• An hour came and went before the trio came to the point of bitter discussion.
    “Babe,” Seth whispered. Quietly he resumed to pack, occasionally taking a quick glace outside where the stars can be admired. He smiled then sighed, “Gypsies have this bizarre way with changing a person’s beliefs with their own.”
    “Don’t I know it?” Hughes said as he smirked while throwing a quick glance to Sarah.
    With no acknowledging him she turned to Seth with a puzzled stare, “What do you mean?”
    He blankly looked outside, “she sometimes has me thinking that she’s still out there somewhere watching over us….”
    “Don’t you?”
    “Don’t I what?”
    “Believe she’s still out there?”
    “Well….scientifically it’s not possible, but…”
    An abrupt scream and gunfire then broke the silence in the room.
    Hughes jumped to his feet, “What was that?”
    Without thought Seth started running for the closest Exit. He can smell smoke and gunpowder as a thick cloud of sand ominously flowed through the corridor like a fog in the morning. Before he knew it he was blindly reaching for the closest wall to guide him to the exit. It became very difficult to see but he can smell the battle in Mira as he got closer to the exit. He can hear both Sarah and Hughes shuffling behind him but he kept on going and before he knew it he made it to the entrance of his building. He reached for the weapon rack at the entrance where his Naginata had been placed earlier. He snatched it as he ran and headed for the City.
    Many thoughts ran through his mind as he could only imagine what was going on. Smoke, fire, screams. What could be going on…what has become of the defenseless for only few can fight? And what of the City? Will it be destroyed in the battle?
    Finally after what felt like an eternity the City of Mira was in sight. Flames emerged from the ruins as they began to overwhelm everything around it. Seth stopped to take in the horrific sight.
    “Seven long months of digging….how could this happen.”
    Silence rang in his ears like a bell as he tried to process everything. It wasn’t long before both Sarah and Hughes both caught up to him. The sight was daunting but they kept on running.
    “Seth let’s go!” Hughes shouted, snapping Seth back to reality.
    He readied himself for battle and ran for the first scream he heard. Shockingly enough he was able to find one of the murderers almost instantly. She towered over a defenseless woman and her child. The demonic girl had no expression in her face as she whipped the blood of her recent victims, from her blade. The woman on the ground had been cut several times and was now begging for her child’s life. The girl threw a blank stare; her pearl white skin had been stained with blood, her dark purple hair flew through the air with little grace. She slowly raised her sword into the air and prepared to kill her next victim. As her blade fell like a heavy boulder, it collided with Seth’s Naginata. She stood her ground in reserved shock as Seth breathlessly shoved her back and threw a blow. She slightly smirked as she dodged his attack and then counter attacked. Seth couldn’t do much with the woman still behind him, he blocked the girls hit and turned to the mother, “RUN!”
    Quietly but quickly she staggered from the ground and ran for safety with her child still in her arms. The Girls eyes followed the lady as she disappeared from sight then slowly returned to Seth who pushed her back again.
    “I’m the one you’ll fight now!”He challenged her. “Get ready because I don’t care much for mercy at this point!”
    The girl paused and slowly began to bow her head, “I respectfully honor you’re challenge,” she said with a ghostly voice. “My name is Zeela.”
    Easily insulted by the sudden politeness he attacked. After a few thrusts but no hits Zeela pushed him back. She hadn’t once raised her sword at him, was she trying to get killed or was she just mocking him. Without thought he jumped into the air to give what he thought would be the finishing blow. She smiled and raised her open palm. Confused, Seth attempted to stop but it was too late, he had been jerked back in mid-air by an invisible entity. He tried to turn to see what had a hold on him while swinging in the air in a desperate attempt to kill whatever it was. To his dismay he could only see the shadow as it dragged him across the sand. He can see Zeela slowly fade from his sight as he gasped for air from the thick clouds of sand that surrounded his face. Like a wild animal her started to yell with every chance he got as he swung his weapon. He was blinded by sand but figured where he was dragged more or less.
    After what felt like an eternity of being dragged he can hear Hughes call out to him.
    “Seth, hold out your arm!”
    Without hesitation he stopped swinging and stretched out his arms. Hughes had been fighting off a few of the assassins while Sarah retreated from the scene with most of the women and children who were unable to fight. He grabbed hold of Seth’s arm and glided a few feet before revealing his cutlass and stabbing it into the ground where the shadow was. After a long shriek of pain the shadow dispersed and Seth was free.
    Hughes helped Seth from the ground as he wiped the sand from his eyes and coughed to clear his lungs. “Stop playing with the bad guys Seth and pull your own weight.”
    “What are they?” Seth coughed, ignoring his friend.
    “Not sure…they don’t seem like you’re average assassins. They attack with these foreign weapons and what appears to be dark magic. Unless I’m going crazy.”
    “No I saw that too.” He cleaned off his clothes and then stared at Hughes, “do you think they can be the rogue People of Old we’ve read about?”
    “They can be but now’s not the time to worry about that. They seem to be looking for something.”
    “If I knew that Seth I wouldn’t be standing here pondering if they really are looking for something. For sake Seth use that head of yours…lord only knows how it got us this far if you let panic run it they way you are tonight. Then again we normally just let the…”
    “Are you done?” he asked turning over to Hughes who had abruptly stopped. “What’s wrong?”
    Hughes started to walk at a fast pace then run, Seth following right behind. “They’re heading for the Campgrounds!”
    “So! Everyone ran away from the campgrounds. What’s the worry?”
    “It’s not the People they’re after Seth! It’s the Galileo!”Without a clue Seth continued to run for the camp. He can see the desperate look in his friend’s eyes.
    The Galileo was a family heirloom that was passed down from one Stenngle to the next. At first glance it looked like an average oversized telescope that seemed to be falling apart unless it was polished every day. But to those in the Stenngle family and others who knew what it really was it was a treasure and an honor to be keeper of the Galileo.
    In the end it was as Hughes predicted, at the doorway stood three assassins and Zeela with the Galileo fastened to her back. Without hesitation Hughes attacked. His cutlass took down the three assassins that seemed to be guarding her, then when they were out it was only Zeela that stood in the way of his precious Galileo. She smiled as she carelessly threw the Galileo to a nearby acquaintance of hers and attacked Hughes all in a flash. He threw deadly blows to get her out of the way but it just appeared to be a dance as she humored him in combat.
    The battle for the Galileo ran on and before Seth knew it, he was separated from Hughes, fighting his own battle. Assassin after assassin, he took down every one of them and soon they attacked in twos then threes. The Battle became fierce as he started to realize he had been cut, bashed, and bruised, but his drive to help his friend was stronger than anything.
    The assassins he fought seemed second-class compared to Zeela. The thought alarmed him as he remembered Zeela attacking with her dark magic. He couldn’t help but tense up as he pictured his friend fighting her with no back up. None-the-less he had to focus on his battle and as he turned over his shoulder, he can see the Galileo pass by. It was in the hands of a few assassin’s who were running in the direction of the desert forest. He knew if he could make a break for it he can catch up to them before they can get into the forest. He swiftly sank to one knee and slid out his leg to trip his surrounding enemies. Jumping over the falling bodies he saw the Galileo clearly and ran straight toward it. The get-away party hadn’t made it that far; the sand had evidently slowed them down. He reached out his naginata and aimed for the middle assassin who was holding on to the treasure. Before he can get a hold of it, another assassin snatched it up as the others lifted an open palm toward him. He was familiar with the move and stood still where he can see the shadows approach him. He braced himself, jumping into the air and piercing the shadows one by one as they shrieked in agony and returned to their owners. As he looked up, he can see the assassin’s bleed from where their shadows had been wounded by him.
    He smiled. “I figured you out,” he whispered to them.
    The battle with the small brigade had finally ended, and the Galileo was finally in Seth’s hands. With that he headed back for Hughes and Zeela’s battle, which he can hear was still going on. Unfortunately he had slowly drifted far from Hughes while fighting. Anxious to aid his friend he ran.
    Meanwhile, Hughes and Zeela’s battle had progressed rapidly. Surely enough Hughes had learned how Zeela’s shadow magic worked. He realized that if he stayed in the shadows, her shadow would be annulled. So with no questions he had managed to darken the area and fight from the shadows. It was no doubt that Zeela was more skilled than the others, her physical and magic attacks were faster, stronger, and deadlier, and as the battle dragged on her patience grew short, as she began to show irritation and humiliation.
    “I’ve had enough of your foolishness!” She declared with her ghostly voice.
    “Then allow me to end it!” He Replied.
    He then thrust his cutlass from the shadows with a deadly blow, but jolted back as he noticed his sword stop in mid-air. He looked at Zeela who hadn’t moved a muscle and felt panic run down his spine. He couldn’t tell what was going on but he can feel his body moving when he wasn’t moving at all. As he looked down he can see Zeela’s shadow moving on its own. It had a strong grip on his blade’s shadow as it began to pull his own shadow from the darkness. Confused he looked back at Zeela, who only smiled at him, and with that he can see her shadow begin to choke his. He gasped his last as he lost his breath.
    Zeela laughed, “No allow me to end it.”
    He can feel himself slowly losing consciousness as her shadow continued to choke his. He gasped for air that never came. He soon lost grip of his sword and his sight blurred then blackened, but he was still aware of what was happening. Zeela had slowly made her way to Hughes and was eventually face to face with him. He can feel her stroke his cheek and hear her blade scrape the sheath as she pulled it out from behind her. He opened his eyes wide to see, but his sight was lost. Instead he braced himself for the worse. It felt like an eternity before anything was done, he can feel himself being released from the shadows grip as he collapsed to his knees for air. When he finally regained his sight he saw Zeela on her knees with Seth’s weapon piercing her chest. He couldn’t grasp the situation and stayed still. Without mercy, Seth twisted his blade and jerked it from her falling body. She fell forward and slowly began to die.
    Without a second thought, Seth ran for his friend to help him from the ground. He smirked, “I thought you told me not to play with them, what was that you were doing?”
    “I wasn’t playing, I was dancing. What took you so long to interrupt?”
    “Well I got you’re Galileo back.”
    “Oh, fantastic!”
    “Yeah…now hurry up and get up so we can catch up with the survivors…”
    “….and Sarah!”
    Seth threw Hughes’ arm over his shoulders and aided him in walking. Gradually they made their way toward the Desert Forest where the survivors had run toward. No words were spoken but they can fell each other’s hearts beating as they silently told their stories. After a moments time, however, Seth noticed Hughes stop as his body got heavy. He turned to see blood flow from his friends chest as his eyes turned to glass. He panicked as he let go of his friend who didn’t move a muscle. He turned to look at Zeela who still remained face down on the ground. He had no idea what was going on and as he looked down at their shadows, the answer was revealed. A third shadow stood behind Hughes with their blade in his chest. It then dispersed as Hughes’ shadow fell to the ground. Hughes however stood still. Seth grabbed a hold of his friend and placed him on the ground. As he did, Hughes seemed to regain life and began to gasp from the pain.
    “Hughes!” Seth finally shouted.