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- While Your Ink is Still Fresh -

Guatemala City, Guatemala -- 11:45 a.m.

Maya and the rest of the Knights arrived in Guatemala a few hours after their quick stand at Salcoatitán; as she arrived at her place, her uncle and aunt rushed to receive her back home with arms wide open. They gave her another celebration and all the time they had left on that summer as a way to be part of another year of Maya's life.

The Altahuela household had their humble, yet loving party; Maya's uncle gave her a brand new set of quill pen and inks with some exquisite blends of papers for Maya to write on; Maya's aunt gave her some new clothes and a bracelet with a lot of adornments that were simply Maya in a nutshell: Cancer symbol with Aries, a quill pen, a flower, a Mayan stone engraving meaning 'Moon', another other meaning 'Fire', a third one meaning 'South' and a flag of Honduras to complete the set.

Maya hugged them with tears in her eyes; never in all her years of life had she had such an amazing time at her birthday. Never in a million of years would she have thought that the ones who once were her enemies would be the best of her friends. Maya was always a shy, gloomy person who thought she was too weird to belong anywhere; now, she was part of a marvelous group of young heroes and felt completely part of it.

She went to her room and got her journal. "Maya's Writing Lair" was its name. She opened the brand new set of quill pens and decided to debut it on her oldest and most loyal companion.

"To my Silent Friend, the Notebook,

I am on cloud nine; these past few months had been quite a roller coaster ride. Everything changed for me in a blink of an eye and sometimes I still get myself asking whether this is real or a dream. Everything changed so deeply for me that I cannot even imagine my life without Thalas, Melchior, Anael, Kaiser, Kimi and Altagracia.

I still miss Jasmine, and I miss Iracema even more. Even if we were bind together by a spell, I still believe our friendship was somehow meant to be. We gave hopes and strengths to each other every time and always bounced back stronger and better. I know life drifted us, but all changes and everything that happened as aftermath of our deeds has made me a better person.

I prayed for Iracema and Jasmine today in Salcoatitan; I prayed for Iracema's soul to find eternal rest and for Jasmine to pursue her dreams and always remember me and our friendship of old. Someday we'll all be together again. In the meantime, I'll make the best out of the chances I've been given...

Maya Altahuela."


End of 2015's Summer Summit.



- City of Quetzalcoatl -

Salcoatitán, El Salvador -- 7:15 a.m.

The Knights reached the next city at the dawn of the following day; though Maya's birthday was on the day after, they decided to proceed with the festivities, as they would still have a few free hours before going back to the regular agenda.

Kaiser's vortex led them to the city of Salcoatitán, known as "City of Quetzalcoatl"; as they passed through the city portal, which had a Quetzalcoatl figure carved into stone and painted brightly, their spirits seemed renewed somehow.

[Maya] -- This town reminds me of somewhere my uncle and aunt have told me in the past... A town a few miles away from Tegucigalpa... (Sighs, smiles). So, I know that this city has some of the most beautiful artisan works and some great pupusas to go. They also have some churches to take a loot at, and after yesterday, I... I was thinking on going there.

[Kimi] -- On the church? (Confused) Why?

[Maya] -- Some respects I'd like to pay... And a little prayer I want to make. Could you all join me?

[Altagracia] -- Of course! (Excited) I`ll take some photos! (To Anael, holding a camera) Hermano mayor, can you teach me how to use it? I was taking some photos with Maya, but I didn't understand how to use it... (Mops)

[Anael] -- (Smiles) Of course I can, mi rayo de Sol! Come on, we follow Maya and we'll take some pictures in there! (Holds Altagracia's hand)

[Melchior] -- (Shrugs) Well, it is Maya's birthday after all. I don't think a religious moment will do us harm.

[Thalas] -- Agreed. (Smiles, holds Maya's hand) Lead us the way, milady.

[Maya] -- (Shy) Sure! (Chuckles)

Maya led the group towards one of the churches: the one known as Iglesia Colonial de Salcoatitan, founded in 1824, being the oldest in the city; for it was damaged in the earthquakes that afflicted el Salvador, The Blue Moon Knights had to enter into the yellow replica of the church. It was a simple piece of Christian architecture, where some wooden benches and an altar could be found along the large aisle.

Black Witch saw there was a priest arranging the candles in the small altar to her left; she came near him and asked if she could light a candle. The priest allowed her to do so and she lit one of the candles in the center of the piece, knelt down on the floor, joined hands, closed her eyes and began her silent prayer for a friend which came to be a guarding angel...


To Be Continued...



- A Friend from the Other Side -

Anael and Maya found themselves in utter state of shock; the other Knights looked at the ghost without believing in their own eyes; was that Iracema in front of them? Was it real or just a trick played by their minds, still wounded by that terrible loss?

[Anael] -- I... I can't believe this... (Sad, shocked)

[Maya] -- (Lifts hand towards ghost) Is that you, Iracema? Is that you, mi amiga?

[Iracema] -- (Serene, eerie voice) Yes, it is... It is me. I missed you and Jasmine... Missed all of you, to be precise. (Smiles)

[Maya] -- How's that even possible? (Rubs hand in her face, drying the tears)

[Iracema] -- (Points at Anael) The Corazón. It still keeps my soul here... Maybe it is because of my dearest memories of my life, I don`t know. But I like it nevertheless... I came by to say "happy birthday", dear Maya. May your days be long and full of joy and adventures yet to come.

[Maya] -- Yours too, Iracema... I believe your soul will join us back in this realm one day.

[Iracema] -- I don`t know... (Chuckles) I like being a ghost and all. Being an observer has made me much more mature than I ever was. I have seen the mistakes of people I liked and learnt with them; perhaps, if it is for my soul to join this world again I might come back as someone much wiser for my age. (Laughs)

Iracema's spectral image came closer to the Knights; Maya left the water and joined the crowd, who gave Iracema a warm hug; for a few moments, she was able to materialize and assume a magical human form, allowing her to receive that hug. Then, they all made a circle with Maya in the middle.

[Everyone but Maya] -- Cumpleaños felices, deseamos a ti! Cumpleaños felices, deseamos a ti! Que lo pases muy bien, cumpleaños felices!

The chanted the verse about four or five times; as they did it, Iracema's spirit began to dissolve in the wind, leaving them with her blessing and best wishes. The moon shone brighter in the sky as Iracema's spirit finally disappeared. The Knights sat near the waters and watched as it reflected the moon light, creating a beautiful, transcendent scenario for them to admire and even dream about.


To be Continued...




- Laguna de Las Ninfas -

Apaneca, El Salvador -- 7:15 p.m

As the hours passed by, Kaiser suggested getting into a safer place and use the vortexes once more; Maya's birthday was passing faster than they wanted and there was plenty of things she hadn't seen yet.

[Thalas] -- Where to now? (Holds Maya's hand)

[Maya] -- (Holds Thalas' hand) My guess would be Apaneca*, but... (shrugs) It's getting late and we have classes soon, so... (Sighs)

[Kaiser] -- Not a big deal! (Smiles) See... I have a better idea: I`ll conjure us there! It was nice driving and all, but... Vortexes are infinite times superior. So... Where to?

[Maya] -- (Smiles) Laguna de Las Ninfas**. There`s a reason why, I can assure all of you...

[Melchior] -- (Mischievous, puts a hand on one of Maya`s shoulders) No need to assure us of anything, Mayacita. It`s your day! (Smiles)

[Maya] -- If you say so... (Smiles) Please, Kaiser... Open the vortex!

[Kaiser] -- (Smiles) Your wish is my command! (Reverence to Maya, creates a vortex in front of him) All aboard!

All seven Blue Moon Knights entered on the vortex; Maya went on first and found herself in a large glade which protected an enormous, round lagoon. The moon was already shining on a open, cloudless night sky. She came close to the waters and saw the nymph-like flowers floating in it.

She snapped her fingers and changed into her bathsuit -- a dark beige swimsuit with baby yellow flower pattern -- and entered on the cold, still waters.

[Maya] -- Look at this! (Amazed) Don't know if we should enter, but... It is so beautiful!

As Black Witch made her seventh step on the lagoon, it started to shine brightly, as if it was under some kind of spell; the others started looking at the waters with a hint of concern. As Anael was preparing himself to use the powers of Corazón de Guatemala, the water's surface began to twist and levitate. Then, it took the shape of a female. The waters came down once more, and it revealed to be a female spirit.

She was medium-heighted, slightly chubby, white-skinned with straight, short, dark-brown hair with an edgy bang which covered her left eye. The exposed eye showed to be dark-brown with wide eyelashes. Maya muffled a scream as tears appeared on her eyes.

[Maya] -- (Shocked, at the verge of crying) Dios mio! Iracema!? How...?!


To Be Continued...

-----

Glossary:

(*): One of the towns featured in Ruta de Las Flores; it is one of the smallest and features two large lagoons near it: Laguna Verde and Laguna de Las Ninfas.

(**): One of the most beautiful lagoons of El Salvador, is a large water mass 1.5 miles away from Apaneca/ it receives its name due to the amount of aquatic flowers in it.



- A City for Artists, Coffee and Flowers -


Ruta de Las Flores, El Salvador -- 3:15 p.m.

The Knights rode away in the amidst of the most beautiful flowers ever seen. Maya and Altagracia grabbed their cameras and starting taking pictures of everything, from landscape to road signs and even mischievous plays and interactions within the van.

It took them a few hours by car to reach the first destination of the route: the small city of Juayua, the village known for its coffee, exquisite food and flower-themed signs and frameworks.As soon as they passed through the humble entrance of the small town, the car was filled with the most pleasant smell of fresh tamales* filled with black beans, scrambled eggs and roasted vegetables with a hint of Izote** flower, giving the Knights the most intriguing experience.

[Melchior] -- Hmmm... (Licks lips) I missed the food around here!

[Maya] -- Let's stop! I want to take some pictures and get some of the food for the rest of the journey! (Smiling)

[Kaiser] -- Alright then, folks! (Stops the van. Turns the engine of and pulls the hand brake) Let's get some thing to go... The city looks great for a small village.

[Kimi] -- Indeed! (Gets off the van) I'll check the landscape out.

[Anael] -- Let's go, Gracia. I'll help you out. (Smiles)

[Altagracia] -- No need to! (chuckles) I'm a big lady already!

The seven heroes got out of the van and decided to check the city out. The small, humble and historic houses were all ornamented with flowers and all things talking about spring. They started visiting all shacks and shops, looking for anything interesting to eat and get as souvenir; each one of them chose their set of food: pupusas*** of various flavors, tomato sauces and sour creams to join them, tortas de yema**** with coconut shavings, cinnamon and ice cream .

They sat at a round wooden table in the largest avenue of the city, shielded by a large sun umbrella. They talked, laughed and ate as they watched the crowd moving from one site with the other.

[Maya] -- (Excited) Hey, guys! Look over there! (Points to her front) It seems there'll be a live performance there.

[Anael] -- Oh! A marimba group! This is going to be good!

The group composed of ten musicians climbed on top of a wooden stage; three large marimbas were brought into it and the performers started playing their songs. The heroes looked at the scene and listened very carefully to the music that was being played, which seemed more than perfect for such sunny, bright day of July.


To be Continued...

-----

Glossary:

(*): Fresh Mesoamerican corncakes, usually filled with black beans, tomatoes, chicken, potatoes or even other exquisite fillings.

(**): Common type of flower largely used in Salvadoran cuisine. It grows all over Central America, and its roots (Yuca) are also up for consume. The flowers have a bitter, yet pleasing taste which makes them highly sought for culinary purposes. Izote is also cultivated alongside coffee plantations to avoid soil erosion on steep slopes.

(***): Traditional dish of Mayan origin, they consist on large, thick tortillas made out of corn or rice flour, stuffed with cheese, chicharrón, refried beans or loroco.

(****): Yolk-made Salvadoran pies.



- Where the Flowers Shine Brighter - 


[Maya] - The first place I want to visit is in Melchior's former land! La Ruta de las Flores*!

[Melchior] - That place? (Mischievous) Well, that doesn't surprise me, considering your likes and dislikes...

[Maya] - I always wanted to know more about the wilderness of El Salvador. So, you guys care to join me?

[Thalas] - Of course! Kaiser, can you give us the fastest way of reaching the place?

[Kaiser] - (Smiling) Sure thing! Let's just move somewhere more discrete and we'll be good to go.


That said, the Knights moved elsewhere; they found an empty back alley a few blocks away from Maya's and got inside as the shadows guaranteed they'd be covered. Then, Kaiser focused on the wall near him and the shadows responded swirling near his hand and opening a purple-glowing vortex.


[Kaiser] - The door is open, guys. (Shows the vortex) Before we go, I need you, Maya, to guide us; is that okay?

[Maya] - Of course! (Steps near the vortex) Follow me, folks!


The Honduran magician stepped into the glowing vortex followed by the rest of the Blue Moon Knights. In a matter of seconds, they left Guatemala City and ended up in the western part of El Salvador only a few kilometers away from Guatemala in a town called Ahuachapán**.

That town was bustling with colors, sounds and voices coming from all directions; the shops and smaller, antique buildings featured beautiful, dazzling handmade fabric patterns inspired on the flowers found in the region.


[Maya] - (Stunned) Wow...Looks so much better than I thought I'd be!

[Melchior] - (Mischievous) Well, it is much better... Seems that people took an effort to rebuild some of the historical things here...And it still smells like coffee!

[Anael] - (Smiling, looking around) Well... Where to, Maya?

[Maya] - Let's see... (Gets a map from backpack and opens it) The first city of the route is Juayua, a small town following the road ahead.

[Melchior] - We still got time and... (Looks around) None seems to be staring at us.

[Thalas] - Melchior... What are you up to?

[Melchior] - A bit of magic! (Conjures up a Kombi)

[Kimi] - (Startled) What the hell?!

[Melchior] - He, he, he...

[Kaiser] - (Sighs) Alright, we better hop in... Kimi and I are the eldest, so... We'll drive.

[Thalas] - (Facepalm) Oh god... Here we go.

[Maya] - (Excited) This keeps getting better and better!

The Knights entered in the brand new Kombi; Kaiser and Kimi went on front, and the rest stayed on the passenger's area. Then, Kaiser turned the vehicle on, hit the gas and followed the spring road into the following town, leaving the smell of coffee behind...


To Be Continued...

-----

Glossary:

(*): La Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route) is a touristical destination in El Salvador; a road surrounded by tropical flowers, which extend to twenty miles and features five small towns of El Salvador, each of them unique in their way.

(**): Ahuachapán is a city and municipality and the capital of the Ahuachapán Department in western El Salvador. The municipality including the city covers an area of 244.84 km² and as of 2007 has a population of 110,511 people. Situated near the Guatemalan border, it is the westernmost city in the country and is the center of an agricultural region producing primarily coffee.

Ahuachapán is the site of a geothermal power plant and a hydroelectric station. The local geothermal activity produces many steam vents, visible throughout the surrounding mountains.

Among other things, Ahuachapan is also the birthplace of notable Salvadoran poet Alfredo Espino and is about an hour's drive from the national wildlife park El Imposible.




- Natural Born Magician -



Guatemala City, Guatemala — 11:15 a. m.


It was a bright 4th July in the capital of the Eternal Spring country, where our well-known heroes dwelled. Finally, their vacation time had come and they would be able to rest as much as they always wanted and so desperately needed. This time, however, they had different plans in mind.

The boys, and the boys only, arranged to meet at Anael’s house — they all had special plans in mind for the recess, and that plan involved someone else. Specifically, another magician which was already part of the group. The group sat on the available space on Anael’s room, assuring to close the door and let nobody else inside.


[Anael] — So, does ever agree we should do it?

[Kaiser] — (Excited) Of course! I think it is going to be more than awesome!

[Kimi] — Hate to sound pessimist, but isn’t there a possibility that we may upset her?

[Melchior](Mischievous) You don’t hate sounding pessimist, Kimi. You are pessimist! (Laughs) Seriously now, I don’t think she’ll hate it. Considering the person who helped us in the first place, I think it is very likely that we hit perfect score on this.

[Kimi] (Ironic laughter) Funny you, Melchior! (Gives him a joking slap on his head)

[Anael] (Serious) Thalas, what do you think? Is she going to like it?

[Thalas] (Thinks for a moment in silence)

[Melchior] (Impatient) Come on, spit it out, man! Will we have all this trouble just for her to be sad and rampage on us again?

[Thalas](Confident, smiling) Of course not! This is going to be flawless. She will love that! Trust me; it is going to be perfect!

[Kimi] (Sighs, smiles) I hope so… We kind of worked hard on this…


On the meantime, someone else was hearing the conversation through the closed door; someone short, copper-skinned and dark brown-haired. She rapidly ran into her room and snapped her fingers, conjuring a pink sort of Communicator. Then, she pressed the only button attached to it and began speaking.


[Altagracia] — Hey there, how you doing? Listen, I think the boys are up to something and you should come here and check things– 


Suddenly, she heard some knocks on her door.


[Anael] (Baffled voice) Rayo de Sol, we are heading over Maya’s now. Want to join us?

[Altagracia](Faking annoyance) No! You guys are hiding something and I am not going unless you tell me, hermano mayor! (Hangs Communicator off)

[Anael](Chuckles) Fine… Listen, I’ll tell you on the way but you have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?

[Altagracia](Thinks for a moment)(Excited and childish) Fine! I am coming! (Jumps off bed and races to the door, opening it)


The little Blue Moon Knight joined the rest of the party in their sort of quest, getting out of Anael's place and heading to their target's home, which was on the other side of the town. On the meantime, they began to explain to Altagracia what they were up to and how important it was for them for her to be part of it. As they enlightened her, Altagracia got more and more interested in the boy's plot.

After some minutes of walking and talking, they arrived at their target's home. Thalas knocked on the door and all of them waited; a few minutes later, the last Blue Moon Knight appeared in front of them; the Honduran which all of them liked.

[Everyone] — (Shout, excited) ¡Cumpleaños feliz, Maya!

[Maya](Surprised, thrilled) Oh my god! You guys remembered!¡Muchas gracias! (Hugs all of them, starting with Anael, then Melchior, Kimi, Kaiser, Altagracia and Thalas)

[Anael] — You're welcome, sis! (Mischievous smile) Any plans for your day?

[Maya] — Not really... (Sighs) I don't usually celebrate my birthdays...

[Melchior] — Very well! (Mischievous) Let us celebrate with you then!

[Thalas](Shy) I've talked to the guys and... We were thinking on getting you an entire week of celebrations! It's your birthday, and we want to celebrate with you!

[Maya](Surprised) Guys... (Watery eyes) That's the most awesome thing anyone has ever done for me!

[Thalas] — (Thrilled) So, what will it be? Where are we headed first?

[Maya] — (Thoughtfull, mischievous) Well, let's see...


Maya took her time to think about it; there were so many great locations not only in Guatemala but in Central America as a whole that she wanted to pay a visit. Minutes after Thalas' question, she came up with the perfect place to start her birthday week...


To Be Continued...

Hello Everyone!

Well, the Blog has been revived and the month of Jun had been finished properly with the Knights' last Season of adventures. Now, for the upcoming month, here we have a new to-do list:

1. The Summer Summit of 2015 happens this Month! - Considering that this Blog wasn't' so alive in January, 2015's Summer Summit has been postponed for this Month and will begin on the first week of this month, with a new topic this year.

2. The Previous Summer Summits Will Get Covers! - Alas, it is a collection of short stories and they deserve their own Covers. Starting this Month, I'll begin preparing some special covers for the Summits.

3. The Missing Covers from Seasons 6th and 7th will Be On! - It's been more than a year since these Chapters debuted in this Blog. Therefore, they deserve Covers on their on. I'll be working on them as soon as possible.

4. HD Covers for the First Seasons - Those will be available soon for downloadable version only along with other special illustrations made by me.

5. The Journals Will be Back Soon! - Though they'll be posted nearly in the end of this month or in August, I'll still notify their comeback here. Also a collection of short stories which might get their own set of illustrations as well

So far, these are the main topics to be explored by me in this vacation time. I hope I can deliver as much as I can. Wish me luck and stay tuned for more!

Sincerely,
Iridium Blade

Hello everyone!

The "Download the Seasons" page is back to activity. I have included the 4th, 5th and 6th Seasons to the library and revamped the first three Seasons of The Blue Moon Knights. The files include the Covers of each Chapter and, in the 1st Season's file, it includes the first version of Knight's profiles.

Soon, the 7th and 8th Seasons will be available for full download. And, in the future to come, I am planning to create HD versions for the previous seasons in a special format, giving you guys a whole new experience when reading the Knights' saga.

To start downloading your copies of each Season, go to this link:

Download The Seasons


Stay tuned for more!

Sincerely,
Iridium Blade

Hello Everyone!

Since I had revived the Blog, I noticed I haven't updated the "Download the Seasons" page due to lack of time even before stopping my activities here in the past months. In order to make for that, I'll suspend the page for a while until I at least give all current Seasons their space in the page and start preparing the downloadable versions (regular and, in the future, the HD ones).

Stay tuned for more!

Sincerely,
Iridium Blade


- Madness Tunnel of Fate! -

It was cold down there; it was really, really dark and numb down there. It was really hard to breathe, for the air seemed as deadly as the shadows that surrounded him. Vladmir Antoniev Karkaroff, the Elemental Lord of Ice and Water was down there, trapped in a place which knew no time and space. He felt his body heavy as a large block of lead, struggling to even open his eyes.


“Where…Where am I?” He asked with a rough, painful voice. “Where is… Where is he?”

After a while, the Russian Warlock was finally able to stand on his knees, with his eyes half opened. He couldn’t see much through the heavy curtain of dark fog around him.

“Melchior!” He shouted, desperate. “Where are you?! Can you hear me?! Melchior!”

Ha, ha, ha, ha… He IS here, Ice Lord… But won’t be here for long, ha, ha, ha…”

Vladmir’s eyes got wider and his countenance changed from angry and confused to worried and shocked, for he recognized the voice which came from all directions of that strange place.

Mary Hellheim… I should’ve known.” The Russian Warlock concluded, clenching his fists in anger. “You just couldn’t leave the Half-Blood in peace, could you?”

As he talked to the shadows, he started looking to all directions with all his attention in order to spot something that would give him Hellheim’s position.

“I could not do it indeed… You know me very well, Karkaroff.” Hellheim’s voice echoed in the dark room again, showing complete disdain for Antoniev. “This child will work just fine for the plans I have in mind… And there’s nothing you can do to stop me, so chill out, be smart and join me, please.”

Nyet, thank you very much.” Antoniev ironically replied. “Why don’t you come out of the dark and fight? Are you so scared and rusty in your ways that cannot defend yourself without dirty tricks?”

HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!” Her laughter sounded louder and more devilish than before. “You amuse me with your naïve statements, Antoniev! It just hurts my feeling that you are playing for the wrong side though… And that will surely be the cause of your unfortunate death.”

“You sure? I want to see you try.” Antoniev defied Hellheim, shouting to the darkness around him. “I am sick of your games!”

So am I, Karkaroff.” Hellheim replied with a grim tone. “The time for dialogue is not nigh; if you are so desperate to find Melchior, I challenge you to come after me, but I warn you… It won’t be as easy as you think, dear Ice Lord…”

That said, the darkness around Antoniev became thinner and his next path was now clear; he was trapped in a cave made of dark and bright stone walls with some purple crystals embedded in it, giving the room a dim purple light. It seemed to have only one large way in front of him, and he could hear the growl of several other creatures coming from it.

“So… It seems I don’t have much of a choice.” Antoniev whispered to himself. “Hang on, Melchior… I am going to find you, and I hope I succeed on this quest.”


***


August 6th, 2013

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia — 7:00 p. m.


Antoniev was trapped somewhere he did not know and to make things worse, he had no more notions of time down into Hellheim’s lair. However, the rest of the world did have time and space, and that notion gave exactly the amount of despair Soloyev had in the bottom of his heart and soul.
At that moment, Antoniev’s young an only brother was taking a train back to the capital of Russia, Moscow; his body was severely injured and one of his arms had been broken days before he boarded in.

It was all Mary Hellheim’s fault, and Soloyev could remember it well. It had happened just after Melchior’s battle with Antoniev ended, when the Ice Elemental Lord gave Melchior his training’s certitude of conclusion. He closed his eyes and everything came back to his mind.

He heard the growl coming from the depths of the earth; he felt the ground beneath his feet tremble in a way never witnessed by the Urals or the rest of Russia; he saw the snowy ground be fiercely and horribly torn in multiple scars from which the colossal Dark Elementals appeared. Three of those massive and strong beings went forward from the trench and came right towards Soloyev, who had no other option rather than destroying them. He remembered really well the agonized voices of Melchior and Antoniev coming out of the dense veil of darkness which kept them imprisoned. He would never forget the pain he felt when one of his water spells failed and gave the Darkness Elemental more than enough seconds to break his arm and severely wound his body before collapsing and fading away. Soloyev would never forget Hellheim’s laughter in the air as she moved Antoniev and Melchior downstairs and disappeared.

The Russian novice opened his eyes in awe and shook his head trying to get rid of the haunting images in his mind. Then, his cell phone started ringing. He looked into its screen and saw a familiar number and he answered quickly with his unharmed arm.

“Soloyev, are you there?!” The voice on the other side of the call asked, nervous.

“Nathalie! Thanks Lord you’ve called me back!” Soloyev replied equally nervous. “Listen, I am really, really trouble. It’s Hellheim — she tracked Melchior here in Russia and managed to capture both him and my brother!”

“What did you say?!” Nathalie replied in awe. “She captured both of them?! Weren’t you able to stop her or something?!”

“No…” Soloyev replied disappointed at himself. “Her Elementals gave me the toughest time in years and I wasn’t able to respond on the same level. She took them with her powers and went elsewhere, that’s all I know!”

“Damn it…” Nathalie replied quite angry. “She’s been looking for Melchior since she learned about his existence! Listen, I want you to get to your place and wait. I am going to contact Cynthia and Lunia and we will make haste to Moscow via Elemental Gates. We will take care of you and give our help to get Melchior and Antoniev out of Hellheim’s lair. Please Soloyev, take care, alright?”

“I will…” He replied in a gloomy tone. “Thanks for everything, Nat. I think I’ll use my Elemental Gate to get to Moscow quicker.”

“Just be careful, okay?” Nathalie replied. “I assume you are pretty injured from your fight, and this can make your crossing quite painful and dangerous!”

“I don’t have time to go through all Trans-Siberian Railway again!” Soloyev angrily and desperately replied. “My brother and his disciple are in great danger and each second counts towards the end of their lives! I need to do something besides stand here and weep over my wounds!”

“You are absolutely right, Soloyev.” Nathalie replied. “Sorry if I underestimated your will anyway… I’ll be there as soon as I can with Cynthia and Lunia, okay? Good luck, Soloyev. I am hanging off now.”

Nathalie ended the call, leaving Soloyev alone with his thoughts. He took a deep breath and put his cell phone back inside his backpack. Then he opened one of its pockets and took a strange, light blue chalk out of it; he closed the backpack’s pocket and placed it on the ground near him. He then stood on his knees and started drawing symbols on the floor; those symbols resembled the gentle, yet strong flow of water in rivers, restrained by a large circle drawn in the end.

Then, Soloyev placed his healthy arm’s hand slightly in front of his body with its palm faced down. He breathed slow and calmly as he got more and more focused; it took just a few seconds for magical water start flowing from his hand and reached the markings carved on the floor.

For the water that flows from all four corners of the World, going from North to South, from East to West… Open for me the way that lies ahead!” Soloyev said in an enchanting tone.

The water and the markings then became only one mass of pure energy, involving Soloyev and his belongings and dragging them elsewhere. He then opened his eyes once more and saw himself standing on the entrance of his apartment in Moscow. He got his keys under the rug and opened the door, heading inside and waiting. A few minutes after he arrived he saw a massive sphere of energy appearing in front of him. Then, the sphere shattered and Nathalie, Cynthia and Lunia revealed themselves standing in front of the blonde Russian Warlock.

Dios mio, Soloyev! You look awful!” Cynthia shouted, horrified. “Here, let me take care of this… Gaia’s Restoration!

Cynthia placed one of her hands over Soloyev’s wounded arm and let her energy flow and cure his wounds, making his arm healthy and unbroken once more.

“So, what are we going to do now?” Cynthia asked.


“We have to get to Hellheim’s lair. We must rescue them!” Soloyev replied inpatient.

“Well… She seems to be very familiar with the road connecting Western Europe to Eastern Europe…” Lunia reflected. “I believe that all Necromancer lairs are linked somehow. How did she reach you guys, Soloyev?”

“Through a hole on the ground which she opened with her own powers.” Soloyev replied.

“Great. An underground lair.” Nathalie ironically replied. “I think we’ll have to get back to Siberia, Soloyev… For me it seems to be the only option available now, for it was the place she ambushed you.”

“There’s another way…” Lunia said in a gloomy tone. “You see… I am slightly familiar with Necromancer’s ways, so I might be able to find her lair and teleport us there, but it won’t be a pleasant journey.”

“Do whatever it takes!” Soloyev replied. “I want to see my brother safe and sound, and so Melchior!”

“Fine, then.” Cynthia replied. “Lead us the way, Lunia, hurry! We don’t have much time!”

That said the four Warlocks left the place walking to the unknown. With their hopes lying on Hellhound’s guidance, they only knew one thing for sure — they were about to face one of their hardest battles of their lifetimes…


End of Season Eight.


- Trans-Siberian Battlefield!  -

The night came fast and darker than usual at Omsk; at the outskirts of the town, surrounded by the harsh tundra landscape, Melchior and Antoniev kept fighting. The night seemed to be giving some kind of aid to Melchior, who got increasingly better at the manipulation of Ice each time he kept attacking and advancing.

Ice shattered against ice and its particles were scattered as fireworks in clean night sky; Soloyev created another icy dome for Melchior and Antoniev to fight alone and undetected.  As they kept fighting, the worries within the young Russian Warlock increased.

“I hope he’s not taking this too far…” Soloyev thought. “It feels as if he was trying to get rid of a memory he kept for a long time… Which one could it be, brother?”

Soloyev kept looking at the battle with a worried and gloomy countenance; yet Melchior seemed to be improving, he was quite injured already, and that was making his life harder when it came about evading Antoniev’s shards.

“I admire your bravery — I truly do!” Antoniev said, stomping in the ground near him and raising a small icy plateau, in which he stood up. “However, I have to ask — why do you keep fighting? Your body is going to be destroyed, and I don’t think you want to go that far.”


That said, the Ice Lord conjured a massive icy wave, which Melchior tried to counter with his own ice spikes; ice collided against ice, and Melchior was thrown to the dome’s wall, feeling his body heavier and far more wounded than before, and it that alone made even more difficult the act to stand up.

“Ouch… That hurts… A lot!” He complained as he tried to get back on his feet. “Careful with that amount of anger, Antoniev! You might end up hurting yourself, heh!” A mischievous smile came to Melchior’s face while he casted an ice missile, throwing it directly at Antoniev.

“Nonsense! Kid, you got no knowledge in the matter of anger!” Antoniev growled, throwing countless ice shards and big ice blocks on Melchior.

Elemental Alchemist tried to counter all projectiles, but they were simply too many for him; instead, he tried to evade them all, running as fast and as agile as he could, preventing the biggest shards to hit his body and paralyze him. Then, he turned around and conjured a large ice shard, piercing and shattering the last ice block thrown by Antoniev.

“Really? You don’t think I lived my entire life with Mirabelle and Ushuriel, do you?!” Melchior shouted, conjuring an ice block below his right foot. “I just started living with them some months ago — Mirabelle didn’t even want to have me in the first place, in case you are wondering!”

That said he kicked the magical block towards Antoniev, who conjured an icy barrier to restrain Melchior’s attack.

“I had been exploited most of my life by someone who I thought that was my mother and who was supposed to care about me instead of treating me like a slave! I think I know a thing or two about hatred, Antoniev!”

With that sentence, Melchior moved forward and struck Antoniev’s barrier with multiple ice shards, which did nothing more than scratch the barrier’s surface. Antoniev mischievously smiled at Melchior’s attempt of destroying his conjure.

“Have you ever lost someone you really cared about? Have you seen your loved ones die in front of you? Have you?! Did you ever stop to question yourself why I preferred to show you Ice instead of Water?”

“Nope…”  Melchior slowly replied, confident and worried that something was about to come.

Suddenly, Antoniev’s eyes began to glow in a pale blue tone and snow began to move below their feet, floating and swirling around them — it was the beginning of a blizzard, but it was no regular blizzard.

“Because hatred can easily take control over us!” The Russian replied, intensifying the blizzard around them. “It can be used and re-used as much as we want and as much as we don’t need.”


The cold, snowy winds became thicker, faster and more aggressive, beginning to attack and injure Melchior’s skin by opening several cuts in it, each one getting increasingly deeper and deeper. At this point, Soloyev, who was merely watching the fight, became extremely worried and decided it was time to intervene.

Брат*, stop!” Soloyev shouted. “You don’t need to do this! He already got your point! And you don’t have to go through it all again! Teach him about water and stop this madness at once!”

“Enough!” Antoniev replied with anger. “Soloyev, he knows nothing! He doesn’t know how it feels like to have taken the life of the person you loved the most! He doesn’t know how it feels like to have lost control over you…”

“You did WHAT?!” Melchior asked, shocked by the small revelation that took place there.

The Elemental Lord then raised his left food above the ground and the blizzard suddenly became snowstorm and rushed back to Antoniev, much to Melchior’s despair.

“Wait, I kind of know how it feels like!” Melchior said desperately. “I saw my friend doing this once! Chill out, Antoniev, we may –”

“Silence.” Antoniev declared in a solemn, sinister tone. “I am sure he didn’t kill his bride… I am pretty sure he didn’t see her succumb to the harsh winter of Siberia intensified by your lack of control over your powers…”

The snowstorm had reached its zenith, hiding Antoniev’s body from Melchior’s sight; Elemental Alchemist now could understand why Antoniev was acting the way he always acted since they met in Moscow. Now he could understand why Antoniev became proficient in Ice-based spells, and soon he was going to have the ultimate taste of Antoniev’s prowess.

“Damn…” He whispered.

“Your final test, Melchior… Prove to me you learned all you need…” Hissed Antoniev. “Witness this… And take cover if you wish… Winter Balalaika!

Antoniev stomped fiercely on the ground, commanding the snowstorm to spread from the impact and raise above, creating a large snow wave above his head; he then began to stomp the ground with the technique and strength imposed in the traditional Cossack dance, and those stomps made the large snow wave to rampage towards Melchior.

Elemental Alchemist closed his eyes and focused on the best memories he ever had; he felt the cold energy coming to his hands and he decided to heat it and make it more fluid; it took just tenths of seconds for Melchior to conjure a large whip of water and use it to defend himself.

Each whiplash kept the snow away from his body; yet, Antoniev’s feelings seemed far more intense than Melchior’s, and thus he was having the hardest time to keep himself safe.


“Damn! Damn! Damn!” Elemental Alchemist cursed as he whipped the enormous wave. “You don’t need that amount of hate! The past is in the–”

He didn’t even had time to finish his sentence; as he whipped the avalanche for the last time, he slipped in the snowy floor and fell on the ground, with the snow crystallizing and falling right above him in a cold and harmful rain of spiky shards of ice and snow mists. Now, there was more than snow standing between Melchior and Antoniev — there was also the great wall of silence present there.

“What have you done?!” Soloyev screamed at Antoniev undoubtedly furious. “Was that really necessary?! Why do you keep doing this anyway?!”

Then, the blonde Russian Warlock looked down and saw something unusual; Antoniev’s feet were beginning to freeze as he was shouting at his older brother. On the meantime, he heard a noise coming from his right.

It was the sound of one hand emerging from the cold, icy tomb in which it seemed to have been sealed; both Russians kept looking at that direction and they saw Melchior’s head come back to the surface again. Elemental Alchemist’s face seemed paler than usual, thanks to the harmful effects of Ice in his body.

“Melchior!” Soloyev screamed, running towards the red-haired Warlock. “Hang in there!”

Soloyev grabbed Melchior’s hands and helped him getting out of the snow. Then, both heard a snapping noise coming from behind, which made all snow disappear. It was Antoniev who snapped his fingers and made the rest of his conjure disappear. At that time, his legs were frozen slightly below his knees, and the freezing process seemed to have been stopped.

“The past is in the past, I know it. I really do.” Antoniev said in a calm and surprisingly serene tone. “I couldn’t save my bride Natasha back then and neither can bring her back now. However, I am not living in denial, if that’s what both of you think. I decided to use my anger towards myself to something more useful than exile myself and cry for something I cannot undo.”

Then, he stepped towards Melchior and Soloyev, releasing his legs from the shiny, thin and treacherous layer of ice which once held them back. He put his hands on one of his pockets and took his Elemental Key Seal out of it. Soloyev finished aiding Melchior standing up and backed away as his brother got closer to them.

“Very well, I am impressed.” Antoniev said. “I never thought I’d live to teach someone else besides my brother, nor that this other person would learn faster than him the arts of Ice and Water. Therefore, I, Vladmir Antoniev, Elemental Lord of the Ice of my age, give thee, Melchior Raven-Hayes, the certitude of Mastery of Ice Element and its sub-class, Water. May the bearer of this Elemental Gift do good deeds and actions with the power fully given."

That said, Antoniev touched the last Seal in Melchior’s bracelet with his thumb, making the Ice Seal go brighter and alive as the three other before it. Then, he unlocked each and every Melchior’s Seal, finishing his training for good. At first, Melchior felt his body liver than ever before; his sight got fully restored, just like his breath, his agility and speed. He felt energized and wobbly, for he had already gotten used to the restrictions imposed by Antoniev’s training.

“Wait… Is that it?!” Melchior said loud and slightly breathless. “I am done?! I mastered them all?!”

“Well, if you didn’t cheat on this journey… I’d say yes, you’re done.” Antoniev replied with a sincere smile. “Nothing to worry about, young Melchior...

Suddenly, and before all of them could say anything, an earthquake started; the ground beneath their feet growled as if some kind of elder monster was about to be unleashed; Melchior and Antoniev felt everything going dark and cold, and none of them could see Antoniev through the black mist. A few seconds after darkness took place, both felt the air becoming thinner and thinner; soon, both Melchior and Antoniev fainted and could see, feel or hear no more…


To Be Continued…

---

Glossary:

(*)Брат [“Brat”]:  ‘Brother’ in Russian.

- A Road Leads to... The Blood Brothers: Russian Style! (Part Two) -

July 13th, 2013

Omsk, Siberia – Russia — 5:00 a. m.


Finally, Melchior could lie on bed; his arms and legs were pretty injured, and he struggled to remove all ice shards in it. While he tried to cleanse his wounds, the images of that first day of training were still ruining wild in his mind. Three hours had passed since Antoniev dismissed him and still Melchior found it too difficult to rest.

He recalled the pain he felt when he last Seal was blocked; he also remembered how hard it was to stand on his feet and breathe; his body felt extremely cold when exposed to the harsh conditions of the Siberian tundra; the piercing gave given by Antoniev didn’t make things easier as well.

Soloyev built an ice dome at Antoniev’s command, and Melchior realized something at that moment. He realized that Antoniev’s methods were certainly going to be far more unusual than those he had come across so far. Also, it certainly meant those methods would be harsher and more painful than ever.

Unfortunately, he was right — Antoniev didn’t make things easier, and struck him many times with his fierce ice spells; Melchior tried to force himself to create something with ice, but he failed multiple times, and it had taken Soloyev’s intervention for Melchior not end up reduced to ashes.

“Do you think I am going to teach you spells or something of that kind? Nyet!” Antoniev’s voice echoed in Melchior’s mind along with his piercing stare. “When it comes to master Ice, you have to feel it! Spells are just shallow statements regarding the manipulation of an Element! Get this straight and I won’t be hitting you so hard in the next weeks!”

Finally, he finished taking all ice shards off his body. He was breathing rougher than usual, and it seemed as each and every breath he took was like attempting to move a thick wall of concrete with the move of his lungs. He closed his eyes and tried to rest.

He got only half hour of sleep before Antoniev entered his room and conjured cold water straight to his face, rudely waking him up.

“You can sleep when you die, Melchior.” Antoniev said. “Get up and get dressed properly; it’s time for you to face Siberia — and me once again.”



***

July 18th, 2013

As the days passed by, Melchior finally got used to the cold wind and icy grounds of Siberia; also, he was finally able to stand and breathe normally. Still, he was having the hardest time attempting to conjure a single thing with Ice.

Antoniev was staring at him at the top of a big ice shard, which he conjured prior to Melchior’s arrival. The Russian gave him a cold stare as Elemental Alchemist tried to do something about his current situation. Frustrated, he kept looking at the ground, trying to feel the cold instead of simply command it.

“Do you want to know why you’re having that amount of trouble with Ice?” Antoniev asked coldly. “It’s because of your nature, Melchior.”

“What do you mean with that?” He asked. “I am doing the best I can!”

“Yes and no, my rebellious apprentice.” Antoniev replied, sitting on an existing depression slightly above the top of his ice shard. “You think you are doing the best you can. Frankly, you are not. What I meant with your nature is the fact you are half-Vampire. Vampires are not only weak towards sunlight — reason which made me bring you here.  Vampires also have a hard time with Ice, and you know why?”

“No, I don’t.” Melchior angrily replied. “Tell me why, then! So that I don’t feel this quest is being in vain!”

Antoniev’s countenance suddenly changed from cold to angry; his eyes revealed a sinister white glow which made Melchior shut his mouth at the same moment. The Russian Elemental Lord slid down his ice shard and stood in front of it, staring at Melchior as he slowly walked towards him.

“Magical Ice is not like the regular thing.” Antoniev explained. “It cannot be melted by regular sources of heat neither can be broken by means of regular strength or common weaponry. So, you can imagine that something that can be converted from liquid to solid with ease and pierce multiple foes is quite terrifying for a kind which gets paralyzed if those shards get into their hearts, can’t you?”

“Well… Now I get it.” Melchior replied. “The reason I am having difficulties with Ice is that my instincts are telling me to do otherwise.”

“Exactly, Melchior; Camazotz’s curse within you takes over the control when you see Ice, for it is like you are manipulating something which can kill you more times than save your life.” Antoniev said, stopping his walking exactly on Melchior’s left. “If you want to balance your Vampire and Warlock natures, you better learn how to manipulate Ice and Water properly, or you’ll be turned in a full-fledged Vampire in a matter of years. I have only one more thing…”

This time, he leaned close to Melchior’s ear.

“This quest will only be in vain if you make this choice. Quit complaining and start working for real or else you’ll be wasting my time.”

That said he walked some steps past Melchior and turned around, facing the Elemental Alchemist again.

“As I once said to you, you have to feel the Ice.” Antoniev said. “Try again, Melchior. And this time, try harder than before.”

Antoniev removed one of his gloves – a chain-mailed gauntlet with snowflake details attached to his wrist area – exposing his bare hand to the cold climate of Siberia. Then, he grabbed a handful of snow near his feet and held it away from his body.

“Usually, Ice and Water are related to our feelings, to our emotions.” The Ice Elemental Lord said.
He then modified the snow in his hands — it started to melt magically and became water, which danced in the air as Antoniev commanded it.

“Water is ever-changing, ever-flowing, mutable… It brings life, joy, hope and peace. Water is connected to cleansing and purifying everything it touches, hence it can be used as a weapon despite its gentle nature.”

He commanded the water flow to come back to his hand, and he closed it. A few seconds after, he showed Melchior a perfect ice crystal in the middle of his bare hand.

“Ice, on the other hand, comes from the fear, the concealment, the hatred and other emotions which make us feel trapped and sometimes hopeless. Ice comes from our desire to free ourselves from the sadness within and prevail, even if life is being hard on us. That’s why I keep telling you to feel instead of think. Sometimes, that’s all our spells need — to come truly from what we feel, not from what we might have learned in books.  Experience does matter, and feeling this experience is another way to become a better Warlock each day. Now, considering everything I said and done, can you try harder this time?”

Melchior nodded, agreeing with Antoniev. Then, he removed one of his woolen gloves and took a small handful of snow with it. He closed his eyes and reflected on what Antoniev has said; Melchior closed his hand and focused on his memories, in a time when he lived a life of oppression and abuse, not being able to be free to use his powers at his own will. A time when his foster mother controlled his life and he always felt depressed and hopeless.

He then felt his energy flowing to his bare hand and reaching his palm, and it began to lose temperature as the thoughts became stronger and clearer in his mind. Then, he opened his eyes and his bare hand just to see that he was able to create a perfect Ice crystal.

He then looked at Antoniev and spotted a smile in the Russian’s face.

“Now you get it.” Antoniev said. “I can see some light in the end of the tunnel for you, Melchior, but don’t rest on that — it is time for you to learn how to do more with this power given to you.”

As he finished his sentence, he focused part of his energy into the ice crystal in his hand; then, he threw it to the snowy ground and a large, dragon-esque cryo-elemental appeared right in front of Melchior’s eyes. He gasped as he saw the icy creature appear, and got even more scared when he saw Antoniev’s grim smile at the scene.

“Don’t be shy, Melchior. It is just an ice golem. You can handle it!” The Ice Lord said with a smile.

Melchior took a deep breath and touched the snowy ground; he then focused his Mana System’s energy to his palms and lifted a large amount of snow, which he converted to icy spikes, preparing himself for another battle round…


***

August 3rd, 2013

“Argh!”

Melchior screamed in pain as his body was harshly thrown on the icy ground; he was severely wounded by an icy shard, which pierced him below his ribs on the right side of his body. The impact and depth of the wound made it even harder to breathe, and Melchior was almost on the edge of his capacities.

“Stand up and fight!” Antoniev commanded with his arms crossed. “This quest will only be lost if you choose it to be this way!”

Melchior slowly and painfully began to stand up. He grabbed the shard and used all the strength he had to remove it in a single move. He stood on his knees with blood leaking from his wounds and dripping from his mouth.

He finally stood up and gave Antoniev an angry gaze straight into the bottom of his eyes; Elemental Alchemist closed his eyes, focused and conjured a large ice shard, which he threw on Antoniev. The Russian rapidly evaded it and looked back at Melchior with a smile in his face.

“You made your choice — and it was a wise one. Let’s see if you can keep it up, Melchior Raven-Hayes…”


To Be Continued…

- A Road Leads to... The Blood Brothers: Russian Style! (Part One) -

July 4th, 2013

Moscow, Russia - 2 p. m.

"Hey, Maya... It seems your cell is off, but I am going to leave this message anyways. Happy birthday, soul sister. I wish you the best things in the world - unfortunately, I can't wish you myself, for you already have Thalas, hehe... Well, I wish I can finish this training fast, so that I can see you guys. Enjoy your birthday party tomorrow and send me picture, right? Bye!"

Melchior turned his cellphone off with a serene, yet sad countenance; he missed another friend's birthday because of his intensive training. The next birthdays would be Altagracia's and Anael's; yet those dates were too far, Elemental Alchemist was still concerned - would his training be finished by at that time?

Then, someone knocked on his door.

"Melchior, are you ready?" It was Antoniev talking. "The train will leave in one hour."

"I am going, Antoniev! Sorry for the delay!" Melchior apologized.

Before leaving his room, he conjured several more winter clothes, which he put in his bag. Then, he opened the door; Antoniev was there, waiting for him.

"Let's go." The Russian said. 


Melchior nodded, grabbing his belongings and following Antoniev all the way out of his home. Soloyev was already outside, waiting for them. As he left the place alongside the Russian brothers, Melchior noticed the skies above Moscow slightly paler, cloudier and wintry than the day before. He also noticed that both brothers were wearing the same woolen overcoats, certainly hiding their Elemental Masters outfits. He took a deep breath and kept moving.

They walked just a few steps outside the house, leading Melchior towards a back alley, where the darkness could hide the trio — and allow them to perform some magic. The Russian brothers, as they felt they were hidden enough, conjured an icy dimensional port and asked Melchior to get inside. He obeyed the brothers and got inside.

It took him three steps to go from Antoniev’s apartment to Moscow’s main station; he heard the steps of both Antoniev and Soloyev shortly after, and the portal closed in a light shiver breeze as if it had never existed there.

Soloyev pointed at an empty bench where they could seat and wait for the Trans-Siberian train to arrive, and so they did. Melchior then looked at the biggest clock near him — it was around 2:15 p.m., meaning that they still had 45 minutes spare. Melchior was sitting on the middle of the bench, with Soloyev to his right and Antoniev to his left.

“Very well… We are in time, just as I like.” Antoniev commented seeming pleased. “I just hope this journey don’t last longer than needed.”

He then gave a look to his brother Soloyev.

“Brother, is the Key at hand?” He asked coldly. “I think it’s going to be better if Melchior gets used to his Ice Seal blocked while we travel.”

That comment made Melchior gasp. He rapidly remembered Nathalie’s speech back when he was in Ireland.

“…Last but not least, the Water and Ice Seal is located on our palms. When locked, people may overheat, for we stop sweating and our sensibility is diminished. When overcharged, some of us may become blind, and our bones freeze, which makes them easier to break, yet the flesh which covers it has become quite a powerful shield…”

Antoniev then looked at Melchior, noticing a change in his countenance; his gaze crossed Melchior’s, and that gave the Russian enough reason to smile mischievously at him.

“Don’t worry.” Antoniev said. “I won’t block them all… Yet.”

With that said, Soloyev handed Antoniev his Elemental Key Seal.

“…After all, you need at least one Element to defend yourself.” Antoniev kept talking while examining the Key’s condition. “I am just going to lock the other Seals and see what you can do about that. Though my methods seem… Unusual, I am not sadistic. Well, at least I do not see myself as such.”

Melchior kept looking at Antoniev; for him, seemed that something was bothering the Russian more than he’d admit, as if he was hiding something for him. What could it be? What could be so disturbing that’d keep Vladmir Antoniev Karkaroff looking so gloom?



***

July 6th, 2013

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia — 7:30 p. m.


“Wake up, Melchior.”

Melchior’s eyes slowly began opening as the sun set on the wintry forest scenario around the train. Elemental Alchemist sat on the bed, in which he was formerly sleeping, responding to the voice’s command. As his eyes got used to the dim light, he realized Antoniev was staring directly at the bottom of his eyes. As the light on the walls glew dim and warm, the light in Antoniev’s eyes seemed colder and paler than ever, giving Melchior a chill into his spine.

“I see that you are a night creature… I should have guessed.” He said with a serious, yet fascinated countenance. “Fascinating. You live on the blood of others, so Ushuriel and Mirabelle told me, yet you can eat regular food. But it seems to be changing, right? Your feeding habits, so to speak…”

“Yes… It seems to be changing.” Melchior replied, surprised. “It seems that my vampiric nature is growing stronger each day, and I might not be able to feed on regular food sometime in the future… I just hope this future doesn’t come faster than planned.”

“Well… It is something else I’ll have to worry while we are out there.” Antoniev commented, still giving Melchior a contemplative gaze. “Fortunately, my brother got some blood packs for you to keep going. However, given your hybrid nature, it may be unwise to block all your Seals at once. So, here is my proposal…”

Antoniev held Melchior’s wrist, showing the Elemental Seals at it. At that point, three out of four were glowing bright and colorful — the Air, Earth and Fire Seals. The Ice Elemental Lord was holding the Elemental Key Seal in his other hand, pointing at the Ice Seal.

“I am glad you didn’t seek for me before Lunia.” Antoniev said, looking at the Bracelet. “Actually, I am glad you left me as your last pick. You see, had you learnt how to master Ice before all other Elements, you surely might have ended up killed. As you know, the Ice Seal, when blocked, overheats your body, and that can be quite deadly for Warlocks and even worse for those who are Vampires, because your blood would start boiling and you’d be close to death, considering that you wouldn’t end up killed. With that given, I’ll gradually lock your Elemental seals, so that you get used to not having these Elements at hand. I’ll block one today and the next one will be locked three days from now and so on to the next one. Understood?”

“Well… Yes. It seems the best option.” Melchior uneasily replied. “I just hope your method work.”

“It has to. I’ve got no other options. Those are the drawbacks of being unique — sometimes, you got to be creative to bypass the disadvantages.”

With that said, Antoniev positioned his Key right above the Lightning Seal; before Melchior could say anything, Antoniev locked it down, shutting off Melchior’s ability to use any kind of Lightning-base spell. He felt his mind slowing down a bit, and his sight became slightly blurry.

“Damn!” Melchior protested, speaking slower than usual. “This hurts…”

“Certainly…” Antoniev said, stepping back. “You better get some rest, Melchior. Try not to do something that might give you a hard time to your sight and to your mind. I’ll go after Soloyev — he’s been out of our cabinet for quite some time. Stay here and call me if you need.”


Antoniev opened the cabinet’s door and went to the left, seeking for his brother. Melchior then reached out for his cell phone. Slowly, he texted a message — another message addressed to Maya, giving his best wishes and resenting the fact he couldn’t be there to celebrate her birthday. When he finished, he closed his eyes and tried to rest a bit more…

***

July 9th, 2013

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia — 7:00 a. m.


The forests seemed scarcer and scarcer as the train advanced further to the East; were once lied trees, there was snow and glimpses of mountains and enormous ice shards on the horizon. Melchior was still asleep, and his cabinet was protected from daylight thanks to the thick tapestry covering the windows. Antoniev was also asleep, using his overcoat as a blanket. This time, the only person awaken in the cabinet was Soloyev, and he chose to block Melchior’s Fire Seal.

As he turned the key in the locking direction, he felt a change in Melchior’s pulse. His heartbeat decreased, and the youngest Blood Brother felt uneasy as Melchior’s breath also changed, as it tried to compensate the lockdown. However, it took almost half hour for Melchior’s breath become regular again, calming Soloyev down. The green-eyed Russian sat back in his place and used his overcoat as a blanket to himself, trying to rest just like Melchior and Antoniev…



***

July 12th, 2013

Omsk, Siberia – Russia — 6:45 p. m.


Melchior screamed out in pain as he tried to breathe; he woke up feeling his Earth Seal being locked up at the same time the train stopped moving;  the trio had finally arrived in the Siberian town of Omsk. Before they could go outside, the Blood Brothers did what they could to calm Melchior down and ease his breath.

“Calm down, Melchior, calm down!” Soloyev said. “I know it is painful, but I’ll have to haste your training, so this pain is a necessary one. Please, just hear me out and try to ease your breath, alright?”

Antoniev kept himself in silence, watching as his young brother tried to comfort and calm the Elemental Alchemist down. The Ice Elemental Lord crossed his arms near his chest and watched. Melchior was getting calmer and calmer, until he could finally stand up without troubles. Elemental Alchemist, at that rate, felt weaker than usual, wobbling and trembling as he tried to walk towards the train’s exit. Elemental Alchemist, for the first time since he started the whole trip, began to question whether he was going to be able to learn everything Antoniev had to teach or if Siberia was meant to be his last stop…


To Be Continued…

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