“What is it that you wish. Wealth? Glory? Power? Or is it something else? Whatever it is, I can grant it. All you have to do, is –“
The man appeared from the shadows and rested a hand on the boys shoulder. “Now, Now, Are you trying to make a deal with my son, Terra?”
The being saw the adult man and growled, “Leave us Dragon, he is not your son nor am I your enemy. Things need not get out of hand.”
The man laughed. A deep throaty laugh that echoed off the high cavernous ceiling. “You jest Terra, Bast IS my son as much as you are my enemy.” Dragon flicked his fingers and the cavern erupted into flames, “Begone!”
The being smiled malevolently, “I will have my way with him…” before dissolving into nothing.
“Tell me Anon, how did you expect that to go?”
“Well Bast, I didn’t think it’d be so bad that he put us in here.”
I sighed and turned around looking at the ruined city. It was never a smart idea to tell your father that you made a contract, especially if you made it with an immortal being that your dad hated but well… He had to tell Dragon eventually. Bast looked up at the sky, “Anon you said, ‘In Here’ What do you mean?”
“The black box, enough to say that it’s an inescapable prison.”
“Well he is my father; he’ll let me out right?”
“I can’t say Bast, Dragon had a lot of bad blood against Terra. And Terra’s probably rubbing it in his face right about now.”
“This place looks oddly human Anon, any idea what this setting is?”
Anon whizzed around looking at the ruined buildings and the huge mansion in the center. While I tried try and communicate with Dragon somehow, telling him what a big mistake this was. It didn’t work.
Anon came back soon after, “Early 1950’s Central Germany,” He informed me.
My eyes widened, it was useful to have a familiar. Especially an indestructible one.
“Is it possible to break our way out with force?” I questioned Anon.
“I did say inescapable, didn’t I?”
I moaned in frustration and slammed my fist against the nearest wall. It collapsed and a wave of dust washed over me blinding me and making me cough uncontrollably.
Then I saw him, walking towards us from the west entrance. All I could gather was the he wore a dark blue cloak that hid most of his features. “Anon, can you tell me who that is?”
“It has to be Dragon, only the creator of the Black box can enter and leave as he pleases and if it was an intruder he wouldn’t be walking so leisurely.”
I felt like running towards Dragon and apologizing for everything that had happened.
The man stopped nearly 20 meters away and spoke, “Bastien Thorne and familiar, Anon. Dragon sends me to deliver a message. The voice of the cloaked stranger suddenly changed and it Dragon was talking through him.
“Sorry Kiddo, still pissed at you for making that deal. Not going to be something I can easily forgive. So either choose to stay there till I feel like letting you out, or take your only chance at redemption I hear that there’s a Hotel that’ll get you out if you win their competition. It won’t be easy though, one my other… well it doesn’t matter. Make your choice.”
I kept looking at the cloaked man even after he was done talking. Dragon wasn’t a person to make jokes about these kind of things. I sighed, there was no point in spending my time here doing nothing.
“Let me out, let me take part in this competition.” I finally said.
The cloaked man smiled and waved his hand. The world around them just… broke? I don’t know how to describe it. Pieces of the sky, the buildings, the land around me just started falling off and what remained was a dark oblivion. And then…
The visions came, visions of a red haired boy, the staff he held, the girl with him and the time he fought father… None of the visions made any sense to me. So I wiped my mind clear of them and watched the world end.
When I came about I was lying face up towards the center of a crowded room. Luckily I wasn’t at the very center of the room but the sudden appearance of a boy and his winged familiar did get everyone’s attention.
‘This must be the contest Dragon wanted me to win. I guess I have to make a good first impression.’
I grinned and waved my hand around sparks erupting from my fingertips making an electric banner above me saying, ‘WHATS UP!’
Apparently it wasn’t a great idea. 6 of the people, the most important I guessed glanced at me, sighed and turned away except the young blonde girl who waved back before ignoring me like all the others.
“Smooth move.” Anon commented.
I sighed and looked around trying to figure out what was going on, everyone had their eyes on someone speaking at the center of the room. So I decided to listen in...
“So as I was saying before… we were interrupted. For those of you who wish to fight for your freedom you have come to the right place. Bear in mind only one of you will be given your desired freedom and the rest of you may die trying. The first round will be very simple. Simply show us your talents and you manage to move on if you impress at least three of us judges.”
The speaker was tall and… handsome. He wore smart blue pants and an unbuttoned shirt. His face was immaculate, clean shaven, perfectly styled hair all that jazz and for a second I was sorely tempted to walk ahead and get a better view of his chest.
Another man picked up where the handsome on stopped talking, “So all in all, y’all just go to impress us judges with ye tricks and whatnot.” The other man was slightly shorter with an eye patch. He must be a pirate.
There were 4 other people alongside him. A young blonde girl, the one who waved back at me. Twins, who stood side by side. They seemed normal enough tall and lithe. And finally there was a woman, she looked human enough… Save for a bushy tail and cat-like ears.
‘Now, which of them would be my best chance. The blonde girl could probably be impressed by some magic and maybe some mind magic. The pirate looked as if he was desperate for a fight, that I could give him. And finally the handsome man, he looks bored so some companionship might work. And he IS good looking.'
“You heard the man Anon, who do you think should we go to first?”
“You pick, though I should warn you. The good looking dude is the embodiment of lust so don’t get too cozy. The woman has some demonic influence to her, be careful around her. The twins are human but strong nonetheless. The pirate may look like he wants a fight but don't expect him to make any stupid moves. And the girl… well try not to get on her bad side.”
Anon didn’t grace my question with an answer so I left it at that. There were other competitors as well, some humans, some supernatural beings and a… I squinted my eyes, ‘Is that a crow?’
“I guess I’ll get into a fight first. Entertainment can come later, so I can spend my time healing then.” I informed Anon.
'I guess it's the pirate first then.'
The pirate looking dude was talking to the twins when I walked up to them.
“Hey guys. I’m Bastien, Call me Bast. Nice to meet you.”
“Why hello there lass, ye come to entertain us?”
“Lay off him Evan. Hello there Bastien, I’m Kyla and this,” She pointed at her brother, “Is my twin brother Ben and the pirate you see over there is Evan.”
Evan scowled at her, “Aye, Ma names Evan. So tell us boy. What do you plan to do?”
“Why… I plan on showing off my combat prowess.” I declared, hoping my bravado made him cautious.
It didn’t, Evan laughed and announced, “Then come at me lass, or will you just stand there?”
‘Well that didn’t work out. But I still have the edge, fighting me head on would work to my advantage.’
‘Ignitis Fira’ Tendrils of fire whipped forward from my hand and sped towards Evan, he sidestepped, ducked and rushed forward blade in hand. I ran forward to meet him, as he swung his sword ‘Phase’ I teleported behind him and whipped out a faster moving projectile ‘Spaz Bolta’ a bolt of electricity rushed past the twins, to get Evan from behind. With no time to dodge Evan used the sword as a conductor and dropped it so that he didn’t get electrocuted as well.
“Try again lass, you ain’t impressing me if you can’t hit me.”
This wasn’t going as well as planned. “Anon, Specify Ignitis”
This was my trump card, and my last chance to do something that could actually impress them judges.
“Getting serious are you lass.”
I smiled, “Oh you have no idea.”
I whipped both my hands together ‘Ignitis Volcanis’ nothing happened at first. But slowly the temperature of the room began to rise.
“What’s this, you making the room hotter huh?”
And then the whole room erupted into a blazing chaos, the floor underneath Evan erupted into flames and he leapt back, ‘This is my chance, while he’s in the air’
I used my flames to propel myself forward and meet him as he was landing, No amount of physical ability could let him dodge this, ‘Ignitis Insignia’ Flames wrapped around my fist as I brought them forward and was close to pummeling him into the ground-“
“Stop!” The sound echoed throughout the lobby, It registered on my mind a second before I brought my fist down giving me just about enough time to release my fail safe ‘Null’ the flames died down and my bare fist hit Evan square in the nose.
The voice was that of the handsome man, he casually walked towards me all the while keeping an eye on the other participants as well.
“The names Asmodeus." He paused looked at me and continued, "and you’re task is to impress the judges, not kill them.”
‘Damn it, I shouldn’t have done that…'
“That said though, good job. Evan had that coming for a while now.”
Evan groaned and forced himself up, covering his bloody nose, “Ya broke my bloody nose lass… Well I’m gonna get you back on that but… Good job on that last attack, never saw that one coming.”
“Now, since that’s over you should get back to impressing the oth-
I set my shirt on fire and let it lightly burn off, until nothing was left other than my bare torso. I’m not buff in any way but I am quite fit and have a lithe body.
Asmodeus’ eyes wandered over my body taking it all in, he pursed his lips came closer and whispered, “If you do manage to pass, come to my room.”
‘No way am I going to let him leave it at that.'
I took a step, put my hand around his waist and brought him closer, I was slightly taller than him so it added to the effect. “When I pass you can come to my room.” I whispered into his ear. I turned around and walked away.
Hopefully I was able to impress the four of them, Evan, Ben and Kyla with my combat prowess and Asmodeus with my… flirtatious skills. Though technically the twins probably count as 1 judge so I should try and get one more just in case.
The choice was a no brainer, either the blonde girl or the demonic one. The blonde girl was just sitting on a chair in the far corner playing with a… white ghost like object.
“That girl gives me the creeps Anon.”
“Awe… Are you scared of a little girl?”
“God no… tell me how long before I can turn back, I’d need all my skills if I want to put on a show.”
“Limits almost up, go ahead.”
‘Vario’ I casually walked up to the girl and waved my hand. She looked at me curiously, “Hello Mister, have you come to impress me?” She voiced.
“Why yes I have, watch me dazzle your world.”
I took a step back, cupped my hands together and blew into it like I was doing a magic trick. Elemental orbs starting floating out of my hand and circling the area around us.
“What will you do with them?” She inquired.
I ignored her question and kept working with the different orbs. Each element was represented by a different color and by the time I was done there were a plethora of differently colored orbs around us.
I slammed my fist together and the orbs caused miniature explosions around them. All the colors caused a blur of elemental chaos. The girl’s eyes widened as she watched the different colors exploding about interacting with the other elements, fire and water joined to produce steam, light and darkness combined leaving a void, wind and lightning started forming miniature tempests.
At the end of the little show I put together, the girl was wide eyes and with a huge grin on her face. she was enthusiastically clapping her hands together.
‘Look cool and walk away now.’
I bowed, turned around and walked away.