Chapter Twelve: The Shadow Twins
Ethan and Picario watched in amazement at the battle that erupted from below them. Marry was the first to strike with a bolt of powerful lightning. The twin’s barley dodged it but Mary kept them moving, rapidly throwing bolts of lightning at the twins who were beginning to separate further apart. As soon as the twins were in flanking position of Marry they made their counterattack.
Shadow tendrils appeared from the feet of both the twins simultaneously and shot forward with blurring speeds at Marry. Marry didn’t even bother to look, she quickly raised both her arms with her fists held up and her elbows bent slightly as the orb of light floating above her conjured a blinding barrier made of white light that destroyed the shadow tendrils. Then the orb started flashing rapidly in a blinding light and Ethan and Picario were forced to look away.
The twins too were blinded by the sudden flashing of the orb and Marry took full advantage of this and stretched her arms out to either side of her, with her palms facing both the twins. She launched a massive torrent of flames from her hands that enveloped the twins. When Ethan and Picario were able to see again they saw that black smoke surrounded the area of where both the twins were.
For a moment it looked like Marry had gotten them but Marry suddenly dived forward and rolled, barley dodging two shadow sickles aimed for where her head and torso was. The shadow sickles transformed again as Marry got to her feet. Now the shadows were like several spears all aimed at Marry, and they launched at her in a blur.
Marry without hesitation leapt into the air and spun over the shadow spears dodging them by at best a few centimeters. Just as marry landed another shadow from behind her stabbed through her left thigh. Marry grunted in pain and staggered back as the twins came out from the smoke and stood together facing her.
Crap, I knew this was a mistake. Marry thought to herself. I can’t fight them in here, they can hit me from every angle and I can’t fill the entire caverns with light. What should I do now?
The twins began brushing the dirt off their clothes and started talking casually, “Poor Marry Cromwell. She’s been around for so long but can’t seem to figure it out. There are only a handful of people that can take us, and your not one of them.”
Marry did her best to give the twins a smug look and said, “Oh yeah then how about we take this outside in a more open environment where you don’t have as much objects to bear shadows. See how tough you two are with a fair amount of shadows to work with.”
“Oh but Marry dear, you challenged us in here remember? So that means we get to keep our playground.”
Ethan watched the fight taking place safely hidden way up from everything but still began to feel a sense of hopelessness. Both the twins took on that fire blast directly and just walked it off like it was nothing. That attack was about the sum total Picario could muster in one shot after giving it everything. Even if they got a sneak attack in Ethan realized it would only hurt them at best; not be enough to kill them. Marry was their only hope for taking the twins down.
Ethan had no time to think about how Marry would act to him interfering but from what he could tell, their goals aligned and that was good enough for him. Ethan gulped down the lump building in his throat and quietly told Picario his plan.
Marry took a couple steps back and brought her orb of light closer to her as the twins created shadow sickles in front of them. The twins brought up their shadow sickles preparing to strike when two massive Minotaur’s came crashing down in front of them. Caught completely by surprise the twins rapidly started leaping back dropping their shadow sickles. The Minotaur’s roared ferociously at the twins and simultaneously threw their axes at them.
The twins swiftly dodged the axes and counterattacked with dozens of sharp shadow tendrils that ripped the Minotaur’s to pieces. Before the twins could even celebrate they were struck by a massive boulder that launched them into a far off wall. Moments later the boulder was smashed apart and the twins started coughing out green blood. They snarled in anger and launched an onslaught of shadow spears at Marry; only to be countered by a torrent of flames coming from their blind side.
The flames hit the twin’s dead on but their shadow spears kept coming and Marry was barley able to summon a barrier of light to protect herself. After the shadows faded once more, Marry looked over to where the torrent of flames came from and saw a boy hovering lightly above the ground. For a moment Marry was about to call out to the boy and ask him why he was helping her but the maniacal cackle coming from the twins became her immediate focus.
They came out from the smoke, their clothes entirely burned off and some parts of their bodies a little charred; but otherwise they were alive. The twins as usual had an overconfident look about them but Marry knew they couldn’t take another hit like that again. She briefly thought about combining her powers with the boy’s but she would never get enough time to even tell the boy her plan. The twins were desperate and would constantly be on the offensive; any moment now they would attack.
The deafening roar of a monster turned everyone’s attention to the top of the cliffs just as a massive behemoth leapt from atop aiming itself for the twins. The twins simultaneously, and with immense speed, pulled their arms in close to their chests then swing them out in a wide arc. In response to their motion, enormous shadow sickles emerged from around them and passed right through the beast harmlessly.
The shadow sickles continued forth and clipped the cliff cutting it down along with dozens of wall spikes. Amongst the rubble of falling rocks Ethan cried out and his behemoth illusion disappeared into nothingness.
Picario turned his head away from the twins and shouted, “Ethan hang on!” He sped after Ethan flying through the air but the twin’s shadowy tendrils impaled Picario before he could get more than a few feet. Picario screamed in pain briefly then a final shadow shaped in a spear pierced his heart and he fell silent; he was out of the game.
Ethan was still falling fast and Marry couldn’t fly up to save him or else she would be taken out like the young boy. She decided instead to send her broomstick to him and hoped he would find a way to grab hold of it. But just as Marry dared glance over to the young man falling to his doom she caught shadows moving quickly from the corner of her eye; they were aimed both at her and the young man falling.
Marry already had her broom heading towards the young man so she didn’t have to worry about it but now she couldn’t direct it to him like she wanted, his odds of survival and hers were dwindling. But none of that mattered if she didn’t stop those shadows. With the shadows speed however, Marry didn’t have any time to think and was acting off of instincts.
Without even thinking about it Marry split her light orb in two and used to shield her and the young man as best she could. Most of the shadows coming for her disintegrated in the light orb but one made it through and stabbed through her left shoulder and parts of her arm. She cried in pain and put her right hand over her shoulder where the wound was worst and tried to slow down the bleeding.
The orb of light that Marry had covering her was now dim and gave little luminescence at all. She didn’t dare chance to look over at the young man to see if he made it because she knew the twins would strike the moment she did. She starred them off breathing heavily and quickly losing blood from her wound.
Slowly the twins started walking over to Marry knowing she didn’t have much left in her. She crouched down to one knee as exhaustion from all her spells washed over her. Hundreds of thoughts of what to do next raced through her mind, if the twins attacked she could use the last of her energy to defend herself but then shed be left with nothing, waiting to bleed to death.
If Marry attacked she might take one of them out but she would need a grand opening and she didn’t believe that she would get lucky again like when those two mysterious boys came to her aid. Thinking about them she smiled, she would have to thank them for what they did, and then probably scold them for their stupidity.
“Well, well Marry it looks like your on your last leg” The twins said. “And this time no one is coming-”
The twins were interrupted when Ethan fell from the sky carrying a large rock, he landed on one of the twins crushing her skull in with the rock instantly. The other twin starred at Ethan with rage and shock as he already started getting to his feet. She snarled at him and Ethan wasted no time, he came at her and wrapped his arms around her then quickly turned her around so that her back was facing Marry.
Marry saw what the young man was doing and took full advantage of it. She gathered in as much energy as she could as fast as she could. She then turned that energy into lightning, precise and quick. She pointed her index and middle fingers at the last twin’s back and shot out a fast bolt of lightning which penetrated the twin’s shadowy skin armor and pierced her heart. Marry collapsed from exhaustion and was able to see the twin fall to the ground dead before fading away herself.
Ethan felt the shock of the lightning as it passed through the twin and zapped him a little as well. The pain forced him to let go and he fell down on his but breathing heavily. He sat there, looked around at the battlefield and recalled how much of his plan actually worked.
Taking in a deep gulp Ethan started to whisper to Picario, “Alright I don’t really know who that girl is but right now she’s are only hope of taking those twins down. She might attack us for interfering in her fight or she might side with us, unfortunately I’m completely guessing on this one. However we still have a chance to turn around if you want, we can still hunt them down another day after we become stronger.” Part of Ethan wanted Picario to agree to the second part of them running away and just doing their best elsewhere. He didn’t want to admit it to his friend but he seriously doubted they could take those two out now.
“No, we came all this and I won’t ever turn around again. So then what’s your plan?” Picario asked.
Picario’s determination gave Ethan a boost of much needed confidence. “I will summon up some monsters and distract the twins while you hover down there under my shroud of invisibly and wait for the monsters to get destroyed before acting. And remember I may be getting the hang of this whole illusionist thing but I have to keep as much focus on the monsters as I can so you might lose invisibility half way there.”
“So try to keep out of sight even while invisible and be absolutely quite.” Picario finished for Ethan.
“Yes exactly; simple as that.” But what Ethan didn’t tell Picario is that it wasn’t simple at all. Ethan knew how to conjure anything he could think of visually but he only tried doing sounds with his illusions once and it barley worked that time, not only that he would have to time the monsters getting killed and their style with which the twins attacked them. Ethan would simply have to hope that any mistakes he made would be minor enough for the twins to overlook it during the heat of the battle.
“Ready whenever,” Picario said.
Ethan nodded to his friend and concentrated on making him invisible. When he could no longer see him Ethan said, “Alright you’re good.” Picario, slow and soundless, started floating down the cliff side gradually hovering over to one side of the twins while getting closer to the ground. Ethan then put his focus on creating two Minotaurs, and once they were conjured he made them leap off the cliff and aim for right in front of the twins. He timed the sound illusion of them crashing as best he could with their landing, and when he saw the twins leap back in surprise he knew it worked.
Ethan made the Minotaur’s roar with ferocity and made them throw their fake axes at the twins. The twins fell for the ruse perfectly and they dodged the axes. Then Ethan saw them moving their shadows. He was too far up to tell what they were doing so he simply made it look like the Minotaur’s were torn to shreds; as he hoped that was the right attack structure of his enemy.
But Ethan didn’t even have to worry about that because as soon as the Minotaur’s were down a massive boulder nailed the twins and sent them flying far away from his illusion. Ethan took advantage of this and let go of the power fueling the Minotaur’s illusion and focused on Picario’s shroud instead.
After Ethan told him it was okay, Picario began levitating down the cliff side. He never let his eyes leave the twins for even a second as he slowly hovered towards their direction. When two Minotaur’s suddenly came out of nowhere Picario used this distraction to swiftly get to the twins side and started gathering his energy to attack them.
Before Picario could attack though, the twins destroyed Ethan’s Minotaur illusion and were then struck by a massive boulder. Picario was so surprised by the boulder he almost let his own spell slip. He managed to hold onto the energy and started adding more and more to it as he continued around to the twin’s new blind spot.
Picario waited until it felt like all the energy he was gathering was about to explode in him. Then when the twins came out and snarled, Picario unleashed everything he had at them in a torrent of flames. The twins managed to get an attack off at the woman before Picario’s flames blindsided them. Picario felt the heavy wave of exhaustion from his attack wash over him and practically bring him to his knees, but he remained floating and vigilant as best he could.
For a brief moment Picario thought they won, until the twins came out of the smoke cackling. His heart sank at their sight, they were still standing. Picario was in panic when the sound of a ferocious monster roared from the top of the cliffs.
Ethan watched with excitement as Picario nailed the twins directly with his attack. The smoke around where they were was thick and Ethan couldn’t see them but something told him they were still alive. Without even waiting for it to be confirmed Ethan focused on conjuring a monster he had encountered before only in video games. An almost colossal four legged monster that was like a fusion of a rhinoceros, a bull, and a demon. When he had the behemoth conjured Ethan heard the twins cackling from below and made the behemoth roar with the deafening terror he remembered all those years ago from that old video game he used to play.
He sent the Behemoth after the twins but they sent two shadow sickles right after it. Ethan didn’t see the shadow sickles until it was too late and they tore through, not only the cliff edge he was perched on, but the ceiling spikes above him as well. The cliff gave out instantly and as Ethan fell with the rocks his focus and illusion disappeared. Ethan screamed and started desperately reaching out for anything to save him as he fell.
He knew that there was nothing to grab onto but still he kept reaching for anything that might just save his life, then something came into his reach that he couldn’t see amongst the chaos of falling with the rocks. Ethan grabbed onto the unknown object and pulled himself onto it, he didn’t have anytime to bother figuring out what it was because he was still under several falling rocks.
Ethan got banged up, cut, and bruised all over by the rocks as he made his way out but he was still alive and still willing to fight. He finally noticed that the object which saved him was a flying broom; Mary’s flying broom. Ethan stayed far above the battle and wiped some of the green blood out of his eyes and looked around for Picario. He saw his lifeless friend down their and felt like leaping off the broom and just beating the twins to death.
Ethan managed to hold in his anger long enough to formulate a desperate and rage induced plan. He made the broom and himself invisible and as quietly as he could, snuck over to where the rocks all landed and grabbed one almost the size of his head. After getting the rock Ethan went back into the air on the broom holding the rock under one arm and the end of the broomstick with his free hand.
Slowly he hovered over above the twins and got into place. Then he got both his hands on the rocks and leaned over to fall off the broom. He aimed straight for the head of one of the twins with the rock held in out front of him. The drop crushed the twins’ skull on impact and Ethan used her body to cushion his landing.
As quickly as Ethan could he got to his feet and wrapped his arms around the other twin and pinned her arms to her side. Then he turned her so that her back was facing Marry. He gritted his teeth at the twin and said, “Game over!” Then he felt a powerful shock of pain hit his chest. He let go of the twin and fell back.