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— Animae in Nebula —

Melchior had no idea of what time was it or how many days it had passed; everything felt uncertain and somewhat numb in his mind. He was floating in a swirling dark scenario, clueless about time and space. He began to hear undistinguished voices in the air which seemed to be just as close as they were far way from him; slowly but steadily the voices became distinguishable and louder, coming from all directions.

"Melchior? Melchior!"

Elemental Alchemist tried to open his eyes; every part of his body hurt. Everything was painful for him. Even so, he had never been so serene in his lifetime. He began to slowly and painfully open his eyes, and everything was golden as far as he could see.

"He won't wake up...He won't wake up! Why isn't him waking up?!"

It seemed to be Melchior's mother, Mirabelle; it had been a long time since he heard her. For Melchior it felt almost like an eternity as he reminisced the last call both his parents gave him on the day he met the Danish Demon. The Elemental Alchemist tried to say something and show he was alive, but nothing came out of his vocal cords. It was too painful even to speak simple words.

"He will make it, Ms. Hayes.". It was Soloyev's voice echoing through. "He seems to be a pro at it... Given what he's been through these past months.

"He might be Dreamwalking or something.". Kimi's voice could be heard. "His eyes are golden... And they have been golden for a long time. Anael, isn't there anything you can do right now?

"Months? It has been... Months?". Melchior thought as he tried to wake up. "How is that even...?"

The plain golden scenario soon began to take blurry forms of the environment where Melchior was; the blurry shapes of his parents, Soloyev and one or two Blue Moon Knights could be distinguished through the golden mass of energy. Melchior was indeed Dreamwalking, but not in the way he truly wanted to be.

"I think he's waking up. He's waking up!" Melchior's father, Ushuriel, spoke startled.

Finally Melchior could open his eyes at a great cost; the golden veil of dreams shattered and he screamed loudly as he came out of a nightmare of his own; he sat in a bed he barely recognized with his eyes wide open and sweat coming across all his body. He was uneasily breathing as he soon realized he was at his home.

"Am I... Alive?" Melchior asked, startled. "Am I alive?!"

"Yes! Yes, my beloved boy!" Mirabelle emotionally said, hugging her son. "Yes, you are alive and well!"

"We were so worried, champ." Ushuriel declared, putting one of his hand in Melchior's shoulder. "So worried! We thought we wouldn't be able to take you away from there!"

"There? The... Necropolis? Argh!" Melchior slowly asked, feeling a lot of pain.

"Da... The Necropolis." Soloyev sadly replied. "You barely made it; thanks to Balthazar, I could contact your parents as soon as possible. However, it took me two weeks to get in touch with them." He muttled in pain. "Thought you were dead by that time."

"Melchior, what the hell happened?!". Kimi inquired with a worried countenance.

"I... I don't remember much. Argh..." Melchior replied, putting his hand in his head and closing his eyes in sigh of pain. "I... I was at Siberia... Finishing my training and then... She came. The Danish Demon came... And my mentors... They came too..."

"The masters you were going to see?" Anael asked as smoothly as he could. "Melchior, tell us please. We haven't heard of you for more than two months!"

"What day is it?" Melchior asked.

Everyone froze; Mirabelle and Ushuriel looked at each other with a worried countenance, while Anael and Kimi looked at each other hesitantly.

"Should you tell him or should I?" Kimi asked to everyone.

"Go ahead. He'll find out anyways." Mirabelle replied.

"Please, people!" Melchior bluntly spoke. "Tell me! What day is it?"

"October 22nd, my friend. It's Tuesday, Melchior." Kimi replied in the grimmest of tones. "You have been knocked unconscious for several weeks. We thought... We thought you either had a brain death or got trapped inside your own Dreams."

Melchior removed his hand from his head and looked at everyone with sadness and surprise.

"This means... They all... Died down there and I... I missed Altagracia's birthday too?" Elemental Alchemist sadly concluded as he dejectedly bounced his head.

Soloyev sighed and sat on a chair nearby; his arms were no longer attached to bonds, yet they were very bandaged; his face no longer showed signs of trauma, yet the same couldn't be stated about his mind. The Ice Warlock was now mourning in silence for the brother he lost: and he had no intention of sharing his grief with anyone but himself. He bowed his head down and shut himself from the world at the given time.

Anael and Kimi came closer to Melchior's bed and sat in chains nearby, ready to answer his questions and make some more of their own.

"Yes... Yes, you did." Anael sadly and smoothly replied. "We've been trying to reach you since the end of July..."

"Last time we heard from you, you're giving Maya your birthday wishes." Kimi commented. "She told us you gave a call; we tried to call you back, but you never came to answer."

"I was... I think I was with Lunia or Cynthia back then..." Melchior replied. "They were the Elemental Lords of Fire and Earth, you know? They were amazing people... And so were Nathalie and Antoniev, the masters of Lightning and Ice... I... They are... They were..."

Melchior bowed his head down and tried not to cry or let the tears come out. He then felt the hands of his friends upon his shoulders and looked up.

"Tell us everything that happened, Melchior." Anael asked. "Tell us and we'll help you out. You are not alone here. You are one of us."

Melchior looked at Kimi, who nodded as a sign of agreement. Melchior gasped and took a deep breath, hoping to tell everything he had to.

"Well... It started after I left Dresden." Melchior begun his tale. "I first trained in United Kingdom with Nathalie, the Lightning Elemental Lord, and then I was sent to Cynthia, the Earth Elemental Lord. They trained me quite hard and I managed to learn all I needed to be sent to Eastern Europe afterwards. I was in the railroad from Spain to Hungary, crossing the border of Czech Republic, when... When she got me. Mary Hellheim, the Danish Demon."

"Is that the one who did all of this to you?" Kimi inquired.

"Yes..." Melchior replied. "She's a skilled Warlock, whose expertise lies upon dark magic, involving Darkness and the raising of the undead to do her bidding. She is a Necromancer, and she is a hell of powerful one."

"She began her path as a Vampire enthusiast, my son." Mirabelle rapidly interveined. "I remember when Mary was nothing more than a Warlock with no Elemental specialization; she was eager for power and eternal life, as she once told a certain circle of Warlocks."

Melchior and the two other Blue Moon Knights turned their attentions to Mirabelle.

"Like me, she once had a Vampire of her own." The Warlock continued. "She had a female Vampire whose beauty was both astounishing and terrifying: her name was Willow and she was a not so young kind. Do you remember Willow, Ushuriel?"

"Of course I do! Before I was assigned to you, she used to be one of my closest friends." Ushuriel mischievously responded. "What? You jealous, woman?"

Melchior, Kimi and Anael muffled a laugh while Mirabelle blushed and got angry with her Vampire husband's remarks. As for Ushuriel, he gazed upon his consort with the most mischievous of all smiles.

"Humpf!" Mirabelle crossed her arms displeased. "Of course not! Do you think I am THAT kind of lady?"

Ushuriel raised his hands slightly above his shoulder with a mischievous look to Mirabelle. The Warlock, on the other hand, roller her eyes, sighed and continued to tell her story.

"Anyways... The story is that Mary wished to be turned as Vampire so that she could live with Willow forever." Mirabelle continued. "However, we Warlocks cannot be turned into Vampires, for we are completely different species of supernatural background. Different aspects of existence are bound to us, so it is impossible to become one. Except, of course, if you are born as a Half-Breed, like Melchior."

"So... I dare to ask." Kimi intervened. "If she never became a Vampire, what happened to Willow then?"

"She... She killed Willow." Mirabelle replied. "Mary actually did worse than that: after Willow told her it was impossible to raise Mary from death as a Vampire, she locked Willow in a forsaken place so that she could drain her soul and blood and consume it as an attempt to achieve immortality."

"In other worlds, she leeched out her life-long companion out of rage and selfishness." Ushuriel muttled, disgusted. "No Warlock has ever turned against a Vampire. None! We are all servants of the dark with a purpose! Natural allies, not enemies! Argh!"

Mirabelle looked at her spouse with sadness and embraced him to calm his nerves down.

"Her soul and body became tainted with her foul crime." Mirabelle continued. "Necromancy and the studies of the Dark Path were already something known by most Warlocks, but she crossed a dangerous and vicious line when she did what she did. She fled her mansion, burned Willow's remains and ran to the depths of Denmark, where she began to plot and study her ways into becoming truly immortal. Her lifespan is already extended for the standards of a Warlock, but she is still unsatisfied."

"She hungers for more souls to do her bidding, and maybe she is thinking on other sources of power to achieve immortality." Ushuriel intervened.

"Being as it may, she thinks I hold the key to that mystery of hers." Melchior continued. "I am a Half-Breed, I have the best of both worlds and I don't know the full extent of my powers. She tried to have me killed in Czech Republic and failed as Lunia, the Fire Elemental Lord, came to my aid. I came to hear about her much later, when I found out that she ensorcelled Lunia, and he tried to..."

Melchior closed his eyes and let the tears fall; it was too painful for him to reminisce all his mentors without eventually remembering about their deaths. Those he didn't witness he could only imagine how gruesome they were, enhancing the pain and sadness he felt.

"She needs to be stopped, people." Melchior said. "I don't care what it takes; she must be brought down and become nothing more than ashes. I want to know what else she is plotting and put an end to all of this."

"We are with you, my friend." Anael said. "We will bring Justice to the fallen!"


To be Continued...

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