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Phantom Wars Chapter 20

The boys undergo intense training.

Chapter Twenty: Marry Cromwells Room of Pain

Inside Marry’s room Ethan and Picario sat down and drank the tea Marry offered them. She wasted no time getting to the point of why she asked them there.

“I want the three of us to start working together as a team in the tournaments,” Marry said.

Ethan and Picario looked at each other then back to Marry and Ethan said, “Marry it’s not that we wouldn’t enjoy fighting by your side anymore but me and Picario have been talking about things ever since you talked with us. And we decided that we’re going to try taking a different approach to things than most.

“The only reason Picario fought in the tournaments was so he could earn points to buy food for his dragon and I was only interested in them so I might be able to learn more about my father, but you already told me more than I could have hoped to find out on my own; so we don’t really have any interest in the tournaments anymore.”

Marry kept a neutral face and a calm voice as she said, “I understand, you wish for a peaceful time here at the mansion. Well then I suppose that covers all that I asked you here for, you may leave whenever you wish or stay and enjoy more tea; it is entirely up to you both.”

“Say Marry,” Picario said. “Why are you so keen on fighting in the tournaments anyways? Are you in need of points or something?”

“No, points I have; answers I do not. In truth I have been searching for answers about the mansion for so many years now. Answer to questions like what is the mansion exactly, Purgatory? What is its purpose, and why do we battle in the tournaments? Simply what’s the reason for all of it?

“Everywhere I searched for these answers I came up to a dead end. Until one day I encountered someone talked about only in whispers. This person told me that if I could win the god tournament even one time, by luck, wit, or skill he would tell me everything he knows about the mansion. He would give me the answers I was seeking; in fact he is the one who told me everything I know about the reapers.

“Unfortunately I have never been close to winning the god tournament. The best I have done so far is placing in the top One-hundred. That’s where you guys come in, I was hoping with your help I could finally reach that goal and get those answers I seek. I am sorry my reasons are so selfish but they are my entire purpose for being here still.”

“Look Marry,” Ethan said. “Your reasons are about as good as anyone’s can be but I just don’t see how even with our help you would make it to the top. I mean at our best the two of us are just at your level; optimistically speaking.”

“Perhaps your not very strong now but you can become stronger I can train you both. You two have so much untapped potential, I can feel it.”

Reluctantly Ethan said, “I tell you what Marry, we will talk it over and get back to you next week okay?”

Marry smiled and said, “Yes that is OK.”

Ethan and Picario finished their tea then left Marry’s room returning to their own straight away. Once inside they started discussing Marry’s proposition for them.

“So Ethan, what do you think we should do?”

“I don’t really know. I mean I want to help Marry and I too am curious about those answers now as well. But I don’t have much interest in the tournaments either, they can be fun from time to time and I do love the battle games but really that’s all there is for me. What about you?”

Picario shrugged and said, “I only really participate in the tournaments so I can buy food for Nessie and the occasional toy, and junk food or comic. But if what she said about us is true, if we can become stronger than I would be able to get to max points in no time with her help. Then I could buy a room on floor 99 and from there get max points again and then spend centuries at a time doing whatever I wanted.

“I could stay in my room for an entire year playing with Nessie day and night, or get her a new friend so that you, me and Kelly can go see some movies and hang out for days on end. I don’t see any downsides to any of it.”

“Alright well let’s think it over until next week where we will then have a sure answer to give to Marry.”

After one week Marry got her answer, the boys would be training with her. She had a special arena in her room where they could train. The first level was an obstacle course filled with deadly traps and obstacles all of which are designed to kill anyone who tries to step foot through it. Marry made Ethan and Picario start their training with that before moving on to the next level.

The obstacle course kept killing Ethan and Picario and they had to keep running back to her room to try and finish it again. After dying over fifty times the two finally made it through to the other side; they were exhausted. Marry applauded them sarcastically then had them rest for a day and when they were ready to continue she made them take the course alone.

Picario did much better this time because he didn’t have to carry Ethan’s weight with him. His magic helped him greatly avoid the obstacles or destroy them, Marry was annoyed by this because the purpose of the obstacle course was to learn how to avoid incoming attacks or block them not destroy them. After repairing the obstacle course again Marry made Picario go through the obstacle course without the use of his magic whatsoever.

Ethan was still struggling with the obstacle course on his own by the time Picario was back at it without magic. However Ethan was gradually getting closer to the end of the course after each attempt. When he failed again after almost reaching the end of it Marry forced him and Picario to relax for a couple days while she made some alterations to the course. She believed Ethan was only getting closer to the end because he had memorized the layout of the obstacle course well enough to go through the easiest path where he knew what would be coming next.

The task of redesigning the obstacle course was extremely tedious but Marry made sure to keep the difficulty level of it about the same for them.

When the boys returned from their break they were surprised to see the obstacle course changed; Marry hadn’t told them she was going to alter it only repair it. She put Ethan in first and watched him carefully from way above everything. Ethan studied the course for a brief moment before going into it. He made it over halfway through before getting his head cut off by a rotating blade pillar. Marry was partially right Ethan had remembered some of the previous obstacle course but he was also getting better at avoiding the obstacles.

When Ethan died the new obstacle course was opened to Picario. He only made it halfway through before getting killed. Marry sighed then left the obstacle course through the passage she had on the ceiling. She went back to the next room where she would sit around reading waiting for one of the boys to come through the obstacle course.

It was only one month after starting their training that both boys made it through the obstacle course on their own. Marry wouldn’t tell them this but she was impressed with them. She gave them a full day to rest before starting the next phase of their training.

Marry stood around a rocky terrain which had a series of massive jagged stones that were nearly indestructible. When the boys arrived Marry told them they would now have to beat her for the next part of their training. They could do whatever it takes to kill her in order to win as long as they won.

The two looked at each other and Marry took instant advantage of this. She shot out a pair fast and powerful twin lightning bolts at them. Only Ethan was quick enough to dodge the lightning strike. He dived to his left as it came at him and Picario took the hit dead on but was still alive. Ethan had no time to aid his friend because Marry was preparing another attack.

Ethan summoned an illusional sphere of darkness to surround Marry. Marry ran right out of the sphere in time to see four clones of Ethan all of them carrying Picario over his shoulder running in opposite directions. Marry didn’t bother trying to figure out which one was real. Before they got too far, she raised her fist high into the air then slammed it down into the ground. The force of her slam was so powerful the ground cracked in front of her racing towards Ethan, it then split up and all around as the ground collapsed in itself into a dark abyss. All of the Ethan clones, including the real one, fell into the abyss.

Ethan and Picario woke up back in their room and looked at each other. They didn’t say another word before getting up and rushing out of their room and back to Mary’s. When they got back to her room they were glad to find they no longer had to go through the obstacle course they could go straight back to the rocky terrain. Inside they saw the ground was still left open with the abyss except now it was filled with lava. They saw no sign of Marry.

The two of them split up to look around, Ethan kept his invisibility and a fake clone of him running around while searching. Picario made sure to layer himself with a magical barrier like he did last time. He learned the trick back when fighting the twins but didn’t have much time to apply it back then.

As the boys looked around the ground for Marry, she sat up high in the sky covered behind thick clouds. She peeked over the clouds to watch the boys as they searched for her. Although she found it amusing she kept her focus on them, she lost track of Ethan right away when he went invisible and had little idea as to how to draw him back out. So she set her sights on Picario and waited until he got some good distance from where the two boys came in.

When she felt it was a good time to do so Marry came down from the clouds in a literal blaze of fire and crashed right into Picario. The impact tore apart his shield and he was destroyed instantly. Marry got up from the crash and brushed the dirt off her then used the power of the wind to race off after Ethan.

“Come on out Ethan,” Marry called. “You can’t win your battles by hiding.”

Marry wandered around the area until Ethan finally stepped out from behind a rock and said, “Not entirely but I can still try.”

Ethan rushed at Marry with his twin knives held in front of him; the knives he bought prior to the training session. Marry prepared herself and when Ethan got close enough she leaped into the air, spun around and kicked him in the face. He flew back a few feet and his knives clattered to the ground away from him.

As Marry attacked Ethan’s illusional clone he ran out from behind the rock he was hiding and charged after Marry wielding his knives. Ethan got five feet away from Marry when he fell into a trench pit. He twisted his ankle in the fall. Marry leaned over the ledge and said, “Nice try but I know all to well of how you work. Against a new opponent you can get away with the basic illusions but without the aid of an ally against someone who knows how you work, well you need to find something new.”

Marry quickly closed the ground around Ethan crushing him to death instantly. She swiftly raced to the door where Ethan and Picario would come through and set up a pitfall trap there. Then she flew back up into the clouds above and sat back waiting.

When the boys both arrived back at the second arena in the rocky terrain they both fell for the pitfall. Marry grinned and waited for them to return as she reset the pitfall.

Ethan and Picario returned to the arena once more, avoiding the pitfall all together, and they saw Marry standing on the other side of what is now known as the lava chasm. They hesitated going after her when she summoned up a powerful wind magic that pulled them towards her. Picario managed to neutralize the magic and stopped both of them from being pulled to her but they were now over the lava chasm and falling straight into it.

Once again Picario’s magic saved them both as he stopped them from falling and started levitating them back up. Marry bent her legs slightly then raised her hands high in the air. Focusing on her power she made the lava in the chasm erupt up. It caught Ethan and Picario and killed them just as they reached the top of the chasm.

Marry left the arena and went back to the first area in her room, the 19 th century styled living room; there she waited. When the boys inevitably returned she told them it was break time and if they wanted they could stay with her and have some tea. The two of them shrugged and did stay for tea.

“So you have anymore traps you plan on killing us with next round?” Picario asked while Marry served them tea.

Marry smirked and said, “That whole arena is my trap.”

When the tea was all served and Marry had her own cup she sat down in her chair across from the boys then snapped her fingers. Relaxing music from seemingly nowhere played filling the entire living room.

After the relaxing tea break they were back to training. After several more matches and victories with not even a single hit on her Marry was exhausted and told them they were to take the week off.

Upon the week of their return the boys came back overconfident in their first match; they were destroyed in the first minute. The next round they lasted much longer but still had yet to get even a single hit on her. Once more Marry noticed Picario was carrying a lot of Ethan’s weight. Ethan wasn’t useless but unless he found a way to improve his skills he wouldn’t be very good on his own. Once more Marry decided it would be best for them to separate and she would fight them individually from now on.

Marry told the boys she would train them separately and they didn’t like it much but they didn’t argue either. She also told them they would train only a set amount of matches each day with her that would gradually decrease as they grew stronger. For the time being she decided to 20 matches each day with each of them. She would train with Picario first, then after those 20 matches she would train with Ethan.

Once more Marry was right that Picario would get stronger without having to carry Ethan’s weight along. In the first week of there new training regiment Picario was able to land a decent hit on her every match. Slowly but surely he was growing stronger and more confident in his abilities. In the months that came to pass Picario was on par with Marry’s power and still growing stronger. Ethan unfortunately made little progress in all that time.

The winter season in the living world was here once more and Marry was still training with Ethan. Picario had already proven to be stronger than her when he won three fights in a row against her. She no longer had anymore that she could teach him the rest was on his own and she told him to start entering tournaments and a couple battle games to grow stronger.

Ethan on the other hand believed he mastered his illusionary but Marry knew that he had much more to him than that; it was in his blood. Marry soon figured maybe Ethan needed some more motivation to find that hidden potential inside of him. Perhaps seeing his father in action would give him the push he needed.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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