229 Who is it?
A green girl with vines where her hair should be and covered in leaves was waking up in a dark cave while someone was taking a picture of her sleeping face.
"What the hell...??" she whispered while trying to stand up.
"Morning, sunshine!" spoke a man with a large purple backpack and snow-white hair.
He was moving left and right with a huge camera hanging from his neck while trying to find different angles to shoot his photos.
"Uuuh... Hi...? Who the hell are you??" Drya wondered.
"Isn't it obvious?" he commented while taking another picture of her, "I'm a photographer!"
"... Riiight..." Drya replied while looking left and right, "where are North and stick-girl?"
"Stick-girl is back with her friends right now... And North, well... he's dead."
"Yeap... he ded!!" the man spoke with a broken English trying to look like a foreigner.
"How... Why am I not in the white void...?" Drya asked.
"Ah! That! After the fight between Red, Blue, and Silver, your souls got removed from red's body. I devoured North's soul and placed yours into this new body. Cool, right?"
Drya had no idea of what was going on.
"Why... are you taking pictures of me??"
"Isn't the duty of every guardian to gush over his child?"
"Your child?? Me??"
"Of course! Who do you think saved you after you almost got vaporized in the battle of the southern kingdom?" he explained while climbing a rock and taking a picture from above, "I got your back!"
"Wait... You?? You saved me??"
"Sure did! And, I made sure tinker with your essence so that when red would find you and she could inherit your abilities!"
"Ah... So that's why Mia could use my dryad powers... wait... why do you keep calling her red...?"
"Oh... right... Her name was Mia... I just call them by the colors of their energy... Took me a while to get used to calling her 'Mia'... It's hard to remember the names of all of my enemies, but these three in particular I always try hard not to forget..."
"Your enemies...? Mia is your enemy?"
"Well... She was going to be... her and the other two kids that were saved by the crossbow mage... the knife boy and the diamond girl..."
"Marcus and Ellie...? "
"I just call them Silver and Blue..."
"Marcus, Mia, and Ellie are your enemies?" Drya just felt more and more lost with each word this strange man spouted.
"They will be..." he corrected, "the heroes of magic, blessed, and cursed energy... All trained by the crossbow mage to face me... Or at least, they were going to be, but thanks to this war, Red is no longer a problem, so now I only have two more to deal with!"
"Wait a minute... You!! You're the guy that kept giving Mia ideas!!" Drya realized, "You're Knucker!!"
"At your service!" Knucker bowed while holding his hat.
"So... The whole thing about Mia getting what she wanted..."
Knucker put his hat back on and his eyes began to glow with an orange color, "she wanted a happy ending, and I gave her just that... right now she is part of the crossbow family just like I wanted..."
Drya then started to take a closer look at the cave and realized that the six demon stones were there with them.
"And she is completely powerless, and no longer has two-hundred years of fighting experience... Just like I wanted!!"
"You... You did this... You sent me to Mia so that I could corrupt her mind and have her go to war with Evlin's niece!!" Drya realized, "and while they killed each other... You stole the stones while nobody was looking!!"
"Thank you!!" Knucker shouted while waving his arms, "God!! It's so nice to have my hard work appreciated!!"
The demon plant finally stood up again and moved closer with her tentacle-like legs.
"So what do you want with me...?"
Knucker then looked at the demon stones and grinned a Drya, revealing he had fangs instead of teeth.
"You know there are seven deadly sins, right? But our dear crossbow friend got one of them killed..." Knukcer explained while raising his arm and shooting an orange energy beam that Drya didn't recognize from his palm.
It wasn't red cursed energy, green magic energy, or silver blessed energy, nor was it a combination of all three. It was a new form of energy, a fifth energy.
The beam started to divide itself into each of the stones, which caused them to start cracking.
"So... I need a new seventh sin!"
Drya saw the demons awakening from the stones and looked at the photographer with her own grin.
Marcus and Evlin sneaked out of the party, which caused Evlin to feel really guilty since she had abandoned Ellie and Dia, and proceeded to move to a balcony where they could see a beautiful garden bathed by the moonlight.
Evlin wasn't sure of what was going on, why Marcus suddenly called her out, so she assumed he just wanted to make sure she was ok just like the rest of her friends.
After she woke up when Ellie returned her to normal, all of the members of her old team started to repeat "Are you ok!!? Are you ok!!??" over and over again as if she was seven-years-old. Which she found funny considering that until not too long ago, she was.
"You're probably wondering why I wanted to talk in private..." Marcus commented, breaking the silence.
"Because the noise of the party would make it hard to listen?" Evlin assumed.
"... Not wrong... But... Also because I felt this was the kind of thing that should be discussed alone..."
"Well... What is it...?"
"I... Uuhh... It's... I don't know how to explain it..." Marcus admitted while having his face turn red like an apple.
Evlin noticed his blush and started to pick up on something, "wait a minute..."
"Marcus... Are you... Are you in love??"
"... ... ..." The lad shifted his gaze, "Well... Maybe...?"
"Aaaaahhhh!!!" Evlin started to scream like a little girl and locked the young man in a bear hug, "I'm so proud of you!!!"
"Wha- What...??" Marcus replied confused.
"My little bro is all grown up and found himself a crush!! I'm so happy!!!"
"Li- Little bro...!!???"
"Of course!! We fought as one against the demon leader and went through so much together! From dealing with Mia, your mother, the slayers, and even tried to kill each other that one time! You're like a little brother to me!!" Evlin explained.
Marcus heard these words and started to feel like his world had crumbled beneath his feet.
"A... A little brother...?"
Evlin started to hug his head and mess up his silver hair the same way she was doing to Ellie a few seconds ago.
"My little bro is all grow up!! And he wants to ask me for love advice!! I'm so proud!!" Evlin continued while speaking using a baby voice.
Marcus on the other hand looked like he just wanted to throw himself out of the balcony.
"So!! Who's the lucky lady??" Evlin asked.
"Miss Evlin!!" a voice interrupted, "thank the heavens, I've been looking for you!"
The two followed the sound of the voice and saw a woman with blond hair and chestnut skin wearing a white robe approaching.
"Oh!! Hi, Leona!" Evlin greeted.
"Hi... Leona..." Marcus also greeted, although in a much more somber tone.
"Miss Evlin, I need to talk to you! There is someone who wishes to meet you right now! She's waiting in the entrance and- Oh... Sorry was I interrupting something?" Leona said.
Evlin then looked at Marcus who was blushing and trying to look away and an idea popped into her head.
"Oh!!! I see, I see..." she whispered while coming closer to Marcus.
"Wha- What...?" the lad replied confused.
"Don't worry..." Evlin whispered in his ear, "big sis Evlin has your back!"
"Don't worry, Leona! I'm gonna go and meet your friend!" she then pulled her 'little brother' closer, "But could you watch out for Marcus a bit? He wants to enjoy the view but he's still a bit tired from the battle... Could you keep him company in case he needs help?"
"Oh! Uuh... Sure... I guess..." Leona nodded.
Marcus then realized that Evlin had completely misunderstood the situation and thought he had feelings for the fire mage.
"Welp! I'm gonna go see Leona's friend! You two have fun!" Evlin left while giving a thumbs up.
Marcus felt he just suffered a great defeat for a battle that was much more important than the war with Mia.
"Is everything ok...?" Leona wondered while gazing at his gloomy expression.
Marcus began to lean on the balcony while sighing a little, "Nothing... It's just... I think I have no luck when it comes to women..."
"I see..." Leona replied, "I'm glad..."
"..." Marcus then raised his head, "what...?"
"Nothing!" she replied while shifting her gaze and staring at the stars while blushing.
Evlin passed by the hallway and moved to the entrance to talk with Leona's friend while giggling to herself about her amazing skills as a wingman.
"Oh, man... It's nice to finally have some peace for once..." she commented.
Once she entered the entrance room she spotted a young lady gazing at a painting.
It was a picture of a woman covered in a beautiful white dress with pale skin, brown hair, and blue eyes. Her arms were rather thin and she held a sharp look in her eyes as if something was worrying her.
"Is that the new goddess of the East...?" Evlin wondered while looking at the painting. She heard from Daren that Marceus used to have a painting in his mansion as well when Detra was still the goddess.
"They never get my nose right..." the young lady commented.
Evlin then came closer and started to gasp as she realized that the lady looking at the painting and the lady in the painting were one and the same.
"Ah!!" Evlin shouted as she stared at the new goddess of the east right in front of her, "You're... You're...!!!"
"Oh! You're here! Good!" the young woman said while noticing Evlin's presence, "I'm Hana, nice to finally meet you! I need to talk to you, crossbow mage..."