I heard screaming. What's going on?" Dragona walked in on Kal, Raven, and Israel in the library. He looked down at Kallista and Raven who were still laughing on the floor, then looked at Israel. Israel wondered what screaming Dragona was talking about, then realized he was referring to Kallista outside his door... about an hour ago.
"Oh," he said, not in the mood for explaining things. "Various things, actually. I was about to go get you as a matter of fact. Kal and Raven have decided on having a library party. Want to join?" Israel's expression was serious, looking at Dragona. Kallista had finally stopped giggling and helped Raven to her feet to stare at Dragona. Her expression was slightly quizzical, trying to remember when she and Raven had decided on a library party. Raven's grin got a bit wider, but she didn't say anything.
"A... library party?"
"Yes," Israel replied calmly, "With little hats and silent reading sessions of romance novels."
Kallista cheered, "That's sounds fun!"
Israel went on, "They thought it would be a very enjoyable event for everyone of Elysium Asylum. They were actually especially ardent in making sure you got an invite. They tell me that romance novels are your favorite."
Dragona's eyes grew wide, "Romance novels?" He coughed, "No, uh, of course not... romance novels are for girls.... of course... Anyway, um, uh, I unfortunately have some business in, um... Bhutan... wherever that is...." he nodded slightly.
"Hey!" Kallista said, "Why are you blushing?" Dragona turned and walked off without saying goodbye. "Hm, rude," she said.
Israel finally grinned, "Well, now that we got rid of him, I think we should get ready to go. We're heading to Ireland, girls." Raven nodded. Kallista saluted. Israel smiled, "I think I might actually enjoy kicking the Nightmare itself in the backside." and turned, heading for one of his big boxes of grenades.
Kallista sat on her bed, anxious all of a sudden now that she had a moment to think about everything. Several kimonos were spread out on her bed, and she was supposed to be packing. But she was too lost in thought to figure out which one to bring. A man in elegant purple robes passed by her door and saw her. He realized she was worried about something, and his green eyes softened. He knocked on her doorframe, and Kallista looked up, surprised. "Oh!" she said, seeing the highly respected Octaboona Ambrosius in her doorway. His face was lined with the years and his silver hair was tied up in a ponytail, but his eyes sparkled when she looked at them. "Hello," she said hesitantly, not knowing what he was there for.
He smiled slightly, "May I come in?"
"Yes, of course... Can I... help you with something?"
"No, thank you, Kallista." he replied, stepping in. "I was just wondering if you were alright is all."
"I'm ok." she lied before looking into his eyes again and sighing. "I'm worried about a friend of mine."
"Ah..., friends are wonderful, aren't they? Is he a close friend of yours?"
"It's a she, and yes. She's in danger, though, and I really don't know how I can help or even if it's possible." Octaboona looked down for a minute, thinking. When he looked back up, he placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "I know it's hard to believe, but just the fact that you're thinking about her- worrying about her- that helps her more than you might think. Somewhere, your friend knows there's someone who worries for her and hopes she's alright. That encourages her, gives her strength to go on. You're helping her more than you can imagine just by being her friend. If you did nothing else, you would have helped already immeasurably."
He let a moment pass silently and took a step back, about to leave. Kallista glanced up at him, "Thank you," she said. He smiled, "You're welcome." He turned, leaving, but looked back "By the way?"
"Yes?" Kallista asked, looking up. Octaboona nodded towards her kimonos
"I like the purple one."
Raven drew her arm back, an arrow between her fingertips. She took a breath, looking at the target thirty feet away. Her blond hair was braided to keep any loose strands from getting in her way, and her dark brown eyes narrowed. She had shot a thousand arrows before, and knew she would shoot a thousand more. Generally, she would practice at lightening fast speeds, drawing, releasing, and leaping or rolling to one side or the other in twenty seconds or less, but sometimes, she liked to go through the fundamentals of it a few times, loosen up her joints and take her time to make it perfect. She exhaled and released at the same time. The arrow flew deftly through the air and struck half-way up the shaft in the very center of the target. She smiled, always loving those perfect shots. She retrieved her arrow and returned it to the canvas hung over her shoulder.
Now she just had to sharpen her knives, and she'd be ready.
Gepard Valk, having taken a vacation from Ireland to Australia and decided to board with a bunch of friends and mages, strolled down one of the many hallways in Elysium Asylum, utterly bored. How did he ever think up this whole "take a break from saving the world" thing. There was nothing to do otherwise. He had already caught up on Doctor Who and House, and then he decided he would read a book. That probably would have been entertaining if it was something besides The Mating Habits of the Reptile World. Yeah, didn't turn out too well. So he had now decided to take a walk and mutter to himself slightly about the dumb villains taking too long to try to destroy something.
Passing a door, he heard a distinct thwack. He paused for a moment outside, shrugged and opened it. A young girl with blond, braided hair turned around, smiling, and put an arrow away. Gepard grimaced. Arrows were not his forte, especially when they chose to stab through his leg.
He closed the door, starting to turn, when Israel Elysium, the owner of this mansion, ran past him at top speed yelling, "Ruuuuuuuuuuun!" Gepard grinned, and did just that.
A minute ago
Israel laughed and grinned just a little madly as he pulled a metal box from under his bed, which was actually a surprisingly good hiding spot. He opened it, revealing several grenades inside. His gold-flecked green eyes seems to sparkle, just a bit more. He picked up some and started attaching them to his belt, under his trenchcoat, when his phone vibrated, alerting him of a text. His hands were unfortunately full of grenades so he gripped one between his teeth and picked up his phone with the other. At that very second, Dragona burst into the room, surprising Israel, as he half leaped and half turned around, the grenade slipping from his teeth and falling to the ground. "You lied!" Dragona shouted as Israel eyes grew wide, realizing he still had the pins in his teeth. "You moron!" shouted Israel back, "Run!"
Dragona, taken off guard, faltered, "What?" But Israel ignored him, fell to the ground, grabbed the grenade, and ran out the door. "Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!" he yelled at Gepard Valk as he passed him. He turned around a corner, saw the door he was looking for- the explosion experiment room- threw the grenade inside and fell on the door, shutting it right before it exploded. Thank goodness he had that room built close to his own. Israel sighed, and muttered, "Yeah..., I'm awesome," as Gepard appeared around the corner with a grin on his face.
"So what was that all about?" he asked.
"Oh, well, the pins in a grenade were pulled out..."
"Great!" Gepard grinned, "By whom?"
Israel coughed. "It's not important. The point is, no one exploded, and that's always a good thing." He nodded, starting to walk back towards his room. “By the way, you were supposed to run in the other direction, you know?”
“Oh, was I? Well, if I had done that then I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to ask you two very important things, would I?”
“What? What are you going to ask me?”
“First of all, I need some world saving business, and I want to talk with you about that, so conference?”
Israel grinned, “Sure.”
“And secondly, may I hit that guy?”
Israel glanced sideways at Gepard, realized he was serious, then looked in the direction he was indicating. “You mean Dragona?”
“Is that his name? Yes, then, Dragona. Something about his face… bothers me. It may be the hair… I’m not sure.”
Israel grinned, remembering how Dragona had burst into his room, so very unwelcome. “Go ahead.”
“Really?” Gep said, somewhat surprised. Then he smiled too, “I knew it was a good idea to be friends with you.” He walked in front of Israel, and up to Dragona who was leaning against the door to Israel’s room, wearing a scowl and a vague, confused expression.
“Hey,” Gepard said, “What’s up?” Then he punched him, right in the nose, and walked past into Israel’s room as Dragona stumbled back, yelling, “What’s that for?”
Israel laughed and followed Gepard Valk into his room. Dragona appeared in the doorway, finger raised, and about to shout something, but he didn’t get a chance as Israel muttered, “Not right now.” And slammed the door in his face.
Skyril sat in the room she had confiscated, nervous. The howls had vanished, like the werewolves had just disappeared. What had happened? Were they just being really, really quiet or were they actually gone? She couldn’t really see either of those options happening normally, but on the other hand, she wasn’t exactly in a normal world at the moment.
She stood from where she had sat on the bed, and shifted the curtain slightly, peering out into the darkness. There was nothing, nobody that she could see. The moon was way over head, and she figured it was about midnight.
With a sigh, she sat back down, not yet ready to face the Nightmare’s games. She felt her broken arm throbbing again, and unwrapped it as gently as possible. At first she wished there was more light to see by, but grimaced at what she could see and counted her blessings instead. There was blood and dirt and grime, she could tell that much. “Ok,” she muttered to herself, “I need water. That’s what I need. And yes, I know the first step to insanity is talking to myself, thank you very much.”
She stood shakily, and walked to the door. Cracking it open a touch, she glanced out and listened for a full minute. Nothing. She slipped out and walked down the hall, her boots quietly tapping on hardwood floors. When she came to a door, she peered inside until she found the bathroom. When she did, she parted the curtains a tiny bit to let in some moonlight and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Hair all a mess, face tear-streaked and smeared with dirt and blood, teeth marks on one side of her neck and tears all in her clothes, not to mention the broken arm she held next to her carefully. Skyril sighed, turned on the faucets, and got to work.
After she had washed her face and gently soaked her arm, she went back to the room she had been in and rifled through the drawers, hoping what she got wouldn’t count as stealing. She found a long sash and pulling that out, making a new makeshift sling for her arm. She pulled back her black hair into a ponytail, and threw on a black t-shirt and pants. Then she curled up on the bed, ignoring the blankets, and fell fast asleep.
"So." Gepard said, "I'm basically bored out of my mind. Do you happen to know of any world threats going on right now? Or perhaps just a minor annoying ax murderer? Or possibly some nice goblins to track down? A unicorn sighting? An assassin? A piece of kelp that has come to life and is now terrorizing the world with its green, slimy-"
Israel laughed, "I'm afraid there have been no terrible kelp attacks at the moment, but there is something going on. And I woudn't mind if you accompanied us either. As a matter of fact, I think that's a good idea. Of course, you're a guest here, and I shouldn't be asking you to fly off on a brash, rash, and possibly suicidal mission to stop a monster that is actually the reason for all bad dreams in the world, that can't be tracked as far as I know, and happens to have kidnapped a good friend of mine, tortured her, and might have already killed her or worse, and soon will either destroy the world, or make everybody in it insane. And yet I seem to be asking anyway. Want to come?"
Gepard paused for only five seconds before replying with a smile, "Absolutely."
Israel nodded cheerfully, "Good. Now get packed. You have about ten minutes before we leave to Ireland."
Ten minutes later
Kallista, Raven, Gepard, and Israel stood in the grand entrance of Elysium Asylum., "Well," Israel said, "Everybody ready? Got your guns, swords, daggers, bows, grenades, and anything else you might need?"
Octaboona entered the room. "Ah, Kallista, I see you're leaving." She turned, and smiled,
"Yes, I am."
He nodded. "Well, I hope you find the friend you were looking for."
"Thanks, I inten-"
"Thanks, I inten-"
Dragona stormed in yelling, "You're all a bunch of liars!" He glared at Octaboona, who frowned. Kallista bored holes in Dragona, and Israel sighed. Dragona stomped up to Israel, saying, "You're all going on some top-secret mission, aren't you? Well, then, I'm going to go too!"
Raven's eyebrows rose, "Yeah, not likely." Dragona spun on her, but then Octaboona spoke up, "Dragona, perhaps they are, but it seems that if they didn't want us to know, it was for a reason. Perhaps it's even to protect us, who knows. So lets just stay here, alright?" Dragona walked towards Octaboona, his eye narrowed.
"You know what? I don't think so, and if you're so weak as to want to stay here while they," he gestured at the four of them, "are going, then I think you ought to man up and come along as well."
Kallista tapped Dragona's shoulder, and he turned around. She grabbed him by his collar and shoved him against the wall, "Hey!" She shouted, "There is no way you're getting Octa involved in this! So if you don't want to be on my bad side then you apologize to him." She glared into his startled eyes, "Now!"
"Y-yes, Ma'am!" he stuttered, "Sorry, Octaboona, sir." Israel's eyebrows rose, and Raven's mouth formed a small 'O' shape. Gepard, on the other hand, just grinned.
"Well, alright then," she said, letting him fall in a heap. "Here," she turned slightly, having produced a pink cupcake from seemingly no where, "have a cupcake." She handed it to him as he stared up in shock. "Now," Kallista turned back to everyone, "are you guys ready, or what?"
Skyril was with her father. She was eight years old and playing in the park. She laughed as she slid down the slide, jumping up right away and wanting to slide again. "Now," Her father said, "we have to go back home, sweetheart." She looked up at him unhappily. He was tall with hair as black as hers. His eyes, though, were brown, so she must have gotten her green ones from her mother. "But, Daddy! Can't I slide some more?"
"I'm sorry," he frowned, glancing at his watch, "but we need to get you back home so I can get back to work." Skyril pouted, then had an idea.
"Daddy! I could stay here, and walk back later!"
"No, hon, your mother would kill me, honestly!" He put his big hand on her shoulder and started to guide her towards the car. She struggled, pouting, and wanting to stay at the park longer. She imagined his eyes in her mind. They were always so determined. She wished she could just stop them from staring like that. "AH!" Her father yelled all of a sudden, falling on his knees. Skyril cried out, "What's wrong? Daddy! What's wrong, Daddy?"
He clutched his face, yelling, "I can't see! I can't see! I'm blind! What's happening to me? What did you do? What’s happened to me?"