Gaia rose slowly as pink lightning flashed once in front of her. The area brightened as a foreboding figure rose where the final lightning bolt had struck. It was eighteen feet tall and made out of branch-y wood that looked slightly skeletal. In the openings was an eerie blackness. Despite the skeletal appearance of the wood, it was bulky, with long, fat fingers and a large head with two, soul-piercing circular yellow eyes. The head slightly resembled a skull and was brown and black. All along the golem's body were thick-looking vines.

Gaia took a deep breath as she held her hand out in front of her, her arm at the massive creature's side. All the girls regarded the creature in utter silence, even their familiars dared not make a sound.

"This is the Wood Golem." introduced Gaia.

Gaia poked the Golem on the back, causing it to burst into yellow lights that flew into Gaia's body as she quickly sank down onto the stump she was sitting on, making her glow faintly.

After a few seconds, she smiled once more. "So, any questions?" Gaia asked.

Lillian raised her hand shyly. 

"Yes Lillian?"

"Um, Gaia? You said beginner witches wouldn't be able to use the mana around her to summon animals, which you demonstrated. Since most of us are new to refined witchcraft, could you show us the other method?"

Gaia's eye widened. "Oh, of course! Silly me. Thank you for reminding me!" Gaia said with a smile.

Lillian turned away and mumbled, "You're welcome."

Gaia clapped her hands and a wooden cauldron rose in front of her. Gaia whistled, causing a squirrel, a chipmunk, an owl and a small a dog to run in front of her. "If you don't wish to kill the animals outright then it is crucial for them to exchange mana with another thing. This process won't hurt them at all." Gaia explained. "Though it is a bit tricky." Gaia flicked her wand at the cauldron, an animal and a tree in rapid alteration until there was a swirling mass of green mana in the cauldron. She pointed to the cauldron with her wand. "O majestic beast, I summon thee." she said, causing a large bat to quickly flutter out of the cauldron and into the trees. 

Gaia smiled. "Your grimoires detail more combinations." 

Isabella folded her arms and nodded with a smile while Zoe and Lillian turned to each other, positively beaming with excitement.

...

Each of the boys were sitting in a cold, completely white classroom in a wing of the castle far from the dormitory wing. The boys had just arrived and observed the room around them. In front of the class was an old, lanky man with white wiry hair who was dressed in a long, white lab coat. With a black marker he wrote his name, Dr. Eckenheim, on the white board. 

He turned around with his hands behind his back. The expression behind his black framed glasses was bored and stern. "Greetings class."

The class replied with a "hello", "hey", "greetings", or "hi" all except Gojo.

"Today, I will be teaching you, among other things, the fundamentals of your power, psychokinesis. In essence-"

The motion sensor door to the class room whizzed open, causing all of the boys to swivel their heads to the left of Dr. Eckenheim to see Juan walking in with a smile.

Dr. Eckenheim immediately straightened and stood tall. "Lord Carlos!" he exclaimed. "What a pleasant surprise! I was just about to teach your pupils the fundamentals of psychokinesis!"

Juan chuckled softly. "I'm well aware of what you were about to do." he waved a hand. "I shall be taking over their lesson here. You are dismissed."

Dr. Eckenheim blinked before bowing and scurrying out the classroom, with the automatic door quickly opening and closing.

Juan walked to the center of the classroom and smiled his crooked smile as he faced his students, hands behind his back.

"I need no introduction." he began. "You all know me." he chuckled. "I am your glorious teacher, Master Juan." he stated as he stroked his goatee.

"I bet most of you are curious as to why and how your powers work. In addition to just peace of mind, knowing how your abilities work will help you in using them effectively." Juan turned around and wrote "PSYCHOKINESIS/TELEKINESIS"  largely on the white board.

"We'll start something simple. What does "tele" mean?" asked Juan. He pointed to Joshua who had his hand raised.

Joshua lowered his raised hand. "The prefix tele means distance, especially regarding "transmission over a distance"." he answered.

"Good, good. Now, can someone tell me what "psyco" means?"

"Crazy." answered Carmelo without raising his hand.

Joshua raised his hand again, prompting Juan to point at him. "Yes, Joshua?"

"Psycho actually is a form of the word "psyche", a word relating to the soul, the mind or the branch of science known as psychology." Joshua answered.

"Feh, teacher's pet." grumbled Gojo.

Juan chuckled. "There is nothing wrong with Joshua being smart and receiving this lesson. He'll be better off if he absorbs all the information because he'll be able to wield his psychokinesis with terrifying effectiveness."

Gojo growled as he pounded on the table. "He ain't gonna become stronger than me!"

Juan smiled. "That is a very possible outcome. Natural talent can only go so far."

"But look at him! I can snap him like a twig!" Gojo barked. Several of his classmates such as Afwerki, Andy, Zack and Luuk regarded him with disdain at best and disgust at worst.

"Ah, but remember Gojo, this isn't some street brawl." Juan tapped his bald head. "The battle we're embroiled in is determined by intelligence. You're all capable of advanced psychokinesis but you'll have to train hard and pay attention. If not...well, I'll have Kola clean you up off the ground. It's the decent thing to do." he chuckled darkly.

Juan turned around and underlined the "kinesis" in "telekinesis" and "psychokinesis". He turned to face his students again. "And kinesis means motion. So in essence the words psychokinesis and telekenesis combined mean to move or transmit matter with one's mind."

Juan pointed his index finger towards the cieling. "Now, let me tell you that psychokinesis is a matter of biology as well, not just physics and I'm not just referring to agrokinesis. The connection between your powers and biology is pretty simple once you think about it, you are among the few in the planet who can use your minds as direct weapons. This is due to your brain of course. Through my many years of research, I've deduced that psychokinesis is due to a mutation. This mutation is a point somatic genetic mutation that occurs in and affects the brain during extremely early development, with most psychokinetics experiencing the mutation while still deep inside their mothers' womb. The mutation affects the brain, creating a microscopic fleshy region deep in the cerebrum. This region allows us psychics to build a reservoir of charged particles harmlessly in our bodies to then direct it to objects but more on that in a bit. The mutation also stimulates rapid brain development and all psychokinetics are shown to have an extremely high potential for ludicrous intelligence. Unfortunately, this development tends to forsake some other crucial development so a baby that is already predetermined to be weak will most likely die due to the mutation. Medical advances have greatly alleviated this however. As far as we know, psychokinesis is in no way hereditary, meaning a user cannot pass it on to their offspring. I did have one student who was able to make a solution that caused a gene to manifest in his gametes, allowing the mutation to occur with certainty in his offspring but the results were....unfortunate to say the least and it gradually grew weaker over time."

Juan folded his arms. "So as it is now, you cannot pass your powers onto your children and it will be extremely unlikely that the mutation will occur in them as well." Juan chuckled. "Only if we were in a completely new world would hereditary psychokinesis be a possibility. As it is, the chances for psychokinesis are pitifully minuscule at 1/3846259469. As much as I love evolution, it's not possible that our trait can be selected. No matter how hard they train, the average person will not be able to use psychokinesis. Sure, you can give them a drug that might encourage growth of the region in the cerebrum that my scientists have dubbed the psychodatta but the results are erratic and tend to be pretty destructive." 

Juan began to pace at the front of the class. "Mammals are the only creatures known to display psychokinetic potential. It's a bit harder to track psychokinesis in animals but so far, the most adept wielders are humans and dolphins. Close, small animal companions have been known to develop limited psychokinetic potential though we're not one-hundred percent sure why yet. The only sure-fire way to disable a psychic, besides killing them anyway, is to strip them of the ability to consciously use their brain, typically done through lobotomy. You know this and luckily your enemies don't. Unfortunately for us we know little about them and even if we did posses more information on the witches it would do us little good since they spit in the face of scientific laws and theories. The best you can do is pay attention so you know how to use your powers to the absolute maximum. You chosen ten are by no means the only psychics in the world but you are easily the ones who show or have shown the most potential. Each of you has already displayed some sort of aptitude for psychokinesis before coming here. Most psychokinetics don't even realize they have the power and must train for their abilities to come to the surface."

Juan turned around and wrote the words "pyrokinesis", "hydrokinesis" and "aerokinesis" on the board. "These are the three fundamental subsets of psychokinesis and must be understood to advance in your training. I do not expect you to quickly master each of these abilities but I fully demand that you grasp them."

Andy swallowed nervously.

"First and foremost, finishing my explanation of basic psychokinesis which all of you have grasped. It's essentially atomically and electrical due to the phenomenon known as electromagnetism. As stated, the psychodatta allows you to store vast amounts of charges in your body but it is also important to know that it keeps it from escaping into the ground below, at least when you are successfully influencing something with your mind. The psychodatta also allows them to direct said charges to push and pull a distant object's electrons, allowing them to create a "charge cloud" that can lift or move the object. Beginning psychokinetics aren't able to effectively lift a single object, with surrounding matter also being lifted in the cloud. As they advance and grow more experienced, they will be able to pinpoint single objects to move and be able to lift heavier objects and move objects far away from them. Most psychics have trouble using most forms of psychokinesis underwater. By rapidly moving the atoms in the air they are able to hit objects about or even create explosions." Juan held out a hand towards Sebastion who was sitting in the front of the class with a smug look. "Sebastion here is probably the most adept at psychokinesis in its raw, elementless form."

Juan took a spoon out of his pocket and slowly bent it backwards. "This is the effect of basic psychokinesis as is this..." Juan opened his hand causing the spoon to float in front of his face. The spoon then suddenly split vertically in half. "That is separating molecules on a fairly large scale. Using your powers effectively doesn't mean just making it bigger, it also means making it smaller, more fine. Like so." The class looked in wonder as the spoon quickly and silently disintegrated into small, fine grains of metal. It then morphed into a sharp blade which flew onto the rack where the markers were kept.

"Now, onto nature shifts, when you adjust your pyrokinesis to manipulate a specific "element" instead of objects as a whole. You should soon be able to perform nature shifts on a dime. First off, we have pyrokinesis, the nature shift of choice for Eziz and Carmelo." he stated as a large blue flame suddenly manifested in front of the old psychic. Carmelo bashfully turned his head away.

"Simply put, pyrokinesis is achieved by exciting subatomic particles to such a degree that they ignite. The best way to utilize pyrokinesis is to use the hydrogen in the air, usually by swiftly, and often subconsciously, wetting the target before you begin to excite the electrons. As some of you have probably already surmised, hydrokinetics are often very good at pyrokinesis. Most psychokinetics find this to be one of the easiest nature shifts due to the fact that you are simply exciting particles but as shown by you, not many of you have exhibited this ability yet. It's not that it's hard, it's just that if you already know to use normal psychokinesis and/or you already have a nature shift that you use, it's often overlooked. Pyrokinesis is a favorite due to how flashy it is but it should be noted that it is a very technical nature shift and that mastery tends to be difficult but it yields many benefits. You may have noticed that I informed you how to ignite objects and not how to simply manifest fire. Some psychics ignite the tip of their finger and work from there but it's very easy just to ignite the air around you once you get the hang of it then it is simply a matter of nurturing and controlling the flame." Juan's blue flame disappeared as soon as it appeared before the students noticed that the floor was covered with three inches of water and was slowly rising.

"Next up is hydrokinesis which is also simple. We are constantly surrounded by water, even if we fail to realize it. With this is mind, we can clump the water vapor molecules in the air together to create liquid water which we can use offensively or defensively. The more water there is already available, the easier it is to utilize hydrokinesis. You're in luck if you catch a witch on a beach but you may consider utilizing psychokinesis or possibly an alternate nature shift if you are confronted by a witch in a desert. Hydrokinesis also involves altering the molecular state of water from solid to liquid to gas to plasma."

Andy sighed in annoyance as the water quickly seemed to recede back into the grand (but in reality simply changing into water vapor), wanting to enjoy getting his feet wet. Manic similarly pouted. Andy's eyes then widened as a sizable gust of wind began blowing from he back of the classroom, blowing his hair back. He instinctively clutched Manic to make sure that his companion didn't go flying towards the back of the room. The brown-haired boy looked around to see everyone clutching on to their desks as a high-pitched whistling sound was heard.

Juan laughed. "And now," He shouted "is aerokinesis!" the howling wind simmered down to a strong breeze. "Okay, I don't want to shout the rest of this lesson so I'll kill the winds a bit. You're welcome. Aerokinesis is deceptively simple but has proved time and time again to be the bane of every psychokinetic's training. Aerokinesis is manipulating the air around you to create things such as wind. Often though, many will just use normal psychokinesis and try to pass that off as aerokinesis. True aerokinesis isn't as cut and dry as hydrokinesis and pyrokinesis and as such it is the gateway to advanced nature shifts. Aerokinesis is hard to explain and often it simply sounds like I'm repeating the instructions to basic psychokinesis." Juan chuckled and sighed as he shook his head. "I bet Gaia would say something like this but you simply have to let the wind enter your being, be one with the wind then you shall unlock the secrets to aerokinesis." Juan said before he hooted as he held his sides and the breeze died down.

Juan rose and wiped a single tear from his eye with his finger. "Zack and Akmal can tap into aerokinesis due to the speed that they exhibit but currently our most adept aerokinetic is Joshua."

Gojo sneered.

"Now, any questions?" asked Juan. He pointed to Carmelo who raised his hand low. "Yes, Carmelo?"

"I'm able to use psychokinesis and..pyrokinesis pretty good without knowing about the science behind it so what I'm asking is, is this lesson needed?"

"Oh absolutely boy. Sure, you can do it well now, it's natural but tomorrow, today's well won't be good enough. Your attacks need to be faster, stronger, more concentrated, deadlier. Just toying around and experimenting won't help. You must know, and knowing is half the battle. The other half is using that knowledge and applying it to your powers which I guarantee will help them improve tremendously." Juan explained.

Zack raised his hand, prompting Juan to call on him.

"Pardon me master if this is a stupid question but, you said our power is based on electrical charges correct?" asked Zack.

"On the subatomic particle level, yes." answered Juan.

"Well, what's the difference between that and my electrokinesis?" he asked.

Juan smiled. "Good question. Now you tell me, what is the difference?" he asked.

Zack blinked then nervously looked at his classmates for support. Akmal gave him a shrug and Joshua and Afwerki gave him a soft smile. Zack scratched his head. "Psychokinesis is influencing things using charged particles, while my electrokinesis is using the charge itself."

Juan smiled. "Yes, very good. The reason I have you run is to generate even more electricity. Most of the charge is stored in your body but if you gather enough, there will be excess and using that you can get used to the large external charges to the point where you will be able to create them stationary."

Zack nodded with a smile before frowning and scratching his head. How did I know that? I thought I was an idiot...

Joshua raised his hand. "What about me? How does my telepathy work?" asked an intrigued Joshua after Juan had acknowledged him.

Juan sighed ruefully. "From all the information that had been gathered, your brain specifically works like an advanced electronic apparatus, able to detect and decode the signals from other people's brains. How exactly you are able to do this and why at the moment you are limited to only a few select times is extraordinary complicated and it's a little beyond even me. The ESP section of our powers has very little information compared to the kinetics. I'll tell you this for now boy, you're special."

Joshua nodded slightly. So, I'm special even among them...

Carmelo raised his hand once more.

"Trying to steal your roommate's award for most inquisitive eh?" Juan said with a half smile.

"Just wonderin', are there any side effects to using psychokinesis?" Carmelo asked.

Juan smiled. "What's wrong? Are you afraid?"

Carmelo's feac darkened. "I'm not afraid of anything, 'specially not this. I said "I was just wonderin'"."

Juan chuckled. "No need to be so uptight about it. As I already informed you all, prolonged use of strenuous psychokinesis will make your head hurt and cause you to pass out. The more you train, the more power you can dish out but we are all mortals, we have limits. One of our greatest weaknesses against the witches is our own limited stamina. Besides that...it's amusing that you mentioned "crazy" earlier."

Carmelo raised his eyebrows.

"It's rare but commonplace enough among us psychics that it is notable. It is said that psychics who grow extremely powerful let their power take over them. The awesome psychic power slowly eating away at their brain until they are effectively insane, unable to think rationally, with their memories of life distorted to a horrifying degree. Unlike psychics who have lost their mind due to lobotomy, these characters aren't empty shells, they are animated to a dangerous degree. We call the process psychodegradation. Individuals who have suffered from psychodegradation are extremely powerful, being among the most powerful psychics we have ever seen."Juan explained.

Carmelo took a shuddering breath as he began to sweat. "So if we grow too powerful, we'll go crazy?"

Juan shook his head. "No, not necessarily. The key is to not let the power take over you, to make sure your mind is strong enough for the power you seek, to make sure your body gains the power and not the power simply gains your body." Juan smiled and pointed a thumb towards his chest. "Just take a look at me. I'm by far the strongest person in the room and in my years psychodegradation has never been a threat."

"How do you know when psychodegradation starts?" asked Carmelo.

"Oh believe me, someone will tell you." answered Juan. "They'll note the change in personality, ambitions."

Carmelo nodded. The room was silent for a bit.

"Well, no more questions? Then prepare yourselves, we're going out." said Juan.

Eziz raised his eyebrows. "Out, master?"

"Yes, to eat. These past few days have been taxing on all of us and we should indulge in something enjoyable while we can." stated Juan. "We'll be going to a mall. Each of you gets fifty dollars and I'll make sure you all eat." The room burst into hollers of joy.'

...

Akmal and Luuk walked down the giant mall, their eyes full of wonder.

"Where are we headed Akmal?" asked Luuk.

"There's a sporting goods store a bit further down. I wanted to see what they had inside and buy a few things so me, you and Zack could play games back at the castle."

Luuk smiled. "That sounds fun. Zack isn't that bad of a boy. He's certainly better than Carmelo."

Akmal laughed. "Yeah, you sure got that right. I mean, Carmelo just seems like he's trying a bit too hard to be cool. He's so cool he's cold. If he were just a bit more friendly then I think I'd like him a lot more."

Luuk folded his arms. "Even if he was more friendly I still wouldn't approve of him. His heart is dark, full of sin. People like him wouldn't be welcome in my world."

Akmal swallowed and looked away. He quickly changed the topic. "Soo, how was sparring today?"

"It was fine. Andy didn't prove much of a challenge."

"Oooh, Andy!" exclaimed Akmal as he pounded a fist in his hand. "We got to get him in on one of our games too! The dude's actually pretty athletic if you watch him."

"Yes but he rather not move much. He's a sloth if you ask me but we could test him out." stated Luuk nonchalantly.

"Screw it! We should get everyone to play!" Akmal's eyes twinkled. "Just think of the challenge, the rush, the thrill of victory!"

Luuk's eyes darkened. "Out of the question. Carmelo? Gojo? Sebastion!?"  he said darkly.

Akmal winced. "Ooh, yeah. Forgot about Mr. Crazy-pants and Mr. Creepy-pants."

Luuk sighed as he folded his arms. "Besides, aren't you forgetting that Afwerki and Joshua don't partake in unneeded physical activity?"

Akmal sighed. "Right."

Luuk smiled. "Cheer up. I'm sure me and Zack can give you enough of a challenge."

Akmal smiled cockily. "You two versus me? Maybe if I'm missing a limb!"

Luuk flashed his teeth. "Mark my words, I'll fix you friend. I'll wipe your hubris clean off of you."

Akmal threw out his arms with a smile. "Hey, you just have to beat me to do that."

Luuk folded his arms. "Challenge accepted."

As the two entered the store, Luuk spoke to his roommate. "How did you like Master Juan's lesson? You seemed a lot more attentive that usual."

"You know, I think I kind of liked it. It affected me directly and Master Juan has such a presence that I actually wanted to listen to what he had to say." Akmal revealed with a soft smile.

Luuk smiled with his eyes closed. "I'm  glad to hear that."

The two had exited the store with a basketball, a football, a soccer ball, a baseball and a baseball bat.

...

Afwerki and Eziz continued to lounge around the food court, looking at the stores and myriad of people passing. Afwerki smiled at the exotic people, knowing that despite them not interacting with him, that he had seen people from a far-off land.

Eziz was eating his second McDonald's Big Mac, his face full of fascination. He turned to his friend Afwerki who was slightly shorter than him. "What did you say this was again?"

"A hamburger. A big Mac to be exact." answered Afwerki with a smile, looking ahead at the family who was exiting the shoe store.

Eziz swallowed and examined the rest of his sandwich. "Big Mac, huh?" he smiled. "It's delicious!"

"It certainly is brother. America has such great cuisine. When I came here with grandfather I just couldn't get enough!"

Eziz raised an eyebrow. "You've been to America before?"

"Yes, as part of my travels around the world with my grandfather. It's  a wonderful country. Although I'm aware that it has its problems, America is one of the countries that houses many different cultures in peace. When I become ruler, I'll make sure everyone is accepted and that there is freedom!" Afwerki stated triumphantly.

"I'm trying to imagine you in a suit and tie." Eziz chuckled.

Afwerki folded his arms and raised his eyebrows with a playful smile. "Well imagine harder brother. It will be done if I work hard enough and appeal to my people, I shall lead my country to prosperity." Afwerki chuckled and scratched his head. "Though to be truhtful, I certainly still have a long way to go. You have a bit of time to prepare seeing me in a suit."

Eziz took a sad bit from his hamburger. "At least someone will bring happiness to their country."

Afwerki put an arm around his friend's shoulder. "Listen to me, the time will come soon when people will look at you in reverence. Look to the past briefly in order to see what was done wrong then walk forward."

Eziz nodded solemnly. "I liked...Master Juan's lesson. It explained to me how my powers work. It makes me seem less like a mythical monster and more like something grounded in reality." Eziz sighed and closed his eyes. "That doesn't stop the fact that burning is so natural to me."

Afwerki smiled and pointed a finger. "Remember, flames can be used to sear wounds, there are always two sides to the things that we are given: a good side and a bad side. You decide which side to use."

...

Carmelo stood near the food court, leaning on a wall. He stared at a kissing couple in sad fascination then turned to watch as a man and woman who were holding hands walked through the section of the mall he was in. He looked at the back of his iPod wistfully as a John Legend song played.

He jumped forward in surprise as Gojo put one of his thick arms around Carmelo's shoudler

"Ay, sorry 'bout earlier. I didn't mean to disturb ya' nap."

"Apology accepted Gojo." replied Carmelo flatly. "Now get off."

...

Joshua browsed through the games of a store, with Kola at his side, smiling slightly.

"So, how was your day today?" asked Kola.

"It was pretty good. I got to learn how these powers work which is fascinating." answered Joshua as he examined the box of Game of Life.

"That's cool. Sometimes I wish I had psychic powers." stated Kola.

"Well, Juan says they're not hereditary. Besides," Joshua put down the box and looked at Kola's chest. "You kind of have powers of your own that other people want." he said.

Kola folded her arms over her chest then looked away. "Oh, stop it."

Joshua noted amusedly how many glances Kola was granted.

Kola then looked at Joshua's blackened right eye. She kept herself from touching his face tenderly. "But your eye though. Tell, me what actually happened to it?" she asked softly with unmasked concern.

Joshua shook his head. "It's nothing Kola, honestly."

Kola frowned. "Don't give me any of that. Spit it out, you gain nothing from being tight-lipped about it."

Joshua blew a breath from his nose. "It was from Gojo. He punched me in the eye after I left my room."

"Why's that?"

"He was angry that you kissed me. He said he was the one to-"

Kola laughed. "As if! It wasn't like it was my idea to kiss my savior!" she said. That isn't a lie.... Kola swallowed as the two became silent.

"Looking for a game to play with Carmelo?" asked Kola as she walked with Joshua further into the store.

"Yes, I believe it will be a good bonding experience." 

"Why go through all the trouble?" asked Kola.

"Because he's my roommate and I still feel we have a bit to go before we're good friends and he can trust me with everything." 

"Why does he need to trust you?" asked Kola.

Joshua blinked. "Well, it's nice to be trusted. It's good if he trusts me due to the ordeal with the witches and I believe he needs a friend, one that he can truly trust."

Kola frowned. as she scooted near him. "How can you tell when someone needs a friend?"

"When they seem to have a guard up. When they're "cold" if you will." Joshua answered.

Kola nervously walked closer, her heart racing. "And what about...how do you know...if...s-s-someone n-needs...."

Joshua turned around, with his eyebrows raised slightly. "Hm?"

Kola shook her head. "Forget it!"

Joshua shrugged with a smile as he browsed through some more games. Joshua frowned. "Besides," he said more to himself then Kola, though she still listened attentively anyway. "Due to his inaction this morning, I'm not quite sure where we stand. Bonding might help us become actual friends who watch out for each other." The two were silent again.

"Joshua?" asked Kola, her face red.

"Yes, Kola?"

"Can you read minds right now?"

"No."

"Anytime soon?"

"I don't think so."

Kola sighed silently in relief before Joshua exclaimed "Aha!" and took out a chest box from a bin. The pieces, according to the box, were made out of glass. "It's the perfect game! I'm a genius at chess and I bet Carmelo will love it once he gets the hang of it!"

Kola smiled. I'm glad that he's happy. He looks like a little puppy. She followed Joshua to the front of the store. "Um, Joshua?"

"Yes, Kola?"

"Do you think...? Well, could we get a game too? I mean, for you and me?"

Joshua smirked. "I don't see why not."

Kola frowned. "Don't get the wrong idea! I'm only asking because I want to beat you!"

Joshua chuckled softly. "Just don't punch me if you lose."

"I won't make any promises. I'll try to patch you up though." Kola said flatly. She turned to look for games on the rack. Her eyes widened in horror. Not Twister! I'll probably scare him off that way. Oh, how about this one? Kola picked up a box of Scrabble. "Is this one good?"

Joshua smiled widely. "It sure is! I love Scrabble! Me and a very close friend play Scrabble all the time. I have to warn you though, I won't be easily beat."

Kola smiled softly as Joshua began to inform her of the origins of Scrabble.

Chapter Eleven: BeastsEdit

"C'mon Xaviera, it's time to wake up." said Afisa as she gently shook the feral girl in order to rouse her since the sunlight and the noises her sisters were making weren't doing the job.

The small girl groaned and shifted, causing her sister to shake her again, coaxing her into consciousness.

Xaviera closed her eyes tighter. "Tired. Sleep." she groaned in annoyance.

Afisa became more forceful in her shaking, Xaviera's entire small body jerking to and fro. "Wake up now Xaviera." she commanded in a stern voice. "Almost everyone else is awake."

Xaviera opened one of her eyelids revealing a  brown, angry eye. "I no like everyone else." she rebutted.

Afisa sighed and threw up her hands as she turned around. "Then I guess you'll just miss out on breakfast...."

Xaviera leapt out of the bed like a rocket and landed on all fours near Afisa. Afisa turned around to see Xaviera bearing a wide smile, saliva dripping onto the ground. "Breakfast!?" Xaviera cried.

Afisa nodded. "Yep, you just need to get changed and-"

Before the teenage witch could even finish her sentence, the young witch had thrown off her tattered black nightgown and had scrambled to the chest where the witches' garbs were held while she was stark naked, garnering perplexed and disgusted looks from her sisters.

With the exception of Isabella, all the girls were awake and tiredly changing into their daily attire. As usual, Amalija and Hàoi Mi were wide awake with the latter being very conversational and the former being extremely alert. The chatter and groans of the girls blended naturally with the buzzing and chirping of Gaia's forest.

After Xaviera had forcefully pulled her dress over her head and placed her hat crookedly upon her head, she saw Bisera approaching her, causing her to smile.

Bisera smelled faintly of citrus like she usually did in the morning. She tilted her head. "Good morning Xaviera." she greeted in her sing-song voice.

"Good morning Bisera!" greeted Xaviera, attempting to match the melodic quality of Bisera's happy voice but falling short.

Bisera bent down, her hands on her knees. "Are you excited for today?" she asked with a smile.

Xaviera nodded vigorously while saying "Mhm, mhm!". "Momma teach us fun things and we get to use magic! Best of all, I get to eat whenever want!" she exclaimed.

Bisera giggled. "I'm glad you're so happy. Say, want to sit by me and Afisa at breakfast?"

Xaviera jumped up in delight. "Yeah!" she shouted.

Isabella groaned angrily as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. Can't a girl get some beauty sleep around here?

Wearing only one boot, Xaviera scampered to Afisa on all fours. "Guess what, guess what!? I sit with you at breakfast!" she exclaimed.

Afisa smiled. "That's terrific. Maybe I can do your hair."

Xaviera clutched her hair defensively.

"You can change it back of course." reassured Afisa which gained her a toothy smile from a gracious Xaviera.

Despite the biting incident a few days prior, Afisa was still determined to be nice to Xaviera and be her friend as she taught the feral girl some etiquette which would hopefully make her more approachable. Afisa noticed how everyone seemed to scorn Xaviera and took it upon herself to be the girl's friend, even when the young girl was being difficult. Bisera, due to her being close to Afisa and liking everyone, was also friends with Xaviera. In turn, Xaviera enjoyed this relationship because the two (along with Isabella and Gaia) were the only ones who treated her nicely and the frequently tried to gussie her up, making her "look like a flower" which she greatly enjoyed.

The girls were dressed now and patiently waiting for Gaia and Ankur to arrive.

Zoe turned to Lillian and saw her shudder while biting her nails, her eyes wide.

"What's the matter?" Zoe asked. The other girls had noticed Lillian's behavior and turned to her, all eyes in the wooden tree-house trained on her.

Lillian swallowed and pointed to the ceiling, causing the entire group of girls to see a juvenile jellyfish floating near the ceiling.

Isabella out her hands on her hips and raised her eyebrows. "A jellyfish?" she asked blankly.

Xaviera gleefully giggled. "That's my familiar, Swimmy!" she exclaimed.

Zoe put a comforting hand on Lillian's shoulder. "Lillian, come on, it's fine, it won't hurt you."

Lillian shook her head nervously. "I-I've always h-h-h-hated jellies." she shuddered.

"Aw, don't worry, it's friendly and harmless." Isabella smiled.

Felicia regarded the magically air-breathing sea creature with wary eyes. Friendly? Possibly but harmless? Most certainly not. That's a box jelly, the most venomous creature in the world.

...

Eziz sat down in a chair of the long, rectangular lunch-table and carefully placed his plastic tray on the table as to not upset his breakfast sandwich, orange juice and apple. He looked across from him to see Zack who was smiling as always. Zack had a bigger breakfast than Eziz, with a breakfast sandwich as well as hash browns, buttered toast and oatmeal.

"Good morning." greeted Eziz in his deep voice.

Zack looked up, smiling. "Oh, good morning Eziz! Howdy?"

Eziz frowned in confusion before his eyes lit up. "Oh! I'm doing fine. Did you sleep well?"

Zack nodded. "I sure did! I sleep like a log lemme' tell ya', usually when I hit the bed I am out!" Zack then chuckled as he scratched his head sheepishly."Though Andy tells me that I snore. I'll try my best to work on it, wouldn't want my roommate getting annoyed, er, more annoyed with me."

"That's very commendable of you." complemented Eziz before taking a bite out of his breakfast sandwich and eyeing the partially devoured contents.

Zack blushed and scratched his heads. "Aw shucks, it's just the right thing to do."

"Yes but it is easy to do the improper thing. Take Gojo for example." Eziz stated somewhat bitterly.

Zack sighed as he hung his head. "I hear ya'." he suddenly looked up, his eyes wide in shock. "Wait, you don't like em' either!?"

Eziz shook his head grimly. "I do not care for him. How aggressive and impulsive he is. I fear for our safety once we all start going on missions."

Zack ran his hand through his hair. "Man o' man I didn't even think of that..." 

Zack looked up to see Afwerki exiting from one of the breakfast stations and happily waved his hand in the brightly lit cafeteria. Afwerki impressively raised a hand with a smile, having no trouble carrying the tray single-handedly.

Afwerki sat down next to his roommate, Eziz and smiled as he placed his tray down. "Good morning my brothers." he greeted.

"Howdy Afwerki." greeted Zack.

"Good morning." greeted Eziz.

"I wonder what today entails." stated Afwerki, dipping his doughnut in coffee.

"Probably more training." answered Eziz swiftly before he equally as swiftly attacked his breakfast again, the juices flowing onto his tongue.

"Hm, did you like training yesterday?" asked Afwerki.

Zack smiled widely. "Yeah, it was fun!"

Afwerki raised an eyebrow. "You seemed pretty tuckered out from it two days prior."

"Yeah but yesterday was different!" exclaimed Zack.

Afwerki turned to Eziz. "And how did you like training?"

"It was interesting."answered Eziz absently.

"I myself enjoyed training, Joshua is an excellent partner." Afwerki looked at Zack again. "Oh yeah, I never asked you, what's your home like?"

Zack smiled. "Oh, it's great! A big red barn and a pretty big house along with a big ol' field. It doesn't take too long to get to the town and school. The town itself is pretty small but it has everything we need so we don't really need to travel." he explained.

"Have you traveled before?" inquired Afwerki.

Zack folded his arms and looked up, pondering. "Mmm..no. Stayed put all my life, well until Master Juan found me that is. What about you?"

"I traveled to many far-off lands in the journeys with my grandfather to learn about the world and its people. The treks were long but worthwhile in the long-run." Afwerki answered.

Zack's eyes practically popped out of his head. "Whoa! How far we talkin'?" he asked.

"Across the globe. We practically saw it all." Afwerki happily revealed with slight pride.

"Like you," began Eziz as he looked at Zack "I didn't travel very far. When I was young I roamed the land with my father, following him as he set up his shop in various places but as I grew older I became more and more stationary, culminating in me spending four years in a fiery crater."

"But now thanks to Master Juan, both of you can see the world." offered Afwerki hopefully.

Zack grinned. "Yeah!"

The trio did not notice Joshua exit the line and were equally blind to notice him until he was seated to the right of Zack.

"Greetings, gentlemen." Joshua said in his sleepy voice.

"Good morning, brother."

"Greetings."

"Howdy."

"What's the word?" inquired Joshua.

"Oh, nothing in particular. How was everyone's stay at the mall last night?" asked Afwerki.

"It was good." answered Zack, smiling.

"It was fine. You were with me Afwerki." responded Eziz.

"My stay was enjoyable. I bought a few games." said Joshua.

"Ooh a few games." repeated Zack. He leaned in closer to Joshua. "Are they for Kola?" he asked slyly.

"Well, one of them is for me and Kola." informed Joshua.

"Ooh! Joshua you lucky dog you, you're so close to Kola." said Zack.

"Well, not that close." said Joshua.

"Closer than any of us." stated Afwerki. "You are lucky. Miss Kola is already beautiful and she must be wonderful to be with when happy."

"She is fun to be around." said Joshua. He began to think as he ate a piece of bacon. I do wonder why she's so nice to me. Maybe...no...

The group saw Carmelo walk towards the table, his tray with even more food then Zack, threatening to spill on to the floor but seemingly so afraid of Carmelo that it wouldn't dare it. He sat a seat apart from Joshua and noticed everyone looking at him. "The hell you lookin' at?" he asked, prompting everyone to turn away from him.

Zack leaned in towards Joshua again. "What's the matter with him?"

Joshua shrugged. "I don't know. He's been like this for the past day now."

"It may have been something I've said.." stated Afwerki sadly.

Joshua raised his eyebrows. "Oh really?"

Afwerki nodded solemnly. "I complimented him due to his concern for you during the battle and he suddenly seemed to snap."

Joshua stroked his chin and nodded with his eyes half-closed, deep in thought. "I see..."

Eziz turned to see Carmelo mercilessly devouring his meal which included some of the chocolate he had amassed.

Carmelo raised an annoyed eyebrow as he spoke with a full mouth. "Big man gotta' eat." he defended.

Eziz raised his arms and looked away in defense.

Zack stared at the shrinking pile of food, mesmerized by how quickly and completely the food was disappearing due to Carmelo.

...

It was the middle of the afternoon now. The section of the forest was quiet, with an owl sparingly hooting. A few rays of sunlight poked through the high branches, illuminating the ground. The leaves crunched conspicuously under her black leather boots. Surely if the others were around she'd be found in a millisecond. The other witches were in a distant portion of the mystical forest, practicing potion brewing and water magic with Gaia. While walking to their destination, she had managed to sneak off without her friend even noticing. She had perfected the art of stealth as a result of countless nights sneaking out of her queen-sized bed then going on the roof to gaze at the stars and the moon. The moon, ever watchful, ever beckoning to her to join it in the night sky. It felt more like a mother than Gaia did.

She just had to come here to put what she had read to the test. She squinted and saw a giant tipi made out of hundreds of branches. 

After cautiously looking around, Zoe entered the tipi and sighed of relief. The structure lacked leaves to crunch under her feet.

Zoe was about to reach into manaspace to take out her grimoire when she heard someone a few feet away greet, "Hiya" which caused her to yelp and jump backwards defensively. She squinted in the dim light, soon seeing Isabella leaning against on the wall with her arms folded.

"So, what brings ya' around?" asked the green-haired witch.

Zoe quickly washed her face of any nervousness. "Oh nothing really." she shrugged. "Just walking around."

Isabella smiled. "Really? You walked all the way to the other side of the forest?"

"I just needed to get away from it all." responded Zoe, not missing a beat.

"Doesn't seem like you to not let Lillian tag along." said Isabella with a devious smile, leaning forward.

"What brings you here?" asked Zoe.

Isabella laughed as she leaned off the wall and began to walk around the tipi with her hands behind her back while looking up. "Well unlike you, I don't feel the need to lie so I'll tell ya' straight." she turned to Zoe. "I'm here to summon something."

Zoe tilted her head. "Summon something?" she repeated in question.

"Did I stutter?" Isabella asked in annoyance. "Yeah, summon something." Isabella spun. "Something cool, something beautiful!" she exclaimed.

"Why are you all the way out here then?" asked Zoe.

"Did Gaia say we'd be summoning today? Besides, even if she approves, what can I say? A girl needs some privacy sometimes." Isabella stated.

Zoe smiled slightly. "Oh, I'm here to summon something too."

Isabella's eyes widened. "Really?" she walked to Zoe and held her hand up, prompting Zoe to high-five it. "Alright! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!"

Zoe's smile widened. "I mean, it just seems so cool! I just have to try it!" 

Isabella chuckled. "So let's get cracking!"

Zoe looked away, frowning.

Isabella folded her arms. "What's the matter?"

"It's just that using the mana around us would be the easiest method in summoning but we can't do it. I read on the method of using animals in the raw but it just didn't "click" as easily with me you know?" Zoe explained before sighing. "I'm just afraid that we won't be able to summo-"

Zoe stopped as Isabella took her by the shoulders, giving a comforting smile. "Hey, listen. We came all the way out here. It's too late to turn back now. C'mon, look at me! We're partners, okay!? We can do this, we're wicked witches!" 

Zoe laughed and rolled her eyes.

"I'm serious. We're wicked witches." Isabella repeated.

Zoe smiled. "Fine, we're wicked witches."

Isabella laughed. "Now that's more like it! Besides, what's the worst that can happen?"

"Since we're both gone though, they'll definitely notice sooner." Zoe stated in warning.

Isabella smirked. "Even more excuse to get it done faster." Isabella glowed then threw a flame from her sleeve into the air, illuminating the entire tipi as it stayed suspended in the air. Zoe blinked in awe.

"We're probably gonna' need some light to do this." explained Isabella. She pointed to the center of the tipi. "We're also probably gonna' need to make a bowl or something in the ground to use as a cauldron."

Zoe nodded dimly. "How are you-?" she began motioning towards the fire.

"I'm just really good at magic." stated Isabella. In her eyes, Zoe could see a fleeting sadness, the gut-wrenching, empty kind before it was gone, Isabella's usual cocky and cheerful demeanor effortlessly overriding it.

Zoe took out her grimoire, landing on the ground with a dull "thunk". "You should take out yours too." stated Zoe as she sat down on the cold dirt, her legs crossed.

Isabella chuckled as she sat next to Isabella and took out her large grimoire. "Reading a giant textbook? This reminds me of boarding school."

Zoe turned to Isabella, smiling. "You went to boarding school too?"

"Yeah."

"How was it?"

Isabella was silent for a bit before smiling. "It was pretty cool. How about we make a mermaid?" she asked, flipping through the "summoning" section of her grimoire.

Zoe flipped through the same section. "I looked at it last night, it's a pretty complicated summon. How about something easier?"

Isabella continued to leaf through the pages. "By the way, why didn't you bring Lillian?"

"Gaia would have noticed, besides, she wouldn't stop fearfully rambling about jellyfish."

"Still? They're not even that scary." groaned Isabella.

"Well, their stings can be pretty deadly."

Isabella waved a dismissive hand. "They're nothing, trust me."

Zoe blinked.

Isabella excitedly thumped a page. "Ooh! How about this one!?" she exclaimed.

...

The ten psychic boys sat in the cold, bright white classroom that they had sat in the previous day with varying levels of interest. In front of the classroom was Juan with his hands behind his back.

Eziz's prediction had proved true and indeed the boys had endured more training which was more rigorous than the previous day's, leaving a lot of them fatigued. Sebastion boredly regarded his teacher with cold eyes, Carmelo dully looked at the old man with a single white Apple earbud in his ear and Gojo stole scowls at the ever-hated Joshua.

Juan Carlos raised a low hand. "I know this is the second day in a row where your class teachings have been provided by yours truly but don't get used to it. Like yesterday, I am teaching you because this is a lesson I want to make sure each and every one of you clearly understands. Although a very select few of you have encountered a minion of Gaia, they are still ultimately my main purpose in forming you as a unit. Gaia is a creature of the shadows so even though she has been silent now, she's liable to strike us at any moment. You must be ever alert, always be prepared for a confrontation with Gaia and her lackeys of darkness. I'm lecturing you about Gaia because I know that she'll strike soon...I can feel it in these old bones of mine."

"So you're telling me you're lecturing us due to a whim?" interrupted a highly annoyed Sebastion.

Juan grinned. "Listen here boy, the premonitions of an old man are not to be taken lightly. I've been alive for so long that when I feel something in the air, it's almost guaranteed that it's there." Juan chuckled. "I could become even more rich if I served as a fortune teller." Juan's grin widened. "You should listen to your elders. You can learn a thing or two that might just help you survive."

Sebastion growled lowly.

Juan began to pace. "I will give you the run-down of Gaia, her witches and what we know of their chaotic magic as well as provide you with helpful strategies that will ensure that you don't get yourselves killed." the elderly psychic halted his pacing and faced his pupils. "I shall give you a recap about Gaia for starters. As you know, she is a powerful being referred to as a witch. She is by far the most powerful witch, with mastery over all forms of the mysterious energy known as "magic". Using her magic, she has lived for centuries and has falsely spread the word that she is a "god". Using this justification, she plans on wiping out all she dislikes from this planet..."

Carmelo sighed. Yeah, I'll listen, just let me put on something that will enhance the learning experience, make it "stick". Carmelo switched to a British radio station.

...

The two had decided on summoning a Pegasus unicorn and had gathered all the required animals. They had mapped out the trees that they would use to exchange the animals mana with in order to not kill them.

With their hats on, the two witches giddily turned to each other before turning to their scurrying animals.

"Let's do this." Isabella excitedly whispered.

The two took out their wands and began flicking them at the trees, the pit in the ground and the various animals: the animals being a blue jay, a dog, a donkey, an eagle, a swan and a mocking bird. White, blue and green strands of energy danced around the tipi and forest as they bounced to the trees, then the animals then the pit. After about ten seconds, the girls stopped and eagerly looked at the swirling mass of light in the pit. 

The two witches smiled even as the energy in the pit turned pink then red. Isabella and Zoe tilted their head as the energy turned into smoke and began to billow out into the tipi, causing them to cough.

Even through the smoke they could see the red glowing cracks form on the ground. The earth began to shake, causing the girls to both fall on their rears. Zoe's expression turned to one of horror; something was dreadfully wrong.

As the red smoke cleared, the two looked up to see a fat yet still muscly figure that was seventeen feet tall. As the smoke cleared further they could make out its features: a single golden pierced dog-like ear with the other being horribly chewed, a large piggish nose, large yellow canines that poked out of the creature's closed mouth, meaty human-like hands, hooved feet, a mass of broken horns on its head, yellow ferociously stupid eyes and what appeared to be an ax-handle in its horribly scarred stomach. Its leathery skin was a strange purplish-gray color. On its back were two proportionally tiny white feathery wings.

Isabella looked at it in disgusted horror. "What is that thing?" she asked quietly as the creature moved its  eyes in confusion. The fire was gone, leaving the three in dim lighting

Zoe sat upright in her bed, reading about the various creatures that could be summoned. One such creature had thirty whole pages dedicated to its various forms. The being was called forth whenever there was an unsuccessful summon, the mana being corrupted to form a ferocious beast which only instinct is to slaughter. Even the weakest of these beings are dangerous or at the very least, bothersome. The strength and intelligence of the being called forth depends on the complicity of the failed summon. In the magic world, these beings are referred to as...

"...behemoths..." Zoe whispered, her eyes wide as she began to sweat.

The beast clutched on the handle lodged in its stomach and began to painfully tug it out, letting out an otherworldly, horrifying wail as it did so, its eyes wide as it looked towards the ceiling of the tipi. As it roared, the tipi fell around the girls.

As the girls heard the powerful and vile sound they felt their entire beings split, seeing and feeling double. Their heads felt as if they were being sawed in half and their bones vibrated in agony.

The behemoth stopped its wail as it finished its tug, taking out an extra large, bloody battle ax from its abdomen which was now spurting blood like an evil waterfall.

Isabella and Zoe didn't have much time to clutch their ringing heads due to the behemoth suddenly pouncing forward, threatening to crush the two witches. Zoe dove and threw her arms around Isabella, pinning her to the ground and just avoiding the behemoth's heavy hooves. Twenty feet away, it let out another dastardly wail, forcing the two to clutch their ears. They saw a strange and bright circular rift appear above the beast who quickly and powerfully leapt into it.

Isabella's eyes widened. "That..that thing just jumped into the outside world." She shoved Zoe off of her and slowly rose to her feet.

Zoe turned to her. "Wait, what?! How!?"

Isabella growled as she forcefully took Zoe's hand. "Come on!" she barked before running to the portal and leaping into it.

The two suddenly found themselves falling and smacked onto something hard. Isabella lifted herself up and saw that it was gray pavement. She looked up to see the portal disappear and see an overcast sky. Next to her was a groaning Zoe.

The two witches quickly picked themselves up. Although they were at a loss of the words being said, even with human language being foreign to them they could clearly understand the screams of terror. In the far distance was their beast, who already created a path of destruction with crushed cars, crushed people, blood smeared on the street and gushing fire hydrants.

"Come on." said Isabella darkly as she hugged Zoe tightly, the two being roughly chest-to-chest before she rose into the sky and burst forward in the air. Her hair which wasn't trapped by her black witch's hat darted crazily in various directions.

Zoe's eyes widened. "You can fly!?" she exclaimed.

"I can do a lot of things." Isabella replied flatly.

Although Zoe's body was facing the sky, she turned to the her head sideways to see more destruction such as bashed apartment building walls and hoove prints. The two were now gaining on the beast which was panting as it dashed forward on all fours, trampling anyone unfortunate enough not to move out of its way. Its ax handle was in its mouth and blood still poured from its wound.

The two were right behind the behemoth now, seeing it possessed a lion-like tail, with the fluff being replaced with something that looked akin to a curled-up hedgehog. In one swift motion, the behemoth spat out its ax and caught it with one of its hands. Using a free hand, it grabbed a woman who was pushing a baby carriage, along with the carriage and chucked them into its shark-like mouth blood sputtering out, all while continuing its mad sprint.

With a roar, Isabella dashed twenty feet in front of the best and landed, Zoe standing next to her and folding her arms shakily.

Isabella's eys were watering as she held out her arms. "Sto-" the two witches were suddenly and dismissively smacked by the beast into an apartment wall, where they crashed onto a maroon couch occupied by three young children watching Star Wars. The shocked children ran off the couch and peered at the girls from the corner of the room.

"Ugh, did somebody get the number of that truck...?" groaned Zoe painfully.

Isabella growled as she stood up and grabbed Zoe by the wrist. "No, but we're gonna!" she stated defiantly before dragging her fellow witch onto her feet and leaping out of the crater in the apartment.

...

Carmelo was listening to a British pop song while also listening to Juan drone on about the mysteriousness of magic.

"Breaking news!" said a voice as the song cut-off and sirens were heard.

Carmelo sighed. Drat. At least I get to hear their cool accents. I wonder what's the matter, bad car crash?

What followed however, forced the teenager to crank the volume to maximum, causing Akmal who was seated next to him, to turn his head."This just in, a ferocious...beast has inexplicably appeared in the local Manchester area! It is very destructive and deadly.At least twenty-one are injured and five confirmed...nine confirmed dead. As far-fetched as that already seems, two flying girls wearing black dresses, black boots and pointed hats are currently tailing the monster. I can only describe the girls as wearing what would stereotypically be considered as witch's attire." informed the female newscaster.

Carmelo stood up, slamming his hands on the counter in front of him, causing his fellow psychics to turn to him. "Master Juan sir!" cried Carmelo

Juan frowned. "What is the meaning of this rude interr-!?"

"The witches, they've appeared!" he stated urgently.

Juan blinked. "They have?"

"Yes." Carmelo answered, before Juan could ask, he answered, "They've appeared in Manchester sir. They've summoned a monster that's currently killing people as we speak!"

Juan stroked his goatee and closed his eyes. "We should be currently over Manchester now..."

"Great!" exclaimed Carmelo as he ran towards the front of the room.

"Hey, wait up!" exclaimed Akmal as he leapt up and accidentally stepped on Manic who was resting on the floor, causing the koala to angrily chase him after shrieking.

"Watch where you're going you bloke!" growled Andy as he chased after Akmal as well. The four were out of the class in an instant.

In the brightly lit corridor of the castle, Carmelo turned to Akmal and Andy. "Why the hell are you followin' me!? I can do it alone!" he exclaimed.

Akmal smirked. "I think not. It's okay, not all of us can be as good as me."

Carmelo groaned. "I don't have time to stop you. You better not slow me down!"

Akmal laughed. "Me slow you down?" 

Akmal yelped as Manic bit down on his ankle. Despite this he continued to run undeterred.

"Learn some manners ya punk!" growled Andy. "Being a human don't give ya' the right to step on animals!"

"What the heck are you talking about!?" shouted Akmal in pain.

"Come on!" growled Carmelo as he grabbed Akmal and jumped out of a window, glass shattering everywhere.

Andy's eyes widened as he saw Manic still biting Akmal's ankle as the boy went through the window. "Manic!" he cried before leaping after his best friend.

"What the heck's the matter with you!?" cried Andy in terror.

"Please tell me you can fly too." breathed Akmal, Manic clutching onto his leg as the three fell through the clouds towards a dense city in the midst of utter chaos.

"Yeah, you can't?" asked Carmelo, raising an eyebrow.

"No we can't fly you idiot!" screamed a mortified Andy.

"Oh right." sighed Carmelo. "Grab on." he said begrudgingly as he held out his hand, which Andy quickly accepted, causing the four to soar through the sky then safely onto the ground, landing softly on their feet.

Andy blinked in shock, looking around. ...I was a bird...

Akmal waved with a smile to the shocked people in the square where the quartet had landed. In annoyance, Carmelo took Akmal's wrist and forcefully lowered his hand. "Hey!" cried Akmal.

"We're here to stop the witches and their little pet!" Carmelo chastised.

"Well where do we look?" asked Andy, preoccupied with soothing his jittery companion.

"Hm, maybe in the direction of the destruction!" barked Carmelo, pointing to the toppled cars and gushing fire hydrants.

"Oh." said Andy flatly.

Carmelo growled as he ran towards the sounds of screams. "Come on!"

Meanwhile, back in the castle in the classroom, Juan held out his arm.

"Why do those nerds get to hog all tha glory!?" growled Gojo.

"Surely you don't mean to have them fight the witches alone do you?" asked Joshua in concern.

Juan closed his eyes. "My sources state that only two are in Manchester. All other missions will be different but..." Juan opened his eyes and smiled. "I wish to see how they fare...alone."


The boys continued their dash, the screams becoming louder and louder as they pressed on. Akmal was eight feet in front of his comrades. Manic was on Andy's back to augment the latter's psychic powers thus giving him a speed boost as he ran on all fours. Carmelo lagged behind the other two, a fact he accepted bitterly.

Akmal skidded to a halt once he saw the creature Carmelo foretold of. It looked like a demented cross between a pig and bull. Even more shocking was the large ax it wielded. The speedy psychic clutched his ears as the beast stopped running, looked towards the white sky and let out an ear-splitting cry.

Carmelo stopped before he entered the square where the beast was. At its hooved feet he saw two flustered girls in witch garbs. The two of them turned to see the three psychics. One was the green-haired girl who clashed with Sebastion three nights prior whose face widened with shock. A blonde girl with a long face turned to her companion then looked at the boys in confusion.

"There they are!" growled Carmelo.

"Crikey!" exclaimed Andy as he stood upright, his eyes filled with terror. Manic cowered behind his leg, shuddering. "What in the wide blue world is that thing!?" he cried.

"Don't know, don't care. We're just here to stop it." said Carmelo as he engulfed his right hand in flame. The beast looked at the three boys with a feral ferocity.

Akmal whistled as he raised his eyebrows. "Man, I have to say, those witches are cute."

Carmelo's eyes darkened as he turned to Akmal. "So you want to date em' instead?"

Akmal chuckled as he punched his right fist into his open left hand. "No, I know we have to fight them. Evil doers beware." he said with a smile. A few onlookers looked at the three boys who were standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

The three suddenly jumped as the purple-ish beast lurched toward them with a guttural grow, bloody ax in hand.

...

Isabella looked in horror as three boys stood at the entrance of the area her, Zoe and the behemoth were in. Among them was the boy from a few nights ago. It's them again...those monsters.

Zoe turned to Isabella, tilting her head up slightly to look at her face which was filled with shock. She turned back to the boys to try and find out why they were eating her fellow witch so. The behemoth had inexplicably halted its mad rampage and stared at the three boys with a new intensity. Since the two were at its feet they could hear a low, tiger like growl being emitted from the behemoth.

Isabella continued to look at the three boys who were speaking a human language, a language she could not understand. Why is it just standing here? Is it because of them?

Zoe tried her hardest to make sense of what the three were saying then jumped once she saw the boy in the middle with stylish hair's hand suddenly catch on fire. She blinked. Wait, they're not normal boys. They're-

The two girls ducked as the behemoth suddenly lurched towards the three psychics, soaking the square in blood. The tan one with the neatest hair rolled out of the way, the pale one with shaggy hair leapt into the air and clutched the window sill of a building, sending a potted plant spiraling towards the ground and the mean-looking one with brown, stylish hair and earbuds leapt in between the behemoth's legs just as it brought down its massive ax, cracking the ground.

The boy with the hair flung his fireball at Isabella, causing her to fire a torrent of water at the boy in response, extinguishing the flame and knocking him forcefully into the behemoth's winged back.

Zoe jumped out of the way as a ball made out of the same material as the broken pot whizzed towards her head.

"What are you doing just standing there!? Fight!" yelled Isabella before she fired lightning towards the boy who was leaping towards the window sill towards Isabella. The boy shrouded himself in a pale yellow aura, seeming to protect him from the electricity. Isabella looked at him in shock as she noticed a growling blue creature on his back.

Isabella blinked. "Is that a koala?" she asked aloud before the boy fell on top of her. He raised a hand, with the aura taking the corresponding shape of a claw. Before the witch was mauled she raised her left arm and fired a powerful torrent of water at the boy, sending him flying thirty feet into the air.

Zoe whipped out her wand in her left hand and performed the spell that felt the most natural to her. "Catapo!" she cried, sending a spiraling green streak out of her wand and to the meat-haired boy running towards her with a smile, sending him spiraling backwards into a building. Zoe winced as she saw this.

Zoe took small steps backwards until she was back-to-back with Isabella.

"How are we going to stop the behemoth and fend off these guys?" Zoe asked in despair.

"I'm not too sure but I know we'll find a way." stated Isabella confidently.

Isabella turned to see the boy with the stylish hair almost become cleaved in two by the behemoth's bloody ax. He snapped, causing the behemoth to lift its ax up and stumble backwards in shock. Using fire to propel himself upwards, Isabella saw him give a mighty fire-coated punch towards the beast's nose. It growled, unfazed before it chomped down on the boy's arm, causing Isabella to laugh and Zoe to shriek.

With a scream, the boy managed to use his psychic power to wring the beast's shark-like mouth open and managed to take out his bloody hand without too much damage.

"Zoe, behind you!" cried Isabella, causing her friend to turn just before being whipped with a tendril of water, disorientating her and allowing another boy to blast her into a wall with a gust of wind.

Isabella growled as she turned to the last attacker, the boy with the neat hair. "You bastard!" she cried before crying, "Groundo!" sending the boy careening in the air as a section of the ground shot up. "Lightning!" she cried, shocking the boy, his body convulsing. Isabella smiled wickedly as she tugged her hat.

The behemoth roared before charging towards towards a few feet from Isabella, where the shaggy-haired pale boy was and smacked him towards a building. He sprung off the building like a kangaroo and gave a powerful kick towards the behemoth's head, sending in tumbling to the ground. Isabella looked at the boy in shock.

Zoe was jogging towards Isabella when she saw a woman and young boy run out of a car and out of the square from the corner of her eye. Next thing she knew, the car had smacked her into a building, courtesy of the stylish haired boy using his psychokinesis. She slid to the ground with a pained groan.

Isabella turned towards her downed partner, distracting her from the car which smacked her as well. Isabella rolled backwards with a moan but landed on her feet like a cat in pouncing position. She looked at the mean-looking boy with stylish hair who had his arm held out and licked her lips delightfully before bursting forward.

The witch was in front of the boy in an instant and thus he didn't have time to counter. He growled as she saw the teenager smile with her eyes half closed. She licked her lips. "Sorry I have to kill you...hunk." Isabella whispered before bringing her hand to the boy's abdomen and crying, "Lightning!", sending an untold amount of volts into the boy's teenage body, causing him to scream in utter agony, his hair sticking up further. Isabella's grin widened as she felt the boy growing weaker and weaker. Yes, I'm stronger now! I can beat these monsters! Innocent people don't have to get hurt!

The teen scowled in defiance before snapping his fingers, sending Isabella tumbling backwards in dizziness. If it were another person, they would have emptied the contents of their stomach on the pavement.

The boy huffed, hands on his knees as smoke billowed from his body into the English air. The behemoth ran towards him and tried to pounce on him but the boy was suddenly surrounded by a shield made of flame. The shield then emitted a tendril as the behemoth skidded on the ground in pain, burning it's leg slightly.

Zoe groggily rose, her back in pain and hobbled over to Isabella who tightly clutched her head.

"Hey, are you alright?" asked a concerned Zoe.

"I'm fine, I'm fine." stated Isabella dismissively. The two witches looked up when they heard the sounds of sirens. Police officers piled in from both entrances of the square and pointed powerful automatic guns at the beast, forming a circle.

As the officers spoke in a language she couldn't understand, Zoe nervously raised her hands over her head.

"Put your hands down!" barked Isabella, causing Zoe to do so sheepishly.

The police force began to empty their weapons at the beast to no avail. Its thick skin protected it and it appeared more annoyed than anything. The boys began to scream something in angry voices at the officers with no avail, they continued their futile assault. The three boys then used their power to shove the officers out of the square. 

All five of them looked up as the behemoth leapt into the air. When it landed, they were all slammed into different buildings by a shock wave. The behemoth seemed to be laughing at the felled boys.

The behemoth threw its ax at the stylish-haired boy, a wall of flame erecting itself in front of him as a result. Another boy used his psychokinesis to take control of the ax and sent it spinning towards the two girls.

"Son of a bitch!" cried Isabella, ducking. Zoe decided to leap up and grab onto the spinning handle as she fell. "Woohoo!" she cried. The ax flew towards the behemoth and Zoe leapt off right before it caught the weapon. "Fire!" she yelled, causing the neat-haired boy to catch on fire.

With a growl, the shaggy haired boy doused his comrade's flame with water then amplified the stream as he turned towards the behemoth which was preparing to bring down its mighty ax towards the boy, sending the beast flying backwards to the opposite building, threatening to shatter the wall. The boy stopped his hydrokinesis and ran forward before delivering a punch towards the behemoth's gut. He jumped backwards, shaking his hand in pain before the behemoth roared and smacked him to the ground, creating cracks in the pavement.

Zoe winced then turned to counter the fireball that the boy with the stylish hair flung with her own. "Fire!" she yelled, sending a fireball towards the other one. To her shock, hers was completely engulfed. She braced herself as the fireball came near. She closed her eyes and to her shock, instead of being burned she only felt a mild tingling sensation. She looked at her black dress which shimmered as if sprinkled with diamond dust. It's fireproof, at least to an extent.

Isabella sighed. "At least the thing isn't taking its anger out on innocent-"

As if in frustration the beast roared then reached into an apartment window, chucking a woman into its huge mouth.

Isabella growled. She blocked the incoming punch courtesy of the neat-haired boy then headbutted him, dazing him. She finished with a swift jab to the chest with a cry of "Lightning!" shocking the boy and sending him doubling over. She leapt into the air. "Hey ugly!" she cried as she fired a torrent of water at the beast, causing it to tumble over. The behemoth quickly roared at the girl. Before she could react the neat haired boy was on his feet again and delivered a mighty kick towards the behemoth's gut, sending it rolling backwards with an ear-piercing roar of pain. Suddenly, Isabella fell to the ground, bound by a sticky red web.

After countering more of the stylish-haired boy's pyrokinesis with her water magic, Zoe blasted him with water after he had sent a strange red web from his hand towards Isabella. She turned then knocked the neat-haired boy towards the ground with water as well. She quickly backed away towards Isabella who had freed herself.

"This is going nowhere!" complained Zoe.

Isabella nodded. "You said it." she smirked. "But that one dude with the slick brown hair's pretty cute doncha' think?" she asked.

Zoe shrugged boredly. "He's no Joshua." 

...

Carmelo walked backwards as Akmal and Andy walked backwards to his sides.

Carmelo growled. "We ain't gettin' anything done. The witches and their beast are still goin' strong."

"We're effectively fighting a battle on two fronts." added Andy.

The witches eyed the boys as did the beast, creating a standoff. "And they're pig-bear-monster-thingy's on their side. They're hurting us more than we're hurting them." concluded Akmal.

"So what does that tell you?" asked Carmelo lowly.

"If we want a fighting chance, we're gonna' have to split them apart." answered Andy.

Akmal smiled. "I'll handle that."

"Question, is, who takes on who?" asked Andy.

Carmelo hesitated a bit. "I'll kick the witches' asses while you two kill the monster."

Andy nodded. "Okay." He didn't argue about fairness for he honestly didn't know which was worse.

Carmelo pointed at him. "Just make sure you keep it to where nobody innocent gets hurt got it!? I'll do the same."

Andy nodded boredly.

"Got it!" responded Akmal with enthusiasm.

"And make you stay alive at least until that thing's dead, got it!?"

"Understood." said Andy.

"Got it!" exclaimed Akmal. "Now let's do this thing!"

Akmal ran to the other side of the square and smacked his butt with a devious smile. "Can't catch me!" he mocked. Andy ran next to Akmal and pried the opposite ends of his mouth open using his two index fingers, flailing his wet tongue mockingly at the beast. Manic was at the boys' feet, blowing a raspberry at the beast. Carmelo groaned and rolled his eyes in embarrassment.

The beast roared, placed the handle of its ax in between its shark-like teeth and began to gallop on all fours towards the two boys and Manic, them dashing off to another street as it did so.

The green-haired girl leapt into the direction of the beast.

Carmelo held out his bloody left arm. "Oh no you don't!" he cried. "Crimson prison!" he called out, sending the blood form his arm hurdling towards the airborne witch, sending her falling to the ground, bound. Before she could react, Carmelo turned to the other girl and cried out "Crimson prison!" causing her to be bound as well before falling to the ground.

Carmelo ran to the exit opposite where his comrades had gone and stood there. The green-haired girl angrily broke from her bonds quite quickly. Steam practically shot from her ears as she rose. Carmelo looked at her blond haired companion who pathetically flopped in her prison like a fish out of water. He was beginning to feel remorse towards her before the green-haired witch finally (begrudgingly as he noticed) freed her friend of her bonds with a struggle. The two tensely looked at Carmelo.

Carmelo wagged his finger towards himself in invitation before making a flame-propelled dash into the street. He continued to run, deftly dodging out of the way of passersby and jumping over others. He wondered if the witches were following him. He began to grow worried for he didn't see them but sure enough there was a strange, foreign word and a lightning bolt that just barely missed him. He smirked as he continued to barrel through the city, with the witches overhead.

Andy was enveloped in psychokinetic aura as he dashed through the British streets on all fours with Manic on his back, augmenting his power. The beast was a few paces behind him. "Crikey you're a fast one ain't ya'!?" he cried.

Akmal was about fifteen feet in front of Andy and he was growing tired. The training that the boys did before Juan's lecture certainly didn't help his condition. He looked back and saw the beast destroying the streets as it galloped with a mad gleam in its eyes. We have to get it away from the townspeople and fast.

"Andy!" Akmal cried.

"What is it?" Andy asked.

"The sewers! That's the fastest way to get it somewhere we it can't hurt anyone else!" Akmal shouted.

"You're seriously nuts if you think I'm jumping in one of those crap tunnels!" Andy bit.

"You heard what Carmelo said Andy! It's the only way!" he shouted.

Andy growled. I'm going to go swimming with feces to protect a buncha' lousy humans! Ah, well, I guess it's going to be worth it to stop this monstrosity that spits in the face of Mother Nature. Gaia, what a joke! "Fine," he said. "There's a manhole up ahead, I can-" 

"Already on it!" declared Akmal with a smile. He began using his psychokinesis to begin lifting manhole cover off the ground, taking four seconds to do so. With a grunt, he flung the manhole cover off the ground and at the creature's face, causing it to roar in pain. Andy could hear a faint crack.

Akmal leapt into the manhole while Andy dove, dispersing his aura as he did so. The two landed with a splash. It was dark, tight and damp. There were faint lights on the walls as well as the stream of light coming from ground level.

"O-ho god!" moaned a distressed Andy.

"Aw come on! Where's your sense of adventure!?" asked Akmal.

"Why does your sense of adventure involve crap!" he plugged his nose. "How's the oaf supposed to get down-?" 

The beast suddenly crashed into the sewer with a roar head-first its mouth agape.

"Holy shit!" screamed Akmal as he dove out of the way in the last second. Andy was next to him, his eyes wide. The beast and its ax that it held in its right hand looked even larger in the tiny space.

Akmal began to shudder.

"What is it?" asked Andy.

"I didn't realize it would be this dark..." whispered Akmal.

Andy rolled his eyes. "Stop being a ba-" he pressed against the wall as the beast charged forward, with Akmal along the opposite wall.

"Come on!" shouted Akmal as he ran opposite the direction the beast charged.

"Are we just going to keep running!?" cried Andy as he began to run on all fours, Manic clutching onto his head fearfully for the beast was right behind them.

Carmelo crashed through the wooden door of a large, abandoned church. The church was dark and intricate spider-webs seemed to decorate every corner. He took cautious steps backwards while facing the entrance, his hands in front of his body defensively. The witches flew in soon after then landed on the ground. The two witches stood next to each other and eyed Carmelo keenly, with him doing the same.

Carmelo put his earbuds in his ears then closed his eyes and he lowered his head. As he predicted, the green-haired witch came rushing towards him. When she was five feet away she fired a bolt of electricity at the psychic who easily ducked under the attack and sent the witch flying in the air towards a wooden beam. The other witch fired a torrent of water which Carmelo caused to dissipate with a snap of a finger before psychokinetically shoving the witch outside of the church.

Carmelo opened his eyes and rolled out of the way of a lightning bolt. The green-haired witch was diving head-first towards the boy. Carmelo snapped his fingers, causing her descent to suddenly slow to a crawl as she rotated so her feet were the first things that made contact with the ground. Overcome with an intense dizziness, the witch clutched her head. With the power of his mind, Carmelo gave a barrage of punches at the witch's abdomen, causing her to jerk backwards as she used her right hand to clutch her aching stomach. With a snap of his fingers the girl was flung into the air where she was engulfed in a bright red flame. 

Carmelo quickly turned his head to see the other, blond witch rush up the concrete steps of the church. The psychic smirked before he used his pyrokinesis to propel himself towards the  entrance and gave a mighty punch towards her forehead, causing her to tumble forcefully backwards with a pained cry.

Carmelo stepped out of the church and looked down at the black mass on the ground that was the witch. It quivered softly. Carmelo bent forward slightly. Is..she crying?

Carmelo was knocked into the concrete steps by a shard of ice which shallowly lodged itself into his back. He ignored the pain and spun around to the see an aerial witch, her face red with rage. Carmelo growled as he pressed his hand roughly against the concrete, focusing on its texture and composition. Suddenly, a section of the concrete shot up, hitting the green-haired witch squarely in the face and knocking her back.

Carmelo rose, feeling a sharp pain in his back. That'll show ya'. As he stood, the icicle quickly melt. He touched the hole in his back and sighed. Hopefully this works as well as it do in the movies. He let out a yell as he suddenly created a hot flame where the wound was, cauterizing it. 

Teeth clenched, he saw the other witch roll over and shoot a swirled energy beam at him. Carmelo jumped out of the way and snapped his fingers, sending a loud shock wave of sound around him in a mile radius. Th witches clutched their ears, giving Carmelo an opportunity to fire a psychic blast at the downed witch, slamming her into the ground, creating cracks in the ground. Carmelo was knocked forward as a barrage of razor-sharp leaves suddenly assaulted his back, spraying blood everywhere and irritating his cauterized wound. 

"Goddamn it!" he screamed in pain as he landed using his hand. He created a small barrier of fire to burn the stream of leaves. Carmelo was thankful that his migraine had subsided during Juan's lecture. He felt that if he wasn't giving it his all during this fight he would surely be killed. He felt that the green-haired girl was much more dangerous and unpredictable than Myung-Dae. Carmelo braced himself as he moved his free hand to his bleeding back but suddenly stopped in remembrance before slathering his hand with the blood, wincing slightly. He dissipated the shield and yelled "Crimson Prison!", trapping the green-haired witch in the crimson webbing. He turned to the other witch who was just rising and did the same before running towards her.

She looked at Carmelo, her eyes filled with rage and fear. As Carmelo drew near, he didn't pay attention to the small black blob on the ground that possessed eyes. He unknowingly stepped on it and was suddenly flung sixty feet into the air so quickly that he had to clutch his mouth with both hands to keep from vomiting. He quickly regained his composure and began to fly through the air. He tilted his body to avoid the ice shard that was sent his way courtesy of the green-haired witch. The witch quickly ran over and freed her comrade, where both of them began firing a barrage of spells at the flying psychic who dodged them and retaliated with fiery explosions that he manifested on the ground which the girls kept dodging.

Carmelo sighed. I'm gonna' be here for a while...

Meanwhile in the sewers Akmal leapt up against a wall, repelling the beasts massive fist as it approached his body, sending the beast backwards slightly. Akmal took this opportunity to plant his feet against the wall and push off of it to spring himself towards the beast's face before giving the creature a mighty punch. The beast responded with a pained moan before bringing both its hands towards Akmal in an attempt to crush him. Akmal pushed its hands back psychokinetically right before he would be crushed. Before Akmal could carry out another action, the beast smacked him away, sending him tumbling in the filthy water before finally stopping in a laying position, his nose and mouth in the liquid. The beast turned to the boy and roared.

Andy stood behind the beast on all fours, his psychokinetic aura covering him like an exoskeleton. Watching Akmal suddenly repel the beast's attacks so adeptly when he struggled with psychokinesis normally, Andy knew that his teacher's claim that psychic's learn faster when under duress was sound. Andy stood still, trying to think of a clever attack to fool the monster. He saw the beast pick up his ax and whir around towards Andy.

Andy's eyes darkened as he was robbed of his sneak attack. Crapsticks...

The beast ran towards Andy. Despite his companion's shivering he stood still as the beast quickly approached. Andy quickly stepped out of the way as it swiftly brought its ax down. Andy leapt up towards the beast and swiped at its face with the aura's clawed hand. The beast roared as Andy created pink scratch mark on its face. The beast quickly slapped the boy onto the ground then stepped on him, causing Andy to scream out in pain. The beast stomped on the boy again, causing him to scream as he coughed up a small amount of blood. If not for his thick aura he'd have surely died.

The beast took a half step back and swung its ax down again, intending to bisect the boy vertically. The psychic halted the blade using his mind, staring at the dim face of the beast in seething rage. The beast tried to force the blade through Andy's psychic hold which caused it to dangerously shudder over Andy. 

Come on Andy boy, gotta' think fast you do...

Andy dissipated his aura, allowing him to focus more on keeping the ax from coming down. Andy slowly brought the water to the beast, lightly covering it. The beast growled as a result of this. Andy began to chill the air around him, the liquid quickly freezing. The beast grunted before growling, attempting to move its legs. Andy squinted as he used his psychokinesis to snatch the ax out of the beast's grip before his hands froze. Andy steadied the ax before bringing it towards the beast's neck. To his horror, the beast tumbled backwards, free from its ice. It cried in pain before rising and growling at Andy.

Andy shook his head in horror. "This is it Manic." he whispered. "We're done for."

"What are you doing!?" shouted Akmal who was running on the ceiling towards Andy. "Push it!" he exclaimed before dropping down next to Andy.He held his arms out in front of himself. "Here, I'll help you." he said.

Andy looked at him before nodding and doing the same. "All right. On three. One."

"Two."

"Three!" they said in unison, pushing the beast back, sending him rolling backwards like a giant bowling ball.

Andy sighed. "I'm beat."

Akmal frowned. "We can't rest until that thing's dead. You know what Carmelo said."

Andy nodded grimly.

"I wish I brought my baseball bat." said Akmal.

"That wouldn't have done you much good." said Andy.

Akmal shrugged and smiled. "It would feel satisfying to hit that thing in the face with a bat."

...

The witches had gotten rid of their behemoth problem only to be met with another ferocious beast. Isabella growled as her stomach and dress were cut by an invisible force. Fortunately, she didn't bleed a lot. She turned to Zoe who was faring worse, blood flowing onto the dusty wooden floor. 

"Isabella!" shouted Zoe before she was slammed into a wall. Isabella growled and fired a torrent of water at the psychic who was on a wooden beam high above them, breaking the beam and sending the psychic falling. Isabella ran towards her companion.

"What is it?" asked Isabella in a forceful whisper.

"I think we'd do much better if we stuck together." Zoe stated.

Isabella shook her head. "It'll just be easier for em' that way. He can just kill us in one shot."

"Yes but we're not really doing much to him like this. There's more concentrated power that way." Zoe rebutted.

Isabella paused. "Fine." she looked at Zoe's wounds. "But what are you going to do about that? I can't have you bleeding out on me."

Zoe smirked as she pulled a corked bottle from behind her. "I already got it covered." she plucked off the cork and downed the green liquid that was inside, wiping her mouth with her long black sleeve. Isabella looked where her cuts were to see only irritated flesh.

"Potion." explained Zoe. She quickly turned around. "Catapo!" she cried, causing the boy who was behind her to flip into the wall.

Isabella and Zoe quickly backed away.

Isabella smiled. "You have pretty good perception for somebody that just downed an entire bottle."

Zoe smirked. "Oh shut-" she heard a snap before she went deaf. Zoe widened her eyes as she put a hand to her ear. The next thing she knew she was in the air and being cut in all directions. Her dress was somewhat resistant to the attacks but nevertheless it still tore in some areas. She was then engulfed in flames, screaming loudly due to the areas where her skin was exposed due to the cuts. She curled herself into a ball.

Isabella growled and fired a torrent of water at the psychic before being pushed to the opposite wall of the church. Her attack still connected despite her lack of hearing, pushing the psychic slightly back and causing Zoe to fall towards the ground. Isabella ran towards her sister and caught her in her arms.

"Are you all right?" asked Isabella, her voice wrought with worry.

"I think so." Zoe groaned, her hearing slowly pulsing back into her ears. 

Isabella placed Zoe gently at her feet before shouting, "Lightning!" and firing a bolt of lightning at the psychic. He reflected the attack back towards Zoe who held her wand up, getting shocked but still managing to contain the re-directed spell for the most part. She then sent the spell at the boy at twice the speed and power it was originally sent, causing him to convulse against the wall before slumping down.

Isabella fired another torrent of water at the boy but it was blocked by a wall of fire that suddenly manifested in front of the psychic, protecting him.

Zoe panted as she slowly rose. She instantly regretted her choice as she felt her chest fill with a burning pain. She had another health potion but she wasn't sure if this was the best time to use it. She did have other potions but-

Zoe's eyes widened. "That's it..." she said quietly to herself.

"What's it?" asked Isabella as she watched the psychic moan and clutch his head, saying something the two witches couldn't hope to understand.

"Potions, we can use different potions to beat him." Zoe explained.

Isabella's eyes widened. "Yeah, good idea. If we combine em'-" she began.

"No!" shouted Zoe, causing Isabella to jump. "We're not supposed to combine the effects of potions."

Isabella saw the psychic slowly walk forward. "Well whatever we're doing we better do it fast." she warned.

"Just a sec." said Zoe as she reached behind her and fished through manaspace. She out a blue circular glass container and a red circular glass container that bubbled. She handed Isabella the blue container. "Here, this is the invisibility potion, I'll drink the other potion, the speed potion."

"Shouldn't you take the invisibility potion, since you're weaker and all?" asked Isabella in concern.

Zoe quickly shook her head, watching the psychic loom closer. She spoke quickly. "You need it, he won't know to dodge you that way. Besides, if I drink the speed potion it'll be harder for him to catch me." With a grunt, the witch quickly plucked the wooden cork out of the container and threw it at the psychic who effortless caught it before trying to set it ablaze to no avail. "The potion was kind of made on the fly so it won't last long, make it count Isabella."

"Got it." confirmed Isabella with a nod before popping the cork off and downing the drink before being wiped out of visibility as if it was as easy as being brushed by a paint roller.

Zoe quickly drank the strong concoction. When she was done the psychic was a foot in front of her. She burped, causing him to jump back before swiping his hand, causing a line of fire to whip at Zoe's head. To her, it seemed as if he was moving in slow motion and had no problem ducking under the attack before quickly crawling away and rising. The psychic regarded her with shock.

He was blasted into a pew by a powerful torrent of water that came seemingly out of nowhere. He quickly rose and turned to Zoe, he didn't react fast enough to her lightning spell, which caused him to become electrocuted with a pained scream that caused Zoe to wince.

The boy seemed to rise as if possessed then created three tendrils of fire then elongated them towards Zoe who easily ran away from them. She pointed her wand towards the boy and yelled "Catapo!" which sent him flying with a flip.

Isabella then fired five balls of dark energy that homed in on the boy. He fell to the ground with a thud before rolling and springing to his feet only to be met with a blast of water to the gut, sending him tumbling backwards. 

Isabella was in the air and prepared to fire a bolt of lightning at the boy when he created a dome of fire to protect him. She smirked. That's nice but that won't help. She fired a torrent of water from her sleeve at the flame shield. Likewise, Zoe did the same from her position. Steam erupted into the air and the water sizzled when it met the shield.

"You're gonna' have to come out sometime you know!" threatened Isabella. Surely enough, ten seconds later the shield abruptly vanished and the boy was blasted onto the ground forcefully, causing him to cough up a bit of blood. He suddenly disappeared in a burst of speed. Zoe looked up to see him on the ceiling and with a snap, she was suddenly on the ground. She closed her eyes tightly, feeling a crack in her chin.

Isabella growled before sending a barrage of sharp leaves at the boy's back, causing him to scream in pain. He yelled something before a red substance flew towards Zoe who easily ran away from it after she had gotten on her feet. The psychic looked around frantically before Isabella punched him in the face, causing him to slam against a wall before sliding down. He stood up and growled before he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Isabella flew towards him, fist cocked but the boy simply stepped out of the way, causing Isabella's fist to become lodged in the wall. She pulled it out with a growl.

The boy ducked under her torrent of water then fired a psychic cut at her, causing her to scream before he sent her tumbling back with a psychic punch. Isabella quickly rose and created a shield that blocked the fireballs that he sent her way. As she continued to maintain the shield, the boy snapped to no effect on the witch. Isabella turned to see Zoe who was dizzily swirling in a circle. The boy also saw this and ran towards her.

Isabella growled and ran towards the boy as she dissipated her shield. The boy whirled around with a smirk and before she knew it, Isabella was flying through the air, then through the church wall before tumbling on the pavement. She simply laid there for a moment in wonder. How...how the hell can he see me?

Meanwhile, the psychic had flipped into a wall courtesy of Zoe's catapo spell. Zoe panted heavily. This was proving to be a difficult battle indeed.

...

Akmal, Manic and Andy panted. They were about to put their plan in motion against the ferocious beast.

"Are you ready?" asked Akmal.

Andy nodded with a frown. "Yes I'm ready. Let's just kill this thing already before it kills us. It's an eyesore and spits in the face of nature."

Akmal nodded as he punched his right fist into his open left hand with a smile. "Alright, one psychic butt whooping coming up!" Akmal ran far away from the group. "Ready!" he called.

Andy nodded as he closed his eyes and moved his right hand towards Manic who began to glow as he curled into a ball. Andy tightly gripped his right wrist with his left hand.

The beast roared and charged forward but before it could reach Andy and Manic, Akmal ran into its stomach, sending it backwards. The beast let out an ear-piercing roar and Akmal held it back with psychic power. "Oh shush it! It'll all be over soon!" he grunted, using all of his might to hold the beast back. Behind him, he could feel wind and hear a high-pitched sound. He kept the beast pinned for twenty seconds, grunting as he began to sweat profusely and shake.

"Alright, do it!" cried Andy.

"Doing the thing!" cried Akmal as he released the beast and ran forward, giving a mighty kick towards the creature's horribly scarred stomach, causing it to stumble backwards as it clutched its stomach. Akmal ran back towards Andy and ducked as he sent his best friend flying into the air as a deadly, spiky ball that connected with the beast's head with a horrible sound that sounded like a buzz saw as pink flesh and crimson blood spurted from the beast. A shredded white substance that one could only assume to be the beast's skull as well flew every which way. After ten seconds of the shredding, Manic fell to the crimson water behind the beast, the koala a bloody mess.

The two boys looked at the decapitated beast that simply stood, the two panting. They screamed in horror as the headless monster charged towards them, ax in hand.

Andy shook his head, eyes wide with horror as tears began to form. "This is it, we're going to die!"

"No, no, we're not!" cried Akmal, tears also beginning to form in his eyes as the bloody beast ran forward.

"Well what are we supposed to do!?" Andy screamed frantically.

"Think of something!" screamed Akmal. He lifted a bunch of water into the air.

Andy quickly froze it, the ice in the vague shape of a harpoon.

"Throw it!" screamed Akmal as the beast ran closer.

"Throwing the thing!" screamed Andy before he sent it flying, piercing the beast's stomach. Manic flew through the beast's stomach as a ball, mutilating it further. Manic ran into Andy's arms, both as terrified as the other.

The beast stopped its run a mere four feet in front of the group. It dropped its ax which shattered in a burst of colors then the beast slowly turned into a purple dust which was blown away despite the lack of wind. It was over.

Andy sighed in relief.

Akmal laughed, happy to be alive. "Man oh man, I could go for some food right now!"

Manic frantically nodded.

Andy sighed again and sniffed. "I could go for a shower myself."

"That sounds great too." Akmal smiled slyly. "Hey, since we defeated that monster, maybe Kola'll give us a kiss."

Andy folded his arms. "In your dreams."

...

Carmelo was sore. He was bloody, super alert and tired. The witches had returned back to normal, no longer would he have to deal with one girl that seemed like she did track with The Flash and Sonic the Hedgehog nor a girl who decided that just disappearing into thin air was okay. He had enough of these witches and he was going to end this little charade immediately so he could get some shut eye, chocolate and a smoke. 

Carmelo leapt up and snapped, causing the witches to slam into the floor then snapped again, making them disoriented. He stood on a wooden beam and gripped his right wrist with his left hand. He closed his eyes and thought of the previous day, sparring with Eziz. His vision in his mind went black then the sun suddenly appeared. In his hand was an orange glowing ball that quickly grew bigger and bigger. Carmelo opened his eyes and gasped, it was twice the size it was yesterday. It began to glow brighter which forced the teenage psychic to close his eyes. The ball was soon fifteen times the size of his head. Somehow this ball felt different from the one the previous day. He began to feel weak and drained while the ball of energy grew bigger, brighter and hotter. Carmelo knew he would have to stop soon as feeling began to leave his body but he seemed to lack control over his body, over his mind. He was vaguely aware of the ball, he was vaguely aware of the witches and he was vaguely aware of his own existence. 

He blinked back into focus, realizing that the ball was twenty times the size of his head. With a heave, he threw the ball down below towards the witches before he himself fell down from the beam, numb.  

The tall, green-haired witch leapt on top of the smaller one, shielding her. A high pitched sound, akin to an injured woman's scream was emitted as a bright white light enveloped the church for a split second. After it was gone, the church was lit up by inhumanely hot flames that covered every inch of the run down sacred house of God.

..

Isabella screamed in pain as the blast hit. Although her shield had dissolved, she would surely be dead if not for it. Tears streaked her eyes. 

Zoe pushed her off of her and looked at her back which was red and black with burns. She grew queasy as she saw a bit of her fellow witch's spine among the charred skin. Isabella took Zoe's hand and rose before she was pulled down by Zoe as she was assaulted by a blast of heat and coughed.

"No Isabella!" coughed Zoe as she laid down. "The heat will kill you."

"Well what am I suppose to do!?" angrily cried Isabella. "We can't just let him go!"

"First and foremost we need to think about how we're going to survive this." Zoe said as a wooden beam fell from the ceiling to the ground, sending embers into the air.

"If the heat, flames or smoke don't kill us this place collapsing surely will..." stated Isabella.

Zoe looked up, seeing the boy walk towards them, in the flame he appeared vastly different, with a gold and blue robe, a pauldron, a crown, red hair and a beard. Isabella shivered in horror as he approached. Zoe blinked and the boy looked like normal again. The boy appeared completely rejuvenated for some reason. 

The boy stepped in front of Isabella and raised a hand, flames gathering around it. A king cobra suddenly bolted out of Isabella's sleeve and darted up, sinking its teeth into the boy's arm causing him to scream out in pain as he tried to pry it off. It released its grip after ten seconds and slithered back into Isabella's sleeve as suddenly as it appeared. The two girls blinked in shock. Due to the poison, the boy stumbled backwards, sweating.

Zoe turned to Isabella. "I have a plan." she said. "We have to hold hands though. We're going to use catapo and bust this roof off then make it rain." she explained, her voice slightly raised in order to be heard over the flames.

Isabella nodded. "Okay, let's do it." she said as she locked hands with Zoe, their wands sandwiched between their hands. "Three."

"Two."

"One."

"Catapo!" they cried in unison, causing a large spiral beam to shoot from their wands towards the roof, blowing the flaming object off of the building with a flip.

"Now!" cried Zoe.

"Water!" shouted Zoe as Isabella shouted "Watera." causing a large stream of cool water to forcefully shoot out of their wands to the gray, darkening sky. A few seconds later, large raindrops came down, pelting them. The two witches closed their eyes and pressed their faces against the floor as they heard sizzling around them. After about thirty seconds, the rain stopped falling and they looked up. 

The girls slowly rose and saw the charred church around them, the flames gone. They turned to see the boy angrily looking at them, leaning on a wall, breathing deeply through his nose.

..

Goddammit, just what I need, a snake bite. Carmelo walked woozily towards the witches. But I'll stop these bitches if it's the last thing I do...

Carmelo continued to walk towards the witches who stood defiantly, clutching their wands tightly. Carmelo shielded his eyes as the building was filled with a bright light. The three turned to see Gaia who stood in front of a white portal below stained glass depicting a baby with a halo.

Gaia turned to the witches. "Come now, you two have done enough." she said sternly. "I am very disappointed in you, causing such a ruckus. I am glad that you're not hurt but you will still receive quite a stern scolding from me and Ankur both." she stated, shaking her head.

The witches said something, the green-haired witch looked sad while the blond witch looked angry.

"We shall talk about this once we get back, there are consequences for your actions my child." said Gaia, eyes darkening.

Carmelo jumped as the blond witch shrilly screamed something.

Gaia sighed, closing her eyes and shaking her head. "What will it take to show you that-?"

"Hey," said Carmelo stepping forward. "Hey! Don't ignore me!" he snapped.

Gaia turned to Carmelo with a bored expression. "Oh, pupil of Juan Carlos. One of the boys from the previous night, Carmelo Acerbi." she said.

"How the fuck do you know my name!?" Carmelo growled.

Gaia smiled. "I created all that is here child. I am your mother in a way." she explained.

Carmelo clenched his face. "I didn't come outta' you!" he spat.

Gaia tilted her head. "Oh? Juan Carlos didn't explain to you how I created you and everything else that is here? That I am you and everything else here?"  she asked.

"Naw, but he did tell me that you're a nutty bitch who wishes to kill most humans then enslave the rest."

Gaia raised her eyebrows. "Oh did he?"

"Yeah!" growled Carmelo. Gaia was silent, causing Carmelo to growl again. "I'm gonna' end this now!" he exclaimed as he created a ball of flame in his hand before screaming and falling to the ground, his eyes wide as he clutched his neck.

The witches looked at the writhing boy in horror then turned to Gaia who had her staff raised ever-so-slightly.

"I think I shall end your pitiful existence now." said Gaia boredly as he raised her staff higher. She lowered it, causing Carmelo to gasp in relief as police sirens were heard outside as well as doors opening and closing. "Maybe some other time." she said. A giant black bird suddenly swooped in the building from Gaia's portal, grabbed the girls in its massive wings then flew into the portal with them. Gaia began to walk into the portal then turned her head to see Carmelo staring at her, seething hatred in his brown eyes. Gaia closed her eyes and smiled as she walked in the portal. I just can't help but smile and chuckle inside...is that wrong of me?

The bright portal closed, leaving Carmelo in darkness as police officers swarmed into the building. Carmelo quickly rose to his feet and fearfully backed away.

"It's okay kid, we're here to help." an officer said in his British accent. "Where are those girls?"

"They're gone." sighed Carmelo ruefully. "Their wackjob leader came and took them away."

"Took them away? Where? Where did they exit?" asked an officer.

Carmelo shrugged. "The teleported out." he answered. The officers looked around uneasily.

"Come with us, in the police car."

"Why?" Carmelo quickly asked.

"Your friends are waiting in front of the city hall for you." the officer revealed.

Carmelo stood warily in the defiled church surrounded by the officers. After hesitating, he decided to trust them, if push came to shove he was powerful enough now to escape from them. He nodded before walking out of the building with them.

"By the way? Who are you guys?" an officer asked as he started the car.

Carmelo hesitated. "We're..." he trailed. What were they? How could he explain his cause to an outsider? He didn't really think he'd have to worry about that. He didn't think anyone would care about who he was. The car smoothly rolled down the streets and Carmelo regarded the chaos and destruction around him with dark eyes. This was Gaia's twisted memento, the world would know her wretched name. The car stopped at the city hall, and Carmelo exited the car.

"Carmelo!" exclaimed Akmal as he ran towards him. Everything became blurry and Carmelo swayed slightly. 

Akmal caught him. "Are you all right?" he asked, concerned.

Carmelo shoved him away. "I'm fine!" he lied. He sighed and looked in front of him and Andy and Manic walked to his other side. A mass of people had gathered in front of the town hall, probably in pursuit of the answers they deserved.

"Listen to me boy." commanded Juan telepathically through Carmelo's mind.

Carmelo blinked and looked around. "Master Juan?" he asked, causing Andy and Akmal to regard him in quizzical concern.

"Repeat everything I say, understood? Nod if you understand." said Juan.

Carmelo nodded.

"Alright..." said Juan.

Carmelo cleared his throat and spoke. "Greetings. My name is Carmelo and these are two of my companions, Andy and Akmal. I'm aware of how rough you have all had it today and my deepest condolences go with the families of those who have departed this Earth. We responded as promptly as possible but I still am sorry that we didn't arrive sooner. Those girls who appeared in your city are witches. As far-fetched as that sounds you have seen their power. They crave nothing but complete and total world domination. They are ludicrously powerful and shall not be engaged under any circumstances. They are led by a woman who goes by the name Gaia, a woman who claims to be the embodiment of the Earth itself, using this as justification for her crimes against humanity. Like her underlings, she is a sorceress with power that cannot be matched by any conventional army. Me and my comrades are under the tutelage of a brilliant and selfless man named Juan Carlos. Our sole objective is to stop Gaia and her witches and prevent her from carrying out her reign of terror. All ten of Juan Carlos' students are psychics, the only beings with the power to combat Gaia's minions. Juan himself is a psychic and he has made it his duty to protect the planet from these terrorists. If you would like to contact Juan for inquiry please call 837-280-1313 or email him at jcarls@yahoo.com."

"Preparing tractor beam. Beaming you up in t-minus five seconds." said Juan telepathically.

"Preparing tractor beam. Beaming- wait, wha?" asked Carmelo as he looked up in confusion before being suddenly enveloped in a bright pink light that caused his head to ache profoundly. When the thick beam disappeared, so did the three boys. The crowd looked up to see what appeared to be a large castle among the clouds.

..

Carmelo, Akmal, Andy and Manic were back in the classroom. Carmelo was surrounded by a warm yellow glow as Afwerki slowly healed him and a nurse removed the poison from his blood using a syringe. They all looked at Juan who was talking at the front of the classroom.

"I just cannot stress how proud I am how promptly you three responded to the call of duty. Many lives were saved due to your valiant efforts. My prediction came true and the witches have indeed finally struck. You, my ten students will be put through many trials in the coming days, weeks and months and if you goof around you will die but I know that if you give it your all, we can stop the witches. Although we will be fighting and on the move more, the learning never stops, if you want to survive against the witches you must be constantly improving, be constantly seeing the world in new ways. Find your limits and break them. Akmal, Carmelo and Andy can all attest to how strong the witches are, this isn't just summer camp, it's not all sunshine and puppies.  Rest well tonight. Now I must go, there are undoubtedly social workers in a frenzy because you are all children, armies wondering if they can use you for themselves, armies that idiotically think they can take the witches on, scientists wondering how the tractor beam works, talk show hosts who'll want me on their late-night television programs, militant environmentalists who sympathize with Gaia and others, all who I must address directly. Fare-"

"Master?" asked Carmelo, rising before his nurse forced him back down.

"Hm?" asked Juan.

"What...well, what are we all, as a group?" Carmelo asked.

Juan smiled. "Oh, of course, excellent question boy." He turned around and uncapped a blue marker. "You are all psychics so we have Psychokinetic." he began, writing a large 'P' on the white board. "The psychokinetic energy enhances you but the 'E' could stand for the energy itself I suppose. E is for Enhanced." he went on, writing a large 'E' on the board. "Finally, you all are the combatants in this war against Gaia, fighting for freedom, thus you are soldiers. The S is for Soldiers." he finished, writing a large S on the board. "Thus you form to make The Psychokinetic Energy Soldiers or PES for short." he explained with a smile before walking out of the classroom. "Have a pleasant night."

The boys sat in silence, basking in their new identities. They were The PES.

..

Zoe and Isabella sat in a bright white hot-spring that was surrounded by snow. Zoe looked at the large waterfall and sighed as she sunk down, the water everything up to her mouth. The hot-spring was slowly but surely healing the two girls from their injuries leaving them feeling tingly and rejuvenated. Isabella's king cobra swam in the water along with Zoe's tadpole.

Isabella cautiously touched her back and gasped softly, shocked to find it smooth. The girls' clothes were off to the side, in the snow. A white lion swam to Isabella with a bottle of milk in its maw. She waved a dismissive hand, prompting him to swim to Zoe who graciously took the milk and began drinking it, relieving her parched throat.

Isabella pounded a fist in the snow and turned to Zoe. "This is all your fault!" she hissed.

Zoe blinked and rose angrily, the water splashing around her. "How is this my fault!?"

"You were the one who wanted to summon something!"

"You did too smart one!"

"I wouldn't have done it if I were alone!"

"You know you would have! You coaxed me into doing it, wicked witches remember that!?"

"You know what, just shut the hell up. You and Lillian think you're so much better than everyone when you're just a buncha' stuck-up bitches!"

"Excuse me!? Since when did Lillian become a part of this? You know what I think!? I think-!"

"Enough." interrupted Gaia. the two turned to see her atop of the waterfall, frowning. "Were you there?" she asked, pointing to Zoe.

"Yes." she grumbled.

Gaia pointed to Isabella. "And were you there?" she asked.

"Yes..." she answered.

"Then you are both to blame, no one is more responsible than the other. This is both of your burden to bear as well as mine for not paying more attention to you." Gaia said.

Isabella looked away in shame while Zoe regarded Gaia silently.

"Thanks to you two, we've been pushed into the open far sooner than I originally planned and as such we are not ready yet. Now we must begin to to prepare for combat against Juan." Gaia stated.

"But I thought you said no one could enter this for-" began Zoe.

"Yes, well we must keep throwing Juan off to make sure he doesn't even find this forest for even I'm not quite sure of what he's capable of. Anytime we leave this forest we will be attacked due to the entire world being aware of us now. For your own safety we will have to stick close. I'm sorry if I sound harsh but as I stated there are consequences for your actions, especially when your actions are as major as this." Gaia said.

Isabella closed her eyes.

Gaia sighed. "Juan has been talking to people, his little group is called The PES." she folded her arms. "Not that I care what foolish humans think but to thanks to this little incident, Juan has the moral high ground." she revealed. "As far as they are concerned you, the rest of your sisters, me and Ankur are all monsters." 

Isabella's face grew pale.

"It is now us against all the humans, the Earth against the humans. Not that it's a particularly large problem, I just thought I'd inform you." A portal appeared behind her. "Finish up soon, you two must be apart of the discussion I'm having with your sisters." she said before disappearing.

Zoe looked where Gaia was and off to the side she could hear Isabella quietly sobbing.

...

Carmelo exited the bathroom, wearing gray jogging pants and lacking a shirt. Although he was tired, he felt worlds better than he did after fighting the two witches.

"Hello Carmelo." greeted Joshua with his sleepy smile.

Carmelo hesitated for a bit. "Hey Joshua." he finally greeted.

Joshua gave a sigh of relief. "Ah, I was afraid for a second."

Carmelo angrily folded his arms and rolled his eyes.

"Come on, don't be like that." chuckled Joshua.

Carmelo curiously looked at Joshua who was sitting on his legs in front of a small brown table with a checkered glass on top of it and glass chess pieces on top of that. Joshua was wearing a baby blue button up shirt with three buttons undone and blue jeans.

"What's that?" asked Carmelo curiously, walking towards Joshua then standing on the opposite side of the table, arms still folded.

Joshua held out his hands with a smile. "It's chess. I bought it when we were at the mall yesterday for us to play. It could be a nightly thing."

"Don't know how to play, sorry." replied Carmelo curtly.

"It's easy." said Joshua.

"Like hell it is." said Carmelo.

"Come on, sit down and I'll teach you." said Joshua.

Carmelo rolled his eyes and sighed as he plopped down.

"Okay, first and foremost we have the pawn. They may seem pretty weak and insignificant but every piece is useful, never forget that. On their first turn, pawns can move two spaces, every turn after that they can only move one space forward, never backwards. Any piece in front of a pawn blocks it, halting its progress. Pawns must capture diagonally even though they can only advance forward..." Joshua began to explain.

Carmelo nodded, interested and attentive towards his roommate's lecture.

"Alright, do you understand?" asked Joshua

Carmelo nodded. "I got it."

"Alright, your move." informed Joshua with a smile. 

Carmelo was in control of the black pieces. He advance the pawn in front of his right bishop (from his position) forward one space.

With a smile, Joshua advanced the pawn in front of his king up two spaces

Carmelo blinked. Why the heck would he make an opening in front of his king? Carmelo advanced the pawn in front of his right knight up two spaces.

Joshua slid his queen diagonally as far it could go, ending up next to the second pawn Carmelo had played. "Checkmate." said Joshua, smiling. 

"Wait, what?" said Carmelo.

"If I move diagonally, I'm lethally close to your king and nothing can defend it." Joshua explained, smiling. He put his chin in his hand. "My, I'm surprised you didn't get your head lobbed off while fighting that monster, seeing as you lack foresight."

"Shut up." commanded Carmelo with a smile. "Do-over."

Joshua raised his eyebrows. "Oh, you want to play again?"

"Yeah, so I can wipe that smart smirk off of your face." Carmelo informed, still smiling.

Joshua shrugged as he moved his pieces back. "If you insist. I honestly didn't think you were a glutton for punishment Carmelo."

"I said shush it." Carmelo moved his pieces back.

"You go first."

Carmelo pondered with his hand over his mouth as he analyzed all his pieces, all his possible plays. His mind wandered to the witches. No longer were they just some bedtime tale that could be used to spook them into compliance, they were very real, under the bed and ready to strangle The PES in their sleep. Carmelo took the pawn in front of his left rook and advanced it two spaces forward.

Chapter Twelve: For AllEdit

Not finished

With his eyes closd, Luuk laborously stretched his arms over his head. The blond boy looked at his top-bunk where Akmal was still peacefully snoring. Luuk would have opened the curtains, filling the room with glorious golden rays of sun, if not for his roomate who he wished to be courteous with. In truth, Luuk had awoken an hour ago at dawn. He quietly took a stroll through the halls, seeing Andy on his journey who was jogging with Manic. Without fail, Luuk always rose out of bed at the arrival of dawn, feeling that sleeping-in would be indicative of sloth. Luuk stared at Akmal's slumbering body, taking note of the large rise and fall of his caramel-skinned body. While staring at Akmal, Luuk recalled how elated his roomate seemed the previous night.

Luuk closed his eyes and smirked as he shook his head. He just doesn't get it yet, does he? He doesn't realize how crucial this mission is; he still thinks it's all just a game. He was proud all right, but more at himself. Soon, however, I know my fair friend Akmal shall see how much gravity the situation bears, how noble and great our undertaking is. He will soon see that this is a mission from God Himself!

Luuk turned his head towards the heaven, as if he wanted to face God directly as he thought. He didn't mind that he wasn't part of the group that fought the witches the other day for he knew the time would come where he would get to clash with the witches. Although he would wait patiently for that time to arrive, he would be lying if he said he wasn't eager to face them. Eager to eradicate them with his light, eager to watch the horror in their twisted, hellish eyes. Eager to send them back to the hell which they came, cleansing the world of evil and ushering in a world without war, famine or anger: a pure, holy world. God forbid if he fall at the hands of the wretched witches (which Luuk didn't believe to be possible), he believed that he would go to heaven due to the goodness of his soul.

Finally, Luuk thought of the witch he killed with a shudder of pleasure that rocked his body. He could have sworn that he felt God smiling upon him. Although he didn't fight the witches the previous day, he felt he was already a step ahead of his the others due to the initiative he took. He could remember the day as if it were yesterday. The Dutch teenager known as Daine Dood was performing tricks in the street in an attempt to make money. Others would have considered it foolish parlor tricks or a feeble light show but not Luuk. He saw it for what it really was, magic. Others might have killed Daine in the shadows but not Luuk for he felt it was beneath him. I wasn't afraid of being seen, I wanted everyone to know how righteous I was, God was my witness. I fought valiantly and though the wench buned my leg, I fought on, the love of God keeping me going and with his help I was able to smite the wicked, snap her neck. Despite me trying to explain to them what was happening, they were mollified, they were unholy: demon sympathisers.

Luuk shook his head and walked towards the window, his heartbeat quickening to a feverish pace. But that is irrevelent now...I am with Master Juan and with together, me and others can chnage the world to bring about peace. Luuk slid the curtains apart, letting in light. He felt that Akmal had enough sleep and as such, ignored the irritated groans as the blond boy flipped his hair and confidently exited his room, ready to take on the wicked world.

Gojo sulked down the halls with his hands in his pocket. He was none too happy about two others taking on the witches before he got to. His soul festering with rage, he found himself unable to sleep properly the previous night, adding grogginess to the list of reasons he was irate. 

Gojo sneered. Don't get me wrong, I love da' free food but dis shit's gettin' boring as hell! I'm trapped in this flyin' crib, sit in some stupid ass class and get my ass kicked by some fuckin' two-year-old shit and for what?! Not bein' able to see these witch bitches. Gojo's eyes darkened as he cracked his knuckles by curling his hand into a fist. Ever since his gang started to dwindle, he found life increasingly boring and himself increasingly surly. Not today doe. This shit's whack and I'm going to get some witch ass today.

...

The witches ate their breakfast quietly. While the witches were not silent while they ate, the entire area was a far-cry from how festive it usually was. When the witches spoke, it didn't reach must past a cautious murmur. It was evident that the speech Gaia had made last evening due to the prior day's events had thoroughly shaken up the witches. Even though the familiars were oblivious to the ominous mood as they nipped at any body part they could find, their respective witches tended to absentmindedly shoo them away. The sounds of the birds and cicadas, high in the trees were oblivious to the mood, giving the witches some level of reassurance.

The least affected was without a doubt Bisera who, although unnerved by the revelation that the war on Juan had officially begun, still managed to wear a smile and look on the bright side. She basked in the sunlight for breakfast while she let her baby sloth eat her eggs and porridge topped with butter, cinnamon and berries.

Bisera looked into the wide, questioning eyes of her baby sloth, which she had christianed Apostol. His eyes seemed to convey,"everybody's really quiet so should I be scared?"

Bisera smiled warmly. "There's nothing to be afraid of Apostol." she said as she gave her friend a big, warm hug. "Everything will be all right. Everone is just a bit spooked, that's all. We'll all be fine as long as Gaia is here." she reasurred.

Two seats down, Afisa wasn't faring as well as her plant-like sister, demeanor-wise. Afisa drummed her fingers nervously on the table, with her spectacled caiman hatchling staring at her fingers wide-eyed, fighting off the urge to lunge at them. 

I didn't really come here to hurt anyone. I should have known the time would come sooner or later but..god it just seemed out of nowhere. If what mother says is true then the world is against us. I don't want to kill the PES but...Afisa hung her head. I'll stay with Gaia and make sure neither her nor my sisters get hurt, Afisa looked at her hands and shook her head. She would worry if those hands were going to be capable of killing later.

Xaviera stuffed an egg into her mouth with a smile, deciding that they tasted delicious when preapred. She turned to Afisa and tilted her head as he sister seemed lost in thought. Her familiar, Swimmy lazily swam in the air, causing Lillian to cower in fear at the other end of the table.

"What wrong?" asked Xaviera.

Afisa blinked then turned to Xaviera. "Oh, nothing, nothing." she luaghed sheepishly.

Xaviera's face darkened as she growled, being able to guage the emotions of people better. "Tell." she demanded.

Afisa sighed. "I'm just thinking about the PES."

Xaviera raised her eyebrows. "About kill them?" she asked.

Afisa nodded. "Yes, I'm just not sure if I can..."

Xaviera folded her arms. "Kill easy. I do it all the time."

Afisa blinked, shocked. "The PES, they're not like animals..."

"You kill things to survive, Xaviera no get worried about it. Mama talks about them like they animals." Xaviera stated.

"But-"

"What difference is it? Humans get eat, humans meant to die too. I kill because I have to, mama makes it seem like I have to this time too." Xaviera reasoned.

Afisa looked away and sighed, she didn't feel like arguing with her little sister at the moment. Although, she does have a point... Afisa shook her head. She'll have to learn about how sacred lives are too...but will that help her, given the circumstances?

The witches heard Gaia clear her throat and they all looked up to see her standing. Gaia was not smiling, yet she was not frowning either. Although she was not frowning, the group still felt calm while looking at their mother whose blue hair with green tips. "My dear daughters," she began. "I'm aware that my speech I made yesterday was grave but it wasn't meant to frighten you and rob your joy." the embodiment of the Earth gave a small smile as Ankur, in the form of a wallaby stood on Gaia's end of the table. "I just wanted to keep you informed. You are safe with me and as such should feel at ease. Although Juan Carlos has begun this little conflict, you should not feel scared. Your learning will continue though at a slightly excelerated pace but I know you all shall be fine, Juan Carlos shall not stifle your education. I promised you that once I've taught you all that you need to know, I'll give you the option of leaving and I intend to keep that promise. Now, stop being so morose." Gaia smiled. "Try a smile you all."

Isabella smirked despite herself and her smile spread across the table like a lovely infection, with Lillian and Zoe being the only ones who weren't beaming by the time the disease had touched each witch and familiar.

...

Eziz sat among his fellow psychics at a long, white rectangular table. The room that they were in was all-white, giving the room a certain pristineness as well as a certain sterileness. Eziz turned, Luuk seemed to enjoy the brightness of the room.

Eziz's arms were folded as he raised an eyebrow at his blond comerade. Good for him.

There were twelve black, cushioned chairs along the table. The long ends of the table contained five chairs each, set up so that those in chairs were directly facing those opposite of them. Ther short ends of the table contained one chair each. Kola was sitting on the end of the table nearest the white, automatic door. Her expression was blank and her arms were folded over her voluminous breasts. Across from Eziz sat Carmelo. Eziz turned to his teacher who stood at the front of his room with his hands behind his back. He was facing his desciples (and daughter) and behind him was a black screen. Eziz figured whatever reason they were all in the 5,525-square foot room that Juan had so warmly dubbed The War Room must be urgent because Juan had cut breakfast short, only giving them thirteen minutes of eating time before he told them telepathically to follow Kola into the west wing of the castle and into the war room. Eziz artfully supressed his smile as he saw Carmelo, cheeks filled with food thus making him look akin to a chipmunk, frantically chew the haste-created combination of eggs, milk, a waffle and a sasuage. Carmelo quickly used his sleeve to wipe the trickle of milk that began to stream from his overflowing mouth.

The room was filled with gasps of shock and wonder as the overhead lights sudenly switched off and the table emitted a soft, green light. The front of the room, near where Juan was standing was swathed in a pale blue light and on the wallsnear the ground were faint streams of white light coming from circular holes in the walls. Eziz was impressed by the sudden contrast of the War Room. He thought the faint circular lights akin to the floor lights forund in a movie theater his father once took him to. Everyone seemed thoroughly taken aback by the sudden appearance shift barring Kola and Sebastion. Juan smirked smugly at his students' reaction. The screen was now a baby blue letters and CARLOS SYSTEMS were written in large, golden, elegant letters.

Juan cleared his throat, causing the PES to swivel their heads towards him with varying degrees of promptness. The screen seamlessly shifted to a picture of the rotating Earth.

"Good morning my students, I hope you're all well rested because today will require your full attention. As witnessed yesterday, Gaia and her witches have decided  to com out of the shadows. As Gaia has mobolized her legion, we must likewise mobolize ours." he began in his elderly, yet strong voice that he projected to the opposite end of the room.

"The witches are power, and each second we waste, they are undoubtedly spending amassing more power. As such, we shall not waste a zeptosecond; even as you eat, you shall sharpen your mind into such a fine point that an tungsten needle will appear dull compared to your mental power." Juan looked into their eyes piercingly.

"Today marks the beginning of our official missions." Juan said. Juan saw Zack's hand shoot up into the air. "Yes, Zackari?" asked Juan.

"Um, so that mission we did the other night didn't count?" asked Zack who flinched slightly when he heard the sound of Gojo's low growl. Kola looked away in shame.

Juan stroked his goatee in ponderance. "Well, no, I wouldn't say that perse. It's just that mission didn't pertain to our main goal:that being the elimination of Gaia. Gaia is an egotistical, manipulative menace and must be stopped as soon as possible." Juan pointed at the screen which was suddenly filled with pictures of the wreckage caused by the witches' rampage the previous day. "Gaia is public enemy number one. Forget about some terrorist on the news, some sadly bearded dictator or some deranged serial killer. Gaia is the biggest threat to us all. She and her legion of like-powered individuals wish to take over the world and wipe-out the majority of man-kind. Any nut off the street can shout that they will rule the world and destroy our society and some organizations will even aspire to do so but the witches are the only ones who can without a shadow of a doubt mak the nightmare into a reality. Their power is monstrous, the likes which the world has never seen before. Gaia's quest for world domination would go unchallenged if it were not for us. It is our duty to combat the witches and eradicate them from the face of the planet."

Luuk practically beamed, his soul full of duty and honor.

Eziz closed sighed and retreated briefly into his thoughts. I don't wish to kill, it isn't my desire. I have killed enough, more than one man should have to. He looked at Juan. If this were anyone else, I would leave here and now but that is my master, my teacher, Juan Carlos, speaking to me. He's been nothing but trustworthy and he decided to fetch a man like me, not knowing that I had changed in the pit of fire. He trusted me when he had no reason to and to that, I owe him my trust in return. Even without the trust, I can...I can feel the kindness, the passion of his heart, burning like a raging fire. I will fight the witches because they are truly dastardly characters and their callous actions yesterday only prove that. Eziz folded his arms as he focused on his master. Besides, I like to see it as helping my comrades rather than harming the witches...

"I'm aware that some of you may think it more practical to try talking the witches out of their villainy." Juan stated with a smile that seemed specifically aimed at Zack and Afwerki. "Might as well shoot down that notion while I'm here." he stated as he shook his head and sighed with a shrug. "As I stated, the woman known as Gaia is a frigteningly good manipulator. The witches are indoctrinated to unquestioningly follow Gaia. This is achieved by Gaia synthesizing a familial relationship with her pawns, stating that she is their mother."

Joshua turned to Kola, who he was sitting next to. Although the beautiful young woman's face was stoic as always, her hands told a different story as one seemed to shake with a semi-supressed fury while the other gripped the table forcefully, birthing cracks where Kola's death-grip was located.

"What's troubling you Kola?" asked Joshua.

"Nothing." Kola curtly stated, her eyes still on her father. Even when he couldn't read minds, Joshua was still exceptional at reading emotions and Joshua felt compelled to worm away from the dark, choking feeling of wrath that was oozing from Kola's being.

"My predictions show that the witches' magical powers will grow at an alarming rate. Worse case scenario? Their powers will grow at such a rate that they may eclipse yours. That's where the ace up my sleeve comes into play." Juan informed. On the right side of th screen appeared the green outline of a stone with cryptic green letters in said outline while the left side filled with various pictures of the similar stones, now filled and with black cryptic letters instead of green.

Gojo squinted and learned towards the screen. Ay, ain't that...?

"These are Kalar Stones. Some of you should already be familiar with them. They are stones that contain energy that inhibit a witch's power while simeltaneously making us psychics that much stronger. The Kalar Stones are our best bet in defeating the witches. The stones are scattered across the globe. Thanks to the efforts of Luuk, Sebastion, Gojo and Carmelo, we already have one kalar stone in our posession meaning there are five remaining..."

Sebastion stared at the screen angrily. Why in the world are we going to try and make them weaker!? What's the fun if they're not at their full strength, using all their power to fight back but ultimately too weak to stop me. If I kill them, how will I now that it was my power that did them in? Once I see the life draining out of their eyes, only a fraction will be from my doing. Like I need that infernal stone anyhow. That old man better not impede on my fun. The young child silently fumed, earning his slightly frightened looks from Afwerki, Zack, and Akmal.

"Today I'm issuing Mission 01 as well as Misssion 01.2." Juan revealed. On the far left side of the screen were pictures of Zack and Joshua's faces as well as a "level number" on the topright corner of the boxes, Zack level seven and Joshua level seven. Zack blushed at his picture while Joshua smirked, thinking it not too shabby.

"Mission 01. Your mission is to go to Normandy and secure the second kalar stone. Our radars tend to jam when detecing kalar stones so I can only send you to the general area." Juan revealed. On the far right side of the screen appeared pictures of Kola and Andy. Akmal couldn't help but chuckle at Kola's unabridged name. He promptly cut his chuckle short when he felt Kola's eyes trained on him. Andy's level was six while Kola's level was twenty-seven.

Sebastion growled at the mention of the kalar stone.

"Mission 01.2. Your mission is to go near the attack site the previous day and attract the witches where ou will attract then jopefully vanquish them. Even if you do not vanquish them, your mission will be considered a success if you find their hiding spot."

"Crikey, just what me day need, dealin' with some nutty witches." Andy sighed. Manic tried to comfort his friend by nudging against him.

In the blink of an eye, The War Room was back to its originally, pristinely white appearance.

"You all may rise. Those who are not part of the mission proceed to Room 55 for another lesson." Juan said. "Meeting adjourned." Most of the PES began to head towards the automatic door when they all halted due to their comrade's outburst.

"Ay, naw Juan! I ain't goin' to some dumbass class again!" Gojo snapped as he walked towards Juan confrontationally.

Juan tilted his head. "Oh? And why is that? This isn't a vacation you know."

"I had to sit back while you let a bunch of losers save your hot-ass daughter! Now yo ass tryin' to tell me that fuckin' animal planet, annoying spiky-haired ass, and bitch-boy get to go on a mission but I don't!? Is your ass on dope old man!? Why you fuckin' around with the zeroes when the hero's right here!?" he shouted, walking towards the elderly man. Manic sneered at the angry psychic. "I could take down those witches wit' my hands tied behind me back so lemme' ask you one last time old man." Gojo lowered his voice. "Are you goin' senile because this shit's nuts?" Gojo suddenly found himself slammed roughly against the cold, hard floor, face first, courtesy of Juan's psychic power. Gojo found himself unable to wring himself loose despite him using every last drop of his strength and ferocious tenacity.

Juan tilted his head, frowning. "You really want to now why you haven't been assigned on a mission yet? I admit Hashizawa, you are strong but brute strength isn't everything. Teamwork, that's what you refuse to have. The fact that you're perpetually surly and wily doesn't help matters. As strong as it may be, a bull with a temperment problem is dead in this war. If I let you go as you are now, you are dead and I can't afford to needlessly throw away soldiers in this war. Until you exhibit some control or I think of a play that will put the odds in my favor, you will stay in this castle and behave, thus proving that you are mission-ready." Juan glared. "Do not question the clarity of my mind, boy! My mind is sharp as evidenced by your position right now. Right now, I could break every single bone in your body. I want you to be a good boy and I do not want to hear another outburst from you today. Do I make myself clear?"

The room was silent.

"I said, do I make my self clear?" Juan repeated, loudly.

"Yes!" grunted Gojo, prompting Juan to release him with a smile. Gojo gasped air before he slowly rose.

"Now get to class." said Juan, promtping everyone but Kola, Andy, Joshua and Zack to scurry away.

Juan turned to Joshua and Zack. "You two can head over to the Departure Deck. I will give a mission briefing to you momentarily."

"Uh, Master Juan? Where is the Departure Deck?"

Juan sighed. "Oh right." he then waved a hand. "Head down the hall, I'll give you directions telepathically."

"Understood." said Joshua before he and Zack left the War Room.

Kola walked up to her father. "Thank you father. I'm grateful that you're giving me another chance to prove myself after I failed you."

Juan smiled. "Think nothing of it. I chose you because you two will be able to carry out this mission particularly well."

With Manic on his shoulder, Andy raised his eyebrow quizically.

...

Birds cawed, high in the trees, their voices joining harmonously with the roar of the waterfall that the witches were near for their open-ended lesson with Gaia.Felicia was on a high rock near the top of the fall, looking up. The reason she was staring so contently upward was due to its blueness, from this section of the forest, she could actaully see the baby blue sky and the swift moving puffy clouds like the ships of a vast, beautiful sea. Felicia loved the forest all right but looking at the sky now, she surely felt that she would have gone mad if she had gone another day without it. Kajsa was at her feet, mimicking his dear friend by craning his neck at the lovely sky.

In his human form, Ankur dropped down next to the Swedish witch almost soundlessly, with only a soft thud announcing his prscense. Perceptive despite the loud waterfall, Felicia quickly turned towards the shirtless, sinewy man who was about a foot taller than her. Felicia partially raised her hand and waved it slightly from side to side, serving as a feeble nonverbal greeting. The two stood for a brief second, struck by the other's beauty.

"What are you doing exactly Felicia?" asked Ankur.

Felicia moved her arms above her head towards the sky while looking up then slowly moved them apart from eachother.

"Oh? Well, what about it has you mesmerized?" Ankur asked.

Felicia clasped her hands behind her back. "I just like it, that is all. I just missed the sight of the sky. It is so peaceful, the sky I mean. The sky is just so comforting, how it is always around it and so..so splendidly blue." she informed happily. Ankur scratched his head and smiled a small smile. He was not accustomed to Felicia saying so many words. "Is that strange of me?" Felicia asked.

Ankur shook his head warmly. "Not at all. It's natural for you to feel that way. You're comforted by the presence of Gaia surrounding you." Ankur explained.

"Gaia is the sky too?" Felicia inquired. The three were high above the others who were either in the pool of water or on shorter rocks. The only things that was higher than the three in the immediate vicinity were the trees and the top of the waterfall.

Ankur threw out his arms. "Gaia is all you see. She is the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the atmosphere." Ankur's voice lowered as he looked grimly aside. "She is even the PES."

Kajsa meowed as he brushed against Ankur's leg, causing the human familiar to smile. He bent down as he made a created a long blue string and tossed the end into the water. "You want some coi fish, don't you little one?" he asked with a smile before he roughly yanked the string, causing the end with a coi fish that was wrapped around the srong to jerk upwards then into Ankur's hands. Kajsa's eyes widened as he stood on his hind legs. Ankur handed the fish to the cat before smiling, turning into a bat and flying towards Gaia. Felicia regarded him with a smile as he flew away.

Ankur flew near Gaia then morphed back into his human form, emitting purple lightning as he did so.

"Fire!" shouted Afisa as she pointed her wand towards the far-off trees, gripping it tightly as her ankles were submerged in the cool water. A brief gust of wind rustled her short, black dress.

Gaia, who was standing a foot behind her daughter, stepped forward with a smile. She turned to Afisa. "The power of your spell was definitely great but it's still lacking in range somewhat. In your mind, really visualize how far you want it to go. You may find that at first, the increased range compromises the power significantly but as you grow comfortable with the spell, you will be able to easier control its attributes with minimum drawbacks." Gaia explained caringly.

Afisa nodded. "Okay, I'll try." she carefully looked at the trees and readied her wand, feeling the mana in the environment flow into her body via her jark. She focused despite the tingling, euphoric sensation travelling throughout her body and yelled, "fire" which sent a small fireball in the distance, garnering polite applause from Gaia.

"That's wondeful, my daughter!" Gaia beamed. Despite the fact that the fireball was noticeably smaller than Afisa's other fireballs, Gaia was proud that the range of her daughter's spell had improved. Afisa folded her arms and smiled warmly at her mother's compliment.

All feelings of anxiety and uneasiness had disipated not too long after breakfast. It helped that Gaia and Ankur we so kind. The witches were in the middle of what Gaia had dubbed an "open-ended lesson" and each of the girls were able to focus on whatever they so chose and could receive one-on-one help from Gaia (as was the case with Afisa) if they felt they needed it. Despite the somewhat tense situation was brought forth on the previous day, Gaia and Ankur were still tender and caring with the witches. Any feelings of ire had been dissolved...ignoring the usual feelings of ire that is.

Zoe and Lillian were in a pool of water significally lower than Gaia, Ankur and Afisa's. Zoe sat on a wet rock, feverently reading her grimoire that rested on her lap with a deep frown. Lillian could not help but be impressed, she herself had trouble reading when upset. Lillian pointed her wand towards the water and shut her eyes tight, bracing herself. "Aero!" she yelled. The result of her spell was a feeble burst of air spreading the water at her feet away from eachother, revealing the rocky bottom of the pool. The water continued to spread apart for six seconds before it returned to normal. Lillian shrugged and sighed for her desired effect was for the spell to launch her high into the air. She walked over to Zoe and plopped down next to her, discouraged. Despite the time that had passed, Lillian was still far from being adept in magic, in fact, the only spell she could use reliably was fire.

Zoe turned towards her friend. "Oh, cheer up." she said. "That was kind of good."

Lillian folded her arms with a smirk and her eyebrows raised. "Yeah, right."

Zoe closed her grimoire, stood up and placed it behind her back, into manaspace. "Here, let me try." said Zoe, somewhat subdued. She walked into the center of the nearest pool, manifested her wand from her black sleeve and pointed it down towards the water. Zoe looked up. "Aero!" she yelled, causing her to suddenly shoot upwards, aided by a powerful gust of wind. Higher than even Felicia now, the other witches could not help but look at their blond sister in awe. Gravity grew annoyed and began to tug the girl back towards where she came, her long blond hair whipping erratically in the forest air. Zoe squinted and held out her wand. "Aero!" she called again. This time, the spell had served to slow her descent, granting her a safe landing.

Lillian blinked as her friend brushed her dress as she landed. "Magic comes so natural to you." she said quietly due to her awe.

Zoe sighed as she walked over to Lillian again. "Whoop-dee-doo." she stated sarcastically before sitting on a rock. "I'm starting to regret it." Zoe had been feeling down ever since she and Isabella had returned to the other witches the previous day,

Lillian noticed her friend looking glumly into the cool, clear water. She moved her hand in front of Zoe's face and snapped. "Hey, snap out of it, what happened yesterday wasn't your fault."

Zoe chuckled nervously as she brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. "No, it kind of is actually. I summoned the behemoth."

Lillian bit her lip. "Well..." she closed her eyes. "Well you didn't know you'd summon it, alright? It's done, no use dwelling in the past, oue only choice is to try and make the future bright, right?"

Zoe was silent for a moment. "Right." she finally said with a nod.

Lillian sighed. "This whole thing really sucks though."

Zoe rolled her eyes. "You can sure say that again."

Lillian held out her hands with a irritated frown. "I mean, Gaia bloody kidnaps you then she has the nerve to get angry to sneak away when you just want to have some fun and try to use the things that she has taught you."

"Yeah!" agreed Zoe, her moroseness giving way to anger. "And she scolds me after she gets me as if I didn't feel like utter crap already! What, she thinks that I don't care about that beast murdering people?"

Lillian shrugged bitterly. "I wouldn't be surprised. She probably thinks so because she herself doesn't give a hoot. Gaia, going on about how bad humans are to her probably thinks that innocent people dying were the highlight of her day."

Zoe shuddered before exhaling out of her nose. She placed her feet in the water. "Then there's the PES."

Already, the name had managed to instill a certain trepidation in the witches once it slithered into their ears and Lillian Bynes was no exception. "Oh yes, the PES, lovely. If humans are demons to Mommy Dearest then the PES are the devils themselves. Me and you should get along witht them rather well given our-"

Zoe shook her head. "I'm not so sure. If Gaia is to be believed, then they hated all of us already, more so due to the incident yesterday and..." Lillian tilted her head. "...I don't know, I looked into one eyes as he was standing over me and for a brief second, I was out of breath, paralyzed as-"

Lillian smirked. "Ohh, you probably thought he was cute."

Zoe blushed and folded her arms. "I did not." Well, I did but that's beside the point. "The one I fought though, he really meant business. I just want you to take them seriously."

Lillian nodded grimly. "We'll probably have to fight them a lot of times before Gaia gives us the option of leaving. I bet she's betting on that affecting our decision, We have to keep clear heads." Lillian looked up at Gaia, with her blue hair with green tips. If Lillian was forced to say positive things about Gaia, one such thing could be that in a world of skinny supermodels, Gaia's appearance was a sigh of relief for her, especially seeing as she was someone who claimed to be the planet Earth. Lillian could not deny that the woman claiming to be the mother of all was beautiful in her beauty lied in her tall yet full figure that seemed aligned with classic views on beauty. She then turned to Zoe, who Gaia would have her believe was her sister. Contrasting with Gaia, Lillian believed Zoe's appearance screamed supermodel with a bullhorn atop the Burj Khalifa. Eyes that seemed to naturally have kohl, long, golden blond hair, tall, skinny, Lillian thought that Zoe could be featured on a Victora's Secret commercial (much to the pleasure of the oft-mentioned Joshua she wagered) or star on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated or Vogue. In that moment, Lillian pondered to her self. She had no problems with her appearance. true she considered herself perfectly plain but she bore no misgivings about that fact.

It's just...I bet Zoe's so popular in school. Assuming we lived in the same city, would we be friends? Would we even converse if not for Gaia forcing both of us into the same corner?

Zoe blinked, noticing her friend look at her, deep in thought. "What is it?" she asked.

Lillian frantically waved her hand with a sheepish smile. "Oh, nothing, nothing!" she quickly said.

Zoe tilted her head in confusion then sighed. "I'm just really apprehensive about the future."

Lillian nodded. "You can say that again, who in the world knows what it holds?"

"Since that's the case, then why are you two so glum about it?" asked a voice from behind.

The two witches quickly stood up and turned around to see Bisera, their almost perpetually smiling fellow witch who had green-tinted hair. Its arms loosely around her neck, her baby sloth, Apostol, regarded Zoe and Bisera with a tired-looking smile. Bisera smiled at them as she stepped forward, her tan skin glistening no doubt from the water that was all around.

"What do you mean?" asked Lillian.

"Well, you just said that you don't know what the future holds. Whose to say then that it has to be something that'll make you sad?" Bisera asked in her soft and caring voice.

Zoe folded her arms. "Psh, with Gaia? Not likely." she scoffed.

"Gaia does care about y-" Bisera began.

"Well what if we don't care about her?!" Isabella snapped, distraught.

Bisera stood on the tip of her toes for a brief moment before coming back down on her heels. "Then you're choosing to be unhappy if you are presented with a gift only to scoff at it." Bisera tapped her chin. "Even if you get something surprising, it neednot scare you. It's like a jack-in-the-box. As you move forward, you know it'll come out, but you don't know when. When it does come out, you can either let the shock cause you to throw the jack across the room in fear and anger or keep it, able to be happy as you laugh the fear off."

Zoe pondered at the analogy.

"That's easier said then done Bisera." Lillian sighed, looking aside.

Bisera shrugged. "Maybe. At first, that definitely is a possibilty. If you keep looking at surprises in a positive way you'll get used to it. Besides, we're talking about an unknown future! Whose to say we don't all go outside and there's raining icecream!? You would just feel silly about pouting now!"

Lillian could not help but giggle at Bisera's words.

Zoe held out her hands. "Well, you have reason to be so happy around Gaia, she gave you your voice. We didn't gain anything positive from coming here." Zoe calmly argued.

Bisera wagged a mischevious finger with an equally mischevious smile. "Ah, ah, ah Zoe. That isn't true." she said teasingly. "If it weren't for Gaia you wouldn't have met Lillian who you're really close with. You also wouldn't have learned about your magic. There's a bright side to every situation, you just have to find it."

Lillian smiled as she scratched her head. She hated to admit it but the witch who she swore smelled faintly of citrus and flowers' cheerful demeanor was getting to her. She saw that Zoe had almost completely succumbed to her. "How do you stay so happy?" asked Lillian.

Bisera held up a finger and Apostol's grin widened. "It's easy, I just always look on the bright side of things."

Lillian tried to bring Bisera back to reality. "You're not angry about what I did yesterday? About the people we hurt?"

Lillian and Zoe both flinched at Bisera's answer of "Not at all." Bisera went on to explain. "I know it was just a silly accident and that you didn't mean it. I that would feel terribly guilty if it were me so I wouldn't try to make you feel worse." Bisera's smile widened. "Life's too short to get hung-up on things so just move on. Whenever you're feeling unsure, whenever you are down, just remember my personal motto: Smile, be happy!"

Lillian scratched her ear. "Even when I'm not good at magic.

"You'll get better, you just have to believe in yourself. Whether you believe it or not, we're all witches and we're all in this togehter. If one person is feeling down, everyone feels a little bit down. We're all witches and sisters. All for one and one for all is a good quote to remember for our situation." Bisera smiled mischeaviously. "You should also remember my motto, that being smile, be happy."

Zoe and Lillian had admitted defeat, they could not pout after dealing with Bisera's charm. "We'll try." they said.

Bisera gently unhooked the baby sloth's arms as she waved him menacingly in front of her. "And if I catch you frowning then Apostol here'll pounce on you in your sleep!"

Zoe smirked as she put a hand on her hip. "Fine, we won't try, we'll just do it."

Bisera nodded. "That's the spirit. Now if you excuse me, I have some trees to talk to." she said before jogging to the trees.

Meanwhile, Amalija, her tortoise familiar named Albertas, Felicia and Kajsa were uneasily watching Isabella intensely practice her magic. Felicia and Amalija both practiced healing magic a while ago as well as light-aligned magic. 

"Come on," said Felicia finally as she stood up.

Amalija blinked. "B-but she's on a different level than us..."

"So what? She's our friend." Felicia said. Kajsa seemed to nod in agreement.

"We'll just get in her way." argued Amalija, afraid her head might come clean off due to a miscalculated torrent of water from Isabella.

"That's why we train." said Felicia as she took Amalija's arm and dragged her into the shallow water where Isabella was standing.

Isabella turned towards her two sisters with her hand on her hip, panting. "Decided to join the party eh?"

Felicia gave a nod with a determined expression and gulp.

Isabella chuckled, held up a hand and shrugged. "Suit yourself." she said before quickly firing a torrent of water towards the two, causing Felicia to roll out the way, her pointy hat magically staying on her head. Amalija simply opted to drop down, getting wet in the process.

"Lightning!" Isabella yelled as she fired a bolt of lightining at Felicia who quickly erected a barrier with the call of "shield". Isabella then yelled "ground" causing a catch of rock to jut up from unde Felicia, sending her into the air in an arc towards the trees.

Amalija's eyes widened in horror as Isabella quickly turned towards her. Amalija closed her eyes tightly. "Light!" she yelled, enveloping the area in a bright white light for a split second. After the light had faded, Amalija found herself in a standing headlock, courtesy of Isabella. Isabella held her sleeve close to Amalija's face, causing a bit of urine to trickle down the lavender-haired witch's thigh. 

Isabella gently poked Amalija's head and stepped away with a sigh. "You need to get good, Leej. You would have been dead if this were a real fight. I've fought them twice, the PES are no joke."

Felicia groggily hobbled towards her friends, clutching her head with her eyes half-closed.

"Isabella, we're worried about you." began Amalija. "You were pretty sad not too long ago now you're training like mad. I think you're pushing yourself too hard, this isn't needed. You can just go at a slower pace and-"

"That's where you're wrong Leej." interrupted Isabella, causing Amalija to dismally hang her head. Isabella sighed as she ruffled her friend's hair. "Look, the PES are really friggin' strong so I need to keep training to make sure I stay alive. I'm stronger than you, and I need to keep training hard so that I'll be able to protect you. No matter how tough the PES get, no matter what crazy shit happens, I ain't leaving you guys." she smiled.

Felicia smiled.

"I'll stay right here to kick their asses. I won't let anybody hurt you, non-even myself." Isabella stated.

A sweat-drop rolled down Felicia's forehead. 

Isabella chuckled sheepishly and scratced her head. "Training notwithstanding..."

...

Kola and Andy appeared in a British field, beamed down by the technology of Juan's castle. Where they had been beamed down was a patch of brown grass.

Andy groaned and gripped his head, with Manic squeeling. "I don't think I'm ever gonna' get used to that." he complained.

"Come on. The secluded area that bmy father designated is about two miles away, from there we should run into the witches." Kola stated in a methodical, dry voice as she began walking north.

Andy sighed as he walked behind her. Great, we're actually searching for the witches. Fan-tas-tic. At least two miles gives me time to mentally prepare for the balls-on-the-walls insanity that's about to happen.

The two were close to where the previous day's catastrophe had occurred, Juan's logic being that the witches must reside near that area. Andy could still sense the terror in the air, it was almost as tangible as himself. He had witnessed first-hand of the unntatural chaos the witches were capable of brewing and as such he wanted to be as far away from them as possible.

Surly, Andy found himself thinking about something different to pass the time. As he walked behind Kola, he found his eyes wandering to her rear, trapped behind a very tight, shiny, leather body-suit. Andy found himself beginning to get hot and bothered as he stared at the young woman's posterior which swished to and fro as she walked.

Even though anybody, even Manic here could tell you that Kola's most striking feature of her appearance is her massive bosom, from where I'm standing, her butt isn't half-bad either. It certainly looks plump enough. Andy found his temperature rising. Oh bullocks Andy! What are you gettin' all nervous for!? You're not like other people, dogs don't get all wishy-washy when they're nervous, they just go for it! If you want her to like you, just talk to the damn girl. Andy scractched his head. Now what do people say...dang it! I suck at small talk!

Andy cleared his throat, looking away with his hands behind his back. "Nice weather we're having, eh Kola?" he asked.

"I suppose." Kola answered without hesitation. "This overcast is blocking the sun but I enjoy when it's cloudy like this as well."

Andy tingled inside, realizing he liked her monotonous, almost droning voice as well as her delightful figure. "Really!? Me too! You know, you look absolutely great in that suit!" Andy complimented.

"Oh really? I wear this suit every single day." Kola stated.

"B-but it's true!" Andy stuttered. "I just never said it yet! And your hair, you just look great all around Kola! Juan must be proud to have such a lovely daughter like you!"

Kola stopped and turned around, arms folded. Andy felt his heart freeze. "I know what you're doing Ackerman. You are trying to butter me up because of your sexual attraction to me."

Andy turned red as a beet and he turned towards the ground.

"I'm flattered but I'll only say this to you once, I am not interested nor will I be any time soon nor do I reckon I shall ever be. So if you try anything, I will rip your penis off of your crotch." Kola threatened. She then smirked slightly. "I do find it ironic how you complimented my suit when in reality, you meant "you look good in that suit but I'd like it if I got to see you naked". And one last thing, it's Master Juan to you." she said before she continued walking, prompting an embarassed Andy to walk after her.

Andy's hand was curled into a shaking fist. "What about Joshua huh? You like him right? I bet if he said what I said, you'd unzip that suit faster than a cheetah sprints after a gazelle." he said bitterly.

Kola whirled around and grabbed him by his collar with such speed that Andy had to hold back a scream.

"Is that so? Well, true or not if you repeat that again, I'll rip out your larynx." she said coldly. "Does that sound fun?"

Andy rapidly shook his head which prompted Kola to shove the teenager away from her, towards the ground. She resumed walking as if nothing had ever happened.

Andy blinked. The most frightening attribute of Kola's threat was that it was once again methodical, without a hint of emotion.

...

Using their power of flight, Zack and Joshua flew to their destination and touched down on a lush green field, with puffy clouds lazily moving in the sky.

"We've arrived." noted Joshua.

Zack nodded as he took in a breath of fresh air. "Sure did." he smiled, for the field reminded him of his home in Alabama. Zack then sighed saddened. "Normandy..." he said.

Joshua raised his eyebrows. "Something the matter?" he asked.

"It's just that we're in Normandy, the place where all those people died in World War II." Zack explained in a pained voice.

"Well Zack, World War II was over seventy years ago, Normandy has a lot more going for it than being the site of D-Day on June sixth, ninteen-forty-five." Joshua offered.

"The only thing they taught us about Normandy was about D-Day though." Zack countered.

"Hmm." Joshua said. "Well, even so, D-Day was one of the most important steps towards ending the war. Say, I thought you didn't like history Zack."

"That's somethin' that's kind of hard to forget. History is either borin' or makes me think of sad stuff, which I don't like to think about." Zack explained. "So, we need to look for this Kalar Stone." said Zack as he began walking.

Joshua smirked. "Shoudln't be too hard, we can fly and Normandy's only eleven-thousand-six-hundred square miles." Joshua stated as he began walking with his hands in his pockets. He appreciated the breeze that touched the top of his chest which was exposed.

Zack blinked in shock. "How do you know that?"

"Boredom, exceptional memory, niche interests and too much free time." Joshua explained in a chuckle that sounded tired.

Zack whistled. "Are you good at math too?" he asked in awe.

Joshua smirked as he put his hand through his hair. "I believe so. Despite that, I admit to using a calculator often. I have a TI-Nspire CX CAS that I use regularly. I just adore Texas Instruments." Joshua then chuckled. "My girlfriend jokes that it's like my bottle."

Zack found himself giggling.

"I'm going to ask Juan if I can get another one in addition to books." Joshua stated.

Zack's ears perked up. "Books? Do you like comics?"

Joshua smiled. "I adore those as well. My favorite heroes  Aqua Man, Squirrel Girl, Iron Man and Daredevil. I like some others as well like Spider-Man who often wrestles with Daredevil for a spot on my top favorite."

Zack smiled from ear-to-ear. "I like comics too! My favorites are Super Man and Bat Man. I have a giant collection of comics back home." he revealed.

Joshua smiled. "I do too. Maybe we can trade some comics once this is all over." The two continued to walk before Joshua turned to Zack again. "I have an idea to make this more fun and efficient. Let's play a game shall we?"

Zack raised his eyebrows. "A game?"

"To find the kalar stone, we split up to try and find it. Whoever finds it first, wins." Joshua explained.

Zack smirked. "Alright." After a few seconds, his eyes widened. "You can't use your mind readin' though!" he said quickly.

Joshua chuckled. "All right!"

Zack smirked once more. "Then you're on!" he said as he got in a running position, with Joshua doing likewise.

"On your mark..." began Joshua.

"Get set..." continued Zack.

Chapter Thirteen: Millimeter DeepEdit

The witches were still at the waterfall, becoming accustomed to magic by utilizing it. Gaia was at a shallow pool of water that was fifteen feet below the top of the waterfall. Off to her side was her eight-legged, black horse familiar, Onyxme. Gaia had summoned her steed so Xaviera could pet it. Gaia smiled somewhat sheepishly as she watched Xaviera abrasively stroke her hand across the magical equidae's glistening black coat with a look of utter glee. Onyxme however, gave an agitated snort in the direction of his longtime companion.

A sweat drop rolled down Gaia's forehead as she raised her eyebrows, still smiling. Please do not be cross with me my dear Onyxme! I just wanted to show Xaviera how beautiful and majestic animals can be. I promise I'll give you an entire barrel full of carrots and sugar cubes.

Enticed by the promise of treats, Onyxme sucked up his pain and put up with the wildly petting prepubescent witch. Being Gaia's steed, Onyxme was colossal at thirteen feet tall. Onyxme appeared to be, and bore characteristics of an Andalusian horse. While most of Onyxme was a striking, vast black, his tail and mane were a bright white. Onyxme also had crimson red eyes.

Gaia blinked as she felt a faint force pulse in her chest. She looked up to the top of the waterfall, understanding what had occurred. She turned to Onyxme. One moment, my friend. Gaia hopped seven feet into the air and landed on the top of the waterfall. She was unaffected by the speeding current that would have dragged most, if not all of her daughters to the edge of the pool and down into the pools below. Gaia calmly walked towards a circular stone that was four feet tall. Gaia knelt in front of the stone. The stone contained a deep depression that was filled with glowing baby blue water. Ankur had dubbed the water, The Pool of Revelations. The Pool of Revelations allowed Gaia to peer inside and observe nearly any event that was occurring on the planet. It was a rare occurrence that the water felt compelled to summon her, when it did, it signified something important was occurring.

Gaia turned her head towards the water and gazed at it. In the pool, she saw a wide, grassy clearing and a sniveling woman who was draped in a gaudy cloak, concealing her face. The woman's sleeves also concealed her hands. Gaia was able to see a brief flash of a brown nose. Gaia grimaced as she saw the woman being kicked in the gut, sending her tumbling backwards with a shriek. Gaia could see the perpetrator clearly. He was a young man wearing a gray hoodie and a yellow bandanna around the lower half of his face. His hands were curled into fists and he was hunched forward menacingly.

"Please, no more!" begged the woman.

"Shut up ya stupid witch!" barked the man as he kicked the woman in the stomach. "You shouldn't a' begged for me money!" he barked. He began to chuckle. "Maybe I won't kill ya' sorry butt...if I can have some fun with ya' first."

Gaia grimaced, clutching her fist. That cretin shall pay...

Gaia blinked as she shifted her gaze to the dense forest not too far away before squinting. Wait a moment... At the edge of the forest, was a koala. If Gaia weren't able to alter her view of the event, she would never have noticed the koala, he was hiding. Now what in my world is a koala doing in Britain? Something doesn't feel right.

Behind her, Ankur transformed into a human from a crow and approached Gaia, looking over her shoulder. "Is something wrong, Gaia?" he asked tenderly.

Gaia stepped to the side and held her arm out towards the water. "Take a look, my dear Ankur." she commanded dismally.

Ankur stepped forward. The Pool of Revelations, eh? Ankur peered inside then recoiled in disgust as he saw the man grab the gypsy by the neck while leering at her. He closed his eyes and uncontrollably shuddered.

Gaia turned to her familiar, her blue and green hair swishing. "I want to help that woman but I can not abandon my daughters while they are practicing magic." the Earth looked over her shoulder solemnly. "This is a crucial time for their development as great witches and they need their mother."

Ankur nodded. "I understand."

Gaia sighed hesitantly. "There's...also something else, something odd about the situation. I can't quite put my finger on it. Would you willing to check it out for me?" Gaia asked quietly, unsure if she was making the correct decision.

"Of course." Ankur stated with a smile as a bright, white rectangular portal similar to the one Gaia had created the previous day manifested behind the man.

Gaia looked at him pleadingly. "Just...promise me that you'll retreat if things begin to get messy, okay?"

Ankur smiled. While other familiars might be offended at Gaia believing that they couldn't handle a lowly human, Ankur knew that Gaia was just lovingly (if not a tad bit irrationally) looking out for him. "I promise." he nodded before stepping into the portal.

As Ankur traveled through the dimensions separating Gaia's protected Earth from the rest of it, Ankur began to think. I suppose it isn't too odd for her to be worried though. A power there is great enough to grab her attention. Maybe the gypsy is just a witch but even so, I felt the power too, the oozing, perverted power emanating from the pool.

Ankur exited the portal as a bat and flew through the forest, seeing a koala as he exited the forest and entered a grassy clearing that was far away from any establishment. Ankur briefly thought about the koala. Well that's odd. Ankur landed on the ground, a ways away from the gypsy and the thug and transformed back into a human, emitting purple lightning as he did so. He stood up and regarded the two, feeling the same dreaded aura that he detected before. It didn't feel that different in person so he was prepared to bear it.

"Hey!" called Ankur. "You there!" he growled, approaching them.

"What they bloody heck do you want mate!?"

Ankur continued to approach and the two were silent. Wait a minute, did that guy just say "mate"? He then heard the koala growl from afar as he neared the two.

The gypsy threw off her cloak, revealing a tan-skin Mexican woman wearing a black, skin-tight body suit. Ankur gasped for he briefly saw the face of Juan Carlos. The thug similarly threw off his cloak, revealing that he was a teenager with brown, shaggy hair. "Now Kola!" he yelled, causing Ankur to brace himself.

Kola turned towards the boy in annoyance. "Choreographing my moves? How helpful." she said dryly.

The boy blinked. "Wait, he's a guy. He's not a blimmin' witch!" he groaned.

"While he does indeed appear to be male, he just transformed from a bat into a human right in front of us, proving that he's aligned with Gaia. I'm guessing he's one of those familiar things." Kola informed.

Clever girl... "So, you two are allies of Juan Carlos?" asked Ankur, aware that the koala was slowly approaching him from behind.

"I believe you know the answer to that. We just have to ask you a few questions." Kola said.

Yes, she's the spitting image of her father...well, there's the fact that she's absolutely gorgeous but..."Sorry, I have someone to get back to."

"We'll drop you off mate, just give us the address." The boy said.

"How about no?" asked Ankur dryly.

"Then we'll just have to take it by force." stated Kola as she cracked her knuckles. The next thing Ankur knew, the koala, Kola, and the boy had all lunged at him in differing directions at blistering speeds.

Despite the situation, Ankur did not allow an ounce of fear into his being, he was the familiar of Gaia and he knew she would be watching over him. With confidence, Ankur quickly stepped away before any of the three could reach him. The boy stopped, skidding in the grass and extended his palm towards the familiar, sending a large bolt of lightning towards him. Ankur folded his arms and manifested a shield in front of him. Kola, undeterred by his side-step ran to the man and threw a mighty punch towards him, pushing him backwards thirty feet and creating trails in the dirt where his feet stood.

Ankur saw the boy and koala drop to the ground on all fours, barring their teeth at him as they both began to glow,  surrounded by a faint energy. The two quickly ran behind him as Kola quickly ran towards him. As Kola ran towards Ankur with a speed to mock the winds, Ankur realized that somehow, the woman was able to shatter his shield.

This woman, she's more than meets the eye, that's for certain. Ankur positioned himself so only his shoulder was facing Kola before he held out his arms and sent out a powerful gust of wind, halting Juan's allies before he set another gush of wind to knock them backwards ito the air, with both of them landing on their feet.

Ankur slowly turned to face the boy who had rose who was still hunched over, his marsupial comrade on his head with its eyes closed intensely. Ankur watched as the shaggy-haired teenager brought his had in front of him, facing the sky. His fingers were curled towards his palm as Ankur observed as a air molecules rapidly condensed into minuscule water droplets that clustered together, forming into the size of a basketball in several seconds. Ankur observed the boy's hand shaking from the effort.

Ankur limply raised his hand, frowning, sending a crimson bolt of lightning from the palm of his hand towards the boy's sphere of water, amplifying the bolt as it went through and shocking the boy who fell to the ground in a heap of jerky spasms. Thank you conductivity...

From the corner of his brown eyes, Ankur saw Kola running towards him. He quickly turned towards the speedy woman. Impressive, she's near silent. I'll apply the same tactic that I used against the boy against her, this time with different elements.

As Kola raised her arm to give a mighty punch at Ankur's brown head, plant matter sprung up from the ground and wrapped around the woman's arm, halting her attack. She grunted as more of the vine-like plant sprung up from the earth and immobilized the woman further by trapping her other limbs before surrounding her completely like a green cocoon. As this was occurring, Ankur floated levitated slowly backwards, He brought his thumbs together and extended his index fingers to the sky, creating a square without a top as the air between his fingers began to refract due to heat.

Ankur sighed. A pity I have to kill you. You were quite beautiful, a splendid offspring of my beloved Gaia. A large and wide, ghastly green flame stream erupted from the opening in Ankur's fingers, shooting twenty feet in front of him before enveloping Kola's green prison.

Ankur's eyes widened as Kola leapt out of the cocoon, creating a hole out of the side. She ran towards the shocked familiar, deftly sidestepping out of the way of the ice shards he created before giving a kick towards the tall man's head with her long, strong legs. Ankur ducked before firing a torrent of water at the woman's stomach, sending her flying backwards into a faraway tree that snapped in half.

Ankur angrily erected a shield behind him by causing the dirt to rise then harden, causing the koala that was running towards him to crash into the wall. Ankur blew a breath, sensing the air around him rapidly growing colder. He looked around cautiously. He looked up and saw a large ball of ice in the air. Ankur shook his head and the temperature around him turned to normal as he melted the ball of ice into water. He pointed at the water then pointed at the shaggy-haired teen who was panting forty feet away, sending the water to surround the psychic, covering his entire body in a sphere the same dimensions as the one he tried to assault Ankur with seconds before.

Ankur turned away before he heard a splash, causing him to sneer. They're roaches, just as Gaia stated... Ankur snapped his fingers, sending a quick moving purple spiral of magic towards the boy, sending him flipping high into the sky: Grand Catapo. Ankur watched as the koala went scurrying towards his friend. Ankur held out his palm and a ball of elementless magical energy went speeding towards the boy, exploding on contact.

Ankur then turned to see Kola walking towards him in the distance before breaking into a run. If concussive force doesn't work, let's try a piercing spell! Ankur held his hands over his head, as dark wisps gathered above him, forming a thick spear. After it formed, he sent it barreling towards the woman's center of mass. The woman fell to the ground, seemingly spineless and quickly slithered towards Ankur like a beautiful, human snake.

"What!?" Ankur shouted aloud. He gasped as he suddenly felt a considerable weight around him as he realized Kola had wrapped her legs around the man's torso. Ankur growled and transformed into an ornate snake with a pattern consisting of black and varying shades of brown on its skin: the gaboon viper. As a viper, Ankur slithered up the woman's body in a circular motion and sunk its teeth into the woman who let out a restrained scream of pain as she grabbed the snake and hurled it away, Ankur transforming into an Argentavis magnificens as he hurdled through the air, bringing his wings together and firing a bolt of lightning at Kola who spasmed, though less so than Ankur had anticipated.

The boy, who was enveloped in a psychokinetic blue aura with his koala on his back, jumped into the air and swiped at the large black bird that was Ankur, causing Ankur to dive out of the way.

The boy landed on the ground, thirty feet below, with a thud and a growl. "You dare impersonate The Magnificent Silver Bird!?" You make me sick, mate!"

Ankur's eyes darkened. "Impersonate? How much of a fool are you truly? I've been bestowed powers by Gaia, the Earth herself, I can transform into all that's ever been, all that evil shall be!"

"Quiet you! Don't you dare call that filthy hag Mother N-!" the teenage boy was interrupted by a large boulder falling on top of him, pinning him into the ground as he coughed, being crushed by the massive weight of the dense, twenty pound rock. He could hear Manic's manic squeaks of horror.

Ankur landed on the ground and transformed into a man, crouching once he was human-form again. He turned to see the boy laboriously lift the boulder off of him, rising as he did so, and toss it over his shoulder. He also could faintly sense Kola running behind him before she leapt up, behind his back. Ankur closed his eyes. This is getting annoying now...

As the woman known as Kola was in the air, Ankur blasted her away with pressurized air and as the boy and koala ran towards him on all fours he blasted them away with an explosive fireball. The two quickly got out and he fired torrents of water at them before sending crimson bolts of lightning out of both his palms towards his two opponents,s shocking them with little effect.

Kola ran towards Ankur again and Ankur blasted her away with a ball of light, burning a hole into her suit and exposing a bloody stomach which she clutched on the ground, in agony. Ankur began to create shards of ice around him to finish the young woman off when he suddenly saw the teenage psychic in front of him, the prepared pounce and sink his beastly aura's teeth into the familiar's jugulars. Without missing a beat, Ankur adjusted his plan and fired his shards at the boy who had just pounced, piercing the aura and lodging themselves firmly into the boy's blood, where they began to chill his blood. The psychic closed his eyes and barred his teeth as he tried to warm himself up, unable to simply take the shards out because they were in the aura and said aura would buy him time until he completely succumbed to the chill.

Ankur prepared a fire spell to finish off the boy and his koala when he noticed Kola standing up with her eyes closed as crimson blood dripped from her wound onto her black leather.She brought a bloody finger to her mouth, put the entirety of it in and sucked it clean off with a loud smack as it exited. Kola cracked her head with cold eyes before waving her hand towards her, beckoning Ankur to challenge her. Ankur fired another ball of light at Kola who stood in place before eloquently leaping out of the way with a flip, making a three-point landing once she touched the ground. She then approached Ankur with a burst of speed. Unafraid, Ankur fired a large shard of ice at the woman, piercing her right arm, blood tricking out of the edges of the wound as she let out a scream that she wasn't able to contain. With a growl she ripped out the shard out of her arm and ran towards the man so quickly he lost sight of her for a moment. Once he saw her again, it was too late, she was at his side and gave a mighty left hook, sending Ankur tumbling away on the ground until he stopped, thirty feet away from where he was standing. 

Ankur spit out a tooth, eyes wide with shock. What in the world is that woman?! He didn't have time to be dumbstruck with awe as he noticed Kola's eyes trained on him. He clapped and caused various small sections ground around him to jut up then retract back down continuously and rapidly, knocking the psychic and the woman to the ground and knocking them senseless. Once the ground stopped moving, he noticed the psychic was bleeding, aura-less, and separate from his koala companion who was three feet away from him. Kola had already rose, clutching her head. Their bodies are aching no doubt.

The psychic turned to Kola. "I could really use one of those kalar stones right now, couldn't you, eh Kola!?" he shouted.

Ankur's eyes widened. No...the kalar stones!? Juan is hunting for them!? Was this just a distraction? Curse my ignorance! I must warn Gaia at once!

Ankur quickly opened a portal of light behind him.

"Andy, that's the portal that Gaia uses! He's trying to retreat!" Kola yelled.

Andy rose. "Can't let you do that, mate!"

Ankur angrily dispersed his portal. "You two just don't know when to quit, do you!?" I'll kill these two, then warn Gaia! Ankur transformed into a bright red, eleven foot-tall African Brush Elephant with six-and-a-half foot long tusks. He extended his trunk in front of him and began to suck in the air, pulling Kola,t he boy and the koala near him. The boy dug his fingers to the ground with no avail as he was dragged steadily towards the elephant. The koala fearfully wrapped its arms around his friend's neck as they were pulled towards the beast. Kola was faring better as she braced herself on the ground on all fours yet still slowly moved towards the trunk-turned-powerful-vacuum. Ankur knew that once the two were sucked in, he would win due to them being sucked into his uninhabitable, outer space-like manaspace. When Kola was near the trunk, she inexplicably halted, even as Andy was behind her, still steadily moving towards the elephant. Ankur blinked. While he was dilly-dallying, Gaia was losing precious time as Juan became closer to obtaining a kalar stone. 

Ankur reversed the direction of the air and blew the two away, sending them tumbling one-hundred-fifteen feet backwards. Ankur was preparing another portal once he saw the three running towards him again. Ankur growled as he began to emit purple lightning. As the two ran towards him, they were smacked away by Ankur's tail, now a black tyrannosaurus rex. Having the wind knocked out of them, they all stayed down for a significant amount of time, allowing Ankur to transform into a bat and fly into a portal of light.

As the portal closed behind him, Ankur heard the boy ask, "Was that just a tyrannosaurus rex...?" in awe.

Ankur found himself in a sweat as he traveled through the dimensions that separated Gaia's forest from the rest of the Earth. What exactly is that Kola woman? That noxious power was emanating from Kola, I know that now. I felt so...so impure once she punched me. Where does that monster strength and tenacity originate? She's unlike anything I've very come across in my life...

Ankur exited the portal as a human and entered the uppermost pool, not comforted by the cool water at his ankles. He was greeted with a snort from Onyxme.

You look like crap. Did the roaches give you trouble? asked the horse-familiar with a crooked smile.

Ankur gritted his teeth in annoyance. Not now Onyxme.

Gaia leapt into the pool from below, staff in hand. As she could sense the feeling's of Ankur, unmasked concern was on her face. "What's wrong Ankur?" she quickly asked.

"It's Juan Carlos. He's after the kalar stones. I fear he's searching for them right now!" Ankur revealed.

Gaia grew pale. "What?" she breathed. "We must stop him at once!"

"But how!?" asked Ankur. "We have no idea where the PES are!"

Gaia's face was grim as she walked towards The Pool of Revelations.

Ankur blinked as he walked towards hr and put a hand on her shoulder. "Gaia, you musn't! You know how draining it is for you to peer into a kalar stone! It's wicked power will harm you!" he warned, his force choked with concern.

Gaia shook her head. "I must, to protect my children...." Gaia sighed as peered into the waters, feeling as if somewhat had crushed her chest with a giant hammer as her eyes grew black and she saw a white stone with ghoulish black characters in a wind-kissed grassy cliff in Normandy. She also sensed Joshua Jones and Zackari Smith not too far away from the stone. Gaia took gasping breaths as she closed her eyes and sunk down to the ground, gripping onto her staff as she sweat.

"Gaia!" Ankur shouted tearfully as he crouched to be face-to-face with Gaia.

Gaia opened her eyes which were yellow again. "I'm fine Ankur, I just need some rest." the Earth panted. "However, I need to say something to the girls first..."

Onyxme walked to Gaia and lowered his head. Ankur tenderly lifted Gaia onto her familiar before turning into a raven and perching himself on Gaia's shoulder and Onyxme smoothly walked through the air and slowly made his way towards the forest floor as if the air was a flight of stairs. 

"Gather round, my daughters." Gaia commanded, softly. All of the witches uneasily made their way in front of Gaia, terminating their conversations as they did so. Even the sound of the rushing water,t he cicadas and the birds seemed to quiet. "I have been informed that our enemy, Juan Carlos and The PES have begun to hunt down kalar stones. Kalar stones are stones that greatly hinder our magic and in the hands of the dastardly cunning Juan Carlos, they could prove deadly. We must stop him from obtaining them at all costs. I need someone or a few who are willing to stop them."

Isabella stepped forward. "Please Gaia. I'm sorry for failing you yesterday. I promise I'll make it up to you and bash those PES' heads in! Please, oh please give me a chance to redeem myself!" the green-haired witch begged.

Gaia gave a small, soft smile. "You don't have to beg for redemption, my daughter. You have already earned it in my eyes. I believe this craving for forgiveness will hinder your ability in battle and cloud your judgement. I want you to take a break and relax Isabella, you must clear your head for I can feel the intense sadness and anger in your heart."

Hélène stepped forward, laughing her shrill laugh. "Then let me go mother. I'm perfectly clear headed. My only desire is to show those unsuspecting psychics my deadly magical arts!" she laughed. "They've never seen work so fabulous before, they won't know what hit them!"

Gaia smiled. She does have a point. Think Juan, he probably briefed the PES on everything he knows about magic, Hélène's magic is most unorthodox in execution. "Very well, Hélène shall go challenge the PES." Gaia's eyes landed on Háoi Mi, who was somewhat uneasily smiling at her friend. "I believe you should accompany her,  Háoi Mi."

Háoi Mi blinked. "Really?"

"Yes, your magic is also unorthodox, giving you an edge against the PES, you also work well with Hélène, giving your magic more power." Gaia explained.

Háoi Mi merrily walked over to her friend as Ankur opened a portal of light that enveloped the two, Hélène loudly laughing as the portal closed.

"I'm a work of art!" Hélène laughed.

"You are all dismissed." Gaia announced. "I must retire to regain my strength." The witches dispersed but Lillian and Zoe gave Gaia cold stares before leaving.

Gaia chuckled bitterly. "Listen to me, I sound like some military commander, strategizing like that as I send my daughters off like soldiers. Maybe I'm not so different from Juan Carlos."

"Don't say that Gaia. He was the one who started this war, he is the one who acting. You are simply reacting." Ankur comforted.

Gaia closed her eyes. "I suppose you are right. Thank you, Ankur. You always seem to know what to say." Gaia said groggily before closing her eyes. Onyxme rose high into the air before flying away with Gaia and Ankur.

...

Zack ran jubilantly as the wind contentiously kissed his peach face. As the ran at an awesome speed, the wind swept his spiky black hair back. Each step that the teenager took on the low, fresh grass caused him to feel more and more joyful to be alive, to be with Master Juan despite some of the downsides. The speedy teenage boy scanned the slightly blurry area with a smile, searching for the kalar stone. He was grateful that Joshua had made a game out of the search for games always managed to get the young man's blood pumping. Despite the hyperactiveness that games bestowed upon him, he was a good sport and even met the event of losing with a smile. However, this time, Zack was convinced he wouldn't lose.

Zack stopped on a dime at a large cliff, beaming. He put his fists on his sides and inhaled deeply, taking in the fresh air and appreciating the cool early Summer breeze that would be absent in a few weeks. He turned his delighted gaze towards the blue waves below that crashed into the dirt below with a relaxing whish. The particular cliff that Zack stood on was populated by grass that swayed to the rhythm of the breeze; also dancing was Zack's red checkered flannel shirt and his spiky black hair. The tip of the cliff where Zack was standing was further than the rest of the area went; most would fear lack of adequate support and consequently falling into the ocean.

Zack stretched his arms overhead with a grunt as the noon sun passionately kissed his face. Zack thought it was only fair to take a small break from running for he at least wanted to give Joshua a chance at winning. Standing at the cliff, Zack felt at peace, as if he had a bright future a head of him. If he had to criticize one thing about the cliff it would be how empty it felt; he could practically grasp the very solitude.

After a minute at the cliff, Zack jumped as he heard something from behind: shrill laughter. He quickly turned around to see two girls afar that were slightly younger than him. He gasped softly once he noticed their black, buckled dresses, their jet back boots, and their pointy black hats. They were witches. Zack began to sweat. He didn't want to fight them. For one, he didn't enjoy hurting people, even if they were dastardly beings of the night, and for two, Andy and Akmal all too explicitly detailed their cunning and might. Zack observed that one girl had poofy black hair, slightly shifty looking brown eyes, medium height and caramel skin. The girl next to her was shorter, slightly skinnier, had pale skin, almond eyes, and had raven black hair with long bangs that cropped her face. Both girls were smiling, albeit mischievously in the case of the pale girl.

Zack furrowed his eyebrows as the witch with the poofy hair began to make noises that sounded like a myriad of animals were making noises in unison. Her mouth's moving-wait! Is that how they talk?!

The shorter girl said something, causing them both to giggle. The two witches faced Zack confidently. The poofy-haired witch took out a paintbrush seemingly out of nowhere before pointing it at Zack. The shorter witch took out what appeared to be a guitar and readied her hand in front of the strings.

Zack tilted his head. These guys aren't looking for a fight...

The teen was proved sourly incorrect as the poofy-haired witch shouted something as she drew in the air and the shorter witch strummed her instrument as she seemed to begin singing something, causing a large wall of flame to rocket towards him.

Zack's eyes widened at the sudden manifestation of the wall and its speed, he was however prepared to evade it, running out of the way of wall. He turned towards the two witches while running, hearing something said along with a shrill laugh and clap. As the witch with the bangs strummed her guitar and sang something in her bizarre witch-language, the taller witch made jagged lines in the air as she called a spell, sending a bolt of electricity at the speedy teen's legs a second later. His senses sharp, Zack leaped into the air, avoiding the attack.

As Zack landed, one thought flashed in the teen's mind: I need to high-tail it out of here.  He burst forward with tremendous speed in an attempt to escape the area. Next thing Zack knew, one of the witches had said something and the ground briefly sprang up, sending him hurtling through the air. Zack smacked onto the ground, sending a tingly sensation throughout his body as if his bones had briefly turned into a liquid. Zack tried to rise with a groan, but gasped as he noticed that his ankles were wrapped around in vines. Vines sprang up from the grass, binding his wrists and bringing him down to a kneeling position.

Zack would have closed his eyes to think more clearly but feared that if he had done so, he might not ever open them again. Great, I shouldn't of underestimated them, this mess I'm in is my fault. Zack briefly turned to the sky before quickly looking at the witches again who were smiling deviously at him. I would try flying out of here but Master Juan said that as a beginner, it might hard to do without a running start and on flat land. Whatever I do, I hafta' do it fast or I'm toast! Zack turned to the cliff. With a look of determination, Zack broke from his bindings in a burst of speed and ran towards the cliff. Zack dove off the edge of the cliff, falling towards the water but before he made contact, the psychic made a u-turn in the air then turned towards the witches when he was above the cliff again. He flew with his arms in front of his head, straining to go as fast as he could. 

He felt a jolt then his body go numb before plummeting to the ground, spasming. He felt a splash of water, causing him to painfully rise to his feet, panting. He regarded the smiling witches with disdain. Looks like I have to fight, huh? Zack slowly cracked his knuckles, earning him a giggle from the short witch. He frowned at the witches to counter their delighted smiles. Gotta' be smart about this, Zack...

Zack thrust his hand forward, causing the dirt under the witches' feet to spring up. Hoping it would hinder their vision, Zack ran to the side. He heard one of the witches call something and then saw the dirt in the air blow away. The witch with the guitar pointed her brown wand at Zack and said something, causing him to tumble backwards as if punched. He clutched his stomach in pain, feeling as if he might throw up. Despite his dizziness and aching head, the psychic refused to fall on the ground. The strumming of the shorter witch's guitar-like instrument sounded absolutely hellish to Zack at that moment. Zack could just barely notice the poofy-haired, laughing witch move her paintbrush around before he was set ablaze. Zack yelled in horror, finally allowing himself to fall to the ground as he rolled around rapidly in an attempt to put out the searing hot flames. After about twenty seconds, Zack, rose, sneering at the witches. The fear of being burned alive and the pain h was currently feeling had drove out his headache and dizziness. He focused on the witches, staring at the intensely. Zack then moved his arms to the right side of his body, his left shoulder facing the witches. He then quickly moved them to the left, causing the witches to go tumbling to the left. Zack then flicked his hand upwards, sending the witch with the instrument flying into the air with a yelp and without her instrument, which she had dropped. 

Zack ran forward then leapt high into the air in an arc before grabbing the girl. The two tumbled when they fell and Zack used one hand to pin the skinny girl to the grass, the other was curled into a fist, poised over his head and ready to fall down upon the girl's head like a hammer. One second, Zack was filled with anger, completely prepared to begin beating the pale girl. Zack hesitatated, his will wavering. He didn't want to hurt the girl, yet that was his mission. Despite the fact that she hurt him, at that moment when she appeared weak he did not want to hurt her in return. He believed if he let his anger control him, he would be no better than Gojo. Zack was forcefully pushed back by a torrent of water that did not let up, rolling his laying body further and further along the grass, staining his mildly charred shirt. Zack was pushed back by the torrent of water until he fell off of the cliff.

Zack was quickly falling headfirst towards the water. Flyin's out and I'm toast if I go into the water when they can throw lightning around. Zack's eyes widened as he began to imagine what he perceived as the impossible. Zack smirked grimly. Worth a shot, right? Zack rotated his body so he was falling feet first and prepared his legs. Once he hit the water, he began running. Zack's eyes widened as he let out a gasp and looked at his rapidly moving feet in disbelief. He was running on water. Zack's look of utter disbelief melted into a laughing smile.

"Woohoo!" he cried triumphantly! "This is sweet!" he shouted as he pumped a fist jubilantly in the air. "Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet!" Zack continued to laugh, forgetting about the current battle with the witches for a brief moment. He then made a u-turn, running towards the cliff with a smirk. Now I wonder... The psychic quickly found himself vertically running up the cliff. Zack nodded with a wide smile. "Okay, nice, nice. This is awesome!" he admitted before he made it to the top of the cliff, causing him to soar high into the air. The witch with the poofy-hair had handed the witch wing the long bangs her instrument and the two regarded Zack with wide eyes.

Zack felt powerful as he collected electricity in the palms of his hands which, the streaks erratically and rapidly moving every which way. The spiky-haired teen smirked. "It's Zack time." he confidently said before bringing his hands together, creating an even larger ball of electricity, then firing it at the two witches. Lacking sufficient time to react the girls fell to the ground, where they began spasming. Zack landed on the grass with a roll and looked at the witches who were on the ground. Zack ran towards them with a burst of speed.

The witches staggered up and the witch with the guitar-like instrument seemed to sing a short, aggressive verse which caused a rock wall to briefly shoot up from the wall, causing Zack to crash into it and stagger backwards, clutching his head.

"Owww," Zack moaned. "Well it's good that I have a hard head then." he groaned. Zack didn't have any time to rest for he had to deftly run out of the way of what appeared to be a cheetah made out of fire running towards him. The shorter which strummed her instrument before firing a spell at Zack who leapt in the air to avoid whatever attack the witch had in store for him. Zack then found himself being cut by a spiral of razor sharp, light green leaves. Zack let out a yell of pain and he felt his arms, legs and torso begin to be assaulted by a sharp stinging and feel crimson blood drip to the ground. I'll have to remember they lesson we learned about closing wounds faster using our power. Zack landed on the  ground, staggering before he began to run, avoiding a fire spell that was aimed at him. He turned to the witches and ran out the way of a fire spell then ducked under a wind spell. he began flying through the air due to running into a torrent of water that suddenly manifested then he flipped once in the air before roughly kissing the ground.

..

Joshua had searched for the stone at a brisk pace. Joshua followed an inexplicable, nagging feeling in his head that lead him to where he was now. Surely enough, there it was, twenty feet ahead was the kalar stone, the objective of their mission. The stone sat disturbed in a slight depression in an otherwise perfectly flat, large green field that was accessed by a forest path. Joshua smiled smugly as he strutted towards the large stone. I'm bet Zack believed that simply due to him being faster, he had this game won before we even started. He chuckled. 

Joshua could faintly hear dozens of voices from far away yet he couldn't quite put his finger on what direction they were coming from. Despite the fact that the voices sounded far, they also sounded oddly near. Joshua put his fists on his hips as he approached the eleven-foot tall stone. Master Juan was right, as I walk closer, I feel my power increasing greatly. My body is positively teeming with energy, I feel wonderful. Joshua blinked with a smile as he heard a musical jingle play in his head. Am I picking up radio waves? Joshua was now in front of the kalar stone, feeling the energy coursing throw his veins. Joshua placed his hand flat on the kalar stone and his eyes widened as he heard a myriad of thoughts. Joshua wasn't dumbstruck by the fact that he was hearing so many thoughts as once, he was more awed by the fact that he had no trouble isolating and understanding them at once. Joshua's ears perked up once he heard the thoughts of a familiar voice.

These guys are just too strong, I can't take them all on my own! Joshua heard Zack think.Joshua closed his eyes and concentrated. Even though he never was adept at telekinesis, he believed that the stone would help him send his message to Zack.

Zack, can you hear me?

Joshua!? How are you in my head? 

Joshua smiled despite the situation. I found the kalar stone. Now you'll just have to lure the witches here in order for them to become weaker.

That's easier said than done, pal. Each time I try to get away, they stop me.

Well try once more. If they intervene again then I'll just have to join the fray.

Okay, I'll try. 

Joshua then turned upward. S.O.S. to Juan Carlos and the PES, from:Joshua Jones. The witches have arrived in Normandy and we are under attack. Some backup would be a great help. It is my belief that the witches knew we were after the kalar stone and as such, they are not letting Zack leave the battlefield, I shall join him momentarily. If we are to receive back-up, please respond as soon as possible. Thank you. 

His mind, tense, Joshua continued to press his palm against the rock that was once cold but was warming at the spot that he made contact with. Joshua was alert, prepared to listen to Zack's thoughts. Joshua reflected on how simple the mission once seemed. He knew this however, fighting the witches would prove interesting indeed. Joshua snapped to attention once more as he picked up on Zack's southern accent. His thoughts sounded frantic.

I tried my best but it's not working. They've got me trapped like a fly in honey. I'm so sorry Joshua.

Joshua swallowed, anticipating the confrontation with the witches with nervousness yet also with intrigue. It's quite alright, Master Juan has gone on continuously about how powerful the witches are. I'm on my way, stay on the defense until I get there. Joshua focused on his aerokinesis as the continued to touch the rock that augmented his abilities. The air swirled around him, whipping his hair and chilling his skin as he heard a low whistle. Joshua suddenly opened his light gray eyes as he ran forward away from the stone. Joshua found himself running at a marvelous speed as the wind carried him forward.

..

As her friend, Hélène's shrill laugh did not bother Háoi Mi. This was evident now as Hélène laughed at the handsome PES who slid under her torrent of water. Likewise, Háoi Mi clapped at his nimble footwork. Despite the fact that she came to give him a show, she felt he was entertaining her more than she was entertaining him. Despite the fact that the PES had thrown her into the air then tackled her, she bore no hard feelings for he proved helpful in allowing her to practice her magic which was augmented by her đàn nguyệt.

Hélène leaned forward. "Such lovely running skills!"{she complimented with a smile. "He's a fine specimen of a man, wouldn't you agree?" she asked, turning to her partner.

Háoi Mi nodded eagerly with a toothy smile. "Mmmhmm! Dead or alive, I haven't seen a boy quite like him. He's a bit goofy-looking like in a really endearing way. He's soft looking, yet strong. Don't even get me started on that cool hair of his!" the witch squeed.

"His parents did a fine job of sculpting him, if you will. I kind of want to meet the artists of that work." Hélène smiled. "The way his feet move is an art in and of itself! Such heavy and sure stomps with a speed to make the less experienced observers vomit! I think I want to become an animator just to portray his movements to the world!" Hélène laughed.

Háoi Mi smiled at her friend. Despite the fact that she had a somewhat high-pitched voice, a higher pitched laugh and was absolutely full of herself, Háoi Mi was glad that she was friends with Hélène because she was fun to be around, interesting, observant and was a connoisseur of all things art.

Háoi Mi raised her eyebrows at the PES. Instead of charging at them or preparing another attack, he was just standing there. Oh won't you at least fling us again with you psychokinesis! It's absolutely terrifying but it's fun! It's like a roller coaster! Háoi Mi turned to Hélène. "Hey, Hélène? How come he's not moving anymore?"

Hélène smiled. "I'm not sure but I do know how to get him back to running!" she exclaimed before moving her paintbrush in a large circle before shouting, "Fira", sending a large flame wheel hurdling towards the stationary PES member. He leapt through the hoop and rolled when he landed, earning frantic claps from Háoi Mi. Hélène however frowned, not amused by the teen's evasion, noticing that he simply returned to standing still as a tree.

Hélène sighed. "This is boring now, he's just standing there."

"What should we do then?" asked Háoi Mi.

Hélène was silent for a moment before she gave an exasperated sigh. "I suppose we have to finish him off now." she pointed her paintbrush at the boy who jumped and got in a running position. "Fear not however my dear Raven-Runner! I shall immortalize you as a glorious painting that I will hang on the wall so I can look at you each day when I wake up in the morning!" she choked, salty teardrops threatening to spill from her tear ducts. "You will be shirtless." she added with a sniffle.

Háoi Mi's eyes widened as she raised her eyebrows as if she wanted them to pop off of her face. "Oooooh!" she said delightedly. She pointed a finger at the boy. "Fear not! I shall talk to you after you've arrived at the other side and I can sing for you forever!" she turned to Hélène with a smile. "And then hopefully he can pose for you so you know how to draw him shirtless!"

Hélène smiled. "That would be most excellent!" she exclaimed. "Well, time to burn this piece of art." he said before she began to draw a large octagon in the air with her paintbrush. Háoi Mi took out her wand and aimed it at the teen. The only reason their fight had dragged on as long as it did was because the two witches were toying with the psychic. There were plenty of opportunities where they could have taken his life but chose not too, believing they were up for more entertainment and they were. Now however, the boy refused to move and they were preparing to kill him, after all, they did not want to disappoint Gaia like Zoe and Isabella did the previous night.

The witches lowered there weapons as they saw another person enter the area with soft, graceful steps as he was carried in the wind like the feather of a bird. They stopped without a hint of difficulty next to the spiky-haired boy.

Háoi Mi squinted. "Is that another PES member?"

Hélène stuck a finger in her soft hair with her eyebrows raised in curiosity. "His splendid entrance would certainly make it seem so but I thought the PES were all boys." she answered.

The youth who entered the field near the cliff didn't just look like a girl, they looked like a beautiful girl with pale skin, a soft face, a slender frame, and lovely curly blonde hair. Hélène believed their face would make an exquisite bust.

Háoi Mi tilted her head as she put a fist on her chin. "I think they are a boy, personally."

Hélène smiled as she raised her paintbrush again. The two seemed to be saying something to each other. "Then yes, he is a member of the PES. Four works of art in the same place!? This day is too good to be true!" she exclaimed.

Háoi Mi beamed. She was excited that she would get another audience member. Next thing she knew, Hélène was flung in the air before being barraged by a myriad of pressurized balls of air. She flew through the air, away from her fellow witch.

"Ohohoho! I'll get both of you naughty boys!" she laughed.

Háoi Mi excitedly took her đàn nguyệt and poised her hand in front of the strings, preparing for a song. She felt as if her heart might burst. "Hello PES!" she shouted. "I know you can't understand me but I would just like the time to thank you for coming out and hearing my song! It really means a lot that you'll be able to hear me play after many years of practice! I'm going to play a special song just for you! This performance may result in: bruises, broken bones, internal and/or external bleeding, or death! Despite the hazards I'd greatly appreciate if you stayed until the end! Well, without further ado here's my new original composition, Magical Nights!" she exclaimed.

Háoi Mi then began to play a fast tempo, energetic, upbeat piece on her đàn nguyệt with a wide, childish smile. She then began to sing.

Oh in the night you might give a fright while you close your eyes tight

That life's not for me oh I'm all oh right yes I'm all all right

For I dare not miss the notorious bliss that comes with the magical night

Hélène laughed loudly as she picked herself off the ground, drew the shape of the bird in the air and with the shout of "ice" sent a bird composed out of ice flying towards the boy with the curly-hair. He sent something, towards the bird, causing it to disappear in a spiral of air and sending its shards in multiple direction. The boy swiftly ducked under the shard that flew towards him. Hélène smiled as she saw this. He moves so gracefully. With the call of multiple "Aero", Hélène created five five foot tall tornadoes and sent them at the boy, causing him to run away, aided by the wind. Hélène then drew a line and with the call of "water", she sent of torrent of water at the pretty-haired boy which he leapt over. Hélène drew a line in the air again but this time called "aero" and sent the boy careening away towards the cliff.

The spiky-haired boy flung Háoi Mi into the air but resumed playing and singing as if she was still on the ground. She quickly took out her wand and yelled "lightning", causing the spiky-haired teen to run away from his spot. Háoi Mi worked her spell seamlessly into the lyrics of her song.

I was was just playing songs for a meager audience in Vietnam

Now I'm hanging out with my nine sisters as we become strong

Why is this? 

I'm a witch.

Háoi Mi landed safely on the ground, continuing to strum vigorously as she bent her knees when she landed. She saw the spiky-haired boy approach and used the restrained shadow spell on him, causing him to be knocked tumble backwards at a high speed.

I have a wealth of spells that will amaze you

Such as the aptly named powerful shadow spell though I like stone too

Hélène turned around to see the beautiful-looking boy run towards her, fist in front of him. Hélène found herself annoyed as she didn't have enough time to draw an intricate attack. She quickly drew a diamond in the air with her paintbrush as she called "ice", sending a sharp icicle towards the teen's head. It made contact, causing the teen to shatter like glass before the shards quickly disappeared. Hélène yelped at the unexpected effect of her spell. She turned around and saw the curly-haired boy running towards her. Hélène smirked. My opponent has a clever head on his delicate neck... "Blizzard!" Hélène yelled as she drew a myriad of little circles in the air which manifested as a barrage small snowballs that pelted the PES, halting his approach, sending cold snow that quickly melted into frigid water at the boy. This quickly drove the boy back. Hélène was somewhat hesitant to harm the boy she regarded as beautiful. In her distraction brought about by wondering how she was going to deal with the blond boy, the speedy boy had crashed into her, sending them into a roll. When they had stopped, he was on top of her and her arms when pinned.

Hélène chuckled before smiling deviously. "You can't take it any more? You're overcome with my beauty and want to display it in a fit of fiery passion?" she breathed, growing incredibly hot and flustered. She closed her eyes. "All right then. I'm ready." The boy however, in reality was not intending to perform whatever grassy-field fun the French witch had in mind. With a grim expression cocked his head in preparation for a headbutt. Hélène had moved her head slightly in anticipation for a kiss, causing the boy's head to connect with her lips.

"Ow," Hélène cried. "How dare you!?" she opened her hand wide, causing her paintbrush to fly from the faraway grass into her hand. She simply flicked her wand upward and swirled it around before screaming "catapo", causing the PES to flip off of her. She growled, she would have no qualms over killing the PES. Before he could regain his bearings, Hélène drew a line in the air before shouting "water", sending the PES member high into the air. She then shouted "lighti" causing the boy to flash brightly for a split second before being knocked further back, towards the water.

Háoi Mi smiled at the curly-haired boy.

Strange as it sounds, I am a witch

No, I did not say I am a bitch

But if you hurt me then I'll call my owl

Then he will surely do something fowl

Such as t-

Háoi Mi gasped as the blond, curly-haired boy used his psychokinesis to yank her đàn nguyệt from her slender hand then bashed it against her head. She crumbled down and then cried in pain and the đàn nguyệt was used to bash her stomach. She fought throughout the pain as she took her wand and yelled, "darkness, disorientating the PES and sending him stumbling backwards, no doubt due to dizziness. Háoi Mi retrieved her đàn nguyệt from the ground and sighed. The instrument, miraculously was till in head. Despite her throbbing head, the witch put her left index and middle fingers in her mouth and gave a loud whistle.

"Popo!" Háoi Mi called.

A young great horned owl popped out from the back of Háoi Mi's shirt. She jabbed a finger at the staggering PES. "Sick 'em." she hissed darkly.

The owl named Popo jumped to the ground with an awkward, useless flutter. He quickly hopped over to the psychic, multiplying by a factor of two each time it did so. By the time he arrived at the boy, there were thirty-two small owls, all cooing.

Háoi Mi began playing her đàn nguyệt again, this time much more aggressively. It was a wonder that she didn't snap her strings.

Such as turn into a bunch of rocks to pelt your sorry butt!

The mass of Popos turned into stone and began to repeatedly launch themselves at the PES who cried out in pain. He crumbled to the ground, bloody and used his power to shove the stone owls away before making a run towards the cliff.

If you think I'm done with my assault then your out of luck!

All the Popos then turned into flaming owls that launched themselves at the PES, burning him repeatedly then setting him on fire. He rolled around frantically, the flames smothering quickly before he made a break towards the cliff. The flaming Popo and his clones gave chase. Apparently undeterred by the height of the cliff, the blond boy dove towards the waters below. Not too long afterward, Háoi Mi saw him rise in the air, on the spiky-haired boy's back. The spiky-haired PES quickly ran. The two PES fired electricity and a blasts of air at Háoi Mi. The aggressive strumming of the magically infused đàn nguyệt caused the attacks to have no effect on her.

The PES might look cute and they probably have good rumps!

But at the end of the day you'll realize that they're just a bunch of chumps!

So I ask you to focus on me

I'll take you on a wonderful jorney

Make you feel all right

As I show you around the Magical Night

Hélène looked around. Háoi Mi was attempting to blast the black-haired PES with spells but she kept missing. The blond PES however was nowhere in sight. Hélène blinked as she noticed her familiar hopping on the ground. Her familiar was also a bird but her familiar, which she christened Fabuleux, was a tropical bird that smaller for its age compared to Popo and possessed a green plume. Using magic, he flew behind Hélène and landed on something, appearing to be standing in mid-air. He began to rapidly peck downward, making the blond PES materialize out of thin air as he tried to shoo the bird away. Proud of himself, Fabuleux flew away and perched himself on his witch's shoulder. Hélène laughed loudly as she pointed her paintbrush at the PES.

The blond PES began to run away but Hélène quickly drew small, jagged lines in the air before crying, "Leafo!" with a devious smile, causing the boy to be assaulted with razor sharp leaves, spilling a bit of blood on the grass. He put his arms in front of his face as he ran, only being mildly cut.

"Let's wrap this up, shall we?" asked Hélène as she felt mana crawl up her body, stealing her breath away and making giving her a feeling of ecstasy. Her eyes widened as she drew a circle in the air in front of her. "Gate 11." she said before blinking and smirking. The blond PES stopped and turned towards her. A long throwing knife with a black handle came flying out of the black, circular portal that Hélène had created. Before he could move out of the way, the knife had lodged itself in the blond boy's right arm, the blade coming out the other side of his arm, glistening and dripping with blood. The boy screamed out in pain. The scream was raw an came from deep within the PES' chest.

Helene laughed loudly. "What an absolutely beautiful spell! It's a wonderful work of art!"

The black-haired PES turned towards his wounded friend as he ran a finger through his spiky hair, eyes wide with fear. Háoi Mi continued to sing her song while strumming her đàn nguyệt.

In the Magical Night there are strange things

Cool Things

Mysterious things

Such a thing I'll show you now 

Don't be afraid, these guys are my pals

Now sit back and enjoy the show

Even though they're all dead, their souls sure glow!

Roll call! Peter, Jason, Arnold, David, Hunter, Mitch...

The spiky-haired PES watched in horror as one by one, the undead rose from the ground. Some real miraculously were still bound by shambling flesh yet most were rambling skeletons, their skin having decayed many decades ago. Even though she knew better, Háoi Mi couldn't help but believe the skeletons and rotting corpses were grimacing at her foe. Well, good for them. I summoned them to help me. Glad to know everybody's up to speed.

The psychic seemed unnerved by the undead walking towards him with surprising speed. He shook his head and frowned, pushing some off the cliff with his psychic powers and causing a group of skeletons to collapse into a pile of bones. Some of the bones began to magically reassemble themselves while some of the undead took unused femurs and hit them against their hands threateningly. He ran through a group of the ever increasing number of skeletons, causing them to collapse into a pile of bones. He ran to his wounded friend as Hélène laughed loudly. The blond PES looked at his comrade grimly.

"Stone!" cried Háoi Mi, firing her spell at the wounded PES's head. The other PES moved in front of his comrade, taking the blow for him as the baseball-sized stone smacked into his head, causing him to fall to the ground as he was knocked out cold. The blond PES looked around him in horror as the undead continued to grow in number and continued to close in on him. The two witches turned to see what appeared to be a flaming meteor vertically through the sky and crash to the ground, away from them in a red flash. After the flash was gone, there was someone curled up in the small impact crater. He stood up, revealing a boy with brown skin and short, black hair. He was wearing black cycling shorts and a tight, sleeveless black shirt.

Hélène regarded the boy with narrowed eyes. "Oh, so I guess not all the PES are breathtaking in appearance."

The teenage boy regarded her with disgust.

...

Joshua's entire soul lit up upon realizing that the fireball was his friend, Eziz and not some deadly meteor speel conjured up by one of the witches. Eziz turned to his companions before he leapt through the air. With a swipe of his hands, a large mass of the skeletal and zombie warriors were set ablaze before they were quickly reduced to ashes. Eziz landed near a panting Joshua.

"What are you doing here?" Joshua asked, glad to see him.

"We recieved your distress signal. They sent me to help." he turned to the bleeding Joshua and the unconcious Zack mournfully. "We didn't believe it was this bad however."

Joshua shook his head grimly. "It wasn't when I arrived but it's slowly been getting worse and worse..." he said. He flinched, pain shooting through his body.

Eziz grimaced as he looked at Joshua's arm. He then looked at the skeletons still approaching. He quickly took hold of Joshua's right arm and ripped the knife out, causing Joshua to scream in agony.

"Hey! What was that for? Keeping it in lessened the blood l-aaaaaah!" Joshua screamed loudly as Eziz used his fire to seal the wound. Tears began to flow from Joshua's eyes from the sheer pain. He wondered if he would have a permanent scar.

"I'm sorry friend, but I need all the able fighters I can get. We can deal with the witches soon, our objective now is to keep these undead warriors away from Zack. Let's make them redead!" he explained in his deep, soothing voice.

Joshua nodded, wincing as he tried to crack his knuckles. He quickly turned around and gave a high, sweeping kick to some skeletons, knocking their heads off. He gave a karate chop to a few, sending them crumbling to the ground. Another skeleton attempted to loot his comrade's femur but Joshua shoved him out of the way, taking two femurs himself as he frantically bashed skeletons and zombies with the bones. He used his psychokinesis to sharpen the bones, turning them into deadly weapons. Joshua stood his ground, standing in front of Zack as he sliced through the stream of enemies; he was determined to keep on fighting despite pain beginning to take over his body.

Eziz frantically cut through the seemingly endless horde of undead enemies with his fire powers, either crippling them to the point where they couldn't stand to vaporizing them outright. The witches' demented laughs and singing only fueled his anger and drive to protect his friend.

Zack groaned as he slowly opened his eyes, seeing a blue sky and a puffy white cloud that looked like a slice of piza through small, almond frames. He opened his eyes wide. How long have I been out!? He quickly rose to his feet, regretting the choice as he was assaulted with a wave of pain. His eyes bulged at the undead walking toward him, now a disgusting white and gray cluster. "What the Sam Hill is going on here!?" he cried. He turned to see Eziz. "Eziz!? When did you get here!?"

"About ten minutes ago." answered Joshua in a slightly ragged breath, sweating profusely. "Can you run?"

"I-" Zack groaned as he closed his eyes and clutced his aching head.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to, whether you're feeling well or not. We need to complete the mission. I'm stroner than you though not as fast. I'll handle this. Get to the kalar stone. Joshua, show him where it is." stated Eziz tensely.

Joshua pointed southeast. "If you keep going that way, there should be a trail. Once it forks take the left path, then take the middle path then finally the left again." Joshua informed.

"I'll clear a path for you!" shouted Eziz before creating a large path of flame in the southeast direction. "Go now, Zack!" he commanded.

Zack nodded shakily before running forward. He stumbled a bit before shaking his aching head. No, everybody's countin' on me! I gotta' do it! I can't quit! Runnin' will make me feel better! Zack then ran faster, making it through the path beforeit was closed by dead bodies. He made a quick bend to yank the shorter witch's instrument out of her hand then threw it into the crowd of skeletons. He then ran towards where Joshua indicated. He squinted in pain as he picked up speed. Faster Zack, faster! You hafta' go faster Zack!

..

Zack continued to run down the dirt path. If Joshua was correct, he would be near the kalar stone soon. The speedy, pained psychic,saw an opening, flooding the dark path with light. At that moment, it looked like to door to heaven to the teenager on a mission. He burst through the opening and sure enough, there was the kalar stone in the distance. Its power was so great that his headache was mended. Zack grinned as his eyes widened.

Zack suddenly halted with as he turned, hearing a sound. He gasped as a girl appeared out of thin air, five feet in front of him. Zack could easly recognize she was a witch by her attire but he was mesmerized. She looked as if she was a beautiful painting that wanted to be a part of the world of people, a dazzling black-and-white movie character who had graced the world of reality with her presence. The witch appeared equally paralyzed, like a doe caught in headlights. Zack felt his entire being grow warm. The witch was slender and pale. Her heavenly blue eyes seemed to either portray eternal boredness or infitie contentness. Zack felt instantly cautious: here was a beautiful, clean maiden wearing an exquisite black dress while his clothes were charred, torn and bloody. He knew he should be running to the kalar stone but he couldn't speak, let alone move, the girl had completely immobolized him without a word. He wondered if this was simply his imagination but he decided against it for his head felt fine and he didn't think he could imagin something so amazing. He was completely lose in the girl's eyes and as time went on, he wanted a map less and less. As the teenager stared at him in return, he wondered what thoughts were running around in her voice.

They heard a short, gibberish to Zack's ears. The yell broke them from their mutual trance. The witch ran over to and nodded at something before she seemed to pull a dead rat out of nowhere. Zack ran towards the kalar stone at that moment. However, before the PES reached it, the stone was surrounded by a mass of giant, black and orange magical chains that formed a box. Zack ran into the chain butfound himself flying backwards until he umbled onto the ground. Zack closed his eyes and clutched his head. It was for this reason that he didn't see the witch walk away in a portal. Zack wasn't quite sure what had happened but he did know one thing: due to him, the mission was a failure.

...

Gaia had decided to have dinner somewhere else for a change. Night had arrived and the witches had just finished their chewy, potato based dumplings in high spirits. Their Lithuanian cuisune was held under the light of a hundred fireflies continously emitting a red light.

Gaia rose with a clap and a giddy smile. "Once again, I would just like to commend you on a mission well done. I know it was dangerous but you all pulled through! You really showed the PES who's boss!" she smiled warmly at Ankur. "It it weren't for you, I wouldn't of learned of Juan Carlos' plot to obtain the kalar stones." the manifestation of the Earth turned to Haoi Mi and Helene. "Your unorthodox magic is what kept the PES and bay. It was quite entertaining to watch!"

Haoi Mi and Helene bowed. "Thank you." they said in unison.

Gaia turned to Lillian who looked away. "If not for your invisbility potion, Felicia and Isabella would not be able to hex the kalar stone." Zoe teasingly poked Lillian's cheek with a giggle.

Gaia finally turned to Isabella and Felicia. "And you two. You had the most important role as you were ultimately the ones who hexed the kalar stone, blocking the PES from obtaining it as well as sealing its powers."

With a smirk, Isabella leaned towards Felicia and whispered in her ear. "Even if Leesh did get distractd by the sexy!" Felicia grew as red as a tomato and Kajsa gave a meow that sounded slightly like a laugh.

Gaia threw her hands out wide. "I thank you all! Today's events just show how muc you all are growing!" she exclaimed.

Lillian folded her arms. She does have a point. A week ago, I would be at a loss to how to make a potion.

Gaia closed her eyes with delight, bringing her hands tohether, the witches able to see her blue nails. "To celebrate today's victory over the PES, I'm holding a dance!"

Bisera's eyes widened as she looked at Afisa. "A dance!?" she exclaimed.

Gaia nodded. "Yes my daughter! Let us dance!" Gaia shouted. she pointed to the darkness, casuing a mass of fireflies to illuminate a 40X40 square of concrete which was divided into forty smaller squares. Gaia snapped and the fireflies spread to the four corners, some fireflies were yellow, others were green, others were blue and others remained red. They flashes frantically, giving the dance floor a hectic feel. Gaia snapped again, causing an assortment of instruments to enter the area then leviatate twenty-five feet over the dancefloor. The instruments were a bongo, chimes, an ocarina, a maraca, a rainstick, a balafon, a digeridoo, a tamborine, a piccolo, a bagpipe and a đàn nguyệt. She snapped a third time, causing the instruments to play an upbeat, erractic and tribal sounding song as Gaia swayed to the dance floor she stood in the center, her hips saying to the fast beat as she held her hands in the air as if she was sturggling to keep the sky from falling on top of her.

Afisa turned to Xaviera. "Do you like to dance?" she asked with a smile.

Xaviera scratched her head. "Dance?"

Afisa stood up, jumping around. "You know, dance!"

Xaviera smiled. "Ohh! Yeah! I like dance! I like dance after kill animal because that mean I live longer!"

Afisa grabbed her friend on the wrist and led her to the floor. "Then come dance! You ate so that means you'll live another day!" she exclaimed. 

Xaviera smiled as she eratically moved her arms around, seeming possessed b the music. Although her movements were jerky, all the girls smiled at the young witch, all the girls except Amalija, who looked away, unhinged by the girl's movements.

"Wait for me!" Bisera called before walking to the large dance floor. Although she was becoming sluggish due to the absence of the sun, the music was invigorating her somewhat, compelling to put her hands on her hips and sway said hips. She was enjoying dancing, even if she was dancing slowly. Apostol, her sloth familiar, likewise danced slowly.

Helene laughed as she too rose, gripping Haoi Mi's wrist. "Come one! This dance is for us anyway."

"All right." Haoi Mi said with a smile. "It's always fun dancing to someone else's music every once in a while." she admitted as the two friends walked to the dance floor.

Zoe turned to Lillian, smirking. "You're going to pass up dancing?"

"It's Gaia's weird, cultish dancing." Lillian stated, biting the nail of her right pinky finger.

"Hey, dancing's dancing and the music sounds pretty cool. Come on, remeber what I said about having fun with this, even though I rather not be with Gaia?" Zoe asked.

Lillian smiled nervously. "Didn't they do this in The Crucible?" she asked.

Zoe laughed as she took Lillian's hand. "Fine, I swear we'll stop once Gaia cracks open a chicken and starts dancing in its blood, deal?"

Lillian laughed. "Deal."

Isabella pumped her fist in the air. "Fuck yeah! We about to get crunk!" she exclaimed. Felicia rose, smirking. "Yeah, Leesh knows what's up!" Isabella folded her arms and turned to Amalija who was sweating as she stared at the ground. "What about you Leej?"

"I'm fine, you have your fun." Amalija stated quietly.

Isabella bent over. "Aw, come on Leej, you gotta' at least-"

"I said I'm fine!" shouted Amalija, eyes wide with fear. Isabella raised her hands in surrender, eyes wide as she, Kajsa, and Felica slowly backed away from their friend.

Isabella turned to Felicia with a devious smile. "I know you're bummed because you don't get to dance with that cute guy you were gawking at for hours earlier." she teased.

Felicia puffed out her cheeks as she looked away. "No, I am not. I understand that he's a PES."

Isabella leaned in towards her friend. "Doesnt' mean you don't want to be locked in a dark room with in your pajamas..." Isbaella deviously bit her thumb as she raised her eyebrows. "...or wearin' nuthin."

Felicia grew hot and red, not particularly disliking the fantasy Isabella instilled in her mind. She imagined the boy's strong arms around her lithe, naked body as she passionately nibbled on his small ear. "Isabella, could you not.."

"Just admit it Leesh, you think he's hot!" Isabella laughed.

Felicia looked away, frowning. "Fine, I admit that he's cute..."

The two were now at the dance floor, dancing the night away. 

"So Leesh, how did you like the mission, besides Spiky Hair McHottie Face?" Isabella laughed.

"It was all right. I was a tad disappointed however." Felicia admitted in her usual, quiet voice which Isabella could barely hear over the drum.

"Oh really, whyzzat?" Isabella asked.

"It was just so boring. I wanted to be on the frontlines with Haoi Mi and Helene. It just..." Felicia smiled widely. "It just seemed so exciting! Risking your life, not knowing if you'll liv to see another day, it just gets your blood pumping, you know!? It makes you feel truly alive, gives color to your life, gives you such an invigorating rush!" Felicia exclaimed, breathing heavy. Her eyes were wide and looked crazed. Next thing Isabella knew, she was back to her usual, subdued demeanor. Isabella blinked in shock. She wondered if she had imagined the sudden, almost split-personality like change in her friend. She shook her head. She was too unnerved to repl to Felicia's comment.

Gaia turned around, feeling a tap on her shoulder.She smiled warmly at Ankur.

"Care to dance with me, milady?" Ankur asked.

"Of course." Gaia answered as she wrapped her arms around her familiar and they began to spin around the floor. Zoe couldn't help but be touched at how tightly the two held eachother nd they danced to the music. Helene couldn't help but feel jealous at her mother.

"Woohooo! Way to go mom!" shouted Isabella.

Everyone was in high spirits except for Amalija. She sat far away from the dance floor. She didn't care that Gaia danced while gazing in Ankur's eyes, she did not care that Xaviera was having a jolly good time, the wy everyone moved horrified her. They all appeared to move as if they were being possessed by Lucifer himself. Despite the fact that she had spent more than a week with them, Amalija was still wary of her fellow witches. Amalija swallowed as she closed her eyes, not wanting her tears to fall.

Part IIEdit

Consort of Illusion II

Read AlsoEdit

CharactersEdit

PES
Gojo Joshua Carmelo Sebastion Akmal Afwerki Luuk Andy Eziz Zack
 
Witches
Lillian Zoe Xaviera Isabella Afisa Háoi Mi Bisera Hélène Amalija Felecia
    

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