chapter twenty one | percipience

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I looked down as I saw the rest of my body form from shadows. A whooshing sound could be heard as Reaper, Grim and Kiran materialised in Lana's mind. After taking a good look around the area, it looked like we were in a castle's room of some sort.

There was a curtain with black drapes which continued the gushing sound of the wind, the drapes flying around from their fixed point angrily. I caught one of them and through further examination, found the word 'LANA' embedded into it in cursive.

This was definitely Lana's mind.

Exchanging glances, we made out our way out of the room through a black paneled door in silence and entered the outside. We were greeted by another rush of wind. It was as if there was a tornado taking place.

"Look, up there." Kiran pointed up before us. Following his line of sight, I caught sight of a range of mountains which parted to give way to a giant black orb into the sky.

"Okay, I'm gonna be honest. I barely know anything about the mind," Reaper admitted, "even though I use dream magic. Tires me out a lot, so I don't use it much."

"I've read about it somewhere. That black orb is probably what's known as the Core," explained Grim.

The Core?

It sounded so familiar... As if I've heard it before, like as if someone explained it to me before.

Oh, that's right. I remember Akuma talking to me about it after finishing her visit from entering my mind. Demons could enter their familiar's mind.

"Oh yeah, I remember trying to check out the Core of your mind, but um, well, I couldn't," said Akuma.

"What? Why not?" I questioned.

"It was locked by so many chains. I could barely even see it. I guess that's just what everyone's Core looks like," she answered.

"Then what if a Core of someone's mind is unprotected?" I asked.

"Maybe it's being brainwashed, or corrupted. I think if that were to happen the Core of the mind would have to first be unlocked and vulnerable to attacks."

I snapped back to reality and squinted at the Core of Lana's mind. It fit exactly what Akuma was describing a long time ago.

"Usually it's supposed to be super protected. But Lana's Core seems to be really susceptible to foreign attacks right now. That witch's brainwashing spell must've disabled the barriers in order to get to it. And now, the magic she cast is probably eating away at it," I spoke up.

"So that's why her hand looked like it was fading?" said Kiran.

"It must be," affirmed Grim.

"We shouldn't waste anymore time talking. The more we delay, the more she dies every second." Saying this, Reaper started to climb the mountain, leaving trails of dust and small black pebbles from the ground. The rest of us followed suit. I grabbed a small rock to my left and used it as a handle to push myself forward.

Not only was it steep, but a small surprise was kept for us as well.

In the blink of an eye, ghost-like shadows appeared. They dashed towards us at the highest speed I've ever seen, and without any hesitation, started to claw and scratch at us.

Their glowing white eyes were the only source of light in the darkness of Lana's mind. It creeped me the hell out, but I couldn't back out now. I gritted my teeth and pushed on forwards, bearing all the scratches from the shadows with the others.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I only just started becoming a mage, after all. It didn't come as a shock. However, what did was when Reaper, Kiran and Grim seemed to be as tired as I was.

"You guys continue. I'll hold them back." Grim paused and turned around, facing the small minions the witch implemented in the Darkness mage's mind. With a swipe of his hand, a wind barrier formed and the shadows didn't seem to be able to push through it.

"Hurry!" Grim demanded. "I'm not able to hold them off for much longer!" Hearing this, we climbed forward as fast as we could. What seemed to be the rushing wind before Grim activated his barrier because thrice as strong. I hastily brushed my fringe back, and the remaining three of us finally made it to the top of the mountain.

At this point, the Core was so close I could touch it. However, before any of us could even do anything, we heard a familiar cry in the distance.

Grim? What happened to him?

My racing thoughts were interrupted when shadows flew past all of us.

What were they doing?!

One by one, they collapsed into each other, as if they were constructing a building. Save for the fact that this building looked more like a giant monster with looming eyes. It settled down before us, blocking out any attempt to get to the Core.

This was how badly they wanted to prevent us from getting to the core?

"Get out your weapons, all of you," warned Reaper. "This isn't going to be easy."

I unsheathed the hidden sword in my umbrella.

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