Here’s a tip.
When you’re unleashing a tornado of darkness, try not to have your friends in vicinity.
Everything was flying around. I tried to look for Gia, but, between maintaining the tornado and trying not to be ripped apart, I couldn’t do that.
I felt every last bit of my energy empty into the tornado, with shadows engulfing the icy vortex. My sword was glowing with crazy energy, and I realized why everybody feared Thanatos.
Or did they fear…me?
Thanatos’ features were black. Black eyes, black hair, but light skin.
He wielded a blade that couldn't be used by anyone else.
I was using it.
He could control dark ice and shadows.
I was sustaining a tornado made of the same things.
Maybe I was this Thanatos personality. Maybe I wasn’t. But until then, I couldn’t afford to let anyone else know.
Part of the problem was, Gia knew.
She’d seen me blast her, although abusive and unhinged, father to shrapnels.
I couldn’t possibly have maintained the storm together. Slowly, the winds died down, and everything in the air fell to the ground. At once, the entire wreckage smashed into the fragile ice floor, and it shattered, taking it all down with it.
I simply willed the ice to reform, and I landed on the ice, now reinforced, and possibly never to crack open ever again.
Gia had managed to steer clear of the tornado. She was standing about ten meters from where the floor had cracked. She looked in the opposite direction, her hands furiously wiping her eyes.
I walked towards her, and saw how badly her hands and back was bleeding.
As she heard me approach, she turned. Her eyes were red from crying.
“Gia,” I began, but she raised her hand.
“No one gets to know that,” She spoke bluntly.
“Yeah,” I said. “Listen, about what happened here, and what I did to your fa-”
“I won’t tell anyone if you promise that you don’t.”
“Sure. I can do that.”
“Tyson and the others have almost reached Venn,” She took out her communicator, and then the navigator part of it.
“We’re twenty miles from Venn. You get us closer each time, don’t you, Zade?” She smiled.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Hopefully,” she added, “This time, we can walk without any disturbances.”
I couldn’t believe how upbeat she sounded. Barely minutes ago (or it seemed like minutes), she was being brutally punished by her father with an electric whip, and that was sure to hurt badly. Now, she looked happy, and was smiling too. I wondered if-
“How long had he been-”
I stopped. Gia was looking at me sternly. I got the message, and shut up.
We walked in silence for the next couple of minutes. Then,
“Thanatos was a cold, cruel killer,” She spoke.
“I know.” But I didn’t get what she was trying to say.
“He’s killed so many of us, and so many of the residents of Valhalla, in cold blood. Nobody ever knew what his motive was. He just liked it. Whenever we lowered our defenses, even a little bit, he would appear, and kill anybody who came in his sight. With the very sword you hold in your hands.”
I kept my head down, and ran my fingers across the edge of my sword. In response, it glowed a faint blue, but then, died out. I figured it had used up so much energy of its own in generating that tornado back there.
She stopped, and then turned to face me.
“If you’re Thanatos, please tell me,” She said, very quietly, “Because if you are, then I don’t want to find out in any other way.”
“I don’t know.” That had become my standard response to about every godforsaken question that anybody asked me.
Who are you? I don’t know.
Where are you from? I don’t know.
Why are you able to use the sword so well? I don’t know.
How can you have the same powers Thanatos had? I-don’t-effing-know.
“Things are really confusing for me right now. But as soon as I know anything, you’ll be the first one to know.”
“Okay.” She said. Then, checking her navigator, she sighed, “Fifteen miles to go.”
Fifteen miles. Yesterday, it had been ten thousand miles. At least the sword did something good.
Hold on a second, I thought.
What if it actually did it on purpose, to help us reach Venn quickly?
Yeah. Sounds crazy, right? But after everything that happened throughout the past month and a half, I had decided to expand my definitions of crazy by a couple of degrees.
Then, my stomach grumbled. Gia heard it too, and chuckled.
“Hungry?” I asked.
She thought about it for a second, then muttered, “Ah, okay.”
I took off the bag, and opened it up. I searched for those food capsules, and got one out. I clicked it, and instantly, there was water splashed all across my arms and chest.
“That must be the water capsule,” Gia was trying hard not to laugh, and she did a pretty good job.
I looked around, and finally found another one. I held the capsules at an arms distance, and clicked it. A burger appeared in my hands.
“Phew!” I started munching on it, and Gia had one too.
We ate and walked for about half an hour or so, when suddenly, I heard the faintest sound of something humming.
I stopped, and Gia looked at me.
“What happened?” She asked.
I pulled out one of the small blades that I had packed at Valhalla, then, aiming at nothing in particular, threw it forward. It flew forward, then a moment later, disintegrated.
“We’ve reached,” I announced. I looked around for signs of any other person in the vicinity, then,
I turned my head to the left.
A couple of hundred meters away, stood Tyson, Cameron and Elizabeth.
They rushed over to where we were, and gripped us into a big ground hug; much to mine and Elizabeth’s annoyance.
“Alright, girls,” She addressed Tyson and Cameron, who frowned, “Enough of the melodrama.”
“Elizabeth,” I nodded towards her, and she nodded back. Then, she turned and gave Gia a big one-armed hug.
Cameron looked exhausted. His face was dripping with sweat, despite the sheer cold. Tyson was kind of breathless as well. The only one that looked perfectly fine was Elizabeth.
Over the past month, her blonde hair had grown from shoulder-length to the halfway across her back, but she looked as intimidating as ever.
“Dude,” Tyson exclaimed, “Did you see the size of the tornado that formed about two hours ago. The three of us could see it from about sixty miles away, as it rose even above the clouds.”
“We saw it alright, Tyson,” Gia muttered, “and we were a lot closer to it than we wanted to be.”
“You guys okay?” Cameron asked.
“We’re alright,” I answered. “Now can we get into the city, please?”
“Uh, there’s a slight problem, Zade,” Tyson spoke up nervously.
“See, the gates aren’t reading the signals from the Access Code Driver, so, uh, we’re screwed,” Tyson summed it up. “But of course, if we make enough trouble, maybe they’ll see us over here.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“Like, uh, Cameron could blast it with lightning. Elizabeth could fry it with fire. Gia can smash it with boulders. You and I can stand back and watch the entire thing.”
If only Tyson had known what I could’ve done. But I couldn’t afford to let them know, even though I trusted them.
“Okay,” Gia said with uncertainty, “How do you know the barrier won’t retaliate or something?”
But we had no option. I already had a sort of a plan in my head.
“Cameron,” I called.
“When I tell you, you will blast the barrier exactly where I shoot.”
“This” I took out one of the blades from earlier, and chucked it a bit high, and when it collided with the ionic barrier, it disintegrated.
Cameron took a deep breath, and then thrust his arm upwards, and a blue bolt of electricity emanated from his hands, and made direct contact with the barrier.
The thing didn’t even budge. It remained exactly life before.
“Okay,” I breathed, “Elizabeth, what is the maximum temperature that your flames can achieve?”
“A thousand Kelvin.” She replied casually.
“Okay. Try and hit the same spot that Cameron blasted.”
We all stepped aside, as Elizabeth charged up. After a couple of seconds, she began radiating so much heat that all around, the ice was starting to melt.
Wait. The entire ground was ice.
“Stop!” I yelled.
She did, and looked at me quizzically.
“You’re too hot,” I said, “You’ll melt the entire ground.”
For a moment, everyone remained silence, and then, Tyson and Cameron started laughing hard.
“What are you two idiots laughing about?” I lashed out.
“Nothing,” Tyson said, trying to catch his breath. Cameron was too hysterical to even say anything.
I turned around, where I saw Gia chuckling, and Elizabeth’s face was red, but not with anger…
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing” She squeaked.
“Will someone tell me what’s going on?”
“You just called Elizabeth hot,” Tyson managed to say.
“Yeah, so what if I-”
Then it struck me. I got what they were trying to say.
“Come on!” I protested, “It’s not funny!”
Elizabeth cleared her throat.
“So,” I continued, and glared at Tyson and Cameron, “Gia, your chance. Give it your best.”
Gia came forward, then simply concentrated. Then, behind her, a huge portion of the ground started levitating. It flew towards the barrier, and managed to shatter on contact.
At that point, I grew so frustrated, I threw whatever I had in my hands. Only a moment later, I realized that I had been holding the Shadow Blade.
I watched at it flew towards the barrier, sure to disintegrate. As it made contact, a ripping sound could be heard, and I stared in disbelief, as the sword got stuck, mid-air.
Slowly, the walls about fifty meters high appeared, and after a while, the entire shroud became revealed.
The walls were made of titanium, if what I had learnt in my month in Valhalla was correct.
Then, the gateway to the city, about a hundred meters tall, slid open, and from it, came out a squad of soldiers.
“Stand down, or we will open fire!” A man spoke, and his voice was somehow amplified.
I looked behind, as Tyson, Cameron and Gia raised their hands, while Elizabeth gripped her sword.
“We’re from Valhalla!” I shouted, “We were sent by Colonel Stanley Rogers for investigation of the corrupted core programme.”
“You’re Zade?” The man standing at the front, who had given the warning, questioned.
“Then why the hell did you blow the IDB?”
I figured IDB meant Ionic Discharge Barrier, so I spoke up.
“We were intercepted by a tornado on-route, and the Access Code Driver malfunctioned. So we had to get your attention.”
“By blowing up our only means of protection.”
“Don’t worry, Valdorians won’t be attacking us.” I shouted.
“And why do you believe that?”
“Because they got struck by a tornado as well.”
The man seemed to think for a while, before saying, “Come on in, then. And get your sword down, please, if we are to start the IDB again.”
“I’m on it!” I heard Tyson shout.
He stared at the sword for a couple of seconds, after which, it slid out of the wall, and fell. I caught it, and the cold-fusion generator glowed again.
“Thanks,” I told Tyson.
“No problems, bro.”
The five of us gathered our supplies, and, after being thoroughly searched, marched into through the gateway.
I looked back, and saw how dark the sky was turning again, and the ground had glowing more brightly.
I didn’t have a good feeling.
I turned my back to the gateway, and walked into the city, hoping for the best, but I expected the worst anyways,