chapter twenty three | dread

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I opened my eyes to see the rest of my guildmates kneeling around Lana's unconscious body with looks of worry on their faces. Kaito sat down on the floor against the wall, looking less listless as he was before as he held his injury, which looked a great amount better now. Someone must've healed him.

Seeing that Reaper, Grim, Kiran and I had returned, Sienna whipped her head towards us. "Have you all managed to save her? Will she be okay?! For a moment she stopped breathing and-"

"Relax, we restored her Core back to normal. She should be fine now," Reaper assured.

As if on cue, Lana's eyes slowly opened, her hand massaging her head. It looks like she had a headache after all of that. "W... What happened? All I remember is that creepy lady staring at me with her eyes all swirly and- WAIT! Morrison! Where's he?!"

"Your Core was corrupted by her hypnotizing. These three and I-" I explained and gestured to Reaper, Grim, and Kiran, "We went into your mind and restored your Core. Took a lot of work though. Lyra, do you have anything for Grim? He's got the worst injuries of all."

Hearing this, Lyra fumbled around in her bag and took out a glass bottle that contained some kind of green liquid.

"Wait, time out, hold on- Are you sure this thing isn't poison?" Grim inched away defensively.

Lyra squinted and examined the liquid. "W-well... I made this by myself... And I tried it myself, too... It's a potion that's supposed to heal injuries..."

Grim shrugged and grabbed the bottle, opening it and chugging most of the potion down. Miraculously, most of his scratches from the shadows earlier on faded and disappeared. The wind mage's eyebrows raised, him being surprised that he wasn't actually dead.

"I guess we could count on Lyra for being our healer then. We needed one." Sienna nodded, smiling. Lyra's expression lit up.

"Umm... I'm sorry... For causing this much trouble..." Lana unsteadily stood up.

"It's fine. The thing is that Morrison stole most of your magic, and now we have to get it back," said Kiran, glancing at Lana. "Where do you think he is?"

~

We found ourselves back in Chronologica, the capital of our country Dendrichia, after being teleported back by Asurma. The sky was a dark grey, the clouds barely letting the sky be seen.

Morrison had to be here. He wanted to steal the most amount of magic possible, right?

Well, this was where he was most likely to be. The twelve of us hesitantly approached the guild in charge of protecting the capital city, Royal Embers. It was a well-known guild that was established by the Queen of Dendrichia before the country changed from a monarchy to a republic.

The guild members were bound to be powerful mages. They wouldn't be able to be taken down so easily by Morrison, right?

Wrong.

I was so, so wrong.

A blast of power similar to the explosion in the ballroom from earlier on shook the ground. From the debris and dust emerged Morrison, followed by the same witch from earlier on, with the same, gut-wrenching, intimidating, mocking smile on his face. Orange, blue, green, white and black auras surrounded him- probably taken from the mages of Royal Embers, the black aura taken from Lana.

Behind him, followed a large group of mages that looked like they were twice the number of people in our guild. Their eyes had the same red swirls as that from when the witch brainwashed Lana. They must've met the same fate as Lana did before she was saved in time.

Morrison's smile only widened to a full-on grin when he saw us. The nervous energy from my guildmates had never been this intense before.

"As expected," Morrison moved towards us, hands casually in his pockets. The witch and the mages eyed us as if they were scrutinizing our existence. "You all really fell for it."

"Give Lana her magic back, you creep!" Sienna interjected.

Morrison chuckled. "You really think I'd do that? All of you really must be idiots..."

"You know what?" Reaper cracked his knuckles. "I wouldn't mind fighting this bastard. He's been tailing us for way too long."

The monster that stood in front of us looked back at the soldier-like mages. With a small nudge of his head towards us, the mages gained an aggressive stance and drew out their weapons.

"Gladly."

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