276 Sorry for what...? II
Knucker was resting on his throne inside of a castle covered by shadows when he heard the sound of wings flapping outside his door.
He stood up to see what was the source of the noise and gazed at a massive green dragon flying in the distance coming closer and closer once he opened his doors until the beast landed on the ground right in front of him.
"So my baby girl has returned..." he commented while observing the dragon shrinking in size and slowly turning into a girl with green skin, vines for hair, and clothes made out of leaves.
"Hey, boss... I'm back..." Dria replied as she walked towards the castle to rest.
"Where were you...?" Knucker asked as he shoved his arm in front of her to block her path.
"What do you mean? You asked me to kill stick-girl's blond friend!"
"I did? Oh... I see... Sorry... It's been kinda hard to keep track of what's going on lately..." Knucker replied while rubbing his head.
"Did your powers return?"
"No... Aside from that strange phenomenon yesterday, I still haven't been able to see anything... Evlin must have disappeared again..."
"You think she will show up for the game?"
"She will... I couldn't see much yesterday, but I did see her and her pack of idiots coming to us just like I wanted... Everything will work out..."
"Glad to hear, boss... Plus, your body's location will continue to stay hidden now that the telepath is gone..."
"Oh... That... Right... I don't care about that any more..." Knucker admitted while returning back inside.
"You- You don't??? What!?" Dria gasped as she began to run after him.
"I'm planning to reveal my body's location at the end of the game, so... Doesn't really matter if evlin finds out or not..." Knucker explained as he reached his throne and took a seat once again.
"Then why the hell did you sent me to kill that guy??"
"Because his absence will set the stage for another person to play in the games... Trust me... I know what I'm doing..."
Dria began to ponder for a moment, "Another person...? Who...?"
"Ashley!!" Evlin screamed as she spotted her sister appearing on top of a griffin alongside Lilith, Ellie, Gustav, Ria, and Marcia.
The mage wondered how that monster was managing to carry so many people at once but then she noticed that its claws were coated with a pair of metal gauntlets, which meant that Marcus was giving the beast a power boost right now.
Evlin and the others hurried to greet their friends resulting in everyone jumping on top of each other to deliver a tight group hug, resulting in all of them falling on the ground while laughing.
"Oh!!! It's so good to see you guys!!" Ria claimed as she started to squeeze Evlin like a balloon.
"Ah! Is that Ria!!??" Ellie screamed while pointing to the black-haired woman.
"Yes, that's me!" Ria replied as she looked at Ellie and for a second almost thought she had traveled back in time for how similar Ellie was to Evlin when she was younger, "And you are the new mage in town, correct?"
"Ah!! Yes!! I finally managed to meet all of the heroes from my aunt's tales!!!" Ellie shouted while fist-bumping the sky.
"Oh... I like her already!" Ria commented.
Evlin rushed to hug Ashley as well much to the woman's surprise, "E- Evlin?? You are not mad anymore??"
"Of course I'm mad you idiot!! But I'm also glad to see that you're okay! So I'm multi-tasking right now by being mad and glad at the same time!"
"Oh... O- Okay..." Ashley whispered while not fully understanding where they were standing but still glad that her sister was happy to see her again.
Daren finally reunited with Lilith but almost had a heart attack upon seeing her restless expression.
"Lilith!! What happened to you???"
"I'm just a little tired... Don't worry... How's Lance?" Lilith asked followed by suddenly noticing her lover's face, "And what happened to your ear???"
"Ah! Don't worry, it's not a big deal... I'm gonna ask Auren to fix that in no time... I'm fine, We are all fine..."
"Oh... I- I see... I'm glad..."
Claire, Joseph, and Dia just watched as all of the adults took their time greeting and exchanging words of gratitude for realizing they were all safe and sound and a small moment of confusion took place while they explained what happened to Marcus.
"Man... They look really happy to see each other..." Joseph commented.
"Well... Yeah..." Claire agreed, "They're like a family..."
Joseph continued to gaze at their faces, their smiles, their laughs, "I don't know... My parents are my family, and I don't think I ever saw them making a face like that while talking to me..."
Dia gazed at the group as well, "At least you remember the faces of your parents..."
"Oh, my gods... You guys are such downers..." Xadi groaned while laying on Joseph's head.
"Sorry sensei..." the boy murmured.
"Don't worry, my pupil! Once we are rich and famous, we can buy new parents for you!"
Claire raised an eyebrow, "I don't think that's how life works..."
Xadi just waved at her, "When you have money, you get to decide how life works!"
"Oh my freaking God..." Claire whispered while rolling her eyes.
She then went behind Joseph's and Dia's back and pushed the two forward so they could greet Evlin's friends as well. They felt a little uncomfortable at first but soon opened up once they noticed Ria's casual way of speaking to them.
"Ah!! You must be Ellie's little buddies! I'm Evlin's buddies as well! That means we are fellow buddies!! I'm Ria!"
The three kids just giggled at that silly comment.
"Hi! I'm Claire!"
"I'm bored..." Xadi stated.
"Nice to meet you, Claire, Joseph, Mr. bored, and Di- Di..." Ria said before starting to choke on her own words after finally getting a good look at Dia.
The girl herself could not stop trembling as she remembered Ellie saying that this woman was related to her. She was really looking forward to meeting her since her only other family-member right now was the current goddess of the east, and she still wasn't really sure how to feel about that fact.
"Hi..." Dia whispered.
"... ... ..." Ria did not know what to say. Everyone present just watched with their mouths wide open as they had realized to explain to Ria about Dia's situation.
Evlin then snapped her fingers, "Oh... Riiight... We forgot to talk about that..."
"Its... It's nice to meet you..." Dia spoke again.
"Meet me...? Wha- What... How... Why..." Ria still had trouble to find out what to say, "Guys!!? Can someone explain to me what's going on!!??"
"Oh, good! Everyone is here!!" Detra commented as she arrived at the scene as well, "Now, we can finally finish the planning and... Why is everyone quiet...?"
"Ah... Ah..." Ria whispered as she saw Detra and was suddenly hit by even more confusion on why the woman that once turned her into a metal statue was just standing there so casually.
Evlin then snapped her fingers one more time, "Oh... Riiight... We forgot to talk about that as well..."
After a very long and confusing explanation, Ria and Auren were finally caught up on everything.
Ria was now aware that the old goddess of the east had joined their side and was now fighting as an ice mage after helping Ellie develop her skills as a mirror mage, and that Ellie herself had used her powers to reset Mia into Dia, while making sure to establish that the two were not the same person.
The black-haired woman took a moment to sit down and rub her forehead., "This is a lot of information to take in at the same time... Can someone give me a glass of water?"
"We don't have time for this!" Detra stated, "We are still missing one more! Where is the blond telepath??"
"Oh, yeah..." Evlin added, "I still don't see him nor Sphinx... Ellie, did you not find them?"
"No... Sorry..." Ellie admitted, "I tried to search him with the power I got from him... But no matter how much I try, I can't sense him..."
"That's strange..." Daren commented, "I also couldn't sense Gustav when we were in the cave before... I just assumed he was too far away though..."
"Us too..." Ria added, "We couldn't hear him when we were in the jailcell..."
"We also didn't hear anything from him when we were in the villages of beast mages..." Auren added.
"The what!!??" Ellie repeated, but her question was soon clouded by everyone's sense of worry.
"None of us heard anything from Gustav?? Even after all this time??" Evlin wondered, "That's not normal, right??"
"No, it's not..." Daren responded, "Something is not right... I'm getting worried."
"Ah!! Look!!" Claire shouted as she pointed at the sky.
A strange shadow appeared from inside the clouds. A golden image of a beast covered with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle with wings that were double its own size.
"Sphinx!!!" Evlin yelled.
The woman rushed to hug her pet griffin but once she got closer, the beast just twitched in fear as the image of his body getting locked in chains during their last time fused flashed inside his mind, forcing it to fall on the ground like a meteor.
"Sphinx!?" Evlin asked trying to get closer again, but once the monster looked at her, fear began to overrun its body and made t step away desperately.
"Seems like Sphinx still hasn't recovered from what happened in the battle with wrath..." Daren noted.
"Come on Sphinx..." Evlin whispered while slowly expanding her hand but Sphinx just curled into a ball and began to shake.
"Wait, aunt Evie!" Ellie said while walking towards the beast, "Maybe I can calm him down a bit if I get into his mind!"
"Oh! Good idea Ellie!"
The young mirror mage stood in front of the golden griffin and began to pet its fur, "It's ok, Spinxie! It's alright! Just relax and let me see what's bothering you!"
The girl closed her eyes and used her telepathy powers to look inside Sphinx's mind.
She suddenly found herself on top of a frozen mountain while floating in the middle of the air.
"Oh... I'm seeing a memory from his point of view!! That's so cool!!" she shouted.
The girl then looked down and noticed a blond man on the ground screaming at her telling her to fly away.
"Oh! It's Gustav!! So that's where you were!"
She then also saw a massive green figure coming closer to Gustav's position.
"What... What's that...?"
The figure slowly raised its claw while continuing to glare at the blond man.
"Wha- What's going on?? What's this!!??" Ellie screamed as she began to feel her heartbeat accelerating, "Gustav!!! Gustav!!!"
Ellie continued to scream as loud as she could, but since this was just a memory there was nothing she could do. The scene proceeded to play right in front of her and once it was over, the girl began to feel like the world had frozen in time.
"GUSTAAAAAAV!!!!" Ellie shouted as she found herself back in reality and shaking on the ground while crying and hugging her shoulders.
"Ellie!!!" Evlin yelled, "Ellie what's wrong!!? What happened???"
"Gustav... Gustav... He... He..."
"Ellie...?" the woman whispered while she hugged her niece without knowing what exactly was troubling her so much.
The girl looked at her aunt and closed her teary eyes while trying to put in words what she had just seen as she squeezed her hand into her shirt.
"Aunt Evie... I'm... I'm so sorry!!! I'm so sorry!!!"
"Sorry...?" Evlin repeated, "Sorry for what...?"