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— Icicle Chains —

Melchior and Antoniev stood in the room in silence; they were paying respects for another fallen Elemental Lords; they both had no idea of what time of the day or night it was, nor the day of the week. For them, it felt like an eternity to be trapped inside Mary Hellheim's lair as if they were just waiting for their turn to be slaughtered.

"There's light across the hall." Antoniev whispered. "It may be a way out."

"I... I hope it is.". Melchior replied trying to get back on his feet again. "Actually... I am sorry."

"Sorry?" Antoniev asked, confused. "What for?"

"I am the cause of all of this." Melchior sadly replied. "I am the cause you four have been hunted and killed so far. It's all my fault..."

"Nyet!"Antoniev replied as he firmly grabbed Melchior's shoulders. "You are not the cause of it! The Danish Demon is a sadist Necromancer who wishes to have more power than she can ever manage!"

"Lunia said something about the reason she wants your souls." Melchior replied, trying to gaze into Antoniev's eyes. "She wants them to fuel something. I don't know what is it though... She also wants mine for that matter."

"Then we have to stop her and avenge the fallen ones!" Antoniev replied. "So that we can walk free into our lives and honour Nathalie, Cynthia and Lunia's ultimate sacrifice. We can do it, Melchior. Trust me, you are far more powerful today than ever."

Melchior nodded as an agreement; he wiped the tears from his face and followed Antoniev on the way into the light; however, as they came close to it, it expanded and became a large mist, swirling around them and revealing a large gate which seemed sealed from the inside. It was a large, gothic piece with a large skull engraving in the middle. There were some light purple stones adorning the doormat and the door pieces itself. From time to time, they changed their colours to either light green, amber, icy blue or light yellow and then back to purple.

"These colours..." Melchior gasped. "They represent..."

"Us." Antoniev replied. "This is the entrance to Mary Hellheim's chambers."

"Wrong.". A voice echoed through the room. "This is the real entrance to my domains, silly Vladmir. You had only a display of the extent of my powers so far. A free sample for all those who soon will join my shelf of immortal souls..."

"Hellheim!" Melchior shouted, angry. "Show yourself!"

"We'll meet sweet and soon, child." Mary's voice echoed with a laughter full of despise. "Now I am looking for Antoniev's surrender. I promise, Russian Warlock, to give you a painless death if you collaborate,"

"Never.". Antoniev grinned. "Come at me and get my soul if you want it so bad!"

"Ha,ha,ha,ha!". This time, as Hellheim's laughter echoed through the chamber, the ground began to tremble and the temperature began to drop."As you wish... Silly, proud Elemental Lord."

Melchior looked back and saw the tunnel behind them freeze; the hanging limbs and skulls became ice pieces and didn't take too long for them to fall and shatter as the ground trembled. Both Antoniev and Melchior began to have a hard time to stay on their feet as their next contender appeared in the darkness. The whole chamber got a light blue illumination and a large Elemental appeared. As before, it looked to be an Overcharged one; by its colours, it was correct to say it was an Overcharged Ice Elemental. Moreover, it seemed to be followed by some other minor elementals, each one from different elements previously faced.

"This is it then.". Antoniev said as he began walking towards the creature. "I have been waiting for this fight." He stopped and looked at Melchior. "Regardless of what happens here, Mary Hellheim must fall, Melchior. We can do it!"

Melchior agreed and conjured lightning and fire bolts, throwing them against the Elementals in order to get their attention; as for Antoniev, he was now free to face the Overcharged Elemental in his way. It shaped itself as a small, yet vicious dragon which started to blow cold flames towards Antoniev. The Elemental Lord did his best to dodge them and raise ice to do his bidding, acting as both shield and sword as he defended himself from the dragon's assault and strike him back.

As he did it, he started to push the mighty icy creature back, entering back into the tunnel and leaving Melchior with the other swarm of Elementals.

"Good luck, child.". Antoniev thought as he kept fighting. "I know you'll make it.". Melchior saw his mentor entering in the tunnel again and had no time to protest; instead, he kept tossing fire, throwing ice spikes, weaving earth bandages and creating small whirlwinds as his best effort to counter each and every single Elemental put in his way.

"One by one... I'll defeat them all!". Melchior thought as he healed himself with the powers of Earth. "They'll all become ashes!". As he kept thinking, he continued to conjure and weave the elements as he pleased; it didn't take much effort for Melchior to shatter the Elementals near him; however, each time he destroyed a handful of them, more seemed to crawl back from darkness, preventing him to go to Antoniev and aid him. To make things worse, he began to feel weaker and weaker.

"Damn it!" Melchior thought as he breathed harder. "My mana... It's... It's running low...!". He looked at the massive amount of elementals and grinned.

"I am not falling here! Not so easily!" He shouted as he generated a massive fireball, which he threw against his foes. He showed them his fangs and charged into the ground, determined to reduce all of them to ashes and nothing more.


***

In the meantime, Antoniev was having troubles on his own; tired from all the relentless battles he had to fight, the icy dragon started to push him back to the gate halls. Shards of ice flew on the corridors and hit the walls, shattering into small pieces that created a small hailstorm. Antoniev grabbed his daggers in order to make an extra effort to take the glacial beast down.

The Russian Warlock roared to the creature as he began to cut it mercilessly; he charged his hands with pure Mana without moderation. The daggers became stronger against the glacial dragon, which roared in agony as large chunks of ice and stone flew away from its body, crashing against the walls of the corridor. the earth trembled as they kept fighting. Eventually the beast managed to pierce Antoniev's torso with its claws and the Ice Elemental Lord had no other choice than smash it's claw.

He was breathless; half of the icy claw remained in Antoniev's torso; he looked up and realized the dragon was about to breathe the coldest of fires towards him. If the creature succeeded, Antoniev would be wiped from earth in a blink of an eye.

"Time...To end this. I am sorry... Melchior and Soloyev.". He muttled, holding the daggers as tighter as he could. "Winter Balalaika!"

The Ice Elemental Lord jumped the first time and raised ice and snow as his feet touched the ground; he felt his bones crackling inside his body and he muffled an agony scream; he used all the strength he had to bounce back in the air with the daggers pointed at the dragon, who blew cold fire towards the ground. Antoniev's wave of ice and snow folowed the final bidding of its master and engulfed the dragon as Antoniev pierced its head with his daggers.

The freezing wave trampled both Antoniev and the dragon, whose arms and scales shattered in the amidst of a true Elemental Lord's power. Antoniev felt his legs and arms break with the impact, and it didn't take long for his ribs to break and shatter, piercing his lungs. His body rapidly lost its temperature and his heart began to cease to function.

The Warlock let his body weight lead him downstairs; the daggers continued to shatter the fierce creature's skull. When Antoniev's dagger reached the dragon's nose, the Ice Elemental Lord was already lifeless. An icy-blue sphere came out of his body and flew away, leaving the shattered bodies alone in the darkness.


***


Melchior fell on his knees in the amidst of shattered pieces of elemental shards of all colours, shapes and sizes. He looked up and saw an icy-blue sphere floating away in the darkness and tresspassing the gates ahead.

"No...Oh, no!" Melchior whispered. "No, no, no, no!"

Melchior saw the image of a young Vladmir Antoniev reflected in the sphere. Soon, he realized it was Antoniev's soul floating away; Melchior was still alive while Antoniev perished. He screamed loudly and painfully as he came to conclude all Elemental Lords of their age were dead and their souls were trapped in Mary Hellheim's domains.

"They lost, Melchior..." Mary Hellheim's voice echoed on the deadly halls once more.

Melchior crawled towards the ground and let the tears fall from his face and bathe the unholy grounds near him.

"Their souls are in my grasp now...". The Danish Demon continued to speak with contempt and triumph in her voice. "And soon yours will be, too."

"No...". Melchior angrily muttled as he straightened his back and looked to his front. "I'll make you pay for this, Danish Demon. Starting with this gate of yours."

That said, he grabbed his scepter and concentrated a large amount of Mana in it; he bounced the scepter from back to front and threw a large beam of pure energy, which shattered the large gates; they revealed a small, victorian-like village with an everlasting grey and crimson skies, as if it was an eternal bloody night at that place. For the first time in his life, Melchior was inside a Necropolis ruled by a very powerful Necromancer.

"Very well... Show yourself, Hellheim!" Melchior groaned with all the anger he had. "I am ready! Come and get my soul if you dare!"


To be Continued...

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